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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

Continuation Smile

The goals are for the final facing (and therefore final formation positions) to be predictable, and for facing to be assumed as quickly as possible, and maintained through the whole trip regardless of anomalies like the player making changes in the formation screen.

To a large degree, some of these rules revert back to old movement rules - each ship gets a move order to a final formation point, instead of wingmen trying to maintain their wing. Those points face directly away from the start point, and ships may have to rotate afterwards to achieve the proper facing. This is all as movement used to be.

The critical differences are that strafing and speed control are used by wingmen to maintain formation even as they point and burn towards their destination, and is also used by the flagship to try to return to a straight-line course between start and end points after a turn.

Now . . . because I personally like shiny and graceful movement . . . I'm thinking right now of a set of rules to do this without implementing strafing. Implementing a new movement TYPE seems to be the most burdensome aspect of this, from a coding perspective. I don't know if these tweaked rules will make this trivial to code up or not. If this is still too much of a crunch in your timeline, you can stop reading now. Smile

Old movement rules again. Upon move, give all three formed-up ships independent move orders to points that are in a formation facing directly away from the start point. As with old movement rules.

Measure the angle from the start point to the end point. Record it for the duration of this move order. For instance, if north on your screen is zero, south is 180, and east/west is 90/270, then moving your fleet due east has the result that you want each member of the fleet to approach from the west of the end point, or about 270 degrees.

Have every ship overcorrect. If they're approaching from 290 degrees - twenty degrees more south than desired, have them overcorrect by 20 degrees. They are approaching moving in a direction of 70 degrees - they would overcorrect by turning and burning at 50 degrees. This overcorrection would reduce bit by bit as they line up with the intended course, until they assume almost exactly the final facing they should be using. Obviously, for short distances, this isn't terribly necessary.

Comine this with turning to almost directly face your destination when move orders are over a short distance, before burning the main engines, and you may have something organic and predictable without having to implement a new movement type.

Please, whenever the player is in a cleared sector with no enemies (whether the player cleared the sector, or just jumped into a sector with no enemies), multiply the speed of shield regeneration and fighter building by 10. The most frustrating thing about the game, for me, is when I jump out of a battle at the last minute, with shields down and barely any hull left, and then I'm in an empty sector and wait for several minutes while slooooooowly my fighters are all built again and my shields regenerate.

@hakamadre. Noted! Should be fixable, but it might take some time since we are heading for a Christmas break.

From a fine Commander elsewhere.

If the Devs read this can you guys please adjust Auto Travel now. Ever since you added the new maps that slowly damage the ships or drain sheilds it makes auto travelling slightly more annoying. If I pick a location that is 2 jumps away the game will choose to try and travel through one of these maps because technically it's the faster route, but it's much slower because you'll have to stop, wait for FTL to charge and then manually jump.

It would be cool to have modules that let you avoid the negative effects of hazard zones. EM shields, antigravity, deflector screens etc. I'd like to spec my ships to use these zones for tactical advantage, but the cost in FTL delays and hull damage make it less attractive. I'd also love to see those asteroids provide obstructions and cover - heck, if those levels behaved like a classic game of Asteroids, with physics for the rocks when shot and shattered, then fights in those zones would be bonkers - and maneuverable ships could use them as cover and tractor beams/repulsor beams could shove them at enemies.

As I've played more, the game continues to be stable on my Moto X, but have run into that strange targeting bug with the shield drainer, where it gets stuck firing 30% or so off center, but fires as if it were still on target.

Hello again! Been awhile since I've posted, but I'm back to playing and wanted to bring up a few things:

Something I just ran into accidentally selling a mission item, causing a mission failure (it was a beacon which I habitually sold forgetting that I needed to pick it up for the mission). It might be nice to have some sort of notification/confirmation when it comes to those items?

Regarding Nemesis spawns: I know the map used to spawn a max of 2 or 3 nemesis and once you've taken them out that's the end of it. I haven't found whether that's still the case but I think it could be fun if they keep spawning (maybe every X amount of turns) to keep you on your toes. I like when they storm me with a few companion ships and am always sad to see them die xD

I also found a nice little bug. If you view a ship that hasn't been unlocked yet, exit the ship selection screen, then switch difficulties, it will set that ship as your active one and allow you to play using it. I imagine it was easy to overlook due to the fact that many phones don't have a back button these days Smile

RE: Bailywolf's post, I like those ideas a lot. Another cool addition could be something to increase the warp drive's recharge speed.

From a fine Commander elsewhere:

Found a bug (I think). I finished a game (won) on easy. There was a mercenarie in the last zone. I delivered a crate (his mission for me). Then ended the game by leaving the map. I started a new game with the ship I unlocked and the exact mercenary was in the beginning zone. Exact same. He was same ship type, same health, even had the supply crate in his shop.

A bug and a beg.☺

Bug: it seems that the Gatling guns and the Vulcan point defense have accuracy as an attribute instead of burst. I have one of each and have an accuracy labeled 1, which obviously should be burst.

Beg: it would be great if there would be some way to differentiate your flagship from the others. Right now I have three of the same type of ships and when they are spinning around sometimes it's hard to keep track of which ones about to get blasted. Just a thought, thanks. I am loving these updates loving this game thanks a lot guys.

First, I've really been enjoying the game and have played enough to unlock everything and beat the game on every difficulty. The back to back replays have left me thinking a lot about the progression through the campaign, how we unlock new ships and how we scale up our fleets for each play through.

So our current system you start your first match in a small ship and try beating the campaign. Level up, unlock the next ship, replay the campaign in a slightly larger ship. Each play through is slightly easier until your ready to bump up the difficulty. Once a new hull is unlocked there's never any reason to choose an earlier hull except for the choice to trade guns for fighter bays.

The very limited number of ship slots means that any smaller ship we buy will sold soon to make room for a larger ship, but we're only getting back a small portion of the value. The cost of selling heavily encourages players to hoard scrap until they can buy the best hulls available. Add to that it's not much more expensive to buy a larger ship and there's no reason to ever buy a small one.

I suggest an alternative with the potential to create much greater fleet diversity and more longevity to the campaign.

First, add the ability to transfer command to another ship in your fleet, and/or the ability to trade/upgrade a ship. This will mean that instead of starting over for larger ships you can earn them slowly within the same campaign, adding longevity to the upgrade processes, and encourages players to use a wider variety of hulls

Second, Makes ships available from Star bases only, randomized, and of limited availability. Larger ships will be rare and only available in the later game.

Third, Start the player *without* a ship. Instead give a 2-5K budget and let the player choose his first starting ship from the starting Starbase. Anything not spent on the hull can go into upgrades. You can start larger, but less equipped.

Fourth, Significantly raise the cost larger ship hulls. Currently we pay roughly 1000 scrap for each weapon or fighter hard point on a ship. The result is that there's never a time when it's more effective to buy a 1-2 hard point hull for 1-2K when for just a little more we can buy a much better ship. If each additional hardpoint doubled the cost of the hull people would *still* buy the Cruisers and battleship, proving they are worth the cost in the long run. The difference is that if a Destroyer costs twice as much as a strike craft.. people might actually buy a strike craft so they have something to use while they save up that extra 10K scrap.

Fifth, Raise the max ships up to 5. We've talked about making it hard to get big ships, and giving lots of reasons to use small ones, but we still need a way to use all those sweet weapons we find. Small ships only have 1-2 weapon slots. There's a legitimate concern of "What about people who get 5 Carrier Cruisers!?". Keep in mind that we might never even *see* 5 Cruisers for sale during our entire playthrough, and it's very possible that even if we saw them, there's literally not enough scrap in the game to buy all 5.

More likely what we'll see is a player with one cruiser as the command ship with 3-4 strike ships in a box formation around it. Compared to 3 Carrier Cruisers (my usual loadout today) the total firepower is similar. The chief advantage of using several smaller ships is more health, and less panic when you're about to lose a ship. I see those as improvements over the current state of "Oh crap, those missiles were meant for me!"-"puff"-"game over".

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