Taking Direct Control July 10, 2009 cliffski I’ve had a lot of people saying they love the hands-off battle idea, and a sizeable minority expressing concern that this will get old fast. In addition, when playing the game, I’m realising that no pre-battle orders are ever going to be fine enough to prevent you feeling occasionally frustrated at your AI captains, so I’ve decided to give-in and add some element of mid-battle control. Now this would normally break the play-by-email style challenge system, but in challenge games (where you are playing against another player’s downloaded fleet) direct-control is simply disabled, and the battle reverts to view-only. I’m not going overboard in terms of making an entire RTS out of the game, but currently you can single select or drag-select some ships, and then right click an enemy ship, or a position on the map and they attack/move as instructed. Green overlaid ships are selected, the red one is the current target. You can issue orders whilst the game is paused, for extra fine control. Most of the battles have enough ships that you will not play it like an RTS, but just use the direct control stuff to fine tune your general battle plan. Sometimes ships come under more intense fire than expected, and you might want them to beat a hasty retreat to engage auto-repair modules. Sometimes you spot that a specific enemy ship is kicking interstellar ass and you may want to concentrate your fire there. I’ve also been improving the AI. Weapons that fire >4 times in 7 seconds at a target and have no effect, will automatically select a different target for a few seconds. This prevents the dilemma where you have a set of ships just facing each other and blasting away ad-finitum achieving nothing. The chances of hitting a shop have also been skewed so that big ships are easier to hit, meaning fighters and frigates should last longer into the battle than they currently do.