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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Hostile Activity (09/01/22)

Author Topic: Please allow some formation commands  (Read 737 times)

speeder

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Please allow some formation commands
« on: April 20, 2021, 12:45:56 PM »

I keep reading all the angry rants about the AI and realize often the issue is that the game has zero control over formation.

Seriously just look at most battles, the result is ships making a weird ball and slowly slugging out until someone go nuts and break formation, then that someone gets murdered, or murder someone unexpectedly, or the usual: turns the formation instead into some "stringy" stretched thing, as sevreal ships pick 1 target on both sides, and the battlefield looks now like when you place your hand on slime and slowly raises it and there are those sticky strings between your hand the the beggining point.



So instead there should be a way to burn command points by making some formation.

1. I  would love if in some fleets I could tag some ships to stay "inside" and others to make a circle or square around it (for example to protect a carrier or a station).
2. Sometimes your fleet has heavy firepower in one direction, for example  when all your ships have frontal shields, or when playing  mods that introduce broadside ships, so being able to make a 1600s style battle line would be great.
3. To counter battle line, similarly great would be able to setup wedges, for example I bet 3 onslaughts using their burn drive in a wedge formation probably would managed to split a battle line formation in half and then focus fire in whoever is closer to them and slowly kill everyone.


Just these would help a lot. A ton more formations are possible though.
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NoMercyForLudds_

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Re: Please allow some formation commands
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2021, 02:50:21 PM »

I'm not sure formations would work: it's only 30 units max that you can bring to the fight, and they are most likely non-uniform. So it's more like a special operations unit, with different specialists for different tasks, rather than a Spartan phalanx.  Plus, formations may result in even more complaints about AI "stupidity", just of different nature, i.e., "why do my ships stay in formation and die instead of reacting to the situation?".

Maybe instead orders to ships could be more diverse (beyond escort or point defence)? And be roles, so they don't have to be re-assigned before each battle. Though, not sure how realistic these suggestions are too..
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speeder

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Re: Please allow some formation commands
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2021, 11:05:48 AM »

I don't mean the formation should affect all ships.

I mean something like the "escort" command but better.

For example you select a group of ships with frontal shields and tell them to form a line, and then give them the defend order somewhere.

Then you can place your carrier behind them, and your frigates in the flanks with the other orders.
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NoMercyForLudds_

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Re: Please allow some formation commands
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2021, 11:49:31 AM »

You may want to detail your ideas further. What you described so far may seem simple - even obvious - to a human mind, but isn't easy to turn in an algorithm. And it may lead to issues elsewhere, as I said before, e.g., AI appearing stupid for some new reasons or combat becoming overly complex for new/entry-level players.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Please allow some formation commands
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2021, 12:02:18 PM »

Any sort of rigid geometry that ships are constrained to will inevitably result in more issues (i.e. ship trying to stay in formation flies to its death in the middle of the enemy fleet, or fails to pursue easy kill etc.).
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Drazan

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Re: Please allow some formation commands
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2021, 12:26:50 PM »

Any sort of rigid geometry that ships are constrained to will inevitably result in more issues (i.e. ship trying to stay in formation flies to its death in the middle of the enemy fleet, or fails to pursue easy kill etc.).

Then at least it would actually be the players "fault". Not like now when ships just decide they are going to die if they feel like, without any reason.
Also i think these formations could have some flexibility, for example ships are allowed to break it if they are going to die.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Please allow some formation commands
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2021, 01:23:22 PM »

Existing orders are already like that (situationally useful but also create a lot of new ways for the AI to be dumb), and people whine endlessly about them. People don't think that AI issues with existing orders are their fault when they give bad orders, so I don't see how it would be any different with rigid formations. People will blame the AI any time anything bad happens.

Also, you can already do large scale formations using multiple defend points. It's really not very effective though because the freedom to purse kills and retreat when high on flux is required for ships to be effective.

I also haven't had anywhere near as many suicide issues this patch, and most of my gripes with the AI are more due to a lack of situational awareness/context in the AI rather than bad 1v1 performance/obvious stupid decisions (don't get me wrong, there are definitely some weird bugs now an again).
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speeder

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Re: Please allow some formation commands
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2021, 07:34:19 PM »

Sometimes, for example if you are playing with Diable where all ships have narrow frontal shields, you want the AI to NOT break formation no matter want.

You want the AI to stay put exactly where you put it, no inching forward or backward, just waiting the enemy (that maybe other  ship is kiting) to get in range.

Right now the easiest way to do this is quite convoluted: using a chain of "escort" orders.


The other issue is "escort" formation is this: 1 ship on each side, then 1 ship in the front. Problem it doesn't necessarily put the best tank in the front, and although great to protect a carrier it sucks if you want instead to have small ships giving extra DPS near a capital ship.
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