((OOC)) Fighter Squadron of the 2nd Fleet, 4th Light Division

Terran Stellar Navy Forums (OOC) Division Development ((OOC)) Fighter Squadron of the 2nd Fleet, 4th Light Division

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  • #4567
    Gabriel Wade
    Participant

    //With the news of fighters coming with the Armada 2 update, I think it’d be a good idea to star brainstorming for our squadron. There have been a few squadrons that the beta testers have come up with that have the squadron number, nickname, and a phrase or motto. For example;

    303rd Fighter Squadron
    Rough Riders
    “Death from the Stars”

    Something along those lines. So that’d be our first order of business. Beyond that, we also need to think of organization and coordination during duty shifts.

    What I thought would work well would be to have a CAG per each ship that has fighters. So if we have only a few fighters, we designate one ship as the carrier. If we have more attendees, perhaps we could have more carriers. Or perhaps we could finally implement the carriers that Allard designed a while back. Anyways, we have a carrier, or carriers, and a designated number of fighters per each one. I would think no more than 4-6 fighters per ship, given our impression of the size of ships we operate, and each fighter would basically occupy the space of a shuttle, therefore if a ship is a carrier, they have to sacrifice any number of their shuttles to do so.

    So, we have our designated carrier(s). Aboard each carrier, you would designate a CAG (Commander, Air Group for those unfamiliar) who would answer to the captain of the ship. This could easily be the Comms officer, or perhaps a designated CAG aside from the Comms officer. The CAG would coordinate the Flight (group of fighters assigned to the carrier) based on the captain’s orders. The Flights would consist of a Flight Leader and their wing men. The Flight would be in their own channel, much like each ship has it’s own channel that the crews move in to. The CAG would communicate with the Flight Leader via whisper and vise versa, and once orders were clear, the Flight Leader would coordinate the Flight to execute the orders. It would go something like this:

    Captain: “CAG, scramble our fighters to intercept Lima Two Nine before it reaches DS2.”

    CAG: (to captain)”Aye sir, intercept Lima Two Nine.” (to Flight Leader) “Sword Leader, you and Sword Flight are to intercept target Lima Two Nine before it is able to reach DS2.”

    Flight Leader: (to CAG)”Sword Leader confirms, intercept target Lima Two Nine.” (to Flight) “Sword Leader to Sword Flight, our target is Lima Two Nine in sector Charlie 3, Mark 2. We are to intercept and destroy her before she reaches DS2. Stay in formation and proceed to target at full throttle. When target reached, engage with beams only unless ordinance is authorized.”

    Each pilot in the Flight would then acknowledge orders and stay in formation at full speed until they reached the target, engaging with beams until Flight Leader gives the order to use torpedoes.

    We could even come up with standard formations and Combat Orders much like we have for the capital ships that would indicate how the fighters should approach the enemies. There will be a lot more to go on when we have the actual mechanics to study, but I believe a little forward thinking would be wise since we know fighters are on the way.

    #4569
    John van Leigh
    Participant

    While I agree that knowing a mechanic is going to be implemented in the near future does suggest we need to plan for it, there is a very important question regarding fighters: how are they controlled? Is there a CAG console, or just comms?

    In the comms case (and probably the CAG as well), we’re talking about a group of small ships that under normal circumstances have their advantage in mobility and firepower negated to some degree in comparison to the enemy. In essence, an analogue of the typical destroyer/escort group. And right now, the level of training that our scicomms officers have (or at least display in combat) is really, reaaaally poor when it comes to screen coordination. We need to improve a lot on our methods for those before we are ready to study fighter tactics, and we kinda need to figure those out if we plan for a coherent wing structure.

    #4572
    Gabriel Wade
    Participant

    Each fighter is controlled by an individual player. The communication I’m referring to as an example is all player to player via TeamSpeak. For an idea on how Fighters will work and be piloted, here are a couple of vids:

    #4575
    Aramond
    Participant

    @del Pino, Since I’m alw2ays interested in increasing performance on my chosen role, what do you mean by “screen coordination”?

    #4582
    Xavier
    Keymaster

    It will be interesting to see exactly how fighters are implemented within the game. For example – will every ship have a fighter assigned? How many fighters will there be per ship? How do those fighters navigate through space e.g. figuring out headings?

    Personally, I see us having a carrier attached to the Division and a small fighter wing being launched from that. I like the idea of having the squadron pilots organised into their own subchannel. I do wonder what their experience would be like during a mission or out of combat when they are waiting though. Potentially, they could become very isolated. One way to overcome this would be to allow them to listen in to comms like that in the Comms Relay, and then be able to shut that off when they are actually flying. That way, they can still track what is going on.

    Wade, your idea of having an officer acting to coordinate their actions seems a good one to look in to. The carrier could have a slightly different crew make up – helm officer, engineer, captain, fighter commander (sci), and then about 3 fighter pilots. Rather than the science officer scanning and getting frequencies, they’d be identifying targets and directing the fighters. The captain would have overall command – calling for fighters to be launched and designating the target, engineer and helm fulfilling their normal role. Weapons would seem obsolete though. I see carriers sitting at long range and keeping out of trouble, only using weapon systems for close range defense rather than attack. When not flying, one of the fighter pilots could act as weapons officer. When they are not deployed, they would be manning the weapons console. Being on the bridge, the captain could order the launch of the fighters directly to the weapons officer, who would then head to the fighter channel and get the other pilots set for launch. Should the carrier be ambushed, it would be down to one of the officers remaining on the bridge to quickly pick up weapons, which could create some interesting tension.

    There are a couple of reason behind my thinking. One – the RP aspect of crew composition and interaction between everyone. We don’t want loads of pilots sat around waiting. If they can fill roles on a carrier temporarily, then it still means they can take part in normal crew interaction as well as manning a fighter in combat. Two – the numbers of officers we have turning up. For every pilot, there will be one less bridge officer. I like playing with multiple crew, ideally fully staffed, but with at least 5 officers. If you consider in a mission we already lose one to Command and Control, having 3, 4, maybe even 5, go and man fighters means we have one less ship in the Division.

    In terms of sci/comms – we should move away from having the combined role where possible. At the moment, we use it due to crew numbers being 5 on average. Where possible, we should have dedicated science and dedicated comms officers. In combat, I think there is too much going on to effectively coordinate the two roles, particularly when players are only using one console and switching between the two tabs. Having two screens side-by-side with a science screen and a comms screen means you can coordinate things better, but many don’t have ability to do this.

    Comms officers definitely need access to a sector map view (science or captain’s screen) to be able to get a good view of what is going on. To coordinate allied ships and direct them effectively (organising destroyers/ escorts into small groups to attack), having that awareness of where they are and how best to direct them is essential. Those allied ships, when formed into small groups, can be used really well to defend particular areas of space. It would be interesting if more situations can be set up in mission to be able to do this, (a job for C&C GMs to consider). I have met and trained comms officers who became exceptionally good at this, and will happily explain to anyone how to do it (forming groups, directing groups, getting them to hold position etc). It does take a dedicated comms officer to do it properly though and needs to be clear who is doing what. Once, we had a system where one comms officer directed non-combat allies, and one directed combat groups. We should look back into this and put more emphasis on it to become good again – the systems are there, they just need practising.

    #4584
    Lewis Remmick
    Participant

    Fighters could be a great way to let us fully staff ships. Instead of trying to run an under-staffed vessel, we could fully staff the vessels we can, and then anyone remaining could be the fighter squadron.

    Looking at it the other way, Fighter pilots could be the first to be pulled to another ship if any are short-staffed.

    #4590
    John van Leigh
    Participant

    Thanks for the videos, Wade! This clarifies a lot. This brings the next question: range. How far (and how long) can we deploy a wing?


    @Aramond
    , when I talk about screen coordination I mean the usage of armed allied (//NPC) ships. I see five main patterns of conduct that are bad here:

    1. Scicomms people panic and dock them to a station. This is the proper course of action if you talk about unarmed ones, but it’s hugely wasteful when it comes to destroyers.

    2. They are sent individually to counter a threat. NEVER do that unless you plan to be about one single sector away. They work better on packs, all of them ordered to defend one that you can call the lead ship, if you want. You only order around the lead ship. I’ll get back to why soon.

    3. The lead ship doesn’t get new orders to engage periodically. You see, the only way to have a destroyer attack constantly is by ordering it to defend something (which is the main reason they all defend the lead). Otherwise, they just pull out. Slowly. Which opens their rear to enemy fire. So, every time you see a kill, you order the lead to attack again.

    4. Someone receives from flag the authority to coordinate the screen, and flag doesn’t notify the senior scicomms officer who, until then, was supposed to do it. This used to happen a lot about two months ago, but this one I think has been largely corrected recently.

    5. For some reason, captains don’t see a group of destroyers approaching a fleet or don’t trust them to do the job, even when they are positive it’s just a bunch of Kraliens. Therefore, all the time that took to send the screen to attack something ends up wasted as some random cruiser goes there guns (or worse, MINES) blazing in what was inteded to be someone else’s target.

    .

    Which leads to the principles that are to be respected for proper screen coordination:

    1. Don’t use it to defend fixed objects, like stations. Screening elements are slow and don’t have the opportunity to respond fast to threats. Use them aggressively, attacking enemy groups.

    2. Avoid sending it against Arvonians, but it can take Kraliens and Torgoths just fine. Screening elements are too slow to persue Skaarans, though.

    3. It is to be concentrated into groups before sending it into combat. Do it just as you know the inmediate threats of the mission/sim have been taken care of, and as soon as possible. Minimum of 3 in order to ensure safety, but larger groups are fine. The smaller the group, the more support it needs.

    4. Support your screen. It needs love, it needs orders to engage, and it needs that, whenever you see a group approaching into combat range of an enemy fleet, you taunt it. Doesn’t matter if you’re in charge of the group or not, it’s fire being drawn away from it.

    5. It needs a consistent command. It’s slow, y’know, so changing the strategic priorities means that its effectiveness is gonna suffer.

    6. Don’t bother sending it against high-priority targets. It will mop up whatever you put in front of it, though, so use it against groups away from bases.

    7. Don’t steal its kills. If you steal from a cruiser, that’s too bad, but she’ll move away like nothing. Your screen spent the last 5 minutes getting there. Respect that.

    8. Avoid using your screen too close to your main division. More risk of kill-steals.

    #4626
    Lewis Remmick
    Participant

    I’ve typically been told not to do anything with allied vessels, with few exceptions. My understanding has been that the fleet commander’s comms officer will handle them, to avoid conflicting orders.

    That said, I would love to become more experienced at that aspect of scicoms.

    #4630
    Xavier
    Keymaster

    Again, having the role termed sci/comms is something we will be moving away from as it isn’t clear what the role is. The science role is different to the comms role. I used to have an experienced comms officer, who was incredibly effective at coordinating allies. They used the science screen for situational awareness only, and the comms screen to communicate with the allied ships.

    What we need to do is ensure that the ship leading the mission or operation is fully staffed (or as close to it as possible). That ship should be the one coordinating the allied ships as the captain coordinating everythig can order comms to direct the allies as needed. Last night, I was ordering our cadet to direct the allies. I was also ordering our own ships to different positions, and figuring out where ships would be and what they were combating. It wasnt perfect, but we made some good use of allies, delaying or weakened or destroying heavy enemy formations. Having the overall view of the battle and communicating what the allies needed to do as part of that view ment I needed to talk to that comms officer directly. This is how I used to work it when I had Silver, and how Aramond and I have worked it too.

    For a standard comms officer on another ship, to avoid conflict they could either be incharge of non-combat allies, or just doing the basics. This is where that comms officer can double up on science to fulfil both those roles.

    Just a note too, I am sure there are some protocols written out, or a training document. When I have chance I’ll see of I can dig it out.

    • This reply was modified 5 years ago by Xavier.
    #4635
    Lewis Remmick
    Participant
    #4644
    John van Leigh
    Participant

    I’m not sure that yersterday serves as a good example of a good performance. An estimate of fifteen allied ships were destroyed only in the mission that Raven and Hydra worked together.

    The lack of coordination evidenced between the teams of both ships was downright hideous. There were contradicting orders from both ships, formations being broken when about to engage, ships were directed away from the enemy before and during combat…

    That ship should be the one coordinating the allied ships as the captain coordinating everythig can order comms to direct the allies as needed. Last night, I was ordering our cadet to direct the allies.

    Here’s an important issue. If the intention is to have the flag comms officer coordinate, that’s fine. On the other hand, the Advanced Comms protocol that @geekyraccoon quoted says this:

    When operating as part of a battle group, or as part as multiple battle groups, the highest ranking* Communications Officer assumes responsibility for coordinating the actions of all Communications Officers. They then become the ‘Lead Communications Officer’ for the period of the mission.

    I really don’t mind serving under either case, but every ship should be made aware when there’s an order altering the current regulation. Otherwise, this is what happens. And it was perfectly preventable.

    #4646
    Lewis Remmick
    Participant

    With the Phoenix and Hawk, we didn’t lose many, if any, allied vessels. There were some oddly placed ones, and belligerent ones, so I’m not quite sure how we pulled that off.

    I can see this being a concern if things went poorly with your mission.

    #4650
    Aramond
    Participant

    Things could have gone better. They could have gone worse as well. We were two command ships versus a metric crap-ton of USF ships. While not ideal, the fact that we only lost one base can probably be counted as a good thing.

    #4653
    Gabriel Wade
    Participant

    While this has turned into a discussion about Communications officers and coordinating allied vessels, which I don’t mind too much as it’s an area that seems to need some attention, there are differences between coordinating allied vessels via the Comms interface and coordinating player controlled fighters via verbal communication over Teamspeak.

    1. There is no delay caused by clicking through a series of options and potentially having to go back and forth between interfaces to confirm ship designations, headings, etc.

    2. There is no A.I. to have to contend with and “babysit” once you’ve issued orders.

    3. The fighters being controlled by players will be much more easily coordinated, especially if you follow an organization of them in a similar way to what I outlined in the first post: The Captain makes the call and hands it to the CAG, Comms officer, whatever you want to call it. The CAG/Comms relays the order to the Flight leader, and the Flight Leader coordinates the Flight (team of pilots) to execute the order. Simple, straight-forward, minimal chain of communication which is as compartmentalized as possible. The CAG/Comms will still need a science/cap map to keep awareness, but not nearly as much as with allied vessels.

    I don’t know how long the fighters can stay out or how far they can fly. In the 2nd video I shared above it showed him about a full grid away from the cruiser he launched from. And they don’t seem to be capable of travelling any faster than 1/2 warp, which is a very rough estimate.

    As for how much downtime there is for pilots during rearm/refuel the information I have says about 30 seconds, and there’s a small blackjack mini-game in the lower right corner (at least in the current iteration) to help pass that time. We could potentially have them assigned to other duties, but with that small of a wait, I don’t think it would be wise to do so. I’m sure they’ll be itching to re-launch as soon as the’re capable.

    The question is, if a fighter is destroyed, what do we do with the pilot? With the current mechanics shown in the vids it looks like the pilot “respawns” back at their home carrier and can launch another fighter. So do we have them wait until their “ejector pod” is “picked up” (could be represented similarly to what we do for the life pods when a TSN or NPC vessel is destroyed) and have them relaunch in another fighter if one is available? And if we don’t have them relaunch, or if we don’t have another fighter available, what do we do with them then?

    Perhaps, if there is capability, the GM could make another fighter available, either as a reserve or when we pick up the pilot we also “retrieve the wreckage” to repair and re-deploy for efficiency sake, and perhaps just have a longer wait-time as a penalty; say, 1-2 minutes?

    #4656
    Xavier
    Keymaster

    Protocols are set to try out an idea. They change and evolve. Since those protocols are quite old, I believe we had started testing and adapting new ones. We can change and replace them as necessary.

    As Aramond says though, the situation could have been worse. When you consider too that the comms officer was a cadet, I think he did ok directing the ships. The issue looks like there may have been conflicting orders coming from somewhere. Did we not radio across at one point saying Raven was controlling the allies? I recall at one point doing it, but not which mission/simulation that was in.

    It seems best to have the flag ship controlling the allies though. Lets go back to assigning the duties before a mission. I guess that simply fell out of use when we weren’t really meeting many allies to coordinate (is it a year now since we last had a war?)

    To say it was hideous is a little harsh. It is not something that has been practised much. With more practise, we will be able to improve and come up with more streamlined and suitable protocols.

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