Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

“Stay Close, fuschia leader”

Ok, so new orders are something people often campaign for, and I like the idea of a ‘stay in attack formation” style order for fighters. So today, I went to implement that, and opened an entire canning-factory full of nematodes. I ended up re-writing the AI a bit so there is a definite concept of a fighter squadron (which I’d got by without, until now). The code gets involved, because each squadron needs a leader it can follow, and that leader needs to be re-elected in the case of the leader getting blown up, its engines shot down, caught in a tractor beam or limpet-mined. I need to test all of that works… Also I need code to assign slots in a general formation to each fighter, so they don’t bunch up too much, and look l33t when flying long distances,

I also needed to handle combinations of orders like ‘stick together’ and ‘formation’. I think they *do* need to work together, so you can have a fighter squadron sitting in formation at the rear, set to attack effectively only when their parent ship is destroyed, at which point they will then still stick together.

Of course, the big question is “is it best for the fighters to always stick together?” I suspect not, I suspect it depends if you want a bunch of general purpose dogfighters, or a coherent strike force. I like to think it’s a fine balanced decision, but only real life game testing and the eyes of a thousand GSB experts will tell. Here is a video showing how it’s looking right now:

I should probably add some suitable ‘stay in formation perkins!’ comms chatter too…

13 thoughts on “Stay Close, fuschia leader”

  1. Nice Cliffski! As you mentioned, something like this has been asked for in the past. It looks great. Looks like it will allow for repeated “bombing runs” with bombers, which may make them more viable in some ways. Looking forward to the final version of this!

  2. Looks great to my eye (except as a former Homeworld player, your definition of ‘formation’ seems rather loose). I’m personally a big fan of adding more and more orders since I feel they add a lot of strategic depth. Looking forward to seeing it in game!

  3. Great stuff, as a regular follower of your blog I have to commend you on the updates. I wish all developers were this pro-active.

    In the current climate of PC gaming you are one of my heros!

    Stay on target, stay on target….

  4. One command I’ve always wanted for fighters was to have them escort for protection, then if all of the enemy fighters are destroyed, go attack the remaining ships.

  5. Looks very good!

    One thing you might want to consider is that in real life, fighters typically operate in “two-ship” or “four-ship” groups, called “flights”, that work together with other flights in their squadron. I view a deployed group of fighters as a squadron, so it might be cool to have pairs of fighters stick together tighter and the pairs stick together a little more loosely.

  6. i should probably say this now that there’s talk of a new order. i’ve noticed that it’s impossible to set formation or escort fighter-to-fighter. for example, i want a fighter squadron to protect a bomber one and escort it. simple, right?

    no. because when i try to direct the escort or even formation orders from a fighter squadron to a different one, it doesn’t select. it sucks :(

  7. So make it legal for a fighter squad to escort another fighter squad. That would be kinda cool, Hybrinoid. I wonder how well it would work…=D

  8. Rocks!

    Look forward to testing it.

    Obviously would like some different formation options if they are possible (even tight vs loose kind of thing).

    Fighter escort of another fighter also sounds good.


  9. I love this change. And I noticed something between the before and after test: you lost fighters in the before clip, but lost none in the after clip! Which makes sense. The fighters stick in a closer formation, meaning the dispersion is much less and results in them less likely coming within range of a cruiser’s tractor beam.

    I think this is a great addition (I have yet to buy the Order) and will change fighter tactics.

  10. what does not having bought the order have to do whit it Drewoid? you should buy it though, but stuff like this is for all GSB, the order is just ships.

  11. @ Geressen, As far as I’ve read, the formation order was only available in the expo pack. I based my opinion off the game video in the OP

  12. Looks good and makes the fighters more of a force, seems like. Should make it easier to do things like “target my target” when it’s a whole squadron doing so at once.

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