i’ll first start with saying that i love this idea! I cant remember how many times i got disapointed with space battles in 4x games. and now after a few lvls played i get the feeling that this game was what i was looking for ( in this genre )… hope i can contribute too as i get more in touch with the game…
My question is about formations… i just fail to understand how it works. i thought at first that it was designed as a “group move” but when i do it the ships just stay on the same position not moving at all.
This typically happens when you set a group of ships to be in a formation centered on a ship that is within the group. The result is that the central ship sees that it is already in it’s assigned spot (distance zero from the central ship, itself) and so it does not move. If you remove the formation order from that one ship, it will move like normal and the other ships will move in relation to it.
All of that said, formations tend not to work very well even when they are set up correctly. Most players only use them in a few, rare situations. Escort orders work a little bit better and achieve almost the same thing (keeping ships near each other).
For ships to maintain formation effectively, you need to make sure that the “follower” ships are a bit faster than the “lead” ship. That gives them the leeway they need to catch up and get into position.
I would love it if all ships in a formation executed a move order at the same time, instead of waiting for the leader to move and then following!
The “lead” ship should be the slowest ship in the formation.
The “lead” ship should be placed one or two grid points ‘behind’ where you actually want it to be (where possible, place it behind the formation, although usually your slowest ship will be a heavily armoured ‘tank’, so will want to be in front.) This is because there’s a fair bit of ‘lag’ between it starting to move, and the formation starting to follow.
If you look at the (currently only) challenge I have up (description is some rubbish about it beating a couple of other fleets by 100%), you can see an example of a formation working correctly. The formation has some tanks spaced out in front of two ranks of missile and anti-fighter ships. One of the tanks is the formation leader, but actually starts in the ‘ranks’. By the time the other ships start moving to catch up with it, it’s correctly in line with the other tanks.
From a coding perspective, one ‘fix’ for formations, would be to have ships calculate their target position taking into account the target ship’s speed. The same thing would be nice when attacking ships too - intercept by moving towards the target’s expected position in x seconds, rather than it’s current position.