I played a little VR and tried to... use... an interface like that.
None of this actually exists so this is going to be a little abstract (and maybe a little verbose, too =) so buckle up.
- The interesting thing about it that it could be an interface without scale or scaling.
Ordering a fighter to attack or ordering all fighters of 3 joint fleets to attack is the same thing.
Classic interfaces struggle with this because there is a vast gap of hierarchies between all these different elements. But if you remove scale from the equation...
RTS use workarounds like "select all fighters" or "select all units of this type" but that lacks control. (which isn't a major issue when clicks per minute matter more)
- For that, there needs to be a way to mark one or multiple nodes above what you are editing.
For instance, I want to switch out weapons, replacing the weapon in hardpoint 1 with something else.
- I mark the carrier as a joint node.
- Then I scroll down to Fighter 3 and exchange the weapon.
- Since Fighter 4 is also a child of the joint node, the same thing is done with it.
If I had marked the fleet, all fighters in it would have had their weapons switched.
- The match condition is where it gets a little tricky.
Does it affect all fighters (what is a class?) or specifically those built with the Enhanced Gazznium Hull?
Different hulls would have different kinds of properties so the safe thing to do would be to keep them separate at all times.
That automatically creates different squadrons on a carrier or in a fleet because by marking the carrier as a joint node, you could give an order to "all heavy fighters"... who happen to have the same hull type.
Without ever creating an explicit wing or squadron for it.
- If part of the carrier's fighters (which were affected by the command) were airborne or otherwise unable to execute the instruction,
the joint node object develops a burning desire to make it happen.
Subordinate fighters are being recalled and if possible equipped with available stores.
New items may be ordered from a supply ship or the carrier might go looking for a (your?) factory where they are being produced.
Since the joint node object takes care of this, organisational structures aren't ripped apart, like a lone fighter haring off to find a Polarity Reversion Launcher.
- How a node would be marked as "joint"?
Dunno. A qualifier key, a menu button. *shrug*
- Un-marking a sub-node.
If the fleet is already marked as a joint node, I perform the "joint" click on the carrier.
The carrier and all it's subjects are removed from the selection.
When a node is marked as "joint", it and everything below it would be a different colour or shape.
That would let you see what's in the selection while scrolling up and down.
- RTS Grouping Deluxe
If you have selected all the joint nodes you want, you use CTRL-4 to save that selection.
This isn't a complete unit list like in Starcraft but something more abstract.
If the carrier gets 2 new fighters as reinforcements, a later recall of that selection would again select the carrier (and all that it contains) so the new fighters are in the selection without you having to manually "update the group" every time a stupid fighter gets delivered.
Since the toggle is remembered, units that were removed from the selection stay removed when it's recalled.
- If you lost the carrier, all surviving fighters would become members of fleet.
If you want to re-assign them to a new carrier, you mark the fleet, then unmark all surviving carriers in it.
Only the fighters directly assigned to fleet remain in the selection and can be dragged to a different object aka the new carrier.
- Command focus.
Is also remembered.
At the time you saved the selection with CTRL-4, the object type you had highlighted is recorded.
In our example it was probably the fighter's weapon hardpoint.
The next time you recall the selection, all members of previously selected joint nodes are again selected and one object of exactly matching type is highlighted... so you can give a different order on the same issue.
I could use the same selection and save it to different groups... one time with the interceptors highlighted, the other with the bombers highlighted.
Or I use one of them and a mouse flick gets me to the "other" kind of fighters on the carrier.
With the slection selected and the object highlighted, I can start giving orders.
In a different topic (Ship Roles) I'm exploring a related issue on the macro level, outside these structures.