Any questions, comments, suggestions regarding the mod development.
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Questions on Design Philosophy for Starfighter Combat

by Rhifox » 27 May 2012, 06:28

Okay. For starters, I want to say that I really enjoy the mod so far. The graphics are great, the ships fly smoothly, capital ship combat is everything it should be, and I love the planned RP focus. I hope my questions do not come across as being too critical, as that is not my intent. I just want to get a sense of the rationale for why certain decisions were taken.


Foreword: Questions are from the perspective of player versus player combat.

1. Is there a deliberate reason behind the defenses of starfighters as they currently are? The current defenses are very high and make starfighters able to sustain a great deal more firepower than they could in the movies, making fighter combat feel slow and frustrating instead of fast-paced and deadly. Is this high defense meant to counter or complement some other specific mechanic? I am assuming that the reason is the long return times that will be on live, thus making equally long fights more desirable since you won't be able to 'zerg' each other over and over like you can on the demo.

2. Going off of the above, is it expected that a bomber is capable of launching most if not all of its missiles at a target capital ship before getting destroyed? With current defenses and hitboxes, it feels like even a significant screening element cannot take out an enemy bomber before it launches, and that targeting the missiles themselves after they have launched is a more worthwhile investment of firepower than trying to take out the enemy bomber. While current tactical doctrine is that fighters go after bombers while point defense/interceptors go after missiles, with current defenses I'm unsure if fighters have the capability of destroying bombers fast enough to limit their launch capabilities.

3. Have lower defenses for starfighters been considered? Lower defenses in this case would be on the scale of at least 50-70% lower than they are now, for everything from patrol ship to interceptor. Do the devs feel this would throw off the balance of the mod in some fashion? Has it been tested on private development servers?


Thank you very much for any answers. Like I said, I love the mod so far (especially capital ships <3), I just am a bit iffy with starfighter combat with the current defenses. After 6 years of piloting in SWG, it's quite a shock going from 3-4 shot kills to 20+. I am not asking for nor do I expect things to get changed at this stage in development, but I would like to try and get an understanding for why the current design philosophy is what it is. :)
Last edited by Rhifox on 27 May 2012, 09:48, edited 1 time in total.
-Captain Diana Canmore: RSS.Inexorable (New Republic)
-Lieutenant Commander Rhiana Fox: Fox (Galactic Empire)
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Re: Questions on Design Philosophy for Starfighter Combat

by berowe » 27 May 2012, 07:10

Said everything I've asked/whined about. +1

In my opinion, it's not very fun at all to joust around in circles for 10 minutes trying to land those necessary 15+ consecutive hits to finish someone off (and yes I've counted them, we're talking 20+ in a starter fighter). In a fight that long all that's going to happen is:
1. Someone falls asleep
2. Carpal tunnel
3. A lag-ramming at some point, and the guy who gets the random shield loss is either going to lose the fight or run away...

There was an extended (30+mins) dogfight the other day with 2 then 3 Awings vs. Skiprays/Avenger/Interceptor (caps were there too but largely ineffective other than killing each other and a skipray at some point). Other than a couple of missile kills and the skiprays landing some of their ridiculous alpha-strike damage, most of the fight was spent spinning around in circles. Unless they had just been rammed or hit by 6+ adv concussion missiles, most of the ships involved maintained approx 75% shield strength-- (not counting the dumb patrol boats which weren't dented at all of course). My shields never dropped below 90% other than after each of my 4 rammings. The final ramming (by an Awing) took me from full shields and hull to death instantly (and didn't dent him). I don't know about the other pilots, but it wasn't fun at all for me... I can't imagine it was fun for the rebs to spin in circles waiting for a skipray to ram them and then get a lucky hit in before they could cruise off.

It was ridiculous, the Awings knew they couldn't touch the skiprays, so focused on myself and the Avenger, and still nobody could get legit kills. I took to flying in a straight line in order to line the Awings up for my buddies and that didn't even work. --that in itself is nuts, how can a Tie Interceptor survive long enough to act as a nearly stationary decoy target for multiple enemy interceptors?!

Anyway kudos to the rebs for even sticking around with patrol boats in system, I see them in a pvp situation and just logoff.
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Re: Questions on Design Philosophy for Starfighter Combat

by Colt556 » 27 May 2012, 15:26

I've mentioned/complained about this on a number occasions as well. I've said in game that this is the reason why I can't stand fighter craft and play caps exclusively. If fighters behaved like they do in canon, and were fragile, I'd probably only use fighters. They're just not fun. As both of you stated, when you have to fly around for ages trying to land the necessary hits, it just gets dull. It's exciting and fun when you die in just a couple shots because you have to be on your toes, at that point it isn't just about spinning in circles endlessly trying to land 16-20 shots, it's avoiding the enemies shots while trying to land your own.

As it stands, most fighter craft are absolutely worthless. As Berowe's example pointed out, patrol ships dominate every other ship simply because every other fighter can't dent it's shields. This isn't just patrol ships either, though. Even fighter vs fighter, such as a tie interceptor vs an x-wing or b-wing. Fighters do so little damage and can tank so much damage that fights just drag on way too long.

Personally, since players can respawn on player carriers and get right back into the fight, I'd much prefer fighters be like canon. If they died in just a couple shots, it'd be far more fun and fulfilling. Bombers would have to be far more careful otherwise they'd have to rebuy their payload constantly, fighters would as well have to be more careful otherwise they'd spend more time respawning than fighting.

I heard mention about some 'escape pod' thing that fighters will be required to use to respawn at their last docked station, otherwise they respawn at their factions home system. But if fighters were actually fragile, things like this wouldn't be necessary. I don't think anyone would mind fighters endlessly respawning from their carrier if they died in a couple shots, after all.

I wouldn't even mind if tie fighters and tie interceptors didn't have shields if they could kill even a K-wing in 8-10 shots. Would make interceptor pilots feared, as they were in canon, since if you see famous ones you know you're gonna get killed since they roam the battlefield kicking ass when a single shot could kill them.
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Re: Questions on Design Philosophy for Starfighter Combat

by Pathfinder » 27 May 2012, 16:36

berowe wrote:It was ridiculous, the Awings knew they couldn't touch the skiprays, so focused on myself and the Avenger, and still nobody could get legit kills.


I remember that fight and Im not quite sure what you mean by no legit kills. I, Scythe-5, got at least three weapons kills (guns) during that engagement, including one on a skip. All in all, I rather enjoyed it because the squadron was effectively working together to engage targets. I've yet to see a problem with pacing, but then again, combat here is far more exciting than 19.xx Freeworlds, at least in my opinion, so I may just be blinded by that.
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Re: Questions on Design Philosophy for Starfighter Combat

by Colt556 » 27 May 2012, 17:11

Pathfinder wrote:
berowe wrote:It was ridiculous, the Awings knew they couldn't touch the skiprays, so focused on myself and the Avenger, and still nobody could get legit kills.


I remember that fight and Im not quite sure what you mean by no legit kills. I, Scythe-5, got at least three weapons kills (guns) during that engagement, including one on a skip. All in all, I rather enjoyed it because the squadron was effectively working together to engage targets. I've yet to see a problem with pacing, but then again, combat here is far more exciting than 19.xx Freeworlds, at least in my opinion, so I may just be blinded by that.


To be honest, I find the combat to be almost the same as old FW. We've just replaced jousting with spinning. It still lacks the thrill and excitement that fighter combat should have.
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Re: Questions on Design Philosophy for Starfighter Combat

by Leaph Chausew » 27 May 2012, 22:23

I remember that fight, and many others, and whilst combat is fun, fighters do feel like tanks in terms of their defences.

I've been flying fighters (and other ships) on both sides and, whilst both sides pretty much balanced, I do agree with Rhiana: everything feels far too tough.

Saying that, though, I wouldn't be bothered if it all remained the same.
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Re: Questions on Design Philosophy for Starfighter Combat

by berowe » 27 May 2012, 23:35

Well then Scythe 5, you must have been farming the Tie Avenger because I wasn't shot down any. How many of those came after he had lost shields in a ramming? I shot one of you while you tried to cruise away but I'm certain you'd been rammed too, so that's not "legit" either. Finishing off a ram victim is like picking on a handicapped kid-- it's so easy, but it makes you feel bad about yourself after you do it... At least you can enjoy this in its current state.

Maybe tricked out civilian freighters/fighters will be fun to dogfight in, and I'm sure a civvie who put tons of expensive custom gear into his ship wouldn't want the fight to end in 30 seconds, but we're talking front line standard-issue snubfighter combat here-- it should be quick, dirty and unforgiving. Where is the fear that someone is sneaking up on your six? I haven't yet had a dogfight where I've felt "oh #[email protected]%, I might not survive this" other than when I've been in a bomber messing around and someone has had CDs...

Right now fighter combat is like Halo, but it needs to be more like Rainbow Six.

I understand there are probably a lot of balance issues at hand, including some that haven't been revealed yet-- As far as being bothered whether it stays the same: I'd still play, but I just wouldn't fly Navy snubs on any side-- I'd probably float around in a Krayt doing evil Hutt-like things instead :D
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Re: Questions on Design Philosophy for Starfighter Combat

by Leaph Chausew » 29 May 2012, 16:10

Anybody who knows anything about combat will know that finishing off a weakened foe is common sense. Real world fighter pilots prey upon their enemy's every weakness. Just look at history: the greatest fighter pilot of all time Erich Hartmann racked up so many kills by being sneaky and taking out his enemy before they even realised he was there. Same goes for the Red Baron and a whole host of other combat aviators. The idea of complex dogfights and fancy moves is great for Hollywood, but it's unrealistic.

Bring down fighter defences and then people will become more accountable and, therefore, have to fly more sensibly and do their best to avoid ramming situations rather than carelessly flying in crazy circles.

Personally, I'll be telling my pilots to throw everything they've got at any unshielded enemy to remove them from the picture quicker. I don't, of course, condone ramming, but if a pilot has been careless enough to be rammed, then tough cookies.

Sorry if the above is harsh: it's just true.
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Re: Questions on Design Philosophy for Starfighter Combat

by Colt556 » 29 May 2012, 16:31

Leaph Chausew wrote:Anybody who knows anything about combat will know that finishing off a weakened foe is common sense. Real world fighter pilots prey upon their enemy's every weakness. Just look at history: the greatest fighter pilot of all time Erich Hartmann racked up so many kills by being sneaky and taking out his enemy before they even realised he was there. Same goes for the Red Baron and a whole host of other combat aviators. The idea of complex dogfights and fancy moves is great for Hollywood, but it's unrealistic.

Bring down fighter defences and then people will become more accountable and, therefore, have to fly more sensibly and do their best to avoid ramming situations rather than carelessly flying in crazy circles.

Personally, I'll be telling my pilots to throw everything they've got at any unshielded enemy to remove them from the picture quicker. I don't, of course, condone ramming, but if a pilot has been careless enough to be rammed, then tough cookies.

Sorry if the above is harsh: it's just true.


While you're right that doing whatever you can to win is important, you're ignoring one crucial flaw. Neither the Red Baron nor Erich Hartmann, nor any pilot, rammed their enemies to get them in a weakened state. They utilized intelligence and tactics and outright skill to get the edge, things you can't do on here. You can't get the drop on your enemy before they know you're there because of sensor range, and even if you could, since they take 16-20 shots to kill they'd evade before you even got them down to 75% shields.

I agree whole heartedly with your post, that's why I'd like to see a change to the way fighter combat is, because at present, no part of your post applies.
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Re: Questions on Design Philosophy for Starfighter Combat

by Leaph Chausew » 29 May 2012, 17:08

It applies, but it just takes longer to grind down enemies and, tbh, group work is required to make kills faster. My biggest issue with the fighter shields at present is that they allow for sloppy flying.

As I said previously, though, I won't be too worried if everything stays as it is. We don't know how the final game is going to be like to fly in - perhaps these apparently super strong shields won't be as powerful when put in full context.
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