Greetings everybody. This week in Infinity: Battlescape, we have been working on the haulers implementation. The algorithm to figure out a navigation path between planets has taken more time than anticipated but should be resolved this week. We are actually planning on making it more generic than just establishing a route for haulers, so that the algorithm can be reused for AI bots later on when we revisit the AI commander which assembles a fleet of ships. At the moment the AI commander spawns the fleet in range of the objective ( a couple hundred Kilometers away from it ) which means that it is not possible to scout and prepare for an enemy fleet’s arrival. In the future, with this new navigation path algorithm each NPC in the assembled fleet could spawn at an ally team’s station and navigate through the star system to reach the objective to attack. This will make scouting enemy fleets a strategical part of the game.
Heated battle around a station
Of course, we’re not there yet. For now this algorithm will be exclusively used for establishing a trade route for haulers. Haulers will enter warp once they reach low orbit, so as I mentionned last time, we’re going to introduce a warp interdiction mechanic in the next patch. The way it will be implemented is by introducing internal ship equipments that will consume cargo points ( bigger ships will have a higher amount of cargo points ). In the future we will also introduce more internal ship equipments and probably turn some of the existing functionalities ( ex.: warp drive ) into ship equipments. The goal in the longer term ( in a few months, but before beta ) is to introduce a loadout customization menu where the player can select which weapons to mount on hardpoints and which equipments to fit in the internal ship cargo. This might possibly affect the ship mass and physics.
Battle around another station
This week I’ve also been investigating many technical bugs on the server side. I’m happy to report that two crashes were fixed ( the actual server hasn’t been patched yet though ) and a third one is currently under progress. We read some feedback from the community about weapons on capital ships lacking player skill, so in the next patch we are going to make an experiment for turrets that will now manually fire at the mouse cursor instead of being auto-aiming. This will only apply to the main / heaviest weapons, the light anti-fighter turrets will still pick up a nearby target and aim at it automatically.
Once the haulers patch is out, we’ll resume work on carriers spawning ( which sadly couldn’t make it into the alpha ) and the star map ( which is really a big blocker at the moment to figure out the game objectives ).
Im glad to hear the hauler AI may be recycled in the future for other purpose AI. Really excited about the game’s future hearing that.
And then i read this:
We read some feedback from the community about weapons on capital ships lacking player skill, so in the next patch we are going to make an experiment for turrets that will now manually fire at the mouse cursor instead of being auto-aiming.
More excited now! I was getting bored flying cruiser, and this will definitely help shooting at station modules.
I suppose if a joystick player binds their stick to mouse look they’ll be able to emulate similar functionality out of the box? Those large anticap turrets are very high spread anyways so i suppose precision won’t be a blocking issue for joystick players
A big part of this feeling is down to the lack of significance to anything people do when piloting a capital ship. There’s not much in the way of tactical positioning with capitals beyond how deeply into a fight to go. Right now the best way to deal with a capital-v-capital engagement is to point nose-forward (to present the smallest target) and hold the fire button till someone’s dead. How to deal with capital-v-subcapital is to do nothing, and hold the fire button.
Giving the biggest weapon mounts on capital ships narrow fields of fire at cardinal angles might help with giving players more of a sense of agency. Different weapon types with different ranges in different directions would give a reason to manoeuvre around a combat space for better results.
As an example of a default load-out that might work well: Forward mounted weapons with lower damage but faster projectile speed for sniping. Side mounted weapons with far more damage but much lower projectile speed for close range broadsides. It could make range and positioning matter a lot more than it does at the moment. You’d get much more dynamic capital ship fights over different engagement ranges. It would let players feel like their actions made a difference in the fight.
Of course, this still leaves the question of point-defences against smaller ships, or how such a system would develop when given the ability to choose custom loadouts is something you can’t really predict ahead of time.
Just a thought on (my opinion) the current biggest problem with capital ships (the lack of player agency when flying them) and a possible solution to it.
I’m willing to test the device based warp interdiction but never liked the concept of having such fundemental functionallity as a loadout tradeoff.
The whole “press button to stop enemy” gameplay never felt much fun to me.
On top of that, with these high speeds dropping someone out of warp could surely work but then getting to that dropped out ship in time before it runs away could be problematic.
Also the question of multiple ships… with high enough range you may be able to drop out a couple of people but they will all be quite faar from each other.
I think capitals should be given some abilities if they do not exert enough gameplay at the moment, rather than to micromanage fire arcs and other stats. One thing that pops into mind is for capitals to exert anti-warp fields, they would create a bubble around them, maybe with internal components different abilities can be swapped in and out, something like disabling all shields of all ships within a radius. There is a lot of possibilities with internal compartments to specialize roles for ships.
I-War2 had a very nice system, you would fire anti-warp missiles, those missiles would go into warp themselves and pop a target out of warp at some distance, they have a defined flight time, it’s possible for them to miss, because they are guided like normal missiles and if you do take a target out of warp, you still need to travel to the point where the missile hit. That takes the ‘one button win’ completely out of the equation, the anti-warp missile can obviously be accessible by an ‘internal compartment’ upgrade.
I don’t see how ‘turning your ship to point guns at the enemy’ is micromanagement. Right now there’s no management. I also don’t particularly see why adding in arbitrary push-button abilities would make the agency problem all that much better.
Although it’s a much simpler environment and movement system, the weapon mechanics in Fractured Space and Dreadnaught do give a lot of tactical choices that just aren’t present right now in Battlescape. I’m not overly fond of the games themselves, but they nail down the sense of controlling a giant capital class spaceship quite well.
I don’t see how manually aimed weapons could work right now. A solution to the problem of lacking awareness of the surroundings when flying corvette and above is a prerequirement in my opinion and I’m not talking about UI solutions here, I’m talking about being able to fly and look around at the same time in order to get a sense of what is around you.
I’m asking for a reason to turn your ship in any direction but directly forward all the time. I’m asking for a reason to think about range and positioning rather than just sit next to a furball.
Having weapons with limited fire arcs that suit different ranges located in different places around the ship would do that, and has been proven to do that in plenty of other games.
Having your ‘solution’ of generic push-button abilities would not do that.
(then again, this is probably down to a failure to communicate, I’ve been wanting to write up a full thread post on capital ships for a while now and did an awful lot of condensing here)
Well if you’re looking for apologetics, there’s the far more complex loading mechanisms and higher recoil forces to worry about on large guns, plus the ability to fit more armour up and around the sides, rear and top of the turret.
Realistically though? Probably not the smartest idea in terms of raw combat effectiveness if there aren’t other competing design considerations, no.
When it comes between “realism” and “gameplay” I just look at the difference between World of Tanks and War Thunder Ground Forces. Sure, the latter tries so much harder to be “realistic” and the gameplay isn’t bad in simulator mode. But they throw it all away and then some in the other two modes. World of Tanks doesn’t try to be realistic, Wargaming goes for gameplay. And because of that,World of Tanks has considerably deeper gameplay.
There is a lot of depth and nuance. That’s why so many run to the forums after 500 or so battles complaining about the game being “rigged”, how awesome of a game they and they don’t understand why they don’t have an +80% win rate and kill and damage ratios well under 1 :1.
Either “rigged” or they need to change the game to “add more skill”, which is to say, make it play more like an FPS game.
Man, just take a look at the game itself: it’s pure sci-fi!
Flying at super-light speed with warp, firing energy weapons, energy shields, small spaceships capable of exiting and entering atmosphere with fuel tanks as small as those of current cars (for the interceptor)…
None of the previous points are realistic (constructed and functional at least in POC), at best they’re theoratically possible.
Of course, all the laws of physics still apply, for instance going too fast in atmosphere will apply huge constraints on a ship and probably burn it… but that’s very different from human engineering, that may or may not find solutions for rapid atmosphere entry.
So please consider “laws of physics” first, then “gameplay”, then “human engineering” that you call “realism” in this case.
And to answer your previous question: yes, it makes sense. Not so long ago, early tanks could not rotate their canon on large angles. Their lighter equivalent, rifles, were quite easy to manipulate by the infantry. So you could, for lore reasons, consider the game as “early” ages of space journey and consider capital ships as “tanks” and interceptors as “infantry”.
Instead of limited arcs, perhaps much slower weapon rotation speeds? That would mean the ability of a weapon to track a target would depend on the distance to the target and the relative speed.
This could be a reason to not simply dive into the middle of a battle, plus maintaining the ships orientation to a target would minimise turret rotation required thus enabling them to keep on-target.
This gives a reason to care about range and orientation.
Large weapon rot speeds are already kinda low at times. They could definitely be somewhat lower, i wouldn’t go crazy with that though, too slow and players will be sitting and waiting too often, and the function of freelook might mean that looking behind you drags your weapons unintentionally.