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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:24 am 
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I think rolespecific is better on reasons already brought up by eleazar. When ship looks somewhat represent its abilities and all ships have their purposes and weaknesses battles will be much more interesting. But having rolespecific ships shouldnt mean they arent customisable to some point.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 9:42 am 
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eleazar wrote:
Um, well you don't really go into much detail as to why this is a good idea, or how it's an especially good answer to "encourage diverse ship designs".

The main point of my idea is to try to define a specific set of ship roles and encourage the player to use ships in those roles.

The reasons for this are to encourage diversity of ship designs and hopefully cause some tactics to arise out of that, i.e. concievably there are more tactical options available if a player has separate battleships and PD ships, as opposed to just having one type of ship with some heavy weapons and some PD on it.

Different roles with different strengths and weaknesses => more tactics during battles (see: Total War series). This is difficult to achieve if you give the player complete freedom in design, i.e. just fill up an empty box with any stuff you like. However, tightly constraining what the player can and cant add to a specific ship role (e.g. saying you can only add fighters to a carrier hull) would be considered by many to be overly restrictive, so i've tried to do the same thing softly using role bonuses.

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My initial concern (without getting into too much role-specific detail) is that many of these hulls seem to offer the player a variety of choices, only one of which is ever valid. If there's no possible reason to use a Carrier or PD hull for anything but it's intended purpose, why give the player an option to make a non PD-PD ship? Perhaps there's a better way to do encourage specialization?

Why would you ever want to make a non PD-PD ship?

You might, however, want to add some heavy weapons to your PD ships, just in case they get caught in the open away from heavy support and need to defend themselves. You might want to even add a few interceptors to each to provide extra cover against enemy fighters.

Similarly you might wish to add some PD to your battleships, just in case your PD vessels all get destroyed. Nothing to stop you doing that. But overall if you have a need for PD the most efficient way of getting it would be to use a PD hull. But you still have the choice - efficiency, or safety/redundancy?


Utilae wrote:
I think there is no benefit in having role specific hulls as it is just making a cost benefit for the player to put certain components into a ship.
In my experience (well with Moo2 anyway) there is an overwhelming tendency for players to design 1 type of ship. Basically, they have 1 ship design at a time, and when they get a new tech they refit all of their ships to the new design. Thats boring IMO. I dont think you should allow players to be boring.

I've said it before and i'll say it again - if you give players total freedom in ship design you will end up with a game of chess where every piece is a queen.

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I think all role specific hulls does, as Davey suggests is to force the player to design certain ships

Not force, encourage. There is definitely a balance to be found between encoraging the player to use ships in certain ways, and pushing so far that only certain designs become viable (in which case you might as well remove the ability for the player to design ships altogether, and automate it).

Imposing hard limits on what can and cant be added to certain roles, is going too far IMO - you might was well have auto ship design because there wont really be any meaningful choices for the player to make (kinda like in SoTS - you can swap a few gun mountings around but in the end the ship will probably still do the same thing). With the bonus system you can encourage certain roles (and the examples i gave are just that, examples) to varying degrees, and there is lots of scope for balancing things out by tweaking the bonuses.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:09 am 
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Daveybaby wrote:
In my experience (well with Moo2 anyway) there is an overwhelming tendency for players to design 1 type of ship. Basically, they have 1 ship design at a time, and when they get a new tech they refit all of their ships to the new design. Thats boring IMO. I dont think you should allow players to be boring.

That is because at some point in Moo2 there is always a better weapon. In the early gane it is missiles, in the late game it is beam weapons. Through proper balance and perhaps the ability to refine weapon types, different weapon types could have been used in some kind of RPS. Eg I don't think PD was ever very powerful and in the end beams were just more powerful then anything else.

Daveybaby wrote:
I've said it before and i'll say it again - if you give players total freedom in ship design you will end up with a game of chess where every piece is a queen.

So we will give the player a pawn, a rook and a knight and that will make a great game. Role specific hulls will give a few roles in the game to create a RPS, for the players to be confined within.

Daveybaby wrote:
Not force, encourage. There is definitely a balance to be found between encoraging the player to use ships in certain ways, and pushing so far that only certain designs become viable (in which case you might as well remove the ability for the player to design ships altogether, and automate it).

In the end, with the role specific system, the hulls dictate the ships design. Why would the player ever bother trying to think of how to design their ship when they can choose the PD hull, LR hull, Carrier etc and then just fill that hull with the hulls favourite weapon. Ship Design would be simple, but not really design.

Daveybaby wrote:
With the bonus system you can encourage certain roles (and the examples i gave are just that, examples) to varying degrees, and there is lots of scope for balancing things out by tweaking the bonuses.

I do agree that the role specific hulls would be viable if there are reasons to put not only the hulls favourite weapon in, but also complimentary systems, eg your "cruiser" have engine bonuses and SR weapon bonuses is better than the PD hull having only PD bonuses. And it would be good to still be able to be creative. Eg if I want to create a stealth carrier, etc.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:44 pm 
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Why would the player ever bother trying to think of how to design their ship when they can choose the PD hull, LR hull, Carrier etc and then just fill that hull with the hulls favourite weapon

This is exactly what they would do anyway if there wasnt any hull specialisation. At least this way youre encouraging some diversification in peoples fleets. But TBH i dont think we're ever going to see eye to eye on this subject - i think we just have completely opposite opinions on space combat (i.e. you like Moo2 combat and i cant stand it)

Additional Thought on Roles
There's always the option to allow users to combine roles, e.g. combining Cruiser and Battleship hulls to create um... a battlecruiser hull, i guess:

Battleship Hull
+25% space/cost saving when adding heavy LR weapons
+25% space/cost saving when adding armour

Cruiser Hull
+25% saving when adding heavy SR weapons
+25% saving when adding faster engines

Battlecruiser Hull
+12.5% bonus to heavy LR weapons
+12.5% bonus to armour
+12.5% bonus to heavy SR weapons
+12.5% bonus to faster engines

You only get half the bonuses because the hull design is a compromise between 2 optimised designs, so its still a bit less efficient than having 2 separate designs, but this gives the player a bit more flexibility w.r.t. hull roles. And of course you could combine 3 or more roles in the same way if you were feeling particularly fiddly (and you would get 1/3 of each of the role's bonuses).

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 2:17 pm 
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utilae wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
...option to mark one of the parts as the "Primary System" for the ship. This would have the effect of giving a bonus to the performance of that system, and perhaps a penalty to all other systems.

That's just more complex. Davey's suggestion is better.

How is that more complex? You either pick a hull that gives some bonuses, or you pick a part. In either case, bonuses or penalties are applied to various parts or the ship's overal performance in some way.

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What if, after making a design in whatever way is done, the game looks at the components and ship makeup and decides that based on X components, this ship is Role X.

That's just not having role-specific hulls, except we need an algorithm to analyze and label any design, which is probably impossible to do meaningfully in borderline cases.

Quote:
It could also be done the reverse way, I want role X, then the game puts in the components.

That would be more complex, in that we'd have to write a bunch of algorithms to autogenerate ship designs. It's also already been suggested,
Tyreth wrote:
We may have the options to auto-fill designs that you can then modify, or just use blank slates - this can be discussed later.
but is really irrelivant to the discussion of whether to have role-specific hulls. Unless there is some additional bonus / penalty related to the role, it would just be role-neutral hulls with an autodesign option.

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A hull that give 50% more space for LR weapons is really just the same as taking a hull and putting in mostly LR weapons.

So perhaps we need another way to make role-specific hulls than giving space bonuses? (Davey suggested cost savings.) Don't reject a general idea based on a single potentially flawed implementation. And regardless, it's still "mostly", not "only", and there are choices about how many of the emphasized part to include, and what to put in the remaining space in either option.

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Maybe design a ship that creates a shield over the entire fleet. Would we have thought of that role specific hull for the player. No, the player thought of it. So roll neutral hulls encourage Creativity.

Again, consider my "pick a primary part" suggestion... the player can "creatively" pick any part to emphasize, and there doesn't need to be a predefined role-specific hull for any possible idea.

That said, yes; we probably would have thought of that role-specific hull... Or more likely, there would be a more generic "in-battle effects projection support ship" hull, which could be used for shield-generating puroses, or similar functions.

utilae wrote:
In the end, with the role specific system, the hulls dictate the ships design. Why would the player ever bother trying to think of how to design their ship when they can choose the PD hull, LR hull, Carrier etc and then just fill that hull with the hulls favourite weapon.
[...]
And it would be good to still be able to be creative. Eg if I want to create a stealth carrier, etc.

Is there any reason you couldn't put stealth equipment into a cruiser-specific hull? It would still be more cruiser-ish than if the design was in a generic hull, but that doesn't mean there's only space for weapons an engines in the hull. The "creative" part of the designing would be how many weapons and engines to put in, and what else to put in besides weapons and engines. It would probably be silly not to put good weapons or engines in such a cruiser hull, but that doesnt' mean there are no other choices.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 4:44 pm 
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Erm... One thing to consider is the strategic implications of researching certain hulls exclusively. If you have only blank empty hulls then players simply research the biggest hulls they can and have no thinking to do.

Having multiple hull types gives players a choice to make when doing research. Also a well thought out "role" system will be a soft RPS not a hard one. IE certain designs work better against others, but they aren't guaranteed to win.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 4:50 pm 
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Daveybaby wrote:
Quote:
Why would the player ever bother trying to think of how to design their ship when they can choose the PD hull, LR hull, Carrier etc and then just fill that hull with the hulls favourite weapon

This is exactly what they would do anyway if there wasnt any hull specialisation. At least this way youre encouraging some diversification in peoples fleets. But TBH i dont think we're ever going to see eye to eye on this subject - i think we just have completely opposite opinions on space combat (i.e. you like Moo2 combat and i cant stand it)

Additional Thought on Roles
There's always the option to allow users to combine roles, e.g. combining Cruiser and Battleship hulls to create um... a battlecruiser hull, i guess:

Battleship Hull
+25% space/cost saving when adding heavy LR weapons
+25% space/cost saving when adding armour

Cruiser Hull
+25% saving when adding heavy SR weapons
+25% saving when adding faster engines

Battlecruiser Hull
+12.5% bonus to heavy LR weapons
+12.5% bonus to armour
+12.5% bonus to heavy SR weapons
+12.5% bonus to faster engines

You only get half the bonuses because the hull design is a compromise between 2 optimised designs, so its still a bit less efficient than having 2 separate designs, but this gives the player a bit more flexibility w.r.t. hull roles. And of course you could combine 3 or more roles in the same way if you were feeling particularly fiddly (and you would get 1/3 of each of the role's bonuses).


Defining ship role by % modifiers is bad imho, i think much better would be with ship slots. Explorer(scout) has more engine slots, few weaponslots for example.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 5:41 pm 
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Yeeha wrote:
Defining ship role by % modifiers is bad imho, i think much better would be with ship slots. Explorer(scout) has more engine slots, few weaponslots for example.

Never been a big fan of ship slots in design - didnt like them in Imperium Galactica, Didnt like em in in SoTS either.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:21 pm 
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Daveybaby wrote:
Never been a big fan of ship slots in design...

This thread is about whether or not to have role-specific hulls as the basis for design. Some of the discussion has been edging more towards implementation (eg. lists of +% bonuses), but has at least been in context of the topic.

Just declaring dislike for slots without any role-specific-hull relevance is off-topic, however. We'll have that discussion later.

Future completely off-topic posts may be deleted.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:16 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
Daveybaby wrote:
Never been a big fan of ship slots in design...

This thread is about whether or not to have role-specific hulls as the basis for design. Some of the discussion has been edging more towards implementation (eg. lists of +% bonuses), but has at least been in context of the topic.

Just declaring dislike for slots without any role-specific-hull relevance is off-topic, however. We'll have that discussion later.

Future completely off-topic posts may be deleted.
I think what Davey was trying to say is that defining ship roles by what you can put into the hull(via slots) is worse than a system that simply gives ships a bonus for using certain things.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 12:48 am 
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Daveybaby's analogy to chess is spot on. As suggested, we don't need a game full of chess queens, where the only option is to have a bigger fleet, or decidely advance tech. Chess is a game of strategy, which relies on role specific pieces. I concur with Daveybaby on the need for varied, specific roles. Do my six destroyers have a chance against those two cruisers?

As I alluded to earlier, I think the role given should be made primary and fixed. A cruiser will always have less armour and be faster than a battleship, a carrier will always have fighter bays, pd will always have pd, etc. But I would allow a part of any hull to be fully and completely customisable(but to retain primary role, less than 50%). If you are stuck, out of range of an inportant star system, add extended fuel tanks, need a fleet covering shield, then add one to a battleship or titan if it has room; if you want to add armour and reduce engines on a cruiser, so it becomes a pocket battleship, then do so. The basic role never changes, but it can be optimised.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 1:52 am 
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Sandlapper wrote:
...we don't need a game full of chess queens, where the only option is to have a bigger fleet, or decidely advance tech. Chess is a game of strategy, which relies on role specific pieces.

It is not the case that if we don't have role-specific (restricted design or bonus/penalty adjusted) hulls, that there will only be a single best ship design at any time in the game. We already have a variety of weapons (LR, SR, PD, fighters) that are best used in combination and which have different tactical characteristics. Given this, and other potential ways, it can be made impractical or inefficient to a) put some of everything into a ship design or b) make only a single-function best design, without using role-specific hulls.

Quote:
If you are stuck, out of range of an inportant star system, add extended fuel tanks, need a fleet covering shield, then add one to a battleship or titan if it has room; if you want to add armour and reduce engines on a cruiser, so it becomes a pocket battleship, then do so. The basic role never changes, but it can be optimised.

If you can specialize a role towards the job of another role, then aren't the roles somewhat blurred? At that point, why not just have a role-neutral design system (no role-specific hulls), and have a ship's performance (including the roles it is good at) be a function of its parts, as utilae seems to prefer? (A limit of 50% cutomization, or similar, if meaningless at this point...)


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 2:44 am 
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utilae wrote:
Daveybaby wrote:
In my experience (well with Moo2 anyway) there is an overwhelming tendency for players to design 1 type of ship. Basically, they have 1 ship design at a time, and when they get a new tech they refit all of their ships to the new design. Thats boring IMO. I dont think you should allow players to be boring.

That is because at some point in Moo2 there is always a better weapon. In the early gane it is missiles, in the late game it is beam weapons. Through proper balance and perhaps the ability to refine weapon types, different weapon types could have been used in some kind of RPS. Eg I don't think PD was ever very powerful and in the end beams were just more powerful then anything else.

Daveybaby wrote:
I've said it before and i'll say it again - if you give players total freedom in ship design you will end up with a game of chess where every piece is a queen.

I haven't put in the hours with MoO (or those other windows only 4X games) space combat that many of your have, but i believe utilae is essentially right here. There doesn't seem to be much benefit in doing anything in MoO but making the biggest ship with the newest tech. My guess is that there was little effort put into making a fleet of diverse ships a good strategy. The way a ship design so quickly goes obsolete, also increases the burden of maintaining a creative multi-ship-type fleet.

I think the diversified tactics Davebaby is trying to encourage (or enforce ;) ) with his hulls— could be in large part encouraged in how the weapons/armor/engines work all the way up the tech tree. In other words, i believe it's possible to design the military technology so there is no queen-ship. I believe that's essentially what we're trying to do with the SR, LR, PD, etc. interactions. IMHO the secret to diversified tactics/ship-design is very careful balancing of the components, so that a one-size-fits-all approach is a lousy strategy. Rigging the hulls may be part of that balancing, but not the main part.

This belief in balancing comes from my experience with the Battle for Wesnoth project. Wesnoth's units have extremely interesting interactions. There is no 'Queen' unit, but various units are ideal for specific situations, and are lousy choices for others. While some units are much more powerful/expensive than others, the more powerful unit can be defeated by the right weak unit(s). The complex, rich strategies are not the result of complex rules and stats, but result from a few simple rules/stats, carefully refined.


I'm trying to keep this on-topic, but i don't have an answer to the main question of this thread— in part because i don't have an answer to these questions. However i do favor the idea of having at least some variety of hulls to choose from. These hulls could have (at least) some non-contrived inherent qualities. For instance:

• A spherical hull could have lots of external space for weapons, but less room for engines/innards.
• A cigar-shaped ship might have powerful forward shields, because of it's small cross section.
• Small hulls would have significant bonuses to maneuverability, which a larger ship could only attain by devoting a larger percentage of it's total capacity to engines.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:36 am 
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Hehe.. I agree, Eleazer. The only differences I ever had in my ship designs(in MoO2) were whether or not they were designed to blow up enemy ships or capture them. Otherwise they were always the same.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:31 am 
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After some thoughts I have come to the following conclusions:

Both systems (hull specific / hull neutral) can have clear roles created by players, its just a matter of balance imo. Hull neutral roles need the components balanced, but hull specific roles need the components and the hulls balanced.

I think the biggest point of difference is a matter of perception to the player:
*Role specific lends itself to be easier for the player to choose roles, all the roles are in front of them, so they just have to choose. Its not about designing their ship, but instead about having ships of the right role.
*Role neutral hulls have a steeper learning curve in identifying the roles that can be created from components. Players will need to determine themselves what components work torward their strategy and create their own roles based on experience. It's about building the roles and adapting them for the players strategy and to the situation.


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