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Bill Huntington



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PostPosted: Sun, 9. Jul 17, 04:19    Post subject: Escorts ? Reply with quote Print

I don't escort my ST traders with fighters and find that a wingman for myself is a negative rather than a positive. That said, I've often wondered what's the most effective way for escort fighters to protect an ST or UT trader. What commands and formations?

Thanks!


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pjknibbs



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PostPosted: Sun, 9. Jul 17, 08:21    Post subject: Re: Escorts ? Reply with quote Print

Bill Huntington wrote:
That said, I've often wondered what's the most effective way for escort fighters to protect an ST or UT trader. What commands and formations?


There is no effective way for escort fighters to protect a UT. The problem is, the UT uses a jumpdrive to speed up travel, and while the escort ships will be able to keep up for a little while, they'll eventually run out of energy cells and have no means to replenish them automatically--so they'll revert to following the UT through normal gates and thus be miles away when the attack happens. So, you'd have to keep manually topping up the e-cell stock of the escort ships, which kind of defeats the purpose of using an automated trader!

The other reason for not bothering with escort ships for UTs is that the first instinct of a UT that is attacked is to jump away to safety. Anything which is capable of destroying the UT itself before it can do that isn't going to have much trouble with the escort ships either--all that will happen is that you'll lose millions of credits' worth of escort ships alongside your UT.

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jlehtone



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PostPosted: Sun, 9. Jul 17, 14:56    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

I do fully agree with pjknibbs.


Nevertheless, there are some technically interesting questions (in X3AP).
  • There are NPC Traders with TM ships and they have couple escort fighters. Those traders obviously do not jump. The escort fighters (of a carrier) undock and dock by some logic, and that is not limited to NPC. While a TM is hardly "the best UT", one could ask whether the mother jumps without escorts?
  • I have noticed that if I order a ship to jump and it has followers that cannot jump, then I do get a "Are you sure?" dialog. Non-interactive jumps (like UT) must have some default answer for that. Probably a 'yes', like it was on earlier games, which never did ask such questions.
  • (player) Ships can use jumpdrive for "default travel" and do have a "refuel setting". I have no idea how that works. Presumably a docked ship refuels, if has access to ECells. This of course differs from earlier games, where default travel had no jumping&refueling. The much older UT and CAG/CLS are not aware of the new default travel implementation and have explicit refueling routines too.
  • One could ask, can the default refueling keep an escort "in shape" if it chases an elusive UT? The UT must refuel. It will dock to a source of ECells for the refuel. The escorts will attempt to follow. Can they dock and buy ECells before their "master" continues its journey? How much traffic jams do get worse due to the escorts?
  • Lets assume that an escort can use the "default travel engine refuel" every time the UT does its own refuel routine. How much does the UT buy fuel? 10% of cargobay? For a large TS/TS+ that could be 1500 ECells. A fighter's jump is cheaper. It only needs 750 ECells to match ...



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Triaxx2





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PostPosted: Sun, 9. Jul 17, 19:13    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Fighter Drones. Supply each UT with some and when something attacks them, they'll spray them out as a distraction and then jump away.

Learn the CLS2 system and have it automatically supply your UT's with fighter drones. Since those are designed to be both cheap and abandoned, you won't lose much compared to what you gain.


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Snafu_X3





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PostPosted: Mon, 10. Jul 17, 03:48    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

jlehtone wrote:

  • (player) Ships can use jumpdrive for "default travel" and do have a "refuel setting". I have no idea how that works. Presumably a docked ship refuels, if has access to ECells. This of course differs from earlier games, where default travel had no jumping&refueling. The much older UT and CAG/CLS are not aware of the new default travel implementation and have explicit refueling routines too.
  • One could ask, can the default refueling keep an escort "in shape" if it chases an elusive UT? The UT must refuel. It will dock to a source of ECells for the refuel. The escorts will attempt to follow. Can they dock and buy ECells before their "master" continues its journey? How much traffic jams do get worse due to the escorts?
  • Lets assume that an escort can use the "default travel engine refuel" every time the UT does its own refuel routine. How much does the UT buy fuel? 10% of cargobay? For a large TS/TS+ that could be 1500 ECells. A fighter's jump is cheaper. It only needs 750 ECells to match ...
AIUI in TC carrier-based fighters will only use their 'home' preset for refuelling.. so they take it directly from their mothership /when they're docked/ (not sure if Transport Device is useable for this; I suspect not)

Default refuelling for mothership is 10% of space, yes.. but fighters will take a lot of this (see above). The default is adjustable if you wish (not intuitive; set 'jump range' in CC IIRC)

/If/ the fighters can keep up with their mothership's jumping it /may/ be possible to define carrier attack groups reasonably well, but the mothership would have to be /very/ slow (Teladi/Paranid?) & have a forced max jump range pretty small to make this effective.. I leave this as an exercise for the reader Wink


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RAVEN.myst





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PostPosted: Mon, 10. Jul 17, 13:41    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

The main complication is the problems introduced by jumpdrives - escorting would become a lot more viable in slowboating traders (potentially viable for STs and local area CLS and CAG traders, but not UTs) - however, the reduction in turnover is huge even in very restricted operational areas: considering that even in the simplest multisector trade route (2 adjacent sectors to-and-fro) doing away with the jumpdrive will, on average (depending on specific locations of stations relative to gates) double the round-trip time, and this only gets worse with every additional sector, this really isn't worth it, except when trading in the gate-less Terran territories - but in that case, you don't need the escorts in any case, as piracy is very rare in Terran space, and most of that territory is so well policed that pirates evaporate in almost no time.

In any case, as others have already pointed out, escorts with suitable durability are significantly more expensive than even the most expensive freighters (except TS+ ships in X3AP), and merely represent INCREASED risk, rather than additional protection of assets. It's better to have the freighters well trained so that their own self-defense procedures (based on evasion, rather than fighting back) kick in. A certain degree of attrition can be expected, but suitable precautions can mitigate this to a large extent (more so in X3AP for UTs as they get a sector blacklist function, and equally well in both X3TC and X3AP for CLS and CAG traders, which have such a function in both games.) A carefully defined sector blacklist will keep your freighters out of dangerous areas - my basic recommendation is as follows: blacklist all sectors adjacent to Xenon sectors so that your freighters don't end up jumping in through a gate that Xenon forces have just entered through or are about to egress through; if your standing with pirates is poor, blacklist pirate sectors too (they are not automatically avoided the way Xenon sectors are, otherwise.) If playing X3AP, also blacklist the war-torn sectors, as your freighters WILL ALWAYS be attacked by whichever of the two factions (Argon and Terran) you have the lower standing with, even if both relationships are excellent. If some stations in Xenon-adjacent sectors are important to you for inclusion in trade, you can instead of blacklisting the entire sector, just blacklist any stations that are nearer to the Xenon gate than any others (this works for CAG and CLS, not sure about TCS3 as I haven't used STs/UTs in literally years) - it is still possible that freighters operating in those sectors will occasionally get in trouble, but the likelihood will be greatly reduced.

Regarding autonomous freighters' self-defense protocols: some players will insist that not mounting any turrets on your freighters is better, but this stems from the mistaken perception that if they have any guns they will stand and fight - they will NOT do this, ever (fighting ships are a different story) so long as the turrets are set to a defensive stance. Therefore, it is better to mount a turret when possible (ie. not on Boron freighters), but do be careful to make sure the turret is set to Protect Ship or Missile Defense (I prefer the latter, in case I end up in-sector with a freighter under attack - it's usually rare, but can happen), and NOT on "Attack Enemies" (as this WILL occasionally draw the ire of reds that aren't actually hostile until fired upon.) Drones are usually a good idea (there are exceptions, but I won't go into those specifics here) and trained pilots will take care of deploying and resupplying these of their own accord (so long as Fight Command Softwares are installed - I install both anyway, to enable Missile Defence Mosquito functionality, again in case of in-sector activities.) Also, autonomous pilots have a (usually) sensible behaviour when hostiles are present somewhere: if hostiles are present in the sector where the ship is docked and wants to leave from, the trader will stay docked (showing 'Idle' in the property list) until the situation clears up (this CAN be annoying with jumpdrive-equipped freighters if the hostiles are on the other end of the sector and would thus pose no threat before the trader jumps out) - unfortunately, I've seen this script be a problem when the ship somehow ends up out of jump fuel and is in space already: it will stay put instead of leaving the sector "on foot", thus becoming a sitting duck (so make sure your freighters are configured to refuel generously! Yes, this will reduce cargo capacity a bit, but is well worth it to avoid losses.) Conversely, if a freighter wants to go to a station and there are hostiles in that sector, it will delay its departure (again in 'Idle' state) until the weather clears (this may be dependent on pilot training level, and I've seen it affect CAG and CLS pilots - not sure whether UTs behave the same way.) (Unfortunately, with CAGs and CLSs, this sort of tunnel vision sometimes wastes quite a bit of time - the pilot isn't smart enough to put back the loaded cargo if possible and find an alternative trade, at least not right away.)

Apologies for these monolithic paragraphs - the coffee hasn't kicked in yet Razz

The short of it is that, overall, escorting freighters is not really practical.


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pjknibbs



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PostPosted: Mon, 10. Jul 17, 17:49    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

RAVEN.myst wrote:

Regarding autonomous freighters' self-defense protocols: some players will insist that not mounting any turrets on your freighters is better, but this stems from the mistaken perception that if they have any guns they will stand and fight


To be fair, that wasn't a mistaken perception in early versions of X2--in the released version of that game, freighters really *would* stand and fight when they came under attack. It was patched out fairly early on in that game's life, though, and I don't believe it was ever an issue in X3.

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devilofbelfast





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PostPosted: Tue, 11. Jul 17, 13:46    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Have you ever considered upgrading all your traders into Hyperion's...? If the cargobay is an issue, simply use more ships. If fully armed they should be able to deal with anything that can catch them without any issues.


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