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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RonaldX
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Re: Ship Design

#76 Post by RonaldX » Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:19 am

I'm rather dubious that fast LR will really be that overpowered
...
Since speed is less useful for LR ships
Speed isn't less useful for LR ships, it's more useful for LR ships.

I expect you've never played a game where Kiting was an important element.

Let's take, for example, the ubiquitous World of Warcraft. I havn't played in a couple years, but at least this is how it used to be. Several classes were exceptional damage dealing classes at range, but were horrible in melee, to the point that if a powerful melee class got close enough, they were basically toast. To that end, the developers gave these ranged classes different abilities to slow and snare their opponents, so that they could create distance. Conversely, the melee classes were given different abilities that would allow them to counter these slows and snares. The tactical aspect of player-vs-player combat was managing these abilities and using them at the correct times (each would have a different cooldown so they couldn't be used over and over), to outwit your opponent. There's a lot to it but that's the gist of it.

The point is, if there were no counters to these snares and slows, the ranged class would just happily dance around their melee counterpart and pick them apart, and there would be nothing whatsoever that the melee class could do about it. That was the beauty of playing mage vs warrior in classic WoW. Warriors only had one escape mechanism, and mages had 4 ways to snare. It was a 100% turkey shoot.

But I digress..

If a LR ship is faster than an SR or PD ship, you effect the same circumstance. The SR ship will never, ever, ever be able to close the distance and engage the LR ship. No matter what. Period. Kind of rediculous considering that SR is supposed to be the achille's heel of LR.
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.
This is more along the lines of where my thinking progressed. The general idea was that we can gently enforce the LR/SR/PD balance (mainly through speed vs. slots, as I still believe speed is the important balancing factor vs range), while introducing hulls that introduce possibilities for excelling at one of the roles, or non-combat roles, or adding specialist roles, like high stealth scouts, high speed interceptors, or fleet-effect flagships.

I think that it's important in the early game to have enough ship designs easily reachable to start the players off learning their SR/LR/PD balancing and tactics, and these early-game designs can become obsolete as the player researches and unlocks the hulls which improve upon the basic concepts and add specialist/non-combat strategic options.

A late-game player might still find use for these early hulls as cheap troop transports, detector ships, border patrols, etc, but for their main combat roles they'll have more advanced models capable of better effecting the P/S/L roles, complemented by specialist ships with perhaps more interesting intrinsics or slot loadouts.

-Ty.

Edit: Had a thought this morning that might avoid, or at least mitigate, the fast LR problem. Require that a ship has to remain stationary for a combat turn to "stabilize and plot a firing solution" before it can fire an LR weapon. It will then only need to be balanced to a point where an SR ship can close the gap if the LR ship keeps stopping to fire. The LR ship could be faster, and the limit would be that it can't be more than twice as fast as an SR or PD hull, which I think is a more moderate limitation.

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Re: Ship Design

#77 Post by Bigjoe5 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:32 pm

RonaldX wrote:If a LR ship is faster than an SR or PD ship, you effect the same circumstance. The SR ship will never, ever, ever be able to close the distance and engage the LR ship. No matter what. Period. Kind of rediculous considering that SR is supposed to be the achille's heel of LR.
If the defender's units can start anywhere in the system, then he could start with his SR in range of LR. Since the tactical map has a finite area, SR can trap LR at the edge of the system, forcing it to escape via a starlane entry, where it will have to spend several stationary combat turns preparing for the starlane jump, making it vulnerable to SR. SR is not supposed to be the achilles heel of LR. An LR fleet should be able to easily destroy a comparably priced SR fleet. PD is what counters LR, and is what the defender will use to protect his SR as they get in range to attack the attacking LR. Sure, a fast LR ship can avoid slower SR for a long time, but not indefinitely, provided the defender has multiple SR ships, and if it doesn't have the sheer firepower necessary to overwhelm the defender's PD, it's no good against the SR. Plus, the defender's LR can always fire back at the attacking LR, and the attacking LR's speed is absolutely useless in an LR vs. LR situation.
RonaldX wrote:Edit: Had a thought this morning that might avoid, or at least mitigate, the fast LR problem. Require that a ship has to remain stationary for a combat turn to "stabilize and plot a firing solution" before it can fire an LR weapon. It will then only need to be balanced to a point where an SR ship can close the gap if the LR ship keeps stopping to fire. The LR ship could be faster, and the limit would be that it can't be more than twice as fast as an SR or PD hull, which I think is a more moderate limitation.
I'm hesitant to add special rules for firing like that. They always seem so awkward and arbitrary when it comes to actually playing the game, IMO.
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Re: Ship Design

#78 Post by RonaldX » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:01 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:If the defender's units can start anywhere in the system, then he could start with his SR in range of LR.
Eww. That takes alot of the fun of positional combat out of the game.. Why wouldn't clustering your SR around the starlane entry just be the standard defensive tactic? If that's the case you essentially condemn LR to defensive purposes only, because when attacking they are denied the one thing they are superior at.. range.
Since the tactical map has a finite area, SR can trap LR at the edge of the system, forcing it to escape via a starlane entry, where it will have to spend several stationary combat turns preparing for the starlane jump, making it vulnerable to SR. SR is not supposed to be the achilles heel of LR. An LR fleet should be able to easily destroy a comparably priced SR fleet. PD is what counters LR, and is what the defender will use to protect his SR as they get in range to attack the attacking LR.
I bolded that one part because it's important. This being said, I'm slightly more ok with fast long range, but still not fully ok with it. I get that PD is the counter to LR, but my perception was that once an SR ship got into range of an LR ship, it would generally get the better of it.
Sure, a fast LR ship can avoid slower SR for a long time, but not indefinitely, provided the defender has multiple SR ships, and if it doesn't have the sheer firepower necessary to overwhelm the defender's PD, it's no good against the SR.
Why wouldn't it be able to avoid them indefinately? It's faster than they are, and can stay out of their range. Let's assume that the attacker brings enough of these cheap, fast LR ships to overwhelm the defender's PD.. balance broken, regardless of the number of SR ships in the defender's fleet.
Plus, the defender's LR can always fire back at the attacking LR, and the attacking LR's speed is absolutely useless in an LR vs. LR situation.
It isn't useless, because they can use that speed to avoid the defending LR, stay out of it's range and pick apart the rest of the fleet at leisure. Unless your standard defensive strategy against this type of attack is to have enough LR of your own to completely surround your SR and PD ships, circling the wagons, so to speak, which is at best a goofy tactic, and extremely difficult in a 3d combat environment. SR and PD ships need to be viable in all combats, and the only way to ensure that is to make sure they can get into range to fight.

Speed vs. Range is a crucial balance point to get right. This is where the whole "linking hulls indirectly to roles" comes in. Kiting is ugly, un-fun, and leads to drawn out, indecisive battles. People aren't going to waste time with harassing, objectiveless combats when they know the units they send in are guaranteed to be lost. I say for the sake of fun to standardize speed vs range and have LR ships be by nature slower than SR. PD vs SR could be the same speed, but if they are slower than LR their effectiveness is lowered to the point of uselessness, except of course clustered around a starlane entry to blow to pieces everything that comes out as soon as it does, also a laughably un-fun tactic.

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Re: Ship Design

#79 Post by Bigjoe5 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:08 pm

RonaldX wrote:Eww. That takes alot of the fun of positional combat out of the game.. Why wouldn't clustering your SR around the starlane entry just be the standard defensive tactic? If that's the case you essentially condemn LR to defensive purposes only, because when attacking they are denied the one thing they are superior at.. range.
Perhaps LR could fire off a few volleys of missiles that all come out of the starlane ahead of it, or at the same time. Essentially, a whole bunch of missiles would come out alongside the LR at the same time, making it very difficult for PD to shoot them all down. Only ships within a certain range could be targeted, but to stay outside that range, ships would have to be well outside LR range. That way, SR ships can still intercept them, and sacrifice a few ships at the starlane entry if there were really fast enemy LR ships, but if big, slow LR ships were approaching, the SR ships would stay a reasonable distance away, so that they wouldn't be the targets of three or four combat turns' worth of missiles flying at them all at once.
RonaldX wrote:I bolded that one part because it's important. This being said, I'm slightly more ok with fast long range, but still not fully ok with it. I get that PD is the counter to LR, but my perception was that once an SR ship got into range of an LR ship, it would generally get the better of it.
That should be the case, but it should be difficult for the SR to get within range to attack before being destroyed if there are no PD ships present.
RonaldX wrote:Why wouldn't it be able to avoid them indefinately? It's faster than they are, and can stay out of their range.
Because the tactical map is a big circle, SR can come at it from several sides and trap it against the edge of the map.
RonaldX wrote:Let's assume that the attacker brings enough of these cheap, fast LR ships to overwhelm the defender's PD.. balance broken, regardless of the number of SR ships in the defender's fleet.
If that's the case, he could have overwhelmed the defender's PD even more easily with a bunch of big, slow LR ships. If the attacker has enough LR to overwhelm the defender's PD, he's at a significant advantage - that's not breaking the balance, that's a natural result of the PD/SR/LR trichotomy. Of course if the defender really has that many SR, he can afford to station them around the starlane entry and take the load of missiles that the attacker will unleash out of the starlane, for the sake of destroying the LR, or else he would be able to corner the faster LR with his more numerous SR.
RonaldX wrote:It isn't useless, because they can use that speed to avoid the defending LR, stay out of it's range and pick apart the rest of the fleet at leisure. Unless your standard defensive strategy against this type of attack is to have enough LR of your own to completely surround your SR and PD ships, circling the wagons, so to speak, which is at best a goofy tactic, and extremely difficult in a 3d combat environment. SR and PD ships need to be viable in all combats, and the only way to ensure that is to make sure they can get into range to fight.
Combat is rendered in 3D. All objects appear on the system's ecliptic, so in terms of the mechanics, it's effectively 2D. At any rate, it would take an absurd amount of speed for a ship at LR range to be able to circle a group of ships more quickly than a slow LR ship at effectively 0 range.

Even when placing ships near the starlane entry, the placing of ships of various types is still tactically important. You can say that placing SR at the starlane entry so that they can just blow up anything that comes out is boring, but really, the fact that it's at the starlane entry makes no difference. Just using SR to blow everything up is boring, period. This is why we have LR, PD and fighters. Even when you're placing your units around the starlane entry, the relative positions of these ship types will still be important.
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Re: Ship Design

#80 Post by RonaldX » Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:07 pm

You've sold me on most of these concepts, hopefully I havn't been sounding too argumentative and have brought up some valid concerns that will be considered in balancing; that's all I can really hope to contribute at this stage of development.
Bigjoe5 wrote:Perhaps LR could fire off a few volleys of missiles that all come out of the starlane ahead of it, or at the same time. Essentially, a whole bunch of missiles would come out alongside the LR at the same time, making it very difficult for PD to shoot them all down. Only ships within a certain range could be targeted, but to stay outside that range, ships would have to be well outside LR range. That way, SR ships can still intercept them, and sacrifice a few ships at the starlane entry if there were really fast enemy LR ships, but if big, slow LR ships were approaching, the SR ships would stay a reasonable distance away, so that they wouldn't be the targets of three or four combat turns' worth of missiles flying at them all at once.
This is an interesting proposition. If I can extrapolate on this in a few discussion points:
a) It would be important for the defender to know how much LR the attacker was bringing along, so he could decide how his ship placement would be at the start of combat (that phrasing is a bit unweildy but I'm sure you get my meaning). The threat of high-stealth LR units which can fire without being detected (because they aren't yet in combat and therefore un-targetable, and their stealth was too high to be detected on the galaxy map) could be unbalancing and would need to be considered carefully, though it does have the potential for a double-sneaky attack.. Missiles fly out of a starlane to savage the defenders, who arranged around the starlane assuming that the attacker had no LR.

b) Munitions supply would be important.. would the shots fired pre-combat count against the ammo supply of the attacking force? I assume they would. If so, it stands to reason that the defender's LR would be "out of the fight" at the beginning, but once battle was joined they would have more ammunition than the attacker.

c) I would think that the range on the missiles would be as though they were fired from immediately beyond the starlane entrance, so the defender could negate any advantage by simply positioning his units immediately outside the maximum missile range from the starlane. This has the desired effect of creating distance, and while the attacker is still somewhat pinned to the wall, in my mind this is more desirable than having him start off already surrounded and virtually helpless. If this is the case (assuming these pre-combat missiles count against their ammo), the attacker should know in advance where the defenders are positioned and can refrain from firing off 3-4 turns worth of missiles which aren't going to hit anything.

d) It might make more sense to have the defender set up within X range of any planet/asteroid/starbase/shipyard that their player controls in the system, rather than allow them to set up anywhere within the system. See below..

- We can assume that these fleets would be stationed near places where they could repair, refuel, send crew on leave, or just be close to the things they are there to defend.
- In the event of an attack, they would have to move from these regular locations to a specified "defensive location" where the player wishes to fight.. by allowing the defender to set up anywhere he wants, we are basically saying that he has, as a given, enough time to array any of his fleet assets anywhere in-system that he wants.
- If the player has sufficient warning of a combat (ie. he can detect an enemy fleet moving down the starlane), he may have time to do this, but if the unit is a stealth unit, he may not.
- All of these concerns really need to be handled one way or another as a rule, either the defender can place things anywhere all the time, or can place things in certain areas all the time, because the only other way I can see of handling it is allowing the player to go into the tactical map and move his fleets at any time, which I think is overly complicated and micromanagey.. The notion for disallowing the defender to freely place ships on the tactical map is just something I consider to be worth discussion (Albeit, perhaps for another topic. I've largely strayed off the path here, future posts will keep this more in mind.)

-Ty.

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Re: Ship Design

#81 Post by Bigjoe5 » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:23 pm

RonaldX wrote:You've sold me on most of these concepts, hopefully I havn't been sounding too argumentative and have brought up some valid concerns that will be considered in balancing; that's all I can really hope to contribute at this stage of development.
That's fine; being argumentative is absolutely imperative to contributing to FO's design.
RonaldX wrote:This is an interesting proposition. If I can extrapolate on this in a few discussion points:
a) It would be important for the defender to know how much LR the attacker was bringing along, so he could decide how his ship placement would be at the start of combat (that phrasing is a bit unweildy but I'm sure you get my meaning). The threat of high-stealth LR units which can fire without being detected (because they aren't yet in combat and therefore un-targetable, and their stealth was too high to be detected on the galaxy map) could be unbalancing and would need to be considered carefully, though it does have the potential for a double-sneaky attack.. Missiles fly out of a starlane to savage the defenders, who arranged around the starlane assuming that the attacker had no LR.
It probably won't be difficult to balance, since ships which are predisposed to be stealthy generally won't have large external slots, and therefore will only be able to equip small missile launchers. There will probably be a few exceptions to this, but such ships will have other significant tradeoffs and disadvantages.
RonaldX wrote:b) Munitions supply would be important.. would the shots fired pre-combat count against the ammo supply of the attacking force? I assume they would. If so, it stands to reason that the defender's LR would be "out of the fight" at the beginning, but once battle was joined they would have more ammunition than the attacker.
Yes, the pre-combat shots should be subtracted from the LR's ammo supply. Giving the player free pre-combat ammo would be a bit silly.
RonaldX wrote:c) I would think that the range on the missiles would be as though they were fired from immediately beyond the starlane entrance, so the defender could negate any advantage by simply positioning his units immediately outside the maximum missile range from the starlane. This has the desired effect of creating distance, and while the attacker is still somewhat pinned to the wall, in my mind this is more desirable than having him start off already surrounded and virtually helpless. If this is the case (assuming these pre-combat missiles count against their ammo), the attacker should know in advance where the defenders are positioned and can refrain from firing off 3-4 turns worth of missiles which aren't going to hit anything.
I agree. I suppose the attacker would have "control" of combat for one/a few combat turns before the ships actually enter the system (i.e. the ships would exit the starlane shortly after "combat" begins), which would allow them to target any visible vessels which are within LR distance of the starlane entry (it should probably be a bit less than full LR range, so defender LR can be stationed in range of the starlane entry without being vulnerable to the attacker's opening fire).
RonaldX wrote:d) It might make more sense to have the defender set up within X range of any planet/asteroid/starbase/shipyard that their player controls in the system, rather than allow them to set up anywhere within the system. See below..

- We can assume that these fleets would be stationed near places where they could repair, refuel, send crew on leave, or just be close to the things they are there to defend.
- In the event of an attack, they would have to move from these regular locations to a specified "defensive location" where the player wishes to fight.. by allowing the defender to set up anywhere he wants, we are basically saying that he has, as a given, enough time to array any of his fleet assets anywhere in-system that he wants.
- If the player has sufficient warning of a combat (ie. he can detect an enemy fleet moving down the starlane), he may have time to do this, but if the unit is a stealth unit, he may not.
- All of these concerns really need to be handled one way or another as a rule, either the defender can place things anywhere all the time, or can place things in certain areas all the time, because the only other way I can see of handling it is allowing the player to go into the tactical map and move his fleets at any time, which I think is overly complicated and micromanagey.. The notion for disallowing the defender to freely place ships on the tactical map is just something I consider to be worth discussion (Albeit, perhaps for another topic. I've largely strayed off the path here, future posts will keep this more in mind.)
Here is a short description of how this should work so as to give the defender the ability to place units anywhere in the system without requiring him to micromanage every fleet in preparation for a possible attack (bleh) and without enacting instantaneous teleportation of ships (which is really awkward if there were already stealthy forces [or even unstealthy forces] present in the system). By default, ships would be stationed around owned planets, which would presumably be the best place for them if stealthy forces attacked, since there would be no way to intercept them before they reached their target and opened fire.
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Re: Ship Design

#82 Post by RonaldX » Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:12 am

I do like that idea for pre-battle ship placement. It gives an attacker some time to array his forces and removes the "cluster around the starlane" defense tactic, which I find ugly. It also solves the instant-teleport question I brought up earlier. The idea for missiles being fired pre-battle could very well still apply, and it indeed may be very useful to reinforcements entering during a conflict.
it should probably be a bit less than full LR range, so defender LR can be stationed in range of the starlane entry without being vulnerable to the attacker's opening fire
As a side note, if the pre-fight missiles are fired from a location considered "immediately outside the starlane entrance", then the defending LR, if placed in a postion where the edge of their range is the edge of the tactical map, are already out of range. The attacker's missiles are considered to be fired from one grid space or AU or whatever outside the tactical map.
It probably won't be difficult to balance, since ships which are predisposed to be stealthy generally won't have large external slots, and therefore will only be able to equip small missile launchers. There will probably be a few exceptions to this, but such ships will have other significant tradeoffs and disadvantages.
I think the easiest way to effect this, and this is thankfully getting back on topic, is to balance LR systems so that the large missile launchers are particularily better than 4 small missile launchers, and that the difference between large/small LR is considerable relative to the difference between large/small SR or PD.

The result of that would be a player understanding he CAN equip LR on a ship with few slots and special intrinsics (high speed, stealth, etc.), but he would get way more bang for his buck by large-slot LR on a large, slow ship (presuming that hulls with several large external slots are intrinsically slow).

If large-slot PD/SR is available (and maybe it shouldn't be?), it could be hardly better than the sum of 4 small PD/SR components, which would reinforce to the player that there is no real advantage to loading a large slow ship with PD/SR weapons, and that it makes more sense economically to use LR or large, special-purpose components in those slots instead. It's kind of an unsubtle way of doing it, but it does serve the purpose, and doesn't prevent the player from using large-slot SR or PD if they want to.

I suppose, though, that you could preserve the power upgrade, and have large-slot PD or SR be much more effective than 4 small slots. The player is going to find out soon enough that slow PD ships are going to be of limited use in protecting his fleet against faster opponents, no matter how effective they are at shooting down missiles, while a cheap, fast PD ship capable of red/blue shifting can preform the same task at lower cost. You're essentially building into the game the ability for the player, and the AI, to make mistakes and inefficiently use their resources, which really isn't that bad an idea.

-Ty.

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Re: Ship Design

#83 Post by Bigjoe5 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 12:24 am

RonaldX wrote:I think the easiest way to effect this, and this is thankfully getting back on topic, is to balance LR systems so that the large missile launchers are particularily better than 4 small missile launchers, and that the difference between large/small LR is considerable relative to the difference between large/small SR or PD.

The result of that would be a player understanding he CAN equip LR on a ship with few slots and special intrinsics (high speed, stealth, etc.), but he would get way more bang for his buck by large-slot LR on a large, slow ship (presuming that hulls with several large external slots are intrinsically slow).
I agree. A large missile launcher could have perhaps 6-10X the ammo and rate of fire as a small missile launcher. Perhaps ammo could get less of a boost, or none at all, so that the smaller external slots on the ship are still useful for holding ammo. Also, there will likely be a very small number of exceptions to the "fast ships can't have large external slots rule", but only if there is a good way to balance their usefulness (perhaps with a lack of smaller external slots, so that it can't hold much ammo).
RonaldX wrote:If large-slot PD/SR is available (and maybe it shouldn't be?), it could be hardly better than the sum of 4 small PD/SR components, which would reinforce to the player that there is no real advantage to loading a large slow ship with PD/SR weapons, and that it makes more sense economically to use LR or large, special-purpose components in those slots instead. It's kind of an unsubtle way of doing it, but it does serve the purpose, and doesn't prevent the player from using large-slot SR or PD if they want to.

I suppose, though, that you could preserve the power upgrade, and have large-slot PD or SR be much more effective than 4 small slots. The player is going to find out soon enough that slow PD ships are going to be of limited use in protecting his fleet against faster opponents, no matter how effective they are at shooting down missiles, while a cheap, fast PD ship capable of red/blue shifting can preform the same task at lower cost. You're essentially building into the game the ability for the player, and the AI, to make mistakes and inefficiently use their resources, which really isn't that bad an idea.
My initial reaction is that if there are large versions of SR/PD, their power should be scaled up similarly to that of LR weapons, simply for the sake of simplicity. However, it seems to me that the idea would be to make small LR somewhat underpowered, to encourage players to use large LR. Giving PD, and in particular SR, a power boost for going in a large external slot would result in some overpowered large SR, unless SR and PD are similarly underpowered in their smaller versions (in which case, none of them would actually be underpowered). So it's probably best if in general, only LR weapons come in large varieties, since extending this privilege to other weapon types would undermine our efforts to make large hulls optimized for LR.
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Re: Ship Design

#84 Post by RonaldX » Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:51 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:I agree. A large missile launcher could have perhaps 6-10X the ammo and rate of fire as a small missile launcher. Perhaps ammo could get less of a boost, or none at all, so that the smaller external slots on the ship are still useful for holding ammo.
No arguments here.. even if a large missile launcher fires 6-8 missiles per combat turn (assuming we're still running on the model that 1 large slot = 4 regular slots), that would be a 50-100% increase in missiles delivered per combat turn over 4 small launchers. That kind of increased damage potential is a good shove towards large launchers over small ones (once they become available, of course.) Ammunition storage.. I would assume that the large launcher would have enough intrinsic ammunition storage capacity to fire for the same number of turns as a small launcher. If additional slots are dedicated towards ammunition, this could cause a problem in that additional ammo (if done in static # of missiles per slot) would benefit small launchers more than large ones..

A couple possible solutions:
- Perhaps "large version" missile launchers aren't just "heavy versions" of small missile launchers, but are a separate tech branch. As an entirely different weapon, it could have different sized ammunition "stacks" than a comparable small LR.
- A player, when adding an "ammunition locker" slot to a ship, would have to select which weapon the bay was meant to store ammunition for. If the ammunition is used for a large launcher, it stores 50-100% more missiles than if it is used for a small launcher. This (and also the above solution) could be explained in technobabble by saying that the large launchers utilize enhanced targeting systems, which allows them to fire smaller missiles with the same explosive payload (no need for bulky computers or inertial guidance systems, yadda yadda).. The disadvantage comes from having the ammunition assigned to a specific launcher, so if a player has 3 launchers, he would need 3 different bays for ammunition, they wouldn't be shared.
- Essentially the same as above, except they player only has to select what weapon "type" the ammunition is for, at which point the ship will automatically share that ammunition between all weapons of that type on the ship. Large/small exclusivity would have to be preserved, so if he had both large and small launchers, they could not share extra ammunition, he would need one slot assigned for the large launchers, and one for the small ones.
- Not bother with any of these, and large LR weapons would just eat through more stacks of ammunition than small launchers.. Not my favourite solution but certainly the simplest and might be useful for balancing.
Also, there will likely be a very small number of exceptions to the "fast ships can't have large external slots rule", but only if there is a good way to balance their usefulness (perhaps with a lack of smaller external slots, so that it can't hold much ammo).
I have no problem with this. Obviously it's subject to balancing.. Depending on the intrinsic values of such a ship, it may lend itself to different applications than LR anyways. A fast ship with large external slots but very little life would need to be escorted, so the defending player has to make sure his PD ships are just as fast or the ship is because it will be killed before it can deliver it's payload.. Other options are feasable as well.
..So it's probably best if in general, only LR weapons come in large varieties, since extending this privilege to other weapon types would undermine our efforts to make large hulls optimized for LR.
I agree with you. Obviously certain fun large components like the good old stellar converter, or particularily fun SR/PD systems shouldn't be out of the question, but as an exception to the rule. Large external slots I would think should be reserved mainly for missiles (and perhaps orbital bombardment weapons or other powerful, but special-purpose items that are really useful for one thing but useless elsewhere).

-Ty.

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Re: Ship Design

#85 Post by Bigjoe5 » Sun Mar 21, 2010 6:36 pm

RonaldX wrote:Ammunition storage.. I would assume that the large launcher would have enough intrinsic ammunition storage capacity to fire for the same number of turns as a small launcher. If additional slots are dedicated towards ammunition, this could cause a problem in that additional ammo (if done in static # of missiles per slot) would benefit small launchers more than large ones..
Alright - instead of significantly increasing the rate of fire, why don't we just multiply rate of fire and ammunition by 4, and increase missile health and damage by 50-100%? That's almost identical to multiplying rate of fire by 6-8, and makes ammunition for large LR more useful than ammunition for small LR with the same proportion that the large LR launcher is better than the small LR launcher.

All ammo parts would correspond to a particular missile type (rather than a specific part, since if ammo can be shared between ships in a fleet, that won't be feasible), and different sized missiles would be considered different missile types, so "Large Nuclear Missile Ammo" would be a different part than "Small Nuclear Missile Ammo", but both would have the same capacity and occupy a small slot.
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Re: Ship Design

#86 Post by RonaldX » Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:59 pm

Sounds like a good solution. Might also be interesting to have large launchers have a very slight range advantage over small launchers. I mean *very* slight, but enough to give them first-fire capability.

If PD is a range of 3
SR is a range of 5
LR is a range of 15..

Perhaps make LLR = 15
and SLR = 14

I havn't really thought that through, it might be a terrible idea, but it just came to me, and this is a brainstorming thread.

Any other particular topics you want to toss around with regards to ship design?

-Ty.

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Re: Ship Design

#87 Post by Bigjoe5 » Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:16 pm

Perhaps we should consider giving LLR a more significant range advantage over SLR, such that an SLR ship would be able to start within range of a starlane entry without being susceptible to LLR opening fire. I don't think it would be overpowering for LLR's range to be boosted to 20 AUs (these are obsolete units, actually - a system radius is 1000 rather than 100), or 200 tactical units; it's only 20% of the system's radius, and since these ships are usually slower, it's a nice additional bonus to having LLR.

This also makes it fairly easy for a single LLR ship to protect a small fleet of SR ships which are under attack by SLR ships, since the multiple SLR ships can be firing from completely opposite sides, whereas the single LLR ship could only be on one side, and wouldn't be able to easily counterattack all potential threats.

Another topic that needs consideration, I think, is Worldships - i.e. ships that function as population/production centers. Currently, all production centers are also population centers, because the only formula for resource generation involves population. I'd like to change that in the future so that outposts without population can act as production centers, for example if a player builds an Asteroid Mining Facility on an asteroid outpost, the mining meter would increase, and mineral production would be calculated using some formula that doesn't involve population.

Should particular hulls be predestined to be worldships, or should they be made worldships by virtue of a particular (large internal) part? The former seems like a better option to me.

A more basic type of worldship could merely be a production center, which produces very few resources, but functions essentially like an extremely slow mobile outpost, on which certain types of buildings can be constructed - for example, the imperial stockpile might be moved to such a ship. Such a vessel may or may not have a fleet supply meter, and be able to supply itself and other ships in the vicinity with fuel. Or, instead of having the same intrinsic fleet supply meter as a regular planet, it might have to equip parts to increase fleet supply.

Should such vessels have intrinsic shields, based on the player's planetary shield tech, or should shields only be improved by adding shield parts? Presumably, since there are no/very few dedicated "planetary stealth" and "planetary detection" techs (such techs would likely unlock buildings), the player would have to increase the stealth and detection of the worldship either by putting the appropriate stealth and detection equipment on, or by building the appropriate building on the ship. The Stealth Field building for example, would be very useful to have on a mobile outpost.

Should the number of buildings that can be built on a worldship be a property of the ship's hull, perhaps enhanced by adding certain parts or leaving empty slots?

For worldships that are population centers, how should the max population be determined? Should it be determined entirely by the intrinsics of the hull, or should there be parts available to increase population? How do regular techs that increase the population of planets increase the population of worldships? In the tech tree I'm currently drafting up, there is a distinct dichotomy between Construction and Biology, and the player is unlikely to research both. The Construction techs, which increase max population on Good planets, could also increase the max population of Constructed and Asteroid worldships, whereas the Biology techs, which increase max population on Adequate, Poor and Hostile planets, could increase the max population of Organic worldships.

Presumably, worldships can be customized and outfitted with parts in the same way as a regular ship. It's up to the player whether or not he wants to maximize defense vs. utility or vice versa. Should such ships have lots and lots of slots? What about the proportion between large/small and internal/external slots?

Such ships should probably be extremely slow. An Organic worldship might be faster, able to approach or surpass the speed of the slowest of Constructed non-worldship hulls, but would have to pay a price in max population/building capacity/part capacity, etc.

How would invading such a ship work? The way I'm envisioning ground combat is that the player drops troops and selects from a number of missions, including destroy/capture the planet, destroy/capture a particular building, kill civilians, damage resource meters, etc. The player might also choose the speed of the mission - faster missions are less likely to succeed, but are very useful if you have only fleeting space superiority, whereas slower missions are more likely to succeed, but are likely to be stopped prematurely by enemy forces orbiting the planet, unless the player definitely has space superiority. Ground combat on ships can work exactly the same way, except that there would be only one option - capture the ship (trying to destroy it might be interesting, but that would require management for each boarding action, and I'd prefer if it happened automatically, like firing a laser). The number of mission speeds available would be a function of the object itself, so regular ships would only have one, and the one mission and mission speed would automatically be chosen.

For worldships then, exactly the same mechanics can be used for ground combat on planets and other ships, and the available missions and mission speeds would be suitably available and selectable by the player, as if he were invading a planet.

Anyhow, that was a bit of a ramble... any thoughts/suggestions?
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Re: Ship Design

#88 Post by RonaldX » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:10 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:Perhaps we should consider giving LLR a more significant range advantage over SLR...
Sounds good.
Should particular hulls be predestined to be worldships, or should they be made worldships by virtue of a particular (large internal) part? The former seems like a better option to me.
I agree. I would think that a worldship would be a superconstruction, vastly larger than even the biggest ship considered viable for military purposes. Even if a very large ship has a crew of several thousand, it would still pale in comparison to even the smallest planetary population unit.
A more basic type of worldship could merely be a production center, which produces very few resources, but functions essentially like an extremely slow mobile outpost, on which certain types of buildings can be constructed...the player would have to increase the stealth and detection of the worldship either by putting the appropriate stealth and detection equipment on, or by building the appropriate building on the ship.
I thought originally that a special worldship hull would have special "worldship component slots" that might represent it's capacity for buildings, but I think this might needlessly clutter up the ship design interface. Worldships should, I think, be extremely expensive and rare, and dedicating a whole section on the regular ship design interface to their special components (especially when those components are buildings) is something of a stretch.

I would think that the worldship hulls should be set up and is defined as having a small number of internal and external slots, plus enough space for X population and/or X buildings, as separate additional intrinsics that regular ships don't have. The building and population interfaces would be accessed in the exact same manner as a regular planet, which the internal and external slots would be accessed in the same manner as any other ship. Internal slots might not be suited to a worldship, with the idea that a component designed for a medium-sized ship isn't going to effectively work on a ship the size of a moon, so maybe they would just have a handful of small external slots for PD and SR armament. We don't want to make worldships into invincible battlestations, but into mobile resource mechanisms.

Destroying a worldship shouldn't be impossible, but should be a matter of stripping away it's escorts and then pounding it from outside the range of it's point defense systems. Presumably they will have a large amount of life, so this might be a multi-turn affair where the defender is bringing in reinforcements. Fights over worldships could be a very interesting strategic and tactical part of the late game.

Care would have to be taken to avoid certain building/component combinations that could be decisively overpowered, if worldship hulls are given internal slots. You could relatively easily just make the effect of a building and a component not stack, I suppose, but I think not giving them ship internal slots is easier.

As a side effect of this, it might be better to have a "Construct Worldship" option at a sufficiently advance shipyard. Rather than build them from blueprints or mass-produced from the same mold, each Worldship would be individually designed at the time construction starts. You're only really talking about a couple components and defining whether it is to be used for population/resources/stockpiles, so it's not a big fiasco, considering how often you actually do it.
Should the number of buildings that can be built on a worldship be a property of the ship's hull, perhaps enhanced by adding certain parts or leaving empty slots? For worldships that are population centers, how should the max population be determined? Should it be determined entirely by the intrinsics of the hull, or should there be parts available to increase population? How do regular techs that increase the population of planets increase the population of worldships?
I think a property of the hull. Internal/external slots are representative of ship components, and they don't necessarily scale well.. Think of the biggest gun on the biggest battleship in the world, and then think of using that to shoot at the moon... Something as large-scale as a building or millions of population should be an intrinsic property of the hull.

Worldship buildings might be a separate class from planet buildings, or might have a few different options or limited options.. Asteroid Mine (for resource generation), Giant Cargo Bay (for moving your stockpiles), Stellar Habitations (for population).. A worldship hull might have 1, 2 or 3 slots for these types of buildings, so the player has to decide during construction what the role of the ship is going to be. In this case regular techs that increase the population of planets would perhaps increase the effectiveness of the Stellar Habitation..

Just train of thought stuff here, feel free to pick and choose what you like.
Organic vs Constructed Worldships
If the player is likely to research one and not the other, then it makes sense to make them largely redundant. I think you can get away with slightly adjusting the speed/health intrinsics and leave the basic building/population ratios untouched.
Presumably, worldships can be customized and outfitted with parts in the same way as a regular ship. It's up to the player whether or not he wants to maximize defense vs. utility or vice versa. Should such ships have lots and lots of slots? What about the proportion between large/small and internal/external slots?

Such ships should probably be extremely slow. An Organic worldship might be faster, able to approach or surpass the speed of the slowest of Constructed non-worldship hulls, but would have to pay a price in max population/building capacity/part capacity, etc.
I've given my thoughts on these in the above replies. Too many slots and you risk turning worldships into battlestations. I'd prefer to give them only a handful of slots and consider them to be miniature mobile planets, used for population, resource gathering, and stockpiling. If a player wants to defend one, he better make sure he has some fleet assets nearby. As far as constructed vs organic, because worldships are so specialized, and the player is only going to realistically get one of the two types, they should be mostly redundant in terms of buildings/population, the driving reasons behind why you make them in the first place. Making organic ships faster, and constructed ships more durable, is enough to make them unique without hugely upsetting the balance between them.
How would invading such a ship work? The way I'm envisioning ground combat is that the player drops troops and selects from a number of missions, including destroy/capture the planet, destroy/capture a particular building, kill civilians, damage resource meters, etc. The player might also choose the speed of the mission - faster missions are less likely to succeed, but are very useful if you have only fleeting space superiority, whereas slower missions are more likely to succeed, but are likely to be stopped prematurely by enemy forces orbiting the planet, unless the player definitely has space superiority...The number of mission speeds available would be a function of the object itself, so regular ships would only have one, and the one mission and mission speed would automatically be chosen.

For worldships then...as if he were invading a planet.
I'm going to throw a slight curveball here and go slightly off topic for a second, then come back. I have no objection to a "select your mission" type of ground combat. What I would think would be a little different is the mission "speed". I think that the type of mission vs available manpower should be the quantifying factor in how long it takes.

Certain types of missions might have "partial completion", where if you pull out before it's done, they still deal some damage. So as a quick list of examples:

Sabotage missions deal 1% stockpile damage per unit of invading troops per turn.
Kill Civilians missions kill 0.1 unit of population per unit of invading troops per turn until you pull out.
Destroy Building missions might take 10 turns, if you pull out early there is no effect.
Conquer Planet missions are constant ground combat until one side or the other is eliminated with no infrastructure damage, pull out early and you simply lose.

The enemy will still be fighting you as long as they have troops to do so, so your numbers will continue to reduce. Your goal, if it is to sabotage/kill/destroy deals damage turn by turn based on how many troops you still have standing.

Every one of these mission objectives applies to Worldships in the exact same way as it does to planets.

-Ty.

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Re: Ship Design

#89 Post by Bigjoe5 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:34 pm

RonaldX wrote:
A more basic type of worldship could merely be a production center, which produces very few resources, but functions essentially like an extremely slow mobile outpost, on which certain types of buildings can be constructed...the player would have to increase the stealth and detection of the worldship either by putting the appropriate stealth and detection equipment on, or by building the appropriate building on the ship.
I thought originally that a special worldship hull would have special "worldship component slots" that might represent it's capacity for buildings, but I think this might needlessly clutter up the ship design interface. Worldships should, I think, be extremely expensive and rare, and dedicating a whole section on the regular ship design interface to their special components (especially when those components are buildings) is something of a stretch.
I wonder though, if worldships have a capacity for buildings, would there ever be an advantage to building it with the buildings already in place on the ship? Or perhaps the ability to leave the ship in the shipyard after completion (which is useful for other interesting strategies, as Star Wars fans can attest), and construct buildings on it would be functionally identical (or even more useful in some situations, since the ship itself is operational before the whole ship+buildings structure would otherwise be complete), so there really would be no need to clutter up the design/production screen with ways to have worldships and buildings on said worldships be built simultaneously.
RonaldX wrote:As a side effect of this, it might be better to have a "Construct Worldship" option at a sufficiently advance shipyard. Rather than build them from blueprints or mass-produced from the same mold, each Worldship would be individually designed at the time construction starts. You're only really talking about a couple components and defining whether it is to be used for population/resources/stockpiles, so it's not a big fiasco, considering how often you actually do it.
It's probably a lot easier to just design them the normal way. Then, even if you build another one, you at least having the option of making on based on the previous design, potentially saving the player time on later occasions, whereas having to design it at the shipyard each time doesn't even save time the first time you do it.
RonaldX wrote:Worldship buildings might be a separate class from planet buildings, or might have a few different options or limited options.. Asteroid Mine (for resource generation), Giant Cargo Bay (for moving your stockpiles), Stellar Habitations (for population).. A worldship hull might have 1, 2 or 3 slots for these types of buildings, so the player has to decide during construction what the role of the ship is going to be. In this case regular techs that increase the population of planets would perhaps increase the effectiveness of the Stellar Habitation..
Yes, some buildings should have their location conditions include Planet, and others could just say PopulationCenter, whereas yet others could be PopulationCenter Not Planet.
RonaldX wrote:[Worldships should have few external slots and perhaps no internal slots, and be defended largely by escorts]
I disagree - I think that if planets have the ability to defend themselves against attack, then Worldships should as well, by the same grain. In rare cases, a very productive empire might be producing several Worldships, simply due to having nowhere left to expand (for example, perhaps Construction players won't easily be able to colonize Poor and Hostile planets, and Adequate planets will be minimally useful, but such players will usually have high industrial output). In this case, each worldship is no longer worthy of individual escort and should be able to fend for itself, just as when the player starts colonizing, he shouldn't have to leave a small defense fleet at each planet - it should be able to deal with weaker attackers. Ideally, a planet with maxed out shield and defense meters could shred a fairly strong mid-game fleet (because such a planet is the late-game result of favouring planetary defense over other options. A suitably outfitted worldship should, I think, be comparably powerful - its cost, however, would still be far out of proportion to its combat effectiveness, so nobody would fit a Stellar Converter on it and use it primarily (though they might use it secondarily) as a planet destroyer when they can build a Constructed Hull VII with two Stellar Converters for less than the cost of the worldship's hull.
RonaldX wrote:If the player is likely to research one and not the other, then it makes sense to make them largely redundant. I think you can get away with slightly adjusting the speed/health intrinsics and leave the basic building/population ratios untouched.
Perhaps, though an even more powerful way to make them mutually exclusive is to have general Constructed techs increase the stats of Constructed worldships, and Biology techs increase the stats of Organic worldships. Using this would allow the population and building capacity to vary in interesting ways without actually making it useful to try to go after both types of worldship in most situations.
RonaldX wrote:I'm going to throw a slight curveball here and go slightly off topic for a second, then come back. I have no objection to a "select your mission" type of ground combat. What I would think would be a little different is the mission "speed". I think that the type of mission vs available manpower should be the quantifying factor in how long it takes.
It should be, but I think there should be player input on top of that, so that the player can at least somewhat manipulate ground combat to fit the situation. It also gives a natural ground combat advantage for having space superiority - there's nothing urgent about the mission, so it can proceed at a fairly slow pace, to really ensure the success of the mission. Anyhow, most of this is better discussed in a ground combat thread. The important thing here is that the same basic system is used to invade both planets and ships, so invading a worldship can be pretty much the same as invading a planet.
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Re: Ship Design

#90 Post by RonaldX » Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:35 pm

I have a doctor's appointment shortly but I just wanted to throw out some quick responses to this. Mostly agreement.
Bigjoe5 wrote:I wonder though, if worldships have a capacity for buildings, would there ever be an advantage to building it with the buildings already in place on the ship?
I would think that the shipyard would handle the building of the ship, and then the people on the ship would be responsible for constructing the buildings. Just for simplicity's sake and continuity between the way ships on the whole are constructed, and how planets on the whole are developed.
It's probably a lot easier to just design them the normal way.
No objection to this, given that adding buildings to a worldship happens later, and the initial design process involves building "slots".
A suitably outfitted worldship should, I think, be comparably powerful - its cost, however, would still be far out of proportion to its combat effectiveness...
I follow you here, but you have to consider that if you give it LOTS of slots, both internal (which might be used for buildings, but might be used for tons of stealth/detection/special equipment), and external (which might be used for equipment, but could also be loaded up with massive amounts of LLR), plus the intrinsic high health and relatively high difficulty of capturing/destroying it (not just boarding a ship with marines, but essentially invading a whole planet), you run the risk of creating a nigh-invincible battlestation. I have no objection to worldships equipping weapons and systems, but I feel you have t balance it properly so that players are driven to use them for resource and population management and not for combat.
Perhaps, though an even more powerful way to make them mutually exclusive is to have general Constructed techs increase the stats of Constructed worldships, and Biology techs increase the stats of Organic worldships. Using this would allow the population and building capacity to vary in interesting ways without actually making it useful to try to go after both types of worldship in most situations.
I really like that idea.

-Ty

Edit: I'm wondering now if worldships should be equipped with planetary defense systems, or ship defense systems. I think it makes more sense that they should be equipped with defenses in the exact same manner as a planet is, and not really customizable as a ship at all. It kind of has to go one way or the other.

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