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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 3:11 pm 
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utilae wrote:
Yeeha wrote:
And having slot system doesnt mean that you have precreated hulls if ships have weight limit and there are more slots than you could fill with weight limit.

But how do we arrange the slots. If there are no precreated hulls, then the slots have no order or arrangement. We should just arrange them in a neat line. For shapes we can make them into a patterns, eg a circle, but how would the pattern be important. Would that translate to being important in a space battle, eg outer slots destroyed first.

If we go with slots, they will be on "pre-created hulls" if i understand what you mean. In other words if you choose a "large, round hull" (assuming we have shapes) The slots and their capacity will be pre-determined.
IMHO a system where the player positions slots wherever he wants is not a slot system, but something else in disguise.


I doubt we will use slots and a weight limit (unless the inside is list-based). Slots can serve the limiting function that a max weight provides, so using both is redundant.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:13 pm 
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eleazar wrote:
If we go with slots, they will be on "pre-created hulls" if i understand what you mean. In other words if you choose a "large, round hull" (assuming we have shapes) The slots and their capacity will be pre-determined.
IMHO a system where the player positions slots wherever he wants is not a slot system, but something else in disguise.

It is a slot system. The player has only six slots (size 6 ship). So the player positions the slots appropriately. Then puts components in. Its really the 'role neutral' version of slots. But it would be a useless idea if the slots did not mean something in combat, eg outer slots destroyed first or slot position corresponding to where weapon ship part models are rendered and attached to the main model and where the projectile comes from.

eleazar wrote:
I doubt we will use slots and a weight limit (unless the inside is list-based). Slots can serve the limiting function that a max weight provides, so using both is redundant.

I agree, Slots System does not need a weight limit. The slots do that job.


All in all, I think if we go with slots, we go with role specific hulls. Though we can still achieve the hybrid system with slots, by having all slots as general slots and grouped together in an unimportant pattern.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 5:47 am 
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Well if u mean precreated hulls by having fixed slot points then i misunderstood you. I thought you mean by that, that ship designing isnt flexible at all and automaticly this will be rolespecific designing.
Well what i meant was so called precreated hulls doesnt mean that automaticly ship design is limited and rolespecific. If you have more fixed slot points than you can use since weight limit. Also weight limit would help balancing since if u got big cloaking device onboard you will have less weapons. If theres no backfire from putting very helpful sub-systems on ships then there emerges again best uber design or unleast couple best uber designs. So imho fixed slot system for weaponsystems and list for general systems with weight limit is best way to go.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 10:58 am 
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Kharagh wrote:
...use a slot system for the space on the hull of a ship. [...] However the space within a ship will be represented by a simple list...

For simplicity, I think we're better off keeping a single system for ship design, rather than mixing slots and lists (or similar).

eleazar wrote:
Depending on the size of the ship, a single slot could hold more or fewer individual weapons.

This might be good, as it allows there to be many individual parts on a ship, while still restricting the number of different types of parts, which is useful to keep the in-battle UI simpler.

Rather than having "weapon slots" or "engine slots", we could have just internal and external slots. Every ship would have at least one external slot for each direction: one for each direction of bow, starboard, port and stern, and a similarly small (~2-5) number of internal slots.

This rough range of number of slots will hopefully keep the actual ship design process relatively quick, while providing enough limits to designs to make deciding what to put in the ship not a trivial decision (eg. you can't just put in everything; you have to pick and chose).

Certain ship parts might require external slots to function (particularly engines or weapons), though some of these types of parts also might not require external slots, which might be an interesting distinguishing feature between different parts of the same general type.

As above, there can also be slot sizes, with some parts requiring larger slots. Using variable sized slots, in which you can't combine multiple small slots to make one larger slot, presumably makes balancing easier, in that it's simple to absolutely restrict certain (large-slot-requiring) parts to hulls that have the appropriate slots, rather than having to worry about multiple small slots being equivalent to a single large slot. Granted, we would have the case of a single large slot being somewhat equivalent to multiple small slots (with the restriction that they all contain the same part), but this is less of a problem if slot size is being used to restrict parts to certain hulls.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 10:21 pm 
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Tyreth wrote:
Now that we've had a discussion about ship roles, we're ready to start discussing ship design in-game. Before we get into the details of that, we need to answer a very important question: what system do we use for design?

I vote for the Slots system. In fact, to begin with, why not just copy the Stars! system? Its a very good system, and copying it will reduce the amount of design decisions needed to get FreeOrion fully operational. After that, modifications can be made as needed.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 11:25 pm 
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Alberjohns wrote:
I vote for the Slots system. In fact, to begin with, why not just copy the Stars! system? Its a very good system, and copying it will reduce the amount of design decisions needed to get FreeOrion fully operational. After that, modifications can be made as needed.

As Geoff mentioned earlier "votes" don't matter. Providing convincing reasons for an idea however could change the game.

Here's a fragment on the wiki that provides some ideas about a Stars!-like approach— though i don't think it's helpful except in a general sense.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Kharagh wrote:
...use a slot system for the space on the hull of a ship. [...] However the space within a ship will be represented by a simple list...

For simplicity, I think we're better off keeping a single system for ship design, rather than mixing slots and lists (or similar).

I'm starting to think the internal systems could be simple enough (without being lame) to fit in a few internal slots.

I essentially agree with Geoff on the following points. Qualifications to follow:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:
Depending on the size of the ship, a single slot could hold more or fewer individual weapons.

This might be good, as it allows there to be many individual parts on a ship, while still restricting the number of different types of parts, which is useful to keep the in-battle UI simpler.

This is a more compelling aspect, now that i think about it. With a limited number off external slots, and a strong RPS aspect built in to the available tech, the player will not be able (in most cases) to put all the good stuff in a single ship. Ships will tend to fit into various roles, because there won't be enough slots (except possible on the biggest sizes) to build a ship with everything: PD, SR, LR, Fighters, Stealth, Super-sensors, etc.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Rather than having "weapon slots" or "engine slots", we could have just internal and external slots. Every ship would have at least one external slot for each direction: one for each direction of bow, starboard, port and stern, and a similarly small (~2-5) number of internal slots.

I rather think the engine should be limited to a subset of external slot(s). I don't think we need to deal with the ramifications of an engine placed on the nose. However at this point i can't think of any other necessary restrictions on what can go where.

~2-5 internal slots sounds reasonable. for example.
1 slot for a star-lane drive (almost always)
1 slot for miscellaneous
1* slot for armor
1* slot for sensors
1* slot for shields

To streamline the internal parts, several kinds components (marked with *) could be assumed to be installed even without taking up a slot. For instance all ships might come standard with minimal shields and sensors, but to enhance either a slot must be used.

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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 1:36 am 
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eleazar wrote:
...engine should be limited to a subset of external slot(s). I don't think we need to deal with the ramifications of an engine placed on the nose. However at this point i can't think of any other necessary restrictions on what can go where.

I don't see any reason to restrict where engines, or any other part, can go as a general rule. We might have some specific parts (eg. Ion Drive Engine Mk. III) that can only go in the aft external slot, for example. Others (Mk. VI) might be able to go in any external slot (determining the direction from which damage is most likely to disable the engine) or any internal slot (Gravitic Drive). Others might work anywhere (Ground Troop Pod).

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~2-5 internal slots sounds reasonable. for example.
1 slot for a star-lane drive (almost always)
1 slot for miscellaneous
1* slot for armor
1* slot for sensors
1* slot for shields

I'm not sure how you mean this, but to clarify: I'd still prefer not to earmark particular slots for particular types of parts. Rather, I'd just have 2-5 generic internal slots that can be filled as a ship designer desires. This way, you can sacrifice having any armour or shields in order to make space for other parts in a specialized ship design.... or add multiple shield and armour parts to make an extra tough ship, or an extra engine to make it extra fast, etc.

That said, some general restrictions on ship design such as "must have at least one FTL engine" would probably be necessary.

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To streamline the internal parts, several kinds components (marked with *) could be assumed to be installed even without taking up a slot. For instance all ships might come standard with minimal shields and sensors, but to enhance either a slot must be used.

We can do this in a few cases, such a giving ships an inherent visibility radius without needing a specialized sensor part. But it should be motivated in each case by a need for that particular game mechanics subsystem, rather than being done by default. For example, with visibility and stealth, it was noted that having all ships default to visibility radius zero would be annoying. Similarly, we probably won't make an "unarmoured" ship instantly explode after the smallest unit of damage possible is done to it.

Whether this is described as a slot-less hidden part, or as inherent properties of a ship or the hull chosen, is likely just semantics.


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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 4:59 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:
...engine should be limited to a subset of external slot(s). I don't think we need to deal with the ramifications of an engine placed on the nose. However at this point i can't think of any other necessary restrictions on what can go where.

I don't see any reason to restrict where engines, or any other part, can go as a general rule. We might have some specific parts (eg. Ion Drive Engine Mk. III) that can only go in the aft external slot, for example. Others (Mk. VI) might be able to go in any external slot (determining the direction from which damage is most likely to disable the engine) or any internal slot (Gravitic Drive).

"Facing must matter."
An obvious ramification, "The player must be able to figure out what the facing is."
The most obvious way to do this, is to put the engines on the ship-model pointing away from the front. Instantly understandable by all players. The engines will obviously appear to be in a particular location on the ship. Allowing the player to "locate" the engines in another place where they obviously aren't is not sensible.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:
~2-5 internal slots sounds reasonable...

I'm not sure how you mean this, but to clarify: I'd still prefer not to earmark particular slots for particular types of parts.

Exactly. I'm not trying to "earmark" slots, but estimate what the minimum internal slot count might be.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:
To streamline the internal parts, several kinds components (marked with *) could be assumed to be installed even without taking up a slot. For instance all ships might come standard with minimal shields and sensors, but to enhance either a slot must be used.

We can do this in a few cases, such a giving ships an inherent visibility radius without needing a specialized sensor part. But it should be motivated in each case by a need for that particular game mechanics subsystem, rather than being done by default. For example, with visibility and stealth, it was noted that having all ships default to visibility radius zero would be annoying. Similarly, we probably won't make an "unarmoured" ship instantly explode after the smallest unit of damage possible is done to it.

So the real question is: Do we want adding Shields, Armor, Sensors, etc. to be part of the normal process of ship-building, or only something to be done when we want unusually good Shields, Armor, Sensors, etc.

As a side note this slot system can still be used to provide variations in shield/armor coverage. After all, very few variations make much sense. After discovering the Znubium Shield application, the player might research a Forward-Emphasis Znubium Shield refinement, as an option for ship design.


Also i'd like to make the fighters with the same slot system as the bigger ships. Fighters might have only 2 or 3 capacity-1 slots, and obviously no star-lane drive, i.e. not much room for customization, but you still get to choose the weaponry. MoO treated them as automatically generated ammo, which seems over-simplistic compared to the rest of the game.

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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 5:37 am 
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eleazar wrote:
"The player must be able to figure out what the facing is."
The most obvious way to do this, is to put the engines on the ship-model pointing away from the front.

Not all engines will necessarily be rocket-like, and needing to be at and point in the direction of the back. Various Star Trek ships had nacelles on the sides, for example. I suspect utilae will want to have some sort of sail-engine that attaches on the front. Something like a gravitic drive could function regardless of where it's located within a ship.

Quote:
Instantly understandable by all players. The engines will obviously appear to be in a particular location on the ship. Allowing the player to "locate" the engines in another place where they obviously aren't is not sensible.

Is it impossible to make ship models that have an obvious "front" and "back", but which don't have obvious "engines" in the base model? If we have parts, such as engines, appear on the model, then they can both appear to and actually be at the same, arbitrary, location...


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So the real question is: Do we want adding Shields, Armor, Sensors, etc. to be part of the normal process of ship-building, or only something to be done when we want unusually good Shields, Armor, Sensors, etc.

Sesnors specifically would likely only be added in a special case... Presumably one sensor-equipped ship can provide detection for several unequipped ships.

Armour and shield might be treated more like weapons. Assuming most ships are at least somewhat combat-capable, then likely adding armour and/or shields would be done most of the time... though there would be cases where you'd want to be able to skip the armour and free up a slot for something else. To make this a significant sacrifice, likely ships without specially-added armour should be rather vulnerable...

So perhaps anything more than very basic armour would need to be added specifically. "Very basic" could be about like having a defense = 1 unit in SMAC. Most ships would have this basic built in armour just due to being a spacefaring vessel and being built out of somewhat sturdy materials. But unless specifically armoured or shielded, they wouldn't stand up well to weapons fire.

Quote:
[fighters with slots]

This warrants its own thread, I think...


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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 6:28 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
I'd still prefer not to earmark particular slots for particular types of parts. Rather, I'd just have 2-5 generic internal slots that can be filled as a ship designer desires. This way, you can sacrifice having any armour or shields in order to make space for other parts in a specialized ship design.... or add multiple shield and armour parts to make an extra tough ship, or an extra engine to make it extra fast, etc.

Agree.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
That said, some general restrictions on ship design such as "must have at least one FTL engine" would probably be necessary.

Yes, although if you designed a ship with no FTL engine or no engine at all, and built it. Well it may still be useful. Its a stationary defense platform that is extremely cheap (no engines!). So do we even need to restrict such things.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Not all engines will necessarily be rocket-like, and needing to be at and point in the direction of the back. Various Star Trek ships had nacelles on the sides, for example. I suspect utilae will want to have some sort of sail-engine that attaches on the front. Something like a gravitic drive could function regardless of where it's located within a ship.

Yes, I would like sail engines very much. In any case, assuming rocket style engines, it is just as likely that a player could have engines on the back, sides and front of the ship. In space ships don't fly like a plane does in air, so a ship could travel forward, then activate full reverse if needed. It might seem unusual to have engines on all sides of the ship, but imagine the strategies that could be employed.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Is it impossible to make ship models that have an obvious "front" and "back", but which don't have obvious "engines" in the base model? If we have parts, such as engines, appear on the model, then they can both appear to and actually be at the same, arbitrary, location...

Ugly ships (without obvious front) look cool anyway. I think you could identify the front of a players ship as the side with the most weapons/weapon coverage. The player would likely want that side of the ship facing the enemies, rather than the side with no weapons. So you could have some kind of line of sight/laser sight to show the 'fronts' of the ships.

eleazar wrote:
To streamline the internal parts, several kinds components (marked with *) could be assumed to be installed even without taking up a slot. For instance all ships might come standard with minimal shields and sensors, but to enhance either a slot must be used.

Probably not necesary. That could count as the base structure of a ship (without armour). In anycase, if you say the ship has a computer, shields or armour, even in basic form, the player might want to remove those or have that option. So just say that the base structure of the ship is that part. And assume no shields, no computers, etc unless the player adds those parts. Some things which really take little space, eg computers could be auto installed without taking a slot, but you could put in a super computer core to take a slot. So there may be some cases to do this.

eleazar wrote:
...engine should be limited to a subset of external slot(s). I don't think we need to deal with the ramifications of an engine placed on the nose. However at this point i can't think of any other necessary restrictions on what can go where.

I want to see the ramifications. The ship could fly full speed into strike range, then start firing and activate full reverse to get a good hit and run tactic going. And yes, it could be posible to have spacial related engines, that can work from the ships internal sections.

eleazar wrote:
"Facing must matter."
An obvious ramification, "The player must be able to figure out what the facing is."
The most obvious way to do this, is to put the engines on the ship-model pointing away from the front. Instantly understandable by all players. The engines will obviously appear to be in a particular location on the ship. Allowing the player to "locate" the engines in another place where they obviously aren't is not sensible.

If like you say the model is based on its parts, then problem solved.

eleazar wrote:
Also i'd like to make the fighters with the same slot system as the bigger ships. Fighters might have only 2 or 3 capacity-1 slots, and obviously no star-lane drive, i.e. not much room for customization, but you still get to choose the weaponry. MoO treated them as automatically generated ammo, which seems over-simplistic compared to the rest of the game.

Moo3 made missles and fighters as little ships. We could do the same, and for example put a stealth generator, or laser or missiles in to the fighter. Put a shield device into the missile, etc. Then the component 'fighter bay' / 'missile salvo' could be put in a slot. 'Fighter bay' could hold 5 fighters.

And if you can design fighters and missiles, then can you design mines, and other devices that may need snazzy features such as stealth, onboard mini weapons, etc. The result could be great depth in strategy.


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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 4:52 pm 
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utilae wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
I'd still prefer not to earmark particular slots for particular types of parts. Rather, I'd just have 2-5 generic internal slots that can be filled as a ship designer desires. This way, you can sacrifice having any armour or shields in order to make space for other parts in a specialized ship design.... or add multiple shield and armour parts to make an extra tough ship, or an extra engine to make it extra fast, etc.
Agree.
this is a good incentive to have several ship types.
Quote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
That said, some general restrictions on ship design such as "must have at least one FTL engine" would probably be necessary.
Yes, although if you designed a ship with no FTL engine or no engine at all, and built it. Well it may still be useful. Its a stationary defense platform that is extremely cheap (no engines!). So do we even need to restrict such things.
you know... they did that in the SE games and it worked out great. Ship speed is a function of the number of engines, thus a ship with no engines can't move.
Quote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
Not all engines will necessarily be rocket-like, and needing to be at and point in the direction of the back. Various Star Trek ships had nacelles on the sides, for example. I suspect utilae will want to have some sort of sail-engine that attaches on the front. Something like a gravitic drive could function regardless of where it's located within a ship.
Yes, I would like sail engines very much. In any case, assuming rocket style engines, it is just as likely that a player could have engines on the back, sides and front of the ship. In space ships don't fly like a plane does in air, so a ship could travel forward, then activate full reverse if needed. It might seem unusual to have engines on all sides of the ship, but imagine the strategies that could be employed.
Maybe stick in a "bubble drive" that sits at the center of the ship and propels by creating a spacial distortion.
Quote:
eleazar wrote:
To streamline the internal parts, several kinds components (marked with *) could be assumed to be installed even without taking up a slot. For instance all ships might come standard with minimal shields and sensors, but to enhance either a slot must be used.

Probably not necesary. That could count as the base structure of a ship (without armour). In anycase, if you say the ship has a computer, shields or armour, even in basic form, the player might want to remove those or have that option. So just say that the base structure of the ship is that part. And assume no shields, no computers, etc unless the player adds those parts. Some things which really take little space, eg computers could be auto installed without taking a slot, but you could put in a super computer core to take a slot. So there may be some cases to do this.
I agree. But that sounds like a nice idea for a specialized ship hull.
Quote:
eleazar wrote:
Also i'd like to make the fighters with the same slot system as the bigger ships. Fighters might have only 2 or 3 capacity-1 slots, and obviously no star-lane drive, i.e. not much room for customization, but you still get to choose the weaponry. MoO treated them as automatically generated ammo, which seems over-simplistic compared to the rest of the game.
Moo3 made missles and fighters as little ships. We could do the same, and for example put a stealth generator, or laser or missiles in to the fighter. Put a shield device into the missile, etc. Then the component 'fighter bay' / 'missile salvo' could be put in a slot. 'Fighter bay' could hold 5 fighters.

And if you can design fighters and missiles, then can you design mines, and other devices that may need snazzy features such as stealth, onboard mini weapons, etc. The result could be great depth in strategy.
SE5 had you design fighters, mines and such things. It worked nicely too. The game's auto upgrade feature made it so you didn't need to re-build the design each time.

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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 3:50 am 
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eleazar wrote:
Alberjohns wrote:
I vote for the Slots system. In fact, to begin with, why not just copy the Stars! system? Its a very good system, and copying it will reduce the amount of design decisions needed to get FreeOrion fully operational. After that, modifications can be made as needed.

As Geoff mentioned earlier "votes" don't matter. Providing convincing reasons for an idea however could change the game.

I provided a very good reason, I think. The Stars! ship design system is very good. Copying it would be very easy, and since we know it works very well, very little time would have to be spent working the bugs and imbalances out of a completely new system. In fact, no time would have to be spent reinventing the wheel by creating a completely new system in the first place. This would save several months of endless debate over minute design details, and actual design effort on a completely new system.

After all, it seems to me that the first priority for FreeOrion should be to get it to the stage where it is completely functional so that it is playable. Once that is done, then the endless debate about the details of design can proceed without delaying the release of a functional game. After all, the game can be modified over time to bring it closer to perfection. Perfection should not be the priority for a first release.


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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 10:18 pm 
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I like the SE design system better. It has far more flexibility and is just more fun to use.

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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 11:26 pm 
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marhawkman wrote:
I like the SE design system better. It has far more flexibility and is just more fun to use.

Hmmm. Are you talking about Space Empires V? Yea, that's a good system too, I think, though it has a steeper learning curve, and is probably more complicated than it needs to be. Also, the AI does a crappy job when designing ships, I think.

In the Stars! ship design system, The AI seems to do a fairly good job. This is probably because each type of hull is designed for a specific purpose, and the available slots can only be filled with items appropriate for the ship. While this may place restrictions on how ships can be built, I don't think the restrictions are excessive, and that such restrictions can actually be a good thing by ensuring that the AI will design and handle ships properly.


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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 2:40 am 
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well.... that's just it. Stars!'s design system was extremely restrictive. I found myself using Galleons for almost everything mid-game because of the limits on everything else. (and galleons have awesome fuel efficiency when not loaded.)

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