It’s amazing what bugs you find when you just sit and play through the game for hours (I’m playtesting and balancing the game so that the AI fleets give you a bit of a challenge).
Two bugs squashed today are these:
Firstly, the code that detected that an enemy target was being ‘painted’ by a target painting laser (and thus easier to hit for missiles) was just not working at all. I’d checked and double checked it many times, but because the ‘is it painted’ code is just one of about 6 factors determining optimum target selection, it was hard to tell if it was working right without stepping through everything each time.
It turns out that code worked fine, but some *other* code which told a targeted module whether or not it even *was* a missile launcher, was buggy, and so the code was never even being run. doh!
The second bug was investigated after I noticed some very slow missiles which looked like multiple-warhead missiles but never split into their sub-munitions. It turns out that this code has never worked correctly! The code works fine the first time a missile splits into sub-munitions, but if it gets to live long enough to shoot another missile later, the sub-munitions are never triggered. That was an easy fix.
Unfortunately, that means I’ve been underestimating the destructive power of multiple-warhead missiles all the time, which means I need to re-play through every battle, on every difficulty, and both re-balance the fleets, and maybe re-balance the cost and strength of the appropriate missile modules too. This will take all of today at least.
One thing I did notice, that was pretty cool was an imperial AI fleet I’d put together that sends its fighters in ahead, and the rest of the fleet shows up afterwards (moving slower). By lucky hap, although the fighters were useless against the heavily armoured federation cruisers, they did manage to blow the crap out of the row of point-defense equipped escort frigates that flew alongside them. So when the Imperial cruisers got into range, they could bombard the feds with missiles without opposition. This is exactly the kind of design and thinking I hoped the game would reward, so it’s cool to see it is all about strategy and not just luck :D (Obviously when you play against that fleet, make sure you don’t have a line of unarmed frigates sitting waiting to be blown up :D)