Fighter Flocking (thinking out loud)

Having fighter squads flocking together as a group (optional new order) would be cool. However there are issues:

One member of each squad needs to be the flock leader, flying around based on the other orders and priorities.
That member might die mid battle, meaning we need an election for a new leader.

To keep the flock together, non-leader flock members will head roughly to the center of the average group of all flock members.
However, they should disregard any flock members who are tractored, returning to a carrier, limpet-mined or so heavily damaged that they limp along, when calculating this…

Also, this means that if the flock leader gets damaged, tractored or mined, we need to kick them out and pick a new flock leader.
Ideally, that flock leader will be the ship closest to the center of the flock as it currently stands.

To handle flock seperation, and avoid major bunching, each member will need some different relative position in the flock group. As the flock gets smaller due to damage or tractoring, it might be neccesray to re-assign flock positions to keep the flock tight. And as the flock grows due to ship repairs, old flock offset slots need to be re-allocated.


Yes, that sounds about right! (simple eh?)

Well, actually, some of that could be simplified, but not much.

Of course, we would like to try different formations (Wedge, Square, Mob,Single and Double Line, Single and Double Column, etc). And different spacings, single, double, etc.

  • Take a Line 1 2 3 4 5 6 where 1 is the squad leader and everyone flocks around him

  • If 1 gets killed, cautious, tractored, limpeted, 2 becomes 1, 3 becomes 2, etc

  • If another joins, he becomes 7

  • Take a Wedge
    etc to 16

One quickly realises that casualties will many times cause reorganisations to occur, at significant expense in time and effort. On the other hand, perhaps reorganisations should only occur when the leader is changed. Prior to that, people just keep their spots.

  • A Wedge in double spacing


    etc to 16

Basically a set of offsets, multiplied by a spacing factor (1-3?).

I love the idea to death, but I think that some situations will call for different, or no, formation.



Edit: Gah, none of my formations work properly

It currently looks like this:

Such a flock can have beneficial and negative tradeoffs, so adding it as an order type is a welcome addition and can only expand gameplay.

I would love for it to become a more coherent entity that could be later instructed to avoid frigates or even other fighters.

You may want to google “flocking behavior.” Using the three flocking rules for a squadron, combined with an extra tendency toward whatever other orders they may have might be easier and work better.

That is some pretty darn good productivity happening there :slight_smile:

Will be a blast to try out.

I’ve added an option for the squad ‘seperation’, so they can fly as a tight group or a wide dispersion, with a slider. That’s more of a visual difference than anything else I suspect, although when I finally get area-of-effect flak guns in there… :smiley:

Being able to tell a fighter squadron to stay together like … well, like a squadron … makes me happy. Any chance this might lead to the ability to tell one fighter squadron to form up on another?

Also, the more I read this thread, the more the repeated use of the word “flocking” makes it sound like we’re all trying very hard not to use a certain swear word. :wink:

Ya, cliffski, great stuff, but you seem to be over complicating it.

Just general, stay close, not too close and big splits head back together means you get a more natural flock, though i suppose in military terms, having them play follow the leader makes more sense.

Also, is this the first new order in the game?
Excluding The Order, of course (Hur hur hur)

For boring technical reasons, ships need a specific destination, and letting them pick their normal destinations autonomously, and then constraining that within a radius of a leading ship results in messy and unnatural behavior, so the ‘follow the leader’ approach seems to work better.
the ‘keep moving’ order wasn’t in the original release of the game, as I recall. I would like to make more orders at some stage.

you do realise that once the dakka dakka flack thingys get intergrated into the game than people will be demanding the option of formations like Line, Column, pairs etc. :o)

for now, I’m REALLY looking forward to using this option with fighter torps and seeing the X-cost of fighter group take down a cruiser in one run before being wiped out due to their slow speed.

Any way you can modify flight behaviour and introduce jinking ?

I like fighters :o)