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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Ranos
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#136 Post by Ranos » Wed Nov 24, 2004 3:12 am

@ Blade Runner

The main question you still haven't answered is how complex/complicated/detailed would the design process be? Does the player has to figure out where to put the hallways in the ship? Does he have to keep track of mass, space, power and any other variables that we can think of?

I want a design process that allows me to set the size of my ship and put in the weapons, shields, armor, specials, engines, etc. that I want. That is all I need. I would like to have to choose which out of six sections on a ship to put these items in or be able to set which direction the weapon is able to fire in. I personally prefer the first option because it forces a certain number of weapons to be on each section meaning that not all weapons can fire in every direction. Top or bottom allow fire in all four direction, assuming we will use a 2D battlefield, the other four sides, fore, aft, port and starboard, would only be able to fire in three directions.

That would be simple and easy by having six section in the design screen with six different space numbers. You load what you want into each section and everything is taken care of.

I wouldn't mind having to mess with a power number as long as it was easy to maintain. Make it automated so that the power is upgraded to the level required by your weapons, shields, engines, etc. That makes it even easier but adds in another variable that many people seem to want.

I have said what I would like to see for details in designing ships. What do you want? How detailed do you want it? What is your idea of the complx design system?
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utilae
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#137 Post by utilae » Wed Nov 24, 2004 7:31 am

Ranos wrote: Does the player has to figure out where to put the hallways in the ship?
No way. Thats rediculas.
Ranos wrote: Does he have to keep track of mass, space, power and any other variables that we can think of?
Space and Power, that's all that the play needs to keep track of. Also mass=space.
Ranos wrote: I want a design process that allows me to set the size of my ship and put in the weapons, shields, armor, specials, engines, etc. that I want. That is all I need.
That's all we need alright.
Ranos wrote: I would like to have to choose which out of six sections on a ship to put these items in or be able to set which direction the weapon is able to fire in. I personally prefer the first option because it forces a certain number of weapons to be on each section meaning that not all weapons can fire in every direction. Top or bottom allow fire in all four direction, assuming we will use a 2D battlefield, the other four sides, fore, aft, port and starboard, would only be able to fire in three directions.
Yeah, as if. This is too complex. Choosing the way the weapons face is ok.
Ranos wrote: I wouldn't mind having to mess with a power number as long as it was easy to maintain. Make it automated so that the power is upgraded to the level required by your weapons, shields, engines, etc. That makes it even easier but adds in another variable that many people seem to want.
Yes automating the power, etc is good. Though I am not sure what extra variable you are talking about.
Ranos wrote: I have said what I would like to see for details in designing ships. What do you want? How detailed do you want it? What is your idea of the complx design system?
Really I am after a list style system for designing ships. An auto-design-ship feature. A library of existing ships that you can search for.

What would be cool is if the image of the ship changes based on how you design it. What could be done is (if it is possible) you have various ship part images. AS you design the ship they are put into the right place, overlapping and fitting together to make the ship look good, but randomly generated (like it was made you of random puzzle pieces). The final image would then be stored and used as your ships image in battle.

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#138 Post by discord » Wed Nov 24, 2004 12:19 pm

note, a two tier system is a good idea, but one should illustrate the possible differences.

#1 take power plants, most likely the first tier would have a power plant that could handle max load, at all times, even if this is a EXTREMELY unlikely scenario.....while a advanced user might add a few acc's and a much smaller power plant, and get away with some extra space, at the cost of versitility.

#2 weapons, and uses, a advanced design might add that the PD system by default fires at things that comes at the ship...or any small hostile objects against any friendly ship....as to make it easier to use later, while a 'easy' would have fire at will....like it is in moo2....or on second thought, might do that the other way around....or not.

#3 the geometric shape, might be of interest to a 'advanced', or adding surface area, for the calculation of armor points/weight/cost, and actualy seeing these numbers, while a 'easy' would prolly not be interested in such, and content to let the AI sort through such things....

to note, all ships HAVE all the features, the question is if you bother with it during design? the ship works, is decently cost effective, so why bother more?

for instance, i liked some of the features in NFSU2, like the ability to tune fuel injection/turbo charge at RPMs, the aerodynamics, gear ratios(sadly not actual shift points), NOS boost and suspension settings, and for most peeps the standard settings will get the job done, but for me, there is plenty of joy in trying to squeeze that extra performance out of it....most would prolly think it annoyingly complex though, but i for one enjoyed that part of the game....actualy, that was the ONLY part i enjoyed, since the rest was pretty damn boring.

//discord

Ranos
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#139 Post by Ranos » Wed Nov 24, 2004 6:22 pm

utilae wrote:
Ranos wrote:I want a design process that allows me to set the size of my ship and put in the weapons, shields, armor, specials, engines, etc. that I want. That is all I need.
That's all we need alright.
That is all you need. That is all I need. But what does Blade Runner need? What does Bastian-Bux need? What do the other people need? Many people seem to want a much more complex system than what I said.
utilae wrote:
Ranos wrote: I would like to have to choose which out of six sections on a ship to put these items in or be able to set which direction the weapon is able to fire in. I personally prefer the first option because it forces a certain number of weapons to be on each section meaning that not all weapons can fire in every direction. Top or bottom allow fire in all four direction, assuming we will use a 2D battlefield, the other four sides, fore, aft, port and starboard, would only be able to fire in three directions.
Yeah, as if. This is too complex. Choosing the way the weapons face is ok.
The problem I have with choosing the way weapons face is that unless there is some kind of control, the player can choose to make all weapons face the same way. To me, this is stupid. If there aren't six sections that get loaded (five would be ok too since top and bottom allow for the same directions) then there needs to be some kind of a control for which way the weapon faces. Not all weapons on board a ship should be able to shoot 360 desgrees. Why? That would mean that all weapons are on the top and bottom of the ship. But weapons should also be mounted on the other four sections of the ship which would limit them to only three out of the four directions.

I didn't like how MOO2 handled this. All weapons automatically fired in a forward facing arc. You could change it so they could face other directions but they only had a 90 degree arc. To give them a 360 degree circle, they cost more and took up more space. That, IMO, is stupid. If a weapon can turn in a 90 degree arc then it can turn 360 degrees with little to no more space or cost.

If we make a control that has the player choose the location of the weapon, whether that be having five sections that get loaded with weapons or selecting the direction on the weapon itself, then that makes more sense. We could even make it automatic. mkae it percentage based. 25% each are on the top and bottom, 15% each are on the fore, port and starboard sides and the remaining 5% is on the aft. Only 5% on the aft becuase of the negines taking up most of the space there.

I just don't want the MOO2 or MOO3 styles. MOO2 I described above. MOO3 all weapons automatically fired in all dircetions.
utilae wrote:
Ranos wrote: I wouldn't mind having to mess with a power number as long as it was easy to maintain. Make it automated so that the power is upgraded to the level required by your weapons, shields, engines, etc. That makes it even easier but adds in another variable that many people seem to want.
Yes automating the power, etc is good. Though I am not sure what extra variable you are talking about.
Variables in ship building are space/mass and power requirements. They change as you add more things. Many people want more of these variables. Space/mass and power requirements are good for me and having the power be automated is even easier. We could also make it so the player could change the power if they wanted to.
utilae wrote:Really I am after a list style system for designing ships. An auto-design-ship feature. A library of existing ships that you can search for.
That is what I'm after. The list system could be used for my five section idea too and it wouldn't complicate things very much at all.
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#140 Post by Blade Runner » Wed Nov 24, 2004 7:08 pm

Ranos wrote:@ Blade Runner

The main question you still haven't answered is how complex/complicated/detailed would the design process be? Does the player has to figure out where to put the hallways in the ship? Does he have to keep track of mass, space, power and any other variables that we can think of?
IMHO the desing process must be entertaning itself. What I mean is the player must have enough feedback to make logic (and mostly good) choiches. The desing process must be a part of the strategy. Every important info must be on the screen, so what you mention: mass, space, power, speed acceleration, etc. Obviosly I wouldn't like to force anybody to do unreasonably comlex designs, I think even if the ship is a brand new design, and not a spin off it must be finished max 10-15 min. with all the research and head banging. :)
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Ranos
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#141 Post by Ranos » Thu Nov 25, 2004 3:06 am

But what would take you 10-15 minutes to do when designing a ship? Unless you sit and contemplate things or something then it should take no more than 5 minutes with the system I have in mind.
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#142 Post by Blade Runner » Thu Nov 25, 2004 7:37 am

I wrote: max 10-15 min. Beginners and bean counters can spend that much time on it, average guys can do it in a few (2-5) minutes. :D
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#143 Post by Bastian-Bux » Thu Nov 25, 2004 11:20 am

???

You don't know what a complex design is, right? I'd like it if the complex design would take a normal user ard. 2-5 mins to design a ship that is decent (for example to get a mostly complete library for the easy design). If someone would choose to design a well rounded ship thats better then the decent ones, it should take around 10-15 mins to do so. And the system should be complex enough to allow a bean counter to waste hours in designing that "perfect" ship.

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#144 Post by utilae » Thu Nov 25, 2004 8:12 pm

Bastian-Bux wrote:???

You don't know what a complex design is, right? I'd like it if the complex design would take a normal user ard. 2-5 mins to design a ship that is decent (for example to get a mostly complete library for the easy design). If someone would choose to design a well rounded ship thats better then the decent ones, it should take around 10-15 mins to do so. And the system should be complex enough to allow a bean counter to waste hours in designing that "perfect" ship.
If we can make the design of a ship take less than 10-15mins, then that would be great. Of course I can't imagine how complex the design system would be to make it take 10-15mins to design your ship.

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#145 Post by Daveybaby » Thu Nov 25, 2004 10:23 pm

If taking 10-15 mins to design a ship results in a ship that will beat one designed in 3 mins, then youre forcing everyone to spend hours designing ships, particularly in MP.

If you want to spend 15 mins rearranging everything so that it looks pretty, then fine. But that sort of anal behaviouir shouldnt be rewarded in terms of combat results.
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#146 Post by iamrobk » Thu Nov 25, 2004 11:10 pm

No offense to anyone, but I (and probably MANY others) don't want to spend more than a minute or two designing a ship.

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#147 Post by Prokonsul Piotrus » Thu Nov 25, 2004 11:33 pm

There is a slight problem what do we actually understand by ship design.

I think designing a ship - meaning using UI to pull a components after you have some experience both with UI and game strategy (so you know what you want) should take less then 2 minutes. Honestly, I can't think of any game it would take longer (MOO 1-3, SE3-4, Stars!, SMAC, Full Thrust).

Even if we pull together *all* discussed ideas, thus merging almost everything invented so far in 4x games + few of our own unique ideas, we should be able to close ship designing in this time frame UNLESS we butch UI with some nightmarish design. I am fairly confident we can avoid this, so I dont really consider time factor a big idea here. BUT:

Consider Stars!. I can design a ship in 15 seconds. There are templates - on the net - universal ship designs. But I may spend hours in battle simulator to see which of my few tweaked 15-sec designs is best against known and suspected enemy designs . Same goes for SE or FT.

Please don't confuse designing a ship with testing it. The latter is depenedend not on ship design, not on UI, but on battle strategy and I honestly hope we will not dumb the game down to SMAC level, where there is no need to test anything.
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utilae
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#148 Post by utilae » Fri Nov 26, 2004 12:08 am

I think there are two main user interfaces we could have for ship design:

LIST-Select components
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This type of ship design interface would be like Moo2/Moo3. You basically select what weapons, armor, shields and other systems you want by adding to the list.

This system is much faster to make a design, but it is less graphical and does not allow (in most cases) for components to be put in a physical location on the ship, the location doesn't matter.

GRAPHICAL-Drag in components
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This type of ship design interface involves the player having a grid shaped like the ship, where each square in the grid is where components can be placed. Unlike the list system you get to choose exactly where you want to place each component in the ship, eg the front section or the rear, etc. You will likely place components into the ship by draging them into place, of course we could do some kind of right-click-on-square and make a hybrid list/graphic system.

The graphical system offers alot more depth to ship design, and is much more graphical and nice to look at, though it is a much more time consuming system.

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#149 Post by pd » Fri Nov 26, 2004 12:31 am

The graphical system offers alot more depth to ship design, and is much more graphical and nice to look at, though it is a much more time consuming system.
the question is, do we want such a detailed ship design system, where the location of an item on the ship will play a decisive role in combat?
imo is this an overkill, thus i prefer the list-way.

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#150 Post by atma » Fri Nov 26, 2004 12:45 am

The idea Impaler posted early on about "templates" for ships didn't seem to get much discussion (granted, I haven't slogged through about half the posts in this monster thread yet), so... in a hope of reviving it, here's a hopefully not too radical proposal.

How fast is weapon technology going to be advancing? Probably quite a bit faster than, say, drive and armor technology and such. Also, as weapons have to be exposed to fire, its conceivable that they would be more likely to take damage -- thus needing to be able to be replaced more easily. So.

A ship "class" is designed, similar to Impaler's "template" idea, except this class consists of 1) a hull displacement, 2) power plants, 3) lane drive, 4) system drive, and 5) weapon bays. A weapon bay could be designated as a specific style of mount and weapon -- a bay with ammo equipment for a ballistic weapon, a bay with ammo equipment for a missle weapon, or a bay with the power equipment to run energy weapons. Something along those lines. As a disincentive to producing a new "class" of ship -- besides the time involved in designing each -- each ship produced of a particular class would be cheaper by some diminishing amount than the previous one of that class, representing the skill and tooling up costs and so on associated with building an entirely new type of ship. However, due to the weapons being mounted more modularly, weapons would be outfitted at the last part of ship construction, so that when the ship rolls off the line it can have the best weapons available.

The key to this would be some option to change the weapons load out the finished ship will have right up until the last X production points go into it, allowing the player to -- if he/she wants -- react to changing game conditions without scrapping the ship and starting over.

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