Hi, I'm new to FO, I've only been playing for a few weeks, and I'm still coming to grips with how everything works. I was playing the stable ver at first but quickly moved to the latest test builds. Great project! One thing that seems to keep annoying me though is the outcomes of space combat; it often seems too random.
Because one ship is randomly chosen to fight each combat turn, you can have one side firing most of the shots with the other side not having their ships chosen very often.
(This has probably been discussed before but I couldn’t find a definitive discussion of this concept anywhere in the last few years of the forum.)
So I would like to propose an upgraded mechanism for space combat:
Imagine two fleets coming together in a battle: In the first moments only a few ships would be firing but then more and more would come into the battle until they were all shooting at one another.
I would implement this as follows:
When battle starts, decide which side is the attacker and which is the defender, (chosen randomly in first version of program? Morale? Ship experience level?)
Sort all combatants in the battle into a table, sorted primarily by ship experience level and secondarily by attacker or defender.
(ship experience values: something like:
green fresh out of space dock
trained after 10 turns in space
veteran survived a battle
hardened survived 3 battles
expert survived 10 battles)
On each combat turn, go through all of the combatants in the list in order.
If a ship hasn't joined battle yet, check and see if it will join battle this turn.
(chance that it will depends on ship exp + random. Increase the chance each combat turn so that by the 3rd or 4th battle turn all ships are in combat.)
Once a ship is in the battle, it tries to fire every turn.
So, the battle algorithm would act something like:
For each ship in list
has it joined battle?
No -> Test if it will join in the battle yet or not;
(maybe 40% chance for green crew, 90% chance for elite crew)
(later enhancement; include morale/happiness factors etc)
Yes -> It will try and fire again this turn
Then, - per weapon, (optionally - does the weapon pass a working this turn test? 90-95% yes (unless jammed, overheated, etc,))
Yes, weapon fires this turn
(target choosing logic goes here, just random at first)
(if ships are stealthy enough vs detection ability they are not targeted, until they start firing and their position becomes known)
chance of hitting target could be influenced by ship exp. level
damage calculation takes place
After each combat turn, when each ship that has joined battle has had a chance to fire, start the next combat turn and repeat with the surviving ships.
Each combat turn more and more combatants will be joining the battle, but then each turn fewer and fewer combatants will be left to fight.
Repeat until one side is dead or you have hit the maximum number of combat rounds in a game turn.
The whole reason for the new combat mechanism is to see that all or most of the ships get a chance to fight during a space battle, and to add some cool new features, ship experience etc., that wouldn't require micromanagement, they would happen automatically. I hope you think it's worth discussing, but I understand if something like this has already been ruled out in the past.
Flourishes that could be added to this idea in future:
* space fleet academy building on a planet would turn out trained crews instead of green - add one to four turns to ship building time depending upon ship size?
** robot crewed ships experience level could be treated more like a software upgrade, once a robot crew has been promoted, all crews for that vessel type in range get upgraded to the new level, and they start at trained, and can't go past hardened, or something.
* elite officer academy building (only one per civ) would turn out veteran units from that solar system.
The step where you check to see if a weapon will fire this combat turn would allow for a future game enhancement where weapons could be destroyed or damaged on a ship, taking that weapon out of the fight or reducing the damage it does. It could also allow for powerful weapons that have a slower cycle time - they only get to fire every 2nd or 3rd battle turn.
Target choosing enhancements Ship experience level and other factors could lead to picking better targets first, instead of picking a random target. I.E. A skilled crew would shoot at the dangerous first, unarmed last, finishing off those about to be destroyed, etc. Could also be enhanced by targeting computer enhancements, crew intelligence, morale, etc. Could also be enhanced by the presence of a flagship directing the battle.
Thanks for an interesting game!
For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.
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