One of the four branches your civilization can specialize in is air power. Using swarms of powerful fighters to overwhelm your enemy is a fairly common tactic in Galactic Battlegrounds, and we're aiming to reinvent the system to add more fun and flexibility to the use of aircraft by introducing new classes, and adjusting old ones.
In addition to adjusting the main aircraft classes in Galactic Battlegrounds - Fighters, Bombers, Air Transports, and Air Cruisers - we have added five entirely new types of aircraft to the mix: Interceptors, Attackers, Dropships, Corvettes, and Missile Frigates.
Fighters are your standard, multirole aircraft. They have decent speed, armor, and weaponry, all at a low price. They are your go-to aircraft for most situations, but they don't excel at any one particular role. Relying on them exclusively could mean leaving significant vulnerabilities open for exploitation.
Bombers are a necessity for dealing with fortifications. Their powerful, high-impact weapons can reduce structures to rubble in moments. Bombers are generally slower and more costly than their Fighter counterparts, but make up for it with increased armor. In Expanding Fronts, Bombers have an additional perk; they are now fully capable of using their bombs to engage other aircraft. These bombs deal heavy damage, but travel slowly and have poor accuracy. Trying to take on a group of Fighters with only a Bomber wing won't end very well for you. However, Bombers are an excellent choice for quickly bringing down Air Cruisers, Transports, and Corvettes - provided they're undefended.
Interceptors are fast and dangerous pests that can wreak havoc on an unprepared fleet. They have flimsy armor, but their quick-firing weapons and high speed enables them to get several shots in and flee before defending craft can react. Interceptors are especially dangerous to slow-moving targets like Bombers. This power comes at a cost, as Interceptors are more pricey than standard Fighters, and they can be quickly brought down by even light Anti-Air defenses. Effectively using Interceptors requires good micromanagement skills; miscalculating maneuvers can send these expensive units head-first into a barrage of missiles.
Attackers function similarly to Bombers; prioritizing ground attack. However, unlike Bombers, their firepower is geared towards harassing units instead of structures. They carry powerful lasers that can shred through infantry and mechs. Their heavy armor also makes them a significant threat to Fighters, Bombers, and Interceptors. These powerful craft are some of the costliest aircraft you can field, but their power, when harnessed effectively, more than makes up for it.
Air Transports are a vital part of your fleet when you need to safely move units. Their tough armor and ability to ignore any land or sea-based obstacle is a necessity when fighting battles across difficult terrain. In Expanding Fronts, Air Transports are much improved with an increased carry capacity, allowing them to transport 10 units at a time. Air Transports, while durable, have no defensive capabilities, so they must be placed under escort. A surprise Bomber or Corvette attack could result in an expensive and embarrassing loss.
Dropships are the smaller sibling to Air Transports. They are generally lighter, faster, and cheaper than their larger alternatives. However, they have a lower carry capacity, and can only transport infantry and/or light vehicles. A special benefit to these craft is that they are capable of defending themselves in a pinch with onboard weapons, although it's still recommended to keep an escort nearby. Every dropship is built for a different purpose, so their specific roles, transport capabilities, and combat strengths/weaknesses tend to vary.
It's hard not to worry when you notice one, (or several) of these flying behemoths inching towards your base. They can cause widespread damage to units and structures, and are able to flatten an economy in moments. These units remain largely unchanged in their capabilities, but those who use them should take extra precautions. There are many new ways crafty players can knock them out before they can cause any damage.
Corvettes are the antithesis of Air Cruisers. They are just as expensive, but while Air Cruisers wreak havoc on the ground, Corvettes are tailored to terrorize the skies. Their powerful, rapid-fire weapons can swat nearly any challenging aircraft down in a heartbeat. Attempting to take on one or more head on is guaranteed to result in severe losses. While they are extremely hazardous to aircraft, their effectiveness against ground targets is limited. Proper ground-based Anti-Air units will bring them down quickly. Corvettes do not have the durability of Air Cruisers, and rely on their increased speed to evade enemies.
Missile Frigates are the middle ground between Corvettes and Air Cruisers. These heavy aircraft use long-range missile weapons to bombard enemy units and fortifications from a safe distance. While their attacks aren't nearly as devastating as an Air Cruiser, they can outrange most Anti-Air defenses. Intercepting these weapons with Bombers and Corvettes is a must before they can cause too much damage.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
With summer rapidly approaching, we are slowly getting the ball rolling again. Hopefully updates will be more frequent over the following months. As always, if you have experience in terms of 2D/3D art, Random Map/AI scripting, or general editing experience with the AoK/SWGB Genie engine, and would like to contribute to the Expanding Fronts project, feel free to contact project members Gen_Rhys_Dallows or Sarthos via ModDB Private Messaging. Alternatively, you can post a message in our project thread at SWGB.HeavenGames.com
Again, we thank everybody who has been following our project so far. Last I checked, Expanding Fronts has amassed over 3000 downloads. That certainly doesn't sound like a lot, but it's about 3000 more than we expected when we started this. We appreciate everybody's suggestions and feedback, and we look forward to bringing you more content in the future. Until then, May the 4th be with you!