If the UI puts these system ships in a different window then you can't accidentally mix the system ships with you're normal ships.
Then we'd have a separate system ships window, in addition to the regular ships window, unnecessarily complicating the UI and fleet management.
If you do force people to use old engines then that just means you can mix and match the ships that should and shouldn't move. This anoys players since they have to reverse when they arrive and because all ships are matching the speed of the slow system ships.
I don't follow what that is trying to say.
Another reason not to force players to put an interstellar engine, they shouldn't have to worry about trade offs for an engine they never ever plan to use.
Players should nearly never plan to never use a ship as an interestellar-travelling object. The definition and player-conception of a ship should include interstellar travel ability. This simplifes fleet management, in particular eliminating the need to keep separate track of system and interstellar ships, conceptually to the player, and in the UI. And as eleazar noted, assuming ships are only built at shipyards, which are relatively rare, system ships are rather impractical in practice, as they'd only be able to be used at the system at which they were built.
Geoff the Medio wrote:
* Engines are regular ship parts that are placed in standard slots. (ie. no engine-only special slots)
Contrarily, IMHO the simplest way to guarantee that a ship has at least one engine is to define an engine-only slot. When any new design is initiated that slot is filled with an engine. At no point can that slot be filled with a non-engine component, so there's no need for a "validity check" and the accompanying error messages for an invalid design. If an action is going to be illegal, it's less annoying if the computer simply doesn't let you do it, than getting an error message when the ship is done.
Examples of poor UI implimentation probably aren't a good reason not to do something... Rather than an error message, I'd think we'd have the "Done" or "Accept" button on the design screen be disabled until all conditions on a design are met, so you couldn't perform the illegal action of making an engineless design. This and any other conditions would be listed clearly next to the button to explain why it is disabled.
In general though, I'd like to avoid things like hard-coded slots as much as possible. More exceptions or special cases in the base design will make future modding more difficult, and might restrict future decisions unnecessarily. Having hard-coded slots also might make things more difficult or more restricted if we intend to impliment directional-dependence of damage effects, in that the engine will always have a fixed direction (or no direction), preventing potentially interesting outcomes or decisions that otherwise might be made. Special cases also would likely complicate the implimentation, and would require separate or distinctive UI representation, again limiting future options unnecessarily. And, if it's possible to have multiple copies of engines (which we may not actually want, but mods might) then it's rather odd / inelegant to have one fixed slot and one unfixed slot with the same part in it.
...any engine components beyond the first non-removeable component must be placed in an internal slot.
Why would we impose such a rule? I'd think we'd allow each individual engine part to require internal, external, or work in either position, presumably just like any other part.
Geoff the Medio wrote:
* Engines have two basic ratings: Interstellar and In-System
Conceptually, i still think it's a bad idea to lump these two functions together into a single component. Movement in-battle and via Starlanes are completely different game concepts, that follow completely different rules. One requires fuel and has a limited range, the other has no such units.
They generally have some differences, but I don't think they're "completely different"... They're both movement of ships, and both require an "engine" part in the ship design. And, while most engines will probably be in-system-only or interstellar-only, there could be some means of propulsion that work in both cases in the same manner (in the fluff / game story sense). As well, some late-game interstellar engines might not require any fuel, and thus not have any range limits.
Anything you might say about the statistics of a dual-drive engine would only apply to one of it's functions. Declaring them a single item is arbitrary, and somewhat confusing. It's better to keep the concepts of Starlane travel and in-system maneuvering distinct in the player's mind.
The bullet point is as much practical for implimentation as it is conceptually for players... The fact that engine parts have ratings in both in-system and insterstellar travel doesn't mean that all parts function in both modes. Rather, most engine parts, especially near the start of the game when players are learning how things work, would be single-function, in that they have a rating of 0 in one or the other mode of travel. However, I don't see a good reason to build the engine so that it's impossible to have multi-function parts, since there might be cases when it's wanted to have such parts.
It is very much like (though not so blatant) lumping any weapons together into a single component to instead of simply filling a slot with "lasers" or "missiles" the player would be presented with a bunch of "weapons" components which have different ratings in the various weapons types.
Doing this for most weapons, and especially for weapons parts near the start of the game, would be confusing and generally bad. Later in the game though, I don't think it's totally unreasonable to allow for the possibility of dual-purpose ship parts to be unlocked. As long as players are introduced to concepts with distinct parts, and more-confusing mixed-mode parts are the exception, I don't see the need to disallow their creation. If they end up not working well, then the actual parts that are included in the game can be all single-function, but the engine can still support mixed-mode parts as well.
Geoff the Medio wrote:
* Ship designs need to have at least one engine, and at least some to-be-determined minimum rating in both categories to be a valid design.
I don't understand the second part of requirement. I would hope any "engine" provided by the game should be acceptable without the player concerning himself with a "minimal rating."
Again, this design isn't a manual for the player... The point of the minimal rating was that we'd probably require all ships to have basic functional interstellar and in-system propulsion. You could put in only one engine if that one engine gave you interstellar and in-system capability. If all your available engines did only one or the other, then you'd need at least two engines to get both.