Are engines useless?

I’m undecided here. Usually engines are the 1st to go when I’m deciding on the power/crew ratio. For kicks I have put up to 3 supercharged engines on but does it alter the battles? Who knows .
Even the frigates are only marginally faster here.

LOL heres a new title … Snail Wars…

Depends. The faster your stuff is, the harder it is to hit. If you can get your frigates up to 1+ for example, long rage weapons become almost useless against them. Including the dreaded über plasma.

You could easily make a ship that would “kite” - big engines, long-ranged missiles, set to “stay at 1200m” and “keep moving” ought to do it - but it would probably run into the map edge and be hunted down and obliterated by lumbering behemoths of doom. :slight_smile:

If you mean targeting range, it doesn’t work like that. Your poor, dumb frigates will still rush the enemy. If you mean something else, please explain.

Hence the post elsewhere about the need for a minimum distance order, to make sure your ships stay at range.

As was mentioned, engines are needed for speed. Whether this means getting in range of the enemy, or being fast enough that they can’t target you, it’s definitely a factor. Any ship that’s slow enough to be hit by heavy plasma will soon meet an untimely end.

I just made a post in another thread about tying engines and power plants together so the engine delivers power rather than uses it. This way you have to have engines to power anything and thus you have to move.

After all, the Enterprise didn’t have a separate power plant and engine room.

Nah, that’s what I meant - I thought I’d observed them attempting to do that, but I was probably mistaking the effects of the “keep moving” order.

In other news, I had good success loading up a fast cruiser hull with a couple of shields, big engines and a mixed range of weaponry (fusion beams, pulse lasers, lasers); quite impressive.

Engines make it very hard for plasma, and un-laser-guided missles, to hit you.

Has anyone tested fast ships vs. plasma boats carrying tracking boosters? I’m wondering if medium plasma with a level 2 booster (my standard plasma cruiser loadout) will be deterred by “fast” cruisers… I’ll have to give this a try sometime.

On that note are mult boosters helpful?

Actually, I made a 0.39 speed cruiser for the survival mode and it faired well against the plasma cruisers from wave 3 (or was it 2?). Against medium plasma, I don’t think you could get a cruiser fast enough (0.6 for medium + 0.16 for booster II), but frigates should still stand a chance.

Only marginally. I tried placing two of them, but they have a huge stacking penalty, making them both 60% efficient, so instead of 0.16 each you get 0.192 combined. Is 0.032 tracking speed worth the speed of a second booster II? I can’t imagine a situation where it would make a difference.

Which is actually a good point. I think that stacking penalty might be rather nasty. Boosters are already expensive and don’t add all that much tracking speed. They are basically only good for slow weapons like plasma. Would allowing 2 or even 3 with reasonable stacking be all that bad? By the time you get your heavy plasma up to frigate tracking speeds, you’ll have had to give up quite a lot already.

Perhaps tracking boosters should be percentage based so that they are useful for other gun types, or so that they require more effort to make really slow weapons into moster killers.

I’ve had great success with large swarms of fast cheap extremely short range frigates against challenges that rely on big slow plasma cruisers for their heavy damage. I’ve kit them out with the new turbo shields, armor, and 4 Level 3 Engines and only a single Rapid Fire Laser. I set their engagement range for frigates and cruisers to 100 and put them on cautious but set to 100, co-operative, vulture, and keep moving. I usually put down two squads of very fast laser fighters for cover and then just mass as many of these frigates as I can. They are cheap enough I can usually put down like 20+ depending on the challenge.

I think engines should be more mandatory. It is a little odd that people can stick a single Engine I on all their designs and the only thing it hurts them against is plasma spam. It’s booooring to watch uber slow fleets and not gratuitous at all.

Making engines into power sources would work pretty well, except that power balance would go back to the stone ages.

In my humble opinion, it’s a problem of effect size. There’s simply not enough difference between one I engine and three III in a heavy ship. I won’t spend two slots and all kinds of resources to possibly move up one category in the tracking speeds line.

People don’t use more engines because their effect is simply too small.

  • Multiply all speeds x3
  • Soften the stacking penalties
  • Enlarge the differences in tracking speed (x2, maybe)
  • Add one more degree of fast tracking weapons.

I’ve kind of been thinking along the same lines. It takes a lot of engines, power, and crew to get a cruiser moving at anything approaching briskly. I know it’s good to have tradeoffs that have to be balanced, but maybe the current return on investment for cruiser engines could use a little help.

You can come at this from the other side, too, and look for ways to incentivize faster ships besides weapons fire evasion. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that some kind of orders to support flanking maneuvers would be fun, and it would certainly be worthwhile to have fast flankers. A keep-at-range order (or change in current attack order behavior) would make fast standoff ships more viable as well.

I vote for slots on the cruisers where we can put go-faster stripes.

Or more thrust. Im good either way.

I agree, Thanshin, the number of engines often doesn’t change much about the speed of the ship, at least when compared to tracking speeds. Other than for the plasma weapons, most tracking speeds are high enough that no cruiser or frigate will ever outrun them even with ridiculous number of engines, making engine upgrades somewhat unnecessary. Fighters are the ones that need to worry the most about speed. Even they have trouble finding a good balance because most weapons’ weight are huge compared to the rest of the ship, so they become the dominant factor in the speed of the ship.

My current take on engines:

  • Engines are the most important component of any useful fighter.
  • Engines are very important in specific frigate setups, especially zerg swarms.
  • Engines are somewhere between almost useless to actually hurting the fleet in cruisers.

Allow me elaborate on that last point…

First of all, the obvious. Spending more money on engines means you have less money to spend on very useful things like weapons, shields and armor.

Secondly, a very important aspect to building a good fleet is positioning. Optimally all cruisers should come into weapons range at the exact same time, spreading enemy attacks to several of your ships, and concentrating fire on the enemy to quickly destroy their ships. Faster engines don’t help the formation of your fleet, and in many cases they cause it to go into disarray.

Not getting to the enemy fleet in time with slow (or stationary) cruisers is usually not a problem. With a lot of fighters the enemy can slowly whittle your armor away, but there are much more effective countermeasures to this than engines. The “kiting” tactic mentioned earlier - staying out of enemy weapons range but within your long range missiles - would work, except even the largest maps are too small, your fleet would get cornered and destroyed.

There simply isn’t enough benefit to cruisers with fast engines right now.

I disagree with the prevailing sentiment here. I think the cruiser engines are just about right. They are very slow. That’s the point. It should be nigh impossible to make the biggest cruiser hulls fast without essentially sacrificing everything. An example from old Battletech would be the Charger, it was as fast as a medium class design (think frigate) but only had a few tiny short range weapons and light armor. The Charger’s only valid method of attack was to crash into other units with it’s bulk and to draw fire.

Bear in mind too that even the Charger was the lightest of the assault class Battlemechs, anything bigger just couldn’t afford the weight of the engine it would take to move that much mass. This makes perfect sense to me. If we had a kamikaze order where ships could smash into each other, such a unit might even be useful in GSB.

I believe that only the lightest cruiser hulls should be able to get good enough speed to essentially be considered an average frigate. In this way, since we only have three types of ships, the lighter cruisers can play more roles such as a flanking unit , a faster heavy escort, or as a leader for frigate groups. If the smaller cruiser hulls aren’t light enough for that right now then cliff might consider lightening them a tad, even if it costs a slot or two. NOTE: I need to get home before I can fiddle with the designer and see if it’s already possible to move a lighter cruiser frigate fast.

Still, my main point is that the big cruisers are slow and that makes sense to me.