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February. 22, 2020

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AI Wingmen Tutorial + Sample Mod
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This was originally released a while ago on the old-old LR, and I just realized I completely forgot to post it here. Found it on my hard-drive, and updated a few notes in the tutorials and readme - so here it is, my stand-alone multiplayer AI Wingmen tutorial and sample mod. Inside you'll find step-by-step tutorials related to each area of the project - the tutorial is written in a non-linear, folder-by-folder format (so you'll find a Tutorial.txt in the Missions folder explaining all of the changes there, a Tutorial.txt in the DLLs folder explaining those, etc.). This was the first time I'd ever written a full tutorial (my DLL hacking tutorial for Dev's Limit Breaking 101 Techniques was written later), so I'd really appreciate feedback on it (especially with how I structured the non-linear notes).

The sample mod can be run out-of-the-box. A simple commodity is sold at every base that will allow you to hire wingmen in the area. Also, even though wingmen were engineered without tradelanes in mind (88 Flak doesn't have any), AI Wingmen can handle tradelanes just fine. They will even use tradelanes to catch back up with you if they fall behind.

Anyways, here's the sauce: http://www.memes.no/88flak/downloads/ ... nProject099Beta.zip.flmod
Edit: New version up 01/07/09. If you're unhappy with how your wingmen perform in combat, take a look at the new pilots_population.ini entries provided with this version.

And of course, nothing is complete without pictures. Here are some screenshots of what's possible using the wingmen system. Enjoy!
(click to expand)
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Quote:
This is the 88 Flak AI Wingmen Project, a stand-alone version of my 88 Flak mod's wingmen.
A Farscape Studios production; combination of the Phoenix RPG mod and 88 Flak mod teams.

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Pros:
+ Multiplayer AI Wingmen! Hooah. Go blow your friend up with some Bretonian chaps.
+ Detailed folder-by-folder tutorials.
+ Easily integrated into mods - just follow the tutorials step-by-step.

Cons:
- Multiplayer only. Sorry, this method does not work within SP. I have tried, but AI behaviors are handled differently in SP, which breaks this method.
- This method exploits cargo scanning, so you can no longer have NPCs scan for contraband - this CAN be worked around by editing voices directly and using just the edited voice-type for a specific wingmen faction, but it gets really messy. Contact me (info below in Readme) if you're interested in this approach.
- Out-of-the-box, this only works with stock Freelancer, though the work needed to integrate it into a mod is minimal.
- Although wingmen tradelane with you, they do not follow you through jump-gates. FLServer destroys NPCs mid-jump, but M0tah is looking into "fixing" this via FLHook.
- Requires some hex-editing to get proper NPC speech and tradelane behavior. Don't worry though, hex-editing is a breeze, really.
- Lacks some advanced features, like NavMap displaying just Hirable Wingmen Zones instead of Patrol Paths, each base spawning its own faction's wingmen, and faction-specific wingmen tokens. All of these features over-complicated things and missed the original point of the project - easy integration. If you're curious as to how these are done, feel free to look at 88 Flak's code directly. I'll leave which direction you take your mod's wingmen implementation in up to you. =)

Phoenix RPG Mod Site + Forums: http://farscape-studios.com/forum/
88 Flak Mini-Site + Forums: http://www.memes.no/88flak/

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Credits / Use of this project:
foxBox: Development of the AI Wingmen Project, as well as various other projects within Freelancer
ww2Jacob: Support of the AI Wingmen Project, helping to debug some things and get the wingmen to follow better
Dev: for a recent post enlighting us on how "permutations" in encounters worked, which made the spawning of wingmen wings a little less annoying

You may use and modify any and all works of this project in any way you deem fit (even if just a mere copy-and-paste of the files into your mod), however I would ask that credit be given where credit is due for this work - that's all. =)

I am not liable for any damage this may do to your mod, Freelancer installation, computer, desk, room, small army of goats, house, town, small country (do you have a flag?), continent, or planet (hey wait a sec). However, I am always willing to help solve problems it may create - I'm just not, you know, liable. Don't drink and mod! =P

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Contact Info:
If you have any questions at all about AI Wingmen (or anything I guess), I can be contacted via MSN IM at [email protected], via AIM at foxUnit01, via E-Mail at [email protected], and finally via the 88 Flak Forums at http://www.memes.no/88flak/forum/ if for some reason you'd rather not IM or E-Mail me. I would prefer you contact me via IM, since it's far easier to work out bugs and problems via IM than any other form of communication.

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Brief History:
Wingmen were first featured in my mod 88 Flak, which was the first real modding project I have ever worked on for Freelancer and one I upkeep to this day with several other community members. I first came upon possible exploitation of cargo scanning when I was testing random missions one day, and noticed a Police wing doing a routine scan of my cargo while I was cruising towards my mission waypoint. What really caught my eye is that while talking about the scan "this is Liberty Police blah blah, I'm scanning your cargo bay for contraband," the entire wing was cruising right behind me - at that point I had entered the mission area, and since the Police had followed me in, they helped me complete the mission.

Now, from day one, wingmen were something I merely dreamed about (that guy who sells the Patrol 27 wreck? I thought he was selling a wingman service, and I was so pissed when I found out it was a wreck ). I had tried a lot of things in the past, so naturally I jumped at even the mere chance that something could be developed from this strange mishap with cargo scanning - and sure enough, an hour or so later, I figured out that you could increase the durations of speech from the appropriate INI files, so when a wing came up to you and babbled "this is blah blah, I'm scanning your cargo bay for contraband," they'd never get past that line of speech and be stuck in the follow state. I released a stand-alone version of NPC follow, which can actually by found at http://the-starport.net/index.php?option=com_tempdl&d=1760 - despite its primative function, it was well received, which I found rather encouraging.

Of course, this only worked until they saw an enemy, at which point the combat state would override the follow state, and the wing would leave you. So one day, I tried making a special ship with cloaking to lead the wingmen squad - I figured the cloak might stop it from engaging enemies, and if the ship could always stay on you, so would its wingmen. Of course, this didn't work, so I then tried giving it a special scanner with a scan range of 0, but an unlimited cargo scan range; low and behold, it worked, and for the first time ever, Liberty Police Escort 1 blah blah returned to me after a fight (hoo-ah!). I know this sounds silly, but this was a bit of a special moment for me; again, wingmen were something I wanted since I first layed my hands on Freelancer - even more, I accomplished what so many people said was just not possible.

And finally, after a really, really long time - a stand-alone version, refined to the point where it's almost like having real player-wingmen, is here for you to play with.

I hope you enjoy it. If you're at all interested in the other features 88 Flak has to offer, feel free to stop by the forums at http://www.memes.no/88flak/
~fox

Posted on: 2008/11/12 2:12
88 Flak for Freelancer
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Re: AI Wingmen Tutorial + Sample Mod
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Many thanks for sharing this with us foxUnit01

Posted on: 2008/11/12 2:18
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Re: AI Wingmen Tutorial + Sample Mod
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yeah, Best thanks to fox, i will look in it and add some wingman npc to my mod, our player will thanks you fox.

Posted on: 2008/11/12 18:02
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Re: AI Wingmen Tutorial + Sample Mod
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I 2nd that and very much appreciated too.

Posted on: 2008/11/12 18:03
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Re: AI Wingmen Tutorial + Sample Mod
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;D GREAT STUFF!

Posted on: 2008/11/12 22:29
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Re: AI Wingmen Tutorial + Sample Mod
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Anyone had any success / lack of success following the tutorials? I'm really curious as to decent they are at explaining the work.

Posted on: 2008/11/13 22:29
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Re: AI Wingmen Tutorial + Sample Mod
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I was use your tutorials and success to make my mod use wingmen.

Thanks again Fox. ;D

Posted on: 2008/11/14 1:22
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Re: AI Wingmen Tutorial + Sample Mod
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JONG, remember, No video, no truth. ;D

Posted on: 2008/11/15 6:48
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Re: AI Wingmen Tutorial + Sample Mod
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Well, considering that I've seen screenshots of your wingmen implementation off this work in the Discovery forums, I'm assuming you'll agree that it really isn't that hard once you do the DLL edits (which is just text-based overwrites, not even real hex-editing) - the rest is pretty basic INI coding. =P

Again though, feedback! I want feedback!
It's impossible to judge my own tutorials.

Posted on: 2008/11/15 9:46
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Re: AI Wingmen Tutorial + Sample Mod
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What's your mean feedback, fox ?

Like Nieckey say make a video ?

Posted on: 2008/11/15 12:49
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No, Jong, he wants other people to comment on how well the tutorial is written. If the tutorial is too difficult to understand, people won't be able to use his knowledge.

By the looks of things, you understood the tutorial well, Jong. And, in terms of explaining, Fox, it was laid out very well.

Posted on: 2008/11/15 13:47
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Quote:

What's your mean feedback, fox ?

Like Nieckey say make a video ?


Yup we want video's images... if its possible even posters and huge billboards...

On a serious note, I understand Fox, he just wants to see that his tutorial was understood and that people were able to use it, so give him the credits and show on screenshots or show a video if its possible.
And I think others would like to see it as well, people who are thinking of implementing it in their mod, show them how it works with visual content without them modding all the way figuring out it would be something to us in their mods, or not at all.

Posted on: 2008/11/15 16:42
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Re: AI Wingmen Tutorial + Sample Mod
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1st off... thanks for sharing this great feature fox, its opened a whole new window for ppl's mods and idea's.

im currently making missions against battleships and these wingmen are exactly whats needed to help kill these mass lumps of armor

ive tried to implement ur tutorials with no bother and no headaches.
But my bs formations are giving me my major hassles.... anyways i'll make a screenshot or a video when ive sorted this problem out.

untill then ... thanks again

Posted on: 2008/11/15 19:11
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Re: AI Wingmen Tutorial + Sample Mod
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Thanks Sushi and Worfeh.

In fact I think Fox's tutorials is easy and great, before he post the tutorials in here, I was use it to finish my mod.

So if any I can help just let me know, I'll do my best. ;D

And I think if I make a video can't be help anything, because that's only show my mod with wingmen, right ?

Posted on: 2008/11/15 19:23
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Ok so here is my video.. you cant really tell that i have the wingmen helping me, but they are..
btw i did this in like 5 mins so sorry its so crap




http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=xEI5XZELV3Y

Posted on: 2008/11/15 23:05
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