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Air Superiority Fighter Competition Unlimited [ON HOLD]


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@panzerknoef You can continue the testing, sure. I personally haven't ran the Du-11B against anything other than my own things, so go for it.

I won't deny that the thought of skipping a plane ahead is a bit of a consideration I've had a few times, but that's currently the process. 

However, that probably just means a new look into the rules is in store, or a change in format. Probably just disconnect the top of the leaderboard into an 'elite gauntlet challenge' kind of deal, since they're so far ahead of everything else in performance. 

Still, for the 11B, just continue it along.

 

As for the D8, it's really not much more than a D7 with slightly different tactical programming, but with the same flight programming (so far). So it's really nothing crazy different. Really, I'm more surprised by the strange BDA AI behaviors the plane exhibits, rather than the performance of the plane itself. 

 

As for other competitions, most of them are run on Youtube. You just have to know about them. JollyRogerAerospace runs a fairly consistent series called PFC, and each season of PFC has new rules, which makes for a fun exercise in construction, and figuring out how to apply my ASC knowledge within specific constraints. 

I'm not sure about any others, however; other competitions come and go. I can say this though: expect any ASC plane to be illegal in most other tournaments lol. There's always some weird restriction in the construction rules that ASC planes break. So when we enter other competitions, we usually just build from scratch and apply our knowledge as best we can, especially since we also don't know what the competition is like. The advantage for us, though, is we understand BDA on a deeper level, and as such can create tactics around that knowledge.

The day another competition has rules that allow an actual ASC plane to slip in unchanged in any way though... Kraken help their souls. :P

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1 hour ago, sturmhauke said:

Well there's the Juno Ace tournament, if you like to torture yourself with FAR. I feel like it models transonic weirdness well but doesn't give you enough tools to figure out how to build an aircraft that can handle it.

Yeah nah, ain't gonna bother with FAR, that's almost an entirely different way of designing planes, and the AI won't behave the exact same either then ofc... 

 

@Box of Stardust with this super elite level of the tier 1 leaderboard starting to emerge, it might not be a bad idea to actually add a third tier to the list. 

But yeah the other competitions, the crazy level of ASC allows you to learn so much (albeit at a very steep learning curve),which basically means you'll at the very least know exactly how to build a plane which will excel in said tournament. But yeah if one ever arises with rules that allow us to enter our aircraft... I don't think they'll stand a chance. I'm expecting Hojoz to get a new season of his tournament underway somewhat soon as well, those rules are usually pretty forgiving, and I'm pretty sure dundun92 actually won the last season of that with a slightly modified du-11

Edited by panzerknoef
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24 minutes ago, panzerknoef said:

I'm pretty sure dundun92 actually won the last season of that with a slightly modified du-11

Yep it was his gunzo tournament. :P. I was genuinely surprised it broke no rules.

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20 hours ago, Box of Stardust said:

Bonus battles, which will explain the leaderboard merge I plan on doing.

The first battle is watching what ASC-1.4 leaderboard #2 spot, @ZLM-Master's X-Fighter Hunter, can do against @panzerknoef's Zircon UT-7-B4.

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Analysis:

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Because the X-Figher has not fought in a while, nor against the UT-7, here are each aircraft's stats in comparison:

afLxBBz.png

Despite not receiving any updates at all, the X-Fighter still has it. Its classical package of a small airframe with good damage mitigation and high speed meets BDA 1.2.4’s improved Sidewinders, making its missile usage absolutely deadly.

 

So what's the X-Fighter like against the PEGASys-D7?

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Analysis:

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The rivals meet once more, except this time, the X-Fighter is up against the improved D7, which has fixed the D6’s primary flaw of flight control hampering maneuverability. As well, the D7 is armed with SCRAPPER-II, which has shown to greatly enhance its lethality.

The results this time were far more conclusive, with the PEGASys pulling a clear win.

 

But to battle the #2 spot, it would have had to go through the #3 spot, @dundun93's HSC, a very... special craft.

So let's see @panzerknoef's UT-7-B4 take a swing at it.

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Analysis:

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Ah yes, the HSC. A terrifying supermaneuverable box of weapons that will refuse to go down unless properly hit. It takes advantage of a lot of BDA quirks and debatably cheesy tactics.

It’s a monster that should be the mission of ASC aircraft designers to vanquish. And maybe for BDA devs to take some lessons on about improving combat through AI improvements. We’ll discuss this later though.

First, watch it in action against the top combat drones of ASC, the X-Fighter Hunter and PEGASys-D7. Two drones that are fast, take hits well, and come packed with missiles. One has size on its side, the other has weapon efficiency and extreme survivability.

On the side of the HSC, a spray of 20mm cannon fire from 8 Vulcans and maneuverability that makes slowly float around the air like a flying turret.

 

So how does it fair in BDA 1.2.4 vs @ZLM-Master's X-Fighter Hunter?

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Analysis:

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In BDA 1.2.4, results are apparently different, with the HSC having fully effective Sidewinders to fight the Hunters. As well, improved damage means that a target intersecting the HSC’s gunfire means instant obliteration.

I’m not running more matches with the HSC for these aircraft because, quite frankly, the HSC disgusts me and it’s not fun for me to watch. However, I did run a standard battle against the PEGASys-D7, just to legitimize its inclusion to the leaderboard (and to give me more data).

 

And finally, @dundun93's HSC goes up against the top of the board, the PEGASys-D7 in a full battle:

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After Action Report:

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Battle Report:

W3Olgj1.png

Analysis:

The HSC was built to counter the PEGASys-D, and clearly, it does.

Frankly, while I respect this thing, I hate the damn thing, and not in a good 'respect the opponent' way either. A slow box of gun spam that just wallows around the air like a flying turret waiting to exhaust the enemy of its weapons and draw it close is just wrong. But results can’t be denied- it does work.

This thing is totally antithetical to the idea of jet dogfights, but it works because of BDA’s peculiarities and somewhat KSP physics. BD AI wants to dogfight hard, which plays into the HSC’s design, as most other planes will be traveling faster and will overshoot. But the overshooting plane won’t escape, it’ll try to turn back. Thus, the plane has fallen into the HSC’s trap, where its massive volume of fire does the rest.

Not even D7+SCRAPPER-II works well enough against the HSC. The HSC just floats around its flares too much due to its slow speed and tight turns, which causes many missiles to miss. The D7, while very aggressive, runs out of missiles faster than the HSC runs out of ammo. This is the battle I’ve tested against many times with the D6 and D7 prototypes that made me say ‘the PEGASys is an average at best gunfighter’.

Because this thing is one of the best gunfighters… though volume of fire definitely helps compensate for a lot of problems in gunfighting, especially BDA gunfighting. It just pulls off reversals and turnfights well. And it somehow gets away with it despite many times just floating in the middle of the air, where by all means it should be an easy gun target. But nothing ever hits a floating HSCs with guns for some reason!

This plane just feels cheesy. It shouldn’t work according to the principles of jet combat, but it does, because BDA does not work the way jet combat would; it’s like a weird WWII dogfighting system that happens to use jet-powered aircraft. So kind of like Ace Combat, I guess, where it’s really a lot about how well a plane can perform in a turning fight.

The HSC has made me reconsider that maybe there should be a weight-based gun limit; values I considered ‘balanced’ was 1 Vulcan per 0.9t of empty aircraft weight.

Because otherwise, the meta turns into small gunspam drones that fly in a small, slow, dogfight ball, which just feels wrong.

And now, a long digression on my gripes with the HSC and the quirks of BDA dogfighting.

Look, we dealt with a stage of ASC that was about gunspam. 8 GAU-8s on a flying turret was a bit early to the party, despite happening during the air-jousting period. Then 5 Vulcans on a gun-only aircraft.

Then I figured it out and put 10 Vulcans on a slim flying brick, and it worked as expected, which was terrible. Then dundun93 decided to go super dumb with it and put 16 on a plane. You can read all about air-jousting and that period of ASC and BDA's AI here:

Throwing an unstoppable stream of 20mm just isn’t fair. It’s a lazy solution that makes up for BDA’s AI gun accuracy deficiency, as well as plays into the AI's behavior.

The HSC annoys me because it’s so borderline on this. It’s 8 guns. 8. Some planes have 6, which is getting up there, but within reason.

But then it’s all put on this flying brick that just eats damage (which is fine, I guess, that’s good design), but also carries around its own debris, which potentially gives BDA lots of problems, and it annoyingly takes BDA AI quirks and drags its enemies into not really much of a dogfight, but really just a trap. It just circles around slowly in an area, shooting at enemies it will eventually pull in, and killing them when they try to run away after burning excess energy trying to turn and fight the HSC.

And now it has Sidewinders that work, thanks to BDA 1.2.4.

I don’t feel like planes fight the HSC as much as just fall into traps that should be avoidable if a plane were able to use the advantages of jet combat. The AI forces planes into a low-speed dogfight where this flying turret excels and wipes out enemies through sheer volume of fire. Not just that, but BDA is such that the lower you are the more advantageous your position. And the HSC is programmed to take advantage of that.

Obi-Wan may teach you that the high ground is the advantage, but in BDA, that isn’t the case. Because from below, the BDA AI will try to escape from the plane below it, while the chasing plane has the easiest gunnery target presented to it, because BDA AI sucks at gunning down targets in all other scenarios. BDA can’t boom-and-zoom, it can only turnfight.

Basically, the AI forces planes into a low-speed dogfight where this flying turret excels and wipes out enemies through sheer volume of fire.

There’s two paths against this thing: do what it does even more extreme and enter a stale, boring meta, or try to design a better aircraft that can defeat it in its own way. And let me tell you- the second path is incredibly difficult, because that plane still has to beat the rest of the conventional board.

Try to build that plane to beat the HSC, and it will probably lose to the PEGASys-D7. Build a plane that can beat the D7, and well, it might lose to the HSC.

But then, I suppose, that is the challenge of the Air Superiority Challenge Unlimited. To build the ultimate superior aircraft that can win in all aspects of combat, no matter how unfair the opponent may seem.

And I mentioned earlier about playing to the strengths of jet combat… and I may have an idea.

The HSC is a drone that gets stronger the longer a battle draws out and slows down. My philosophy for my drones has always been directly opposed to that- hit fast, end fights quickly. The problem with that is that the HSC’s tactics counter that philosophy very well if my drones fail- my drones get weaker through a battle, and the BDA AI will naturally drag them into the slow turning fight. To design a drone that can strike fast but maintain enough lethality into the mid-game if the initial attack fails, well, that’s the goal now.

This entire rant made me realize a few things, and I just came up with the solution.. and most of it was one AI setting change… one that no one considers to touch. It turns out there's more BDA quirks to learn, so get ready for another major meta shift.

The others were an ASC staple (routing device) and… another setting we might have been getting wrong for a while now.

HSC may have been built to counter the PEGASys-D, but I can tell you that the -D8 can potentially flip the tables just as hard against it. And I didn’t even touch the airframe or weapons loadout at all, which means it’s equally effective against all other opponents.

Smart tactics is how we should properly win battles, without resorting to lazy solutions like overwhelming firepower. And I refuse to take the meta in a direction that can be beaten with increasingly lazy solutions.

 

The leaderboard and records have been updated with these aircraft. They are linked in this post and in the record sheet if you want to take a look at them.

Im back guys! Glad to see my plane do so wwll

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11 hours ago, panzerknoef said:

What I'm currently thinking is using a setup with an aircraft that flies very fast (400+m/s) and has a high cruising altitude. It should also have a low G limit to prevent it from pulling quick turns at high speeds. If the AI plays along (which it probably won't) there's a chance that your aircraft gets some shots into the HSC, over shoots, but instead of turning back instantly and falling for the trap, it's just gonna go more or less straight and turn in a very wide circle, hopefully reengaging with high speed again afterwards etc etc. 

It's all theory, and I highly doubt it's gonna work, but who knows... 

 

12 hours ago, sturmhauke said:

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm looking forward to finding a weakness in the HSC and hammering it.

 

13 hours ago, panzerknoef said:

First of all, a link to a simple discord chatroom: https://discord.gg/XhYcj6M

 

Secondly, @Box of Stardust, I see you've decided to merge the boards anyway which is fine. I'm just wondering what's gonna happen to the planes which currently fall just outside of that board, and what will happen to the planes of the old leaderboard which aren't on the current one. It's quite messy now and I'm not exactly sure what you're gonna do with it. So please do tell me! On that other note, a gun per weight limit is probably nice, but it also takes away the "unlimited" part. Yes, the HSC is filthy dirty plane, but it has more than anything else exploited just how BDA works, which is quite impressive imo. 

 

10 hours ago, HeroBrian_333 said:

8 guns is too many @Box of Stardust?

I mean, if it works...

Its cool to see all kinds of people teaming against me lol!

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1 hour ago, HeroBrian_333 said:

What are you thinking? Weaponize the Volta XV Spear? You will have a lot of AI tuning to do before achieving maximum performance.

Not quite, I've been updating the VTOL Volta to be more maneuverable and I would be entering it in its place. The real problem is I have never used any AI tuning, and I've only ever used BDA for messing around back in pre unity 5 era. I'd have to enter with a co-sponsor; someone to share the title. In that note:

Attention Air Superiority Competitors: HafCo. Industries is hereby looking for an Artificial Intelligence and Firearms expert to co-sponsor the Volta XVII Phantom, the newest installment to the Volta lineup. The Phantom is the 17th iteration of the Volta supermaneuverable fighter jet, equipped with dual tilt-jet Panther engines and newly added Whiplash engines for increased operational time and speed. If you are interested, please PM our representative Avera9eJoe.

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1 hour ago, Avera9eJoe said:

Not quite, I've been updating the VTOL Volta to be more maneuverable and I would be entering it in its place. The real problem is I have never used any AI tuning, and I've only ever used BDA for messing around back in pre unity 5 era. I'd have to enter with a co-sponsor; someone to share the title. In that note:

Attention Air Superiority Competitors: HafCo. Industries is hereby looking for an Artificial Intelligence and Firearms expert to co-sponsor the Volta XVII Phantom, the newest installment to the Volta lineup. The Phantom is the 17th iteration of the Volta supermaneuverable fighter jet, equipped with dual tilt-jet Panther engines and newly added Whiplash engines for increased operational time and speed. If you are interested, please PM our representative Avera9eJoe.

Sure, post it up.

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Got an amusing plane for you guys to fight. Also a preview.

PEGASys-D9 / D8-30

qyiYgj0.png

 

It's actually a lot worse in a fight than the standard D8, because the GAU just gets blasted off any time the plane takes a missile hit, but it's otherwise amusing when it works. And it's also otherwise (currently) identical to the D8 in all other ways.

The D8 will probably be submitted officially... eh, soon probably.

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So because I was really bored, I was experimenting around with reviving an old ASC classic aircraft. One that seems pretty flimsy in construction, since it was built in an era without damage mitigation, but it was otherwise one of the top combatants. Before improving its protection, I decided to see what its current 'armor' was like, which is to say, how its exposed parts would take hits, and I clicked on one part...

Holy f-balls, I just found out why the HSC is so tanky.

Wing Connectors have super high hitpoints. Not Structural Wings, or any of the other parts, just the Wing Connectors.

A Wing Connector C has 700 hitpoints. A Wing Connector B has 1400 hitpoints.

The HSC is quite literally a flying tank, because of hitpoint values.

 

... lemme see what I can do with Gunbrick again. yes it's cheese, but I'm just curious.

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1 hour ago, Box of Stardust said:

Got an amusing plane for you guys to fight. Also a preview.

PEGASys-D9 / D8-30

qyiYgj0.png

 

It's actually a lot worse in a fight than the standard D8, because the GAU just gets blasted off any time the plane takes a missile hit, but it's otherwise amusing when it works. And it's also otherwise (currently) identical to the D8 in all other ways.

The D8 will probably be submitted officially... eh, soon probably.

Are those fuel tanks full with stuff clipped inside them?

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4 hours ago, Box of Stardust said:

Got an amusing plane for you guys to fight. Also a preview.

PEGASys-D9 / D8-30

qyiYgj0.png

 

It's actually a lot worse in a fight than the standard D8, because the GAU just gets blasted off any time the plane takes a missile hit, but it's otherwise amusing when it works. And it's also otherwise (currently) identical to the D8 in all other ways.

The D8 will probably be submitted officially... eh, soon probably.

This thing seems to fly high... Very very high 

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4 hours ago, Box of Stardust said:

So because I was really bored, I was experimenting around with reviving an old ASC classic aircraft. One that seems pretty flimsy in construction, since it was built in an era without damage mitigation, but it was otherwise one of the top combatants. Before improving its protection, I decided to see what its current 'armor' was like, which is to say, how its exposed parts would take hits, and I clicked on one part...

Holy f-balls, I just found out why the HSC is so tanky.

Wing Connectors have super high hitpoints. Not Structural Wings, or any of the other parts, just the Wing Connectors.

A Wing Connector C has 700 hitpoints. A Wing Connector B has 1400 hitpoints.

The HSC is quite literally a flying tank, because of hitpoint values.

 

... lemme see what I can do with Gunbrick again. yes it's cheese, but I'm just curious.

Jup, the straight wing pieces, not the pointy ones, have rediculous amount of hitpoints

It's just that they look so awful

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I think the hit point system needs to be rebalanced. Lots of parts seem like they should have more hp, and a few have way too many hp.

That said, since this is still the current state of things, I think I have something that can perform well at both high and low speeds, can take some punishment, and doesn't look like a crate with engines strapped on. Burns fuel like crazy, but I guess you can't have everything. I need to do some more tuning, but I'll post it soon.

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42 minutes ago, HeroBrian_333 said:

This is bananas. I can't get my stuff to do well in damage mitigation, yet everyone else tanks missile hits. What are the best ways to increase damage mitigation?

 

As far as I can tell:

1. Attach all parts to your core, then use the move tool to position each part

2. Have many parts, use them to make at least 1 spare for each function

3. Use part clipping to cram a great many parts into a very small core volume and protect that with more parts

4. Make the total volume small and flat, this allows for the best control of the AI, basically a 2 dimensional slab

I set my yaw stabilizers to 0 input on newer models because they tend to induce roll more than allow the AI any control, or I set them to roll only so it works that way on purpose except for vertical stabilizers that are in the central plane and won't induce roll, for example between the engines

Finally set all attach rigid and autostrut to heaviest, although not everyone agrees on the autostruts, it works great for me

The trick is that when you lose a part you lose only that one part because there's nothing else attached to it and having spares allows you to keep control after losing a part. By protecting the core with basically excess parts, such as air intakes, you can lose a few and keep flying without too much trouble

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30 minutes ago, hoioh said:

Finally set all attach rigid and autostrut to heaviest, although not everyone agrees on the autostruts, it works great for me

I've found that when you attach all this stuff to a single (or small number) of core parts and clip stuff together, you need rigid and autostruts or your craft will self-destruct on the runway. I prefer root over heaviest, although at this scale heaviest is unlikely to change with fuel consumption.

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54 minutes ago, sturmhauke said:

I've found that when you attach all this stuff to a single (or small number) of core parts and clip stuff together, you need rigid and autostruts or your craft will self-destruct on the runway. I prefer root over heaviest, although at this scale heaviest is unlikely to change with fuel consumption.

I choose heaviest because it's all allready attached to the root because of the construction method so that wouldn't make it any stronger

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