Is anybody else concerned about the Drone for SotS 2?

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jp161
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Re: Is anybody else concerned about the Drone for SotS 2?

Post by jp161 » Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:45 am

Mmm, where'd you put DE / CR Battleriders then?

IMO the battleriders are the upgraded (WW2) version of drones (WW1). Also, gotta remember that DE is about the size of a modern airplane, drone is way smaller.

For the balance/fun side, I don't see a tiny unmanned drone killing a CR sized combat vessel in a few shots any time soon.

Some (very) light anti-starship duty might work for then, alongside of missile/ordnance interception.

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patton1942
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Re: Is anybody else concerned about the Drone for SotS 2?

Post by patton1942 » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:16 am

Wouldn't be surprised if we see drones get larger, so as to carry more powerful weaponry. smaller than DD battleriders, but larger than current tech drones.
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Mesaia
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Re: Is anybody else concerned about the Drone for SotS 2?

Post by Mesaia » Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:59 am

Torpedo Drones?

I can see a flight of them going out, accompanied by a CSP/Escort of Light/Heavy Drones, firing their one-shot Torpedos from long range and returning to the ship to reload while the Light/Heavy Drones stick around to finish off wounded ships before returning.

It took about 7 Fusion Torpedos to destroy a Morrigi Cruiser in my last game, so a flight squadron of Drones firing 8 Fusion Torpedos from efficient range before turning back would be able to take out a single cruiser.

Current Drone Cruisers can currently hold 6 Light/Heavy drones, so I'm guessing that if a SoTS][ Cruiser could maybe hold 4 Torpedo Drones... You could probably take out 1 enemy Cruiser per strike if you had 2 Torpedo Drone Cruisers and 1 Light/Heavy Drone Cruiser.

Irgling
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Re: Is anybody else concerned about the Drone for SotS 2?

Post by Irgling » Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:27 pm

I can see reasons for drones being out and I can think of a couple of reasons why they'd stay in. First the outs.

Battleriders are the new drones being launched by carriers. The scale has gotten bigger and drones have now become gnats. Sure, there could be tech that gives new life to the drone but even in SotS1 when you start getting to the end of the tech trees drones become, while still effective and useful, not as powerful as before. If the trend continues you'd have a weapon system that would become even less useful halfway through the tech tree in SotS2.

Also, with the scale of the battlefield bigger, drones might not have the endurance to go far enough to be practical. They have limited flight time, presumably from low capacity for fuel. Yes, there could tech advancements that increase their range, but they don't exist in SotS all the way through the AM except for MF drives making them faster therefor fly longer distance so why should that be in SotS2? It's not just fuel issues, but being that drones are autonomous, over vast distances maybe their little digital brains aren't trusted to deal with situations away from support? Seems to me there's be alot more made up reasons for why they could be made to work than there are made up reasons for why they shouldn't.

Then there's the out of game practically of processing power to render and push around a bunch of tiny little things. Speaking of tiny, with the increase in scale, how interesting is it going to be to look at tiny specks flying around?

Now for the reasons why they could or how they could be added.

Make drones an autonomous system that's attached to their launching ships. It would work like this, a ship carrying a drone bay arrives on the field and launches it's drones. The drones stick around the ship within an envelope. They would attempt to shoot down incoming missiles, acting as pd, engage other ships that came close to it's parent ship like pickets, range ahead of the parent ship while on the move to add as scouts. There could be different drones that excel in different roles. I kind of like this idea as it takes micromanagement out of the players hand as they just act intelligently to support their parent ship.

To address computer rendering, have drones act as flights. I don't know much...well anything really about programming but is there a way to cheat and make a group of drones essentially one object for the computer to track? Would that help the issue of having tons of things flying about willy nilly grinding computers to a halt? Also, with the increase of scale size, it'd be easier to see a pack of drones than individual ones whizzing around.

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Re: Is anybody else concerned about the Drone for SotS 2?

Post by kdonovan » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:14 pm

spaced_monkey wrote:The problem with drones is the torpedoes in this game don't have the same power that torpedoes of ww2 have excluding the exceptions ships BB's usually took between 3-5 torps to sink, with more torps sinking ship faster. That's where drones lack there fearsome power a squadron of fights. have 12 torps if 1/4 to 1/3 hit you are looking at 3-4 torps the average target had 1-2 squadrons hitting it. ( not to mention dive bombers with 500 lbs bombs)

now i now that Kerberos Productions can't make the torps that powerful with out unbalancing the game IE NEVER HAPPEN lol :wink: but allowing for the drones to have single fire torps hard points would be cool :thumbsup:


Even if they do massive damage you can prevent them from being too dominant by including tactical limitations such as very short range or requiring the drone to fly slow and in a straight line for a few seconds before firing - making the much easier for PD or even other weapons to hit. Or maybe the torps are quite big and bulky (relative to typical drone weapons) making torp carrying drones bigger or slower (and hence easier to hit for defenders). They could then primarily be useful at finishing off wounded ships, weapons with insufficient or outdated PD escorts, etc.

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Profound_Darkness
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Re: Is anybody else concerned about the Drone for SotS 2?

Post by Profound_Darkness » Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:51 am

Yeah I can see drones going away in sots2 but I can also seem them come back in a big way. AI tech combined with extreme miniaturization and things like ECM and ECCM and yeah, that high risk stuff. Also with miniaturization of power systems - imagine a drone packing an AM drive system.

I rather like the idea of a small swarm of ships dedicated to protecting the big ship from small targets. (another branch on the point defense path?) Fun thought - Drone bay on QFreighters.

We are using drones today (militarily) for basically surgical strike and scouting... I could see drones being used for things like escort duty or in system defense/early warning. Enough to hamper/stop small strikes on your system (and maybe find spies) but they would get blown away with a decent bit of force.
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Re: Is anybody else concerned about the Drone for SotS 2?

Post by Mesaia » Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:41 pm

Even if drones can't survive combat in the late game, I'd still use them just to get me some eyes on the target. Even a short glimpse can tell me valuable information.

I'm assuming that Drones at least maintain their far superior speed compared to normal ships of course.

Drones may still be aesthetically viable and visible on screen depending on how battles are handled. The more intimate scale of SoTS ][ may mean that we can still actually see the Drones as Drones not a speck.

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Re: Is anybody else concerned about the Drone for SotS 2?

Post by kdonovan » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:06 pm

Mesaia wrote:Drones may still be aesthetically viable and visible on screen depending on how battles are handled. The more intimate scale of SoTS ][ may mean that we can still actually see the Drones as Drones not a speck.


What would be handy would be a camera mode that had the center screen highly magnified for identifying ships, assessing their status and targeting while showed the periphery under much less magnification so that you could see a wide panorama at the same time.

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AlanF5
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Re: Is anybody else concerned about the Drone for SotS 2?

Post by AlanF5 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:18 pm

Irgling wrote:To address computer rendering, have drones act as flights. I don't know much...well anything really about programming but is there a way to cheat and make a group of drones essentially one object for the computer to track? Would that help the issue of having tons of things flying about willy nilly grinding computers to a halt? Also, with the increase of scale size, it'd be easier to see a pack of drones than individual ones whizzing around.

If you cheat like that (use a single animated polygon mesh that looked like a filight of drones), rendering the same number of polys and textures won't get you much in the way of GPU savings, but you may see CPU / Physics savings. If you stick with poly-accurate weapon impact, then that savings (and more, maybe) is spent when the drones are getting shot at; you have a large sphere that contains all drones compared to several small spheres with one drone each. Checking spheres is fast, checking polys is slow, and with one big sphere you are less likely to get a hit from any of the polys in the sphere. You spend a lot of time checking each poly only to find out that you hit nothing. I Suppose you could start nesting spheres or something...

You have to make a distinct model/animation for each size of drone flight. Either you make a distinct animation for different docking formations, or every race uses the same docking formation...

Anyways, it'll look funny, all the drones in a tight fixed formation or cycling swarming animation. Imparting momentum via driver impact would affect the entire drone formation as a whole or be ignored entirely; either looks funny.

I would be very surprised to see the engine do this, as indivudal MIRV warheads are currently tracked as separate objects, and we've heard that SotS2 has more detailed ship systems.

Pretty sure drones are visible in this screenshot, so they do exist, in some capacity.
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Re: Is anybody else concerned about the Drone for SotS 2?

Post by RobAK801 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:43 pm

Ah, but if you take a second look it would seem those "drones" have yellow/orange bubble canopies. They look more like fighters/assault shuttles to me.
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Re: Is anybody else concerned about the Drone for SotS 2?

Post by Mesaia » Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:43 am

Maybe those are sub-light DEs?

Anyway, with supposedly fewer ships per battle, it shouldn't be too difficult to see Drones.

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AlanF5
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Re: Is anybody else concerned about the Drone for SotS 2?

Post by AlanF5 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:50 pm

Assault shuttles carry a lot more bombs, though I suppose they might have switched to internal bays. Sublight DE's should be bigger and mounting a lot more firepower.

Those things in the screenshot look like they have a single fixed small mount on the chin. Just like current drones.

I've taken about a dozen looks at that shot. The orange panel does not look like the windows we've seen on other human vessels. It looks more like an access hatch or armor plate or maybe sensor / com array. Given Mecron's historical distaste for manned fighters, I'd be really surprised if those were crewed vessels.
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Irgling
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Re: Is anybody else concerned about the Drone for SotS 2?

Post by Irgling » Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:47 pm

AlanF5 wrote:
Irgling wrote:
Anyways, it'll look funny, all the drones in a tight fixed formation or cycling swarming animation. Imparting momentum via driver impact would affect the entire drone formation as a whole or be ignored entirely; either looks funny.



True, I didn't think about that part. I guess the one object thing wouldn't work, at least not well enough.

That could be a drone in that screen shot, yes. If it's anything else it's weird design to be flying with a human ship.

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fibio
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Re: Is anybody else concerned about the Drone for SotS 2?

Post by fibio » Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:48 pm

Has anyone said assult shuttle? Because that's my guess.
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AlanF5
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Re: Is anybody else concerned about the Drone for SotS 2?

Post by AlanF5 » Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:23 pm

:? Only two and four posts above you, fibio...
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