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 Post subject: The premade ship designs
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 1:40 am 
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K, it's at that point in the Release Cycle where I think I might be able to summon enough willpower to do another pass over the premade ship design file.

Question: Is it better to have a premade set of designs that's as exhaustive as it can be, so that mostly everything you'd normally want to build, especially as a new player, exists within it, or is it better to have a much smaller file with example designs showing what can be done at a given stage of tech?

I make a distinction here between utility hulls (I'd want an outposter for any hull that I'm likely to want to use to place outposts) and battleship/scouting hulls in which I'm genuinely torn.

When thinking about it, think about both what you would prefer: ie would extra premades be clutter you want to delete or useful timesavers and also what you think is good for the game/new players: is it better to give a new player mostly every ship type or is it better to push them into the design screen very early?

And yes, thinking about this is what prompted me to write Issue #886—Producible Items list should be sortable via scripts and UI last night, as there is basically no way I want to give reordering that file by changing the design keynames another pass, it's far too frustrating.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 7:04 pm 
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TL;DR: Remove most of the specialty hull designs and limit armed small and medium generic hulls to one design.

MatGB wrote:
Question: Is it better to have a premade set of designs that's as exhaustive as it can be, so that mostly everything you'd normally want to build, especially as a new player, exists within it, or is it better to have a much smaller file with example designs showing what can be done at a given stage of tech?

If new designs are pre-defined for many of the early techs, it may be implied to new players that they need more research when a new design does not appear.
(Player finishes a tech, new design appears, player expects new designs to appear when it is beneficial)
For this reason alone, I'd try to limit pre-defined designs for early techs. A beginner's sitrep may help some, but it can't be said when the player will see them (or if they will read it).
A couple of different configurations for generic military ships are useful in showing that possibilities exist.

I use none of the military pre-designs, save for the odd occasion of an SD_LARGE_MARK_1, so I find most of the entries to be clutter.
Having custom names I can easily associate is helpful as well, so I would want to discard them even if a configuration matched.
I'm going to try to discount those two concerns, and focus on a typical user and new player experience, but they are likely influential.

Quote:
I make a distinction here between utility hulls (I'd want an outposter for any hull that I'm likely to want to use to place outposts) and battleship/scouting hulls in which I'm genuinely torn.

Outpost ships are a great candidate to showcase the difference in hull lines, so I'd keep one of each hull line (generic, organic, asteroid, robotic, ...energy?).
Cull any colony varieties, especially cryonic ships, to help push new players towards outposts (keep generic versions of both).
Same with scouts, upgrading these is extremely simple. I only use the pre-made scouts (if I build any) because they are going to show up anyway, so its just extra hassle to upgrade as well.
Configurations that may not be immediately apparent to a player should be kept/created. e.g. Flux Troops

For military designs, keep all of the generic large hull designs and drop any varieties of medium and small hulls (is corvette used by anyone?).
For the specialty hull lines, either leave them with one basic design or drop any armed pre-defines.
If they are dropped, the player will see an outpost for the hull available, which should help alert them to design a military ship.

Recommend to keep:
  • SD_AST_1
  • SD_BASE_DECOY
  • SD_COLONY_SHIP
  • SD_LARGE_MARK_1
  • SD_LARGE_MARK_2
  • SD_LARGE_MARK_3
  • SD_LARGE_MARK_4
  • SD_MARK_1
  • SD_ORG_OUTPOST_SHIP
  • SD_ORGANIC1
  • SD_ROBO_FLUX_TROOPS
  • SD_ROBOTIC1
  • SD_ROBOTIC_OUTPOST (why did I postfix the filename with HULL? :/ )
  • SD_SCOUT
  • SD_SMALL_MARK_1
  • SD_SMALL_TROOP_SHIP
  • SD_TROOP_SHIP

And create:
SD_AST_OUTPOST (Small Asteroid Outpost ship)

If anything not on that list is required by the default AI, it should probably move to the ship_designs/required dir (to help both devs and users that modify).

Another option is to play into the users expectation of a new design being available with new tech, and provide an expanded list with the majority of common design types.
I doubt anyone wants to maintain that list, and (I'm guessing) creating new designs is part of the fun for much of the 4x demographic.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 8:25 pm 
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MatGB wrote:
Question: Is it better to have a premade set of designs that's as exhaustive as it can be, so that mostly everything you'd normally want to build, especially as a new player, exists within it, or is it better to have a much smaller file with example designs showing what can be done at a given stage of tech?
The latter.

Don't have the time to do such a thorough examination/analysis as dbenage, but his suggestions sound very reasonable to me.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 10:17 pm 
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I agree with both dbenage-cx and Vezzra, shorter is better.

1. Ship design is supposed to be a fun aspect of the game.

2. If we wanted an exhaustive set of ships, why not use the AI auto-generation routine and save yourself the work?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:03 am 
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dbenage-cx wrote:
TL;DR: Remove most of the specialty hull designs and limit armed small and medium generic hulls to one design.

Thank you for this, I'm persuaded—for the most part—and I especially like the point about new player expectation and tech meaning new design.
Quote:
For military designs, keep all of the generic large hull designs and drop any varieties of medium and small hulls (is corvette used by anyone?).

Currently, no, but that's a problem within balance that we hope to address moving forward—essentially the current upkeep system means you might as well make all armed ships you build the best/biggest ships you can, that's unsatisfactory from a strategy perspective, as we hope to replace the upkeep system with Influence costs then I intend to balance the really small hulls to be negligible costs compared to the big beasts, even the robotic hull should cost more than the three standard hulls and the small hull should be cheap/free.

And for the record, yes, sometimes I build them to go hunt down Krill and Floaters as you can build them anywhere that has a shipyard and they're fast/cheap.
Quote:
For the specialty hull lines, either leave them with one basic design or drop any armed pre-defines.
If they are dropped, the player will see an outpost for the hull available, which should help alert them to design a military ship.

Is a good point—I'm tempted to keep a sample design for some of the hulltypes you'd never dream of using for outposts, partially because I think we'll need some predefined ships with fighters when we introduce that as it's a fairly big change and optimising designs is going to take us testers awhile, let alone players that haven't followed the development. But I'll cut it down to a minimum, the work is going to be choose what to keep not what to add, so that's easier.
Quote:
Recommend to keep:
  • SD_AST_1
  • SD_BASE_DECOY
  • SD_COLONY_SHIP
  • SD_LARGE_MARK_1
  • SD_LARGE_MARK_2
  • SD_LARGE_MARK_3
  • SD_LARGE_MARK_4
  • SD_MARK_1
  • SD_ORG_OUTPOST_SHIP
  • SD_ORGANIC1
  • SD_ROBO_FLUX_TROOPS
  • SD_ROBOTIC1
  • SD_ROBOTIC_OUTPOST (why did I postfix the filename with HULL? :/ )
  • SD_SCOUT
  • SD_SMALL_MARK_1
  • SD_SMALL_TROOP_SHIP
  • SD_TROOP_SHIP

And create:
SD_AST_OUTPOST (Small Asteroid Outpost ship)
This is helpful, thanks—I suspect I'll keep slightly more than this but it's encouraging to know consensus is to remove a lot.
Quote:
Another option is to play into the users expectation of a new design being available with new tech, and provide an expanded list with the majority of common design types.
I doubt anyone wants to maintain that list, and (I'm guessing) creating new designs is part of the fun for much of the 4x demographic.

Agreed. A different option might be to have several sample designs within the saved designs area, I have no idea how practical that would be, but if you combine that with an option to add, for example, "all ships of this hulltype" along with a UI based method to edit & save them you almost completely eliminate the need for most of the warship designs in the predesigned file.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:44 pm 
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I would like to see a Decoy and some of the other types of AI ships available in the list as well, at least at the low end of things, like a Griffin Mark 1, but maybe not a Griffin Mark 8.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 10:21 pm 
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Nutster wrote:
I would like to see a Decoy and some of the other types of AI ships available in the list as well, at least at the low end of things, like a Griffin Mark 1, but maybe not a Griffin Mark 8.

The ComSat is already there (the decoy got renamed), beyond that the way the AI designs ships is now completely dynamic so there aren't a specific set of designs they use (there were in your version).

What might be useful in game is a 'copy this design' option somewhere in the UI actually, if they've done the work then having your own is a good thing.

I've had a friend visit this week and I've been busy, thus getting any work on this hasn't happened, ah well, next cycle perhaps.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:27 am 
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So, following up, I've started actually working on this within the Fighters branch because, frankly, we're going to need new premades and some of the existing ones'll need adapting.

So, specifically for those that've tried the Fighters branch: what sort of designs are you coming up with both for Carrier vessels (especially early to mid game) and for Destroyer/anti-fighter designs?

I've adapted my Robotic Hull warship class to normally have 2 main guns, a flak cannon, armour and shield, this seems to be working well (basically, I'm making them "destroyer" class in wetnavy terms), my carriers mostly either carry bombers, a launch bay, a gun and two armour, or interceptors, 2 launch bays and no gun or sometimes one less armour.

Basically, I'm planning on making the premades just for robotic and Self gRavitating hulls as that's a pretty good easy tech line for new players, I personally don't like asteroid hulls and they're a complex thing for newer players, but if people think I should have a basic ship or two in there give me designs.

Definitely not going to put in my ORganic Stealth Carrier designs, they're far too weird ;-)

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:14 am 
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Asteroid, heavy asteroid, and scattered asteroid hulls seem like they were designed to be carriers.
So much so, I almost want to ask for some type of robotic and organic hulls designed (or with some bonuses when used) as carriers.

Typically my first are the robotic hull:
Code:
    parts = [
        "FT_BAY_1"
        "SR_WEAPON_2_1"
        "SR_WEAPON_2_1"
        "AR_STD_PLATE"
        "FT_HANGAR_3"
    ]

For a premade, probably change that to mass drivers and interceptors.

Once I establish an asteroid capable shipyard:
Asteroid hull:
Code:
    parts = [
        "FT_BAY_1"
        "FT_BAY_1"
        "SR_WEAPON_2_1"
        "AR_STD_PLATE"
        "FT_HANGAR_2"
        "FT_HANGAR_2"
    ]


Heavy asteroid hull:
Code:
    parts = [
        "FT_BAY_1"
        "FT_BAY_1"
        "FT_BAY_1"
        "SR_WEAPON_2_1"
        "SR_WEAPON_2_1"
        "AR_ROCK_PLATE"
        "FT_HANGAR_3"
        "FT_HANGAR_3"
        "FT_HANGAR_3"
    ]


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 2:16 pm 
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dbenage-cx wrote:
Asteroid, heavy asteroid, and scattered asteroid hulls seem like they were designed to be carriers.
So much so, I almost want to ask for some type of robotic and organic hulls designed (or with some bonuses when used) as carriers.

I've actually been thinking similar, I might either us Bluehand's Core hanger part (which will be very good for Gravitic/Titan hulls or make some new 'carrier' hulls up for some of the branches, but it's not going to happen before merge, I want to get a better feel for the way other people play with the branch.

And those designs are close to what I'd build, so probably good to go in, thanks.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:34 am 
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K, I've been stashing my WIP on the premades every time I rebased or checked out a new branch for over a month, so I've tidied it up and put it in, I still want to add some more carrier designs but the delay was getting to me and now it can be done whenever.

I think there needs to be apart from the two above a Self Gravitating hull and a generic Battlestar design using the Titanic hull, nothing too complex but enough to give a good flavour. Removing a lot of the existing premades has substantially reduced the clutter, which is good.

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