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Fleet orders

#1
Always an idea I thought could be interesting in any RTS, and might work well here. Basically, instead of telling every single ship individually to do something, you could have a preset action that you script in. One example, send in a capital ship with a squadron of fighters behind it, last minute it turns to broadside, with fighters sweeping out in a flanking position. More in depth than a simple set of formations, and you could possibly customize them at some point. Also, I always liked the ability in homeworld to issue a series of orders to be carried out in sequence.
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Re: Fleet orders

#3
It would be nice if you could give your ships some standard orders to follow when you haven't given them a direct order. A lot of RPG's (Dragon Age, Final Fantasy XII) have a system in place where you can define a set of parameters and what you want them to do if those parameters are met. For example: You could set you healer to use a healing spell on anyone whose health fell below 25%, or you could set your mage to stun anyone who got with melee distance. Likewise, you could have your wingmen set to prioritize any target that gets a missile lock on a friendly craft, or you could have fighters set to return to the carrier for repairs if they fall below 50% health. Giving players the ability to set the default actions for the people in their fleet would allow them to work a strategy without having to micromanage everyone in the heat of battle.
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Re: Fleet orders

#4
I think todofwar was imagining a system where you can queue up your orders and then save them to a file. So when you when to execute a series of complicated attack and flanking maneuvers you don't have to try and remember exactly what you did the last time, you can just say 'execute attack pattern delta' on target A or this group of targets. The commands that need saving don't have to be specific either, they could be something like the following:
  • 1. Move toward target
    2. At distance 2km from target divide into 2 groups, Group A, Group B
    • a. if class rank is less than or equal to 'cruiser' then go to Group B, else go to Group A
      b. divide Group B into two equal subgroups, B1, B2
      • I. Group B1 form up on left side of Group A
        II. Group B2 form up on right side of Group A
    3. At 750m Group B1 attack move left along the outside of enemy group's perimeter. Do not move closer than 350m from perimeter and not further away than 600m
    4. At 750m Group B2 attack move right along the outside of enemy group's perimeter. Do not move closer than 350m from perimeter and not further away than 600m
    5. Group A attack enemy from current position. Do not move closer than 350m from perimeter and not further away than 600m.
    5. At 170 degrees from start position (position before moving along the enemy perimeter) Group B1 move to 750m and combine with Group B2, forming Group B
    6. At 170 degrees from start position Group B2 move to 750m and combine with Group B1, forming Group B
    7. Group B attack move to enemy's current position. Do not move closer than 350m from perimeter and not further away than 600m.
It doesn't have to be quite this complex either. By storing a series of commands like this you can already have a large portion of your battle plans set and then all you have to do is execute then on groups of ships. This could allow players who prefer dog-fighting to get back to what they enjoy most (I'm in this boat. When I play an RTS I usually brute-force and overwhelm the enemy)
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Re: Fleet orders

#6
I see this being a very useful feature. especially if the ai are able to take the basic concept of the command list and apply it to the given situation. for instance you and 4 other ships come across a derelict ship you establish Echo1 means you want the others to flank the target and do a quick scan and report back. later on you find 2 light freighters without ID transmitter tags you issue the good old Echo1 and they split into 2's and scan each and report back. so on and so fourth.
If I've rambled and gone off topic im sorry but i tend to be long winded as you might notice if you stumble across my other post XD. thanks for reading.
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Re: Fleet orders

#7
Love the idea, but also would like to see like a "viterual combat simulator" that you would attack and get your troops into formation that you want and the game would record it and then you could use it when ever you are in battle and just hit like combat comand alpha and the AI would be able to repeat the tactics that you used in the simulator. But if that is to far fetch then just like what was above just typing a set of commands to be used would still be very helpful.
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Re: Fleet orders

#8
While we're discussing fleet orders, I was wondering if you would be able to leave the control of your fleet to an npc, and take one of the smaller ships for yourself. I think there is going to be fleet controlling npcs (at least I assume, so correct me if I'm wrong) I just imagine I would be bored just saying "attack this ship" personally I like a little action ;)
Also, if npcs could command ships, imagine coming upon a faction war :D just a huge mass of ships clashing around a planet or station.

Reading over what I wrote, it kinda seems like I answered my own question, but I'm still interested to hear what you all think
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Re: Fleet orders

#9
select the ships you own or leased to be in your fleet....then issue command

(YOU)FLEET>APPROACH TARGET ON SCOPE....

first officer said
...."captain fleet on tango"....

...."captain, target is class (?fighter squadron/bomber squadron/corvett/frigate/destroyer/cruiser/battleship) of faction(?)/renegade/private millitary company/ pirates/ asteroid?....
....captain, target showing as hostile...bringing up frontal shields...(automatic when shields are installed)....engaging ECM (electronic counter measure's automatic when installed)
....Weapons systems charged and operational....
....send fighters? Y/N......send bomber squadron Y/N.....send defensive corvettes? Y/N.....
....engage in combat....initiated..."

to all serious though :D, just fly over to an enemy in your fleet stance with say 15 ships and right click on enemy and select attack and the fleet will attack automatically and you take personal twitch based command of your ship, and if your destroyer has turrets it will automatically attack the ships, the enemy's ships will drops useful resources in the form of materials for you to trade and it would be cool to have some form of tractor beam to collect useless junk and turn it into raw materials like salvage and refining ships
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Re: Fleet orders

#10
@lenny

This could be really cool too. I always liked the idea from freespace when you're in an intense battle that Command would be like "Incoming hostiles" or the like. If you own a fleet, or at least a ship with some AWACS, then you could really feel the pressure if you're defending against a massive attack as one of the smaller ships and you need a couple extra set of eyes.
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Early Spring - 1055: Well, I made it to Boatmurdered, and my initial impressions can be set forth in three words: What. The. F*ck.
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Re: Fleet orders

#11
I always wished for this type of ability in Homeworld. You could declare basic formations, but the ships still often times did what they wanted. I found tactical patterns that worked well against specific ship classes and I would try to repeat them as needed. Trying to get your ships on all sides of an enemy was a real hassle when doing it one click at a time. This type of tactical pre-planning would be nice.
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Re: Fleet orders

#12
Flendon wrote:I always wished for this type of ability in Homeworld. You could declare basic formations, but the ships still often times did what they wanted. I found tactical patterns that worked well against specific ship classes and I would try to repeat them as needed. Trying to get your ships on all sides of an enemy was a real hassle when doing it one click at a time. This type of tactical pre-planning would be nice.
on Homeworld anything smaller than a frigate was in sphere formation.
frigates were in wall formation.
anything larger was by itself surrounded by a sphere of fighters (set on guard) and a repair ship.
yes you could make your own 'custom' formations but i never saw the point. id prefer being able to teach your AI fleets attack patterns.
If I've rambled and gone off topic im sorry but i tend to be long winded as you might notice if you stumble across my other post XD. thanks for reading.
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Re: Fleet orders

#13
A number of ships could be assigned to a Task Force, and that TF can be given orders.

At the basic level a TF could be ordered to travel via a sequence of waypoints, and to carry out some action (or none) at each waypoint. If the waypoints have times allocated, then a number of TFs could be used for coordinated actions such as phased attacks or rearguard actions, or even just regular patrols.

As well as that there could be policy settings for reacting to events such as interception, i.e. do they press on regardless, fight back, or run away. Even that may be conditional on other factors such as relative TF sizes. Also the individual ships within a TF may be given different roles and relationships, such as fighters protecting a high value asset, and that high-value ship withdrawing and bombarding from maximum range if challenged. It could be done as a hierarchy of parent-child relationships with each relationship having an associated and configurable behaviour.

If commanders are implemented, each TF could have its own commander whose skill scales its performance AI in some way.
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Re: Fleet orders

#14
I like the idea of just flying one ship in my fleet, while an NPC commands. I would also like to be able to just command, without having to fly a ship at the same time. It should be possible to turn any ship with more than a certain amount of crew over to NPC piloting, and then command the ship as if it were any other in your fleet.

There could also be other options in between, such as commanding a fighter wing, and leaving the rest of the fleet to your NPC commander. If an NPC is commanding, you could optionally receive objectives of some sort from them, to help you fit into their tactics.
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Re: Fleet orders

#15
jfo wrote:I like the idea of just flying one ship in my fleet, while an NPC commands. I would also like to be able to just command, without having to fly a ship at the same time. It should be possible to turn any ship with more than a certain amount of crew over to NPC piloting, and then command the ship as if it were any other in your fleet.
If you can set a route for a Task Force, you could set it for an individual ship too, including your own. Effectively it would be an autopilot. Set the waypoints, hit "go", and sit back. There would clearly need to be some sort of 3D waypoint-setting mechanism.

The difference about your ship is that it would not have AI behaviour (or maybe it should if desired?) so it would not be able to maintain AI-based relationship behaviour e.g. defend a cap. You'd have to choose to do that yourself. However, if your ship is the 'command ship' of a TF, then you could assign other ships to protect you, i.e. behave like wingmen. This would be normal if you're a rear-echelon commander, where you'd want to protect your ownship in case the enemy get through.
There could also be other options in between, such as commanding a fighter wing, and leaving the rest of the fleet to your NPC commander. If an NPC is commanding, you could optionally receive objectives of some sort from them, to help you fit into their tactics.
I think this could be hard to implement. The AI would have to work out what it would like you to do, as well as cope with you choosing not to do it. I think the best you could do is set the AI to control the various TFs in the fleet (using a set route and behaviour policies), and you set your ship to follow a particular one. Maybe each TF could inform you what its current objective is, but you'd have to deliberately pilot your ship so as to assist with that objective. Just turn off autopilot and start flying when the time is right. On the other hand if you are the TF command ship then the others in the TF will behave (AI) to support you. However, you'd need to set the relationships so that they do that.

The alternative is that you DO set your ship to AI control, so that it flies like any other AI ship you own. You'd just assign it to a particular TF with whatever relationship to the others in that TF, and it would behave like any AI ship in that position. The danger is that you could die easily as you're on board! However, that would be your call.

I think this highlights that although formations would matter, the relationships between ships in a TF would be more important. That relationship defines the beaviour, so that any ship positioning would be dependent on the bahaviour at any one time. Fighters assigned to protect a cap would try to position themselves between the cap and the enemy, rather than have any fixed formation position. I suppose formations are mostly relevant when travelling rather than being in combat. They're part of combat readiness rather than combat itself.

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