[3.0 Beta 5] Carrier Fighters launching query - Launching fix in a future build.

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[3.0 Beta 5] Carrier Fighters launching query - Launching fix in a future build.

Post by Scoob » Fri, 24. Jan 20, 23:59


I have a Carrier with a variety of ship assigned to it in "Defence".

First, there's "Alpha" Group, which is made up of Behemoth Destroyers - these ships are set to "Launched" which is greyed out as they cannot dock of course.

Second, there's "Beta" Group, which is made up of Minotaur Raider Corvettes - these ships are set to "Docked".

Third, there's "Gamma" Group, which is made up of various Fighters - these ships are set to "Docked".

Forth, there's "Delta" Group, which is made up of various Scouts - these ships are set to "Docked".

Fifth, there's "Epsilon" Group, which is also made up of various Scouts - there ships are set to "Docked".

I ordered the Carrier to attack an SCA Station. It moved forward as expected, but started launching Fighters and Scouts from groups Gamma, Delta and Epsilon - yet the carrier hasn't come under any fire yet. Beta Group has not launched and Alpha Group are not attacking.

So, despite my settings of "Defence" and "Docked" the Fighter and Scout groups are launching regardless. I'd not expect this behaviour. If the Carrier took direct fire, with them set to "Defend" I'd expect them to do just that, but they are also set to "Docked" which would suggest they should remain docked. If they were set to "Intercept" I'd also expect them to fly ahead and engage, but they are not. I wonder what has priority here, the docked status (Docked / Launched) or the order (defend / attack) it seems to be obeying none of them.

I guess the control I'd expect would be that a Group set to "Docked" would remain docked, but one set to "Launched" would launch as required. I'm not 100% sure of the intent here. Note: my Carrier did come under direct fire earlier from some SCA Scouts, however, NONE of the docked ships launched during that encounter, so I assumed "Docked" meant stay docked, overriding the "Defend" order. That's certainly how the Carrier Group behaved.

Thought: what would be nice is a new role to compliment the existing "Defence", "Attack", "Interception" and "Supply Fleet" option called "Stand By". That way we could configure a Group of subordinates that stay docked and will absolutely NEVER launch, yet their role can be changed with a simple click. This would aid control of the fleet, and enable "Reserves" of ships.

Additionally, regarding the "Docked" and "Launched" settings, these need to be expanded on a little I think and to be more transparent regarding what's happening. The UI should give options of:

"Docked" - ship are docked, but will launch as needed based on their Role setting (Defend / Attack etc.)
"Stay Docked" - ships will stay docked, or dock if currently launched.
"Launched" - ships will launch and stay launched in formation around the Carrier.

To enhance the UI further, having it clearly show the status, not just the order, would be nice too. For example:

"Docked" - Recalling Ships (Ships weren't already all docked)
"Docked" - All Ships Docked, Ready for Launch (Ships are all currently docked)

"Stay Docked" - All Ships Docked, Standing Down

"Launched" - Launching ships
"Launched" - Ships engaging enemy

The Counters showing how many of the Group are docked / launched will of course still be useful, but with adding clarity of what the group is trying to do.

Something along those lines.

As it stands, I'm unsure exactly how my ships will respond based on the current order options. And having my Carrier launch a wave of Scouts at a heavily armed station, when it also has Corvettes and Fighters with the same standing orders doing nothing, is a bit weird lol. It looks like those Scouts and Fighters are behaving as if on Intercept duty, but they are not.

What do people think? Do Carrier group commands need some clarity and finer control? I know mine aren't doing what I expect or really need them to.

I'd love to understand what's going on here, what the intent is and whether we can gain some more clarity of control. I bloody LOVE having Carrier Groups, but they frustrate a little currently.


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Re: [3.0 Beta 5] Carrier Fighters launching query

Post by Scoob » Sat, 25. Jan 20, 00:03

Eventually, most of the Docked ships did launch and start attacking the station, but at no point did they show as "Launched" in the Subordinate Control section.

The other ships appear to launch once the Scouts and Fighter started taking fire.


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Re: [3.0 Beta 5] Carrier Fighters launching query

Post by Scoob » Sat, 25. Jan 20, 00:24

I've been experimenting further.

I docked a load of Scouts to my Nomad, I then assigned them to "Defence" duty. They defaulted to a "Launched" status, despite all being docked, and proceeded to all Launch and form up on the Nomad. This is NOT the same behaviour as I saw with my Carrier (Colossus) and setting "Launched" with all ships docked did nothing. This is rather puzzling, I'm sure you understand. When trying to test things and not getting consistent results, well, my brain hurts lol.


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Re: [3.0 Beta 5] Carrier Fighters launching query

Post by Scoob » Sat, 25. Jan 20, 00:36

Sorry to spam posts - I do feel the lack of an "Edit" button, though I understand the reasoning.

Now the Scouts that just launched from my Nomad, will not dock again. They fly to just over the dock area as if they're about to land, but instead of docking, they just turn around and fly out to enter formation again. This is silly lol.

Note 2: I've also had issues with ships getting stuck over the pad but not descending to dock - this happened when I first order all those scouts to dock at the Nomad. However, a save / reload cycle fixed that, just trying the same with this issue....Nope. They all appear to be stuck running the "Escort" Command (Escorting the Nomad) despite being set to "Defence" and "Docked" in Subordinate Control. I don't know how to make them dock, other than manually ordering them.

It's odd that when they were assigned to the Carrier (Colossus) they happily stayed docked with the exact same settings - until the Carrier was given an attack order of course. I feel as if I have no control over subordinates via the Subordinate Control section.


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Re: [3.0 Beta 5] Carrier Fighters launching query

Post by RoverTX » Sat, 25. Jan 20, 00:45

I think what is going on is even though they are set to defend the carrier has a direct order to attack, which means it gives its subordinates the same order. Basically a direct order to the top level propagates downward through the ranks. Not sure if that is the right behavior or not.

I actually used to have the problem with my default order patrolling ships only launching their subordinates when they where directly attacked. Setting them to attack or intercept now seems to fix that.

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Re: [3.0 Beta 5] Carrier Fighters launching query

Post by Scoob » Sat, 25. Jan 20, 01:12

That might be what's happening, however the behaviour isn't matching up with the given order though - at least, not my understanding of it. Plus remember, these ships were ordered to remain docked - hence my request for some more clarify and control over their behaviour.

Currently the desired behaviour appears to be beyond my control, so I'd hope some additional / refinement of the existing commands will help with that.

I think that being able to ensure a given Group stays docked regardless of what the Carrier is doing is exceedingly valuable too. Along with keeping ships launched and in formation of course. Additionally, and I've mentioned this elsewhere, being able to get ships to retreat at a given Hull Damage would be useful too. Currently I monitor fights (micro-manage) and manually order ships to repair.

I'm unsure whether the existing commands are working as intended - so clarity is critical here - plus I don't feel I have the control I need. I shouldn't have to manage every single group of ships separately to get them to do what I want. It should, ideally, be configurable from the Subordinate Control.

Note: Since beta 3.0 I've been making a particular effort to engage in Fleet manoeuvres. I had great success just commanding a group of Scouts, Fighters, Corvettes and Destroyers manually, but bringing them all together into a Fleet under the control of a Carrier is proving a little frustrating.

Refinements to what options we have an how ships behave when controlled from the "Subordinates" section of the lead carrier would really enhance things a lot. As it stands, grouping ships into a Fleet is counter-productive vs. just commanding smaller groups manually.

The ability to keep ships in reserve (they just stay docked) would be great, as would being able to configure some ships to be a home defence force, staying with / near the Carrier at all time and not dashing off. My hope was that the "Defend" command would allow for this, but ships still dash off -attacking the Carrier target, even though the Carrier isn't actually engaged. That's what "Intercept" is for, surely?

To expand on what I said earlier, having commands like:

"Defend - Stay Close" - defenders won't chase down attackers who move away (having a range setting would make this perfect)

"Intercept - Fighters only" (as above, having a range for this would be great)
"Intercept - Corvettes (and below)"
"Intercept - Capital Ship" (one for Destroyers in the Fleet)

We can then give appropriate commands to appropriate groups - how we divide the groups, and the makeup of ships they contain is up to us.

We've been given so many ships to play with, I just want to be able to control them better.


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Re: [3.0 Beta 5] Carrier Fighters launching query

Post by iforgotmysocks » Sat, 25. Jan 20, 01:21

Launched / Docked still has no effect for Destroyers, they will always dock ships on their outer dockingbays and then execute their move command ignoring the rest upon receiving a new movement order. This happens everytime, regardless of having subs set to docked or launched.

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Re: [3.0 Beta 5] Carrier Fighters launching query

Post by Scoob » Sat, 25. Jan 20, 01:51

I'm currently testing this on my Nomad and my Colossus Carriers. I simply cannot get subordinate ships to dock at the mothership without issuing a manual command. Docked ships then have the "Dock and Wait" command set and do not respond to attacks on the mothership at all.

Unless I'm missing something - which is entirely possible - how do I get the subordinate S-Class ships to dock back at the Carrier via the Subordinate Control section? They just sit there "Escorting" but I need them docked and ready to respond, not sat in space. I find that it's far far preferable to have an attacker engage the Carrier, which then launches response ships. Otherwise an attack will likely attack one of the S-Class ships directly, destroying it easily.

If they were say Corvettes or Frigates, then having them fly in formation with me might be just fine - they're tougher ships of course. Having scouts out all the time though is not desirable. I need them to stay docked and safe and only attack specific targets en-mass, where they can actually be useful.

My experiences this evening have been so inconsistent, from ships launching that are told to stay docked, ships assigned to "Defend" that don't launch when the mothership is attacked, and of course ships that refused to return back to base. I've not really played the game this evening, just tried to get it to obey me lol.


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Re: [3.0 Beta 5] Carrier Fighters launching query

Post by Scoob » Sat, 25. Jan 20, 01:58

Sorry, posted that by mistake before I'd finished.

Of course, as soon as I issue a Move order to the Carrier, the subordinates that so stubbornly refused to dock, now dock. This causes a long delay before the move order is actually actioned, which is also not desirable behaviour. Sure, I can work around things and issue a move order when I want to force things to dock, but that defeats the point of the Subordinate Control section surely?

@iforgotmysocks - I'm not using subordinates with my Destroyers currently, though I was hoping to.

Urgh: well, when I gave the Carrier a move order some of those fighters decided to try to dock, others did not. I really have no clue what's going on here - the game is playing it's self, I'm not in control lol.

At least subordinates stay in formation better during travel mode...


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Re: [3.0 Beta 5] Carrier Fighters launching query

Post by Scoob » Sat, 25. Jan 20, 02:03

Urgh! Something is broken surely. My Nomad is under attack by SCA ships. While the Defending Behemoths and the Nomad its self engage the attackers, the "Defending" S-Class ships are just sat there, totally ignoring the attack. They'd be far better at engaging the small, swift attacker than the larger ships, but nope, they're taking a break lol.

I even tried setting the S-Class ships to "Attack" and "Intercept" but that did no more than "Defend" did. I'm confused.


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Re: [3.0 Beta 5] Carrier Fighters launching query

Post by aurelcourt » Sun, 26. Jan 20, 12:47


I have a fleet set up which seems to work in most situations encountered so far :

LEAD : Carrier
1 Wing DEFENSE (6 fighters)

1 Wing ATTACK (3 destroyers)
1 Wing ATTACK (6 anti cap frigates)
1 Wing ATTACK (6 torpedo fighters)

4 Wings INTERCEPT (anti-fighter fighters)

(1 resupply)

- 1/ if I only want to clear an area where there are no ennemi capitals : I just sent a "fly to" order, and all the INTERCEPT wings + the escorting destroyers will clear everything easily.

(1b/ if the carrier gets shot, the DEFENSE wing will attack as well. Otherwise they stay docked.)

- 2/ if there are some capitals in the area, I'll order a sequence of "attack" orders targeting each capital. All the ATTACK wings will launch and proceed to attack the capitals.The INTERCEPT wings will clear everything around that gets too close.

(2b/ if the carrier gets shot, the DEFENSE wing will attack as well. Otherwise they stay docked.)

After the fight or if too damaged, ships will flee back to the resupply ship for repairs.

That overall seems to be fine to me. :-)

>>>However : if I use the "attack multiple", the carrier choice of targets is... debatable ! It often sends my ATTACK wings to chase fighters...while they are definitely anti-cap.

>>>What I feel is missing : attack priorities for wings = setting which type of target that wing will hunt

I've not tested these behaviours on a "long distance" strike... I always first "fly" the fleet close to the engagement area and then leave it here or adjust the attack orders.

I fell a huge potential for the fleet system, and love the way things are improved and added. :-)

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Re: [3.0 Beta 5] Carrier Fighters launching query

Post by Alith-Ahnar » Sun, 26. Jan 20, 15:10

Just to throw more observation data in the mix to make clear what to expect with each setting.

First off as soon as the Carrier/Leader gets issued a direct attack order (includes attack in range) most of the Fleet behavior is thrown out the window and ignored this is important to understand why some commands do not do what is written on the tin.

This out of the way now how flights operate if the Fleet is allowed to do what it wants to do:

Attack - The flight does attack the primary target of the lead ship.
Defend - The Flight retaliates against everything that did score a hit on the Lead Ship (not 100% sure but recently added members of the Fleet needs more testing.)
Intercept - This is the only behavior that does not need any action from the Fleet the flight sends out a number of ships after targets in a certain range that is unknown to the player.

The behavior launched and docked are not what they try to communicate instead launched is more like active duty and docked is off duty this again can be overwritten by a direct attack order for Defend and attack most of the time.

You see the primary issue with Fleets is not that they don't do what they are supposed to do but that the labels on the button are wrong. :wink:
Also the fact that docking behavior and some issues attached to docking in general blows the system sky high even when it does work proper.
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Re: [3.0 Beta 5] Carrier Fighters launching query

Post by Tamina » Sun, 26. Jan 20, 16:12

The new behaviour options are very welcome but in order to beta test this new functionality we need the exact intentions from the developers. A simple straight forward forum post about the design goals (User stories?)!

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Re: [3.0 Beta 5] Carrier Fighters launching query

Post by Archaeosis » Sun, 26. Jan 20, 17:01

So broad subordinate behaviours I would expect intuitively would be:

Combat Role:
  • Attack - attacks anything the leader attacks
    Defend - attacks anything attacking the leader
    Intercept - attacks anything hostile near the leader
    Passive - does not attack anything automatically
  • Escort - follows the leader in space when no active order
    Dock if Idle - docks at the leader when no active order
    Always Docked - always docked, will not launch unless the player alone gives a direct order
  • Can flee (yes/no)
    Always stay in formation (yes/no) - e.g. escort gunboats/capitals rigidly stay in close escort formation with the leader so don't use main guns, but their own turrets and subordinates follow the leader's orders - particularly important for vulnerable leaders like trade/mining/auxillary ships.
    Wait for subordinates before moving (yes/no) - this really messes up fleet actions when it isn't what you expect and both ways are important in different circumstances
These would seem to cover most desired behaviours and the meaning of the labels would be fairly clear I think, independent of turret settings and avoiding the poorly defined "trickle down" of commands to subordinates. Having these all work well would be a tremendous boon to fleet dynamics.

Unless the simple behaviours work consistently and are clearly labelled it's very tricky to differentiate developer intent from bugs, but it's very good to see Egosoft working on these!

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Re: [3.0 Beta 5] Carrier Fighters launching query

Post by Scoob » Sun, 26. Jan 20, 17:12

Yeah, that's by biggest issue in many ways, we don't know the underlying intent of these commands. I mean, it seems fairly logical on the face of it, but the inconsistencies muddle things.

I thought I understood things ok in the past, but things are just too inconsistent. I.e. I parked a Carrier in a location with various wings assigned to it. The Carrier had NO command, it was just parked in space. "Intercept" Wings did indeed appear to launch and intercept any enemies nearby, before returning to the Carrier. Nice. "Defend" Wings seemed to usually launch only when the Carrier was directly attacked. Again, nice. I did not play with "Attack" Wings as the Carrier has no commands.

This seems to give a rough base line for expected behaviour. However, as mentioned by @Splitboy, things go out of the window when the Carrier has orders. Defenders go on the attack too, when logic suggests they should only respond if the Carrier takes a hit. I assume they are perhaps defending some of the ships set to "attack" that have been hit?

I've been playing with this over several Beta 3.0 updates and I'm getting more confused to be honest. For example, the other night on the same stationary ship (no orders) I was playing with above, any ship set to "Defend" insists on launching and staying launched, despite the "Docked" / "Launched" settings. This is massively confusing.

So, to summarise, in my experience a Wing set to "Defend" "Docked" might:

1) Stay Docked, but respond if the Carrier is attacked. Good!
2) Stay Docked and NOT respond if the Carrier is attacked. Whut?
3) Launch, stay launched and ignore any attackers. Erm, nope.
4) Launch and attack the Carrier's target. I sorta get this, but not really what I need.

"Defend" - should only defend the Carrier, "Docked / Launched" should dictate whether Defenders stay in formation or dock between engagements. "Stay Docked" should be a separate order for clarity.

Note: having "Defend" WIngs attack the attackers of other, deployed Wings - say those on an "attack" or "Intercept" order - is perhaps a preference things. Personally I think that "Defend" Wings should only check for the Carrier taking direct fire, as I consider them a "Reserve" Group their to protect the Carrier if attackers get close. Having an option to choose whether "Defend" Wings include other Wings or not would be perfect. Seems like something what might work well as an option?

"Attack" - should attack the Carrier's target, with "Docked / Launched" and "Stay Docked" working as described above.

"Intercept" - should be autonomous strike wings, deployed by the Carrier as needed within a set range. "Docked / Launched" could be used for a faster response with ships set to "Launched" forming up around the Carrier, those set to "Docked" docking between engagements - which might get clunky if constantly launching / docking which doesn't always go smoothly. A new "Stay Docked" status might allow the player to keep a Wing in reserve.

Ideally we need a further setting for the Carrier to influence how strong the response is. Obviously this is subject to the Carrier having sufficient assets aboard. How "strength" is determined could be based on ship class of each side, along with a a weighting factor based on loadout. A Wing of light Scouts might be weak, but if all had heavy weapons then that makes them stronger for example. This isn't simple as, ideally, ALL loadouts on all ships need to be taken into account. I.e. the enemy might have ships with lots of Flak Turrets, so Fighters - even in larger Wings - would be quite weak vs. that. Perhaps this is a topic for another time, when the basics are working consistently.

Basically, I'm seeing such VERY inconsistent behaviour currently. One moment I think I understand it, and things are working fine, then it all gets a bit screwy, as I describe above with my experience of just the "Defend" option.

@aurelcourt - I have seen behaviour like you describe, with things appearing to work quite consistently. However, that was in a prior 3.0 Beta version, and my ships are not behaving consistently now. It's great you appear to have a degree of consistency, I simply am not, hence this post about my confusion.

Final Thought: Should returning Wings that dock be auto-repaired if the Carrier supports it? I'm not taking re-arming - I don't really equip my Wings that way - but just basic repairs. I currently have to micro-manage this, ordering individual ships to return and repair as needed. A "retreat for repairs" feature would really help here but, again, only once the basics are working consistently.

Note: I started this current game in 3.0 Beta 1. So it's not like I'm continuing a save from a much older game versions. I do wonder if my constant testing, assigning ships, reassigning them and general tinkering has upset something though. Pretty much ALL of my ships have been captured, bar the Carriers (Colossus and Nomad) themselves. I know there have been reports of captured ships behaving oddly in the past - several of the Behemoths I've captured have attempted to resume their prior commands (Patrol usually) after I've assigned a new Captain to them,for example. Though issuing a clear all orders seems to fix it just fine.

@Archaeosis - just saw your post when posting this. Yes, that's pretty much what I'd expect to see. With clarity on how the devs intend these various command to work, we can provide far better feedback.


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