Ship Design: Stars! vs Moo vs SEIV

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

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MisterMerf
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#91 Post by MisterMerf » Mon Nov 01, 2004 7:20 pm

Nomads would be awesome...but then who would play the other races? ^_-

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pd
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#92 Post by pd » Mon Nov 01, 2004 7:47 pm

nomads simply can't work in freeorion. how would they compete with other players, if they don't need planets, the base of exploration?

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#93 Post by discord » Mon Nov 01, 2004 10:17 pm

pd: it is actualy pretty simple, they need minerals, ore to produce stuff, for that reason they would park over planets, and strip mine them.

although it works better with a system where planets resources are(or can be) finite, like in SEIV...wich was tried in a mod, pirates&nomads, but they lacked several key functions, for a empire to work(science, storage of minerals, and the ability to produce ANYTHING at a pace faster then a snail on crutches.)....so it just did not work.

a similar thing was done in stars!, with the species that could not colonize planets, but they needed the resources, so they built stations above the planets, and strip mined.

and as i said, would be cool to make it actualy work, not that i think it is likely, due to lack of interest.

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Impaler
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#94 Post by Impaler » Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:02 pm

Obvious solutiong to pirate resorce problems >> Piracy, steal thouse minerals!
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Prokonsul Piotrus
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#95 Post by Prokonsul Piotrus » Wed Nov 03, 2004 2:02 pm

Impaler wrote:I think a possible balance for the "Huge Rampageing early game ship" could be that a ship being consturcted in space is actualy Destroyable in space combat. Think of it as the Return of the Jedi incomplete Death Star senario. Rebels attack the ship/construction yard in space in a raid. Any damage done is subtracted from the building bar of the ship and if you destroy it completly you have eliminated a LOT of enemy production points before they could do any damage to you.
Exactly. I love this idea - and for all who played SE3 (3, not 4!) it is exactly how it was done. You could target ship in shipyards (including those being refited and repaired!), and from the defender side, if your shipyard was targeted you could sometimes use your unfinised ships in combat as a last resort (if it had weapons and fire control ready...) or if it had working engines - simply run away to the secure shipyard :) Speaking of which, this brings me to an interseting idea from Full Thrust - having freighters/tows that could tow damaged ships from battlefield or carry smaller ones in themselves.

About refit limitations. Forgeting about all reality arguments (and yes, thinking playwise is better anyway) it just seems more game-logical to me that if I were to refit my scout to warship, battleship to minelayer and freighter to carrier that the resulting designs should be less efficeint then new purpose-build models.

I like the 'valuable spaceyards' idea by discord. Reminds me of honorverse based operations, where military bases and shipyards had real value, and if you could destroy one major shipyard you could really hit your opponent capacity for building ships for many, many years (turns) into the future.

Go Nomads! Go all strange bizzare races :) I am sure we can make them work (think AR race and habs in Stars!).
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utilae
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#96 Post by utilae » Thu Nov 04, 2004 6:47 am

Impaler wrote:Rebels attack the ship/construction yard in space in a raid. Any damage done is subtracted from the building bar of the ship and if you destroy it completly you have eliminated a LOT of enemy production points before they could do any damage to you.
This is how buildings are handled in WarCraft and StarCraft. Your have 10 peons building a barracks and 5 footman are attacking the building, causing a stale mate, but eventually you die, lose the game etc.

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solartrix
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#97 Post by solartrix » Fri Nov 12, 2004 6:49 am

Hi all, I’m still kinda new around here, but I’ve been reading this thread for the past hour and I’m psyched to see so much good thought going into this game.

I like the spine / hull design and module approach to ship building, where the player gets to design a hull (I’d like to change the word to spine, but whatever) and then adds modules to create very mission-specific ships. This is very similar to what the US military does right now with warplanes (and probably war-satellites, too).

Maybe I'm beating a dead horse, but I just want to try to capture some of these ideas that have been floating around in here and put words to them…

First, the player designs a ‘spine’ that includes these parameters:

1. Empty Mass (metric tons)
2. Max Gross Mass (metric tons)
3. Power plant (Megawatts)
4. Crew compliment (number of poor fools)
5. Armor / Internal structure points
6. Number of hardpoints or bays for component modules

Each spine would get saved as a “hull design.” I don’t see any real need to limit the number or size since I agree with others who said that natural limits will assert themselves based on your shipyard capacity and tech levels.

Then, they would select the types of components / modules for the hardpoints / bays. These modules would include things like:

1. Main weapons systems such as particle cannons, missile launchers, fighters bays, etc.
2. Point defense weapon systems
3. Targeting sensors, ECM, and ECCM modules
4. Shield generators
5. Impulse drives
6. Warp drives
7. Special purpose modules for colony or outpost ships (may take several bays)

Each module would have its power and crew requirements and would have a certain amount of mass. The total amount of mass put on a ship would limit its acceleration and interstellar jump-range.

Also, it might be easier to upgrade ships by dragging and dropping modules in some sort of 'shipyard' screen and then click an 'upgrade all' button. Might save a lot of annoying ship redesign each time you came up with a new weapons tech.

But here's what I think is really cool about this. IF we had a graphic for each module (or ok, type of module), and you placed different modules on different ships in different locations, and if we could work out the software so the ships get rendered as a sum of their parts, then all of your ships will have their own unique look in each game.

Kinda like Morrowind armor and weapons on spaceships. Think about it! :D

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Bastian-Bux
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#98 Post by Bastian-Bux » Fri Nov 12, 2004 7:22 am

I like this idea much (hehe, one of my most valuable posessions is FF&S from Traveller TNE).

One thought on it:

graphical representation.

We will have a limited number of ship pictures.

IMHO the picture of a ship should somehow resemble the stats of that ship. So a super doom staar shouldnt use the image of a lill scout pinasse.

If we open up the hull construction like that we either need graphic code that "designs" ship graphics around those stats on the fly (result will be distorted skins, and more often then we like ugly graphics), or have to allow the player to assign a graphic to his ship (thus either limiting the number of ship types, or having severall ships with the same graphic).

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#99 Post by solartrix » Fri Nov 12, 2004 9:33 am

<snip>
Last edited by solartrix on Fri Nov 12, 2004 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#100 Post by solartrix » Fri Nov 12, 2004 9:42 am

Why don't we try to make this game graphically sweet and figure out a way to let player dress up their ships a bit? Either by adding modules or changing colors or adding skins... Might push the game design to a lower number of ships, but it would be fun to try it.

Someone catch me if I'm blundering, but 'all' we'd need to do is write part of the code so that it can put together pre-defined objects and render images of them. If all the files are small, should be pretty quick... And say, couldn't we even import the new models / renderings into the combat part of the game?

Perhaps I'm dreaming....

PS --> The circus clowns attack! http://www.pbase.com/solartrix/inbox
Last edited by solartrix on Sat Nov 13, 2004 2:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Ranos
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#101 Post by Ranos » Fri Nov 12, 2004 11:44 am

solartrix wrote:First, the player designs a ‘spine’ that includes these parameters:

1. Empty Mass (metric tons)
2. Max Gross Mass (metric tons)
3. Power plant (Megawatts)
4. Crew compliment (number of poor fools)
5. Armor / Internal structure points
6. Number of hardpoints or bays for component modules

Each spine would get saved as a “hull design.” I don’t see any real need to limit the number or size since I agree with others who said that natural limits will assert themselves based on your shipyard capacity and tech levels.
This complicates things IMO. Having to design a ship twice is overkill.

I had some thoughts on the earlier discussion about the ammount of space allowed in hulls. I'm not in favor of having set names for set sizes. I think ships sizes should be completely player designed as was discussed earlier. Size names are assigned to the ships based on their compaired sizes. Ships are limited in the early game by a cap on the number of names you are allowed.

For example, at the start of the game, you are only allowed two ship sizes, Corvette and Frigate. The max number of space allowed on a single ship is also limited to prevent people in the early game from attempting to build huge ship. So the cap at the beginning of the game is 200 which is the ammount of space required for a colony ship.

The player designs their first two ships. These cannot be within 75 space of eachother (if the first ship is 200, the second can't be more than 125 or if the first ship is 100, the second can't be less than 175 or more than 25, whichever the player chooses). The player names the ship class and the computer assigns the ship type. The bigger is Frigate and the smaller is Corvette. So you get the Ranos-Class Corvette and the iamrobk-Class Frigate. New ships may be designed within 20% size of one of the two ships. Using the 125, 200 example, the biggest Corvette could be 150 and the smallest Frigate Could be 160. But the biggest Frigate could still only be 200 because that is the max size allowed. New class names must be given to each new ship designed.

The unique class names allows for spy missions to investigate military assaets and the spies could bring back the plans to the Ranos-Class Corvette.

As technology advances, more names are given and they are given at a logarithmic rate. You get Destroyer at tech level 5, Cruiser at tech level 10, Battlecruiser at tech level 15, Battleship at tech level 22 Titan at tech level 35, etc.

Disclamer: The names and numbers used in the previous paragraphs are for example purposes only and are not intended as the realistic game names or numbers.

By the way solartrix, you double posted and should delete one of them.
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#102 Post by solartrix » Fri Nov 12, 2004 4:17 pm

Ranos, I understand not wanting to design a ship twice, but I think the platform idea could work. I'll let someone else weigh in on it, tho... :-)

As far as the max ship size goes, I liked Impaler's or Piotrus's idea (or whoever it was) to just let the engine tech and the shipyard capacity make it impractical to build a massive ship starting turn 1. If you want to build a monster dreadnaught right out of the gate, the game should let you, but it would be slow as hell and take forever to build, meanwhile everyone's running circles around your stars with their colony ships.

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#103 Post by utilae » Fri Nov 12, 2004 9:01 pm

I like the idea of building your ship via modules, etc. It would have to be a good user interface and quick and easy to set up. Basically you would put down ship sections. You could put a laser turret on top of a section. there would be different types of sections, like an engine section.

What would be cool is if you could build a massive ship early in the game, it would take so long to build, but that would be the trade off woudn't it. You spend all that time to build a massive ship and its not finished, then the enemy shows up with ships that are actually finished.

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#104 Post by Bastian-Bux » Sat Nov 13, 2004 7:42 am

Yep, thats the strategic decission: do I build small ships for a rush, medium sized ships for defense to shoot that small ships into pieces. Or do I try this big baby, hoping that I then dominate the galaxy ^^.

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#105 Post by Ranos » Sun Nov 14, 2004 3:53 pm

While space combat is a vital part of a 4x space game, if you force players to put too much work into it, it will take away from the main point of the game, which is the 4 Xs.

The simplest method is of course to have a bunch of pre-set ships that a player gets to choose from and build. More advanced ships are given as the game progresses.

At the other end, the player has to design a ship in its entirety. Engines go here, command center goes here, crew quarters go here, corridors go here and here and here, access hatches go here, etc, etc, etc.

The problem we face is that there are people that would like the first one and there are people who would like the second one. The first would be the most condusive to keeping the focus on the 4 Xs, but would make the majority of people who play 4x games very unhappy. The second would take so much time, the game would become a ship designing program with a little bit of 4x and RT space combat thrown in. A middle ground has to be found and it should be, IMO, closer to the first option in order to keep the focus where it belongs.

The only space 4x games I have played are the three MOOs. All three did an excellent job of managing ship design, setting how the combat actually worked aside. A little bit more added fun would be to let the player decide how much space to use in their hull instead of having preset numbers, as I said in my last post.

If the player has to start figuring out multiple different numbers for mass, how many people crew the ship, how many power plants and how much power they put out or other fairly unimportant numbers, they will get bored and find another game. Remember, KISS. The only important items in solartrix's hull design are hard points, internal hp and armor, the last of which should be a part of the actual ship design, not the hull design.

Mass should be used as a determining factor for ships because it would affect manueverability and speed of a ship in combat, both of which would affect evasion which would be part of determining whether or not a weapon hits the ship. Mass, though would be an easy calculation based on the size of the hull, if a MOO-like system with x ammount of space that gets filled with items that take up y ammount of space, and could be left up to the computer to determine.

Using a hard point/module system means there are a set number of spaces that can be used. This would, IMO, hinder the game in that it wouldn't matter whether you were using the weapons you get at the beginning of the game or the ones you get near the end, you would always have the same exact number. Size also wouldn't matter since you could put a micro mount that could only destroy a fighter or a hugeganticmoungous mount on that would blow up a sun. The only way to really be able to do this is to make mass a major part of the system, which would then require the player to come up with mass numbers which would complicate the design process which would turn people away from playing the game. The other option is to go with set hull sizes which allow for set mass numbers and then the player just has to make sure that the stuff they put on doesn't go above the max mass number.

What you end up getting, in reality, is a restricted MOO-like system. If instead of calling the number used to determine how much stuff can be put on the ship space, call it mass. Then each item adds a certain ammount of mass to the ship and it is even more simple to figure out what the mass of a ship is. Hard points only limit the number of items that can be put on a ship.

Calling the number mass instead of space simplifies everything, IMO. Armor would be the only factor since it goes on the outside of the ship. That it easy to figure out though. Say the mass determines the number of armor points. If you put very light armor on a ship that has 100 space, the ship has 250 armor points or 2.5 armor points per mass. The ammount of mass added by the armor would be 1 mass per 10 points or 1 mass per 25 points or whatever gets decided on. Light armor would allow 5 armor per mass and on up the armor sizes. Each armor would have a different number of points allowed per mass. Each armor would have a different ammount of mass per x points.

All of the above keeps things simple and understandable for anyone who is going to play the game.
200 and still a Wyrm!?! I don't want to be a Wyrm anymore. I've been a Wyrm for 100 posts now.

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