Ayporos wrote:Having fleets commanded to escort other fleets is a very nice feature.
The biggest thing to improve here, imo, would be to maybe set specific ship roles (within a fleet) reflected by maybe an icon or text indicating which role/command it is currently executing.
So after each fleet/ship name you could have another box with text indicating its current command/role. This could be either pure text ("escort Fleet/Ship A"; "Patrol system.sector"; "Defend Station.X") with clickable links to details page of ship/sector.station.. or maybe you could insert general thumbnails indicating role which can be hovered over for exact information (like, hover over the 'patrol' icon to show you a alt-text telling you where it is patrolling) and you could then click the icon to alter/issue a command/role.
Basically I think it's important that you can, at a glance, see what each ship/fleet is doing and possibly also -where- the ship/fleet is located (for a ship this could be where its commander is, for a ship obviously where the ship is)... as an extra bonus it would be nice to -if this is possible- include (for combat ships) if it is currently engaged in combat and with which/what ship.
For trading ships said 'info' could reflect which wares it is buying/selling and where.. but that'd rely on proper integration with a trading system extension.
A possible point of interest might also be to include stations in this list, under a main station 'fleet' perhaps? expandable to show each owned station and further expandable to show ships assigned to said stations.
A lot of very good suggestions. Let me address the points one by one.
1) About specific roles per ship in fleet: My current approach is very similar to what you are describing, but more on the fleet level, instead of ship level. Someone mentioned that my fleets look more like wings, and that might indeed be true. For now, each fleet has one role or command (currently only "Move to Zone" and "Escort Ship" are available), and all ships in the fleet will follow that order. In the future, one might introduce an additional level, and make fleets consist of wings, which consist of single ships. Then you would give the fleet a high level order (e.g. "Patrol Zone X") and each wing a more specific order (e.g. "Engage enemies", "Support", "Refuel" etc.).
Tooltips like you are imagining are currently not possible, or rather not possible with reasonable effort (I think I know a way, but I would have to bend the code pretty darn much for it).
2) See what everybody is doing at a glance:
Right now in the UI, the current command is shown after the fleet name:
Code: Select all
Fleet 1 Command: Move to Zone Steady Mole
And for ships, the current hull, shields, and the location in the form "Cluster / Sector / Zone" is shown. For NPCs it shows the current stance. I am at work right now, so I can't post a screenshot, but I'll try to remember to post a new screenshot this evening.
What you say about being in combat sounds interesting. I'm thinking about making the name of the fleet flash in red if the fleet is engaged in combat (this should hopefully not be too hard to achieve). Not sure if I can make it on ship level though.
UFO already has (and will keep) real-time status reports, where information about which fleet is engaging how many enemies and where is shown on the event monitor.
3) Trading ships:
Currently, there is no special handling for trading ships. It's rather the opposite, since trading ships have to be in the player squad and have their own special script, which makes it impossible for them to interact with UFO since it starts its own scripts on each fleet ship. This is something that could be added in the future, where you can flag a ship as a trader, and still add it to the fleet without any scripts being started, as to show what it's buying/selling.
Right now, I would recommend interaction with traders only by making fleets escort them.
I like the idea of having a "station fleet", which would be a normal fleet, except that it's commander would be a station, not a ship. Alternatively, there could simply be a fleet command called "Protect Station", but that would not take advantage of the defence officer that is on the station.
Like I said, lots of good ideas, keep 'em coming.