#666: Formation Targeting Bug

This is by far the biggest bug in Homeworld Remastered, and it has been discussed in many other threads and places. Its very sad to see fighter formations rendered mostly useless by this bug, especially after a year of hard work by Gearbox to bring back homeworld 1 style formations.

Each ship in a fighter formation/squadron is picking its own targets. This often results in only the leader firing:

Video: https://youtu.be/OWsI_mgw2xc

To fix the bug, fighters in a formation just need to be bound to their leader’s target. The community is still hoping Gearbox will eventually properly patch this bug.

666 Fix

UPDATE: As of October 2017, the modding community (Trebic aka @shadowwinterknig) has now developed a fix for the bug here. The fix is now part of the 2.3 Players Patch.

Ships Affected

The bug affects fighters in a formation/squadron. Most fighters are affected as they must fire directly in front of themselves:
Hiigaran: Scouts, Interceptors, Bombers
Vaygr: Scouts, Assault Craft, Bombers, Lance, Laser Corvettes
Kushan/Taiidan: Scouts, Interceptors, Bombers, Cloaked Fighters

Corvettes in a formation/squadron do not appear to be impacted much, as they typically have turrets and can fire to the sides:
Hiigaran: Gunship Corvettes, Pulsar Corvettes
Vaygr: Missile Corvettes
Kushan/Taiidan: Light Corvettes, Multigun Corvettes, Heavy Corvettes, Defenders

Note that its often OK, or even beneficial for a formation of corvettes, frigates, capital ships, etc. to pick their own targets.

Dev Comments on #666:

Timeline:

Number 666 first appeared sometime between March 16th, 2016 and April 15th, 2016 in the Testing Patch Beta - and carried on into the 2.0 and 2.1 Patches.

How to Reproduce:

Just have 70 hiigaran interceptors attack 70 kushan interceptors. Follow one hiigaran interceptor squadron closely. After a while only the squadron leader will fire its guns. The bug doesn’t happen every time, but it happens most of the time.

Balance Impact:

hw1 interceptors were intended to be a bit better than hw2 interceptors when in formation, and a bit worse when not in formation. However this wingmen attack bug is wrecking havok with interceptor balance:
70 hiig ints (delta of 5) vs 70 kus ints (no formations) = 45 kus ints in 116 seconds (10+ tests)
70 Hiig Ints (delta of 5) vs 70 kus ints (claws of 5) = 37 hiig ints in 84 seconds (10+ tests)

Suggested changes:
Fix the bug. Then restore proper interceptor balance:
70 hiig ints (delta of 5) vs 70 kus ints (no formations) = hiig ints win by a little
70 Hiig Ints (delta of 5) vs 70 kus ints (claws of 5) = kus ints win by a little

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Has anyone checked if this issue applies to other strike craft? HW1 corvettes also seem to perform worse when in formation, while you would expect the opposite (or nearly identical performance).

this behaviour is something i have seen and basically acepted as part of normal game behaviour since HWR came out (ITS VERY SUBTLE in hig vs vey interceptor behaviour but you can notice it if you pay attention) obv with these huge custom formation the issue blows up and is clearly visible, no idea what the cause is but il talk to u when i join for one of the game nights at some point, i do not think this issue exised in HW2, my theory is basically that the way the ship movement has become more “newtonian” rather than WW2 in space for interceptors is whats causing it (basically this stuff was still there in hw2 just would never flare up because fighters were thetered more together and “helped” so they would not be unable to fly and aim at the same time) the actuall programing root cause is beyond be as i have never looked at it and im not a trained programer (i only digged thru unit stats and stuff out of curiosity), pathfinding programing is beyond me, but i have tons of (subjective) carefull observations of ships dogfighting in testing so mby it can point in the right direction to somone who has the programing part of the picture in their head)

Singrana, you must be thinking of something else. Watch the video in the first post to see how bad this is.

I just triple checked hw2c, HWR 1.3 from 2015, and the March 16th, 2016 Testing Patch Beta. #666 isn’t present in any of them.

Number 666 first appeared sometime between March 16th, 2016 and April 15th, 2016 in the Testing Patch Beta - and carried on into the 2.0 Patch. (Unfortunately balance was locked in early April, so none of the testers noticed the bug. :frowning: )

Just did a bunch of testing:
-Affected: Hiig Scouts/Interceptors/Bombers, Vaygr Scouts/Assault Craft/Bombers/Lance, Kushan Scouts/Interceptors in claw or X formations of 5 units, Vaygr Laser Corvettes
-Possibly not affected: Hiig Pulsar/Gunships, Vaygr Missile Corvs, Kushan Light/Heavy/Multigun Corvettes
Note that sometimes the bug doesn’t occur, or takes a while to start happening, so I don’t want to say that it doesn’t affect a ship unless its been tested like 5x times. But most corvettes look un-affected, other than Vaygr Laser Corvettes. Be sure to try wall formation for corvettes, as corvettes get some bonuses for being in a wall formation.

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I suspect the HW1 corvette “bug” stems from them taking up sub-optimal firing orientations while in formation and also being easier to hit. HW2 corvettes can arrange into large walls and still move around while HW1 need to be manually attack-moved.

Also, can the formations be re-programmed so that corvette formations always face their target? I noticed that shorter-range corvettes such as gunships often have some of the formation out of firing range when in wall or claw, with the formation perpendicular to the firing angle (all ships firing sideways).

when you say it is “not present” do you mean the root cause is 100% not there or that there is no noticable symptom affecting game results? when i said it was subtle i meant VERY subtle and i cannot remember EVER seeing it in HW2C (but presumably it was there as well, just perfectly masked by the way fighter movement was a bit different there) what im talking about looks EXACTLY like 666, just WAY more subtle (INSANELY SUBTLE i cant say many times enough how minor this is but you can notice vey assault craft in HWR struggle to align and fire their weapons due to the formation being a bit bigger (compared to hig ints) and everyone being slaved to the lead unit, in HW2C squads would fly a bit differently and be more dragged along by some kind of tether mechanism, units that lagged behind would be given a pulling effect to make them catch up quickly rather than other units having to wait for them in their manuvers), sugesting the ROOT CAUSE is there all along, just now the “band aid” covering it untill now is gone somehow (basically it was an extremely minor effect in HWR and now on the latest patch something must have changed to make the problem WAY worse so its now very in your face obvious, but it LOOKS exactly like the same phenomenon just scaled up)

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Ahh, I see what you mean now. Ya that’s possible, but for sure was far from the video above where only the leader is firing and the wingmen are just sight-seeing the whole time… Reading the dev comments above, I’d think its something brand new though. Thisquietreverie (scole) has been watching interceptors with a magnifying glass for the last year. Who knows though. Seems to be a bug in the exe, I’ve tried restoring old .ship/.weapon/attack/flight path files etc to no avail.

hey all!! gbx devs plz give us insight of whats been goin on in all, we would all love to hear from u all, and of course, this bug is a massive pain in the rear :cry: so far, everything in the patch preview is perfect, the only thing that is causing trouble that we all see is the #666 bug… keep up the hard work!!! :smiley:

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Gearbox,

When get the chance could you please follow up on this bug, arguably the king bug of all bugs. ^^ This would be one of the most important fixes if not the most important fix to the balance of the game in it current state.

I’ve realized that the fix may be time/effort consuming however, community would be exceptionally grateful for some word as to the state of the #666 fix.

It is perfectly fine if it is still work in progress just please, drop us a line or two so locals would stop walking on pins and needles. :wink:

Greatly appreciated. Uncah Ghosty.

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For any chance of a response you will need to invoke them @BitVenom @thisquietreverie …

Yeah but for over a month now neither of them has posted anything at all :confused: which is slowly becoming quite unsettling to be honest.

Unsettling… agreed.

Hmm, I thought the whole point of the patch preview was to have the community involved in testing the ongoing develop of the game. There isn’t any word about updates, nor has there been an update for sometime which tells me there is either no development taking place or that gearbox prefers not to let us in on the development process. If it be the latter, then the preview patch isn’t quite what it was made out to be, rather just another means to keep Homeworld fans hopeful.

I don’t blame the devs for keeping quiet lips, but I find it bad practice. As Ghosty said, just a line or two.

Let’s not forget how broken and unbalanced the vanilla version of the game is right now, or how it is going to be almost two years since launch soon. I get that this game isn’t the most popular, but a game that takes this long to get minimal amount of patches that still hasn’t fixed the issues people are screaming about tells the community a lot about the developers, regardless of they might want to think of themselves.

So yeah, unsettling indeed.

[quote=“CryCoh, post:12, topic:1541832”]
I get that this game isn’t the most popular, but a game that takes this long to get minimal amount of patches that still hasn’t fixed the issues people are screaming about tells the community a lot about the developers, regardless of they might want to think of themselves.[/quote]

I honestly wouldn’t put the blame on developers like BitVenom and his colleagues, because so far they’ve been awesome to us and they are “just” the guys working on the game, but the decisions regarding the franchise and its products are made by upper management and therefore it was most likely them who decided to either abandon the game or told the devs to keep quiet for the time being (just an assumption on my part ofc, I have no inside knowledge). I mean the dev guys can only continue to work on the game if they get paid for doing so, so it isn’t really up to them to decide if they keep supporting the game (no one can ask a person to work for free in their spare time).

Aside from that point I completely agree with you, a lack of communication is never a good way to keep a community interested and at least for me personally, it makes me wary of buying potential future products of the franchise from such a company.

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Hence why I didn’t single any developer out. I used the term in general, as clearly not one or two individuals could or should deal with the responsibility of developing Homeworld. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Alright, no problem :slight_smile: and I agree with you, just wanted to clarify and elaborate a bit on your point.

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Still waiting for gearbox to finish what they started.

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Is this bug resolved? Are fighters functional currently?

Since there was no patch since the last post was made, the bug still exists as it did 9 months ago and will in all likeliness never be fixed since official GBX staff hasn’t spoken to us in over a year now :disappointed:

Well, if it only affects squadrons, then I guess the solution is to not use the squadron system.

Yeah, but it still sucks to not be able to use formations, especially since they went through all the trouble to implement them with the 2.0 patch in the first place :confused: