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Author Topic: How do we make small ships useful?  (Read 6596 times)

Warnoise

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How do we make small ships useful?
« on: September 11, 2020, 01:06:27 AM »

In the current state of game, anything below frigate is a waste of money and resources.

There are some few exceptions that can fill a specific niche role, and that's it.

In general, small ships are supposed to be harrassers and cheap cannon fodder. But currently, they are not fast/nimble enough to dodge incoming fire.

This is why in my opinion, small ships should have their speed/maneouvrability to be increased overall. That way, they are they flank capitals quickly and become useful even late game as distraction since they can dodge better.

Anyone has an idea on how to make small ships more useful?
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Havoc

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Re: How do we make small ships useful?
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2020, 02:26:19 AM »

I tried an run with frigates only
in my opinion the only problem is cr

speed is ok with so and engine boost

it would be nice to refresh cr in combat on a capital mothership
like fighters to carriers

I made also suggestion for that in suggestions.
sure, you can edit fleet size , retreat frigate and bring new (same build) frigate in

if the speed of small ships is too slow for you, edit it
I think there is somewhere an configfile for that

(edit: i mean also ppt : peak performance time, which lowers cr)
« Last Edit: September 11, 2020, 07:01:53 AM by Havoc »
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xenoargh

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Re: How do we make small ships useful?
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2020, 02:32:27 AM »

The problem with Frigates is that, past early midgame, they simply don't punch hard enough or take hits well enough to stay relevant.

There aren't any straightforward solutions to that, other than nerfing the bigger ships even more than they've been nerfed... and frankly, I think the bigger ships should be buffed, not nerfed, at least defensively; Vanilla's capitals feel rather squishy to me.

It used to be that the major saving grace of Frigates was that in player hands, one Frigate might ace a fleet, or at least be a significant distraction. The CR mechanic got rid of that, because it was un-fun having to chase the AI's frigates down at the end of a battle and optimax players resorted to really boring, lengthy kiting techniques to use Frigates to wear down enemies, among other problems.

First solution:  make Fighters cancel Frigates, by having better speed.  That ends player-frigate tactics without needing to resort to CR crippling them quickly.  It would also fix the same issues with the faster Destroyers that used to be capable of out-kiting fleets.  But that would mean getting rid of CR as a concept, basically, and that's a sacred cow at this point.

Second solution:  make Frigates grow considerably more than higher-end ships, in terms of raw damage output, toughness and speed, if used by a leveled Officer or player with Combat perks.  Don't increase their weapon range, because that would allow them to kite again; just give them more ability to dish out some pain, take some hits and leave.  Leave CR in to keep them from being silly in player hands.

Third solution: make Frigates even more disposable with a soft-cap on total fleet size that treats them as considerably-cheaper resources, so that players and AI fleets can just have a heck of a lot more of them.  This kind of fits with the "garbage ball" fleet concept and with the feel of the Starsector universe; a capital ship should feel really big, bad and ugly, but fleets should not be composed of multiple capital ships, but should mainly be little stuff.  The AI already does this a lot more than it actually should, but it'd be nice if players had to do the same. There are various ways to approach this; one of them is to simply make paying for Frigates much much cheaper per month vs. heavier stuff, another would be to use the not-yet-seen new mechanics for fleet size, etc.



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Megas

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Re: How do we make small ships useful?
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2020, 04:34:15 AM »

The main reason I do not use frigates is lack of PPT.  They do not have enough of it when facing the cowardly stall-happy enemy AI that wants to run away and not fight unless it and its friends can swarm the enemy as a deathball.

Main reason I use big ships?  PPT.  If enemy will stall, I make sure they will lose that game.

Of course, when endgame fleets routinely have eight to ten capitals (or three Radiants and a bunch of other Remnant stuff), I need big ships as well to punch hard and last long enough.  Even with big ships, unless my fleet is overpowered, multi-round combat due to insufficient PPT is a possibility.
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Gothars

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Re: How do we make small ships useful?
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2020, 05:16:24 AM »

There's another option to keep frigates relevant: create scenarios in which they fill specific roles. For example, only frigates might be able to raid the civilian ships of a fleet, without engaging the combat ships first. Or maybe they could enter the combat map from surprising directions. Or there are certain environments (mine fields?) that are hazardous only to bigger ships.

They already have a special role in pursuits, I think that could be extended.



Another idea would be to reduce their operating costs in the late game. There could be a "mothership" hullmod which makes a capital carry your frigates in hyperspace, eliminating their fuel/supply costs. Isn't that a cool image, an Atlas unloading a half dozen lashers?
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TaLaR

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Re: How do we make small ships useful?
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2020, 07:33:10 AM »

As long as frigates are crippled by lack of officers and to lesser extent PPT (having officer effects for every frigate would already alleviate that), they don't have a significant place in late game combat (maybe a handful for distraction, but that's all). AI piloted ones anyway.
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Thaago

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Re: How do we make small ships useful?
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2020, 08:15:26 AM »

I'll add that some high performance frigates (Omens, Centurions, Monitors and probably a few others) are still quite useful even in endgame fleets. CR is an issue on them but they can be deployed/retreated as needed.
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Megas

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Re: How do we make small ships useful?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2020, 08:22:33 AM »

I'll add that some high performance frigates (Omens, Centurions, Monitors and probably a few others) are still quite useful even in endgame fleets. CR is an issue on them but they can be deployed/retreated as needed.
That eats CP.  CP does not grow on trees unless player gets those skills or squeezes Operations Center on the flagship somehow.  Managing ships (to eliminate or retreat) in a tough fight can burn CP.
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Thaago

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Re: How do we make small ships useful?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2020, 08:25:28 AM »

I'll add that some high performance frigates (Omens, Centurions, Monitors and probably a few others) are still quite useful even in endgame fleets. CR is an issue on them but they can be deployed/retreated as needed.
That eats CP.  CP does not grow on trees unless player gets those skills or squeezes Operations Center on the flagship somehow.  Managing ships (to eliminate or retreat) in a tough fight can burn CP.

I agree that CP are important and reasonably limited, but its free to retreat them all if another order has been given. And if I'm not giving any orders, then almost by definition I can afford 1 to retreat the frigates.
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SonnaBanana

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Re: How do we make small ships useful?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2020, 09:20:08 AM »

Objective captures will be far more important next release.
http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=18979.msg296229#msg296229
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SCC

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Re: How do we make small ships useful?
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2020, 10:05:25 AM »

When it comes to ordering frigates around, I installed an "Automatic Orders" mod, because it retreats any ships that are at 10% of their PPT automatically, which I want, because I sometimes (ab)use redeploying. Some would call this cheating (because I don't have to choose between controlling my flagship and paying attention to what's happening on the tactical map), but if I had to either replace dead frigates or remember to retreat them (and spend more time in tactical map so as not to lose the order window), I would just stop using frigates altogether after some point.

SaberCherry

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Re: How do we make small ships useful?
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2020, 10:16:44 AM »

Third solution: make Frigates even more disposable with a soft-cap on total fleet size that treats them as considerably-cheaper resources, so that players and AI fleets can just have a heck of a lot more of them.  This kind of fits with the "garbage ball" fleet concept and with the feel of the Starsector universe; a capital ship should feel really big, bad and ugly, but fleets should not be composed of multiple capital ships, but should mainly be little stuff.  The AI already does this a lot more than it actually should, but it'd be nice if players had to do the same. There are various ways to approach this; one of them is to simply make paying for Frigates much much cheaper per month vs. heavier stuff, another would be to use the not-yet-seen new mechanics for fleet size, etc.

I've been thinking along these lines too.  If a fleet had caps of, say, 10 slots for any ships, 5 for cruiser or smaller, 5 for destroyer or smaller, 10 for frigates only, and 5 more for noncombat (civ-hull salvage, tug, freighter, tanker, or recon), there would be an incentive to keep and use frigates throughout the game, and a lot more fleet variety.  Frigates should also cost a bit less to purchase and operate, IMO, considering their squishyness.

Additionally, it would help if you could go over the fleet size limit but anything over the limit would be mothballed, or if you could decommission/abandon ships from the salvage menu, since otherwise you can't recover enemy ships after combat.  I like to go into combat with at most 25 ships in case I get lucky with recovering enemy ships...  if you have 30, you don't get to recover anything.  And at 29, you don't get any selection, just some random ship which is usually a Hound.  So to keep my fleet size at or below 25, what do I cut?  Frigates.  And I don't recover them, either, since that would put me over 25.

The biggest problem with frigates in an unrestricted fleet is PPT since in a big battle, no matter how cheap or powerful you make frigates, they will not last to the end.  Thus they either need as much PPT as big boats (which would not make sense in small battles) or they need to not compete for limited fleet space with big boats.

When it comes to ordering frigates around, I installed an "Automatic Orders" mod, because it retreats any ships that are at 10% of their PPT automatically, which I want, because I sometimes (ab)use redeploying. Some would call this cheating (because I don't have to choose between controlling my flagship and paying attention to what's happening on the tactical map), but if I had to either replace dead frigates or remember to retreat them (and spend more time in tactical map so as not to lose the order window), I would just stop using frigates altogether after some point.

I find that very useful as well...  in particular, I like to send in a couple of LP Lashers at the beginning and it's annoying to manually retreat them every single battle of any size.  Even just finding them is hard since there's no way to select them without searching around the map, and you can doubleclick one to mass-select them, but then you can't retreat them anymore.  "Retreat when out of missiles" is also super-useful, particularly for Kites.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2020, 10:23:19 AM by SaberCherry »
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Thaago

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Re: How do we make small ships useful?
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2020, 10:31:31 AM »

...

I find that very useful as well...  in particular, I like to send in a couple of LP Lashers at the beginning and it's annoying to manually retreat them every single battle of any size.  Even just finding them is hard since there's no way to select them without searching around the map, and you can doubleclick one to mass-select them, but then you can't retreat them anymore.  "Retreat when out of missiles" is also super-useful, particularly for Kites.

I also have trouble finding ships sometimes - just in case you haven't come across it, you can bind groups of ships to the number keys with ctr-number after selecting the ships. The bindings persist between battles and can even be used in the deployment window for fast deployment. I usually have my frigates bound to a number key for easy selection/finding.
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shrek_luigi

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Re: How do we make small ships useful?
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2020, 11:04:42 AM »

frigates should careen into enemy ships and self-destruct in a fiery explosion at low CR--it would "greatly increase their viabililty"!  8)
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Goumindong

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Re: How do we make small ships useful?
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2020, 01:57:56 PM »

Frigates are fine with a few exceptions and could largely be “fixed” entirely by having automatic retreat orders/fleet doctrine. IE. Ships automatically retreat at x% hull or x% PPT/CR as a set for each size of ship.

Then, the main drag of frigates, that they run out of CR or die futilely is mitigated. Plus the fact that more enemy frigates will be attempting to retreat will give them a bit more value.


As an aside, one thing I like doing for frigates is to reserve them until lines are met. Then they come in and flank enemy flankers and generally contribute a lot more
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