Suggestion: Long range tactical combat?
We all know frontiers combat was a bit rubbish, but I'm not sure if there is a way around avoiding the same jousting battles in pioneer due to the newtonian physics...
However, I think it would be quite cool if it did combat a bit different and instead of being mainly close range lazer battles, it could incorporate a long range style ie heavy use of missiles, long range lasers and countermeasures and possibly raising and lowering of weapon and shield power etc. This would make it more about tactics rather than hand-eye skill. Lets say that frontier's combat is like fighting in a jet plane, pioneers combat would be like fighing in a submarine. Of course this would work best when thousands of miles away from an enemy and travellig at thounsands of kms, but when stationary, you could employ the more traditional combat method.
Just throwing the idea out there, what do you think?
Although a nice idea missile combat in space would be a waste of time as they are too slow. Laser defense systems would pick them off miles away. Laser combat at long range would make more sense but wouldn't make for much fun.
I had a similar conversation a while back regarding the current blob throwing lasers. I much would much prefer beam lasers myself. But unless you can get the AI to play fair, or rather play dumb, you will lose a lot of the time. Making the AI appear to be aiming for you and miss and still make it challenging and fun is probably harder than it looks.
Adding long rang missiles and somehow stop the player from reversing away from them and picking them off with ease, and therefore making them almost redundant, equally so.
John is reworking combat to be fun and challenging (and not completely impossible). He has a whole load of good ideas up his sleeve. I don't think there will be a return to beam lasers because they are a gameplay dead-end, unless someone has a fantastic idea for how they can be anything more than aim at dot, click mouse, boom.
Reducing the damage they do would be one way.
Beam weapons don't have to be boring! Consider
[*:rqkp0f7f]Space requirements, which the two previous factors affect
[*:rqkp0f7f]Distance reduces damage
[*:rqkp0f7f]One-shot beam vs. continuous beam (with minimal damage per second)
[*:rqkp0f7f]They don't have to be 100% accurate
Here's more thinking than I could ever do on weapons in space, laser and otherwise:
The entire site is excellent nerdosity.
I actually liked Frontier's way of doing it:
1) Pulse lasers - basically a beam laser, but the shot only lasts for a very short period of time. CON: Causes comparatively little damage due to the short "burst" it produces. PRO: Cheap. Does not overheat.
2) Beam lasers - continuous fire, until it overheats. Can be cooled using Laser Cooling Boosters. CON: Heats up quickly. PRO: Causes damage (dependent on output power) for as long as the beam hits its target
3) Plasma accelerators - very large, very heavy beam weapons, only suitable for the largest ships. CON: Heats up very quickly, and no laser cooling boosters are available, as this is not a laser weapon. PRO: extremely powerful, causes damage for as long as the beam strikes its target or until it overheats.
It's reasonably well-balanced, as there are serious pros and cons for each type of weapon (note, I didn't include the MB4 mining laser as it's not a weapon per se, but it is essentially a powerful pulse laser).
If you cheat and use autopilot to point your laser at the enemy ship, then combat is going to be easy with beam lasers - but if not, then it's a case of pilot skill versus opposition's evasive talents. Uprated combat AI (i.e. better than that in Frontier) should offset the advantage of beam lasers a bit and help balance the game better.
I've found that using variations on the techinques in the recent Combat thread, it is no longer a jousting match at all, once you "capture" the target. It's just like original Elite with bags of overshoot - controlling this is a skill, but doable with a joystick (tricky with the keyboard). I have noted two minor issues though:
It can be difficult to guess where your lasers are actually going, there is no visible point of impact on the target, so I have to just trust the collision detection . . .
The scanner range seems to be too small for getting the initial target lock (ships move through it too fast for me), but maybe that's just me being too slow . . .
Other than that, I think combat is coming along nicely at this early stage. BTW I've been using pimped-up Viper-X and Asp Explorer in my "experiments", so that shows the upper mass limit that I have been using.