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 Post subject: Re: Ships: Engines
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:14 am 
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A more KISS approach is to make the engines integral to the hull so they can be neither placed nor removed. I.E. you always use the latest engine. If the player desired more performance he wouldn't add another "engine", but instead add a component named for it's specific effect, such as "super maneuvering thrusters" to give a tighter turn radius.

I doubt many players will miss the opportunity to put slower engines in their ships.

And then we will only have 2 restrictions on ship design:
    1) Slot Size: is the slot big enough?
    2) Slot Type: internal vs external?

This is like MoO1,2 except the new engines are not magically propagated to already built ships. The more i think about it, the more i like it.

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 Post subject: Re: Ships: Engines
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:09 am 
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eleazar wrote:
If the player desired more performance he wouldn't add another "engine", but instead add a component named for it's specific effect, such as "super maneuvering thrusters" to give a tighter turn radius.

That is exactly what I meant when I said that engines should be customizable.

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 Post subject: Re: Ships: Engines
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 11:38 am 
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eleazar wrote:
A more KISS approach is to make the engines integral to the hull so they can be neither placed nor removed. I.E. you always use the latest engine. If the player desired more performance he wouldn't add another "engine", but instead add a component named for it's specific effect, such as "super maneuvering thrusters" to give a tighter turn radius.


Perhaps we can make weaponry and sensors integral to the hull in the same way, that's simpler than giving people the ability to design their ships. Simple is not always better.

I _Like_ complicated ship designing. I don't want the newer engine to be automatically better than the old one, it may be easier to detect, or perhaps have a greater acceleration as opposed to turning. Or it may just be cheaper.


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 Post subject: Re: Ships: Engines
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:31 am 
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eleazar wrote:
A more KISS approach is to make the engines integral to the hull so they can be neither placed nor removed.

This isn't necessarily any less complicated than having separate engine parts, is it? If "engine-hull" were an indivisible pair, then it would essentially mean having a few more ship statistics be determined by the chosen hull instead of the separately-chosen engines... There is a slightly smaller list of possible part types, but that doesn't seem likely to be a particularly significant simplification in practice...

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I.E. you always use the latest engine.

I'm not clear how this is meant... Is there a separate hull part that is chosen, and then the "latest engine" part is always put into it, or is an indivisible engine-hull combo chosen? Are there multiple premade hull options that use a particular engine, or can any hull use any engine, but you always use the latest engine with whatever hull is chosen?

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If the player desired more performance he wouldn't add another "engine", but instead add a component named for it's specific effect, such as "super maneuvering thrusters" to give a tighter turn radius.

We should keep a fairly consistent level of detail in ship parts... So if we have separate parts to improve ship turn speed, in-battle linear speed, starlane linear speed, starlane fuel regeneration rate, starlane fuel capacity, etc. then we presumably would also want weapon parts of similar detail. These might include things like separate addons to improve weapon range, damage, rate of fire, tracking speed, etc.

Those specifics don't matter that much, but the point is that that's a lot of parts to put into a ship, each of which has a fairly specific purpose. It might be a problem to fit all these parts into a reasonably-sized grid of part slots... (regardless of the following)

But more importantly, if there are all these parts with individually tailored purposes, can they have tradeoffs as well? For example, if we had whole engines to chose from, there could be a fast-unstealthy-low-fuel-regen engine, and a slow-stealthy engine. But if you add too many parts, then it becomes awkward to use the good factors of one part as the downside to another part, and parts end up just being bonus-giving and not ever penalty-tradoff-giving. I don't want it to always be best to add more parts, or equivalently, for the most important limiting factor for any ship hull / design to be just the number of parts that can be crammed into it...

This also makes me wonder what an individual engine would do... If most or all engine-related characteristics of a ship depend mostly on the addons that are used, then what significance is there to the actual engine? Perhaps the addons require a particular engine type to be added (a notably nontrivial restriction on parts in a design)?


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 Post subject: Re: Ships: Engines
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:38 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:
A more KISS approach is to make the engines integral to the hull so they can be neither placed nor removed.

This isn't necessarily any less complicated than having separate engine parts, is it? If "engine-hull" were an indivisible pair, then it would essentially mean having a few more ship statistics be determined by the chosen hull instead of the separately-chosen engines... There is a slightly smaller list of possible part types, but that doesn't seem likely to be a particularly significant simplification in practice...
It's simpler for the player. There are no engine comparisons to make. No checklists, or engine removal prevention systems. And best of all, no restrictions on where a piece can be placed other than size and internal/external slot type.


Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:
I.E. you always use the latest engine.

I'm not clear how this is meant... but you always use the latest engine with whatever hull is chosen?
correct answer italicized. New ships would always use the latest engine technology which you know.


Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:
If the player desired more performance he wouldn't add another "engine", but instead add a component named for it's specific effect, such as "super maneuvering thrusters" to give a tighter turn radius.
We should keep a fairly consistent level of detail in ship parts... So if we have separate parts to improve ship turn speed, in-battle linear speed, starlane linear speed, starlane fuel regeneration rate, starlane fuel capacity, etc. then we presumably would also want weapon parts of similar detail. These might include things like separate addons to improve weapon range, damage, rate of fire, tracking speed, etc.

Those specifics don't matter that much, but the point is that that's a lot of parts to put into a ship, each of which has a fairly specific purpose. It might be a problem to fit all these parts into a reasonably-sized grid of part slots..
This "consistency" only might require add-ons for weapons if you consider the engines a "component" of the ship, rather than as i've proposed "an integral part of the ship." Separate parts to improve ships speed, etc. alter the performance of the whole ship. Add-ons that effect only a single componant are quite a different thing, and something IMHO we should generally avoid.


Geoff the Medio wrote:
But more importantly, if there are all these parts with individually tailored purposes, can they have tradeoffs as well? For example, if we had whole engines to chose from, there could be a fast-unstealthy-low-fuel-regen engine, and a slow-stealthy engine. But if you add too many parts, then it becomes awkward to use the good factors of one part as the downside to another part, and parts end up just being bonus-giving and not ever penalty-tradoff-giving.
I'm not proposing that engine add-ons] should be standard or expected components. Player might decide between (for example) increased speed or a fighter bay or auto-repair. In general i don't want the player to be able to put all the good parts in a single ship. This keeps ships unique.

But there's nothing inherent in what iv'e proposed to keep parts from having trade-offs. There could be a component "Quantum Baffles" (hopefully with a less stupid name) which increased stealth while decreasing speed/manuverability.


Geoff the Medio wrote:
I don't want it to always be best to add more parts, or equivalently, for the most important limiting factor for any ship hull / design to be just the number of parts that can be crammed into it...
I don't understand what you mean here. Are you saying that you want leaving slots unfilled to be a viable option? I suppose each component increases the cost and possibly decreases the speed/manuverability. But what specifically does this have to do with what i've proposed?


Geoff the Medio wrote:
This also makes me wonder what an individual engine would do... If most or all engine-related characteristics of a ship depend mostly on the addons that are used, then what significance is there to the actual engine? Perhaps the addons require a particular engine type to be added (a notably nontrivial restriction on parts in a design)?
Individual engines make the ship go, and go faster at higher tech levels. Engine techs provide the baseline for engine-related performance. Add-ons can modify that performance— if you chose to use slots for that. They are not required.

If it was desired to limit the use of a particular add-on to a level of engine tech, this "restriction" would IMHO more properly be built into the tech tree. There's not much point in allowing the player to research an add-on for an engine he hasn't yet discovered.

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 Post subject: Re: Ships: Engines
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:50 am 
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eleazar wrote:
t's simpler for the player. There are no engine comparisons to make. No checklists, or engine removal prevention systems. And best of all, no restrictions on where a piece can be placed other than size and internal/external slot type.

A _lot_ of players, myself include Like complex ship designing. Look at GalaticCiv2 and see just how many players "Pimp my ship" even when it makes only affects the looks. Ship design is fun, and lots of engines with tradeoffs is fun.

Furthermore if we follow you're logic that compairing two engines is bad, why is comparing two weapons good? why aren't you suggesting that we always use the latest missiles?

Finally engines aren't the only case like this, there are other times when we'd want to restrict parts, a maximum of one advanced cooling array (reduces reload time on all weapons) for example.


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 Post subject: Re: Ships: Engines
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:15 am 
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Tortanick wrote:
eleazar wrote:
t's simpler for the player. There are no engine comparisons to make. No checklists, or engine removal prevention systems. And best of all, no restrictions on where a piece can be placed other than size and internal/external slot type.

A _lot_ of players, myself include Like complex ship designing.
You keep saying that as if it mattered. Any game will displease "lots of players" in one area or another. Simplicity is a long-standing stated goal of this project. Obviously that simplicity isn't supposed to be absolute, because relative to other game genres 4X-games are necessarily involved. Each feature's gameplay value needs to needs to be weighed against the loss of simplicity. I don't expect others to judge these weights precisely as i do. But i do expect contributors to work toward the stated goals of this project. Simplicity is one of those goals. We may disagree about what is KISS in a given situation, or how much KISS can be bent for gameplay. But there's no room for discussing weather KISS is a goal or not.

If you hadn't noticed this goal, and/or don't believe me, do a search for KISS and see how frequently it is invoked by leading designers as the deciding factor.

Tortanick wrote:
Furthermore if we follow you're logic that compairing two engines is bad, why is comparing two weapons good? why aren't you suggesting that we always use the latest missiles?
I didn't say it was "bad". I said it was "simpler". I believe choosing between different engines is less interesting than choosing between different types of weaponry. Thus i can logically propose fewer player choices and greater simplicity in one area than another.

Tortanick wrote:
Finally engines aren't the only case like this, there are other times when we'd want to restrict parts, a maximum of one advanced cooling array (reduces reload time on all weapons) for example.
FO will not include every feature which could be useful in some circumstances. Some of them i would really like. But I don't think you can claim that the inclusion of a (max 1 per ship) cooling array is critical to ship design.

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 Post subject: Re: Ships: Engines
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:51 am 
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eleazar wrote:
Tortanick wrote:
Furthermore if we follow you're logic that compairing two engines is bad, why is comparing two weapons good? why aren't you suggesting that we always use the latest missiles?

I didn't say it was "bad". I said it was "simpler". I believe choosing between different engines is less interesting than choosing between different types of weaponry. Thus i can logically propose fewer player choices and greater simplicity in one area than another.

We should look at this problem from an object orientated point of view. Weapons and Engines are the same. Whatever you do to simplify engine choice, should also simplify weapon choice. Whether they are engines, weapons or scanners, they are components of the ship, a single type of object, with perhaps a few differences.

I personally would like lots of different components, that provide unique uses, but also for the usability of the design system to be simple, but not dry.


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 Post subject: Re: Ships: Engines
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:43 pm 
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utilae wrote:
We should look at this problem from an object orientated point of view. Weapons and Engines are the same.

Engines and Weapons are not the same in MoO1,2. There is no law that they must be.

You have to provide reasons why they should be the same class of things in FO, not simply declare that it is so. :?

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 Post subject: Re: Ships: Engines
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 4:19 pm 
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If the player has the option of putting in more than one of the same type of engine, you're effectively letting them totally annihilate the tech barrier for speed. There's a reason we don't want ships to go too fast at the beginning of the game. It's because there should be certain limits on what the player can do at that point, and the speed at which the player can get from point A to point B is one of those limits.

I believe that there should be only one engine per ship. It should be separate from slots because there's not much point in having a slot for it if there's only one. Engines should be the most expensive part of the ship. That way, the player has the option of building many slow ships very quickly, or building a few fast specialized ships. That way, just because the player has the tech to build super fast ships all the time doesn't mean that it's strategically wise to do so.

The engine tech tree wouldn't be quite as straightforward as in MoO2, though. Each engine would have two stats, one for out of system travel, and another for in-system travel. Each tech level, the sum of these two numbers increases by one, but they are not always close together. For example, at tech level 11, the engine might have a speed of 3 out of system, but a speed of 8 in system. The next tech level might have a speed of 10 out of system and a speed of 2 in system. The one after that might have a speed of 5 out of system and a speed of 6 in system. The player then has the option of creating a ship specialized either way or balanced. While the next tech level is "better" overall, it might not always be strategically sound to use it, especially considering the cost. This encourages a wide variety of ship types which might not be seen otherwise.

These are my ideas for ship engines. Sorry if I accidentally just rehashed someone else's. 8)

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Last edited by Bigjoe5 on Sat Aug 18, 2007 2:22 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ships: Engines
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 2:01 am 
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eleazar wrote:
Engines and Weapons are not the same in MoO1,2. There is no law that they must be.

I never mentioned Moo2. It should be a default law, make something simple and easy, unless you have to make it complex.

eleazar wrote:
You have to provide reasons why they should be the same class of things in FO, not simply declare that it is so. :?

The reasons are obvious, because it would be simpler. That is what object orientated methodology is, in a sense, to make things less complex. Like items are the same. Why make an engine class, and a weapon class, when they only difference between them is a few different stats. If it is possible, make a class that follows the rule of ship design, and weapons and engines then are subclasses and would by default follow those rules of ship design, but each add there extra stats or differences. That was what I mean't.


Bigjoe5 wrote:
If the player has the option of putting in more that one of the same type of engine, you're effectively letting them totally annihilate the tech barrier for speed. Theres a reason we don't want ships to go too fast at the beginning of the game. It's because there should be certain limits on what the player can do at that point, and the speed at which the player can get from point A to point B is one of those limits.

This would be a stacking effect of having multiple engines in the ship that would want to avoid. I agree, to an extent. Maybe some propulsion technologies, eg warp do not depend on how many engines you have to go faster, as you just need a 'device', eg warp device 5, to get to warp 5, so two warp device 2s will not make a warp device 4.

But some engines could stack. So chemical rocket engines are slow, but can be stacked. If you have 5 engines, you have 5 times speed. But, we will instead have a diminishing returns effect, where each new rocket added, increases ship speed less then the last one you added.


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 Post subject: Re: Ships: Engines
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 12:54 pm 
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utilae wrote:
Bigjoe5 wrote:
If the player has the option of putting in more that one of the same type of engine, you're effectively letting them totally annihilate the tech barrier for speed. Theres a reason we don't want ships to go too fast at the beginning of the game. It's because there should be certain limits on what the player can do at that point, and the speed at which the player can get from point A to point B is one of those limits.

This would be a stacking effect of having multiple engines in the ship that would want to avoid.

But some engines could stack. So chemical rocket engines are slow, but can be stacked. If you have 5 engines, you have 5 times speed. But, we will instead have a diminishing returns effect, where each new rocket added, increases ship speed less then the last one you added.
That might be effective if a player wanted to have a ship specialized for speed without regard to anything else. An in system reconnaissance vessel if enemy ships are trying to sneak around, perhaps? But that wouldn't be exceedingly useful in the early game, and in the later game it would be simply overpowered to stack hi-tech engines. I think it's simpler for the player if we just have one engine per ship and be done with it.

A single engine is most efficient and easy to understand for the player, and if we go with my suggestion 8) and make engines a pricey part as well as having diverse statistics, there's going to be plenty of variety in ship speeds anyway with people downgrading to the next engine type for one reason of another. And again, we would still be letting them go faster than technology should allow them to at that point, possibly causing imbalances in the combat system. Especially if you could do it to non-combat objects like Scouts and Colony ships, which don't need lots of space for weapons anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Ships: Engines
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:36 am 
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eleazar wrote:
Tortanick wrote:
A _lot_ of players, myself include Like complex ship designing.
You keep saying that as if it mattered.

It does matter that a lot of players would like a possible design choice... He also wrote:
Tortanick wrote:
Ship design is fun, and lots of engines with tradeoffs is fun.
The implication here is that the fun is why the players like complex ship design. And as you wrote:
eleazar wrote:
Each feature's gameplay value needs to needs to be weighed against the loss of simplicity.

Gameplay is supposed to be fun, isn't it?

eleazar wrote:
New ships would always use the latest engine technology which you know.
[...]
Individual engines make the ship go, and go faster at higher tech levels. Engine techs provide the baseline for engine-related performance. Add-ons can modify that performance— if you chose to use slots for that. They are not required.

I don't like the implicit / explicit assumption / requirement that there always be a single best engine technology at any time. Not being swayed by historical realism arguments about overlapping transition periods is difficult...

But more compelling is the importance of major choices between equally useful options. If we always have a single best engine tech, then there is no choice about what engine tech to use... so why do we need to keep track of the base engine tech then? I suppose you could argue that there is choice about when to research the next base engine type, but I think most people find ship design more interesting than tech research prioritization.

If we're not going to make it possible to chose between different engine types as a standard part, then I'd rather make engine techs integral to the hull type itself, instead of a separate design choice. In this case, you'd have to research a particular engine type to unlock each hull type, and hulls would include all the base engine-type characteristics in them.

This would presumably make it easier to make 3D models that represent a particular engine type, and would make it much easier to balance engine characteristics against other hull properties. There could still be add-ons or other engine-related parts to alter engine-related ship characteristics. This also seems to fit fairly well with the plan to have various hulls have distinctive characteristics that affect their usefulness for particular roles, but which aren't specifically tailored to a particular role. Having all ship parts be separately selectable leaves not many options to distinguish different hull sizes or shapes from eachother.

Quote:
If it was desired to limit the use of a particular add-on to a level of engine tech, this "restriction" would IMHO more properly be built into the tech tree. There's not much point in allowing the player to research an add-on for an engine he hasn't yet discovered.

This can't handle cases where an add-on is restricted to a certain engine tech, but not allowed on later / higher / other equal-level engine techs. This means that any engine add-on researched will be usable with any engine tech for the rest of the game. I suppose this would be OK if all later engines are always better, though as above, I'd prefer to have choices between engine options...


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 Post subject: Re: Ships: Engines
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 6:48 am 
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I would also like to see engines of varying types, so that higher tech ones are not always better. But, also to have serveral competing types of engines, that each can be better at higher tech levels.


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 Post subject: Re: Ships: Engines
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 12:30 am 
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I like the idea of determining ship speed by number of engines. sure tech upgrades partially determining speed is cool, but that and choosing number of engines is better.

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