The Basics of Ship Combat

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

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guiguibaah
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Active and passive...

#91 Post by guiguibaah » Sun Jul 17, 2005 12:09 am

... Well, that could be done in a simple way....

Your "System" has fog of war (really is only sensor range, so a bubble around your ships). for one 'turn' you can tell your ships - any ship - to "PING". All the ping does is either dramatically increase what you can see within the fog of war, or shows what is in the system. Just like in RTS, once you explore the enemy's base and see his buildings you can simply tell your MIGS / NUKES / BATTLESHIPS to fire.

= The ping causes you to lose your turn =

HOWEVER, if you PING, you make yourself permanently visible on the map. So any missile defence site / ballistic cannon / starbase / long-range beamships can target you and take you down.

= Smaller ships reveal more for of war than larger ships =

When cloaking technologyh becomes available, (spelling my pardon) you can reveal cloaked ships by spending a turn and PINGing...




Perhaps something like that?
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utilae
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#92 Post by utilae » Sun Jul 17, 2005 6:28 am

Yep, sounds good.

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Dreamer
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#93 Post by Dreamer » Mon Jul 18, 2005 3:50 pm

yaromir wrote:Hrm, I found it to be...well unimpactful.

Augmenting it the way you suggested is perfectly fine. Paradox's games have essentially auto-resolve combats and they are very enjoyable.

I really enjoyed MOO2 battles though.
I'm not talking of a complete auto-resolve. Take a look to Nexus:Jupiter incident. There you have great space battles with more or less the same few commands that the ones I stated before. In Dawn of War each squad can have a "standard behaviour" and that greatly helps to send units into combat without the need to take exact positioning into consideration.

This also serves 2 purposes: 1.- you don't have to give commands every turn to every weapon of every ship like in Moo2 and 2.- combats aren't static as in Moo2, ships constantly move, fighters can do round aroun the enemy or the deffending ship, etc. It is also simplier than most systems here proposed and much easier to have a competent AI.

And we are not even talking about bare minimums here, this is more along the lines of what I would wish. I'm greatly concerned about the overall timetable of the proyect. I would happily trade a very simple version of FO that plays mostly like a complex RISK-in-space due for 2006 than the FO as it is now, due to 2015. I'm not complaining and I know all arguments about having a "real life" (hell, if I'm not coding myself for FO is because I can't get rid of mine either), but having limited resources maybe a proyect like this should be aiming for a simple but adictive 1.0 version and left other ideas for future versions.

Other thought: "search" and "hide" orders can be used to apply all the mentioned sensor discussion.

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#94 Post by Impaler » Tue Jul 19, 2005 10:17 am

I also think some simple flat turn based combat Engine would be a good initial goal.

I realy love Panzer General and think Hexes ROCK!!

Look at this Screen Shoot of Space Empires V System view screen

http://www.malfador.com/SE5scr001.htm

I think we should use something like this for our battles (maybe a bit higher hex density though), the whole system is the Battle Map, your Task Forces are moved about like chess pieces each turn and have them blast away at each other or fire missles (which would be able to cross much of the system). Starlane "Onramps" are around the Edge of the system.
Fear is the Mind Killer - Frank Herbert -Dune

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#95 Post by Dreamer » Tue Jul 19, 2005 8:54 pm

I like the idea of having specific starlane exits. What if you reinforcements appear? How about defending only that point?

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D&D ships

#96 Post by guiguibaah » Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:16 pm

It would be interesting to encorporate an armour class system / hit change akin to the dungeons and dragons system. Ships ‘roll’ a random number from 1 to 30 to determine a ‘hit’.

Here is an example

A battleship attacks a cruiser with a laser. The battleship rolls an 18. In order to determine if a hit is scored, the attack roll is compared to the cruiser's (defender) armour class. The armour class of the cruiser's mark 1 armour is 5. Since 18 > 5, the battleship scores a hit.

Same example, but the battleship rolls a 4. Since 4<5, the battleship misses.

More advanced armour increases the armour class number. It also adds more hitpoints to your ship. A cruiser with mark 2 armor has an armor class of 7.

ECM scramblers increase your armour class by much larger amounts. An ECM mark 1 scrambler will add +10 to your armour class, for a total of 17.

Smaller ships get a bonus to their armour class. Corvettes have +2, Frigates +1, Titans -2, Doomstars -4.

Any attacking ship rolling a 28 or 29 scores a critical hit (2x damage). A a 30 is considered a crippling strike – it has a 95% chance to do 4x damage, and a 5% chance to completely disable the target ship.

Combat computers can give you bonuses to hit… So a mark 1 computer would give you a +5 to hit bonus.

Crew experience works both ways. Green crews subtract -1 to hit and -1 to armor class. Regulars have no bonus. Veterans have +1 to hit, +2 to armor class. Elite has +2 to hit, +4 to armor class.

Certain auto-seeking weapons (like missiles) get a huge bonus to their ‘to hit’ score, such as +20.

* * *

That’s the ‘hit’ part of the equation. Then there is the damage aspect.

As in the example above, the battleship scored a ‘hit’. It was using a laser that does 4-6 damage. If the cruiser has not shields, all that damage is inflicted to the ship.

If the cruiser has a mark 1 shield, then 1 damage point is absorbed by the shield and 3 points get subtracted from the shield hitpoints. The rest of the damage is inflicted to the ship.

A veteran crew adds +2 to damage. An Elite crew adds +4 to damage.

* * *

So here's the whole thing in a nutshell example...

Frigate with...
2 lasers
Mark 2 armor (7)
Veteran Crew
Mark 1 ECM
Mark 1 Shield

Is attacked by

Battleship
4 lasers
2 missiles
Mark 1 armor (5)
Veteran Crew
Mark 1 ECM
Mark 1 Shield
Mark 1 Computer

- - - -

Battleship fires 4 lasers. Numbers generated are 17, 4, 12, 29
Battleship fires 2 missiles. Numbers are [10, 21]

- No critical hits were rolled.

Veteran crew adds +1 to all rolls
Targeting computer adds +5 to all rolls
Missiles get a +20 bonus

Final numbers to hit are 23, 10, 18, 35 [35, 46]

Frigate has 7 armor
Veteran crew adds +2 to AC
ECM adds +10 to AC
for a total of 19

23>19, 10<19, 18<19, 35>19, [35>19, 46>19]

So the Battleship scored 2 laser hits, and 2 missile hits.

Now for damage...
Veteran crew adds +2 to damage

Laser 1 - 5 damage (4-6) +2 = 7
Laser 4 - 4 damage (4-6) + 2 = 6
Missile 1 - 10 damage (1-15) + 2 = 12
Missile 2 - 1 damage (1-15) +2 = 1

Laser 1 - Frigate shield negates 1 damage, -3 to shield HP, -3 to ship HP.
Laser 4 - Frigate shield negates 1 damage, -3 to shield HP, -2 to ship HP.
Missile 1 - Frigate shield negates 1 damage, -3 to shield HP, -8 to ship HP
Missile 2 - Frigate shield negates 1 damage, -2 to shield HP.

* * *


I understand this might seem like a geeky rip-off of D&D's system, but I do think the system has some merit. First, it adds some randomability into the system. For example, as you refine a weapon, it gets closer and closer to its maximum damage. So a 1-15 nuclear missile refined 2 times could have 13-15, which would have better statistical odds than, say, a fusion missile that starts with 5-20.

It also adds for some extra variables to be added into the system - compared to a system that has "automatic hit / automatic damage"

You could also have a "lucky" trait for a race, which adds extra bonuses to the chance they will score a critical hit.

Because parts are random, battles will be a little less predictable.

Races with exception space combat bonuses might get a +2 to hit and a +2 to damage. Some technologies will add a base of +2 to all your hits, or +5 to your armour.

* * *

that would be for conventional weapons. Psyonic weapons would work under a completely different system - something akin to the mindworms in SMAC.

Attackers always roll a 10. Defender roll 1-20. Whichever has highest number wins. If defender rolls a 20, they repel the psionic attack, causing loss of a turn for attacker. If they don't roll a higher number, the crew complement goes down.

(In the end, it is a resistance roll of 50%)

Bonuses are given for veterancy (+1 to attack / defend).






Well that's that - I'd like to add a way to input damage taken from 2 flanks if possible. Hope this generates some discussion.
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#97 Post by Dreamer » Fri Jul 29, 2005 7:39 pm

I have played D&D for years (every version of it) and even designed my own table RPG system. For a table game where you are restricted to use dice for randomness and simple abstractions to avoid number complexity (since you do most math on your head) that kind of system is fine. For a PC game is completely deficient. In fact, when designing a table game you strive to represent complex behaviour with very simple math, in PC games you shouldn't.

What I have always liked is the division between being HIT and tha damage taken, so I preffer to use shields AND armor (if both should exist) for damage reduction when hit and let speed, crew, counter meassures affect only the probability of getting hit. Critical strikes are completely innecessary since they attempt to use discrete diferences on the attack roll to determine damage. Here you can use a gradual scale (the better the hit, the more damage you do, not by jumps of "if more than 10, double").

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#98 Post by utilae » Fri Jul 29, 2005 11:25 pm

I would like it if combat wan't too complex. In fact, I would like it if there was very little randomness. At the most a minDamage and maxDamage.

Also we have to have a minRange and maxRange.

Armor can simply be subtracted from damage, while shields can come in varying forms (as discussed in the shield thread a while back).

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#99 Post by Impaler » Wed Aug 03, 2005 7:04 am

I dont want to see a D&D style combat system, it dosn't fit well in space ware your often dealing with things that are orders of magnitude in size difference. Its a system designed to represent humanoid creatures fighting hand to hand. D&D avoids multiplication like the plauge but we are most deffinantly going to need it.

When it comes to a computer game its important that the player be able to JUDGE the effect of actions not for them to be able to CALCULATE them adsactly as they would in a table top game. If I see that I have a 78% probability to hit with a 23 Damage laser and my oponent has a 50% chance with a 69 damage weapon I can tell I am losing without actualy DOING the math. Equations of this nature are perfectly good for a computer game.
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guiguibaah
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Combat system

#100 Post by guiguibaah » Wed Aug 03, 2005 5:13 pm

The way I see it, whatever system is chosen is all well and good - so long as the 3 points made below are followed. The D&D 'system' is but one way at being able to explain combat differences. The important thing in any combat system are that players are able to understand

- How the system works
- How the system can be modified
- That the system presented to them is the same one under the hood.

Case in point is Moo3. Nobody could tell what ECM / ECCM did, or how it worked, or (more importantly) how to FIX it in a mod, as the entire combat system was not explained.

I would be hesitant to say that any system could not or will not work in game A but not game B, on the argument that game A has traditionally fallen in a certain genre. After all, it has been the ground-breaking games that have flipped traditional systems to new levels. (Bullfrog & Blizzard come to mind).

The reason I am hesitant at a system that focuses on multiplication tables (say, percentages) is that tech designers or future modders may place the multiplication emphasis in the wrong place within the equation. Often the desired result is achieved, but only with low level numbers.

EG: 2 + 1 (*2) + 10 (/2)
2 + 4 (*2) + 10 (/2)

compared to

((2 + 1) * (2) + 10)/2
((2 + 4) * (2) + 10)/2
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#101 Post by moxy » Sun Aug 28, 2005 7:03 am

my minimum:
1) players should give some general, meaningful combat commands
2) the impact of player choices should be apparent
3) the length of time to resolve battles should not increase linearly with number of ships
4) all combat events should be resolved in that turn, as either: defeat, retreat, or standoff (both sides are unwilling or unable to defeat each other)

1) players must make some decisions about each battle: how badly do they want to beat the enemy fleet? how badly do they want to preserve their own fleet? how badly do they want to defend the system? this could be done as simply as choosing levels of commitment, as discussed earlier in the thread. ideally i would like to see it done on a ship-by-ship basis, so that i could direct certain ships to take an aggressive, even suicidal stance, while others should protect themselves. ships could be directed to defend other ships, or conversely to target specific enemy ships. retreat is always an option, but must come at some price.

2) when a player fields a fancy new ship with a fancy new weapon, he must be able to clearly see and judge its effectiveness. this is one of the biggest pay-offs of a 4x game, and specifically space 4x games. similarly the combat choices made must have clear consequences. an aggressive stance will FEEL aggressive. a player who directs ships to risk their own well-being for the sake of the mission should feel the desperation on the part of his fleet.

3) combat decisions should be easily assigned to the fleet as a whole, or to sub-groups within the fleet, after which combat should be resolved without moo2-style micromanagement. perhaps all combat is resolved once the orders are given, perhaps a player can interject new commands as combat unfolds, or perhaps there are combat 'turns' where after all ships have had a go at their orders, the player is prompted to revise any orders he wishes. any combination of these possibilities that allows large epic battles to feel large and epic without being too tedious. ideally i would do it this way: have an initial scanning phase where ships can assess their opponent before weapons range is reached. a player is provided a quick general strength comparison to base his decisions on. orders are given to the fleet, either as a whole, sub-groups, or ship-by-ship. cloak/stealth technologies come into play during this phase, as fleets may disguise their true strength, inducing their opponents into a bad and costly decision. all players do this simultaneously and once done, combat ensues and is eventually resolved, in a graphically interesting but clear and informative format. at any point a player can give a general retreat order, risking losses as he does so.

4) combat should not span more than one turn, except in the sense that opposing fleets may both decide against a full assault, thus causing a standoff. this might be strategic, as more ships are on their way, or the empires simply have no interest in combat with each other. but once a player commits his fleet to an assault, combat should be resolved one way or another, with one fleet utterly destroyed or in retreat.

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