Auto-aim [Drone-Carriers Concepts](< base_url >/index.php?/topic/35446-the-drone-carrier/&tab=comments#comment-415253) come up time and again and also come up reservation against such ideas, just recently: ["No drone carriers or any carriers please… "](< base_url >/index.php?/topic/35446-the-drone-carrier/&tab=comments#comment-415253), [“People in Crossout used to deploy drones and just leave the battlefield…”](< base_url >/index.php?/topic/33874-swarm-class-ship/&tab=comments#comment-415179).
A massive base like a destroyer, due to its sheer mass and size, utilized for a huge number of autonomous or semi-autonomous functioning drones could be massive OP and indeed change the game (especially in PvP that is to say)!
I suggest a different approach. I’d rather envision drone carrier, or similar concepts, to be the future domain of the frigate ship class. Here’s my working model up for discussion:
Type: Unique Ship ( pilots can [change the ship’s rank](< base_url >/index.php?/topic/35407-developer-blog-from-december-14-new-ships/#comment-414902)between 5 and max)
Ranks: 5 - max (17?)
Upgrades: separate branch in the hangar
Type: Drone Frigate
Role: Hunter-seeker, tactical anti-spacecraft warfare, mark targets for the pack
Speed: 260 m/s
Aft speed: 290 m/s
Aft erg. usage: 160 en/s
Reverse speed: 150 m/s
Strafe: 125 m/s
Accel.: 125 m/s^2
Roll: 44 °/s
Pitch: 38 °/s
Hull: 14,600 pts.
Hull regen.: 210 pts./s
Shield: 13,100 pts.
Shield regen.: 210 pts./s
Energy: 1,800 pts.
Enrg regen.: 220 pts.
Sensor range: 8,600 m
Target lock: 0.5 s
Level 2: Hull and shield resistance to EM damage +50 pts.
Level 4: Select between:
- 50% more AEGIS combat drone durability
- 50% more AEGIS combat drone damage
- 12% more base and afterburner speed
Level 8: Select between (like crew implant rank14):
- Polarized hull plating (hull damage resistance +75 pts for 8 s when shield is lost, recharge interval 300 s)
- Shield system reboot (neutralis./immunity of/to all negative effects for 8 s when shield is lost, recharge 300 s)
- Emergency stealth field generator (ship is invisible for 8 s when shield is lost, recharge interval 300 s)
*The Drone frigate is mainly an anti-spacecraft tactical warfare vessel, equipped with multiple hunter-seeker, combat and defence drones. Multiple targets can be locked to different main drone groups of one (6 attack drones), two (3 attack drones each), three (2 attack drones each), that can automatically target and track their targets. In this way, one to three targets can be auto-combated by mainframe AI simultaneously, either in defensive or offensive mode. Available drones can vary in size, durability and agility from attack-drone size over sentry-drone to heavy guard-drone sizes. Auto launch of drones after destruction of a drone (with certain preparation times according to size and power of drone). Like all modern Light frigate warships it has the ability to repair its hull, and can direct an additional helper-shield to the front or rear, but lacking the Static Shields of the suppressor-class Destroyers. They are equipped with outer hull-repair nano bots fed by the EM energy of the shield emitters.
*This Light frigate has no common direct main weapon fire power like other suppressor-Destroyers have because it has drone launchers, not weapon mounts. In this way it is an defensive counter and clearly has lesser base destructive power.
*It is a tactical vessel that can hunt interceptors, fighters, frigates, and destroyers (maybe: subtargeting of dessy active-modules/mounts, like energy router, pyro emitter, etc).
*It can survive in open space longer due to its better hull and shield repair rates and moderately swiftness.
*It is a Unique Ship, its ranks can be changed in a separate branch in the hangar from rank 5 to maximal.
*It is hard to be killed by single (EM-blade) circling interceptors and small fighters, but has less offensive fire power.
Role: It is a rather fast and reasonable tanky frigate, it’s a ranged attack frigate. Its basic role is that of a swift hunter-seeker vessel. It hasn’t enough fire power to down a Suppressor-class Destroyer, but it can prevent healer engineer ships to repair it or render it vulnerable over longer time to be finished off by other team mates. However, it typically engages all classes of frigates, fighters and interceptors. It is a ranged counter. Its drones can auto target Destroyer structures, like the energy router, modules or ship’s shield. Therefore it can render Destroyers constantly in need of repair of its special functions (wear them down). It also can attack with small hunter-seeker drones that harass interceptors and prevent them to become strategic Destroyer killers (with EM-blade for example) - but as the Light frigate has limited drone capacity it must focus its fire power and overall battlefield support strategy. It is primarily very resilient against EM damage (hull & shields).
Weakness: As an anti-small-spacecraft warfare vessel, it is mainly vulnerable to attacks from Destroyers and groups of smaller fighters or frigates. It does have limited main weapon power per se because it is fitted with 6 drone launchers in stead of main guns. Coordinated attacks can overwhelm its defensive capabilities. Economic use of resources and energy in drone launching and destruction is crucial because each drone launch costs energy.
Main weapon (CIWS attack-drone launchers):
* Light frigate class AI-mainframe MU-TH-UR 1001 multiple target selector and tracker. Selects the locked target as target for AI-controlled AEGIS combat drone systems. Drone frigates have 6 AEGIS drone launch and control installs. So 1 left mouse click will lock 2 AEGIS drones to the tocked target. 2nd left mouse click will lock another 2 AEGIS drones to the locked target (in case target lock hasn’t changed, this will give 4 AEGIS drones 1 target). 3rd left mouse click will lock another 2 AEGIS drones to the locked target (in case target lock hasn’t changed, this will give 6 AEGIS drones 1 target). 4th left mouse click will lock the first AEGIS drone-pair to the tocked target (like a cycle). Launches drones every 30s with 3000 durability pts., no more than 6 at once. Drones attack enemies dealing 800 EM damage per s in 8,000 m range. Uses up 333 energy pts. per single activation. A special key can cancel all target locks, switching off the AEGIS drones to passive mode (like in key binds: ‘Cancel Lock’ key). A special key can link the AEGIS drones to the AI-controlled Trophy active protection system (APS). On activation it switches the AEGIS drones into auto-tracking defensive mode, they now circle the ship and automatically fire at enemy ships until deactivation (like in key binds: ‘Lock any enemy’ key). It also reduces controlling effect’s duration by 25% and increases sensor range by 75%. The player can concentrate on an escape route while the ships AI-mainframe auto-attacks enemy ships (like the Engineer frigate’s combat drones for example).
* Pre-select between:
- interceptor AEGIS drones “firebee” (small, swift, anti-interceptor)
- tactical AEGIS drones “tyndal” (medium, anti-fighter)
- heavy AEGIS drones “simson” (big, slow, anti-frigate)
Special module slot (“F” key):
Emergency mode of the MU-TH-UR 1001 multiple target selector and tracker AI-mainframe. Upon key stroke all away (send out) active drones are abandoned (or killed, exploding) and new drones are launched near to the ship in an defensive auto-mode, they will then start to attack all enemy targets nearest to the Merkawa mother ship. Drones will circle and follow the ships movements.
Missile slot (Right-mouse-click):
*Helper-shield extra energy distribution to the front (+100% frontal shield power)
*Helper-shield extra energy distribution to the rear (+100% aft shield power)
Active module slots:
*The 4 active module slots can be equipped with conventional frigate multi-purpose modules.
**Light frigate class Electronic-warfare anti-system hack grants control over all its objects and drones in a perimeter around the Light drone frigate for 30s. The linked stasis generator prevents enemy ships from using active modules, shooting or launching missiles for 4s. Active range for both components is 5000m. Recharge time is 60s.
**Light frigate class Mine-layer, on activation, a mine is laid out, which takes 3 seconds. After 6 mines are laid out, mine cassette reloading production takes 80 seconds.
- Proximity mines (sticks to target within trigger range, only enemy ships receive damage from explosion)
- Tactical nuke mines (high damage within small radius upon activation within trigger range, also generates a radio-active cloud dealing 2600 dmg/s in a 300m radius for 10s. Explosion delay 3 sec.)
- Energy-neutralizing EM mines (explosion on activation within trigger range generates an EM field that burns 170 pts. of energy for all enemy ships within 700m cloud)
Special upgrade modality: This drone frigate starts as a rank 5 ship model that can be improved to max rank (17?) in separate branch/slot/dock in the hangar ‘‘Unique Ships’’. Players/owners of the basic rank 5 model can refit to higher (or reverse to lower) ranks by adding (distracting) special ship parts they did accomplish to craft. In this way the base ship could be more creatively adjusted, still retaining its basic layout/form. A refit from rank 5 to rank 8 for example would cost materials (rare ones from dangerous open space alien sectors maybe).
Lore: Federation warfare analysis revealed the crucial role of support vessels for the efficiency of suppressor-class destroyers in battlespace, especially against Ellydium ships that are more and more utilized and even modified by pirates. Fed scientists improved their photon quantum neural mainframe design, which gave rise to even more enhanced artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. Their new Light frigate-class AI-mainframe (MU-TH-UR 1001) is capable of calculating multiple target trajectories and guide and contol all basic ship functions at the same time. It also can perform aggressive or defensive AI auto-combat strategies. The best Federation drone designers used this photon quantum neural design to fit each AEGIS combat drone with an AI-neuronal network ganglion and connect it to the control of the MU-TH-UR 1001 AI-mainframe series. Eventually the Fed. shipyards came up with the latest “Apyz” drone-frigate design.