General Issues / "Feel" of Space Battles

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

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Ragnar
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#91 Post by Ragnar » Thu Aug 19, 2004 8:24 pm

I've been out of town and just now caught up on reading this entire thread. As ususal, I am generally in agreement with Davey, also with Geoff and Breadman.

I would like to see the tactical combat as a combination of Total War, MoO3 and Star Wars: Rebellion (this one hasn't been mentioned yet). I think the scale of MoO3 was about right (with zooming). SW:R had good Orders / Standard Operating Procedures type interface with pausable real time. I prefer SW:R style pausible real time over BoTF style turns, over MoO2 style turns (at least make the combat simultaneous).

Ships should be able to be grouped into task forces and give orders(maybe with a pop up and some pulldown menus) that would allow general targeting and tactics used: f.e. a fighter squadron could be give orders to use swarming tactics prioritizing targets as other fighters then capitol ships, or a group of Dreadnaughts could be given orders to use close in broadside tactics with targeting priority to planetary defenses and then other capitol ships. SOPs could be created for each class ship or task force at empire level, During combat you could then change the orders/priorities as the situation dictates.

I think we should allow for various ranges and speeds to effect ship combat. I would like to see fighters and small ships be able to maneuver around a big ship and fire into the big ship's rear. To stop this the big ships need PD escorts. We could even have certain beam weapons that have an optimal long range and do less damage at close in.

I think we should go with terrain and have the defender choose his defensive set up first. There should be a permenent map for each system so that minefields and such can be setup and in the same place each combat.

Instead of map edge entry for the attacker, I would like to see the starlanes be points in space at the edge of the system. The defender should be able to mine up to a certain distance to the lane entry, giving the attacker some limited safe zone to deploy(due to the gravity well at the warp point). Defenders would have to choose to place defenses near the entry point or the planets. At a large starlane nexus, the defender should not normally be able to afford defenses at every entry point. Attackers (and Defeners) would have to maneuver to a starlane entry to retreat and it should be specific the one they go to(i.e. they must go the the system that is connected to that entry point). Attackers could even bypass the defenders and move deeper into enemy territory if the defender stays at his planets.

Just for MP purposes, there should be a game set up varied time limit on combat(could be infinite for SP), and combat would continue the next turn(call it fleets maneuvering cat and mouse for a year).

I'm with Drek on the repairs: Let's not micro that, fighters should be rebuilt as you repair, but only after combat.

I don't like the idea of permanent small ship squadrons, only non-interstellar fighters should be in permanent squadrons. You should be able to mass built order any ship, but they come out as individuals. Task force grouping should be flexible so that you can change at anytime.

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Odi
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#92 Post by Odi » Fri Aug 20, 2004 6:28 am

Ragnar wrote: I would like to see the tactical combat as a combination of Total War, MoO3 and Star Wars: Rebellion (this one hasn't been mentioned yet). I think the scale of MoO3 was about right (with zooming). SW:R had good Orders / Standard Operating Procedures type interface with pausable real time. I prefer SW:R style pausible real time over BoTF style turns, over MoO2 style turns (at least make the combat simultaneous).
just that SW:R was quite simple :-) but if we implement system-wide-battles in realtime with pause the player tends to forget some parts of his fleets somewhere on the other side of the system... but yeah, realtime with pause allows more control over your fleets (especially movement).
Ragnar wrote: I think we should allow for various ranges and speeds to effect ship combat. I would like to see fighters and small ships be able to maneuver around a big ship and fire into the big ship's rear. To stop this the big ships need PD escorts.
well, as a freespace fan I would love to see fighter wars, but with a lot more control over them, not like in MoO2 + 3 or SW:R. I imagine a fighter-squad-overview, where you can select, group or merge fighter-squads on the field and assign them orders (like escort bombersquad IV, escort ship-squad III) and sub-orders/behaviour patterns (like: "intercept everything that comes into sight", "stay near objective", "avoid fighter-hunters [smaller pd-ships]")...

on system-wide-battles with starbases and fighter- bomberbases at the planets you would get a significant fighter/bomber-fleet that can be quite fast and deadly...
Ragnar wrote: I think we should go with terrain and have the defender choose his defensive set up first. There should be a permenent map for each system so that minefields and such can be setup and in the same place each combat.
hmmm, mines, never liked them too much, you need quite a few to cover a small part of 3d-space with them... what does the others think about mines?
zaba zaba zud zud

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BreadMan
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#93 Post by BreadMan » Fri Aug 20, 2004 7:00 pm

Odi wrote:and sub-orders/behaviour patterns (like: "intercept everything that comes into sight", "stay near objective", "avoid fighter-hunters [smaller pd-ships]")...
"Cannot move in sir, target is too hot!" And then you have some long range cap-ships move in to target the point defense specifically, until you break a hole in the defenses so the fighters can move in...yes! Tactics! I love it!

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BreadMan
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#94 Post by BreadMan » Fri Aug 20, 2004 7:09 pm

Also, about range: I'd like to see some visual cue, like a circle around each ship / task force for their maximum range. Doesn't have to be omnipresent, could only show up for what you have selected. Perhaps for enemy ships it would depend on sensor data, like what your intelligence guesses is their maximum range based on the accuracy of current technology, and if all your recon ships get taken out you wouldn't be able to see it anymore. I'd love to see recon ships have more play value than just "detect cloakers." Having a lot of recon vessels should increase the accuracy of all your ships, etc.

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Geoff the Medio
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#95 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Aug 20, 2004 7:14 pm

Should giving orders to squadrons of fighters be done at the fighter squadron level or the level of their motherships? Fighters could be seen, just like missiles or beams or whatever, as a particular weapon of their launching ship, and would thus naturally be given orders only through their mothership, rather than to the squadron directly.

Which of these is more practical is probably dependent on how autonomous and long range fighters are. Do they basically swarm around / near their mothership, or do they fly off halfway across the battle and work alone, essentially? In the former, it'd be natural to use them as an extension / weapon of their mothership, but in the latter, they'd be treated as a separate ship, essentially, much like the groups drek was suggesting for smaller ships.

In either case, the tactical options could be similar...

IMO grouping is much more appropriate for fighters that can't travel between stars or function at all on their own, than it is for corvettes / destroyers that can do both. This doesn't mean fighters have to be treated as groups though... (as they could be a weapon on a ship).

This also is an issue with respect to scale of battle / number of ships... if there are dozens of ships at most, each fighter squadron would be something you might want to control... but if there are hundreds, they should be controlled by the computer, and just given orders through their ship, or their ship's task force, IMO.

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#96 Post by Phooka » Fri Aug 20, 2004 9:28 pm

I don't think the main combat screen should be on the system scale, if youre going to use anything near real distances then it would take hours at light speed to cross from the inner to outer planets.
Also it'd take minutes for a laser shot from Mars to hit a ship around earth, so those kinds of ranges are just rediculous.

I would suggest a system scale strategic map with turns measured in minutes, that would drop down to a combat map when the ships got close enough to each other. That would give the attacker a chance to choose thier target and the defender a chance to react. Also long range bombardament of planets from the system strategic scale is logical, missiles don't have the limitations of beam weapons on this scale. And if you allow a planets defenses to be built up allot it will be nessiscary.

Sensor data on the attacking fleet would start out vauge, so the attacker could use diverinary ships to draw defenders off. Defenders by the same token could be hidden behind a planet or in an asteroid feild.

Terrian is really limited in space, a moon or two might be involved but not much more. There is the effect of space weather though, especially near an overly active star, this could degrade sensor data or cause damage to a ship if the shields go down. Being near a star could be a hidden advantage of a colony.

Allthough I like the idea of fixed starlane entry points it means that the defender could fortify the point, wich logically would make attacking a system very dangerous. I would suggest that all the ships enter the system near the same point but that the starlane entry point is essntially random. Perhaps a ship system could be devised to better control the entry point of a starlane, and a building to do it as well.

Allot of the suggestions on this thread are great but I think some of them are calling for too high a level of detail for this kind of game, the granularity has to be fairly high or every combat will just take too long for a strategic game.

I would suggest that everyone check out the board game "starfire", it's stratigic level game is really the genisis of these sorts of games.

drek
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#97 Post by drek » Fri Aug 20, 2004 10:15 pm

if youre going to use anything near real distances then it would take hours at light speed to cross from the inner to outer planets.
Also it'd take minutes for a laser shot from Mars to hit a ship around earth,
True and true. I suspect that a real space combat in a solar system would take months, if not years, to resolve.

But, as a rule, we don't care about realism. FO is a space opera, like Star Wars. It's sheer fantasy.

Welcome to the boards; suggest checking out the wiki:

http://www.freeorion.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page
http://www.freeorion.org/wiki/index.php ... ame_Design

iamrobk
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#98 Post by iamrobk » Mon Nov 01, 2004 12:38 am

Well, I think that before battle you should be presented with a screen where you can drag and drop your ships into whatever kind of formation you want, and give general orders, like assigning ships X Y and Z into task force 1, and A B and C into task force 2, etc. In in the battle you could have more detailed stuff.

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