[Suggestion] Fleet Simulator

A ‘new’ mode where a player can customize BOTH fleets and pit them against each other. This ‘training’ scenario has been requested many times – even back in GSB1. Right now if we want to play against one of our own fleets, we have to publish it and send it to someone else. That process prohibits any easy way of tweaking things – one of the main points of pitting our own fleets against each other is to tweak setups.

I really wish this was implemented. In every game I have played where there is a test area (like a shooting range) I have spent many hours testing out equipment. The ability to design and outfit a fleet - and then play it against another fleet of our own creation - would add a huge amount of content. We could test our own fleets before publishing them as a Challenge. Plus, a feature like this would be hugely magnified if we get a Galactic Conquest add-on in the future - being able to test a fleet in a skirmish to make better decisions in the campaign where every credit counts would be fantastic.

The feature:
-A link on the main menu – it is a different game mode
-You cannot earn any Honor in Fleet Simulator
-Ability to save the deployment of either fleet on the field
-Have access to blank unlocked Battle maps (Challenge Legal)
-Access to a series of blank/customizable maps (not for Challenges)
—Battle type toggle on custom maps: Standard, Ambush, etc.

-BONUS: Add 3-way or even 4-way fleet battle types on custom maps for YouTube-worthy Gratuitous slugfests (a way to increase game visibility). King of the Hill anyone?
—Even better: Add Allied Fleet capability (If this was GSB1: Outcasts/Swarm vs. Tribe)

Why a Fleet Simulator?
-It would be way easier to make than Galactic Conquest – yet offer a Gratuitous amount of content.
-Its value greatly increases with future content
-Implements a framework for additional game modes (like King of the Hill) without the need for additional ‘Official’ map setups or reworking the Challenge feature (since – aside from the framework – Fleet Simulator would be centered around ‘unofficial’ content)
-Targets a core audience – those who want an intuitive and flexible way to line-up their own spaceships and watch the fireworks

PS: If Fleet Simulator works, add it to GSB1 as a DLC after a few months to increase interest in the brand as a whole…

You can just post a fleet to yourself, isn’t that effectively the same as your core suggestion?

Very few people post challenges - and even fewer will realize they can post to themselves. It took me a very long time to realize I could do this - and I had to spend time in the forums to figure it out. The capability to self-post has been in GSB2 for a long time - but for the overwhelming majority of the player base, if there is no big red button for a feature and an engaging interface, it does not exist.

The other problem is that posting for testing purposes is very tedious - every little order or positioning change in the OpFor requires a repost. I am not going to do a repost if I forgot to change the default escort distance on some FFs in the OpFor - and that defeats the purpose of tinkering and testing.

For players that want to see spaceship battles but don’t want to post challenges, GSB2 has very little content. Once you finish Expert mode on the battles, what else is there to do? You may say Challenges, but even the most popular challenge has less than 100 attempts. A Fleet Simulator is worth at least a few extra missions - and could be worth many times that for people who want to battle against other fleets without turning to public content.

You’re completely right about ease of access and ease of tinkering - these both need to be top notch to engage as much of the player base as possible. I would of course welcome a more robust UI for pitting your own fleets against each other.

Right now I would say that the method required to post a challenge is not obvious at all. In fact many people who play online challenges may not even know how to post their own. I always expected to be able to click on Challenges and have a button right there for posting your own. It would take you to a menu where you could select what map you want, anomalies, resources, etc. all from one screen before fleet setup.

You’re wrong about how popular challenges are though, I mean there’s quite a few with over 100 attemps, even one with over 400! As encouraging as that is though, there aren’t enough new challenges being posted on a daily basis and I suspect it’s because there’s no mechanism to funnel people into posting challenges. Beyond just making it easier to post a challenge and make tweaks I would also like to see online honor count towards unlocks or have some other benefit.

I agree with the OP central point that there should be a way to set up battles to try things out without going into the wonderful world of online challenges.

Wait wat? How did I not…

…See thats what I mean about big red buttons and an interface. I couldn’t see the new challenges because I had to manually hit the refresh button even though I selected additional filters, clicked on details and history, and even ran a few Challenges over a few game sessions. If there was a popup when I first looked at the Challenge screen explaining this I totally do not remember it. And if I in the future I leave for a few months and come back when a new DLC hits, there is no way I would remember it.

For the average casual player with an aversion to PVP, there is no way they could become proficient with the current Challenge system… A Fleet Simulator based on single-player PVE content may have better luck with casual players.

All very good points my friends…all very good points.
I am immediately attracted to the idea of this, because the thought of re-doing Galactic Conquest gives me cold sweats…but something like this would be a lot easier.
So off the top of my head as a todo list I need…

A new main menu button that launches this…
A dialog that then lets you select basic scenario parameters
A drop-down list to add spatial anomalies
A gui for selecting and placing nebulas, planets and stars.
A button that allows you to launch the normal deployment screen in a special mode where you save out the first fleet
Another button that allows you to go and do the second (lets call it AI) fleet.
A fight button.

Not a small amount of work y any means (GUI stuff takes AGGGESSSSS), but not a months work either. I shall see what I can do. it would be nice to know just how popular a feature this would be, so I can prioritize.

1 Like

Well, I know I want this. I’m surprised it would take less than a month, actually.

Ok, well this is two days work on it. Some more to do today and also tomorrow to link it in to the deployment screen, but basically this is the new screen, you come here, either load in an existing scenario from your ‘custom scenarios’ folder, or create a new one (thats the default). You can place nebulas planets and stars, rotate
and scale them and drag them around. You can also pick from a list of editable anomalies.

The options screen launches this dialog that allows you to set all these options.
Then you can save this to disk, and those two deploy buttons will change to ‘deploy player fleet’ and ‘deploy ai fleet’, for when you want to stage your custom battle. And like any battle, the ‘challenge’ button will still be there, so this will be how you launch your own custom challenge scenarios too :smiley:
Any thoughts?

This looks fantastic! I think it’s well worth your time and will be well used. The only thing I worry about is creating custom scenarios that end up crashing challengers computers - there are a bunch of challenges with “?” listed as the map and they are extremely prone to crashing. So yeah, I just want Challenges to be bullet proof so everyone can play them, this seems like it could add to the problem. Overall though I’m super excited for the ‘Fleet Simulator’. It’s a great name too!

Very impressive! This looks better than I had thought it could. I really like the ability to customize the battlefield. Now we can create custom maps in addition to fleets. The initial impression is that this checks all of the boxes for functionality.

Will there be any future capability for more than 2 fleets in a battle? Having say a Terran cruiser force escorted by Yootan fighters against the Zyrtari would be pretty awesome. You might be able to create equipment that can combo with other racial fleets for future content that makes additional races more appealing/interesting. More than 2 fleets on the field would really complicate finishing the feature – I don’t know if the game can even support it – but that is the only ‘crazy extra feature thing’ I can think of.

A ‘maybe reasonable extra’ is making the map doodads and especially the Anomalies unlockable – something to spend Honor points on. Anomalies in particular could be nice expensive unlocks to burn those extra points.

Along with the Fleet Simulator, the Challenge UI probably needs additional filter tabs for the new content. Filters for custom scenario, y/n anomalies, y/n non-standard setup (ambush/other scenarios). Racial filters would also be nice, but there isn’t that much UI space. Perhaps a Preferences button in the Challenge screen to a window for search/filters/checkboxes?

Ah, a nice but nightmare feature-creep for Fleet Simulator: Victory Conditions.
-Button for Victory Conditions dialogue box
—Knock-out X% of the enemy (ship size)
—Achieve victory in X minutes
—Keep X(Ship Name(s)) alive for X minutes or victory
—Conditions could be Optional Objectives

Due to the abuse potential, these probably cannot show up in Challenges – but support for additional Victory Conditions would make both the Fleet Simulator and Official Missions even more ‘interesting’. With the timed condition, a slow missile fleet may have a problem winning – likewise, a mission to knock-out strike-craft could be won with a surgical force that costs less points than a grand slug-fest. (heh, eliminate strike-craft victory condition in a mission where Tractor Beams are disabled - what fun) This would add more capabilities, but I have to admit the feature is way out there atm.

Cliff, I’m really pleased by the foundation you have been able to create in a mere 48 hours. :slight_smile:
It’s off to a very good start!

Specific requests for polishing this new feature:

I) Budget slider – Let’s have a very generous maximum value here so that players can create truly epic battles. That’s what this game is for! :slight_smile:
Please set the maximum to no less than [size=110]3 million credits[/size] (giant fleets need love, too!).

II) Max Pilots slider – Same reason as in I); please set the maximum to no less than [size=110]5,500 pilots[/size]
(this allows up to a total of approx. 300 fighter squadrons OR 600 gunship squadrons, plus their carriers).

III) Map Size slider – Same reason as in I); please set the maximum to no less than [size=110]10,000 X 10,000[/size]
(this allows for custom missions requiring more strategic thinking than at present).

IV) Anomalies – How about some more anomalies to choose from, please? Here are some examples of useful new anomalies, prohibiting not just hull sizes but also specific types of modules and/or weaponry:
[list]A) No gunships allowed;
B) No destroyers allowed;
C) No limpets allowed;
D) No maneuvering thrusters allowed;
E) No destroyer support-beams allowed;
F) No ECM/EMP-payload weapons allowed;
G) No Radiation-payload weapons allowed;
H) No Shield Disruption-payload weapons allowed.
V) Description-text – May we please have a new text-display field to show a player-facing description for any custom scenario? This will allow for some fascinating story-based mission arcs from the modding community.

VI) Deployment buttons – Please add functionality for allowing the creation of two or more separate deployment zones for both players in a custom scenario. This lets us make more complex and satisfying battles, and do so much more easily than via hand-coding.[/list:u]

Alekan, I’ll second your idea of additional filter tabs.
However, as the leading proponent of racial uniqueness for GSB2, I’m also strongly in favor of being able to sort by race.
The Preferences button you mentioned should probably be the gateway to some kind of race-sorting button/field/whatever.

Also, your idea of Victory Conditions in the Fleet Simulator is fascinating. I wouldn’t even care if that sub-feature was not implemented for use within Challenges – as long as it can appear with in-game missions as well as anywhere in the Fleet Simulator, I would be very pleased! Cliff, you should at least consider adding something like what Alekan suggested.

All awesome ideas here, although some of the suggestions require some re-coding. For example multiple deployment zones is annoyingly harder than it sounds :(. Lets just call this version #1 of this, and I can think about getting other such stuff in there in future. Here are some new screenshots: (I added in a rough preview of asteroid belts and nebula clouds).

My next plan (apart from looking at a limpet bug) was to look into a mini-campaign thing, with the same fleet carrying over a bunch of missions. Would people prefer me to start on that? or to work on options for this sort of stuff? (or something else?)

Something similar to or automating the SAC challenges we had from GSB1 would be superb.

Now that we will have a test simulator, module balancing is probably the best thing to work on next. Even though it’s tedious, it’s needed. Right now there are too few ‘good’ equipment options - spending time further balancing modules gives new life to the existing content.


As soon as the in-progress Fleet Simulator is more fleshed-out and functional, I would like you to begin work on building & improving the [size=110]GSB1 Hull Editor[/size] into the sequel game. The present lack of it here is a serious brake upon all would-be modders’ progress. There’s numerous major things which the existing Ship Customizer doesn’t do, and we’ve been waiting for several months for this to become possible here as it was in GSB1.

For example:
Now that the sequel game includes the major new feature of limited firing arcs for hulls’ weapon slots, modders need a convenient and accurate GUI-based way to create firing arcs & set their orientation on their new ships. A fully-upgraded version of the original game’s Hull Editor is the logical solution.

I’ll continue this sub-topic as a full thread in the GSB2 Modding Galaxy forum, where it belongs. The thread is here, Cliff – please read.

Mini-Campaign thing

Other than bugs, mid battle GUI is pretty painful, a start would be to make it so that individual ship details don’t overlap. Looking at more than one ship at once is dubious, because it may just end up overlapping the other ship you’re watching. I can tell it’s different from GSB1 so that you can watch multiple ships, but it doesn’t work at the moment. The great part is that GUI upgrades help every battle everyone plays ever, so bang for the buck is excellent.

Wishlist: may we please use the delete key in your in-game text editor? I’d also like to be able to use standard punctuation. Even a message you sent me once has a / before every ’ and I can’t use ! in a Challenge title.