Hutch: Get into formation …
Everybody: … just a moment …
… and 15 minutes later it looks kinda decent.
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 )
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.
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)