GalCiv4:Spaceship Battles

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Spaceship Battles

Combat Basics

There are 3 weapon types: Missile, Kinetic, and Beams. Each weapon type has an opposing defense type that blocks attacks from that weapon type (Point Defense for Missiles, Armor for Kinetic, and Shields for Beams).

Each weapon type has enhanced versions of weapons and their corresponding defenses that require special resources to make (Anti-matter for Missiles, Thulium for Kinetic, and Elerium for Beams)

Each weapon type is unique in it's own way...

  • Missiles have a ranged volley attack, that can be used out of regular combat to do a volley of damage against a target up to 3 hexes away.
  • Kinetic weapons do the most base dmg, and get slightly more benefit from extra research.
  • Beam weapons have a slightly lower construction cost, and the later game weapons that cost special resources cost slightly less special resources (which is useful since elerium, the resource needed for beams, is the hardest to mine).

All weapon types now have the same range, accuracy (80%), and rate of fire in battle.

Damage: The actual damage is now a random number between 1 and the damage shown on the weapon type. So if you have a beam weapon ship that shows 3 beam dmg, that actually means that each attack will be a random number between 1 and 3. The defenses work the same way, a random number between 1 and the max defense, but defenses also work a little different.

Defenses: The defenses block their weapon type equal to the random amount between 1 and max of that defense, but the square roots of both the other defenses are also added to the main defense, so it's a number between 1 and that max. so if you have 10 shields, and 9 of each other defense, and you're being attacked by a beam weapon, then your max defense will be 16 (10+3+3). So your actual defense will be a random number between 1 and 16 against each beam attack, blocking that much dmg from that attack. The minimum damage from any attack will still be at least 1 though. Weapon attacks are never fully blocked.

The way targeting works right now, it can be argued that smaller ships can have an advantage over larger ones, since excess dmg to smaller ships is currently wasted, and each large ship can only target 1 small ship at a time. Smaller ships generally have more item slots but less hp per logistics point compared to bigger ships, esp. after the first miniaturization tech is researched, adding +1 item slot to all ships.

Ship Roles

A Ship's role defines the behaviour of the starship during combat. A ship’s role will set its targeting priorities, defending priorities (where applicable), and where it will spawn in battle. You can choose a ship‘s battle role when saving a new design.

There are six options for ship roles:

  • Support: Ships that support the fleet or have a special role in-game
  • Capital: The heart of the fleet with support modules and long-range weapons
  • Escort: Those that protect Capital and Support ships
  • Assault: They will attack high-value and high-threat targets
  • Interceptor: They will attack enemy Support ships and high-value targets
  • Guardian: Those that defend Support ships and high-value targets

Determining Roles

When a ship is created using the Ship designer, a default battle role is assigned to the ship based on various factors. User-created ships will be assigned the default battle role when saving the design, but the role can be manually changed to any role the player wishes when saving the design.

A ship's default role is determined by the following attributes:

  • Threat
  • Fortitude
  • Value

All ship equipment has at least one attribute assigned to them. Threat is assigned to weapons (beams, kinetics, missiles), Fortitude is assigned to defenses (hull plating, shields, point defense), and Value is assigned to other equipment (drives, life support, modules).

As equipment is added to a ship, these attributes are added together to decide what role the ship will have. If threat is the largest it will be an attacker, if fortitude is largest it will be a defender, and if value is larger than the sum of both threat and fortitude, the ship is labelled as support.

The hull size also influences what role a ship will have, though all hull types with value as the highest attribute will be support. Tiny ships can be Interceptors (threat) or Guardians (fortitude), small ships can be Assaults (threat) or Escorts (fortitude), medium and large ships can be Capitals (threat) or Escorts (fortitude) and huge ships will be Capitals regardless of whether threat is larger than fortitude.

Target and attack priority

Ships will begin combat with the highest priority enemy as their target. If their target is out of range, they will fire on any other enemy ships within range until their highest priority target ship is finally in range. You can see which enemy ship is considered their target by hovering over the ship icon in the lower part of the screen while in the battle viewer or by selecting the ship on the battle map.

Ships will fire on targets highest on their priority list. This could result in loss of focus fire when ships with different ship roles have different priority targets within range. A ship will also stop firing on an already damaged enemy in favor of its higher target priority ship coming into range, even if the previously damaged enemy is near destruction. For example, interceptors that have a guardian as their primary target will fire upon enemy interceptors while they pass each other, but will continue moving towards the entire time and eventually start firing on the guardians.

Defend priority

Defend priority causes a ship to stay near an ally ship that it is protecting. It does not affect the primary target of the ship but only whether or not the ship is willing to move forward towards it. If the ship it is defending has started moving forward, it will follow.

Because of the defend priority, a guardian will not move forward and join the battle until its support ship starts to move forward. (Support ships remain at zero speed at the map edge until all ally interceptors, assault ships, and capital ships have been eliminated.) It will, however, attack any enemies that come into range.

An escort will move forward and attack enemies if it is defending a capital ship. An escort that is defending a support ship however will remain in the back out of combat, similar to the guardian as described above, and the escort ship will only move forward once the support ship starts to do so.

Starting location

Each ship's position at the start of a battle is determined by the ship's role. The higher the starting position number, the closer the ship will start near the enemies.

Battle Role Target Priority Defend Priority Starting Location Notes
Support Will only attack if all other types are gone

Interceptors - Assaults - Escorts - Capitals - Guardians - Supports -

-- 1200 These ships should stay alive until the end of the fight. They are unarmed or they just have augmentations mounted that support the whole fleet.
Guardian Will only attack if the defended ship attacks.

Attacks Interceptors first, then Assaults, then Escorts

Defends Supports if available, then Capitals, then Escorts 1200 These ships protect the Supports. They won‘t fight until all other targets are destroyed. If there is no Support in the fleet, they defend Capitals. If there are no Capitals available, they defend Escorts.
Capital Escorts - Capitals - Assaults - Interceptors - Guardians - Supports -- 1400 Capitals should have less defense and lots of attack. They stay behind their fighters and shoot with ranged weapons while supporting their fighters in the fleet. Capitals can also have support modules mounted because they last nearly as long in the fight as supports
Escort Assaults - Escorts - Capital - Interceptors - Guardians - Supports Defends Capitals and Supports 1600 Escorts defend your Supports and Capitals, but since they start more in front of the fleet they will still take part in the battle.
Assault Escorts - Capitals - Assaults - Interceptors - Guardians - Supports -- 1500 Assaults will attack Escorts and then Capitals. The pure battle ship.
Interceptor Guardians - Escorts - Supports - Interceptors - Assaults - Capitals -- 1600 Interceptors will try to remove Support ships from the enemy fleet, so first they attack Guardians because those defend the Support ships, then Escorts.

Tactical speed

Tactical speed determines how quickly a ship moves during combat. You can view a ship's current speed by selecting the ship on the battle viewer. Most ships start out at a low speed when combat begins, about 1/4 maximum speed, moving towards the center of battle. Once any ship starts firing, all ships that are moving will increase their speed and advance toward their primary target as quickly as possible.

Support ships start the furthest back and will not advance forward until there are no ally attack ships (interceptors, assault ships, and capital ships) left in its fleet. As long as at least one of these ship types remain, the support ship will maintain a speed of zero. Any vessels defending the support ships will move around at low speed but will remain in the back with the support ships as well. As soon as there are no remaining ally attack ships, the support ships will begin moving forward to join the fight, along with any defending guardians and escorts that are there as well.


A few things to think about when you are assigning ship roles:

  • Having different types of ship roles can lead to some serious advantages or disadvantages, depending on your fleet. For example, if you have a fleet consisting of half interceptors and half support ships, the interceptors will fly straight into the enemy fleet while your support ships stay back out of range. This effectively means you have split your fleet into 2 forces, which could lead you to have heavy losses, or lead to your defensive support ships staying back and being more protected while the interceptors being buffed up by the support ships fly in fast and try to start taking out their targets.

Defenders & Attackers Doctrine

A fleet can become more resource effective and take fewer losses if some ships specialize in defense and others in offense. In a regular fleet, the defenses are spread out on each ship; in the Defenders & Attackers Doctrine, the defenses are concentrated on one or more ships at the very front of the fleet, so that an enemy must cut through all the defenses first before they can kill any damage specializing ships. This allows a fleet to take a lot of damage without losing its momentum. Damaged defenders can be swapped out for fresh ones after battle, and if the enemy switches to different weapons, just change the defender design to counter it.

There are 2 role combinations that work for this doctrine:

  • Escort (defenders) + Capital (attackers)
  • Guardians (defenders) + Support (attackers) as long as there are no assault, interceptor, or capital ships also in the fleet

Note that Escorts (defenders) + Support (attackers) would also work (as long as there are no assault, interceptor, or capital ships also in the fleet) in terms of forcing all defenders to be killed before the attacks can start being damaged, the escorts have a starting position too far in front of the support ships for this combination to be effective.