Strike craft.... need to be refactored completely. Some ideas here, please propose more!

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MrGuyPerson

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I like the suggestion of providing an aux slot that affects tracking or something (simply make it available when one of the carrier hulls is in use). I think all requests for changes that can't be rolled into DLC content need to be very focused and limited to things that can draw from features already available in the game. I don't see Paradox devoting significant time to "fixing" strikecraft apart from some minor changes such as a new aux slot item. I'd guess Stellaris gets another two years of DLC and support at maximum. Given that two major DLC have had a strong war focus, I'm not sure any major ship overhauls are coming (aside from maybe the addition of another SuperGigaBattleDestroyerPewPewCannon Big Ship).
 

InvisibleBison

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Just because space is not the same medium as the ocean does not mean that it does not share many of the same characteristics with regard to empires and strategic use.
And just because the two mediums share many characteristics with regard to empires and strategic use does not mean that they are identical in all regards. I mean, you were arguing that the battle of Jutland is a justification for making Stellaris combat less destructive, paying no attention to how the differences between space and the ocean or between spaceships and oceanic ships would affect their ability to survive being damaged. To me, that's just ridiculous.
 
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Cordane

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And just because the two mediums share many characteristics with regard to empires and strategic use does not mean that they are identical in all regards. I mean, you were arguing that the battle of Jutland is a justification for making Stellaris combat less destructive, paying no attention to how the differences between space and the ocean or between spaceships and oceanic ships would affect their ability to survive being damaged. To me, that's just ridiculous.
Where did I say "identical", and definitely where was "in all regards"? I specifically spent a better part of a paragraph explaining how space (vacuum outside of a gravity well) is different than our RW conditions, and only then detailing how you can still end up with a similar, relative situation regarding range and effectiveness.

And how exactly is a space warship really all that different in how damage affects the ability of the ship or its crew to survive, versus a RW naval warship operating in anything outside of tropical waters practically within sight of the coast? Because for whatever improvements weapons gain in lethality, there is both typically a lock-step improvement in defensive capabilities and a not-applied-in-Stellaris inaccuracy factor due to extreme ranges (which is where the primary drop in effective lethality would be). Catastrophic damage to a warship's power plant in either environment will either cause it to be drifting or to blow up (bye bye, warship). Crews in lifeboats have about as much chance of rescue before succumbing to environmental (cold sea water vs. lack of breathable air) or supply (food & water or equivalent) failures. At least in a space environment, heavily damaged warships that are not totally vaporized have a much greater chance of leaving useful and retrievable remains, rather than sinking below the waves out of reach and certainly killing anyone who hasn't escaped.

Please explain, in detail, your reasons for feeling that space combat is, or should be, so much more lethal than RW naval warfare, and please make sure you account for all of the other systems in place.
 
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GnoSIS

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Space is not, and should not be, the ocean. Space combat is not, and should not, be the same as naval combat.
Correct, but there are ways in which it is like naval combat. BBs can't hit anything that's light-hours or even light minutes away. And the whole system ignores high tech game/paradigm-changing posibilities, like the white globes from traveller, or a potential microsingularity defense that would absorb any projectile/radiation/particle stream. Or any form of guided smart & lingering missiles including hyperspace munitions and bombardment.

The current model implemented in stellaris is a mix of things that don't work together. I would argue that if SC are not updated and incorporated that they should be completely removed.

Also to say that space is empty as a medium is silly, there's a reason you know why the outer planets are cold, and the falloff is proportional to the energy density emitted. If BBs could hit on the other side of the system, It would be unable to even boil water, otherwise those lasers would be capable of melting down entire planets - let alone the technology you'd need to generate that energy in the first place.
I don't know if the flat damage reduction is still in the game but you can simulate the second one. Just lower the shield capacity a lot but up the recharge rate so that they will recharge faster than artillery cannons reload. Thing is it won't change much because there are not 1-10 battleships in a fight but dozens or even hundreds of them. To make it work you'll need to redo all the military techs, and probably the whole tech tree too. And maybe also all the buildings to make sure your resource balancing is right. And so on, and so on.

Stellaris combat is such a mess you need a total overhaul to tackle it.
The other issue is targeting. The game does not assign target to target, but gangs up weapons on a single target. I hated galciv III for that too. We need a system like the line of combat in EU or Victoria, where targets are matched. Then alternative meanings for SC are possible, along with cavalry mechanics, and you get stuff like what was shown in LOGH and manuevering/strategist heroes like Yang Wenli - And other admiral/sub-admiral skills beyond just stat boosts.
 
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Qwerlancer

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The other issue is targeting. The game does not assign target to target, but gangs up weapons on a single target. I hated galciv III for that too. We need a system like the line of combat in EU or Victoria, where targets are matched
Sorry but no. I don't want to roll dices in nor minmaxing combat width in Stellaris. Current combat system is still better than EU4 and Vic IMO. I believe there are better solutions than reverting to the ancient combat system.
 
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Culann

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On the face of it I like the idea. I'm sure anyone who played the Master of Orion series recalls that the had done something similar to giving several options for strike craft particularly MoO3. There are two problems I see from this idea:

First a direct comparison MoO3's biggest issue (aside from the myriad of bugs Atari never fixed and left it to the community to fix it) is that indirect fire and strike craft dominated the game. The infinite spawn rate and the customizable options for weapons and two sizes for craft made it better than missiles. Even after the community fixes on PD mounted weapons the strategy was still target saturation. Stellaris suffers more so in this regard since you can't put PD weapons on all ships. While I'm not as adamant about min/maxing as I once was, I can see the writing on the wall here. You did address it on some level but I'm not sure it'll be enough. The dominance of strike craft went away in MoO4 but only because missiles became infinite and didn't have the limitation of AI behavior swarming a ship.

The second issue I mentioned already is the nature of how ships are designed in Stellaris. The current modules for ship design make it difficult to counter a heavy strike craft fleet, and to build a fleet with lots of strike craft due to how command points to work. Any changes to strike craft will probably result overhauling the combat system. If using CK2 as a reference 14 DLC over 7 years, Stellaris has 9 over 5 years. I mean who is to say that such an overhaul isn't possible. If it does happen will that include a rework to strike craft? Anyone's guess is as good as mine, so I'll avoid any speculation.

Without trying to get in to the whole space vs ocean being similar or not discussion, I think carriers should be a natural counter to artillery ships. Not only did we see in real life, it does make sense logically. Small craft being launched from carriers outside the range of ships with big guns isn't an outlandish concept. As someone else pointed out the issue with that is more with the limited behavior control over fleets than issues with strike craft themselves. For some reason real time combat in space sims always seems to have issues with how strike craft work. As I stated before earlier I really like the concept of this idea more so considering many space sci-fi works depict small craft as part of fleet combat and I can't say I'm not a little salty that I can't really pull off a Battlestar Galactica style fleet. I'm just unsure of how to balance that in a way that it doesn't take over the game which often seems the case.
 
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Cordane

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Without trying to get in to the whole space vs ocean being similar or not discussion, I think carriers should be a natural counter to artillery ships. Not only did we see in real life, it does make sense logically. Small craft being launched from carriers outside the range of ships with big guns isn't an outlandish concept. As someone else pointed out the issue with that is more with the limited behavior control over fleets than issues with strike craft themselves. For some reason real time combat in space sims always seems to have issues with how strike craft work. As I stated before earlier I really like the concept of this idea more so considering many space sci-fi works depict small craft as part of fleet combat and I can't say I'm not a little salty that I can't really pull off a Battlestar Galactica style fleet. I'm just unsure of how to balance that in a way that it doesn't take over the game which often seems the case.
(Let me first say, Culann: Arrowhead Pride, baby! Grew up in central MO plus served at Whiteman AFB in western MO.)

One other sci-fi universe that kind of does away with all-guns warships is the Honorverse, with all non-carrier* capital ships being almost entirely missile launchers (including massive saturation missile pods). It actually does a great job of envisioning a combat environment that demands exceptional point defense, because a battle could have a hundred or more missiles fired at each (super) dreadnaught, with only a handful of hits necessary to wreck its day. (Which is weird considering the basis for the series (Admiral Lord Nelson/Horatio Hornblower IN SPACE!) is all about warships hitting each other dozens of times each before succumbing.) Missiles at the beginning of the series are capable of powered flight (engines firing the whole time) of 6,000,000 km (20 light-seconds), whereas lasers and grasers (gamma laser) had effective ranges of 1,000,000 km versus an unshielded opponent or half that with shields ("sidewalls" vs. the acceleration "wedges" that were totally impenetrable).

*The Honorverse does have carriers in the form of CLAC super dreadnaughts (over 1,100 meters) with Light Attack Craft (~70 meter long each, 100 per CLAC), but they're mostly secondary to missiles. LACs have a mix of a single graser (cruiser-class!), a few smaller offensive missiles, and some counter-missiles and laser PD mounts. ("Cruiser-class" is a bit of a misnomer, as their ship-class structure goes Destroyer, Light Cruiser, Heavy Cruiser, Battle Cruiser, Battleship, Dreadnought, Super Dreadnought, with smaller classes barely mentioned.)

I am not, however, recommending going to a no-guns combat environment for Stellaris, and I'm also not recommending going to (or staying in) one where defenses against SC and GW have to be suffocating in order to keep balance with the effectiveness of direct-fire weapons against their matching defenses. I'd prefer a system where SC and GW can eventually overcome their chosen defenses, like lasers getting past shields or kinetics past armor. without having to first destroy every single Flak/PD platform. Balance it for the greater effective range (not start-of-battle engagement, but actual fighting range), but let me fight on a fairly level playing field with whatever comparable weapon I want to play with.
 

Culann

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(Let me first say, Culann: Arrowhead Pride, baby! Grew up in central MO plus served at Whiteman AFB in western MO.)

One other sci-fi universe that kind of does away with all-guns warships is the Honorverse, with all non-carrier* capital ships being almost entirely missile launchers (including massive saturation missile pods). It actually does a great job of envisioning a combat environment that demands exceptional point defense, because a battle could have a hundred or more missiles fired at each (super) dreadnaught, with only a handful of hits necessary to wreck its day. (Which is weird considering the basis for the series (Admiral Lord Nelson/Horatio Hornblower IN SPACE!) is all about warships hitting each other dozens of times each before succumbing.) Missiles at the beginning of the series are capable of powered flight (engines firing the whole time) of 6,000,000 km (20 light-seconds), whereas lasers and grasers (gamma laser) had effective ranges of 1,000,000 km versus an unshielded opponent or half that with shields ("sidewalls" vs. the acceleration "wedges" that were totally impenetrable).

*The Honorverse does have carriers in the form of CLAC super dreadnaughts (over 1,100 meters) with Light Attack Craft (~70 meter long each, 100 per CLAC), but they're mostly secondary to missiles. LACs have a mix of a single graser (cruiser-class!), a few smaller offensive missiles, and some counter-missiles and laser PD mounts. ("Cruiser-class" is a bit of a misnomer, as their ship-class structure goes Destroyer, Light Cruiser, Heavy Cruiser, Battle Cruiser, Battleship, Dreadnought, Super Dreadnought, with smaller classes barely mentioned.)

I am not, however, recommending going to a no-guns combat environment for Stellaris, and I'm also not recommending going to (or staying in) one where defenses against SC and GW have to be suffocating in order to keep balance with the effectiveness of direct-fire weapons against their matching defenses. I'd prefer a system where SC and GW can eventually overcome their chosen defenses, like lasers getting past shields or kinetics past armor. without having to first destroy every single Flak/PD platform. Balance it for the greater effective range (not start-of-battle engagement, but actual fighting range), but let me fight on a fairly level playing field with whatever comparable weapon I want to play with.
Chiefs Kingdom brother!

Fair point, I haven’t played it but it sounds like it was designed that way. I only made the comparison between the two games as they have comparable combat systems.

I agree, I too want a comparable weapon with anything I play with. The only 4x space game that I know of that had balanced combat is Galactic Civilization 2 I haven’t played the other games, and I’m not a fan of it. Rock, paper, scissors to me isn’t fun to play.
 

Zoolimar

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On the face of it I like the idea. I'm sure anyone who played the Master of Orion series recalls that the had done something similar to giving several options for strike craft particularly MoO3.
I'd say you would be better served by looking at Space Empires V than MoO. It had a much more robust and diverse core system and concentrated much more on tactical combat with pre-planned battles. You could set formations, escorts for different ships, kit them out with specialised equipment and so on. Even ship turn rates could actually matter if you were using spinal mounts on a big ship. It also had a very robust modding scene.

The main difference between Space Empires and Stellaris PD is that it's range was much lower. Incredibly so. If you wanted proper PD coverage you needed to use something like 4 "corvettes" around a "battleship" and they had just enough range to cover the battleship and each other. And even then ships on diagonals from each other in formation didn't always provide full cover to their opposites.

In Stellaris you have like 50+ ships sitting in each others PD radius.

Any changes to strike craft will probably result overhauling the combat system. If using CK2 as a reference 14 DLC over 7 years, Stellaris has 9 over 5 years. I mean who is to say that such an overhaul isn't possible. If it does happen will that include a rework to strike craft? Anyone's guess is as good as mine, so I'll avoid any speculation.
Considering how each iteration of Stellaris combat has horrible problems. And it never was iterated on properly with Paradox instead opting to trash it and create new problems I don't think we should hope it will change for the better any time soon. Or at all.
 

Culann

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I'd say you would be better served by looking at Space Empires V than MoO. It had a much more robust and diverse core system and concentrated much more on tactical combat with pre-planned battles. You could set formations, escorts for different ships, kit them out with specialised equipment and so on. Even ship turn rates could actually matter if you were using spinal mounts on a big ship. It also had a very robust modding scene.

The main difference between Space Empires and Stellaris PD is that it's range was much lower. Incredibly so. If you wanted proper PD coverage you needed to use something like 4 "corvettes" around a "battleship" and they had just enough range to cover the battleship and each other. And even then ships on diagonals from each other in formation didn't always provide full cover to their opposites.

In Stellaris you have like 50+ ships sitting in each others PD radius.


Considering how each iteration of Stellaris combat has horrible problems. And it never was iterated on properly with Paradox instead opting to trash it and create new problems I don't think we should hope it will change for the better any time soon. Or at all.
I agree with you on Space Empires V I just didn’t make the comparison because the combat in that game is as you said far more robust. Harder to make an apples apples comparison.
 

Acheron

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Once more, I like to point to an excellent site for the Wing Commander saga: https://wedge009.net/wc/wc1/script.php

From the dialogue transcripts there, you get the feeling for another combat setup, multiple front/sectors, seeing combat simultaneously, big all deciding battles seem rather de-emphasized.

We should definitely consider what kind of feel combat should have. I am myself partial to this Wing Commander feel, as it seems to me better suited to a strategy game than just throwing doomstacks at each other.
 
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Balamut2227

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Rework for anti sc PD system:

1. Individual per ship.
+ Base PD strenght depends on hull type and config
+ Defence module for individual moderate PD strength boost.
+ Aluxary module for stackable support fleet-wide aura for weak PD strength boost.
2. Let the SC have diffirent live cycle system:
- No Hull, armor or shield points;
- Amount of attack potential instead
- Every gun shot cost fighter for an attack potential point. PD strength of target should be a factor for SC total hit chance.
- If SC hit zero attack potential - it should to return to mothership for reloading.
- dogfight could work more complex : while one sc is a target for another sc it have a hit chance penalty and every incoming hit rip out extended amount of attack potential.
- If SC attack power drops to negative - it counts dead until end of the battle.
 

Zoolimar

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From the dialogue transcripts there, you get the feeling for another combat setup, multiple front/sectors, seeing combat simultaneously, big all deciding battles seem rather de-emphasized.
Again you need a total overhaul of Stellaris game systems for that. The main things are - needs much lower strategic ship mobility, removal of magically enforced treaties. With current mobility and ability to have magically enforced multi-year non-aggression pacts it's impossible to stop doomstacks from rolling over people. With lower mobility and no certain non-agression pacts large empires will need to split their fleets to check their opponents forces on all sides or engage in diplomacy. Otherwise starting a war may result in someone on the other side of your empire backstabbing you.
 
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EntropyAvatar

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So to solve this we should not allow this alpha-strike to happen.

What is L and XL weapons started battle uncharged? Say it's impossible to keep the capacitors or other components of the weapons ready at all times, storing that much ready energy would quickly erode containment, etc. So the battle starts and the larger weapons are slowly, slowly preparing to fire. The big guns need some protection so they don't get worn down by strike craft or missiles before they can start doing their thing.
 

Zoolimar

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What is L and XL weapons started battle uncharged? Say it's impossible to keep the capacitors or other components of the weapons ready at all times, storing that much ready energy would quickly erode containment, etc. So the battle starts and the larger weapons are slowly, slowly preparing to fire. The big guns need some protection so they don't get worn down by strike craft or missiles before they can start doing their thing.
First - this is not needed, you can make weapons competitive without such workarounds.
Second - it's a half mesure that tries to put a band aid over a screwed up core system which in turn will most likely introduce new problems.
 
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EntropyAvatar

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First - this is not needed, you can make weapons competitive without such workarounds.
Second - it's a half mesure that tries to put a band aid over a screwed up core system which in turn will most likely introduce new problems.
So the first objection is that such changes are not necessary to achieve balance and the second objection is that much more fundamental changes are needed to achieve balance.

It's interesting for me to think about flipping the alpha-strike advantage of the largest and slowest weapons on its head, because currently the big guns are stealing a role that more properly belongs to strike craft. If we had large enough star systems and had the attention and AI to spare for manuever concerns, then we could play our a more natural combat with long-range strikes and the big-gun ships trying to slowly close with the carrier.

Short of that kind of overhaul, a dynamic where big guns are slow to fire could make things a bit more interesting. Having too many ships vanish in the first instance of combat it's great for weapon and platform diversity.
 

Acheron

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I was planning on a lengthy post in a new thread on what I would suggest for a new combat system, but it quickly went to asking for overhauling the economic system. Therefor here, just some basic thoughts:

I think the fleet one ought to build should depend on the kind of empire you have. I play exclusively single-player, I am into it for the "role-playing" so to say. And to me, the empire of a Ming-the-Merciless expy, were hordes of slaves toil to mine vast amounts of basic resources should be very much inclined to make a different fleet than a Federation-expy, were many middle-class specialists work to refine basic resources into sophisticated electronics and materials.

Shields, armor or numbers? Do you optimize for quick, decisive campaigns or drawn-out slugging matches? These are the things I want to play my navy for, not google whether or nor the Kinetic-Artillery+Plasma Battleships is still the optimal load-out.
 

Colonizor48

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Just make flak actually do a good job at countering strike craft and make strike craft not deal as much damage(still enough tot he point where they are still powerful)