Squadron and Leadership Mechanics

Given the fact that players are going to organize themselves regardless of whatever mechanics are put in place by IB, the trick is to find a system that works with the players rather than against them. As there are going to be potentially 100 or more targets, I think we can agree that there needs to be some way to filter out at least some of the targets, otherwise we’re going to have to look at 100+ little red dots.

I know in my previous ‘idea’ threads I have proposed entire game play mechanics in epic, 1000+ word essays. This is not that thread. Rather, I just want to express some ideas/concerns that Naiba and I were tossing around on Discord, and leave the panel open to discussion.

Here’s the premise: Given that there are way to many little red dots to worry about, there needs to be a way for players to easily organize themselves into a group and focus on only a small portion of the little red dots.

Players in a squadron will probably only have a hud indicator that tells them who’s in their squadron, possibly who the leader (if applicable).

There can be metrics given to each player based on their performance in a squad.

There can be two types of squadron leaders. First, some guy sitting in a cap ship looking at the battle a-la Homeworld (which would be awesome, IMO) and he would be telling various blue dots what group of red dots to focus on. A second type would be of course some guy in an interceptor leading his friends/randoms into battle.

Once targets have been selected by squadron leader, all other red dots disappear/turn yellow or something to de-prioritize them.

There can be some sort of metric in place for squadron leaders, such as a system that automatically kicks the leader if they don’t make any progress in destroying enemy infrastructure vs losing their own, generated every 10 minutes or so, encouraging good behavior.

The metrics for the leaders can be tied to the performance of the squadron, so if there are noobs or trolls, the ‘grade’ is curved.

Bad metrics = no leadership for a while, or maybe it would be up to vote. If the team is losing, maybe it’s time for better leadership.

Leaders that are part of the squadron should be more laid back, as they can only affect the the squadron they are in, and probably in a group of friends.

Well, that’s what we thought of. Let’s brainstorm some ideas/discuss old ones. :smiley:


With the game promising 100+ players some sort of in-game organization would definetly be handy. Assigning leaders and stuff could always just be done by first come, first serve with the ultimate commander being assigned by team votes when the position is vacant or a “round” starts, they could then police the squadrons and make sure someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing is being bad with a squad.

Even more important than assignment is the actual orginization tools imo, the basics would be an ability to set objectives including defend objective, attack objective, escort friendly, attack hostile and a general “move to position” waypoint for massing/more strategic stuff. Even with just this simple set of objectives, if they were set by a commander and then squad leads could set objective for individuals in their squads. Under this system you could get pretty good organization even with a simple implementation. Angels Fall First uses a system similar to this but to make different “types” of battlegroups worthwhile there would need to be more mobility between them and “types” of squads as you mentioned.

The key to the above is that the objective is always displayed on the UI, so players always know what they’ve been told to be, and to have it flash or similar upon objective change. If you really want to encourage following set orders, have an “acknowledge” button that gives you some credits for pushing (even though it wouldn’t really force you to do anything, it would force you to read the objective).

More complex stuff depends on how team funds work and how credits are distributed between team members. There’s a balance to be struck there based on rewarding raw performance/kills and using credits as a reward for following orders, im guessing credits will be split up between the whole team somehow rather than directly assigned by the commander, which would likely be very open to abuse/neglect by a bad one.


I like some of the incentive ideas mattk mentioned.

Incentive is one part, functionality is the other. I don’t really know of a game that managed to have the Organisation work flawlessly all the time with all kinds of players and it operating at various “efficiency states”.
Mostly I noticed it being quite useful for somewhat organised groups of players, less useful for very organised groups of players and not useful at all for strangers.
Ideally “Randoms” and “Pro Groups” should find the feature “somewhat useful” and “Organised Groups” should find them “quite useful”.
“Pro Groups” have more optimal ways to organise themselves and may incorporate ingame features.
“Randoms” may miss information to be able to fully use the system (who wants to wing up, “saving up for cap”, differing personal goals pretty much …)

Functionally there are quite some good examples out there and I don’t think I-Novae should re-invent the wheel here except if they have something totally different that might work.

Function and Incentive should be looked at as one system though. There’s not a lot of point in designing a feature if it only has a use in very limited situations.

Pretty much I want to see the feature active all the time. If I-Novae does not manage to get people to use the feature all the time have the server do it but differentiate automatic and player “commands” visually and with different reward.

This feature might be the difference between a random furball jumping back and forth and that scenario comic the team put up back in the kickstarter.


I don’t think INS should be over-engineering this, the start of implementation of any squad system should cater to the player population that we can currently support and that we can test while being designed in such a way as to be extendable. For instance, right now we can probably test the squad system with about a dozen ‘organized’ players and ~20 committed randoms during an open alpha weekend.

To me the BF system is nearly perfected, anyone can enter any non-empty squad, incentives are given to the players in the squad to work together and anyone can leave a squad at any time. That basically takes care of the all the points needed for a squad to function, anyone can take a role of a squadron leader, good leadership and squad teamwork is rewarded and as a fail safe if you run into a bad leader, you just leave the squad, it’s mostly self regulating.

I wouldn’t go too deep with negative feedback on poor performance, rather just reward good performance. There are a number of minimum features that need to be added at this time that we could test without large player numbers.

  • Ability to join and leave squads
  • Some sort of system for issuing commands to the squad
  • Some sort of reward system for completing orders
  • Awareness of who is in your squad and where they are

I agree with the general spirit of your post, but I think you’re still putting in too much structure.


Voice and chat. Battlescape needs voice. It will suffer significantly for its lack. Only the leaders really need to be using it, but they have to be able to casually and clearly communicate what needs to be done. If the game implements commands then the tactics players employ will be as simple as the commands. Using chat to communicate something more involved would suggest that the commanders would have to stay out of any sort of real time fight so that they could type.

Some assists would be needed to allow people to refer to locations or objects in the game world. In ARMA, we can put markers on a map that other people can see, and we can also “ping” locations as a kind of heads-up indicator. Both can be controlled to be visible to everyone on my team, everyone in my group, everyone in my vehicle, or everyone who is close to me. ARMA also allows drawing on the map, so people can indicate lines of approach and such. ARMA is essentially a 2D combat space, so it’s much easier to do all that stuff there than it would be in a 3D combat space.

The reward for success should be progress by your team. If there are material rewards, they should be awarded at the team level. Unlocking new technology, stuff like that. When rewards go to individual squads, it means that squads will compete with each other. Not to excel, but to gain some reward for themselves before another squad gets it (assuming zero sum gameplay).

Definitely. Situational awareness is going to be critical.

I’ll add that if the “duty” of a given squad is established by the game, then players interested in a given duty will join that particularly squad. For example, scouts, anti-surface bombers, anti-capital bombers, anti-bomber interceptors, anti-scout interceptors, ship transport, supply transport, capital gun directors, and so forth. And perhaps even more specialized than that, depending on the gameplay that INS chooses. For example, there may be some kind of beacon that needs to be placed for capital jumps, as with EVE Online. So there’s a squad of players that are designated for doing exactly that. There may be a whole bunch of different squads that use interceptors or that use bombers, but the job of each squad may involve fitting and using those ship types in very different ways. The initial fit of the ships should certainly be aligned with the duty of that squad.


I think you are asking for too much here, “voice chat” is most likely not going to happen and if it does it won’t be something that can be implemented into one of the dev-tier patches. I agree that we need voice, but I think this has come up a few times and the devs quietly brushed it aside. So we are going to be using something like Discord, which is perfectly fine at this time when most of the dev-tier backers are already on it.

I disagree with this, people are damn self centered and the reward should be applied directly to a player to make him happy, the money should go into his pocket, the squad leader too should be rewarded on top of the individual member’s rewards. What you are suggesting is noble and the correct moral way to do things, but the real world doesn’t work like that. I was using BF as a base for the reward system, it functions really well with rewards being given directly to squad members that are participating in fulfilling squad leader requests.

I think this is way too much to start with, we don’t even know what kind of numbers of players we’ll have, if we are looking at 2 or 3 squads per team as a norm (which i think is optimistic) then having so many specializations will just dilute its meaning. I do agree that specialization should be recognized in some way, but that can be done just as a statistic at the end of the round, with some bonuses being applied according to specialization.

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and can be joined by opening a link in a browser … something Minecraft can do from ingame (Opening a link, inside the systems default webbrowser, posted in chat by clicking on it … that is).

It’s a reward I personally like … but it gets more and more washed out the longer and larger games are.
Overwatch = quite rewarding.
Battlefield = alright.
Planetside = not at all (maybe a little when taking one position …).

I see where this comes from and many games do that … mostly to individual roles though.
I don’t know if this could work. I think just being able to (re)name squads would do the same.


Yeah, I also think there needs to be some organisation for the players, especially given the large numbers of players planned.

I would even go out on a whim here and say that it’s going to make or break the game.

Imagine having a game studio with 200 employees but zero leadership trying to develop a AAA game.
I’ve seen companies with far less than that fail due to a lack of vision and leadership, let alone “hoping” that emergent leadership will happen in a video game.

The best coordination in an action game I’ve seen is with how Squad has it set up.
There are a series of restrictions in place if you try to go all lone-wolf + 2 levels of communication: squad and command.
And even then I’ve seen bad games due to poor communication.

I would love to hear what Keith & Flavien’s thoughts on this are.

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In related news, Star Wars Battlefront 2 has faced similar issues with lack of team play and is attempting to deal with them by introducing squad spawning mechanics. This doesn’t really help team play though because everyone still scatters in the large-scale modes, seeking glory.
Simply put, there aren’t enough incentives to properly work together, or systems in place to allow easy communication (without voice).

What can I:B learn from this?

  • Obvious team-friendly mechanics. We’re already seeing this with corvette healing and carrier spawning.
  • Rewards - make it worthwhile to protect each other and coordinate.
  • Methods of communication beyond typing. Auto-alerts on HUDs can work here. Perhaps a squadmate flashes when under attack, or players can tag targets they want to attack and hope their squadron joins in.

Ever Quest does a good job of organizing “raids” Lets group know who is being concentrated on how many enemies there are ect.