what type of game are we creating...

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Aquitaine
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#46 Post by Aquitaine »

Daveybaby wrote:What about nebulas. Some nebulas may slow down the ship, disable shields, etc.
Nebulae in real life are just too big (covering hundreds of LY) to feature as separate features on a ship combat map. So that may annoy any realists among us.
I feel like I'm repeating myself, but if there are any realists among us at this point, they're probably already annoyed and they will continue to be.

Realism is not now and will never be a primary reason to do something or not.

-Aq
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luckless666
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#47 Post by luckless666 »

If anyone has played the warhammer 40k universe tabletop wargame (by Games Workshop), they have a spin off game called Battlefleet: Gothic, which is all about tactical space warfare. If anyone could get hold of the rulebook (I have one but its at home and im at uni at the moment) then we could read through the rules and see if there is anything we could adapt for our needs
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emrys
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#48 Post by emrys »

Daveybaby wrote: I was thinking of morale the way it is used in the total war games. Unfortunately this sort of thing just doesnt happen in a modern, well trained navy, so it probably wouldnt happen in space combat, which in sci-fi is usually based to a large degree on naval combat.

There's a world of difference between the gut level of panic and fear that can be created by watching the people around you get their heads mashed in by crazed viking warriors, knowing youre probably next, and the more remote action of pressing buttons on a control panel under someone else's orders.

I guess routs could happen, but morale is not as integral a part of space combat as it is in hand to hand combat.
This is basically a realism argument, which frankly simply doesn't apply. If we wan't morale and faltering/breaking units or taskforces in the game, then we can have it. So long as it works in the context of the game, I practically guarantee you that 97% of players will be happy with it, level of realism not withstanding. If it doesn't work in the game context, then 100% of players will hate it, no matter how realistic it is. Same reasoning goes for inventing small scale nebulae that have gameplay effects like lowering shields or hiding ships, if it makes the game work it's good, if it doesn't it's not.

The great thing about a Sci-fi game is you can always explain with appropriate babble any game mechanism you like, at it will sound realistic.

(As to the realism argument itself, I would have thought that moral and coherency of the command structure would still have a big influence on the effectiveness of modern naval warfare, if you have a Commodore who is worried about how the battle's going, his orders may be more defensive that those of a hyped up gung-ho loony, perhaps even as far as "withrawing precipitously" (i.e. routing).)

As a side point I'd suggest reading some of the Honor Harrington series of books for ideas about navalised space combat, they just shout out a general feel I think would be good for the combat engine of FO.
Last edited by emrys on Wed Jan 28, 2004 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

emrys
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#49 Post by emrys »

luckless666 wrote:
Sandlapper wrote:'Inertial Instability'
This is a good thought, but 'realistically' (gameplay should obviously come over realism) this wouldnt happen, as inertia is caused by gravity, of which there is none (or very little) in space. After all, a human in a space suit can travel at 35000 miles per hour in space and feel like hes standing still, yet such a speed would kill him on earth.
N.B., this isn't meant to be as rude as it will probably sound, but: This post is just so wrong in terms of the physics, I'm not going to try and correct it, let's just pretend luckless' post never happened.

Not that that means Sandlapper was dead on with the physics behind is idea, but that was supposed to be just an idea, so I'll cut him the requisite slack.

luckless666
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#50 Post by luckless666 »

N.B., this isn't meant to be as rude as it will probably sound, but: This post is just so wrong in terms of the physics, I'm not going to try and correct it, let's just pretend luckless' post never happened.
Doh! LOL. No offence is taken.... Ok lets try this angle, I for one wouldn't like the idea of not being able to fire weapons because we're going over a certain speed, and if we're going for turn-based combat, how do we know what speed we're going as (from a gameplay point of view) we're standing still. Of course it can be done, but it'll involve too much micromanagement (although the AI could handle some, if not most of it) that i feel will detract from the intensity of combat.

HOWEVER, i agree we more elements in combat than simply destroy their fleet before they destroy yours. The Battlefleet: Gothic rulebook contains rules on having 'special mission' each game (or combat in our case). You are given special mission such as 'destroy the admirals ship' and 'capture VIP' etc. etc. A random ship of the enemies is chosen and you can optionally fulfil this mission, and you get extra points. This is just a vague outline and would need a lot of work to fit into FO, but its just an idea for people to work with.

I like emrys view on morale (whos idea was it originally?) i think is excellent. You could have a flagship, that if gets destroyed causes a major morale loss. Lots of things really.

And nebulas were used in Star Trek: Armada. There were four different kinds (represented by different colours), some beneficial and some harmful to ships. We could implement a similar system (good for gameplay, but certainly NOT realistic!) Asteriod fields are good, maybe giving a cover from enemy weapons bonus (repesented as a percentage, and reduces the larger the ship is), but at the risk of being damaged but asteriods (also represented as a percentage, and increases the larger the ship). This would mean a group of small ships could hide in an asteriod field, and perform hit and run tactics on a fleet of larger ships. Defenders could take advantage of this if theres a time limit though and just hide its smallest ships in there until the time limits up

[EDIT] Corrected a whole lot of spelling and grammar
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Daveybaby
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#51 Post by Daveybaby »

emrys wrote:This is basically a realism argument, which frankly simply doesn't apply. If we wan't morale and faltering/breaking units or taskforces in the game, then we can have it. So long as it works in the context of the game, I practically guarantee you that 97% of players will be happy with it, level of realism not withstanding. If it doesn't work in the game context, then 100% of players will hate it, no matter how realistic it is. Same reasoning goes for inventing small scale nebulae that have gameplay effects like lowering shields or hiding ships, if it makes the game work it's good, if it doesn't it's not.
Its not a realism argument, its a personal preference. I just dont happen to feel that morale should be as much of a significant factor with regard to ship to ship combat, compared to hand-to-hand combat. These are supposed to be well trained professionals we're talking about here.

I agree w.r.t. the nebulae (i pretty much said as much in my original post).

Aquitaine
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#52 Post by Aquitaine »

Maybe late-game you'd have well trained professionals. Maybe the Daveybaby alien race begins that way. Maybe it's something that can be built into the strategy rather than just assumed to be a major factor or not?
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PowerCrazy
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#53 Post by PowerCrazy »

Asteroid Fields, Nebulas, Gravitational Distortion Sinks, etc. All seem like a good Idea. However we want to avoid "clutter" on the combat screen. I don't want to be thrown into combat with a labyrinthine muddle of "tactical" positions. If there are too many special positions, and tactical locales their importance falls. Also you know what happens if there is highground everywhere? There is no highground.

So now we are faced with the problem of where do we put these special features. We need them in locations that make them significant, but at the same time there needs to be alternative tactis, that doesn't involve rushing for the highground.

Also if we have terrain in the combat map, we need weapons that alter the terrain. i.e. A fleet is hiding in a gravitational distortion, so I shoot my anti-gravity torpedo into the distortion and cause a MASSIVE explosion, destroying or heavilly damaging the defending fleet. Similiar things can be adjusted for asteroid fields or nebulae, etc.
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luckless666
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#54 Post by luckless666 »

Asteroid Fields, Nebulas, Gravitational Distortion Sinks, etc. All seem like a good Idea. However we want to avoid "clutter" on the combat screen. I don't want to be thrown into combat with a labyrinthine muddle of "tactical" positions. If there are too many special positions, and tactical locales their importance falls. Also you know what happens if there is highground everywhere? There is no highground.
This is very true.
Also if we have terrain in the combat map, we need weapons that alter the terrain. i.e. A fleet is hiding in a gravitational distortion, so I shoot my anti-gravity torpedo into the distortion and cause a MASSIVE explosion, destroying or heavilly damaging the defending fleet. Similiar things can be adjusted for asteroid fields or nebulae, etc.
Yes, I agree with this, but i believe that we shouldn't develop them til much later in the game. This will give importance to them in the early games, but make them more useless as the game progresses. However, there should only be a chance that the anti-gravity torpedo will work. This will mean they will always remain a tactical option, even if its a reduced one
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PowerCrazy
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#55 Post by PowerCrazy »

Yes, I agree with this, but i believe that we shouldn't develop them til much later in the game. This will give importance to them in the early games, but make them more useless as the game progresses. However, there should only be a chance that the anti-gravity torpedo will work. This will mean they will always remain a tactical option, even if its a reduced one
Of course. However when i'm godlike in technology such superficial things as "asteroids" and the like shouldn't affect my steller converter dooms day device :). But yea obviously we would want such terrain negating (and creating possibly) weapons to be high up on the tech tree.

[tangent]It would be neat to have a ship that can create an artificial nebula to shroud the fleet in while they are defending the planet. It would force the attacking fleet to either use the appropiate countermeasures, or risk additional loses.

an example would be a defensive fleet creates a nebula on the combat map. Shields don't work UNLESS the ships are equipped with hard shields...[/tangent]
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Sandlapper
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#56 Post by Sandlapper »

PowerCrazy wrote:
[tangent]It would be neat to have a ship that can create an artificial nebula to shroud the fleet in while they are defending the planet. It would force the attacking fleet to either use the appropiate countermeasures, or risk additional loses.
Neat, I like.; additionally along the same lines we could have specialized ships for JAMMING ship's scanners.

One thing we have overlooked in terrain altering: MINEFIELDS. Do we want them or not; perhaps limited?

luckless666
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#57 Post by luckless666 »

Neat, I like.; additionally along the same lines we could have specialized ships for JAMMING ship's scanners.

One thing we have overlooked in terrain altering: MINEFIELDS. Do we want them or not; perhaps limited?
I like these ideas. But where do the Minefields get set up??
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emrys
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#58 Post by emrys »

Some tactical objectives that would be relatively easy to put in could be:

Planets: If we have bombardment and/or dropping invasion troops via assault shuttles etc. happen during combat then there is immediately an possible objective for an attacker beyond simply kill all the enemy (i.e. fight their way within strike range of the planet, drop the troops then hightail it out of there), and similarly for the defender (keep them out of range). This could be set up so as to force a defender to move away from their orbital defenses (i.e. fortified position) to prevent the attackers getting into range.

Hyperspace/Warp entry points: If we say that initially setting up a hyperspace jump takes a long (i.e. non-combat scale) time, when you need to be stationary with the shields down etc., but that for a limited time you can go back the way you came, then the entry point of a fleet becomes the only viable group exit point, i.e. the only place you can make and organised withdrawl. This would make it worth while for the attackers to attempt to circle around behind you and prevent your escape.

The alternative escape method might be a scattering to the winds of the attacking fleet (i.e. running off the edge of the combat area in disarray) when you'd take some level of losses (i.e. 5-10% of forces assumed to be hunted down, or lost due to mis jump or explosion due to combat damage before they jump) and the fleet would take longer to get home.

The need to represent the entry point on the map would also help prevent the two large fleets fumbling in the dark effect, since the defender would know exactly the attacker started, but not where their ships are now. Presumably the planet(s) would mark where the defenders started, though I'd be tempted to suggest we experiment with the total war approach of allowing the defenders a limited amount of prepositioning before combat, so they can set up ambushes etc.

I'm not sure if this general idea would work in practice, but it sounds like it might be interesting.

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#59 Post by luckless666 »

PowerCrazy wrote:Of course. However when i'm godlike in technology such superficial things as "asteroids" and the like shouldn't affect my steller converter dooms day device . But yea obviously we would want such terrain negating (and creating possibly) weapons to be high up on the tech tree.
LOL. true. maybe not THAT late into the game. Maybe just after mid game they should become avaliable?
emrys wrote:Planets: If we have bombardment and/or dropping invasion troops via assault shuttles etc. happen during combat then there is immediately an possible objective for an attacker beyond simply kill all the enemy (i.e. fight their way within strike range of the planet, drop the troops then hightail it out of there), and similarly for the defender (keep them out of range). This could be set up so as to force a defender to move away from their orbital defenses (i.e. fortified position) to prevent the attackers getting into range.
(God, here i go again...) The Battlefleet: Gothic rulebook has a system very similar to this. As you play the game, if you manage to get a ship close enough to the planet, you can out them into 'orbit' around the planet. Every turn, they sacirfice their movement in order to drop 1 points worth of troops (which roughly translates as 400pts in Epic 40k, and 2000pts in WarHammer40k) (Troop transports could drop 2pts a turn.) Though this would have to be adapted for FO ie only ships fitted with 'troop pods', 'landing barges', 'dropships', 'teleporters' etc. can offload troops, and have to reach orbit and sacrifice their turn. this would leave them open to attack however (from ground-based defences, orbital defences and the defending ships). What are peoples thoughts on this. Thanks for bringing this one up emrys. (we can assume that if the attacker wins, all avaliable troops will land).

emrys wrote:The alternative escape method might be a scattering to the winds of the attacking fleet (i.e. running off the edge of the combat area in disarray) when you'd take some level of losses (i.e. 5-10% of forces assumed to be hunted down, or lost due to mis jump or explosion due to combat damage before they jump) and the fleet would take longer to get home.
Adds an element of realism to it. And really makes retreat a last resort, which it should be.
emrys wrote:I'm not sure if this general idea would work in practice, but it sounds like it might be interesting.
It does sound interesting though.
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Krikkitone
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#60 Post by Krikkitone »

I think one of the best suggestions is to have the battle on a System field.
This solves two problems
1. Terrain: planets /distance from star/moons/asteroid concentrations, provide good realistic terrain (not that unrealistic terrain can't be good too, but making it realistic if possible is good)

2. Range/weapons and sensors, if the battle map is system scale, then a million km is almost melee


Here is my general idea:

A fleet goes into a system with certain goals (protect planets, assault planets, protect shipping, raid shipping, intercept fleets, hide, get through to next system) with a few factors to determine what strategy is used. (basically how much you split up your fleet to cover as much ground as possible v. how much you keep it together to prevent defeat in detail)

When one fleet Portion of your fleet detects the enemy either through sight or being shot at, then you get the battle screen (at two levels one a 'local' close to max detection/engagement ranges, and the other on a system scale.. with their actual locations at that time determined by what your strategy was)

You then can move your fleets around to attemt to engage the enemy.

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