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Messages - Alchenar

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Announcements / Re: Starfarer 0.35a (In Development) - Live Patch Notes
« on: August 23, 2011, 12:11:48 PM »
I actually like the current backgrounds.  They're just the right amount of 'interesting' while never obstructing what's happening in the foreground.

General Discussion / Re: Some .35 Fleet Command Feedback
« on: August 23, 2011, 04:00:57 AM »
Oh and just on the 'sticky orders' thing:

Conversely, maybe ships that run into enemy ships heading towards the same objective should be a bit more willing to abandon what they are doing and decide to fight it out properly.

General Discussion / Re: Some .35 Fleet Command Feedback
« on: August 23, 2011, 01:57:25 AM »
I haven't tested this, but I presume the rally command for strike craft won't force them to travel to that point after reloading before being reassigned to a strike command, right?  Alex, could you explain in a bit more detail what the rally command actually means (ie. is it just a 'defend' tagged for certain ship classes or a bit more)?

The flow I had in mind when putting this together is that you'd set up a strike rally point, then order a strike - and then the target would be dead. If it's not, then to get refitted bombers to mass at the strike rally point, you'll have to cancel the strike order itself.

If you have a very large number of bombers, it won't actually send all of them to strike - some will remain behind, and attack after the first wave heads to refit.

What I envisage being useful is that you set up a strike rally point, which is where all strike craft head to after being rearmed. 

Then from the groups at the point the AI could assign bombers to strike targets giving weighting to the class of the target and how heavy the bomber is.  It could also look at the craft refitting and moving to the point and decide to wait until more bombers are ready before assigning them if it decides there aren't enough to make the attack 'worth it'.  (ie. a single flight of daggers won't get past an onslaught's PD, but if two more are on the way from the carrier then wait a few moments and assign them all together).

As it stands, I can't see why I'd want (with a limited number of CPs) to issue an order that forces me to use a CP for every enemy ship I want my strike craft to attack, all for the nebulous benefit of having my strike craft all in one place when they have nothing to do (and if they have nothing to do, well... I've won haven't I?).

I can see much more utility out of an order that is 'go here before starting your attack run' at some point that doesn't require my bombers to go right through the middle of the firepower that's flying about the battle line.

General Discussion / Re: Some .35 Fleet Command Feedback
« on: August 22, 2011, 03:26:09 PM »
Lets talk bombers:  after they launch from my carrier they head towards their target and fire torpedos.  Except my carrier is usually in a line behind my fleet and the bombers are heading right into the fore of the enemy capital ships - which especially if they are hegemony is where most of their PD is located.

Obviously I don't want them to do this, I want them to try to attack from the flanks or rear if possible.  Ships change direction, so obviously this can't happen all the time.

Do other people see this as an issue or is it something everyone is happy with?

I haven't tested this, but I presume the rally command for strike craft won't force them to travel to that point after reloading before being reassigned to a strike command, right?  Alex, could you explain in a bit more detail what the rally command actually means (ie. is it just a 'defend' tagged for certain ship classes or a bit more)?

General Discussion / Re: I love the Elite Battlecruiser
« on: August 22, 2011, 09:02:53 AM »
On the Conquest:  it feels a bit like the missiles are in the wrong slots.  Was that deliberate balancing to stop the broadside firepower from being too powerful and to give you a reason to point head on to the enemy?

General Discussion / Re: Some .35 Fleet Command Feedback
« on: August 21, 2011, 04:01:18 PM »

Oh if you've tried it and it didn't work out, fair enough.

I guess you're viewing this from the perspective of the full game design whereas I'm viewing it from the single shot missions.

General Discussion / Re: Some .35 Fleet Command Feedback
« on: August 21, 2011, 02:00:01 PM »
I stick by my suggestion of lowering the total number of command points (and having a cap on fleet orders being the same as the cap on CP) but having them return over time.

ie. If you've played Dragon Age, fleet orders should work a bit more like 'tactics' do on your companions.

The limit should be on the number of simultanous orders you can issue, not on the total number of orders you can issue per battle.  I get that the objective right now is to make the command interface unobtrusive and to an extent unnecessary to have fun with the game, but the problem is that right now people who want to get involved with that screen and fiddle about with orders more are actually punished for doing so because you can end up simply running out and are stuck with whatever you had at that point.

In fact, if I'm reading you right, the Dragon Age method of managing party members is the solution to exactly the same problem you are trying to address.  You didn't have to mess with the tactics screen in that game at all if you didn't want to and could still have fun, but the option was also there for those who wanted to tinker and tweak to their heart's content.

e: additional unrelated point:

I think fleet order assignments need to be a bit more 'sticky'.  Lets use coral nebula as our example.  Deploy all your fighters and frigates in the first wave.  Set capture orders for every point.  As enemy ships are spotted and the closest points are captured odd behaviour starts to happen.  For example, a frigate might be halfway done capturing a point but a Wasp squadron across the map will finish capping it's point, redirect onto the point the frigate is on and the frigate will shift onwards to another task, in the process losing all the capture progress and causing you to have to wait for the wasps to move across the map.

Now you can avoid this by tasking ships individually, but this takes up Command Points that are in limited supply.  It's great that the system does reassign ships tasks dynamically, but it needs to be a bit smarter on not giving up on a task that's almost completed.

General Discussion / Re: Some .35 Fleet Command Feedback
« on: August 21, 2011, 11:42:40 AM »
I think something that merits thought would be bringing back assigned groups or 'wings' of ships that will all follow the same fleet command so that the player can at least make sure that certain ships will be trying to get to the same place.

Note: I think that would actually be the wrong solution long-term and that the right path is to get the AI to think more about where it is in relation to friendly ships, but for right now giving the player a bit more power to 'brute force' ship grouping where he wants them lets us see how that changes the gameplay under the new Command system.

General Discussion / Re: Some .35 Fleet Command Feedback
« on: August 21, 2011, 10:43:26 AM »
I came back to realise belatedly that what I really want is an 'escort' command writ large  :P

I certainly understand that keeping a tight formation is usually harmful early on, but it's the mid-stage that we're concerned with here.  The start of any map should be about the small ships zipping off to try to contest as many points as possible, but there has to come a point after those initial couple of minutes where the points have been grabbed and more serious forces are coming onto the field.

That's the point where you want everyone to be in the same general area because anything else just results in isolated ships being picked off (which should certainly happen if you misjudge your early game moves - but not when we're past the point where I want my ships all over the place).

The problem now is that there are only three options for concentrating force:  Defend (spend a CP to cluster at an arbitrary point in space and hope that's where the enemy head), Assault (spend a point to see everything rush in a chaotic horde at a point) and Strike (spend a point to see everything rush in a chaotic horde at a single ship).

What we're missing is the ability to have your ships concentrate around a point that moves (ie. you), which is exactly what you want to happen in the mid game where the cruisers and battleships are coming out and you want to bring everything together to take them on.

General Discussion / Re: Some .35 Fleet Command Feedback
« on: August 21, 2011, 09:58:40 AM »
I think it's partly a case of that mission being too much like shooting fish in a barrel. It is intended to be more of a command-style mission - you have lots of command points, you flagship is a carrier - so not piloting it much isn't a surprise. But, coupling that with a lack of strategic difficulties in the same mission is a problem. I have to admit that this one wasn't playtested very much.

I still think it's a lovely mission, the difficulty just needs to be relabeled from 'hard' to 'tutorial'.

I think what people really what in terms of new orders is a 'flagship' command.  Ie. Something that probably looks a lot like a 'defend' command that attaches itself to a ship rather than to a point in space.  The problem right now is that lacking any specific orders everything defaults to 'search and destroy', which is wrong and leads to the chaotic spread of ships problem.  Rather, the default behaviour (assuming you bother to assign a 'flag') should be to stay in an area around the flagship (and therefore fight as a concentrated group), with 'search and destroy' being a command you give once the mission is effectively won and you want everyone to chase down the enemy at their own speed.

In terms of 'formation', I think that rather (and this is all complete conjecture because I have no idea how you are coding the AI) than having ships try to maintain fixed positions it might be more fruitful to have ships 'want' to be in certain areas under certain conditions (which paves the way for commander 'traits' to influence where ships want to be).

For example, with no enemy ships in range, frigates following a flagship should 'want' to be somewhere out to the left and right flanks to provide protection.  Fighters and other strike craft might have the freedom to move in a much larger arch in front of the formation to provide forward cover.  

When an enemy force is about to be engaged (say, about 2x direct weapons range but this is completely variable) then this behaviour changes and the frigates 'want' to be moving forwards to envelop the enemy etc etc.

I don't know if this kind of thinking is helpful or not.

e: ok i saw this post in the other thread:

The reason for that is to give you the best chance of winning if you don't give any orders - sticking around by your flagship would just let the enemy control the map and then tear you apart, while going out to engage them would do better. It should also work more smoothly for a fight where you have significant superiority and just want to rush them... but that's really campaign stuff.

This is the problem we're talking about.  You shouldn't win if you don't give any orders.  I don't want to feel like the game will win itself without my input, or worse, that my input might actually make it harder to win.

I think what people want, and is in line with the new command system, is to be making the kinds of broad decisions of 'do I keep my fleet together to concentrate firepower, or do I peel off squadrons to go after that point, or do I just order 'general chase'?'

Winning needs to be about striking a balance between concentrating force and dispersing to control the map, except right now there's very little control over being able to concentrate your force so we're ending up with these chaotic melee's streching across the map.

General Discussion / Re: Some .35 Fleet Command Feedback
« on: August 21, 2011, 04:51:15 AM »
Some thoughts from playing 0.35a (mostly echoing tinsoldier actually):

The new system is in general a vast improvement and along with the other changes has made all of the scenarios much more enjoyable.

However right now I think that things may have moved a bit too far in the direction of 'the game playing itself'.

Case in point: The Coral Nebula scenario.

Under the previous version this mission was a horrible micromanagement nightmare.  Right now you essentially just have to set a few capture orders, deploy your forces onto the map and watch your fleet win without any input from you at all.

Now while I think it's really cool to watch a carrier based strike force tear up capital ships, I'm also very aware that I don't actually have to do anything to win the mission.  If I feel a bit silly then I'll take the carrier in to shoot up a cruiser but that's it.

Now perhaps the ease of this mission is simply reflective of the fact that the AI force just isn't configured to be able to cope with small craft but it seems to me that in this kind of scenario the game should require something more of the player to achieve success.

Perhaps bombers should only deploy with a carrier, and only launch when a 'strike' command is specifically given by the player.

PS.  Oh, and the hard cap on Standing Orders is bad and makes the game feel a bit too much like a Tower Defence puzzle when really I want to be playing Total War in Space..  Lower the cap but have the points return slowly over time.  Better Admirals can issue more orders at once, but all Admirals should be able issue new orders over time.

Suggestions / Rock Paper Sissors
« on: August 20, 2011, 01:42:54 PM »
Any chance of a quick rock-paper-sissors chart showing what (all things being equal) ships should beat what?  Obviously given how the game works all things are never equal, but it would be nice to know, for example whether I should be sending drones, or interceptors, or heavy fighters to face enemy interceptors for example.

Likewise in the codex it would be nice in addition to the flavour text to have a 'tips' underneath giving very basic 'this is a battleship, use it to go toe to toe with the enemy', 'this is a frigate, use it to protect the flanks of your capital ships', 'this is a carrier, do not put it in direct combat' kind of advice.

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