Bold are mine.MatGB wrote:The 'comsat' hull is a workaround that creates several problems within the game, but no one has come up with a better solution for what it's actually for. Excluding it from certain techs is certainly acceptable, but if you remove reinforced hull I'd also want to make it not blown up by mines: we need an in system transport vehicle, which is what the hull is, but it doesn't need to be this implementation.
What is a comsat (my own conception, within FO): it is a very cheap piece of machinery in orbit of a system, with very limited manoeuvrability (can't travel on its own from system to system).
Uses of Comsats in FO that I know of:
1. As cheap cannon fodder when defending a system against more powerful fleets. This is very efficient against any kind of weapons/figthers, very cost effective and thus is seen by some as an exploit (correct me if I'm wrong here).
2. To trigger the planetary defenses to combat incoming enemy fleets. This is a legit purpose but achieved through a weird mechanic/workaround (IMO).
Please add any other that I might have missed.
What is that "in system transport vehicle" that MatGB mentions (and what is the relation to the in-game comsat)?
I think I'm missing something here.
Without knowing what, I was going to suggest some (independent) changes:
a) Change colony base (comsat) hull cost from "1" to "5.0 * [[FLEET_UPKEEP_MULTIPLICATOR]] * [[SHIP_HULL_COST_MULTIPLIER]]" (i.e. half of basic small hull's cost).
This allows for a more balanced efficiency of the cannon fodder tactic while it does not affect too much the costs of colony/outpost bases. And makes unnecessary to treat different the comsat hull (it was suggested in the linked thread to not apply the reinforced hull bonus to comsats because that predates flak cannons).
Optionally, ass another base hull with external slot instead of internal, so that you can add armour or weapons to the planetary defenses (with the associated PP costs, obviously) and create really tough system defenses.
b) Make the defense-focus also set the system into combat mode (so you wouldn't need a comsat to trigger combat of passing fleets). This would add some value to the defense-focus and reduce some posible micromanagement (once you have defense regeneration, you can effectively block a system every turn without having to micromanage comsats getting out every turn).
Alternatively, iff you would like to see gone for good the "need" to build comsats on every system, make that every system with positive defense strength triggers combat with incoming/passing detected enemy fleets. Just assume that the defense system that you get with the corresponding techs includes stuff in orbit to detect and shot down stuff.
c) Add three new defense techs that gives planets the ability to launch fighters (all numbers are temptative):
First tech depends on figthers tech and first defense tech and gives 6 figthers to each planet (like giving the planet 2 hangars and 3 launch bays), second increases to 18 fighters (6 hangars and 9 launch bays), and third tech increases to a total of 36 fighters (12 hangars and 18 launch bays). And maybe a fourth tech one for 60 fighters (20 hangars, 30 launch bays)? Optionally, each of the second to third/fourth techs can be unlocked by the corresponding level of figthers (laser/plasma/FR). Optionally, this could be tied to PP cost by requiring a figther factory building in the supply group (like the industrial center building).
Fighters lost in combat are replaced with the same rate as a ship (or doubled? or dependant on the defense regeneration tech level?).
If a there is a nice way to show the corresponding fighter meters in the GUI, this will help planetary defenses to counter swarm fleets (because, you know, currently each planet has one single big shot per combat turn).
Optionally/alternatively, another planetary flak defense tech (or just make the regular defense tech to include this effect too) could give the planet a number of flak shots equal to its defense strength (so for defense 45 you get one big shot of 45 dmg and 45 shots of 1 dmg), and I assume these would be able to target enemy figthers. This would need no extra meter to be shown and cover the same need, to balance planetary defenses against figthers/swarm fleets.