Author Topic: The Covenant Shield Problem  (Read 10703 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Devrous

  • SPARTAN-151
  • Moderator
  • 26
  • RAMPANT AI
    • FS2H
The Covenant Shield Problem


I was searching the forums for a way to alter the shield regeneration rate when I found a post mentioning this ability being included in FSO as of last year. Hurray! However, after realizing this new option I sat down to seriously consider what to do about Covenant shields.

The way I see it, there are two options:

  • Massive shields (what I've got now)
  • Reduced shields with very high regen

Up until now, I have had them equal or greater than the ship's actual hitpoint value. As I toyed with the regeneration rate, I reduced the shield values by about a third and settled on 1.0, meaning the shield would be fully recovered every second. It sounded a bit absurd, but I found the game started to play a little more like how it was mentioned in the books. Admiral Cole came up with the elegant solution to defeating Covenant ships by having all of the UNSC ships fire their weapons simultaneously. Before coming to that conclusion, they had just "fired at will" and they couldn't penetrate the shields. When they all fired at once, the first few rounds were soaked up by the shield and the rest hit the hull. This same effect was finally realized when I ran my capital ship shield test mission and found that the UNSC battlegroup that was left to the AI fired sporadically and got wiped out, while the SEXP group, firing nearly at once, downed the Covenant Battlecruiser within the first 10 seconds of the mission.

There is a consequence to this, however. While it makes capital ship combat more in line with the Haloverse it makes fighters absolutely useless versus them. Once again, there is a lot of evidence in the Halo games and books that mention this fact. In Halo 2, a Fleet Admiral is speaking with Lord Hood and makes the comment, "...my frigates are combat ineffective and the fighters...they don't have enough punch to take out a Covenant Assault Carrier!" Even in the books, Longswords are only sent against capital ships when they are armed with nukes or...

...when the shields are down. There are instances where Covenant shields are down long enough for just about anything to do some damage, and other times where they are nigh impenetrable. This brings up a dilemma that can be best illustrated by an old Michael Straczynski quote, "How fast is the Whitestar? It moves at the speed of plot!" SEXPs can handle this, of course, so the point may be moot.

I suppose the best answer would be to strike a balance, making them regenerate quickly enough to be up and about full power when the UNSC ships come off their MAC Gun cooldown, yet powerful enough to take some serious firepower to punch through.

I'm continuing to find a balance that both adheres to the story and makes for compelling, fun game play. And as always your thoughts and opinions are most welcomed!

 

Offline jr2

  • The Mail Man
  • 212
  • It's prounounced jayartoo 0x6A7232
    • Steam
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
Well, if you could SEXP target their shield generators (if you make them with that subsystem, the engine does support this), then you could MAC the shield gen and whilst the MAC guns are cooling, send the fighter wave in to make sure the generators don't come back up and take out some turrets or something.

 

Offline Shade

  • 211
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
Seems to me that you could just do as you said the books do it:
Quote
Even in the books, Longswords are only sent against capital ships when they are armed with nukes or...

...when the shields are down.

FreeSpace 2 strike craft aren't much good against capital ships either unless they're carrying nuclear or antimatter warheads, and those don't even have shields, so all you really need is to have a couple of variants of nukes which can be made available for those 'oh crap' situations where you have no choice but to pit fighters against a Covenant warship. Opens up a potential for some nice bombing run missions, even if Covenant warships remain largely impervious to fighters for most of the time.

For a bit more complexity, you could also make it so you could use nukes to batter down the shield and then put the player on a timer to slag the shield generator with conventional weapons before they can bring the shields back up again - Be too slow, and you're suddenly faced with a shielded ship again, and you've already spent your nukes.

Or, like jr2 suggested, let a friendly warship do the shield destruction and then let fighters clean up.
Report FS_Open bugs with Mantis  |  Find the latest FS_Open builds Here  |  Interested in FRED? Check out the Wiki's FRED Portal | Diaspora: Website / Forums
"Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh ****ing great. 2200 references to entry->index and no idea which is the one that ****ed up" - Karajorma
"We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct." - Niels Bohr
<Cobra|> You play this mission too intelligently.

 

Offline Devrous

  • SPARTAN-151
  • Moderator
  • 26
  • RAMPANT AI
    • FS2H
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
The SHIVA missiles are fighter nukes, but they are fast and currently using the 'push to detonate' template. The AI seems to be - how can I say this - stupid with these. They either miss by miles or blow ME up with them by accident.  :lol:

I should probably make them aspect-seeking, or at least make multiple versions.

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
Fighters can always fly under the capship shields to attack.

 

Offline Devrous

  • SPARTAN-151
  • Moderator
  • 26
  • RAMPANT AI
    • FS2H
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
Quote
Fighters can always fly under the capship shields to attack.

This is true. You could nuke em point blank but you'd, well, die  :D  The ships that you can actually do any real damage to without killing yourself have shields pretty close to the hull. However, those smaller vessels, such as dropships and scout ships, can be taken out by fighters even with shields up. Several wings can take a corvette but it would take either time or heavy armaments. Flying under the shields of the larger ships may prove fatal, as the larger ones have more powerful weapons with which to vaporize you. Realistically, though, you shouldn't be sending fighters against something that powerful.

The Longswords have ballistics (machine guns) that don't do enough damage to matter versus the larger ships, aside from subsystem targeting. Nukes would be the best bet, but due to the large blast radius and the fact that Covenant ships have point-defense lasers it isn't as easy.

I do have some strike missions that use nukes early in the campaign, but as the war raged on the UNSC started to run out of nukes quickly. I imagine they used nukes like they were candy in the beginning!

TL;DR: The over-arching theme in Human vs Covenant battles is a sad pattern of inspired victories on the human side, followed quickly by crushing defeat by massive retaliation. Unlike FreeSpace 2, where you at least felt like you were on even ground, conflict in the Halo Universe is very one-sided. Either they outpower you or they outnumber you.

The trick is to make the game fun despite all of this.

 

Offline MatthTheGeek

  • Captain Obvious
  • 212
  • Frenchie McFrenchface
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
I don't think fighters can go through shields if they're up, in Halo canon. I remember pretty well a group of Spartans that had to wait for a covenant weapon to fire to go through the hole made to let it fire.
People are stupid, therefore anything popular is at best suspicious.

Mod management tools     -     Wiki stuff!     -     Help us help you

666maslo666: Releasing a finished product is not a good thing! It is a modern fad.

SpardaSon21: it seems like you exist in a permanent state of half-joking misanthropy

Axem: when you put it like that, i sound like an insane person

bigchunk1: it's not retarded it's american!
bigchunk1: ...

batwota: steele's maneuvering for the coup de gras
MatthTheGeek: you mispelled grĂ¢ce
Awaesaar: grace
batwota: oh right :P
Darius: ah!
Darius: yes, i like that
MatthTheGeek: the way you just spelled it it means fat
Awaesaar: +accent I forgot how to keyboard
MatthTheGeek: or grease
Darius: the killing fat!
Axem: jabba does the coup de gras
MatthTheGeek: XD
Axem: bring me solo and a cookie

 

Offline Pred the Penguin

  • 210
  • muahahaha...
    • Minecraft
    • EaWPR
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
Well Spartans are pretty tiny compared to fighters. Maybe large objects can bully there way through, they'd still have to deal with any defense systems though.

 

Offline starlord

  • 210
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
I'm in love with that corvette...

 
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
Well Spartans are pretty tiny compared to fighters. Maybe large objects can bully there way through, they'd still have to deal with any defense systems though.
Does a MAC round qualify as large? :p
I've always envisioned Covenant shields as being impenetrable to anything from the outside except for terrible terrible damage (bad pun aside).
'yo my domestic skillets, who put swarm torpedoes on the Tev bombers?'
~Nighteyes

 

Offline -Norbert-

  • 211
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
They are also inpenetrable from the inside. The ships must open gaps in the shields so they can fire out. In one scene (I think it was in the 2nd book) a nuke goes off within the shield, which magnified the damage, because the explosion couldn't blast out into space, but was reflected back at the ship.

 

Offline Pred the Penguin

  • 210
  • muahahaha...
    • Minecraft
    • EaWPR
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
Same thing in game, too. At least I think so.
Well Spartans are pretty tiny compared to fighters. Maybe large objects can bully there way through, they'd still have to deal with any defense systems though.
Does a MAC round qualify as large? :p
I've always envisioned Covenant shields as being impenetrable to anything from the outside except for terrible terrible damage (bad pun aside).
MAC rounds are very fast? :nervous:

 

Offline -Norbert-

  • 211
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
If slow object could pass through covernant shields, the USNC would just have reprogrammed their missiles to slow close to the target and thus circumvent the shields. But since they didn't do that, I guess the shields are as impenetrable as the books say they are.

 

Offline Devrous

  • SPARTAN-151
  • Moderator
  • 26
  • RAMPANT AI
    • FS2H
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
Best explanation I can give regarding the Covenant shields is that they act much like the personal shields do during gameplay of the Halo FPS games. That is to say they soak a certain amount of damage before failing. Once the shield fails it is on a cooldown of sorts, regenerating once it builds up enough charge or whatever the real mechanism would be. The ship-based shield systems work the same way, albeit powered by much, MUCH larger power sources, giving them near-impervious field strength. They are not polarized or unidirectional. A polarized shield would have some sort of resonance that would allow energy weapons or even other shielded ships to pass through them, and there is no mention of this anywhere in the Halo Universe. Likewise I say they are not "gated" or unidirectional; they stop objects coming from any direction. They are projected, bidirectional shields with a set strength that is based (I would assume) on total energy output of the ship. One could assume that larger ships would have stronger shields, but this would only hold true if the power sources grew at the same rate as the surface area to be covered. A ship with twice as much surface area would require twice the power to maintain the same field strength under this assumption. Some have argued that it grows multiplicity or even exponentially, citing the relatively weak personal shields of the Spartans and Elites vs the nigh impenetrable capital ships. However, they neglect the power sources and the relative strengths of the attacking weapons during their arguments.

Regardless of the mode of operation, the books speak time and time again of single MAC rounds and entire salvos of Archer missiles having little to no effect. Admiral Cole inspired what became standard attack patterns for UNSC capital ships: fire all at once at a single target. This overwhelms the shield and allows the remainder to hit the actual hull. Nukes seem to take out smaller Covenant ship's shields within blast range, but the larger vessels require near direct strikes to overload them. As I've said before, I imagine that the UNSC launched a vast majority of their nuclear arsenal in the earliest engagements of the war, as they had no idea how many ships the Covenant had or if they could deter their advance by inflicting significant-enough kills to the enemy's fleet. Unknown to the UNSC, the Covenant did not go all-out against them, and they had more than enough ships to defeat any armada the humans could have mustered. I get the sense from both the books and the games that the Covenant Elites held their honor (and ego) in such high regard that they purposefully did not bring entire battlegroups in to face what, in their eyes, were but silly insects polluting their radar screens.

The other and more obvious explanation is that Bungie/M$ writers realized that having the Covenant just come in and decimate the UNSC every single time they met in space would make for boring, depressing storylines  :lol:  If you look at how they wrote the stories and the missions you play in their games, they follow a predictable pattern:

  • Human forces, outnumbered, outgunned, or in some other form of dire straights, are facing certain annihilation
  • Someone comes up with a brilliant, daring, or near-suicidal plan to defeat the Covenant at hand
  • They defeat the Covenant threat; sometimes fairly easy, but most of the time at a great cost
  • Right after the inspiring moment of victory an overwhelming force of Covenant just happen to show up
  • All hope fails. Heroes die terrible deaths. The end result is pretty pointless.
  • You, the player, have a moment of feeling quite depressed, but quickly turn it around into further cries for Covie blood at your hands next mission
  • The game designers have done their job. You repeated 30 seconds of fun for a good hour but now you hunger for more! Cha-ching!

 :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

 
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
+1 for epic generalization.
'yo my domestic skillets, who put swarm torpedoes on the Tev bombers?'
~Nighteyes

 

Offline Dragon

  • Citation needed
  • 212
  • The sky is the limit.
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
The SHIVA missiles are fighter nukes, but they are fast and currently using the 'push to detonate' template. The AI seems to be - how can I say this - stupid with these. They either miss by miles or blow ME up with them by accident.  :lol:

I should probably make them aspect-seeking, or at least make multiple versions.
Try "smart spawn" flag, I don't know if it'll work, but it may make AI fire remotely detonated weapons like normal missiles.

 

Offline starlord

  • 210
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
So are there any new covenant designs you intend to work on devrous? Perhaps you could post up a few screens...

 

Offline Devrous

  • SPARTAN-151
  • Moderator
  • 26
  • RAMPANT AI
    • FS2H
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
So are there any new covenant designs you intend to work on devrous? Perhaps you could post up a few screens...

Biggest Covenant project at the moment is the corvette shown in Reach. It's a real beauty but a pain in the @#$ to model. Of course I do plan on keeping the corvette I designed originally and give it a different classification. Come to think of it I never really liked the Scout's model anyways so perhaps I'll switch it out with that one and make the scout...I dunno...some Grunt ship :lol:

 

Offline -Norbert-

  • 211
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
You could also make your corvette into a anti fighter/missile ship, with fewer plasma torpedoes but additional laser turrets. Against the missile heavy weaponry of the USNC that sounds like a resonable thing to do for the Covernant.

 

Offline starlord

  • 210
Re: The Covenant Shield Problem
I like your first corvette: it was one of the models I feared most losing should the project fall inactive!

Also, I was wondering: what's your orbat? you have a frigate, cruiser and destroyer class correct? Followed possibly by the battlecruiser and the assault carrier, is that true?