Ship Refits - fairly simple balanced idea

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Chriss
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Re: Ship Refits - fairly simple balanced idea

#16 Post by Chriss »

Geoff the Medio wrote:Scrapping ships effectively decreases the cost of future ships already. Giving a local boost motivates players to always scrap at a location that can benefit, and could motivate producing ships solely to convoy PP to the scrapping location...
Since production is shared with all supply line connected planets I don't see how this is a big issue if the bonus is "bonus production". If there's no refit, then I think there could at least be some reward for scrapping ships, even if it's just 20% of production costs.

But I, too, would really like to see some form of refit, especially since we've got organic growth now. Maybe it does not make sense to have a full refit which fundamentally changes the ship, but an upgrade from Weapon Refinement x to x++ sounds good. It should have a cost and build time associated I guess. I don't know how complicated it would be to implement...?

Like: automatically upgrade designs with the refined techs, and give some UI option to now refit the older ships?
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Vezzra
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Re: Ship Refits - fairly simple balanced idea

#17 Post by Vezzra »

Chriss wrote:I don't know how complicated it would be to implement...?
That's not really the problem here. The actual challenge is to design such a game mechanic in a way that it doesn't turn into micromanagement hell for the player...

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Ta'Lon
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Re: Ship Refits - fairly simple balanced idea

#18 Post by Ta'Lon »

The 'cleanest' way to handle this is to handle upgrades via a right click when you select the ship.

Another game allows upgrades away from starbases/planets, mainly to NOT have to answer the question 'is that ship at a planet with a shipyard right now or is it not', but it does 'disable' said ship(s) for a number of turns while it is being upgraded.

The ships that are 'out on patrol' and not at a colony with orbital docks is the main reason why you can't just have an 'upgrade all shps of this type' in the aforementioned right click. You probably could write some check code that checks to see which other ships of the same class are in systems with orbital docks.

Of course, the downside to THAT is that you may suddenly take some ships offline for refit that were acting as system defenders that you didn't intend to take offline at that moment.

You could argue that the parts taken off of the ship should count as some sort of credit to production, but I see that as easily abusable. I think that the cost of the upgrade should still end up being a bit more than just the cost of the systems added. Of course, you could argue that the simple fact of tying up the production cue with the upgrade (see below) is sufficient disincentive.


So the short form, if upgrades were implemented:

1) Should take ship offline for a number of turns, depending on how extensive the upgrade is. Should also be more expensive than just the cost of the systems added.

2) Done via right click/upgrade design to, which opens a window showing available upgrade options (i.e. other designs using the same hull).

3) said open window asks upgrade y/n, and also shows production cost. Clicking yes will add the upgrade to the production cue of the planet/empire in question (planet/empire needs to divert resources to the upgrade).

4) An option to upgrade all other ships of the same type that are currently at drydocks is one of the options listed in the said new open window. Doing so adds them to the production cues of said colonies.


That is the best way I can see doing this, to avoid the above mentioned micromanagement hell. The fact that you'd have to add the ship upgrade to the production cue I think is a sufficient disincentive to doing the upgrade (why not just build a new ship?). And, as mentioned above, doing the upgrade (in labor/production) should be a bit more expensive than just the cost of the systems added.

This will also mean some 'stragglers' won't get upgraded via the right click, but I don't see a problem with that. If it is that important to the player, he will move said ships to the nearest drydock on his own.
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Vezzra
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Re: Ship Refits - fairly simple balanced idea

#19 Post by Vezzra »

I'm a bit confused about what you're actually suggesting: Do ships have to be at drydocks for upgrades or not? If they do, then you're going to have a micromanagement problem, because you need to constantly send ships to the drydocks and keep track of them - ugh. If you want ships being able to be upgraded anywhere via a special order ("Upgrade to design"), that's (currently) not possible with the game engine, not the way you're suggesting it. Production items are tied to a production location at which they are produced, ATM that's only possible at colonies. You can't add a "upgrade ship" production entry to the production queue for a ship that sits in the middle of nowhere.

Or do you mean that ships can be upgraded at colonies without requiring drydocks? That would only reduce the micromanagement a bit. Especially later in the game, when you have a lot of ships not sitting at one of your colonies, you'll end up sending ships back and forth to do the upgrades. That's not really a substantial improvement over requiring ships to be at a drydock for upgrades.

What's confusing me are these statements:
Ta'Lon wrote:Another game allows upgrades away from starbases/planets, mainly to NOT have to answer the question 'is that ship at a planet with a shipyard right now or is it not', but it does 'disable' said ship(s) for a number of turns while it is being upgraded.
Here you seem to suggest not to require ships to be at a drydock to get upgrades.
The ships that are 'out on patrol' and not at a colony with orbital docks is the main reason why you can't just have an 'upgrade all shps of this type' in the aforementioned right click. You probably could write some check code that checks to see which other ships of the same class are in systems with orbital docks.
Why, if you don't need a drydock for upgrades?
3) said open window asks upgrade y/n, and also shows production cost. Clicking yes will add the upgrade to the production cue of the planet/empire in question (planet/empire needs to divert resources to the upgrade).
Which planet, if you don't require ships being at a drydock?
4) An option to upgrade all other ships of the same type that are currently at drydocks is one of the options listed in the said new open window. Doing so adds them to the production cues of said colonies.
So here you're suggesting only ships at drydocks can be upgraded?

I'm obviously not getting something here, please clarify :)

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Re: Ship Refits - fairly simple balanced idea

#20 Post by MatGB »

I'm thinking a fairly simple solution to the idea.

Advanced Engineering Bay is currently an upgrade to the drydock that's used to build one ship only, and that ship is something I can't personally see an in game use for at all, under pretty much any circumstances.

So, give it another function, ship recycling.

If you scrap a ship at an AEB, then a proportion of it's production cost is added to empire production (within supply of that planet) for that turn.

I'm rather torn on refits, I definitely think that the refinement techs for weapons should simply upgrade all weapons of that type thus a) resulting in less obsolesence and b) making the refinement techs more useful, but I'm not as keen on anything that complicates ship UI too much by letting ships be refit with different equipment, etc. Yes, older battleships IRL do get newer weapon fits etc, but they also get mothballed and decommissioned, or relegated for training purposes, sometimes relatively soon after manufacture (I grew up close to two major Royal Navy bases and spent some time on training vessels as a kid on various experience programmes and similar).

I think scrapping ships with a bonus is the best, and most simple, way to go, but don't want any potential for abuse with new planets getting a massive production spike by running older ships there just after colonisation, which I think is Geoff's concern.

What do people think? Because if the AEB idea has legs I might start looking into scripting it when I've finished my current things.
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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Ship Refits - fairly simple balanced idea

#21 Post by Geoff the Medio »

MatGB wrote:So, give [Advanced Engineering Bay] another function, ship recycling.
If you want to add a scrapping yard building, call it that. "Advanced Engineering Bay" does not suggest that function.

There's probably no simple / implemented way to increase empire PP for one turn using an effect, though.

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Re: Ship Refits - fairly simple balanced idea

#22 Post by MatGB »

It could be renamed at the same time, it's currently an almost completely pointless building so it's either dump it or do something else, and it has art so...

I was thinking something along the lines of a concentration camp style set to max combined with something else, but it's only a vague idea currently, it's tying it in to the scrapping of a ship that I'm not clear on, that might need some backend work that's possibly not worth it unless, but might be—I can see why a lot of people want refits and similar, but can't see a way of doing it that isn't simple enough for what we want from this game.

Whereas actively encouraging scrapping and giving a clearer benefit for doing so would be a good approach, it took me a LONG time to convince myself that scrapping sub optimal ships was incredibly advantageous as long as you've got something like a transformer network in place, newer players don't see the advantage. Partially, that can be solved by improving in game text, but the learning curve in this game is very high ATM, encouraging good strategy through simple mechanics (at least from the players perspective) is a nice approach if it's possible.
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Re: Ship Refits - fairly simple balanced idea

#23 Post by Ta'Lon »

Vezzra wrote:I'm a bit confused about what you're actually suggesting: Do ships have to be at drydocks for upgrades or not? If they do, then you're going to have a micromanagement problem, because you need to constantly send ships to the drydocks and keep track of them - ugh. If you want ships being able to be upgraded anywhere via a special order ("Upgrade to design"), that's (currently) not possible with the game engine, not the way you're suggesting it. Production items are tied to a production location at which they are produced, ATM that's only possible at colonies. You can't add a "upgrade ship" production entry to the production queue for a ship that sits in the middle of nowhere.

Or do you mean that ships can be upgraded at colonies without requiring drydocks? That would only reduce the micromanagement a bit. Especially later in the game, when you have a lot of ships not sitting at one of your colonies, you'll end up sending ships back and forth to do the upgrades. That's not really a substantial improvement over requiring ships to be at a drydock for upgrades.

What's confusing me are these statements:
Ta'Lon wrote:Another game allows upgrades away from starbases/planets, mainly to NOT have to answer the question 'is that ship at a planet with a shipyard right now or is it not', but it does 'disable' said ship(s) for a number of turns while it is being upgraded.
Here you seem to suggest not to require ships to be at a drydock to get upgrades.
The ships that are 'out on patrol' and not at a colony with orbital docks is the main reason why you can't just have an 'upgrade all shps of this type' in the aforementioned right click. You probably could write some check code that checks to see which other ships of the same class are in systems with orbital docks.
Why, if you don't need a drydock for upgrades?
3) said open window asks upgrade y/n, and also shows production cost. Clicking yes will add the upgrade to the production cue of the planet/empire in question (planet/empire needs to divert resources to the upgrade).
Which planet, if you don't require ships being at a drydock?
4) An option to upgrade all other ships of the same type that are currently at drydocks is one of the options listed in the said new open window. Doing so adds them to the production cues of said colonies.
So here you're suggesting only ships at drydocks can be upgraded?

I'm obviously not getting something here, please clarify :)

Micromanagement hell would be having to click on EACH individual ship in your fleet that you want to upgrade, WITHOUT having an 'upgrade all ships of the same type' option with the right click.

BTW, Galactic Civilizations is the franchise I was referring to earlier (upgrades take ships offline for a number of turns, the time required based on how close they are to your planets, and the extensiveness of the upgrade). That game allows upgrades anywhere. The right click in that game which brings up the popup menu that shows your upgrade options (and the associated cost), with the 'upgrade all ships of the same class' option included. It is quick, easy, and painless.

And yes, I AM suggesting that ships may only be upgraded at orbital drydocks (or better). To be honest, most of my colonies that build ships end up having one of these anyways (it's fairly close to the top of my list of buildings to build), so I don't see the problem.

Because you need to put the ship into drydock in order to refit it.

You could put a 'discount for upgrades' on ships at orbital drydocks (or better) if you wanted to allow simple shipyards to do the work. But I STILL think it should tie up the production cue/use production resources, otherwise it's a cheat.
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Re: Ship Refits - fairly simple balanced idea

#24 Post by Vezzra »

Ta'Lon wrote:Micromanagement hell would be having to click on EACH individual ship in your fleet that you want to upgrade, WITHOUT having an 'upgrade all ships of the same type' option with the right click.
No, that would be beyond the seven circles of micromanagement hell ;) The micromanagement hell I'm referring to is the need to send ships back and forth between the front lines and your drydocks and keeping track of everything involved in the upgrading process.
BTW, Galactic Civilizations is the franchise I was referring to earlier (upgrades take ships offline for a number of turns, the time required based on how close they are to your planets, and the extensiveness of the upgrade). That game allows upgrades anywhere. The right click in that game which brings up the popup menu that shows your upgrade options (and the associated cost), with the 'upgrade all ships of the same class' option included. It is quick, easy, and painless.
Ah, I see. You were just giving that as an example, not suggesting to do it exactly this way in FO.
And yes, I AM suggesting that ships may only be upgraded at orbital drydocks (or better). To be honest, most of my colonies that build ships end up having one of these anyways (it's fairly close to the top of my list of buildings to build), so I don't see the problem.
The problems with that are:

1.) In FO buildings are considered something special and rare, not something you build on all/most of your colonies. If one building turns out to be such a "build everywhere" thing, we consider that a design flaw and will try to fix it. We do have some buildings ATM that have this problem, but these are not going to stay the way they are now.

Meaning, if drydocks turn out to be something players tend to build everywhere or even need to build everywhere in order to play an optimal game, or just to avoid micromanagement, we need to redesign the mechanics that cause this kind of behaviour.

2.) As long as you only have few ships, sending them back every now and then for some upgrades isn't that big an issue. But as you build up your empire and get more and more ships, this becomes extremly tedious. I've played other 4X space games (Space Empires the most noteworthy example) which do upgrades exactly like this (requiring you to send ships to a drydock/space yard/whatever). It always gets beyond annoying after a while. Because once you have dozens or even hundreds of ships, the hassle of having to keep track of everything involved gets unbearable:
  • You have to keep track of how outdated your ships are and decide when it's worth to send them back to the drydocks to upgrade them.
  • You have to keep track of which ships are on their way to which drydocks for upgrades, which ships are currently upgraded where, which ships have been finished and ready to go back to which front lines.
  • As you often cannot just send all your ships that need upgrades back at once (especially when currently in a war, which is a very common situation in a 4X game), you have to send your ships in batches (which further complicates the keeping track thing).
As I said, been there, done that. All that sending back and forth of ships and keeping track of everything gets to the point where it's no fun anymore, just a hell lot of tedious, annoying, repetitive work. Exactly the thing we do not want in our game.
You could put a 'discount for upgrades' on ships at orbital drydocks (or better) if you wanted to allow simple shipyards to do the work. But I STILL think it should tie up the production cue/use production resources, otherwise it's a cheat.
I'm not opposed to require upgrades to cost PP, I'd actually prefer it this way too, provided we can come up with some ideas how to do that without getting into the micromanagement described above.

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Re: Ship Refits - fairly simple balanced idea

#25 Post by Krikkitone »

Perhaps treat upgrades through the damage/repair system

1. Only a fully repaired 100% hp ship can upgrade
2. it upgrades instantly, but is reduced to 1-10% hitpoints (or some fraction depending on how much is upgraded)

So you won't be upgrading unless the fleet is in a
1. safe,
2. supplied
location for a while

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Re: Ship Refits - fairly simple balanced idea

#26 Post by Dilvish »

Vezzra wrote:I'm not opposed to require upgrades to cost PP, I'd actually prefer it this way too, provided we can come up with some ideas how to do that without getting into the micromanagement described above.
Here's an idea. The UI would involve the previously discussed design-upgrade/obsolete-designs mechanism, so let me start by recapping my vision of that.
Upgrading Designs In its simplest form, this is just about streamlining the Ship Design Window and process. When making/viewing a ship design, one could designate a design as an upgrade of a preexisting design (probably requiring it to have the same hull). That preexisting design would then be obsolete and would no longer be displayed with the available designs; it could included with the 'unavailable' designs or a third tab 'obsolete' could be added. Particularly if we had an auto-update button for updating the weapons (and perhaps other parts) on an old design to make a new design (wasn't someone working on that?), then that process could also automatically designate the old design as obsoleted by the new, making for a much streamlines process.

Ship Upgrades This would give additional significance to obsolete design designations; ships with obsolete designs would be eligible for upgrade to the superceding design. The cost for upgrading a ship would be the difference in construction cost of the old and new designs (location independent as listed in the pedia), optionally plus some upgrade surcharge, but the player wouldn't need to pay attention to individual ships. Each turn, some amount of the empire's PP could be devoted to fleet upgrades. This could be a flat percentage (say 10%) controllable by a toggle in the Production Window, or a capped variable amount controlled by a formula or a dropdown box or a slider (eek!). The upgrade PP thus made available would be applied to ship upgrades in some kind of random/stochastic manner so that even if the available amount was less than a ship's upgrade cost, the player would once in a while get ships upgraded so that it averaged out to 'you-get-what-you-pay-for'. If your per-turn upgrade contribution was more than the minimum upgrade cost you could be assured of getting at least one upgrade. Upgrades could perhaps be restricted to ships in 'Supplied' regions, perhaps also allowing ships outside of Supply so long as not immediately after combat.
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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Ship Refits - fairly simple balanced idea

#27 Post by Geoff the Medio »

These suggestions all sound very complicated and annoying for players and coders to deal with. I've not seen anything that seems better than just having parts get additional bonuses when later techs / buildings / specials / species / whatever become available that provide such bonuses. The same part / design would remain in use and get better. No toggles / sliders / automatic selection of some ships but not others to be modified, etc.

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Re: Ship Refits - fairly simple balanced idea

#28 Post by Bigjoe5 »

Geoff the Medio wrote:These suggestions all sound very complicated and annoying for players and coders to deal with. I've not seen anything that seems better than just having parts get additional bonuses when later techs / buildings / specials / species / whatever become available that provide such bonuses. The same part / design would remain in use and get better. No toggles / sliders / automatic selection of some ships but not others to be modified, etc.
+1
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Re: Ship Refits - fairly simple balanced idea

#29 Post by Kassiopeija »

I "scrap" outdated ships by simply sending them into battle^^ (the ability to group ships together according to their design helps immensely here). The advantage here is that the enemy might also encounter losses...

Besides, if existing ships could be updated to the latest tech I believe this would boost military conquest stuff and make the game more easy, esp. that there is no secondary resource stuff involved (only PP)

The comparison with GalCiv aren't proper imo. If you want to upgrade ships there you'll have to pay 8-10 times the amount of economical resources as if you would build these ships from scratch. PP/RP do have a cost there, too, mainly 1 base RP/PP = 1 billion credits, whereas bonus RP/PP = 0,5 bcs. Basically a ship that costs 100 PP will cost ~75bcs if build (although you'll have to have the production raised somewhere (which is the true limiter here) whereas if you buy that ship it'll cost you ~+800 bcs.

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Ship recycling and refitting

#30 Post by ThinkSome »

It'd be nice to turn the old clunkers into something more useful (like upgrading MD to laser) or getting some PP back instead of scuttling the basic hull ships.

Recycling:
You move the ship to a system with a basic shipyard and orbital drydock and another option "recycle ship" appears where the fleet gifting one usually is. The PP is then transffered to stockpile.

Refitting:
You move the ship to a system with a basic shipyard and orbital drydock and then the shipyard offers refit/recycle options as designs. It offers all designs that have the same hull and the price for producing that design is equal to cost of new parts plus some per-part-replaced fee - recycling PP of the old parts.
It takes min (1, max_{\forall{part \in parts}} turns_part) turns to complete.


There could also be an option to move old parts to storage.

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