The dreaded "Fixed Formation", Squads & Hutch2.0

Hutch: Get into formation …
Everybody: … just a moment …

… and 15 minutes later it looks kinda decent. :innocent:

Joke aside, we’re in need for some improvement of the squad / group / fleet gameplay. And there are a few things that come to mind which could help.

1. "Fixed Formation"
… mode, which is quite wonky right now as it’s fixed to the rotation of the selected reference target.

A simple but quite elegant solution would be to make it fixed to the movement vector (pro-grade) of the selected target. Even if the target has “Flight Assist” off and rotates around like crazy it wouldn’t even matter, your movement would be pretty smooth. With your own assist on, your ship would turn to face the target pro-grade vector. With assist off, it would keep your rotation and try* to strafe to hold the position. *(Try because your thrusters might not be strong enough in that direction, depending on your orientation)

2. "Squads & Hutch2.0"
Allow players to form squads with either random players or their friends. Give the squad leader a tool to select some pre-defined formation shapes and the ability to request the members to form up. (At this point you can already start seeing Hutchs grin :wink: )

For a first implementation it could just show a subtle holographic overlay of your expected position in the formation (or the whole) and the player can then manually fly there.

Later in the development ( if there’s room to implement such a feature) you could beef up that system with an autopilot mode which keeps your position in the formation if selected. You can manually override and leave the position if needed. The server would steer all ships of the squad / formation. Which leads to …

3. "Fleet Warp"
The ability to warp the whole fleet / formation / squad as leader. If the server would be already in charge of the flying then this would be not as tricky I assume.

But the movement of the whole fleet would have to be limited by the largest (slowest) ship (max. acceleration, rotation, speed-cap).

This would have to be applied in basically all formations or the next turn would evolve into some great adventure. So if you are the leader, and in an Interceptor, expect to feel like a pregnant space whale if there’s a capship in the fleet. :joy:

Just some thoughts I had after a question came up in discord about in-game clans & friend squads.

Feedback is appreciated, as always… (ps. Flavien reads everything) :sunglasses:



I think that would only work if flying straight. As Soon as the lead takes a turn the formation would change drastically. The Formation would be fixed in an absolute direction and could not rotate.

I personally think the game already has a lot of formation and fleet options. The stuff done in events are much more then really would be required in normal gameplay.

Fleet warp would be cool, yes, yet I rather see it implemented in existing systems or have existing systems reworked into a whole suite of new stuff. See here.

What is much more needed for fleets to make sense is to be able to use all the already existing formation options while, at the same time, selecting targets and fight … think about it, that would really take a lot of load off having to multitask.
There might be an easy fix. Some formation modes already act kind of difficult to learn, fixed formation mode especially with it remembering your position the moment you activate it. That is not very intuitive. Instead of trying to make it more intuitive though, it could be made into the tool needed by it not auto-switching when you change targets. Let it be locked on the target it first was activated on.

Fixed formation mode only makes sense in a fleet setup anyway, there’s no reason to use it on an enemy … or does someone have one? A quite cheaty way to stay behind him maybe, hehe.

Could we get a rundown of all the existing formation modes and their behaviour. I don’t use them often.


For warping, what about being able to drop a Warp Beacon (essentially a HUD waypoint) at your intended destination, via the star map?

During the event, as has been said elsewhere, we had issues exiting warp together and grouping up again.

Perhaps you (as squad leader) could select a station on the map and click a button that says “Place warp beacon”. It automatically places it, say, 100km from the station, allowing a rally point. It is only visible to your squad and could even automatically cancel once everyone is within 10km or so (number as an example).

This beacon can be targeted and flown towards, giving everyone the same point to aim for, instead of guessing where the rest of the fleet is going to drop out/has already dropped out.

TL,DR: Place warp beacons so squadmates can aim at that rendezvous point.

1 Like

The formation rotates with the prograde vector, it’s relative to it. If the leader takes a turn, the vector changes directions and the formation follows gradually with it.

The only time it does a “shuffle” is if the leader would stop all the way to a halt, then fly in a completely different direction. You have to be aware as a leader that such a move just doesn’t “work”. There would be a slight chaos, even more so in manual flight :wink:

EDIT: The current “Fixed Formation” mode is basically backwards. It sets your position relative to the target. What it needs to do is set the targets position relative to you and keep it at that spot. Target is at your 11’o clock and 300m away when setting it, it should stay in exactly that spot relative to you.

I’m confused. Isn’t this what match velocity does?


Could be. But match velocity should not keep your position relative to the target. It should just match your velocities. If it does other things it would be the wrong name for it. You can still change your relative position and stay there.

With fixed that should not be the case. Your ship should return to the initial position after you end your maneuver / steering input.

We need a description of the current modes from Flavien.