# [BUG ?] Formations

I’ll try and explain the issue with some screens.

In screen below you see formations on the beginning of the battle. The idea was to put a long ranged cruisers behind beam cruisers.

Ships start moving toward enemy and after some time back line cruisers are in the front line, making them primary target for the enemy.

My back cruisers have better engines and normally move faster when they are alone.

Now this problem is not noticed on small maps as they start fighting almost instantly. (and most challenges are made on small map) This problem occurs on medium/big maps where ships have to fly some distance before engaging the enemy.

I know it might be difficult to change ships AI, but I thought I should mention this problem.

This is solved easily, and it just involves a better explanation of how formations work. Formations are a ONE-WAY instruction.
example 1:
Tell championship runner to always stay 10 steps behind 70 year old man
result:
championship runner easily slows to well below normal speed and stays behind old man

example 2:
Tell old man to stay 10 steps ahead of championship runner
result:
old man does his best, but championship runner easily runs ahead (he has not been told not to do so)

In other words, formations imply that you should maintain your relative position to a ship, to th best of your ability. the target of the formation order continues to behave as usual. this is requried, because otherwise both ships would just sit there and not move

Short answer: let the slower ships act as normal, set formation orders for the fast ones. (if you want them to stick together)

Well… I can find ways of placing ship so they reach enemy in formation I would like them to, but there is no way then to make circle, square, triangle, etc formations. All these ways of placing ships will be valid for map you are making them and will work differently for other maps.

Just an idea, why not setting all ships in a formation the speed of the slowest one? Thus they will move in group

in your specific case, this can be solved by making one of the slower, front ships the formation leader. This also explains why if you select a group of ships and make one of the group the leader they don’t move, and also why formations don’t wheel round to meet new targets

True. But if it is not really complicated to code, would be grate if formations work regardless of ships speed.

The real problem with formations is that the loss of the leader destroys the formation. This is especially bad for large formations and worst for large arrowhead formations.

For example: 10 ships incoming! Shoot the right one and the formation will break apart. You win!

One can make large formations depend on sub-ships in the formation, but this causes the loss of one ship to cause the further loss of more ships from the formation.

In real life, if a ship in a formation is lost, the remaining ships will re-organise their positions to try and fill the gap. This does not happen in Gratuitous Space Battles. Take the default fleet provided with the game. There are three frigates in a diagonal formation. Destroy the center frigate and the remaining two no longer support each other as a formation. Realistically, the two remaining ships should close the gap and support each other. Currently, they go off and do their own thing. If there were a speed difference between the two, it would be even worse.

So what is needed? Possibly a ‘Dynamic Formation’ toggle. Ordinary formations work as is now. Dynamic formations can survive the loss of the lead ship and close the formation gap accordingly.

Agreed in full, with gusto. Please implement this! I have had many a formation lobotomized via damage to the formation leader (regardless of placement, but up front is the riskiest) and it is intensely frustrating.