Lunar bodies and other dead horses

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

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spottboy
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Lunar bodies and other dead horses

#1 Post by spottboy »

I am new to the game, but I had to wonder about the complete lack of moons.

My suggestion is this:

1. Each planet of size small or larger possesses the potential to have a moon. Each moon must be at least 1 size smaller than the parent planet. Small planets may have no more than 1 moon, normal planets 2, large 4, huge 8, and gas giants 16 (I know that gas giants can have more, but most of these moons have no appreciable size). In addition, gas giants may have a planetary ring (an asteroid belt around the planet). The chance for a moon should be extremely low for smaller planets, with most of the moons concentrated around gas giants. Asteroid belts cannot have moons, obviously, and tiny planets do not have the mass to hold an appreciable moon. I recommend a 1% chance for small worlds, a 5% chance for normal worlds, a 20% chance for large, a 60% chance for huge, and a 99% chance for gas giants.

2. Each moon should have a 90% chance of being barren, toxic, inferno, or radiated. They should have a 9% chance of tundra or swamp, a .9% chance of desert or ocean, a .09% chance of being terran, and a .01% chance of being Gaian. Additionally, each gas giant moon should have a (total number of moons/16) chance of being a planetary ring instead.

3. Every moon should possess at least 1 trait per size catagory difference between the moon and the planet. These traits should be weighted towards undesirable traits, such as tidal lock, high axial tilt etc.

4. Moons can be indicated by a line underneath the production indicators. A click reveals the moon icons the same way that a click reveals the production bars. This would prevent a planet-dense system with high lunar body density from taking an hour to scroll across. The number and type of moon could be displayed on the reduced bar. Icons for lunar traits would only show on the expanded bar.

5. Each moon should be treated as 1 catagory less on the suitable for colonization scale, due to the large planetary body that they orbit. The exception, of course, is gaian.

6. Moons cannot build orbitals due to the interference of the planetary gravity well. Each moon takes the place of 1 potential orbital station.

7. Moons can mount any planetary defense systems that planets can, such as planetary shields and ground-to-orbit weapons systems.

8. Moons have a stabilizing effect on their mother planet. This would be shown as a trait icon under the planet, with a small but appreciable bonus to the productivity of the planet. Alternately, the existance of one or more moons around a planet could remove 1 undesirable trait from that planet, determined randomly.

Also, I would like to suggest adding meteor showers and comets. Meteor showers could be a randomly assigned trait for some planets that adds mineral resources and research while detracting from agriculture and industry. The adjustments for these would be small. As for comets, their presence would result in a slight chance of deep impact (as a disaster). Deep impacts would destroy a random percentage of all improvements, kill a random percentage of the population, and destroy a random percentage of surviving production. The damage could be rebuilt in time, if some of the population survives.

I know that these items might have been beaten to death already in discussion, but I feel that their presence would provide the potential for an otherwise marginal system to become worthwhile. In addition, the increased resources of that system would make it strategically valuable compared to a system without heavy lunar concentrations.

One final question. Will you be looking at binary and trinary stars? If the star type has an effect on the planet count, then a binary or trinary star would stand a chance of more planets, while the effect of the stellar temperature could change the types of planets found in the system.

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Lunar bodies and other dead horses

#2 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Natural satellites and multiple star systems have been considered but aren't likely to happen before v1.0. They might be interesting or more realistic, but aren't considered important enough for strategy or fun to warrant the extra complexity, particularly in the UI, that they would require.

Random events like comet or meteor impacts may be added, but aren't a priority right now.

spottboy
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Re: Lunar bodies and other dead horses

#3 Post by spottboy »

I was actually thinking how much fun it would be to have more available space for colonization in a system with moons, but at least I gave you guys some details instead of saying "wouldn't that be cool?" I wasn't really worried about reality so much.

You have a cool game here. Add what you want. I'm not a programmer, so I can't say just how much coding and balancing any particular mod would take. I just hope that .4 is as cool as .3!

marhawkman
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Re: Lunar bodies and other dead horses

#4 Post by marhawkman »

:P This is what they told me too. I even made pictures....

Hehe... Just wait. Eventually the project will get to this part.
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eleazar
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Re: Lunar bodies and other dead horses

#5 Post by eleazar »

i was originally in favor of having moons.
But then i tried to create a mock-up, and it just complicated the system interface. But the thing that totally killed the idea for me is the total redundancy of moons in the game.

We have up to 10 planets per system. 10 times the amount in MoO1, and double what's in MoO2. Currently we have a max of 500 star systems, so 5000 planets are possible. Weather or not we make asteroid belts and gas giants colonize-able, there can be all the administrative sub-units that a sane player could desire.
Last edited by eleazar on Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

spottboy
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Re: Lunar bodies and other dead horses

#6 Post by spottboy »

eleazar wrote:i was originally in favor of having moons.
But then i tried to create a mock-up, and it just complicated the system interface. But the thing that totally killed the idea for me is the total redundancy of moons in the game.

We have up to 10 planets per system. 10 times the amount in MoO1, and double what's in MoO2. Currently we have a max of 500 star systems, so 5000 planets are possible. Weather or not we make asteroid belts and gas giants colonize-able, there canl be all the administrative sub-units that a sane player could desire.
I understand entirely about it making things too complicated to add independant lunar bodies. What about adding a random genrator, and running lunar bodies/planetary rings as icons? They could add the bonuses without adding the intense graphics (and complications) by adding bonuses to the available top ends on production catagories.

Example: Planet X has a single moon. The moon is indicated by an icon (crescent shaped?). That icon adds 10% to the maximum values development can achieve on that planet. If it was a ring instead (icon: a ringed planet?), it adds 10% to trade and minerals only (you can't build on a dust accretion field, so you get no bonus to population, agriculture, industry, or research). The moon and ring icons can be repeated on larger planets, and even gas giants can have them (although if they cannot be colonized I don't know what effect the boost might have, so maybe they would be unnecessary).

Point very well taken about all the colonies you could ever want. With a high density setting, the average will give you roughly 3500 (7 x 500) planets should you manage to claim them all. I don't know what percent of these are asteroid belts and gas giants, but even if half of you planetary bodies are on of the two you still wind up with an average of 1750 habitable planets. That's more real estate than I think any game has attempted to date!

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Re: Lunar bodies and other dead horses

#7 Post by Rho »

Most moons would be too small to be colonized. Mines and ship factories could be built on them, as well as defense installations to protect the planet, but most would lack the mass to be colonizeable. Those that do would orbit gas giants. A simple number next to a planet could signify the number of moons it has, and whether or not they're being used for anything.

Gas giants' moons, however, could be of proper size and terrain to be colonized. Those should then be done as a subsystem, where clicking on the gas giant brings up a subsystem list of moons and their types and sizes.

For gameplay reasons, the odds for good moons being found should be lower than good planets being found. Also, it should take an extra turn to scout the moons as well as the planets.

Regardless, moons aren't really necessary, although I'd like to see them in the game. The list of planets in the solar system could be said to contain colonizeable moons as well as planets, omitting worlds that can neither be colonized nor terraformed and serve no other purpose.
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eleazar
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Re: Lunar bodies and other dead horses

#8 Post by eleazar »

spottboy wrote:I understand entirely about it making things too complicated to add independant lunar bodies. What about adding a random genrator, and running lunar bodies/planetary rings as icons? They could add the bonuses without adding the intense graphics (and complications) by adding bonuses to the available top ends on production catagories.

Example: Planet X has a single moon. The moon is indicated by an icon (crescent shaped?). That icon adds 10% to the maximum values development can achieve on that planet. If it was a ring instead (icon: a ringed planet?), it adds 10% to trade and minerals only (you can't build on a dust accretion field, so you get no bonus to population, agriculture, industry, or research). The moon and ring icons can be repeated on larger planets, and even gas giants can have them (although if they cannot be colonized I don't know what effect the boost might have, so maybe they would be unnecessary).
Do you mean add moons and rings as planetary specials? That's a possibility that wouldn't require a new interface. Though tzlaine had plans at on time of adding support for rings around the planets anyway.

The downside here isn't as major, but there's still somewhat of a conceptual disconnect between single purpose moon, and planets which have uses depending on the EP of the inhabiting race. For instance, a particular species might prefer barren airless planets. It would be perfectly comfortable colonizing a rather small barren planet. Another race would find the same type of planet inhospitable, and nearly worthless. Why would a moons be equally useful to all species?

spottboy
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Re: Lunar bodies and other dead horses

#9 Post by spottboy »

If you are going to treat moons as a separate type (randomly determined), then you of course will have to adjust the effects of the planet to reflect the moon type. A race at home on barren worlds would of course find Luna rather hospitable. So you would have to add the code you needed for the moon type you were adding.

If you treated the moon as a general boost for the planet instead, just as you would a planetary ring, then the type really wouldn't matter.

It all depends on how many icons you want to add for moons as planetary specials. Given the fact that there would be no gas giant moons (impossible since moons are generally smaller than the planets they orbit by at least an order of magnitude), then you would need 11 special icons for moons (each would have a different boosting effect for that planet, plus 1 icon for rings), and you would have to assume adding an icon for each moon. I, however, you assumed a single moon icon and a single ring icon. Each moon icon would boost the planet in question by x in the planet's weakest category, y in the second weakest, and z in the third weakest. Ring icons would boost the planet's mineral value only (you can't raise crops on space dust and small rocks, and rings rarely contain anything of trade value besides the raw minerals). X,y,and z would be percentages of the planets maximum possible output.

Simple, or slightly difficult. Up to you programmers what you do, but keep in mind that out of 8 official planets and one dwarf planet in our own system, 7 have moons (including every gas giant in our system). Moons should be more likely around larger planets anyway, due to the greater gravity involved.

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Krikkitone
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Re: Lunar bodies and other dead horses

#10 Post by Krikkitone »

Given our solar system as an example, there is only one-non Gas giant Planet with a significant Moon (Earth)... Pluto is effectivelly part of an Asteroid belt, and Mars' Moons are too small to be of much interest

The Difference between a Moon and another planet is:
The Moon is close enough that Planetary Defense bases could probably hit each other (so they should probably be forced to be in the same Empire, wheras multiple planets might belong to different Empires)

The difference between the Moon and a bigger Planet is:
The Moon can have a different Environment

In any case, perhaps 'Moon' as a Planet Special gives another 'planet' in the same Slot (2-3 sizes smaller than the initial)
and that "planet" is controlled by whoever controls the main Planet of the Slot

As the simplest Version.. the Moon adds to the Planet's Max Population whatever value a Tiny world of the Enironment the moon has would add to that race. (so if a Race that favored Barren Worlds colonized Earth, they would get a good sized bonus from the Moon, wheras humans don't get a significant bonus)... The moon would be assumed to have the same Mineral Richness as the Main World... Perhaps it would give a bonus to Industry too (since it is a small World).

(Gas giants would be the only time Multiple moons Might make Sense.. that however would get much more complicated)

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utilae
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Re: Lunar bodies and other dead horses

#11 Post by utilae »

I think there is no gameplay reason to have moons other than as graphics.

A planet with a moon can surely have the planets population be planet+moon, but otherwise its just a graphic in my view.

marhawkman
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Re: Lunar bodies and other dead horses

#12 Post by marhawkman »

I can live with that. :)
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Re: Lunar bodies and other dead horses

#13 Post by Rho »

What function could a moon have?

Turn it into a massive spaceship (along the lines of the Marathon series, perhaps into a Death Star)?

Build a massive weapon on it, to protect the planet?

Build power plants, farm something, breed space dragons, experiment with more dangerous science, use it as a prison, use it as a shipyard, mine it?

Collapse it into a small planet to make it slightly bigger, and maybe more habitable when the dust settles?
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Bigjoe5
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Re: Lunar bodies and other dead horses

#14 Post by Bigjoe5 »

Breeding space monsters on moons would be an interesting possibility. If there were certain unique things you could do on moons rather than just turning them into other colonies, they could add interesting strategic value. I say we just ditch the idea of making moons add to population and production and let the player use them for things that are too dangerous or politically incorrect to do on a populated world.

So let's say you have a planet with a moon. You can't colonize it or put regular buildings and infrastructure there.

What you can do is ONE of the following (you may notice that several of these ideas came directly from or were inspired by the above post):

-Build a shipyard for much less than the normal cost in much less time. It would possibly be more efficient than a standard shipyard.

-Build a heavy weapons platform that would help greatly in planetary defense.

-Cultivate a breeding ground for space monsters (if a breedable space monster shows up before you develop the moon. Perhaps there could be a way to send it there from a different system?)

-Build an interrogation facility for captured aliens. This can act as a source of information regarding enemy fleet positions, foreign relations or enemy spies as well as providing new technology. The prisoners would have been captured by your own spies in kidnapping missions. (I'll make another brainstorming thread about that.) It's capacity for holding prisoners and extracting information could maybe be increased with upgrades? Naturally the source of prisoners would have to be replenished regularly.

-Build a secret research facility. It's natural that enemy spies will be able to be sent in to see what you have researched and what you are researching. A secret research facility could be assigned to research only one project at a time, unlike the universal research queue. Enemy agents find it extremely difficult to complete their mission if they are assigned to penetrate a secret research facility, and if scientists from that facility are captured, they tend to be less fruitful informers than normal scientists. Of course, the enemy's spies have to be lucky enough to find out that the secret facility exists first.

-Build a training base for spies. I don't know how spies will be produced in FO. Actually, making the player have a secret base on a moon in order to train spies would be kinda cool, IMO, but maybe there should be more orthodox ways to produce them. Anyway, a secret lunar training center would train spies: spies more skilled than those produced through other means. Upgrades to this facility would increase the rate of training and the skill of the spies.

-At higher tech levels, transform into a lunar class starship. This class of ship would be absolutely pwnsome and not available by any other means.

In battle, perhaps you can capture your opponents moon in a kind of ground combat assault. I think that you should have to own the planet to build on a moon, but perhaps an enemy could snag an unsuspecting player's moon! Maybe everyone's homeworld could have a moon on it, or maybe it could be a race pick.

I really like the idea of a moon being a kind of wild card. It opens lots of strategic options for the player and puts more strategy into colonization as well. If moons were relatively rare, you'd have to think hard about what you wanted to do with your moon. It would eliminate the problem of moons just being kind of boring and gives a real reason to put them in!
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yaromir
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Re: Lunar bodies and other dead horses

#15 Post by yaromir »

Why not have them as planetary specials:

Mineral Rich Moon (+production)
Habitable Moon (+population limit)
Strange Composition Moon (+research)

etc...
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