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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skdiw
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#16 Post by skdiw » Fri Jan 13, 2006 9:34 pm

Zpock wrote:
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.
though, I doubt it that ramming will be practical. it feels like an idea that's force in there. I think the field and wave delivery is plenty already. we don't need yet anther delivery mechanism thats very similar to enhance, maneuverability/formations/tractor beams/etc. in addition, it's hard enough balancing missiles and beams already due to snowball effect; ramming has even greater snowball effect, so it's very easy for the ramming player to either dominant or be totally useless, which is a scenario we should avoid. on top of that we got wave and fields, which can design to mimic contact delivery mechanism.
:mrgreen:

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#17 Post by liberal » Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:09 am

a simple solution is the one used by the online-game ferion.

think it has tonnage as a sort of "health"-number, power as attack, and shields as extra armor.

the creation of fleets basically made the fleet behave as a bigger ship, using the overall tonnage, power and shields of the crafts.

but then, feriononline is cheap-ish =p

edit: ahh, just remembered one thing i seriously lack atm, to be able to research better engines for your ships. in ferion, this was pretty easy, and obviously, it decreased the time for your ships to fly to new planets.

the drawback of fleets was that the fleet moved at the speed of the slowest vessel.

shipcreation was also very customizable, you could freely change the number of engines and weapons on your ships, ofc, more weapons = more tonnage = higher need for more/faster engines

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#18 Post by Geoff the Medio » Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:30 am

skdiw wrote:...we got wave and fields, which can design to mimic contact delivery mechanism.
Uhm... huh? How are wave and field similar to contact? Do you mean practically (in terms of chance to hit, dependence of damage on distance, etc.) or strategically (however you've already decided things are obviously going to work) or thematically (because ramming into something is obviously about the same as shooting a ring out from you and hitting from afar, or hitting anything continually over time within some distance with a field...)?

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#19 Post by Skaro » Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:45 am

Here's my idea:

All chassis (frigate, cruiser, etc) have their own preset tonnage. But the ship is basicly empty until you fill up this max tonnage with:

1. Armor
2. A powerplant or multiple powerplants
3. Weapons
4. Engines (both system and FTL)
5. Other equipment


We'd also have some things built into the ship like:

1. A bridge
2. Crew quarters (bigger ships have more of these)


Power and weapons

Basicly what was mentioned before, but still:

Each ship has it's own power output generated by a powerplant. Power demands change as technology changes, a laser will need less power than a Tachyon beam.

So, a ship must have a adequate power supply to effectively mount certain weapons. A ship with a low power output could possibly only fire one weapon at a time. A ship with high power output can keep on firing all it's weapons for longer periods of time.

This would make people consider the number of systems they deploy on a ship.

So, filling a ship up with the latest weapons while have insufficient energy would be a stupid thing.


Power and shields

Shields with be very dependant on the power output when considering the recharge rate and shield strength.

For instance, a class III shield has these stats:
- Stopping power: 40% (reduces damage by 40%)
- Shield points: 300 (300 hitpoints till the shield collapses)
- Recharce rate: 5 points per second.

A underpowered ship couldn't maintain this shield properly and would recieve penalties on all of the above mentioned factors.


Crews, livingspace, lifesupport and boarding

Each hull size requires a fixed number of crewmembers. But these crewmembers have to live somewhere on the ship under good conditions. Also by integrating a crew we can get some more options:

1. The ability to take out a ship by destroying its lifesupport (possibly by a boarding party)
2. Boarding parties could steal a ship
3. Neutron based weapons would finally have the effect as often described in the fluff (this was a rather big letdown in MOO3)
4. Assimilation of the crew, everybody likes the Borg, now we can have a option to use some of their abilities.


So basicly the crew becomes another factor to how a ship can function. A undercrewed ship will not function at maximum efficiency.


Carriers and fighters

One of the things that always bothered me about MOO3 was that you could build carriers, but you couldn't replace aged fighters with newer models.

So I propose that carriers have hangerpods instead of individual fighters.

Each hangerpod would have a max size. At the same time each fighter would also have a specific size. Fighter would also have to be designed similarly to how capital ships are created.

This would allow to create a specific fighter wich you would use a standard fighter. Or alternately you could create various fighters and bombers.


Each carrier would get a specific type of fighter assigned, now the real concept behind this is that you can replace aged fighter designs. This will eliminate the need to scrap carriers that can still be of some use.


Refits and upgrades

It was always a hassle to scrap outdated ships which you massproduced in rather large quantities. Therefor I propose a refit option. You'd basicly make changes to a existing design.

All ships with the old design could then be refitted at a player owned planet. All ships of that type currently in production would created according to the revised specs.

This would come at a price, but it would still be cheaper than building a brand new ship.


Just my two cents.
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#20 Post by skdiw » Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:06 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:
skdiw wrote:...we got wave and fields, which can design to mimic contact delivery mechanism.
Uhm... huh? How are wave and field similar to contact? Do you mean practically (in terms of chance to hit, dependence of damage on distance, etc.) or strategically (however you've already decided things are obviously going to work) or thematically (because ramming into something is obviously about the same as shooting a ring out from you and hitting from afar, or hitting anything continually over time within some distance with a field...)?
contact is the same as field, with a small radius. so field is inclusive of contact. i mean practically, it's impossible for two points to coincide, so we need to make two radii to intersect for a collision to occur. it will be easier just to vary the radius to a field effect, rather than have a whole another type like contact. plus when you are programming objects on the tactical map, i'd imagine each object have a radius. might as well just use radius. even mines should have some radius of effect that triggers the mine. i think it was stars! 4 that had stationary mines that explode on contact and they were pretty much useless.
:mrgreen:

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#21 Post by utilae » Wed Jan 18, 2006 4:44 am

Contact and Field are similar, but probably too different to be the same.

Examples:
Contact
eg
Ship collison
Cutting Blades
Super short range guns

Field
eg
Shields don't work in field
Damage effect in field
Slow in field

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#22 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed Jan 18, 2006 3:51 pm

skdiw wrote:contact is the same as field, with a small radius. so field is inclusive of contact.
That depends on how contact functions or is defined. If it's just a matter of continuous damage while in contact where "in contact" means within a very small radius, then yes, you're right. But contact could also be based around single strikes, where the initial connection between the ships is when the damage occurs, after which no additional damage happens until you back of and reconnect. The amount of damage could also depend on the speed at which contact occurs, as well as the relative orientations of the ships (ie. if you ram something, you have to ram it with the big ramming device on the front of your ship, but if they rammed you from the side, they you'd be damaged instead). Sizes of ships might also affect damge (eg. big ship ramming small does more damage). None of those considerations are likely relevant to field effects.

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#23 Post by Sapphire Wyvern » Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:30 am

While we're on the topic of Geoff's Wiki document, I have a couple of comments.

Firstly, I like the general overall approach. Separating damage types and delivery mechanisms seems a good idea, and there are a number of interesting novel ideas for specific examples. I'm particularly intrigued by the natural modularity that this architecture permits, which potentially means we can have ship component design as well as (or potentially instead of) ship design.

That said, I'm not sure why the Directed delivery mechanism requires that damage be independant of target range. If chance to hit drops with range according to the inverse square law and the weapons aren't perfectly cohesive, it seems sensible that some Directed weapons would also lose power over distance. In the Real World, for instance, a laser's beam cohesion drops off inverse proportionally to the square of the distance, so that would naturally disperse the energy delivery - which I would expect to reduce damage. Is there a particular game design reason why you've chosen to ban range-dependant damage from the Directed category?

Secondly, with respect to Wave attacks: I like the idea, but I don't see why it would be restricted to omni-directional weapons only. What about cone-type "Tsunami cannon" weapons (ie channeled wavefront)? They look cool, have setting precedent in anime space opera, and seem a reasonable application of the same rules. Plus, the cone is a classic "wargame area-of-effect template" (D&D, WHFB, WH40K, etc) that is so far missing from your proposal.

Thirdly, it seems to me that some of the delivery mechanisms could usefully be combined, but your rules permit only one per weapon. For instance, there could be Missiles that explode generating a Wave, or Fighters/drones or Stationary objects that emit Fields. I think, perhaps, a distinction needs to be drawn between Field of Effect and Delivery Mechanism.

Finally, I think there's an opening in the Damage Types list for "Anti-Biological". This includes things like hard radiation weapons or some psychic attacks which do little or no damage to the hardware of a ship but are lethal to its crew. These weapons would obviously be particularly effective against bio-ships and useless against ships that are entirely mechanized. Some weapons might do both regular damage and anti-biological... a classic example being MoOII's Neutron Cannons and Death Rays, which would both be classified as Energy weapons under your scheme.

PS: here's an idea for your Payload list. If we have rules that people only get a limited amount of "pause time" in tactical combat, then we can have CnC gear provide a real command and control benefit, by increasing the amount or regeneration rate of the controlling player's pause time.

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#24 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:15 am

Sapphire Wyvern wrote:...I'm not sure why the Directed delivery mechanism requires that damage be independant of target range.
It's not so much "requires" as that I made it that was because a) there wasn't any reason not to, and b) I wanted to make all the delivery mechanisms different, and something being a beam plausibly wouldn't fall off with distance like a wave that's visible spreading out would.
...it seems sensible that some Directed weapons would also lose power over distance.
[...]
Is there a particular game design reason why you've chosen to ban range-dependant damage from the Directed category?
There's no particular reason this couldn't be done, but I thought it might be simpler and easier and better to differentiate different weapon types if they didn't.
In the Real World, for instance, a laser's beam cohesion drops off inverse proportionally to the square of the distance, so that would naturally disperse the energy delivery - which I would expect to reduce damage.
It's not cohesion, it's diffraction that's the problem...
What about cone-type "Tsunami cannon" weapons (ie channeled wavefront)?
Having a limited arc of fire implies that arcs of fire exist. If the ships / design / combat system supports this distinction well, particularly with shield facings or various other ideas, then this could be included as a parameter or two in wave, indicating the arc-spread and propegation direction. If not, then it might not be wise to include... or it might be anyway... hard to say...
Plus, the cone is a classic "wargame area-of-effect template" (D&D, WHFB, WH40K, etc) that is so far missing from your proposal.
There is field, which is definitely AOE, though is omnidirectional. And really, if limited-arc wave is AOE, then isn't omnidirectional wave also AOE...?
Thirdly, it seems to me that some of the delivery mechanisms could usefully be combined, but your rules permit only one per weapon. For instance, there could be Missiles that explode generating a Wave, or Fighters/drones or Stationary objects that emit Fields.
I didn't want to overcomplicate things. This was most obvious with fighters, which would presumably fire directed beams... but could also launch missles or do kamikaze runs as contact or explosives, or could fire off waves or emit fields. Missiles would have the same possibilities. It seems much simpler to make one delivery mechanism per weapon though, and doesn't sacrifice too much for that simplicity...
I think, perhaps, a distinction needs to be drawn between Field of Effect and Delivery Mechanism.
But I can see the case for keeping the concepts separate too... missiles or mines firing off waves or perhaps beams, or fighters or missiles doing contact damage, fields doing contact (shrapnel) or perhaps explosive (uhm... spacetime distortion perhaps?). It could work...
Finally, I think there's an opening in the Damage Types list for "Anti-Biological". This includes things like hard radiation weapons or some psychic attacks which do little or no damage to the hardware of a ship but are lethal to its crew.
Killing crew sounds like a weapon effect more so than a damage type: the "kills crew" property.
These weapons would obviously be particularly effective against bio-ships and useless against ships that are entirely mechanized.
That seems like a separate point... effectively damaging bioships vs. metal ships isn't necessarily the same as killing biological crew in a metal hull. For the bioship case though, I don't see a need for a separate damage type or armour type... bioships could have ablative or absorptive armour, or be outfitted with PD or project energy sheilds. Why would armour being alive when attacked, or being extruded or deposited rather than manufactured make a difference though?
... CnC ... increasing the amount or regeneration rate of the controlling player's pause time.
I'd rather have regular fix-ed duration pauses than variable length variably timed pauses... But regardless, I was thinking CnC centres would fit well with a system that limited how many ships you could bring into a battle simultaneously. More CnC means more ships, or a greater fraction of the overall ship limit, if there is one.

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#25 Post by Sapphire Wyvern » Thu Jan 19, 2006 11:50 am

Geoff the Medio wrote: Having a limited arc of fire implies that arcs of fire exist. If the ships / design / combat system supports this distinction well, particularly with shield facings or various other ideas, then this could be included as a parameter or two in wave, indicating the arc-spread and propegation direction. If not, then it might not be wise to include... or it might be anyway... hard to say...
Acknowledged. Let me take this opportunity to express my support for facing... :)
Plus, the cone is a classic "wargame area-of-effect template" (D&D, WHFB, WH40K, etc) that is so far missing from your proposal.
There is field, which is definitely AOE, though is omnidirectional. And really, if limited-arc wave is AOE, then isn't omnidirectional wave also AOE...?
You misinterpret me, I'm afraid. Let me clarify: I meant that *cone templates* specifically were missing, not area-of-effects in general.
Killing crew sounds like a weapon effect more so than a damage type: the "kills crew" property.
Oh, that's permissible? I thought your list was supposed to be exhaustive, so I thought that anti-bio would have needed to be added as a basic type...

Do weapons sometimes do mixed damage? Eg 50% energy, 50% explosive? That would be a nice way to handle anti-bio weaponry...
These weapons would obviously be particularly effective against bio-ships and useless against ships that are entirely mechanized.
That seems like a separate point... effectively damaging bioships vs. metal ships isn't necessarily the same as killing biological crew in a metal hull. For the bioship case though, I don't see a need for a separate damage type or armour type... bioships could have ablative or absorptive armour, or be outfitted with PD or project energy sheilds. Why would armour being alive when attacked, or being extruded or deposited rather than manufactured make a difference though?
You're right, it wouldn't make a difference as far as the armour goes. However, a weapon that does *only* bio-damage (eg neutron bomb, more or less) would still presumably be capable of damaging a bio-ship's biological weapons, shield, and drive systems. If we care to model in that much detail, anyway. :)

So, yes, I agree that there is no call for a separate armour type.
... CnC ... increasing the amount or regeneration rate of the controlling player's pause time.
I'd rather have regular fix-ed duration pauses than variable length variably timed pauses...
Well, so would I, to tell the truth. I think arbitrary pausing in multiplayer would be hugely frustrating. But *if* we do end up going for variable length pauses, it's an opportunity we could exploit. (One thing that's just occured to me: such metagame advantages would not be very useful for the AI).

I assume the server is going to be allowed to impose a turn-length time limit on players?
But regardless, I was thinking CnC centres would fit well with a system that limited how many ships you could bring into a battle simultaneously. More CnC means more ships, or a greater fraction of the overall ship limit, if there is one.
Yeah, that sounds good too. However, I'm a little concerned that having CnC grade impose a limit on the number of ships in the battle would create the same sort of fleet micro-management headaches that my Capital Ships/Escort proposal had... that is, the difficulty of ensuring you always have sufficient CnC capability at a location to actually use your ships in the fight.

It would be wonderful if we could manage to avoid having obvious hard caps on numbers of ships in combat. If we designed a set of CnC rules that made it progressively more difficult to approach the tactical engine's ship cap, that would improve matters by reducing the artificiality of the game's technical limitations.

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#26 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:04 pm

Sapphire Wyvern wrote:
Killing crew sounds like a weapon effect more so than a damage type: the "kills crew" property.
Oh, that's permissible? I thought your list was supposed to be exhaustive, so I thought that anti-bio would have needed to be added as a basic type...
It's a possible exhausitive list of damage types, but doesn't preclude "side effects" of some sort being attached to weapons as well.
Do weapons sometimes do mixed damage? Eg 50% energy, 50% explosive? That would be a nice way to handle anti-bio weaponry...
Yes:
A component may have one or more damage types.
I assume the server is going to be allowed to impose a turn-length time limit on players?
In combat or for "normal" galaxy map turns?
...I'm a little concerned that having CnC grade impose a limit on the number of ships in the battle would create the same sort of fleet micro-management headaches that my Capital Ships/Escort proposal had... that is, the difficulty of ensuring you always have sufficient CnC capability at a location to actually use your ships in the fight.
You could still use all the ships you brought if there was a simultaneous-in-battle limit... you'd have to bring in more rounds of reinforcements. This would happen automatically and on the same turn though... And you'd only need to move the CnC ships where you want them once, not back and forth repeatedly to shuttle things to where you want... And even if you lost all your CnC, you'd still be able to battle and move ships around, but would just have fewer ships in battle simultaneously. I suspect there'd be some limits on simultaneous ships ratios allowed... like having the allowed number of "ship points" of each player being no more than three times the allowed ship points of any other player in the battle, regardless of how much CnC each has. The CnC would adjust your allowances under that limit, so as to keep things (hopefully) playable.
It would be wonderful if we could manage to avoid having obvious hard caps on numbers of ships in combat. If we designed a set of CnC rules that made it progressively more difficult to approach the tactical engine's ship cap, that would improve matters by reducing the artificiality of the game's technical limitations.
Probably worth discussing in another thread...

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#27 Post by Sapphire Wyvern » Sat Jan 21, 2006 3:34 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Do weapons sometimes do mixed damage? Eg 50% energy, 50% explosive? That would be a nice way to handle anti-bio weaponry...
Yes:
A component may have one or more damage types.
Okay, then. So we could have an anti-bio damage type, or make it a side effect of some weapons. Tomayto, tomahto really. I think making it a damage type might be better because I'd rather avoid having a new level of "Special Equipment" within weapons modules!
I assume the server is going to be allowed to impose a turn-length time limit on players?
In combat or for "normal" galaxy map turns?
Yes, to both.
...I'm a little concerned that having CnC grade impose a limit on the number of ships in the battle would create the same sort of fleet micro-management headaches that my Capital Ships/Escort proposal had... that is, the difficulty of ensuring you always have sufficient CnC capability at a location to actually use your ships in the fight.
You could still use all the ships you brought if there was a simultaneous-in-battle limit... you'd have to bring in more rounds of reinforcements. This would happen automatically and on the same turn though... And you'd only need to move the CnC ships where you want them once, not back and forth repeatedly to shuttle things to where you want... And even if you lost all your CnC, you'd still be able to battle and move ships around, but would just have fewer ships in battle simultaneously. I suspect there'd be some limits on simultaneous ships ratios allowed... like having the allowed number of "ship points" of each player being no more than three times the allowed ship points of any other player in the battle, regardless of how much CnC each has. The CnC would adjust your allowances under that limit, so as to keep things (hopefully) playable.
Sound reasonable, in theory. I think we might need to playtest to find out if it works in practice...

Would CnC equipment also fulfill the same role as a general's Command rating in Total War? I'm not sure exactly what the mechanical effects of that are, but I suppose it translates into an increase in morale and hence fighting effectiveness for all units which are close enough to the Flag ship, proportional to the quality of the CnC gear.

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#28 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Jan 21, 2006 4:49 am

Sapphire Wyvern wrote:So we could have an anti-bio damage type, or make it a side effect of some weapons. Tomayto, tomahto really. I think making it a damage type might be better because I'd rather avoid having a new level of "Special Equipment" within weapons modules!
I'd be inclined to make it a "side-effect" or "special effect" of the weapon, rather than a new damage type. The idea of the damge types was to be mixed with the defense types to do strengths and weaknesses / balancing of different weapons and defenses on ships. But it's not really clear what "bio-damage" is in general, or how it would differently affect ablative, absorptive, energy or PD defenses. So it seems to fit better as an effect that's separate from that system of strengths/weaknesses...
I assume the server is going to be allowed to impose a turn-length time limit on players?
In combat or for "normal" galaxy map turns?
Yes, to both.
I assume there'll be turn time limits configurable during game setup, or by vote of players, optionally with variable length as the game goes along... Whatever works.

How battle phases will be timed hasn't been decided yet, AFAIK.
Would CnC equipment [...] increase [...] morale and hence fighting effectiveness for all units which are close enough to the Flag ship, proportional to the quality of the CnC gear.
It could have morale boosts, though keeping them separate effects might also be good, so you could have different paths to unlock ways to increase either. Psi-powers might be particularly useful for morale boosting AOE stuff...

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#29 Post by marhawkman » Sat Jan 21, 2006 4:58 am

Hmmm.. After reading Skaro's ideas here's my thoughts:
All chassis (frigate, cruiser, etc) have their own preset tonnage. But the ship is basicly empty until you fill up this max tonnage with:

1. Armor
2. A powerplant or multiple powerplants
3. Weapons
4. Engines (both system and FTL)
5. Other equipment

We'd also have some things built into the ship like:

1. A bridge
2. Crew quarters (bigger ships have more of these)

Power and weapons
I personally like the Powerplant idea. but I'd make it so that engines have a built-in powerplant. Possibly enough for all of the ship's systems. I'd make it so that additional plants are only needed when using extremely power-hungry systems(EG. the Stellar converters in MoO). And I'd make it so that there is a minimum crew requirement, but that you could have extra people either as security against boarding, or backups in case crew members get killed. The minimum would be the minimum required to operate the ship, less people means that not all of the ship would function.
Shields with be very dependant on the power output when considering the recharge rate and shield strength.

For instance, a class III shield has these stats:
- Stopping power: 40% (reduces damage by 40%)
- Shield points: 300 (300 hitpoints till the shield collapses)
- Recharce rate: 5 points per second.

A underpowered ship couldn't maintain this shield properly and would recieve penalties on all of the above mentioned factors.
Nice idea.
2. Boarding parties could steal a ship
3. Neutron based weapons would finally have the effect as often described in the fluff (this was a rather big letdown in MOO3)
4. Assimilation of the crew, everybody likes the Borg, now we can have a option to use some of their abilities.
I like this. It gives you an incentive to have extra people on your ship to avoid losing it.
It was always a hassle to scrap outdated ships which you massproduced in rather large quantities. Therefor I propose a refit option. You'd basicly make changes to a existing design.

All ships with the old design could then be refitted at a player owned planet. All ships of that type currently in production would created according to the revised specs.

This would come at a price, but it would still be cheaper than building a brand new ship.
This is one of the things I hated about Stars!. No refits for ships, you could refit space stations, but you had to completely scrap obsolete ships. I really liked the refit feature in MoO and Space Empires 3. I doubt implementing one would be too hard.
Computer programming is fun.

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#30 Post by Dreamer » Sat Jan 21, 2006 10:05 pm

We'd also have some things built into the ship like:

1. A bridge
2. Crew quarters (bigger ships have more of these)
It is an unusual question, but why should ships have crew? AI can aim better, move faster (even acelerate more), don't need quarters of any kind and don't need most usual supplies.

Ships without crew don't need to dock inside bigger ships or any kind of docking more complex than a grappling hook. You would need some tacticians and commanders on capital ships way behind the battle but that's it. Also you don't need complex interfaces for pilots and the AIs have perfect combat awareness.

Past certain tech level (and not a high one, since we ALREADY have the cappability for tech like this on real life) droids or drones should be the most obvious answer.

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