cliffski stated previously that he’s strongly thinking of starbases as being the functional equivalent of dreadnoughts without engines.
To me, that means starbases would retain most (or even all?) of the combat capabilities of dreadnoughts, and probably include several other capabilities as well. After all, without any form of drive systems or fuel tankage for same, a starbase should have plenty of internal volume for additional goodies beyond what a dreadnought can carry. It’s easy to imagine that such an immobile structure would have ample room for some kind of a volume-intensive, high-mass “thing” that no dreadnought could ever include. Your own ideas of greatly expanded fighter & gunship support, and long-endurance or faster repair capacity for friendly warships, is a good pair of suggestions.
Things get tricky when trying to extrapolate past that point, because we simply don’t (yet!) have enough data from Cliff to know just what kind of balance between offense and defense he wants starbases to have.
Because starbase attack and starbase defense are favored by Cliff as additional gameplay modes, I find it believable that starbases might not take the form of nearly invulnerable bastions that bristle cactus-like with instakill levels of firepower in all directions. That would rob such battles of the dramatic tension as well as gameplay fun of needing to deploy additional friendly ships in order to assist the starbase in things like point defense, fighter interdiction, etc., or – if you’re the attacker – in forcing the AI side to do the same for its starbase.
If starbases have some form of weakness that they can’t fully deal with without the presence of a carefully spec’d protective garrison of ships, that would keep things really interesting. I’d be in favor of extremely-long-ranged (the GSB1 equivalent of Maximum Range=4,000 to 5,000 ! ), base-mounted weaponry that forces an attacker to fight a classic “approach battle” long before getting his own ships/guns within melee distance of the starbase. The guns don’t necessarily have to deal godlike amounts of damage – though merely “very high” damage would still be workable, as well as fun – but the range advantage should definitely belong to the base.
Quite agree about opening the treasure chest as rapidly as possible.
While I do think tech trees or research mazes are (at best) a really awkward fit for GSB2, it deserves repeating that the campaign version of the sequel might benefit from some degree of that. What is an impediment in the “no past/no future” tactical game could possibly be an asset for the “persistent universe” strategic game.
Regarding tech trees, although actually I love them in most games, I’m not that keen on them for GSB2, precisely because of the gratuitous nature of the game.
I include unlocking in GSB1 (and very likely GSB 2) simply to prevent ‘eve online syndrome’ where the very first time you look at a screen with ship components you run screaming, knowing you will never understand what any of it does.
The current tendency in game design seems to hurtle in the opposite direction, like Battlefield 4, which has so many unlocks, badges, awards achievements, assignments, leaderboards and general grinding that in >100 hours I still haven’t unlocked everything. That’s madness.
So I favour the GSB 1 system (or the GTB system) where unlocks come thick and fast, and serve merely to introduce you to the options at a manageable but fun rate.
Just wanted to say that i agree completely with Archeduke’s suggestions (all of them! :D).
I was going to make a very similar suggestion since my idea of a Destroyer (wich is reflected in Praetorian Industries Mod. Astro must have pasionately enjoyed P.Ind. Destroyers! hahaha). But! i’m really happy to see that Astro already did it, and in a much much better way than i would ever do!
And i’m even happier to see that Cliff already implemented the suggestion! Good job and thanks!
Now back to the discussion, i’m here to give a bit of chaos to GSB2:
The ideas about adding new scenario types sound really good! Even more with the idea of changing the list for a map! I’m looking forward to play with them in GSB2, even more to mod them!
GSB1 lacked of this flexibility when talking about the space around your created ships and fleet formations, scenarios were always pretty much the same. Survivals or Race1 vs Race2, it was always, kill them or get killed.
The customizable ships, formations, orders and fleets, aside the difficult levels, makes this less noticeable. But will only last until the player finds the most efficient ships and fleets to counter the enemy, kill it and earn the credits… Infinite success.
To me, a great problem of GSB1 was the lack of randomness, chaos! Something that the player will not expect, or something to make the game even more challenging.
This is my idea to upgrade scenarios in GSB2:
Multiple Battlefronts and Random Events:
GSB had 1vs1 battles, and now taking in count possible new scenario types like Defense of a starbase, Assault on a starbase, Convoy Raid (intercept the convoy), Pirate Assault (defend the convoy), Assassination (kill the defended target with a tiny fleet), Escort (opposite of Assassination, pretty similar to Pirate Assault but with limited resources and involving a third AI) Ambush (defend yourself against a larger fleet) … etc
What about 1vs2, 2vs2, 1vs1vs1, or in fact, Any number VS Any number of races!
Maybe Player vs Enemy 1 vs Enemy 2, or just adding a Third race to any battlefield would make the game substantialy more exciting! You know that the Enemy 1 will try to kill you, but what about the Enemy 2? May he assault you and then the Enemy 1, or may increase your chances of survival as it engages Enemy 1 in battle? Or both?
What if there is no Enemy 2, but an ally to defend? A cargo ship (or many ships of any type) that you will not control nor create, but so important to you that you will have to defend it to the last man until it enables FTL out of danger or gets destroyed, meaning failure?
This are events that can be predetermined, meaning that no one but the modder or personally Cliff will determine who is your friend or your foe, and wich is the objetive of the mission.
Now lets talk about Random Events, lets imagine, you are engaged in battle to death againt an enemy, and your ships are doing it great! The enemy fleets falls under your more specialized fleet, until… Whats that? Someone just disabled FTL behind your fleet! And had opened fire against your defenseless retreating or support ships! “- Pirates! Buy why? last time i fought this scenario there were no pirates? why now?”
Its Space my dear friend, when you fight a battle against your enemies, doesnt means that you are inside an unpenetrable box till the two sides destinys are determined, anyone could break in and smash you two to take advantage of it! Or help your enemy, or even help you!
This is my idea, a random event, something that may happen, a few ships of any race, determined by a second fleet deployment, entering in battle after a random ammount of time. The target of this fleet may vary, it can be your friend or your foe, or even foe of both, you and your current enemy!
Also, the appearance, or activation, of this random event could not only make the game more challenging, but also more profitable. If you manage to win against your enemy and your “random event” you may get a great-enough credit bonus to compensate the losses and take some for your further fleet development However, you may not, meaning that or your fleet is dead, or won the battle with so many losses that there was no profit on it at all!
Chaos! And not only restricted to unwanted guests (ie, extra ships to deal with) but also to chaotic events, catastrophic space anomalies, space wreckages and asteroids, planets or even extremely rare and dangerous battle conditions as time-space breachs!
But how? Lets imagine this, you create a great fleet made of your most greatly optimized custom ships, you know your enemy and you know you will win (as with GSB1), lauch the battle and watch how your awesome fleet disables FTL in formation, badass…
But, some of your ships shields fall instantly after raising them, more specifically a group of ships in your far right flank, and start getting serious damage over all their hull as you notice that they FTL’d out right inside a nebula with extreme radiation levels, they are gone.
Then, this may be optional, you can order to the rest of your ships to avoid the Target Object, or the driving AIs will already know that they MUST and WILL not get close to the Dangerous Object, ie, the nebula, asteroid, storm, blackhole, etc
The effect of these random events may vary, from permanent disconection of the ship (as a energy storm shocking out all the victims systems, permanently or temporaly), permanent disfunction of it (most modules are gone, all weapons, or all engines, or some designated modules that are weak to the designated anomaly), to permanent Destruction of the poor ship and its crew.
Also, any of the spatial anomaly or added fleet aspects will be separated in various different categories, or classes predetermined by Cliff. And the random event propeties will be customizable by the modder or programmer, meaning that its size, effects, advantages or disadvantages, and appearance frequency can be determined before the player gets its hands on the game and always respecting the selected type of random event.
This player however, will be warned of the danger before getting in battle, the scenario will be marked with a symbol of danger, or a warning screen will appear telling to the player that he is entering on an area of the space with high pirate activity, or plasma storms, or asteroids, or whatever may be the determined class of the random event. As an option, the random events could be completely disabled with a button at the options screen, just to ensure that the player will have to deal with the extra difficulties IF he wants to take the risk.
(Note: i’m taking in count the usage of a direct control option like later GSB1 had)
Yeah, probably a nightmare to code, but hey! Challenging games often turn out to be really good and fun games, and good games are often known around the gaming community!
I would like to see Shields be able to snap back. There were/is lots of concerns of Frigates in current GSB1 being nothing more than glass cannons - but imagine fairly fast Frigates coming into battle, losing shields (normally the death nell) but now able to retreat, re-arm/polarize/phase/digitise,charge shields and then return. Given a frigate that is relatively speedy (much faster than a Cruiser) it could be a subset of the cautious order.
There were lots of talks of modules and the average of 7/10 Weapon slots/Equipment slots. Instead of larger ships just having more slots, give the slots “depth”. Just imagine the huge supersized Tribe Freedom Cruiser Hull, it is HUGE and pretty much a joke. Now imagine under each slot is another slot, and perhaps another. In the top slot is the weapon or piece of equipments, and the amount of stacked slots underneath is where all the modding/addons/buff that piece of equipment can get. Larger ships may not have more slots than a smaller ship (Freedom vs Harmony) but the ability to upgrade defences, weapons, scanners, pool deck, would increase their usefulness and hopefully avoid the one hull for all designs that occurs.
This also could be a reason for Armour plates like in GSB1, now you can throw specific armour plates over each module depending on how precious a certain component is.
Getting Late going down will add more later perhaps/
YESSSS! Love at first sight.
I’m thrilled that we’ll have a much faster means of getting really large (e.g., 60+ ships) fleets formed-up and ready to roll.
Goodbye, decapitation strike; we hardly knew ye. Sweet.
Very interesting way of handling it. I’m aware of what obvious problem you’re hoping to solve here, but the new formation order process has other points of concern, too. We’ll look at them, too.
I’m very curious what sort of logic governs the election. The biggest question: when choosing the maneuver boss for the entire formation, what filtering will reliably yield the most tactical utility? Is it:
Electing the ship that simply has the highest number of intact hitpoints?
Or the ship with the highest total number of installed items?
Those two seemingly-close criteria do not necessarily have the same usefulness for the player.
For example, some sneaky, 1-gun, miserable tank-lure of a ship would have a only few slots filled. Perhaps that ship carries super-high-durability modules of some description (GSB1’s Camouflage Field) for bulk; the remainder of its slots split between armor, and being empty. That design goal bulks-up its apparent durability while still resulting in a hyper-specialized ship that’s really close to useless in actually destroying enemies, instead of merely trying to attract them into wasting their ordnance on its very-highly-armored hull. That’s a problem when simply electing the ship which is judged upon too few data points to be “the most durable”. Maybe we can do better than that.
OTOH, a non-decoy ship that’s outfitted for battle with a full or nearly full arsenal of weapons (and actually accepting some risk unto itself, haha), and with all its ship slots full might have slighly fewer total hitpoints – but if we’re talking about a GSB2 cruiser hull, its hitpoints are distributed across, say, 18-27 slots, making it much more difficult for that ship to be “mission-killed”. IMHO, that latter kind of ship - well-balanced for offense as well as protection - would be a more useful formation leader. I welcome other viewpoints about this.
To insure that elections favor the latter type of candidate ship instead of the former, I suggest the following:
In addition to “out of all ships in this formation, $SHIP has highest number of total slots as well as highest number of slots filled” you could implement some additional logic to that check. Any ship failing the test of “am i an actual warship with teeth, or a feeble armor/shield tank?” would have failed the election because you also checked to see:
less than 75% of this ship’s turret slots have a weapon installed
more than 33% of the module slots are empty
more than 50% of the module slots are filled with
any combination of armor, armor-repair, or shield modules
this ship is not elected to lead
no other eligible units exist within the formation
The breakpoints above will need more precise tweaking, but you see the general proportions involved. It’s a bit sloppy, but does help to promote balanced, fully-loaded combat ships to serve as command units before beginning to grope around the bottom of the bag for increasingly imbalanced, specialized types of hulls. I think it’s a decent place to start.
If I have a blind spot about what would constitute the “best” kind of ship to serve as formation leader, please say so. Maybe there are other aspects here I haven’t weighed fully. Perhaps someone thinks it could be better for the success of the formation as a whole if the ship with the most guns intact, or the ship with the most speed, passes the election logic. The best-armed ship in the group might reasonably be expected to typically (not counting dreadnoughts here) also be the least-protected.
What if there’s only one heavily-armed “attack” cruiser with tissue-thin shields acting as a squadron commander for a mob of GSB2’s new destroyers who are actually more shielded or even armored than he is? Yes, the single big ship has the most guns on a single hull, and it’s clearly an imbalanced type of design, BUT each of the rather defense-oriented destroyers here is more survivable on a per-ship basis. How to handle that kind of case in a way that’s consistently useful to the player?
The election logic is going to encounter a lot of things that, when formerly dealing (as in GSB1) only with fighters, were handled fairly easily. But now that the decision space encompasses many more possible combinations since it will cover ALL six hull sizes, it’ll have plenty of potential edge cases to resolve gracefully.
Which brings us back to Cliff’s original dilemma:
Cliff, we should wheel. Ships on the outside of the curve must temporarily speed up; ships on the inside of the curve must temporarily slow down. Maintaining as much of the excellent original orientation as possible – which was perpendicular to the targeted enemy formation – is a critical advantage. It must be preserved for as long as possible until the decisive exchange of fire between formations.
If your own fleet can keep its leading edge as close as possible to a right angle relative to the target group, this not only concentrates your frontal attack firepower for maximum effect but also helps your own flank/corner units up front avoid being shredded too quickly by enemy fire before they can make sustained use of their own weapons.
The perpendicular-facing approach is generally pretty hard for your most forward line of ships (make sure those escape pods are ready to fly!), but at least the danger is shared equally among them all along the line’s width. Also, your second, third, etc. ranks are advancing right behind the first rank of ships, helping to spread and reduce the danger to any given single friendly ship. They’re also adding more to your first rank’s local firepower with each passing second as the range closes, and more of your own ships are entering optimum firing range versus any enemy group which is not likewise turning his entire force to meet you head-on.
This would be a valuable situation is truly huge battles, with numerous formations of different sizes and ship-counts in use by both players. If one of your primary formations can blast apart a lesser formation of the AI player while doing so in an isolated location that keeps you out of effective firing range of the enemy’s primary formation, that’s one more step for the human player towards a victory of attrition. As we’ll see, presenting a flat forward aspect directly towards the enemy is typically better than presenting only a small corner against his own flat forward aspect.
Instead, what if your formation as a whole maintains a “line abreast” advance regardless of the bearing of the individual ships in your fleet? Each ship maintains its relative bearing with respect to all of the other ships in that fleet, but due to each ship simultaneously turning in place, the entire fleet is now angling on a new heading. That’s the alternative your diagrams in the blog post are detailing.
Many of the same things are happening to that kind of fleet at approx. the same time, just as it’s happening with the fleet that instead is wheeling as a whole to meet the challenge face-first. But that will quickly turn sour the closer this no-wheel formation gets to the enemy. The farther you are laterally from your formation’s axis of advance, the risk to individual friendly ships becomes profoundly unequal, and not in any way that’s to the entire fleet’s benefit.
The side of your fleet away from the enemy formation is left waiting to even enter weapons’ range at all, while the near side of your fleet is rapidly being turned into flaming coffins. Doubleplusungood. The friendly ships at the corner nearest to the enemy fleet are in grave peril almost immediately upon entering range, while the combat potential of the opposite front-corner’s friendly ships are usually wasted and play little to no role in the decisive moment. No amount of triple- or quadruple-shield ship designs is going to save any given friendly ship for very long – not when you’ve presented the enemy with a firing solution that allows him to focus-fire onto, say, the 3 or 4 corner ships of yours that are nearest to him, and do that with as much as a quarter of his entire fleet (or even more)…
An admiral that steers such an approach screws-up his chances of victory because this maneuvering comes close to being the functional equivalent of having two parallel sub-fleets instead of one…the nearer one gets brutally pounded on & expires too quickly while the farther one is seriously under-utilized. By not wheeling to face the foe, the human admiral threw away his positional advantage and allowed the enemy to create conditions for local firepower superiority. The intention certainly wasn’t that way, but the end result is rather painful.
Note: I want to emphasize that there will likely be times when players will want to maintain their fleet in line abreast formation, and allow their individual ships to pivot in place in order to maintain it. Whether or not it’s a poor choice in many situations, players should have the choice to do it if they wish to. Either make this kind of maneuvering handled by a combat order of its very own, or perhaps combine it with some other quasi-related new combat order and create a check-box within that order’s GUI window that can be clicked on to make this behavior happen. This way, both possibilities of Wheeling and Pivoting are covered by the game, and the choice between them remains firmly in the player’s hands.
If the formation leader incurs enough damage for auto-retreat or some threshold of the Cautious order to take effect, I think that unit should be detached from the formation at that moment, with an election devolving command down onto the next-most-eligible ship. You don’t want a situation where a command ship too badly mauled to successfully lead the group forward for additional attack opportunities upon the enemy is still behind the driver’s wheel. Just bump it from the position, allow it to retreat, and plug in the next ship in line.
( Otherwise, you’re looking at the unfortunate mess that happened to Beatty’s ships at the Battle of Dogger Bank, 99 years ago: his flagship gets seriously damaged and slows to a crawl; all electrical power lost, so no more radio; signal flags hoisted wrongly; friendly ships misinterpret the erroneous “order”; they go racing over the horizon after the wrong target, letting the rest of the enemy fleet escape unharmed; Beatty does not have a good day. Let’s not go there. )
Up above, you already have my thoughts concerning the nuances of how the election logic could possibly select units other than the “obvious” ones. Actually, I found it funny (in a dismaying kind of way, i admit) how quickly the topic of the election process split almost fractally into other closely related sub-questions with their own sub-solutions. It’s a really good idea and I can’t wait to test it.
As for mutual support, I agree 200%. The kind of combat environment I foresee for GSB2 would make layered defenses & interlocking fields of fire even more important than perhaps you’ve envisioned so far. Without that kind of carefully-orchestrated cooperation, all one has is a number of individual ships in a loose collection; not a naval organism of different units sharing their strengths in order to cover their weaknesses. Again, combined-arms operations becomes a key aspect of the sequel game; good formation discipline is vital to that. The more control the player has over setting that up pre-battle, the better.
That is an interesting notion. I sure hope the benefits will be worth the possible disadvantages, though. Why? Because it just reminded me of what happened to fleets in GSB1 that were populated with very heavily armed, very strongly shielded/armored cruisers crawling along at some obnoxiously lethargic speed such as 0.03: they tended to get hit super, super easily by incoming fire from the highest-damage, least-accurate-tracking weaponry of all. For GSB2, we should examine the paired “target speed-vs.-gun tracking” and “target size-vs.-gun tracking” paradigms in more detail when the time comes. [aragorn] But it is not this day. [/aragorn]
One final point…
Cliff, regardless of which way you lean (no pun intended) on the subject of formation maneuvers, there’s another related factor at work here that will eventually need to be satisfactorily resolved, and it’s highly relevant:
[size=160]Weapon firing arcs.[/size]
We shouldn’t derail the current maneuver topic in this thread, but it’s all but inevitable that GSB2 is going to have at least some kind of departure from “nothing but 360-degree” firing arcs. I adore the thought of having other kinds of firing arcs in the sequel game. All forms of maneuver subtleties, fleet formations and things that individual ships can do to their own movement & facing that they couldn’t do in GSB1 is going to have a significant effect upon the details of weapon firing arcs, and vice versa. Just sayin’.
perhaps you can allow the player to give each ship a rank, when the commander can no longer command, because of damage or otherwise it then gives command to the next highest rated ships, using the election logic if more than 1 of the same rank is present.
One thing that I don’t like to watch in GSB1 is when big guns shoot at small, fast fighters. Notably (but not only) at the beginning of a battle when a fighter squadron rushes in and all my big Plasmaguns and Missile batteries are firing as if all hell has broken loose.
My thought is that the game should handle this itself (no additional orders for the player to set up):
1. A gun should only fire at a target if it has a real chance to HIT this target (e.g. >2%) Note: This does NOT presuppose that the gun will do DAMAGE. The target may still have shields or armor that deflect/negate/attenuate the damage.
There is a situation where we could need an additional rule: When the game comes to the end and your fleet has lost most/all of its fast-tracking guns, we probably want our big guns to shoot also at fighters:
2. v1. Deactivate Rule 1 for a gun, if there are no opponent ships left that can be hit by this gun (hit chance <= 2%).
Or a different approach of rule 2:
2. v2. Deactivate Rule 1 for a gun, if the gun has not fired in the last X (e.g. 60) seconds. (Does not apply if battle-time < ~2 minutes)
Finally, we could have an optional order for advanced players that want to deactivate these automatic rules for their ship(s) (for whatever reason):
The problem with this is that it implies scripting, and a script language which is parsed in real-time by the game (or theoretically some sort of pre-compiler, which is a world of hurt). This is fine, and easy, and do-able, but it is not fast. I like the idea of GSB involving hundreds and hundreds of ships on each side, running at 60FPS on even a low spec PC, and that isn’t easy to with scripting of AI on top of all the graphics and sim stuff.
Having said that, the orders system definitely is due a big re-vamp.
The system of ship orders was a bit messy and complex and arcane. Assigning orders needs a better GUI. It also needs a way to see what each ship is actually doing mid-battle and why, so you can see more how the orders work. Perhaps some more complex orders, and conditional ones are needed? It would be great to have formations that are interdependent, so the group doesn’t disintegrate based on a single ship being lost.
Not really something that bothered me about GSB1, but I can agree on all the above points. Would definitely agree with whoever posted that plasma torpedoes etc should never fire at fighters. Maybe an ‘Ignore [ship class]’ order could be added… potentially even the (optional) ability to give individual targeting orders to each turret with separate orders for the ship’s drivers.
2) More ship classes
I see no reason not to add Battleships as a ship class, when I’m re-writing so much of the other code.
Yes please. I completely agree with Archduke Astro’s thoughts on destroyers; dreadnoughts and space stations would be great.
3) Better Ranking/Stats for challenges
The challenge system needs a bit of a revamp, with more features. Right now, finding a challenge from the thousands uploaded is a bit tricky. It definitely needs search features and other usability improvements.
This was definitely my #1 concern about GSB1. I’ve made these suggestions before, but to reiterate: players should be able to filter challenges by multiple fields. Want to find a Nomads challenge posted by 1223stw on Defend Caspian? No problems, here’s the list (which is also sortable by # of attempts & difficulty).
Players should also be able to ‘favourite’ challenges to create their own lists. Any time I wanted to post a challenge, I’d test it against a select few others on the same map. Rather than having to have their ref numbers scrawled in a notepad, and then scroll through the list to find them, it would have been great to have my own favourites saved in-game.
Also, every created map needs an individual name. You could even add an optional random name generator for those moments of low creativity. No more ‘Custom Map’ please.
Finally, some form of in-game scoring / tournament system would be incredible. I have no idea how this could be achieved though
4) Better post-battle stats.
GSB 1 had two different implementations to try out, but neither really worked as well as it should. I think this needs a lot of work, with the GUI maybe giving more concrete suggestions as to why you won / lost rather than just burying you in statistics.
5) Better minimap / split-screen?
I’ve been experimenting with multiple monitor support. GSB 2 will definitely work fine on 2560x1440 res. (It will also make at least some use of multithreading). I’d like to have the option to use the second monitor as a giant minimap, or as a different camera viewpoint on the same battle. Imagine one monitor following a specific ship, the other used for you to survey the map at will?
Not an issue for me.
6) Inter-ship capabilities.
The game had the imperial shield support beam, which suffered from balance issues, but I loved the idea. I’d love to have more of this, especially when it comes to repair ships that could fly up to damaged ships and repair them more effectively than self repairs. or how about tugs that could tractor-tow big weapons platforms into battle?
7) Space stations.
Surely starbase attack/defense should be a game mode?
The whole area of weapon/module design needs some attention too. I liked the general mechanics in GSB 1 of balancing cost/weight/power/crew with other capabilities. I also think fixed turret/module slots worked, but am considering adding a new ‘engine’ slot too. That would encourage some faster ships, and more interesting choices, plus it’s another way to make hulls more distinctive.
I could get behind some tweaks to the modules system. Someone mentioned light/medium/heavy slots - that could work, although I’d personally be happier with just two varieties, one for point defence / painters / light weapons and one for everything else.
Mostly though, I really want to see more unique modules for the different races. The DLC for the first game really got this right, so I’m sure it’s well in-hand.
Weapon modules should be able to have built-in limitations on what they target. An anti-fighter weapon so designed should NOT shoot at other targets. A huge “main gun” that is set by design to shoot at targets larger than fighters should not EVER fire at a fighter.
Missiles/rockets/etc should have a FINITE ammo supply. Torpedo fighters are then possible. They carry a couple missiles that will NEVER be wasted on fighters, and they can be escorted by “space superiority” units. This results in more cool design variability. Those fast rocket fighters will only have a few shots, fighters would rearm upon landing in a carrier bay.
Orders should be meaningful. If I tell a unit to only attack cruisers, it should only attack cruisers, etc. Setting the attack priority to 0 should mean ZERO.
Setting it to 1% can do exactly what it does in GSB.
I would like to point out that if GSB 2 has a multitude of classes more than what is in our current roster (GSB 1) that the proposed target limitation will start to be a hindrance. Will the user have to define each target? A fighter, or gunboat, or frigate, or destroyer, or cruiser or battleship etc. A weapon that can be used against a Battleship, by rights should be used against a cruiser, a destroyer - what about a frigate? Or a gunboat? Will he have to do it each time he builds a new ship, new battle?
If GSB 2 does have ammo limitations it will be required but again - how does the logic define a destroyer vs a frigate or fighter over a frigate? GSB 1 had such class distinctions it would be a possibility but as it looks GSB 2 will have a multitude of classes… Would a certain chance to hit work better? A literal “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes” command?
Here’s an idea that could alleviate this issue and make giving orders to new fleets less time-consuming.
Instead of being forced to build new orders from scratch for every new ship, it should be possible to create a list of ‘standard orders’ (missile cruiser, ion rush frigate, cruiser attack fighter, etc, etc) which could then be dragged-and-dropped onto new designs in the deployment screen.
In the first game, I must have assigned identical orders to different ships across the ten races hundreds of different times. If the system above could be implemented, you’d only have to create the orders once and then use the save file for any new ships filling the same role in new fleets.
EDIT After reading through this thread again I’d agree with concerns that the order system could get over-complicated with all the new ship classes. Maybe the classes could be separated into, say, three main groupings - Capital Ships (Dreadnoughts, Cruisers); Light Ships (Frigates, Destroyers) and Fighters (Fighters, Gunboats). So ships ordered to prioritise Capital Ships would target both cruisers and dreads without having to issue individual orders for both classes. These distinctions could even be used as a way of separating the module pools in the design screen…
If there are 10 classes, the module design can simply enumerate those that you wish to allow as targets. No line would mean it shoots at everything as it does now.
target_size=CLASS SIZE LIST
where CLASS SIZE LIST is a comma separated list of available class sizes the weapon will target. The default would be that the weapon targets all sizes unless the line is in the module.
This would allow specialty modules. Any modules created without specific limitations would act as they do in GSB. This adds more novel modeule types, and modding possibility.
With respect to orders, nothing needs to change except ONE thing. If the probability is set to 0, that should MEAN ZERO. Any % above 0 would work as it does in current GSB. Selecting “0” would result in no attack on that size class at all, under any conditions. That is what anyone would expect setting a ship to 0% attacks on a target to mean. What it in fact means now is 100% attack if they happen to be in range.
I entirely agree, with one tiny addition for gratuitous value: if there are no other viable targets anywhere on the map, then all weapons should blaze away (it’s not like the missiles etc. are going to get used for anything else anyway, let’s make a show of it). I would suspend this condition on survival maps due to the nature of the scenario (just because we’re down to all fighters right now doesn’t mean we won’t have half a dozen dreadnoughts to shoot at in ten seconds).
I think the big un-discussed elephant in the targeting-orders discussion room is the whole issue of ‘per-turret’ targeting.
Right now GSB just lets you tell a ship what to fire at, whereas a dreadnought with 4 superheavy plasma launchers and 4 defense lasers should obviously fire at fighters with the defence lasers and cruisers/dreadnought with the plasma.
Perhaps the best suggestion is to make the ‘default’ orders really pretty good. Ideally unless you have unusual tactics, they should be fine.
The real headache is how to reflect this in the GUI. A much improved order-assignment GUI is going to be required…