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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:22 pm 
Release Manager, Design
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Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:56 pm
Posts: 4287
Location: Sol III
After having played around with carriers/fighters in a few games, here are my suggestions for a revision:

  • Decouple direct fire and carrier/fighter techs in the tech tree. You should be able to research carriers/fighters without having to research direct fire weapons, if you want to try a carrier/fighter only strategy.
  • Make the carrier/fighter tech tree more interesting. In addition to refinements which increase fighter damage, we need refinements which lets you increase hangar capacity and launch bay capacity.
  • The Flak Cannon should be part of the direct fire weapon line. This would be the weapon you research if you choose a direct fire weapon based strategy, and need a defence against fighters. There need to be refinement techs which lets you increase the Rate Of Fire of the Flak, so you can keep up with the more advanced fighter techs.
  • We need an additional weapon line, anti-planet weapons. Contrary to the bombard weapons, those are not controlled by a "Bombard" button, but work in combat like direct fire weapons and fighters. However, to complement fighters, they can only target planets. Where fighters offer distinct advantages to direct fire weapons when it comes to ship-to-ship combat (serving as cannon fodder and being able to pierce shields), anti-planet weapons need to be distinctly more effective against planets then direct fire weapons (significantly higher damage per RP/PP). Then fighters + anti-planet weapons would be a viable alternative to direct fire weapons. The advantage of direct fire weapons would be their versatility: although less effective than the specialized weapons, they can target everything, and you need to research only one tech line (the carrier/fighter + anti-planet weapon combo being more expensive research-wise). Of course that needs to be balanced carefully, but I think that's the way to go if we really want to offer players to distinct strategies.
  • As Mat suggested, reduce fighter damage significantly, but increase their numbers a lot. That should make the cannon fodder effect more pronounced, direct fire weapons even less effective against them and thereby the Flak Cannon actually useful.

These would be what I consider essentially necessary changes. Other ideas would be:

  • Introduce several independent lines of fighters (in addition to "standard": organic, asteroid, energy, each with distinct strengths and weaknesses).
  • Revise the planetary defence mechanic to allow for multiple lower damage shots for planets instead of a single uber-powerful one (which would allow us to lift the fighters and planets can't attack each other restriction).
  • Introduce shipyard extensions required for "fighter production". Ships with fighter parts could only be build at shipyards with that extension, and carriers would only by able to replenish/upgrade their fighters if supply connected to such a shipyard. That means it becomes a bit harder to supply your fleets with fighters. It's not sufficient to just be in supply, which means you can't resupply your fighters at the colony you just conquered, you need a supply connection all the way back to your shipyards. If your enemy manages to cut that supply route, they can effectively cripple your carrier force.

PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:37 pm 
Release Manager, Design
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Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:56 pm
Posts: 4287
Location: Sol III
Another two things that just came to my mind:

  • Get rid of that fighters-need-a-combat-round-to-launch-before-they-can-attack thing. I don't really see the point. It just makes everything so much more complicated, particularly when it comes to assessing actual combat strength. Fighters should just attack on the same round they launched, which will make them more directly comparable to direct fire weapons (and consequently easier to balance).
  • Have an extra species trait for fighter pilots. Actually, good/bad pilots would better fit for fighter pilots anyway, and have good/bad "gunners" for boni/mali for direct fire weapons.

PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:52 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:45 pm
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On the fire on launch turn thing, a different option occurred: Combat Air Patrols

If a fleet hasn't moved that turn, a proportion of its fighters are in the air ready to defend, with more on standby: yes, this gives the defended an advantage but that's a balance concern.

I also want fighters available to planets to be able to launch.

Definitely want ROF for planet defences, and am planning increasing the research time and possibly introducing a couple more stages for the current lot anyway, playing on High planets a lot at the moment and having the AI able to destroy entire fleets with just PD guns unless you've raced Big Hull building is a bit dull.

Splitting up the traits has been planned for ages, it's just a lower priority than the stuff I'm doing: which probably means I should open an Issue so someone else can do it while I do the tech stuff.

Definitely want to do more with the fighter tech tree, current implementation is very much "this at least works and the AI team can work with it", and nowhere near ideal, but the same is true of most of the weapon techs, combining them was a stopgap: it works and keeps my disbelief suspended but it's not optimal. ROF for Flak is a definite: I think starting it at 2 with cost of 8 not 20 and then having upgrades would make a lot of sense (20 is too much without upgrades).

If we can have a 'planets only' tag, that'd be cool, and I vote give it to the SpAM Cannon for testing.

I like the shipyard idea a LOT.

Also? Fighters shouldn't replenish on the turn you're in combat without a special feature or tech, as it is if you're in supply you get fighters back and your opponent doesn't.

Mat Bowles

Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:00 pm 
Space Krill

Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:44 pm
Posts: 6
Here are my additions.

  • Fighters could cripple battleships by directly targeting their weapon systems.
  • Planetary defense could also make use of fighters.
  • Add missiles as an alternative to fighters: A missile is launched like a fighter, takes one turn to travel and if not destroyed, does a lot of damage.
  • Some semi-intelligent target selection should implemented to avoid the Flak Cannon shots being vastedl

Btw. "Flak Cannon" sound awkward, at least to me as a German. Is this an American expression? Originally "Flak" is a German word-creation, shortened from "Flugabwehrkanone", which means anti aircraft cannon, so a Flak Cannon is a cannon cannon...

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:22 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2016 12:08 am
Posts: 359
A lot of great ideas so far, I agree with most of them, however it may be easier to weigh options when playing (and possibly to balance) if each weapon type is feasible on its own.

Limiting to 3 main weapon lines, I'd offer the suggestion of changing fighters and adding long-range in place of direct-planet.

The rules of long-range could be:
  • Does not fire the turn it arrives in-system.
  • Targets planets in-system: higher damage vs short-range, loss of pop/buildings once shields drop
  • Targets ships within a defined uu range (min and max), damage lands the following turn if ship is still within range.
  • Can not target Fighters or block supply

Rough idea vs ships, tracking incoming fire between turns sounds expensive.
Alternative might be to keep to in-system, but delay short-range and fighters by an extra combat round (increasing default rounds).
(With 5 rounds: Long-range fires on round 1, long and short-range on round 2, all on round 3)

The three lines wrt planets:
  • Short-range: no change - moderate shield/defense damage, no troop/pop/building damage.
  • Long-range: moderate/high shield/defense damage, percentage of population/buildings lost if shields deplete.
  • Carrier/Fighter: Low reduction in shields, defense, troops, and some collateral population. Shields do not prevent others receiving damage.

None of the weapon lines could completely de-populate a planet/cause ownership loss.
These would remain the field of invading, bombarding, or other action.

As to removing the 1 turn delay for fighters, I think it helps distinguish them as shorter range weapons.
Not hard sold on that opinion though, and would favor trying Combat Air Patrols.

Flak could (functionally) be an anti-fighter shield type.
(Think flak has been modernly termed for both the cannon and the ammo/discharge type)

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