Useful New Commands

For me, this is a game about strategic thought. It’s not a twitch reflex shooter for stimulating only the reptile part of my brain. While I think stat balances of some of the existing items will be helpful and good, I think that the game is much less about what you use than how you use it. A few new commands could go a long way in balancing the game, and would do a lot more to make the gameplay interesting than tweaking weapons’ DPS. Here’s what I think we could use:

Ignore order: I can’t tell you how many capital ship captains I’ve had court marshaled and flogged for pointlessly chasing around fighter-class targets simply because they were too lazy to engage the serious enemy assets just a few hundred pixels further out. Likewise, I’m tired of my torpedo fighters attracting unwanted attention and wasting precious reload time by shooting at fighters. I’m tired of laser-armed fighters shooting at anything bigger than ten meters long that isn’t smoking, and that brings me to my next order.

Engage only when shields/armor depleted: Fighters are wonderful for mopping up crippled frigates, but only crippled ones. There ought to be an order to prevent a unit from engaging a given enemy vessel class until it’s shields or armor are down. Conversely:

Engage until shields shields depleted: Some weapons are only good at knocking down shields. Some weapons only knock down shields. If there’s any armor underneath it’s pointless to keep shooting if that’s all you’ve got, and I’m all for orders that help tie together diverse fleets of specialized warships instead of monotonous waves of clones. Speaking of which…

Skirmish radius: There should be an order for a ship to retreat from enemies closing to within a certain distance. Admirals would have to be careful to make sure these sorts of orders are harmonious with the engagement distance orders, but that is why they go to officer training school, no? A skirmish radius would do a lot to keep frigates alive and would make faster ship designs more useful.

Slave fire control units: I would like to see an order where ships can be ordered to fire only on targets chosen by another ship. Load one ship down with target painters, load another down with missiles. Hope the enemy doesn’t shoot the painter. For balance this might be made incompatible with “cooperate” orders. Again, I’d love to see things that allow specialized ship designs working together.

Time on target volleys: This would probably be tricky, but it would be very useful. I would like to see an order whereby ships wait until all their weapons are cycled before firing them off in one, monolithic, shield-shattering volley instead of picking away with them one at a time. For extra points, different travel speed weapons should be fired based on range and time to target so that they impact simultaneously.

I think these orders would be realy fun to use, would you comment on my support module thread? here are my thoughts

the ignore order… have you tried removing the attack fighters order or changing the priorities ?

the other orders I pretty much agree whit but I think the “engage untill shields are depleted” needs a bit of work, I’d prefer it that not having shields lowers an opponents ships priority by ( slider % ) if set to 100% they will ignore the shieldless to attack a shielded frigate first for instance, if set to %0 (why did you bother giving this order? ) it has no effect , anything between 0 and 100% is a great way for people to experiment whit their priorities, do they want to eradicate all shields first? do they want the ship to fire on shields of cruisers but ignore frigates ( trough the use of the frigate, cruiser and shield priority sliders)

the fire controll command would also be a good addition, “attack target ships target” order similiar to escort and formation?\

I dont realy have anything else to add exept my support for more orders.

dude i swear you have to be reading my mind…
i thought about that while travelling in mass transit and wanted to post it when i get home,and you beat me to it :smiley:

okay,i admit,volley and slave fire control didnt come to my mind,but still…



The skirmish radius seems particularly important for me. For example, I had a game with 2 cruisers fighting against each other. One with missiles, the other one with laser/ beam weapons. And that stupid missile cruiser happily run toward the other, even if it was too close to shoot. The best behaviour with “keep moving” would be to circle around its target at a given distance. And flee if the other is too close. (instead of 1 value for the distance to attack, there should be max, and a min :

  • further than max, it tries to go closer.
  • mid way between max and min, it either stops moving (if no keep moving order has been given), or circles around the target (it follows the tangent)
  • Closer than min, it tries to evade.

May feeling about “orders”, it that GSB is primarly a (great) game of weapon placement and cool visual effects, with the orders part less developped. Put I really see a huge potential there, and without making the game much more complicated.

i completely agree and i also keep running into the problem at every turn

the fact is that the last few times i have been testing some close range cruiser designs i keep getting problems from those few pesky frigates that just fly hull-to-hull with my cruisers, i would really love to get rid of them,the cruisers even are set to fire at them,but they keep firing on enemy cruisers which are way beyond effective range so it takes ages to kill them… and during the time the frigs are laying that few extra DPS on my tank that i just dont want there

GSB is indeed a great game but i consider the fleet orders inflexibility its greatest flaw… i realize i cant control the ships directly even tho i would love to,because the game just isnt designed that way, but sometimes it just drives me crazy when i cant tell them what i want them to do (even tho it would be common logic for the ship captain)

I feel exactly the same, which is why i fully support collimatrix’s proposal. The rather dodgy, wasteful, and semi-random behavior that ships presently indulge in – even WITH careful use of orders to craft a rational strategy! – is enough to make me scream. Much greater granularity of orders is urgently needed.

I’m especially smitten with the orders concerning engagement of shielded & unshielded targets. Beautiful! Likewise the concept of a TOT volley order. The ability to give an order to fire an “alpha strike” (i.e., absolutely everything, including the kitchen sink :stuck_out_tongue: ) is sorely missed in GSB.

yeah it doesnt do much except when you have problem bringing down the regenerating shields but…

also,would it be possible to give orders individually to weapons?
i would love to order my ships radiation guns to fire only on unshielded targets for example

it would work great on a combo of autocannons,beams or other low-shield-penetration weapons and disruptor missiles for example…
pop the shields down with disruptors and move on to shield stripping the next target,while anti-armor/hull weapons finish the first one

I know this has been mentioned at least once before (because I distinctly remember commenting on it), though I can’t for the life of me find it again. So I’ll just repeat what I remember saying then: an Ignore order would complete the scale for choosing targets:
Attack … delete Attack order … Ignore.
You have a priority for the target type … You will only engage the target type if there are no other potential targets in range … You will only attack the target type if there are no other potential targets on the map.

This might help make fleet behavior to look more orderly, as well. First your shield-killing ships (CL anyone?) shower the enemy in plasmatic love, then they break off to allow your AP ships a chance to crack the nutshell and devour the soft meat within. Cue maniacal laughter.

True enough that just setting engagement distances and giving your ship a Keep Moving order does not produce satisfactory behavior. And by “satisfactory” I kinda mean “vaguely intelligent”. Instead, you have captains happily plowing ahead much closer than intended, until they are shocked and dismayed by a surprise volley from weapons whose range you brought your ship into, stupid.

This could allow for an effective Formation order without actually using the Formation order (which allows you to Keep Moving). I tend to cluster ships with similar weapon ranges and set them all to Cooperative mode, which can keep a “battle group” together for a lot longer than I originally expected. This would be the logical way to do that with a single order (and probably be a fair shade more effective, I would guess).

I can conceive a few fiddly bits of balancing etc. that this might engender. But at the least a starting volley would be fairly cool; have the ship hold all fire until all weapons are in range of a preferred target, then let 'er rip. Afterward, fall back to whatever other orders are set.

All in all, a good batch of suggestions.

Thanks for the kind words all! Glad to see I’m not the only one frustrated with my captains behaving like lobotomized cattle instead of the academy’s finest.

Ah, good point. No need to go cluttering up the UI with redundant options.

Pretty much. I use mass lines of ships on cooperative too, and while this works fairly well at first, as they tend to concentrate fire on only one or two targets, they seem to loose cohesion as the fight goes on.

A one-time event would be fine too, and probably make quite a bit of difference.

Why thank you!

I’ve pretty much given up on fleet strategies other than making a big wall of well-shielded, slow cruisers with orders that are supposed to encourage them to concentrate fire bashing their way through the enemy with enough fighters to distract the enemy fighters, and if we’re lucky some of the enemy capital assets as well. Anything that would keep the frigates from indulging in pointless head-on suicide runs would greatly enhance their usefulness, and as you point out, make a number of cruiser design schemes more attractive as well.

Yep, and it only works up to a point. They’ll still engage if they think the targets they’re supposed to be shooting at are too far away. Believe me, I’ve had many discussions about this with my fleet admirals, and I’ve burned out the damn agony booth trying to get my point across.

Which brings up an interesting strategy to use until this is fixed; send overwhelming swarms of fighters to annoy and distract enemy cruisers. They don’t actually have to be able to inflict any damage; just be there to break up their formations and delay rear-line asset arrival to the front of the fight.

I’d be much happier if the range orders are fixed! /signed to every frustrated player who has their long range cruisers keep plowing forward even below min range despite setting the order to engage at, say 700. there’s a reason I want my missle/plasma cruisers at the BACK of my line and my pulse laser cruisers at the FRONT.

Yes a retreat at enemy range ## would be great

an ignore enemy that is target of other ship order would also be good but again it would have to meddle whit priorities because a ship that does not fire is a waste of gratuitousness

I would love to hear cliffs plans on comming commands and modules, the “great ideas” replies are nice I guess, just can’t resist wanting to look over his shoulder :stuck_out_tongue: