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Topics - LB

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If a ship or wing is part of a control group you've defined previously but does not have sufficient CR to be deployable normally, you can still select it for deployment via the control group key only. When deployed, they will immediately retreat.

Suggestions / Battle order refinements
« on: March 07, 2015, 03:11:10 AM »
Recently I deactivated all my mods and started a savefile with the goal of trying to play the vanilla game as it was meant to be played, so to speak, by sticking to built-in variants, avoiding minmaxing, and using balanced fleet compositions that resemble the AI's. I ended up with a highly mixed force centered on an Odyssey, but I noticed a few shortcomings with issuing battle commands to such a mixed force. In short, the interactions between fleet commands and manually assigning ships is not sophisticated enough.

I think the reasoning behind using the waypoint/order/assignment system still holds well as laid out in that one blog post somewhere I read a long while ago; it's a good balance between traditional RTS micro and not interrupting the player constantly, but I feel that the following would improve the fleet command side of gameplay without noticeably increasing complexity:

Manual assignments should be persistent. For the most part this applies to Rally Strike Group. For example, at the start of a battle which I expected to be tough, I generally manually ordered Tridents to where I expected the frontline to be to allow them to fire automatically vs. any ships, Piranhas to a close rear/flank position for strike orders on bigger ships, and Daggers to a farther rear for special cases, with a Condor dedicated to resupplying them. I would set a strike order (via command group select -> right click) and the Piranhas/Daggers would come in and bomb the hell out of the target and go back to refit, but afterwards they would head back to an arbitrary strike rally instead of the one they were originally assigned to. I think having them head back to their manually assigned location would be more logical behavior from the player's viewpoint. In general, I think that the strike rally should be split into "Strike Group Staging Point" and "Strike Route Wayoint" to fulfill the two functions it currently does, although in practice I had a hard time coming up with any legitimate use cases for the "route through strike points" function, since I'd usually just assign them to the direction I wanted them to come in from.

This also applies to Rally Task Force, where sometimes I'd like my frigates to hang back at the start of a battle to avoid being vaporized by the opening volleys, for later intercept/harass orders. I'd like them to head back to their original rally when their target is destroyed until I manually rescind their orders, instead of going back into undirected autopilot. I'm unsure whether they should switch to a new target or head back to their assignment if other appropriate targets (e.g. Engage orders) exist; I think they should not, since it's more common for the player to give orders with the intention to have their ships avoid engaging certain targets they'd fare poorly against.

Also, bombers which are in the process of heading to a strike rally point to wait after resupplying will not join in-progress strike orders when they arrive at the rally. This seems to be a bug regarding the "bombers route through nearest strike rally" rule. It happens inconsistently but frequently.

I would like to be able to in a more general sense assign relationships between orders. Right now this applies mainly to the Rally Carrier command; specifically I'd like to assign a strike group to preferentially resupply at a specific carrier, and it would be logical to have the orders linked rather than individual ships. I also find a need for this when I'm subdividing forces between Capture/Assault orders: "left group should capture point A, and assault point B if point A is in control; if point A is lost and B is not under pressure ships should preferentially be diverted from B and not elsewhere". Basically, it would reduce in-combat attention burden if I could e.g. link some assault orders or some capture orders or some combination thereof, and auto-assignments based on enemy strength will preferentially shuffle ships between those linked points, instead of frequently pulling ships from the other side of the battlefield. On occasion e.g. a frigate on the (tactical, if not strictly positional) left flank will be assigned to a capture on the right flank, and one on the right gets sent to the left, etc, which is undesirable.

The overall goal is for me to be able to add 10 seconds to my usual 30 at the start of a battle setting up these extra overall tactics and then reduce or eliminate the need to manually reassign ships between objectives during the battle by having that stuff planned and conveyed to the game.

As a much more experimental and less likely feature, behavior modifications for ships. Obviously this is something that'll come in later with officers and more overall progress and so forth, but there's an important case which I think could be given a quick hackish solution now-ish: a per-ship non-locational order for "defensive stance", which would cause it to act like a carrier and kite, use flux conservatively, etc. I haven't tried this out by giving a ship otherwise loaded for direct combat the CARRIER tag and seeing if it tries to stay at max range from enemies, but this would cover cases where e.g. I load out fire support ships with some backup close-range weapons but would prefer them to stay at max range, or when I bring a Venture to a lategame fight and want it out of heavy combat. Basically, an order that would do this, dynamically in combat.

Essentially, I feel that with recent improvements to the playability of bigger fleets, there are wider underlying issues with the complexity/flexibility/controllability of the order systems that make it feel not quite right. That said, I can't put my finger on exactly what it is, and don't have an overall image of how it might be changed. In any case, it seems that a real revision would be a ton of work for relatively little gain at the moment, and I wouldn't ask for that. I'd wager that most players play modded specialized fleets, and in a lot of those playthroughs it's easy to ignore orders other than Assault and Capture. However, if nothing else, just having persistent manual assignments would be a big improvement for the battle strategy layer; is that something that would be relatively quick to do, given how the system's currently written?

As a side note, I did on a few occasions have to intentionally relinquish a control point and recapture it for more CP, in drawn-out fights involving many individual strike and retreat orders. This seems like the sort of "gamey" anti-fun behavior which recent updates have been trying to quash. Perhaps consider not granting more CP more than once per cap point, and/or making individual retreat orders free.

Very minor; when you select a group with a numbered hotkey for deployment, the deployment point usage goes up as expected; when you then unselect it with the same key, the deployment point usage is not updated until you select and unselect another ship.

Bug Reports & Support / Save files are oddly difficult to delete
« on: September 07, 2014, 08:49:08 PM »
I'm finding it hard to believe that this problem could be Starsector-specific, but I've experienced it exclusively with Starsector files on different installs of Win7 across different hard drives, so perhaps it's worth a report.

When attempting to delete certain save folders, the OS delete dialog takes an inordinately long time to appear, sometimes over a minute. When trying to delete multiple save folders, sometimes the file manager will just hang indefinitely. Some save folders can be deleted normally, but I can't spot any pattern in the affected ones. Going into the affected folders and deleting each file individually usually works, although the delete dialog will still be slow (~20-30s) to appear for campaign.xml and campaign.xml.bak. Sometimes deleting the individual files causes a hang too.

Other large files unrelated to Starsector don't behave oddly.

As a side issue, starsector.exe will no longer start. Using starsector.bat to launch still works.

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