Author Topic: Poll: Would you be okay with us removing shields/forcefields?  (Read 2485 times)

Offline Toranth

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,237
Re: Poll: Would you be okay with us removing shields/forcefields?
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2018, 03:23:13 PM »
The easiest fix to "fragile structures need shields" is just to make them tanky on their own instead of fragile :)
This is my primary concern - some things simply need to be protected.


3. Shield starships and shield guardians would give personal shields to, say, the nearest 30 allied ships, regardless of distance, on the same planet.  So you can still adjust the battlefield substantially with them, but it's not a black and white on/off scenario anymore, and there's no real micro with it.  Any ship being granted personal shields from a shield starship/guardian in this manner would simply work like a ship that had personal shields from its own default nature.
All the rest sounds good to me - But this sounds like many of the complications of bubble-shields, without the graphics.  "Regardless of distance" also scares me.  If you were to make Planetary Shield Generator (a fixed AI structure) that behaves like this, that'd be one thing, but Shield Starships or Guardians working this way brings to mind AI Shieldbearers all over again.

Offline Matruchus

  • Jr. Member Mark II
  • **
  • Posts: 69
Re: Poll: Would you be okay with us removing shields/forcefields?
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2018, 07:43:28 PM »
I personally find shields the most fun part of the game. I love to defend buildings with heavy shielding connected with planetary fortresses, heavy tower defenses. This is coming from AI War 1.

This will basically totally change the gameplay and turn it in to a totally different game. This is one thing I don't want to see removed.

This is will also kill all turtling options for players who love that gameplay style. And I'm definitely a turtler.
 
How will you replace the definsive options that heavy shield generators give you?

As for hardware needed to run the game you shouldnt support anything older then five years eitherway and those computers should run the game without any problem.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2018, 08:01:31 PM by Matruchus »

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,231
Re: Poll: Would you be okay with us removing shields/forcefields?
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2018, 08:11:11 PM »
Matruchus -- I think, based on the way that things are shaping up in the new builds, that you'll be doing far less with shields, but instead using cloaking (which works quite differently from the first game).  It's more dynamic, in that you can fire from a cloaked position, but your "cloaking health" goes down based on enemy planet tachyon and/or your firing.  Since, as a turtle, most of the time there won't be enemy tachyon at all, it's all about how you're choosing to fire.

Basically setting up shop with a bunch of cloaked turrets in an array, which fire with impunity for a bit, then pop into visibility and keep firing, should give you a pretty solid maginot line.

To be honest, though, during the beta in particular (and sooner if you care to give thoughts, but honestly waiting a few weeks is fine) I would really like your feedback.  This is a very different game, because it's built from different premises in terms of how things work.  Like cloaking, etc.  A lot of these things were basically "the things we wanted to do in Classic, but couldn't due to design inertia, CPU load, or whatever the heck."  Cumulatively, that makes for a pretty different experience in the moment-to-moment, but we're aiming for this to feel like the natural evolution of the older concepts in a grand sense.

Basically, the old one was clunky and fiddly in a variety of places, and we're trying to avoid that while giving you the same breadth of gameplay options, styles, and freedom.  If we've streamlined something out that then causes a playstyle to be less valid or no longer fun... well, then we need to look at what we can do to rectify the situation.  In most cases that won't mean "just do it like Classic did," because that typically comes with unwanted baggage.  But instead we want to really think about the core of what you're after, and look at how to deliver that same feeling even if the mechanics are a little different.

Personally, I find the mental image of a giant death array of turrets that are cloaked, probably with minefields in front of them, to be a lot more thematically threatening than just bubbles upon bubbles of forcefields.  Not that this is all about thematic feel or something, that's not what I meant.  But if the mechanics are equivalent-ish... well, you know, in every Mario Kart game I've noticed they adjust the timing just slightly for the controls, so you have the fun of learning it again.  Not that we're trying to do that, either; it's not change for the sake of it.

I'm probably making my case pretty poorly. ;)  But basically, AI War Classic was built up in a very ad-hoc manner.  I built things based on Supreme Commander, and then felt around for what would be fun.  I found some things that worked, others that didn't, and gradually pared and pruned and added and pruned again.  Past a certain point, that was 1.0.  Then there was a huge flurry of revisions, and a ton of additions, and we had 2.0.  That was the first "real" version of the game, for a lot of people.  Then we just kept slapping things on, building in a really exploratory way on an ad-hoc foundation.

This time around, we have 6 years of developing the first game under our belt, and 10 years of thinking about it under our belt, and so we set out with intention on each part of the whole.  Not all of those pieces have worked out, which is not unexpected, and we're going through some major revisions right now in a number of areas to make it more streamlined while also feeling more like Classic.  But the foundation this time is a lot better, and more cohesive and thought-out.  On the gameplay design side, that's entirely thanks to Keith.  The rest of us have helped him refine it, but he basically found the Minimum Central Feature Set, if that makes sense, and we've been trying to build around that rather than just having infinite tiny variations like in Classic.  There were so many similar little bonus ships throughout all the expansions in Classic.  And both cloaking and shields were pretty frustrating, and in some ways tacked-on (because both were "late" additions in the pre-1.0 Classic game).  Here the cloaking mechanics are a lot more central and well-designed, and  so are the tractor mechanics, and it was my surprise that this works out super well (on paper) for the sort of scenarios you're talking about.

If, in practice, that isn't true, then we'd like to find out during beta and find a way to make you happy.  I don't want it to be "just add the fiddly thing back," but I do want to talk to you and find out what's not feeling right and brainstorm ways to solve it, whether that's a revision to a mechanic, or a new unit, or who knows.  I know a lot of people like the style of game you describe, though, and I'm halfway in that camp, too (I turtle, but not to quite that extreme).

If that makes sense?  I really hope you'll be a voice during the early part of beta in two to three weeks, so that we're sure not to leave you and people like you behind by accident.  I'm confident that we can come up with something that works, so long as we have feedback from people with that playstyle.  We can only design but so far when it gets to playstyles that are wildly divergent from our own.

Wow long post.  ;D  But I just want to make sure that you don't get the idea that we don't care, or are just going to dismiss you out of hand or something.  Hopefully you can also give the new mechanics a fair shake, and if it doesn't feel right, well, it doesn't feel right, and we'll have to look at things together.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline zeusalmighty

  • Jr. Member Mark III
  • **
  • Posts: 96
Re: Poll: Would you be okay with us removing shields/forcefields?
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2018, 09:24:14 PM »
I've like the idea of keeping a few shields around for the A.I. (1 per planet max and super rare). Individually they do stand out in a good way but they don't look good cluttered as such. Seems like a good compromise anyway (and I would be sad to see them gone altogether)


The issue about territory, or lack thereof, might be addressed with some other mechanics. Here is some food for thought:

Local hazards: Basic idea is to add more diversity to a given planet well by having avoidable "terrain"

A) (Static/fixed) Nebulous patches that interferes with targeting (e.g. gas clouds)
B) (Dynamic/shifting) ion storms that damage engines of ships
C) (Dynamic/fixed) Asteroid belt that operates like a floating mine field but can be "dodged"

Would be cool if this was also implemented with respect to planet types. Is any of this even feasible?

Sure other ideas like this would work as well.

Offline Cyborg

  • Master Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,929
Re: Poll: Would you be okay with us removing shields/forcefields?
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2018, 10:01:20 PM »


Something about Star Wars not having bubble shields? Couldn't find a smaller version. Also, other examples of bubble shields include the game Perimeter, Halo, anime such as Bleach (Seireitei is inside the bubble, if you remember). I could probably keep thinking of more, but there you have it.

That being said, I'm not attached to bubble shields if you can come up with something cool. If you go with individual shield bars, it would be nice if the graphics had some kind of shield effect for the different ammo types.

Chris, sometimes when you denigrate something about AI War, my knee-jerk reaction is to defend it with intensity, and then I remind myself that you invented it.  :)

It's the only game that has stayed on my hard drive for almost 10 years now. I still keep around the pre-Unity version because in some ways, it's a different game. People are attached to it. Hundreds of hours. So it's not just as simple as saying, "Forget about that, this is better!"

To everyone else, some of the sacred cows just have to go. I think the force fields present some major problems besides just theme. It would be more constructive to discuss the play styles and what makes things fun rather than get stuck on the bubble itself. Maybe the bubble comes back later, who knows.
Kahuna strategy guide:
http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,13369.0.html

Suggestions, bugs? Don't be lazy, give back:
http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/

Planetcracker. Believe it.

The stigma of hunger. http://wayw.re/Vi12BK

Offline TheVampire100

  • Master Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,380
  • Ordinary Vampire
Re: Poll: Would you be okay with us removing shields/forcefields?
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2018, 10:14:54 PM »
If we want to have ships with shields, we can do that in a TLF-style way by having basically a bar that recharges on them over time, secondary to the health bar.  That's more like deflector shields in Star Wars, or like the shields on the enterprise in Star Trek.  They prevent hull damage for that particular ship, but get weakened over time.  They don't really have a visual component other than the second health bar that is just for shields, because they are, well, invisible. 

And the way they differ from health is that they recharge over time if they have not been shot lately, for free.  Health has to be repaired by something else, for metal.
This sounds like the best ida in my honest opinion.
I will use another exaple of a video game, where they used shields.
Earth 2150, which is still to date one of my favourite sci-fi video games out there. Mind, this one is on earth (and occasionally on the moon), so no space battles. However, since both games use a 2d plane instead of  a3d plane to fight, there is not much difference except Earth 2150 has terrain and space obviously hasn't.

Shields in E2150 worked just liek you described. Units in the game could be designed by the player, they had a vehicle part that you could select and each vehicle could mount multiple weapons. You could also mount a shield generator for extra costs (once researched), which added a second life bar.
The trick about ths is, shields deflected energy related weapons (which made up most of the late game weapons, so basically the strongest weapons) but would let through conventional weapons like MGs and rockets. That way, the older but weaker weapons had still a use and could penetrate heavy shielded units.

I think Ai War 2 could use this as well, shielded units are frontline "tank" units that draw fire in for you but as in AIWC, there are units that can penetrate forcefields (Raider starship), s you have basically a forcefield/shield counter if you need one.

Offline Draco18s

  • Resident Velociraptor
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,090
Re: Poll: Would you be okay with us removing shields/forcefields?
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2018, 03:29:54 AM »
I'm ok with them not existing because of how it screws up the balance. Command stations always had this health number that never got buffed (it was like 20k when a fighter did 4k a second before bonuses).

I like the idea of doing it TLF style etc etc. I might have more better thoughts in the morning.

(And oh, by the way, Star Wars had tons of shields, usually on planets)

Offline ynof

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Poll: Would you be okay with us removing shields/forcefields?
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2018, 09:26:25 AM »
From a gameplay perspective, we would need something else to make sure command stations and other important structures aren't too easily killed. In AIWC, forcefields and shield-mounting Modular Fortresses ensured my planets could ride out attacks too powerful for the defenses to wipe out until reinforcements arrived. Otherwise, the only way to reliably defend high-value structures is to destroy every single attacker befroe they get into range.

A couple of possible alternatives:

-Cloaking: As mentioned by others in this thread, cloaking may fill this role nicely. Though you'll probably have to do some balancing to make sure it's not too easy or too hard to destroy important structures.

-'Barriers' instead of forcefields: Why do forcefields have to be circles? You could instead reinvent them to be one-dimensional barriers in space. When you place two or more 'Barrier Generators' in range of each other, they 'link up' to create barriers that can't be moved through by most enemy ships and absorb a lot of fire.

From a lore perspective, shields and forcefields are one of the main defining characteristics of the Spire (The others being absurdly powerful beam weapons and absurdly large modular warships, hehe). To be honest I don't want them to be too different to the Spire in AIWC, I like them as they are. Though I guess you can just increase their health, armour and deflectors and keep the other stuff. Please don't give the Spire cloaking, that would be way too radical a change.

Offline WolfWhiteFire

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 191
Re: Poll: Would you be okay with us removing shields/forcefields?
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2018, 10:13:45 AM »
I am not really sure about removing shield entirely, though the unit shields may work. I am also wondering why the poll isn't a poll?  That seems kind of odd, wouldn't it be easier to see the general preference if it was instead of everyone who wants their opinion heard having to make a comment and you having to read them all?
Also...
But one of the very biggest things, to me, is that we need to get away from the fleet-ball mentality. It should be absolutely moronic to bring your bombers into a ball against a ball that has fighters in it, because those fighters just absolutely wreck your bombers. We recently upped the bonus against unlike-types from 300% to 900%, but it may need to go even higher, we'll see.

Part of this boils down to enemy composition needing to be more nuanced than it was in the first game (and -- sidebar -- at one point the first game worked like this, and fleet balls were less of a thing). You send in your fighters and your missile corvettes first, clear out certain forces there, and then send the bombers in, etc.

That sort of thing used to exist, and that doesn't require any sort of terrain. It just requires a clear and effective rock paper scissors mechanic. This is one of those things that I think we can focus on better with shields removed, to be honest. Right now there are some things that are "paper actually beats scissors and rock if it's under a shield, but otherwise it loses to rock a little and scissors a lot." Whut?

We had this at one point, and lost it. At one point I'd never have thought of approaching a variety of positions with my bombers along because I'd just be out bombers without them accomplishing anything. Other places it was a matter of keeping my fighters away from the enemy missile frigates, and letting my bombers and missile frigates close in and wreck the enemy before I resumed chasing.

It's only when the enemy gets so homogeneous and swirled-together that the players have to resort to the same. We have to stop that, and then I think the shields piece is moot.

The nice part about what I'm describing above is that it's only the loosest form of micro, and it's not on/off. Keep your bombers generally back, but if the enemy gets off a couple of pot shots then it's not like the bombers are insta-toast. You're not trying to get bombers or any other ship type to within a few pixels of a certain position, in other words. You're working in broad strokes as to what you put where.
No offence,  but that seems to me to be far more than "the loosest form of micro," with what you are describing, you would need to be able to tell the exact composition of the enemy fleet to make sure your fighters or whatever aren't weak to it, you would need to remember a ton of different counters if the number of ship types is anything like it was in classic, you would need to make SEPARATE control groups for every single ship type, and keep putting the new ships into the appropriate control group, as the shipyards can be set to put all their units in a certain control group, but not different types into different groups, and it would be hard to avoid them getting close to their counters if you don't have separate control groups. Also, if a fighter and a bomber were similar in actual combat strength, with that 1 fighter would theoretically be able to defeat 9 bombers, and no matter bombers being less able to fight fighters well, I can't imagine any possible situation where 9 or 18 of them wouldn't be able to defeat 1 or 2 fighters, that seems to be a bit high for the strength against the types they counter.

Offline eRe4s3r

  • Core Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,820
Re: Poll: Would you be okay with us removing shields/forcefields?
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2018, 02:02:16 PM »
Mhhhhh, I think the only relevant answer to this would be, does removing shields make the game more fun or more tedious? If that is a yes to more fun then imo it should be done, not with a poll, but flat out. If it does add more tedium then the answer should be no.

At the core, the question is really pointing to another problem, namely that you got a fleet combat game without fleet controls. The more units you allow, the more you have to abstract CnC elements to allow them to be easily controlled, and thus bombers and fighters, frigates and starships get problems.

In an obscure japanese fleet rts game, fleets were "single units" that were in range when the front ship was in range (rather they only started firing then) with long range ships firing their long range weapons etc. The tactics came from positional things and admirals, front lines and skirmish squadrons that were heavily armored and had hard-hitting close rang weapons that couldn't be intercepted by AA etc. Shields existed in this game and long range fire would have a 1% hit chance (but very high damage IF it hits) at best on max range, so it was only to hold a front line light show basically.

Map tactics were done via impassable nebulas or minefields or dust clouds or other anomalies. Fortresses were extremely tough challenges as their long range weapons had huge AOE and you needed to pincer and circle like crazy. Just describing it to establish a reference frame really.

Should shields be in the game? Well.... the only thing shields do is add HP on top of the HP bar, so the answer is no. If you have shields and ARMOR as PART of HP functionality then it should be in 1 bar too. HP|Armor|Shield hh|aa|ss<-- HP bar ?

Basically, I don't see exactly how removing shields would make the game more fun and not more tedious to play. Can someone playing the beta describe how it would / wouldn't do that?
Proud member of the Initiative for Bigger Weapons EV. - Bringer of Additive Blended Doom - Vote for Lore, get free cookie

Offline Wingflier

  • Core Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,751
  • To add me on Steam, click the little Steam icon ^
Re: Poll: Would you be okay with us removing shields/forcefields?
« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2018, 02:13:56 PM »
Came into this discussion a little late (actually it seems that the discussion exploded!), but I've viewed what people are saying on both this forum and Kickstarter.

I agree with the overwhelming consensus that shields should go. They don't add much to the game (in my opinion), and they even create a significant balance concern, where Keith was adding a 4th category to the Rock-Paper-Scissors style paradigm he was using, which just felt really out of place and I'll be happy when things are simpler on that front.
"Inner peace is the void of expectation. It is the absence of our shared desperation to feel a certain way."

Offline etheric42

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 107
Re: Poll: Would you be okay with us removing shields/forcefields?
« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2018, 02:47:20 PM »
In an obscure japanese fleet rts game, fleets were "single units" that were in range when the front ship was in range (rather they only started firing then) with long range ships firing their long range weapons etc. The tactics came from positional things and admirals, front lines and skirmish squadrons that were heavily armored and had hard-hitting close rang weapons that couldn't be intercepted by AA etc. Shields existed in this game and long range fire would have a 1% hit chance (but very high damage IF it hits) at best on max range, so it was only to hold a front line light show basically.

You've got my curiosity.  What's the name of that game?

Basically, I don't see exactly how removing shields would make the game more fun and not more tedious to play. Can someone playing the beta describe how it would / wouldn't do that?

I haven't played a ton so far, but a little bit with and a little bit without shields.  With shields all your fragile units get an entire health bar that is vulnerable to a different kind of attacker at the expense of having to stay close to the shield starship.  Since squads are all pretty fragile (but some more than others), this means it was pretty optimal to clump them into a single ball and roll around the map doing damage.  You could do multiple balls per shield starship, but that was hard to micro because ships kept trying to kite out of the shield bubble if you weren't paying attention (this could be fixed with a UI feature, but that UI feature would take some work to implement).  And anyway you could always overlap shields and then just get even more HP to protect your glass cannons all in one ball.

Because the shields provided such protection, some of the ships have a hard time doing anything without them, and with them they became incredibly useful because their high DPS or high range could be utilized while ignoring their weakness (HP).

And then you came to AI shield balls, where you kept your ships clustered under your shield and traded fire with their shield and you hoped you could out DPS them.

Playing around without shields, there is still some room to tweak things (the glass cannons needs some way to be less glass cannony since they can't just use another unit to negate their weakness), but now I'm doing more "deploy the right units" micro, which feels more satisfying, but is more micro (well, not necessarily more micro than trying to keep all those units in the shield, but that would have to be fixed if shields were staying anyway so I'm not counting it). 

There are only 3 defense types, armor, evasion and structure.  So remembering counters isn't as bad and there are some UI updates in the pipeline that will let you see matchups more easily.  There are also some AI seeding changes that increase the chance of planets not just having an even distribution of strengths/defenses and encourage "reading the room".

namely that you got a fleet combat game without fleet controls.

What kind of controls would you like to see in a fleet game?  They may-or-may-not be in scope (or fitting to the vision of) AI War, but I like that kind of stuff and really want to hear about them.

Offline Miloch

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: Poll: Would you be okay with us removing shields/forcefields?
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2018, 02:52:49 PM »
My reply as an avid scifi reader and video gamer.  We do need some kind of projected force field around certain structures.  Whether these are built on the structure itself or are some small building you put next to it either way we need to be able to protect important structures.  IE command structures and unreplaceable/captureables.

Offline Draco18s

  • Resident Velociraptor
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,090
Re: Poll: Would you be okay with us removing shields/forcefields?
« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2018, 03:00:54 PM »
But one of the very biggest things, to me, is that we need to get away from the fleet-ball mentality. It should be absolutely moronic to bring your bombers into a ball against a ball that has fighters in it, because those fighters just absolutely wreck your bombers. We recently upped the bonus against unlike-types from 300% to 900%, but it may need to go even higher, we'll see.

One of the contributing factors for fleet balls was that the enemy fleet was always of mixed company.

Sure, their ball had fighters in it, but it also had frigates. Your bombers attacked their frigates, your frigates attacked their fighters, and your fighters attacked their bombers.

In other cases it wasn't so clear cut, but it still almost always boiled down to "hug IT, GRAB EVERYTHING, GAH, GO GO GO, HURRY. LAUNCH EVERY ZIG." Even if you paused and tried to analyze what was coming at you it was almost certainly always the right thing to "just send everything you had." Because even the 1% extra DPS and 1% extra HP meant that the Important Stuff didn't die as quickly: your bombers (or whatever was weak to what they had and strong against nothing) acted as flak (albeit very expensive flak) and took some shots that ultimately meant that your fighters didn't take shots and consequently took out a larger portion of the enemy.

If we approach the problem from a different direction--the number of things the player can focus on and manage directly--we get into a MIT Overmind situation: the AI can just straight up better manage their units than we can. Even if the AI isn't performing dodge rolls by scattering units away from an AOE attack (as Overmind does in order to take out Archons with Hydralisks, ie hard-countering the hard counter through use of micro) it can still do more than you can and has more units with which to do so.

Offline Zenithir

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: Poll: Would you be okay with us removing shields/forcefields?
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2018, 03:59:50 PM »
Reading the Kickstarter and here, I have a few thoughts.

Removing Shields because they are troublesome technically seems like a misconception on the nature of shields and ways they can be used. From what people said there is more concern around topics such as terrain [which space certainly has, otherwise there wouldn't be points of interest], ways to buffer their fragile or key points, sci-fi-ing it up, and control of ship interaction.

I vote shields out, but only if there is a means to implement what they emulate.

I have always felt shields to be too much of a catch-all. They are fun, and when implemented nearly requisite. However, as you noted they either aren't that big a deal or they are a little gimmicky, like special armor. I think what is missing is the reason for shields and what can make them sci-fi tastic.

First though, an example of shield bubbles in real life:
Earth, from Ozone, to atmosphere, to our ionosphere, to the magentic fields and more we both know and are probably completely unaware of, as well as our reliance on them.

Also, as others pointed out both starwars and startrek were able to project their shields over others, in some cases as a morphing of the fields, or space, and others by simply being large enough for others to snuggle in close. Honestly though, while both the star* are fun, they aren't really about battle mechanics, how shields might actually work, or more importantly how a mechanic would work better in AW2.

All that said, there are fun alternatives.
1)warping gravity in areas to prevent targeting or make certain absorb blows. This could also extend to ships seemingly shifting, or seeming in other places than they are. Bending signals is probably a bit easier than gravity.
2)Blinding groups, or temporarily making lanes unstable [or simply the location], you could even involve relativistic time.
3)more expansive space, adding in terrain is more approachable if each location is larger. Then distance can account for a fair amount of the shielding, especially with the now powerful tractors.
4)Size and movement difference expanded. This addresses the sense of fleet vs blob as well as shields.  Smaller ships could form a screen, or pester targets, disable parts of the opponents, outmaneuver weapons. The fact that they are smaller though suggests a lack of strength. While I would be hesitant to suggest something so overwhelming as damage resistance levels, there is a reason though armor has been such a prevalent notion in combat. Formations then could be extended to focus on doing more intense damage, attrition [like a phalanx], or other such formations. Perhaps introducing an ai we use to set the ranges
5)beamed energy; you could have a ship which projects shields or deflectors to target individuals instead of as a bubble. The idea isn't complicated, the trick would be they'd need some line of fire, whether direct or somehow directed.

ultimately the notion of a shield that protects from everything but that people can freely pass through is a little far fetched. And perhaps that is part of your crux. While this can repulse, reflect or defend 1-way (like in a simple instance a mirror), to allow such would take quite a unique set of circumstances and at best preparation which would allow others to detect how to completely bypass such shields.