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 Post subject: Boarding Mechanics: Suggestions and Critiques
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:55 pm 
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First I shall present my critiques:

Boarding is one of the first mechanics introduced to a player. With missions on it is required that you design a boarding craft to even start to progress in the game. Consequently one might think that boarding would be a decidedly useful part of combat. Ambush an enemy fleet in transit? Disable the capital ship and fight out of range of its weapons then try to board it and take home your prize. Its a nice reward for a potentially dangerous action. Unfortunately, I feel its entirely two difficult and not all that rewarding beyond bragging rights.

I feel there a currently two major problems with boarding, the first is your exceptionally limited number of "marines". (Just to make things clear, from now on I will be referring to any personnel who can board an enemy ship as marines) This limitation comes from the fact that a ship currently has to supply marines from its own crew, meaning that no matter what I do I will never have more then 240 marines on my largest ship. That just isn't enough, at least if you want anything larger then a scout or a transport.

Now, if you're a nut like me and after failing horribly in a few attempts to capture enemy ships you thought, "screw it, I'm building a specialized fleet for this," then you may have encountered a second problem. Your crew is really, really awful at boarding a ship. Your marines will be slaughtered while doing comparatively little damage to the enemy crew. Even with the Ship Armory and Transporters providing bonuses to boarding. Should you bring enough boarding capable ships, sending send wave after wave of marines to their deaths. Until finally, the new marines can effectively use the stacked bodies of their comrades as cover and overwhelm the enemy crew. Then the ship blows up and the rest of your men die.

Now for my suggestions:

I think the easiest solution would be a new Special module specifically for marines. Its already possible from the start of the game to carry 2000 group troops plus fighters, bombers, tanks, hovercraft, etc into a Transport class ship. Why not allow for a similar size Special module, probably either 30 or 40 space, to carry 500 specially trained and equipped Marines for boarding purposes? Allow me to explain further.

Marines are purely for combat in boarding, but would be unable to effectively pilot this ship. This necessitates that a boarding ship must have enough crew total to allow for the piloting of both ships. I'm not 100% sure what the minimum is now. But lets say its 20 crew for a Transport class. Since a Transport class has 50 crew, any boarding capable Transport class ship could potentially board and capture another one. In fact, this balances itself nicely. If Ship A is the same size or larger then Ship B, Ship A can potentially capture B. This prevents a swarm of Transports from running home with a new Capital ship as a prize, which would be awesome, but would necessitate being able to merge crews together so that multiple ships could assist in piloting a single large one. That seems like a little bit much to ask though.


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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Mechanics: Suggestions and Critiques
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:13 am 
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Excellent suggestions GoG. I have encountered the same issue.

Maybe also add some more boarding defence options to counter marine modules e.g. sentry bot modules. Also have the AI make more use of boarding tactics.


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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Mechanics: Suggestions and Critiques
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:29 pm 
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Cumberlow wrote:
Maybe also add some more boarding defence options to counter marine modules e.g. sentry bot modules. Also have the AI make more use of boarding tactics.


Indeed, I actually hadn't thought of including counter measures. I know that the Life Support tech line will provide some boarding defense as well, but I have yet to be actually boarded so I can't confirm how effective it is. Counter measures do make sense, though I'm not 100% on adding another module. Rather it might be simply tied to the ship class itself? A scout ship clearly isn't going to be easy to defend against an enemy boarding party, nor should it be considering it only holds 10 crew members. Transports are a weird gray area in my mind, but Cruisers and Motherships are most definitely military vehicles which would have well trained and reasonably equipped crew. It would probably make sense to upgrade the Ship Armory to give an offensive and defensive bonus to boarding though.


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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Mechanics: Suggestions and Critiques
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:22 pm 
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Currently the combat AI does not board ships, we will of course be fixing this.

If it wasn't obvious, you can board a target ship from multiple ships. The boarding combat processing doesn't happen immediately. In fact it's even possible for you to reinforce a friendly (yours or allied) ship that is being boarded.

I'm not sure it's realistic (or balanced) to board a ship quickly with equal or more marines than the receiving ship (expect perhaps if it has a low crew count). There is always a bottleneck.. Whether it be transporters capabilities (can only beam a small amount at a time), shuttles can only land a few at a time. etc.

We are taking the view that your crew are cross-trained as marines. I'm not against a ship module that can double-up the crew or special marines though or something similar. We will need to balance the whole boarding system, so we can take a look at adding another module at that time.

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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Mechanics: Suggestions and Critiques
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:03 pm 
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From my point of view, there are two use cases for boarding:

1) Capture something for research (like disassembling aliens in X-COM)
2) Capture something stationary and upgradeable which is worth more than 100-200 marines.

So it boils down to smaller ships of outgunning (but not outnumbering) race and costly defenses like starbases.

Let's also keep in mind that 1st option is usually reserved to specific preset scenarios (like Antarans) as AI usually doesn't tend to create a small number of high-tech ships.

I believe, 3 to 1 ratio with added buffs and debuffs from personal weapons research is reasonable.

We can also play with:
- marines' throughput
- crew numbers/crew losses from battle

Also, boarding shouldn't evolve into a minigame (mix of Frozen Synapse and Space Hulk (not the official, but fan-made, banned)) - it's worth a game on its own.


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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Mechanics: Suggestions and Critiques
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 6:15 pm 
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Something I haven't really seen is the "boarding progress". I'll get a message saying (146 of your attackers have perished). Well what does this mean? How close am I to taking over the ship?

Also there is no reward for boarding as of beta release it seems. Wish there was but you can take a ship from the enemy... thats about it. I want to disect it and take those crystal cannons, gravton engines, fusion generator all for myself!


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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Mechanics: Suggestions and Critiques
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:19 pm 
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C.C wrote:
...
Also there is no reward for boarding as of beta release it seems. Wish there was but you can take a ship from the enemy... thats about it. I want to disect it and take those crystal cannons, gravton engines, fusion generator all for myself!


There is a chance of acquiring technologies found on the ship, though this only happens through salvaging (scrapping) the ship after capture


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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Mechanics: Suggestions and Critiques
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 5:32 pm 
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Grogger wrote:
There is a chance of acquiring technologies found on the ship, though this only happens through salvaging (scrapping) the ship after capture


Do you have to take it back to a Starbase or Shipyard (or at least a Colony) before scraping it to get the chance to learn the tech?


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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Mechanics: Suggestions and Critiques
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:56 am 
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Madbiologist wrote:
Grogger wrote:
There is a chance of acquiring technologies found on the ship, though this only happens through salvaging (scrapping) the ship after capture


Do you have to take it back to a Starbase or Shipyard (or at least a Colony) before scraping it to get the chance to learn the tech?


No, it's as simple as: when a ship is scrapped, technologies on board are scanned, if it's a new tech then there is a chance it will be discovered (there's ~60% of a successful scavenge, if there is an undiscovered tech on board)


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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Mechanics: Suggestions and Critiques
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:31 am 
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Madbiologist wrote:
Do you have to take it back to a Starbase or Shipyard (or at least a Colony) before scraping it to get the chance to learn the tech?
We could do this if folks want (low priority though), it's an easy enough change but scrapping would end up becoming an order where you need to select a planet to move to scrap/salvage.

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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Mechanics: Suggestions and Critiques
PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:09 am 
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Zaimat wrote:
Madbiologist wrote:
Do you have to take it back to a Starbase or Shipyard (or at least a Colony) before scraping it to get the chance to learn the tech?
We could do this if folks want (low priority though), it's an easy enough change but scrapping would end up becoming an order where you need to select a planet to move to scrap/salvage.



Think it would be cool if you got a pop up that told you the % chance of what techs you could learn or enhance via scrapping and doing it away from a space dock should give you a penalty like say 30% chance away from space dock and 60% chance at a base.

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