Combat Preferred Targetting

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Jaumito
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Re: Combat Preferred Targetting

#16 Post by Jaumito » Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:33 am

Guys, keep in mind this thread is born from another discussion about the relevance of having several fighter types.

The consensus then was that, at the moment, interceptors and bombers are rather underwhelming to say the least. One proposed solution was to introduce target priorities for all fighter types, to allow for more, and more interesting, ship design choices and strategic decisions. But then, it wouldn't make sense to restrict target priorities to only fighters. And that's how we got here.

Now consider this argument from Vezzra:
Keep in mind, the current combat resolution does not just resolve a simple skirmish, but a battle that spans the entire star systems it takes place in. Meaning, we're talking about a prolonged battle spanning a vast area, which (particularly in cases where more than just a few spaceships are involved) most likely is broken up into a lot of smaller and larger skirmishes, and probably last weeks or months (not just a few hours).
While sound in itself, I find this view incompatible with target priorities, so one of them has to go. As for myself, I'm partial to having multiple interesting choices to pick from, and general balance between the available choices - and I feel that introducing target priorities might help achieve this. I don't really mind if it makes space battles look like skirmishes more than strategic campaigns.

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Re: Combat Preferred Targetting

#17 Post by Ophiuchus » Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:03 pm

With the current implemented regime the following chance to hit a preferred prey per condition.

Code: Select all

preferred  No Precision    Average Precision ..vs None    Good Precision ..vs None    Great Precision vs None
10,00%        	 6,67%        	16,00%    160,00%            26,83%    268,27%    	44,47%    444,74%
33,33%        	22,22%        	48,15%    144,44%            68,63%    205,90%    	88,52%    265,56%
50,00%        	33,33%        	66,67%    133,33%            85,19%    170,37%    	97,07%    194,15%
66,67%        	44,44%        	81,48%    122,22%            94,28%    141,43%    	99,46%    149,18%
preferred - ratio of preferred prey vs total number of targets
No Precision - chance to roll and lock a preferred target in a single roll
Average Precision - chance to roll and lock a preferred target for average precision (i.e. 2)
Good Precision - chance to roll and lock a preferred target for good precision (i.e. 4)
Great Precision - chance to roll and lock a preferred target for great precision (i.e. 8 )
.. vs None - how much higher is the chance with the given precision to hit a preferred target compared to simply rolling the dice once


edit: had an error: No Precision column is bullshit. It contains precision = 1 if locking probability is applied, which is not at all for precision 1. I reposted a corrected version
Last edited by Ophiuchus on Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Combat Preferred Targetting

#18 Post by Dilvish » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:40 am

Ophiuchus wrote:
Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:03 pm
With the current implemented regime the following chance to hit a preferred prey per condition.
So, it appears that it is part of the current implementation that what you are calling "no precision" is actually a kind of negative precision, since it winds up with less than a pro-rata probability of hitting the target. I would think that 'no precision' should get a pro-rate chance of hitting the desired target.
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Re: Combat Preferred Targetting

#19 Post by Ophiuchus » Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:14 am

Dilvish wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:40 am
Ophiuchus wrote:
Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:03 pm
With the current implemented regime the following chance to hit a preferred prey per condition.
So, it appears that it is part of the current implementation that what you are calling "no precision" is actually a kind of negative precision, since it winds up with less than a pro-rata probability of hitting the target. I would think that 'no precision' should get a pro-rate chance of hitting the desired target.
Ahm. It rather appears that i copied the wrong column (rolling once including locking). With "No precision" I meant precision = 1 which means the same as without preferredPrey: there is a single dice roll, checking the conditions is not necessary as if all conditions fails, still the same target is used.

But as precision is defined as the number of rolling I probably should consider the case of somebody setting precision = 0 .
Currently the default precision is 2 (same as average precision), maybe i should change that to 1? Maybe not.

I'll update the table.
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Re: Combat Preferred Targetting

#20 Post by Ophiuchus » Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:21 am

With the current implemented regime the following chance to hit a preferred prey per condition.

Code: Select all

preferred..
..vs all targets
Bad Precision    Average Precision ..vs Bad    Good Precision ..vs Bad   Great Precision ..vs Bad
      10,00%        	  16,00%    160,00%          26,83%    268,27%    	44,47%    444,74%
      33,33%        	  48,15%    144,44%          68,63%    205,90%    	88,52%    265,56%
      50,00%        	  66,67%    133,33%          85,19%    170,37%    	97,07%    194,15%
      66,67%        	  81,48%    122,22%          94,28%    141,43%    	99,46%    149,18%
preferred - ratio of preferred prey vs total number of targets; at the same time this is the chance to roll and lock a preferred target for bad precision (i.e. 1)
Average Precision - chance to roll and lock a preferred target for average precision (i.e. 2)
Good Precision - chance to roll and lock a preferred target for good precision (i.e. 4)
Great Precision - chance to roll and lock a preferred target for great precision (i.e. 8 )
.. vs Bad - how much higher is the chance with the given precision to hit a preferred target compared to simply rolling the dice once (i.e. Bad Precision)
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Re: Combat Preferred Targetting

#21 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:02 am

I don't like the proposal that individual parts types should have a built-in prioritization or restricted target set outside of a few broad but specific cases (eg. fighters don't target planets). I also think the proposed implementation of conditions with various tiers or weights or levels of precision / adherence to priorities or rounds of targeting is overly complicated. The results and distinctions would be too subtle for most players.

My preferred implementation of weapon targeting control would be that weapons will by default target everything, and that players will find this problematic and want a way to fix it. The game would provide this in the form of targeting parts or possibly by having a leader be able to control the targeting. Getting the ability to control the targeting would be a strategic decision and part of advancing through the content, and require some investment of research, probably some influence to get a leader, and perhaps some production to produce a prerequisite building, or some effort to secure a required strategic resource. Actually adding the controlled targeting to a ship would require planning ahead by adding the part to a design. If weapon parts are already target-restricted, there's no problem and solution progression, or at least one that's not as interesting and which requires a bunch of extra parts to keep track of with different targeting conditions attached to them.

The actual mechanics of targeting parts would be initially quite crude, and would affect all parts on a ship. If a design has mixed part types, then a single targeting part would not necessarily be useful for all of them. For example, a basic targeting part could make a ship target fighters first, or ships first, or planets first. A next tier part might direct all of a ship's shots on a single target, or spread them evenly over multiple targets. Another tier might prioritize low / high structure, low / high shields, low / high damage capability. Parts that control targeting of only fighters, only point defense (flak), or only "short range" direct attack weapons are probably the most specific I'd include. This will make ship design decisions more involved / interesting, and pushes ships towards being more specialized / situational.

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Re: Combat Preferred Targetting

#22 Post by o01eg » Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:24 am

What if introduce "target profiles". The one of them is default and available from start. Each weapon part has a targeting described for each profile.

The profiles unlocked by research allows to build a targeting part. Targeting part inserts into targeting slot which available only in some "flagship" hulls.

If a fleet contains at least one flagship with targeting part the fleet window unlocks switch for targeting profiles.
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Re: Combat Preferred Targetting

#23 Post by Morlic » Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:49 pm

I think fleet-based approaches are problematic:
If I want to prioritize fighters with a part of the fleet and capital ships with another part of the fleet, then I would have to create 2 (or in general N) fleets. I will then have to make sure all these N fleets move synchronously through the galaxy map. So I have to give N move orders instead of only one, I have to make sure all the fleets have the same speed etc



Another thing to keep in mind in the overall discussion is that target priorities can heavily backfire. Consider there is a single carrier in the enemy fleet launching a single fighter per combat bout. If I give all my ships priority to attack fighters first and targeting becomes deterministic, then all their shots would be fired on that single fighter after it has been launched.

This has 2 implications:
1) If I can change the targeting priority dynamically before battles, then I can micromanage the targeting priorities so only few shots are wasted.
2) If I can't change the targeting priorities dynamically, then fleets may become essentially worthless just because they have an inadequate target priority for a specific fight.
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Re: Combat Preferred Targetting

#24 Post by Ophiuchus » Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:06 pm

Some comments on the state of the implemented design:
Capabilities
  • triggerconditions consist of preferred prey conditions and a weight/precision
  • ShortRange parts contribute their triggerconditions to the shooting weapon
  • Detection parts contribute their triggerconditions to all ShortRange part weapons in the ship, you can have multiple detection parts contributing.
  • FighterHangar parts contribute their triggerconditions to the launched fighter weapons
  • a single preferred prey condition is scripted against the target object and provides a tendency that such a target will be chosen in the end.
  • choosing a target works like this: choose on out of the list of possible targets, try each triggercondition, if that matches, try to lock it based on precision, repeat this process until a target is locked or we run out of rerolls (i.e. the highest precision in the triggerconditions
  • calculating the resulting probabilities is a bit difficult, but thinking simply of slight preferences and in categories like bad, average, good and great should IMHO suffice to build an intuition. Also note that precision helps more if your preferred targets are a smaller percentage of the possible targets
What is not there and i would not like: deterministic targetting - could make weapons useless; multiple tiers of triggerconditions - hard to combine, not KISS; support for fleets - I also feel general fleet triggerconditions will probably lead to micromanagement.
What also isnt supported: choosing a part for which to apply to conditions; multiple triggerconditions per part; support for leaders, planet focus as sources of triggerconditions etc.. I think these are too much work right now.
Whats is missing are more battle scanners and techs.

Current content:

Code: Select all

              DT_BATTLE_SCANNER_1: GOOD_PRECISION     Armed       (unlocked at game start, only detection part yet)
        
Flak          SR_WEAPON_0:         GREAT_PRECISION    space boats
MD,L,PG,DR    SR_WEAPON _1 _2 _3:  AVERAGE_PRECISION  no harmless ships (everything but ships with weapons, bombs, troops..)
interceptrs   FT_HANGAR_1:         GOOD_PRECISION     space boats
fighter       FT_HANGAR_2:         AVERAGE_PRECISION  flak
bomber        FT_HANGAR_3:         GOOD_PRECISION     space ships
              SR_SPINAL_ANTIMATTER GOOD_PRECISION     big space ships
So i think this setup solves two-and-a-half problems: space boat triad specialisation, uselessness of flak, and micromanagement of production queue for comsats.
Bombers are focussed on attack main ships, interceptors on bringing down bombers and other boats.
Flak is superb at bringing down space boats.
Figthers are jack-of-all-trades trying slightly to enforce space supremacy (first take out their main enemy - flak ships).
Comsats and other decoys get a slightly more ignored than before. This shifts their use/cost ratio a bit in direction of uselessness.


Really easy extensions/changes:
  • triggerconditions from other class parts; e.g. Launch bays could also contribute to launched weapons
  • let combined triggerconditions also apply to launched space boats
  • no preferences for SR_WEAPON_
  • triggerconditions from other class parts; e.g. Launch bays could also contribute to launched weapons
  • great new content based on the properties of the target (as far as FOCS can do the matching); space monster hunting parties; anti-colony/-outpost/-troop blackops team;
  • move the probabilities between determinism and uncertainty globally (there is an improbability factor current at 1.5 giving the probabilites i posted before)
Mid- easy:
  • adding distinction of space boats by adding tags to the hangars/launchers (or a LaunchedBy condition)
  • attacker filter condition (e.g. apply this battle scanner's triggercondition only to lasers)
  • different way of finding target ship
Not easy:
  • focussing all weapon parts from a ship on a single target
  • modifying precision and preferredTargets via effects
Edit:
Hm people are throwing in ideas. But i'd like to focus this thread again on the proposed system
  • The long term scripting interface - i think the current one is KISS ok. Do you guys think is targetcondition good enough? is it good enough to be extended in future (e.g. with attacker filter conditions)? - I need feedback on this.
  • Naming - e.g. precision is not actually a good word; the value does not actually describe the weapon precision, but a likelyhood that you will be in a position to shoot effectively at the preferred prey; it also describes a likelyhood to shoot at something different than the preferred prey - e.g. flak is designed to only rarely shoot at something different than fighters. So names
  • Finding the target resolution - i think the current implemented one has good qualities in composition leading to flexible setups. Main gripe is really to understand what is happening. Maybe the combat report could hint in which target resolution round the target was matching and locked - first round 'easy shot', second round 'shot', third round 'good shot', fourth shot 'very good shot', fifth round 'excellent shot', sixth round 'fantastic shot', seventh round 'legendary shot' (or the Fate ladder: 3rd Fair, 4th Good, 5th Great, 6th Superb, 7th Fantastic)
  • If we say we use the proposed system - what things which are really really missing? E.g. how much support does AI need? What monster targettingConditions - should they slightly prefer to attack their food (so you can draw their fire from your important ships)?
  • Content expansion is also a topic in its own - what parts and which techs should exist?
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Re: Combat Preferred Targetting

#25 Post by Vezzra » Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:08 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:48 pm
Vezzra wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:21 pm
So, if you want to have a more detailed/sophisticated simulation for target selection and firing, please also come up with something that provides an equally detailed/sophisticated simulation of the movement/maneuvering part.
I dont think this reasoning is logically sound.
Why?
But if you like to think so in the current implementation movement/maneuvering is as important as choosing your target. Its probabalistic skewing the randomness in direction of an intended goal, so the ships are moved in a position trying to hit the right kind of target.
As long as the probabilistic skewing effect isn't too strong, that's a reasonable approach. That of course excludes any form of deterministic mechanics, as have been suggested by others. Your original proposal didn't include those anyway, so I think that is something we can work with.

The main problem with the proposed changes so far is that they are strictly weapon based. However, a ship can have very different types of weapons, and when looking at the "maneuvering into optimal position" aspect a ship with very different weapon systems in theory couldn't optimize it's tactical maneuvering for all it's different weapons equally, but would have to prioritize. Simple (extreme) example: consider a ship with a Spinal Antimatter Cannon (to take out big capital ships and planets) and a couple of flaks (to fend off enemy fighters). In a battle attacking an enemy planet, should it try to go after enemy fighters or try to get into position to fire at the planet? It could only optimize one goal. The currently proposed implementation however determines targets on a per weapon basis (if I understand correctly). Which doesn't fit too well with the fluff explanation.

That said, the current combat system isn't any way less crude in the way it abstracts/simulates/approximates things, so your approach is still an improvement, or at least not worse in that specific regard, so that's not really a problem. Also, I don't see how it could be improved without making things a lot more complicated, and if I understand correctly, the purpose here is to improve the current stop-gap solution without going overboard, so to speak. ;)
Also I dont know who will implement the final system, and if there was a real discussion about the vision for that I think I missed the thread.
Who will implement the final system is easy to answer: anyone who feels like picking it up, as always. ;) TheSilentOne has developed some ideas, but I don't know if or how much experimental coding he did. There have been plenty discussions about tactical combat of course over the years, Oberlus linked to the most recent ones in this thread (I think).

The original vision has been a full-fledged 3D tatical combat, a partial implementation already existed (before the guy working on it dropped out). That plan has been abandoned though, for various reasons. See the discussions Oberlus linked in the thread I mentioned above about the current status quo.
Reading between the lines I guess people had expressed preference for a space soap naval combat system
I'd say that is pretty much a given. Practically all space games I know (where space combat is a thing of course) base their mechanics on the idea of "space soap naval combat". Anything even remotely "realistic" would be completely useless for a space game I think, considering how space combat in reality would work.

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Re: Combat Preferred Targetting

#26 Post by Oberlus » Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:46 pm

Vezzra wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:08 pm
Reading between the lines I guess people had expressed preference for a space soap naval combat system
I'd say that is pretty much a given. Practically all space games I know (where space combat is a thing of course) base their mechanics on the idea of "space soap naval combat". Anything even remotely "realistic" would be completely useless for a space game I think, considering how space combat in reality would work.
I strongly disagree (I may be wrong, ofc). Consider FO is not aiming at implementing interactive/visual combat. A "realistic" space combat simulator that is understandable and liked by all its players is perfectly possible when the only combat they are going to see is a text resumee and log.
Vezzra wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:08 pm
Simple (extreme) example: consider a ship with a Spinal Antimatter Cannon (to take out big capital ships and planets) and a couple of flaks (to fend off enemy fighters). In a battle attacking an enemy planet, should it try to go after enemy fighters or try to get into position to fire at the planet? It could only optimize one goal.
The example makes no sense to me. If the fighters are fleeing away from the capital ship then you can just ignore them (it is assumed that any other allied ship that depends on the flak "fence" of this one would be close to it). Even if the capital ship is doing something nonsensical as to "pursue" fighters (that are supposed to be faster, otherwise there wouldn't be any possible fluff explanation to allow fighters shot capital ships from close range), it can just shoot the spinal antimatter cannon to the planet at the same time it pursues the fighters. The SAC just need a straight line between the planet and the ship to "optimize" its targetting. And straight lines in space are... well, you don't need to move anywhere to get that. It is the space, the greatest emptiness you can get.
Vezzra wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:08 pm
...It could only optimize one goal. The currently proposed implementation however determines targets on a per weapon basis (if I understand correctly). Which doesn't fit too well with the fluff explanation.
I think you here are showing a blatant double standard. Current combat systems only serves well one fluff explanation: artillerymen like to shoot randomly. All that previous explanation about maneuvering and the such only makes sense if you are right within a very dense and unrealistic asteroid field. BTW, asteroid fields are mostly empty.

IMO, it is sad that FO intends to be just another naval conquest game where islands are planets. At least I hope we will have pirates soon :P

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Re: Combat Preferred Targetting

#27 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:13 pm

o01eg wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:24 am
What if introduce "target profiles". The one of them is default and available from start. Each weapon part has a targeting described for each profile.

The profiles unlocked by research allows to build a targeting part.
I don't see any need for an extra concept ("target profiles") to be added; targeting parts can be unlocked by whatever means is appropriate, mostly techs, and then adding them to a design would control how ships of that design target their weapons in battle.
Targeting part inserts into targeting slot which available only in some "flagship" hulls.
I don't see a need to restrict target parts to limited hulls. Part of the idea is to make select of targeting parts in a design part of the ship design process, with associated tradeoffs vs. other stuff that could be in those slots.

The discussions about what model of targeting and maneuvering during combat is realistic is mostly irrelevant. Appropriate fluff explanation can be concocted to explain whatever system is implemented.

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Re: Combat Preferred Targetting

#28 Post by o01eg » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:42 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:13 pm
o01eg wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:24 am
What if introduce "target profiles". The one of them is default and available from start. Each weapon part has a targeting described for each profile.

The profiles unlocked by research allows to build a targeting part.
I don't see any need for an extra concept ("target profiles") to be added; targeting parts can be unlocked by whatever means is appropriate, mostly techs, and then adding them to a design would control how ships of that design target their weapons in battle.
I mean profiles to setup targeting before battle so it could be dynamically set without changing ship design.
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Re: Combat Preferred Targetting

#29 Post by Vezzra » Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:12 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:30 pm
Space combat is way different than naval combat.
Space is open, huge and has no horizont.
Which would be relevant if we tried to simulate "realistic" space combat, which isn't the case. As others already pointed out, realism is irrelevant, important is what makes space combat fun and interesting (if that coincidentally happens to be "realistic", fine ;)). And, at least for me, reducing space combat to a simple everyone chooses the optimal target and fires at it sounds excessively boring. I mean, we could do that, but at least for me that would be even worse than the completely random system we have now. And fighters and carriers would have to be ripped out immediately of course, because (at least according to our current knowledge) those are probably as far from being realistic as you can get.

And, just as a sidenote: when talking about "realistic" space combat, no one really knows how that would really look like. The article you linked is an interesting read, but it too works on a lot of premises that you may or may not agree with (there are some things I'm skeptical about). Most notably is that the author bases their reasoning on current technology and scientific understanding, and some educated guesses about not too distant future technology. Which have some chance of turning out not too far off the mark within the next 100-300 years maybe, when we start to expand into our own solar system.

But considering how utterly fantastic and unreal our current tech and science would look to someone from e.g. the 18th or 19th century (so, 200-300 years ago), how do you think science and technology 5000 years from now would look in our eyes? Fact is, we don't have any idea what realistic space combat will look like. Most likely, 500 years from now people will look upon our scientific knowledge, our ideas/concepts about the universe and our technologies the same way we look upon the ideas/concepts of the world and the technolgies of the people living in the 15th century.

Modelling your space combat based on the idea of "space soap naval combat" (as Ophiuchus put it so aptly) sounds like a good start for me. As the plethora of WWII games proves, you can make interesting combat simulations based on that.

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Re: Combat Preferred Targetting

#30 Post by Vezzra » Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:03 pm

Jaumito wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:33 am
Guys, keep in mind this thread is born from another discussion about the relevance of having several fighter types.

The consensus then was that, at the moment, interceptors and bombers are rather underwhelming to say the least.
IMO that sounds a bit too strongly, I wouldn't say it is quite that bad. For a rudimentary placeholder system it actually works quite well in my eyes. Of course it is far from perfect, and can produce quite ridiculous results sometimes. Which more or less applies to all aspects and workings of the current system.
One proposed solution was to introduce target priorities for all fighter types, to allow for more, and more interesting, ship design choices and strategic decisions. But then, it wouldn't make sense to restrict target priorities to only fighters. And that's how we got here.
Well, to be fair, target priorities make a bit more sense for fighters, because they always are single purpose spacecrafts. Contrary to ships, which can and often are multi-purpose (see my example of a ship carrying a Spinal Antimatter Cannon and a couple of Flaks in my earlier post above). Which makes abstracting target priorities for them much more difficult to model properly.

So it actually can make sense to implement target priorities only for fighters, especially if you want to keep tinkering with a placeholder combat system to a minimum.
Now consider this argument from Vezzra:
Keep in mind, the current combat resolution does not just resolve a simple skirmish, but a battle that spans the entire star systems it takes place in. Meaning, we're talking about a prolonged battle spanning a vast area, which (particularly in cases where more than just a few spaceships are involved) most likely is broken up into a lot of smaller and larger skirmishes, and probably last weeks or months (not just a few hours).
While sound in itself, I find this view incompatible with target priorities, so one of them has to go.
Again, I think that sounds a bit too strictly. A system like the one proposed by Ophiuchus, that only mildly/moderately skews probabilities, can be fluff explained well enough to make sense and still be in line with the statement you quoted. Any elements that introduce deterministic aspects would be incompatible of course, at least unless you model and resolve the movement/maneuvering part separately from target selection.
As for myself, I'm partial to having multiple interesting choices to pick from, and general balance between the available choices - and I feel that introducing target priorities might help achieve this. I don't really mind if it makes space battles look like skirmishes more than strategic campaigns.
Well, that might come down to a matter of personal preferences, but I certainly would mind. All the proposals that introduce deterministic elements to the combat system I've read here would put far too much emphasis on target selection, and, as already mentioned in my earlier post above, to me that sounds boring.

If e.g. a Spinal Antimatter Cannon can really fire on the big juicy targets until all are gone before having to "waste" shots on not so optimal targets (for that cannon), without the enemy forces being able to do anything to thwart that - I fail to see what's interesting here. With such a system, all weapons can always be used with more or less optimal efficiency (especially since our system makes sure every weapon gets a successful shot during a given combat bout, as long as the ship is alive), I expect this to change combat dynamics in a way that it will become even more of a dull doomstack vs doomstack affair than it already is.

Or maybe an overly simplistic rock-paper-scissor system, which also doesn't sound very appealing to me.

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