How do YOU use fighters in gsb2

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cliffski
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Re: How do YOU use fighters in gsb2

Postby cliffski » Sat May 23, 2015 7:39 pm

I agree fighters definitely don';t have spare slots. I guess what I am proposing is adding a slot to almost all the fighters. Ideally I would find a way to balance the numbers of everything so it didn't make sense to add more weapons or engines to those slots, WITHOUT the hassle (partly in terms of code, but primarily in terms of explaining it all to the player) of introducing a third slot type.

So what I'm getting at, is say we introduce a 'tractor resistance module' (not a hard counter, but maybe 50% chance of tractor evasion?), and we give it a tiny weight, tiny power requirement, and non-trivial cost... and then add a slot to each fighter...
Is it likely there is a combination of numbers that prevents that slot being practically used by weapons and engines?

Essentially I want to make fighters more varied and usable, but not dramatically more heavily armed or faster...

Hmmm...now I'm musing on a whole range of fun possibilities if I did add a new slot type. ha ha...

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Re: How do YOU use fighters in gsb2

Postby yurch » Sat May 23, 2015 9:43 pm

I get into thrust/weight relationships a bit in the other thread. Heavier engines in proportion to the rest of the craft weight stack more poorly.

You could always add a 'fighter ionizing module' on carriers, if there absolutely needs to be a paid cost for mitigating tractors.

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Re: How do YOU use fighters in gsb2

Postby Archduke Astro » Sat May 23, 2015 11:27 pm

cliffski wrote:I agree fighters definitely don';t have spare slots. I guess what I am proposing is adding a slot to almost all the fighters. Ideally I would find a way to balance the numbers of everything so it didn't make sense to add more weapons or engines to those slots, WITHOUT the hassle (partly in terms of code, but primarily in terms of explaining it all to the player) of introducing a third slot type.

Yes, fighters/gunships are simply much too slot-constrained. I like your suggested first solution, but I truly think it impractical to impossible unless you choose instead to take your slot solution to a higher level (which will need at least some degree of recoding not just to create it, but also to make it "air-tight"; see below).

Even so, while that would meet your immediate goal of getting your anti-tractor gadget into the game, there's still the much larger issue of fighter/gunship overall performance problems that needs to be addressed. I'm in favor of new modules in general and new slot types in general, but when it comes to the weaknesses of one-man craft your anti-tractor gadget is not going to get the entire job done by itself. I'm becoming concerned about the undesirability of simply moving problems to different parts of the battlespace, instead of decisively eliminating them by repairing their root causes.


cliffski wrote:So what I'm getting at, is say we introduce a 'tractor resistance module' (not a hard counter, but maybe 50% chance of tractor evasion?), and we give it a tiny weight, tiny power requirement, and non-trivial cost... and then add a slot to each fighter...

That sounds like a good first step in the right direction, and for now I support it.
But where do you want it to proceed from here, though?
This anti-tractor gadget won't exist in a vacuum, after all -- it should be a part of a bigger, integrated plan to help the game by not crippling the utility of fighters and gunships.


cliffski wrote:Is it likely there is a combination of numbers that prevents that slot being practically used by weapons and engines?

Speaking only in terms of the proposed anti-tractor gadget, I tend to doubt it can be adequately done merely in terms of nudging other modules' performance stats by some tiny increments. (That same plan of action, and by larger increments, is still needed for fixing one-man craft in general.) A solution for that slot may have to be implemented at another level of the game's functionality.

You should consider some way via coding to automatically make the new slot type (let's call it the "Auxiliary" or "Support" type of slot) somehow sense when any module of family type SIM_Engine or SIM_(all weapons) is inserted into it, the slot will then refuse to accept the module and the player will have to choose again.

I don't think there's any cleaner or more direct way to permit some types of modules to function normally inside that new type of fighter slot, but prevent other types of modules from being "legal" in it. This third type of hull slot needs to be aware of what type of item the player is trying to install there.

Please also make certain that modders can adopt this hypothetical new slot type for use aboard other hull sizes, too.


cliffski wrote:Essentially I want to make fighters more varied and usable, but not dramatically more heavily armed or faster...

I'm pleased that you support the same concept that I mentioned in detail here before you. Again, that notion is parallel to but separate from other needed changes to one-man craft.


cliffski wrote:Hmmm...now I'm musing on a whole range of fun possibilities if I did add a new slot type. ha ha...

If you're serious about this third type of hull slot, then please don't leave us hanging here in suspense, Cliff...I'd like to hear more about it.
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Re: How do YOU use fighters in gsb2

Postby Alekan » Sun May 24, 2015 12:34 am

Cliffski, I don’t see how adding this module will help out the bigger picture. As Yurch posted good information on the state of fighters, and as I posted how engines – fighter engines especially – are really imbalanced, it would be better to further adjust what is already in the game (engines, tractors, etc.) then adding a band-aid module.

My main concern is with the mechanics of this new module; if the resistance module works the targeted fighter will not slow down and will fly out of range quickly. The Tractor will fire far more often as its capacitor is not drained very much... and given the nerfed range of the Multi-Tractor, it will essentially rapid-fire on fleeing fighters until it works. This... is not worth the opportunity cost of an extra fighter engine at all. You could add a cool-down, but this brings me back to my point; why do this when giving Tractors a tracking rating would create a framework for solutions beyond the immediate problem: Fighters and anti-fighter weapons in general?

Adding an additional slot to Fighters could be a good thing, so long as things like the incredible thrust/weight ratio of certain engines is normalized and/or soft-caps for fighter speeds are put into place. Right now, a Yootani fighter with an extra engine would be OP… unless you have Tractors.

A resistance module would be a buff to gunships and a nerf to fighters, since it is a per unit cost (which could be good/bad, don't know). For any craft not intended to go against Tractors, an extra slot is an extra engine – and with that kind of speed, people will be forced to have Tractors against any hint of fighters, as no other weapon (system) would be as cost-effective against 3.5+ fighters.

An anti-tractor module and an extra slot will cause an even bigger divide between have/have nots for Tractors, and will simply make people field more Tractors due to not being as reliable/still by far the best option. A Tractor resistance module on a fighter will clearly separate offensive craft from defensive craft. If Tractors remain auto-hit (their single most OP feature) then this new module will force players to pay a ‘Tractor Tax’ if they actually want to attack any enemy with Tractors. Why should I spend extra credits on this module when I could add an engine and make my fighters that much faster and less vulnerable to every single other weapon system?



Bottom Line: Tractors need to have tracking like every other anti-fighter system so there is an actual Choice vs. fighters. Fighters need to have soft caps on speed or engine stacking penalties to encourage the use anything other than guns and engines on fighters and to aid in balancing anti-fighter tracking. Engines need to be balanced to fix the extreme range of costs/benefits.


Battles are simply boiling down to rock, paper, scissors; bring the right tools or die, no matter how good you are at setting up orders or ships. Instead of having a fleet that you can personalize with roughly effective weapons and equipment so that a semi-casual player can enjoy the game against anything other than the pre-built enemies, it all comes down to finding the 'Hard-Counter' (or Best in Slot) that will counter the enemy. Everything is very specialized and Should Be Done a Certain Way or be punished/at a disadvantage, which results in very little choice – and by extension player content. More slots and specialized modules without balancing is just leading to hyper-specialization and less content for your average player. Once you pick up an OP setup like the Sledge Rush or a race like Tribe from GSB1 - or auto-hit Tractors are first/last/best against all fighters, the content for the average player (friends who picked up GSB2) ends... no matter how many shiny but inferior/niche modules are still left to try out.

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Re: How do YOU use fighters in gsb2

Postby cliffski » Sun May 24, 2015 9:14 am

Yikes, its very hard for me to keep all the thoughts in my head :D. I do agree that just adding stuff to fix symptoms is a mistake, and also agree that hard counters are bad. However, it does seem to be the case that the preferred solution of adding tracking speed to tractors also has a fundamental issue:

The whole reasoning behind tractors is that 'fighters are too fast for us to hit, so slow them down', but if we add tracking, tractors will *only* be of use against relatively slow fighters anyway, meaning you still have a pretty sharp divide between the super-fast fighters that are invulnerable now, and those fighters that were probably easy meat anyway, on which we are now wasting tractor beams.

I am still (in the long term) attracted to some sort of support-slot type for fighters. I had always imagined the target booster as a 'support-socket' style module for fighters, added as an afterthought to marginally nudge upwards the capability of a fighter. An anti-tractor module could be another module of the same style, maybe a fuel-efficiency module could be another, etc.

On the more general note of 'are fighters any use at all', does this really come down to the relative ineffectiveness of bombers, ie: gunships and their ability to damage cruisers. I like the idea of a squad of gunship bombers being able to take down a cruiser *if* they can keep enemy fighters away from the bombers long enough. I don't see this really discussed which makes me think that one of the problems here is that fighter/gunship torpedoes/bombs are just underpowered?

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Re: How do YOU use fighters in gsb2

Postby Cyk0 » Sun May 24, 2015 11:30 am

Archduke Astro wrote:For me, any fighter or gunship that needs more than two engines merely to avoid any type of "insta-kill" damage, while also flying quickly enough to miss most of the specialized anti-fighter/gunship weapons' effects, is not worth using. Light craft should definitely be routinely zooming along far faster than that, and without having to cut deeply into their loadouts. But right now that's not possible to the extent that it should be. This dilutes other aspects of fighter and gunship performance, and right now I just don't find them enjoyable. Perhaps this will change.

Should strike craft engines simply be way more powerfull but with a harsh stacking penalty? To such an extent that dual engines is something unusual that you only see when trying to lug something heavy.

If the powerplants become stronger and manuverthruster don't count for stacking it should lead to an explosion of component usage. Just add in higher tracking speed for figher anti-fighter weapons and I think the results would become very interesting.

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Re: How do YOU use fighters in gsb2

Postby yurch » Sun May 24, 2015 2:52 pm

I'm okay with how tractors work now, they probably just recharge too quickly. When located near a friendly fighter squad, they hit on an target, and the entire squad dumps fire on it, killing it in under a second. This is likely keeping the recharge time really low as the beam isn't running long enough to expend significant power.

The beam weight relationship is interesting. That four engine pig of a fighter I described earlier? It weighs 32. It can still somewhat maneuver when caught by the lighter tractor beams.

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Re: How do YOU use fighters in gsb2

Postby Alekan » Mon May 25, 2015 4:55 am

The Anti-Fighter missiles in GSB1 had 12.50 tracking; the missiles still missed regularly – even against slow cruisers. Give Tractors a tracking of 8.00-12.00. You can differentiate the tractor systems by Beam Weight, Tracking, and Recharge Speed. For example, the main feature of the Multi-Tractor is 3 beams; make it have a lower beam weight, lower tracking speed, and lower recharge rate relative to the standard Tractor as trade-offs. Frigate Tractors could have low beam weight but a high tracking of 15.00+ for a better hit chance.

An additional option for Tractors is that you could substitute ‘add X weight’ for ‘reduce speed/turning by X%’. This would simplify how Tractors interact with larger/smaller fighters and make it both easier to balance and more intuitive/consistent from the players perspective.


Also, go with what Yurch is proposing with engine weights in the other thread: by increasing engine weight and tweaking thrust/weight ratios, fighters will incur diminishing returns on more engines. This will put a cap on how fast fighters can fly – and it will also encourage the use of other ‘support’ modules for fighters. If fighter weight is concentrated in the engines, there is little benefit to more than 2 engines – leaving slots open for generators to power beam lasers, the tracking podule, or even armor. By going with his suggestion instead of generic stacking penalties, it avoids future balancing problems with the complicated interaction of racial/hull bonuses with stacking penalties.

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Re: How do YOU use fighters in gsb2

Postby Cyk0 » Mon May 25, 2015 5:24 pm

If you don't use stacking penalty and only go with high engine weight and trust you would still seec heavy torpedo gunships going the same speed as the fastest light fighter by just slapping more of the engine with the best TWR on.

If you go with stacking penalties, you can have light weight engines with better TWR because they can't be spammed to move a heavier ship. They would insteald use heavier engines with slightly lower TWR but noticeably higher weight and thrust (allowing them to easily "swallow" the weight of other equipment and still moving say an armored dual pulse gunship at 2.5 and only one engine)

Note though that this would require strike craft generators to be more powerfull soy that you can pull of almost all builds with only a single (but with the changes expensive) generator. If the generators get noticably hevier with each power level it would also steer you towards bigger engines an cap your top speed due to the TWR if you want a high energy loadout.

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Re: How do YOU use fighters in gsb2

Postby Alekan » Mon May 25, 2015 7:11 pm

If you don't use stacking penalty and only go with high engine weight and trust you would still seec heavy torpedo gunships going the same speed as the fastest light fighter by just slapping more of the engine with the best TWR on.


How is that a bad thing? The important thing is that they will not fly significantly faster than the light fighter, despite all of those (expensive) engines. The whole point is to make different weapon/equipment setups viable (read: around the same speed) without allowing for extreme speeds. Those bombers need that speed to be a viable option. By allowing even bombers to fly at similar speeds to fighters, you simplify your target balancing numbers for anti-fighter weaponry and limit the number of edge-cases that you have to create 'special conditions' to deal with - like auto-hit Tractor beams.

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Re: How do YOU use fighters in gsb2

Postby Cyk0 » Mon May 25, 2015 9:29 pm

The point of my desition is that even the heviest gunship they get a similar speed to a light fighter (just a hair behind due to lower TWR for the big engines) As long they pack two engines and a still decent and survivable speed with only one. Without a penalty the fastest strike craft would be a gunship spamming the engine with the best TWR and other engines that the one with the best TWR will not be used (Maybe to fill the last bit of power)

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Re: How do YOU use fighters in gsb2

Postby Sable Phoenix » Wed May 27, 2015 5:45 pm

cliffski wrote:Essentially I want to make fighters more varied and usable, but not dramatically more heavily armed or faster...


But fighters DO need to be faster. The whole reason fighters were useful in GSB1 (other than getting under shields) was because speeds of 2.7 to 3.2 were easily reached, often with just one engine. Higher were possible if you built entirely for speed. Unless you're Yootan you just can't do that in GSB2, and a fighter just can't survive if it's too far down the curve from a 3.0 speed.

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Re: How do YOU use fighters in gsb2

Postby Sable Phoenix » Wed May 27, 2015 6:08 pm

cliffski wrote:On the more general note of 'are fighters any use at all', does this really come down to the relative ineffectiveness of bombers, ie: gunships and their ability to damage cruisers. I like the idea of a squad of gunship bombers being able to take down a cruiser *if* they can keep enemy fighters away from the bombers long enough. I don't see this really discussed which makes me think that one of the problems here is that fighter/gunship torpedoes/bombs are just underpowered?


Haha, yes, if that was your original intention for bomber builds then the balancing for those weapons has completely failed. The very idea of fighters or gunships presenting a threat of any kind to cruisers without some other cap ship there to puncture the shields and armor first is laughable under the current system. I too like the idea but it's so far out of reality at the moment that I'm not surprised the idea has never come up.

If you want to accomplish this, you should probably split up the modules available for fighters and gunships. They should only share a few components, and most of those should be "support" modules like armor and tracking modules. Give gunships their own sets of weapons and engines and the reactors to support them. Make their weaponry a lot heavier; make each weapon designed to be effective at damaging one (and one only one) of a cap ship's three health bars. That way, every single gunship having two weapon modules makes sense; each gunship is required to bring a weapon to crack defense (either shield or armor) and one to damage the hull. You'd be required to field two different variants of gunship in any given battle - either a wing of anti-shield/anti-hull configs and a wing of anti-armor/anti-hull configs, or a wing of anti-shield/anti-armor configs and another of anti-hull/anti-hull configs. Their survivability would need to increase quite a bit, too; it should be really tough to get a gunship to 3.0 speed, but they should be able to carry significantly more armor than they currently do without sacrificing that speed.

Even with these changes I think cruiser should be the maximum hull size that could theoretically be threatened by gunship wings. I'm leery of making a pristine dreadnought vulnerable in any way to strike craft without other cap ships available to soften it up first.

Changes to fighters in this system would be to focus them more heavily on interception and damaging other light craft. They'd exist in two variants as well, interceptors to bring down those gunships before they could strip shields or armor from the cap ships, and air-superiority fighters to sweep away enemy fighter cover so the interceptors can reach those gunships. Their weaponry would need to shift more towards higher-tracking, lower-damage varieties. Their speed should also shift upward. A speed of, say, 2.8 should be fairly easy to reach for all but the heaviest of interceptors carrying the heaviest fighter weaponry, but getting above 3.4 or so should be quite difficult without sacrificing something else.

I'm no mathematician so I've got no hard numbers here, just coming off the top of my head based on how current gameplay "feels".

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Re: How do YOU use fighters in gsb2

Postby dafrandle » Sun May 31, 2015 3:46 am

Sable Phoenix wrote:Even with these changes I think cruiser should be the maximum hull size that could theoretically be threatened by gunship wings. I'm leery of making a pristine dreadnought vulnerable in any way to strike craft without other cap ships available to soften it up first.


but then the dreads become overpowered, i'm not saying it should crumple like wet paper to them, but they should pose a threat to them, why because if they don't, a player has no reason to use destroyers
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