Instead of designing ships: design fleets

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drek
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Instead of designing ships: design fleets

#1 Post by drek » Sun May 15, 2005 1:16 am

Imagine a grid representing a fleet design, with a bunch of ship graphics on the left side. The player drag-drops ships into the grid, and a tally of resources required to build the fleet increments.

Basically, it's a lot like ship design. You place point defense ships up front instead of point defense turrets. You can place a repair starship somewhere in the middle instead of placing an engineering section on a ship design.

The fleet builds and fights as a single unit. Repairing the fleet at space dock replaces destroyed ships (just as repairing at space dock would replace destroyed systems).

The idea is to go for an epic feel, whilst still have just a few units for the player to control.

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utilae
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#2 Post by utilae » Sun May 15, 2005 1:57 am

I would rather design ships and then put my designed ships into a fancy formation in a fleet.

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Geoff the Medio
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#3 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun May 15, 2005 3:00 am

So essentially you want to make fleet composition fixed, to prohibit tactical manouvres of ships (fixed-formation in fleet), and to eliminate ship design...

I don't think this will really work (be fun) or be accepted by most players.

It's a bit like task forces, except that you can only have one per fleet? (and no ship design)

Regarding the "epic" issue:

A small number of important ships can be just as "epic" as thousands of small ones, if each ship is perceived as "big" enough to be important. (If a single ship has 10000 crew, 5 ships is pretty epic)

And IMO the worry about being "epic" is overemphasized. Make it as fun and interesting to play as resources permit. If that means hundreds of "ships", then fine, but we shouldn't be bound to that requirement (many ships / "epic").

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Dreamer
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#4 Post by Dreamer » Sun May 15, 2005 5:23 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:And IMO the worry about being "epic" is overemphasized. Make it as fun and interesting to play as resources permit. If that means hundreds of "ships", then fine, but we shouldn't be bound to that requirement (many ships / "epic").
I respectfully disagree. A big part of why I liked Moo1 a lot is because It really feels like you are running a galactic empire. Ship design and combat were really simple but still I had my 500 figthers convined with some bigger capital ships. In moo2 I feeled like this: "My great empire? Yeah, we have currently 5 or 6 not-so-big ships around... and a couple of freigthers"

The look and feel of a game is IMO the counterpart of a smooth system. I could in fact make-do without tactial combat or ship design at all. But PLEASE make the game fell grand!

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Geoff the Medio
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#5 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun May 15, 2005 5:46 am

Dreamer wrote:A big part of why I liked Moo1 a lot is because It really feels like you are running a galactic empire. [...]
In moo2 I feeled like this: "My great empire? Yeah, we have currently 5 or 6 not-so-big ships around... and a couple of freigthers"
Note the important qualifier in my previous post:
...if each ship is perceived as "big" enough to be important
... It's not that I think we shouldn't try at all to be epic, it's that the single idea for what constitutes epic (ie. too many ships) is problematic and, IMO, unnecessary.

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#6 Post by Dreamer » Sun May 15, 2005 5:27 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:it's that the single idea for what constitutes epic (ie. too many ships) is problematic and, IMO, unnecessary.
It wasn`t a problem several years ago on Moo1. Why should it be a problem now?

Anyway, I think that the grand scope for ships you mentioned plus some creativity with task forces could (and will) easily solve the problem. I'm just saying that for soe people the "epic" factor is important indeed. But we are getting a little off topic here :wink:

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#7 Post by BreadMan » Sun May 15, 2005 9:38 pm

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!!!

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utilae
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#8 Post by utilae » Mon May 16, 2005 12:23 am

I keep seeing these buzz words people seem to be obsessed with
eg
'epic' (does epic mean big, grand scale or important)
'space opera' (as long as the fat lady does not sing)
'kiss' (a guideline that is acceptable)
'immersion' (the one I hear the most)

In any case ship design must be kept. As for whether it's better to have more ships or less, let's just have a manageable amount of ships. If we can manage hundreds of ships without throwing the computer out the window, then good. If we judge that there are too many ships, we will tone it down. In the end, we'll balance it out.

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Impaler
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#9 Post by Impaler » Mon May 16, 2005 7:09 am

I still advocate what I said in the thread Breadman has linked to, basicaly movment orders being given at the taskforce level with some limited ability to split and merge taskforces mid-battle. For the most part though the task force acts as a "chess piece" with atributes dependent on the make up of the ships in it.

On reading Dreks post I dont get the impression that he is asking for the removal of traditional ship design, mearly for an additional layer that alows taskforce and fleet creation/organization. If so I whole heartedly agree but dont feel the need for any kind of grid here (the ships are not bolted together with steel beams) rather some simple division of tasks like Picket/Escort/Core as Breadman has already sugjested. Their need not be any rules or requirements as to what can go ware as these are more job descriptions then locations within a formation. I do realy like the idea of the drag and drop design and the automatic "fix this task force" options.

Note - Formations would be cool as a temporary option in battle (much like homeworld)
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#10 Post by Daveybaby » Mon May 16, 2005 11:25 am

I agree with pretty much everything Impaler just said. I think the idea of task force design was one of the things Moo3 got right (the whole core/escort/picket thing) but, as with so much else in Moo3, the actual implementation of the idea sucked.

This all, as usual, ties in to the scale of space combat. If we are going to just have a few big ships, then we dont need task forces - we can control each ship individually. However, as we should all know by now - players rarely limit themselves to the kind of numbers that the game designers had in mind. The last thing i want to see is something like the Moo2 endgame, where the combat system is used with a number of ships of an order of magnitude greater than it was designed to be playable/enjoyable with.

Hmmm... Sorry about that last sentence. Maybe it will make sense if you read it backwards or something.

The key, IMO, is to design for scalability. In the early game we should expect to have battles between, say, 1 or 2 frigates on each side. These may well be critical battles at this stage of the game. The player will want direct control of each ship in this kind of battle. In the late game we would expect massive armadas to clash. So we also need to be able to provide task force level controls for this stage of the game (anyone who wants single ship control for hundreds of ships - i've seen it advocated on here several times - is IMO the antichrist of enjoyable gameplay design, so i will ignore such ideas in the name of religious tolerance :twisted: ).

A single ship is still a task force - just a very simple one. So some typical task force commands (e.g. formation etc) would not apply to it. Similarly there might be some commands which would only apply at a ship level. However, possibly the level of some commands could be abstracted upwards so that the same command would have different effects (though with similar purpose) when applied to a task force and a single ship.

e.g. 'Posture' = Offensive / Neutral / Defensive
When applied to a single ship, this might alter the power distribution between shields and weapons. When applied to a task force, there might be additional effects, such as a change in formation (e.g. escort ships might move further from or closer to the core).

Another thing i would like to see would be some kind of meta-control over multiple task forces. e.g. meta-formations, to allow the player to do things like set up a number of task forces to form a line. This sort of thing is invaluable in the total war games, though it might not be as important here.
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#11 Post by drek » Mon May 16, 2005 4:27 pm

Impaler wrote: On reading Dreks post I dont get the impression that he is asking for the removal of traditional ship design,
Yes I am.

Instead of dragging a laser to Slot A, a player would drag a laser corvette to slow A. It's the same thing really, just pulling the camera back a bit.

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#12 Post by yaromir » Mon May 16, 2005 8:01 pm

I think it would be very helpful if you could design fleets and garrisons/armies before corresponding units are even built.

Example:

let's say I have a frontier planet Xyz.

On the planet screen I choose 'garrison' and then design what I think the composition should be (i.e. 3 marines, 2 armor, 1 command)

Then the units will be automaticly assigned from reserves as they become built/available.

Same with ships/fleets.
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#13 Post by BreadMan » Tue May 17, 2005 12:13 am

Basically, I agree with everything Impaler and Daveybaby just said. I love customization. I want to be able to design my individual ships, and then set up squads/formations/task forces to use them in the most efficient way possible.
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#14 Post by Kharagh » Tue May 17, 2005 8:06 am

I definately want to be able to design my ships, so I don't like drek's "only task force" approach very much. IMHO it takes away a fun part of the game and in addition to this it is not very workable. Especially in the early game stages you would be hard pressed to produce even one ship, let alone a whole task force.

However in the late game stages, a task-force approach seems like a good idea, as it geatly inproves manageability of your fleets. I still want to be able to design my ships myself however.

So, like many others I am in favour of a mixed design ship/design task-force approach, which I think will provide most fun and will make the game easily adaptable to differrent playing styles and game stages.

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#15 Post by Raghar » Tue May 17, 2005 8:23 pm

drek wrote:
Impaler wrote: On reading Dreks post I dont get the impression that he is asking for the removal of traditional ship design,
Yes I am.
Instead of dragging a laser to Slot A, a player would drag a laser corvette to slow A. It's the same thing really, just pulling the camera back a bit.
That was aproach from Imperia galactica. It didn't improved things, but they had excuse that they concentrated on graphic.
Predetermined ship types are considered as a thing from the past, or as part of the story.
This means it could have some meaning in a SW game, but not in a generic game.

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