There are ways around this, and some funny things you can do with formation orders and such, but I think a very simple modification that would add a bit is “Adjust Speed”, so that we can purposefully slow down faster ships. This is primarily of importance if you use the same ships in more than one type of deployment or map – if you’re custom making ships for every deployment, than its not needed as such. But it can be annoying to swap out an engine just to lower the speed of a ship, and it feels a little bit cheap.
Plus, and perhaps more importantly, an “Adjust Speed” order can be given a conditional variable indicating when the ship should increase speed. (All orders should have more conditional variables, in my opinion.) For example, maybe the “Adjust Speed” order will only take effect until the ship engages the enemy (is fired on or fires on another ship). Or maybe there could be a slider to indicate time – the number of seconds to move at that reduced speed.
In some cases, the reduced speed could even be 0. I don’t know if I have as much of a problem with “engineless ships” if they actually have engines. Especially if there are conditions set under which the ship may move (or be moved).
That would spare us some aggravating and dodgy redesigns.
Aha, a hidden gem! Superb point, mon ami.
I fear that adding the weakest possible engine and then toggling that order to give the related ships barely enough thrust for speed 0.01 may do too much violence to Cliffski’s intentions. The end result of my example is still a powerful form of tanking, albeit a legal one. I imagine that the “all ships require engines to reach this battlefield” restriction would then be altered to something like “all ships must move at speed 0.10 or greater in order to avoid migrating clouds of microscopic space cooties”.
Thanks! But credit where credit is due: this wasn’t my idea. It’s just an extension of the ideas first expressed here: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=4903&p=31446
It’s one of the two best suggestions I’ve heard to improve the Orders system. (In case you’re curious the other one is Target Priority by Weapon Type as described in viewtopic.php?f=25&t=4985. I would extend this to actually issuing Orders directly to weapons, such as a Retaliating defensive laser, Vulture cruiser beams, Rescuer ECM, etc.)
I was never quite clear on this. What is the disadvantage to allowing for low-speed or no-speed ships that have engines installed?
How is this different from the current situation, that still allows you to satisfy the “all ships must have engines restriction” by adding the weakest possible engine?
Happy to oblige you. My apologies if I created vagueness last time.
The notion I was struggling to convey was my concern over meeting the requirement that all ships must possess engines, but doing so via the uninspired choice of using such a low number of engines per ship (a single engine, even) that the end result is a fleet that’s damn close to zero velocity anyhow. The determined effort to create the slowest-possible fleet that’s still barely in motion is done for purposes that lead to distortions (tanking, over-gunning) of the game.
In the end, that player is complying with the letter of Cliffski’s law, but definitely not the spirit of the law.
There are risks to the tank player in doing so, however. The slower the speed of your ships, the greater the chance of enemy low-tracking weapons now realizing that your fleet is well within their performance envelope. Low-tracking weapons include such dangerous devices as cruiser plasma & heavy plasma torpedoes, megaton missiles, cruiser missiles, multiple-warhead missiles, proton beams, EMP cannon and others. By having an immobile or nearly-immobile fleet, the tank player is simply begging to have his ships reduced to a finely-ground powder by those sorts of weapons now that they can easily acquire a lock-on to his ships due to their lethargic pace.
There is indeed an absolute difference between very little speed and no speed, but for tracking purposes of the abovementioned guns it’s still “close enough”. Running those risks is more dangerous in the competitive online Challenge environment than in the AI single-player campaign, of course. If this proposed Adjust Speed order had a lower boundary as to how far you could command your ships to “down-shift” while driving, it would preserve much of their relative immunity from very strong low-tracking weaponry and therefore help prevent a major ass-kicking due to it. I guess that’s the crux of what I was pondering at the time. Apologies for not expressing it more succinctly! Guess I chose the wrong time to switch back to decaf coffee… Perhaps I really shouldn’t care if a player wants to willingly risk putting his fleet into the enemy’s hands by using this hypothetical new order to slow down too greatly.
Well, sorry but i dont see the sense of lower the speed by a deployment order and u must be crazy for to want slowest ships. The fastest the ship is, the better u can aply strategies and the better u can avoid enemie hits. The only purpose of makning a slow down order should be for carriers, if u want em to stay away from the enemy at the minimum speed so fighters can face the enemy and return while u have the carrier safe. When there are no more fighters, or the carrier is in enemy weapons range, u should give it the order to maximum speed to avoid hits. But actually i dont see the difference between a speed of 0.1 and a speed of 0.2, u know wat i mean. U will need a lot more speed on your engines to make a difference about speed. In this game, only fighters fly at reasonable speed. It is easy to make a static cruiser (or for example a defense station) just aplying a speedbonus of -1.x. Even if u slot 5 or 6 engines, u will never get positive speed.
It’s sometimes desirable to match speeds of different ships designed to work in a group, so that they approach the enemy together or in some kind of sequence. Even just a two-pronged assault from opposite sides of the map, to use a simple example. Formation can be a bit overkill for this purpose, since it also limits your mobility to relative positioning, which may not always be desirable.
Currently, I decide what speed I want based on how I’m deploying my ships. When I want to match speeds without going through Formation, I have to go into the ship design screen, load the ship, and re-design the ship until I get the proper speed I want. Not only is that a lot of work, and sometimes leads to adjustments that I didn’t want, but it definitely feels cumbersome and takes away from the simulation a bit. It seems like adjusting speed should be a common sense order I could give my ships when ordering them out toward the enemy.
I like balanced ships that can be deployed in different ways. Currently, speed is such a big factor in deployments that I’m forced to use Formation or to re-design the ships for each challenge. Either that or watch all my ships drift apart into an inefficient line as they sail across a large battlefield to confront the enemy one at a time. That’s not good.
I know not everyone will use the Adjust Speed order, and it won’t be used for every ship or even every deployment. But I definitely think there are plenty of situations in which it would be desirable to have this order available. It’s primary use is if you want to coordinate the range or mobility of your ships in any kind of sensible way without lumping them into a group or having them move together.
I do like the “Adjust speed” idea, but I have another thought that might be more flexable and accomplish the same thing.
Stay within a certain range of each other. To make multiple herds possible one ship would be the target of the herd order, but they would not follow that ship. All ships (the target and the targeters) would use a herd algorithm to move toward the enemy.
This would allow for “join the herd” deployments. One ship is moved far from the herd in deployment, and on mission start would race to rejoin the herd (note: the herd would not move toward him).
Herd pathing algorithms are not that hard and I would opt for simpler over complex. Because herds can “lose” individuals, a ship with dead engines wouldn’t hold the herd back indefinately, they might slow but they would leave the stragler as the herd needed to move on.
This could make groups of ships move and act as a sub “fleet” sorting out their individual actions based on their “Attack X” orders and driving/pulling the herd along as they each tried to accomplish their orders.
Very interesting concept! I’d like to see a similar but more general feature for grouping ships. For instance, I may want a few ships to cooperate together but not with others with the cooperate command.
Part of the point of Adjust Speed is that it wouldn’t require the ships to move together, but you’d still have better control over the timing of when contact with the enemy fleet occurred. (As much as such things are within your control, anyway.) For example, I could have the top group and the bottom group move at max speed, but adjust the middle ships to move at a slower speed. As is, that would require designing a slower ship and setting the rest of the ships to fly in formation or escort with it – not terribly intuitive or convenient. Deciding how the fleet will maneuver and engage the enemy is the whole point of having a battle strategy in the first place. Without an “Adjust Speed” order, or similar orders regarding the maneuverability of our ships, we’re relying on “tricks” and “exploits” like formation behind a slow ship, or escorting a ship with a ridiculously far engagement distance, or having two ships set to formation with each other, setting ships on opposite sides of the map to escort each other, etc. All of these are just work-around methods of trying to get the game to allow us to do common sense things that we should be able to do anyway.
Regarding Herd: Unless I’m missing something, “Herd” doesn’t sound any different to me from the “Escort” order. This behavior seems to be the same behavior we would see from a group of ships set to escort a fast or medium-speed ship. The herd would move along, leaving any slower ships behind, and the slower ship would catch up eventually. If the faster ship retreated, the rest of them would retreat in an effort to catch up. If ships started on different parts of the map, they would move toward each other to get with their herding distance.
I don’t see setting ships to “Herd” with another target ship any more or less convenient than setting them to “Escort” the target ship. Did I miss something?
I do, however, like the idea proposed about assigning people to a battle group for the “Cooperative” order. i don’t want my ECM ship to Cooperate with other ECM ships, for example, but having it Cooperate with some of the front line cruisers might be pretty cool.