Space combat is primitive?

Neva

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May 11, 2021
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27
#1
Ok, I'm not participating in CA, but I've been closely following Starbase developement and there's one thing really bothers me.

PROBLEM:
It's spaceship combat.
It is very primitive.
Just aim at a target and fire your cannons. And try to move chaotically to make your enemies job harder. That's it.
I'm sorry but this is kinda dumb. Same stuff that we've seen in Space engineers, Avorion and lots of other space/building games. Armor vs cannons. Ok, I get it that developers try avoid domination of "deathbricks" by limiting structure stress, energy management etc. but this doesn't seem to change the core gameplay. This only moves meta from super-heavy-dozens-of-cannons-ultra-heavy-ships to more nimble fighters.
Some people compare it to WW2 doghfights.. In WW2 dogfight you care about altitude advantage, your max speed, dive speed, turn time, maneuvering choices and a ton of other factors. Armor and armament is the last thing you care about. Starbase space combat is more like Call Of Duty, but with no obstacles or cover.
There's several core problems with it here:
1) It's just boring. There's not much to master. Aim+Lead+Shoot. That's all. Seriously, it's more primitive then the most primitive shooter.
2) There's seem to be no point in trying to invent/use different ship classes. Meta is always going to be the same optimal proportion of agility/armor/firepower.
3) There's not much to experiment with. There's no place for different roles/classes of ships. There's no point in experimenting with ship designs other then trying to maximise armor/cannons/agility characteristics of a ship. Or finding new meta balance of those characteristics after some patch.
Current meta might change if for example devs make multicrew possible. But they'll just move meta from fighters to gunships. This won't really change the basic problem of primitive gameplay.

SOLUTION EXAMPLE:
There's different design choices that can be made.
I'll make an example.
Please, do not focus on it. It's just an example to show that things can be different. I'm not insisting that it's the only way it should be.
1) Missiles become super-agile and only the most agile fighters can evade them. But they do little damage.
2) Cannons become very heavy. You have a cannon - you loose a lot of agility. And it becomes almost impossible to shoot small agile fighters with them.
3) Armor can withstand a lot of missile damage, but makes your ship very heavy as well. But it cannot hold incoming cannon fire.
As a result - there's no optimal meta build. You can have a nimble fighter that can fight with other fighters but can't do much to an armored ship. You can have a heavy armored ship that can't do much to a fighter. So a fleet might need some middle-ground ship that can on one hand evade heavy ship cannons (by trading armor protection for agility) and on the other - can penetrate their armor with a cannon. And of course this one should be protected by light fighters. Why do you need heavy armored ships? Maybe because that's your capital ship. Or it's an ore ship / freighter that is heavy anyway. Or it can boost your fleet somehow with some heavy onboard equipement. Come on, it's an example, not a design document) Etc.
You see? With these three changes we already start to think about different roles, fleet composition etc.

There's other things that can be done in order to make combat more deep, but with this thread I want to state that there is a problem. I don't want it to go into pointless discussion of solutions/our wishes that might never be implemented in the first place.

P.S. I'm not here to wine, I'm really impressed with what Starbase is trying to achieve and I'll buy it anyway. But the futher developement goes - the harder it is to alter some basic game design elements.
 
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Neva

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#3
Don't knock it till you try it. The videos do not do the space combat justice.
Then could you explain, where is depth in this type of combat and how it differs from Space Engineers, Empirion or Avorion?
At least I met some EA participants in discord that seem to share my view.
 

Orlover

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Feb 3, 2021
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#4
I only played Empyrion but it is very similar. Gravity effects you more if there is any where you are fighting than Empyrion ever did. Turrets are more hands on than going through a menu. No auto-systems running things for you, more hands on.

Not sure what you mean by depth. Maybe an MMO like this is just not for you. You could always try that other game people always talk about, eve. Maybe that has depth. Don't know, I haven't played it.
 

Neva

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#5
I only played Empyrion but it is very similar.
Then it is primitive.
Not sure what you mean by depth.
Did you read my opening post? There is an example.
Something more, then just aim + left click.
More tactics involved, more useful variations of ship builds.
You could always try that other game people always talk about, eve.
It's funny because in EVE you do not directly control your ship, but even 1v1 battles in EVE involve more tactical thinking.
 
Joined
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#8
Then it is primitive.

Did you read my opening post? There is an example.
Something more, then just aim + left click.
More tactics involved, more useful variations of ship builds.

It's funny because in EVE you do not directly control your ship, but even 1v1 battles in EVE involve more tactical thinking.
this game has huge tactical leaps in gameplay just becuase the videos youve seen are trash dosent mean the gameplay will be. Just becuase a singular player will be aim and shoot dosent mean the man controlling the flow of battle will not have to think tactfully to win. the main difference between this and eve is now your playing a single person in the war effort and unless your in tactical control of your group you will never see the big picture. it allows huge tactical interactions between large factions. now if you one of those people who want to control large groups but dont wanna interact with alot of people this game isnt for you and maybe something else will float your boat.
 

Neva

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#9
this game has huge tactical leaps in gameplay just becuase the videos youve seen are trash dosent mean the gameplay will be. Just becuase a singular player will be aim and shoot dosent mean the man controlling the flow of battle will not have to think tactfully to win. the main difference between this and eve is now your playing a single person in the war effort and unless your in tactical control of your group you will never see the big picture. it allows huge tactical interactions between large factions. now if you one of those people who want to control large groups but dont wanna interact with alot of people this game isnt for you and maybe something else will float your boat.
So your point is that while 1v1 combat is dumb, there's tactics on a group level of a squad or larger.
Well..
1) Even a 1v1 combat doesn't have to be that primitive. Take a look at this for example:
Timecode: 7:39 there's a breakdown of a combat.
Look at how much is happening. Pilots think about range, speed, maneuvers, countermaneuvers, radar limits etc. etc. There's so much going on.
And what's happening in Starbase? Aim at enemy, shoot. That's all. Why it has to be so boring and no-skill? I'm not saying that modern air combat can be transferred to Starbase as is. I'm saying that combat might be way more interesting if proper mechanics are implemented.
2) What makes you think that there's place for tactics on a group level? I see that there's only one meta type of ships and I see no point of including other types in your fleet. Give me an example, if you disagree. Because other space games like Space Engineers, Empyrion and others have this issue - one meta ship type for all cases. And right now I don't see why Starbase would be different.

P.S.
the main difference between this and eve is now your playing a single person in the war effort
Same in eve. One ship - one pilot.
 
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#12
I personally find fighters themselves boring as a concept. They don't have to be boring, but I'm just not into the whole "Rambo" thing. I can get that anywhere else.
 

XenoCow

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#13
Once the new tripod turrets are brought into the game large ships may be more willing to be slow with tons of armor since they know they can pick off fighters. This in-turn will allow for fighters to specialize in either anti-fighter or anti-large ship roles.

To more specifically address the primitive combat. I think that there is much to be desired with the current fighting. There is room for more tactics and maneuvering than most players, myself included, implement, though. That being said, there is a great deal of planning that can go into the battles before hand in the ship design phase: Collective ship design for competition presentation
 

Neva

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#15
Once the new tripod turrets are brought into the game large ships may be more willing to be slow with tons of armor since they know they can pick off fighters. This in-turn will allow for fighters to specialize in either anti-fighter or anti-large ship roles.
Maybe.
Let's see how it goes.
I'm worried that one type will just dominate and there will be no point in using other.
That being said, there is a great deal of planning that can go into the battles before hand in the ship design phase.
That was interesting to read, thanks. But this looks more like a search for one optimal meta build then really trying out different tactics and compositions. But I must admit that in the end at least they've come to compositon of two modifications of one ship .

Even the big ships? How horrible. Glad I skipped it.
There's no direct control of a ship so there's no point in multicrew. You kinda have no idea what you are talking about.
 

Verbatos

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#16
I feel like chipping in here.
Whilst flying ships is pretty satisfying for me, the combat itself is pretty simple, with dogfighting being a little bit of a hassle. I would find it really interesting if they implemented a few more things to push different ships into different roles.
I have 3 ideas regarding what could be implemented to make combat more interesting.

- Uncapped speed: having an uncapped speed limit would not only create more interesting ship designs, it would also force players to think about how fast they're going, how fast their enemy is going, and assess the situation more thoroughly, because currently if you are going the max speed of 150 m/s, there is literally NO CHANCE that any enemy could catch up to you on thrusters alone.

- Reactor overload: using too much power (guns eat power like corn flakes) or burning your thrusters too hot could cause your reactor to shut itself off for a short time, maybe even just 0.5 seconds, enough to make it a hindrance, but not enough to leave you dead in the water. Combined with an uncapped max speed, pilots could make a last-second burst of speed to evade a critical shot, making the trade of temporarily shutting off their ship. It would give players something to pay attention to, making combat more immersive and gripping, while also allowing for those cinematic all-or-nothing moments.

- Limited weapon options: currently, you can basically slap any old weapon you want on any of your ships, the only downside being their energy usage, it would be nice to see weapons which require a little more thought to be integrated. Maybe they might require a special battery? Maybe they need to be connected to an ammo drum through a belt feed through your ship? Maybe they are too big to feasibly be put on a fighter? Just making weapon choices more customizable in general would be nice, what's the point of having fully assemblable parts if there is no way to customize them? It just becomes a waste of time.
 

Walord

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Jan 31, 2020
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#18
kinda yeah, you should watch a video (i cant even explain it) its widly differant, we cant compare eve ships flying with starbase's ship flying
 
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#19
Wait, you don't even fly the ships in eve?!? What was it a top down strategy game?
EVE Online is a point and click game where you just tell your ship what to do but have 0 direct control, yes the advertisements for the game directly hide this "little" fact while showing flashy maneuvers as if it was a space sim.

Yes it may have more tactics as in more modules to use during the fights otherwise it would be deadly boring just watching ships orbit each other at max transversal velocity while they can still hit their target and wait until the algorithm decides which one wins.
 

Walord

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#20
there is still some pretty cool tactic to bait ships with more range then you come into close quarter by doing a slingshot maneuver with their orbit autopilot
 
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