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Capsule Ref

SECTION 1 - GENERAL INFORMATION

SECTION BRIEF - This section defines Capsules and how they are used.

1.1 WHAT IS A CAPSULE?

A Capsule is a pre-defined AI routine that can be incorporated into a cybertank’s AI. Capsule routines can perform any cybertank function. For example, a Capsule routine can hunt for an enemy, move around an obstacle, retreat from a battle, and much more. Capsule routines range from the simple to the complex.

1.2 HOW TO USE A CAPSULE

OSI engineers and designers have created several Capsule routines to perform various tasks.
To examine an OSI Capsule routine, select DESIGN CYBERTANK from the DESIGN menu in the ECM. Next, select LORD from the CAPSULE menu in the DCM. The File Retrieval Panel (FRP) appears.
Select the name of the desired Capsule and then select the OPEN button.
At this point, you are transferred to the Al Module, but you are NOT working on a cybertank’s Al -- you are working on a capsule routine. You must INCLUDE (or incorporate) a Capsule in a cybertank’s AI.

1.3 OSI CAPSULE STANDARDS

Except for three Capsules written exclusively for the OSI Training Guide, all Capsules designed by OSI observe the standard conventions listed below. Capsule routines created by new employees do NOT need to follow these capsule standards.

Capsule Variables

For all User Variables listed below, a value of zero implies “NOT SET”, while a value of one implies “SET”. The following User Variables must be set or cleared BEFORE calling an OSI Capsule routine. If the variables are undefined they are assumed to have a value of zero (i.e., not set).
L.ABORT If set, all OSI Capsule routines abort if the cybertank incurs any damage during execution. If not set, any damage is ignored during execution of the routine.
 
L.WATER If set, all OSI Capsule routines traverse through water when moving the cybertank. If this variable is not set, the cybertank always avoids water.
 
L.CLEAR If set, all OSI capsule routines move around any obstructions in the cybertank’s path. If not set, all OSI Capsule routines fire the cybertank’s weapon at the obstruction, allowing forward movement. If the obstruction cannot be destroyed (ie. a building), the cybertank will move around it.
 
The following User Variables will be set or cleared AFTER an OSI Capsule routine has executed. This allows you to determine why the Capsule routine has aborted or finished its execution.
L.DAMAGE? Set if the cybertank incurred damage during execution of an OSI Capsule routine. All OSI Capsule routines set this variable if the cybertank is damaged. If you did not set L.ABORT, damage is not checked during execution and this variable will never be set.
 
L.ENEMYFOUND? Set if an enemy cybertank is found during a search routine.
 
L.ENEMYLOST? Set if an enemy tank being tracked is no longer found by the scanner. This occurs during a hunt, when an obstruction comes between the two cybertanks.
 
L.INRANGE? Set if an enemy cybertank being hunted or scanned is within the cybertank’s weapon range.

1.4 OSI CAPSULE ROUTINES

The following is a list of all OSI engineered Capsule routines available on the Resource disc. A brief explanation of each Capsule routine is included. Also included here is the label name that should be used when accessing the Capsule Routines. For example, if you included the routine CenterSearch in your AI, you could use the CCL instruction “Do Center” to perform the CenterSearch routine.

1.4.1 “SEARCH FOR ENEMY” CAPSULES

CenterSearch

Label:
(use when calling)
CENTER

 
Description: This Capsule routine moves the cybertank to the center of the battlefield. While moving, it searches for enemy cybertanks. Once the cybertank is in the center of the battlefield, the Capsule routine continues a rapid but thorough search pattern. Any cybertank that uses this routine is looking for trouble.
 
Primary Usage: This Capsule is very offense-oriented. It is useful against enemy cybertanks that come straight at an enemy. The quick scanner search detects them long before they are within weapon range.
 
Weakness This Capsule is impeded somewhat by certain battlefield designs. If, for example, a design hinders access to the very center of the battlefield, the cybertank is vulnerable to a sneak attack while searching for a route to the center.

CornerSearch

Label:
(use when calling)
CORNER

 
Description: This Capsule routine finds the corner nearest the cybertank and moves toward it. During the move, it searches for enemy cybertanks. The theory behind moving to the corner for protection (which was devised by a clever young engineer at OSI) is that your cybertank’s “back is covered” and enemy cybertanks can attack your cybertank from only three angles.
 
Primary Usage: This Capsule is a defense-oriented routine. Using the corners of the battlefield, a cybertank gains an advantage due to the protection of the walls. In addition, nestling up in a nice safe corner reduces the need for movement and conserves fuel.
 
Weakness While this routine is defense oriented, a cybertank using it is usually discovered by enemy cybertanks. This is due, in part, to the nature of some lower-level cybertanks “hugging” the battlefield walls. Another drawback is that retreat or a “break and run” is restricted to a few directions.

EdgeSearch

Label:
(use when calling)
EDGE

 
Description: This Capsule routine searches for enemy cybertanks by traversing the edges of the battlefield.
 
Primary Usage: This Capsule is effective in searching most of the battlefield. By following the battlefield walls, very little of the battlefield remains unscanned.
 
Weakness Some battlefield designs are effective in countering this Capsule. Since the Capsule attempts to follow the battlefield walls, battlefield configurations with dead-ends make the cybertank spend a lot of time “getting its bearings.” Cybertanks are vulnerable to attack during ‘such periods.

RandomSearch

Label:
(use when calling)
RNDSEARCH

 
Description: This Capsule routine randomly roams the battlefield searching for enemy cybertanks.
 
Primary Usage: Since this Capsule is random in design, it fosters various, unpredictable results. Random movement makes the cybertank difficult to track -- sometimes it moves left, sometimes it moves right.
 
Weakness The primary downfall of this Capsule is its “randomness” or illogical actions. For example, a cybertank using this Capsule can be in very close proximity to an enemy cybertank and never detect it, while the enemy cybertank, by using a very systematic search pattern, is able to detect the ‘“random” cybertank.

SitSearch

Label:
(use when calling)
SITSEARCH

 
Description:

This Capsule routine instructs the cybertank to sit in one spot and scan for an enemy cybertank. That’s all it does -- very sweet, very simple.
 

Primary Usage: This Capsule routine is very effective in detecting any enemies in close proximity. It safeguards against accidentally stumbling upon an enemy with defenses down, and is extremely fuel efficient.
 
Weakness Because of the lack of movement, a cybertank using this routine is extremely limited in the amount of battlefield it can successfully scan. Also, the initial random placement of cybertanks by the Combat Simulation Module (CSM) may not be in a very advantageous position.

1.4.2 "TRACKING" CAPSULES

BeeLineHunt

Label:
(use when calling)
BEELINE

 
Description: As the name implies, this Capsule routine makes a bee-line towards an enemy cybertank. The routine attempts to move towards the enemy cybertank until the enemy is within weapon range. This routine assumes that an enemy cybertank has already been detected.
 
Primary Usage: This Capsule routine is used to quickly approach an enemy cybertank. Slower tracking routines often lose the trail of very mobile enemy cybertanks. This routine was designed to provide maximum speed during “the hunt”.
 
Weakness Since this Capsule is preoccupied with getting to the enemy cybertank quickly, it often moves the cybertank into weapon range without being prepared to attack. A cybertank using this Capsule routine rarely gets off the first shots during a battle confrontation.

TrackEnemy

Label:
(use when calling)
TRACK

 
Description: This Capsule routine tracks a located enemy cybertank. It does NOT actively seek out an enemy, since it assumes an enemy has already been found. As long as the enemy cybertank continues to move closer, this routine instructs the cybertank to remain stationary. If the wait is extended, your cybertank will move toward the enemy.
 
Primary Usage: This Capsule routine is most effective when speed is not of the essence. Since the enemy cybertank is usually mooing toward you, your cybertank typically fires the first few shots.
 
Weakness This routine slowly tracks an enemy cybertank and escape is a definite possibility.

WaitForEnemy

Label:
(use when calling)
WAIT

 
Description: This Capsule routine instructs your cybertank to sit in one spot and wait for an enemy cybertank. This routine assumes that an enemy has already been found.
 
Primary Usage: This Capsule routine is most effective against slow, hulking, very powerful enemy cybertanks. Since a cybertank using this Capsule routine remains stationary while tracking an enemy, it is almost always assured the first shots. Against powerful enemies, the first few shots are extremely important.
 
Weakness The primary weakness of this routine is that a cybertank is vulnerable to attack when stationary. While waiting for an identified enemy t o approach, other cybertanks can approach without detection.

1.4.3 “ENEMY TERMINATION” CAPSULES

BerserkAttack

Label:
(use when calling)
BERSERK

 
Description: As the name implies, this Capsule routine is a full-force attack on an opponent. This Capsule simply fires the cybertank’s weapon ten times in a row -- no thinking, no wasted time, just plain old fashioned brute force.
 
Primary Usage: This Capsule is best suited for attacking slow, hulking cybertanks that come straight in for the kill. The combination of this Capsule with a very fast weapon (lasers) results in a very deadly cybertank
 
Weakness This method of attack is only effective as long as the enemy cybertank sits still long enough to receive all ten hits (if it takes that many). This routine is very ineffective against cybertanks that are known to be quick and very mobile.

KillTank

Label:
(use when calling)
KILLTANK

 
Description: This Capsule routine fires the cybertank’s weapon at an enemy cybertank until the enemy is destroyed or is no longer detected by the scanner. If the enemy cybertank moves out of weapon range, then this Capsule will move toward it until obstructed.
 
Primary Usage: This Capsule routine is primarily used against enemy cybertanks that are known to flee from combat. Your cybertank will chase a fleeing enemy.
 
Weakness This Capsule routine is inefficient against cybertanks that employ a technique known as “back-up and wait”. A cybertank which uses this technique will move backward one hectometer, wait for the opposing cybertank to move forward into range, then fire and move backward again. For a cybertank to successfully use this technique it must have a fast weapon and a light chassis for maximum firing and maneuvering speed.

NormalAttack

Label:
(use when calling)
ATTACK

 
Description: This Capsule is a standard attack routine. Your cybertank fires at an enemy cybertank until it either moves beyond weapon range or is not detected by the scanner.
 
Primary Usage: This Capsule routine is, as the name implies, the normal attacking procedure. Since this Capsule routine does NOT attempt to follow an enemy cybertank, it is very effective against those cybertanks which use the “back-up and fire” technique (see KillTank above).
 
Weakness This routine does not have any major weaknesses. It is a basic and predictable attack Pattern.

1.4.4 “FLEE FROM ENEMY” CAPSULE

Panic

Label:
(use when calling)
PANIC
Description: This Capsule routine instructs a cybertank to quickly move backwards ten hectometers. It does NOT check for obstacles while backing-up. If there is an indestructible obstacle behind the cybertank, damage will be incurred.
 
Primary Usage: This Capsule routine is typically used to quickly disengage from a combat situation. For example, if your cybertank becomes severely damaged during a battle. It can use this routine to get out of the immediate area for a quick breather (or to attempt repairs).
 
Weakness Since it does not check for obstacles, the primary weakness of this Capsule is that the cybertank will probably incur damage while backing up.

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