Ship Design

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

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Bigjoe5
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Re: Ship Design

#61 Post by Bigjoe5 » Sat Mar 06, 2010 5:19 pm

RonaldX wrote:In going through this data and poking through the text files on the tech tree (ironically enough, FO won't compile on this computer, but I can figure enough out from the text files to understand it), my only concern is that if there are roughly a half dozen hulls of each type, then you're looking at around 20-25 ship models per race, times 12-18 races, is a crapload of artwork. Is there any plan to re-use certain hull type artwork? I don't see how there would be very much variance in energy or asteroid hulls, while I could see every race having it's own distinct flavor of constructed and organic hulls. Just doing that would cut the required amount of artwork nearly in half.
Currently, the plan is to have race-specific artwork for Constructed Hulls, and generic artwork for the others, which is used for all races, though if we get a bunch of professional, enthusiastic artists with a lot of time on their hands, I suspect race-specific ships for other hull types will be made available as well, with the priority on Organic hulls.
RonaldX wrote:The other thing is that I feel there may be a requirement in further separating the type of slots available. Rather than just Internal (systems) and External (weapons), it would be useful to have "Heavy Mount External" and "Heavy Equipment" Internal slots, to prevent players from loading massive weapon systems onto ship hulls designed to be small fighters or utility craft.
I completely agree. My current thoughts are that hulls with large external slots only come in late mid-game hulls, and hulls with large internal slots come in only fairly late-game, likewise with parts requiring such slots. I don't think we need to distinguish between "Heavy" and "Normal" slots/parts in the early game, but in the late game, really powerful ship parts, such as Stellar Converters, Nova Bombs, etc. would occupy a large slot.
RonaldX wrote:Certain weapon systems might fit into both a heavy and normal sized mount, but likely with different properties. A normal mount "Laser Cannon" might become a more power "Laser Battery" when put into a heavy mount.
I think the simplest way to do it would be to just allow multiple (say, 4, so a large slot can just be a bigger square on the design screen) parts to be put in the same large slot. This would be pretty useless for non-stacking parts such as stealth and detection, but would be used for basic weapons and shield or armour, if their effects can stack.
RonaldX wrote:I would think that the concept of heavy/normal mount slots could also be the main engine driving ship combat roles. I would think that Long Range weaponry would mostly be Heavy Mounted Missile launchers or Mass Drivers, while SR and PD weaponry would be laser batteries. If it isn't possible to put a LR weapon into a normal mount, then ships with several heavy mount slots make themselves ideal candidates for "Missile Boats", while ships with large amounts of normal slots would be better SR ships. So hull balance would come down to juggling how many slots of each type are appropriate.
I think it's fine if the concept of internal/external slots would be the main engine driving ship roles. A ship with a few internal slots and no external slots for example, could have stealth, extra fuel tanks, and a colony pod, but wouldn't be able to have any weapons or detection equipment, making it almost useless in combat. On the other hand, a ship with several external slots and just a single internal slot can be outfitted for combat, but can't have both high stealth and extended fuel. Large slots, IMO, should be for really super components, and everything else can be made equal.
RonaldX wrote:As far as Heavy Equipment vs Normal Internal slots, normal internal slots would be useful for stealth/detection/etc. components (fancy electronic systems), while Heavy Equipment might be Troop Pods, Heavy Armor, Colony Modules, etc (things that take up lots of physical space/weight). Again, the uses come in balancing.
Again, if you use the large slots for such regular parts, then really super parts that could go in a large internal slot, for example Nova Bomb, or a super warp drive that allows ships to make starlane jumps without expending fuel, will be able to be mounted on early-game hulls. If only big, slow hulls can be used to carry a Nova Bomb for example, it makes trying to deploy it much more interesting, and more of a sacrifice, since when the system explodes, your big hull is lost as well.
RonaldX wrote:Anyways if you're interested I'll work on this further.
More discussion on the relationship between large and small slots would be useful, so that the progression of hulls and parts throughout the game can be more thoroughly understood.

I have a half-finished tech tree that I'm currently working on. Its purpose is to explore an entirely new layout and mechanics for the tech tree, with the primary goal being to design a tree that uses the MoO2 mutual-exclusivity and in which researching theories would be unnecessary, while using a tree shape that has a few branches and cross-category dependencies. It's also serving the secondary purpose though, of exploring content progression and other, future game mechanics, and as such, there are several never-before-seen hulls in various parts of the tree, as well as ship parts that use large slots. (This tree places no emphasis on story/fluff descriptions, so no effort is put into writing them, and names for techs are blatantly stolen from MoO2.)

I've uploaded the relevant files here. There are very few actual hulls and parts actually written, mainly because a lot of what I describe in the hull descriptions is simply impossible in FO's current state, so the only files I've included are techs.txt, eng_stringtable.txt and preunlocked_items.txt:
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Re: Ship Design

#62 Post by RonaldX » Sat Mar 06, 2010 9:16 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:Currently, the plan is to have race-specific artwork for Constructed Hulls, and generic artwork for the others, which is used for all races, though if we get a bunch of professional, enthusiastic artists with a lot of time on their hands, I suspect race-specific ships for other hull types will be made available as well, with the priority on Organic hulls.
Sounds good.
Rest of Post
I see where you're going with the difference between large and normal slot sizes, and I follow you on making old hulls incompatible with end-game level equipment. It's a bit of a different approach then what I originally thought up.

In essence, you're going for "normal" and "advanced" slots, rather that "normal" and "large", or at least pre-determining that all late-game techs can only fit into large slots, which is functional, but a little counterintuitive. I can see a race being unable to strap a stellar converter onto the roof of a small fighter, but why not load it into a large enough hull of any age? Power consumption being incompatible with the old engine type?

Perhaps that kind of situation can also be addressed simply enough.. In order for certain high-power items to be used, the ship would require a large internal slot to be used for some kind of power core, otherwise the weapon couldn't be loaded into the design, so without both a large internal and external slot available, the weapon couldn't be used. Hull designs that are low in the tech tree simply wouldn't have both options open.

Going off the hull types you have (9 constructed, 9 organic, 9 asteroid, 4 energy).. Taking constructed hulls, for example, you could say:
Spatial Flux, Nanorobotic and Transspatial ships are considered small (1-3 normal sized slots)
Standard (Steel?), Robotic, and Self-Gravitating are considered mid sized (4-8 normal sized slots, or up to 2 large slots)
Xentronium, Titanic, and Logistics Facilitator are considered large (12-24 normal slots, or up to 6 large slots)

By adjusting their build cost/time/slots/speed, etc you can establish a technological progression from one hull type to another of the same size category. Only the final step in the mid sized and large classes would actually have the required slots to equip a "super weapon". You can preserve the viability of older models by their slot arrangement, for example if the mid-stream small ship only has 2 internal slots, it would likely be an excellent scout or spy ship through the entire game, while disallowing it from equipping the end-game state-of-the-art weapons and becoming an unbalanced zerg ship (Also, if certain hull types are given specific characteristics, for example the self-destruct capibility of your new Energy Hull II).

If a few hull types happen to fall by the wayside and get dropped as the game goes on, that's fine, it's just progress, but slot arrangement can ensure that a player is always using at least 4-5 different types of ships, which is plenty of variety to juggle. That's not even including that they may use asteroid hulls for stealth, organic hulls for exploration, etc. etc.

This is just for the purpose of discussion.. Let me know what you think.

Edit: I want to emphasize, because I didn't before, that "size" is still relatively irrelevant. It's just a function of how many slots the ship has, and provides a useful graphical scalar so that every hull isn't the same boring size. What I'd like to see is a progression in technology from a "later tech of similar size hull is better" standpoint, with special hull characteristics and slot-type loadout defining the most effective role of that hull.

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Re: Ship Design

#63 Post by RonaldX » Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:51 pm

I'm going to double-post here because this new one is an abstract of what I'm thinking as far as ship design and progression.

From the Ship_Hulls and StringTable text files, I pulled out your ship designs and I'm going to do some small adjustments so I can categorize them a bit. I'm going to ditch the Nanorobotic Hull, because in my mind that effect can be more readily accomplished by taking a standard steel hull and adding an internal "self-repair" system. I'm renaming the "Standard" hull to "Steel Hull", and adding a base-model small hull called the "Small Steel Hull".

At the beginning of the game, the player is only able to build the lowest-level of small and medium hulls of one ship type, with the rest being opened up by research. Because some races will start with asteroid or organic hulls, the base model small and medium hulls of each type should have a similar or identical slot loadout to prevent early-game shenanigans.

Again, hull "size" is purely a function of the number of slots, but for the sake of tactical interest, the bigger a ship is, the slower it moves.

I'm going to go on the basis that a "small hull" starts with 1 available slot, then the next tech level up gets 2, highest tech level gets 3.
"Medium Hulls" get 4, 6, 8.
"Large Hulls" get 12,16,20.

Hull special attributes such as extreme speed, stealth bonuses, repairing mechanims, etc, will consume the space of 1 or more slots. (1 for self-effect, 4 for fleet-effect).

The exact composition and layout of the slots will vary from constructed to organic to asteroid hulls, with asteroid hulls having a lean toward internal systems (75% internal), organics leaning toward external systems (75% external), and constructed seeking a middle ground (likely 60% external.. see "Super Weapons", below). I havn't thought much about energy hulls because they seem to be pretty special case and heavy on special attributes, especially in your new files.

4 external slots = 1 heavy external slot
4 internal slots = 1 heavy internal slot

"Super Weapons" will require a Heavy External and a Heavy Internal slot to be equipped, so only a ship with at least 4 internal and 4 external slots can equip one. Constructed hulls, by virtue of having a balanced internal/external loadout, will likely be able to pack "more" super weapons per ship than organic or asteroid platforms, but in every case, only the last two models of Large Ship will be able to equip them in any hull type, preventing a player from utilizing them early or cheaply.

Working only from the Constructed Hulls category as an example:

"Small hulls"
Small Steel Hull - 1 ext
Spatial Flux Hull - 1 ext, 1 int
Transspatial Hull - 2 ext, very fast

"Medium Hulls"
Steel Hull - 3 ext, 2 int
Robotic Hull - 3 ext, 2 int, self-repairing
Xentronium Hull - 4 ext, 3 int, high HP

"Large Hulls"
Self Gravitating - 9 ext, 3 int (on purpose, to prevent a super weapon from being loaded)
Titanic - 8 ext, 8 int
Logistics Facilitator - 8 ext, 8 int, repairs fleet

I'm also pondering whether or not to make Long Range weapons all require a heavy slot. So a missile battery or fighter squadron would require a heavy external slot. You could technobabble it into saying ammunition containment, fuel supplies, etc. etc. is space consuming. But a large missile rack that fires 4 missiles rather than 4 individual missile launchers in normal slots has tactical implications..

No small would be able to equip a LR weapon, ever. Tactically, a screen of small ships loaded with PD weapons would provide your fleet defense. They are fast enough to properly effect the "Red/Blue Missile Shift" tactic, and are cheap enough to be considered expendible if lost to enemy LR missiles. Organic small ships would be able to equip more PD weapons, and be the ideal missile screen. Constructed small ships would have some internal components and be able to provide limited support in other ways, asteroid small ships would be almost exclusively set up for spying or sneak attacks. Likely asteroid hulls would have a slightly off-pattern slot progression.. At least one of each type would need to have more external than internal hulls to ensure that they could be used for slugfest combat, otherwise the asteroid player would be severely hampered in battle.

Medium ships would be higher in health, and would have enough slots to equip heavy weapons, but not enough internal slots to equip super weapons. This means that medium ships would be the first ships capable of equipping LR, but their increased speed makes them ideal candidates for SR. A constructed medium ship could be loaded with armor and SR weapons, and is fast enough to get into punching range with the cumbersome missile boats of the enemy, particularly when defended against missiles by a screen. Organic medium ships could be speedy missile carriers, or else glass-cannon SR ships. Asteroid medium ships, could be used in the same manner as a constructed one, loaded with armor and sent into the fray, but also has enough internal slots to provide fleet utility, or enhanced espionnage.

Large ships would be slower, higher in health, and preform the majority of your LR weapons duty or fleet-effect utility. They are too expensive to risk in SR combat, and have slot loadouts designed to allow heavy and super weapons while disallowing much room for anything else, so if a player chooses to use super weapons, he must include screens and SR ships to protect his expensive large ships.

I think that by clever arrangement of slot loadout and base characteristics, you can acceptably differentiate constructed hulls from the other types, and each will be capable of most jobs, but will be ideal for one. It will also give players the option to exclusively go with one hull type instead of researching all three.

I'm aiming for players to be attempting to use 5-7 different types of ship at a time.
1 for Recon (small or medium)
1 for Point Defense (small)
1-2 for SR (medium)
1 for LR (large)
1-2 for fleet utility (super weapons, repair/refuel, extremely strong detection, etc. large)

I feel that more than 8 types of ship is too many (Edit: for a single player to be using in a single combat), and less than 4 is boring and too Rock-Paper-Scissors.

-Ty.

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Re: Ship Design

#64 Post by Bigjoe5 » Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:42 pm

Using the term "size" in a purely abstract sense, as opposed to some sort of in-game "size" classification, I'm not sure that we really need to "sort" hulls by size like that. Instead, it would be better to consider what new strategic or tactical options are opened to the player by each hull type. Organic Hull VI for example, is extremely significant, because now, I can send ships into enemy territory via starlanes that were previously hidden, but the tradeoff is that those hulls aren't ordinarily very good at combat; even though it's "small", it's not well-suited to being a PD or SR ship - its advantages lie elsewhere. Solar Hull is significant not just because of its massive size, but also because it gets such a tremendous stealth bonus when it enters a star, making it good for Recon as well. The (small) Camouflage Asteroid Hull gets a much higher stealth bonus for being in an Asteroid Belt than a regular Asteroid Hull, but can't equip any weapons, so it could be a great colony ship or low-detection scout, but would be a poor spotter in combat. Constructed Hull V is really big, and well, that's pretty much all there is to it - that's an example of a hull that has the standard size trade-off, but hulls like that should be the exception, and not the rule. So yes, I more or less agree with this:
RonaldX wrote:I'm aiming for players to be attempting to use 5-7 different types of ship at a time.
1 for Recon (small or medium)
1 for Point Defense (small)
1-2 for SR (medium)
1 for LR (large)
1-2 for fleet utility (super weapons, repair/refuel, extremely strong detection, etc. large)
but I think that a ship's "size", which corresponds to various attributes such as stealth, speed and capacity, shouldn't be used to give broad classifications to ships this way. Instead, there might be ships with high speed and health and many external slots, but low stealth and no large or internal slots, which would be good for defensive SR combat, but bad for stealth attacks in enemy territory, and unable to equip any great ship parts.

In short, ships should have "sizes" that indicate how large their model is, but that don't imply some sort of trade-off between capacity/health, and speed/stealth.

Also, players should be discouraged somehow from unlocking all hull types; this is partly accomplished by the Construction/Biology dichotomy in the new tech tree, in which I've introduced opposing/superfluous techs to encourage players to choose one or the other. It's also encouraged by making some of the advantages of certain hull types mirrored in other hull types. Organic Hull III (in the Biology category) for example, is somewhat superfluous to the Asteroid Hull (in the Construction category). If the player researches techs such as Energy Absorber and Trans-Spectral Shields in the fields category, he will have a lesser need to research the Energy hulls.

I'd like to pretty much discard the old hull names I created, and just think about hull in terms of where they fit into the actual game, which was my purpose in just numbering most of the hulls in the new tech tree. This frees us from any need to make a hull's attributes fit its name - the name can be created later.
RonaldX wrote:"Small hulls"
Small Steel Hull - 1 ext
Spatial Flux Hull - 1 ext, 1 int
Transspatial Hull - 2 ext, very fast

"Medium Hulls"
Steel Hull - 3 ext, 2 int
Robotic Hull - 3 ext, 2 int, self-repairing
Xentronium Hull - 4 ext, 3 int, high HP

"Large Hulls"
Self Gravitating - 9 ext, 3 int (on purpose, to prevent a super weapon from being loaded)
Titanic - 8 ext, 8 int
Logistics Facilitator - 8 ext, 8 int, repairs fleet
The constructed hulls in the new tree do have sort of a small-medium-large trichotomy, but they should also have other interesting characteristics. Constructed Hull IV for example, has auto-repair and high-security, which puts it a step above the Constructed Hull I, the first "medium" hull. Constructed Hull V is generally bigger than Constructed Hull III, but since it has negative stealth, it has to use an internal slot for stealth, otherwise its presence will be revealed to the whole galaxy. If it does so however, it will have less room for extra fuel, which is necessary if it intends to leave supply range. Perhaps Constructed Hull V might have only 2 internal slots, so that if it uses stealth and fuel, it will have no room for any extra internal components. This would make Constructed Hull III superior as a heavy colony or troop ship that needs to plow through enemy territory, whereas Constructed Hull V would be better for actual combat. Then, there's the Constructed Hull VI - since it has no internal slots, it could potentially have a stealth of about 70 without being overpowering, since it can't add any stealth parts. The structurally enhanced version might have two extra external slots instead of one of each type.

IMO, having "large" components being able to fit into four regular slots would be very limiting in terms of content creation. The same result could be achieved simply by allowing a large slot to fit any four regular sized components that go into that type of slot, and then we would be free to have ships with more than four slots, but which can't equip massive weapons such as Stellar Converters. There could be weapons that require a large internal slot as well as a large external slot, but I don't see a great need for that if large slots are't just an amalgamation of small slots, but their own, separate type of slot (into which an amalgamation of various small parts can be mounted if desired).
RonaldX wrote:Hull special attributes such as extreme speed, stealth bonuses, repairing mechanims, etc, will consume the space of 1 or more slots. (1 for self-effect, 4 for fleet-effect).
I don't see the need to apply such rigorous mathematics to how, exactly, a ship of a particular "size" can be designed. There could be a lot of different balancing factors to offset the advantages of a ship with lots of slots and some special abilities, for example perhaps it can only be constructed at a Black Hole system, or perhaps the shipyard that builds it is extremely vulnerable to enemy attack/espionage, and will cause severe damage to the planet it's on if it is destroyed. Perhaps it's just really expensive. Point being, all ships should be balanced in terms of their value/cost/where they are on the tech tree, but the ship's stats and slots can be a bit more versatile.
RonaldX wrote:The exact composition and layout of the slots will vary from constructed to organic to asteroid hulls, with asteroid hulls having a lean toward internal systems (75% internal), organics leaning toward external systems (75% external), and constructed seeking a middle ground (likely 60% external.. see "Super Weapons", below). I havn't thought much about energy hulls because they seem to be pretty special case and heavy on special attributes, especially in your new files.
I'm currently thinking that internal slots should be much less common than external slots. This is because external slots tend to have generic weapons/detectors/shields/armour, whereas the internal slots are where you put the stuff that really specializes the ship, like that extra fuel tank, the phasing cloak, the energy absorber, the lightning field - it's these combinations of parts that most need to be limited to make the choice of what to put on the ship really interesting and difficult. In short, we need to pay more attention to the exact number of internal slots a hull has relative to all its other stats, whereas external slots can be more easily and reliably balanced using only the cost of the hull.

I'm a bit dubious of restricting LR weapons to large slots. Some LR weapons, such as the big huge torpedos you'll find in the Energy category, sure, but as for your basic missile, I'm not so sure. LR is a fundamental part of the SR/PD/LR trichotomy, so I don't think it's a good idea to make it dependent on a type of hull that the player might not even ever research. Fighters on the other hand, are a bit of a secondary tactical feature which not all players will research and use - I could potentially see them taking up a large slot. Other factors will end up making certain ships better for LR than others, I think.
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Re: Ship Design

#65 Post by RonaldX » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:08 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:Using the term "size" in a purely abstract sense, as opposed to some sort of in-game "size" classification, I'm not sure that we really need to "sort" hulls by size like that. Instead, it would be better to consider what new strategic or tactical options are opened to the player by each hull type.

I think that a ship's "size", which corresponds to various attributes such as stealth, speed and capacity, shouldn't be used to give broad classifications to ships this way. Instead, there might be ships with high speed and health and many external slots, but low stealth and no large or internal slots, which would be good for defensive SR combat, but bad for stealth attacks in enemy territory, and unable to equip any great ship parts.

In short, ships should have "sizes" that indicate how large their model is, but that don't imply some sort of trade-off between capacity/health, and speed/stealth.
I follow you, but the point still remains that a ship with a giant model is something a player is going to expect to have a ton of space to fit in a lot of systems. If you give them some giant asteroid and tell them you can only equip one laser on it, and no internal systems, simply because you want to vary the size of ships.. it just doesn't make sense. Logically there is always going to be a correlation between how much junk is loaded onto a ship and how big it is. Bigger = more junk. I digress though, you want size to be arbitrary and included simply for graphical variance, so be it.

From the standpoint of technological progression, you want ships that come later to be better than the old ones, not just different.

What I propose is that you take hulls with similar special characteristics and lump them together, and use these to define the different hull types, constructed, energy, organic, and asteroid. Then develop a progression to gradually improve these hulls as you progress further down the research tree for each type. A couple different classes of hull of each type would be sufficient to allow (mostly internal/mostly external/etc) a basis on which to improve.

I'm not married to the idea of size as a categorizing element, although it certainly is a convenient one. Size being considered an arbitrary factor here, though, it would be simple enough to even out the number of available slots across the board and just limit certain chassis to 90%+ external or 90%+ internal and say your two fleet categories are "combat" and "non-combat", and your technological progression introduces new hulls which are better at these two roles than their predecessors.
Also, players should be discouraged somehow from unlocking all hull types; this is partly accomplished by the Construction/Biology dichotomy in the new tech tree, in which I've introduced opposing/superfluous techs to encourage players to choose one or the other.
No argument with this.
The constructed hulls in the new tree do have sort of a small-medium-large trichotomy, but they should also have other interesting characteristics. Constructed Hull IV for example, has auto-repair and high-security, which puts it a step above the Constructed Hull I, the first "medium" hull. Constructed Hull V is generally bigger than Constructed Hull III, but since it has negative stealth, it has to use an internal slot for stealth, otherwise its presence will be revealed to the whole galaxy. If it does so however, it will have less room for extra fuel, which is necessary if it intends to leave supply range. Perhaps Constructed Hull V might have only 2 internal slots, so that if it uses stealth and fuel, it will have no room for any extra internal components. This would make Constructed Hull III superior as a heavy colony or troop ship that needs to plow through enemy territory, whereas Constructed Hull V would be better for actual combat. Then, there's the Constructed Hull VI - since it has no internal slots, it could potentially have a stealth of about 70 without being overpowering, since it can't add any stealth parts. The structurally enhanced version might have two extra external slots instead of one of each type.
What you are really doing here is building the player's ships for them, or at least starting them off. For example, in Constructed Hull VI, you are saying "you have no internal slots but high intrinsic stealth". How is that different than just giving them internal slots and the option for stealth? Well, now the player loses the fun of customizing the ship and if he doesn't care about stealth and wants more fuel, he can't have it, so he has to research to a different part of the tree for a different hull, yadda yadda yadda. You understand my point. I'm up for an entire type of hulls (organic, energy, etc) having intrinsic characteristics, but they should be uniform to the hull type.

Why bother to research to a hull that has high intrinsic stealth and no internal slots, when you can just research one that has lots of space and customize it to any role your heart desires?
IMO, having "large" components being able to fit into four regular slots would be very limiting in terms of content creation. The same result could be achieved simply by allowing a large slot to fit any four regular sized components that go into that type of slot, and then we would be free to have ships with more than four slots, but which can't equip massive weapons such as Stellar Converters. There could be weapons that require a large internal slot as well as a large external slot, but I don't see a great need for that if large slots are't just an amalgamation of small slots, but their own, separate type of slot (into which an amalgamation of various small parts can be mounted if desired).
No complaints here, I had thought of this myself. Reminds me of mechcommander 2 mech customization.. By arraying the "shape" of the slots, you prevent the player from equipping certain huge weapons, even if there are numerically enough slots to do so.
There could be a lot of different balancing factors to offset the advantages of a ship with lots of slots and some special abilities, for example perhaps it can only be constructed at a Black Hole system... Point being, all ships should be balanced in terms of their value/cost/where they are on the tech tree, but the ship's stats and slots can be a bit more versatile.
True, but I find environmental factors don't seem to matter much once the ship is built and is demolishing everything it sees. Having a ship be expensive or difficult to create will effect how the player uses it in battle, because they may be more wary about risking their difficult and time-consuming project, but once the missiles start flying, if it can kill anything it sees, then it's too powerful. I think that ships should be balanced on their combat ability, and priced to match, not unbalanced in combat with cost (a non-combat factor) making up the difference, though admittedly that is just opinion.
I'm currently thinking that internal slots should be much less common than external slots. This is because external slots tend to have generic weapons/detectors/shields/armour, whereas the internal slots are where you put the stuff that really specializes the ship, like that extra fuel tank, the phasing cloak, the energy absorber, the lightning field - it's these combinations of parts that most need to be limited to make the choice of what to put on the ship really interesting and difficult. In short, we need to pay more attention to the exact number of internal slots a hull has relative to all its other stats, whereas external slots can be more easily and reliably balanced using only the cost of the hull.
I agree entirely.
I'm a bit dubious of restricting LR weapons to large slots. Some LR weapons, such as the big huge torpedos you'll find in the Energy category, sure, but as for your basic missile, I'm not so sure. LR is a fundamental part of the SR/PD/LR trichotomy, so I don't think it's a good idea to make it dependent on a type of hull that the player might not even ever research. Fighters on the other hand, are a bit of a secondary tactical feature which not all players will research and use - I could potentially see them taking up a large slot. Other factors will end up making certain ships better for LR than others, I think.
The point is that very fast ships with LR weapons, in this system, have the potential to be grossly overpowered, so I wanted to avoid sticking them on small, fast ships, and this seemed the most expedient way to do it. The balance to LR was that they would get eaten alive by SR ships that got close enough to engage them, but if you are faster than the SR and PD ships your enemy has, you can just kite him around blowing him apart at your leisure. I'm open to alternatives, but that was my concern.

Also, my intention was that the player would start off with the technologically worst version of each class of hull, so they would start off with a ship capable of equipping LR (standard steel hull), but would be able to research to develop new hull types that can better do the jobs of the base model ships.

I understand that your objective is to have each hull in each type be it's own class, each different and each good at a different thing, but I find this counterintuitive to a game where you want technological progression. Start bad, end good.

-Ty.

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Re: Ship Design

#66 Post by Bigjoe5 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:28 am

RonaldX wrote:What I propose is that you take hulls with similar special characteristics and lump them together, and use these to define the different hull types, constructed, energy, organic, and asteroid. Then develop a progression to gradually improve these hulls as you progress further down the research tree for each type. A couple different classes of hull of each type would be sufficient to allow (mostly internal/mostly external/etc) a basis on which to improve.
It's OK if some early-game hulls become obsolete sometimes, but I think it's more interesting if unlocking a new hull is tantamount to unlocking a new strategy, rather than just a better way of using the same strategy.
RonaldX wrote:I'm not married to the idea of size as a categorizing element, although it certainly is a convenient one.
The very fact that size is such a convenient categorizing element is a good reason to avoid using it as such; being constrained by such a categorization would limit the creation of more interesting distinguishing factors that affect gameplay in more interesting ways.
RonaldX wrote:What you are really doing here is building the player's ships for them, or at least starting them off.
Well, yeah. That's what hulls are for - choosing the hull is the first step in the ship design process, and the premade hulls that the player unlocks are to "start them off".
RonaldX wrote:For example, in Constructed Hull VI, you are saying "you have no internal slots but high intrinsic stealth". How is that different than just giving them internal slots and the option for stealth? Well, now the player loses the fun of customizing the ship and if he doesn't care about stealth and wants more fuel, he can't have it, so he has to research to a different part of the tree for a different hull, yadda yadda yadda. You understand my point. I'm up for an entire type of hulls (organic, energy, etc) having intrinsic characteristics, but they should be uniform to the hull type.
True enough. Perhaps giving a hull high stealth and no internal slots is a bad idea, but giving particular hulls within a hull class specialized abilities that are unique that that hull is still a good way to make hull progression more interesting - Organic Hull VI's special ability, for example, or the abilities of the energy hulls.
RonaldX wrote:Why bother to research to a hull that has high intrinsic stealth and no internal slots, when you can just research one that has lots of space and customize it to any role your heart desires?
I imagine that such a ship would be less expensive that a more versatile hull outfitted for the same role. Undoubtedly we could give the player incentive to use it. The real question is whether or not such a hull is interesting enough to include, and in this case, the answer is probably not.
RonaldX wrote:True, but I find environmental factors don't seem to matter much once the ship is built and is demolishing everything it sees. Having a ship be expensive or difficult to create will effect how the player uses it in battle, because they may be more wary about risking their difficult and time-consuming project, but once the missiles start flying, if it can kill anything it sees, then it's too powerful. I think that ships should be balanced on their combat ability, and priced to match, not unbalanced in combat with cost (a non-combat factor) making up the difference, though admittedly that is just opinion.
Obviously we won't include any totally invincible hulls, but if a near-invincible hull takes as much time to construct as 1000 weaker hulls, then those 1000 hulls will still be a good match for the near-invincible hull. You can't really make all hulls have the same value in combat - cost is going to have to come in somewhere as a balancing factor. The Constructed Hull I shouldn't have a chance of defeating the Constructed Hull VII in a direct confrontation, but the player should be able to make enough Constructed Hull Is to defeat a Constructed Hull VII in less time than it would take to actually make a Constructed Hull VII - the value of what you can do with a Constructed Hull VII, such as destroying planets with a Stellar Converter, supporting the fleet with a Warp Drive, giving some sort of fleet-wide flagship bonus, etc, should be enough to counter the fact that a single Constructed Hull VII isn't a match for a comparably valued fleet of Constructed Hull Is.

Also, it's a general strategic choice for the player - if he's using energy hulls, he'll have shipyards that explode massively when destroyed and be very vulnerable to espionage, but his ships will be better for their cost. It's a military power vs. stability decision, which adds strategic depth.
RonaldX wrote:The point is that very fast ships with LR weapons, in this system, have the potential to be grossly overpowered, so I wanted to avoid sticking them on small, fast ships, and this seemed the most expedient way to do it. The balance to LR was that they would get eaten alive by SR ships that got close enough to engage them, but if you are faster than the SR and PD ships your enemy has, you can just kite him around blowing him apart at your leisure. I'm open to alternatives, but that was my concern.
I'd say that the limited ammo of LR ships would be sufficient balancing. A version of the LR ship part that goes in a large slot could potentially pack much, much more ammo than the basic small LR part, which will make large hulls better for LR than small hulls, when such hulls come along. In the meantime though, smaller LR ships will run out of ammo fairly quickly, which will help balance them. In addition, LR parts will probably be a bit more expensive than PD, so any fleet with decent PD support would be able to defend effectively against basic LR. Once larger hulls are unlocked, the big missile parts come out, and fire lots and lots of missiles for a really long time, but such hulls would be more vulnerable to SR, since they can then move in directly to counterattack. So yeah, big hulls should be better than small hulls for LR, particularly for assaults outside of supply range, but hulls with only regular slots should also be able to equip LR parts, with the big weakness that they can run out of ammo relatively quickly.
RonaldX wrote:I understand that your objective is to have each hull in each type be it's own class, each different and each good at a different thing, but I find this counterintuitive to a game where you want technological progression. Start bad, end good.
Progression from bad to good is fine in a lot of cases - stealth and detection, for example - but progression from less variety to more variety (more variety being functionally "better") is potentially a lot more interesting for ship hulls, as well as for other things, such as special ship parts (fields category includes lightning field -> energy absorber -> warp drive, but none of them obsoletes the previous one). And as I said, it's OK if a few hull types end up being obsolete by the end of the game, but I'd like to limit that as much as possible.
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Re: Ship Design

#67 Post by RonaldX » Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:21 am

I'd say that the limited ammo of LR ships would be sufficient balancing.
I follow you on this.. Should ammunition occupy a slot on it's own, then? Or should there be slots dedicated to ammunition? If X ammunition is inherent to the "missile launcher" slot, then a large ship with 10 of them, and a small ship with 1 of them, are going to be able to fire for the exact same number of turns before running out of missiles, so how do you differentiate between the types of ship that a LR weapon can be loaded on? The simplest method, I guess would be to allow internal slots for ammunition storage, or to have internal slots further segregated into normal, large, and ammunition, since having ammo occupy a standard internal slot would necessitate more internal slots across the board, which we both agree is undesirable.
Progression from bad to good is fine in a lot of cases - stealth and detection, for example - but progression from less variety to more variety (more variety being functionally "better") is potentially a lot more interesting for ship hulls, as well as for other things, such as special ship parts (fields category includes lightning field -> energy absorber -> warp drive, but none of them obsoletes the previous one). And as I said, it's OK if a few hull types end up being obsolete by the end of the game, but I'd like to limit that as much as possible.
More variety being "better", I still don't want to have to juggle 15 different hull types because of some messy RPS system. It's enough to segregate the hulls by role and improve them through the game. New things make old things obsolete. It happens every day here, and presumably over the course of a 5000-year space empire, by the time year 3000 rolls around, there isn't a whole lot left of how things were 3000 years ago, beyond fundamental concepts like.. I don't know.. the wheel?

You aren't preserving fundamental concepts, though, you're preserving special tricks that the species apparently can never teach another dog. If they designed one ship with the ability to bark, why couldn't they design a faster one to do the same thing 500 years later?

I get that you want to keep the old designs around and want to make every ship somehow permanantly valuable through special attributes, but to do so is throwing logic out the window for the sake of incalculable tactical variables.. What if the player researches a hull that suits his purposes in the first 50 turns of the game? Now he has no reason to continue researching ship hulls, period, because he will never find a ship better suited to his strategy no matter how high up the tree he goes..

For what it's worth, I have to disagree.. Going further up the tech tree should give you access to hulls that preform the same standard roles (but have more speed/health/slots/etc), and components that add flexibility and new strategy. That way special components can provide basic hulls with any special functionality you desire, preserving logical part progression, and it can be balanced through cost and build time of the components, which I presume had to be balanced anyways. This also allows you to change strategies by refitting your fleet, rather than by building an entire new fleet.

If you want a house that's cooler in the summer, you don't go design a new house with "Integrated Cold Air", you install an air conditioner.

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Re: Ship Design

#68 Post by Krikkitone » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:17 am

RonaldX wrote: I get that you want to keep the old designs around and want to make every ship somehow permanantly valuable through special attributes, but to do so is throwing logic out the window for the sake of incalculable tactical variables.. What if the player researches a hull that suits his purposes in the first 50 turns of the game? Now he has no reason to continue researching ship hulls, period, because he will never find a ship better suited to his strategy no matter how high up the tree he goes..
I for one think that is fine.

The chance of a player finding that hull is Probably unlikely because the Strategic situation he is in will change over time.

Note: it is the strategic use of the hulls that is important. Out of Battle Factors like cost, speed to produce, Out of supply range operation, starlane speed, etc. would be combined with factors like stealth v. detection, battlefield speed, boosted weapon damage (for particular types of weapons), increased shield recharge, Hp, in battle repair, etc.
To produce the strategic 'Type' for that hull.

So after you researched say ~3 hulls that Might be enough for you. But if you want to invest in a stealthy strategy, Hull X midway through the tree looks mighty good. (in the meantime Hulls A, B, and C can be fitted with stealth components but they won't support a 'stealth strategy' as well as Hull X does. [just Like Hull B isn't as good a PD as Hull C is])

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Re: Ship Design

#69 Post by RonaldX » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:08 am

Problem being if you are putting things further up the tree than others, you have to determine which "strategies" are better than others, so that you can put them deeper into the tree. If all you are doing is delaying when certain parts can be equipped, then you're already essentially doing what I'm suggesting and calling it something different.

What I suggest, as opposed to hulls which are intrinsically suited to a task, is standardized hulls with intrinsics specific to their type (constructed/organic/energy/asteroid), and components that the player can use to customize the hull to whatever role they want. Certain hulls can be made more suited to certain roles by slot loadout, not their intrinsic capabilities.

Look at blue-water navies.. A large steel hull can be a destroyer, a battleship, a carrier, a frigate, etc. etc.. All of these have different offensive and defensive systems, and can be loaded with any different number of electronics packages to make it great at intercepting enemy signals or relaying friendly ones.. The concept of a metal hull that floats on water is identical between every ship, the difference that defines their roles is in the parts that are bolted into that hull. A wooden hull could be intrinsically better at different things, and a plastic hull could be intrinsically better at different things, but those intrinsics would be consistant to the construction material.

Again, I fall back on the house analogy. If it's winter and you want hot air, you don't build yourself a new house with intrinsic hot air, you install a furnace. When summer comes around, you don't design a third house with intrinsic cold air, you turn off the furnace and put in an air conditioner.

To say that in year 10, my empire designed a hull that was great at stealth, and by year 2000 they were unable to reproduce that technology in any other hull just doesn't make sense to me.

-Ty.

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Re: Ship Design

#70 Post by Krikkitone » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:11 am

RonaldX wrote:Problem being if you are putting things further up the tree than others, you have to determine which "strategies" are better than others, so that you can put them deeper into the tree. If all you are doing is delaying when certain parts can be equipped, then you're already essentially doing what I'm suggesting and calling it something different.

What I suggest, as opposed to hulls which are intrinsically suited to a task, is standardized hulls with intrinsics specific to their type (constructed/organic/energy/asteroid), and components that the player can use to customize the hull to whatever role they want. Certain hulls can be made more suited to certain roles by slot loadout, not their intrinsic capabilities.

Look at blue-water navies.. A large steel hull can be a destroyer, a battleship, a carrier, a frigate, etc. etc.. All of these have different offensive and defensive systems, and can be loaded with any different number of electronics packages to make it great at intercepting enemy signals or relaying friendly ones.. The concept of a metal hull that floats on water is identical between every ship, the difference that defines their roles is in the parts that are bolted into that hull. A wooden hull could be intrinsically better at different things, and a plastic hull could be intrinsically better at different things, but those intrinsics would be consistant to the construction material.

Again, I fall back on the house analogy. If it's winter and you want hot air, you don't build yourself a new house with intrinsic hot air, you install a furnace. When summer comes around, you don't design a third house with intrinsic cold air, you turn off the furnace and put in an air conditioner.

To say that in year 10, my empire designed a hull that was great at stealth, and by year 2000 they were unable to reproduce that technology in any other hull just doesn't make sense to me.

-Ty.
Actually the house example is a good one.

When winter comes, I install a furnace
When an Ice age comes, I build a more fuel Efficient house with a furnace installed

A "Later Tech" Hull Strategy doesn't need to be "better" than earlier ones.

It simply needs to be additional
or better suited to a particular point in the tech tree. (a Hull with multiple spots would be much more likely to see use later in the tree than earlier.. if it is a valid strategy for a large powerful empire to use multislot hulls, then they will still do so.


Why In the year 2000 would they need a different Hull to be good at stealth?
They update the Armor
They update the stealth Package
They update the weapons
etc.

The Hull has certain trade off characteristics (stealth v. speed for example)

That's like saying
With Priesthood I got a great Civic for religious spread
Why can't I get a better Civic for religious spread by the time I have the Internet.

Because you get better Other things then.

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Re: Ship Design

#71 Post by Bigjoe5 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:54 pm

RonaldX wrote:Problem being if you are putting things further up the tree than others, you have to determine which "strategies" are better than others, so that you can put them deeper into the tree. If all you are doing is delaying when certain parts can be equipped, then you're already essentially doing what I'm suggesting and calling it something different.
You don't have to determine which strategies are better - you just have to determine which strategies are better for later in the game. What use is a hull that can go through hidden starlanes if nobody has the technology to hide starlanes? What use is a hull with a large internal slot if you haven't unlocked any large internal components? In the late game, the idea of an Asteroid Hull that can hide in an asteroid belt will still be valid, as will the idea of a camouflaged asteroid hull with no external slots, but a higher stealth bonus. But at that point, there can be new strategies available too, such as a mighty flagship asteroid hull that can hide in an asteroid belt while providing a shield bonus to the entire fleet.

Consider MoO2: there was no endgame replacement for the "Frigate" hull, but you still don't stop using them until your opponent stops using missiles and fighters, since they're great, inexpensive kamikaze ships (especially with Quantum Detonator). The ships that you built with them got better though, due to better armour, drive, computer, equipment, etc. Similarly, a ship built with the Constructed Hull I will be useful in the later game when it is equipped with better shields, armour, weapons, stealth/detection equipment, etc.

Most of a ship's cost should come from its weapons, except in the cases of hulls with great special abilities. This means that the cost of building an advanced ship with Constructed Hull I wouldn't be trivial in the late game (though it wouldn't be as significant as in the early game).
RonaldX wrote:I follow you on this.. Should ammunition occupy a slot on it's own, then? Or should there be slots dedicated to ammunition? If X ammunition is inherent to the "missile launcher" slot, then a large ship with 10 of them, and a small ship with 1 of them, are going to be able to fire for the exact same number of turns before running out of missiles, so how do you differentiate between the types of ship that a LR weapon can be loaded on? The simplest method, I guess would be to allow internal slots for ammunition storage, or to have internal slots further segregated into normal, large, and ammunition, since having ammo occupy a standard internal slot would necessitate more internal slots across the board, which we both agree is undesirable.
We could have ammunition occupy an external slot (and be less expensive, but have more missiles that the missile part that can actually fire). Then, if the player uses a small hull for LR, either he'll have a really low rate of fire, since only one or two slots will be used for missiles launchers, or he'll run out of ammo really quickly because no slots are being used for ammo. If a larger hull is used, it will be able to have a high rate of fire and lots of ammo, and then if a hull with a large external slot is used, the player can equip a "large missile launcher" in that slot, which has a higher rate of fire and ammunition than four regular missile launchers put together, which will shift the balance in favour of using large ships for LR.

Edit: Since it's not just the stealth that makes Constructed Hull VI special, but its speed and fuel supply as well, it might be reasonable to make it have exceedingly high stealth and no internal slots, since while a ship with extreme speed and high stealth is very useful and interesting, a ship with extreme speed and some other internal component (colony pod?) might be overpowered.
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Re: Ship Design

#72 Post by RonaldX » Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:09 am

Bigjoe5 wrote: You don't have to determine which strategies are better - you just have to determine which strategies are better for later in the game.
I don't see how this is any different than making basic hulls and simply having the techs unlock the relevant components to effect those strategies, except that you're taking away customization from the player.
What use is a hull with a large internal slot if you haven't unlocked any large internal components? ... Similarly, a ship built with the Constructed Hull I will be useful in the later game when it is equipped with better shields, armour, weapons, stealth/detection equipment, etc.
Having a large slot when you havn't unlocked any large components? Well, you can jam four regular components into it.. it does still have perfect functionality, with the possibility for further functionality later in the game. You are contradicting yourself here, because I assume that you're saying Constructed Hull I won't have any large slots, because you start off with it, so you havn't yet unlocked any large components? Well then it isn't going to be very versatile once you start unlocking large components and can't fit any of them onto that ship. Standardized hulls with specialized components make more sense logically, and allow the player more fun in experimenting with different component combinations instead of being hamstrung into hulls that are only good at one thing. Balancing the component combinations is easier said than done, yes, but it's a fairly intuitive process.
Most of a ship's cost should come from its weapons, except in the cases of hulls with great special abilities. This means that the cost of building an advanced ship with Constructed Hull I wouldn't be trivial in the late game (though it wouldn't be as significant as in the early game).
No argument here. That's why I'm arguing for basic hulls with fewer intrinsics.

The MoO2 example doesn't hold a lot of water, because MoO2 only had 5 hull types, period, of which 3 were available at the start of the game. You customized ships based on available space and loaded them with whatever components you felt were necessary at the time. They improved because you improved the components, not because you designed a new hull that was better at task X. New hulls (titan, doom star) simply had more space.
On ammunition
No argument. I like this idea.. My only question is on how ammunition supply will effect rate of fire? I would assume that fire rate would be an attribute of the missile launcher, and ammunition supplies just enforce how many turns a launcher can shoot for.
...since while a ship with extreme speed and high stealth is very useful and interesting, a ship with extreme speed and some other internal component (colony pod?) might be overpowered.
This is a more valid argument against allowing more extensive customization of ships. My answer would be that you simply have to determine which component combinations are overpowered and design slot loadout and component size such that those combinations can't be made.. at least not without extreme difficulty or sacrifice of other vital components. If a player wants to be able to pack a powerful weapon onto a cheap hull, he's going to discover that the ship can barely move and has no room for armor, some severe mitigating factors. The point being you can balance component size vs the slot loadout of a hull in order to prevent nasty combinations of components, you dont need to rely on illogical restrictions.

I don't see this being a particularily large challenge, and I'd happily do it. I've been putting it off because sorting through the stringtables to extract the data on the current weapon systems in notepad really sucks.

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Re: Ship Design

#73 Post by Bigjoe5 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:15 am

RonaldX wrote:I don't see how this is any different than making basic hulls and simply having the techs unlock the relevant components to effect those strategies, except that you're taking away customization from the player.
Having hulls that are particularly good for particular roles doesn't imply that there can't be any hulls which are good for a variety of roles. A player might choose to just stick with general, all purpose hulls and improve them with parts, but if the player doesn't choose to research advanced stealth technology, it's interesting if there's still an option for him to be able to build very stealthy ships somehow, but the tradeoff to this is that his stealthy ships will be much more limited in that they will have to be built with a particularly weak, low-capacity hull. That's an interesting strategic option: sacrificing something at one point in the tech tree in favour of a more immediate need, then making up for it later on with a different, partially superfluous tech.
RonaldX wrote:Having a large slot when you havn't unlocked any large components? Well, you can jam four regular components into it.. it does still have perfect functionality, with the possibility for further functionality later in the game. You are contradicting yourself here, because I assume that you're saying Constructed Hull I won't have any large slots, because you start off with it, so you havn't yet unlocked any large components? Well then it isn't going to be very versatile once you start unlocking large components and can't fit any of them onto that ship. Standardized hulls with specialized components make more sense logically, and allow the player more fun in experimenting with different component combinations instead of being hamstrung into hulls that are only good at one thing. Balancing the component combinations is easier said than done, yes, but it's a fairly intuitive process.
A large slot is much more valuable than four regular sized slots. If the starting hull has a large slot, then it will either be overpriced until large components are unlocked, or overpowered after large components are unlocked. Since the large majority of ship parts fit into regular sized slots, a ship with only regular sized slots will be plenty versatile. Large components should be fairly rare, and only occur when an extra restriction for what goes on a ship is needed, for example, a really fast LR ship with tons of ammo and a high rate of fire would be too powerful, so the small missile launcher is underpowered compared to one that goes in a larger slot. A fast, super-stealthy ship with a Stellar Converter would be too powerful (not to mention absolutely absurd - can you imagine some little scout zooming around destroying planets?), so Stellar Converter requires a large slot. The Warp Field is an extremely powerful fleet-supporting part, so it goes in a large internal slot. Basically, regular old weapons/armour/shields/etc, and even most forms of special equipment should go in regular old slots. There shouldn't be any real worry that a hull won't be versatile just because it has only regular-sized slots. There can be a few standardized hulls where the main distinguishing feature of the ship will be the parts that go into it, but there can also be interesting specialized hulls aren't as versatile. This way, failure to research a particular class of ship part can be partially made up for by researching a particular hull type, which is more interesting that just having hulls that are generally "better" than the previous hulls.
RonaldX wrote:
On ammunition
No argument. I like this idea.. My only question is on how ammunition supply will effect rate of fire? I would assume that fire rate would be an attribute of the missile launcher, and ammunition supplies just enforce how many turns a launcher can shoot for.
That's right; extra ammo shouldn't affect rate of fire.
RonaldX wrote:]This is a more valid argument against allowing more extensive customization of ships. My answer would be that you simply have to determine which component combinations are overpowered and design slot loadout and component size such that those combinations can't be made.. at least not without extreme difficulty or sacrifice of other vital components. If a player wants to be able to pack a powerful weapon onto a cheap hull, he's going to discover that the ship can barely move and has no room for armor, some severe mitigating factors. The point being you can balance component size vs the slot loadout of a hull in order to prevent nasty combinations of components, you dont need to rely on illogical restrictions.
FO's entire ship design system is based on illogical restrictions. They're called slots. They're very handy for balancing. I don't object to having a certain amount of versatile hulls, but the versatility of such hulls should be what makes them special. If there's nothing to make them special (i.e. versatile hulls are the "generic" hulls) they shouldn't be in the game.
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Re: Ship Design

#74 Post by RonaldX » Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:07 pm

Sorry for the delay, I've had some minor surgery and I've been laid up for a few days.

There are a few things I've thought about, and to be honest I see a system of 20 types of functionally distinct hulls as being entirely wrong for the combat style you've designed. From the design pad, the majority of combat is going to be played out on the rock-paper-scissors nature of LR, SR and PD. In order for players to actually fight battles as you've determined, they need to have all three of these roles be viable and accessable from the early game. Introducing 17 more hull types should add some flexibility, but shouldn't destroy the balance between the three. You need to maintain the balance between LR, SR, and PD in order for combat to play out in the way you want it.

Thinking about combat in that sense, you understand that PD ships must be faster than SR ships, which must be faster than LR ships. Otherwise, the entire system falls apart. There is no motivation at all for a player to load tons of SR weaponry on a ship too slow to ever catch and engage his opponents. Similarily, why put PD weaponry on ships that are too slow to keep up with the ships they are escorting? Speed, unlike many things, is not really a two-edged sword.. faster = better. Speed has to be balanced against something else, it's not a tradeoff in itself.

I'm concerned about LR payload vs PD payload. If PD is much easier to equip and use, than LR will not be worth using because it is too easily countered.

If LR and PD are roughly balanced, I'm concerned about speed vs LR payload.. One fast ship with one missile launcher on it is laughably overpowered. They can swoop into a system, fire off a few missiles, and then immediately retreat, reload, and come back next turn, encouraging abuse of the "battles per quanta" system. If SR ships are by nature faster, than they could catch and destroy the LR ships before they retreat, while the even faster PD ships provide a defensive screen against the attacker's missiles.. This would necessitate more planning and interesting tactics on the part of the attacker.

If LR is easier to load up on than PD, battles are reduced largely to offense vs offense attrition. Whoever has the faster LR ships wins eventually because they can hammer on their opponent without being fired back upon. If they have to run away and stretch it out over 20 turns, so be it.

From what you're saying, I have to assume that the design pad is entirely wrong. What I proposed a few posts ago is basically a framework that takes the design pad's specifications for ship sizes being indirectly linked to roles via characteristics (speed/health/cost).

Small = cheap, fast, low health = indirectly linked to PD.
Medium = average cost, average speed, average to high health = indirectly linked to SR
Large = expensive, slow, average to high health = indirectly linked to LR

If the idea of sizes is discarded, different hulls still need to be linked either directly or indirectly to a given role, and each of these three roles needs to be available early in the game.

As I said before, I'm not married to the idea of size as a classification, but role classification is required in order to preserve your LR/SR/PD combat trichotomy. New hulls should either improve one aspect (perhaps at the expense of others), or provide additional health, stealth, etc. Speed could be improved somewhat, but as soon as an LR ship becomes much faster than an SR ship, you risk destroying your fundamental combat forumla.

My intention in classifying by size was to abstract role classification and define small (fast) ships as PD, medium sized (average speed) ships as SR, and large ships (slow) as LR. Their weapon and system loadouts would be enforced by way of component size vs. slot availability. Alternative hull designs would focus more on internal systems to develop specialized ships with high stealth, high health, or fleet utility. I don't see any reason why this concept couldn't be integrated into the hull system you're using, provided the player has with enough hull designs and/or components available in the early game to effect the basic LR/SR/PD system, and further hull designs lend themselves toward specialization, or improving one role at the expense of others.

A generic ship available at the start of the game could technically fill any of these roles, but a later-game ship which is much faster and cheaper would be a far better PD ship, and a brutally overpowered LR ship. Later-game hull design should reinforce the LR/SR/PD trichotomy, not dissolve it.

Slot arrangement vs component size has to be the fundamental characteristic of ship design, and the most important thing to balance this against is speed.

-Ty.

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Re: Ship Design

#75 Post by Bigjoe5 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:42 am

RonaldX wrote:I'm concerned about LR payload vs PD payload. If PD is much easier to equip and use, than LR will not be worth using because it is too easily countered.
Not necessarily. PD ships are highly vulnerable to SR, so using SR ships wisely would allow intelligent use of LR.
RonaldX wrote:If LR and PD are roughly balanced, I'm concerned about speed vs LR payload.. One fast ship with one missile launcher on it is laughably overpowered. They can swoop into a system, fire off a few missiles, and then immediately retreat, reload, and come back next turn, encouraging abuse of the "battles per quanta" system. If SR ships are by nature faster, than they could catch and destroy the LR ships before they retreat, while the even faster PD ships provide a defensive screen against the attacker's missiles.. This would necessitate more planning and interesting tactics on the part of the attacker.
Ships don't just reload by exiting a system. In addition, they wouldn't be able to come back next turn, because they would have to go all the way to the end of the starlane and back. I don't really see how Battle Quanta are relevant to this tactic, except that the ships would have to spend less time in the system.

Faster LR ships would have either very low ammo or rate of fire, as we discussed. So such ships would either be useless for hit-and-run due to rate of fire, or they would not be able to do so repeatedly due to running out of ammo. If a system adjacent to the target system is within supply range, the defender could send ships to blockade the supply routes leading to the adjacent system (to which the fast LR is presumably retreating and being resupplied). In addition, since the defender can have his ships anywhere in the system, he could easily station his SR in range of the starlane exit, stopping the LR attack before it even really begins, or he could have some ships cut off the LR on its way back to the starlane exit.
RonaldX wrote:If LR is easier to load up on than PD, battles are reduced largely to offense vs offense attrition. Whoever has the faster LR ships wins eventually because they can hammer on their opponent without being fired back upon. If they have to run away and stretch it out over 20 turns, so be it.
How so? If the enemy ships are in range for LR, they're in range for LR - both theirs, and the enemy's. They will get fired at every turn that they are able to fire at the enemy. Having faster LR doesn't help at all in an LR vs. LR battle - the slower LR would probably win, simply because they will probably have more missiles. This is also makes the hit-and-run LR strategy less effective, because simply having a few high-capacity LR ships, which give more firepower per unit of cost than the smaller LR, will allow the defender to fire a significant number of missiles at the attackers as soon as they're in range.
RonaldX wrote:From what you're saying, I have to assume that the design pad is entirely wrong. What I proposed a few posts ago is basically a framework that takes the design pad's specifications for ship sizes being indirectly linked to roles via characteristics (speed/health/cost).

Small = cheap, fast, low health = indirectly linked to PD.
Medium = average cost, average speed, average to high health = indirectly linked to SR
Large = expensive, slow, average to high health = indirectly linked to LR

If the idea of sizes is discarded, different hulls still need to be linked either directly or indirectly to a given role, and each of these three roles needs to be available early in the game.
That part of the design pad is somewhat obsolete, since Geoff has more recently expressed a desire to avoid explicit size classifications, which presumably also means avoiding making implicit size classifications such that size is the most important aspect of the hull and defines most of its characteristics, since that's functionally the same thing. I'm not at all against making certain ships bigger and slower than others; I think it's extremely useful if bigger, slower ships are better for LR than smaller, faster ships, but this doesn't mean that the player shouldn't be allowed to use smaller, faster ships as LR ships, should he choose to do so. There should also be - in addition to big slow hulls and small fast hulls - small slow hulls (perhaps useful for colony ships, or long-term recon missions), medium sized fast and slow hulls, and perhaps a large fast hull which is balanced by several other factors.
RonaldX wrote:As I said before, I'm not married to the idea of size as a classification, but role classification is required in order to preserve your LR/SR/PD combat trichotomy. New hulls should either improve one aspect (perhaps at the expense of others), or provide additional health, stealth, etc. Speed could be improved somewhat, but as soon as an LR ship becomes much faster than an SR ship, you risk destroying your fundamental combat forumla.
I'm rather dubious that fast LR will really be that overpowered.
RonaldX wrote:My intention in classifying by size was to abstract role classification and define small (fast) ships as PD, medium sized (average speed) ships as SR, and large ships (slow) as LR. Their weapon and system loadouts would be enforced by way of component size vs. slot availability. Alternative hull designs would focus more on internal systems to develop specialized ships with high stealth, high health, or fleet utility. I don't see any reason why this concept couldn't be integrated into the hull system you're using, provided the player has with enough hull designs and/or components available in the early game to effect the basic LR/SR/PD system, and further hull designs lend themselves toward specialization, or improving one role at the expense of others.
I have no objection to the best PD ships being small, the best SR ships being medium, and the best LR ships being large. What I do object to is all small, medium and large ships necessarily being better at PD, SR and LR respectively, than any other ship of a different "size". There are many, many other possible ship roles to consider, both combat and non-combat, and a "small" ship might be very good for a particular non-combat role, but bad at PD.
RonaldX wrote:A generic ship available at the start of the game could technically fill any of these roles, but a later-game ship which is much faster and cheaper would be a far better PD ship, and a brutally overpowered LR ship. Later-game hull design should reinforce the LR/SR/PD trichotomy, not dissolve it.

Slot arrangement vs component size has to be the fundamental characteristic of ship design, and the most important thing to balance this against is speed.
I still don't see how a fast LR ship will be overpowered, particularly when a large LR ship packs so much more of a punch.

Even before any hulls with large external slots are unlocked, larger hulls can still be better for LR than smaller hulls.

Let's suppose Constructed Hull II has 3 external slots, costs 100 PP and has a speed of 100, and Constructed Hull III has 9 external slots, costs 200 PP and has a speed of 50. A single Constructed Hull III packed with missiles will less expensive than 3 Constructed Hull IIs packed with missiles, but will have the same firepower. Since speed is less useful for LR ships, the increased speed of Constructed Hull II will not outweigh the extra cost of filling those hulls with LR. Since speed is very important for PD ships however, the extra speed of Constructed Hull II is well worth the extra cost.

When ships with large external slots are unlocked, and the ability to put large missile components in them is made available, then the trichotomy will only be strengthened, even if new smaller, faster ships that can be unlocked could also be used for LR.
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