Satellites, [...] now renamed the "cargo" thread

For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.

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Geoff the Medio
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#16 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Feb 25, 2005 8:07 pm

Ablaze wrote:I do like the idea of having cargo ships which can transport population, goods, and ground combat units around. With truly massive cargo fleets you could even transport ships around.
I would also like having transport ships under player control (though mostly automated, somewhat like trains in Railroad Tycoon) carting around various different kinds of ore / minerals / food / population between systems. However it's just not going to happen with the extreme anti-micromanagement design principle that is the main justification for most game mechanics decisions for FO... At the first whiff of such a system, drek and DaveyBaby and most everyone else will be thrown into a rabid frenzy of proclamations of the dire consequences of tedious endgame micro that would result. And they might be right, or they might not... but either way, neither you nor I are going to convince them or Aq otherwise.

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Sandlapper
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#17 Post by Sandlapper » Sat Feb 26, 2005 2:30 am

How about making starlane tugs a tech? No physical ship being represented. Research the tech, then system ships effectively convert to a starlane capable ship using the same navigation UI , but, with the caveat of not being able to travel as a part of a starlane capable fleet/taskforce.

They must travel individually through the starlane at a greatly reduced speed (to offset their advantage in weapon/ordnance space gain from not having starlane engines). This also to mimic an individual tug taking one ship through, returning, taking another.

Note: The entire system fleet would be given orders same as any typical fleet, however the tug tech level would limit it's arrival time (one ship at a time, etc.).

A refinement for starlane tugs would be increased capacity ...e.g. two ships at a time, three ships at a time; and some speed increases.

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Geoff the Medio
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#18 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Feb 26, 2005 4:56 am

Sandlapper: So... now systems ships can move around, but they only do so using a convoluted / counterintuitive / arbitrary set of UI restrictions and rules? I don't see what this would add to the game, or why it's better than just having all ships have to have at least a very low tech / small / slow engine (with most "non-system" ships having better engines instead).

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#19 Post by noelte » Sat Feb 26, 2005 10:57 am

I agree, Sandlappers system isn't clear, in fact i didn't understand it. But anyway, i wouldn't like it if system ships magicly be able to travel through starlanes. But those cargo ships solve the transportation problem (build system ships somewhere and use it elsewhere).
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#20 Post by Impaler » Sat Feb 26, 2005 2:48 pm

Isn't this "Transport Ship/Tug" realy just a type of Carrier. When the ships it holds are small fighters and bombers we think of it as a normal Carriers as any good Space Opera game would have. But lets suppose you had larger cargo holds or even some kind of external docking arms and such stuff, now you could easily have the reverse of smaller ships "carrying" the larger one. Internal and External transport will be esentialy equalent in the UI (the smaller units simply being listed as in/on the larger and indented in the Fleet window under that ship). The only real difference will be that internal transport protects the ship and external alows the other ship to contribute its engines, weapons and sensors to the combined "supership". Lots of interesting possibilites open up for the players to get creative with their ship designs here. A reversal of the traditional Carrier would be very interesting, imagine a large Battleship with no Hyperdrive Capability, rather a small swarm of Tugs that are themselves little mor then flying Engines attatch themselves to it so that it can travel through starlanes. In battle the Hyperdrive Tugs detatch and retreat and the Main ship dose all the fighting, it would have a destinct advantage vs a traditional ship as its mass and size are greatly reduce by not hauling the hyperdrive Engines which are of no use in Sub-light battles.

Oh and ofcorse I cant forget to mention the TNG sauser seperation manuver as a great example of something the player could create.
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noelte
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#21 Post by noelte » Sat Feb 26, 2005 4:12 pm

I wasn't thinking about an explicit cargo vessel. More a system moo2 used. You have a number of cargo ships (which cost maintance) and if you move a ship without starlane drive or a starbase, a number of cargo ships are needed to do so. On the UI level you simply say, place starbase xy at sol system or transport this system ship to alpha centauri.
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#22 Post by Sandlapper » Sat Feb 26, 2005 5:09 pm

Yes, Impaler, that's exactly the result i'm trying explain.

Ton for ton, a system ship is superior because it doesn't waste space on interstellar engines. The starlane tugs would attach to a system ship and push it through a starlane to another system. This is effectively same as a transport/carrier as you stated. Building a super carrier to house a super size battleship isn't logical or cost effective compared to smaller tugs.

I suggested making them a tech, to alleviate Geoff's concern with micro. The fleet navigation UI for both system and interstellar would be identical in system, but on a starlane UI, system ship fleets would not be available at all, until starlane tugs tech is researched. Once researched, system fleets would register on the starlane navigation UI, and be controlled in exactly the same way.

The advantage of an interstellar engine fleet is starlane speed and instant starlane jump enmass. To exacerbate this advantage, I would curtail the ability of the system ships with tugs. I would reduce their speed through the starlane(tugs carry ship through, return for another-takes at least twice as long to move a system fleet because of each return trip) and the amount of ships through the starlane at a time. These limitations would improve with refinements. Because of these limitations, I would disallow merging of system fleets, with interstellar fleets, on the starlane navigation UI.

Bottom line- no changes to starlane navigation UI- system fleets don't show up at all unless tugs tech researched. If researched, they show up and are controlled exactly the same navigationally.

The only caveats are very slow arrival to new system (again, tugs have to go to and from systems to complete task), and because of this, not allowing merger with interstellar fleets.

Pro's- system fleets don't get wasted on systems now in safe interior parts of your empire, as it expands.

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#23 Post by Daveybaby » Mon Feb 28, 2005 5:41 pm

I do like the idea of being able to transport system ships into combat... not sure i like the idea of 'tugs' as such, but i DO very much like the idea of carriers being able to transport more than just tiny fighters (and thats all fighters are really, just very small system ships).

I'm thinking here of things like the carriers/riderships in C.J.Cherryh's 'Downbelow Station' series of novels. I really loved the combat style in those books - always pretty sparsely described (almost the opposite of Weber's missile pr0n), and i really liked the way that every ship was critical, if you lose a carrier then youre really going to feel it down the line.

It would be pretty easy to give carriers the capability to carry larger system ships, say clipper or destroyer sized. Give carriers 2 specialised 'components': Storage capacity and launch/landing bay size. Storage capacity is pretty much just the empty space (plus an overhead factor for things like maintenance, fighter crews etc) that defines how many hull sizes of ships can be carried. Launch/landing bay size defines the largest sized hull that can be launched and retrieved by the carrier. So you could have 1 large launch/landing bay which could launch (say) up to a destroyer sized ship, or in the same space have (say) 10 fighter sized bays (e.g. launch tubes like in battlestar galactica) which would be more efficient in terms of launch times (if that matters in combat) but less flexible in terms of what you can carry. Or have some of each.
Geoff the Medio wrote:At the first whiff of such a system, drek and DaveyBaby and most everyone else will be thrown into a rabid frenzy of proclamations of the dire consequences of tedious endgame micro that would result. And they might be right, or they might not... but either way, neither you nor I are going to convince them or Aq otherwise.
If you can come up with a convincing methodology that allows the micro to be mitigated without penalising the player vs those who choose to micro, then you wont get any argument from me. The main reason i always harp on is to try and make sure people at least think about this stuff before implementing something unworkable.

For example, the above carrier idea is nice, but it does raise the issue of how to restock lost ships in battle. If its just fighters being used then this can be easily dealt with - just restock the carrier with the same fighter type either by abstraction, or using a supply chain model. If youre carrying system ships into combat (that are specifically chosen to be built by the player) then something more fine tunable is required. This doesnt mean i think the idea is unworkable, just that it needs serious thought instead of just implementing because it would be cool.
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#24 Post by Ablaze » Mon Feb 28, 2005 8:10 pm

Personally, the system I like is to allow ships without engines. (in my game you use the same engines in regular space as in FTL travel.) Those ships can be added to any fleet you like and as long as they all are in the same place when they enter FTL. The entire fleet then acts like a unit until it exits FTL, whose speed is calculated by total thrust / total mass. In that way you can take a starbase with you on an attack mission if you like, as long as you are willing to take a massive hit to movement speed.
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#25 Post by Impaler » Wed Mar 02, 2005 12:35 pm

I like that Idea as well Ablaze but I would require that the ships have some components inorder to do so, just as a Carrier must have its Hangars inside of it the StarBase needs to have "Docking Pads" on it for it to link up with other ships and have them tow it through space. This idea is very mutch inspired by Homeworld with thouse little Resorce collectors and Fighters attatching to the little Pads on the Mothership and Support Frigates.

The rule would be "The largest ship must have a docking Pad greater then or equal to the size of the smaller ship for Docking to occur". Just as you need sufficiently large Hangars for a Carrier the Docking Pads follow esentialy the same logic. An interesting twist occures if you want to combine 2 ships of the same size, both of the ships are considered the larger and the smaller at the same time and each must have a Docking Pad equal to their own size. Because Docking pads would be considerably smaller components then the equivilent Hangar this is a viable option (its essentialy impossible to put a Destroyer size Hander into a Destroyer).

The UI should handle Docking in essentialy the same way it handles Carriers, all thats needed is some kind of visual identifier as to if a ship is docked externaly or housed in a Hangar, Launch and Recovery is identical (Hangars though are limited in the rate they Launch and Recover ware Docking Pads are not). When StarBases and other normaly Immobile assets are grouped into a Fleet and given move orders Docking will occure automaticaly and in the way that will alow for the highest top speed of the fleet (large Fast ships with higher then average speed will preferentialy carry the slower vessels).

Imagine a Senario much like Independence Day, One SuperLarge "Death Spear" Class Mothership forms the whole of a Fleet, the Mothership has Interstellar Drive and slow Sublight Drive, it is equiped with 12 massive "Battleship" Class Docking Pads and Hundreds of Hangars for Fighters and Troop Transport ships. The Battleships dont need to have Docking Pads because their smaller then the Mother Ship and don't have Intersteller Drives, each one carries one "Primary Weapon" and many internal Fighter Hangars. The Fleet view shows the whole Higherachy from top to bottom in a Windows Explorer fashion. You can "open" a ship to view the ships that are docked to it or in its Hangars and multiple levels can be opened up and manipulated.
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#26 Post by Ablaze » Wed Mar 02, 2005 6:58 pm

So then if your mothership is destroyed during battle then none of your fleet can move? With all that docking space it probably wouldn’t have much power to defend itself. Sounds a lot like chess.
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#27 Post by LithiumMongoose » Thu Mar 03, 2005 1:18 am

Ablaze wrote:So then if your mothership is destroyed during battle then none of your fleet can move?
Price you pay for having significantly better warships (lots more room for weapons etc on them due to lack of interstellar drive).

Also a mothership that big, being of one of the largest hull sizes we would have, would have tons of HP... and it can hang back behind the fighting if it wants to. It could load up on fast sublight drives and/or lots of PD weapons in its spare space to make it that much harder to kill.

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and move around stations, too

#28 Post by herbert_vaucanson » Tue Mar 08, 2005 5:06 pm

Hi all,

what I was interested in was the possibility to have big "hauler" ships to carry around not only warships, but also colony ships, outposts, space stations, etc.

Let us say that we have system (impulse) drives and star (warp, hyperspace) drives.Let us say that, to move a space object that has NOT star drives (like a colony ship, a system warship or even a space station, let it be a battle one, or asteroid mining, a gas giant sucking, or a diplomatic or penal station) through a starlane you have TWO ways:
1) a BIG carrier ship with star drives to go through the starlane without any further help;
2) a couple of BIG space objects, one in each of the two starlane-connected systems, equipped with a stargate: in this case any ship can travel through the starlane. Of course such objects could be ships with star drives... provided they are really, really big.

The tactical difference between the two would be that in the first case the transported load is available to deployment in the same turn, while in the case of a stargate starhip the eased starlane accessibility applies only from the next turn.

Of course, there could be space object with no drives at all (excluding stabilisation jets). These objects could be moved around by star-drive or system-drive cargo ships.

An example would be a diplomatic or military station (space object with no drives) parked around a planet in an uncolonised system, or a space station parked around an uncolonised planet in a colonised system. You need a way to bring things there...

Another hot issue: the space object deployment and maintenance should be tackled by some modelisation of supply lines, maybe a la MOO2 though a freighter fleet but working only though controlled or friendly starlanes (although I do not like much this way, I hope something better comes up).

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#29 Post by utilae » Tue Mar 08, 2005 8:56 pm

I do like the idea of tugs towing system ships, though I think we can alleviate micromanagement this way:
Let's say a system ship requires 2 tugs to tow it. If we have a fleet of 10 system ships, then at a glance we can see that to tow the fleet, 20 tugs are needed. So if there are 20 tugs in the fleet, then the system ships can move to other star systems (slower than ships made to travel between stars). If there are less than 20 tugs in the fleet then system ships cannot move to another star system (of course we could always add an option that allows all ships in the fleet that have tugs to go, splitting the fleet).

Maybe we could even eventually have a tech for all ships, that are like engines, but they fit on the outside of the ship (clamp on). They take up no space, but cost a bunch and are more prone to damage, cause they are not armored. They would also allow system ships to travel as if they were made to travel between stars (like normal ships) and remove the need for tugs.

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#30 Post by herbert_vaucanson » Wed Mar 09, 2005 12:42 pm

Uhmmm, I am probably against tugs and in favor of carrier ships, that is: you have to carry a ship around inside you, mostly because of mechanical or field reasons. In truth, the reason is a gameplay one - so that to build transport ships is expensive and one does not do it sistematically, but only for some strategic reasons.

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