Improvement Request: Ship Movement AI and Formations

Ships seem to move in a straight line so long as they are within the set engagement range and weapon facing, and will turn at a mere 2 degree rate to stay within engagement range or correct weapon facing. This means that ships set to broadside facing will sail straight on until they are much closer to the enemy than they should, and ships outside the set engagement range and facing will slowly turn to bring weapons to bear. Ships will also cluster so tightly that any maneuvers are almost guaranteed to cause a collision.

These issues would not be so problematic if the player could set effective formations for a fleet, but there are only two "formations" in the game. The first is the default movement option, ships moving side by side, which is terrible for fleets which prefer broadside engagements. The second is having ships follow a leader in a line, set with standard movement controls, which ships are terrible at keeping has to be manually reorganized as soon as any orders are given or maneuvers are made.

To solve these problems, I suggest modifying ship AI so that they will stay at the set engagement range and keep a minimum distance from other friendly ships, turning as quickly as necessary to do so. I would also like actual formation options for ships, which they would automatically move to maintain and could perhaps be given orders as a single unit. Example formations: column, chevron, echelon, inner group - outer screen, etc.

They tried implementing Formations in the first game. It just didnt pan out for X Y and Z reasons and i dont see them implimenting Formations in this either. However. You may be on to something with improving AI to avoid accidential collisions in a controlled setting.

This post from Ye Olde BGFA Forums gives a good explanation for how formations could work and why they would be useful. A developer reply says that they tried formations, but removed them because "it made the game over complicated for not a great tactical enhancement". This is a view I disagree with: a simple menu of formations in the battle UI would be simpler and more rewarding than the mess of micromanagement and pathfinding errors that we currently have to deal with.