Should fighters really act as cannonfodder?

For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.

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What should ship weapons usually target?

Planets, ships and fighters equally
1
10%
First target ships and planets. If no planet or ships: target fighters
3
30%
Target only ships and planets. (Also remove fallbacks for other weapon types)
5
50%
Something different (please explain)
1
10%
 
Total votes: 10

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Re: Should fighters really act as cannonfodder?

#61 Post by Ophiuchus » Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:37 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 3:33 pm
Ophiuchus wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:00 pm
Laser fighters tech might be a bit too cheap? Or shield piercing is too effective (50% piercing would be probably better balanced)
Whoa, haven't consudered this. Need to think.
Fixed percentage piercing would make it hard to balance I guess - i do not want Fighters to be stronger influenced by shield than Bombers.
So what could work something like against Bombers 50% and against Fighters 33% effective shield. For a shield-6 would remove 3 damage for Bombers and 2 damage for Fighters - so Bombers 9 damage and Fighters 6 damage: 2* (9 - (6 / 2)) = 12 = 3 * (6 - (6 / 3))

I guess general balancing is OK - research levels also - you can start building at MD2 level and use and upgrade those to Laser-4.5 at the time of death rays; the main question is power level of shield piercingness. Each power level for Bombers adds minimum 6 damage (up to 12) per combat - one laser power level equivalent (DR equivalent). Laser bombers does minimum 1*2*9 =18 shield piercing damage (up to 36) and costs 35PP. You need MD4/Laser-2.5 to get 3*6 =18 damage (and that is not shield piercing) and the bombers are only 20% more expensive and about the same research cost. Bombers start at MD-2 level.

Later use (plasma/death ray time) mostly comes from shield piercingness - raw firepower is not so competitive anymore I guess.

We could also wiggle with concentration - e.g. double PP cost and double amount of launch/hangar capacity.
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Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: Should fighters really act as cannonfodder?

#62 Post by Oberlus » Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:53 am

Ophiuchus wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:37 pm
Fixed percentage piercing would make it hard to balance I guess - i do not want Fighters to be stronger influenced by shield than Bombers.
So what could work something like against Bombers 50% and against Fighters 33% effective shield.
I think by taking that path we are deviating from simplicity (more calculations to make to find out the possible outcome of a battle, moe rules to explain and to remember, etc.).
And maybe also we could be disabling certain trade-off decisions that are important for tactic diversity, because we would make shields always useful and therefore (maybe) a no brainer.

So, for now, I oppose to the idea of making any weapon only partially affected by shields. All or nothing.

BTW, I still dislike quite much the "fighters ignore shields because they shoots from within it" fluff. So nonsensical!: I can't shoot a bullet through the shield but can fly a plane through it? Then, why ships does not fly through it and shoot their direct damage weapons from within shield? Nah, ignore this, rant of the day.

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Re: Should fighters really act as cannonfodder?

#63 Post by Oberlus » Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:42 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:00 pm
Fighters and Bombers are balanced so always make the same raw damage (e.g. 3x4dam vs 2x6dam). For good species i decided to prefer for 1 point of damage difference to having 3x1dam vs 2x1.5dam. (So the "correct" progression for bombers would be 0/1.5/3/6 )
So we get:

Good Pilots
Fighters: +0.5 tech levels.
Bombers: +0.67 tech levels.

Great Pilots
Fighters: +1.0 tech levels.
Bombers: +1.0 tech levels.

Ultimate Pilots
Fighters: +2.0 tech levels.
Bombers: +2.0 tech levels.

The raw increase of damage per tech level stays the same between fighters and bombers, which might be good for balancing purposes.
But this means that Ultimate Pilots increase is equal to 2xGreat pilots increase and 4xGood pilots increase, a great difference when compared to how other weapons apply pilots trait (where ultimate is 1.5xGreat and 3xGood):

"Normal" weapons:
Good Pilots: +1.0 tech levels.
Great Pilots: +2.0 tech levels.
Ultimate Pilots: +3.0 tech levels.

The new non-linearity for the fighters can have a bad effect for balancing purposes, it really bugs me. I would very much prefer something like:

Good Pilots: +0.5 tech levels.
Great Pilots: +1.0 tech levels.
Ultimate Pilots: +1.5 tech levels.

That cannot be achieved with current base damage values if we won't to have the same raw increase of damage per skill level for both fighters and bombers. So I say let's drop that requirement:

Fighters per shot and skill bonus: +1 (+0.5 tech levels, +3 raw damage per level)
Bombers per shot and skill bonus: +2 (+0.67 tech levels, +4 raw damage per level)

Per shot and skill bonus
Good Pilots: Fighter +1 (+0.5 tech levels), Bomber +2 (+0.67 tech levels)
Great Pilots: Fighter +2 (+1.0 tech levels), Bomber +4 (+1.33 tech levels)
Ultimate Pilots: Fighter +3 (+1.5 tech levels), Bomber +6 (+2.0 tech levels)

The differences in damage/cost ratio are small enough to be acceptable:
- The most strong difference is between Ultimate-MD-Bombers and Ultimate-MD-Fighters, with 14.2% more damage per PP.
- Differences are less significative with greater tech levels: Ultimate-DR-Bombers do 7.7% more damage per PP than Ultimate-DR-Fighters.

Also, I like that fighters require 50% more PD power to be fully down on a single bout. It's true that they can also be "distracted" to kill interceptors, but enemy must invest on those (which are useless against ships, so it has it's drawback for the enemy: less damage output, greater survivability for you), and killing enemy bombers is more often than not a good idea for your own ship's survivability, so having some fighters "distracted" killing bomber might be actually better than focusing on enemy ships (it really depends on enemy fleet composition).

So, all in all, I think there is no problem at all by allowing that species trait makes the bombers slightly better than fighters at shooting down ships.

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Re: Should fighters really act as cannonfodder?

#64 Post by Ophiuchus » Sun Mar 08, 2020 1:21 am

Oberlus wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:42 pm
Also, I like that fighters require 50% more PD power to be fully down on a single bout. It's true that they can also be "distracted" to kill interceptors, but enemy must invest on those (which are useless against ships, so it has it's drawback for the enemy: less damage output, greater survivability for you), and killing enemy bombers is more often than not a good idea for your own ship's survivability, so having some fighters "distracted" killing bomber might be actually better than focusing on enemy ships (it really depends on enemy fleet composition).

So, all in all, I think there is no problem at all by allowing that species trait makes the bombers slightly better than fighters at shooting down ships.
AFAICR I did not do any work on the pilot trait so the non-linearity is not new but inherited.

I agree that Fighters and Bombers do not have to behave the same in regards to pilot level.

I disagree that pilots should be better in Bombers than in Fighters. The only counter against Bombers is ship-chaff - which also works against Fighters at 66% efficiency. Against Fighters also fighter-chaff works. And Interceptors are really good at that, even at laser level. And Interceptors in the simple layout are also 50%-100% flak (average pilots) for the same price. The main drawback is the use of internal slots (so you might be better off using other fighters and flak in the excess external slots). So i think Fighters can get more out of pilots than Bombers (which i also find intuitive).
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Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: Should fighters really act as cannonfodder?

#65 Post by Oberlus » Sun Mar 08, 2020 5:08 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 1:21 am
I disagree that pilots should be better in Bombers than in Fighters.
Even when the "better" is just +7-15% better for Ultimate pilots and less than a third of that for Good pilots?
Against Fighters also fighter-chaff works. And Interceptors are really good at that, even at laser level.
You're right, that effect is rather strong. Also:
Interceptors + Bombers work better for both killing ships and killing bombers/fighters than just Fighters, plus you need one extra external slot for every two hangars with Fighters.
But fighters are better at taking down chaff and small/medium ships, some 20% better efficiency thanks to less overshooting.

Anyway, I guess it can stay the way it is now.

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Re: Should fighters really act as cannonfodder?

#66 Post by Ophiuchus » Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:20 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 5:08 pm
Anyway, I guess it can stay the way it is now.
No, that was not was I meant. I hoped you would suggest a version where pilot traits is better for Fighters than for Bombers.

I am not sure how main-line-weapon progression vs fighters in regards to pilot traits should be balanced.

Great pilot trait slightly correlates with a shallow main-line-weapon progression: if you have the time, rather go for the next mainline weapon than put research points into upgrading the current weapon level. e.g. MD-1 to MD-4 costs 40 RP and leads to a 8damage;0.4damage/PP weapon. MD-1 to Laser-1 costs 60RP and leads to a 9damage;0.3damage/PP. That is only 25% less part cost effective (against shield-3 20% less effective) and much more concentrated (i.e. even more ship design cost effective) and future-proof. Plasma-1 is almost at the same cost efficiency like mass drivers: 0.375damage/PP - and DR-1 is at 0.38.

Shallow main-line-weapon progression strongly correlates with fighters so maybe great pilot trait should NOT correlate with pilot trait (or at least not much). Else great species goes first for fighters, until plasma or DR and then upgrades levels without wasting any RP or PP.

On the other hand great pilots are not so strongly effected by shields so are not so reliant on fighters against those.

Of course story/aestetics wise it should be the different way round (so pilot trait more important for fighters than for ships).

Maybe the right move is to nerf pilot trait for normal weapons - keep it for mass drivers like it is and +1.5 for lasers per level (instead of +2), +2 for plasma, +2.5 for DR? Or change the way fighters are researched? Anyway that should be done in its own thread.
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Re: Should fighters really act as cannonfodder?

#67 Post by Oberlus » Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:32 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:20 pm
Of course story/aestetics wise it should be the different way round (so pilot trait more important for fighters than for ships).
Off-topic: What about splitting the species trait into two: Pilots to affect only fighters and Weapons (or Artillerymen) to affect only guns? A species could have both.

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Re: Should fighters really act as cannonfodder?

#68 Post by Oberlus » Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:37 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:20 pm
Maybe the right move is to nerf pilot trait for normal weapons - keep it for mass drivers like it is and +1.5 for lasers per level (instead of +2), +2 for plasma, +2.5 for DR? Or change the way fighters are researched? Anyway that should be done in its own thread.
I don't like the idea very much. Because of the fractional numbers and because of the mathematicaly elegance (simplicity, regularity) that each pilot level gives exacly +33% of base damage output per tech upgrade and per pilot level.

Have you considered making a more complex FOCS work in the pilots trait file to make the bonus/malus dependent on the fighter tech level?
I shall make some numbers so see if it's suitable.

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Re: Should fighters really act as cannonfodder?

#69 Post by labgnome » Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:16 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:32 pm
Ophiuchus wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:20 pm
Of course story/aestetics wise it should be the different way round (so pilot trait more important for fighters than for ships).
Off-topic: What about splitting the species trait into two: Pilots to affect only fighters and Weapons (or Artillerymen) to affect only guns? A species could have both.
"Gunners" for the direct-fire weapons, it's descriptive and gender-neutral.
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Re: Should fighters really act as cannonfodder?

#70 Post by Ophiuchus » Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:30 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:37 pm
Ophiuchus wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:20 pm
Maybe the right move is to nerf pilot trait for normal weapons - keep it for mass drivers like it is and +1.5 for lasers per level (instead of +2), +2 for plasma, +2.5 for DR? Or change the way fighters are researched? Anyway that should be done in its own thread.
I don't like the idea very much. Because of the fractional numbers
I have the feeling that we already unnecessarily run into this problem often (especially with multi-shot weapon design). Maybe we should scale damage and structure across the board by a factor of five (or ten). We get rid of fractions and can make weapons (multi-shot, fighters) with integer damage values in a finer granularity.
Oberlus wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:37 pm
and because of the mathematicaly elegance (simplicity, regularity) that each pilot level gives exacly +33% of base damage output per tech upgrade and per pilot level.
I also like it. Just thought that it super-powers the great pilot trait. But that can be balanced in species design of course. Splitting the trait (Gunners) would also solve this.
Oberlus wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:37 pm
Have you considered making a more complex FOCS work in the pilots trait file to make the bonus/malus dependent on the fighter tech level?
I shall make some numbers so see if it's suitable.
I havent done any work on pilot trait and fighters, so some Numbers would be great, i can do the implementation.
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Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: Should fighters really act as cannonfodder?

#71 Post by Ophiuchus » Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:03 pm

How about as a short-term change (as the scaling discussion will take a while):

Bad Pilots: Fighter/Bomber -1 (-0.5 tech tiers; -3/-2 damage)
Good Pilots: Fighter/Bomber +1 (+0.5 tech tiers; +3/+2 damage)
Great Pilots: Fighter/Bomber +2 (+1.0 tech tiers; +6/+4 damage)
Ultimate Pilots: Fighter/Bomber +3 (+1.5 tech tiers; +9/+6 damage)

Making Fighters and Bombers the same gives Fighters an edge but they are also more expensive to field (10PP and slot) or less effective (1 late launch, so also one bout less pilot bonus).

Or I would actually prefer half that value because else great pilots start with plasma-level fighters into the game.

And if we use fractions i think it should be more like:

Bad Pilots: Fighter/Bomber -0.3
Good Pilots: Fighter/Bomber +0.5
Great Pilots: Fighter/Bomber +0.8
Ultimate Pilots: Fighter/Bomber +1
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Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: Should fighters really act as cannonfodder?

#72 Post by Oberlus » Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:18 am

Ophiuchus wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:03 pm
Bad Pilots: Fighter/Bomber -1 (-0.5 tech tiers; -3/-2 damage)
Good Pilots: Fighter/Bomber +1 (+0.5 tech tiers; +3/+2 damage)
Great Pilots: Fighter/Bomber +2 (+1.0 tech tiers; +6/+4 damage)
Ultimate Pilots: Fighter/Bomber +3 (+1.5 tech tiers; +9/+6 damage)
Go with this. My great-pilot bombers and fighters (+ plasma tech) were not particularly OP against robo lasers.

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Re: Should fighters really act as cannonfodder?

#73 Post by Ophiuchus » Wed Mar 11, 2020 10:00 am

Oberlus wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:18 am
Ophiuchus wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:03 pm
Bad Pilots: Fighter/Bomber -1 (-0.5 tech tiers; -3/-2 damage)
Good Pilots: Fighter/Bomber +1 (+0.5 tech tiers; +3/+2 damage)
Great Pilots: Fighter/Bomber +2 (+1.0 tech tiers; +6/+4 damage)
Ultimate Pilots: Fighter/Bomber +3 (+1.5 tech tiers; +9/+6 damage)
Go with this. My great-pilot bombers and fighters (+ plasma tech) were not particularly OP against robo lasers.
But great-pilot plasma Fighters as they were (F4.2 2LB 50PP 4slots 60-80 damage) should wipe the floor with average lasers (L4 flak 2slots 33damage 50PP)- hull cost/survival is of course more a problem for the fighter based builds. Great pilots would make the lasers quite even (very likely only receiving 60 damage and doing 12 extra damage) - but the Fighter would be still 2-tiers upgradable and shield-piercing. This suggested nerf to Bombers and to ultimate pilots is still a plasma grade upgrade for fighters per pilot trait. No reason for great pilots to research M4 or L4. Not sure if P4 or DR4 would be useful to great pilot species. I still think half a level would be more reasonable but Ok for the moment I guess. That is probably everything we need to merge then(?).

So a different nerf/variation: how about making fighter refill half (round up) the hangar capacity (so it takes two turns to fill up all hangars) for Fighters and Bombers?
This would also give reason to vary the number of hangars for multi-turn combats, because else you end up with half the combat power/not using the launch bay capacity. Also it might make the combat fighters less expandable/make it more important not to loose your fighters (so one would invest more in Interceptors as fighter-shield). If half of your Bombers survive you will have full capacity next turn.
This would also distinguish fighters types: it would be nice for Fighter 2-1 launch pattern as that becomes 2-0 in half-refill.

We could also reenable heavy bombers (they have only one fighter per hangar) - it would get the same species bonus as Fighter/Bombers (so half as strongly affected by pilot trait compared to Bombers). It would be a usable option for bad_pilot species and hulls with many internal slots. I guess it should be normal launch rate (2), double Bomber damage per fighter at 50 PP cost (so same cost, launch capacity and damage for HBomber2.0(2HBH+1LB) and Bomber4.0 (2BH+2LB). Symbiotic 2HBH+1LB+1Armour comes to mind. This would definitely be a good synergy for hidden expansionist Sly (bad pilots going for stealthy organics).
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Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: Should fighters really act as cannonfodder?

#74 Post by Oberlus » Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:25 am

Ophiuchus wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 10:00 am
But great-pilot plasma Fighters as they were (F4.2 2LB 50PP 4slots 60-80 damage) should wipe the floor with average lasers (L4 flak 2slots 33damage 50PP)- hull cost/survival is of course more a problem for the fighter based builds. Great pilots would make the lasers quite even (very likely only receiving 60 damage and doing 12 extra damage) - but the Fighter would be still 2-tiers upgradable and shield-piercing. This suggested nerf to Bombers and to ultimate pilots is still a plasma grade upgrade for fighters per pilot trait. No reason for great pilots to research M4 or L4. Not sure if P4 or DR4 would be useful to great pilot species. I still think half a level would be more reasonable but Ok for the moment I guess.
I got lost here.
Just in case: I was talking about the fighters and bombers in current multiplayer game, I could not overcome Hyperant, L29Ah could not overcome swaq. That +1 or +0.5 from pilots trait does not change that, so I don't think it is OP against cannons in any way.
So a different nerf/variation: how about making fighter refill half (round up) the hangar capacity (so it takes two turns to fill up all hangars) for Fighters and Bombers?
This would also give reason to vary the number of hangars for multi-turn combats, because else you end up with half the combat power/not using the launch bay capacity.
If I understand you correctly, I disagree (same as with the 2-2-2 and 6-0-0 argument). Launching all fighters on first bout will be always better than launching sequentially, regardless of what does the enemy and regardless of fighter refill rate.
Moreover, fighters already have the problem that they won't refil when attacking an enemy system if it is still defended with armed ships after first round, so players go back and forth to maximise damage output (staying with your nearly-empty hangars there against armed enemies is suicide). If you make hangar refilling slower than currently, that would be a huge nerf for figthers and would probably UP.
If half of your Bombers survive you will have full capacity next turn.
If I launch 2/3 of my bombers on bout one I have only 66% damage output on bout 2. If half of those (1/3 of total bombers) survive and I launch the remaining 1/3 of bombers on bout 2, I keep having 66% of total damage on bout 3. Combat overall 66% of maximum total damage.
If instead I send all bombers on bout 2, 2/3 survive to bout 3, so I get 83% of maximum damage, and dealing more damage on bout 2 so less enemies survive to shoot at me on bout 3.
If the enemy reacts and devotes more external slots to flaks (instead of cannons or armor) to kill all bombers on bout 2, I'll still be better with full launching on that bout to maximise early damage on enemies, plus the enemy now is dealing less damage to my carriers or is less armored to withstand my bombers.
The extra cost on launch bays if we decide to make that harder (more hangar capacity or less launch bay capacity) will be always worth unless launch bays are more expensive than hangars.
We could also reenable heavy bombers (they have only one fighter per hangar)
They are the perfect fighter to target planets for fighter-only theme. Planets & Ships I think, but at least Planets. Not ignoring planetary shields, of course.

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Re: Should fighters really act as cannonfodder?

#75 Post by Ophiuchus » Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:57 am

Oberlus wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:25 am
Ophiuchus wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 10:00 am
But great-pilot plasma Fighters as they were (F4.2 2LB 50PP 4slots 60-80 damage) should wipe the floor with average lasers (L4 flak 2slots 33damage 50PP)- hull cost/survival is of course more a problem for the fighter based builds. Great pilots would make the lasers quite even (very likely only receiving 60 damage and doing 12 extra damage) - but the Fighter would be still 2-tiers upgradable and shield-piercing. This suggested nerf to Bombers and to ultimate pilots is still a plasma grade upgrade for fighters per pilot trait. No reason for great pilots to research M4 or L4. Not sure if P4 or DR4 would be useful to great pilot species. I still think half a level would be more reasonable but Ok for the moment I guess.
I got lost here.
Just in case: I was talking about the fighters and bombers in current multiplayer game, I could not overcome Hyperant, L29Ah could not overcome swaq. That +1 or +0.5 from pilots trait does not change that, so I don't think it is OP against cannons in any way.
Also talking current multiplayer. If you have the great-pilot fighters are not stronger than the average lasers the question is why is that so. Because if i correctly calculated the numbers above - if you only look at the weapon parts and pilot bonus the fighters should be double as dangerous per PP as the lasers.
Oberlus wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:25 am
Ophiuchus wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 10:00 am
So a different nerf/variation: how about making fighter refill half (round up) the hangar capacity (so it takes two turns to fill up all hangars) for Fighters and Bombers?
Launching all fighters on first bout will be always better than launching sequentially, regardless of what does the enemy and regardless of fighter refill rate.
Yes, it will be always better, but not always worth the extra cost in terms of spending extra external slots/having to build more ships in order to do so.
Oberlus wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:25 am
Moreover, fighters already have the problem that they won't refil when attacking an enemy system if it is still defended with armed ships after first round, so players go back and forth to maximise damage output (staying with your nearly-empty hangars there against armed enemies is suicide). If you make hangar refilling slower than currently, that would be a huge nerf for figthers and would probably UP.
I agree it was intended as a nerf. We disagree if that is necessary (see above). But slower refilling would make people maybe design ships more in a way that hops are less often necessary, which is a good thing.

A disconnected idea: a policy/ship part which changes how ships collect fighters - if you put that "prime carrier" part on a heavy carrier, if there fighters available at the end of combat, it will get its full launch capacity (after refill) guaranteed in hangar capacity (this feature is not really feasable to implement). In the end you would end up with less half-filled carriers.
Oberlus wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:25 am
Ophiuchus wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 10:00 am
If half of your Bombers survive you will have full capacity next turn.
If I launch 2/3 of my bombers on bout one...
Not talking about primary launch patterns, talking about secondary launch pattern (i.e. after half of hangar max capacity refill).
If a bomber hangar always refills one bomber, if you can collect one bomber, you have again two bombers so next turn you can launch two bombers.
Oberlus wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:25 am
Ophiuchus wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 10:00 am
We could also reenable heavy bombers (they have only one fighter per hangar)
They are the perfect fighter to target planets for fighter-only theme. Planets & Ships I think, but at least Planets. Not ignoring planetary shields, of course.
I just added that to the KISSTargetsHard master PR (not the v0.4.9 release).
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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