I’ve taken lately to sending myself challenges with capital ships designed to do poorly against fighters, then putting a small squadron (three or four) of laser fighters on them, zooming the camera in, and watching the fun. It’s an almost cinematic experience. But it’s shown me something about the fighter AI behavior that often has me swearing at the idiot pilots.
The fighter is flying on top of a capital ship, i.e. within its shield bubble. Could be scraping off armor or just blowing holes in it. Instead, he’s focused on a ship five football fields away, sending laser blasts to uselessly ping off the enemy shields. Then he moves over a different capital ship and starts shooting at the ship whose shield bubble he just exited. Admittedly it’s not such a big problem vs. cruisers; at minimum engagement distance fighters are apt to stay inside the shields of even the smallest ones. But against frigates it’s jaw-clenching to watch your idiot fighter jocks deliberately wasting shots and showing all the tactical genius of a moldy grapefruit.
Not a new problem, I know.
What I’m thinking is a Strafe order for fighters, where they automatically shoot at the nearest cruiser or frigate as they go winging past. Maybe an option added to the Attack Frigates/Attack Cruisers order?
Just a thought.