Open call for comments regarding a new GSB race design


lets say (hypothetically of course) that I was planning on a new official race expansion for Gratuitous Space Battles. Let’s assume that the backstory (such that they are) and the visual design and aesthetic of the race was already decided upon, and top secret…

Then lets ask the question 'What variations in terms of modules, and ship designs (modules / sizes etc) would make for an interesting new fleet?
Do we need faster firing missile launchers?
Do we need super-long range missiles or plasma cannons?
Do we need more expensive, but longer ranged tractor beams?
How about ships that are more expensive than normal for their size, but with a vastly higher proportion of weapon slots to normal module slots…
How about targeting scanners that cost a fortune but vastly boost hit chances?

Is there a module in the game that bugs you, because you find it’s never used, but can imagine making use of an improved variant specific to a new race?
All ideas are welcome :smiley:


Equally hypothetically, I’ve never seen (and I don’t think my eminent colleagues will say otherwise) any use for the camouflage system…

Multiple missiles (not multi-warhead) in flies for a single missile launcher can be really great!

Modules that boost allied vessels around, like shield, move speed, accuracy…

That’s my ideas for now ^^


Shields that can come back after being dropped, add a specific cautious order that will get them to come back to the fray.

Might give our frigates a greater chance - come in fire off plasma/torpedos, shields drop, cautious order gets them to runaway until shields are online and they return to fight.

A Long Range weapon systems that penalizes campers/very slow ships.

A stand-off weapon for fighters to give them a living chance against flak mounted ships.

TNG, still a classic.


Howdy Cliffski! It’s an honor to talk to you. Thanks for the great game. Glad to hear you’re considering another expansion :).

One new gizmo that comes to my mind is a movement-affecting version of the EMP weapons. Instead of shutting down weapons, it stops the target dead in its tracks for a while. It would come in both cruiser and frigate flavors and have similar duration. I suppose folks will then want a defensive system to counter this, but is that really necessary?

Also, how about some sort of beam weapon with long range that’s capable of defeating the reflective shield? Say something like a range of 900-1000, shield penetration of 30-40, damage of about 10, very little armor penetration, and a firing interval in the 2500 neighborhood.

What about unguided rockets? You could shoot them down with point defense and smartbombs but neither scramblers nor painters would affect them.


hypothetically speaking, of course :wink:
A few suggestions to make Race “X” unique

If you could bring in maxsimultaneous for SIM_MissileModule (and maybe increase it to eight globally) we could have a Dumbfire Volley Rocket Launcher

Just to throw the idea out there. The Camouflage system might be more useful if there was a subset of weapons that CAN fire while under cloak . . For example, choose a set of weapons that are generally considered the second best in their field and give them the ability to shoot while the ship is under cloak. Add in an variable to control the effectiveness level to the cloak and you can have a few cloak module types. (Anyone care to perform surgury on a Photon Torpedo ?)

Agreed, i would also like to see a CIC module - it would be good if the module could affect stats like range / damage / refire rate.

Other ideas:
I still like the Combat Tractor Beam that can deal out damage based on fire interval or maybe a radiation type damage . .
(Damage obeys Shield Pen and Armor pen values to allow shields to block the damage but not the gravity)

There are still quite a good number of unused ideas in the Suggestions area, I think i might go take a look again and find a few more :slight_smile:

Disclaimer: It may be possible that some of the ideas above may be beyond the Coding Scope of a DLC. . . But i will leave that up to Cliffski to decide.


A variant of the fighter torpedo that doesn’t weigh as much would be nice (perhaps a target speed of around 2 or 2.3 for an engine and weapon fighter).
A weaker-than-normal shield generator without a stacking penalty (though this might be better for the Empire or for mods).
A shield generator that performs better against Disruptor Bombs than normal shields do.

Having lots of hard points but few regular modules could be interesting, especially if the race had some weak, low-power, low-crew weapons to use them in those situations. This would be especially nice if the race’s special weapons complemented each other, giving pairings of similar-range weapons where one weapon has a moderate crew requirement but a low power consumption and is good against shields but bad against armor, while the other weapon in the pairing has a moderate power requirement but a low crew requirement and is good against armor but bad against shields, or vice versa.

I’d also support the Dumbfire Volley Rocket Launcher idea in darkstar076’s post.

Edit: moved something that should have been in Suggestions over to Suggestions.


I have also been thinking about frigate speeds. Frigates never seem to really clearly bridge the gap between fighter and cruiser movement speeds, and I’d like to see them zipping around a bit faster, so I wonder if they need some better engines, potentially with much lower crew requirements?
I’m also open to the idea of large frigates, or small frigates to bridge those gaps too, so you have some in-between sized hulls. That does affect targeting to some extent, because the orders apply to ship classes, so it needs to be quite clear which size a vessel is…

It all depends how much time I can set aside for coding new systems, which is much more involved than it sounds, and then… when I start thinking like that, I just want to make GSB 2, which I know I’d love to make eventually. I’ve already started a different game between now and then though…
Not enough time!


What about a Synchronized Camouflage system? In my (rather limited) experience, it seems that Camouflage does more harm than good. First, it reduces your own DPS output. Second, by presenting the enemy with fewer targets, your uncloaked ships receive an increased concentration of fire and thus die faster. But what if all your ships that were linked by Formation, Escort, Protect, etc., all cloaked and uncloaked at the same time? And what if this started happening when your ships came within some user-specified range of the enemy instead of only after your ship starts to take hits, so it would protect your formation during its approach? A frigate-sized version of this sounds useful. I suppose there’d have to be some limit on this ability, though. Like your ships would go through several cycles of synchronized cloaking and then there’d be a fairly long cool-down period before they could do it again.

What about a Chaff Pod for fighters? Carrying this would make the fighter MUCH harder to hit with Flak and would give a little protection against other weapons, at the price of a little decrease in speed?

It seems to me that a major problem with frigates isn’t so much their physical attributes but their AI. They use the same AI as cruisers and so act like cruisers, which is usually inappropriate for weakly armed tincans. So I’m thinking that some frigate-specific orders and perhaps some general AI tweaking would help a lot. Berny had a good idea above about an order that allows a temporary retreat. What about some sort of conditional formation or escort order that can be canceled by user-specified conditions instead of the death of the linked target? That way, you could keep your frigates back out of trouble until the proper time to cut them loose, without needing to buy a sacrificial “release-on-death” unit.

But the main problem is that frigates die like flies. Thus at present, for every job you might want to use 3 or 4 frigates for, you can spend the same money on a specially designed cruiser and get something that will live long enough to actually do the job. So, making frigates faster (and thus harder for cruisers to hit) will definitely help there. But then you might want to up the tracking speeds of most frigate weapons so 1 frigate can hit another better than a cruiser can hit a frigate. Then frigates might be useful both to attack and to defend against frigate attacks.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that frigates can’t defend themselves against fighters. The Anti-Fighter Missile is useless because the missile can’t turn tight enough to hit even the slowest torpedo fighters. The AFM will usually hit 1 fighter during their straight-in approach where the missile doesn’t have to turn, but once the fighters close in and start turning (even around a neighboring ship in AFM range, not just the frigate itself), it’s physically impossible for the AFM to hit them even with a painter helping. So, another thing to help frigates survive would be to reduce the AFM missile’s turn radius down to less than that of a fighter.

NOTE: I don’t know if you intended the Fighter Rocket a dogfight weapon, but it has the same problem as the AFM. It’s turn radius is too big to hit fighters in a dogfight, even if the target is painted.

Yes, I agree. The above has all been about making frigates viable independent battlefield weapons, but it would be nice if they could be useful in supporting roles, too. Fixing the AFM would make frigates useful additions to the fleet’s AA umbrella. And then having remote-buffing modules of all types, available to all races, would be nice, too.

On these lines, what about a couple of things that make your ships harder to hit? For instance, a Speed Spoofer beam that makes its target appear to be, for enemy to-hit calculations, going much faster than it really is. Now picture 2 speedy frigates doing this to each other, not just to the cruiser line.

Another idea: what about smokescreens? Have a frigate with Escort orders zipping back and forth in front of the cruiser spewing chaff, flares, water vapor, or whatever. It’s impossible for anything to shoot through this barrier except missiles from 1 side with painters on the other.


sounds like anti fighter missiles and fighter rockets definitely need a tweak.
I am thinking about a new tractor beam module with greater stopping power, and greater range too, as a special module for a new race. It also sounds like frigates might benefit from some better defensive modules as well.
And do we generally agree that the fighter torpedo needs a lighter variant?

Support modules are definitely something i like the sound of, but they involve a surprising amount of work to get right. Its not enough to say pick nearest ship and apply this buff’, you need to worry about ships sensibly not all buffing the same ship, or ships that are destroyed, or cloaked perhaps, or inside other ships (fighters docked), and so on.

In my mind, the new race has a bunch of very rapid firing pulse weapons, but I need them to be more interesting than just a rapid fire cruiser laser.


@Bullethead: if you want to continue discussing the relative merits of various fighter weapons, let’s take it to a different thread.

Maybe give these weapons a particularly long range (for instance, if its a cruiser weapon make its range similar to beams?) and make them very ineffective at short ranges? Something like the inverse of a Cruiser Laser, so it’s better at breaking armor than breaking shields?

Perhaps these are weapons for finishing off wounded cruisers (and Tribe cruisers) rapidly, so they have poor armor penetration, poor shield penetration, low tracking speeds, but a reasonably high damage per second.


Hypothetically “Interesting” Weapons. [size=80]Best taken with a grain of salt,[/size] [size=60]twist of lemon[/size] [size=40]and a shot of tequila[/size]
These are some rapid fire weapons that i had sitting in the design yard. . .

Cluster Rockets: (slight problem, only one rocket has a smoke trail and it generates an error in the debug file)

unlockcost = 160
lockable = 1
armour_penetration = 32
category = "WEAPONS"
classname = "SIM_MissileModule"
cost = 123
crew_required = 11
damage = 8
decoy_release_range = 300
description = "Rockets have always has the advantage of speed and multiple low yield warheads have always had the advantage of potential damage.  So why not combine the two ?"
fire_interval = 950
flareuvid = 0
fuel = 1100
guiname = "Cruiser Cluster Rocket"
has_decoys = 1
submunitionslive = 1
num_submunitions = 5
has_flare = 1
has_splines = 1
hitpoints = 95
icon =
min_range = 182
max_range = 780
missilelength = 4
missilespeed = 0.48
missilewidth = 2
name = cruiser_rocket_cluster_prime
powerconsumed = 5.2
shield_penetration = 34
size = "CRUISER"
sound = data/sounds/missile_launch.ogg
soundpriority = 0.25
soundvolume = 0.23
tracking_speed = 0.9
turnspeed = 0.72
turret_sprite = "turret_miss_v2"
turretsize = 11
warhead = EXPLOSIVE
weight = 91
slot_type = TURRET
uisortpos = 1160
restricted = "unitprime"

0 = cost,DECIMAL
1 = weight,DECIMAL
2 = hitpoints,DECIMAL
3 = powerconsumed,DECIMAL
4 = max_range,DECIMAL
5 = damage,DECIMAL
6 = fire_interval,INTEGER
7 = tracking_speed,DECIMAL
8 = shield_penetration,DECIMAL
9 = armour_penetration,DECIMAL
10 = crew_required,INTEGER
11 = min_range,DECIMAL
12 = has_decoys,BOOL
13 = missilespeed,DECIMAL

Some ideas that have been kicking around in my head but i cant put into GSB yet.

  • Altering the Path of a bullet with a Spline which changes path every time it fires. (The bullet would be elongated and hopefully look similar to all those scrolling shooters with curved lasers)

Chain EMP: The EMP payload hits the ship, if any other ship gets within range while the EMP is within effect it will arc across and effect that ship. (fighters are immune of course)




sorry to veer of topic from what ever you guys were talking about

but if we do get a new race dlc its should add dreadnoughts (not juts to the new race but all the races, maybe new wepones for them too), they are very wildly accepted through-out this forums community and it just makes senses


Sort of, yet we’ve more or less turned the thread into a fighter weapon balance discussion between the two of us. I put a little more of my reasoning into your Dogfighter thread (and I agree that the FLC is generally the best fighter laser weapon for dogfighters), I just don’t agree that the other weapons are useless, and I don’t think this is the right thread to discuss that in.

Dreadnoughts might be nice if they were a separate class from cruisers, but if they are added in as essentially super cruisers (in other words, the way that mods are forced to do it) I would rather not have them.

Fast frigates might be alright, but some people say that they can get frigates up to speeds near 1.0 already (not sure how, my fastest frigates cap out around 0.85, but then I like to have all the module slots filled). Too much faster and the frigates might become essentially unhittable by most weapons in the game.

We already have a few large frigates (Empire, mostly), some of which are larger than some of the smaller cruisers available in the game. I think the general impression is that smaller frigates are better frigates. I’m not sure there’s really a race in the game currently that has frigates that span the ‘really small’ to ‘really large’ frigate range, though, and a race whose focus is having a highly effective and widely varied groups of frigates might be interesting - if they can get around the problem of Fighter Rockets being able to break frigate shields and reasonable levels of frigate armor, and cruiser light weapons generally wiping the floor with any frigate. To solve the first problem, a frigate shield with at least 12.01 resistance would be necessary, since heavy armor essentially kills frigates when cruisers or beam-equipped frigates are in play. Not really sure that the second problem should be solved, though, since I think that the only thing frigates really need to become worth having on the battlefield is some way to be protected from fighters without becoming so slow that cruiser main battery weapons easily hit them. Oh, and the frigates need to be relatively cheap.


I’d like to see a rapid firing pulse weapon on a cruiser that is capable of zapping fighters - but probably with very little damage (maybe on a par with fighter weapons). Short range, probably a salvo weapon to keep it reasonable. Essentially a weapon to punish fighters that get under your shields.


Or, to go with cliffski’s apparent interest in frigates for this one, a frigate pulse weapon to beat off smaller numbers of fighters that you can overwhelm with large fighter groups (as opposed to the Parasite’s Cruiser Flak Cannon, which gets more appealing the more fighters are present), avoiding the need for a frigate shield which is immune to fighter rockets (though I’d still like one). Or both.


At least the Rebels and Alliance can make frigates with speeds of 1.04 but they have only 1 or 2 weapons and little if any defense, depending on which weapon(s) you use. So the usual things that kill frigates (fighters and CPLs) don’t have much more trouble killing them than slower frigates.

I agree that if frigates could survive in the presence of enemy fighters, I’d use them more often. I don’t think it’s desirable to make frigates cruiser-proof, though. After all, they don’t call real destroyers “tincans” for nothing.

For this reason, IMHO a frigate shield >= 12.01 (call it 13) is a bad idea, at least standing alone. Not only would it keep out rockets, it would also stop the Cruiser Pulse Laser, which only has a shield penetration of 11.0. This would go a long way towards making frigates “cruiser-proof”, especially when combined with high (higher) speed. And that would have all sorts of unintended consequences.

So, if you make a 13 frigate shield, IMHO you’d have to bump the CPL’s shield penettration up to 14 to keep the cruiser vs. frigate thing where it is now. Or, you could instead nerf the FRL’s shield penetration and perhaps bump up its armor penetration in exchange.


Personally when I design frigates, my beef is always with crew. I always seem to take up a disproportionate amount of frigate slots with crew modules, which cuts down the flexibility of the designs. Maybe that needs addressing?

An option I’d love to bring over from GTB is the idea of area-of-effect buffs to firing rate or tracking speed, so a command module that would boost the accuracy or rate of fire for all ships with X radius, although it would be very easy for that to become overpowered.
I definitely want a solution to the problem whereby a tightly-packed squad of fighters or two can obliterate some of the frigates before they even get a chance to retaliate. This is maybe where better armor comes in, as you can retain eventual vulnerability easily there, but just literally slow down the rate at which a frigate can be obliterated.


I’d missed that Cruiser Pulse Lasers had 11 shield penetration; for some reason I thought it was higher.

Making frigates more crew-efficient would help them out a bit, and might make them more appealing in campaign since my frigates usually run at around 1/2 to 1/3 of the crew cost of most of my cruisers.

I think the main problem frigates have right now, though, is that in order to become resistant to fighters, they need to carry enough armor that they become highly vulnerable to cruiser weapons, while if they are fast enough to be hard for cruisers to hit, they can’t carry enough armor to resist the attacks of fighter rockets. Maybe stronger shields would be an option, but to get a fast frigate that can resist a squadron’s worth of fighter rockets using its shields, you’d need to be able to have frigate shields that can resist 144 damage from a single volley of rockets from a fighter squadron (assuming these are single-weapon fighters). The Federation Fox Frigate, using two Frigate Shield Generator IIs, has 147 shield strength, and can achieve 162 shield strength with paired turbo shields, but will only be able to achieve a top speed of about 0.63, which leaves it vulnerable to many cruiser weapons (for reference, Cruiser Beam Lasers have a 25% chance of hitting such a frigate, while Cruiser Pulse Lasers have a 51% chance), and costs 954 credits to deploy. At that point, I may as well purchase a cruiser or two instead of a frigate group, because the cruiser will cost three times as much but has about seven times the health and can be made with speeds of 0.4 to 0.5 while carrying three Cruiser Lasers.

Most of the frigates I make that have average armor ratings of 12 or higher end up being no faster than 0.4 or so, which gives Cruiser Beam Lasers a 41% chance to hit them (assuming the frigate is 90 m long), and I don’t believe there are any frigate defenses that are capable of sustaining hits from Cruiser Beam Lasers for a very long time. Moreover, cruisers which carry Cruiser Beam Lasers are probably carrying three or four of them, so you’d start expecting to see one or two hits per salvo, and frigates don’t have the health or shield strength or armor to survive hits from Cruiser main battery weapons for very long.

A frigate-mounted anti-fighter weapon that made it very costly for fighters to go after frigates could also work, and leave the defenses still capable of being overwhelmed, but it would seem to me that there would still be problems for frigates in surviving that opening volley of rockets from a fighter squadron or two.


well I’m always keen on anything that enhances the ‘combined’ arms feel of the game, so I’m thinking if the best tractor beams were frigate-only, they would be deployed as support vessels to cruisers specifically in the ‘trap incoming fighters’ role, even if the actual taking-down of the fighters was something that the parent cruiser took care of.