This all looks really good! I remember quite a lot about of discussion about boarding a while back - I'm glad that you decided to keep it. Does choosing which ships try and board (and that determining allowed boarding composition) mean we will be manually assigning crew and marines?
No, its just assumed that the ships in the boarding task force gather up as many marines as are available (and can fit), and fill the rest of the space (if any) with crew of whatever experience level is handy. If you'll notice, there are no separate sliders for what XP crew to send - would be a bit much, I think, and marines dwarf crew effectiveness in combat anyway.
Also, will ships be able to fight past the 'travel drive' edge? I'm imagining fleeing ships accelerating quickly into a cloud of fighters that I'd stationed for ambush or something.
Yeah, it's still part of the map. There's nothing special about it beyond it being the only zone where travel drive can be turned on by the AI. (Which, as the player, you can do by pressing "enter", again only in that zone, and with a prominent UI element telling you to do it.)
That stuff about ships reactivating and having a chance of getting away sounds good, but:
One disabled enemy ship may be randomly picked for boarding after combat.
Why make that random and not let the player choose which of the re-activating ships to board? You also said "boarding should be a way to get new ships rather than a way to get more ships", isn't randomizing the ship choice counteracting that intention?
No specific reason, just to keep it more manageable UI-wise. It may or may not be a good thing to allow choice here (i.e. pick one, the rest get away!). Perhaps the "engage" option would even engage all of them, while board meant all but the one being boarded got away... hmm. Basically, I'm trying to keep it simple to start.
I don't think it specifically counteracts that intention. It just makes it a little more difficult to get the ship you want. Still, expanding it is a possibility.
In principle I also like the choice between "risk for the fleet but high boarding chance" vs "no risk for the fleet but low boarding chance and more crew losses". But...
If you choose a lot of (utility?) ships for a boarding task force and have a lot of marines, and you choose to launch assault teams, are there really high enough costs/risks? What if the target is a destroyer with 20 crew and you have 200 marines launching from your cargo ships? How could the costs of such a tactic balance out with or even surpass the cost of purchasing that destroyer? Are marines that expansive now?
Well, marines cost something like 300 credits now. A launch can result in the enemy ship maneuvering to get out of the way and getting away, which in turn results in the assault teams missing their targets, and some are lost in space. If they DO land, the combat odds are very poor and they'll take heavy casualties. If there's a self-destruct, the ships may be safe, but the boarding party certainly isn't. Finally, if they manage to get through all that and secure the ship, there's a high chance it'll be too damage to actually repair and has to be scrapped. So, yeah, it's the safe option for your ships. It's also extremely rough on the marines, and unlikely to produce results.
(btw there's missing a space behind "HSS Tuat" in the boarding message)
Thanks, fixed that up
Just a question: You said before that there can be only one escape scenario in an engagement. What happens if a retreating fleet destroys most pursuers and the remaining ones have to flee now? Do the pursuers still win?
The pursuees (is that even a word?) win in that case, but the encounter is still over.
really enjoy the development of the pursuit and board edge.
My only concern on the boarding is that the value of boarding attempts (one) is arbitrary.
Isn't there a better limiting factor(s)?
I completely understand the means by which getting a new free ship is something that should be avoided; but i feel like limiting the number of boarding actions to one, no matter the size of the fleet is a somewhat glaring gamey-mechanic. That is - to recall a previous blog post, breaks the game's immersion.
I feel by
- controlling the amount of repairable damage while in transit
- the cost of those repairs both in space and at a dock
- the viability of towing near-scrap ships
that boarding a ship for only vessel-gain would be nearly prohibitive in a similar fashion. Additionally, I really enjoy the options to assault other ships - but following the logic just stated, making those options tied to specific hullmods would also limit the opportunities you can attempt to board. (eg. adding "Boarding Craft" or "Assault Dock" tied to those relative actions.
That way players have the choice to board as many ships as they can, even if in the end, its a negative gain.
Other options like making boarding for special cargo/information/people are too far off to mention here.
Still, loved what your giving us Alex, thanks for taking the time to break it down.
[edit: to clean up my points]
Well, it's a fair point. As mentioned above, this may
get expanded (and, by the way - the boarding mechanics are fully moddable, so this could be coded up).
I do want to say that this "only one" restriction isn't front-and-center in terms of being presented to the player that way. It just doesn't happen more than once. So, I don't think it's particularly immersion breaking there.
Another element to test against boarding cost:reward would be to have derelict ships classified as "refurbished xxxx," being a version of the same ship but has ever so slightly lowered stats. That way the player is motivated to actually by a ship once in a while!
Hmm, neat idea. I like it! Will keep it in mind as a potential solution for any boarding related problems that may develop down the line.