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Author Topic: Discussion: The case for fighters as weapons.  (Read 4300 times)

Morrokain

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Discussion: The case for fighters as weapons.
« on: June 25, 2016, 01:48:14 PM »

I wanted to get a conversation going about this since I believe I saw somewhere that a rework of fighters is possibly on the near future to do list and there have been ~4 "fix fighters" posts in the last 5 pages of suggestions.

A long time ago fighters in Starsector were weapon types that kind of shot out fighters like bullets. They then went through a model where they were a ship type that could "land" on a carrier and repair and rearm themselves but were completely lost when the whole squad was destroyed. Now we are at the current model of reinforcing fighters at the cost of supplies and reverting back to the old model only if carriers are not present within a fleet.

I think that with the addition of all the new features and especially with the addition of rng and procedural spawning on the campaign level, a case can be made for having fighters as weapon types again.

A couple pros to this model:

     1) It is easy to do with a pre-existing model already in the past development cycles. Combine it with the reinforcement (at the cost of supplies) mechanic currently present for a completely unique weapon type that is far more manageable, moddable and balanced than the current fighter system.

     2) Lessens the headache and impact of rng and random spawning by ensuring all carriers have the appropriate amount of fighters to field.

     3) Similar to the last point, fighters are fielded based upon their carrier's own flight deck capabilities and not just their weight class. (fighters tied to carrier itself, the spawn weights are inadequate to provide an accurate carrier distribution in most cases and in my mind completely kills any find of faction specialization)

     4) Can restrict certain fighter types from certain hulls (low tech condor cannot support wasps for example) to better diversify ship flavor while providing a balancing tool for some of the worst offenders (looking at you, trident).

     5) Fighters finally spawn from designated carrier (a wish-list item that has been circling around in the community for a while).

     6) Fighter only fleets are impossible (ends up being more annoying than anything else since they are useless without a carrier and prevents new fleets from spawning if not caught).



Cons:

     1) Fighters without carriers becomes an issue. Would require either the rejection of that idea or a way to keep that in the game somehow. my 2 cents: I'm ok with getting rid of it if it fixes the above issues but it is not the ideal solution. One idea to fix this would be to give some ships that it would make sense on (hound, kite, taursus, etc) that weapon type but obviously a civilian hull mod that great weakens it. Maybe far less replacement chassis and obviously some harsh tech restrictions (no bombers or support fighters and no hi tech fighters and interceptors).

     2) AI needs to be able to handle this. I'm not sure how much would be required here but I am of the mindset that an AI fine tuning of carrier and fighter tactics is necessary regardless and so consider this a "light" con.


Anyway what are the communities thoughts on this?
« Last Edit: June 25, 2016, 01:50:53 PM by Morrokain »
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Sy

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Re: Discussion: The case for fighters as weapons.
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2016, 02:56:06 PM »

having fighter wings as weapons of some kind has been suggested a few times before, most notably in this thread.

seems like Alex is considering it for the eventual fighter revamp, whenever that will come.
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Morrokain

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Re: Discussion: The case for fighters as weapons.
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2016, 09:49:55 AM »

having fighter wings as weapons of some kind has been suggested a few times before, most notably in this thread.

seems like Alex is considering it for the eventual fighter revamp, whenever that will come.

Browsed through that a bit. Good discussion there so I guess this is one sort of unnecessary lol. I was not as active on the forums at the time of that post (or just don't remember it :P) and wouldn't want to necro something almost a year old and I think this is a good idea at this time specifically because of the confirmation of the procedural generation for portions of the game. Fighters and carriers are too separate right now for that to work.

I will throw in my vote here for the system though I am a little skeptical of fighters draining the carrier's CR instead of the wing itself. I want fighters more closely tied to carriers, but I don't want a carrier's own combat abilities to suffer or be too intertwined with fighters. It seems like balance issues would inevitably arise considering the amount of soft carriers in the game.

How would this change affect ships like the Venture or the Odyssey?
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Megas

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Re: Discussion: The case for fighters as weapons.
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2016, 10:31:45 AM »

If fighters are weapons, then they do not need to drain CR.  They would act much like drones for various ship systems, except maybe they eat crew and can take orders.
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Tufted Titmouse

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Re: Discussion: The case for fighters as weapons.
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2016, 12:41:38 PM »

I would love if this was the case
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Deshara

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Re: Discussion: The case for fighters as weapons.
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2016, 01:28:08 PM »

oh god people agree with my stupid joke suggestion thread I posted last month
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Gothars

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Re: Discussion: The case for fighters as weapons.
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2016, 02:37:22 PM »

Maybe with the "fighters as weapons" idea fighters could still function without a carrier. Like other weapons they could exist as items in the inventory as long as they are not occupying a weapon slot. Say that fighters in the inventory can be deployed, but not repaired or replaced during a fight, and are permanently lost upon destruction of the wing. Could make nice early game helpers/targets.


Quote
I want fighters more closely tied to carriers, but I don't want a carrier's own combat abilities to suffer or be too intertwined with fighters. 


How would this change affect ships like the Venture or the Odyssey?
 

One of the nice things about this is that the player can choose how much these ships invest in ther carrier or combat capabilities. You can fill an Odyssey full of bombers and related hullmods, give it it balanced weapons and a light escorts or turn it into a full fledged assault ship without any fighters.



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Schwartz

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Re: Discussion: The case for fighters as weapons.
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2016, 03:00:09 PM »

And one of the major downsides is that fighters are no longer independent parts of a fleet. The idea originally was that all ships had hangar space and fighters were simply the smallest autonomous unit. 'Fighters as weapons' kills this autonomy and ties them to ships. With the many cool things that this idea surely enables us to do, it also restricts them quite a bit and this is the reason I'll never be in favour of it. Your Heron died? Well, all the expensive bombers assigned to the Heron are now scrap. They can't possibly dock anywhere else. It makes no sense.
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Megas

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Re: Discussion: The case for fighters as weapons.
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2016, 03:20:56 PM »

Given how fighters work and how easily they die, they might as well be carrier weapons because they are not viable without a carrier.  (They are not even viable with a carrier in endgame, thanks to officers and skills.)  Fighters really need an overhaul.
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Cik

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Re: Discussion: The case for fighters as weapons.
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2016, 04:25:11 PM »

it's a side-grade at best. i'd rather just have them made good again. if the cost for that is being tied to a carrier i can deal, but staying as they are isn't really an option long-term.
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Morrokain

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Re: Discussion: The case for fighters as weapons.
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2016, 10:20:53 AM »


One of the nice things about this is that the player can choose how much these ships invest in ther carrier or combat capabilities. You can fill an Odyssey full of bombers and related hullmods, give it it balanced weapons and a light escorts or turn it into a full fledged assault ship without any fighters.


I get what you are saying here and that's kind of my point actually  :). I really do not want a system that essentially makes me choose one or the other with those type of ships. The entire draw of a ship like the Venture is its tactical flexibility during combat not in just in how it can be set up beforehand. Re-specializing a ship costs time/supplies so when I go for a ship like that I expect it to be a jack of all trades so to speak.

I know you also meant that the third option from a hard specialization in either direction would be a "just right" weapon loadout that included assault weapons and fighters, but my instinct here tells me that attempting to balance that approach would make the middle ground loadout either the only viable choice or so poor in its performance its completely undesirable.

The biggest issue here is that making the carriers's CR drain from deploying fighters forces a shared resource pool between two very different features of the game (deployment and in-combat fighting) with no real benefit other than a false sense of simplicity. I say false because the cost of deploying a ship before combat should always be a separate resource from the weapons it uses during combat to prevent unnecessary convolution, confusion and balancing issues. Too many different things draining one resource and you will never seem to have enough of it and that resource becomes way too important. Thats on top of the issue that changes made to one system absolutely require changes to the other system. In my opinion, CR as a mechanic is already dangerously close to being too integral to too many features for the health of the game.

Fighters are not an exception to this rule (at least in my mind) and keeping a separate resource for their deployment (replacement chassis, their own CR bar per wing or something totally new) is essential to making carriers something fun to use rather than a headache because it has too many drains on its single resource pool to be effective when compared to the basic assault ships.

My solution is actually just to keep fighter wing CR separate like it is now so each fighter has its own resource pool, just integrate that mechanic for fighters as a weapon mount rather than a ship.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2016, 10:26:29 AM by Morrokain »
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Megas

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Re: Discussion: The case for fighters as weapons.
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2016, 11:37:37 AM »

Quote
In my opinion, CR as a mechanic is already dangerously close to being too integral to too many features for the health of the game.
I think it already is (not necessarily bad per se), and it applies even to non-combatant ships that have no business fighting.  You need minimum CR to Emergency Burn away from enemies, various hazards drain CR, and you get accidents if CR is zero.  Combat Readiness probably should be renamed to "Maintenance Level" or simply "Maintenance" to represent how healthy a ship is, given that CR is used as a currency for several unrelated game features.
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Morrokain

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Re: Discussion: The case for fighters as weapons.
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2016, 03:39:40 PM »

I think it already is... and it applies even to non-combatant ships that have no business fighting.  You need minimum CR to Emergency Burn away from enemies, various hazards drain CR, and you get accidents if CR is zero... given that CR is used as a currency for several unrelated game features.

This. This is my point exactly. And while as it currently stands I don't necessarily think CR is at the point where it is out of control yet (it should be noted that to many members of the forum this is debatable) I think giving carriers something else that drains it, especially at the rate that fighter replacements do, is not very beneficial and only stands to complicate balancing it against other ship types.

All I'm saying is that a separate resource or simply a separate CR meter that is independent of the carrier itself is a much easier option than trying to work around that kind of balancing act.  ;)

Anyhoo, I've said my piece on that topic, we will see how things shake up in the end.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2016, 03:44:05 PM by Morrokain »
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