Hey so I remember talking with I think Lomsor about the way capital ships work in Battlescape, and he reminded me that they are super rough at the moment. I’m not really sure if INS has a direction they’ve decided on, but let me give you the run down on how I think they should work in the future as they get developed.
First of all, I want to say that I am pretty much going to compare this directly to World of Warships but in 3D space. Thats the TL;DR.
But basically right now, capital ships are not really that fun or skillful to play. I mean sure you kill lots of things, but it doesnt really feel like you accomplished anything, and its also not very fun for the bombers or interceptors trying to combat them.
Secondly, there isn’t a good way for skilled and daring capital ship captains to out maneuver or out smart their opponents. This is because all of the guns are auto aim and are basically point, and hold down LMB until target dies.
And finally, the capital ships arent different enough. They dont feel like they have defined roles on the battlefield. The destroyer is better than the bomber, the cruiser is better than the destroyer, etc. Its all about money. But I think a more nuanced system should be implemented.
So now I bring us back to the world of warships comparison: Imagine this, a destroyer in battlescape could be a fast, light, but weak capital ship used to escort the bigger cruisers by providing anti-fighter support through flak cannons, and by housing a large armament of torpedoes for handling capital ship fleet battles. Its machine gun and laser armament is light, and aside from the torpedoes has very little in the way of ship to ship combat capabilities.
Opposite that, a cruiser would have very little in the way of flak cannons (very little if any anti-fighter/bomber defenses) but a large armament of ballistic and laser weaponry, along with a small complement of torpedoes. The cruiser is slow, well armored, and heavy. Its role is to smash through enemy capital ships, station defenses (turrets), and to destroy enemy installations too powerful for strike craft.
Obviously, all of this is subject to INS’ vision, but these are just examples of what kind of a role a capital ship can play that isnt just “weaker cruiser” or “stronger destroyer”.
On the flak cannons: these will be AUTOMATED POINT DEFENSE SYSTEMS that will automatically target the closest enemy STRIKE CRAFT. They will have limited range (for example 2.5 km for cruisers, 5km for destroyers) and poor accuracy at range, but unlimited power/ammo. They will do zero damage to and will not even attempt to fire at capital ships. They should do light damage to strike craft, but should be able to quickly eliminate a strike craft should it try to linger where it shouldn’t be.
If you’ve ever played world of warships, this is like the anti aircraft weaponry in that game.
Also, all the turrets that are on the ships currently should be manually controlled and manually fired. LMB can remain an “alpha strike” button where all available guns will fire in the desired direction, but i think each weapon group should have its own button. I think the top row numbers should be remapped to weapon groups and the preset throttles should be moved to numpad by default. Outside of warp, preset speed isnt necessary to be quickly accessed in my opinion, especially with scroll wheel already performing a similar function.
Making the guns manual aim (with lead indicators still of course) means that capital ships without automated point defense systems will find it extremely tough to survive in large battles without support, and also it means that clever captains can out maneuver their opponents (by flying extremely fast at weird angles past the target while firing, etc). We already have visual indicators of our current turret facing direction, so now we just need to refine that UI component into something that shows turret readiness better to the user, and voila problem solved.
Alright, closing statement here, I didnt proofread this at all, im on a fuckin lake in a log cabin resort living it up and I CBA to make it look all nice or pretty sounding, so I hope my stream of consciousness writing kind of got the point across. I got the inspiration to post this by reading in the other feedback thread about a capital ship fight. I think stuff needs to change about the way they operate before beta launches, but I feel like you guys already know that.