If fuel was automated then we all would be yelling and screaming why is our ships running to bases when we gave them the order to attack a colony or a ship or pirates, or buid this and it goes there. Us humans all think differently. I believe this fuel issue really can't be delt properly. You think automations should work this way, I might think it should work that way, and the developer might think of something else. So if this is ever implimented somone is going to cry foul and say it is broke and it should be like that.
If I have ships in a fleet, I don't care if they run out of fuel, I might want them to do thier job that I set out them to do. If anything, this automation has to be able to be turned on or off, or have a set number of rules to fallow that we as the human player pick for what ships to choose what fuel plan they want.
So I guess what we need is a fuel plan for the ships to fallow.
That's why the first thing I suggested was one or two different options to turn it on/off. But maybe making a toggle option on the ship itself (like with automation) is a better idea?
The idea behind all of this is that if you enable automation you probably want them to refuel more intelligently.
For fleets, fuel should never be a hassle. Right now we can control only 10 of those, so make it worthwhile by letting us fine-tune, for each fleet separately, how refueling is performed:
- Let us set a desired level of fuel, something like 20%, 40%, 60% (+ 80% maybe). Any ship dropping below that level will go refueling. Reason: when I keep a fleet ready, I want it to be ready and not low on fuel when a threat pops up, so I am inclined to set a desired fuel level of 60% or even 80% for fleets that are idle/in reserve. This fuel level only applies for ships that are idling. A ship either engaged in combat or heading into combat (could be a manually settable state on fleet management screen) instead handles fuel according to this:
- Another desired level of fuel for when combat is broken off (like 5%, 10%, 20%, ...) When below, ship runs, preferaby to fuel source. A ship out of fuel in combat is dead unless the engagement is already won. This would require the game to have a notion of when a ship is in combat or when not.
- Settings defining whether the above levels are mandatory, i.e. ships go refueling autonomously, just issue a warning (, or ignore the conditions).
- Let us set a desired (note, not required) location where to refuel. It could default to the home colony but should not be restricted to that, settings like 'nearest refueling point/starbase', specific Mining Stations, a deployed Resupply Base should also be eligible. In case of one or more explicitly given colonies this should create the demand at the selected locations which gets the fuel actually transported there (hopefully). Even better: it could reserve fuel at the selected location(s) for the fleet and nobody else. Regarding the handling of desired vs. required: A ship should at the very least prefer fuel sources that are reachable without running out, even if not on the list.
- I still think this game needs fuel tankers under military control which should be assignable to fleets and then do nothing but keep the ships therein fueled and ready while those follow their other duties.
- Each ship that goes refueling should enter a state where the usual commands issued to a fleet as a whole do not apply. The fleet management screen should explicitly list such ships as are refueling and should allow us to override the state there. This could be handled similarly to ships in an active engagement where the combat levels of fueling apply.
- Some reasonable, better configurable, global defaults that can be set on a button click to apply when we want to make a fleet battle ready without too much hassle.
Of course, refueling settings shouldn't be the only thing that we can fine-tune for a fleet. With tankers (and constructors!) assignable to fleets, these'd become more complex organisms where ships could be explicitly assigned to escort duty. Then there'd be settings about whether constructors or tankers go into combat zones to do their job or not. A designation of an area for the baggage train plus escort and so on.
< Message edited by sbach2o -- 4/13/2010 2:19:47 PM >