many ships or fewer ships?

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iamrobk
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many ships or fewer ships?

#1 Post by iamrobk » Mon Nov 01, 2004 2:18 am

Sorry, I couldn't see a topic like this anywhere. So anyway, should the focus of the game be on allowing the player to build many ships, or trying to restrict them to not building as many? I personally am all in favor of a smaller amount of ships, if only because it will make it a true accomplishment to be able to build the larger ship types.

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#2 Post by Pink » Mon Nov 01, 2004 3:08 am

I guess it's a question of balance. If a ship's ability increases in a linear sort of way (one class II ship is an even match for two class I ships, and three class I ships are the equivalent of a class III ship), then a lesser amount of ships might be okay. On the other hand, if the capacity of a ship is multiplied by an amount every level (say three class I ships for a class II ship, and three class II ships to a class III ship), then a large amount of smaller ships will not matter so much, and encourages reaching the higher tech levels. The second would make it possible to produce large quantities of the smaller classes if necessary, but (following the 'influence' system in MOO II, where you are given points based on how many starbases you have and what tech levels their comm. systems have) more naval clout could be gained by producing larger ships, as they have a better power/'influence consumption' ratio.

guiguibaah
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Depends

#3 Post by guiguibaah » Mon Nov 01, 2004 3:19 am

- Depends on the amount of detail (graphic wise and all that) you want to put on the ships.

I see the comparison as this

10 ships
+ Special effects to the ships more visible - parts damaged snap off, crew billows outside, sparks, etc.
+ Each ship system is vital during battle.
+ Careful consideration of retreating damaged ships need to be used
+ Veteran ships survive for a long, ong time.
+ The key isn't so much into producing ships, but repairing them and maintaining them.

VS:

1000 ships
+ Special effects irrelevant, each ship is a blip. Effects would bog down processors.
+ Focus is not so much on ship systems, but ship amounts.
+ Retreat, care of ships not as important as focusing fire on several ships (hence long-range fire).
+ Veteran ships pop like popcorn
+ The key is in mass-producing specific ships, making sure you can mass-produce.
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MisterMerf
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#4 Post by MisterMerf » Mon Nov 01, 2004 5:04 am

If I had my druthers...

Low numbers of ships are practical in beginning to mid-game.
From there, production ramps up to support legions of ships.

Cost to product ships should be close to proportional to volume, making larger ships take considerable resources (yet still be worth it, somehow...).

Weapon effects should be reduced to scintillating rays of light, little blips, shadows, multi-hued waves of energy... all of which would be proportional to, but not necessary exactly representative of, numbers of actual weapons firing.

Less tactically satisfying in late game, but I REALLY want there to be a potential for unthinktable armadas (take THAT, server CPU!) =)

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: many ships or fewer ships?

#5 Post by Geoff the Medio » Mon Nov 01, 2004 9:15 am

iamrobk wrote:Sorry, I couldn't see a topic like this anywhere.
viewtopic.php?t=841

See question "F" in the first post.

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Impaler
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#6 Post by Impaler » Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:37 am

Dozens of Task forces which are the "units" of battle with 100's of ships total, 1000's if I am fighter heavy. We should also think about using stacks as well.
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#7 Post by discord » Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:56 am

impaler: task forces are just advanced 'stacks' you know.....

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#8 Post by Impaler » Mon Nov 01, 2004 12:04 pm

I consider them fundamentaly differnt then stacks because they can compine more then one type of ship as oposed to stacks in Stars! and Moo1 which only had one kind of ship. When I said we might want to to consider stacks I ment stacks within a Taskforce so the number of objects rendered in each task force is only equal to the number of ship types in it (possibly modified by the Core/Escort/Picket stuff if we have that)
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haravikk
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#9 Post by haravikk » Mon Nov 01, 2004 1:03 pm

I agree with less ships early on and more later on. To begin with, the small ships should seem powerful and confrontations between a handful of these should be fierce.
Later on the concentration would be more on large task-forces.

I see no reason to stay limited throughout the game, it's hard to get a feeling of having an epic empire if you only have a few ships, even if they are powerful.

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Re: many ships or fewer ships?

#10 Post by iamrobk » Mon Nov 01, 2004 10:47 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
iamrobk wrote:Sorry, I couldn't see a topic like this anywhere.
viewtopic.php?t=841

See question "F" in the first post.
I feel like a total idiot. LOL! Oh well. Just for the record, I completely agree with yuor viewpoint on the subject.

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Re: Depends

#11 Post by Pink » Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:24 am

guiguibaah wrote: ...
1000 ships
+ Special effects irrelevant, each ship is a blip. Effects would bog down processors.
...
I can't see why everyone feels this way. Even using a shoddy engine, it would be possible to pull off at least a thousand ships (assuming a lower poly count for each) and still display weapons fire (a representative ratio, at least). A great example is Rome Total War. Furthermore, since ships will probably be bound to squadrons, CPU useage wouldn't be too heavy as all ships in a group would move in relation to each other. I understand that I shouldn't be comparing FO to a commercially produced game, but something equivalent could probably be produced (though a lot of work would go into it, I'm guessing), even if each ship was composed of < 50 polys a piece. Besides, out in space, what else is there to render? ^_^

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Bastian-Bux
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#12 Post by Bastian-Bux » Tue Nov 02, 2004 6:40 am

Well, what are the pros for each of those possibilities?

low amount of ships (capped by a variable):

+ each ship has a value (not just one of hundreds or thousands)
+ ease of management
+ ships can be bigger -> higher res -> easier to distinguish and more eye candy
+ less strain on the graphic system


high amount of ships (capped by production)

+ superiority of numbers can be achieved in one combat
+ more flexible fleet compositions possible
+ two strategies possible: bigger is better AND more is better

My suggestion: a variale cap which accounts for the ship sizes.

Each ship would have a size value (according to its in-game size as well as to the size of its graphic.

As an example:

Fighters (tiny ships, with a small graphic) havea value of 1.
The largest stations as well as the "death stars" have a value of 64.
Everything else is somewhere in between.

Each fleet can't comprise of not more then 1024 value points.

This way we have the possibility to see battles where 16 death stars attack a fleet of 32 carriers releasing 512 fighters.

This would be a good compromise between those two systems.

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#13 Post by discord » Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:56 pm

a good one bux, but you forgot the 'can be changed' part of the battle cap, as later computers WILL be able to handle bigger battles.

//discord

iamrobk
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#14 Post by iamrobk » Tue Nov 02, 2004 6:27 pm

Ya know, I really like that point system, but there should also be a cap on the amount of one type fo ship you can have. If only to prevent the AI from building 1024 fighters. :P
But if we do go with a point system, I'd liek to see the largest ships be like 500, and the smaller ones be 1. Only like 1-64 is much too limiting IMO.

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Re: Depends

#15 Post by emrys » Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:52 pm

Pink wrote:
guiguibaah wrote: ...
1000 ships
+ Special effects irrelevant, each ship is a blip. Effects would bog down processors.
...
I can't see why everyone feels this way.
Essentially the obvious reason: 1000 ships on screen => each ship is around the size of 1000th of the screen, and there just ain't much detail you can stick into 1000th of the screen.

The total war series get away with a having lots of 'units' (i.e. individual troops) on screen for two main reasons:
1) they limit the CPU requirements by working out a lot of things on a average basis for the 'taskforce' (erm, what is one of the groups of men called anyway?) which we could easily do, or not since it's not really the big issue and
2) just how detailed does one little guy need to be anyway - in other words you're not expecting much graphical detail from one unit, so the fact that they don't have any isn't a problem. In free orion, I expect people will probably wan't to do silly things like "look at their cool ships" - particularly if we allow complex ship design, but mostly just because of the pyschological factor, i.e "ships are supposed to be big things, hence they should have stuff to look at on them". For this reason I think we should try and limit combats to having much more like less than 100 ships. In fact I think a limit by combined size of object (i.e. Bastian-Bux's idea) would be a good idea, you'd ensure that about the same amount of graphic detail went into each big battle. (I'd prefer to try and soft-cap the ship numbers by gameplay mechanics at quite a bit lower than the graphics engine could actually cope with, so that not all that many players who aren't doing it deliberately hit the 'hard cap' of the engine's limitations.

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