AI War 2:Auto Attack And Unit Stances

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So, here are the various modes that exist, just for the sake of clarity. Each category is independent of each other, meaning they can be combined however you want:

Firing ability

  • Fire at will: if any weapon of a ship is in range of a target, it will fire upon it.
    • Please note that there are some special targets that no ships will auto-fire on (and AOE attacks will also bypass) unless you explicitly give an attack order. The most notable is the local command station and warp gate of the AI in a planet, which both cost AIP, are frequently left alive on purpose, and which are quick to kill when you do give the order.
  • Hold fire: no weapons will be fired, period.
    • If this unit is an engineer or similar, then also no engineering work will be done. If it's a factory, it won't build, and if it's a unit under construction it will also stop constructing itself. If it's a unit you are working on claiming, this will tell your units to not try to claim it (sparing you the expense AND the AIP or aggro).
    • "Hold fire" is good for non-military reasons of reducing expenditures or preventing future expenses.
    • "Hold fire" for military purposes is mainly to avoid aggroing something. It's particularly useful for cloaked units, but not commonly used outside of that one use case.

Movement ability

  • Normal. Units sit where they are unless you give them orders to go somewhere else.
    • They will also move to not be sitting on top of one another, and can get dragged around by enemy tractor beams, or pushed by enemy forcefields, but beyond that they're not heading anywhere.
    • Oh -- if this unit is firing at a specific enemy, and you have kiting enabled, this unit will back up from the enemy in order to try to maintain the advantage of being near max range (and thus less likely to die from a mass of enemies).
  • Attack Move. If an enemy unit is in range of any weapon of this unit, then your unit will follow the enemy if it runs away.
    • If the enemy stays within firing range until dead, then this behavior is no different from Normal.
    • Assuming that enemies run away, this unit will follow, and it may wind up chain-following several units, but that's it.
  • Pursuit Mode. Regardless of range, your ship will pursue ideal targets on the planet and do whatever it needs to in order to attack its targets, while likely also kiting them (depends on the unit type and the state of your auto-kite orders, which defaults to on).
    • This is generally fairly safe to use on enemy planets where you are on even or advantageous footing. Your units don't have self-preservation in mind, but they will do moderately okay. If you're fine with the losses and you need your attention elsewhere, then this is fine on an enemy planet.
    • On your own planets, it is highly ideal that your mobile units be in this stance almost at all times.

Movement state

  • Direct orders to move or attack. This is not really a "mode" per se, but I'm going to break it out because it overrides everything else.
    • Is your unit in attack move mode or pursuit mode? No effect for now. This unit will do the actions you specified, and THEN resume whatever its mode was.
      • This has more utility than you might expect. For example, you could bring in a force that is in pursuit mode, but then give half of the force direct orders to move around the perimeter to one side of the planet, and the other half orders to plow through a specific guard post first. You then wind up controlling the angles of attack and which targets are likely to be hit first, and you can get pretty involved with that.

Stop state

  • Stop To Shoot. This is is the final mode, and it can be combined with all the other categories.
    • Let's take the simplest case of you giving direct orders, but this also applies to attack move and pursuit modes. Normally if you give orders to you ship to move from point A to point B, and your ship passes an enemy, your ship will shoot the enemy while it passes, and then keep going past and stop where you told it.
      • If you for some reason want to make it fly back and forth past the enemy, you now have strafing runs.
    • Stop To Shoot interrupts this whole thing and makes it so that every time there's a unit in firing range, your ship stops and kills it before moving on. You can combine this with movement orders queued between many different targets' general areas to make sure all targets are dead before your ships proceed to the next.