I'm developing a game right now focused on starfighter based combat where the character is a pilot of said starfighters. I had intended for bombers to be surgical strike craft, taking out weak points that would otherwise be out of view for opposing capital ships. Fighters would then serve as escort or interception for/against bombers.
The big advantage I see to the starfighters and bombers currently designed for the setting are that a great number of them are made for both atmospheric and space combat (some [expensive] models are even capable of re-entry on their own.) They could essentially double as atmospheric fighters in the case of planetary landing.
In reality, I'm certain they would be easily picked off by point defenses alone. Most likely a high power laser that could vaporize most of the fighter before they could even get a good visual on their target.
So, I wanted to turn here for suggestions on making starfighters a more viable while keeping it mostly realistic and get thoughts on the solutions I've thought of. What are some other realistic means of countering, or at least reducing the effectiveness of point defenses?
Solution one - Laser-resistant armor:
A new technology or alloy has rendered the most effective forms of point defense useless against fighters, forcing them to use less reliable means. I don't want to have them jam tracking systems, but maybe their hulls are layered with something that is resistant/reflective to high power light-based weapons such as lasers. And more powerful, larger, lasers that could overpower that defense become too hard to turn quick enough to track. I feel it is a weak option as other point defense systems could easily take their place.
Solution two - Situational use
Another thought was creating scenarios where ships have to fight in close proximity where fighters might shine. The only reason I can think to force capital ships into close quarters would be for the sake of capturing stations and other points of interest that require boarding, but I'm not sure about putting that in every battle. I could see fighters being reserved for exactly those battles and being left in hangar in long range engagements (which from a gameplay standpoint sucks a little bit of variety out of the game, unfortunately.)