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Community brainstormed fighter contest rules?


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What rules do you think are good to prevent cheesy craft designs and keep things fair for all participants?

Should there be a minimum amount of fuel per engine? Why? I’ve seen 400 fuel per engine in some contests, but I’m on the fence.

Should there be a minimum amount of ammo per gun or a limit on number of guns? Packing a ton of guns on seems to be very powerful but without unlimited ammo this could be a risky design choice. Again I’m on the fence.

I do think there should be some guidelines for these contests tho so the designs are cool to look at and not just a super clipped tiny mishmash of control surfaces. 

What’s the best contest format so that one person doesn’t need to sit at the computer running dogfights for hours to keep the leaderboard updated? All ideas about how a fighter contest should be setup are welcome really ^_^!

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Some good ideas there. There are a lot of rules tho and some don’t really feel necessary. I was just hoping to distill down  to some necessary rules and have a bit of discussion about them to see people’s thinking behind them and the pros and cons etc.

One requirement I think might be nice is for entries to have a KerbalX link to the plan so that other people can independently verify the results. 

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1. FAR makes everything faster except turning and makes turning not so cheap like it is in stock. It is also harder to exploit the aerodynamics.

2. I would limit the TWR of crafts in some way by creating an artificial incentive not to spam engines unless you make a heavy craft. It's too easy to make a craft that doesn't pay for its mistakes if TWR is too high.

3. Thrust vectoring and reaction wheels make high alpha stability too easy.

4. Missile spam is OP especially if the craft counts are not high. Incentivize reasonable missile counts if any.

5. G limits on can G-loc pilots. Standardize the courage level of pilots. G-limits off leads to stupidly efficient designs that sustain 25 G turns constantly. Turn them on if you want anything that looks like a fighter.

6. I wouldn't artificially restrict fuel but if they run out, sucks for them. I would say that fuel should not count towards minimum weight or weight-related score bonuses.

7. Make people pay for guns in some way or limit the count. Having e.g. 6 GAU-8s and being able to melt planes from 3 kilometers away or something isn't fun.

8. Dogfights should not be 1v1.

9. Props are forgiving at low speed but not high. Jets are more forgiving at high speeds but not low. Low TWR Jet battles can sometimes be quite snowball-y.

10. The AI is bad at doing smart things on the merge. In general try to not let either side get a huge advantage on the merge.

11. If you plan on recording at sensible framerates, countermeasures can cause lag.

12. Make sure that planes can actually be killed with sane numbers of direct hits and adjust the damage multiplier accordingly. Running out of ammo can be a problem. But it shouldn't be a problem with direct hits on sane damage settings.

Edited by Pds314
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One option for craft limitations is a point system based on dry mass. So, for example.:

Spoiler

 

You get 50 points for free and 1 point for every 50 kg of dry mass in your craft, rounded down (so a craft that's 5038 kg without ammo, fuel, missiles, or countermeasures would get 150 points).

Junos cost 15 points.

Wheesleys cost 50.

Panthers cost 80.

Rapiers and Turborams cost 100.

Vulcans cost 20.

GAU-8s cost 30.

.50 cals cost 2.

Aim-9s cost 25.

Amraam-120s cost 50.

Countermeasures cost 3 per part.

ECM and Pac-3 are forbidden.

 

The main advantage of this system is that it allows a lot of creative freedom while still allowing very different crafts to be competitive.

Someone can design a plane that weighs 15 tonnes empty and has dual Panthers, dual GAU8-s, an AMRAAM, 2 AIM-9s and 8 countermeasures, but which pays for its power in slow turning and moderate acceleration.

Someone else can design a 1.5-tonne plane that's super agile with its crazy TWR and low wingloading, has a pair of Junos, and carries a pair of vulcans with 3 countermeasures.

 

One thing I would say with that kind of system though is light aircraft should have higher points/weight ratio than heavier ones. E.G. in my example an aircraft that weighs 2 tonnes empty gets 90 points but an aircraft that weighs 20 tonnes empty will get 450, not 900.

Those are extreme examples but even the difference between 3 tonnes (110 points) and 6 tonnes (170 points) shows the superior point ratio of the lighter aircraft. This bonus for light aircraft is necessary if we don't want heavy aircraft to outperform them blanketly.

Edited by Pds314
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Yes, the BAD-T rules could be pared down somewhat, the "common-sense' rules removed, but the reason they are there is because at some point or another,  those rules were relevant, and exist to cover fringe cases to prevent rules-lawyering ("The rules didn't explicitly state I couldn't do this..."{see also, the Eidahill Clause}) to ensure all craft are participating on an even and equal playing field. The BAD-T ruleset is what it is to provide a tightly regulated and fair tournament competition that has been tested and refined over 5.5 iterations, for a very specific type of contest.
Ultimately, the ruleset you want will be determined largely by what sort of contest you are looking for. A structured tournament like BAD-T is going to have different rules than a leaderboard King-of-the-Hill contest.
About the only universal rules for any flavor of BDA contest are: n max parts per craft; what DLCs are allowed, no text editing of craft files, armor to remain at default values, and no turrets/lasers.
Having a rule on minimum fuel is a good idea, but should probably instead take the form of 'Needs enough fuel for n minutes of flight", since different engines have different consumption rates - that 400 fuel will last much longer for a Juno than a Panther.
No real reason for ammo limits - if someone wants to have minimal ammo, if they run out that's their problem; and if they want too much, well, that's ballast reducing their TWR.  Weapon limits are generally in the same vein as max parts - do you really want a craft with 30 Vulcans throwing 165000 rounds per minute melting your CPU? (That, and Moar Dakka! is an incredibly lazy way of increasing how dangerous a craft is in a match.)
For part/wing&control surface clipping your choices are FAR - which handles this automatically, but does have its own learning curve and requires the user to unlearn some of the counterintuitive/wrong lessons Stock Aero teaches about building planes; banning it altogether, which is unambiguous but limiting; or defining what conditions clipping is allowed and may require judge discretion at times to disqualify abuses. One final option would be to require craft be kerballed, and turn Kerbal G-Limits on, which will also automatically take care of the more egregious clipping abuses, but will require you to modify your persistence file to have 50 clones of Jeb so each plane's pilot will have identical G-tolerance.
For player adjudication via KerbalX links of match results, keep in mind different hardware specs may have an effect on outcomes if both craft are about evenly matched. Or at least have a conflict-of-interest rule that entrants can't independently verify results for their own craft.

Ultimately, what sort of contest is being devised?
--If it's a tournament ladder, then you'll want fairly comprehensive rules on allowed weapons/dry mass/engine power so each contestant is, at lest on paper, more or less equal. Rules would be similar in scope to the BAD-T. If using stock BDA guns I would recommend capping max engagement range to 2500m to prevent GAU-8 4000m max range exploits.
--If it's a no hold barred FFA where anything goes like the Ultimate Dogfighter or ASC KotH contests the rules are lax, more design guidelines than "thou shalt build a plane to these specs". Rules for these contests have generally allowed 2 engines, and only restrict number of countermeasures and turrets/lasers. Expect it to devolve into drones with missile/GAU-8 spam/control surface clipping spam.
--If it's an engineering/design contest then rules can be simplified via the premise of the contest; i.e. KerbalKontractors is soliciting a bid for a kerballed fighter armed with a single Vulcan and powered by a single Panther - because engine/weapon/control are already determined, would likely only need the above universal rules, and one for maybe SAS allowance.
--If it's a leaderboard instead of a tournament bracket, you may want to recruit multiple judges to help host matches, or place hard limits on the number of entries allowed, either per person (e.g. one entry at a time, if your craft loses, you may submit a replacement) or total (e.g. there are 10 slots, first ten entries get in, and when those ten have competed, the roster will open for a new 10 entries).

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18 hours ago, Dale Christopher said:

Do you guys have problems making craft that can defeat missiles using FAR? @Pds314@SuicidalInsanity

Well not so much defeating missiles as doing so without messing up the performance. I remember for one contest spending ages tweaking a  2-Juno FAR plane to both dodge Aim-9s without flares and reach over mach 1 while being able to sustain turns at all and still having good aim. I'm not opposed to missiles. I just think:

 

1. Depending on the performance they can easily be throwaway or OP. they shouldn't be cheap or they're not gonna make things better to either design for or watch. A missile bus with 30% kil probably per missile and six missiles fired in rapid succession will still be pretty OP.

2. The AI doesn't like doing real techniques to dodge them/bleed their energy. I have almost never seen it do the type of maneuver I see people do in DCS to dodge and bleed missiles.

3. If there ARE missiles, I don't want everything to just be decided on the merge. Missile spam wins are no fun to watch when the AI often barely evades. Missile kills after three merge are far less boring. More missiles should mean more aircraft. 3v3 not 1v1.

4. Aim-9s aren't as crazy as AMRAAMs and especially Patriot turret missiles. Particularly the latter seem to be indefatigable.

 

As I said in my points example, I included both AMRAAMs and Aim-9s as valid. I just think we should try to avoid matches that are decided in the merge.

Edited by Pds314
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1 minute ago, Pds314 said:

Well not so much defeating missiles as doing so without messing up the performance. I remember for one contest spending ages tweaking a  2-Juno FAR plane to both dodge Aim-9s without flares and reach over mach 1 while being able to sustain turns at all and still having good aim. I'm not opposed to missiles. I just think:

 

1. Depending on the performance they can easily be throwaway or OP. they shouldn't be cheap or they're not gonna make things better to either design for or watch. A missile bus with 30% kil probably per missile and six missiles fired in rapid succession will still be pretty OP.

2. The AI doesn't like doing real techniques to dodge them/bleed their energy. I have almost never seen it do the type of maneuver I see people do in DCS to dodge and bleed missiles.

3. If there ARE missiles, I don't want everything to just be decided on the merge. Missile spam wins are no fun to watch when the AI often barely evades. Missile kills after three merge are far less boring. More missiles should mean more aircraft. 3v3 not 1v1.

4. Aim-9s aren't as crazy as AMRAAMs and especially Patriot turret missiles. Particularly the latter seem to be indefatigable.

I'd be interested in discussing options for a creator of a BDA challenge using ORX Kontinuum to add in some toggle settings to add restrictions to any challenge they may create using OrX K

Totally open for any sort of challenge setup being coded into ORX Kontinuum ... not that hard to add anything now that I have the HoloKron System working

PM me if you're interested, I'd love to be able to include a way to setup more complicated challenges like the BAD T in OrX Kontinuum ... The challenge builder is already working quite nicely and adding in some more options wouldn't take much code at all (the heavy lifting is already done ... 6 month's of pulling my hair out :confused:)

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sounds interesting @DoctorDavinci

 

@Pds314 I might have to do some more tweaking. I’m having some issues getting used to the FAR aerodynamic model, also I’m trying to leave the MaxG on 10 to test it out, before I had it to 35G and I could reliably avoid missiles but ever since adding FAR and 10G limit to the mix missiles have been hitting way too easily.

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