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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marhawkman
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#31 Post by marhawkman » Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:44 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:
marhawkman wrote:Make it so refueling/resupplying your ships isn't free. There's no upkeep perse, but it does make it expensive to maintain a huge fleet of Leviathan, SuperDreadnaught, and Doom Star type ships.
Wouldn't that encourage players to have more smaller ships? The point of the above discussion about big ratios of effectiveness, and increasing effectiveness per unit cost with ship size, was to make it more effective to use big ships, so nobody would be able to make lots of small ships and compete, meaning everyone would make big ships, meaning everyone would have the same number of ships. But if you instead make it expensive to maintain big ships, you actually encourage the use of smaller ships... or the use of fewer big ships.

(Note that I obviously prefer my system for size roles to this...)
Well the idea is to make smaller ships at least somewhat more attractive. See IMO the main reason for using big ships is their Uber-firepower. Or massive cargo space, one of the two. (remembers using dreadnoughts as colony ships in SE3.:D)
Geoff the Medio wrote:
utilae wrote:Though I would think that a large/huge ship would be more optimal for range then a medium ship would.
The rationale is somewhat based in ocean navies, where cruisers were easier to send around long distance because they were lighter and more efficient that the big battleships or carriers. Really the point is to have a distinct role or property that medium ships are best at. Huge ships can obviously hold lots of stuff, and it make sense that there'd be types of equipment you could only fit on really huge ships, so it seems reasonable to make the huge good for carrying that stuff, and mediums, like naval cruisers, good for long distance force projection (and large, which are between medium and huge, good for actual combat, but not if you have to move them around a lot to get to the combat).
I suppose this would be good as a sort of default thing. But we really need ways to modify this stuff.
Geoff the Medio wrote:
marhawkman wrote:I really like the idea of having somewhere around 9 ship sizes.
What's special about that particular range? IMO if there are more than 4 or 6 sizes, the distinction between the sizes becomes less important and harder to keep distinct in the player's mind, and harder to have each size have a unique set of properties / purpose / ideal job(s)... So you might as well have 12 or 15 or 20 or no defined sizes as 9...
Simple. This way we have 3 small, three medium and three large. I suppose we could have the first two small sizes available immediately and the first medium size. I'd make people research the others later. That and having lots of sizes gives people a reason to do research.
ewh02b wrote:Wow...9 sizes?! What about 9 classes of ship, like the Star Wars system?
I like the idea of hull sizes. Classes are usually implemented as either specialized ships or just names for hull sizes.
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#32 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Feb 24, 2006 4:09 am

marhawkman wrote:
Wouldn't that encourage players to have more smaller ships?
Well the idea is to make smaller ships at least somewhat more attractive.
There's a difference between making it desirable to have *some* small ships, and the desire to have *many* small ships. Avoiding having many more small ships than big ships is a main point of this thread. So, we need a way to make make the player want to build relatively more big ships, and fewer small ships, not the other way around. This could mean that there are equal numbers of each size, or it could mean that there are no ships more than a few sizes smaller than the biggest available at any given turn.
Geoff the Medio wrote:...so it seems reasonable to make the huge good for carrying that stuff, and mediums, like naval cruisers, good for long distance force projection (and large, which are between medium and huge, good for actual combat, but not if you have to move them around a lot to get to the combat).
I suppose this would be good as a sort of default thing. But we really need ways to modify this stuff.
What do you mean by "modify" and "this stuff"... and why do we really need ways to do this?
Geoff the Medio wrote:
marhawkman wrote:I really like the idea of having somewhere around 9 ship sizes.
What's special about that particular range?
Simple. This way we have 3 small, three medium and three large.
Ok, so why do you want three sub-sizes for each size? Why not just three sizes? Note that there can and will likely be lots of different variations of ship design within a size in ways other than more subtle size variations...

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#33 Post by ewh02b » Fri Feb 24, 2006 4:14 am

marhawkman wrote:Simple. This way we have 3 small, three medium and three large. I suppose we could have the first two small sizes available immediately and the first medium size. I'd make people research the others later. That and having lots of sizes gives people a reason to do research.
ewh02b wrote:Wow...9 sizes?! What about 9 classes of ship, like the Star Wars system?
I like the idea of hull sizes. Classes are usually implemented as either specialized ships or just names for hull sizes.

Okay, I like this. 3 small classes, 3 medium classes, and 3 large classes. And by classes, I mean that the ship has a specific function, something the outer hull is designed specifically to do.

(These are just brainstorms)
3 small:
scout--max range/speed, no armor/weapons
covert ops--cloak, various cheapshot options?
fighter--minimal armor, decent weapons

3 medium:
missile crusier--long range, good sensors, standoff weapons
laser frigate--heavy armor, heavy beam weapons
??? (build your own? freighter?)

3 large:
Carrier--carries fighters, no direct offensive weapons, point defence
Dreadnought--heavy guns, heavy armor
??? (Death-star? build your own?)

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#34 Post by marhawkman » Fri Feb 24, 2006 5:11 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:
marhawkman wrote:
Wouldn't that encourage players to have more smaller ships?
Well the idea is to make smaller ships at least somewhat more attractive.
There's a difference between making it desirable to have *some* small ships, and the desire to have *many* small ships. Avoiding having many more small ships than big ships is a main point of this thread. So, we need a way to make make the player want to build relatively more big ships, and fewer small ships, not the other way around. This could mean that there are equal numbers of each size, or it could mean that there are no ships more than a few sizes smaller than the biggest available at any given turn.
Well small ships are pretty much target practice for large ships. That severely reduces their usefulness.
Geoff the Medio wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:...so it seems reasonable to make the huge good for carrying that stuff, and mediums, like naval cruisers, good for long distance force projection (and large, which are between medium and huge, good for actual combat, but not if you have to move them around a lot to get to the combat).
I suppose this would be good as a sort of default thing. But we really need ways to modify this stuff.
What do you mean by "modify" and "this stuff"... and why do we really need ways to do this?
We need techs you can cram into your ships to increase their range and maneuverability. It just makes the game more interesting that way.
Geoff the Medio wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:What's special about that particular range?
Simple. This way we have 3 small, three medium and three large.
Ok, so why do you want three sub-sizes for each size? Why not just three sizes? Note that there can and will likely be lots of different variations of ship design within a size in ways other than more subtle size variations...
I wasn't really thinking of subtle size variations. more like:
Small group:
10
25
62
Large group:
50
125
312
Ginormous group:
250
625
1562

Interesting huh? Maybe four would be better. The idea is to give people something to research in the way of ship tech. to add just a bit more to combat than just researching better weapons and armor.
ewh02b wrote:Okay, I like this. 3 small classes, 3 medium classes, and 3 large classes. And by classes, I mean that the ship has a specific function, something the outer hull is designed specifically to do.

(These are just brainstorms)
3 small:
scout--max range/speed, no armor/weapons
covert ops--cloak, various cheapshot options?
fighter--minimal armor, decent weapons

3 medium:
missile crusier--long range, good sensors, standoff weapons
laser frigate--heavy armor, heavy beam weapons
??? (build your own? freighter?)

3 large:
Carrier--carries fighters, no direct offensive weapons, point defence
Dreadnought--heavy guns, heavy armor
??? (Death-star? build your own?)
My idea involved designing the entire ship from the ground up. So no preset designs.
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#35 Post by utilae » Fri Feb 24, 2006 5:36 am

ewh02b wrote: Wow...9 sizes?! What about 9 classes of ship, like the Star Wars system? I'd prefer 9 specialized ships types over 9 generic sizes.

I'm all for using research and design to make changes to the ships. Certain classes of ships should have bonuses to various attributes, however. For example, since a Heavy Crusier has a lot of space inside, it should have a bonus to a carrier role.
We should keep Ship Size and Ship Class/Role seperate. I do not like how games like Moo2 have used roles to label sizes. It's very confusing.

I think that certain roles have there effects change based on the size of the ship, eg a small 'scout' has greater stealth rating then a large 'scout'.
Geoff the Medio wrote: Wouldn't that encourage players to have more smaller ships? The point of the above discussion about big ratios of effectiveness, and increasing effectiveness per unit cost with ship size, was to make it more effective to use big ships, so nobody would be able to make lots of small ships and compete, meaning everyone would make big ships, meaning everyone would have the same number of ships.

I am completely against this. The whole problem with many 4X games is that bigger is always better. That small ships become obsolete. I don't even know that the problem you are trying to remove is even a problem. How is having ships of similar size going to allow the player to manage them better. You obviously intend for the player to have only 10 large ships anyway so they are manageable, so there is no real solution. A solution would allow 10 or 50 ships and allow both to be managed.

We must have small and large ships intermixed. I do want to see a case where 50 small 'bug race' ships take on 3 'high tech race' huge ships and have the outcome be even.

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#36 Post by skdiw » Fri Feb 24, 2006 6:53 am

utilae wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote: Wouldn't that encourage players to have more smaller ships? The point of the above discussion about big ratios of effectiveness, and increasing effectiveness per unit cost with ship size, was to make it more effective to use big ships, so nobody would be able to make lots of small ships and compete, meaning everyone would make big ships, meaning everyone would have the same number of ships.

I am completely against this. The whole problem with many 4X games is that bigger is always better. That small ships become obsolete. I don't even know that the problem you are trying to remove is even a problem. How is having ships of similar size going to allow the player to manage them better. You obviously intend for the player to have only 10 large ships anyway so they are manageable, so there is no real solution. A solution would allow 10 or 50 ships and allow both to be managed.

We must have small and large ships intermixed. I do want to see a case where 50 small 'bug race' ships take on 3 'high tech race' huge ships and have the outcome be even.
I agree with untilae. I think what you said that you generally want more large ship than small is not representative of popular opinion. having many large ships makes the landscape very boring.

If large is generally more favorable, then you don't have a problem at all. small ships are desireable because there are some advantages like fast production.

If you want a roughly equal mixture of different sizes, the sizes must be researched in parallel, meaning the player can upgrade the performance of small, medium, and large ships at the same time, as oppose to small -> medium -> large progression. in other words, the performance of parallelism is 1:1:1; whereas, a traditional progresion requires an increase in performance, something like 1:2:4:8 is a common design. the reason why traditional 4x games have more large ships because the player spends resources on it, hence the MUST be better overall, and must be significantly so.
So you'd still want to research the harder-to-get sizes, since you do get a benefit from doing so. That doesn't mean the harder-to-get sizes are better than the easy-to-get ones, though...
this is a contradictory statement. moreover, you don't want large to have a niche role. that would severely undermine large ships and research.
:mrgreen:

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#37 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Feb 24, 2006 8:50 am

marhawkman wrote:Well small ships are pretty much target practice for large ships. That severely reduces their usefulness.
You need to give your statement some context... do you mean that in your envisioned system, small ships would be useless, thereby negating any problem with making it strategically effective to make a lot of small ships, or do you mean that, by definition, small ships are ineffective?
The idea is to give people something to research in the way of ship tech. to add just a bit more to combat than just researching better weapons and armor.
How does having three sub-sizes per size accomplish adding more to combat than just researching better weapons and armour (if there isn't already more to combat than that) ?
ewh02b wrote:3 small classes, 3 medium classes, and 3 large classes. And by classes, I mean that the ship has a specific function, something the outer hull is designed specifically to do. [...]
My idea involved designing the entire ship from the ground up. So no preset designs.
If you want to discuss premade ships roles vs. freeform design, please do it on another thread. I don't want to get too sidetracked from the issue of how big a range of ship numbers to have.
utilae wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:The point of the above discussion about big ratios of effectiveness, and increasing effectiveness per unit cost with ship size, was to make it more effective to use big ships, so nobody would be able to make lots of small ships and compete, meaning everyone would make big ships, meaning everyone would have the same number of ships.

I am completely against this. [...] I don't even know that the problem you are trying to remove is even a problem.
Do you disagree with me, or the idea I referred to there, which was not mine? My own suggestions are here and here which strived to have all sizes be useful and necessary for an optimal fleet, in roughly equal numbers, doing different jobs, with each size better suited than the others to some jobs, not just each jobs being best done by the biggest or smallest available size at any given time.

I wrote what I wanted twice, effectively, and it was ignored, and then for some reason my explanation of someone else's suggestion gets multiple quotes objecting...?
skdiw wrote:If you want a roughly equal mixture of different sizes, the sizes must be researched in parallel
Again, please explain what you mean by parallel as I asked in one of those linked posts.
So you'd still want to research the harder-to-get sizes, since you do get a benefit from doing so. That doesn't mean the harder-to-get sizes are better than the easy-to-get ones, though...
this is a contradictory statement.
You seem to not get the distinction between total performance, and performance according to specific criteria. Define the total value T of a ship size as the sum of its relative values according to several different measures. Those measures could be range R, fuel economy F, combat effectiveness C, stealth S, special equipment mounting ability E, travel velocity V, etc. Then, for any given ship size

T = R + F + C + S + E + V

You could argue that only the best one or two measures should count, or that the weighting should change, or that it should be each measure's value squared, etc. but that's beside the point. The point is that there can be several different ship sizes with the same total value T that all have different values in each of the components of T.

Then, you'd want to research the harder-to get sizes in order to get ships that are very good at some of the measures listed above that your current ships aren't as good at. This would give you a tool to make a better ship for a particular purpose than you could have made before, but it doesn't mean that the new size is any better overall than the ones you already had. You do get benefit from having researched the new size beacuse your newly available ship designs are better for a few roles than the ones you could make before, but you still need all the designs based on the older sizes for other roles to go with the new ones to make a good balanced fleet.
moreover, you don't want large to have a niche role. that would severely undermine large ships and research.
You're going to have to explain that one...

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#38 Post by utilae » Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:41 am

Geoff the Medio wrote: I wrote what I wanted twice, effectively, and it was ignored, and then for some reason my explanation of someone else's suggestion gets multiple quotes objecting...?
Sorry, sounded like you were reiterating the purpose of the thread. Oh well, everyone now knows my view.
Geoff the Medio wrote:
skdiw wrote:If you want a roughly equal mixture of different sizes, the sizes must be researched in parallel
Again, please explain what you mean by parallel as I asked in one of those linked posts.
I'l explain it to you.

You would have small, medium and large. Each at the same level. You could continue researching small for example, to increase its level, to keep your small ships competive with large ships.

eg current tech levels, this guy has focused on small ships:
Small -> 5
Medium -> 2
Large -> 2

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#39 Post by zobo » Fri Feb 24, 2006 4:04 pm

I'd like to butt in here.

I have also disapproved the MoO way of pretty much reducing single ships to obsolescence. And, actually, the middle ships are never used. In MoO 1 you either built small swarms or huge dreadnoughts. The midsized ships, not so much.

I think we have a way to keep all ships useful.

For this example I have used the traditional size classes of destroyer-cruiser-battleship-dreadnought

A ship should win clearly against the ships one size category smaller, given similar costs in resources used on both.

A ship should win barely against the ships two size categories smaller, again both built using the same resources.

A ship should loose against ships three size categories smaller with similar resources.

Thus let's say we start the game by having only ships of class destroyer to battleships. Now we have a winning class, that is clearly the best build. Bt let's say someone has only built battleships, and the enemy comes to the battle with dreadoughts. Now you're suddenly in a bad position, but had you also built destroyers you would do fine. Except if the enemy has cruisers against your destroyers, which in turn would lose to your battleships.

Basically, tactics time. You want to use your ships of certain category against your opponents certain ships while not hanging near certain other enemy ships.

How to do this? Well, a bigger ship has better armor and better weapons, but limited fire control. It can only destroy so many ships, and small enough vessels can crowd it.

I believe something similar was planned with ships using different armaments too, so if missile ships defeat long range fire defeats short range fire defeats missiles, then we have a two-dimensional rock-paper-scissors.

Add to the fact that technology might change things from time to time.

With this system I believe most players would build combined arms fleets that contain ships of all sizes. Something I'd find conceptually appealing.

I wouldn't mind if occasionally certain technologies would make one ship size dominate the battlefield for a while - we are building a program that simulates warfare in vastly differing technological stages. The very rules of war should change and change again. Think medieval knights - polearms - firearms - machine guns -tanks. The dominant force and strategies it necessitates changes.

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#40 Post by skdiw » Fri Feb 24, 2006 5:40 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
skdiw wrote:If you want a roughly equal mixture of different sizes, the sizes must be researched in parallel
Again, please explain what you mean by parallel as I asked in one of those linked posts.
utilae got the idea right. basically a parallel tech looks like

x1 -> x2 -> x3 -> x4 ....

y1 -> y2 -> y3 -> y4 ....

------------> a1 -> a2....

z1 -> z2 -> z3 -> z4...

------------------> b1 ...

where x, y, z, a, and b are different sizes from small to big as you go down the chart plotted with time as the research progresses from left to right. x1, x2 are improvements, so x2 are better than x1, but still in same size x. this could mean in your formula for example, T=... that a niche role (denoted by you as a variable E, say) was improved by maybe a refinement tech.

because the techs are imrpoved in parallel, the overall performance remains 1:1:1, which is what I tried to explain in the previous post. in contrast, the sequential nature of traditiional design must result an improvement in performance over time.

note that in the plot depicted, somewhere down the line can spawn new ship classes. of course, we don't have to design this to be the case if you guys find it stupid.

In comparision, a traditional progession looks like

x1

y1

z1

-----> a1

------------>b1

----------------->c1

.............................


So you'd still want to research the harder-to-get sizes, since you do get a benefit from doing so. That doesn't mean the harder-to-get sizes are better than the easy-to-get ones, though...
this is a contradictory statement.
You seem to not get the distinction between total performance, and performance according to specific criteria. Define the total value T of a ship size as the sum of its relative values according to several different measures. Those measures could be range R, fuel economy F, combat effectiveness C, stealth S, special equipment mounting ability E, travel velocity V, etc. Then, for any given ship size

T = R + F + C + S + E + V

You could argue that only the best one or two measures should count, or that the weighting should change, or that it should be each measure's value squared, etc. but that's beside the point. The point is that there can be several different ship sizes with the same total value T that all have different values in each of the components of T.

Then, you'd want to research the harder-to get sizes in order to get ships that are very good at some of the measures listed above that your current ships aren't as good at. This would give you a tool to make a better ship for a particular purpose than you could have made before, but it doesn't mean that the new size is any better overall than the ones you already had. You do get benefit from having researched the new size beacuse your newly available ship designs are better for a few roles than the ones you could make before, but you still need all the designs based on the older sizes for other roles to go with the new ones to make a good balanced fleet.
[/quote]

if you have a larger size, the overall performance should be more like 2T, instead of just T. if you just improve a small stats such as E, you need to improve it like 10 time so that the overall performance is 2T after weighing. you don't want a tech that improves something that much so drastically. so the best way, and also the fun and traditional way is to have large hulls being just that: more room to put stuff in depending on what player desires, whether it's improvement in E or R, the ship is performance is 2T. if you make the bonus small, like 2E that results in an overall performance of 1.2T, then i'm afriad the tech is too insignificant. of course, this is under traditional design. that's what i meant by "moreover, you don't want large to have a niche role. that would severely undermine large ships and research." because if you are spending 100 million rp into a new Death Star class, that ship class better got some major advantages to compensate for the rp investment.

however, if you want improvement in niche role, the way to implement that is parallelism. if that's what you meant by harder-to-get sizes, like x2 and x3 for x1 size category, then i more or less agree with you (though, T should still gradually increase, even though a specific performance goes up by 2x). note that one problem here is that you are competing with other tech tree, like researching in R or F to improve those specific performances. but if your mindset is a traditional one like what i understood you, then i'm don't think it will work.
:mrgreen:

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#41 Post by utilae » Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:05 pm

@Zobo
Your idea doesn't make any sense at all. It would not work.
Last edited by utilae on Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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#42 Post by marhawkman » Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:05 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
marhawkman wrote:Well small ships are pretty much target practice for large ships. That severely reduces their usefulness.
You need to give your statement some context... do you mean that in your envisioned system, small ships would be useless, thereby negating any problem with making it strategically effective to make a lot of small ships, or do you mean that, by definition, small ships are ineffective?
In combat small ships(should) need to have a numbers advantage to win against slightly larger ships. Frigates are pretty much NEVER gonna win against a superdreadnought unless there's a crapload of them and even then some would be destroyed. A few frigates vs a destroyer should be much more even though.
Geoff the Medio wrote:
The idea is to give people something to research in the way of ship tech. to add just a bit more to combat than just researching better weapons and armor.
How does having three sub-sizes per size accomplish adding more to combat than just researching better weapons and armour (if there isn't already more to combat than that) ?
Erm. I just picked a number off the top of my head really. A number that's a bit bigger than what I've seen in MoO2 and Stars!. The subsizes bit was just mixing it with your idea.
skdiw wrote:utilae got the idea right. basically a parallel tech looks like

x1 -> x2 -> x3 -> x4 ....

y1 -> y2 -> y3 -> y4 ....

------------> a1 -> a2....

z1 -> z2 -> z3 -> z4...

------------------> b1 ...

where x, y, z, a, and b are different sizes from small to big as you go down the chart plotted with time as the research progresses from left to right. x1, x2 are improvements, so x2 are better than x1, but still in same size x. this could mean in your formula for example, T=... that a niche role (denoted by you as a variable E, say) was improved by maybe a refinement tech.

because the techs are imrpoved in parallel, the overall performance remains 1:1:1, which is what I tried to explain in the previous post. in contrast, the sequential nature of traditiional design must result an improvement in performance over time.
ooohhh.... Pretty. I like this idea. It gives you a way to continue research into new hulls without having a crapload of basic designs.
skdiw wrote:note that in the plot depicted, somewhere down the line can spawn new ship classes. of course, we don't have to design this to be the case if you guys find it stupid.

In comparision, a traditional progession looks like

x1

y1

z1

-----> a1

------------>b1

----------------->c1

.............................


this is a contradictory statement.
You seem to not get the distinction between total performance, and performance according to specific criteria. Define the total value T of a ship size as the sum of its relative values according to several different measures. Those measures could be range R, fuel economy F, combat effectiveness C, stealth S, special equipment mounting ability E, travel velocity V, etc. Then, for any given ship size

T = R + F + C + S + E + V

You could argue that only the best one or two measures should count, or that the weighting should change, or that it should be each measure's value squared, etc. but that's beside the point. The point is that there can be several different ship sizes with the same total value T that all have different values in each of the components of T.

Then, you'd want to research the harder-to get sizes in order to get ships that are very good at some of the measures listed above that your current ships aren't as good at. This would give you a tool to make a better ship for a particular purpose than you could have made before, but it doesn't mean that the new size is any better overall than the ones you already had. You do get benefit from having researched the new size beacuse your newly available ship designs are better for a few roles than the ones you could make before, but you still need all the designs based on the older sizes for other roles to go with the new ones to make a good balanced fleet.
if you have a larger size, the overall performance should be more like 2T, instead of just T. if you just improve a small stats such as E, you need to improve it like 10 time so that the overall performance is 2T after weighing. you don't want a tech that improves something that much so drastically. so the best way, and also the fun and traditional way is to have large hulls being just that: more room to put stuff in depending on what player desires, whether it's improvement in E or R, the ship is performance is 2T. if you make the bonus small, like 2E that results in an overall performance of 1.2T, then i'm afriad the tech is too insignificant. of course, this is under traditional design. that's what i meant by "moreover, you don't want large to have a niche role. that would severely undermine large ships and research." because if you are spending 100 million rp into a new Death Star class, that ship class better got some major advantages to compensate for the rp investment.

however, if you want improvement in niche role, the way to implement that is parallelism. if that's what you meant by harder-to-get sizes, like x2 and x3 for x1 size category, then i more or less agree with you (though, T should still gradually increase, even though a specific performance goes up by 2x). note that one problem here is that you are competing with other tech tree, like researching in R or F to improve those specific performances. but if your mindset is a traditional one like what i understood you, then i'm don't think it will work.[/quote]Hehe... this is kinda what I was pointing out when I said "target practice". Combat value tends to outweigh other considerations. Small ships need a use beyond direct combat to be useful. oooohhhh... Here's an idea!!! Ship mounted Quantum Detonators! Basically it's a spaceship built like a car bomb to blow up others. Relatively small design, but if it manages to connect with it's payload it'll do a significant amount of damage to a large ship. But there's a good chance it'll be blown up first since it's much smaller.
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#43 Post by utilae » Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:19 pm

I think that there are some properties of a ship that are better when the ship is larger or better when the ship is smaller. Smaller ships tend to have more advantages, but these advantages are not as potent as a large ships advantages, ie more space means more weapons, equipment, etc.

Properties
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'Small Ship Advantages' - Better if ship is smaller
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Stealth - The larger the ship the easier it is to detect.
Manueverability (Turning at speed) - Larger ships are more difficult to turn.
Fuel Efficiency - Per unit, larger ships use more fuel than smaller ships, however larger ships can fit more fuel supplies.
Speed - Because smaller ships use less fuel per unit, they need smaller engines than large ships to achieve the same speed.
Crew Required - Larger ships require more crew, therefore more initial and upkeep costs (living quarters, food, etc).
Harder To Hit - It's easier to hit a large object then a small object.
Cost/Maintenance - Less for smaller ships


'Large Ship Advantages' - Better if ships is larger
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Max Armour/Structure - Larger ships last longer in battle when taking damage, however small ships are harder to hit
Space - More space to fit weapons/equipment/crew/fighters/fuel/items that take very large amounts of space.


That's what I could think of anyway.


So basically in terms of Small, Medium and Large:
Small - Gains optimum 'small ship' advantages Minimum 'large ship' advantages.
Medium - Gains middleground 'small ship' and 'large ship' advantages. This is the best of both worlds, so it lacks the extremes and therefore is more of a versatile size.
Large - Gains optium 'large ship' advantages. Minimum 'small ship' advantages.

Note that tech can improve properties, ie make a small ship have more space or a large ship need less crew or use less fuel per unit.

Magus
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#44 Post by Magus » Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:47 pm

I know I'm a bit behind the curve of the discussion now, but I would like to bring up a few things:
Magus wrote:
...you could have a [combat-effectiveness] ratio like this: 1:2:6:24:120:720 (thats n!), or something slightly easier like 1:2:8:32:128:512 (2^(2n-1) starting at the 2) or some other kind of exponential function.
[...]
However, their cost would closer approximate a direct 1:2:4:8:16:32. This would ensure that in the massive epic battles of uberness, there aren't thousands of ships because any outside the upper size tiers are going to get blasted to glowing debris really fast, so they won't be brought in large numbers.
[...]
Cuts down on number of ships in any battle, as "swarming" is not effective economically or tactically...
That's an interesting way of looking at it... Though it would seem to weight things extremely strongly towards using the largest ships possible in combat. This means that anyone who fell behind the tech curve just couldn't compete at all, and means there's very little use for small ships, meaning very little variety in ship size and fleet composition, and no really viable strategies other than building lots of the biggest ships you can...

So it might accomplish the goal of preventing a huge range of numbers of ships in a fleet, by making it impractical to make lots of ships in any case (too expensive, or useless anyway)... But it would also eliminate a lot of the viable choices that really make a strategy game interesting. So I'd really prefer, if possible, a solution that allows big and small ships to co-exist, and for one or the other to be viably preferred over the other in a particular strategy, yet still doesn't make it necessary to have many more of the small ships to compete with anyone who has big ships.
First, the extreme weighting of the ships was because of the exponential functions I happened to be using. Obviously, different functions can reduce the weighting. And "falling behind the tech curve" would be difficult. I envision a new size class being brought to bear, every 100 years or so. Since second tier ships are just as cost effective, that would mean that a ship's size has a lifetime of approximately two centuries. If you are two centuries behind the tech curve, ship size is the least of your worries. By that point your enemy could send things in smaller size categories than what you have, and expect to win.

As for the use of small ships: Fleets don't fight over nothing. Small ships can evade engaging larger ones, and can try to accomplish other goals. Say I have 8 Dreadnoughts (1st tier) and 14 Battlecruisers (3rd tier), attacking a planet with 12 Dreadnoughts defending. I loop my BCs around the planet out of enemy range, and then slowly begin to move my Dreadnoughts in. If they survive to bombardment range of the planet, its industry will be crippled. So the enemy has a choice: go out to meet the Dreadnoughts and have the BCs come in and rip up the orbital infrastructure, stay in orbit and let the Dreadnoughts come and glass the planet, killing as many Dreadnoughts as possible, or split the fleet 9:3 and try to kill both groups seperately, but risk the BCs coming back to assist the DNs and being defeated in detail. Yes, that is a fairly idealized situation, but thats about what I'm going for.

And last, no variety in fleet composition? Even if your entire fleet was made of 1st-tier ships, by no means does that make them the same, and hopefully the above example removes the reasoning behind having all 1st-tiers. How varied the fleet composition proves to be depends on the design system in use.
Magus wrote:
...tactical uses of smaller vessels ... aren't enough to make up for the size disadvantage. Its the strategic uses that matter more, with star systems further behind the borders facing raids of 3rd-5th tier vessels with pickets of similar strength, while the 1st tier ships slug it out along the bleeding edge. If 1st tier ships are dispatched to guard the rear, that player probably can't afford to guard every world with them, and those are potent battleships fighting off raids instead of fighting in full scale fleet actions where they belong.
Geoff wrote:
I'm skeptical about the assumptions in this. It seems a bit contrived that all the fleet actions will be nicely contained in the centre and there will be a big mass of less-valuable planets that (only) get attacked by and defended by small ship sizes (giving your small old ships something to do, I suppose)... I suspect more likely you'd just end up throwing all your soon-to-be antiquated ships into battle as soon as possible to get some real use out of them before they're even more antiquated, or scrapping any that are old enough to be not worth their cost to upkeep.
Well, I am fairly confident that there will be "Contested Systems" on the borders, and more vulnerable rear areas. Why? Starlanes. Your fleets can only meet at a few star systems, unless you're sending fleets on decades long journeys around the enemy to come in through other starlane junctures. So it would make sense to put the biggest garrisons at those meeting points as possible. If you bring in capital ships, they'll meet in battle for that garrison. But smaller ships could slip into the system, use their greater speed and stealth to evade the garrision, and then proceed deeper into the enemy's empire. This is, of course, assuming starlane ends don't have defined "jump points." If they do... then some things may have to change.

ewh02b
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#45 Post by ewh02b » Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:01 pm

Everyone seems to be talking about "small", "medium", and "large" sizes, and possibly 2 new sizes, either above large or between existing sizes.

Are we reaching some sort of agreement that 3-5 sizes is enough?

What about the attractiveness of needing to research the 4th and 5th sizes?

@utilae:
the reason medium-sized ships are never used is because they compromise too much; they cannot stand up to large ships head on, and cannot dodge like smaller ships. This problem needs a more creative solution.

Suggestions:
Medium could be the minimum size for a lot of weapons (due to space constraints and/or energy requirements), and the maximum size for certain weapons. For example, we could rule that only medium or smaller could be agile enough to start/maintain a tractor beam.

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