Update #8 - Battles & Tactical Controls
In the current update we'll tell you more about the Battles & Tactical Controls in Nexus 2:-
Battles are, besides the tactics one employs, won by the player’s choices in weapons, energy shields, and ship armours as well as between jamming and targeting devices. There are dozens of different devices at the player’s disposal in every listed category. Each of them is suitable for different purposes – there is a possibility to protect yourself from any device but protection can always be penetrated. The player’s goal is to find the best attacking and defensive modes at the particular moment.
• Lasers can penetrate the stronger shields but they damage only smaller areas. Therefore, their use is only effective if they can hit a neuralgic point, like, for example, an identified device. The player can use them to cripple an enemy ship device, by destroying engines, specific weapons, generators, etc.
• Torpedoes can unleash massive destruction but they are quite inaccurate. In addition, molecular shields are able to stop them without problem.
• Missiles follow the target and evade the obstacles. However, they fly at a lower speed and, due to their material quality, can be hunted down by fighters of flak systems.
• Bombers are capable of carrying their torpedoes through shields and land them with great accuracy. On the other hand though, they are vulnerable to AA lasers and enemy fighters.
• Bombs are the most perilous weapons, spreading damage on huge areas – including a number of ships – at the cost of enormous energy assumption.
The other key element in the battles is the management of the energy reserves. Normally every generator can handle the everyday energy assumption of the devices. In battle though, when most systems are online, the player has to decide which devices should be on, which would get more energy. It is possible to overload every system by 50 or 100%, if there is enough reserve energy.
• Weapon generator: It powers the weapons. The more weapons it has to power at the same time, the slower their refire rate becomes.
• Shield generator: It continuously tries to keep the shields on maximum.
• Engines: Overloading the engines grants higher speed, better maneuverability.
• Support generator: It powers everything else that does not fall the categories above. For example ECM, ECCM, etc. It also refills the reserve energy with its surplus energy.
A good tactician continuously manages the energy levels, and boosts the given system when necessary.
The individual devices of the spaceships can be attacked separately but they might also suffer damage if the hull itself is hit. After some time, the damaged device becomes unserviceable, diminishing significant capabilities of the vessel. At the same time, the crew and the onboard automatics are trying to fix the problems continuously. Their activity is going on independently of the player but he can define the repairing priorities at any time.
There are three different categories of the devices’ damage:
• Yellow: The device is damaged but still operational.
• Red: The device is inoperable but can be repaired during the battle.
• Grey: The device is wrecked and has to be replaced on the closest station.
Some devices are considered critical devices, which lead to the loss of the ship. For example if the ship lost all its engines and weapons, it is totally useless.
Since the player has the opportunity to control a wide range of things, the interface inevitably looks complicated. To alleviate this problem, the game can be paused at any time while the player remains at the helm and is still able to give orders.
To facilitate the controls, we implemented two different modes in the game:
• Command mode: The player issues high-level orders only; he only designates the target and the destination for the unit but he leaves the actual execution on the AI.
• Simulator mode: This mode allows the player to directly manage each and every system of a ship. The drawback of the simulator mode is that in-depth controlling makes several new buttons and displays appear on the GUI.
The orders in command mode can either be given to a single unit or even a specific group of more units. The commands are short orders to do a specific task. Most of them need a target too. Some examples:
• Destroy Shield: This Command needs an enemy target. Our ship (or ships) will approach the designated target, then it will use all its weapons, which can destroy the shield. It will not fire any hull or device attacking weapons. When the enemy shield is down, it will report it and ceases fire.
• Destroy hull: Similar to the Destroy Shield command, except it will use it Hull attacking weapons. The player has to be aware of the targets shield though as this won’t be a very effective Command against a shielded opponent.
• Defend: This Command needs a friendly target. Our ship will approach the target, then stays around. If anything attacks its target, our ship will automatically engage it and tries to destroy it.
• Escape: It activates the IP-Drive of the ship and escapes the scene. However the powering up of the IP Drive takes time and energy. During this time the shields of the ship will drop, so it might be dangerous to try it in the middle of the battle. Also, this ship won’t be available until the next mission.
The unit itself determines how it manoeuvres and which weapons it uses in order to achieve the given objective. Besides the basic order, the player can only do minor restrictions – e.g. he can ban the unit from using energy reserves or weapons with finite ammo.
Behaviour is a modifying factor on the Commands. All ships have separate behaviour settings. The possible behaviours are:
• Aggressive: The ship will execute its Commands aggressively. For example if it has a Destroy shield command, then if there are other targets nearby, it will fire its other weapons on them.
• Defensive: The ship will concentrate on its well-being. It will use its defensive devices and avoids unnecessary conflicts. For example its target is on the other side of the battle, then it will move around the battle to get there, instead of just flying through the melee.
• Stealth: The ship will use the best equipment for stealth. These are the devices, engines with the least energy emission, and won’t use any high energy devices, like the Active Scanners. If it is equipped with Stealth drive and Cloaking device, even better.
• Focused: The ship will concentrate only on its command and won’t do anything else.
When the player switches to Simulator or Manual mode, new controlling panels and displays emerge on the GUI enabling it to manage every weapon and device individually. The player can decide which weapons will shoot at what target, which device will work and which should go offline to give more energy to other devices, etc. It is possible to target one enemy with Shield destroying weapons, while shooting at the hull of another enemy with the hull destroying weapons. This can’t be done in Command mode.
The orders of the Command mode remain available and the player, if issuing an order, can observe the way the AI operates the devices. Simulator mode is the best way to play the game, it gives the player complete control over the ships. A player using the Command mode only will never be as effective as one who mastered the manual mode.
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