Are Ginormous Ships Necessary?

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marhawkman
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#46 Post by marhawkman » Fri Feb 24, 2006 11:25 pm

ewh02b wrote: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?
No not really. The consensus actually appears to me that researching new hulls shouldn't be something you only do once or twice.
ewh02b wrote:What about the attractiveness of needing to research the 4th and 5th sizes?
see above
ewh02b wrote:@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.
Which is part of the discussion and why geoff suggested giving them the best range.
ewh02b wrote: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.
I don't like this idea. What could possibly make it so that you couldn't mount a tractor beam on a bigger hull? it's just bad from a realism standpoint.
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#47 Post by ewh02b » Sat Feb 25, 2006 12:51 am

we're not allowed to use realism as an argument, man. :lol: That aside, I thought it was realistic that a large ship would have difficulty locking onto a smaller ship with a tractor beam--the smaller ship could simply run to the other side of the larger ship before a hard lock was achieved.

I made a suggestion in the Fuel thread on how medium ships could be more useful for offence, btw.

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#48 Post by marhawkman » Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:00 am

ewh02b wrote:we're not allowed to use realism as an argument, man. :lol: That aside, I thought it was realistic that a large ship would have difficulty locking onto a smaller ship with a tractor beam--the smaller ship could simply run to the other side of the larger ship before a hard lock was achieved.
But that won't stop a Leviathan from mounting one anyways. It'll just make it hard for a Leviathan to lock on to a frigate. and we are allowed to use realism as an argument it's just not gonna be the only reason to do something.
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#49 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Feb 25, 2006 7:51 am

skdiw wrote:...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.
I'm not sure what you mean by x1, x2, etc, being improvements. I think of hull sizes as something you'd just research once, like chases in SMAC. What determines how good your ships of a particular size are is the other components that you'd stick into the ship design. Many of those components would be usable (or would have versions usable) in several different ship sizes, so any research into components would be appliable, and thus improve, several different ship sizes... so my chart would look like:

Code: Select all

....tiny .......................
small ..........................
....... medium .................
............... large ..........
....................... huge ...
where each size listed is just a single tech. Improvements in ships with time would be due to researching better parts, not researching the hull size again (since you already know how to make ships of that size).
...for any given ship size

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

...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.
if you have a larger size, the overall performance should be more like 2T, instead of just T.
T can be normalized by cost if you like, that's not the important part.
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.
There is no tech "improving" anything. There are only techs that unlock new bigger ship sizes that are better at some measures than the existing ship sizes. Additionally, the new ship would be worse in some measures than the existing ships. For example, for arbitrary example measures of range R, combat effectiveness C, stealth S, special equipment mounting ability E, travel velocity V, with arbitrary numbers:

Code: Select all

  tiny small medium large huge
R   3    4      5     3     1
C   1    2      3     5     2
S   5    4      3     2     1
E   1    2      2     2     5
V   3    5      3     2     1
No size is best at everything, each size is best at something, and each size is best in a measure that no other size is best at, so is best for different roles (though there can be several roles per size, depending how roles are set up / balanced / defined).
[edit]velocity probably shouldn't be size-dependent, but rather engine-tech dependent, but the principle in the above remains[/edit]
ewh02b wrote:Are we reaching some sort of agreement that 3-5 sizes is enough?
Not really... if there justification for having more than that, or not having discrete sizes at all, then I'd like to hear it... Though I'm partial to a small number of discrete sizes.
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.
Sounds reasonable in principle...

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#50 Post by marhawkman » Sat Feb 25, 2006 9:44 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:
skdiw wrote:...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.
I'm not sure what you mean by x1, x2, etc, being improvements. I think of hull sizes as something you'd just research once, like chases in SMAC.
Simple.... Lets say that z is a cruiser. Z starts out as Z1 with a hull capacity of 50. when you research Z2 it has 55, and z3 has 60 etc.... With the only real differences being the size of the hull.
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#51 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:43 am

marhawkman wrote:Lets say that z is a cruiser. Z starts out as Z1 with a hull capacity of 50. when you research Z2 it has 55, and z3 has 60 etc.... With the only real differences being the size of the hull.
What does a "hull capacity" indicate? The ship design system hasn't been decided on, and you can't assume it will work just like any of the MOO games.

Further, if hull capacity was a limit on how much stuff you can put in a design, where each thing took some amount of capacity, such small increments would be bad. They're too small to make the new sizes really distinct from the smaller ones for players; they'd just be minor improvements to the existing size. But they're still changes, which would break upgrade compatibility for ship classes by adding more space, allowing more parts to be added, meaning the upgrade requires a redesign, not just swapping out old parts, or a new subclass of ships to be possible with the new slightly bigger hull and all the old parts plus maybe one more part the extra space let you fit. This is just like miniaturization of parts, which allows more parts per ship, breaking the simplicity of swap-out upgrades and requiring instead a redesign, which has been discussed at length.

Please don't reply about ship design systems in this thread. Make or find another thread if you want to discuss it in depth separately from the size issue.

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#52 Post by solrac776 » Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:03 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:Please don't reply about ship design systems in this thread. Make or find another thread if you want to discuss it in depth separately from the size issue.
Marhawkman was just giving an example, Geoff, to try and give the clarification that you asked for. There was no need to be so critical.
ewh02b wrote:Are we reaching some sort of agreement that 3-5 sizes is enough?
A size breakdown of between 3-5 ships seems to come up often throughout this thread. The main sticking points have been about what to do with the largest ship size. Assuming a size break-down of Small-Medium-Large-Huge, then traditionally Huge ships are uber-fighters "X" times more powerful than Large. Geoff seems to prefer a different role for Huge ships, a support role (like carrying equipment that would benefit the entire fleet).

I'd agree with this support role for Huge ships.

We all seem to agree that smaller ships are faster and more manoeuverable, and that larger ships take more hits and pack more punch. I agree with Utilae then in identifying advantages for each ship size. If we agree that the larger the ship the less manoeuverable it is, then ships beyond a certain size would start being less and less useful in combat. Then (in keeping with Geoff's role-based argument) a Huge ships' size would so impede their combat affectiveness that they wouldn't be the optimal ships for combat. I agree with Utilae in that this makes sense as a really large ship would need more time to turn, would be easier to hit, would be less able to evade missiles, be less responsive against smaller ships, etc..

So Huge ships would be less tailored towards combat and more tailored towards carrying special systems (especially systems that are too large to put on a smaller ship) that would then benefit the fleet as a whole.

Having Huge ships be support vessels instead of as uber-fighting machines makes all the smaller ships more useful. There is no longer a class of ship that so out-classes the smallest ships to render them next to useless in the middle-to-end game. So players would get more use out of their Small ships but still have to decidedly out-number a Large ship to expect an even chance of winning (but can expect to suffer significant losses), and Medium ships are still an integral part of the fleet.

Also, using Huge ships as support vessels adds a new level of tactics to combat. A fleet with such a support ship would have an advantage over a fleet that didn't. So taking out the other fleet's support ship becomes a viable strategy. Then the advantages that each ship-size has come to the fore and would suggest their roles in combat. More manoeuverable Small ships would be the best at getting behind the front-lines and to the support ship. Medium ships and Large ships would be used to punch a hole in the enemy line and then to mop up afterwards or to protect the back-line support ships.

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#53 Post by marhawkman » Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:54 pm

solrac776 wrote:A size breakdown of between 3-5 ships seems to come up often throughout this thread. The main sticking points have been about what to do with the largest ship size. Assuming a size break-down of Small-Medium-Large-Huge, then traditionally Huge ships are uber-fighters "X" times more powerful than Large. Geoff seems to prefer a different role for Huge ships, a support role (like carrying equipment that would benefit the entire fleet).

I'd agree with this support role for Huge ships.

We all seem to agree that smaller ships are faster and more manoeuverable, and that larger ships take more hits and pack more punch. I agree with Utilae then in identifying advantages for each ship size. If we agree that the larger the ship the less manoeuverable it is, then ships beyond a certain size would start being less and less useful in combat. Then (in keeping with Geoff's role-based argument) a Huge ships' size would so impede their combat affectiveness that they wouldn't be the optimal ships for combat. I agree with Utilae in that this makes sense as a really large ship would need more time to turn, would be easier to hit, would be less able to evade missiles, be less responsive against smaller ships, etc..

So Huge ships would be less tailored towards combat and more tailored towards carrying special systems (especially systems that are too large to put on a smaller ship) that would then benefit the fleet as a whole.

Having Huge ships be support vessels instead of as uber-fighting machines makes all the smaller ships more useful. There is no longer a class of ship that so out-classes the smallest ships to render them next to useless in the middle-to-end game. So players would get more use out of their Small ships but still have to decidedly out-number a Large ship to expect an even chance of winning (but can expect to suffer significant losses), and Medium ships are still an integral part of the fleet.

Also, using Huge ships as support vessels adds a new level of tactics to combat. A fleet with such a support ship would have an advantage over a fleet that didn't. So taking out the other fleet's support ship becomes a viable strategy. Then the advantages that each ship-size has come to the fore and would suggest their roles in combat. More manoeuverable Small ships would be the best at getting behind the front-lines and to the support ship. Medium ships and Large ships would be used to punch a hole in the enemy line and then to mop up afterwards or to protect the back-line support ships.
Hmm... this really seems best used strategically. I mean your Leviathan could be anything from a supply ship to a Carrier or Missile launcher. I like the element of surprise that would add. Your opponent's frigates take heavy fire flanking your main fleet just to discover the ship they're trying to take out is a carrier. :lol: At which point the main fleet breaks off and lets the fighters finish them. :P

I like the idea of having the Doom Serpent/Leviathan/superdreadnaught type ships be ponderously slow and easy to attack, but having them relegated to specific tasks doesn't seem good either.
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#54 Post by skdiw » Sat Feb 25, 2006 5:59 pm

we made a full circle geoff. okay, let first discuss what our battle landscape is like. becuase your way seems to have a landscape different from others, at least according to certain posts. do we want a roughly equal mixture of different sized ships? if the answer is yes, parallelism is need. if not, a traditional progression will suffice.
think of hull sizes as something you'd just research once, like chases in SMAC. What determines how good your ships of a particular size are is the other components that you'd stick into the ship design. Many of those components would be usable (or would have versions usable) in several different ship sizes
i agree with you. the differrent sizes or chasis are researched once. you stick whatever components in there. the different chasis may comprised of better "power plant" or something else that makes their performance in certain area better than predecesor. or the improvements could be a bigger hull size than before.

note that in your design, you also have competing factors: improvement in certain measures of the ship by increasing size, or just improving the measure and sticking it into your ship.
Code:

....tiny .......................
small ..........................
....... medium .................
............... large ..........
....................... huge ...

where each size listed is just a single tech. Improvements in ships with time would be due to researching better parts, not researching the hull size again (since you already know how to make ships of that size).
this is a traditional progression. i don't have much problem, except i think you don't understand how such a tree will play out. i'm saying it will inevitably lead to large ships vs. large ships, like all other games. let me explain why this must be the case below.
T can be normalized by cost if you like, that's not the important part.
i think this is where you have the wrong concept. T cannot be normalized. each generation of ships must have greater T.

research is considered growth part of rps macro-strategy. that means research must pay off more than it's investments in the long run, or else research serves minimal purpose for the player. therefore, T must increase, and connot be normalized to the same T after normalization.



the only way i find your idea might work, is that the landscape changes over time to facilitate a strong need to research a new size to fit that niche. that is very difficult to have it worked and balanced out for the player to justify a large rp investment to do a measure better and worst of other measures. we would need to think very carefully about our evolution of battles and avoid having "weak" or useless niches. Without increase in T, i'm not sure if the idea will work. i'm afraid at competitive games, players may only use bread-and-butter ships and skip investments in large hull sizes.

evolution of battles is certainly very interesting. however, it requires a workable lists of niches/measures that we can play with to start brainstorming. the problem i have is envisioning several niches that will developed that would justify large investments into a new size with constant T.

just a thought, you progress from scouting age -> defense age -> strategic targets age -> domination -> transcendence age... so you research tiny ships for faster and better scouting, then you do medium ships for defense, then large ships to attack and protect strategic spots, then you build huge support ships for your armada to eliminate players, then you build super large ships with weapons that blow things up from a different star system. all this could parallel with economic developments so you get techs and infrasctucture to utilize and find special resources in end of defense age. I suppose you would want a mixture of ships at each stage of evolution. though, one possible big flaw is that strategy are more or less set from beginning of the game. that might add some monotonous that players might find boring.

another thought: instead of ship sizes, maybe its better to say ship classes. for example, there might be a class of called multi-dimensional ship. it has good stealth and uses powerful multi-dimensional weapon. the ship isn't any bigger, but just stealthier and can mount better weapons. maybe you can throw in some disadvantage like moves slower. concepts is the same, just better sci-fi, makes ship size ratio irrelvalent.
:mrgreen:

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#55 Post by utilae » Sat Feb 25, 2006 9:35 pm

solrac776 wrote: So Huge ships would be less tailored towards combat and more tailored towards carrying special systems (especially systems that are too large to put on a smaller ship) that would then benefit the fleet as a whole.

Having Huge ships be support vessels instead of as uber-fighting machines makes all the smaller ships more useful.
Yes, this is good. Huge ships could be uber fighting machines full of plasma cannons and have heaps more armour than any other ship size, but because they are not agile and are easy to hit, they *are* taking the punches, where small, medium and possibly large ships may avoid such hits, the huge ship would never be able to avoid such hits, unless it had tech specialising in evasion.

The huge ships could be fitted with weapons and equipment that takes up alot of space, ie the stellar converter. This makes them seem more comparable to building a death star or planet killer. So it would be great if there roles occured in this way, all because if their size.

Also, what gravitational effects would huge ships have on objects around them such as planets, moons, asteroids and other ships.

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#56 Post by marhawkman » Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:59 pm

utilae wrote:Also, what gravitational effects would huge ships have on objects around them such as planets, moons, asteroids and other ships.
I'd say we don't need to worry about that.
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#57 Post by solrac776 » Sun Feb 26, 2006 2:09 pm

marhawkman wrote:I like the element of surprise that would add. Your opponent's frigates take heavy fire flanking your main fleet just to discover the ship they're trying to take out is a carrier. :lol: At which point the main fleet breaks off and lets the fighters finish them. :P

I like the idea of having the Doom Serpent/Leviathan/superdreadnaught type ships be ponderously slow and easy to attack, but having them relegated to specific tasks doesn't seem good either.
I too like that Carrier scenario. And a Huge ship being a Carrier is in keeping with the idea of a Huge ship being a support vessel instead of an enormous weapons-platform. I too am against pre-set designs and restricting something that takes choice away from the player. Which is exactly what specific tasks do, so I'm in agreement with you there marhawkman. (Mind you, specialist units have worked well in RTS games like Warcraft, but I still prefer having the player design their own)

I just think that if we go with Utilae's suggestion of having innate properties that depend on a ship's size, that a Huge ship would be -- without modifications -- less able in combat. That doesn't mean that a player couldn't load it up with modules to ameliorate the disadvantages due to its size and load it up with armour and weapons -- it would just be expensive to do so (and a smaller ship with the same modules would still run rings around it). It would be more economical to use the ship as a transport/carrier/support ship with mainly point-defense. But the decision of what to do with the design would, and should be, the player's.

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#58 Post by ewh02b » Sun Feb 26, 2006 4:08 pm

I agree with solrac and marhawkman.

#1. Is the consensus now that Ginormous ships are, in fact, necessary/desireable? That is the point of this thread, after all.

#2. Do we agree that a sufficient amount of medium and/or small ships should be able to defeat large ships?

#3. Do we agree that each class of ships should be best at something (Large=combat, etc)?

#4. Do we agree that ship design should be up to the player, but modified by #3?

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#59 Post by marhawkman » Sun Feb 26, 2006 10:47 pm

solrac776 wrote:(Mind you, specialist units have worked well in RTS games like Warcraft, but I still prefer having the player design their own)
Quite true. But in a game like this designing good specialist units is part of the fun. :) I mean do you want your carrier to have no weapons other than the fighters or do you want to sacrifice fighter space to add in some point-defense weapons? Nothing but fighter would be great IF it would always be escorted by battleships, but if not then it'll need some direct-fire weapons of it's own. It's decisions like that that make ships design fun.
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#60 Post by Geoff the Medio » Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:19 pm

solrac776 wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:Please don't reply about ship design systems in this thread. Make or find another thread if you want to discuss it in depth separately from the size issue.
Marhawkman was just giving an example, Geoff, to try and give the clarification that you asked for. There was no need to be so critical.
That wasn't directed at Marhawkman specifically, but rather anyone replying, and I wasn't being critical, though I can see how you'd read it that way.
So players would get more use out of their Small ships but still have to decidedly out-number a Large ship to expect an even chance of winning (but can expect to suffer significant losses), and Medium ships are still an integral part of the fleet.
In my conception, you'd use the small ships for things other than fighting big ships directly anyway.
skdiw wrote:the differrent sizes or chasis are researched once. you stick whatever components in there. the different chasis may comprised of better "power plant" or something else that makes their performance in certain area better than predecesor. or the improvements could be a bigger hull size than before.
What's a "chasis" now, and how's it different from size?

In my suggestion, if there were "power plant" parts or somesuch, they'd be just another component you'd add, not an integral part of the ship size...
note that in your design, you also have competing factors: improvement in certain measures of the ship by increasing size, or just improving the measure and sticking it into your ship.
I can't tell what you're trying to say here...

Code: Select all

....tiny .......................
small ..........................
....... medium .................
............... large ..........
....................... huge ...
this is a traditional progression. i don't have much problem, except i think you don't understand how such a tree will play out. i'm saying it will inevitably lead to large ships vs. large ships, like all other games. let me explain why this must be the case below.
Just having some sizes become available later does not mean the later sizes will be the only ones viable to be used later in the game. You'd still need some of the earlier sizes after getting the later ones.... in fact you'd want equal numbers of each. There is "parallelism" in that you use all available sizes at any given time.

I can see some argument for making it possible to get to the bigger ship sizes earlier though. It might be nice to have it be possible to focus on either the bigger or the smaller ship sizes at the expense of the other. An empire could focus entirely on ships, and get all the sizes, or partly on ships, and get either (large + huge) ships or (small + medium + tiny) ships but not all, or could focus on things other than ships and just build a few small ships and do their other non-ship strategy.
T can be normalized by cost if you like, that's not the important part.
i think this is where you have the wrong concept. T cannot be normalized. each generation of ships must have greater T.
Successive ship sizes are not "generations". They are all to be used simultaneously.

We could perhaps have refinements of ship sizes (contrary to my previous suggestion), that would hopefully also make smaller ship sizes more expensive to produce, but also better in some way (though not in a way that compromizes the distinct pros/cos of different ship sizes). These refinements would need to be significant improvements though, not baby-steps, or could be something you could seamlessly upgrade existing ships of the same size to, like replacing weapons with newer versions. I suspect this would be better treated by just improving the ship parts that get put into the ship, rather than having the hull size itself be upgradable in anyway, though...
research is considered growth part of rps macro-strategy. that means research must pay off more than it's investments in the long run, or else research serves minimal purpose for the player. therefore, T must increase, and connot be normalized to the same T after normalization.
Research can pay off even if T of all individual ship sizes is equal, if the combined fleet effectiveness increases due to having more different sizes in the fleet. Combined arms is much more effective than using a single type of weapon.

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