ICX devices don't notice when missiles are shot down

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Song
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Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:13 am

This may be an issue with the ICX code, or with how fragment destruction is handled. To test: make an IXC device that fires tracking shells/missiles (I noticed this while making an ICX version of the smartcannon). Then spawn a Drake. The ICX device will attack the incoming missile, and the ICX missile will home in on it. (I must say, this is awesome and I fully intend to mess with it some more)

But after they've killed the missile, any remaining shell that were tracking the missile will continue to track where it would have gone. If this were a missile targeting a ship, they'd lose targeting ability when the ship was deleted to make way for the wreck, and if they were after a station they'd also continue to track it (because stations aren't "deleted" when destroyed)...but the station wouldn't be moving, so it causes no problems. But with a missile, they're tracking a phantom signal. This may be a partial reason for the wacko, out of control behaviour we know and "love" from ICX devices around explosions: they're tracking fragmentation effects that stop almost instantly but they do not know that.

Alternatively, it's yet another thing that's broken about standard missiledefense systems. But I'm more optimistic than that. It'd be useful for the system to quickly recognise the timeout or death of a "missile", partly to reduce FF, and also because then there's the option to make the missiles arc around and try to hit other incoming fragments.

This needs some more testing, preferably by those better versed in point-defense than I am. But I'm almost certain there's a nice juicy bug behind this behaviour.


Edit: Following some discussion in IRC and some further testing: When I tried this against KM500's, the smartcannon shells would destroy the missile, then follow the direction the missile would have taken had it continued in a completely straight line from the time it was destroyed. I suspect, therefore, that the targeting system recieves constant heading/velocity updates from its target. In this case, the target still "exists" to the missile, so it continues to track. But the updates have stopped. Therefore it swaps over and assumes that it's tracking a "dumb" projectile, and homes in on where it would be under that assumption, based on the last update it received.

...as behaviour for a real missile goes, this isn't that bad. For a game device though, it indicates unusual behaviour that may cause some of our problems with ICX/Longreach. For whatever reason, nothing is telling the ICX device (and its shells) "Hey, it's dead already!".
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Atarlost
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Sat Aug 09, 2014 3:39 am

Observing normal ICX flipping out and paying attention to projectile paths I think that is indeed caused by the same bug. Also, it seems to happen more when the projectile hit a ship than when it's destroyed by the ICX.
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Song
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Sat Aug 09, 2014 6:53 am

Atarlost wrote:Observing normal ICX flipping out and paying attention to projectile paths I think that is indeed caused by the same bug. Also, it seems to happen more when the projectile hit a ship than when it's destroyed by the ICX.
This will be fantastic when it's fixed if that's true. This bug also seems to ensure that a swarm of missiles can *always* get through an ICX system: the first missile will be attacked and possibly shot down. But it'll confuse the system long enough for other shots to hit. This may also explain some ICX wackyness....

..the important thing with that will be that, assuming that this bug can be fixed for the next release or so, ICX devices (and ships that use them) will need a rebalance, as their ability to shoot down incoming missiles will be massively increased. This may bring them to the level they were initially intended to be....or it may make them annoyingly hard to kill.
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Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:58 am

This bug also seems to ensure that a swarm of missiles can *always* get through an ICX system
..the important thing with that will be that, assuming that this bug can be fixed for the next release or so, ICX devices (and ships that use them) will need a rebalance, as their ability to shoot down incoming missiles will be massively increased. This may bring them to the level they were initially intended to be....or it may make them annoyingly hard to kill.
Exactly, at least the ICX must be somehow "leaky". Maybe by fiddling with aim.

This actually allows the possibility to have multiple ICX devices with improving AIM at greater device levels.

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