camouflage needs work

I frigged around with a couple of camouflage builds, and have since completely abandoned them. First, I have a few questions about the camouflage module:

  1. What decides the use of camouflage?

  2. What is the duration of camouflage?

Here is why, or at least my personal favorite during my ignominious use of camouflage:

In one of the challenges, I was getting hammered by fighters. So, I build a front line of anti-fighters and a back-line of camouflage, self-healers. I set the orders to cooperate and vulture. Battle starts, all six cloak. O_o;;… Okaaaay. Fighters hit a few secs later and are destroyed. Frigate and cruiser wave hits. My guys fire a volley, the enemy is still out of range and can’t return fire… four cloak. >_<;; I eventually destroy them, but lose my entire anti-fighter line in the process. For no better reason than my big guns cloak for no apparent reason. When they do, I checked them. They were often at full everything.

This seemed to hold regardless of the orders I use. Now, I think that camouflage has some great possibilities, but I think that it needs to create its own order list. Such that, when you equip camouflage, you have your fighter, frigate, cruiser and then, camouflage on your list of starting orders on the left. When you click on camouflage, some subcategories could be:

Damaged 0-100% (cloak at certain levels of damage)
Distance from target (cloak until you are a certain distance from the enemy)
Target (Cloak if you become the target of # of enemies)

I very much agree. Cloaking AI is rather inconsiderate of the situation right now.

I tried setting some ships that had cloaking to Cautious, hoping that when they took enough damage they’d cloak and run off to heal, but it didn’t seem to do any good.

Yeah, camo activation seems to be pretty much random. I agree that in its current state it’s not really worth using for anything. It could be a lot of fun, though - I particularly like the idea of cloaking on a fast, short range ship to close the initial distance without getting torn up by plasma all the way in. It’d be great if it would play nicely with Cautious orders and repair modules, too. Your “target of X enemies” idea is also a good one, hadn’t thought of that before.

I think it can be mildly useful as is, if only for the opportunity to disappear for awhile in case your armor repair or shield regen isn’t enough to take a constant barrage, but I agree that the random cloaking is quite useless. Maybe only when they are being attacked? Or only when they are damaged enough to require repair? Of course, I’d also want to use cloak for a sneak attack, rushing in cloaked, then uncloaking and releasing a barrage of short-range, powerful weapons.

To be useful, cloaking will require some AI specifically designed for it.

I’ve had terrible luck with it. I tried making a cruiser with shorter range weapons and heavier armor/repair systems, hoping it would retreat and repair at 75% damage…but it tends to just sit in one place, camo at 25% health, and die a few seconds later, since the enemy just kept attacking the same location (probably figured the ship was still there). I prefer to add another shield gen.

The Camo AI is kinda questionable, but I’d have excellent experience with using it on forward tank ships. The flip side of the Camo AI being odd is that the regular ship AI doesn’t know to stop targeting camo’d ships so they waste TONS of shots. If the Camo device was used intelligently it would probably need to cost much more…