Gameplay and Features
Table of Contents
- Current gameplay related inquiries
- Features absent from Fleet Operations that were in Armada II or I
- Questions about features you think are missing
- Will a "Unit Cap" system like Starcraft or Age of Empires be added in?
- Where are the non playable factions / buildings?
- Will "resource converters" or trading ever be added back in?
- Are other resources going to be added in?
- More mixed-technology designs or changes to where you get them?
- Why doesn't the AI make use of Mixed Technology units?
- I hate that my fleets never spread out their firepower!
- Why aren't civilian vessels (freighters and construction ships) armed?
- Why don't civilian units have an experience system?
- Will "real" heroes ever be added in?
- Will veterans ever get a new look from their unranked relatives?
- What happened to visible hull damage, assimilation textures, and similar effects?
- Any chance for unlimited researches?
What settings is Fleet Operations designed to be played with?
Officially Fleet Ops is not designed (i.e. balanced) to be played with reduced construction time, infinite resources etc. If you select these options, you do so at your own risk: Fleet Operations loses many aspects that the Team tried so hard to achieve if you use these settings, and thus it cannot be guaranteed that all factions will be balanced when these options are put in place.
How do I get the Alliance feature working in single player (Instant Action)?
What are the hotkeys?
It is also possible to download an Excel document of all the hotkeys for easy printing (compiled from the guide by Majestic): Download Hotkey Zip
What are the cheats for Instant Action?
What "features" are banned from online play?
Features absent from Fleet Operations that were in Armada II or I
Why aren't formations from Armada II or the Director's Cut from Armada I present?
The Armada I “Director’s Cut” was a nice addition, but the coding was modified/removed for Armada II. Consequently the developer’s possibilities are quite limited in this situation. DOca Cola has played around a bit to get that feature back in Armada II, as it basically is in the formations menu where you can select an attack pattern that is exactly the movement you have from Armada I. Although he made a rough implementation, it would need a lot more tweaking and testing before it is really usable again. Formation attack patterns (like the clover leaf) would be possible, but they don't work with Fleet Operations currently and are not programmed that well in Armada II in the first place. Thus the only other option is to use the different movement autonomies to set up AI scripts for vessels. Eventually there will be additional "normal" formations, but the developers are not sure if the original ones will find their way back in.
Besides the programming issues, there are also gameplay problems. Ships in these formations or under the influence of the “Director’s Cut” would start moving in to attack other vessels and so lose the advantage of long range weaponry. It also makes your ships harder to control and more frustrating. Seeing your small vessels fly to an enemy because of a "coolness move" and then come into the weapon range of an Outpost is not that cool if they could have stayed out of range and killed the opponent there. As a consequence, a better fighting/movement system is on the “to do” list, but it will take quite a while.
Why is there no warp available in Fleet Operations?
Where are the single player missions in Fleet Operations?
Fleet Operations was originally designed as a multiplayer mod, as tools for creating a real custom single player campaign did not exist at the time. The developer’s didn't want to include single player missions that were only half-new compared to those of Armada II, as neither documentation nor tools (scripts for the campaign are hard coded) were available. With time (and the real ability to make fully customizable campaigns), however, this attitude has changed and it is eventually planned to make a Fleet Operations campaign – after all the eight playable factions are integrated of course. The developers will thus start on the campaign in later patches (after Fleet Ops version 4.0) as they want to do something special with it, and that requires a lot of new features that they are still working on.
Why has the third dimension gone? I can't change my ship’s height!
Questions about features you think are missing
Will a "Unit Cap" system like Starcraft or Age of Empires be added in?
According to the developers, this type of system would not avoid spam. Every player would just build the exact same fleet, send it in for attacks and then rebuild it almost immediately. Close to zero diversity. That is nothing the developers of Fleet Operations want. Just look at Homeworld or - a bit less extreme cause of a larger cap - StarCraft and WarCraft. Good balancing does not need unit caps for real time strategy games similar to Fleet Ops. Their only purpose is just to limit a player's possibilities and strategies. The only units that will have any sort of cap will be "special" units, like certain mixed technology units, or Warp-Ins. No hard unit caps for regular vessels in Fleet Operations. Ever. Thats something Optec can promise.
Where are the non playable factions / buildings?
Will "resource converters" or trading ever be added back in?
Indeed, every faction will get a method to convert resources, but the developers want these mechanisms to be as unique as possible. The Federation, for example, is known to have many trading contracts, while the Romulan Empire is built on a centralized economic manifest. That should be reflected in gameplay too (the stellar factions are more then just a military!). The precise mechanisms are not completely decided yet for trading, but the developers won't introduce another resource. Although trading will not be reintroduced immediately, the feature is relatively high on the to do list at the moment, so expect it a good ways before 4.0.
Exchanging supplies is actually more realistic then latinum, as latinum is not a universal currency throughout the galaxy. The Ferengi and several other species have a hang for it, but it was never seen anywhere else. The Klingons, Federation and the Romulans will probably not use latinum if trading with one another. Within the Federation, for example, there is no money to use as a currency. Similarly, the Romulan Empire and its members (there are indeed non-Romulan member species within the Empire - although they are usually more enslaved then real members) are linked via a centralized economy, which probably does not use a real currency either. Not to speak of the Borg... We saw in many episodes that trades are made with materials, like "Damn it! We need a technobabbel device! We will give you two containers of technobrubbel for it!" "Deal or no deal?!"
Therefore supplies will probably act as a universal currency. If you want to, you can also count latinum as being part of the supplies. The developers don't want to get too much into the payment stuff, but instead go deeper into building your sector’s economy and connecting it to your empire’s systems. More about that in future patches!
Are other resources going to be added in?
The developers do not want to introduce brand new resources. Rare resources can usually be seen as part of the supply resource. The developers, however, do have some ideas for special resources that can be found on maps. Perhaps a very pure dilithium crystal or similar things, as they want to introduce some exploration and science related features in future patches. Nonetheless, the team doesn’t have to make up much on that end, as Star Trek is already full of "mini technologies" for that purpose. These are mere plans and are not supposed to be thought through before Fleet Operations 4.0.
More mixed-technology designs or changes to where you get them?
The developers plan to add a few more specially modeled units for other faction combinations - so hold your horses. Note that mixed-tech will be extended in future versions, but will stay at native designs enriched with alien technology. Optec is not a big fan of hybrid vessels and he doesn't think they would work that well (hell, just remember one of these damn arrogant Romulans sitting in the command chair of a green-painted Vor'cha.. it's a nightmare!). The developers also want to avoid featuring battleships in mixed tech. Mixed-Tech is meant to be an interesting addition, but not a replacement. In regard to captured stations, the Fleet Ops team does not want to include anything special for captured yards, but ideas go in directions such as giving captured yards the same construction options as mixed-tech yards.
Why doesn't the AI make use of Mixed Technology units?
The old Armada II AI is rather static about what it wants to build and what it does not. The developers have some "roughly working" solutions, but they want to do something clean for the future - to make the AI act more intelligent in regards to construction and fleet structure. That will take a while, however, as a lot of coding is involved.
Making the AI capable of using mixed-tech and similar stuff (like a real avatar decision) is something the developers are working on the most, and Optec is quite confident that they will get something up and running in one of the next patches, but definitely not 3.1.2 and 3.1.3.
I hate that my fleets never spread out their firepower!
Although the developers have already tried to get vessels to stop ganging up on one single enemy vessel at a time, currently no really good method to prevent that exists.
Why aren't civilian vessels (freighters and construction ships) armed?
In the Star Trek Universe, freighters and construction ships probably do have phasers for firing on asteroids. However, in the 24th century simply having a phaser without a targeting system does not win a fight. With Electronic Counter Measures (ECM), anti sensor hull plating and I-don’t-know-what (good references are that TNG technology block or the Dominion War episodes) a construction ship would not be able to target the opponent or even hit it. That is why civil weapons are ignored by Fleet Operations in game. The Klingons, for instance, spend resources on processor capacity and install small advanced targeting systems on their construction ships - and that's why these vessels have weapons in Fleet Operations.
Why don't civilian units have an experience system?
The developers don't like the idea of civil units gaining ranks through civil processes, as they don't believe it is right for vessels that you merely command to be promoted for doing ... what they are there for! Just flying around a moon is not the most kick-ass achievement. Experience will probably remain for military vessels only.
Will "real" heroes ever be added in?
The developers do not want to have "real" heroes in the game, therefore they implemented the Veteran System as a similar hero system.
Will veterans ever get a new look from their unranked relatives?
Variations for veteran versus non-veteran vessels are indeed planned. The developers think that there is nothing wrong with minor (visual) refits when a vessel gains a new rank. It's that game versus (Star Trek) reality thing again: many things in Fleet Operations, Armada II and a lot of other RTS games do not make a lot of sense at all. The developers like to have more variety in what configurations Federation Warp-In vessels can appear. Of course, in the best case such ship variants will also be included for other factions, but Warp-In is currently the best platform to do this.
What happened to visible hull damage, assimilation textures, and similar effects?
There are plans for hull damage, but that's not possible at the moment. The developers would like to do something about that in future engine upgrades, but that still requires a lot of development. That doesn't mean they aren't working on it though. Borgie bits and textures will also be added later.
Any chance for unlimited researches?
Upgrades and research are relevant, but they are not intended to be infinite. Having a minor vessel - like a scout - with +300% damage blasting away battleships would both be unrealistic and not fun. Fleet Operations is a real time strategy game. There is a certain amount of research and upgrading, but it's not like in long-term simulation games (like the most famous Civilization). The developers don't think they will change the way that upgrades and research work anytime soon.