Atarlost wrote:The easy way to do spiders is to base it on the shields. If the shields are over some threshold let the spiders out. If they're under pull them in. It's really unsafe to try to use spiders without opaque shields.
For most playing styles, I agree. But for someone who uses the Manticore, as I sometimes do, or who plays with a patcher arm and no shield, as I often do, this makes patch spiders unusable.
As an example of how something like this currently affects gameplay, I don't give drones in PSD6 the Novaya armor repairer. They tend to get scared and run home if they take armor damage and act as though armor can't be repaired in-flight. I haven't tried to give them armor repair devices in 1.6.1, though, so things may have changed, since the Novaya repairer installs in the shield slot now.
Most people put shields on their drones, and this is fine. The patch spider mechanic you described works beautifully in PlayerShip Drones, as the drones install the spiders when they have shields and uninstall them when their shields are down. But it also means that I _always_ put shields on my drones.
My own thinking on the algorithm would be similar to what I'd do if patch spiders had an invoke key that would install/uninstall all of them at the same time. (PM has a mod that lets us do that, but I haven't tried it yet.) I'd install them if either my shields were up or there were no red dots on the screen, and I'd uninstall them if both of the preceding checks were false.
EDIT/addition: In PSD 7, if drones can mine, it would be nice to give a drone a miner's hold, PM's Berserker device, and a patch spider so it can mine faster. But that assumes that the drone will use the patch spider even if its shields are down, since the Berserker device installs in the shield slot.