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Implementing "Groups" and Carrier units this week Messages in this topic - RSS

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
Posts: 1397


12/27/2015
Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
Posts: 1397
Happy holidays everyone ! We managed to develop while still attending a couple of holiday dinners and gift opening with the family.

We worked on implementing "Groups" and "Fleets" of units this week. Although it sounds kind of simple it took a little work to implement and we're still working on some details. You can create a group of ground units or a fleet of ships. The only difference is that groups can only have ground units and fleets can only have ships that can fly through space. A group has its own name and icons and appears like any other unit in the game but it's attributes are a combination of all the units within it. If a group has two tank units in it, it has the combat stats, hit points, attack etc. of those two tank units combined. movement would be the of the slowest speed. It also combines things like cargo space and hangar capacity. All the units in the group are sort of in limbo and are represented by this group unit instead, however they still take damage individually in combat and can be clicked on and displayed normally. The units inside a group don't have a location, they use the groups location and the units cannot be given orders only the group unit is given orders. You can move units into and out of a group at any time as long as they are in the same location. Things like cargo and hangar units are moved to the group when those units are added to it as well. When removing units from a group the interface will ask you which cargo or hangar units that units is taking with it if appropriate. For example You can make a group of 10 freighters and a couple of warships which are carrying a couple of fighter units also and then pick up and sell products in a trade route using the combined cargo space if you like. This is the best way to combine escorts with your transports.

Making a grouping feature not only helps manage your assets but it has also been put in to ease stress on the engine. Instead of moving around 20 individual ships it can instead move around one group that has those 20 units attached on the side.
In developing how groups work we also had to develop how carrier type units handle "carrying" other units which wasn't fleshed out yet. There are a few carrier type units, namely Carriers which have a lot of hangar space, but also to a small extent Cruisers, battleships, and monolith ships have hangar bays also. attaching units to a carrier works a little different than a group. The carrier unit has an order type of Load / Unload units. It has to issue an order to pick up and "carry" units at its current location. It can choose to pick up as much as it can carry of a single type of unit at once or select specific units to try to pick up or drop off. It will pick up as many as it can in one turn. You can order a carrier to go to one location where you have bases producing units, pickup all the fighters it can, then go to another location on another planet where fighting is happening and drop off everything in a loop if you like.

Normally however units are carried on ships so they can fight with them. This is the only way to get a lot of fighters or bombers into a fight in space. but in working out how combat works we got presenting with a design challenge concerning carried units. For one, Can carriers carry any unit like transports which already have stuff in their cargo bay? Do all units types in your hangar fight, even tanks? Even in space? What we decided to go with was that when it comes to carrier units, there are only certain types of units they can carry namely combat units that can realistically fight in space: Fighters, Bombers, Variteks but also infantry, Commandos and Battelsuits via assault ships. All these units will actually fight when a fight happens in the middle of space and makes for some fun strategy. You can place commandos on your battle ships to increase its damage vs other ships, or maybe use infantry to DEFEND against commandos from other ships. you can also go with battle suits which will do well against infantry but not so well vs Commandos and also wont' hurt the ship as much as commandos can.

We're considering making it possible to move other units, like transports with carriers but maybe through the cargo bay as perhaps a packaged item. It wouldn't be involved in combat or anything but would offer a way to move those units, alternately we might just allow them through the hangar but not involve them in fighting and not allow them to have any cargo. The latter is probably the way it will be implemented.

This is a screenshot of what group and carried units are looking like on the asset screen.

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