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

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Geoff the Medio
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#16 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Aug 06, 2004 9:23 am

noelte wrote:I like the idea of ship hull design having advantages and disadvantages. Armor +25% and Speed -25%.

On the other hand i still think we can achieve smilar things by taking ship mass into acount when calculating system speed.
Exactly. If you want a manouverable ship, then don't put armour on it... it's that simple. Early-tech shielding and point-defence (if a defence) should be less effective against most heavy weaponry, meaning if you want a real ship-of-the-line battleship, you need to put heavy armour on it, but that means it wont' be moving around much (in battle, not necessarily between systems... though probably both). Having arbitrary bonuses and penalties to ship classes (like +25% speed for small ships) is silly, imo. Ship design is one area where abstraction of this type should be avoided. Emergent properties is the whole point of designing things. If we've already decided what the results of designs will be, then the player's not really doing the designing, is s/he?
emrys wrote:Whilst I agree in principle, I think we should be slightly wary of attempting to add too many interconnections on the same level (i.e. many types of defences vs. many types of weapons...) Beyond a certain point, I can see it becoming too confusing and not worth the player's effort of trying to get to grips with and adapt to thier enemies properly. I'd agree that maybe webs with three or five elements layered on top of each other as new tech is developed would work (so that the player can effectively forget about the old layer once the new layer is fully researched).
This is along the lines of what I'm thinking...

Changes in the web don't always mean adding new things to it. Advances in tech can change the relative strengths and weaknesses in the web. Thus if your enemy is using tech D which is weak to tech A now, you can use tech A now and get an advantage... but in a few dozen turns, techs will advance and tech D will get some improvements, neutralizing the advantage of tech A. Instead you could use tech F now, which is neutral to D but which has a bunch of upcoming enhancements that will make it better vs D later.

New techs also add connections to the web that change things signficantly. This is best exemplifeed with shielding. I imagine energy shielding not being available for the first third of the game. It would be a cool high tech thing that's a big deal and completely changes the strategic layout of the various classes of equipment when it arrives (like ironclad ships or dreadnoughts did). Before energy shields are available, there are are other defences such as point defence and a few classes of armour (on metal box: ablative good vs. beams, composite good vs. kinetic energy, rock. on asteroid: rock only, later the mass of the rock can be reinforced with a pre-energy shield field that gives asteroids an advantage, until real shields are developed which are better on smaller metal box ships. on biohulls: carapace, which has particular weaknesses and strengths dependent on enhancements likely).
Also, as a side and not particularly potent point, I always worry about designs that don't explicitly try to create a combat role for smaller ships, since without doing so it's quite hard to avoid combat becoming a simple big furball of huge ships, which just seems a bit of a waste in my mind. Not that the failings of Moo3 are necessarily a killer to any idea that sounds at all like that, just something to bear in mind.
There's no need for small ships to be useful in battle for them to have a roll in the game. As long as we have supply lines and blockadable production pooling, there will be lots of roles for long range but less powerful cruisers and subs and destroyers and such. These would generally run away from any big battleships or carriers they ran into when operating alone.

Also, the current idea everyone has of "size" of ship in a battle being the big important factor needn't necessarily be the case. Rather than having the battleship, cruiser, destroyer roles defined by size of ship, it could just as easily be determined by their equipment. As above, a battleship would have lots of armour and poweful weapons. A destroyer would have great engines and little armour or weapons but good sensors. A cruiser would have decent weapons, a good speed, but little armour. Furthermore, given the above discussed web of tech, there can be lots of variety required between ships in a fleet even without having that variety depend on size or speed or armour types. If direct fire short range weapons, indirect fire long range weapons and fighters are all well balanced, along with the various armour and PD types, then fleets will be quite varied already, even without different classes of ship like destroyer, cruiser, battleship/carrier.

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#17 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Aug 06, 2004 9:30 am

emrys wrote:From the start I've been trying to [...] get the RPS stuff based on the weapon loadouts, with the hull sizes influencing the weapon loadouts, rather than the RPS system directly. Looks like I've missed! Help in getting there is much appreciated.
I have been working on this. Will post...
Personally I prefer tieing the armour /speed factors directly into the hull sizes, because otherwise I can see people trying to compensate for big hulls being slow by putting more engines in, rather than rolling with the punches and developing strategies and roles that cope with their slowness...
This can be limited by fiddling with how engines affect speed. Small ships can't fit on much armour, so naturally end up being faster. Large ships get the same engines as smaller ones, but don't get to put any extras on. If the large ship has tons of heavy armour or weapons, then it will be slow battleship/carrier. If it doesn't weigh itself down, then it's a relatively fast battlecruiser. A mass-based system for in-battle speed is the way to go, imo.

(Things might change a bit when shields are developed... if they work as well as armour but take less mass)

Also, FTL engines couldu perhaps be based on volume, rather than mass, so big ships need to have a big heavy FTL engine to go anywhere, which weighs them down somewhat, reducing their in battle manouvrability.

Alternatively, a better longer range and/or faster FTL ship would need to put a larger portion of the ship volume/mass into the FTL drive, meaning a long range destroyer doesn't have the space / mass to put much weapons or armour...

Then again, maybe it's simpler and just fine to make FTL speed and in-system speed the same thing... Fuel efficiency or FTL speed or range and in-battle speed could all depend on mass in similar ways, so destroyers are long range and fast always, and battleships are slow in battle and slow getting to battle, but still blow-away anything less armoured (inc. all smaller ships) that get too close.

Then again again, maybe you could put a lot of effort into developing "FTL Helper Ships" that project a big FTL field around a group of ships / fleet, saving the trouble of including the FTL drive with each individual ship... especially the smaller destroyers and cruisers that never operate alone anyway... Might be an interesting sub-tree option to persue...

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#18 Post by emrys » Fri Aug 06, 2004 10:16 am

As I see it, those people who don't like my preference of designing a system with "expected" (n.b. not "fixed") roles for ship sizes considered from the outset, seem to talk a lot about how the system they want produces the expected roles, or at least will with careful balancing.

Question: why is closing your eyes, developing a ship design system fairly blind, then tweaking all the components it to get the result you wanted from the start all in the name of 'freedom of design', any better than designing a system that has the general feel you want built in (i.e. by using the emergent properties you want as a guide to the way to set up the interrelations), and then gives players their 'freedom of design' by considers players attempting to get round the drawbacks, exploit and adapt to the advantages and generally develop strategies and tactics that work within the framework a good thing?

In other words, I want to say that small hulls are faster, more maneuverable and weaker, big hulls are slower and stronger, Powerful guns are big with narrow firing arcs, fast guns are small. Long range ships can be caught by fast ships, but can hurt big ships.

Note I'm not saying what hull size/weapon type beats what, that's up to the player to decide by what strategies they employ. I can of course guess with confidence that mostly they'll put light wepaons in small hulls and big guns in big hulls, use small fast ships against ranged ships etc. Because that's why it's set up that way. But it's not the only choice available, and it may not always be the best.

The reason I want to do this is that those are the factors which essentially led/lead to the balance of forces and roles found in specifically the total war series, and the tactical combat part of that series is fun, with the key notable point that most units are useful at all stages of the game, i.e. there's relatively little drive towards only using the latest, greatest, largest units.

I'm also perfectly happy for players to design ships with different properties within this framework, because I think that setup that way it should be fairly stable, i.e. it'll be hard to build either an Uber ship or an unbeatable fleet, because a well balanced fleet could be beaten by a fairly specialised fleet playing to its strengths.

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#19 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Aug 06, 2004 10:50 am

Here's a rather unreadable version of my "system" for ship equipment strategy stuff. This is just the "initial" early tech stuff, so far.

Hull Types

3 Main Branches at Start: Metal Box, Biological and Asteroidal / Rock.

Also more advanced Hybrid designs available later after researching part of two or more main branches: metal-bio, metal-asteroid, bio-asteroid and the wonderous metal-bio-asteroid ultimate ship class.

Also some late-game advanced hull categories, such as energy-based hulls.

Perhaps also some interseting one-off hull types, such as the "treeship" (offshoot of more animalistic biohulls)

Descriptions here: viewtopic.php?p=11951#11951

Strategy Stuff

Basic idea is a series of interlocking webs of weakness and strength for each tech "level", between hull branch, engine quality, weapon class and defence class. Each tech level would have different (but not completely different) places in the web and relative strengths and weaknesses for each type of ship component. A particular class of componenet might be good against another class at one level, but neutral or weak at the next. Strategy would arise from now-vs-later as well as rock-paper-scissors type decisions.

Hull Types: (As above)

-Metal Box (better name?) - standard spacecraft. manufactured.
-Asteroid - hollowed out and reinforced asteroids use as spacecraft
-Biohull - living ships, grown rather than manufactured.

Engines: Using basic assumption that having "Fast" engines is expensive for a given tech level, so if you chose to research this, you're giving up another weapon or armour type you could have used instead.

Weapons and Defences: Change between tech levels... "levels" labelled arbitrarily. actual tech at any point in a game might consist of stuff from several "levels"... and levels aren't necessarily a strict division (though they could be). A given weapon has strengths and weaknesses vs. various armours, but these are indicated on the armours. A given weapon being strong or weak does not imply that it is equally strong or weak as all others against a given defence. Strong and weak are only guides, and subject to balancing.

Level 1:

Weapons:
-Laser Battery - Short range. Usable by metal box and asteroid hulls.
-Laser Fighter - Long range independent movement, very short range actual firing. Usable by metal box and asteroid hulls. Also acts as defence.
-Nuclear Missile - Long range indepedent movement, medium range damage. Usable by metal box and asteroid hulls, and maybe biohull (balance issue).
-Rail Gun / Mass Driver - Very Short range. Usable by asteroid hulls only (due to recoil).
-Acid Spray - Short Range. Usable by biohulls only
-Larval Spawn - Medium Range, continued damage. Usable by biohulls only.

Defences:
-Ablative Armour - Strong vs. lasers, acid. Weak vs. Larva, nuc. missile, rail gun. Metal box only.
-Composite Armour - Strong vs. larva, rail gun. Weak vs. lasers, nuc. missile, acid. Metal box only.
-Laser Point Defence - Strong vs. fighters, missiles. Weak vs. acid, larva, rail gun, laser battery. Metal box only.
-Missile Point Defence - Strong vs. missiles. Weak vs. acid, larva, rail gun, laser battery, fighters, nuc. missile. Metal box and biohull.
-Laser Fighter - Strong vs. other fighters, nuc. missiles. Weak vs. acid, larve, rail gun, laser battery. Metal box or Asteroid.
-Rock - Strong vs. nuc. missile, rail gun, acid. Weak vs. lasers, larva. Asteroid only.
-Carapace - Strong vs. lasers, acid, larva. Weak vs. nuc. missile, rail gun
-Acid Point Defence - Strong vs. fighters. Weak vs. nuc. missile, rail gun, laser battery, larva

Point defence is generally very short range, laser more so than missile. Fighters as defence can be extended far away form the carrier.

Some equipment is particularily expensive. This includes: Laser batteries, composite armour, larval spawn (more like a level 1.5 tech), fighters, and "fastness" for metal box ships.

A metal box ship can only have armour or PD, not both. If it has armour, it can't be "fast".

Some techs can be gotten cheaply together, comapred to each separately: nuc. missle and missile PD, laser PD and laser fighters

May rename "larval spawn" something like "biofighter" and say that it doesn't "shoot" but attacks by physically running up to things and using acid to borrow on weakpoints, rather than acid spray that's less targetted. Would make them about evenly matched with laser fighters (as they'd have carapace defences, so would be strong vs. laser fighter beams).

Theory: Metal box has a slight advantage over asteroid, which has a slight advantage over bio, which has a slight advantage over metal box. This is due to options, not hard-set rules, and subject to balancing to make it a minor point. Generally a particular hull type has one option of weapon or defence combination to beat a hull type it is weak against, but two options against the hull it is strong against.

Biohulls are a bit weak, but are cheaper and quicker to make to compensate, perhaps being useful for empires not planning to focus on conquest... for now. Biohulls are moderately fast, and quite manouvrable. Asteroids are big and very slow, and can't use point defence because it is too large to effectively cover everywhere. Metal box are fast and moderately manouvreable and perhaps the most versatile. Biohulls get the best galaxy-map fuel economy and speed, asteroisd the worst, metal box average.

Range of weapons and speed is a significant factor not reprsented in the weapons / defence weaknesses and strengths, as it is mostly relevant in combination with armour types and weapon types. A slow ship with short range weapons will generally beat a faster ship with short range weapons, but a faster ship with long range can shoot with impunity. A slow ship with long range would be good, but things are hopfully balanced against that working very well, except for asteroids vs. bio with nuc. mis, which is mainly why bio is weak vs. asteroids (note that this only applies for tech level 1, and getting a honkin' huge asteroid ship to the bioship empire's homeworld wouldn't be easy).

Asteroid hulls can use rail guns, but nobody else can, due to the large recoil they produce, and needing the mass of the asteroid to absorb this.

I've probly thought of other issues, but nothing more comes to mind immediately. This is rather difficult to comprehend in the format presented, I realize, but I don't see how else to easily convey the information. I've drawn up (on paper) some graphs connecting everything, but there are too many lines to easily read or redraw on computer, and I don't have a scanner handy... and they don't really convey the whole picture anyway, since they don't cover speed issues. I considered making a big spreadsheet of the possible combinations and how they'd fare in direct battle, but there are too many combos to iterate them all easily. I don't think this is sufficiently complicated to make it indecypherable, as you have to keep in mind that if you make a choice of bio, asteroid or metal box, you choices are cut down quite a bit, and things get a lot simpler from your perspective.

... I've also done some stuff for tech levels "2" and "3", but will post those later.

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#20 Post by drek » Fri Aug 06, 2004 11:34 am

Also more advanced Hybrid designs available later after researching part of two or more main branches: metal-bio, metal-asteroid, bio-asteroid and the wonderous metal-bio-asteroid ultimate ship class.
Metal-asteriod? How is that different from a normal rock class ship?

I'd say, do it like tabletop Battletech: Each hull has a tonnage capacity and slots to stick stuff. Some slots are specialized for certain special stuff. (for example, asteriod hulls might have more "big" slots for big guns, every hull would have a special engine slot.) Unlike other items, armor doesn't need a slot.

Each part (including armor) adds to tonnage. Part tonnage + hull tonnage= total tonnage. Part tonnage must be less than hull tonnage capacity.

Engines add to part tonnage, meaning if you add a big, powerful engine it'll take up space that could have been spent on more weapons and armor.

Engine power/total tonnage=manuverability in real space, speed in starlanes. Again, more or less just like battletech.

Examples:

(using the word "ton" but mean 100x as much)

Corvette Hull Mk I: It has 10 tons worth of space, and 4 slots. The player sticks in a 8 ton engine and two 1 ton pea-shooters, to make a super-fast corvette with no real armor and weak guns.

Rock Hull Mk II: It has 100 tons worth of space, 10 slots, and 2 "big" slots. (in addition, it has natural armor of type Rock and 200 tons worth of structure.) The player sticks two MegaMass Drivers into the "big" slots, for a total of 50 tons, a 30 ton engine, and 20 tons of misc. crap (sensors, point defenses, etc.). Dispite the fact that the Rock ship has a lot larger engine than the Corvette, it's 300 tons total means the ship moves much slower than the corvette designed above. Basically, a Rock Hull sacrifices speed in exchange for a few "big" slots.

Note, the player could have added in the 8 ton engine and used the extra space for a bunch of shields, point defenses, pea shooters, or something. But then his Rock Hull ship would move at a snail's pace--virtually immobile.

Another balancing factor: high tech stuff (like the big mass drivers) cost big industry to build and lots of credits to maintain.
A metal box ship can only have armour or PD, not both.
Uh, why not?
Asteroid hulls can use rail guns
So the deathstar can't use a rail gun?

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#21 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Aug 06, 2004 12:11 pm

drek wrote:Metal-asteriod? How is that different from a normal rock class ship?
I hadn't really thought it through, but I envisioned a small asteroid with metal bits sticking out the ends that are a significant portion of the vessel, as opposed to asteroids that are essentially hollowed out asteroids with little exterior metal-work.
A metal box ship can only have armour or PD, not both.
Uh, why not?
To make the player pick one or the other, and to keep metal box ships from being uberships by picking both armour and PD.
Asteroid hulls can use rail guns
So the deathstar can't use a rail gun?
Deathstar probably is an asteroid ship... or a metal-asteroid hybrid.

I generally figured asteroids would be much larger than metal boxes. It's much easier to make big ship by cutting away parts of something that's already big than building something big from scratch. Deathstars are pretty big, so... (actually, making them a metal-asteroid hybrid fits pretty well... maybe you cover the surface of a big asteroid instead of filling in the insides...)

Also, railguns would probably be obsolete by the time you make deathstars... You'd be using plasma and gravitics and telekinetics and subspace phased torpedos and whatnot by then.

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#22 Post by drek » Fri Aug 06, 2004 12:39 pm

I hadn't really thought it through, but I envisioned a small asteroid with metal bits sticking out the ends that are a significant portion of the vessel, as opposed to asteroids that are essentially hollowed out asteroids with little exterior metal-work.
Eh.

How bout this instead? You can attach parts to any kind of ship. Bio parts on to rock ships, metal parts on to bio ships, etc, but there is a connectivity cost of 10% tonnage (or 2 tonnage, or something). So you have "hybrid" ships, just that the main hull would be of a specific type.

So if your race/empire has the techs researched for that bio swarm thingy, you can attach it to a metal ship. (perhaps with a connectivity refinement)

But: just like multiclassing in D&D, an empire/race that doesn't specialize in a single hull type will find itself outstriped in terms of raw power--but it would be more adaptable.
To make the player pick one or the other, and to keep metal box ships from being uberships by picking both armour and PD.
You can take a little bit of armor and a little bit of PD, or a lot of one using battletech-ish rules. They wouldn't be uber-ships so much as "balanced" ships as opposed to specilized ships.

Note, since techs can be refined, it might be a better strat to concentrate on just refining PD, armor, or shields. Again, the Dungeons and Dragons multiclassing analogy applies.
I generally figured asteroids would be much larger than metal boxes. It's much easier to make big ship by cutting away parts of something that's already big than building something big from scratch. Deathstars are pretty big, so... (actually, making them a metal-asteroid hybrid fits pretty well... maybe you cover the surface of a big asteroid instead of filling in the insides...)
Asteriod hollowing would be a cheap, low tech way of getting "big" slots for big guns/stuff. Constructing huge metal ships would be an expensive method of getting "big" slots, with the advantage that they'd weigh less and therefore fly faster and be easier to cloak/shield/etc. (think of the "big" slots as the spinal mounted weapons in Homeworld)

As far as RPS goes, I'm assuming that the really long ranged weapons would only fit into "big" slots, meaning uber-ranged ships would generally be slow, easy targets.

There might also be some sympathetic equipment: like special sensors that improve to-hit rolls at long distances. If you take the special equipment, you'd want to stack the ship up with parts that recieve bonuses--rewarding specialization.

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#23 Post by LithiumMongoose » Fri Aug 06, 2004 12:47 pm

I have to say, I don't really like all this. Rock and Bio hulls are good, it's a great idea, but they should have their own set of plusses and minuses and that should be that. I'm not in favor of all these arbitrary restrictions. I also have reservations about the hybrid hull types, I know Clark made his Shadow-enhanced "Advanced Destroyers" that got Ivonova killed, but imo that was more a case of them getting stronger with the shadow tech taking over, than a fusion of the two resulting in a sum greater than its parts.

Nothing wrong with an all-metal deathstar, or even particularly hard to build vs using a big rock. No reason rail guns couldn't go on metal or even bio ships, the only issue is recoil and that's a function of ship size, metal rock bio should all be available in all sizes. And no reason to say projectile weapons like that would be obsolete in the higher end of the tech tree, they're a very distinctive basic weapon type with their own strengths and should be available at all levels imo.

Edit -- This was in response to Geoff. @Drek: better. Will have to think about that some more...

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#24 Post by drek » Fri Aug 06, 2004 12:58 pm

ship hulls:

normal (ie, metal)
no penatly for attaching "metal" parts.
-corvette
-cruiser
-captial gets one "big" slot
-dreadnaught gets two "big" slots

asteriod (ie, rock)
no penalty for attaching "metal" parts, cheap for their size, very slow
-rock (about the size of captial) gets one "big" slot
-boulder (about the size of deadnaught) gets two "big" slots
-mountain three big
-moon (about the size of phobos) gets four "big" slots

*deathstar type vessel would be a Moon class hull with metal armor

psionic energy
can *only* attach psionic parts, super fast, regenerates, super expensive
-dart
-arrow
-javalin

bio
regenerates, can attach "bio" parts without penalty, requires Nutrient maintaince in addition to normal maintaince
-Spore
-Hydra
-Leviathan gets one "big" slots
Last edited by drek on Fri Aug 06, 2004 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#25 Post by LithiumMongoose » Fri Aug 06, 2004 1:02 pm

Wow, major kudos for the EV Nova reference. I'd totally forgotten about that kind of hull. :)

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#26 Post by drek » Fri Aug 06, 2004 1:05 pm

LithiumMongoose wrote:Wow, major kudos for the EV Nova reference. I'd totally forgotten about that kind of hull. :)
nog, I love Escape Velocity. Best reason to own a mac. (though I guess there's a PC version out now :P)

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#27 Post by Odi » Fri Aug 06, 2004 1:59 pm

just a little thing:
what about designing fighters?
what about replacing lost fighters? (how about a carrier-stockpile and in the possibility to place mini-shipyards on a ship that fill up the stockpile fleet-wide [e.g. 10 fighters / turn, depending on the size&costs]).

I really missed that point in MoO II + III, but yeah, KISS is a perfect argument agains all that :-)
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#28 Post by emrys » Fri Aug 06, 2004 2:38 pm

Drek: I'd definitely planned on the player designing ships by selecting components for slots in ships, yep. As well allowing us as designers some level of control over what kind of designs are viable (i.e. we can make things as restrictive or flexible as we like), it also lends itself to a nice pleasent UI experience much more than the 'select a load of stuff from a list, add up the space taken' method used in the Moo series. (for example, look at the stars! ship design images I've put on the Wiki, that's the kind of direction I'd envisaged going. With the balance of what kind and number of slots were available, and the base levels of things like armour, hull and (multipliersto /things that affect) speed etc. varying between hull sizes and types.

That kind of system would also help us when we come to consider upgrades. It would be much easier to define rules about what kind of upgrades were possible, what needed refit at starbases, and what could be done for a one time cost 'in the field', because the slot and component system lends itself to identifying compatible upgrade paths.

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#29 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Aug 06, 2004 2:58 pm

To make the player pick one or the other, and to keep metal box ships from being uberships by picking both armour and PD.
You can take a little bit of armor and a little bit of PD, or a lot of one using battletech-ish rules. They wouldn't be uber-ships so much as "balanced" ships as opposed to specilized ships.
Having balanced ships is fine if you've only got one or two ships, but I think we want to make it desirable and effecient to make ships specialized individually, and only have the "balance" work on a fleet level... ie you need a bunch of different specialized ships in a fleet that work well together, not a fleet of all identical, but individually balanced ships.

The restriction doesn't have to be "hard"... it could be possible to build ships with both armour and PD, but the system would need to be set up such that you can't make a ship that does everything all on its own.
Asteriod hollowing would be a cheap, low tech way of getting "big" slots for big guns/stuff. Constructing huge metal ships would be an expensive method of getting "big" slots, with the advantage that they'd weigh less and therefore fly faster and be easier to cloak/shield/etc. (think of the "big" slots as the spinal mounted weapons in Homeworld)
That's a reasonable sounding way of going about things. It's also basically compatible with what I proposed. Rail guns would be a "big" mount item, and the only way to get "big" mount things at tech level 1 would be to make an asteroid ship. Metal hulls would get "medium" mounts and below, and bioships would only get "small" mounts... (until later tech levels when things change)

As an aside, I hadn't really commented on how the design of ships is done as I thought it out of the scope of this thread (which started more about balance issues), but slot and components and weight limits is a good system.
As far as RPS goes, I'm assuming that the really long ranged weapons would only fit into "big" slots, meaning uber-ranged ships would generally be slow, easy targets.
Really long range weapons would be indirect fire missiles, which you could load even on a tiny ship with no problem. You wouldn't have much ammo, but it'd be a one or two shot torpedo boat, essentially. IMO "really big weapons" should mean high damage and rate of fire type things, for battleship main guns or carriers with lots of fighters, which are medium or short range mostly.
There might also be some sympathetic equipment: like special sensors that improve to-hit rolls at long distances. If you take the special equipment, you'd want to stack the ship up with parts that recieve bonuses--rewarding specialization.
no objection
LithiumMongoose wrote:No reason rail guns couldn't go on metal or even bio ships, the only issue is recoil and that's a function of ship size, metal rock bio should all be available in all sizes.
The stuff above was for the very start of the game only. "tech level 1" and such. The restriction on rail guns doesn't need to be a hard restriction, but at the start of the game, the only ships big enough to use them effectively would be asteroid ships. Metal hull and bio ships would be small and primitive.
And no reason to say projectile weapons like that would be obsolete in the higher end of the tech tree, they're a very distinctive basic weapon type with their own strengths and should be available at all levels imo.
"projectile" weapons wouldn't be obsolete... just rail guns specifically, which as a whole can only go so far. In later tech levels, you'd develop much better ways of launching projectiles. Most likely by giving them guidance systems... or shield piercing abilities and so forth. Just shooting a hunk of metal with a magnet isn't the be-all-end-all of projectiles...
drek wrote:You can attach parts to any kind of ship. Bio parts on to rock ships, metal parts on to bio ships, etc, but there is a connectivity cost of 10% tonnage (or 2 tonnage, or something). So you have "hybrid" ships, just that the main hull would be of a specific type.
... my reaction is best described as "barf".

If you really want to be able to put any type of weapon on any type of ship, couldn't that be the purpose of hybrid ships? That is, if you want to put a metal-hull only piece of equipment on a bioship, then make a metal-bio hybrid and go nuts.
LithiumMongoose wrote:Rock and Bio hulls are good, it's a great idea, but they should have their own set of plusses and minuses and that should be that. I'm not in favor of all these arbitrary restrictions.
I'm not making a bunch of "arbitrary" restrictions. They were all thought out at some length to give an interesting set of distinct choices between the hull types at tech level 1.

The worst thing we could do with rock and bio hulls is to just them a set of plusses and minuses. This would end up being "+50% armour for rock hulls" and "30% regeneration" for bio hulls. This is boring and trivializes the distinction between hull types.

Re: drek's hulls within categories: No objections in theory. Nothing in my proposal has anything to do with different hull sizes or types within a class. It's not really what I was focusing on, which was balancing with respect to different types of equipment. (Just pointing that out).

I find it odd that the psionic hull type has restrictions to only use psionic parts after all the houpla about not having restrctions though...

For anything other than bio, metal and asteroid, and the hybrids I'd suggest just having one-off hulls mostly. Perhaps psionic would have a signle hull size that you could add as much as you want to, with some penalty or restriction like only one type of equipment on a given ship, and significant price increases for many things on a single ship. (Also, psionic is a bad name. .. call it "energy" or somesuch. "psionic" means mental power... which doesn't really make sense to me for a hull type).

Regarding names, referring to ship roles as the names for metal hull is a bad idea. corvette, cruiser and dreadnaught are all specific roles. "capital" refers to anything cruiser-sized or larger, so is out of place as well. Thus, I'd suggest going with "small", "medium", "large", "huge" hulls... and perhaps larger at very high tech (see below) which sounds like boring names, but since we're actually describing hull SIZE here... it may as well be a size desription. We'd still have "cruisers" and "dreadnaughts", but they'd be a medium hull with fast engines and powerful weapons but little defence, and a large hull with powerful weapons and defence but slow, respectively.

I'd also keep going with the size naming for hull size for all ships, so asteroids names include "large", "huge", "gaint", "collosal", and bioships (much smaller) range from "tiny", "small", "medium", "large" and such (maybe bigger as well.

The descriptive names don't really convey meaningful information for anything other than the metal hulls, and even for metal hulls it's better to use size descriptiors that are clearly bigger or smaller, and convey relative size between hull classes (bio, metal, asteroid) as well. We could add some descriptive names for fluff's sake, such that a huge asteroid is "comet-sized" and a tiny bioship is a "space-krill", but the hulls should be "officially" classified by size... (which presumably has some meaning in terms of weight or number of mounts of a given size that applies for all classes, or at least in some semi-consistent way between classes, like asteroids get +1 big mounts for all sizes (that they share with other hulls)). At the start of the game, the first bioships would be "tiny", the first metal ships "small" and the first asteroids "large"... sizes would scale up from there for all three.

drek
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#30 Post by drek » Fri Aug 06, 2004 5:15 pm

Also, psionic is a bad name. .. call it "energy" or somesuch. "psionic" means mental power... which doesn't really make sense to me for a hull type).
I know what psionic means and I mean psionic. It's a hull type from a popular macintosh game called Escape Velocity. The Vell-os, with their uber mind powers, can construct ships made of pure psionic energy. In EV Nova, a single Vell-os "builds" his own private ship at a whim. In FO, I'm thinking that an entire team of highly trained, expensive telepaths join forces to build up a psi-hull permentely, probably sacrificing themselves to become a part of the ship. (accounting for the high industry cost of the ship)

You can have psi-parts on normal ships because a trained mental-powers guy can be aboard to "construct" it. Psi-parts would generally do spooky things, like mind control enemy ships.

There should be more than one psi hull, as I am hoping there will be a psionic race that uses 'em exclusively.
Thus, I'd suggest going with "small", "medium", "large", "huge" hulls...
Sounds fairly boring. Each hull has to be a 3d model--so there's going to be a "theme" with each hull anyway.
If you really want to be able to put any type of weapon on any type of ship, couldn't that be the purpose of hybrid ships? That is, if you want to put a metal-hull only piece of equipment on a bioship, then make a metal-bio hybrid and go nuts.
There shouldn't be hybrid hulls.

a: each ship has to be a 3d model. The hybrids multiple the number of models required. And then multiple the number of models required again if each race has it's own set of models.
b: A "metal" ship hull with a bio thingy sticking out of it's weapon's slot and a caprice armor texture is going to look and function like a hybrid.

I was thinking of popular sci-fi examples of hybrids: the terran-shadow tech ships in B5 and Talon from Farscape. Talon looks like a bio ship, with metal parts stuck on The terran-shadow ships look like metal ships with bio parts stuck on.
The worst thing we could do with rock and bio hulls is to just them a set of plusses and minuses. This would end up being "+50% armour for rock hulls" and "30% regeneration" for bio hulls. This is boring and trivializes the distinction between hull types.
The components would determine the roles of the various ship hulls. The base hull would just have a small set of pluses and minuses, I think.

The set of bio components would skew in one direction, psi components in another, etc., suggesting common roles and abilities for each hull type.

(course, I'm suggesting the player can break this mold, via paying a connection cost in research, industry, and tonnage to make "hybrid" ships)

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