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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 12:06 pm 
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Utilae, as usual, i see things as completely the opposite way round. :P

Role specific involves the greater learning curve - it forces the player to think about the roles and how to use and counter them - because the other players in the game are also going to be using a variety of ships roles.

Non-role specific ships mean that the player wont really have to consider roles at all in ship design - they can just pile in a load of the biggest and best weapon of the moment, since that's probably what everyone else will be doing too.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 5:13 pm 
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actually it doesnt matter at all how balanced techs are since smart player in game with generic hulls will take same hull look for all ships and so playing with specialised ships against such player will be useless since u wont know what to target or what to fear. So best strategy would be to make best all around design to conquer such enemy or let computer control battles since ai probably has "insight" of enemy ships. Example of problem with specialised ships :

you see enemy 5 cruisers at front and 5 cruisers behind. You got 5 cruisers (pointdefense) and behind 5 missilecruisers. Now if enemy has longrange fire cruisers at front he will destroy your pd ships and you loose. But if those at front are enemy pd ships then you got chance for equal battle depending what ships are behind. But if those infront are medium range fireships then your missilecruisers will destroy them before they get shot at ya. So player must know more or less enemy ships capabilities imho and thus it would be better to have rolespecific designs.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:28 pm 
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@ Utilae and Davey: Either way, we don't want to have a simplistic "bigger is better" mentality in ship building. that's what always happened in MoO2. Build the biggest ships you can. Other ships simply didn't get used at all. Making the hulls have different inherent abilities is a good way to encourage the player to think about what to use them for. Carriers were always the biggest ships(for their tech levels) in the SE games. Why? they had a special role.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:42 am 
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Daveybaby


Quote:
Role specific involves the greater learning curve - it forces the player to think about the roles and how to use and counter them - because the other players in the game are also going to be using a variety of ships roles.

Non-role specific ships mean that the player wont really have to consider roles at all in ship design - they can just pile in a load of the biggest and best weapon of the moment, since that's probably what everyone else will be doing too.


Ditto.

Another thought, based on Yeeha's comments, role specific would likely have more visual cues to their inherent power; while a generic hull would likely require a battle scan of each hull, with an analysis of strengths/weaknesses, just to figure out what is opposing you. Such visual cues would reduce the time needed to make the battle decision - fight or flee?

Again, envision a chess board with conventional pieces, the varying pieces have varing roles identifiable by visual cues. Now envision a chess board where all pieces are pawns, but, some pawns have different roles. Which ones? You don't know until you scan it or see it use it's role. Then you still have to keep track of each role during the melee of battle.

I don't expect role-specific to necessarily have totally explicit visual cues, nor generic hulls to be plain and void of cues, but you get the picture.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:00 am 
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Daveybaby wrote:
Non-role specific ships mean that the player wont really have to consider roles at all in ship design...

This isn't necessarily true; it can likely be arranged that ship roles will still be strategically necessary, and that the player will be best off of s/he produces ships suited to a variety of roles and then uses them appropriately in those roles, even if we don't force a particular set of roles to be used by making predefined hulls for them.

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...they can just pile in a load of the biggest and best weapon of the moment, since that's probably what everyone else will be doing too.

Consider the GalCiv model, in which there are three types of weapons and three types of defensive equipment. They are strong/weak against eachother in a manner simlar to Rock-Paper-Scissors. There is no single "biggest and best weapon" at any time; you need to tailor your ships to be effective against what your enemy is using, or you can build a variety of ships.

Regardless, given the concern with having only generic hulls leading to monotonous ship designs, and the concern about predefined role-specific hulls making ship design to restricted or uncreative, how about a half-way solution?

Essentially, we'd have a variety of hull types with various different properties. Some of these properties would be more or less suitable to certain ship roles, no hull would be pigeonholed into use in only a single role, and you could use a size that is not the best for a particular role if you didn't have access to that size (yet).

Eleazar had some suggestions above, mixing shape and size.

Alternatively, we could just have 4 or 5 different hull sizes. Note that in this model, larger is not always better: each hull size would have its unique advantages and disadvantages, in combat and on the galaxy map, in ways related and unrelated to actual battle performance.

Sandlapper wrote:
...role specific would likely have more visual cues to their inherent power...

Using different-sized hulls should, once the properties of the (relatively small number of) sizes are known, allow players to quickly discern what a particular ship is capable of, based on its easily-visible size.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 4:10 am 
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That is more or less what I've been advocating. Although it might not be bad to have a few heavily specialized hulls. Like say colony ships and a special death star hull(pigeonholed into having the bioggest beam weapons you've got).

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 6:29 am 
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i happened to run across this wiki page by emrys (one of the members of the creative team from the old days. I think he expresses his ideas pretty clearly. If he was still around he'd probably express these ideas on this topic.




While many of use are justifiably critical of MoO2's "bigger is always better" approach, there is at least one legitimate motive for it. It keeps the battle from being cluttered in late-game with 1000s of tiny ships—none of which are important enough to care about, or to take the time to control.

Which leads me to an idea... There might be large tiers in ship development, 3-5 in the entire tech-tree. Each size at each tier would be a "hull" and have it's own 3D model. And at each tier, a larger ship has essentially the same speed and maneuverability that the smaller size had at the previous tier. So the D3 would be about as maneuverable as the B1, but it's much larger. Imagining there are 4 tiers (A-D) and 6 sizes: (this is for general effect, this thread is not about the number of sizes/tiers)
Code:
   1  2  3  4  5  6
A  @  @  @  .  .  .
B  @  @  @  @  .  .
C  .  @  @  @  @  .
D  .  .  @  @  @  @

The "@" mark sizes available at each tech tier.


• As production increases with large empires and end-game tech, battles aren't clogged up with excessive numbers of tiny, cheap, maneuverable ships.
• There is still a range of sizes with different advantages at each tier.
• As the player travels up the tier, his smallest ships are noticeably larger and cooler than those of a lesser tech tier.
• 3D graphics would be decently informative of ship's abilities even if we can't add on every weapon as a visible model.
• This idea could be combined with different hull-shapes for added variety of inherent qualities.
• The ship-model art requirements are decreased by about 1/3rd compared to having all sizes available at all tiers.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 6:45 am 
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eleazar wrote:
While many of use are justifiably critical of MoO2's "bigger is always better" approach, there is at least one legitimate motive for it. It keeps the battle from being cluttered in late-game with 1000s of tiny ships—none of which are important enough to care about, or to take the time to control.

Which leads me to an idea...

I still hold out hope for the fact that I will see 1000 tiny ships fighting 10 large ships and wondering which will win as the amazing battle goes on. I think this probelm can be solved through the GUI implementation of unit management then through cutting out functionality.

And the idea. Essentially you are upgrading sizes, only the sizes don't stay the same, they change in size, eek confusion. I think this is similar to that idea of refining different hull sizes to keep them competitve with other hull sizes. Eg player A would refine small hull so it can still compete against players using large hull (through upgrades such as hitpoints, and as you suggest, space).


Daveybaby wrote:
Role specific involves the greater learning curve - it forces the player to think about the roles and how to use and counter them - because the other players in the game are also going to be using a variety of ships roles.

This kind of thinking would be used in both systems. I'll get to the details soon.

Daveybaby wrote:
Non-role specific ships mean that the player wont really have to consider roles at all in ship design - they can just pile in a load of the biggest and best weapon of the moment, since that's probably what everyone else will be doing too.

If all the components fit into a nice balanced RPS like Geoff suggests with how it is done in GalCiv, then palyers will have to consider roles. Think of the existence of three balanced weapons: BEAMS, FIGHTERS and MISSILES. If all are balanced, then the player still has to think about roles. They wont be choosing hulls to fit the ship into the RPS, they will be choosing components. This is the pure difference. Based on the components, the ship is put into a certain role. And this is my point of view.


Yeeha wrote:
actually it doesnt matter at all how balanced techs are since smart player in game with generic hulls will take same hull look for all ships and so playing with specialised ships against such player will be useless since u wont know what to target or what to fear. So best strategy would be to make best all around design to conquer such enemy or let computer control battles since ai probably has "insight" of enemy ships.

Actually the same problem arises either way.
Role Neutral - Player builds generic ships (carrier/beam/missle) to get best chance of handling all RPS situations. Player can build role specific ships to take out enemy ships of certain roles, if they have the enemies fleet information.
Role Specific - Player builds equal amounts of each ship roles (3xCarrier, 3xBeam, 3xMissile) to get best chance of handling all RPS situations. Player can build role specific ships to take out enemy ships of certain roles, if they have the enemies fleet information.


Yeeha wrote:
So player must know more or less enemy ships capabilities imho and thus it would be better to have rolespecific designs.

And
Sandlapper wrote:
Another thought, based on Yeeha's comments, role specific would likely have more visual cues to their inherent power; while a generic hull would likely require a battle scan of each hull, with an analysis of strengths/weaknesses, just to figure out what is opposing you. Such visual cues would reduce the time needed to make the battle decision - fight or flee?

Role Neutral Ships can still display there role using some kind of Icon overlay. In ship design, the player either chooses the role manually or instead the ships role is determined based on weapons and components in ship. So the information can still be displayed to players.


Geoff the Medio wrote:
it can likely be arranged that ship roles will still be strategically necessary, and that the player will be best off of s/he produces ships suited to a variety of roles and then uses them appropriately in those roles, even if we don't force a particular set of roles to be used by making predefined hulls for them.

This is like in real life I guess. You can have multi role vehicles (role neutral) and specialised vehicles (role specialised). I think we can have both systems in one, so we are really just talking about different ways of achieving the same thing.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Essentially, we'd have a variety of hull types with various different properties. Some of these properties would be more or less suitable to certain ship roles, no hull would be pigeonholed into use in only a single role, and you could use a size that is not the best for a particular role if you didn't have access to that size (yet).

Eleazar had some suggestions above, mixing shape and size.

Alternatively, we could just have 4 or 5 different hull sizes. Note that in this model, larger is not always better: each hull size would have its unique advantages and disadvantages, in combat and on the galaxy map, in ways related and unrelated to actual battle performance.

I too am leaning towards this idea of a hybrid system. I will flesh my own idea out later. But essentially as you have said, the player could choose from hulls such as Carrier, Gunship, Scout, Generic. Generic is role neutral hull, while the others are role specialised. Eg Carrier would have X% more space as Davey suggests, if X% fighters are in the hull. Generic would have 0% more space, no bonuses. This way specialised ships will have more space for their favoured components. Generalised ships will have slightly less space, since they are not geared to that specific component.

Also I like other properties such as Shape (eg Cube, Sphere), Technology (eg Organic, Metal) and Size (Small, Large). I think there should be no restrictions on what size goes with which role. If certain sizes lend themselves better to certain roles, then let players have the chance to figure out what makes the best size for that role. A further idea is to have restricted size of components based on ship hull. Eg a "Long Hull" can only have spinal mount weapons.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:38 pm 
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Daveybaby wrote:
Role specific involves the greater learning curve - it forces the player to think about the roles and how to use and counter them - because the other players in the game are also going to be using a variety of ships roles.

Err, i'm not sure what point you are trying to make here. I suspect you are using the term "learning curve" in an unusual way.
A "greater" (usually refered to as "steeper") learning curve is generally bad. Something with a high learning curve is harder to learn to use or understand. And ease of use and understanding is clearly one of FO's goals.

Sandlapper wrote:
Another thought, based on Yeeha's comments, role specific would likely have more visual cues to their inherent power/

Yes, but the problem is that unless the player's options were very tightly constrained, those visual clues could be deceptive.
Sandlapper wrote:
Again, envision a chess board with conventional pieces, the varying pieces have varing roles identifiable by visual cues. Now envision a chess board where all pieces are pawns, but, some pawns have different roles. Which ones? You don't know until you scan it or see it use it's role. Then you still have to keep track of each role during the melee of battle.

To follow the chess example, it's about equally bad if you have all the normal-looking pieces but the queen actually can move like a knight. I suppose different types of mentalities would find one or the other more confusing. My point is that both are pretty bad. "Guess what this ship does" should not be a major part of the battle.

Weather we have role-specific hulls or not we need another easy way to determine the powers of each ship. And what exactly that is, does not come under this topic.


utilae wrote:
Essentially you are upgrading sizes, only the sizes don't stay the same, they change in size, eek confusion.

How is it confusing? If follows the fundamental pattern of such games: more technology = better. As technology improves ships become faster and more powerful. Do you think players expect ship speed per hull to be unvarying throughout the game?

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2007 5:31 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
Alternatively, we could just have 4 or 5 different hull sizes. Note that in this model, larger is not always better: each hull size would have its unique advantages and disadvantages, in combat and on the galaxy map, in ways related and unrelated to actual battle performance.


This is the way I would expect non role-specific hulls to work and non role-specific hulls seems to be the idea which makes most sense to me.

Now I believe that having just those 4 or 5 different hull sizes plus maybe some role specific hulls, like the colony ship hull for example, would be the simplest way of solving this problem as that way we wouldn`t need who knows how many different sorts of role-specific hull graphics, if every role-specific hull would look different, to be made to all the species that will be added to the game. This is of course assuming that the ships of different species will look different which is something that I at least would take for granted, since if all the species would have ships which are at least almost identical looking to each other I would consider that to be as bad as taking pictures from the Freeorion development team and putting them into the diplomacy screen and then claiming that they are representatives of different species. So in sort it just wouldn`t feel believable.

Also having non role-specific hulls would give the player total freedom over ship design. However like it has been already said this shouldn`t mean that players would just end up designing ships with the best of everything in them, since I would like to think that Geoff the Medio`s idea of balancing the weapons/defensive equipment can effectively force wise players to use ships which have different roles. So basically the game wouldn`t be forcing the players to use certain kinds of ship roles by giving them artificial bonuses, but instead the players would have to think for them selves and figure out what kind of a fleet would be the most effective in a certain kind of a situation.

And what comes to the problem of how to make different ship sizes important through out the game I think that Geoff the Medio`s idea on this matter which can be found in the utilae`s first post to this thread could be very useful.

Whereas utilae`s idea on how roles could be assigned to the ships seems to make the most sense to me, since this way we could use icons as utilae also suggested to make ships role identification easier in the space combat, so that you wouldn`t have to rely only on visual clues or make scans of enemy ships to determine their role.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2007 10:53 pm 
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Issues of whether or not to have many small ships in battles against few large ships, details of what hulls or sizes to use, and especially details of how sizes or hulls change over the course of a game are beyond the scope of this topic. We'll have those discussions later.

Various people are using the terms "role neutral", "role specific" and "hybrid" inconsistently.

Regardless of what it's called, does anyone have any objections with a system where:

* Ship hulls are one of a small set of sizes
* Hull sizes are visually distinct, and can be easily seen on the battle map and in other visual representations of a ship in the UI
* Hull sizes have various characteristics that alter how ships can be designed on those hulls, and/or directly alter how ships designed on those hulls function
* Hull sizes are not specific to any particular "ship role", though some hull sizes are more suitable for some roles than others. What role or roles a particular ship is good at is a function of its design and it hull size
* The concept of "ship role" may be built into the game mechanics or UI. Some indication of the role of a ship, as a summary of its design, may be generated and displayed to players and/or used by AI to determine how a ship "should" be used tactically or considered strategically
* Even without this "role" detailed information, many important or basic characteristics of a ship should be clear from just its size, regardless of the details of its design
* Hull size characteristics may or may not change with technology (in absolute or relative terms, to be determined)
* Larger hulls are not better than smaller hulls. All hull sizes have different characteristics and different uses, and the "best" possible fleet contains ships with multiple different hull sizes doing different roles.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:04 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
Regardless of what it's called, does anyone have any objections with a system where:

Sounds good with the following qualifications/clarifications. Though some of the statements are vauge/broad enough, that it would be hard to disagree with them.

Quote:
* Even without this "role" detailed information, many important or basic characteristics of a ship should be clear from just its size, regardless of the details of its design

I'm not sure how a ships size can convey many characteristics, unless those characteristics are artificially assigned. A larger ship has more room for goodies, but is slower. — this sums it up i think. So the middle sizes are compromises between speed and capacity, but they don't actually have unique qualities not found in other sizes.

Quote:
* Larger hulls are not better than smaller hulls. All hull sizes have different characteristics and different uses, and the "best" possible fleet contains ships with multiple different hull sizes doing different roles.

Just to clarify, what you really mean is ," larger hulls are not better than an equally expensive number of smaller hulls." right?
Either way, i still favor a bias toward the larger sizes, so that by some means the smallest sizes are obsolete, or impractical at end game. It may look cool in starwars to have an incredible differential in ship sizes, but it's impractical to try to control extremely small and extremely large ships at the same time.


I would add:
Quote:
• Unlike the bulk of the fleet, certain highly-specialized ship types may be only available in a role-specific single-sized hull.

Yeah, i know it sounds like waffling, but in this current discussion which cannot get into specific details, we can't really address weather unusual ship types like the colony ship or fighters should have special hulls or not.

Quote:
• At each (or most) hull sizes, a few basic hull shapes are available. These shapes have a few additional properties which reasonably follow from their geometry.

This is one of those things which i think would provide gameplay value equal to the effort, but is not necessary.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:29 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
Various people are using the terms "role neutral", "role specific" and "hybrid" inconsistently.

Explain what you mean.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
* Ship hulls are one of a small set of sizes

What does this mean? I think ship hulls/roles should be independant of size.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
* Hull sizes are visually distinct, and can be easily seen on the battle map and in other visual representations of a ship in the UI

Agree. I think the best option is with an icon/mouseover text UI system.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
* Hull sizes have various characteristics that alter how ships can be designed on those hulls, and/or directly alter how ships designed on those hulls function

Not hull sizes, hull types! lol. Once again, I think size is independant, therefore not in this discussion.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
* Hull sizes are not specific to any particular "ship role", though some hull sizes are more suitable for some roles than others. What role or roles a particular ship is good at is a function of its design and it hull size

Agree, since you say that hull types, roles and sizes are all seperate things.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
* The concept of "ship role" may be built into the game mechanics or UI. Some indication of the role of a ship, as a summary of its design, may be generated and displayed to players and/or used by AI to determine how a ship "should" be used tactically or considered strategically

Agree. In the end I beleive that the role specific/role neutral systems are just a perception. Both systems can handle roles equally well.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
* Even without this "role" detailed information, many important or basic characteristics of a ship should be clear from just its size, regardless of the details of its design

Not really. Sure I guess people automatically things a large ship is a carrier or a gunship loaded with only weapons. But this is not necesarily always the case. And some properties will always be set based on ship size, eg small ships have less space then large ones, small ships more stealthy, small ships use less fuel, largest ship size can fit the largest weapons, etc.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
* Hull size characteristics may or may not change with technology (in absolute or relative terms, to be determined)

Can't really agree with a statement that is yes and no. I am open to this, since there are no details yet.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
* Larger hulls are not better than smaller hulls. All hull sizes have different characteristics and different uses, and the "best" possible fleet contains ships with multiple different hull sizes doing different roles.

Agreed. Eleazars response about making small ship sizes obsolete, is one I remain against. I think we can find another way to control large fleets of ships.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:37 am 
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eleazar wrote:
Quote:
* Even without this "role" detailed information, many important or basic characteristics of a ship should be clear from just its size, regardless of the details of its design

I'm not sure how a ships size can convey many characteristics, unless those characteristics are artificially assigned. A larger ship has more room for goodies, but is slower. — this sums it up i think. So the middle sizes are compromises between speed and capacity, but they don't actually have unique qualities not found in other sizes.

There are a variety of other factors besides goody room and speed with which ship sizes can be differentiated, but the specifics of this are beyond the scope of the thread.

We can remove the "many", though.

Quote:
...what you really mean is ," larger hulls are not better than an equally expensive number of smaller hulls." right?

The various hull sizes will be balanced so that all available sizes are useful and an optimal fleet will have a variety of the available sizes. Specific goals of balancing or how balancing will be done are beyond the scope of this thread.

Quote:
...i still favor a bias toward the larger sizes...

Off topic. Will be discussed later.

Quote:
I would add:
Quote:
• Unlike the bulk of the fleet, certain highly-specialized ship types may be only available in a role-specific single-sized hull.

Yeah, i know it sounds like waffling, but in this current discussion which cannot get into specific details, we can't really address weather unusual ship types like the colony ship or fighters should have special hulls or not.

I don't see any reason why colony ships, or similar specialized roles, would need a separate hull "size". Maybe they could have particular requirements for hull "shape" (see below), but I think we're better off keeping the basic system, built around sizes, simpler and universally applicable.

Fighters are a weapons type, not ships, and won't fall under the size classification system, as such.

Quote:
Quote:
• At each (or most) hull sizes, a few basic hull shapes are available. These shapes have a few additional properties which reasonably follow from their geometry.

This is one of those things which i think would provide gameplay value equal to the effort, but is not necessary.

This is similar to the change or not with technology point, and I don't think it warrants definitive inclusion yet. However we can put a note that there may or may not be variable shaped hulls as well, with some appropriate modification to the design process or ship performance. (eg. we might have options to rearrange the spots in a grid if we used a grid-based design system.)

...

utilae, I'm not going to respond to your post's details because much of it seems to be either you not reading what I wrote, or not reading it carefully enough before replying to what you thought it (should have) said.


Last edited by Geoff the Medio on Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:37 am 
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eleazar:
Quote:
"Guess what this ship does" should not be a major part of the battle.


Exactly. My argument all along. A role specific hull should be specific/obvious by design, but not necessarily by size(which can vary).

Edit: Just noticed Geoff's lastest response during reply session. Adding response to it hereafter.

Geoff the Medio


Regardless of what it's called, does anyone have any objections with a system where:

* Ship hulls are one of a small set of sizes


Depends which way we go, generic hulls, we only need about 5 sizes; role specific(or mix) at least double that.

* Hull sizes are visually distinct, and can be easily seen on the battle map and in other visual representations of a ship in the UI

Agreed (although roles shouldn't necessarily be limited to one size)

* Hull sizes have various characteristics that alter how ships can be designed on those hulls, and/or directly alter how ships designed on those hulls function

Agreed, no arguments here, in general.

* Hull sizes are not specific to any particular "ship role", though some hull sizes are more suitable for some roles than others. What role or roles a particular ship is good at is a function of its design and it hull size

Agreed. While I think a carrier should be a specific, dedicated designed hull, it can vary in size, e.g. Escort Carrier, Carrier, Supercarrier.

* The concept of "ship role" may be built into the game mechanics or UI. Some indication of the role of a ship, as a summary of its design, may be generated and displayed to players and/or used by AI to determine how a ship "should" be used tactically or considered strategically


Agreed, if I'm understanding you correctly.

* Even without this "role" detailed information, many important or basic characteristics of a ship should be clear from just its size, regardless of the details of its design

(again)Agreed, if I'm understanding you correctly.

* Hull size characteristics may or may not change with technology (in absolute or relative terms, to be determined)

Yes, they may, or may not; to be determined.


* Larger hulls are not better than smaller hulls. All hull sizes have different characteristics and different uses, and the "best" possible fleet contains ships with multiple different hull sizes doing different roles.


It depends, in general I would presume the opposite. But I can see a smaller hull of equal tech, having superior designed offensive firepower to defeat a larger hull. I agree on a various hull/size fleet to be a best case scanario.


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