Are Ginormous Ships Necessary?

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

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solrac776
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#106 Post by solrac776 » Sun Mar 05, 2006 4:05 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:
solrac776 wrote:*cost* efficiency. That's where you lost me. The previous post reads as your promoting small ships that were inefficient in battle.
By inefficient, I meant cost inefficient. "Inefficient" does not mean slow by default, though it could be if you specified "time inefficient", but this is not, in my mind, the default interpretation / meaning.
Time efficiency? If this is in reference to when I spoke about drawn-out battles then you've mis-understood me Geoff. Time efficiency wasn't the issue, combat efficiency was.
utilae wrote: So, I had this idea. Ships can have roles, eg scout, gunship, fighter, repair, suicide, defense, etc.
I disagree with building pre-defined roles into the game (though being able to modify a design after the pre-defined role was selected, is an adequate compromise).

To have your large scout/small scout scenario, it's un-necessary to have explicit roles. Just build it into the game mechanics. If small ships are innately harder to detect and innately faster than larger ships, then you already have a motivation for building small scouts. If you then have (in the game) more detection/scouting equipment than what could be fitted on to a small ship (which innately carries little) or that are simply just too large to fit on a small ship, then you have a motivation to build a large scout. Then the choice is the player's. They could build either of both types, or neither, or mix-and-match.

It's better to add such "role" mechanics into the game, instead of into the ships. If you want to emphasize scouting, provide equipment/research that promotes scouting. If you want to emphasize the usefulness of larger ships, provide equipment/research that is too large to be fitted on smaller ships. I believe that we can have all the roles we desire, by just providing a set number of ship-sizes and a rich array of components that promote these roles. Then let the player decide the roles of his ships by the components that he puts on them when he designs them.

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#107 Post by utilae » Sun Mar 05, 2006 4:10 am

solrac776 wrote: I disagree with building pre-defined roles into the game (though being able to modify a design after the pre-defined role was selected, is an adequate compromise).
I do not want pre defined roles either.
solrac776 wrote: To have your large scout/small scout scenario, it's un-necessary to have explicit roles. Just build it into the game mechanics. If small ships are innately harder to detect and innately faster than larger ships, then you already have a motivation for building small scouts. If you then have (in the game) more detection/scouting equipment than what could be fitted on to a small ship (which innately carries little) or that are simply just too large to fit on a small ship, then you have a motivation to build a large scout. Then the choice is the player's. They could build either of both types, or neither, or mix-and-match.

It's better to add such "role" mechanics into the game, instead of into the ships. If you want to emphasize scouting, provide equipment/research that promotes scouting. If you want to emphasize the usefulness of larger ships, provide equipment/research that is too large to be fitted on smaller ships. I believe that we can have all the roles we desire, by just providing a set number of ship-sizes and a rich array of components that promote these roles. Then let the player decide the roles of his ships by the components that he puts on them when he designs them.
That's exactly what I want. And it is how I was wanting it to work.

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#108 Post by solrac776 » Sun Mar 05, 2006 12:04 pm

utilae wrote: That's exactly what I want. And it is how I was wanting it to work.
Then we're in agreement. Pardon my re-stating your intentions.

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#109 Post by haravikk » Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:14 am

I had to skip a lot of these pages.

But in a little browser game I'm making (actually it's not so little anymore, monstrous task as it is!) hull types are more ways of constructing ships, rather than simply bigger sizes.

In this way you'd have say fairly rigid class, for the sake of argument size small, medium and large.

For each class however you can get better and better hull designs and concepts, allowing you to pack better and better weapons onto the same size of ship.
In this way mass is more a reflection of a ship's ability to hold a weapon, rather than the size of the weapon/ship.

I mean, it might still be an idea to have a 'huge' class for those whose e-penis needs stroking by having the biggest ship to over-compensate, or a mad dictator who just has to armor-plate a planet and fly into enemy worlds to watch them go boom.

But the idea is that that mass or (whatever it would be called instead) is more a measure of a weapon's requirements from the hull, than actual size/weight. Say a weapon has a mass of 20, this means it needs a ship hull designed to fit mass 20 weapons and remain structurally stable. Not a bigger ship.
Some of the weapons may not even be bigger (hence my reluctance to say mass as mass for most people is immediately associated with size), but simply more complex in such a way that older hulls may only be able to incorporate a single one of the weapons.
It could be the shock of the weapon, a really powerful rocket launcher would rip a primitive hull to bits, but an advanced one will hold steady.

In a way it seems like much the same problem. But IMO the idea is that the more advanced a ship is, the more cost effective it is, so empires would have much the same number of ships (assuming equal incomes/strategies) but the more advanced race will have better ships, so the problem is unlikely to become big fleets of small/weak ships vs big/good ships, but rather equal sized fleets with one being better.
Though in most cases it would depend heavily on the task-forces etc brought to bear, how they are used etc.

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#110 Post by utilae » Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:44 am

haravikk wrote: But the idea is that that mass or (whatever it would be called instead) is more a measure of a weapon's requirements from the hull, than actual size/weight. Say a weapon has a mass of 20, this means it needs a ship hull designed to fit mass 20 weapons and remain structurally stable. Not a bigger ship.
I see what you are saying and it makes sense. For example, regardless of size, the stellar converter must put a massive amount of force on the ships hull. Cause it destroys planets. So there could be a structural integerity requirement along with space requirements.

So you could have a ship that has space of 200. It has two stellar converters, each requiring 100 space. So its 200 space is used up. However, since the stellar converter requires a hull with level 5 structural systems, having a hull of a lower level will cause damage to the ship each time the weapon is fired. If the hull is of a higher level, then no damage would be caused.

I do think that you are using this as a replacement for space used. For example your saying that the stellar converter causes 100 stress on the hull. The hull can take 200 stress, so you can safely fit 2 stellar converters. You can fit 3 stellar converters (at this point you would need space to see if you can physically fit them on your ship) but the stress will be too great and will cause too much damage when they fire.
haravikk wrote: Some of the weapons may not even be bigger (hence my reluctance to say mass as mass for most people is immediately associated with size), but simply more complex in such a way that older hulls may only be able to incorporate a single one of the weapons.
It could be the shock of the weapon, a really powerful rocket launcher would rip a primitive hull to bits, but an advanced one will hold steady.
It might not just be the advancedness of the hull. For example if you put the stellar converter on a tiny fighter, then firing it will blow the fighter into the next star system. Obviously it doesn't matter how advanced the tiny fighter hull is, you'll have a problem still. Of cause technology is infinite and you will just have an engine system that creates thrust to counteract the force of the stellar converter, etc but then the fighter won't be small anymore.

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#111 Post by Sapphire Wyvern » Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:49 am

utilae wrote:
haravikk wrote: But the idea is that that mass or (whatever it would be called instead) is more a measure of a weapon's requirements from the hull, than actual size/weight. Say a weapon has a mass of 20, this means it needs a ship hull designed to fit mass 20 weapons and remain structurally stable. Not a bigger ship.
I see what you are saying and it makes sense. For example, regardless of size, the stellar converter must put a massive amount of force on the ships hull. Cause it destroys planets. So there could be a structural integerity requirement along with space requirements.
Any such decision would be made for game balance reasons, not because a fictional "requirement" exists for super weapons to be fitted to super size hulls.

Example: the Neutronium Alchemist (coolest name for a super weapon ever IMO) from the Night's Dawn trilogy. This weapon has two power settings. High power is the mercy option: it causes stars to collapse into black holes, making it necessary to evacuate any colonized worlds in that system. Low power is more destructive; it simply destabilizes a star sufficiently that it goes nova and kills everything in the star system.

And, in this universe, all that destructive power is fitted into a standard "combat wasp" (missile) chassis, which is fired into the star in question.

So, we can make a fictional justification for restricting super weapons to large vessels, OR NOT. It all comes down to gameplay...

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#112 Post by utilae » Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:13 am

Sapphire Wyvern wrote: Any such decision would be made for game balance reasons, not because a fictional "requirement" exists for super weapons to be fitted to super size hulls.
I think we will take fictional requirements and balancing requirements into consideration equally, but I am saying that it is an extra design option, isn't it. In the end, it would be fun. To equip a ship with a stellar converter even though its hull cannot take the stress. The ship fires the stellar converter, but is destroyed itself.

Maybe we could have a system where we can place weapons on the outside of a ship, ie the stellar converter cannot fit inside a smaller ship, but we can mount it on the outside. The disadvantage is that the hull is not high enough in level (structural level) to avoid taking damage when the weapon is fired. Such decisions are able to be made by the player. Build a ship that can fit the weapon or just attach the weapon to the ship and not bother building the ship properly to support the weapon. The result is reliable ships as well as unreliable, breakable ships.

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#113 Post by ewh02b » Wed Mar 08, 2006 2:22 pm

Instead of "stress", we could use a power requirement. If someone wants to put 10 big laser cannons on a hull, they need 50 jiggawatts of power, and a power plant that supports that. Some ships would be too small to fit that size of power plant, and therefore couldn't use 10 big laser cannons.

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#114 Post by marhawkman » Wed Mar 08, 2006 2:36 pm

ewh02b wrote:Instead of "stress", we could use a power requirement. If someone wants to put 10 big laser cannons on a hull, they need 50 jiggawatts of power, and a power plant that supports that. Some ships would be too small to fit that size of power plant, and therefore couldn't use 10 big laser cannons.
I kinda like this idea. I really can't visualize a ship that small being able to power an enormous weapon like a stellar convertor.

Oooh.... Thinking of the Death Star gave me an idea.... The main weapon of the Death Star looked like 10-20 smaller weapons that focussed their combined firepower into a single beam. Maybe add in a feature to make weapon arrays? So that you could take several phasers and mount them together to make a weapon array that had a somewhat higher damage output and/or smaller size than the weapons would have individually?
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#115 Post by solrac776 » Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:01 pm

Such hull-strength-weapon matching would be great with parallel research. (ie. you can only put Level 4 weapons on Level 4 (or higher) hull designs)

But expanding this discussion logically, you would have to factor in from where that tiny ship would be drawing the power in order to be able to fire any massive weapons that are mounted on it. Or whether it has the cabin space for the crew to operate this weapon.

I'd imagine that the space requirement should take precedence over the hull-strength. Having tiny ships as described above, you would have game-play issues where players put such powerful weapons on tiny ships. Because tiny ships are much cheaper than large or huge ships, you'd be mass producing cheap one-shot cannons. Such ships could then be sent on suicide missions to other planets to cause massive damage or even planet destruction. Then in multi-player games it would be a race to be the player who does this first.

As for weapon requirements (power, hull strength, size, firing computers, weapon crew quarters, maintenance staff) the more of these we add in the more complicated it will be for the players. The player would then have to balance all of these things as opposed to just cost and space.

Abstracting all of this into just the one measurement, wrongly or rightly termed "space", keeps things simpler when designing the ship and will make it easier for new players to pick up the game. Outer-hull mounting wouldn't affect this because it would be assumed that "space" includes whether you're putting weapons/items on the inside or on the outside of the ship.

As for "much the same number of ships" per empire or equal-sized fleets, without implementing hard population limits, this won't happen. Empires with the most productive planets and with the most resources devoted to ship-building, will most likely have the largest fleets. And the larger the empire, the larger the fleet that they're able to make because they can afford more maintenance costs and devote more production. The best you could hope for is having a proportional distribution of sizes within the fleets. e.g. If players recognize that every large ship works best if escorted by two small ships, then every player's fleet will have a 1:2 ratio of large:small ships.

To restrict per-fleet-size, you could use "Command Points" as in WarHammer -- possibly representing communication between ships (or whatever), but again it's just another hard limit. Then the fleet size would be limited by how many command points you have and that you need per ship. Say 1 CP per small, 2 CP per large, etc.. Then if you set a max of 20CP per fleet, what you'd have lots of 20CP fleets flying around (again, with larger empires having more of them).

Encouraging varied fleets (which is the point of this thread, right?) is a great idea. I personally wouldn't say the same for restricting fleet sizes (on neither a per-fleet nor a per-empire basis) if we tried to do so beyond the game-mechanic of maintenance costs per ship.

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#116 Post by haravikk » Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:31 pm

Well, borrowing from my own game's dynamics again, the way I've factored in small or numerous weak ships is that they actually have a bonus depending on how small they are in relation to the enemy vessel. So say a fleet of 1000 ton ships fight a fleet of 10 ton fighter sized ships. The fighters would gain 100% of this bonus (say the max bonus is 30%), thus giving them an initial advantage.
However, they have less hit points overall, so will take casualties a lot faster, while the small fleet's attack might only destroy a handful of the larger ships.

I suspect there are a few changes I'll have to make as I'm only starting on the combat area, but in theory the game will allow small fleets of ships to excell in rapid attacks, while larger ships are there for the slug-fest with other fleets to the bitter end.
So a combination of these should allow for a hard hitting fleet that can keep up the damage further into the combat.


Also, what I was talking about was more as replacement for mass a measure of weapons and idea for design. While I agree that being able to mount high stress weapons on low stress hulls would be neat, as already said it would be hell to balance out correctly =(

But erm yeah, IMO in a space game mass is negligable, except in terms of engines getting a thing to move. As most combat should be fought far enough outside a planet's gravity that mass won't have a huge effect on much of anything. Really what you want a measure of is the hull's ability to stay in the same shape you built it.
ie part of a ship's ability to hold a high-stress weapon would be it's power systems and such.

Maybe a better word would simply be structure points? ie the more weapons you want on your ship, the more structurally sound it may need to be to count for things like firing stress, power requirements and so-on. Rather than raw mass, which leads the mentality that we MUST have bigger ships.

Again, in my own little game, the most destructive war-ship is actually the smallest, it just features such deadly technologies that all it needs is a single pilot. IMO that's much cooler than a big ship covered in guns =)


Back onto similar fleet sizes though, I guess part of this could depend heavily on the economics of it. If refitting is a good solution, and is done easily enough that people don't build new ships for sheer convenience, then an empire could happily just keep their fleet up-to-date and funnel their resources into refitting/research opposed to building more and more.

ie, why build more than 1 battlestation if you can just keep the existing one up-to-date enough that it works just fine. If you keep out-of-date ones hanging around then they'll just cost exponential amounts in maintenance costs and get wiped out as they're not there anyway.
Why build new ships if refitting is faster and cheaper?

That kind of design could keep fleets on roughly even footing depending on player preference. I agree that it's still going to differ, but the idea really is that a big empire should only need proportionally more ships than a smaller empire, so if A is twice the size of B, then it needs twice as many ships to cover it's empire.

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#117 Post by guiguibaah » Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:22 pm

- Would be interesting if rather than a complete "YES / NO" option on the weapon, there's a gradient as to whether that weapon will actually work.

IE: Stellar converter. I put it in a huge battleship that is structurally braced for it. I drag the icon, drop it in the appropriate slot, and the colour shows up as green. It will fire 100% of the time, with 0% chance of system failure.


Same Stellar converter, I put it in a small frigate. I drag the icon, drop it in the appropriate slot, and the colout shows up as flashing red. It will fire 10% of the time, with a 70% chance of system failure (ie: ship is disabled or or blows up).


Same stellar converter, I put it in a cruiser. Icron drop, blah blah.. Shows up as orange. Will fire 60% of the time, 15% chance of system failure.



Same stellar conver.. blah blah put it in a Scoutship. Icon drop, colout is Grey - too big to put in that ship. Can't fit. Sorry.



So you could put some higher-powered weapons on your ships - just be prepared for the undesireable consequences that could arise.
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#118 Post by haravikk » Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:12 pm

Technically you could attach any size weapon to any sized ship. Just duct-tape the stellar converter to the front of your scout ship, sure the thrusters on that ship aren't going to be very speedy, but it'll get going eventually =)
Whether or not remains in one piece during hyperspace is another matter entirely.

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#119 Post by marhawkman » Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:30 pm

haravikk wrote:Technically you could attach any size weapon to any sized ship. Just duct-tape the stellar converter to the front of your scout ship, sure the thrusters on that ship aren't going to be very speedy, but it'll get going eventually =)
Whether or not remains in one piece during hyperspace is another matter entirely.
that sounds like a nice idea.... but I think implementing it would be too complicated to be worth it.
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#120 Post by Zpock » Thu Mar 09, 2006 8:17 am

If a small ship equips a huge weapon it might not be a small ship anymore. More like a big ship built around a weapon with very little engines and stuff. If you add bigger engines etc then it's really not a small ship anymore.

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