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Why do units automatically shoot at an enemy oil derrick?

Posted: Mon May 08, 2017 5:59 pm
by avalach21
Am I the only one that has been frustrated by this?

In my opinion, your units should NOT fire at captured neutral/civilian buildings on their own (without an explicit instruction to attack) no matter what..

In most cases, I would say the average player in the average situation does NOT want to destroy these buildings... they would first like to attempt to control the area and then capture them for themselves. Of course if it is becoming too difficult to try to capture it for yourself, then you would likely decide you'd want to destroy it, and you would have to manually click to attack.... This is ideally how it should work in my opinion.

So if they attack it by default, my guess would be to use CTRL-Z to change stance to "Do not attack."I swear to God I do this everytime and they STILL ATTACK IT. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WTF. Am I doing something wrong? Why for the love of God do your units forcibly attack the one thing you absolutely would want them never to attack on their own, and then ignore you when you give them the explicit instructions NOT TO ATTACK??!?

The only way I have found to get around this is to force attack the ground nearby, which is annoying, stupid, and cause me to lose the advantage when the enemy army shows up to fight you off of their derrick and your entire squad is shooting the ground instead of getting their first shots in during the engagement.

I assume this has been discussed before so maybe someone can fill me in. Is there a reason units currently behave the way they do? Am I doing something wrong!??

This has frustrated me since I first got into the OpenRA scene 2 years ago or so and I've been patiently waiting to see it becomes addressed in an update yet it never seems to. At this point I'm wondering if it is intended behavior for some reason.

Posted: Mon May 08, 2017 8:40 pm
by ShadowAssassin
Best practice (IMO) is to put your units on ReturnFire, so if they're attacked they can shoot back. Not sure how exactly it works, but I think it's only the units close to the ones being atacked that will respond. So pack your units.

Also, do not Attack-move near the derricks, as you will attack the derrick whatever your stance is.

If they do, just press Stop, after making sure you're on the right stance.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2017 5:02 am
by avalach21
Ok so hilariously enough, I just played a game where we are fighting over the oil derricks.

So I showed up to engage his army as he currently controls the derrick. I target a group of his infantry and the unit I clicked to attack dies. So what does my entire squad decide to do? Start shooting the oil derrick. I don't want them to shoot the oil derrick at all, obviously as I've previously mentioned. So then I select all my hotkey groups and target another enemy. After killing that enemy, what does EVERY one of my units decide to do? TARGET THE OIL DERRICK.

This is when there is still many enemy units actively attacking me. It seems that the Oil Derrick has the HIGHEST THREAT PRIORITY for every single unit of mine and they all forcibly focus on the derrick after every unit I target dies. Rather than taking priority to the enemy units actively attacking my units posing an immediate threat, they decide to target the oil derrick that poses no threat and ultimately, I don't want to attack at all anyways because I would like to capture it! It made me loose the entire engagement, as every time I killed an enemy unit that I targeted, my units decided to focus all their attacks on the oil derrick as the enemy pummeled them without interruption.

Am I really the only person that struggles with this? I think your units should ignore all civilian structures (ESPECIALLY OIL DERRICKS), even if held by the enemy, no matter what, unless you specifically order your units to attack them.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2017 5:49 am
by noobmapmaker
I'm a lazy gamer and have to admit that I don't use ctrl-z and haven't even tested the use of it. Does "cycle stance" means that one can cycle through the common stances (attack move, stop, defend)? Or that you can cycle through extra stances (hold fire in this case, any others?). I do wonder... Why can't we assign a hotkey to these specific stances? Why cycle through them?

To answer myself: tested it against AI. In cycle stance there are 4 stances that are not used as much (although assigning a hotkey to one of them might still be usefull). The stances are: defend, hold fire, attack anything and return fire. More about stances here.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2017 6:37 am
by r0b0v
I agree with both points. Your units will destroy oil derrick even in your or team mate's base when captured by enemy for few seconds.
I also don't use 'Cycle stances' because I don't know which stance they are in before, after. You need to check the chat... Each stance needs one hotkey. You press it once and you don't' need to care more.
I will prepare pull request to fix these issues, hopefully they will be accepted.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2017 6:43 am
by Graion Dilach
OpenRA as an engine doesn't have support for target priorities at the moment. Autotargeting will try to use the first weapon's setups with the closest available target - see also

OpenRA as an engine could entirely mimic RA2's setup however (where all noncombatant buildings required manual targeting from MCVs in building shape through tech buildings (excluding the Tech Outpost since that one was armed) through I dunno, GapGens), but that is a gameplay change and goodluck getting such through this community.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2017 6:48 am
by r0b0v
Ok, thanks. I thought it might be not simple. I assumed we could just exclude civil buildings from auto targets.
Then I'll do only hotkeys for stances, it should be simple and useful.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2017 8:42 am
by Sleipnir
Disabling autotargeting of unarmed structures would indeed be the best solution, but requires deeper changes than just adding AutoTargetIgnore for it to not break the AI. So far nobody has wanted to put in the time to fix that so that. See #3337 / #3467.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2017 9:24 am
by ShadowAssassin

The primary target is the closest one at disposal. I think this is how the engine works.

This is why engaging into an army that is close to its building is dangerous. The defender always has the upper hand in OpenRA. Btw this is why you put tanks in front (they soak all the rifle damage), defence line with barracks and static defences, etc ...

So if you really have to engage an enemy derrick, here is a few options :
1- use Shift key to target multiples enemies. This is more micro intensive, and possible if there isn't too much enemies.
Make sure you have a greater number of units though.
2- use a tanky unit in front (light tank, apc, ... )
3- provide vision (ranger, flak)
4- attack from an angle where the derrick will be behind the enemy.

As for stances, just train with them. With time it will be easy to use. They don't really need specific hotkeys IMO !

Posted: Tue May 09, 2017 1:56 pm
by Smitty
Sleipnir wrote: Disabling autotargeting of unarmed structures would indeed be the best solution, but requires deeper changes than just adding AutoTargetIgnore for it to not break the AI. So far nobody has wanted to put in the time to fix that so that. See #3337 / #3467.
Correct positioning and micro around buildings is a huge part of competitive RA. If you could just A-move into an enemy base without micro you’re going to see several more games snowball. The strength of buildings is still an issue, but steps have been taken (barracks HP, pillbox price) and more are in the works (MCV speed) to balance the issue between bases being too strong and giving defenders a fighting chance.

In my opinion, the current auto-targeting of buildings should be considered working as intended behavior. The game can be balanced around it.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2017 2:18 pm
by Sleipnir
Making our autotarget work as originally intended and as implemented in the other games makes A-moving into an enemy base less viable, not more. Players would be required to explicitly target non-defense structures instead of just a-moving a blob through everything in their path.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2017 2:40 pm
by Smitty
Clearing out the things shooting at me before focusing my attention on structures would make destroying bases much easier.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2017 2:55 pm
by r0b0v
This topic and my post/opinion is only about civilian buildings. It can be annoying/illogical if your units automatically destroy oil derrick or hospital, worse when it belonged to your team mate few seconds before and you didn't move your units away soon enough. You should be able to decide if you want to capture it back or destroy it.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2017 4:39 pm
by Sleipnir
Smitty wrote: Clearing out the things shooting at me before focusing my attention on structures would make destroying bases much easier.
This wasn't a game-breaking balance issue for every C&C game, so I don't see why it would be a problem for our RA mod.

We already do a partial workaround for the unfinished targerting logic by defaulting some units to the "defend" stance. Bolting on further workarounds for cases like tech structures is a poor solution compared to just fixing the underlying logic.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2017 6:56 pm
by lucassss
If these bugs are fixed than using engineers to take buildings in an enemy's base may also become more viable, requiring people to be fast on the "sell" button.