Ship Design --or-- Stock Ships

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

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Argus
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#31 Post by Argus » Tue Aug 30, 2005 3:39 pm

IMO it would be better to trust on the natural specialisation that will orrur during the game. People will not be able to stay up to date in the reseach race with all techs. They will either have to decide for a few, or they will build ships which are a little bit behind tech-wise, but much more versatile.
That's pretty much what I meant. The tech tree would have to be designed so that you could specialize though. If you couldn't get the tech 5 level in laser cuz you don't have a particular non-laser tech (like missile tech 4) then you wouldn't be able to specialize at all. I think that depending on how many different ways you could specialize you could get quite a bit more advanced than your neighbour who went the verstile route.

Take a game like AD&D and multi-class characters. I think it always turned out to be you were 1 level behind (average) if you had 2 classes, 2 levels behind if you had 3 etc. So if you could of had 10 classes you'd be 9 levels behind those with only 1 class.

About AIs. Another way of saying it is that the AI would choose to ignore certain techs so that it could become better than average at others. Then the AI could use strategies based on those techs rather than be balanced and suck overall.

But I agree with you that I don't think you should be forced to specialize.

Argus

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yaromir
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#32 Post by yaromir » Tue Aug 30, 2005 6:42 pm

@Small ships.

Well aherm, what chance does a destroyer stand against a Battle-Cruiser? None. How about 20 destroyers against Battle-Cruiser? Still none. 100? maybe if they ram it.

What chance does a battle-cruiser have against 10 naval bombers? none.

I think there should be different size "mounts" and the performance should decrease sharply if not employed against appropriate size target.

For example, even 100 PD cannons should do only negligible damage to a Heavily armored Dreadnaught. They will, however, rip a cloud of bombers apart.

On the other hand, 100 bombers against that dreadnaught that only has anti-capital ship weapons and you have, in words of Yamomoto "a thousand flies stinging a snake to death"

Generalized:
Smaller mounts do exponentially less damage to larger ship sizes.
Larger mounts get exponentially worse accuracy to smaller ship sizes.
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Carbon Copy Man
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#33 Post by Carbon Copy Man » Tue Aug 30, 2005 9:12 pm

Well, I didn't mean that people hould be FORCED to specialise.

But I remember when I first played MoO2, I focussed on a single field of research and managed to get really advanced in it.

I later realised that it was a much better strategy to just research the cheapest techs, just because they were cheap! You were forced to only choose one tech from each field, but that was just annoying -- and that's why I find the game frustrating if I don't have creativity on.

It was utterly anti-specialisation, and it's kind of boring if everyone is forced to be the same. I think that giving a strategic advantage to specialisation would be better.

Maybe technology should just get exponentially harder(*) to research based on how much technology you have. As for lower-level techs being cheaper? They're only cheaper because others have already researched it.

So if you're going to suddenly lash out into the completely overlooked area of missile technology -- even though it's comparitively "primitive", the concepts are still completely new to you.

I think this would, for one, encourage people to specialise. It will have the tempting "follow-the-leader" approach, which won't get you any tactical advantage. But that one empire that pours all of its research into the untapped areas of missile research will have a "secret weapon" that will force empires to stay on their toes.

I also think that things like missile jamming should require some kind of limited knowledge of the missile technology you want to defend against.


(*) Exponentially harder so as to partially compensate for exponential acceleration in research.

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Dreamer
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#34 Post by Dreamer » Wed Aug 31, 2005 2:40 am

Back to Stock v/s design. I played a little more Moo2 and Moo1 and came to this conclusion: Once a better tech is discovered, I don't want the older tech. It's like cassettes virtually disapearing after the CD came.

A simple ship design screen can be obtained just by using Moo2 style and hidding all obsolete tech from the options. Techs should be made so every comparable tech is better in every sense. But I don't want a listing of 20 types of beams, just the 1-3 beams with notable different effects (mind: effect, not damage).

I would make it so every ship has a number of slots dependent on it's size. The slots account for the number of TYPES of weapons the ship can have. You only select the type and the slot is automatically filled with as many weapons of that type that fit in the slot, everyone with the higher tech available. Example Types:

Heavy Beam (more range, less acuracy)
Medium Beam
Small Beam

Long Range missile
Medium range missile
streak missile (short range)

fighter bay
bomber bay
assault shuttle bay.

Also, 3 possible categories for shields, speed and armor: hight, medium and low. With each one hight as default.

So, to design for example a medium ship, thought for intercepting smaller craft and missiles, I would use:

- Medium size ship (3 slots for example).
slot 1: short range missiles
slot 2: small beam
slot 3: small beam
shield: hight
armor: hight
speed: hight

and that is all I have to do. Armor, shield and speed have preference over the ship available space, then the rest is distributed equally over the resto of the weapons.

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Weapon ideas

#35 Post by guiguibaah » Wed Aug 31, 2005 5:34 pm

I like the idea proposed above about weapons having different effects...


There is more micromanagement needed in ship upgrades, or in ship design, if the different weapon effects are roughly the same.

Instead of having to upgrade a weapon from Laser to Graviton just to get that extra amount of damage, you upgrade from Laser to Graviton because Graviton works very well against LARGE targets. Graviton may also be less susceptible to shields as opposed to Laser, which can be deflected faily easily.


For example:
A laser beam at the beginning of the game is your basic damage weapon. As you research into higher fields, your laser beams on your ships do a greater amount of basic damage - from simple laser beams being constructed today, to futuristic turbo-laser cannons (as seen on star wars).

When you research Fusion Beam, you get a weapon that is twice as powerful as the laser beam, but at only half the range. Also, Fusion beams do twice the damage against large ships as opposed to small ones.


This way you don't have to redesign ships to keep up with raw damage output. You redesign them to keep up with technology. Technology that brings new strategies that are faced on the battlefield.
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Carbon Copy Man
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#36 Post by Carbon Copy Man » Wed Aug 31, 2005 8:45 pm

Hmm... That's interesting, but I still think that new technology should on average render the damage of older technology obsolete.

I'm all for having weapons with different unique advantages -- and I'd like the idea of really obsolete technologies sometimes providing a window to exploit the weakness of an advanced technology (perhaps the current level of shield technology is almost completely ineffective against the low-tech lasers).

But it should be a rare, cunning surprise (hinted in the technologies' descriptions). There should still be a strong trend leading you towards the latest technology, and inciting you to research that next level.

Ships need to become obsolete -- but they shouldn't become useless unless they're severely behind.

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Re: Weapon ideas

#37 Post by Dreamer » Thu Sep 01, 2005 12:14 am

guiguibaah wrote:This way you don't have to redesign ships to keep up with raw damage output. You redesign them to keep up with technology. Technology that brings new strategies that are faced on the battlefield.
Exactly my point :) Though of course you managed to put it a lot more simplier than me: Design ships only to implement a new strategy, never to stay current with damage, speed or other stats.

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#38 Post by Argus » Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:08 pm

Dreamer wrote:
guiguibaah wrote:
This way you don't have to redesign ships to keep up with raw damage output. You redesign them to keep up with technology. Technology that brings new strategies that are faced on the battlefield.
Exactly my point Smile Though of course you managed to put it a lot more simplier than me: Design ships only to implement a new strategy, never to stay current with damage, speed or other stats.
I like this idea a lot cuz it would definitely get rid of design micromanagement. I'd like to see it necessary though for you to redesign ships eventually so as to avoid having the exact same ship be as effective at the begining of the game as the end.

Perhaps the weapon might get more powerful so you don't end up redesigning due to that but eventually there would come along a weapon which does better damage AND is more ideal for the strategy you're using which would force you to redesign.

Argus

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Interesting

#39 Post by guiguibaah » Fri Sep 02, 2005 5:53 pm

It would be interesting if, by the end of the day, the weapon system resembled a little bit what is in Starcraft...

For example, you start out with your trusty Marine. Then you get Firebats, who are much stronger at short-range combat. You get Medics who suppliment your marines really well.

After a while, you slow down on marine production and shift onto Goliaths, Siege tanks and the occasional vulture. Then you build up Wraiths, Valkyries, up to the point you've build a fleet of battlecruisers...

Then your protoss enemy comes out with a bunch of dark archons - the counter to battlecruisers... So you start making some more marines and mix them up with Vultures - a counter to Dark Archons.





So, for example, perhaps Lasers are your 'all round, average damage weapon'. Next on the list come fusion beams, which do double damage at close range, but suck at long range. So the tactics start to build on rushing fast towards your enemy's longer-ranged beamships... Then missiles enter the fray, then Mass-drivers - an excellent longrange weapon. The comes area-effect torpedoes, Graviton beams that only do structure damage, Limpets that cause ships to be stranded in space... Carriers, fighters, A death ray that does massive damage but can leave your ship incapacitated, etc, etc...

Eventually, at the end of the game, you would want to have one or two ships still with lasers (which, now upgraded, have become Turbo-Laser cannons)
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utilae
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#40 Post by utilae » Fri Sep 02, 2005 10:20 pm

I for one would like each weapon to be unique in that it is not necesarily replaced because each weapon is a unique strategy. To me I think refinements can replace, but new applications should do so to a limited degree.

eg
You research beam weapon. You can refine it make it more powerful, but this does not simply mean improving the efficiency of the weapon. Refinement may involve changing the way the weapon works to make it better, eg from catapult to artillary.

So each new application should ideally be different in strategic use, not just a more powerful laser, but instead of focusing light it creates particles into a beam. No, that's just a refined laser. We changed how it worked, it works better, more powerful, but it still looks, walks and talks like a laser.

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#41 Post by Dreamer » Fri Sep 02, 2005 10:51 pm

Exactly. And the refinemento for that goes like this:

I develop lasers. As I don't have anything else all my ships use lasers as long, middle and short range beam weapons. Then I develop plasma cannons, who are very good at short range but far worse on larger distances, so all my ships with short range beams or point defense beams upgrade to plasma, other weapons remain on laser. And so on...

This way you don't even have to store weapon type on the ship class. You only store whay kind of weapons teh ship has and everithing elese is instantiate when a combat start. Mostly like the nice auto-upgrade planet defences from moo! and Moo2.

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Carbon Copy Man
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#42 Post by Carbon Copy Man » Sun Sep 04, 2005 2:35 am

Just as long as we aren't losing the advantage of being a technologically advanced race.

Research should count for more than quirks.


Wait, I'm starting to get this kind of impression from this:

Rather than it being:

Research lasers
--> Research refined lasers
---> Research plasma cannon

It's like this:

Laser cannon
--> Research refinements (eg improved focussing lenses, point defence, whatever)
---> Laser cannon II
----> Research laser cannon II refinements
-----> (etc)

--> Plasma cannon
---> (etc)

--> Fusion cannon
---> (etc)

Projectile cannon
--> (etc)

(Along with global/semi-global refinements.)


Actually, I think I'd like that.

What I've been most afraid of it that we'll take away the benefits of research, or make it so that the primary effect of research is the greater ability/need to micromanage.

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yaromir
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#43 Post by yaromir » Tue Sep 06, 2005 5:37 pm

Well a laser can be 100 Joules or 10,000 Joules. It can also have different focus technology (cohesion of waves is above my head really).

I would actually prefer if refinement would be a seperate effort, not a nice add-on to the research. I would break weapons into something like

Beam Weapons (lasers, fusion, phasor, infra-red, ultra-sound...etc)
Particle Projectors (Graviton, Muon, Neutrino, Neutron, Proton...endless really)
Mass Drivers (Mass-driver, Mauler-device..etc)
Missiles
Energy Torpedoes
Exotic (black-hole generators, plasma-web..etc)

***

Once you have "laser" you can choose to start a project to refine it (maybe even select a focus like cost, damage or space) and let it run. Once finished, your understanding of laser technology is bumbed, so you can build Laser Cannon II which is {cheaper | smaller | more powerful | more efficient}
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#44 Post by skdiw » Mon Sep 12, 2005 2:00 am

most games have a template build. the player may opt to tweak the template. the template is the same as stock ship. such a system would include both template and do custom designs. there also games that cost a bit extra when you tweak a template.

I prefer designing ships. it's fun to design and it adds more reason to research different weapon techs, rather researching one large project that basically breaksdown into researching of weapon X, propulsion Y, and hull Z all added up.
:mrgreen:

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#45 Post by Magus » Sat Sep 24, 2005 9:51 pm

Well, one question that needs to be answered first is scale. Is this going to be MoO2 scale, where 20 ships is a huge fleet and is a chore to play with, or are we going MoO1 where hundreds of ships per side in a battle is not a rare occurance. I hope very much its MoO1 scale...

Assuming a MoO1 scale, and appropriately designed combat (stacks or groups to simplify command), small ships can very easily be made useful just through accuracy modifiers and sheer numbers.

As for weapons, I agree that mere quality increases should just be used. However, there can certainly be a range of different effects. For example:

c-Beam Weapons (Lightspeed beams, Lasers)
sub-c-Beam Weapons (sub-Lightspeed beams, Ion Cannon)
Projectile Cannon (Physical Projectiles, Mass Drivers)
Missiles (Big stand-off range weapons, Nuclear Missiles)
Rockets (Close in, only slightly guided mini-missiles, Merculite Rockets)
Torpedoes (Energy Spheres, Plasma Torpedoes)
Defensive Strike Craft (Ships who attempt to shoot down incoming fire, Laser Fighters)
Offensive Strike Craft (Ships that blow larger ships up, Plasma Bombers
Bombs (Surface/Stationary removal, Anti-Matter Bombs)
Exotic-Tactical (Special weapons for battle, Energy Pulsar)
Exotic-Strategical (Special weapons for out of battle, Seismic Inducer [Planetkiller])
Even if all weapon tech does is get better in those realms, there would still be quite a variety to combat. And then if there is distinctions in those groups, say Tachyon Cannon have a huge accuracy and range boost but the older Bomb-pumped-Xasers do more damage, the strategies in design are limitless.

Personally, I'm for a deeply involved ship-design system. Like, Involved to the point of working with magazine size for my missile launchers, and the amount of armor over them. However, for those who don't like that kind of complexity, a simplification system that would cover all the niggling details and just require the components you want to be added would be nice.

As for the Ubership concern, if the tech tree has some randomization and choice, ala MoO1, designing an Ubership for a 'Given Tech Level' will be hard if no concrete tech levels exist. Do I commit to designing my new Archangel Dreadnoughts now, or do I wait until I get Tachyon Cannon? And if I wait for Tachyon Cannon, should I wait the little bit more for Subspace Drives? And then should I wait for the Oracle Algorithim? etc.

Someone made a comment on Refinement being its own research. The thing that I saw that lead to in MoO3 was research really meaning very little, as most of it is just tiny improvements. But when you got Ion Cannon in MoO 1 over your starting Lasers, you noticed.

Well, I ranted for a bit more than I meant to :oops: , I'll just end it here...

Edit: Well, not really. Was redirected here from another post about upgrades. Heres my view on that.

A ship built 200 years ago should not be able to compete with a modern warship period, no matter what you do to it, short of deconstructing the entire thing and building a new ship in its place. Think about the U.S.S. Constitution. It cannot be upgraded to the modern standard of naval warfare. I see no reason whay equally ancient starships should be able to accomplish a similar feat.

So how should upgrades work? Upgrades should merely be replacing lower quality items that are the same with better ones. This does not mean replacing replacing Ion Cannon with Neutron Cannon, it means replacing Ion Cannon with better Ion Cannon. Sure, you could replace them with Neutron Cannon, but that would mean tearing the entire ship open, ripping out the Ion Cannon themselves, the charged particle acceleratiors, the ion tanks, the charged targeting matrix, etc. and replacing them with the Neutron Cannon and equivalent structures. Much harder than taking out a mag-array and a few other components and replacing them. Thats just routine maintainance. The huge ripping and tearing operation on an old ship might save you 10% of the newer ships cost. But if I pay the extra 10%, I have a new ship and an older one that still can fight. Guess who wins between 10 Level 5 ships vs. 9 Level 5 and 9 Level 4 ships.

So what if you have a fleet of battlecruisers using Tachyon Cannon when you get Subspace Disrupters? Then you keep on using the Tachyon-equiped ships, declare the class obsolete, assign them to border systems where their deficencies wont matter as much (or keep them with the main fleet as fodder), and design a successor class. What if you just started building Tachyon ships when you got the disrupters? Well, you stop, and build the newer class. And eventually as you are using Quantum Annihilators, the old Tachyon Cannon ships can be turned into high-quality razorblades for several star systems. (i.e. scrapped)

The key thing though is just because a ship falls a few tech levels behind should not mean its useless. Less useful, sure. But still useful.

I rant way too much...

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