Gratuitous Space Battles Catch-all

Tamren wrote:

Okay I take back saying super slow fighters are useless. Fighters meant for escorting bigger ships don't have to move anywhere. So you can sacrifice speed for extra weapon power. The benefit of mounting 2 weapons versus one is that you can use half the fighters in smaller squadrons.

I still think they are pretty useless, because they are so hideously vulnerable. Any beam frigate, anti-fighter frigate (esp with anti-fighter missiles), or rocket-armed fast fighter group will simply clean them out, without taking a lot of hits in return. I tried pretty hard to make it work and just couldn't do it - there may be a way, but I couldn't find it.

One thing I still haven't found is making fighter torpedoes effective. The first salvo from a full squadron is devastating. But then the fighters scatter and dive in all directions and much of the "spike" effect is lost.

Also, they are really heavy and cause your fighters to be wallowing pigs.

Stripping away a cruisers fighter cover is a lot harder than you think. If you use slow fighters for defending slow or even stationary cruisers then anti fighter frigates cease to be a problem. In order to be effective you need a LOT of them, or each frigate has to max out on antifighter gear, which means anything with real weapons will eat them for lunch. Things get even harder when the cruiser has a fighter bay. The swarm of fighters buzzing around the cruiser will land the moment they take any bit of damage and launch again at full health.

Tamren wrote:

One thing I still haven't found is making fighter torpedoes effective. The first salvo from a full squadron is devastating. But then the fighters scatter and dive in all directions and much of the "spike" effect is lost.

I havent tried this myself, yet, but what about setting the 'bomber' fighter's cruiser attack range to a very very low number? In theory they should fly -inside- the shield of their target and loose a devastating point blank attack.

I'm still noodling with frigate designs. My 'naught but torpedoes and shields' guys are slow but just annihilate enemy cruisers. They can take a bit of a beating too. The range on them is like 1000 so I plop them behind a line of my own cruisers while the artillery has at them. They were designed to be extremely slow. They're barely faster than cruisers and I'm looking for heavier components to slow them down even more. The idea is that they wont get out ahead of the fight, instead they'll live long and just fire salvo after salvo of cruiser busting torpedoes all mission long.

The depth of strategy on display here continues to amaze me. I've just acquired all of the possible frigate parts so I'm starting to refine my designs. There are so many things to consider, but in a good way.

Things I have learned:
- Plasma cannons have an "optimal" range where the accuracy is best. Ignore this and just set engagement range to maximum. This helps keep them out of harms way. Plasma will never hit fighters and will always hit cruisers unless the cruisers are packing like 6 engines. So any accuracy bonus you get from moving your ships closer is not worth the increase in danger. Frigates fold like deck chairs to lots of other weaponry, rockets in particular, so using plasma against them is not efficient. However plasma makes an excellent frigate smasher when combined with tractor beams. And they will always do decent DPS to frigates once your ships run out of cruisers to blast.
- My siege frigates used to be set to keep moving. This is a bad idea for long ranged attack frigates because "keep moving" means run loops around your target at an appropriate attack range. Since my siege frigates attacked from afar, they would fly in wide arcs, right into the teeth of other ships keeping line formation with the original target.
- Mounting targeting lasers on a fighter means any enemy fighter painted by the laser can be hit by fighter rockets. This turns rockets from useless to decent at taking down enemy fighters. If you deploy them in large numbers they turn into excellent fighter smashers, even better than lasers.
- Fighter and point defence is not effective unless you have a lot of it. So either put some on every ship and field a big fleet, or make dedicated defence ships with many point defence guns.

polypusher wrote:

I havent tried this myself, yet, but what about setting the 'bomber' fighter's cruiser attack range to a very very low number? In theory they should fly -inside- the shield of their target and loose a devastating point blank attack.

Every weapon has a minimum attack range, so going point blank probably wouldn't work.

I tried something new. Instead of having the torpedo craft attack the enemy fleet I assigned them to escort a particular ship. That ship was a heavily shielded carrier with repair bays. What I thought would happen was they would buzz around it like a cloud of hornets and attack any ship that ventured close. These were super slow fighters that mounted both lasers and torpedoes. So they would also double as point defence against enemy fighters.

It didn't work too well. The problem is they fly all over the place in a big ball. Once the cruiser moseys up to a target whatever fighters that happened to be on that side of the cruiser would attack. But the rest would mill around aimlessly.

Needs more work.

What is absolutely amazing is that even a simple change like one/more or less squadron or frigate or a minor order change can result in very very different results.

Sinatar wrote:
polypusher wrote:

I havent tried this myself, yet, but what about setting the 'bomber' fighter's cruiser attack range to a very very low number? In theory they should fly -inside- the shield of their target and loose a devastating point blank attack.

Every weapon has a minimum attack range, so going point blank probably wouldn't work.

Ah right. The min range on Fighter Torpedoes is 258 so they can't be fired within a cruiser's shield.

Eh, tried the demo. Missile heavy, good shields, minimal engines (sloooow), maybe sprinkle in a few (as in 4 or so in the fleet) of anti-fighter and anti-missile systems. Toss in a handful of fighters if the enemy uses fighters, dedicate them to CAP and ... win. Repeatedly. Without effort. Normally with a fleet size half that of the enemy (in resources). Its all in the frigates, missiles, and focus fire (using the correct orders). The enemy frigates pop in one salvo, the larger ships take a few, but never really get to get in close enough to be a threat.

Didn't find it challenging or interesting enough to buy. Which is a shame, I wanted to like it.

Eh if you were trying to sell the game to yourself then spamming missile frigates is the worst thing to do. That strategy can be countered with ease, but you won't find any advanced fleets in the demo to fight against. And it won't teach you much about ship building. Most of the equipment and spacial anomalies are missing in the demo and these form the basis of the deep strategy. Your strategy would fall apart in a game where shields are disabled for instance.

Its mostly just there to show off the pew pew laserbeams.

I've found that decoy missile launchers are kind of useless. Sure it launches a cloud of decoys. But all the other missile launchers you can put on a cruiser have decoys. So just slap on one of them instead. The exception is cruiser rockets but they fly so fast that they can hit while the point defence is on downtime.

When you set fighters to caution put them on 1%. 1% means they retreat after taking 1%, not when they reach 1% damage. This confused me for a while. You need them to head back at the first sight of trouble because as they retreat they take even more hits. Unless you have very fast fighters its important for your carrier ships to stay close to combat. If your fighters can pop in and out of the repair hangar while at the same time attacking another ship it increases their survivability immensely. To get rid of them the enemy has to "spike" them but this is easier said than done.

I use formation quite often.

My favorite current mix of ships, after watching an enemy fleet absolutely demolish my cruisers with fighters, is to have a mix of different types.

3-5 light cruisers go in front, with two reflective shields and two phased shields each. They also get tractor beams, an anti-fighter weapon, 1-2 multiple missile launchers, and one fighter bay each. Armor or repair modules if possible.

4-5 squadrons of speedy fighters. 2.5+ speed. Basic weapons for dogfighting/strafing cruisers, armor plating and missiles if possible, budget wise.

3-6 heavy weapons cruisers. At least two multiple missile launchers. EMP weapons. 1-3 laser weapons each. One reflective shield and two phased shields each. One nano repair module each. Armor if possible.

6+ anti-fighter frigates. These guys get two of the heaviest shields I have, anti-fighter missiles, and EMP weapons. Their entire job is to simply fend off the initial fighter swarms (protecting my fighters), and to disable the shields of the initial frigates and cruisers that come on the scene.

The light cruisers take the brunt of the damage, and have the best shielding. They're set to formation. The fighters are set to escort, with a the distance set to 200-300, and a low "cautious" rating so they retreat and repair. The frigates are also set to escort, with 300-400 distance. The heavy cruisers are set to escort any of the light cruisers, and tend to hang back during the fight.

All ships are set to co-operative. I've been experimenting with using cautious for all ships. It tends to keep them moving when necessary, and definitely keeps the frigates alive longer. I've also been trying to figure out a way to get the heavy cruisers in on the action more efficiently. Sometimes they hang too far back, and I have to set them to vulture or position them differently.

Works out pretty well, I demolished the hardest map I had so far with about 80% surviving. On expert that dropped to around 50%. The multiple missile launchers absolutely bombard the enemy, and when one goes "poof" it's not such a big deal because each missile does less damage than those from normal missile launchers. So if half connect and the ship explodes, you only lose half a salvo.

I'm on a map where there are item limits, so I haven't tackled that one yet. 0 multiphasic shields allowed, so that's definitely going to hurt.

mrfl. This game. It has a learning curve THIS STEEP.

Interesting, though. I wonder how long it will take me to be able to actually put together ship designs that aren't just a load of chum.

Hypatian wrote:

mrfl. This game. It has a learning curve THIS STEEP.

Interesting, though. I wonder how long it will take me to be able to actually put together ship designs that aren't just a load of chum.

Try replaying a battle you've already won (or lost) by clicking "Deploy" at the stats screen. Then adjust a few ship designs, play with placement, etc. If their fighters tore you apart, throw in some defenses, that kind of thing. If your cruisers don't last very long, throw in another shield or some armor.

A few hours goes by really quickly, even if you spend most of that in the ship building screen.

The best thing to do is play around with the game mechanics until you understand each of them individually. The game is based on "brackets". Get your ships above X speed and they will start to avoid plasma cannons and be immune to that "bracket" of slow tracking weapons. Or get your armour to 9 and your ships will be much more resistant to fighter lasers that only have armour penetration 8. A good ship is one that comes very close to its limits, the less wasted space the better. A stellar design is one that uses every last bit of power it generates and only has room left for 2-4 crew. When designing ships envision a specific role for them. "generalist" ships suck because you can only set one pattern of behaviour for them. And this does not play well with multiple weapon types.

Just keep at it

Jack of all trades, master of none.

Also, that cautious setting... WTF? More % is more tolerance?! That explains a lot.

Fired this up this evening for the first time. I'm loving this game. So far I've just been tweaking ships and replaying the first battle to see what is most effective. This is a perfect game for me right now. No live action, so I can have Jr sitting in my lap while playing. This and Civ IV are going to get me through teething.
I really like the part descriptions, ship names and banter during the battles. "Lasers R Us" you couldn't find a better ship name in all the galaxies I've played space games.

Does each battle have a max amount of Honor Points, or can you farm them? I generated nearly 6k replaying the first mission. Seem like a lot after looking at the cost of the upgrades.

elewis17 wrote:

Does each battle have a max amount of Honor Points, or can you farm them? I generated nearly 6k replaying the first mission. Seem like a lot after looking at the cost of the upgrades.

You only get the highest score's worth of honor.

If you beat it the first time for 500 honor, then replay it again with 1500 left over, you'll only get an additional 1000. But if you play again on higher difficulties I believe you get a brand new steaming batch of honor, with the same caveats.

So replaying the same battle with the exact same resources at the exact same difficulty won't get you anything.

Going back to play a battle with better shields/weapons can really help get that honor prize up.

Honor points equate to whatever credits you didn't use during that mission.

I have really been enjoying this game.

I think it would be a lot of fun to set up some straight "challenges" between Goodjers. What do you think?

I'm way behind on my 3MA podcast. Did they ever discuss GSB game on there? If so, does anyone know what episode?

Challenges would be fun. I'm still not entirely sure how the system works though.

elewis17 wrote:

I'm way behind on my 3MA podcast. Did they ever discuss GSB game on there? If so, does anyone know what episode?

Tom, I believe, has mentioned it a few times. He likes it, but I don't remember there being any indepth discussions on the cast. (I just looked on the site and Troy mentions in a post that he hasn't played the game.)

Tamren wrote:

Challenges would be fun. I'm still not entirely sure how the system works though.

Probably the easiest way would be to set them up as public and just announce them here?

I thought I was hot sh*t until I tackled one of the infinity maps. My fleet held out for quite awhile until my fighters were eventually destroyed (I hovered around 90-95% all the way up to 40,000 points). After that enemy fighters absolutely demolished me and what was left of my cruisers.

The lowest score on the GSB website rankings seems to be in the 100,000 range, and hardly any of them Federation.

Back to the ship designer!

Do you get honor in infinite battles?

unntrlaffinity wrote:

The lowest score on the GSB website rankings seems to be in the 100,000 range, and hardly any of them Federation.

Yep - my missile fleet that cruised through the scenarios was easily smashed in the infinite battles. It's clear that there's more to it than just overwhelming firepower.

polypusher wrote:

Do you get honor in infinite battles?

No, it's just a scoring system where you get points for enemy ships (and time? I forget).

I haven't played this game. Someone said they had some type of shield that was destroyed that then destroyed the shields of his nearby ships because of the radiation from the destroyed shield.

Could you you ram a enemy ship with a ship that has this strange shield that destroys other shields when destroyed to take down the shields of the enemy? Can you even ram other ships? Or maybe could I send the ship into the middle of the enemy fleet and detonate the ship?

I have not seen that shield thing Baron.

I am going to Post a challenge on here later tonight.

Beware!

Baron Of Hell wrote:

I haven't played this game. Someone said they had some type of shield that was destroyed that then destroyed the shields of his nearby ships because of the radiation from the destroyed shield.

Could you you ram a enemy ship with a ship that has this strange shield that destroys other shields when destroyed to take down the shields of the enemy? Can you even ram other ships? Or maybe could I send the ship into the middle of the enemy fleet and detonate the ship?

A kamikaze order for a ship would be pretty sweet. Once imminent destruction is realized go full steam at an equal or larger ship. Dear Positech lurkers, please make it so in the next expansion.
PS- Your post sounded a lot like a Videogames Rodkin rant.