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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noelte
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#61 Post by noelte » Thu Oct 28, 2004 11:10 am

Zpock wrote:Piotrus, if you read the thread you will see that the whole idea is a Stars! slot system were you design the hull yourself (but then have to stick with it ).
So designing ships is done in two steps, first the design the ship design blue print and second the ship itself. The only purpose of the first step is to limit the ships designs a player can chose. I would say, it's make things more complicated without adding (much) value to fo.

The idea of stars! hull design is not so bad, imo.
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#62 Post by Zpock » Thu Oct 28, 2004 12:24 pm

So designing ships is done in two steps, first the design the ship design blue print and second the ship itself. The only purpose of the first step is to limit the ships designs a player can chose.
Exactly.
I would say, it's make things more complicated without adding (much) value to fo.
I would say it adds about as much value as having race design, or more like adding a whole new level to it. You don't just get to design your race but also the ship style it uses. In race design you choose different advantages/disadvantages for your race. This is then in effect when you play the game, colonize planets build your industry etc. The hull designing lets you choose a few general advantages/disadvantages and abilities for your hulls, then used when you design your ships and in the end use them in combat. It does not have to be as complicated as Impalers idea for implementation, you could make the hull designing less of a huge deal if you think it's too much work (I'm thinking about that 6-side grid system and how the hell that could be coded to work).
The idea of stars! hull design is not so bad, imo.
The main advantage of just using preset hulls, beside not having to code the hull designing, is that it would be easier to balance and to introduce some interesting twists such as the frigate in stars! only being able to have either armor OR shields:

In stars! shields are shared among all ships in a stack but torpedoes/missiles does half its damage to armor directly. So a frigate with shields is great against a beam enemy, they have to go through every frigates shield before they can actually kill any frigates. But enemies with torpedoes/missiles will easily kill the frigates long before their shields go down. If you put armor on the frigates you wouldn't have that problem, but not the amazing advantage against beam ships either. In a bag-fill design you could easily balance shields and armor so you never need to do this tough decision. Tough decisions are good, they make the game interesting.

Now, if the hull designing could be balanced so that such effects can be in the game anyway, that would be great.

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#63 Post by Prokonsul Piotrus » Thu Oct 28, 2004 10:55 pm

I have reread the entire discussion, (tnx Zpock for telling me to do this!). Combined with a day full of walking, here is my bucketload of comments/ideas.

Section 1: My comments to other ppl ideas

I agree with Daveybaby/Manilla Moxy - it is very important to know the scale of the battles. Will the stacks be used? There is a giant gap between Stars!/MOO1 on one side, Full Thrust on the other, and MOO2/SE in the middle. And perhaps even more important is the question will the game be dedicated to few players/hotseat (with players in direct control of a turn based battle like in MOO2), or to a bigger multiplayer (with AI controlling the battle like in Stars!), or both allowed (like in SE4)?

MisterMerf, time for constructing project varies depending on this as well. For Stars!, with 1 turn per day and an average game lasting close to one year, I don't care how complicated a ship designing process is. For hotseat MOO2 on the other hand I want it easy and quick. Personally I hope FO will go for long, multiplayer games.

utilae, do you know what is very very wrong with 'It is very likely that we will show a laser beam be drawn from one ship to another, so why not calculate damage on the target ship at the same time' in 2k ship battle (without stacks!)? It will be completly illegible, boring and a horror to watch. Sth akin to big battles in MOO2/3 or SE4 - sometimes fun, bost mostly tedious and player wishing it could finally end. UI nightmare => player nightmare. If you want big battles (with hundreds of ships), the only way is stacks like in MOO or Stars!. IMHO, MOO2/3 and SE3/4 are failurse in that aspect - they show what happens when few hundred ships are in the battlefield with no stacks. As much as I like many aspects of SE games, loooong battles where sometimes REAL hour can pass before all ships are moved and start shooting is not what I want to see in FO.

If PowerCrazy estimates are correct - late game 50 capital ship is a VERY BIG fleet - then we dont need stacks, and coding internal systems damage for individual ships is useful. Still, we have to be mighty careful when balancing economy (ship cost/construction time/upkeep) - majority of the designed games failed this, and while Stars! and MOO simply stop it by maxing ship stack values (IIRC, 32k in both cases), mentioned MOO2/SE battles can sometimes result in UI nightmare. With that in mind, I'd like to suggest that we invent an easy to implement stack system for UI - just in case. What do I mean by that? For map movement, I would like fleet stack to be sortable into substacks - sth that is in Stars! but not in MOO2/SE3/4 - i.e. I want to be able to switch UI to show me fleet composition not as dozens/hundreds of indivudual ships, but as groups of same/similar ship types and classes. For battle, I want to be able to tell the UI to show me not individual ships, but task forces with similar orders (i.e. instead of 12 separate dreadgnouts or 30 destroyer escorts I want to be able to see a box thingy with the ship class symbol/name/number/average stack health).

As for Impaler's template design, this idea has some merit - actually lots more then I thought at first (I have rewrited this text 3 times - from 'so-so' to 'good' to 'excellent' :D). It looks to me very similar to the HoI tech tree doctrine idea - but in our case, we design the doctrine itself as well. But I have a bit diffrent idea about what goes inside the ship. The stack/height/size seeems way 2 complicated to me though, and I dont think the graphical representation in the curren form is a good idea (see section 2 below).

Impaler, if I understand your 'Mass/Cumulative Engine Values = Acceleration/deacceleration' correctly, the bigger the ship the slower it would be given the same (relative to the hull size) size of the engine?

Zpock. About Stars! battleship. Setting aside tech levels, there are only 2 viable BS variants: beam or missile. Missile is no brainer. Beam have several subtypes (bascially if you want to trade firepower/speed/jammers for initative or not). That's all. I hope FO would have much more viable ship types then the dozen? two dozen? of Stars! (btw, I *love* Stars!, but it has its limitations).

Section 2: My idea for the ship design process, top 2 bottom

Based on mentioned PowerCrazy estimates and MisterMerf poll, this is my idea how to design a spaceship:

Step 1: select a Hull Size.

I always found that 'inventing' bigger hull size is a bit ridiculus. If you take a look at real life - or any good space opera, like Honor Harrngton - you will notice that what in year x might have been called a battleship, 200 hundered years later may be smaller then a destroyer. Therefore, I don't think that when a civilisation would build its first spaceships they would call them frigates or corvettes. Nor that it would have a choice between only 2, 4 or 40 hull sizes (granted, once it starts producing sth in a given size, it becames a standard - thus the Impaler template idea is making sence here). Hull size should not be limited by some technology saying 'frigate size ship is 100 (and exactly 100) points big'. At the very begining of the prototype construction, its size should be completly up to a player from the smallest functioning ship (scout type, engines, sensors, that's all) to a mobile dyson sphere that make take 10 game times to complete.

Rather, realistic ship size should be limited by space yard capablity. Let's say that early game space yard working at maximum capacity can process 200 space ship points per turn. I may then design small ships worth 50 points each, and build 4 of them per turn - or go for a 2000 point ship which is being build over 10 years. Later in the game, as tech increases, so should the yard processing capacity, so a ship that is giant in the early game is nothing impressive in the later game.

What is important here is that there would be no actual limits on how big a ship a player wants to build. Rahter, those limis should be intuitive - like, say, if you build a very big ship for MANY turns it should be possible that the when it is done it's technology is not very good (beacuse in the meantime you have invented new systems), or that you will be overrunn by a horde of smaller ships before your superdreadnought is even half complete. Remember this: we, the designers, can try to think of good strategies now, but it is always the players that invent the best - tested in combat - strategies, that designers have not dreamed of. Let's leave decisions like hull size entirely to the players - they will not be disappointed by that.

Also in this section I'd like to present my idea for upgrading ships:

Simple: the bigger the refit, the less efficient it is. If you upgrade beam mark II to beam mark III, it is no big deal. But if you want to replace lasers with tachyon beams and plasma torpedo launchers, change the engine size and fit new shield generators...then this is a major refit, and the reconstructed designs should be less efficient then if you would build it from scratch. Basically, refits are cheaper and faster then building entirely new ship, but they should results in ships that are less efficient then new designs build for given task and weapon type from scratch. How to represent it in the game?

There are three types of refits:
a) when you replace component A with component A2 - for example, laser gun with improved laser gun. This should be fast and cheap.
b) when you replace component A with component B - similar, but not entirely. For example, laser gun is replaced with tachyon gun, or plasma torpedo launcher. Since the orginal design was not designed in mind with the new equipment (which likely was not researched/invented yet), it will not work perfectly. This should be represented both by a higher refit cost (compared to the new ship design using those parts) and more importantly, those new parts taking more space/mass points/whaterver on the refited ship. This represents bulky secondary instalations, patchwork, mixing old tech with new, and so on. For example, if a mentioned tachyon gun takes 3 space points on a new design, if retrofitted in place of another weapon part on older ship it would take 4 space points. Basically, I suggest a 25% cost/space incresse.
c) when you replace component A with component X - in place of a laser you want a shield generator, or expanded engine Very big and not recommend modification - 50% additional cost/space increase.

This refit variant would allow for ship upgrades, but as in real life (or good space operas) - the more you try to refit the old hulk, the worse results you get. Sooner or later, scrapyard is in order.

Back to the construtction process. I will try to illustrate the design process with example, so let's say we want to build a missile battlecruiser - i.e. a ship that is fast, yet packs a punch at long range. I imagine this design would be lightly armoured and quick, utilising a 'shoot biiiig salvo and run if anything is left in the debris' tactic. Imaginary size: 100

After the hull size is selected, we go to

Step 2: Impaler's template idea

I see this idea as making one's own HoI doctrines. In other words, after we have a hull size, we fill it with slots - which as I understand them basically determine if the hull will be a troop or supply freighter, slow energy gun battleship, quick missile ship, figheter carrier, etc. (in Stars! terms, a freighter hull would be full of mechanical slots, beamer would love weapon/mechanical ones, missile weapon/electrical, etc.). Then this 'doctrine' is researched for x turns and we spend normal science research points on it.

Remembering my missile BC idea, I will fill the ship with many weapon/missile slots. But I dont like the 2d map as a basis for our design, especially with hexes limiting what can point in which direction and such. After reading many of your comments I agree that it helps to visualise stuff - but I dont want to be limited by hexes. Stars! fans, plz remember that the slots in the varios design are not taken from any known grid - they are squares stichted together in various shapes.I would like to keep the exact size/shape to my imagination and graphical picture, and see the specs in a MOO1/2 or SE speadsheet way.The graphical representation - which would be nice ADDITION - I think would be best viewed in the Full Thrust mode: Image (note how the beams (circles w/ numbers) have arcs represented; the boxes on the bottom represent hit points, stars are hit points with crew repair units. Here are links for the pages with more Full Thrust ship design schematics if you are interested in more info: Model pics and schematics, Ship Creator software, maybe we can use it in FO?, 5 designs - a fleet :)) - it shows if systems are more or less inside or outside, it shows the weapons arcs, and if allows a player familar with UI a quick glance and realisation (oh, this is missile BC) but it does not allow to tell if the system is definetly above or below some other one. With given hull size, I think of slots as 'space points dedicted for given purpose) - for example, my BC with total 100 points would in this step have them divided into those missile/weapons ones, some mechanical and electrical, some shields, etc. And after I chose my components based on the slots I have, THEN and only then they would appear on the 'design schematics' - and I'd like to move them in any way I want, to create 'the feel' of how the ship looks like (if we go with weapon arcs then we may have some rules for the picture, but I dont want the picture to determine the main design process!). And btw, I love the idea that 'general purpose' slots should be available but very very expensive (they must be balanced so it is not worthy to develop one fit-them-all template). Perhaps a max x% of slots can be devoted to general purpose?

I think that this step - before the given template is researched - would be good for stuff like hull sections/integrity/hit points/basic armor. Why? Logically, templates represent the 'ship skeleton', and for me, that means majority of the stuff related to 'how good the projects based on that skeleton will be at withstanding damage'.

For this, I favour a model that is a combination of SE3 (not 4!) and Full Thrust idea. I will describe them here for those unfamilar.

In SE3, ship space points are divided into armor (10%), outer hull (70%) and inner hull (20%). For componens in inner hull to get damaged, at least one in outer hull must be destroyed. For outer hull to be damaged, armor must be damaged. The more components in given section are destroyed, the bigger chance then next damage sustained will pass to the inner section. In Full Thrust, player decides how many ship space points (remember, by space points I mean space for the stuff inside) go to the hull integrity (this is similar to MOO concept of armor). Basically, each 1 space point gives 1 hit point when spend on hull integrity. After each 25% hit points are gone, all systems inside the ship are checked for failure. Each time next 25% systems are gone, the failure chance increases, and if more then 50% hit points are lost in a single hit, the failure chance is bigger again. Also in FT, unused space points are traded for armor on 1 to 1 basic.Armor gets usually damaged before hit points.

I have alwyas loved both SE3 and FT hull layout concepts for their ideas - they seem to me the best way to represent the stuff like hull integrity. I think we can have the best of both worlds and use both in our game. First, player writes how many % of space will be devoted to hull integrity (hit points). The, when allocating slots on the template, they would go either to the armor, outer or inner hull, with the same idea as in SE3 (the more crucial the ship system, the deeper it is).

How would it work in battle? Remember first that some weapons may say that 'they always hit armour if any still remaining', other 'always deal half damage to armor, half to hit points', other are 'penetrating'. But this is for weapons disscussion, I just want to remind you of the options range. After each hit on given section, components in that section have a chance of malfunction equal to the hit points destroyed so far in the given section. Imagine that our battleship has 20 total hit points (2 in armour 14 in outer, 4 in inner), and 5 armour points from unspent space points or armour slots filled. Now, when a ship is damaged to armour points only, othing happens. When damage is dealt to hit points, armor section hit points are the first to go, and components located on slots in the armour section have a chance to be damaged/destroyed and the chance of next hit damaging outer hull increases. Note that the ship does not have to have any armour points, but still has the armour section components.In our battleship, if it receives 1 hit point damage, all armour components (I imagine sensors, special armour stuff, etc.) have 50% chance of being destroyed (since it has 2 armour hit points total), and chance for another hit to damage outer hull - or armor again - is 50/50. When a ship is damaged to outer hull, ordinary systems must be checked for failure, and chance for next hit damagin inner hull increases.

I'd also like to make a point about what is in the inner hull. As a veteran of SE3/4 and many other games, I think it is way boring to be forces to manually put stuff like bridge/reactor/life support/crew quaters on every ship. Let's skip that and say that they always go to the inner hull, and are incuded in the hull cost/size itself. In addition, the inner section has space to hold few very special items that you want to fail last - like missile magazines, fire control sysems, auto-repair units, shield (re)generators, etc. Now I am not saying that tech inventions like 'hardened life support' or 'auxiliary bridge' are not needed, and if implemented, they should take additional space. But let's forget about having to add bridge and stuff to every design manually, please?

I personally find this armor/outer/inner divison less complex then forwad/aft/port/starboard/internal (and don't forget...space is 3d, so you need top/bottom as well...7 sections? nah, overcomplicated). a/o/i is already 360 degrees.

And now few more tweaks from Full Thrust. When inner hull is damaged, bridge, life support, crew quaters and reactors should be checked for failure as well. When one of those parts is damaged, a random roll should tell us how badly (i.e. reactor shutdown or big bum, bridge repairable in 5 turns or gone, life support failure imminent or in 3 turns), and crew should get a chance to be able to repair it. Actually, crew should be able to repair any damaged system (but not armor or hit points!). The bigger crew compartment on the ship (sure, u can have addtional slots/techs for this), the more repair attempts you get per turn. The more hit points you lose, the more crew die and the less attempts you have. Mechanised technology would give you bonus space points (those humans need lots of useless stuff like corridors, life supports stuff, food, etc.) but you would have fewer of those 'repair attempts'.

The logic here is that armor is expendable. After outer hull is destroyed, ship wont be able to fight, but should be able to limp away under supporting screen. When inner hull is hit, things are bad. Ship is destroyed when hit points are gone (hull integrity = 0%, breaks apparts), or some of the key systems suffers a catastrophic failure (reactor meltdown, life support failure).

Also, for the same reasons engine question should be adressed here. I dont think we have discusses battle propuslsion in any detail here. The most important questions are:
a) does overall hull size influence maximum speed in any way (like ship weight in Stars!, size in SE3/4, or in Honorverse),
b) is there only one engine type per tech level possible, or can increasing its size/component number increase its performance (like in SE3/4 or Full Thrust)?
c) important - space drives are INSIDE the ship (like in FT) or outside (like in Star Trek or Babylon 5)? This would be important with outer hull/inner hull idea - how easy it is to damage the engine? Perhaps we can have both options somwehere along diffrent routes in the tech tree

For my fast battlecruiser idea, I would likely chose one of the best biggest engine possible - at least, it should be able to run away from bigger ships my opponent has. And I would go for rather small armor/hit points.

After it is done, we go to:

Step 3: Filling the slots

A reminder. This step happens when a template (with slots, hull integrity and engine size) is researched. Based on it, we can create many variants cheaply. Now we put stuff like shields, weapons, mechanical/electrical thingies, scanners, cloaks, toilets, captain's rooms, whaterver.

When new techs are researched, or you decide that new combination of existing is better, you design a new prototype based on existing template (of course, you can go to step 1 and research a new template altoghether). If we go with my refit rules, it would be impossible to refit an old ship to the new project, but you can always create a special 'refit' projet for refitted designs only.

Shields and weapon types require discussion threads of their owns, as the various miscellany equipment, but I think that is - bascially - how I'd see a ship designing process for - let me repeat it - a game where biiiiig battles would involve <100 ships, and early-middle ones would be <25 each.

Hopefully sb read to the end of this looong post and I made some sence :)
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#64 Post by Zpock » Fri Oct 29, 2004 12:03 am

That was one mother of a post. Nice to see some refreshing ideas here, I thought the thread was dieing. It's a bit much and you might want to make a summary of the core stuff you had in mind. This is what I got out of it all:
  • 1. No set ships size, the player makes a template/hull with as many "hull design points" as he wants and then has to research it. Then he can use it.
    2. You want any ship to be refitted to any other ship if the player wants. But the more the ship changes it gets penalties.
    3. You want ship system damage and space empires damage layers.
The no set ship size idea is interesting. The refitting... ok but not the penalties, just make it cost more and more the more it changes. It would get complicated keeping track of these penalties I think and don't see the point. from a gameplay perspective. Refitting should make the players life easier and work as smoothly as possible. I could even think of going so far as having a phaser III be upgraded to phaser IV automatically by the crew or when the ship is at a spacestation or something. If there are a lot of version I, II, III that is. I would imagine you could simply have weapons improve automatically and call it refinement. Who likes upgrading the "version" of his ships anyway? I think everyone agrees it's only fun doing new ship designs with new stuff, not just change all the old stuff to some new version and then painfully refit all your ships. I HATE doing that.

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#65 Post by noelte » Fri Oct 29, 2004 8:20 am

@zpock
refitting cost should depend on how you change a design (over all the way Prokonsul Piotrus mentioned). And to make things more clear, refitting/upgradeing ships should work like in moo2. You simply design a new ship and can upgrade older ships of that class with the newer design.
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#66 Post by Prokonsul Piotrus » Fri Oct 29, 2004 9:37 am

Of course, refiting should be fairly simple. MOO2 way would be better here then SE - I imagine clicking on a ship in starbase/spaceyard, selecting refit option, going to the design screen, then REMOVING some components, adding new ones - their size and costs dependable on what was removed from given slot(s) I want to put the new stuff in. There should be the option to save the refit project - since player may want to refit many Cruisers Type B to Type C, he should not have to do it every time from scratch.

A quick refit option for 'upgrading' components with improved version (laser mark III to laser mark IV) would be a nice addition (imagine a button 'quick refit' next to stadnard refit), then a window with what would be replaced and time and cost would pop up...click ok, and quick refit begins. This however assumes that all improved parts are the same size as the older ones.

But I do think that efficiency penalties are important in addition to cost. No matter how much bucks you pay, a battleship redesigned into a carrier will not be as efficient as a carrier designed from top to bottom. In IIWW Japanese refited some BBs into CAs not because they had spare money or the new designs would be better, but beacuse they desperatly needed CAs fast and prefered a poor CAs to no CAs.
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#67 Post by MisterMerf » Fri Oct 29, 2004 3:16 pm

Prokonsul Piotrus wrote:Of course, refiting should be fairly simple. MOO2 way would be better here then SE - I imagine clicking on a ship in starbase/spaceyard, selecting refit option, going to the design screen, then REMOVING some components, adding new ones - their size and costs dependable on what was removed from given slot(s) I want to put the new stuff in. There should be the option to save the refit project - since player may want to refit many Cruisers Type B to Type C, he should not have to do it every time from scratch.
I may be out of context here, but...

Individual ships (I think) are not going to be emphasized. Even a refit for a particular set of ships to a new design (which I gathered is meant to be unique to the refit) is probably going to unimportant in the larger scale of things.

You seem to be suggesting ways to micromanage a small subset of the players ships to give them a unique new configuration. This sounds like unnecessary work, if true. I would rather upgrade the ships to a known design rather than make a new design just for a couple of fleets.

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#68 Post by Zpock » Fri Oct 29, 2004 4:53 pm

One problem with the "no set hull size" idea, how would it work with ship art?

Solution 1
I have a possible solution, have set hulls, like destroyer/cruiser/battleship etc. The main point wasn't to get rid of them right? At least they don't bother me. Then let the player research upgrades for those hulls, letting him either redesign it completly or maybe just add stuff to how the hull was before, so that his hull kind of "evolves", less work too only adding a slot or two. This way we can have bigger and bigger ships, and still use the ship art. Maybe think of it as miniutariation and more effective engineering letting more stuff go into the same space if that makes more sense?

Example: Lets say the player has a lvl1 destroyer hull. With the "hull design points" this let him put a total of 8 slots on his destroyer hull. When he gets the lvl2 destroyer hull, he gets more points for the design of the hull and can get 10 slots on the destroyer. But it would keep the maneuverability advantages of a small ship and such.

Solution 2
Another way would be making lots of ship art and having rules like 1-5 slots: picture/art of tiny ship 5-15slots: small ship etc. There would have to be a limit on the number of pictures tough, and if the game gets so far that all sizes in use get the same picture it could get dull. If the ranges are too sparse every ship in a normal game would look the same.

Solution 3
Getting really ambitious, there could be dynamic ship art generated from the actual modules on the ship. This would be easy to f*** up, so the ships look ugly, and probably means a lot of work. Might be cool tough. Another idea I have, maybe there could be some small extra stuff that can be added to a base ship model to make it look a little more advanced, to be used to get some more variation to solution 1/2 above. Things like an extra pair of small wings and similar. Wouldn't take much work and could be a nice touch.

The first solution is best IMO, but what do others think? I think moo1 actually has something like this, the ship hull sizes gets more and more space as you play.

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#69 Post by Ranos » Sat Oct 30, 2004 12:46 am

First off, I have to agree that was a long post and I got a little lost in the details. Thanks for the summery Zpock.

On ship designing, MOO vs. Stars!, I still prefer the spreadsheet version of MOO. Iwould of course play the game no matter how it was designed, I just have my preferences. My idea of having different sections for puting different weapons is also my preferance, just because it sounds like fun to me.

Hull sizes changing as a game progresses sounds like loads of fun, depending on which design system is used. If the Stars! based system is used, you would be forced to constantly redesign the hull with new and/or added slots for stacks which would further complicate what is, IMHO, an already complicated system.

Using the spreadsheet method, all you would need to do would be to access the ship size and change the ammount of space the ship is allowed to hold.

If the hull size changing is implemented, a player should not be able to design a Dyson Sphere sized ship at the beginning of the game. Hull size should be limited by technology but not by naming the techs like was done in MOO3, but by construction, engine and metallurgy technologies. The reason a battleship in 1850 was smaller than a destroyer in 1950 was because of the above reasons. Metallurgy tech was not advanced enough to build the large hulls. The primary propulsion system of the day was wind, which would never have been able to move that size of ship. The facilities to construct such a ship also did not exist.

The same should be done in the game. You have to research techs that allow you to make your shipyards bigger, the engine techs should effect how big the ship is and there should be metallurgy technologies implemented to allow for changing materials for both the shipyard and ship technologies. Then to just make things easier, have either techs that are called "Hul Size Increase" or have an indicator in the ship design screen that informs the player of the maximum allowed size or something like that.

There are two ways that I can see for this to be implemented. First off, there should be a set number hulls in the game all named. For example lets say that there are 10 hulls allowed in the game. Each hull should be named according to size. So lets say Cutter is the smallest and Dreadnought is the biggest. They don't have set numbers for allowed space or anything but this makes it so everyone knows the aproximate size of he ships they are encountering. The players could of course name them to things like 'Star Destroyer' or 'Bird of Prey' or whatever else they can come up with, but there would always be the size listed with the ship name: Star Destroyer (Battleship).

Now for the implementation.

1) Hull sizes are at set ratios to eachother. The player is allowed to set the size of their largest hull, up to the max allowed by the technology they have, and the computer automatically calculates the hull sizes for the smaller ships. Example: Each hull has 2x the space of the hull size before it. Player sets the size of the largest ship size (10) at 5000. The computer automatically figures size 9 at 2500, size 8 at 1250, size 7 at 625, etc. I think every other hull size should be double the size, in which case each hull size would be increased by 1.414213. This would keep hulls from having to be ungodly large just to support the smaller sizes.

2) Hull sizes are all set by the player. Limits would have to be set so a player doesn't make all hulls the same size and so the player doesn't have a ship that is 5000x as big as the one before it. Have a requirement of at least a 10% increase in hull size from ship to ship and a maximum of 100% increase. I think this one is self explainitory.

In MOO2, IIRC, when you refit a ship, you edited the existing design to show the new weapons, and when the ships were actually refit, it cost more to install the new weapons on the old ship than it did to put new weapons on a new ship. The rifitting was cheaper than building a new ship but if a weapon cost 5 on a new ship, it cost 7 when it was being installed on an existing ship.

This should be the only penalty imposed when refitting, but refitting should be limited. Weapons and shields can be refitted but engines can't. I guess, after thinking about it, the best way to do armor refitting is to make it lose efficiency. New armor can be installed, but at a 25% penalty. So armor that would normally take 1000 points of damage can only take 750. Each ship should also be allowed only one refit. This prevents ancient ships from getting refit constantly to be usable in the late game.
Prokonsul Piotrus wrote:But I do think that efficiency penalties are important in addition to cost. No matter how much bucks you pay, a battleship redesigned into a carrier will not be as efficient as a carrier designed from top to bottom. In IIWW Japanese refited some BBs into CAs not because they had spare money or the new designs would be better, but beacuse they desperatly needed CAs fast and prefered a poor CAs to no CAs.
There is a huge difference here. The complexities in upgrading a WWII battleship into a carrier are far greater than would be upgrading a futuristic BS to a CA. In the WWII models, balance has to be taken into account and you are installing a flat runway that the planes must build up speed on as well as moving the command deck and tho such things from the middle to the side. Following most scifi examples, fighters would have verticle takeoff and landing allowing for just a small hanger with either a force field or a bay door that closes to protect the fighters and people and the command cneter is located in a compleely different area. It is far less complex if you think about it.
Zpock wrote:Solution 2
Another way would be making lots of ship art and having rules like 1-5 slots: picture/art of tiny ship 5-15slots: small ship etc. There would have to be a limit on the number of pictures tough, and if the game gets so far that all sizes in use get the same picture it could get dull. If the ranges are too sparse every ship in a normal game would look the same.
This, IMO, is the best way to do it but not in quite the same way. Each ship size should have a few different designs. That would take quite a bit of pictures, but if each time the ship gets resized the picture should be different, then this is how to do it.

The other option, of course, is to have one design for each size that gets rescaled as you resize the hull.
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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#70 Post by Zpock » Sat Oct 30, 2004 9:46 am

Don't see much point in that system Ranos. Why would the player want to do anything but set his hulls as big as he can? Doing that every time he gets a new construction tech, meaning a lot of pointless clicking. Only reason I could see is sacrificing some space so that the hull gets an innate bonus to maneuverability or similar. But then, the player can just use the extra space to put in a maneuvering jet and get the same effect, so why include another game complicating way to do what you can alredy do? If the moos/space empires fill bag designing is used I would make it something like:

Option1: Like Moo1, you have small/medium/large/huge hull size and they get larger as you get more tech.

Option2: Just let the player design ships as he wants. No hulls. Maybe a limit to how much space he can use for his biggest ships that increase with size. Or just have a "if he has the resources to build it he can" approach.

On refiting:
Try not to think how it should be done from a realism/make sense point of view. Think how it should effect gameplay. How does refiting to a new armor give a -25% penalty enhance the gameplay, make it more interesting and fun? How do you want refiting to be used? To let the player make a few ships in the beginning of the game and then let him upgrade them again and again as he increases in tech? Let him change the composition of his fleet, so one turn he has only missile ships but the next carriers? How does that effect the countering system, will it be cost effective to convert your ships to counter the enemy? Should the player be forced to stick with his designs or let him change them at will considering this? Maybe the refitting should just let the player upgrade his phaser III to phaser IV and not much more? Will the player be forced (to keep up) to upgrade from phaser n to phaser n+1 all the time in a micromanagment heavy system, like in space empires? Is that fun and good for gameplay?
Last edited by Zpock on Sat Oct 30, 2004 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#71 Post by discord » Sat Oct 30, 2004 10:00 am

best option on building is 'if he got the resources to build it, he can', BUT there should be a penalty for doing ships bigger then the shipyards can easily manage, wich results in longer build times, and higher cost, in other words, ineffective....but could be real cool.

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#72 Post by Zpock » Sat Oct 30, 2004 10:05 am

I think so too (if the fillbag system is used). Who cares if it doesn't make sense (from an enginering/realism point of view) you can construct as big as you want, it's fun.

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#73 Post by discord » Sat Oct 30, 2004 10:09 am

zpock: actualy in space, size does not matter all that much, from a enginering point of view....we COULD today, if we spent ALOT of resources on it, build a deathstar like thing.....but by the time we would be done, technology would have far out paced this monstrosity, since it would take decades, if not centuries to build.

thereof 'ineffecient'.

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#74 Post by Zpock » Sat Oct 30, 2004 10:23 am

Why is the penalty needed? If you only have shipyards that can build 200 space a turn, making a 20 000 space ship would take 100 turns anyway. So you pretty much have to wait for that ubershipyard anyway. Don't see the need for additional penalties to the basic shipyards. You would have to put a lot of resources in for 100 turns without getting any use out of it (until turn 100). So I can see making a death star is pretty detrimental to the growth of a new empire and also very risky.

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#75 Post by Impaler » Sat Oct 30, 2004 2:43 pm

First off very nice sugjestion Piotus, I think we have some good material to work with here, we should be able to bang together a nice system.

First off to elaborate on some coments on how Engines and Speed are related.

Every component of a ships design has some Mass value including the Engine itself. Engines each have a "Thrust" Value, higher tec Engines generaly have higher Thrust to Mass ratios and lower Thrust to Cost ratios as well.

A ships Manuverability and Acceleration in compat would be equal to its Thrust divided by Total Mass. With low level Engines a ship cant have any better manuverability then the ratio of the Engines Thrust:Mass, and if your put any dead wegiht on the ship (aka Guns, Armor, Sensors) that will slow the ship down even more.

Now I was also thinking that their should be a completly seperate Component that is used to determin top speed in combat, call it the "Deflector" perhaps (Fluff explination is that hydrogen gass in space must be deflected away by an electromagnetic field or else the ship will be slowed). The deflector has a "Deflection" value and much like with speed the value is sumed. A ships Maximum speed is equal to its Deflection:Mass Ratio.

By spliting Max Speed and Acceleration into 2 completly seperate components we give players some interesting choices to make in ship design. An interesting balance would exist between high speed and high acceleration ships. Speedy ships would need to accelerate over time and come at the enemy but would fly past them and need to loop around to continue the attack, Manuverable ships can quickly engage and disengage but cant outrun or chasse down the Faster ships unless their very close and can "lunge" at them before they can get away.
Fear is the Mind Killer - Frank Herbert -Dune

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