[Design query] Ship movement and targetting.

Currently, ships only get the benefit of their engines when they’re actually moving.

For fighters, this isn’t a problem - fighters are always moving, so they’re never easier to hit.

For -frigates-, though, this is a big problem. Fast moving frigates moving around are nigh-impossible to hit with plasma bolts, which is good, as it seems to take about four to kill a frigate :)… but, eventually, they stop moving. Maybe a friendly got in the way, maybe they’re just nose up against the enemy (at which point someone ELSE’s plasma cannons are going to shoot them).

With the movement/targetting the way it currently is, fast frigates will eventually have a reason to stop moving, and die horribly.

I can think of two changes that would fix this, one of which alters the game design a fair bit, so I’m not sure whether you’d like it or not, and one of which may require some hefty AI tweaks, depending on how it’s done.

First, you could make the maximum speed of a chassis -always- count against incoming fire. Say that they’re dodging ‘up’ and ‘down’ with respect to the view, or generally making evasive maneuvers too small to be represented in general, but enough to give them their maneuverability bonus all of the time.

My other possible solution would be to have some sort of Don’t Stop Moving / Attack Runs order, which would tell a ship you’d like it to make passes towards / away from / over its target rather than parking itself at an appropriate range. This would make frigates behave like very large fighters.

The first appeals to me slightly more, but you can’t tell why your shots are missing in that case. With the second, you can see they’re moving… but they’ll invariably go somewhere stupid, and of course it will conflict with Formation orders, which is a shame as frigates should still be valuable even holding a set position.

Of course, these ‘solutions’ are only really valid if you think it’s a problem… I think I do, and either way it’s certainly one of the contributing factors towards the emerging plasma cannon supremacy. What does everyone else think?

[size=85]PS: I also think missiles might not track fast enough, they certainly miss a lot. Target painters do help, but eh.[/size]

I quite like the second idea personally. The vision of having a formation of small, rocket/pulse laser equipped frigates strafing huge cruisers, is quite cool. Sort of like the corvettes in Star Wars. It might be more useful with ‘Escort’ orders, and doesn’t necessarily stop frigates being useful to hold a set area; just have two designs, one with engines, one with armour.