I NEED sub-orders under the “formation” order, for example:
Break formation after formation target comes under attack
Break formation when self comes under attack
break formation when enemies come in xxx range of self/formation target.
Something along these lines would be GRATUITOUS WIN.
Why, you ask?
Let’s say i have a fast frigate squadron designed to gang up on cruisers/arty-frigates.
I can’t let them fly loose becouse they will most likely reach the enemy before anything else does.
If i put them on formation they won’t fullfill their duty untill the formation target dies in the battle.
See the problem here?
You know what, i think we ALL NEED formation sub-orders :D.
One workaround some people are using is “herder” formation leaders - basically empty hulls with enough engines on them to make them go the speed you want. Deploy it at the front of your fleet. Put your faster frigates in formation with it, somewhere behind it. It’ll draw enemy fire first, then die, releasing your “flock” of fast frigates.
It’s kind of hokey, but until and unless we get some orders such as you suggest, or others allowing for similar effects (like a “delay movement for X seconds” order), it’s probably your best option.
I’ve been playing around with formations & escort myself. Here are my top 3 misbehaviors on formations
is that the formation doesn’t rotate axis to address new adversaries - it just remains fixed.
when the formation center-point is destroyed all the ships are freed from the formation & the order is canceled
when ships are in formation too close they bump into each other and get a bit stuck
I like to build escort frigates with lots of PD weapons for my cruisers with lots and lots of missiles. It works pretty well that way but escort’s range causes the frigate to orbit about the cruiser sometimes getting stuck one solution would be for me to increase the range obviously on the escort, but that starts taking it out of weapons range. I have noticed that sometimes the frigates can walk over the cruisers and other times they can’t. Not sure why that happens.
It makes more sense to me that a formation wouldn’t have a leader at all, but rather, a single hive-minded movement AI. All ships would move in lockstep, following the lead of some invisible entity. Imagine all the individual ships connected together into one big ship, that moves and rotates as one. The only thing individual would be the targeting. Too much?
Formations in games generally come in two forms, under the hood. The first is what is done here: You maintain a relationship to a lead ship. The second is a disconnected “hive mind” as JamesCooper suggests. The trouble with using such a formation for GSB is that it brings up the question of what the movement AI for the formation is. When does it advance? When does it pivot? With a formation leader, you just follow the boss. Without a leader, you need some other rules that determine what the formation does.
There are, as ever, lots of good ideas here. Actually implementing them, with the AI, and not having them create other problems is what can take a lot of time. It also can mean that the game can get over-complex, so you need a UI that lets casual players play as now, and expose this sort of capability only for people who are really wanting it.
I do really like the idea of mini-formations for fighters, and am very attracted to the ideas of wingmen and smaller fighter squadrons, but as I say, putting that in is no small task.