would the pilots skill also effect the outcome of intercept missions? making it possible or even probable that a really rubbish pilot could lose an intercept mission no matter what craft they are chasing
I would think a brand new pilot might have this trouble in the beginning. However I would think that the longer that pilot unit is flying one type of craft, the manifestation of his experience with it could be such things as:
- Times to Intecept, Return Times to Base & Deployment Speed (i.e. arrival time to a given waypoint). Over time, the craft would take the most direct line to those targets at best speeds possible (it might even look like he's not intercepting, but he is - i.e. a HWD alert might show a UFO starting in US with a destination in Europe, so rather than chase the UFO from your US base, you sent a ship from a location in S. America, Africa, or China to meet it there first).
Basically I look at it as making the best use of your technology on hand with the unit performing a little smarter. To help us know as well which interceptor to send, the interception screen you see when you click the Intercept button (showing your entire fleet) could highlight by color, your best ship deployment options for the UFO in question.
This method though may mean that you'd have to have "centered on UFO #" and then
clicked the Intercept button to evaluate this, but I think its fairly sound. If you wanted to target a different UFO after this, select it, center on it, then click the Intercept button again for your next best available ships.
Red highlight could mean that the ship would never catch it based on that ship's abilities and the UFO selected, Yellow could mean that the ship of yours that you selected could get to it but it'd have to traverse much of the globe to do it to get in range, and Green could mean that that particular ship of yours has an experienced enough pilot that he'd deploy himself a little smarter. i.e. Meeting the enemy at the target destination to fight rather than chasing it down first, burining all that fuel then fighting it.
Anyway, just something I thought might be helful with all this, to know at a glance what ships got what kind of pilot with whatever type of tactical know how. Essentially it translates to pathfinding routines of your ships on the Geoscape.
- For air to air combat, I was thinking that over time, the pilot could get good at targetting specific points on a UFO. Otherwise it would do things as before in a much more generalized fashion in terms of damage potential.
- An interesting angle in relation to the above point I've talked about before and rather like...If precision targetting of UFO systems is in, have those damages and alien deaths translate its self on the battlescape. If you did significant damage to its weapons systems, you see less foot soldier regulars. If you did significant damage to bridge, no high ranked aliens present (Navigators, Leaders or Commanders), damage to engines - no Enginner ranked aliens, damage to life support systems, no medic units etc.
Pilots would be just like soldiers, but with lower stats
I'd agree, although theoretically, if you can sometimes use them on the battlescape to suppliment your forces in the rear, its not unreasonable to give them the same kind of chance at upgrading their fighting stats on the ground as do your soldiers. I think that it should be a gamble to use them in this way, as to lose 'em should delay your ability to evacuate. (Probably the thing I'd do is have them man whatever turret systems your craft could use on the ground, and if not, have 'em guard the ship).
And that's another angle. Having the pilot unit would make having an evacuation aspect to missions have more meaning. It also imparts the notion that our parked ships on the ground should be damagable or destroyable. (For that matter, repairable if only damaged - see my thoughts on repair kits, the thread's around here somewhere).
For either evacuating in your good craft, being picked up, or for repairing the ship then taking off, the manifestation of the function before then could be a grayed out "dust off button". Until one or all of those things happen, then its clickable again - either ending the mission or "continuing it" so to speak (your guys could be airborne in the alien craft with aliens still in it after all).
What's more, if pilot training facilities are in along with the unit, and if it has a respectful limiting classroom space (I'd go with 2-4 max), this lets us juggle whether we'd want them in their classroom, the generic combat simulator, or psi training.
Also, most of us usually have 3 or 4 ships at any one base, so if they all require a pilot and co-pilot, you see my meaning. Managing troops, pilots, ships and base modules should remain part of the endeavour in my opinion. The question just becomes in what ways can these kinds of things be managed better to minimize micromanagement?