Extended Edition Android Beta Test and Feedback!

From a fine Commander elsewhere:

I think that movement would be much enhanced if ships could move in directions other than straight ahead. Being able to 'strafe' or 'slide' in any direction at perhaps a third or quarter of full speed would make a lot of precision and predicatable movement possible.

I think that one of the main requirements of balancing rockets and missiles (And photons) is balancing point defense - and balanced point defense requires predictable movement and facing. Unpredictable manuevering and facing is one of the biggest reasons why I feel the urge to reset when I see the Trolgar as my opponents in the first map.

The model I'd like to suggest for Harbinger needs only a few rules to govern predictable, but organic movement. I'll try and break it down into several individual principles that can work together. I'll also try to remember to make clear what rules apply to the flagship, and what rules apply only to wingmen.

One: When a move order is given, the final facing upon reaching the destination should be a straight line from the start point to the final destination. This makes your final alignment and formation positions predictable by eyeball alone. You should even draw a line from start point to end point, briefly, to illustrate to the player what the final facing will be. (And the course your ships will try to cleave to, according to a later rule.)

Two: When move orders are given at long range, (more than a couple of ship-lengths away,) all ships should immediately orient and use main engines to approach their final destination, (as determined by rule One,) not their current formation slot.

Three: When any ship's final destination is very close, (less than a couple ship-lengths away,) they should immediately rotate to their final facing, and strafe to reach their final position. Main engines should only kick them forward if they're already facing their destination, such as when a player is trying to fine-tune facing. with slight variations on current positions.

Four: The flagship should strafe to balance itself on a straight line between the start and end points of a move order. This will bring your flagship, and by exension your wingmen, onto the course and facing the player expected when he issued the order.

Five: During a move order, wingmen should maintain their formation slot by strafing toward their formation slot. They should not turn their course away from their final destination, unless, per rule three, they're so close to their final destination that they rotate to their final facing and strafe into their final positioning.

Six: If necessary, wingmen should cut speed to match the flagship while in formation. Strafing will add or reduce speed slightly to nudge them into formation

Seven: All ships should begin to strafe toward their destination the moment the move order is issued, even whle they rotate until they can engage their main engine and blast off in a wild arc through space.

To maintain their current formation slot, wingmen should cut speed if necessary, when they're close to their formation slot, and 'slide' or 'strafe' to get into position more precisely. The strafing can speed them up slightly or slow them down slightly, to keep identical ships formed up. Their facing should never deviate from their final destination, which is a known quantity to the player.

Some results: Right now wingmen must try to maintain their position on the flagship's wing, even if this causes erratic pathing, because the final formation is hard to predict even through programming. These rules will make final facing and final formation predictable to the player. Facing en route and even the course the formation takes will be more predictable, due to the flagship strafing to balance on a line between the start and end points.

Small adjustments to positioning or facing shouldn't need to use the main engines at all, and probably will not, unless the ships are already mostly facing their final destination. This is important for handling unusual cases, like players requiring a 90 degree turn during a move order, or formation changes that could result in more flailing around that the player may not have intended.

It will also keep movement organic, despite having a pre-set destination and facing. The flagship's tendency to balance on a line between the start and end points will also tend to have it already in its final facing when it reaches its final destination, without having to rotate.

Strafing to begin movement toward a final destination will make getting underway a little quicker on long trips. Because of this, you can afford to let ships rotate a little further before they start blasting off on a wild arc through space. This will help keep a ship's course and facing as they follow a move order a little more orderly and predictable.

Unusual circumstances I forsee:

In some cases, movement will be far enough away that ships kick out a wide arc to align on their destination, but not far enough for rule four to get them fully into alignment with their final facing and formation. Rule three would take effect as ships approach their destination. Ships would drop their main engines, align on their final facing, and 'slide' or 'strafe' into position, but may strafe into their final position before they manage to turn to their final facing.

In other cases, formation orders may be changed such that ships have unusual movement requirements - such as ships placed in front of the flagship being moved behind the flagship. In most cases, these changes will be within a couple of ship lengths, and rule three will 'slide' or 'strafe' ships into position smoothly without changing facing, so that they won't radically change position and facing. In some cases, they will move far enough that rule three won't apply.

Sometimes, they will already face their destination, such as if you bring wingmen forward to form a barrier to protect your flagship, and movement will be organic. However, if they are moved too far sideways or backwards, they will cut a wide arc, and won't revert to rule three until they begin to close on their position with the flagship's wing. I'm not 100% sure how I would try to address this edge case. I'm not 100% sure it even needs addressing, since it is an edge case, avoidable once you realize what you did wrong - which is a matter of gaining skill in the game

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Extended Edition Android Beta Test and Feedback! - by AdmiralGeezer - 12-17-2015, 08:38 AM

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