Fractalus 1.x: ideas for future updates

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Joined: 2014-Sep-05 03:38

Selection of Alternative Player's Aircraft - Part 2

Post by reflame » 2022-Mar-26 22:15

I will finish the previous post in which I explain what it is minimal velocity, room for weapons etc. and why Valkyrie is described the way it is. In my vision the player could choose, before each mission, from these crafts:

Valkyrie Fighter (used in original and in 1.0.0 remake)
A versatile, multipurpose fighter. Most vulnerable of all crafts, good maneuverability, fastest but able to fly very (even unbelievably) slowly. Exceptionally powerful engine and climb rate: can (almost?) perfectly regulate speed during climb or descend. Least prone to be damaged during harsh landings and hitting the ground. Medium to low room (space) for weapons (how large weapon and ammunition it can carry).
This is the easiest craft to pilot, it nevers stall and is forgiving in harsh landings and hitting the rock. (It is also able to land vertically, an ability present usually only in helicopters; I imagine that the other planes must find a relatively level piece of rock to land - but maybe this will not work given the landscape in Fractalus.) Therefore it is the preferred fighter to be assigned to newbies new to the squadron; they are sent to areas with low enemy occurence where the limited room for weapons and very low resilience to fire do not matter quite so much.
Default weapon: A slow-firing cannon of powerful explosive shells. The shells are rather slow, so it takes long to see if the target has been hit. (Shell is probably not the best word for a futuristic weapon with trajectory not influenced by gravity - but what word should I use? Energetic torpedo?)

Collosus Bomber
A huge machine designed to carry a massive armament (I mean: load of weapons). Very low maneuverability (slow turns etc.) Most resilient to enemy fire, but rather prone to harsh landings (landing is equally difficult for Colossus and Cobra, because Cobra is much more maneuverable, but punishes harsh landings even more than Colossus) - landing is hard because a bomber surely wasn't designed for rescue operations, but it may be a good choice for example in a mission with turrets with very high hitpoints. The difference between minimum and maximum speed is not quite impressive.
Default weapon: A fast-firing cannon of powerful explosive shells (the same as Valkyrie, but much higher fire rate).

Cobra fighter
An aircraft made for combat, not rescue operations. Average vulnerability, very prone to damage during hard landings or hitting the rock. Bad climb rate (??Maybe prone to stalling and falling?? Well it is not important.) and bad deceleration ability when descending: the difference between the minimal and maximal speed is relatively lowest of all crafts (OR: maybe it has no means to control the speed except by climbing and descenging, because the thurst of the engines is given and cannot be controlled. OR: It can only be controlled by turning the engines on/off and the change takes long to take effect :D ). But its room for weapons is surpassed only by the Colossus bomber and its cool maneuverability is legendary.
TODO: Finish my remark about precise aiming vs fast turns.
Default weapon: a launcher of homing missiles, average firing speed. These missiles are as powerful as Valkyrie's shells and they are fire-and-forget: after the launch they try to find and lock on the target. The higher the angle from an (angularly 'nearest') potential target (right after the missile launch this angle is as high as imprecisely the player aimed the missile), the lower the chance they will find this target.
In other words: They lock either to the angularly nearest target or they fly hoping to find some target. After they lock, they change target only if a nearer target crosses before them. Some Jaggi buildings may have ECM jamming.
These missiles are very dangerous if the mission objective insists that there are some Jaggi buildings that the player must NOT destroy, because they can lock on them (or on a crashed shuttle with a pilot) if they don't have a better target, so it is important to aim them precisely in such cases, but otherwise, in the heat of battle, it is a great convenience that precise aiming is far and far less necessary than with other weapons.

I imagine that a plane can trade altitude for velocity and vice versa. And as the engines of Cobra are weak, this "combined altitude and velocity" is a relatively rare resource which requires some planning. Cobra usually attacks by descending which gains a very high velocity, launching homing missiles (with relatively little time to aim) and immediately getting off before the enemy has much time to fire.

Stuntman Fighter
A plane with an extremely low HP and firepower (room for weapons), but extremely good maneuverability. It has a very good minimum and maximum velocity (meaning: the former low, the later high), surpassed in this only by Valkyrie. Its engines are surely good, allowing it a good climb rate (how quickly it can climb without losing speed, stalling and falling), although by far not as exceptionally high as Valkyrie (whose engine breaks physical laws that hold for normal engines, such as a law of conservation of energy, such as the sum of kinetic and potential energy).
This is the harderst player's craft to pilot. It excels in situations where dogfight and maneuvering is important. Obviously, it performs badly when encountering things like an all-directional turret, where one must simply endure fire while destroying it. In these situations, a Stuntman Fighter climbs, then descends to gain extreme speed and flies through the range of enemy weapons as quickly as possible, trying to deal damage in the process.
Default weapon: These fighters usually mount a beam cannon that automatically aims at any target that occurs within very few degrees from the direction of fighter's nose. In other words, it can shoot only forward, but it requires less precise aiming by ship's nose than most crafts (but more precise than Cobra's missiles).
The reason why Stuntmen pilots usually choose this weak beam weapon is that it allows them to shoot at the enemy although in that extremely high speed they don't have time to aim the fighter's nose precisely.

Apache Helicopoter
As a helicopter, it has unique flight properties: can hover in the air, fly forward, slowly backward, (maybe even to the side??). Rather prone to damage when hitting the rock or harsh landing, but with its zero minimal speed it is easier to land softly.
Very good to land and rescue in hilly terrain. The flight properties make it much easier (than for planes) to descend lower among the hills to be exposed to fewer turrets, or to hiding behind a mountain from a turret. Good maneuverability, medium to high vulnerability by enemy fire. The maximum forward speed is lowest of all crafts. Lowest space for weapons.

Default weapon: Four very fast-firing machine guns of kinetic (nonexplosive) projectiles, which are much weaker than those of Valkyrie and they also need a precise hit - but helicopter's forward-backward maneuverability makes it easier to aim.
A technical remark: Luke will probably not want to implement a completely different control for helicopter (where increasing engine thurst causes it to climb higher, while a forward speed is achieved by aiming the nose lower) - and also most players would probably not like it. But I think that current remake 1.0.0 (modified by allowing a small backward thurst) can be a good approximation of a chopper - not perfect (because this approximation cannot climb or descend vertically without extreme nose angle or without using L key) but fully satisfactory. Also, someone can have better idea than me how to make this work - there is surely more than one good answer.

Averagus Fighter
A mediocre fighter with all attributes having an average value: minimal and maximal velocity a bit better than Colossus bomber; a cannon with firing rate between that of Colossus and Valkyrie, etc...
I'm not sure whether to include this craft at all, because this is the average while all previous crafts had some extreme weak and strong aspects. Some players might be tempted to use it in order to avoid dilemmas which craft to choose. I think this could be solved by
  • either making the Averagus a bit worse (for an average mission) than the other crafts.
  • or making many missions where the strength of one of the extreme crafts outweights its weaknesses. (In other words: Missions that can be most easily won by one the extreme crafts. Some missions will have more dogfights, some will have massive turrets, some will need to land in a very steep terrain etc.)
  • Or letting some missions use only some crafts. Yes, I would like this very much. Then the player would not succeed very well by choosing a favorite craft without learning how to use the others.
Other Craft Designs
I think that the six crafts described above are very distinct, each has an unique "feel". I think that by adding more crafts, this feeling of "discintness" might suffer, for example:
  • A heavy chopper - less maneuverable than Apache, but a bit better armed and more resilient. Essentially a crossbreed of Apache and Colossus.
  • A heavy dog-fighter: a craft with a good maneuverability, resilience against fire and at least average weapons at the expense of all other attributes. But there not many "other attributes", so how to make it interesting? By telling that it has a very short radar range? By giving it a high constant speed (not changeable by controls) so that it has to fly fast even when it does not want to? Or by tendency to stall if the inclination (lengthwise or transverse) exceeds a certain limit? The last thing would mean that it can quickly get into a lengthwise inclination that changes the heading (in degrees per second) very quickly (which is more or less a definition of good maneuverability and it gives an advantage in dogfights and fighting turrets with a slow barrel rotation), but if the player tries to use this over a certain threshold, the ship quickly starts to lose altitude and maybe also speed.
Last edited by reflame on 2022-Mar-30 11:57, edited 9 times in total.

Posts: 39
Joined: 2014-Sep-05 03:38

Turret designs

Post by reflame » 2022-Mar-27 03:11

Now comes another long post... Well, I write many ideas and of course the game creators will sort them out.

Weapon types (beam, torpedoes, missiles, machine gun) are defined here; turret vulnerability, masking and barrel rotation are explained lower in this post.

This post in nutshell: Let's make the gameplay richer by introducing several turret designs, each with distinctive traits and properties.

I suggest that there would be several kinds of turrets; each with a distinctive shape to be recognizable. I also think that massive turrets with slowly rotating barrels (which has to be outmaneuvered) will require planning and geometric thinking, which I would like.

Almost any combination of the possibilities (turret vulnerability, attack type, masking etc.) is thinkable, but I think there should be only a limited number of turret designs because the player must know them well and adjust his strategy. So it could be for example:
  • Common turret: Standard vulnerability, all-directional, beam, low firepower.
  • Stinger turret (from original Fractalus): High vulnerability, all-directional, beam, high firepower, masked to look like a standard turret (players need to pay certain attention to recognize them).
  • Photon torpedo launcher: Tough vulnerability, the barrel rotates slowly. Usually requires several runs to destroy, and the player must interrupt the run and evade when the barrel turns to him.
  • SAM battery: all-directional, dug-in, launches homing missiles.
  • Machine-gun turret: High vulnerability. Barrel rotation speed: medium to low. Masked to blend with the terrain and so it is very hard to spot without the mountain relief radar (this is bad because long aiming means exposure in the parallel direction where the bullets will more probably hit, as I explain bellow in "attack types/machine gun").
But please do not interpret this example list that nearly every turret will have its own attack type, vulnerability type etc. On the contrary: I imagine there will be a very limited number of attack/vulnerability/etc. types that the player will get familiar with and so he will know what to expect when encountering a new turret design (a new combination of these few types).
Maybe the computer or mission briefing etc. will tell him the attack type, vulnerability etc. including what it means, what ammo it is most vulnerable by.
Or even better, I suggest that sometimes a rescued pilot tells the player a piece of information, sometimes with a photo or a drawing - so the player will discover the vulnerabilities of turret types only very slowly; sometimes from a pilot, sometimes by experience. And the same about other secrets of the game, for example the neccessity of destroying the vacant crashed ships.

The logic behind Common turret vs. Stinger turret is this: I personally think that the turrets in Remake 1.0.0 rob the player of energy very quickly. I imagine that a game might be more interesting if there were generally more turrets or more resilient ones, but causing less damage. I think this can be solved in several manners:
  • By keeping it as it is, so that hiding low in the terrain from most turrets will be an important part of the game, as it is now.
  • Saying that Valkyrie is a very vulnerable fighter and the other crafts do not take damage so easily.
  • Saying that the original turrets are not the "common, weak turrets": they are exceptionally vulnerable, but they have an unusually high firepower, so the player has to notice them and destroy them quickly, more urgently than common turrets. (I think I would prefer this solution, but I am not sure what will work best.)

And here comes the promised explanation of terms:

Turret vulnerability:
  • High: can be destroyed by a single hit from the Valkyrie cannon or Cobra missile, or by 20 hits of precisely aimed kinetic projectiles (I imagine that is a 0.5 second round from the four machine guns of Apache Chopper).
  • Standard: can be destroyed by 4 hits from Valkyrie cannon (or 2 hits of Cobra missiles because it is more vulnerable by them) or by about 2-3 seconds of well aimed Appache machine gun fire (needs a direct hit).
  • Tough - 5x tougher than Standard.
  • Dug in: Vulnerable by kinetic projectiles (a short machine gun round will do). A cannon shell destroys it, but needs a precise hit (unlike other turrets which can easily be hit by proximity damage of this high explosive cannon ammo). And these dug-in ones are equipped with an ECM jammer, so some 80-90% of missiles usually miss it, but one missile will do.
  • Tough dug in: 5x tougher than dug in. Occurs probably only in a few particularly combat-oriented missions.
Turret masking:
  • Some turrets can be masked, which means that their visual difference from the terrain is much lower than the normal turrets of Remake 1.0.0. Maybe the difference could be lower and lower with the difficulty level. The best way to find and destroy an extremely masked turret is to use the mountain relief radar (probably after you see it firing... :lol: ).
  • Some turrets can be masked in another manner: they will be special/powerful turrets but this distinctive equipment will be much less visible, so the player can consider them a normal, weak turret.
Turret barrel rotation:
  • An all directional turret that can fire in any direction.
  • A turret with a barrel whose elevation and heading can be changed only slowly. This serious disadvantage is usually compensated by low vulnerability and high damage, so the player should try to outmaneuver it. This is very important in my vision, because this will turn a game of quick reflexes into a game which rewards (or requires) thinking, planning and perhaps even spatial thinking to realize the relative position of the turret and player's shuttle. I would very much like if Fractalus was customizable enough to please both kind of players - those preferring quick reflexes and those preferring planning ahead. So it seems important to me to finetune the barrel rotation speed etc. to achieve a thrilling game which rewards planning and keeping track of the relative position. And the same is imho important in finetuning the maneuverability and speed of enemy fighters which I will propose in a near future, because they too will imho reward the same things.
Last edited by reflame on 2022-Mar-30 23:39, edited 2 times in total.

Posts: 39
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A threat forcing the player to win quickly

Post by reflame » 2022-Mar-27 18:56

Hi, do you have the same experience that the game is very thrilling in the first minutes because I am under heavy fire, but once I destroy cca 10 turrets (around level 16 I think there are ca. 15 turrets altogether on the planet), then the game is very easy, even boring, because there is almost no threat? I must rescue ca. 10 pilots, that means visit ca. 15 crashed ships and that is a bit tedious.

Do you have a similar experience? I propose that this should be solved by adding a new threat that will be very weak in the beginning, but it will quickly (maybe exponentially) grow so the player must rescue the pilots quickly and cope with this threat while rescuing the last ones.

I think that this threat can be any number of things. For example some parts of ship can deteriorate exponentially when the mission lasts long - it can be anything, such as the ship engine consuming more and more fuel because of lead present in the atmosphere...

Or the number of enemy flying crafts incoming and chasing the player can increase; either the saucers or the fighters that must be defeated in a dogfight. Or enemy bombers and transports can systematically kill the pilots...

I think that even a mild threat, which is easy to beat (I mean: easy for the player to be faster) but exponentially growing in strength, can give a stress and motivation to the player that he hasn't got unlimited time.

Any ideas, please?
Last edited by reflame on 2022-Apr-02 21:41, edited 3 times in total.

Posts: 39
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Enemy Bombers and Troop Transports; Strategic Radar and Orientation Points

Post by reflame » 2022-Mar-27 19:48

This post in nutshell: It would be interesting to introduce enemy bombers searching and destroying the pilots or troop transports that replace them with aliens: the player would have to hurry or else there will be no pilots left.

Hi, I imagine that the exponentially growing threat could be done by enemy bomber aircrafts that seek crashed pilots and blow them together with their ships. Or by enemy troop transports that also search the crashed pilots and replace them with aliens.

Would not it be cool if the player could say: "Wow, so THIS is how the pilots get replaced by aliens"...

These bombers and transports would return to performing their task (mission) as soon as the player stops harrashing them. They would either be relatively hard to kill, or they could be defenseless but protected by escort fighters tasked with protecting them, NOT with chasing the player.
I imagine they could appear on the map very very slowly, but then faster in an exponential rate so the player is in danger of running out of living pilots.

I believe this could work well both if the bombers and transports are easily destructible, destructible with effort or undestructible.Both if they are escorted or not escorted.
If they are fragile and unescorted, then there could be many of them; if they are tough and armed or escorted by fighters, then destroying each of them will be a significat progress to complete the mission, requiring a skillful dogfighting. So there are endless combinations that could work well...

Strategic Consequences and Need of Long Range Radar
This would shift the game to some degree from fast-paced action toward strategic planning, as I explain in my later post in long-range radar and at the end of this post.

Orientation on the Planet
I am not sure whether introducing the ideas of this post means that the player needs orientation points.
Last edited by reflame on 2022-Apr-02 14:20, edited 3 times in total.

Posts: 39
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Attack types

Post by reflame » 2022-Mar-30 14:29

This post in nutshell: There will be four weapon technologies, each with distinct traits and drawbacks. Every turret or enemy fighter will use one of them.

I suggest that there is a very limited number of attack types (technologies), each with distinct traits that make it unique. And then all the various turret designs and enemy fighters and player's weapons will use one of these types.
There is surely a huge number of good and interesting ways how to do it, I imagine for example:

Energy torpedoes (also called photon torpedoes; sorry for my inconsistency)
A slow, long range, unguided energy torpedo is fired, shown on player's radar and the player can try to evade it. Explodes when the target is near (because such a slow-moving projectile cannot expect an exact/precise hit like a machine gun, that way evading would be extremely easy).
Damages more the electronic equipment of player's shuttle (radar, indicators, repair droid etc.) than other parts.

Beam weapons
Relatively short range. Also damages mainly the electronics. A typical beam weapon can automatically aim several degrees from the nose of the fighter, so the fighter does not have to aim quite precisely by its nose (as explained in Stuntman fighter).
Alternative: If we want a high consistency with the original where enemy fire only caused energy loss and there was no "damage to specific parts of the shuttle", we could say that even in Fractalus Remake 2.0.0 the beam does exactly this, unlike other attack types.
And maybe we could say that keeping a beam weapon armed and ready is extremely demanding in terms of energy consumption. Therefore enemy turrets and fighters keep it offline and when they see the player, they need time to load. Fortunately, thanks to an effort of self-sacrificing spies, we know about this technology and the progress of turning beams online is indicated by control bulbs turning on from left to right (I speak about the effect already implemented in both original and remake).

Machine guns
Relatively fast-flying bullets, damaging huge things (hull etc.) more than electronics.

Homing Missiles
They fly slowly toward the target and maybe we can decide that the player can try to shoot them down or to place a mountain between the missile and himself. (I have a trouble to invent a more clever countermeasure to missiles...)
I imagine that some turrets, enemy ships and maybe TODO_LINK_EQUIPMENTplayer's ships can be equipped by ECM TODO_LINK_ECM_OVERVIEW technology to confuse missiles. But this probably consumes much energy.

Flying Parallel with Line of Fire
The velocity of machine-gun is high but still not high enough for aiming at a moving target to be easy - and of course this applies even more for torpedoes.
Most enemies probably aren't clever enough to aim ahead; therefore if the target is not very close, the bullets will often miss it, unless the target moves very slowly or moves toward or away from the machine gun (parallel to the line of fire). This weakness should be used by the player or else he will take heavy damage.

Consistency with Player's Weapons
I imagie that the weapons of player's craft use exactly the same set of technologies: Cobra fires missiles, Stuntman uses a beam weapon, the helicopter is equipped by a machine gun - and Colossus and Valkyrie use a photon torpedo launcher.
Someone might argue that Valkyrie in 1.0.0 fires explosive shells, but I would probably oppose that they are not affected by gravity and they explode even if they miss the turret a bit upwards (if they overshoot), which corresponds exactly to my description of torpedoes. Feel free to disagree with anything I write :D
Last edited by reflame on 2022-Apr-07 17:33, edited 7 times in total.

Posts: 39
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Extravagant Fractalverse and Speaking Pilots

Post by reflame » 2022-Mar-31 01:20

This post in a nutshell: An elaborate world emerged in my fantasy during writing my suggestions, and although it is by far too extravagant to be fully implemented (or even accepted by Luke), I hope you don't mind that I will describe it here. In my vision for Remake 2.0.0, the player will explore the world by experience, mission briefings and secrets told by rescued pilots.

My Extravagant Ideas for Fractalverse
I want to emphasise that I realize that my lists (of enemy aircrafts, turrets, player's crafts etc., and make no mistake, more are coming :lol: ) are extravagant, full of ideas that would take much labor to implement. And many of them will surely be inconsistent with Luke's vision or preferences&taste. Any maybe (here I am less sure) they are too many for the player to learn at a reasonable pace in the Main Campaign (if such a thing is accepted) so that the player won't be overwhelmed with information.

But an elaborate world emerged in my fantasy (how about calling it Fractalverse??) with planets, races, history, technologies etc.

And so I want to share it to show the boundless possibilities. Maybe some of them will inspire Luke, but I do not know which, so I mention all ones that I imagine :lol: .

Speaking Pilots
I imagine that each rescued pilot, with some probability, shares a useful information:
  • Sometimes it can be an information needed to complete a specific mission (such as location of the ace pilot or enemy heavily defended headquarters).
  • Other times a general gameplay tip, for example the advice to destroy the ships after rescuing their pilots. Many games have a long list of gameplay tips and show them to the player - so I imagine that Fractalus Remake could do it this way. Every tip should imho occur a few levels/missions higher than the one where the player has had a change to notice it by exprience (by carefully observing).
  • Or it will be a piece of information about strengths or vulnerability of enemy equipment, maybe with a photograph so the player can recognize it and tell from other designs - otherwise it would be hard, although not impossible, for players to deduce what it means for example "Heavy bomber" or "SAM turret" - and so the information about its (for example) shields would probably be useless.
Player's Effort to Discover the Game World
Players will gain understanding for strengths and vulnerabilities of each subject (such as a particular design of enemy ship) by exploration and experience, from mission briefings or from rescued pilots. I imagine that
  • Learning from rescued pilots will take long, because only few of them will speak and they will share a random item from a long list of random pieces of information (random of all which speak about a subject that has already been "unlocked" at this level of the Campaign) - for example "This is a photo of a Missile Fighter. Not hard to destroy when you get near." Or: "Some spies suspect that Missile Fighters are equipped with an ECM jammer which confuses most of your attacking missiles.")
  • Mission briefings will reveal the information at much higher level (particularly if the information is not so crucial) than where a given turret, enemy craft etc. appears first.
  • And therefore patient experimenting, observation and deduction will be greatly rewarded with important knowledge which will help to succeed (and which may later be confirmed/concretized/explained deeper by a pilot or by a mission briefing).
Last edited by reflame on 2022-Apr-10 20:41, edited 4 times in total.

Posts: 39
Joined: 2014-Sep-05 03:38

Enemy Crafts - Part 1

Post by reflame » 2022-Mar-31 01:57

Hi, there are surely many ways how to add new enemy flying machines, I will describe one that I envision (imagine).
In my article about dogfight I explain why I find it so important to have enemies (and turrets) with slow rotation speed, because it will require dogfighting, maneuvering and planning (thinking ahead).
In my Fractalverse the enemies use these crafts:

Basic Enemy Fighters

Common Fighter ("Scout")
Average to low HP, equipped with a machine-gun. Average maneuverability - that is, average for an enemy craft; it is much lower than the manuverability of player's crafts, even of Colossus bomber, because it must be easy to defeat a single figher, much more the weak Common fighter.

Heavy Fighter
A fighter with higher firepower. It has certainly more HP than an average enemy fighter (or the the fragile Common Fighter) with manuverability lower than Common fighter. Not hard to outmaneuver, but hard to destroy quickly. Some ideas:
  • Besides the heavy machine gun, maybe it also carries a few missiles and torpedoes.
  • Or maybe: Each Heavy Bomber has a single weapon aiming forward, it can be anything (beam, missiles, torpedoes, machine gun) but the player does not know until he is fired upon.
  • Maybe, for example: Has halved vulnerability by kinetic weapons (bullets from machine gun). (There are endless possibilites, I will not elaborate them now for most enemy crafts unless someone wishes it.)
Swift Fighter
A Common Fighter with a much higher maneuverability. Fragile, but destroying it requires a dog fighting skill. We suspect that the Jaggi made this design inspired by our Stuntman fighter (What? You say that we started to build Stuntmen soon after meeting the Jaggi? Hush....)
It might be nice if dexterous crafts were intelligent enough to try to avoid player's fire range (TODO_LINK_AUTOPILOT) - otherwise it will not make the full use of its maneuverability and it will be a matter of luck to get it into gunsight.

Elite Fighter
A feared king of the heaven. Occurs probably only in a few combat-oriented missions.
It is like a Swift Fighter, but resilient and armed like a Heavy Fighter.

Special Enemy Fighters

Escort Fighter
Lower maneuverability, higher HP, equipped for example with a beam weapon. I think it can either be merged with Heavy fighter or (more probably) its parameters can be halfway between the clumsy Heavy fighter and the fragile Common Fighter.
Found usually as an escort of enemy bombers and troop transports when they search and destroy the downed pilots. Or of special ships in special objectives like "Destroy Jaggi admiral returning from the conference in its Jaggi One craft". But any of these can be escorted by harder guards (such as Elite fighter) in some difficult combat missions.
My reasoning: I think that fighting an escort with high or even average maneuverability would be difficult, even if their HP was low, because one has to fight with the escorted plane and at least one escort, while in case of Common Fighters (that roam in the sky until spotting the player on their relatively long-range radar), the player can try to meet them one at a time.
(Yes, that won't always be possible in case of bad luck, but in the same way also the attack at an escorted target can have the bad luck that some roaming fighters will join in the least convenient moment :cry:).
So it seems better to make less maneuverable more resilient Escort fighters (which do not actively pursue the player if he does not come near) and more maneuverable less resilient Common fighters that roam and look for the player.

Interceptor (Fast Fighter)
Similar to a common fighter, but much faster, only Valkyrie can outrun it (other enemy crafts are easy to outrun even by the slowest player's craft: bomber and maybe even the helicopter). Equiped for example with a beam weapon. The maneuverability (which is defined as something like turn rate in degrees per second) is the same or less than that of the common fighter, so its "practical maneuverability" (for example radius of turning when changing heading) is very low - the player has to make use of this disadvantage or pay the price...

Enemy Missile Fighter
Low maneuverability and speed, low hit points, launches slow missiles each (say) 20 seconds from a big distance. Very easy to kill if you get near.

Enemy Stealth Fighter
A common fighter which does not show on the radar - for example never, or never if it is not close... OR: it is a bit hard to tell (discern) them from false images on the radar.

The list of crafts will continue in the next post...
Last edited by reflame on 2022-Apr-10 00:38, edited 6 times in total.

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Enemy Crafts - Part 2

Post by reflame » 2022-Mar-31 02:51

Now I'll finish the list of enemy craft designs.

Enemy Bombers And Troop Transport
Enemy bombers and troop transports usually (except for special missions) systematically search downed pilots and kill them; the transport also replaces them with aliens. This has huge strategic consequences, because if player does not get a much longer-ranged radar than now, they can kill many pilots and the player will not have a chance to prevent it.

Troop Transport
No weapons. Lands near crashed ships and replaces their pilots with aliens.
Troop transport, as the source of scary alien impostors, might be interesting enough to exist in two versions like the bomber, or even three: Light (medium HP, no weapons), Express (the same but much faster) and Heavy (very very armored and armed, let's say with many slowly-rotating turrets with beams).

Enemy Light Bomber
Low maneuverability and speed, medium to low HP, fires heavy torpedoes forward. Searches crashed ships with pilot and destroys them. An easy prey.

Enemy Heavy Bomber
A light bomber with more HP's and a single machine gun turret aiming backward. Occurs in these variants:
* With a top turet so it is safer to approach from below.
* With a bottom turret aiming down. It is safer to attack it from above, but these bottom-turret bombers fly rather high and player's climbing high usually means losing speed and that may cause problems with pursuing and attacking the bomber, particularly if it is escorted.
* With two turrets, but the player (if he does not look very closely and skillfully) does not know how many of them are mocks. Usually at least one is a mock, because two genuine ones would be too heavy - but which one is it? Some players have found out the hard way :lol:

Other Enemy Crafts

Rescue Vessel
An unarmed craft similar to Valkyrie or perhaps the Helicopter. Able to land in a harsh terrain, rescues downed enemy pilots. I imagine this mission:
A squadron of Cobras has shot down several enemy aircrafts. The enemy is able to build new crafts, but he has trouble to train enough pilots in time. Therefore it is crucial that you do not let these people return home. Destroy them from the air and destroy enemy rescue crafts; beware of their escort.
Also, you will carry several Special Forces soldiers; they will kill the enemy pilots, replace them and prepare an unpleasant surprise to the rescue crafts :-) :-)
(This time, the pilot will run in the opposite direction :-) )
But you must land skillfully and quickly: If the downed enemy pilot sees you coming and has time to prepare, he has a good chance to defeat your soldier.

Supply Plane
Occurs only in missions like "destroy the heavily escorted supply craft" or "keep destroying supply crafts before the enemy uses the material transfered by the crafts to build more massive turrets to make your mission harder".

Enemy Zeppelin "Flying Fortress"
Very slow, equipped with half a dozen turrets (heavy machine guns ... OR: firing dangerous torpedoes . Each of the barrels can move only within a limited angle, so it is important to approach from an angle that is not covered by any of them.
I imagine it might have low HP and triple vulnerability by kinetic weapons (bullets from machine gun).

A feared monstrous king of the sky, serving as the boss of some missions and a dangerous enemy in later ones. Gives the player the intense feel that this enemy must be dealt a huge damage while averting its defensive fire (and, on higher difficulty, also its escort :D )
Fires slow energy torpedoes forward and weaker ones from its two rear turrets, one of them covering the upper half of space and the bottom one covering the lower half of space. Their vertical angle (elevation) is almost 0 to 90 degrees. Their horizontal rotation covers almost 360 degrees - or at least much more than 180, so at (almost) any angle the player is vulnerable by exactly one of these three weapons: if the player is out of reach of both turrets, the bomber can easily turn (because a very small turn will do) to use its main weapon.
There are many good ways how to assign which interesting trait to which enemy - let's say that finding a safe angle of approach to Dominator where the player cannot be fired upon will be very difficult, but not impossible. (One of the secrets that the player can either discover with some luck, or learn at a higher level and ask himself: Why did I not realize that? :oops: )
All its weapons fire slow torpedoes which can be evaded, but it is hard to shoot and evade at the same time.
Last edited by reflame on 2022-Apr-10 18:02, edited 2 times in total.

Posts: 39
Joined: 2014-Sep-05 03:38

Dogfighting and Customizable Game Speed

Post by reflame » 2022-Mar-31 12:30

This post in nutshell: The game can be made more intense and challenging if the player has to dogfight enemy fighters and outmaneuver slowly rotating turrets. Or if there are different kinds of turrets and enemy planes, each requiring a different approach. And if the game is customizable, then both kinds of players (preferring thinking or fast action) can be satisfied.

In my opinion, current Remake 1.0.0 (and the original game) is a very fast paced game with very simple rules/world; the game requires a little bit of piloting skills, a lot of fast reactions and very little planning and thinking. I would prefer it to suit both kind players, those preferring a fast action and those preferring planning and thinking.

The later can be introduced by adding more types of enemy turrets and ships, each of them requiring a different approach (style of player's actions). Later in this post I will explain why I think that slowly turning turrets and enemy crafts will serve this goal particularly well.

Customizable Game Speed
But first I'd like to say that I like highly customizable games and that I would like the game speed customizable. The current game is fast-paced; if a mission is demanding on thinking and planning, then it will be very hard to succeed in current high game tempo which gives little time to thinking.
Of course, someone can object that if the difficulty is increased slowly, the player will either learn to make harder and harder (more and more demanding) decisions in split-second, or he will be stuck on a limited level of skill and he can choose an apropriate difficulty that he will enjoy most. But I still think that another approach would be more fun:
I'd like the Custom game to allow setting the game speed (in-game seconds to real world seconds) independently of any other setting: in speed 50%, absolutely everything (including the clock) will be twice slower.
In the Main campaign, I imagine that there will be a mission, demanding in terms of thinking and maneuvering, whose briefing will say: Quick decisions will be neccessary and a wrong decision may be fatal; therefore you will be given a drug that will enhance your reflexes; everything will seem slower to you.
And in many later missions, game speed can be the optional difficulty switch.

Maybe someone of you, people, will come with a better idea how to make this work.

Introducing Dogfighting into the Gameplay
I'd like the enemy to use fighters - that means planes that can change the heading and nose pitch only at a limited rate and they can fly only forward and shoot only forward - as opossed for example to saucers that have no "nose", "heading" and they can turn and fire in all directions (I mean: if they can fire at all).
I believe that then the game will have a plenty of room for dogfight, maneuvering, flanking and planning the direction of attack. The player will have to keep track of the relative positions and headings of his and enemy crafts; and later at higher difficulties it will become more and more common that one has to fight several planes at once.

I would like enemy fighters and other planes to be so slow and their maneuverability carefully finetuned so that it would be easy (requiring only little skill) to outrun them or to outmaneuver them (to shoot them them from side or behind so that they cannot return fire). This should be very very easy for a single enemy (and relatively easy for the most dangerous of them), but the gradually increasing difficulty would be achived by the neccessity to fight with several enemy fighters at once. Or to do it while rescuing pilots and fighting the turrets.

Slowly Rotating Turrets
The same is, in my vision, true about slowly rotating turrets. Now one simply has to endure the turret fire and try to aim precisely before player's craft takes too much damage. It is, in my opinion, a game of fast action and fast aiming.
I admit that there is some room for planning, for example one should descend among the mountains to be shielded from most other turrets (besides the one he is attacking), and there may be many similar aspects of Remake 1.0.0 which I have not discovered yet.
But I believe that if some turrets and enemy aircrafts are slowly rotating, the game will be more challenging. If a turret has a barrel and can fire only in that direction, then the player has to maneuver cleverly to approach from another direction quickly enough that the barrel does not have enough time to turn against the player's craft. And then he has only a limited time to fire before he is fired upon.

I imagine that the players should make use of this disadvantage of slowly rotating turrets, otherwise they will take very heavy damage.
Again, destroying a single turret should be easy, but when one faces several turrets and/or fighters, he must quickly devise clever plan and maneuvers.

Convincing, Fair and Rewarding Game
I'd like the parameters of enemy turrets and aircrafts to be carefully finetuned so that the player has a convincing experience that this game rewards thinking, planning etc. And that the game is fair and predictable: the player will enjoy learning more and more "If I do this, that will happen - and it is so because..."

People, I will be glad not only to hear your opinion, but also any ideas how to make this vision work. Surely we all want a convincing, fair and rewarding game.
Last edited by reflame on 2022-Apr-02 14:25, edited 2 times in total.

Posts: 39
Joined: 2014-Sep-05 03:38

Radar Malfunctions and False Targets

Post by reflame » 2022-Mar-31 15:24

This post in nutshell: There are many manners in which the radar can be damaged, malfunctioning, showing false targets, providing limited information or making it hard to interpret the information. I suggest this can happen as a feature of special scenario, as a consequence of enemy fire or in games starting with random equipment damaged.

Hi, now I'll write something about a radar because soon I'm going to suggest strategic missions that need a long-range radar.

I imagine that some missions could be challenging because the player's radar is malfunctioning (functioning badly or totaly destroyed) or works in a different mode - this can either be a special feature of that mission or a consequence of enemy fire damaging a specific part of the ship - in this case the radar.

I believe most of these ideas are applicable
* both if the character (9 km range and 180 degree coverage angle etc.) of the radar is left unchanged
* and if a player has a much larger "strategic radar"

I believe that there are many possible kinds of radar damage, which can be a topic for many interesting missions.
* For example the radar can have a reduced range or angle.
* Or it can get randomly generated blind spots (more ones as the damage increases) - which will or won't be shown on the radar display. They can be any shape: a circle, a sector...
* Or it can scan the area only once per each few seconds, making the information delayed.
* And in each scans, it can randomly decide for each target whether the radar noticed it or not, so the targets will appear and disappear. (And this can even be combined with an unrealiable identification bellow.)

Ore Deposits, Decoys and Radar Noise
In the following text, let's suppose that in some missions the Jaggi have placed many false visual decoys (green beacons confusing a player who approaches by visual) and radar decoys (objects appearing as a crashed ship on the radar). Or there can be ore deposits in some mountains that may look like a radar image.

If there are many deposit with various "amount of ore", the radar will be full of dots with various brightness, which will serve as "radar noise of background".

Unreliable Target Identification
Then a radar image may give player (when the radar is damaged) only a limited information about the true target type (pilot, saucer, turret, ore deposit or decoy). In two ways.

A) The colors of various target types on the radar can be very similar, distinguishable only with much attention from the player - particularly if the damage is severe or if there are many false dots representing ore deposits.
In extreme case (this can be a mission trait or a very severe damage to radar), the radar is absolutely unable to discern pilots from turrets and ore deposits, and so the player must go and discern each potential target visually (or using the mountain relief radar). And Jaggi decoys (or some turrets, I will not elaborate details until someone wishes it) may visually look very much like crashed ships (or vice versa) so the player with a this non-discerning radar has to fly very near to see and tell the difference (and he will need to fly a bit less near if he gains experience how to tell the difference).
But flying near can be dangerous: what if the decoy is equipped with a weapon (an explosive charge, a beam emitor) that damages player's ship if he comes TOO close?

B) The variant "A" assumes that the color deterministically depends on the target type, but what about a different approach: each dot can have a random color somewhere between green (pilot), red (turret) and invisible (a false target, an ore deposit, a false metal immitation of a crashed ship placed by Jaggi to make finding pilots harder etc) . The color would depend on two aspects:
  • The quality of the signal, which depends probably on distance from the target and level of radar damage. And maybe a mountain (any or with an ore deposit) or another target between the target and the player can disrupt the signal.
  • A "dispozition to look as a different target"; this is pseudorandomly assigned to each target.
So what I imagine is that something may be a crashed ship (a green dot on the undamaged radar), but the game will pseudorandomly decide that this target (as opposed to another target of the same type) has a disposition to look a bit like an enemy turret (the color will be shifted from green towards red to some degree). Or that it appears as a false target (ore deposit, Jaggi decoy...) and so it will be almost black (almost invisible on the radar).
When the quality of signal is low, then there will be only a low confidence that "if it looks more red than green, it is probably a turret". But as the signal gets stronger, the dot can shift the color toward its true identity and the confidence of the player can increase, but still far from certainity.

In both A) and B), the radar could be filled with many dots of different intensity (brightness) caused for example by ore deposits with different richness - so it could be difficult for the player
* to notice the genuine dots among so many false ones
* and after noticing, to deduce the target type (some of which may be an ore or decoy) with a high reliability.

In A), the radar is perfectly reliable, it just makes the dots so similar than one needs to concentrate to notice its true target type, especially if there are many false dots with different brightness.
In B), we assume that player's eye can notice the color perfectly (in other words, the difference in the color should be so big that the player recognizes it instantly), but the radar does not provide enough information to get more than a limited confidence about actual target type.
I can even imagine a combination of both, where neither the eye nor the radar is perfect.

And I can imagine a radar that gives the information about pilots and enemies both in an acoustic manner (or other manner requiring attention to interpret) and in a convenient one; but as it gets more and more damaged, the "convenient" one is more and more hazy and inconvenient (in any of the manner suggested above) so the player can rely more and more on the acoustic signals.

Dogfights with a Malfunctioning Radar
Many of the ideas above (about finding pilots) or here (in my post about difficulties with finding the pilots) can be applied also to turrets, saucers and enemy fighters: radar damage can make finding and fighting them much harder and more challenging and engaging.
Last edited by reflame on 2022-Apr-10 20:52, edited 9 times in total.

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