Formations are, and always have been, very useful for gaining a tactical advantage over your opponent. In Beyond Protocol you have unprecedented control over the shape, spacing and ordering of these formations. Press F10 to bring up the Formation Creation window. The blue icon with four little triangles on the quick bar also opens this window.

When you first open the window, it is difficult to see the full potential this tool offers you, but it is enormous! The green grid represents the placement of units. The cross hairs of the highlighted boxes represent the location of a move order. In other words, to order the formation to move, the square you click in becomes the center or hub for the units and they will position themselves relative to that location.

The value in the “Cell Size” box represents the spacing between two adjacent units, another factor of cell size is the “safe zone” - the space the unit will keep between it and the closest ship to prevent a collision between units. To accurately create your formations, adjust the cell size to be larger than the largest unit’s safe zone. Depending on the exact size of your units, this may be 5-10 as with fighters, or it may be closer to 50 as with battleships. A little trial and error may be required, and should not be feared.

To the right side of the window you will see the “Slot” configuration toggle. Occasionally it will be necessary to use each of these options while placing slots in the grid. The tool automatically increases the number of the slot you are placing, so you can use these to make corrections. The highest numbered entry always has the “D” designation (the last slot in the formation builder).

The final piece of the interface is the “Based On” drop-down window. This attribute determines how ships will order themselves with respect to the numbers. Most unit attributes are available in this window, from cargo space, to armor on the front arc, to radar range, and more. Since formations are editable on the fly you can use the trial and error method.

Now that you are better acquainted with the interface you should think about strategy. One common strategy for battle formations is the tanking tactic (see fun with math). In an RTS game the strategy works as follows: create a ship with an enormous amount of hit points on the front arc, your “tank”. When designing the formation, place at least one line of units ahead of the rest to be occupied by your “tanks”, then allocate the rearward ranks to the higher damage ships you’d rather not loose. Of course, set the “Based On” entry to armor on the front arc. As long as the enemy does not outflank you, this tactic preserves your more important/valuable ships.

If you find yourself hunting and pecking at an enemy’s colony, the radar spread is a great tactic for revealing large portions of the map at once. As was explained above, this is fairly easy when you know the optimum/maximum radar range of the units you are using. There are, however, two different versions of this formation. The first should only be used when you only have a few units - at most twenty-five. This is the method above of using double the radar range in the “Cell Size” box, then fill up the horizontal portion of the cross hairs in the formation window.

In order to use this formation effectively with a smaller number of units, it recommended to designate the middle box as #1, the box right of that #2, left of the center #3, so on and so forth. This effectively creates a line of sight that can be moved up and down the map to “sweep” for enemy units. The second version is much more thorough. Instead of a line, a square or circular pattern can be used. Again, it is recommended to start the numbering at the center and work outward. The major difference with this method is the calculation for cell size. To actually reveal ALL of the area covered by this formation, the number you need is no longer what is between units left, right, up or down from each other, but rather diagonally. To find this take a look at More Fun With Math.

Once you have this net formation under which you can see everything going on which is particularly effective when you have an enemy building engineers or buildings and you need to “track” them!

A tactic for escorting a convoy would be to place the high cargo hold units at the center with a majority of extra slots at the front and rear. To utilize the wedge formation made popular by medieval knights, put your most defended units at the point and sides of a triangular configuration. For separating a number of units/relative attribute value from a group, set a number of those units on one side of the grid and place the “D” square at the other side.

Fun With Math 1

If your goal is to create a formation of beginning fighters that maximize their radar range for scouting purposes, you will want to set the value to be “2*50=100”. In fact, that tactic is also very useful when utilizing maximum radar, however, in that case the calculation would be “8*MaxRadarRange”. The 8 accounts for the two units’ radar range AND the fact that maximum radar range is in a measurement equal to four times that of optimum radar range.

Fun With Math 2

What you are trying to accomplish here is to make the radar of two diagonally positioned ships just barely touch to keep from having holes in your “net”. That value is double your radar range, as before, however, the “Cell Size” entry is now equal to ((2*RadarRange)2/2)1/2. In other words, your radar range times two, squared, divided by two, then find the square root. To get a rough figure you can multiply your radar range by 1.3 – while this is simpler it will be slightly less effective.


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