Revised Stargate mechanics

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Vezzra
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Re: Revised Stargate mechanics

#16 Post by Vezzra »

Bigjoe5 wrote:It might be an interesting drawback if any empire could traverse your stargates.
No clear idea how to do that, but sounds interesting.
Anyway, this whole thread should be in the "Other Game Design" board, don't you think?
Agreed, but don't know exactly how to do this... Geoff, any idea how to move an entire thread to another subforum?

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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#17 Post by Vezzra »

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Dilvish wrote:...stargates is a many:many linking...
Is that substantially different from just having wormholes connecting every pair of stargates that are produced by a player (or all stargates regardless of ownership)?
Aside from what Dilvish already pointed out, how exactly do you want to implement that? Because, for the stargates to work like it's been suggested here, each of your stargates needs to be connected to each other stargate by a wormhole. Displaying those wormholes on the map as it's been suggested in the thread you linked (or something similar) would be impossible - after all, we have to consider the possibility of players with very large empires and maybe a (a) dozen(s) stargates. Not a pretty sight I guess.

Regarding the technical implementation, if we want to build on the already existing wormhole framework, we basically had to add wormholes between all systems that contain a stargate which belong to the same empire. Every time a stargate gets build, destroyed/scrapped or the planet it is on gets conquered, wormholes will have to be added and deleted accordingly. For that to work reliably, we'd have to tag "stargate wormholes" in some way to distinguish them from "normal" wormholes (unless we decide to use the wormhole framework solely for the stargate mechanic), because the code needs to know which wormholes are "stargate wormholes" when rearranging the "stargate wormhole network".

We might as well implement the stargate connections as a separate mechanic (Dilvish' suggestions above sound quite reasonable), that will probably require not that much more effort, and seems to be the cleaner approach.

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#18 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Dilvish wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
Dilvish wrote:...stargates is a many:many linking...
Is that substantially different from just having wormholes connecting every pair of stargates that are produced by a player (or all stargates regardless of ownership)?
There are certainly substantial similarities, but significant distinctions as well. Some significant motivators for the UI element...
I'm not asking about the proposed UI element from a previous thread. I want to know what the difference is expected to be between having a bunch of wormholes between several systems, and having stargates in those systems. Is there any need to have different gameplay mechanics for these situations? If not, presumably they can use the same UI element, which could appear like illustrated in the linked thread, with a special icon connected off a short starlane from a system with one of the non-starlane-connections to a remote system. Clicking on the icon or clicking on a remote system would plot a path through the gate/wormhole, which would act like a normal starlane for pathing / timing, except that transiting the gate/wormhole would take less time than the direct distance between its endpoints, and the plotted move path wouldn't cut across the galaxy, but would instead enter one icon and exit the other icon.

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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#19 Post by Dilvish »

Geoff the Medio wrote:I'm not asking about the proposed UI element from a previous thread. I want to know what the difference is expected to be between having a bunch of wormholes between several systems, and having stargates in those systems. Is there any need to have different gameplay mechanics for these situations? If not, presumably they can use the same UI element, which could appear like illustrated in the linked thread
I'm afraid you are confusing me. It appears you most definitely are asking about the proposed UI element from the previous thread, and I believe I've already answered your question-- it's not that the UI element proposed for wormholes could not be used in the fashion that you describe, it's that I believe such use would have little value for stargates (not none, but little, particularly relative to the screenspace needed), for the reasons I already explained.
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#20 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Dilvish wrote:...I believe such use would have little value for stargates (not none, but little, particularly relative to the screenspace needed), for the reasons I already explained.
I am unable to find the relevant post(s), or don't see what the important distinction is between starlanes and wormholes such that they can't be two cases of the same game mechanic and use the same UI. My previous question was about what the difference between them was, with my later post attempting to clarify that the reason this mattered was that if they are the same thing, they could use the same UI (regardless of what that is).

The point of the mentioned mini-starlane-to-wormhole icon was to indicate which systems have a wormhole/stargate. The icon would provide something to interact with to show fleet paths going thorough without having to draw the move path cutting across the galaxy. Mousing over or clicking could provide a list of systems connected to a wormhole opening on the map. To actually go through a wormhome/stargate, you'd just right click the destination systems (be that at the other end, or a few systems away from the other end), and the fleet movement algorithm would plot a path through (or not, depending what's faster).

Vezzra mentioned needing to add/remove connection if planets change ownership, but I don't see a problem with this... There could be an effect-based mechanism that generates "natural" wormholes, and maintains them every turn. Player-created wormholes ("stargates") would do the same thing, whether that is between specific pairs of systems or between all systems with owned stargate buildings.

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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#21 Post by Vezzra »

Geoff the Medio wrote:I am unable to find the relevant post(s), or don't see what the important distinction is between starlanes and wormholes such that they can't be two cases of the same game mechanic and use the same UI. My previous question was about what the difference between them was, with my later post attempting to clarify that the reason this mattered was that if they are the same thing, they could use the same UI (regardless of what that is).
I guess that technically you of course can understand systems with stargates in it as a network where each system is simply connected with each other system by a wormhole. Technically the connection between two stargates is exactly the same as a wormhole connection, so if you think that to be the cleanest/simplest solution, I can't think of a reason that would prevent us implementing both with the same basic framework.

The difference/issue Dilvish is referring to stems from the UI element proposed in the thread you linked (if I understood him correctly). The way it's described there it sounds like you get such an "appendix" for each wormhole a system has. That will work for "natural wormholes", but definitely not for "stargate wormholes" (for the already stated reasons). If however this UI element is implemented as you indicate here...
The point of the mentioned mini-starlane-to-wormhole icon was to indicate which systems have a wormhole/stargate. The icon would provide something to interact with to show fleet paths going thorough without having to draw the move path cutting across the galaxy. Mousing over or clicking could provide a list of systems connected to a wormhole opening on the map. To actually go through a wormhome/stargate, you'd just right click the destination systems (be that at the other end, or a few systems away from the other end), and the fleet movement algorithm would plot a path through (or not, depending what's faster).
...which sounds more like having only one "appendix" attached to a system in case it has at least one wormhole, then that might work I think.

The other difference I referred to, the need to have to distinguish between "stargate wormholes" and "natural wormholes" anyway because of the much more dynamic nature of the first, and therefore needing a different framework anyway can of course be addressed the way you suggested:
Vezzra mentioned needing to add/remove connection if planets change ownership, but I don't see a problem with this... There could be an effect-based mechanism that generates "natural" wormholes, and maintains them every turn. Player-created wormholes ("stargates") would do the same thing, whether that is between specific pairs of systems or between all systems with owned stargate buildings.
This would basically extend what Dilvish proposed for stargate connections (that is, recalculate/adjust the "stargate connections network" each turn) to all wormholes, thus eleminating the need to keep track of the "type" of a wormhole, as all are recreated each turn anyway, if I understand your suggestion correctly. Yes, that should work also.

Actually an effect based creation of wormholes like this will introduce a more flexible wormhole concept, as it will allow to introduce all kinds of wormholes, which can created by all kinds of causes, stargates would be only one of them. There could be "stable"/"static" ones, others which open and close randomly, others which are created by ship parts, buildings, etc.

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Re: Revised Stargate mechanics

#22 Post by Chriss »

I don't think it is strictly necessary for starlanes to be many:many connected. One could also create a 1:1 connection. Which could be an artificial wormhole, both technically and the way it's presented. Which means we'll include wormholes. Nice :)

If it's many to many, one could also create it so that
a) everyone can use every visible Stargate as a jump target,
but
b) not necessarily as a jump source.
This way, you could use an enemy stargate to get a fleet into the enemy empire, but not back out.

One could also do both, with different tech levels. The first could be fixed, as in: you can create them, but not destroy them, while the second offers more flexibility, but is also more dangerous.

Regarding Gas Giants - I did not mean that a stargate building needs a Gas Giant Generator to be build, just that it needs an energy source, like a gas giant, a bright star or something - and that maybe you can only use that energy source for the stargate, and not for other benefits. Meaning if you construct a stargate at a GG which has a GGG, the GGG disappears, or is disabled as far as it's prod bony to the system are concerned. One could also use Gas Giants for the artificial-wormhole type stargates, and bright stars for many to many type ones.
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Re: Revised Stargate mechanics

#23 Post by Bigjoe5 »

Chriss wrote:If it's many to many, one could also create it so that
a) everyone can use every visible Stargate as a jump target,
but
b) not necessarily as a jump source.
This way, you could use an enemy stargate to get a fleet into the enemy empire, but not back out.
I don't think it's a good idea for different empires' stargates to interact, but maybe one empire could use the wormhole produced by two stargates owned by another empire. One empire's stargate shouldn't lead to another empire's stargate, except maybe if they are allies.
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Re: Revised Stargate mechanics

#24 Post by Chriss »

Why not? They don't interact per see, you need a stargate for your ships to enter, and one to exit. Lore-Wise, Maybe the exit part is nothing that needs to be actively controlled, but the enter part is. Gameplay wise, if you build a stargate, you can send ships from there to any stargate, regardless of it's owner, provided that you know it's there. Which is nice, and cuts travel times. But it also means that an enemy fleet could pop into that very system on short notice, which requires defenses. It's a disadvantage which balances the advantages and keeps stargates from beeing too powerfull.

With the wormhole based, 1:1 style, a lot could be done, too. If you create "Hub Systems", you can achieve something similar, with less danger, and less advantages. Defend the hub system and you can prevent an enemy from using your wormhole shortcuts. Or rather, they can use it, but you'll have a fleet there to say hello. Or a nice and cozy minefield.
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Re: Revised Stargate mechanics

#25 Post by MatGB »

Balance, if building a stargate means massive attack fleets can just arrive at my main shipyard then I won't build stargates, that defeats the point of having them.
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Re: Revised Stargate mechanics

#26 Post by yandonman »

MatGB wrote:Balance, if building a stargate means massive attack fleets can just arrive at my main shipyard then I won't build stargates, that defeats the point of having them.
Having to make strategic decisions about placement of stargates adds depth to the game mechanic.
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Re: Revised Stargate mechanics

#27 Post by Vezzra »

Chriss wrote:I don't think it is strictly necessary for starlanes to be many:many connected. One could also create a 1:1 connection. Which could be an artificial wormhole, both technically and the way it's presented.
Just to be sure: you mean that stargates are paired, so each two stargates only connect to each other, and not every stargate to all others, right?

I don't think that's a good idea. It makes managing your stargate network more complicated, and we'd need to provide the UI elements necessary to assign stargates to each other. All that for what benefit? I don't see a considerable advantage to implement stargates only with 1:1 connections.

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Re: Revised Stargate mechanics

#28 Post by Vezzra »

yandonman wrote:
MatGB wrote:Balance, if building a stargate means massive attack fleets can just arrive at my main shipyard then I won't build stargates, that defeats the point of having them.
Having to make strategic decisions about placement of stargates adds depth to the game mechanic.
Not if the disadvantage gets too severe, as IMO it would be the case here. You have to invest quite a lot of research and production to get a decent stargate network running, if the advantages are kind of cancelled out by such severe disadvantages, the whole thing isn't really balanced anymore and there'd be no point in using them.

That said, I could imagine a very expensive very late-game tech that allows "highjacking" of stargates.

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Re: Revised Stargate mechanics

#29 Post by em3 »

Vezzra wrote:That said, I could imagine a very expensive very late-game tech that allows "highjacking" of stargates.
This.

Generally, there could be many stargate techs, for example the first would only create wormholes to stargates within a fixed distance (comparable to 3-4 jumps) and only owned by the same empire. Upgrades would increase this distance or allow connections to allied or even enemy stargates (or maybe even allow for neutral stargates?).

For this to be fair (and easier to manage code-wise) I think these connections should be one directional, actually. That means, a stargate would generate wormholes TOWARDS any other stargates it can - according to current techs. The other stargates would themselves create a returning path only if their technological level allows this. This way, if you have a tech that allows connecting to enemy stargates, you can send ships there, but the enemy can't (and you can't retreat).
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