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Author Topic: Fighter Redesign  (Read 136644 times)

Grievous69

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Re: Fighter Redesign
« Reply #210 on: August 29, 2016, 05:03:12 AM »

Next update also comes along with a performance tweak so it should run smoother even with carriers, unless you have an ancient pc :/
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Megas

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Re: Fighter Redesign
« Reply #211 on: August 29, 2016, 06:15:54 AM »

As for fighters not getting stronger, do not forget that skills will probably be weaker too, such the skilled ships may not be as overpowering as they are now.  In particular, hull regeneration, provided by Damage Control 10, will be gone, and that was the biggest enabler of player soloing fleets.  Who cares if you take hull damage, just run away until you get half hp back!  It was great for high-tech ships, who have terrible shot range, but good mobility and burst damage.

Fighters being weapons now means they no longer eat fleet slots.  Still, I like to see fleet limit raised to at least 30, or more if it means AI fills its 40+ fleet slots with frigates instead of fighters.

We have kamikaze fighters - they are called missiles or torpedoes, and are mounted in a missile slot.

Re: "support weapon"
The best support weapon is the one that inflicts the king of status conditions quickest - death!  It my mind, the best support weapons are the most efficient and destructive "assault" weapons like Mjolnir for ballistics or heavy blaster/plasma cannon for energy.  Also, dual flak against missiles and fighters.
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Cik

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Re: Fighter Redesign
« Reply #212 on: August 29, 2016, 06:41:42 AM »

there are real support weapons, but the game doesn't model them. missiles and cannons that fire chaff/flare clouds to distract missiles, stasis fields that slow enemies, decoys, etc. real space control stuff that allows you to turn the battlefield to your advantage.

unfortunately, area-denial / EW / space control isn't modelled, and until it is (if ever) there is no real category of support weapons. the closest is probably ion but even that doesn't really qualify.

fighters never have been support weapons, and never will be until they have the above abilities. they are weapons, and as such they should have upsides, downsides, and a proper level of lethality.

if they don't have that level of lethality of every other good weapon in the game, they are simply a bad weapon. and unfortunately, they have been absolutely terrible (increasingly so) since like what, somewhere in .6? unfortunately i don't really see this rebalance changing that; it may actually make it worse as their only unique feature (strike waypoints allowing you to stack up forces on the side of large enemy ships) is getting removed, making them basically semi-guided missiles that are going to be hitting the frontal shield of whatever you're attacking half the time.

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TaLaR

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Re: Fighter Redesign
« Reply #213 on: August 29, 2016, 07:12:23 AM »

Maybe Carriers should be able to target any empty spot for rally point?
Send Fighters at ally = Escort
Send at enemy = Attack
Send at empty spot = Rally waypoint. (doesn't take CP, AI ships can use it to flank on their own)

Strategic rally-point also remains available (uses CP) and is used by all Carriers explicitly assigned to it.

...This still doesn't feel good enough without being able to split your fighters between different tasks (like split 3/3 for Astral to attack from opposite directions).

EDIT:
More detailed approach to how this can be controlled. Carriers can:
- Select active group of fighters (either like weapons or set of switches for each, which is more flexible but less convenient)
- Target empty spot.
- Order active group to engage (attack/escort/rally) depending on current target.
- Order active group to return
- Order all to return.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2016, 07:22:30 AM by TaLaR »
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Zarcon

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Re: Fighter Redesign
« Reply #214 on: August 29, 2016, 07:13:10 AM »

I love it!  :)

Elegant but straightforward.
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Gothars

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Re: Fighter Redesign
« Reply #215 on: August 29, 2016, 08:34:30 AM »

Send at empty spot = Rally waypoint. (doesn't take CP, AI ships can use it to flank on their own)

At the moment your fighters interact with your target. Since you can't target empty space, you can't send them there.
What you could already do is let them escort an allied ship and then set waypoints for that ship. But that seems a bit clumsy and unreliable

You could probably control them by specifying an angle and distance from you carrier as a rally point (like aiming a weapon), but that might be getting too involved again.



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DatonKallandor

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Re: Fighter Redesign
« Reply #216 on: August 29, 2016, 08:56:56 AM »

Keeping Rally commands making them player-targetable would be neat solution, but until we know in practice how limiting fighter range limits are, it's impossible to say if that would even be useful.

Honestly weirded out by all the comments claiming fighters are useless currently. They kick ass when used properly, it's just that they have some serious counters, the flight deck interactions can lead to some problems and the AI values them extremely highly on the strategic layer, so fleets tend to run away really early. Less scary fighters (strategically) that can't get wiped by an unlucky death string in quick succession is going to be awesome. Especially if skills that buff fighters make it into the next version too - even more so if they make it into officers too.
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Alex

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Re: Fighter Redesign
« Reply #217 on: August 29, 2016, 09:29:23 AM »

An idea: maybe you could control more than only your own carrier's fighters by letting other carriers escort/support you. And then their fighters listen to your command, too.

That gives you better ability to pull off elaborate fighter tactics, without making carrier flagships pointless or adding command UI clutter. Would also be rad for controlling groups of fast carriers behind enemy lines.

Hmm, I don't know. Sorry to keep saying "I don't know" to all the control related suggestions; still haven't had time to think through these, been doing other stuff. Will note this one down as well.



-PD weapons too cheap and too effective
-ranges far too short compared to PD weapons
-fighters too weak, too slow, do not do enough damage (some of all three)

among others. removing any real fine management from carriers as a platform (no rally point, what?) and slaving them directly to carriers (which i don't care about i guess) isn't going to make them any better. they still don't scale, they still don't do much damage, they're still too weak, too few, too slow etc

One of the main issue with fighters was that they could be focus-fired to such an extent that making them "balanced" in smaller numbers would make them incredibly overpowered in larger numbers. That's a big part of the reason they didn't get any balancing tweaks along the way to make them better.

Really, though, regarding fighter strength ... naturally, there's a lot of balancing involved here. Unless the point you're making is of the form "this *can't* be balanced due to how the mechanics work" (as was the case with the currently-released implementation, per my point above), then I'd recommend working with the assumption that their power level will be more appropriate than it was.


-far more cost (monetary and deployment) required by fighters than just bringing anything else

Considering they now cost zero to deploy, I'd say that one is pretty well addressed :)


i don't really get all this talk of "support weapon".. there's no electronic warfare modelled in the game so how is any weapon a "support weapon"? by definition you kill the enemy with a weapon, and if it's substandard at killing the enemy it's a bad weapon, not a support weapon.


Hmm. Quoting from the blog post, regarding "support":
Quote
Instead, what I’d like is for fighters to be a support weapon. Mostly ineffective if used on their own against a target comparable in size to their parent carrier, but extremely effective when combined with other ships – or with direct support from the carrier itself.

The bolded part pretty clearly is defining what I mean when I say "support" there; that doesn't really seem to mesh with how you're interpreting it.


now if you were going to change them into actually well distinguished strike / interception / space control / EW platforms then they could be a support weapon, but that isn't exactly what they are now, or is it?

It is! Bombers are for dealing high damage, interceptors are for effective point-defense (which includes anti-fighter/bomber), heavy fighters' jobs are to multiply the effectiveness of bombers, yet others provide "support" in the form of EMP damage. (Using "support" differently here! as in, "not highly damaging but making the fight safer for other ships".)

I think we're just using "support" very differently, and that's a source of some confusion. Generally speaking I mean "ineffective on its own, more effective than equivalent non-support weapon when combined with other things." For bombers, for example, "dealing high damage" isn't what makes them support, right, even though that's their role. What makes them support is the fact that this damage will be almost entirely avoided/mitigated if they're used on their own. And then, "support" to what? Bombers are support to other ships, usually. Heavy fighters - which pave the way for bombers - are support for bombers. Or maybe you can look at ships being support for bombers, since bombers have more damage potential. Let's just roll with whatever makes sense for any given situation :)


the whole point of carriers in the first place: that they're capable of pooling their resources across a wide front and striking the enemy's weakest point.

Honestly, that sounds like "deathball, but anywhere, any time". Per my earlier point, that's something that made balancing fighters near-impossible, the way they scale up. Limiting their effective range from the carrier is one step that helps here.




Maybe Carriers should be able to target any empty spot for rally point?
Send Fighters at ally = Escort
Send at enemy = Attack
Send at empty spot = Rally waypoint. (doesn't take CP, AI ships can use it to flank on their own)

Strategic rally-point also remains available (uses CP) and is used by all Carriers explicitly assigned to it.

...This still doesn't feel good enough without being able to split your fighters between different tasks (like split 3/3 for Astral to attack from opposite directions).

EDIT:
More detailed approach to how this can be controlled. Carriers can:
- Select active group of fighters (either like weapons or set of switches for each, which is more flexible but less convenient)
- Target empty spot.
- Order active group to engage (attack/escort/rally) depending on current target.
- Order active group to return
- Order all to return.
At the moment your fighters interact with your target. Since you can't target empty space, you can't send them there.
What you could already do is let them escort an allied ship and then set waypoints for that ship. But that seems a bit clumsy and unreliable

You could probably control them by specifying an angle and distance from you carrier as a rally point (like aiming a weapon), but that might be getting too involved again.

I get what you're saying, and thought about very similar things. In fact, as an outgrowth of that, one of the ideas for a ship system for the Astral was a "fighter beacon" that would route your fighters through its location when going on an attack run.

This just sounds so fiddly control-wise; I'm having a hard time picturing what good-feeling controls for this would be. Plus, clicking on empty space, with how view-panning works, seems like it would not feel good regardless of the controls, not if you had to do that multiple times in different locations.

Hmm. I wonder if something to do with hitting 'R' on empty space might work... in a limited way; splitting fighters from the same carrier feels like it'd be too much. And it seems pretty non-obvious.

Yeah, another "I don't know/need to think it through".

I love it!  :)

Elegant but straightforward.

Thank you :)


Keeping Rally commands making them player-targetable would be neat solution, but until we know in practice how limiting fighter range limits are, it's impossible to say if that would even be useful.

Yeah, there's some potential weirdness there. If a carrier is out of range, would it then try to go towards the rally point, or just ignore the command? Which one is preferable seems situational.
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LostInTheWired

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Re: Fighter Redesign
« Reply #218 on: August 29, 2016, 09:42:02 AM »

As someone who flys a carrier usually as it is, I can't say I'm particularly pleased with some of these changes.  What I enjoyed most about them was the tactical flexibility of fighter and strike wings.  The entire point of flying a carrier was about having a strategic overhead of battle.  It shouldn't be about micromanaging respawn rates and it DEFINITELY shouldnot be about having to position the carrier to flank targets.  That's the entire point of fighters and bombers as it is.

Having seperate equipment slots for fighters I think is a good idea.  To be honest, the respawn mechanics sound like they could be fine, but the loss of strategic control of the fighters is a huge blow to wanting to fly a carrier,  definitely not a help.
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DatonKallandor

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Re: Fighter Redesign
« Reply #219 on: August 29, 2016, 09:55:00 AM »

Alex did you consider giving players control over the Regroup-Engage toggle on a per-squadron basis? If there's a max of 6 squadrons anyway even the biggest carrier wouldn't get unwieldy (same size non-carriers have to potentially juggle far more than that in guns) and it's not like players would get thrown at that from the start. The cheaper carriers they'd pilot have a smaller squadron count anyway.

So either straight up toggle for each sqaudron (ctrl/alt + numbers 1-6?) or letting players group them in the refit screen using the weapon grouping interface so you can break your squadrons up into strike packages?

All your fighters, all your bombers, all your interceptors so you can keep your interceptors back home to defend while sending your bombers with escorts forward? or maybe group them into self-contained fighter+bomber groups, so you can send a smaller strike group to kill a frigate when you don't need all your squadrons away.

Hell if they worked more like weapons (so you can control individual squadrons or custom groups) you could let them remember what their target is even when the player switches targets: Player targets his own destroyer going in -> toggles his interceptor group to engage -> interceptor group goes and escorts that destroyer -> player targets enemy capital ship -> toggles bomber group to engage -> bomber group goes and attacks that capital ship, interceptor group stays on escort duty with the destroyer

If the player ever want to reassign a group, it's a simple 2 button presses: toggle to regroup, toggle to engage and it'll do whatever is appropriate for the players target at that point.

This isn't really more complex than what a direct combat ship has to go through in a fight just new. But if you want players to flagship carriers, then there needs to be enough active gameplay to make that worthwhile - and just giving the carrier guns isn't really letting them fly a carrier, it's just letting them fly a combat ship that happens to have some fighters.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2016, 09:56:58 AM by DatonKallandor »
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TaLaR

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Re: Fighter Redesign
« Reply #220 on: August 29, 2016, 09:58:28 AM »

Hmm. I wonder if something to do with hitting 'R' on empty space might work... in a limited way; splitting fighters from the same carrier feels like it'd be too much. And it seems pretty non-obvious.

Hitting 'R' on empty space is exactly what I meant.
Splitting fighters from the same carrier will be unavoidably fiddly in any implementation. So you are probably right. But it could be very strong play for Astral with it's 6 wings (against any non-360 shield ship that is not Onslaught).

@DatonKallandor yep, that's essentially what I implied.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2016, 10:05:25 AM by TaLaR »
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Alex

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Re: Fighter Redesign
« Reply #221 on: August 29, 2016, 12:42:09 PM »

It shouldn't be about micromanaging respawn rates and it DEFINITELY shouldnot be about having to position the carrier to flank targets.  That's the entire point of fighters and bombers as it is.

I wouldn't call that "micromanaging". Micromanaging would be if you're doing it per-wing, this is regular "managing" :) You're pressing one button maybe every 10 seconds. Enough to be engaging since you need to pay attention and decide, but far from enough to be "micromanagement", if we take that term to imply an amount of controlling that's an unwanted hassle. I mean, I suppose that's subjective - maybe someone doesn't want to press any buttons, right - but this seems generally reasonable.


Regarding flanking: if your carrier positioning doesn't matter very much (beyond "out of trouble" and "not too far"), then that's one less reason to fly it yourself. (I'll say, it'd be more interesting to see *why* you think that, and other things. As it is, all I can see is that you strongly don't think that should be the case (due to caps), but not what about it makes you feel that way, beyond it being the fighters' job. There's just not much discussion to be had without knowing about the "why" of things.)

I do see what you're saying regarding fighters doing this on their own, but to me that's far from being the "entire point" of fighters. If's just one more thing they could potentially do.


but the loss of strategic control of the fighters is a huge blow to wanting to fly a carrier,  definitely not a help.

I don't understand what you mean. Why would you want to actually fly a carrier yourself if you have full strategic control over fighters anyway? Wouldn't you want to fly a more combat-capable ship where your ability to control it makes a difference to its performance, vs one where it doesn't?

Edit: just want to make clear, this "loss of strategic control" is definitely a loss in my book, no argument on that point at all. I just think that what we get in return will turn out better.

Alex did you consider giving players control over the Regroup-Engage toggle on a per-squadron basis? If there's a max of 6 squadrons anyway even the biggest carrier wouldn't get unwieldy (same size non-carriers have to potentially juggle far more than that in guns) and it's not like players would get thrown at that from the start. The cheaper carriers they'd pilot have a smaller squadron count anyway.

So either straight up toggle for each sqaudron (ctrl/alt + numbers 1-6?) or letting players group them in the refit screen using the weapon grouping interface so you can break your squadrons up into strike packages?

All your fighters, all your bombers, all your interceptors so you can keep your interceptors back home to defend while sending your bombers with escorts forward? or maybe group them into self-contained fighter+bomber groups, so you can send a smaller strike group to kill a frigate when you don't need all your squadrons away.

Hell if they worked more like weapons (so you can control individual squadrons or custom groups) you could let them remember what their target is even when the player switches targets: Player targets his own destroyer going in -> toggles his interceptor group to engage -> interceptor group goes and escorts that destroyer -> player targets enemy capital ship -> toggles bomber group to engage -> bomber group goes and attacks that capital ship, interceptor group stays on escort duty with the destroyer

If the player ever want to reassign a group, it's a simple 2 button presses: toggle to regroup, toggle to engage and it'll do whatever is appropriate for the players target at that point.

I did consider this, yes, more or less exactly as you're describing. There are several reasons why I don't think it'd work very well.

1) The hypothetical loadout where you've got both interceptors and a strike mix of wings is rather, well, hypothetical. Only the Astral has enough slots to even consider it, and it seems like it'd be a bad idea anyway - if you're going to use a strike group, you really want to maximize its potential. Giving up half or even a third of its capacity for some interceptor cover seems ill-advised. This isn't like weapons where you're flux-limited and aren't giving up much firepower when you put in some point-defense. You do get some ordnance points from mixing in the cheaper interceptors, but it doesn't seem worth it.

Imagine if flux didn't exist. Could you justify putting 2 flak on an Enforcer, vs loading it out with, say, 2x Heavy Mauler and 3x Hypervelocity Driver? And then consider that PD on carriers is still an option, as a fallback from not having interceptors. If the carrier is going for strike-type offense, there's not a lot of reason to mix 'em in. And if you're going for an interceptor-heavy carrier, you really want a healthy mix of interceptors. It goes back to that whole point about fighters scaling non-linearly, but this time on a per-carrier scale. If you're giving up half your strike wings, you're giving up way more than half your strike firepower, and likewise for interceptors.

2) I *really* don't want to add 5 more controls for selecting groups of fighters, and if we were to mix them up with weapons, 5 groups aren't quite enough. Potentially the way to go here control-wise would be to add a 6th group, and let you use them for either.

Basically, it seems like a lot of added complexity (and dev-time) for something that looks a lot like a fringe case. I could potentially see going the "6th group" route if this proves to be wrong, though.

This isn't really more complex than what a direct combat ship has to go through in a fight just new. But if you want players to flagship carriers, then there needs to be enough active gameplay to make that worthwhile - and just giving the carrier guns isn't really letting them fly a carrier, it's just letting them fly a combat ship that happens to have some fighters.

I think there's plenty of stuff to do. Non-combat carriers have a fighter-specific system to time the use of, there's positioning, there's engaging/regrouping, and then there's managing your weapons. Adding per-wing (or per-wing-group) controls would take the amonut of stuff to do above that of a combat ship, not bring it up to that level.

Personally, I don't end up toggling autofire on individual weapon groups very much in combat, and when I do, it's a bit clunky. Not something I want to add *more* of, for sure.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2016, 12:59:25 PM by Alex »
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Cik

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Re: Fighter Redesign
« Reply #222 on: August 29, 2016, 01:00:14 PM »

Quote
Considering they now cost zero to deploy, I'd say that one is pretty well addressed :)

not really. you still have to buy the carrier, buy the LPC for the fighters, pay the deployment cost for the carrier, pay the maintenance for any fighters destroyed. et cetera. nothing leads me to believe that they will be any more effective and thus they are still worthless.

the problem has never been that fighters have been totally unusable; the problem is that increasingly they've been getting worse as everything else gets better (since like .5) sure if you put 200,000 credits of fighters together in a deathball, use half your DP deploying them and then point them at something it's likely to die if:
1. it is not faster than fighters (and many things are these days)
2. it isn't an onslaught which are essentially impervious to anything due to their absurd PD coverage

knowing this fighters are an immensely subpar weapon, and it boggles the mind how people can say they are not. everyone recognizes the thumper (and maybe it changed, who knows) as a garbage weapon that achieves nothing of value, and no one "in the know" mounts it. but here we are, fighters and flight decks are terrible and have been terrible for literal ages and now they're a "support weapon" that shouldn't be good "by themselves" why the hell not? there are tons of weapons in this game that are good by themselves. destroyers don't need cruisers to be good, frigates don't need destroyers, hell, capital ships don't even need support, and arguably they should need it far more than fighters! a capital ship is perfectly capable of soloing another capital ship (or hell, entire fleets let's be honest). why should an equivalent cost of flight decks not be capable of killing one?

this whole line of thought is just bizarre to me. if this is WWII in space (is it ?) fighters should be one of the most dangerous things bar none to any capital ship that isn't escorted by a flotilla of PD. and yet, a single capital ship can slice through an enormous wall of fighters like it's nothing.

as far as i remember, fighters didn't even respawn in combat in .5 and they were still better than they are now. they've been going in the wrong direction for literal years.







the whole point of carriers in the first place: that they're capable of pooling their resources across a wide front and striking the enemy's weakest point.

Quote
Honestly, that sounds like "deathball, but anywhere, any time". Per my earlier point, that's something that made balancing fighters near-impossible, the way they scale up. Limiting their effective range from the carrier is one step that helps here.

except if you have strike platforms they're inherently vulnerable to fighters, (or hell, send like one frigate which can shoot them all to death without even the capability on the part of the fighters to do much of anything) extended away from heavy support as they are. why does them 'scaling up' make them unbalanceable when everything scales up. if i put 3 destroyers in a line they scale up. if there's three onslaughts pooling turrets they're effectively impervious to 3 times their DP of missiles etc.

this makes no sense to me. i'm starting to despair of ever getting these things fixed since you're clearly not convinced there's even a problem with them.


« Last Edit: August 29, 2016, 01:26:47 PM by Cik »
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David

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Re: Fighter Redesign
« Reply #223 on: August 29, 2016, 01:12:43 PM »

Just to throw this into the conversation, FWIW - (mentioned this to Alex via twitter) I played a bit of the carrier gameplay on the weekend while touching up some fighter sprites and what it reminded me most of was playing Necromancer in Diablo 2.

Minion management, basically, and using the rhythm of regroup/attack in combination with whatever weapons/systems I had to throw into the mix. A Vulture doesn't have a lot to add on its own but it's nice to time a Pilum barrage (using fast missile racks to get as many missiles in the air as possible) to hit along with a fighter strike to make sure both get through. A Mora can take a more active role by using its numerous foward-facing guns to assist in shield-breaking so the bombers can land a strike, then try to tank with its defensive system while the fighters regroup.

It was all rather compelling, I must say.
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Megas

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Re: Fighter Redesign
« Reply #224 on: August 29, 2016, 01:18:30 PM »

Imagine if flux didn't exist. Could you justify putting 2 flak on an Enforcer, vs loading it out with, say, 2x Heavy Mauler and 3x Hypervelocity Driver?
Yes, because flak, at least dual flak, is just that good.  Dual flak is the best anti-missile in the game, and it finishes off unarmored targets quickly.  Single Flak is okay if OP is short, but dual flak is among the best of the best of weapons.
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