Question for the old HW1 guys about formations (Serious)

What did you like about fighter formations most:

When in mini formations

When in large formations

What did yo like about vette walls most:

@Aged, @Moonquake_BiB, @Alpha_1, @Ursa_Major, pass these questions around to other old guys as well.

Early into a game I did the standard groups of 5 scouts in claw, usually up to 25 scouts all together. They were nice to manage that way, but after you had to dock them that part kind of went away because it was too time consuming to reform them. It was a nice battle ball visual too and it brought the maximum density of guns to bear. So, that’s my mini formation answer.

The only large formation I used was sphere and then usually just bombers as you were killing the MS - especially if you kami’d them for the coup de grace. Sphere formation was also handy to keep salvettes or minelayers in a cloaking field

Corvette wall was the best balance of concentrated firepower while also making it easier for support frigates to do their job. A big wall of heavy corvettes was also impressive to see as well as giving you the group’s health at a glance.

Wall formation was for ICFs, destroyers & HCs, for the same reason. Though, sometimes I’d switch to sphere for the kill.

So management for mini forms, large sphere for fire concentration, and B-ball for fighters. Then combination of management and concentration of fire and visual for vette walls.

So follow up questions. If you could get the same performance and management capabilities, could you do without the visual for both vette walls and fighters?

Other than hiding salvettes, etc in a cloaking field, sphere was mostly just a visual for dramatic effect.

I suppose if I could get similar functionality, I could adapt, but wall and sphere (for hiding) just seem like the natural approach. I have trouble picturing another formation doing the same thing. They’re just intuitively obvious to me.

The ball of claws is easier to envision as something else.

I miss the physics of fighter combat; the spins, the inertia drags taking a fighter in one direction while it maintains firing in another direction, that kind of thing.

Wall formation is one of those things where the formation itself brings the utility, as it’s a combination of good firing angles forward, protection of the ships behind, and easy support from behind.That’s hard to replicate without the formation itself.

Sphere is similar, it provides either the best screen (at the greater risk to the screening ships) or the best offensive output (at the greater risk to the attacking ships) because of the nature of the formation itself. The spectacular visuals are secondary to the actual effectiveness which comes as a consequence of that particular arrangement of ships.


I just played HW1 MP for fun and I wasn’t serious and competitive about it. Like I couldn’t do much beyond the standard wall with a support wall behind it and spheres.

But I have to say, I really liked how claw on aggressive or evasive looked a lot more than a wall set to defensive(and of course the sphere tactic toggling abuse was just nonsense).

That’s part of why I don’t want 1:1 parity, but just something that’s kind of the best of both. I’d like to see non wall/sphere formations in aggressive/evasive be better just ‘cause they look cooler and there should be bonus to ships diving in like that and getting in more harms way than standing off at max distance in a wall.
I just want something where when you put ships in defensive and set to guard, they don’t chase things 3000 units in a way.
I want my sphere guard orders to make a sphere around the target.
I want wall/sphere to make the ships hold their position and only turn to shoot things in range. Though it should probably have some kinda penalty so they aren’t as super powerful as HW1. (Just look at how strong Defenders seem when their stats are mostly terrible. If all units could behave like that, people would say defenders suck)
I want the "AttackRun’ that most ships use to not be so sucky, that ignores micro, and not be so odd buggy things all the time, and to not ignore what I’m telling it to attack because of some code that tells them to randomly change targets.
I want to be able to drag-select attack order over a number of targets and for my units to select multiple targets instead of just giving an attack order on the closest one.
I want drag-select support orders to work.

I mean from a realism standpoint, if you take 2 ships going into each other at 350m/s, firing a projectile moving 2200m/s, well really the impact of the projectile is of 2900m/s while ships standing off in a wall have a lot less velocity added. :stuck_out_tongue:
Obviously that’s too much of a change to the game, but you get what I’m saying when it comes to tuning these new behaviors.


This, so much this.


Can’t agree more with this one. It’s infureating for ships to just go off and attack ■■■■ on their own. That is what agressive is for, not nutural, not evasive. If I want my pilots to take their own initiative, I’ll select them and press F4. Otherwise, go where I told you to go and stay there until either you’re fired upon or I tell you to move. Managing units in this game is like herding cats.



This is the tricky thing. I don’t think I CAN pick what I liked best, because it was the fact that ALL THREE of them combined are what made formations so damn great. It wasn’t JUST their performance and effectiveness. It wasn’t just easy to manage them. It wasn’t just how visually stunning 5 groups of claw formation are coming from different directions.

It was the fact that Homeworld 1 possessed ALL THREE that made it so potent. One or two, yeah. That’s good. But all three? That’s partly why our standard for the Homeworld 1 formations is so high, is because it really was that visually stunning, that effective, and that easy to manage.

Why would someone used to the best ever settle for something less? It’s like the human species finally creating a utopia with lasting world peace, and something came to unsettle that. Of course we would try for it again. Why would we settle for anything less? We already know how good it was and can be.


Actually visually, there was a lot of “jankiness” in the HW1 movement. And I’m not talking about the evasive sway.

3 ships in claw or delta for me, were the most lethal form, b-ball ( or d-ball whatever) for hurting capitals, and don’t forget to ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Yeah, when you look closely at how the units move, it looks like a series of several snapshots as if the game was running at 20-30 FPS except it is not - I imagine this subtle jankyness/stuttering is because the physics based system of the engine has a set tick/update rate and the game lacks any kind of client-side visual interpolation to smooth it out? The game is from 1999 after all.

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I really liked the ease of management AND performance for smaller groups, I basically used squadrons before they were invented, with 7 interceptors in delta, 3-6 corvs in wall, etc. Larger formations, other than fighter spheres against capitals, and bomber claws for the first attack run, where primarily for management. Corvette walls were fantastic for performance and really made the corvettes a much more effective force. It had the same effect for frigates, making them easy to maneuver and bringing all of their firepower to bear.

i aways used to put fighters into squads of 5 on agressive in claw or X as i learned that was the most optimal way to use them. it was a total pain in the ass boxing fighters 5 at a time and putting them into formation. this is part of the reason i prefer hw2s squad fighter, i found it more of a QoL change than anything.

apart from the wall of fire coming out of a strafing sphere large formations were totally useless. it looked crap and couldn’t dogfight worth a damn.

vette wall was could put out a massive wall of led against other strike craft and had everything stay tight enough together to be effectively repaired by trailing support frigs who in turn were trailed by more support frigs in chain of healing. it was a cleaver use of mechanics, not a pinnacle of of game play. i for one think this highlights one of the areas where HW1 fell short.

i find it ironic, the crying from the hw1 side of the fence against hw2’s strike craft squad healing mechanic when something as blatantly broken as the corvette wall existed.

I don’t think most people are saying it should work EXACTLY how it did in HW1, including all broken opness of certain things.

The problem is the lack of any sort of unit management existing at all.
Let alone hardly any real control at all over units.
In HW2, the “AI” plays so much for you and you can’t really micro strikecraft.
Even if you tell strike craft to attack something, they’ll soon ignore you and pick new targets at their leisure.

OP was about your opinion of some of the the original homewolrd mechanics.

i gave my opinion on those things and i am entitled to hold my opinion. which wasn’t an invitation for you to belittle it because it doesn’t match your opinion.

Honestly, I think I could give up sphere formation to get the other ones working correctly. I mostly just used sphere to hasten the demise of something that was pretty much dead already or to kill things that couldn’t shoot back (e.g., collectors, controllers and somewhat ICFs).

I’d give up sphere for wall and claw.


Only thing I would miss from sphere is the battle ball. But that thing was alway controversial.

The sphere formation itself was not really all that effective except for the situations you described. It was certainly not useful in a dogfight or to wrap guard a large target and certainly wasn’t OP as some have stated (I guess w/o actually MP experience with it). It may work well vs 1 or 2 intie squads but I doubt it.

I agree, I could give it up. Wall, claw, and X were all I really ever used (and sphere for battle ball and game ending kami for visual effect)

I also used it to keep stuff in a cloak (sphere formation, guard), but guard seems kind of wonky at the moment.

I used 5/9/5 strike claws backing each other up in succession.

9-vette walls.

4/6-frig walls.

Sphere was for keeping things cloaked or final kami attack. I knew how to use Battleballs but never had much use for them esthetically. Immersion stealers in my opinion, no matter how effective and widespread.

I used delta for evasive scouts and whatnot.

The combinations of formation and stance seemed better as well. More behavior options.

We lost sphere apparently. It won’t work in HW2 engine. Sucks, but we rub some dirt on it and get on with our lives.

I was never a fan of some of the more tight/aggressive stances, and now we can get some relief. I am in the minority here, in that I have had very strong feelings since 2000 about tweaking strike behaviors.

The tight little claw-o-doom on aggressive that worked its way through a bandbox was a pet peeve of mine, so good riddance. :smile: The possible behavior isn’t the point so much as the automatic nature. That stuff should take more effort for the reward.

I will always advocate complete firing passes by strikes. I want them to hold their formations, and maintain facing, while doing so, but they stay the course until the pass is done, regardless of result. Then loop/swoop back for whatever the next task is.

The sloppy, drunken, ADHD weaves we have now are not in any way right, but I am hopeful for the future.

Give me open centers and formations that stick and I will be a happy strikecraft commander.