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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 6:15 am 
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Crimson wrote:
Your post actually got me to thinking that "Crew" might in fact be a pretty tactical feature of ship to ship combat. If one heads in the MOO2 individual ship direction over the MOO1 stack of ships direction - adding the ability to pack weapons design to kill crew members instead of destroying ships might be a rather interesting dimension to integrate into ship to ship combat. Radiation weaponry and such could provide an interesting alternative to missiles and railguns.

Assuming radiation kills some aliens. Water might be enough. It depends on their chemical makeup, if they are made of chemicals. But yes, the killing of crew could have an interesting effect.

Crimson wrote:
So a path that designs multiple distinct ways to lose a fight also creates multiple distinct strategies by which you could win a fight. Having to scramble to refit your ships because you run into a fleet of unmanned ships that your radiation weapons are powerless against would indeed be an interesting dimension to gameplay.

Yes, if you were a fleet if uber evil humans that liked killing crew, then they would deserve to die at the hands of the invinvible Meklon fleet.

It seems that Machines races have lots of bonuses, no crew, no food (although they would need some kind of sustainance to get energy).

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Some ships that are controlled by some central homeworld computer, eg hive mind would have no crew, except terminator robots for ship boarding defense.


I'm gonna nitpick that since I'm good at it. If a ship was controlled by a central computer, why would it have decks at all. Nobody can board a ship if there is nothing inside the ship to merit boarding it, so I figure automated marines would be wholly unnecessary for a mechanical / computer directed race. Getting hacked sure would be a bummer though.

If you think of a large ship, it is like a animal, but big and mechanical. It may have vains, and sections that allow the flow of chemicals or energy. There may be areas that are able to be walked through, although not necesarily friendly. Some marines could just cut their way in there. If its purely thick steel, then they'll be cutting a long time. But if it comes to a clearing of some kind, whatever is there eg wires, etc the Marines will get a shock by whatever is their.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 12:31 am 
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solidcordon wrote:
a 2d hex or coordinate based battle would be fine as long as it allowed for a diverse range of tactics.

Some questions that may not have been answered yet :
Can players see opponent's approaching fleets in the starlanes?
Do the starlanes always drop ships out at the same location within a star system? (simplifies defending the system if the badguys always arrive in the same location)

Aletrnatively...

The starlanes represent some form of current in the space time doohicky, so fleets sail these currents. spacelanes are a representation of the fastest route between systems using known currents / whatever. A ship can choose its insertion point to the system, as can a fleet...


Ok, i just read the whole thread. There are some intersting ideas. I synthesized some of them into a concept about the field on which battle will be fought, that hopefully encourages tactics/strategy:

First, 2 ideas i considered and rejected:
• If starlanes always exit into a fixed point in a star system, all the battles in a given system will start to look alike. The attacker's element of supprise is limited to the composition of his fleet. This would tend to favor defence too much. Too Predictable. Boring.

• If a starlane can be exited and entered at any point of the system, then battle in a given system is varied, but perhaps too un-predictable. An asteroid belt isn't much of a barrier if you can start out inside it, and no planetary position has any inherent advantage over any other. Also i'ts much harder to lure ships into a trap if they can flee the system at any point, even if a large charge-up before "jump" is required.

• So i propose that ships can only enter/exit the starlanes at the periphery of the system.

Now the supporting technobable for my concept: The starlanes are tunnels, lines, whatever between the gravity wells of stars. However it's harder to enter or exit a starlane close to the bottom of a gravity well. Therefor ships enter/exit a starlane near the periphery of the system. With less mass, small ships can enter/exit a starlane further into the well. This would favor smaller ships for hit-and-run tactics. As starlane-drive technology increases any ship may enter or exit the starlane closer to the central sun.

The system battle map is a circle (or ellipse) centered on the system's sun. All planets are placed in orbit around this sun. Asteroid belts create natural barriers to ships and fire. Ships: slow down or take damage. Fire: has a chance of being blocked. The aggressor(s) when entering a system will not know the deployment of the defender(s)' fleet(s). He chooses the insertion points for his fleet— limited to the periphery of the battle map (as explained in the previous paragraph). The Defender can tell where the attacker will exit the starlanes, and perhaps the combined mass of each group, but not the exact makeup of the attacking fleet(s). He positions his ships to respond.

With this set-up, planets nearer the sun are more easily defendable, since the attacker must travel further (possibly through asteroid belts) to take a planet. The further inward he goes, the harder it will be to escape far enough out of the gravity well to regain the starlanes, if battle turns against him. A player might defend a system by placing many defences on a outlying planet that has little other value, thus fortifying the system.


As a side point i like the idea that battles cannot last indefintely after X number of turns the battle should be suspended until the next turn. 1) this keeps battles from going on indefinitely. 2) the allows the strategic option of stalling until reinforcements can arrive.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:56 pm 
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The system wide battles are an interesting concept but it raises a question about planet placement. The simplest method to place them is to randomly select them but a more strategic way is to have each planet be placed by a function of time. This way you can plan your attacks to happen when, for instance, a planet is isolated from all other inhabited planets, or perhaps they are all in-line or a clear route of escape exists.

The gravity well is also neat. You can fall into a system, attacking targets of convenience, pass the sun, unfurl the sails and climb out of the well to the jump point.

If the battles are system wide, I'd recommend against the hex board and just have each ship or group of ships have a floating point position. Actually, I'd recommend against hex/grid combat no matter what.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:22 pm 
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System wide battles aren't really my idea (to clarify) just the obvious, if not officially stated, result of design decisions already made. Or at least what i think are official decisions.

If battles are of limited duration, i.e. can be played out only a year at a time, then you would expect to see the planets orbit around their sun as the battle goes on. Not a vital feature, but a nice touch.


Yeah, A hex board would make sense if combat was more game-board like, where you needed to know exactly how far a ship could move because you calculated each move individually. For KotOR-style quasi-real time turns, that's been choosen, a grid is irrelevant.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:19 pm 
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This is actually my first time posting to these boards. I've been spending the last few months reading and reviwing everything and I'm incredibly excited about this project. And so gushing aside:

One problem with all 4x games I've played is that combat is very all or nothing. You make your attack, and then the entire battle plays out no matter how long it takes. No reinforcements, no ships in the middle of battle during your turn so unable to assist elsewhere. No sense of an ongoing war or battle in a system. Now, SE in part solved this by allowing you to move your ships within a system and explore piece by piece, but when your not in combat this can be a little tedious.

What I propose is that if you are going to make combat take place in an entire system then make it two fold:

1) If you've ever played (or seen) Texas Hold'em, in the beginning of every round of betting you can choose to "check". If more than one player has ships in a system and no non-aggression agreement (Or similar treaty) then it goes to a round of checks where at the end of all turns you can choose to "check" (I.e. not fight) or "Fight". If even one person within a system fights then all are part of that particular combat.

2) Combat be a set number of rounds. (Say 10 rounds) where you begin to put your strategies in play. If you use fleets rather than individual ships this can allow for a longer ongoing strategy as you send in reinforcements from other planets in the case of large scale battles.

Now once those rounds of combat each player takes their turn, with all fleets in that system on lockdown to their last positions in combat. You can still produce (unless a ship is blockading or the like) but you cannot move fleets, and any fleets moved in are also subject to lockdown (oh woe that poor unsuspecting scout ship that happens upon a system in the middle of combat.) Once all players turns are complete there is another round of "Checks" and if one person again chooses fight...the battle continues from where it left off (this could be done as a form of save file that gets adjusted by new fleets entering at the start of combat)

The only way out of the combat is to either a) leave the system during the combat or b) if everyone checks.

This way allies can play a stronger role as you could during your normal turn request support from an ally to blockade the bombers from escaping or help with a massive battle for control of a sector (of course your ally may turn out to be an opportunistic enemy, but then that's part of the fun). This would offer more of an overall strategic feel as an emperor pleads with allies for help or brings in his massive fleet to assist. (Only to realize this attack was a diversion to get that fleet away from a certain system.

Using this system would slow down the tactics of combat from the all or nothing battle to an epic battle for power of a sector that could rage on for years. (Think Battle of Bastion, where they held out until Patton arrived to save them.)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 5:15 am 
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j_monster wrote:
This is actually my first time posting to these boards. I've been spending the last few months reading and reviwing everything....

We appreciate you taking the time to figure things out. :)

j_monster wrote:
What I propose is that if you are going to make combat take place in an entire system then make it two fold:
Yes, the "field of battle" will be an entire system.

j_monster wrote:
1) If you've ever played (or seen) Texas Hold'em, in the beginning of every round of betting you can choose to "check". If more than one player has ships in a system and no non-aggression agreement (Or similar treaty) then it goes to a round of checks where at the end of all turns you can choose to "check" (I.e. not fight) or "Fight". If even one person within a system fights then all are part of that particular combat.

2) Combat be a set number of rounds. (Say 10 rounds) where you begin to put your strategies in play. If you use fleets rather than individual ships this can allow for a longer ongoing strategy as you send in reinforcements from other planets in the case of large scale battles.

Ok, if i understand you correctly, you are proposing that if combat takes too long, it is "paused" and then continued during the next game turn? If so, i'd also like to see that, and it's quite likely we'll take that route due to the need to keep the combat portion of a game-turn at a manageable length for multi-player. If such is the case, reinforcements could join the battle during the next turn if they are close enough.

I find the idea of "checking" or not automatically initiating combat interesting. This would especially make sense when 2 empires are neither at war or allied. At the very least it should prevent some pointless combats. But the implications will need to be thought out.

j_monster wrote:
Now once those rounds of combat each player takes their turn, with all fleets in that system on lockdown to their last positions in combat. You can still produce (unless a ship is blockading or the like) but you cannot move fleets, and any fleets moved in are also subject to lockdown (oh woe that poor unsuspecting scout ship that happens upon a system in the middle of combat.) Once all players turns are complete there is another round of "Checks" and if one person again chooses fight...the battle continues from where it left off (this could be done as a form of save file that gets adjusted by new fleets entering at the start of combat)

The only way out of the combat is to either a) leave the system during the combat or b) if everyone checks.

However, i'm not sure i see the rational for "checks" once battle has been joined. Conceptually i'm not really sure what it's supposed to represent. "Pausing" a battle to be continued next turn, might seem a little odd, but it's really just a way to keep in sync the turn-based and phased-time portions of the game. However, why would ships pause in the middle of combat for multiple turns? Can they repair, re-arm or refuel? If they aren't being attacked, why can't they leave?

But more important than these conceptual issues is gameplay. What do you think including "checks" in the midst of a battle that's already been started ads to the game?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:50 am 
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Quote:
However, i'm not sure i see the rational for "checks" once battle has been joined. Conceptually i'm not really sure what it's supposed to represent. "Pausing" a battle to be continued next turn, might seem a little odd, but it's really just a way to keep in sync the turn-based and phased-time portions of the game. However, why would ships pause in the middle of combat for multiple turns? Can they repair, re-arm or refuel? If they aren't being attacked, why can't they leave?

But more important than these conceptual issues is gameplay. What do you think including "checks" in the midst of a battle that's already been started ads to the game?


The secondary "checks" may not in fact be necessary, but my rational behind them was to offer each side an opportunity to stop the battle.

Say you've been fighting for some time and both sides just want out, or both sides feel the combat is a draw, or more importantly both sides come to a cease fire arrangement. Now mind you for players this works well, but so much as far as an AI would be concerned. It's a way of retreating without actually having to go into combat to do it.

Perhaps instead it could be a retreat button if you don't actually have colonies there. If the other player chooses not to pursue in-combat, then why bother going to the combat screen just to leave or sit there for x number of turns doing nothing. Additionally it could be due to another player calling for the cease fire (an ally perhaps). By doing it that way you at least offer the option to stop, for whatever reasons you devise.

I feel that if your going to have battles of this magnitude and length it is always best that if both sides don't actually want to fight, then they shouldn't. Plus it's a little heart racing to push the "Please don't fight me button" otherwise known as "check" and then waiting to see if there will be another round or if the other person is thinking the exact same thing (though be sure to let your allies know this before hand, or maybe your allies can see if you choose to continue the fight or not.)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 5:43 pm 
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j_monster wrote:
or more importantly both sides come to a cease fire arrangement...

It seems like cease-fires would be best dealt with at an empire-wide level through Diplomacy.

In general IMHO there could be more graceful options for ending a combat that neither player cares about than simply putting the battle in suspended animation for an indefinite number of turns. Specifically, some form of retreating.

I'd like to explore this further, but for now, i'll point out this thread which presents some ideas about a pre-combat dialog with options which could automate or avoid combat.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:38 pm 
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I don't think I see the point of a 'check'. It depends on everyone checking, to retreat.

Why not just allow players to activate 'retreat', and there ships start moving for the edge of the system. If any survive, they retreat from battle. If none survive, then they might as well have lost the battle.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:56 am 
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eleazar wrote:
• So i propose that ships can only enter/exit the starlanes at the periphery of the system.


There is one major (IMO) problem with your idea. If your idea is the way I think it is, and you can place your ships absolutely anywhere around the periphery of the system, then this creates problems and perhaps eliminates the possibility of a certain combat objective: point A to point B. Say you have a colony ship with a light escort passing through a system. The enemy fleet is blockading that system because they don't want you to colonize a planet beyond that system. The player with the colony ship must get his ships to the other end of the system and retreat from there. If ships can be placed anywhere on the periphery of the system, then the possibility of this type of combat is eliminated and the strategic value of blocking colony ships at choke points disappears.

Since this type of combat and variations on it add fun and variety, it seems that removing the possibility of it would be foolish. I do however, agree that always having them in the same place is a bad idea. I suggest that before the battle begins, the attacker gets a preview of the battle map. Highlighted areas shows where he can put his ships, so it's easy for him to understand. These highlighted areas are mainly on the side of the system that the attacker is coming from, but extends around to the sides a little way. (No more than 45 degrees to either side at a mid-game tech level.) The player has a small bar of toggles on the side of the screen so he can select all ships of a certain size and role with the press of one or two buttons. Then, he selects the area at which he wants them to appear at the start of the battle. If he wants to, he can select places for each individual ship, but since this isn't necessary for every ship, it keeps it from being too time consuming. The defender may be able to see certain ships depending on ship size, terrain (asteroids/nebulae), and stealth/detection bonuses.

I hope this idea isn't too complex. I think it solves most of the problems associated with entering a system. 8)

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 6:36 am 
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Bigjoe5 wrote:
...If your idea is the way I think it is, and you can place your ships absolutely anywhere around the periphery of the system...
Yes, that is correct.
Also part of my proposal (i'm not sure you've understood this part): invading ships cannot advance to the next system(s) until they defeat all defending ships.


Bigjoe5 wrote:
then this creates problems and perhaps eliminates the possibility of a certain combat objective: point A to point B. Say you have a colony ship with a light escort passing through a system. The enemy fleet is blockading that system because they don't want you to colonize a planet beyond that system. The player with the colony ship must get his ships to the other end of the system and retreat from there. If ships can be placed anywhere on the periphery of the system, then the possibility of this type of combat is eliminated and the strategic value of blocking colony ships at choke points disappears.

Since this type of combat and variations on it add fun and variety, it seems that removing the possibility of it would be foolish.


Note: i'm gonna use the term "blockade running" even though it has nothing to do with "blockades" as we use the term on these forums, just because i don't know a better one.

1) One of the reasons for our star-lane system is to provide choke-points. Instead of allowing movement from anywhere to anywhere like MoO, the "geography" of your empire and defenses in FO becomes much more important. While the player has fewer choices about how he can move his ships, the choices that remain are strategically enriched.

However, the effectiveness of systems as choke-points is drastically reduced, if ships/fleets can run through the choke-point and attack the next system. Thus i've proposed that invaders must defeat the defending fleet to travel further, so that systems can be viable check-points. An exception could be made for sufficiently advanced stealth ships.

2) Variety isn't always good. IMHO blockade running wouldn't be much fun, and thus qualifies as "bad variety". Blockade running is tactically much more shallow than normal combat. There's very little for the player to do in your example of the colony ship trying to run the blockade. For the first few frantic seconds you try to quickly pick the best course. And then your ships move in a (more or less) straight line to the destination. Either your ships are fast enough and you can get through without all of them being destroyed, or the defending ships are faster and blow you up. And there's really not much you can do about it. Sure you could put some twists on your strategy by sacrificing ships and trying to trick the defenders. But essentially the whole of the battle is watching your ships move in a straight line and hoping they are fast enough. And in many cases a player will probably find himself blockade running

IMHO such battles would generally be significantly more boring, repetitive and frustrating than normal battles.

3) Excessive increase in frequency of "battle." If the game allow the blockade running you propose, it will probably be a frequently necessary strategy for a winning game. This is problematic for multiplayer games which will likely tend to be too long anyway. This isn't just another option, it's something the player will have to do in addition to almost everything he would have to do without this feature. Less time is left for the more interesting or strategically richer parts of the game.

Bigjoe5 wrote:
I suggest that before the battle begins, the attacker gets a preview of the battle map. Highlighted areas shows where he can put his ships, so it's easy for him to understand.
I agree with this much of your proposed UI.

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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 12:38 pm 
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eleazar wrote:
2) Variety isn't always good. IMHO blockade running wouldn't be much fun, and thus qualifies as "bad variety". Blockade running is tactically much more shallow than normal combat. There's very little for the player to do in your example of the colony ship trying to run the blockade. For the first few frantic seconds you try to quickly pick the best course. And then your ships move in a (more or less) straight line to the destination. Either your ships are fast enough and you can get through without all of them being destroyed, or the defending ships are faster and blow you up. And there's really not much you can do about it. Sure you could put some twists on your strategy by sacrificing ships and trying to trick the defenders. But essentially the whole of the battle is watching your ships move in a straight line and hoping they are fast enough. And in many cases a player will probably find himself blockade running

That's really not how I envision this type of combat at all.

This is how I think of it: You have one vital ship. It takes a relatively out of the way course from the main battle. Under ideal circumstances, the defender would not even know that it exists. Meanwhile, the escort feigns a light attack upon the enemy fleet. This should not be possible if the defending fleet is much larger than the attacking fleet, and would not work if the enemy had a few reconnaissance ships going around the system to find such a ship. This system relies largely on tricking your opponent and sacrificing a bit of your escort, who should be stalling for time rather than actually trying to do major damage. This type of thing would have a relatively low chance of succeeding, so you wouldn't want to try it all the time. (I would suggest making colony ships slower on the battle map for the sake of strategy in this area as well as others.)

Normally, the defender won't bother sending random ships around a system in search of a colony ship, but if the attacker has a history of pulling such stunts, or he is occupying that system for the express purpose of not allowing a colony ship through, he might be a bit more wary.


eleazar wrote:
3) Excessive increase in frequency of "battle." If the game allow the blockade running you propose, it will probably be a frequently necessary strategy for a winning game. This is problematic for multiplayer games which will likely tend to be too long anyway. This isn't just another option, it's something the player will have to do in addition to almost everything he would have to do without this feature. Less time is left for the more interesting or strategically richer parts of the game.
As I said, this is not something you would want to try all the time, as it relies on tricking your opponent. It should be a relatively rare form of combat, but common enough that a game probably won't end before someone at least tries to bypass a blockade with one of his ships.

And if the attacker is dumb enough to try to run his colony ship straight through a combat zone, maybe he deserves to be bored as heck. :D

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