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Topic: Staging, Resupply and SAR Convoys (Read 1437 times) previous topic - next topic

  • Harker
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Staging, Resupply and SAR Convoys
Proposal: All attacks consist of a "staggered wave" advance down the proposed system lattices. Each wave is a convoy, with all newly arriving ships waiting at a single safe system until a critical mass is reached then a "flagship" is chosen (Idris or other capital ship) out of the available ships and they all leave as a convoy towards the front lines.

Each convoy functions as a multipurpose fleet group with capability for mobile resupply, C&C for search + rescue, C&C for long range/local recon, mobile staging point for isolated fleet elements and front line battle group. Each capability depends on which ships have joined into that convoy and what their owners want to do.

The "flagship" contains someone in touch with the central co-ordinating people at Pitchfork Command (preferably over Teamspeak) so that all the convoys can be tracked and redirected as necessary. The flagship will constantly broadcast to the rest of the convoy their destination and purpose, as well as periodically stopping at jumppoints to regroup with anyone cut off from the rest of Pitchfork.

Preferably convoys would be distributed so that there are two-three per system, to provide "fleet clusters" capable of stomping Vanduul at maximum efficiency but close enough to group together if necessary. When about to enter a major confrontation, non-combat ships can disengage and make a run for a nearby friendly convoy to avoid taking fire (potentially with escort?).

Search and rescue would be centered around each convoy, with the flagship forming a "nucleus" around which SAR ships search carefully. That way the flagship can work out which areas are most likely to contain survivors then effectively search there.

Recon ships would be constantly departing and zipping around the nearby system/s, then looping back to the convoy to provide updated intel. As the flagship should be making their destinations nice and obvious, the recon ships should have a clear idea of where to meet with them up ahead. If a recon ship gets separated from their convoy, they can just rejoin another one later. All their intel goes to the flagship who reports it to Pitchfork Command.

I think that covers it. To summarise, we have fleet groups departing from the initial staging system at staggered intervals, with one big ship that's telling everyone to follow it in each wave. Everyone else does their roles around that flagship, and all they have to do is stay close and not die. Flagship captains (as well as scouts, other observers?) all co-ordinate over teamspeak.

  • Benjamin the Rogue
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Re: Staging, Resupply and SAR Convoys
Reply #1
It seems reasonable. But would this take any much needed firepower away from a group in an instance if it's trying to cover every possible role? Maybe it would be better to have specialized groups, or at least, as specialized a group as we can make a herd of cats get, that follow each other in waves?

Maybe have the first wave the attack wave, followed by a combat ready reinforcement wave, followed by a SAR wave, with resupply and repair behind them, that members from the first to waves can fly back to on their own as their needs dictate?

I do like the wave idea, though. It keeps it a bit more organized if we can somehow pull that off. Leadership positions are going to be hard to enforce in this all-volunteer group, but that may need to be its own separate discussion to have.

  • Harker
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Re: Staging, Resupply and SAR Convoys
Reply #2
I've written about leaders at https://operationpitchfork.com/forums/index.php?topic=414.0

I suppose if the battle groups aren't leapfrogging each other they could be specialised into either combat (the frontline groups) or resupply / SAR, and we just direct forces into one or the other depending if their inclination is to fighting or non-combat.

Handling waves will be fairly easy - we just have one or two people spamming proxy chat with "OPRF: HOLD HERE AND REGROUP UNTIL 1800" "OPRF: BEGIN ADVANCE TO TIBER JUMP POINT" etc. I don't think zerg leaders will have too much trouble if they know what they're doing.

  • Benjamin the Rogue
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Re: Staging, Resupply and SAR Convoys
Reply #3
I think most people will know if they're where they're supposed to be depending on if ships are exploding around them or not. ;D

I think it's really going to depend on how the independents behave once they get out there, since we're not really going to be worrying about doing more than telling the organizations where they may or may not be needed. But it's worth a shot setting something up for the indies that want some structure without having to join an organization.
  • Last Edit: April 17, 2014, 08:13:01 PM by Benjamin the Rogue

Re: Staging, Resupply and SAR Convoys
Reply #4
I've talked about staggered waves before, and I think it's really the only way to protect our more vulnerable craft while also using all of our fighting force. The alternatives are either that our more vulnerable ships have no escorts, or they have dedicated escorts. In the prior case, they are easy prey to Vanduul, Trident, and unaffiliated pirates. In the latter case, we decrease our fighting force. By having our fighting craft jumping in staggered waves, the more vulnerable ships can all jump together with them and gain their protection.

I think that the few, relatively minor disagreements I have with this specific plan can simply be chalked up to our lack of knowledge of how Star Citizen is going to play, and the fact that we have not (and cannot) decided on our strategic plan yet. However, I am going to elaborate on the few disagreements I have. Please do not take this to mean any insult:


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1) "Two to three fleet clusters per system." I'm hoping that we'll have at least one thousand players online simultaneously throughout the operation. This comes out to about ten fleet clusters online at a time. However, I am of the opinion we should only attack a single system in full force at a time, and not spread our forces thin. Others support this opinion, but it's not something that has been decided yet. If you include our staging and supply area (likely Nul) as one system, the system we are fighting in, and whatever systems we have to pass through to get to that system, we will likely have three or four active systems.

So your numbers do work out in this respect, but I think it's wasteful for our forces to spend any more time than necessary in the systems between our staging area and the front. At any one time, I imagine that new combat-oriented players would log in or arrive at our staging area, and our more vulnerable craft (cargo ships, SAR, etc.) would be there dealing with logistics (ie loading up on munitions, unloading crippled ships for repair, dropping off injured or marooned players). So the staging area would be pretty active. However, with any hope, our supply/SAR/etc. craft should each be able to service a great number of combat craft at the front. And our combat-oriented players won't want to wait at the staging area for long, so there will be far fewer players at the staging area than at the front. The front is where we'll need everybody, so the vast majority of our players will be there. Any systems in-between will simply be what we have to travel through, and should not be kept populated. This way, we do not diminish our fighting force.

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2) "Search and rescue would be centered around each convoy, with the flagship forming a 'nucleus' around which SAR ships can search carefully." This one is a bit hard to conceptualize in a concrete manner. Are we talking about keeping the SAR ships with the supply convoys at all times? If so, I should hope that the SAR ships would have very few people to pick up, because that would mean our convoy craft are being beaten to heck. The vast majority of player ships that are shot down will be at the front. Not just the front, but the front of the front. :-P Keeping them with the convoy would effectively pull Starfarers, Freelancers, and Merchantmen into heavy combat zones and away from the command ships they would need to be resupplying. SAR is going to be as dangerous a role as any dogfighting or bombing role. Keeping them together would also likely give SAR insufficient time to perform their duty. The cargo craft will likely unload their cargo onto the instance's largest ship and leave to go get more supplies. The SAR craft will be flying around the battlefield trying to pick up people, which will likely take longer. And then, the SAR craft will likely be unloading the people they rescue onto the local command ship, not ferrying them all the way back to the staging area, which is where the cargo ships will be going.

The long and the short of it is, I believe most SAR craft will remain in at the front for the vast majority of their playtime, while the cargo convoy will be moving between systems constantly. So you can't keep them together on any permanent basis. There might need to be a few SAR craft operating more loosely to pick up the (hopefully) few players who are shot down between the staging area and the front.

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3) "the flagship should be making their destinations nice and obvious," etc. I agree with your belief that the largest ship in a group should perform C&C and be connected with command. Likely this will be a very active role, and you're not gonna want a pilot, or a ship that can be destroyed in a few lucky shots doing this. You're gonna want C&C to be done on a ship that is easily identifiable so that everyone can protect that ship. So I'm there with you on that. I also agree that this command ship should take charge of and be very clear in giving destinations and orders.

However, I believe these convoy groups need to break up when they arrive at the front and/or the staging ground. It's quite likely that the battles we get into will last anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours. Convoys of new ships arriving at the front should not be starting new instances, but reinforcing existing instances. This is where C&C is important: identifying which ships were shot down in which instances, what the enemy force is like, what our force is like, and replacing the shot-down craft with the most appropriate ship at that time. Main command will be keeping track of all these things, and C&C for the convoys will need to distribute these orders. The same goes for cargo delivered by the Starfarers/Merchantmen/Freelancers/etc.. This means that as new convoys arrive, each individual ship will need to receive different orders. Once we have reinforced all of our instances up to their maximum desirable number of players, we can consider starting a new instance.

I also don't believe that every convoy will likely have an Idris or larger ship moving to reinforce the front. There are going to be too many convoys and not enough capital ships; their captains are also unlikely to log in in such a way that you can distribute them so every convoy has a command ship. However, it might be useful to have a dedicated convoy command ship at all times. This way, we always have not only a strong center to our convoys, but we will have a connection to command to coordinate deployment. It'd be a mess if a new convoy of craft came to the front, but the Hornets didn't know which instance needed space superiority, and the Freelancers didn't know which instance needed more warheads delivered, etc.. With this said, we might need two Idrises (at all times of the day) and crew willing to simply run back and forth between the front and staging ground. It's important to realize that once a command ship has arrived near the front and has deployed all the ships to the appropriate instances, very few or none of the ships that came with it would still be there. However, the cargo craft that came with it in the last instance, and damaged ships retreating from battle, would be there waiting for a return convoy.

Why do I say two Idrises, though? IMO during each of the staggered waves, we should have one group moving in each direction. This way, if they are intercepted, they can relatively quickly move to support one-another. The returning group would be weaker, after all.

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As for the timing of the groups, I think we should have a convoy every 15 minutes. This short timing will keep players cooperative and willing to move in a convoy. It's possible that traveling from the staging ground to the front may take longer than 15 minutes, and if so, there may need to be adjustments to the number of staggered groups actively traveling at once, or the timing of the staggered groups. I also think that players who want to jump on their own should not be prohibited from doing so, and simply warned against it.
  • Last Edit: January 24, 2014, 01:30:05 AM by Knightcrawler

  • Harker
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Re: Staging, Resupply and SAR Convoys
Reply #5

I've talked about staggered waves before


Now that you mention it, I recall someone else proposing attacking in staggered waves. If it was you I probably should have credited you more :)

1) "Two to three fleet clusters per system." I'm hoping that we'll have at least one thousand players online simultaneously throughout the operation. This comes out to about ten fleet clusters online at a time. However, I am of the opinion we should only attack a single system in full force at a time, and not spread our forces thin. Others support this opinion, but it's not something that has been decided yet. If you include our staging and supply area (likely Nul) as one system, the system we are fighting in, and whatever systems we have to pass through to get to that system, we will likely have three or four active systems.


Numbers at this point are purely speculative, but ten thousand players is definitely in the region of possibility. Viability of group management and optimal sizes is also up in the air due to the vagueness of mechanics at this point. I'm generally in favour of a strategic plan that limits advance to one or two lattice links (with a single initial staging point) but I'll need to see the strategic value and tactical resilience of the systems in question so I can make a case by case determination.

So your numbers do work out in this respect, but I think it's wasteful for our forces to spend any more time than necessary in the systems between our staging area and the front. At any one time, I imagine that new combat-oriented players would log in or arrive at our staging area, and our more vulnerable craft (cargo ships, SAR, etc.) would be there dealing with logistics (ie loading up on munitions, unloading crippled ships for repair, dropping off injured or marooned players). So the staging area would be pretty active. However, with any hope, our supply/SAR/etc. craft should each be able to service a great number of combat craft at the front. And our combat-oriented players won't want to wait at the staging area for long, so there will be far fewer players at the staging area than at the front. The front is where we'll need everybody, so the vast majority of our players will be there. Any systems in-between will simply be what we have to travel through, and should not be kept populated. This way, we do not diminish our fighting force.


Part of my thinking was built around a freelancer or "RPG" style of NPC generation, where X number of NPC patrols would automatically spawn in a region and would require constant PC attention over that time span to systematically wipe them and keep the area "secured." I guess it's more of an idealistic thing to keep as many areas as possible clear of Vanduul in that respect, but again that's something that will have to wait until much later to make a final call on.

My thinking behind the attack waves was that they would only leave at 10-15 minute intervals, so no-one would really be waiting for long. Ideally they would wait until a certain critical mass (X number of players, Y number of Z type ships etc), but that's an ideal case.

2) "Search and rescue would be centered around each convoy, with the flagship forming a 'nucleus' around which SAR ships can search carefully." This one is a bit hard to conceptualize in a concrete manner. Are we talking about keeping the SAR ships with the supply convoys at all times? If so, I should hope that the SAR ships would have very few people to pick up, because that would mean our convoy craft are being beaten to heck. The vast majority of player ships that are shot down will be at the front. Not just the front, but the front of the front. :-P Keeping them with the convoy would effectively pull Starfarers, Freelancers, and Merchantmen into heavy combat zones and away from the command ships they would need to be resupplying. SAR is going to be as dangerous a role as any dogfighting or bombing role. Keeping them together would also likely give SAR insufficient time to perform their duty. The cargo craft will likely unload their cargo onto the instance's largest ship and leave to go get more supplies. The SAR craft will be flying around the battlefield trying to pick up people, which will likely take longer. And then, the SAR craft will likely be unloading the people they rescue onto the local command ship, not ferrying them all the way back to the staging area, which is where the cargo ships will be going.

The long and the short of it is, I believe most SAR craft will remain in at the front for the vast majority of their playtime, while the cargo convoy will be moving between systems constantly. So you can't keep them together on any permanent basis. There might need to be a few SAR craft operating more loosely to pick up the (hopefully) few players who are shot down between the staging area and the front.


I don't want SAR ships near the frontline, because those players will have specifically opted for non-combat roles and so will be expecting a minimum of combat. Ergo, an escort and directives that keep them away from the front lines will be necessary. The reason SAR efforts are focussed in convoys is in order to most effectively canvas the trouble spots - instead of a million free agents which will all need to be managed for optimal resource distribution, we have (half a dozen? two?) big SAR convoys which we direct to the major conflicts to make sure that only the areas that need SAR/resupply will get it (but after those conflicts have died down, obviously).

The way I conceptualize it is that each SAR convoy is a mobile staging/resupply point, with their positioning determined by the most recent major conflicts - they trail behind the front lines so they can safely recover the most downed pilots, while also offering a nice and close point that is safe to run to for resupply.


However, I believe these convoy groups need to break up when they arrive at the front and/or the staging ground. It's quite likely that the battles we get into will last anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours. Convoys of new ships arriving at the front should not be starting new instances, but reinforcing existing instances. This is where C&C is important: identifying which ships were shot down in which instances, what the enemy force is like, what our force is like, and replacing the shot-down craft with the most appropriate ship at that time. Main command will be keeping track of all these things, and C&C for the convoys will need to distribute these orders. The same goes for cargo delivered by the Starfarers/Merchantmen/Freelancers/etc.. This means that as new convoys arrive, each individual ship will need to receive different orders. Once we have reinforced all of our instances up to their maximum desirable number of players, we can consider starting a new instance.


We don't know how large scale C&C will work (or if it's even possible) and it'll certainly be an extremely difficult and trying role on such a large scale. I would relish the challenge, but in my experience many people placed in similar roles quickly crack under the pressure. Merging convoys should be avoided as we're essentially losing tactical flexibility, while breaking up convoys should be avoided as it would be virtually impossible to split according to the desired ratios. Thus, the simplest and most effective way is to keep the convoys separate. Of course, a large part of the viability of that depends on how our forces can be most effectively distributed and whether a massive hammer blow of concentrating all our forces is the most viable strategy.

I also don't believe that every convoy will likely have an Idris or larger ship moving to reinforce the front. There are going to be too many convoys and not enough capital ships; their captains are also unlikely to log in in such a way that you can distribute them so every convoy has a command ship. However, it might be useful to have a dedicated convoy command ship at all times. This way, we always have not only a strong center to our convoys, but we will have a connection to command to coordinate deployment. It'd be a mess if a new convoy of craft came to the front, but the Hornets didn't know which instance needed space superiority, and the Freelancers didn't know which instance needed more warheads delivered, etc.. With this said, we might need two Idrises (at all times of the day) and crew willing to simply run back and forth between the front and staging ground. It's important to realize that once a command ship has arrived near the front and has deployed all the ships to the appropriate instances, very few or none of the ships that came with it would still be there. However, the cargo craft that came with it in the last instance, and damaged ships retreating from battle, would be there waiting for a return convoy.

Why do I say two Idrises, though? IMO during each of the staggered waves, we should have one group moving in each direction. This way, if they are intercepted, they can relatively quickly move to support one-another. The returning group would be weaker, after all.


There'll be enough Idrises that we can commandeer a few to act as flagships for other convoys. I really don't think people will have a problem with their ship being designated the "Command Vessel," even if it means they have to pull out of a fight and head back to rendezvous with a fleet group six systems behind the front lines.

As for the timing of the groups, I think we should have a convoy every 15 minutes. This short timing will keep players cooperative and willing to move in a convoy. It's possible that traveling from the staging ground to the front may take longer than 15 minutes, and if so, there may need to be adjustments to the number of staggered groups actively traveling at once, or the timing of the staggered groups. I also think that players who want to jump on their own should not be prohibited from doing so, and simply warned against it.


15 minutes is a nice compromise between building up size and not waiting too long.