Ideas I had for additions to Stars!

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

Moderators: Oberlus, Oberlus

Message
Author
User avatar
marhawkman
Large Juggernaut
Posts: 938
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:34 pm
Location: GA

Ideas I had for additions to Stars!

#1 Post by marhawkman » Sat Jan 21, 2006 3:29 am

Idea1: Multiple galactic maps
The BG story for Stars! was that the universe was shattered in the aftermath of a war. So it made sense to me to have there be multiple fragments. Each could be a seperate galactic map similar to the main map that Stars! has. The number and size of the maps would be a function of the universe size you selected when starting the game. Now how to travel between them? Wormholes! I'd make it so that wormholes would sometimes lead to a different galactic map(if the game has more than one). Also I would add a peice of advanced Stargate technology that would allow travel between stargates in different maps.

Idea2: Random techs
In Stars! the tech levels go up to 26 and stop. Once you reach 26 you are at the pinnacle of technological acheivement. The idea was to make it so that you could continue to advance in technological skill. But since there is no tech above 26 the game would choose techs you already have at random and fuse them to make new random tech items. Not necessarily something useful, but you could potentially end up with something insanely good. Like an Armageddon missile that also acted as armor and battle computer..... Or something useless, like a maneuvering jet that also acts like a cargo pod. The catch here is that these items would have a considerably higher cost than the base items.

Idea 3: two primary racial traits
One: The research fanatics
This race uses the random tech idea above but instead of only being levels above 26. They generate random tech items whenever they gain a tech level but not a technology. Also they have a slightly increased research rate, but the downside is that you can't decide what to research. At the beginning of each turn the game will randomly choose a tech field to research. Also they know the technical requirements of enemy ships whenever they scan them. Special tech? A scanner that gives them research points based on the techlevel of enemy ships that the equipped ship does battle with.

Two: Wormhole lords
This race has the unique ability to manipulate wormholes. They also have the ability to build space stations at wormholes. Doing so makes that end of the wormhole 100% stable and prevents it from collapsing. They have technology that can be used to open or close wormholes.

So questions? comments? snide remarks?
Computer programming is fun.

User avatar
Dreamer
Dyson Forest
Posts: 228
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 6:44 am
Location: Santiago, Chile

#2 Post by Dreamer » Sat Jan 21, 2006 3:57 am

It does sound good, but I have to tell you that also it doesn't sound new. Take in mind that there have been several years of discussion on these topics here... I don't hink you can read them all before posting (I only readed about 3 months of it before collapsing when I arrived) but you should read a little before posting adn get the idea of what is going on. This way you can direct your opinion to the correct places and not make a fool of yourself for repeating something everyone have discussed 15 times and reached a consensus on it already. Just a piece of advice ;-)

User avatar
marhawkman
Large Juggernaut
Posts: 938
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:34 pm
Location: GA

#3 Post by marhawkman » Sat Jan 21, 2006 5:01 am

Okay... Might give me some more ideas while I'm at it.
Computer programming is fun.

User avatar
Geoff the Medio
Programming, Design, Admin
Posts: 12381
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:33 am
Location: Munich

#4 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Jan 21, 2006 5:10 am

It's better to duplicate an old idea suggestion, and possibly stir up some new discussion, than to not suggest it and risk not proposing an actual new idea... or reminding everyone of the old good idea that's been forgotten.

Regarding multiple-galaxy maps, unless there's a real significant reason why having separate galaxy would make things much more interesting, I doubt this will be implemented in the standard scenario or random-generated maps. It's more implementation complexity without much obvious benefit, aside from "well, I guess that's kinda neat...".

Regarding random techs, check the tech system design threads in the design archives. I think this sort of thing was decided against in general, in favour of pre-defined tech trees, for various reasons.

Regarding wormhole manipulation, it's possible this could be possible in the game. I'm very keen on being able to manipulate starlanes starting mid-way through the game as part of the general progression of bending and breaking and reworking of the game rules with time, and to keep the galaxy seem interesting and dynamic and significant and part of the game, rather than just a backdrop to it. There's technically not much difference between wormholes and starlanes ... though I suspect we should make wormhole instant-travel, rather than just long invisible starlanes as they are now (this needs it's own discussion if there isn't one already). I'm not sure this needs to be an explicit racial ability though... rather than just a high-level ability anyone can get, unless there's a particular story or balance reason it should be.

User avatar
marhawkman
Large Juggernaut
Posts: 938
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:34 pm
Location: GA

#5 Post by marhawkman » Sat Jan 21, 2006 5:31 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:Regarding multiple-galaxy maps, unless there's a real significant reason why having separate galaxy would make things much more interesting, I doubt this will be implemented in the standard scenario or random-generated maps. It's more implementation complexity without much obvious benefit, aside from "well, I guess that's kinda neat...".
The main benefit is that it makes it difficult to move from one area to another. It wouldn't be particularly easy to get from one map to another early in the game. Other than the flavor aspect I mentioned that's the main advantage. If you have three maps and only three players you could have one start out in each map.
Geoff the Medio wrote:Regarding random techs, check the tech system design threads in the design archives. I think this sort of thing was decided against in general, in favour of pre-defined tech trees, for various reasons.
Okay. EDIT: I did. After looking around for a while I noticed that the tech that's used in this game doesn't support it. The random creation idea only really worked with the tech model that Strs! used. In Stars! most of the tech items are ship based, probably around 75%. In a game that doesn't use the same technology model the idea wouldn't work. In case anyone is wondering I did go and start making pseudo code for this.
Geoff the Medio wrote:Regarding wormhole manipulation, it's possible this could be possible in the game. I'm very keen on being able to manipulate starlanes starting mid-way through the game as part of the general progression of bending and breaking and reworking of the game rules with time, and to keep the galaxy seem interesting and dynamic and significant and part of the game, rather than just a backdrop to it. There's technically not much difference between wormholes and starlanes ... though I suspect we should make wormhole instant-travel, rather than just long invisible starlanes as they are now (this needs it's own discussion if there isn't one already). I'm not sure this needs to be an explicit racial ability though... rather than just a high-level ability anyone can get, unless there's a particular story or balance reason it should be.
Wormhole manipulation was a generic ability in the Space empires games, but the race creation in those was rather weak and they didn't have race specific technology at all. I suppose being able to open and close wormholes could be a generic ability, but the ability to build a starbase on top of a wormhole would be a racial ability.
Computer programming is fun.

User avatar
Dreamer
Dyson Forest
Posts: 228
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 6:44 am
Location: Santiago, Chile

#6 Post by Dreamer » Sat Jan 21, 2006 10:13 pm

marhawkman wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:Regarding multiple-galaxy maps, unless there's a real significant reason why having separate galaxy would make things much more interesting, I doubt this will be implemented in the standard scenario or random-generated maps. It's more implementation complexity without much obvious benefit, aside from "well, I guess that's kinda neat...".
The main benefit is that it makes it difficult to move from one area to another. It wouldn't be particularly easy to get from one map to another early in the game. Other than the flavor aspect I mentioned that's the main advantage. If you have three maps and only three players you could have one start out in each map.
I do have to recognize that sometimes I thought "well, I can go to antares now, but wait, only one planet there?". It can be nice to have a bidimensional game maybe, but it would work only if both dimensions are indeed diferent in more aspects that the name. Maybe some rules can work different or you can use dimensional shifts to attack by surprise if you accept the risk of going there, etc...

Sapphire Wyvern
Space Kraken
Posts: 149
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 3:25 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

#7 Post by Sapphire Wyvern » Sat Jan 21, 2006 10:37 pm

I don't think we need to have separate galaxy maps.

Instead, what we should use is inaccessable regions on the main galaxy map. We could have star clusters that can only be reached via starlanes or wormholes that are invisible until you research a particular technology.

It would even be possible to cloak the stars themselves in that region until the prerequisite techs are discovered, so that players don't even know it's there.

This saves us the headaches involved in having to switch the galaxy view between modes like Civ II Test of Time's multi-map games.

User avatar
marhawkman
Large Juggernaut
Posts: 938
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:34 pm
Location: GA

#8 Post by marhawkman » Sun Jan 22, 2006 12:05 am

Sapphire Wyvern wrote:Instead, what we should use is inaccessable regions on the main galaxy map. We could have star clusters that can only be reached via starlanes or wormholes that are invisible until you research a particular technology.

It would even be possible to cloak the stars themselves in that region until the prerequisite techs are discovered, so that players don't even know it's there.
This is a cool idea. Maybe make it so that all wormholes have technical requirements for their use?

In Birth of the Federation you couldn't see the galactic map at all, until you explored it. This was okay I guess, but there's no real reason for it. I like the model where you can see stars but not the rest of the system best(Telescopes remember?). What would be interesting would be to make it so that Nebulas will at least sometimes obscure the stars within them until you explore the Nebula, kinda like the Coal Sack Nebula does in real life. :)

And the idea of having remote stars that need special tech to reach is really cool too. MoO had engine tech levels that made it so you couldn't execute hyperjumps greater than a certain distance. I liked that game feature.
Computer programming is fun.

User avatar
Geoff the Medio
Programming, Design, Admin
Posts: 12381
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:33 am
Location: Munich

#9 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:11 am

marhawkman wrote:In Birth of the Federation you couldn't see the galactic map at all, until you explored it. This was okay I guess, but there's no real reason for it. I like the model where you can see stars but not the rest of the system best(Telescopes remember?).
Given that FO galaxies have between 10 and 500 stars, and real galaxies have millions or billions of stars, I think you could justify this by saying that you can see all kinds of stars, but the ones shown on the map are just the ones that your empire knows have starlanes connected to them, which are also the only ones that matter since there's no other way to get to the other ones.

That's not very satisfying though... Nebulas or spatial anomalies that block long-range sensors would work. Or we could just say galactic dust blocks light from stars far enough away... In that case, you'd know that there is galaxy over in a region, but wouldn't be able to see individual stars until you got closer.
And the idea of having remote stars that need special tech to reach is really cool too. MoO had engine tech levels that made it so you couldn't execute hyperjumps greater than a certain distance. I liked that game feature.
IMO such a range limit would be less useful and fun in FO because of the starlanes. MOO let you go anywhere as long as it was in range. FO already has the starlanes to limit mobilitiy, so the extra range limit would be rather annoying and counterintuitive in addition... I would think.

User avatar
marhawkman
Large Juggernaut
Posts: 938
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:34 pm
Location: GA

#10 Post by marhawkman » Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:21 am

I was thinking of something a bit different. More like making it so that really long Starlanes require a special tech.
Computer programming is fun.

User avatar
Geoff the Medio
Programming, Design, Admin
Posts: 12381
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:33 am
Location: Munich

#11 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:41 am

There was a discussion back when starlanes were decided on about having different starlanes have different speeds. The idea was that you could have fast or slow starlanes, in addition to or instead of fast or slow engines. It was decided against... mostly because it would complicate things too much, I think... (I wasn't around at the time).

I suspect having starlane length limits would have similar problems. If we make a big distinction about where you can and can't move by marking it with a significant game concept and UI marker such as a starlane, then that should really just mean that you can or can't move as indicated. If we instead have some lanes visible that you can move on, and others you can't, then it gets confusing for players.

So, I'd suggest mixing your lane length range idea with the starlane visibility idea. This way, instead of it just being long lanes that are limited, it'd be invisible lanes that can't be travelled... which is fine for the UI since the player doesn't know about them and can't see them and so can't get confused by them. It also seems reasonable to have longer lanes be harder to see, effectively achiving long-lanes requiring higher tech to use.

User avatar
marhawkman
Large Juggernaut
Posts: 938
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:34 pm
Location: GA

#12 Post by marhawkman » Sun Jan 22, 2006 3:02 am

Well I'd make it so you can't see the really long ones. One thing I noticed from playing was that the length of a starlane determines the time to get to the other end. I'd add something that makes it so that starlanes that would require six or more turns to travel would need the tech to use them, and only those.
Computer programming is fun.

User avatar
Dreamer
Dyson Forest
Posts: 228
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 6:44 am
Location: Santiago, Chile

#13 Post by Dreamer » Sun Jan 22, 2006 4:03 pm

marhawkman wrote:MoO had engine tech levels that made it so you couldn't execute hyperjumps greater than a certain distance. I liked that game feature.
Just to clarify, this is wrong. You could send ships for trips as long as you wanted (from one corner of the galaxy to the other). You could not send them too far from your colonies tho. I like this idea much more than special tech for long starlanes, it deals more with ships supplies far from home.

User avatar
Geoff the Medio
Programming, Design, Admin
Posts: 12381
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:33 am
Location: Munich

#14 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Jan 22, 2006 8:45 pm

Dreamer wrote:You could send ships for trips as long as you wanted (from one corner of the galaxy to the other). You could not send them too far from your colonies tho.
I assumed that's what he meant...
I like this idea much more than special tech for long starlanes, it deals more with ships supplies far from home.
There have been various other suggestions for a supply system that's a bit more explicit than this. In general, you'd need an unbroken link between a fleet and a supply point (probably a planet you control) that isn't blocked by any enemy ships to have a fleet be "in supply". These fleets would then have their ammo replaced and possibly repairs done, and fuel replenished if such is modelled. Fleets not in supply would not have any expendibles replaced. This has various tactical and strategic benefits... Check out the relevant brainstorming threads for more discussion.

User avatar
marhawkman
Large Juggernaut
Posts: 938
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:34 pm
Location: GA

#15 Post by marhawkman » Sun Jan 22, 2006 9:58 pm

Dreamer wrote:Just to clarify, this is wrong. You could send ships for trips as long as you wanted (from one corner of the galaxy to the other). You could not send them too far from your colonies tho. I like this idea much more than special tech for long starlanes, it deals more with ships supplies far from home.
Okay so it was BATTERY technology you needed rather than engine tech....... Geoff got the idea.

I dunno about supplies though. Using mechwarrior as a model for ship design is certainly interesting, though. hmmm..... MoO had a feature that would disable bits of hardware that got damaged in a fight. We definitely need that feature. I've found it to add a very down-to-earth sort of feel to strategy games.
Computer programming is fun.

Post Reply