Campaign Items


#1

After three hours of play…

Build a ship selection process is driving me nuts. I will have to go in to GSB files somewhere and delete all and sundry old designs. The two-column thing–whaaaa? Is there a way to say “build X of these?”

Combat rewards combined arms in those small scale battles. Nice.

The little screen that pops up prior to battle screen–click anywhere to fight–seems unclear to me. Way on left are some names, way on right, defeat, victory, retreat. So does that mean Player X name on right fought this fleet and defeated it, or met defeat vs. it? In the campaign game, or in online challenges? Is Beta, might have graphics revision to come along later. . .

Click on planet A. Click on fleet 1. Go out to universe map, click planet B. Fleet 1 window still floating there, even though Fleet 1 is back at planet A. Is this intentional?

From universe screen, selecting fleet is difficult–mouse hover shows other words if mouse is over round fleet icon toward the top, one must hover in bottom half of icon or even below the fleet icon to get the fleet name to pop up.

From universe screen, with fleet selected, box pops up over system neighboring starting system that says not all ships can go there. Is there a way to see what ships that refers to? This gave me pause for the first ten minutes, as it wasn’t clear that box ONLY referred to the system over which it appears–I thought it was possible the box referred to the move going on elsewhere (and the box was displaced so I could see the graphics representing the fleet movement under way).

Final comment for the early morning: boy, winning any online or basic game challenge with 30% of your fleet intact is wahoo, a win is a win.

Win with 30 percent of your fleet in campaign remaining…that’s a disaster. LOVE IT. Finally, something beyond mashing the fleets together with the intent to come out just ahead. . .

RC


#2

Was going to start a new thread, but this one would seem a sensible place to dump a selection of random thoughts on the campaign after 6-7 hours of play. Hope you don’t mind, Red.

First of all, I should say I really like it so far. Take a bow if you read this Cliffski, it’s an amazing job and well worth the (cheap, IMO) price.

Red Cinema brings up some good points. Combined arms FTW is awesome, even if in some encounters I’ve taken to ordering weaker ships to engage at 2000 to keep them out of trouble. And trying to keep ships alive is also a really nice new twist, especially with repairs so much of a better option than building new ships.

From what I’ve seen of it so far, the map is a thing of joy too - loads of tactical elements come in to play, again encouraging strategic planning and fleet composition. I was unsure about the decision not to allow facility building, but I completely agree with it now.

I’m not sure about starting on Sullgobah each time you play though. An option to start on any planet with a class-A shipyard would be nice and add some longetivy IMO.

Other stuff: (these aren’t meant as complaints but notes & suggestions)

The Galaxy interface is generally great - quite clear and easy to get in to. Took me a few turns to work out where to find planetary anomolies, but that’s no big deal.

I can’t understand why it’s impossible to repair captured ships though. It’s really cool having (and facing) combined fleets, but without the ability to repair there’s not much incentive to make captured ships an important element of your fleet.

On the subject of captured ships, it would be nice of you could somehow find out their speed instead of just counting engines and estimating.

This applies to every ship on the deployment screen - what happened to the pop-up that showed ships’ speeds? I miss it! Ditto ‘mass deploy’.

Lastly, after setting escort or formation orders, the ship selected changes to the tether. In regular GSB play it stays with the original ship(s). This is kinda confusing for this grizzled spacer and has led to a couple of occasions where I’ve sent my front-line cruisers into battle with fighter orders and had to watch a mass retreat as the cautious 1% order kicks in :wink:


#3

Bring all such “new to it” comments on! With luck Cliffski will find these responses useful. . .

RC


#4

After another three hours of play…

As mentioned elsewhere, the ability to undo a fleet move would be handy.

The random nature of the foes is annoying. Sometimes it seems the enemy fleets are the same; kill some at one place, then retreat (or lose outright, maybe); when one returns one sees the rest of that enemy fleet.

I’d like the option to decline battle before it even starts.

Still love it, even though success means cycling through a LOT of turns, at least early in the game. . .

RC


#5

Actually, you can see the speeds of captured ships. Just click on the fleet containing them, then right click on one of them, and choose ‘Show Details.’ Speed is one detail. Now if the font was a touch bigger…


#6

I’m about 80 weeks into a Fed campaign using the Fighter theory. I notice a big reason this works better than actually building, say, cruisers, is the COST OF MAINTENANCE.

What a difference it makes! Using the Ramcat “build for 90 turns” approach, income goes down to a few hundred credits a week by the end of the suggested time period. I had enough fighters, with some ion frigates, to take 2 of the 3 neighboring planets (nw and sw of homeworld)–at practically no loss.

While many suggestions have come out for re-balancing the campaign, it would seem to be easy to tweak things–not requiring major coding–by making a change to maintenance costs.

Make cruisers cheaper to maintain.

Tada.

A more complex solution would require actual coding. One might be to not charge maintenance at planets that contain a navy yard (where ships are built). This would make it easier to build up at the beginning of the game–less clicking through dozens and dozens of weeks before being ready to attack.

Without recommending this, I’ll mention something that appeals to my innate sense of game balance–building a zillion fighters is frighteningly easy. For home defense? OK. For attacking a far-off starsystem? BRING A CARRIER. At some ratio of bays-to-fighters that pleases. It would take coding, and it would enrage the Fighter Faithful.

RC


#7

Red, adding carriers would not at ALL make me enraged. I rather strongly dislike the tactic i made, despite making it and all! I’d much rather work on my balanced Fast or Cruiser missile fleets then just spawn vast hordes of fighters!

That said, at the moment fighters are by far the best unit in campaign in terms or return on investment. Until that changes they’re what i’ll be running


#8

And make fighters more expensive to maintain than they currently are. I think this is a brilliant idea!!!


#9

Aha, No. That would IMHO be a counter-productive idea. I’m playing on the middle setting and found building cruisers to be a terrifically slow process, due to their maintenance costs. Switching to fighter strategy allowed game to move much faster–I have moved at least 3x faster with fighter strategy than cruiser strategy b/c lower maintenance costs = more cash on hand. If we boost up fighter maintenance cost, we’re still left with Fighter Strategy being King, but once again slowed way down–clickety clickety through the weeks we go. Another note: not only am I moving 3xfaster, I’m interacting with the game much more using the fighter strategy–gaining income faster plus smaller maint. costs = more frequent building (less frequent cycling of turns to accrue cash). Except for the less interesting battles, I’m enjoying the campaign more with fighters in the sense of making more decisions per turn. . . .

If we’re going to go with adding a cost to using fighters–to put some kind of restraint on fighter spam–that same restraint would have to apply to the random fleets. Hard to go with bays, the most satisfying option for (ironic finger quotes) “realism’s” sake, but there must be a solution that’ll work that keeps the Campaign game moving along. . .

RC


#10

Actually, we should make a “Require fighters to need Carrier bays to get to move around in the campaign” I would have absolutely 0 problems with this, I actually think it’d be one of the more awesome things Cliff to could do to add realism.

I’m glad you’re liking fighters red, mind sharing your fighter build with us?


#11

Heh, makes sense. Thanks for the pointer!


#12

Here is not a build but a recipe. Others will prefer different recipes…

Laser fighter: pick the hull with the fastest speed bonus that also has a decent amount of power. This will vary by faction.
Put a laser in it.
Put an engine III in it.
Put the biggest generator available in it.
All green? Reduce generator to best efficiency.
Might have to reduce engine to II.
Empty slot or 2 ok.

You should have a fighter with speed 2+, higher the better.

Rocket fighter: pick the hull with the fastest speed bonus. You might also get surprising results without a speed bonus but a good power bonus.
Put a rocket in it.
Rinse and repeat as above.

You should have a rocket fighter with speed 3+, 4+ not impossible.

I currently use in (Federation) Campaign a double-rocket fighter, same deal as above, thing goes 2.3 and seems to do pretty well, the times when the extra speed matter are rare and the extra rocket doubles a squadron’s firepower.


#13

I posted my build in another thread. Honestly you don’t REALLY need rocket fighters…
And for a fighter swarm, speed is not the best tactic, at least with rebels. Maxing DPS is much nicer


#14

Adding a requirement for carriers to move fighters would add a whole bucketload of code, but how about this:
Double the implied construction cost of fighters, in terms of shipyard space. In other words, if a shipyard (class A) can build 13,000 points worth of ships, it could build 3 4,000 CR cruisers, or it could build just 43 x 150 CR fighters instead of 85. That way, fighters arent more expensive to build, or maintain, but there is an incentive not to spend all your time churning out fighters, given limited shipyards
I could probably just explain that in tooltips and the manual, and it would have the desired effect?


#15

This would not address the current inherent imbalance that makes fighters the strategy of choice, it would just make players take longer to carry it out. IMHO. In my experience, shipyard limits only kick in if one has saved a bankroll–cost is the primary bottleneck. Crew seems to cause difficulty early, and when trying a cruiser-based fleet strategy, and even then only early in the game. Once a few planets have come under one’s control, the crew just stacks up–and when one is playing a fighter strategy, crew accumulates astronomically.

If we’re looking for a way around the “all fighters all the time is the primo strategy” problem, I suggest we take a close look at how random fleets are added to the game. Some kind of formula that makes it less likely for monochrome fleets (those that hyper-specialize) to be selected. Regularizing map size would also help in some cases. As I’ve mentioned in other threads, I’ve been seeing more “postage stamp” challenges with large fleet budgets and tiny maps. This eliminates position and maneuver as meaningful battle elemets, and gives the optimized fleet a higher chance of nuking you–which is why, of course, people use this approach when posting challenges online.

I have no idea how hard this sort of random fleet sorting would be.

Many ideal solutions involve too much cost or effort on your independent developer’s part. Maybe it is time for Activision to buy you out for a gazillion bucks. :slight_smile: C’est la vie.

Thanks, Cliffski…

RC


#16

Well, Red Cinema didn’t like my idea of adding expence to fighter maintenance, I don’t like being able to produce them slower. Because it does not change their battle field dynamic, it just means it will take longer to start the game (produce enough to make the first move) and longer to recover from when you lose. It doesn’t mean I would switch to a cruiser build because 3 cruisers a turn is just as slow as the proposed fighter build restrictions.

In all reality, Cicero’s (a Roman statesman) statement that ‘Endless money forms the sinews of war’ is true. The only way to tweak the players use of ship types is to tweak their long term cost (their maintenance cost).

It is this simple (if a cruiser’s maintenance was 50 (not saying it should be this but using it for scale)):
1 Cruiser 50 Maintenance
1 Frigate 25 Maintenance
1 Fighter Squad (16 fighters) 60 Maintenance (they do get auto repair if they live to the end of a battle)

At those values Cruisers become the cheaper bang-for-the-buck in the long run. No change to the cost/time of building them but change what it costs to keep them inplay throughout the game. Because bang-for-the-buck matters and will drive all your build decisions (as it does now in the game) you will chose the damage causing option that was the most survivability and cheapest cost, other wise you will run out of money and lose.

There is one more way to tweak hull types - limit the number allowed on any planet. If you limit all the planets that allow fighters to 30 squads (480 fighters). You limit the number of fighters allowed in an engagement. Retreating now causes a problem because you could intentionally retreat fighters to build more on your front line worlds. Just like you can retreat cruisers to non-cruiser worlds.


#17

Yes that’s right another suggestion was to REDUCE the maintenance cost of cruisers, which in the early game is the primary limit on fleet size and expansion speed. Changing this cost would make a cruiser start viable in less than 90 weeks. :slight_smile: So we’re kicking around balance at several different points–cost to build/shipyard space to build, and cost to maintain over time. The latter is one place to make a cruiser strategy more viable. A whole other venue of balance is in the selection of random enemy fleets, as in other post.

RC


#18

Honestly, If these changes occured i’d probably switch to FR spam with heavy FT cover…


#19

All very interesting. I’m wondering if a few subtle nudges in the direction may make a more balanced result, ie: make fighters slightly more expensive to maintain, but also make them slightly most awkward to build (in terms of construction cost).
or bite the bullet and just demand that carriers exist to transport fighters.
The problem with the final one is that it prevents you basically fielding fighters anywhere until you have built some carriers. It’s also thus a bit of a usability nightmare because you ened to explain this to the player blah blah.

One of my original ideas was to have academies AND flight schools. Flight schools provided pilots. setting yet another resource to keep an eye on. That might overcomplicate things and be a nightmare though…

hmmmm


#20

Make fighters unable to travel between systems without Carrier bays?
The would make fighters viable for early game system defense, and once you get carriers you are forced to consider new tactics