FLET

"FLET" is a command that occurs inside the STAR blocks of quests. It's a command that generates a fleet of ships at the star.

Here's what the Modmaker's Guide To The Galaxy says about FLET:

FLET <race> <n> [attack <race>]
Create fleet N of the specified race. Optionally can be told to attack the homeworld of another race. E.g. "FLET garthan 9 attack terran".

Where it says "<race>" you should type in the filename of a race, without the ".ini" extension.

Where it says "<n>" you should type in a number that corresponds to one of the FLT entries in the (race).ini file for that race. This must be a number from 0 to 9. The fleet with that number will be placed on the star map.

  • Note: Though FLT lines can range all the way from FLT0 to FLTF, the FLET command seems to only recognize numbered fleets (up to FLT9), not lettered fleets. "FLET garthan A" does nothing.

Oddity involving FLET and Player Race

There's nothing that stops you from placing Terran fleets in the game, either via the FLET command, or the NFLT line in the terran.ini files. However, there's two related, and very strange, bugs that happen if you do.1

The first ship in each terran fleet will be replaced by whatever type of ship you started the game with. If you're in a Science Vessel, every Terran fleet will start with a Science Vessel, regardless of what the first ship is supposed to be on FLT0.

It'll also use your starting ship type's ICON to note where the fleet is on the star map. This can be a little confusing and disorienting at first, especially if the various fleets are at adjacent stars.

Presumably, the same things will happen regardless of what the player's race is, as long as a quest tells the game to place a fleet of the player's race on the map. This has not been tested.


FLET attack

You can use the FLET command to make fleets attack other races. In the main game, this is used for the Kawangi and the Ravians. They have lines like:

FLET kawangi 0 attack terran

This places the default Kawangi fleet, and has it start moving towards Glory.

  • How fast it gets there is mostly a function of drive speed, but can be tweaked a little by means of the TIME command.

"FLET <race> <n> attack <race>" can be used to send fleets after third parties. If you changed the Kawangi line to "FLET kawangi 0 attack klakar", they would chart a course towards the Klakar homeworld.

  • Klakar work well as a target2, because their homeworld is always on the star map. Having a fleet attack a planet that may not be on the map is untested, and likely to be buggy.3

There are a few restrictions for the attack command that aren't listed in the Modmaker's Guide. After much trial and error, I can say for certain that:

  • Friendly races cannot use the "FLET attack" command. They'll never show up on the map. One option, should you need a friendly race to go somewhere, is to start them as hostile and use an quest with FLAG always, CONDITION encounter and the FRND command to make them turn friendly on arrival.
  • Fleets will only attack if they start off the map. You must have FLAG offmap, FLAG offeast or FLAG offwest in the same STAR block, or they won't attack. If used without one of those FLAGs, the ships will still spawn, but they'll never leave the planet they start at.

Negative FLET numbers

If you look closely at the Brood2 quest, you'll see that the Ravians have very strange FLET numbers. For example, the first Ravian attack fleet has this line:

FLET ravian -1 attack terran

Notice how it's negative one? That actually randomizes the fleet that spawns. Well, randomizes might not be technically accurate, but it certainly mixes things up. It took me a lot of playtests to figure out what it actually does.

If you have a negative value for the FLET number, the game looks in the (race).ini file and finds the current DIF line.4 On that DIF line, there will be a string of 10 digits with numbers or letters on them. The game counts along to Nth place on that list, and selects the corresponding fleet.

Here's an example. Let's say you made a quest with "FLET muktian -3 attack terran". The game would check the current DIFF setting, and compare that to the muktian fleet lists. It would find:

DIF0 0001111222
DIF1 1122233344
DIF2 3344455566
DIF3 4556667778
DIF4 6677888999

If you were running a small map with less enemy strength, it would look on DIF0 and pick Muktian Fleet #0, since that's the third digit on DIF0.
If you were running a large map with more enemy strength, it would look instead at DIF4, and pick Muktian Fleet #7, since that's the third digit on DIF0.

The cool thing about this is that it lets you customize the challenge level of your quest, so that it matches up to what the player selected for map size and enemy strength.

There is, however, one small string attached. As with the attack command in general, negative FLET numbers don't work unless the fleet starts offmap5. You can use this method to pick an appropriate difficulty-level fleet only on attacking fleets. If you need your quest to involve a stationary fleet at a particular place, you'll have to use a positive value FLET number, and thus the size of the fleet will not be scaled to the map size and difficulty chosen.


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