Ship Size Classes

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Geoff the Medio
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#16 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Magus wrote:I think we don't see eye to eye on what makes a role. Here's a list of what I see as sample roles: Artillery, Battle, Carrier, Close Combat, Torpedo, Missile, Strike, Escort, Special Weapon, Bombardment, etc.
I, and I guess utilae, was approaching "role" in terms of current or traditional naval usage. In this context, a cruiser, battlecruiser, frigate, pt boat or corvette, battleship, destroyer, carrier, and sub are the distinct "roles" of combat-capable ships, and did not historically refer to a consistent particular absolute size of ship.

More importantly, your suggested roles seem a bit limited in scope, covering mostly combat-tactical distinctions. This ignores the (potential for) important strategic differences between a cruiser, destroyer or battleship on the strategic map, as well as inhibiting creative attempts to find new strategic roles that don't fit into historical categorization or combat-specific thinking. Even though all the above modern roles are of combat-capable ships, that doesn't mean the only distinctions between roles are in terms of their tactical combat use.

Regardless, there's no good reason (AFAIK) to confuse size vs. role nomenclacture by referring to FO ship sizes by terms used historically for ship roles.... Nor is there a reason not to use clear size-indicating terminology to indicate size (be they labels or numbers) in favour of somewhat less clear labels like "destroyer", "battlecruiser" etc.
utilae wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote: Why is "A", "B", "C", etc. better than "Small", "Medium", "Large" etc.?
It's easier to think of the next size up, eg C is bigger than B. With "Small", "Medium", "Large" you might get to the sixth size and you will find it hard for a name to describe that size, eg Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Giant, Collosal, Titanic, etc. The size labels start to become very interchangeable, ie you don't know whether Titanic is bigger than Giant or vice versa. With A, B, C, you are certain.
That's a good point... If we end up having more than 6 or 7 sizes, it might be worth using a more numeric / sequential label. I'd prefer sizes of 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. to "A", "B", "C", though, in that case... However if using numbers, and if whatever number limit is relevant to ship size ends up being a major factor in ship design and importance, perhaps a unit-bearing number (eg. 50 kT) would be appropriate; if there's going to be a number given, it might as well be a useful one if a useful one is available.

That said, I don't imagine we'd need so many sizes that numeric labels become necessary to avoid confusion, though. Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Huge, Colossal... how many until the distinctions are insignificant?

Granted, some people might want to eliminate predetermined sizes altogether, and have no discrete max ship size levels, but rather a bunch of bonuses on a continuous scale to "max ship size" for an empire, or have no max ship size, but just have performance or cost decrease or increase (respectively) prohibitively at lower tech levels. This sounds appealing, but would be problematic in practice for graphical purposes and design and would result in a very complicated (and difficult to balance) ship performance and cost calculation. The discrete levels are easier to grasp and represent to the player, in general.
As for race neutral terminology, well if we had to worry about that, then imagine how much of a pain diplomacy would be.
Are you agreeing or disagreeing with me...? About what?

I meant that ship sizes should be in race-neutral terms, so that every race could agree that a ship is "Large" or "Tiny". Design class names would still be race-specific, and everyone would refer to other races' designs using the names the other races' gave them.

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Re: Ship Size Classes

#17 Post by Sapphire Wyvern »

Geoff the Medio wrote:...but it's good to have names to go with the numbers as well, to keep the game fun, and not so spreadsheet like (ie. "oh noes! 5 enemy 500 kiloton ships are approching!" vs "egad! 5 huge enemy ships doth approacheth!"
Your usability arguments in favour of category labels are good points. However, I have to admit that given the two examples above, I actually prefer the first one. It seems a lot more science-fictioney to me; more "concrete" (though it is in fact equally abstract) and "immersive". It just seems much more flavourful in terms of creating a game setting that has a "real" vibe to quote statistics rather than vague labels. YMMV.
As well, as touched upon already, giving ship sizes in some number of some unit presupposes that numerical ship mass / volume /whatever of that sort will be important to ship design and used prominently in the game in some way. Ship designs might be limited by mass / etc... or the might not... A "big" ship might be big in volume or some other measure of size, and have no limits on mass specifically. Alternatively, the various ship hull sizes could determine how many ship component slots are available for designs, or what the various types or sizes of slots that are available are... which may not be justified in terms of mass or volume numbers.
It doesn't matter. Mass/Volume/Ship Size Class/Base Slot Quantity are all equivalent and interchangeable, as you so rightly say. Thus, we can label our ship categories with any unit we like, whether it's a Size Category between 1 and (say) 10 or whether we measure the size of ships by the number of atoms in their hulls!
Alternatively, we could ditch the idea of size categories entirely and calculate a ship's mass/volume from its other statistics (eg number of slots, number of weapons etc).
If size is not used as a significant limitor on the usefulness of ships, in combat or otherwise, then some other readily obvious measure of the relative worth of a ship will need to be found to replace it. A big huge spaceship being powerful and scary is a well-established space opera convention that is useful to exploit for game interface and desing purposes. I'm generally displeased when people invoke "immersion" to justify their non-immersion related design suggestion, but in this case, it might actually apply.
I'm not proposing ditching size. Heck no. I'm proposing ditching size categories, just like we've ditched discrete individual buildings in favour of continous infrastructure meters. The idea was that size could be calculated as an output of the design process, rather than an input to it. It would still be equally important to defining ship characteristics; it's just that the set of independant variables is changed. We have x = f(y) instead of y = f(x).

Actually, that comment about continous infrastructure meters versus discrete buildings gives me an intriguing idea. What if we had a Size Meter for ships, and you need to research tech in order to build ships that exceed particular limits on the Size Meter? (eg 70-19 requires Tech A, 80-89 requires Tech B, which has A as a prerequisite; 90-100 requires Tech C, which is a Very High Tech indeed).

Remember Occam's Razor of game design: do not unnecessarily multiply game mechanics. We have meters already; we should apply them wherever they are well suited to the task. I suggest this is one possible place.

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utilae
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#18 Post by utilae »

Yes, if we have 20 size classes, eg A, B, C, D, etc we don't have to have a tech for each one. We can just have tech1 allows up to size D, tech2 allows up to size G, etc.

In such a system we could even do away with the idea that you choose a size and then put items in the hull. Rather we would choose the items and then build the hull around the items, so the size is based on the items in the ship. However, it is good to have a hull to put items in, as it gives you an idea of when you are putting too many items in, ie taking up too much space. This could once again be measured with cost instead of a hull size. After all, if you could build a ship to a price rather than to a hull size it might be a better way to go.

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#19 Post by Daveybaby »

One possible way forward might be to do away with the separate size classification entirely, and have hull size based purely on ship class. Of course, you would need to expand the number of ship classes in order give the player flexibility. So, instead of having a single carrier class, and then picking a hull size of small, medium, large or whatever, have a number of carrier classes such as:

light carrier
medium carrier
heavy carrier
supercarrier
megacarrier

and

light frigate
medium frigate
heavy frigate

While this superficially looks like exactly the same thing, the thing to bear in mind is that a light carrier isnt going to be the same size as a light frigate, it's going to be much, much bigger. This allows you to keep a relatively small number of sizes for each ship class, but also allows really huge carriers and very small frigates without having to come up with 20 different names for the different sizes (like moo3 tried to do).
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Geoff the Medio
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#20 Post by Geoff the Medio »

utilae wrote:If we did go with themes, what themes would we go with?
http://freeorion.org/index.php/Themed_Names

Magus
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#21 Post by Magus »

For size classes, if you want very general things:
Parasite Craft
Light Fleet Unit
Fleet Unit
Heavy Fleet Unit
Light Capital Ship
Capital Ship
Heavy Capital Ship
Megastructure

Though if someone can come up with a better general name than "Fleet Unit", feel free to substitute that in.

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Yeeha
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#22 Post by Yeeha »

Daveybaby wrote:One possible way forward might be to do away with the separate size classification entirely, and have hull size based purely on ship class. Of course, you would need to expand the number of ship classes in order give the player flexibility. So, instead of having a single carrier class, and then picking a hull size of small, medium, large or whatever, have a number of carrier classes such as:

light carrier
medium carrier
heavy carrier
supercarrier
megacarrier

and

light frigate
medium frigate
heavy frigate

While this superficially looks like exactly the same thing, the thing to bear in mind is that a light carrier isnt going to be the same size as a light frigate, it's going to be much, much bigger. This allows you to keep a relatively small number of sizes for each ship class, but also allows really huge carriers and very small frigates without having to come up with 20 different names for the different sizes (like moo3 tried to do).
I like this way. This could be used to do research tree more specialised aswell, do u wanna research heavy frigate hull contsept & so on. And it could be cool way do personalise race AIs, klackon type race would prefer researching bigger carriers first for hive ships.

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utilae
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#23 Post by utilae »

It's better to keep them seperate, ie Small, Medium, Large and Carrier, Fighter, Missile Ship, etc.

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#24 Post by Daveybaby »

utilae wrote:It's better to keep them seperate, ie Small, Medium, Large and Carrier, Fighter, Missile Ship, etc.
Why?
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#25 Post by utilae »

Well, it's easier to program and more flexible.

Rather than have each and every combination, eg
Small Carrier, Large Carrier, Small Fighter, Large Fighter

You have Size and Class and arrange them in any way that is possible, eg
Small, Medium, Large
Carrier, Fighter, Minelayer

So you can combine them from there:
Small Minelayer
Large Carrier
Small Fighter

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#26 Post by Daveybaby »

Its not necessarily easier to program.
Its not necessarily more flexible.

Is a small carrier the same size as a small destroyer? If youre starting with a small hull then progressing the design from there then they will be. So you only have a few hull sizes. Much less flexible.

Besides, IMO, 'Small Carrier', 'Large Cruiser', 'Huge Battleship' doesnt sound as sexy as 'Light Carrier', 'Heavy Cruiser', 'Superdreadnaught'.
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#27 Post by utilae »

Ok, so you are gonna have the following sizes:
Small, Medium, Large, Massive, Collosal, Titanic, Extreme

And the following roles:
Fighter, Carrier, MissileBoat, PD Ship, LR Ship, SR Ship, Bomber, Minelayer, Troop Transport, Colony


Now you want to have each and every combination in a big list so that the player could choose, eg
Small Fighter
Medium Fighter
Large Fighter
Massive Fighter
Collosal Fighter
Titanic Fighter
Small PD Ship
Medium PD Ship
Large PD Ship
Massive PD Ship
Collosal PD Ship
Titanic PD Ship
Small MissileBoat
Medium MissileBoat
Large MissileBoat
Massive MissileBoat
Collosal MissileBoat
Titanic MissileBoat

I am not going to type all that out. :)

So wouldn't it be better to have two lists which are:
Small, Medium, Large, Massive, Collosal, Titanic, Extreme

and

Fighter, Carrier, MissileBoat, PD Ship, LR Ship, SR Ship, Bomber, Minelayer, Troop Transport, Colony

It would be so much easier.

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#28 Post by Sapphire Wyvern »

Can someone explain why having a small number of discrete "size classes" has any advantages over rating ship size on the same 0-100 Meter scale used for the macro-game ratings?

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#29 Post by Daveybaby »

utilae wrote:I am not going to type all that out. :)
Ermm... well you just did. :P

If your argument against the idea is that its going to take a 'long time' (in reality it would be all of 5 minutes) to type the code, then... i guess you dont really have any concrete objections at all. :wink:

Also, note that you wouldnt necessarily have every size of every class. having a 'Mega-frigate' is kind of nonsensical, as would having a 'tiny-battleship'. I'm more talking about having, say, maybe 4 or 5 sizes of carrier, yet possibly only 3 sizes of frigate, and maybe even only 2 sizes of minesweeper. Take each class, figure out what range of sizes would be useful to have in the game, and give them sexy names.
Sapphire Wyvern wrote:Can someone explain why having a small number of discrete "size classes" has any advantages over rating ship size on the same 0-100 Meter scale used for the macro-game ratings?
I think its just a UI look and feel kind of thing. Most of the other UI elements of the game have fairly large levels of granularity, e.g. planetary focus, it kinda makes sense to stick with this for ship design too.

FYI, under the scheme i was proposing, each hull would have a size assigned to it (even if only for internal calculations). So a light carrier might be 500 units in size, while a light frigate might only be 100 units.
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#30 Post by discord »

actualy guys, i have always wondered why people always thinks mass=size, that is just not true, as an example, a 80ton tank is alot smaller then a <10 ton greyhound buss.....

if you want a 'open' system, the first thing you must do is get rid of that thinking.

base it on actual SIZE firstly, as mass only effects movement(both acceleration and turn radius) and damage resistance.

where as size makes it easier to hit....a super large, super heavy ship....would take damage, but basicly be impossible to miss.

either 'size' classes, as in tiny, small, medium, etc.....but i personaly dont like that, best way to handle it, me thinks, is to just toss in components, and see what happens to the numbers, and if you WANT to, you can use some kind of function designators/class names/serial numbers....might add that i like the idea od serial numbers, as they are cool.

<edit>
as relevant to the thread, make all naming conventions optional, at players discretion.
</edit>

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