I’ve heard a few people suggest this, and its something I’ve considered several times. The idea is basically this:
You could right click a ship on the deployment screen and select a deployment delay up to a fixed amount (maybe a minute?). The ship would effectively be offscreen until that delay at which point it warps in.
Visually this would be kind acool, and it gives you more options, but is it really of tactical use? Effectively you are just deploying a ship vastly behind everything else, as after the first time people play the battle, they will know when, where and what will warp in, so it’s not a true element of surprise.
However, it does offer greater tactical flexibility. Having ships effectively immune to enemy fire until X time into a battle, especially if they are fighter carriers decked out with repair modules… could be cool. And spamming the battle with missile magnets that draw enemy fire before a second wave of ships warps in could be interesting too…
The reason I ask, is that it would be something quite quick and easy to implement, although tbh I would need to check that this can go into challenges without causing mayhem…)
Anyway… I’;m working on mod supprot and expansion pack stuff, and would love to have something conrete to add to the main, core game, and this one strikes me as potentially good fun. Given that some people would assum all new features ate automatically good, is this worth the time spent adding it?
Currently, I have to either make my frigates slow, or put them in formation because otherwise they RACE across the battlefield and die. If I could have my frigates warp in on a timer, they could work as cavalry and swoop in after battle has already been joined by the cruisers. This one thing would basically solve the myriad “why are there frigates in the game” threads.
I don’t think fighters should be able to warp in, but if a cruiser warps in with a fighter bay, and the fighters could warp in on the cruiser, that would be cool!
Don’t underestimate the value of the surprise the first time a challenge is played. Future plays you’d know what was happening but the real replay value is for me playing new challenges, and those challenges could also contain warp-in surprises.[/edit]
Another possibility - in exchange for the delay in deploying, allow the ship to potentially come in from the “side”, i.e. flanking. That way there’s a clear exchange - less time in battle, but the ship is spending that time trying to flank.
As to predictability - just randomise where and when within certain tolerances (with larger tolerances for more difficult maps). You’ll know something is coming, but not where and when.
Add a single module space to all the non-fighters for FTL drive.
FTL costs weight, money, and power to no benefit in combat. Certain scenarios can require FTL capable ships, however (invader, for example needs FTL, defender maybe not).
Then, you could have some ships jump in at a delayed time. They might appear randomly in the deployment area—so you get the delay benefit, but FTL has some uncertainty, and they might come out in a less than desirable place.
somewhat along the same lines, would it be possible to add an “escape” or “jump out” command, which orders the ship to leave the battlefield after a given amount of time? I’d guess it’s more work than the delayed start, as it adds a new condition to the report screen.
I’ve been mulling over a GSB based campaign with a “Traveller” style “information only travels with ships” restriction. The timer would allow for the campaign to include a player’s scout ship arriving in a system, survive vs the enemy fleet for a minimum time while it “calculates the jump to hyper-space”, and escapes knowing the enemy fleet deployment information. Or not.
It might also be useful (though more work) to tie it to “cautious”, so the countdown only start when a damage threshold is reached.
Having said all that, I can’t think of a good reason for anyone wanting to use it in a normal battle. It would have to give an honor refund (10% of ship value?), or somesuch.
Edit: Having typed all of that, I have to come back and say that I think ‘per ship’ is a bad idea. Too much mayhem, and I direct you to my point shortly below.
I think its a fantastic idea, and a great way to create an ‘epic’ battle. Some thoughts, however:
If this is just a way to save your frigates and fighters from getting wiped out early in the fight, then I think this is the wrong approach- I think that issue could be dealt with by tweaking the current weapon damage or fighter speed, adding more formation options, or by people designing better fleets.
I suggest NOT letting the users decide when re-enforcements arrive- make them timed equally for both sides (and put a timer somewhere on the screen in combat), and make the the number of waves known. Make the pilot/ship values equal for both sides for each wave (in the fleet deployment screen, put a little tab on top of the deployment screen for each wave, and set them out as three separate fleets- also, ‘enemy unknown’ for later waves would be fine in challenges). Make each wave approach from somewhere other than the typical left and right side 'walls, but in an equal pattern- for example:
I fear that if everything teleported in to the left/right sides, it would be too easy to pile your side with slow or engineless ships. Additionally, if you were able to re-enforce at times of your chosing, you would just have everything arrive as soon as possible, so you could have as many guns on the field as possible. I don’t think either is a fair tactic.
The player definitely needs control over the delay time of up to one minute. Because it needs timing according to the speed of your fleet. It will certainly have various uses, since we have no control over making a ship stay back unless its told not to attack the enemy or has no engines. Equally, those fast ships can’t be held back with anything less than a formation or escort order. A leash that is broken when the escort is destroyed.
How about giving all orders a duration slider? Default: Permanent (as a tick box). Or set a time for the order to expire - at which point it is deleted. So we can control as many reinforcement waves as we want with a combination of escort and formation orders with a ship that stays back. This also maximises the available strategic options. (E.g. Go after Frigates for the first two minutes, then the order deletes and Cruisers was the next top priority.)
It seems to match up reasonably with the concept of a pre-battle mission briefing from the Admiral:
“I want you to take out the enemy Frigates first.”
“At 2 minutes in our fighter squadrons will leave their escorts and engage the enemy Cruisers.”
“If you haven’t taken out the Frigates after two minutes, it doesn’t matter. Engage the enemy Cruisers!”
“No retreat! No surrender! Until after at least 5 minutes!” - This one would require an order start time control.
I would like it if the enemy can also take advantage of it, not just the player. I would like it if I THINK I’m about to win when all of a sudden two or three enemy cruisers warp in and serves my butt on a silver platter, that would make for some nice challenge and would add in some unpredictability element to the battles, and especially their outcome.
All of you fine folks have expended electrons enough in laying out your ideas in sufficient detail that I’m just going to jump on the bullet points that interest me the most. BTW you have all made very eloquent & well-reasoned arguments for your respective positions…good show, mates.
Deployment delays, customizable on a per-ship basis? HELL YES!
Slight level of randomness (I vote for up to + or - 10% at most) concerning the exact time and location of reinforcements’ arrival? Yes!
Flanking deployment option for the placement of arriving reinforcements? Yes!
Variable ship speed option for delayed ships? Yes!
A.I. player also being able to use delayed deployment? Yes!
Duration-of-order timer, for general ship engagement orders? HELL YES!