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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2004 9:35 pm 
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In my opinion, outpost ships had little use in MoO's 2 and 3 (at least I almost never used them). But I'd like to see them in FO for a number of reasons.

- Establishing claims. Colony ships are expensive and take a long time to build. If there's a system you want to colonize but can't afford to atm, sending an outpost ship to establish your control and ward off other empires. This, of course, is somewhat irrelevant because you can just station some ships in a system and get the same results, but what if an outpost acted as a small orbital base that had to be attacked by an enemy fleet before they could colonize the system?

- Patching up holes in your territory. This is something I hate for really no other reason than aesthetic: you have a large, well-built empire, yet there's one system with a tiny irradiated planet and some asteroid belts stuck on the only starlane linking two of your core planets. It just looks bad. But what if there was actual gameplay significance in dropping an outpost there?
First off is diplomacy. If crossing borders were a diplomatic factor, as I proposed in this thread: http://www.freeorion.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=14019#14019 then having solid borders could become a key strategic element. It can even be taken a step further.

Try this concept: having control of both ends of a starlane reduces the travel time along said starlane for friendly ships by a turn or two.
It works in a semi-realistic sense: your captains are able to burn more fuel to get to higher speeds because they have more chances to resupply. And it adds gameplay elements. It helps you out when you've just assembled all your largest ships to make a strike against your neighbor on your right, and suddenly your neighbor on your left ditches your non-aggression pact and attacks your border planets with an even bigger fleet. It makes it a little less devastating when you know you're saving 5 or 6 turns rushing back across your empire than you would have across open water. Troop movements: its the same reason the Romans put so much effort into building roads everywhere.
If you move faster on an ally's starlanes, it makes for more diplomatic strategy as well. You might be able to get to an enemy faster by using your neighbor's lanes if you sign a treaty with them.

This brings me to another idea, somewhat independent but also somewhat related: an "assemble fleet at this planet" button. I was thinking about MoO3's mobilization centers, and how stupid they were. But I was thinking of what the developers were trying to accomplish with them. In MoO2, as in FO, you build a ship and it automatically deploys at the system its built in. This makes sense. Then to create a fleet you tell all the ships you built to meet at a certain planet, and then they're grouped as a fleet. This gets a little meticulous when you've got a big empire and multiple ships being built at multiple systems each turn, so why not have a "fleet assembly" button that automates the process for you?
It would bring up a screen listing all your ships that don't currently have any orders and where they're stationed, and you pick the ones you want and tell them "hey, I want you all to form up here" and they set their destinations. You could check back on the screen in later turns to see all their ETAs, maybe via a little "Fleet Pending" icon at the planet you chose to assemble them at. If something like my Fleet Deployment scheme were implemented, (http://www.freeorion.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=874) maybe you could set that up as well. Just something to make later game management run a little more smoothly.


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 Post subject: Another option...
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2004 4:30 am 
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Those are some interesting ideas - a few others...

... another option is that ourposts could generate exploration points within the system, slowly discovering over time hidden specials and whatnot. It would allow you to send your scouting fleet outward on new frontiers rather than be tied up in a system.

... Pehaps an outpost can also be somewhat hidden (like a secret listening post). A passing fleet going by the system may not detect it (especially if they didn't bring any scouting ships) - but you would detect them. A colony would surely be detected.

... Finally, I see outposts being useful in galaxies where there is a lot of 'nothing' in systems. Systems that have but asteroid belts and maybe a lone gas planetoid or comet. Can't put a colony there, but at least you can have some sort of presence.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2004 5:06 am 
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Since you got me thinking... what about outposts that harvest gas giants for revenue? Or mine asteroid belts for minerals?


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2004 5:18 am 
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I have nothing against outposts and the like in general, but IMO empire borders and colonization rights and such should be primarily a diplomatic issue (and bargaining chip).


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2004 5:33 am 
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...

Maybe I'm not quite understanding you, but isn't that pretty much what I said? Outposts give you the ability to expand borders and claim territory you wouldn't be able to normally, and borders and territory should be diplomatic factors. You can't exactly bargain away a system that you have no claim on to begin with...


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2004 6:55 am 
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Yes you can.

*ring*, *ring*, <click>

Good afternoon! This is the Earth Alliance embassy diplomatic office. My name is Alex. How may I assist you?

HUMANS! BLAUGHRAN EMPIRE CLAIMS PLANET KREIGHTON! YOU GIVE RAY GUN SCIENCE OR BLAUGHRANS DESTROY HUMANS ON KREIGHTON!!!

Alright, let me just check my records here... hmm... well... It seems that the Earth Alliance has already placed an outpost in that particular system. I'm sorry, but according to the criteria we made up and you didn't agree to, the great and majestic Blaughran Imperium has no territorial claim to the Kreighton system...

BLAUGHRAN EMPIRE IGNORES SILLY HUMAN OUTPOST! GIVE SCIENCE OR HUMANS BE DESTROYED!!!

...

Similarly, you could call someone up and say that you claim any system you want, whether you've been there or not, as long as you have the guns to back up your claim, should it be contested. Outposts are unnecessary, unless there's an United Empires of the Galaxy or somesuch, which passes a law saying you have to build an outpost to claim a system, or you have a treaty to that effect with another empire, and even then, if you have big enough guns, you can ignore the UEG law.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2004 10:25 am 
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In MoO2 outposts sucked

In MoO3 outposts were great. The game itself sucked.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2004 11:08 am 
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Space Empires 4 has a Claiming System just like that, you simply open up a map of the Galaxy and click systems like light switches to Claim/Unclaim them. Everyone can claim the same system if they wish, its all Diplomatic Posturing realy. Seems rather apropriate to me.

The trick is going to be in incorporating the Claims into Diplomacy in some meaningfull way. It dose not good if I trade the Secret of Xenophalic Lasers so that Krudge will relinquish their claim to the Krobulon System if their just going to slap a new claim on it the next turn. THUS....

Their should be a diplomatic "greedy land grabber" penalty when you lay claim to a system you have not explored or colonized (possibly other factors that effect "legitamacy" of your claim such as Race Traits). Making a Diplomatic agreement to relinquish a claim reduces your legitamacy on a system to zero so if you break your word their are consiquences.

Their is a similar penalty when you claim something that someone else already has a legitimate claim to. Ofcorse as Geoff says if you have the Guns to back it up you dont realy care about diplomacy now do you. :twisted:

After the Inital hit that you get when you MAKE the illigitimate claim you suffer some ongoing bad feelings from maintaining illigitimate claims. If you legitimize the claim (colonizing generaly dose this) or abandon the claim you can stop this loss but you cant reverse the initial damage.


I realy like the Idea of Hidden Outposts and other hidden facilites (my Space Pirate race would be heavely oriented in that direction). I think it would be best to have some kind of "Colony Cloack" Device that you simply build in the Colony and it Subtracts a flat amount off the Colonies "detectability" so as long as the Colony is small you can conceal it. On a large colony it will be like trying to spit out the Sun (note to self: Star Destroying Guns should make the Sound of a Lugee as they fire).

Outposts in this sense are just Colonis with small populations and some specialized facilites, I think its always better to subsum things like this under the system were already using as it gives the player greater flexibility to mix the building blocks in interesting ways.

Outposts could generate exploration if they have the apropriate facilites (exploration shuttlecraft, Scanners ect ect). As always fold everything under the same mathamatics that will govern scanners,cloacked ships, specials ect ect.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2004 2:20 pm 
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Well, you could have it so an outpost built by another race has an initial 10 exploration points for it to be discovered. If a scout generates say 2 exploration points (hypothetical number) it would take on average 5 turns to discover the outpost (if nothing else was being explored).

A special hidden (or cloaked) outpost could have 30 exploration points.

Finally, what happens if a race decides to land a colony on the planet that you have the outpost on? One idea would be that your outpost is dismantled, but you suddenly gain a nice amount of implanted spies in that empire. (Making blind colonization somewhat risky).

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2004 4:21 pm 
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Interesting Idea with thouse Spies but I think it would clash with some of the more agressive Races personality, they would probably fight the colony, with the element of suprise and the fact the colony is brandnew and defenceless their seems a good change you could kill it. Your hiden base would likly be revealed but thats a chance you have to take.

In Galactic Civalization this is the point ware the screen would pop up with a few cool options "Atempt to Infiltrate them", "Banzi Attack", "Atempt to Evacuate un-noticed" "Peacefully reveal yourself" ect ect.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2004 8:01 am 
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What about this:

Fleet costs double maintain in a system where no Colony or Outpost is situated. Or trppled, if also the neighbouring systems have no Colony or Outpost. Or four times it even the systems 3 Jumps awy have no colony or Outpost. Or five times for 5 Jumpes and so on

Cause all the fuel, ammunition and food has to be carried from far away. Makes Attacks expensiv. And could be useful to station an Outpost near your enemys colonys. What he/she/it will see as a thread...

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2004 8:49 am 
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Rob: See the fleet resupply thread: http://www.freeorion.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=754


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2004 8:00 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
Good afternoon! This is the Earth Alliance embassy diplomatic office. My name is Alex. How may I assist you?

HUMANS! BLAUGHRAN EMPIRE CLAIMS PLANET KREIGHTON! YOU GIVE RAY GUN SCIENCE OR BLAUGHRANS DESTROY HUMANS ON KREIGHTON!!!

Alright, let me just check my records here... hmm... well... It seems that the Earth Alliance has already placed an outpost in that particular system. I'm sorry, but according to the criteria we made up and you didn't agree to, the great and majestic Blaughran Imperium has no territorial claim to the Kreighton system...

BLAUGHRAN EMPIRE IGNORES SILLY HUMAN OUTPOST! GIVE SCIENCE OR HUMANS BE DESTROYED!!!


Geoff, I can't help but crack up every time I read that. I'm quoting it as my signature unless you have any objections. :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 12:01 am 
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Have a blast...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 9:33 am 
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Another option is research outpost that can be sent to planet with hostile enviroment just like people send research groups to south pole. These outpost will give RPs from planets that could not be colonized otherwise.


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