Ship Design

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

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Redaxe
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Ship Design

#1 Post by Redaxe » Tue Jan 10, 2006 2:30 pm

I havn't read through many of the posts here so please excuse me if these ideas or some other better system has already been implemented.

From playing Master of Orion 1 and 2 (never found three) the single stat which determined how much a ship can carry 'space/tonnage' seemed to be too simple and not particualry interesting and i've briefly read on the forums here about having a power stat.

I was thing having power as another essential ship requirement in numerical units (eg Gigawatt) that is produced by power plants that you put in your ships which obviously require space/tonnage. Power plants come in the tech tree and evolve from fission > fusion > antimatter. These three could be the larger reactor types which pump out most of the energy a ship needs with a high/efficient energy:tonnage ratio.

But these power plants vary in size depending on how large the ship being designed is and ships may have more than one reactor. Reactors may also be modified to become more efficient in terms of power consumption and miniarization (using less space) as tech advances.

A secondary Power plant type could be a hydrogen power plant which combust hydrogen to produce energy. These power plants would producer less power than the main reactors and have a lower energy:tonnage ratio but require much less space to use. These are essentially used to provide a small amount of power when a larger more expensive reactor is not needed/wanted/practicle.


Energy and space/tonnage determine how much crap you can load onto a ship but various guns, weapons, equipment etc have different tonnage and energy requirements depending on what they are.


Energy weapons such as lasers and plasma cannons obviously have high high energy consumption and a moderate tonnage requirement for all the targeting systmes, coolants etc.

Mass drivers would have a higher tonnage requirement than pure beam weapons but have a much lower energy consumption.

Missiles which have the targeting computers, fuel, explosives etc stored inside the trajectile obviously have a reasonably low energy consumption but a high tonnage requirement esp due to reinforced armout to protect these warheads from being blown up inside the hull.

Torpedo requirements vary depending on what type; matter torpedoes may have high tonnage and energy requirements whilst inflicting heavy damage. Antimatter torpedoes would have moderate tonnage requirements but enormous energy consumption and deliver awesome damage.

Fighter + bombers probably high for both


Eg could be

Duel Heavy Laser Turret
energy: 8
tonnage: 6
damage: 6-15
Range: V. Long
(2 shots/turn)

Plasma Cannon
energy: 30
tonnage: 18
damage: 20-50
Range: short
(double damage against shields)

Mass Driver
energy: 5
tonnage: 16
damage: 12
Range: short

Anti-CapShip Missile:
energy: 6
tonnage: 20
damage 30

Besides guns and weapons essential ship components such as ship drives, fuel cells etc require power besides space.

Non essential components such as shield generators, missile jamming systems, targetting computers, life support/damage repair systems etc also require energy depending on how advanced the component is - so essentially a build on from MoO1.


eg Shield Generator 1: energy: (25) tonnage (10) shields (100)* recharge/turn: 20%

Shield Generator 2: energy (30) tonnage (12) shields (110)*
recharge/turn: 25%

Shield Generator 3: energy (50) tonnage (16) shields (125)*
recharge/turn: 30%
.
* value depends on ship size/class
.
.
Why should power plants be important? It may help to balance the game forcing players to balance their tech research more. So you can spend all your research on developing awesome energy weapons, antimatter torpedoes and shields but without decent powerplants you won't be able to provide enough energy to effectively use your high tech guns and you won't be able to reap the benefits.

Whereas players who specialise more in powerplants may not have up to date weapons but can pack many more older weapons onto a ship which should hopefully be just as effective as hoarding guns without having a good power source.


I think I should leave it their for now (if you read through all that thanks for your patience and any further discussion on this topic would be great. 8)

Redaxe/

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utilae
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#2 Post by utilae » Tue Jan 10, 2006 6:49 pm

I think a better idea would be to have power affect the damage output of weapons, rather than be a requirement.
eg
Having a powerplant that outputs 100GW and a laser that needs 100GW would mean the laser does 1 damage. 200GW means 2 damage.

Having a powerplant that outputs 100GW and a plasma cannon that needs 200GW would mean the plasma cannon does damage of 0.5.

Depending on the weapon, damage may be affected in certain ways. If there is not enough power, it might always be a reduction in damage. If there is more power, it doesn't mean that damage will be increased, although some weapons may have that property.

This way players are not restricted in their design by having to make sure the total power output his high enough to power all the weapons. Instead they can be lazy if they want, the consequence is less damage.

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power

#3 Post by dstjames » Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:09 pm

While I like the idea of more strategy in ship building I think from a gameplay point of view it might be better to keep it simpler.

If you make the power requirements for weapons as you said then it can turn into a balancing issue where since lasers require so much power everyone uses mass drivers so it makes all the ships the same.

I think an easier way to do it is each class of vesse gets a set number of hard points for weapons, options, engines, shields and such. Then you populate the hard points with equipment based on its effectivness. The more effective options requiring more tonnage. So for instance a laser that does X average damage so is a large weapon that takes up 50 tons of your available 200. Where missle y average damage is a smaller missle and takes up 10 ton of your available 200.

Where you create diversity is you have different weapons handle differently. So for instance missles do more average damage if the opponent doesnt have any point defense but less if they do. Or lasers are more effective if they have crappy shields etc.

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skdiw
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#4 Post by skdiw » Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:26 pm

From what I understand, your power idea is just another restriction on how much stuff can go on a ship. In that case, I would just say, size of laser = size of mass drivers, rather than say one takes more space but less energy, which you need power plant that doesn't require as much space and the other one takes less space, but you need more space for the bigger or more numerous powerplant, when in the end, they both take up the same amout of space! In terms of math,

you did A=A, where A is size of weapon
then A+C = A+C, where C is power
then (A+B)+(C-D)=(A+B)+(C-D), where B and D are balancing adjustments
then (A-D)+(C+B)=(A+B)+(C-D)
then laser + antimatter power plant = mass driver + fission power plant. where laser=A-D, C+D = antimatter, A+B=mass driver, C-D=fission power

All that for A=A. it's a bit too complex.

while power is a nice realistic consideration, the idea doesn't introduce enough gameplay to be worthwhile. the only small thing it does is adds a different tech progression, but we are kinda limited on the number of ideas we an cramp onto the military tech tree, so each tech branch needs to be significant and worthwhile.

What we do to "balance the tech" is to fold the requirements into the tech itself. so let's say your stellar converter (10million rp) needs uber power (5 million rp). instead of forcing the player to research both to use stellar converter, we would just have the stellar converter tech cost 15million rp. end results is the similar, but a lot more simpler.
:mrgreen:

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#5 Post by Magus » Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:36 pm

I originally started out with the same concept, and got the same response :). Actually, if you look at MoO1, they use power. Take a look at a weapon/device you're about to equip. It will have 4 numbers: Cost, Size, Power, and Space. Cost is obvious. Size is the size of the object. Power is its power consumption. Space is the size of the object plus the size of the generators needed to power the thing. But for people who don't bother reading, everything is just space. And thats what we do here.

BTW, is there any chance the two ship design threads can be merged?

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#6 Post by Skaro » Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:38 pm

I've been thinking about organic ships, they'd need a completely different rule set.

I've been working on some aspects:

1. Construction needs mostly biological materials.
2. The ship should be able to heal itself, but have less hitpoints than a normal ship.
3. The ship needs power to stay alive, hence it would have more power requirements.
A sucking chest wound is Nature's way of telling you to slow down. --Murphy's war laws

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utilae
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#7 Post by utilae » Wed Jan 11, 2006 5:16 am

Skaro wrote: I've been thinking about organic ships, they'd need a completely different rule set.

I've been working on some aspects:

1. Construction needs mostly biological materials.
Farming is used instead of production. Planet biodiversity affects organic ship growth, rather than minerals of a planet. Although minerals are what plants eat (if the organic ship is a plant). A plant race could probably have their growth rate affect the growth rate of the organic ship (which will be a plant).
Skaro wrote: 2. The ship should be able to heal itself, but have less hitpoints than a normal ship.
Yeah, and armour is not as good as metal armour.
Skaro wrote: 3. The ship needs power to stay alive, hence it would have more power requirements.
What does it need power for? If it is organic, ie alive, then it does not need power, eg a powerplant. It would have it's own source of power. Some kind of sustainance. Fuel perhaps. I guess a powerplant could provide that sustainance though.

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skdiw
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#8 Post by skdiw » Wed Jan 11, 2006 5:57 am

Magus wrote:I originally started out with the same concept, and got the same response :). Actually, if you look at MoO1, they use power. Take a look at a weapon/device you're about to equip. It will have 4 numbers: Cost, Size, Power, and Space. Cost is obvious. Size is the size of the object. Power is its power consumption. Space is the size of the object plus the size of the generators needed to power the thing. But for people who don't bother reading, everything is just space. And thats what we do here.
I thought the power idea in MOO 1 is a mistake, hence shouldn't be repeated for FO. The power in MOO was a justification for using older engine tech, so that the old tech isn't totally obselete, which was a fine and very good idea. However, the cost in slower speed did not justify the small gain in more firepower, as they shouldn't because the way tech as organized so seldom do players make that trade-off. that makes power idea very weak.
I've been thinking about organic ships, they'd need a completely different rule set.

I've been working on some aspects:

1. Construction needs mostly biological materials.
2. The ship should be able to heal itself, but have less hitpoints than a normal ship.
3. The ship needs power to stay alive, hence it would have more power requirements.
we are considering a weapon/defense rps. one of the defense type is organic armor, which has a side-benefit of regeneration.

as for comments about your idea, requiring a special resource for an amor is too much to ask so I don't think it will work. The power idea is bad for the reasons above.
:mrgreen:

Redaxe
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#9 Post by Redaxe » Thu Jan 12, 2006 1:42 pm

Ah thanks for the prompt replies :)
skdiw wrote: All that for A=A.
Personally I think A needs to equal A as closely as possible (energy cost equals tonnage) because otherwise the game will be unbalanced and some weapon types would be cheaper and more effective than others.

But that raises the obvious question which you raised- why have another restriction on how much can go on a ship if their both going to ultimately be the same?
Equipment and weapons which consume more energy could have different value from weapons which use little power but more tonnage.
Each weapon can thus be unique and have its own special purpose. That creates a tradeoff between having to spend heaps more money to get good powerplants to have a bit of everything and spending less while having a simpler yet less reliable ship.

-Lasers could act as a staple defensive energy gun throughout the game which have long range, high precision, nice rate of fire, but reasonably low damage. They would be ideal for attacking small, fast ships, incoming missiles/fighters or wearing down shields of capships at long range before the heavier guns come in range.

- More powerful energy weapons eg plama, tachyon, antimatter could trade range and some precision for greater damage making them essential for taking down larger, slower and tougher cap ships at short-med range whilst having little defensive capabilities.

But other energy weapons eg photon, meson, neutron, particle and ion could fit in between defensive and offensive roles and thus have balanced capabilities at the cost of not being highly effective at either defense or offense. But each weapon could have a niche in which it performs more effectively than other guns hopefully making for diverse strategic battles.

-Mass Drivers could have low precision and short range but have no range dissipation making them mostly useful for attacking large slow targets at close range whilst having little defensive capabilities.
Short range because ships have plenty of time to dodge and manuever away from incoming projectiles at long range
.
.
.
I could see each weapon type having its own specialised role rather than having ships with an equivalent number of mass drivers and energy weapons each having the same space. So if you which to have good energy weapons as well as using the cheap powerful mass drivers you need to have a powerplant which is expensive besides using some space.

I guess what I'm trying :) to get at is that to have a balanced multipurpose jack-of-all-trades but master-of-none ship will cost far more money to construct and maintain than simpler ships that tend to specialise in one area.
So that may create a trade-off between diverse/high cost ships which can perform well in any situation and specialized/lower cost (depending on what equipment is used off course) ships which are a risk to use because you don't know how effefctive they may be in battle.


I think I'll leave it there for now. Thanks again for the replies.

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skdiw
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#10 Post by skdiw » Thu Jan 12, 2006 11:00 pm

Redaxe wrote: Personally I think A needs to equal A as closely as possible (energy cost equals tonnage) because otherwise the game will be unbalanced and some weapon types would be cheaper and more effective than others.

But that raises the obvious question which you raised- why have another restriction on how much can go on a ship if their both going to ultimately be the same?
Equipment and weapons which consume more energy could have different value from weapons which use little power but more tonnage.
Each weapon can thus be unique and have its own special purpose. That creates a tradeoff between having to spend heaps more money to get good powerplants to have a bit of everything and spending less while having a simpler yet less reliable ship.

-Lasers could act as a staple defensive energy gun throughout the game which have long range, high precision, nice rate of fire, but reasonably low damage. They would be ideal for attacking small, fast ships, incoming missiles/fighters or wearing down shields of capships at long range before the heavier guns come in range.

- More powerful energy weapons eg plama, tachyon, antimatter could trade range and some precision for greater damage making them essential for taking down larger, slower and tougher cap ships at short-med range whilst having little defensive capabilities.

But other energy weapons eg photon, meson, neutron, particle and ion could fit in between defensive and offensive roles and thus have balanced capabilities at the cost of not being highly effective at either defense or offense. But each weapon could have a niche in which it performs more effectively than other guns hopefully making for diverse strategic battles.

-Mass Drivers could have low precision and short range but have no range dissipation making them mostly useful for attacking large slow targets at close range whilst having little defensive capabilities.
Short range because ships have plenty of time to dodge and manuever away from incoming projectiles at long range
we were thinking of four different weapons types, each with it's own characteristics:

1. short ranged beam, high power, medium RoF, forgot its characteristic :p
2. short ranged beam, low power, high RoF, poison effect and good for PD
3. long ranged beam, medium power, medium RoF, all ships in contact with line of fire gets hit
4. missiles, high power, low RoF, AoE

I guess what I'm trying :) to get at is that to have a balanced multipurpose jack-of-all-trades but master-of-none ship will cost far more money to construct and maintain than simpler ships that tend to specialise in one area.
So that may create a trade-off between diverse/high cost ships which can perform well in any situation and specialized/lower cost (depending on what equipment is used off course) ships which are a risk to use because you don't know how effefctive they may be in battle.
you might want to look up some other threads for more information, like the other ship design thread.
:mrgreen:

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utilae
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#11 Post by utilae » Fri Jan 13, 2006 12:22 am

[quote="skdiw"]
we were thinking of four different weapons types, each with it's own characteristics:

1. short ranged beam, high power, medium RoF, forgot its characteristic :p
2. short ranged beam, low power, high RoF, poison effect and good for PD
3. long ranged beam, medium power, medium RoF, all ships in contact with line of fire gets hit
4. missiles, high power, low RoF, AoE
[quote]
Those aren't types. Types are heat, energy, kinetic, corrosive, etc. And they don't define other fields, eg a beam weapon of type energy is not also made to be medium range. That option is able to be anything.

Geoff has a good list of weapon delivery systems and RPS types. He had a link somewhere.

Weapon delivery systems is what I think really defines a weapon though, eg
wave
beam
missile
mine
bomb
fighter
torpedo

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Geoff the Medio
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#12 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Jan 13, 2006 1:37 am

utilae wrote:Geoff has a good list of weapon delivery systems and RPS types. He had a link somewhere.
I assume you mean this.

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skdiw
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#13 Post by skdiw » Fri Jan 13, 2006 6:56 am

haha, I didn't even know it existed.

looks good to me in general. 8) although, I find contact delivery mechanism is a bit weak; I don't forsee it being very useful.

nice job, Geoff.
:mrgreen:

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#14 Post by Zpock » Fri Jan 13, 2006 7:32 am

skdiw wrote:haha, I didn't even know it existed.

looks good to me in general. 8) although, I find contact delivery mechanism is a bit weak; I don't forsee it being very useful.

nice job, Geoff.
contact = ramming weapons! Will obviously be the most powerful weapon type, only that if the enemy is faster then you, it's useless! It will be very useful for enriching the strategical landscape since it can make maneuverability/formations/tractor beams/etc much more important.

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#15 Post by Redaxe » Fri Jan 13, 2006 7:54 am

On a side note I dont know if anyone here is familiar with the best space flight simulator game series of all time; Wing Commander but there is a cool website which has plenty of ship and weapon diagrams that are used in Wing Commander Three. Might even give some artwork ideas to the development team.

Check it out!
:P

http://tactics.solsector.net/confed-list.htm#

http://tactics.solsector.net/kilrathi-list.htm

http://tactics.solsector.net/theory.htm

http://tactics.solsector.net/borgers/fighter.htm

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