Ship weapons rework

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#61 Post by Oberlus » Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:21 pm

The armours and shields that goes with the proposed weapons.

Mech are the kings of armour. Their standard armour line is the reference. They also have rock platting (asteroid only) which is 50% stronger for the same price.
I didn't give anything to Cybertec because with their decoy defense, some medium-size, sturdy hulls and their high after-combat regeneration they can do more or less ok early game without resorting to other theme's armour.
Energy have some suboptimal platting to give them something to increase their HP without having to go to Mech (until mid/late game, I mean). Otherwise it would be too much of a temptation to always go Mech-Energy.
Note that most names are provisional.
ARMOURSTHEMETIERHPHPmaxCOST
Standard plattingBasic0252515
Zortrium plattingMech1404020
Diamond plattingMech2606025
Xentronium plattingMech3909030
Neutronium plattingMech413013035
Strong interaction plattingMech520020040
Rock platting 1Mech1505020
Rock platting 2Mech2808025
Rock platting 3Mech312012030
Rock platting 4Mech418018035
Compressed energy plattingEnergy2505025
Quantum energy reinformentEnergy4909035
Bio armor 1Biotec1305020
Bio armor 3Biotec37011030
Bio armor 5Biotec515025040


The tiered system of shields have one small change with respect to current system: the maximum tier shield requires a core slot.
This isn't a complete proposal: I'm ignoring, for now, the multi-spectral shield for its stealth bonus, until I finish tinkering with the stealth and detection part of combat (which I haven't started).
SHIELDSTHEMETIERSLOTCAPCOST
Shield 1Energy1Int1630
Shield 2Energy2Int2445
Shield 3Energy3Int3670
Shield 4Energy4Int54100
Shield 5Energy5Core80150
Swarm shield (RIS)Cybertec2Intmax 6090

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#62 Post by Oberlus » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:39 am

I'm adding a new theme, Crystalline (appart from a better name), as per labgnome suggestion.
Its main weaponry will be lasers and crystal-related parts to power them up, and the hull line will be asteroids (Mech gets the self-grav. hull line only, so one hull line per theme, seems nice).
I'll try to make something different with them if FOCS allows for it, something about more complementarity among different hulls, weapons and parts (something like separate are weak, together are strong).

My first idea is something about hulls/parts, prism-related, that allow other ships to focus different shots into a single one (so that small weapons overcome the shield defense) or to difract single shots into multiple beams (so that big weapons can overcome chaff/decoy defense), as well as lense-like hulls/parts to increase range.
Can a weapon's fire rate or damage be adjusted by other mounted parts? I guess it can, the same way hangars modify the capacity of launch bays.
What is probably not possible is that this kind of effects is applied to a subset of ships, or that parts in some ships modify the parameters of other ships. I think effects like "remove the shots of 5 other allied ships and instead fire a single 5x stronger shot from this ship" are off the table.
The cross-the-streams strategy, that is intended to be good versus strong shields and big hulls, could be emulated by increasing base damage of the shots without fancy merging of shots.
The difract-the-beams strategy, against chaff and decoys, could be emulated by adjusting the number of shots of the ships in the fleet and reducing its base damage.
If both effects are applied at the same time, you get more fire rate and something between less and similar damage per shot than without no effects, I'll need to crunch numbers of cost and damage to see what's supposed to be a balance.
If this kind of effects can be applied from a ship to others in the fleet, that would be great, because it would allow for fancy compositions of different ship designs complementing each other. If this can only be applied to the weapons of the same ship, that is good enough.

Regarding defense strategies, I've got no new ideas appart from what comes with the asteroid hull line (better armour, big as well as small hulls, some hulls with base shielding or stealth).

I'll also have to rename/rethink some of the Energy weapons and adjust a bit the ones in Mech.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#63 Post by Oberlus » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:23 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:39 am
The cross-the-streams strategy, that is intended to be good versus strong shields and big hulls, could be emulated by increasing base damage of the shots without fancy merging of shots.
The diffract-the-beams strategy, against chaff and decoys, could be emulated by adjusting the number of shots of the ships in the fleet and reducing its base damage.
[..]
If this kind of effects can be applied from a ship to others in the fleet, that would be great, because it would allow for fancy compositions of different ship designs complementing each other.
Can a FOCS effect query (during or at least before combat) the number of allied ships with X part, and the number of allied ships with asteroid hull, and adjust fire rate and damage of certain weapons depending on ratios of such numbers?

Edit: well, looking at the upkeep effect (in the game rule), I guess it can. Good.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#64 Post by Ophiuchus » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:24 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:23 pm
Can a FOCS effect query (during or at least before combat) the number of allied ships with X part, and the number of allied ships with asteroid hull, and adjust fire rate and damage of certain weapons depending on ratios of such numbers?

Edit: well, looking at the upkeep effect (in the game rule), I guess it can. Good.
No effects during combat. Only outside of combat. Normal weapon tech upgrades work this way. Check solarweb as well.

I think what you want is possible, i guess it will show in the damage forcasts etc. Probably will be a bit messy.
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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: Ship weapons rework

#65 Post by labgnome » Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:36 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:39 am
I'm adding a new theme, Crystalline (appart from a better name), as per labgnome suggestion.
Its main weaponry will be lasers and crystal-related parts to power them up, and the hull line will be asteroids (Mech gets the self-grav. hull line only, so one hull line per theme, seems nice).
I'll try to make something different with them if FOCS allows for it, something about more complementarity among different hulls, weapons and parts (something like separate are weak, together are strong).
Instead od re-inventing the wheel, what about the solar concentrator part that already boosts lasers, or were you looking for more parts?
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Re: Ship weapons rework

#66 Post by Oberlus » Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:17 am

labgnome wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:36 pm
Instead od re-inventing the wheel, what about the solar concentrator part that already boosts lasers, or were you looking for more parts?
I'm already using parts that boost ship's or fleet's damage (or shield) for Biotec and Energy themes. I don't want every theme to be a slightly different version of the others with new colours. I want them to allow for different play styles (more specifically, different military strategies/tactics), and that requires different mechanics. So, new wheel it shall be!

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#67 Post by labgnome » Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:55 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:17 am
I'm already using parts that boost ship's or fleet's damage (or shield) for Biotec and Energy themes. I don't want every theme to be a slightly different version of the others with new colours. I want them to allow for different play styles (more specifically, different military strategies/tactics), and that requires different mechanics. So, new wheel it shall be!
So maybe a "Diffraction Crystal" that ups the number of shots certain laser weapons get, and the "Focusing Crystal" that ups the damage, and making them mutually exclusive ship parts. Laser weapons could also possibly work more like fighters, getting later game buffs by researching better laser crystals for them, making them have a different flavor from the energy theme's beam weapons. Say Ruby Lasers (Tier 2) for the first bonus, Emerald Lasers (Tier 3) for the second bonus, Sapphire Lasers (Tier 4) for the third bonus and Diamond Lasers for the fourth bonus (Tier 5), with lasers themselves being unlocked at Quartz Lasers (Tier 1).

An idea I have had, that might work is "psionic technologies" for ships, that would be usable for telepathic species. Say a "Psi-Sheild" shield and a "Psi-Cannon" weapon for the energy theme. That could also add some differentiation to the themes.

Also, here's annother idea: an organic armor that ups stealth, say something like "Adaptive Camouflage Armor".

Lastly, what do you envision the starter weapon to be? Personally I'm thinking some kind of basic missile, that's just an external slot weapon.
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Re: Ship weapons rework

#68 Post by Oberlus » Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:26 am

labgnome wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:55 pm
So maybe a "Diffraction Crystal" that ups the number of shots certain laser weapons get, and the "Focusing Crystal" that ups the damage, and making them mutually exclusive ship parts.
Something like that.
I've got an idea about allowing certain crystal parts on the fleet to disable lasers in the fleet (e.g. set fire rate to zero) and increase either fire rate or damage per shot of this crystal parts. That is, lasers will be shooting at the crystal prisms, concentrators and lenses, which in in turn will fire to the enemies. By changing the proportion of prisms, concentrators and lenses in the fleet you alter the damage per shot and number of shots of the whole fleet. We'll see what players think about such mechanic once I can present a whole proposal for Crystal theme.

Laser weapons could also possibly work more like fighters, getting later game buffs by researching better laser crystals for them, making them have a different flavor from the energy theme's beam weapons. Say Ruby Lasers (Tier 2) for the first bonus, Emerald Lasers (Tier 3) for the second bonus, Sapphire Lasers (Tier 4) for the third bonus and Diamond Lasers for the fourth bonus (Tier 5), with lasers themselves being unlocked at Quartz Lasers (Tier 1).
Great idea. I'm taking it for sure.
An idea I have had, that might work is "psionic technologies" for ships, that would be usable for telepathic species. Say a "Psi-Sheild" shield and a "Psi-Cannon" weapon for the energy theme. That could also add some differentiation to the themes.
Good idea too. I haven't thought of any kind of psionics in weapons, and that would be nice for flavour.
Also, here's annother idea: an organic armor that ups stealth, say something like "Adaptive Camouflage Armor".
Also thought of this. Could be nice. We have to make a dedicated thread for stealth mechanics (there's the issue about the current binary system being awkward) to better decide how this could work.
Lastly, what do you envision the starter weapon to be? Personally I'm thinking some kind of basic missile, that's just an external slot weapon.
Good question.
Missiles would be great not only as an starting weapon. It fits so well in Mech and maybe Cybertec themes (as well as organic versions in Biotec). It would be similar to drones in that could be shot down, but the combat mechanics would require changes to make sense: the missile should be able to be shot down before it hits any target, while currently drones are granted a first round of shooting; and the missile should be destroyed if it hits a target, while currently there is no way to script a drone self-destruction mid-combat.
I felt some resistance to change the combat mechanics to allow for these, and the workarounds are not enough.
If others would think that missiles and drones are both good to have, we could get more support for the required changes.
Regarding a basic starting weapon, I have thought of a simple tier 0 single-single shot direct damage weapon, a conventional kinetic cannon.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#69 Post by labgnome » Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:25 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:26 am
Something like that.
I've got an idea about allowing certain crystal parts on the fleet to disable lasers in the fleet (e.g. set fire rate to zero) and increase either fire rate or damage per shot of this crystal parts. That is, lasers will be shooting at the crystal prisms, concentrators and lenses, which in in turn will fire to the enemies. By changing the proportion of prisms, concentrators and lenses in the fleet you alter the damage per shot and number of shots of the whole fleet. We'll see what players think about such mechanic once I can present a whole proposal for Crystal theme.
That sounds possibly over-complicated. Especially setting the fire rate to 0, then firing on enemies themselves. Game mechanically I can see little reason Although I do like the idea of boosting the whole fleet at once.

Here's another idea, what about the Crystal Shards, missile-type weapon requiring the crystal armor part to function?
Oberlus wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:26 am
Also, here's annother idea: an organic armor that ups stealth, say something like "Adaptive Camouflage Armor".
Also thought of this. Could be nice. We have to make a dedicated thread for stealth mechanics (there's the issue about the current binary system being awkward) to better decide how this could work.
I mean you can still work the part in before then without having to re-work stealth mechanics.
Oberlus wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:26 am
Missiles would be great not only as an starting weapon. It fits so well in Mech and maybe Cybertec themes (as well as organic versions in Biotec). It would be similar to drones in that could be shot down, but the combat mechanics would require changes to make sense: the missile should be able to be shot down before it hits any target, while currently drones are granted a first round of shooting; and the missile should be destroyed if it hits a target, while currently there is no way to script a drone self-destruction mid-combat.
I felt some resistance to change the combat mechanics to allow for these, and the workarounds are not enough.
If others would think that missiles and drones are both good to have, we could get more support for the required changes.
Regarding a basic starting weapon, I have thought of a simple tier 0 single-single shot direct damage weapon, a conventional kinetic cannon.
I was thinking a Tier 0 starting missile, specifically so that they could be shot down by the the other weapons you get at Tier 1. That would give the early game cannons a big advantage. I will say that the flavor of missiles appeals to me over that of kinetic cannon. Missiles have been talked about since the introduction of fighters so I would say that introducing them should be a priority at some point soon.
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Re: Ship weapons rework

#70 Post by Oberlus » Sat Apr 20, 2019 7:14 pm

labgnome wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:25 pm
That sounds possibly over-complicated. Especially setting the fire rate to 0, then firing on enemies themselves. Game mechanically I can see little reason Although I do like the idea of boosting the whole fleet at once.
I didn't explain it well. Weapons with zero fire rate should not be firing at all, since they have 0 shots to shoot, isn't it?
I'll make a dedicated thread for this weird idea of mine to better explain it and get more feedback to see if it's a good idea.

Regarding any missile-not-drone suggestion, I still believe we need to know if they are ever going to get into FreeOrion before putting such weapons in the tech tree.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#71 Post by Ophiuchus » Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:36 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:26 am
Missiles would be great not only as an starting weapon. It fits so well in Mech and maybe Cybertec themes (as well as organic versions in Biotec). It would be similar to drones in that could be shot down, but the combat mechanics would require changes to make sense: the missile should be able to be shot down before it hits any target, while currently drones are granted a first round of shooting; and the missile should be destroyed if it hits a target, while currently there is no way to script a drone self-destruction mid-combat.
I felt some resistance to change the combat mechanics to allow for these, and the workarounds are not enough.
If others would think that missiles and drones are both good to have, we could get more support for the required changes.
I think I mentionend the most likely form for missiles to happen is something like a LastCombatRound condition for use in combatTargeting (so no damage but in the last combat round). So the missile does damage only once and you can shoot it down before. Currently if not shot down it would be retrieved, so probably simply solve this by fluff (like a reusable or indestructable missile core). Else set hangar capacity meter to zero if not in resupply and was in combat. Is this a workaround you were referring to?

Else I did no backend developer supporting the missile concept AFAICR.
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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: Ship weapons rework

#72 Post by Oberlus » Sat Apr 20, 2019 9:19 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:36 pm
something like a LastCombatRound condition for use in combatTargeting (so no damage but in the last combat round). So the missile does damage only once and you can shoot it down before. Currently if not shot down it would be retrieved, so probably simply solve this by fluff (like a reusable or indestructable missile core). Else set hangar capacity meter to zero if not in resupply and was in combat. Is this a workaround you were referring to?
Yes.
Although this could, to some extend, mimic the intended combat results of missiles, it makes little sense to me:
- Why drones get to the target in one round and missiles are slowly flying during the whole combat? I don't like that at all.
- If missiles are launched on round 1, targetted by point defence during rounds 2 and 3, and hit on round 4, this means missiles are quite useless against flak and interceptors, unless they are given more hull points (which they won't get because that is more backend changes). They could be balanced against drones by something like doubling missiles hangars and launch bays capacities. But they are supposed to be high damage weapons, and ideally less numerous than drones for more differentiation, and giving them more shots per turn as well as more damage means that anyone that does not have flak cannons or interceptors in their fleet will be obliterated by missile-focused fleets less than half its PP cost.
- What happens if the number of rounds per combat is increased? Above gets worse.

If, instead of this, there was two different launchable objects in the combat system (missiles and drones), with drones being able to shoot every round after launched, and missiles being able to shoot only once after one additional delay round (i.e. drone and missiles launched on round 1, drones start hitting on round 2, missile on round 3, and missiles launched on round 2 will be hitting on round 4), things would be easier to balance and more intuitive.

Else I did no backend developer supporting the missile concept AFAICR.
Yes I think no backend developer showed support for missiles. I remember myself saying that we should have only missiles or drones, because they are too similar, and that missiles would be better realism-wise, and then I think some developer said that just drones would be good? I shall dig in the forum, but anyway I won't put actual missiles in the design unless it is backed by some backend developer.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#73 Post by Ophiuchus » Mon May 20, 2019 9:20 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 9:19 pm
If... there was two different launchable objects in the combat system (missiles and drones), with drones being able to shoot every round after launched, and missiles being able to shoot only once after one additional delay round (i.e. drone and missiles launched on round 1, drones start hitting on round 2, missile on round 3, and missiles launched on round 2 will be hitting on round 4), things would be easier to balance and more intuitive.
Missiles starting on round 1 and doing damage only on round 3 is possible as a workaround (with a to-be-implemented-CombatRound condition). Tracking when a missile launched is not possible currently (we would need something like a launchedInTurn property in the backend). Of course one could go down the proballistic route instead of tracking (give it 50% hit probability; 50% hit on turn after launch; 25% hit on the next turn, 12,5% on the next turn etc). Still they would hang around afterwards to be shot down - so this is still awkward.

Yesterday I thought about another criterium which you can use to differentiate ship parts. Bulk vs cost. Lets say we have a weapon which does one shots with damage 5 for 20PP. Now you can design another ship part which has two shots with damage 10 but costs insane 80PP (or less insane 60PP?). Why would you want such a weapon? Because you need less ships. Less ships mean less cost and less maintenance upkeep. If you build a Robotank (three armour, one shield part), you only have one slot for a weapon left - that should be powerful.
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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Re: Ship weapons rework

#74 Post by Oberlus » Wed May 22, 2019 11:58 am

Ophiuchus wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 9:20 pm
Tracking when a missile launched is not possible currently (we would need something like a launchedInTurn property in the backend).
I would prefer that the missile class has built in self-destroy on hit (and always hit unless destroyed first).
another criterium which you can use to differentiate ship parts. Bulk vs cost. Lets say we have a weapon which does one shots with damage 5 for 20PP. Now you can design another ship part which has two shots with damage 10 but costs insane 80PP (or less insane 60PP?). Why would you want such a weapon? Because you need less ships. Less ships mean less cost and less maintenance upkeep. If you build a Robotank (three armour, one shield part), you only have one slot for a weapon left - that should be powerful.
In my proposal (at least for now), the damage per PP and damage per slot are more or less constant amongst all weapons of same tier. If I understood you, you propose weapons that yield more damage per slot but less damage per PP than weapons of same tier, that would imply more building costs but less upkeep costs. Interesting indeed. Would be the preferred choice for low influence, high production empires.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#75 Post by LienRag » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:49 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:17 pm
I am too against player-controlled (i.e., interactive, played in a board like chess or star craft) tactical combat. But I am utterly bored of current non-interactive combat system where ships are like sitting ducks shooting randomly.
May I try once again to interest you in my formation combat mechanic? viewtopic.php?f=5&p=95945#p95945
Yes it's quite classical but it solves imho some of the questions that are discussed here:
- It's a good compromise between player-controlled combat (not possible in multiplayer) and deterministic combat without player input.
- It makes point-blank weapons (like rams) work differently, and imho much more interestingly, as they can either not strike at all (so being useless) or strike for the last three turns, depending on whether they find enemy ships on their tier or not, which itself depends on what orders each fleet (or more exactly, each parts of each fleet) would have been given.
- Obviously close-range and medium-range would work in a similar way, even if the change will be less important.
- With a six-tiers system (three for each fleet at the beginning of the first round) it makes for six possible different ranges for weapons (from point-blank to 5 tiers away). I mean, we can still have close, medium and long range for simplicity's sake if we want to (by using a step of two tiers per range), but we will be able to create more weapons with more specific ranges later if we need it.
- It gives combat speed a meaning (high speed ships could move up to three tiers in a turn with a "charge" order if they don't get opposition).
- Launching fighters/interceptors/bombers after the initial turn would become an effective strategy, as fighters would not leave their tier if they fight in it and move to the next tier only if they did not find suitable targets (which can be different for interceptors, who targets enemy drones, and for bombers, who target enemy shielded ships). So having more hangars than launch bays would be an interesting ship design.
- Stealth could be less binary, as ships being in the same tier than enemy ships would be able to detect them more efficiently. Actually using the same six-tiers system, a ship with X stealth would have X+5 stealth for ships that are 5 tiers away, X for those 4 tiers away, X-5 three tiers away, X-10 two tiers away, X-15 one tier away and X-30 against ships on the same tier (remember that ships can move between tiers if they get the order to do so during a round). Ships detect enemy ships individually (while the current system has the Empire as a whole detecting a ship or not) but ships which detect an enemy ship and still survive the round gives a bonus to all other ships to detect the detected ship. To allow for scaling, it's possible to get all tiered ships detecting (or not) an enemy ship rather than having each ship detecting each enemy ship.
- The way stealth works in this mechanism makes for a "noisiness" meter for ship parts (already in discussion for Galactic view apparently) equally work for space combat: instead of firing/launching drones revealing a ship, it would make it lose stealth for a value depending on the weapon (Lasers being absolutely not stealthy so something like -50 or -100 while kinetic weapons are not particularly noisy so something like -10). It can be combined with the distance to enemy ships: shooting a kinetic weapon while an enemy ship is in the same tier would reduce stealth by -30 for example. So it's still possible to detect and fight enemies with much higher stealth, but it requires sending a lot of assault ships into their lines ("scouting by combat" as WWII's USSR practised).
- It allows for much more different weapon designs as each weapon would have a cost, a number of shots, a damage per shot, a noisiness, the ability or not to shoot while moving, a range and even a damage per range (allowing either to inflict small damages at long range or big damage at short range) and per size of target (acid spores do much more damage if they are splattered on all the left flank of a large hull).
- It allows for much more strategic objectives given to a battle, like bidding time (either to wait for reinforcements or to give time to other fleets to achieve their tasks), sniping easy targets, hit-and-run tactics, attrition wars, protecting wounded ships, disorganizing enemy attacks, and so on.
- It can be later used to add manoeuvring which would allow to use ships facing. Not that ship facing is that interesting by itself, but it makes for a very much more interesting Ship Design process: do I add all the armor front? Does my ship need rear-facing guns? Do I use a rectangular hull with a lot of front-facing slots for offensive weapons or a triangular hull that is hard to hit from the front but can only fire sideways?
- Considering that the main way to avoid "doomstack against doomstack" as a combat strategy is making battles vary greatly depending on their precise situation, which includes making terrain account for a lot, this formation combat mechanism could be later adapted to real system-wide battle maps where being the first to reach an asteroid belt or a gravity well would be of utter tactical importance.

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