Ship Designs

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

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atma
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Ship Designs

#1 Post by atma » Thu Nov 25, 2004 10:38 pm

This is in reference to a post by Impaler early on in the Ship Design Styles thread. As that thread has gotten rather large, I think this particular idea may need to be split off, so here it is.

To recap, he suggested having a relatively small pool of ship "templates" that have specific mount styles for weapons, power plants, etc, and some kind of negative feedback mechanism to keep from having a huge battery of templates.

My suggestion is for the negative feedback mechanism -- in reality, as an industrial system gains more experience with a specific "class" of ship, it becomes easier and faster to produce the components that go into that class and the overall ship itself.

Translating this into game terms, my proposal is basically that each "template" or "class" of ship becomes easier to produce as more are produced, though with a declining improvement that eventually reaches nil. For example, the first ship of that "class", the prototype so to speak, would cost like significantly more than the second one. The third would cost less than the second, but not by as large a margin as the second from the first, and so on. Logarithmic scales might work out well, with some specific cap on the bottom end, when you get into mass production of a ship class by the hundreds.

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Kharagh
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#2 Post by Kharagh » Fri Nov 26, 2004 11:03 am

I like the idea, it seems both logical and easy to implement into the game for me.

It also makes building a new ship much more exciting, as you get sort of a "prototype" feeling. Just like having a reseach breakthrough, it will be a great event to have the first prototype of a new ship completed, because afterward, production will be both faster and more inexpensive.

The ship could have a "prototype" tag somewhere in its description, adding to the immersion of the game.

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#3 Post by Daveybaby » Fri Nov 26, 2004 11:35 am

One way of dealing with this is to have a multiplier for ship maintenance costs based on the number of designs currently in service. So once you get above a certain number of ship designs, your maintenance costs start to rise.

Obviously there is a lower limit before the multiplier starts to kick in (e.g. 6 designs) so that the player isnt encouraged to just have 1 design (which would be boring).

e.g.
for 6 designs and under, maintenance *= 1.0
for 7 designs, maintenance *= 1.1
for 8 designs, maintenance *= 1.2
for 9 designs, maintenance *= 1.3

and so on.

This actually happens in real life. Support costs for military equipment goes through the roof the more different types of equipment you have, because you have to keep spares for all those different types of weapon, and keep people trained in maintaining and using all those different types. (I'm not putting that forward as a realism argument, just giving a bit of background info).
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#4 Post by Bastian-Bux » Fri Nov 26, 2004 3:57 pm

I'm utterly against a limit on designs. I prefer a library of designs, containing hundreds, maybe thousands of designs. This will serve a greater immersion AND give the fan base something to do.

PS: and it will be a way to give the profi players an edge over the newbies. But an edge that a medium skilled player with enough determination can aquire as well.

I Know, some people wanna beat good players till they are hampered enough to be forced to play with mediocre or bad players. But I dislike this idea. I aint an experienced player myself (name a game, I usually will have played it, but never been good in).

But I'm from a country where any kind of elite is viewed very badly. Believe me, its not fun to be highly gifted in such a country, and I strongly object to this "hate of elites" to get a grip on FO as well.

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#5 Post by Prokonsul Piotrus » Fri Nov 26, 2004 7:05 pm

I prefer the way we have discussed previously: no limits on ship design (mass, etc.) BUT designing a template is very expensive and done as a research project, meaning you *do* research a hull size/type, but you - the player - decide in each game what kind of hull it is from close to infinite choices. The template is filled with Stars!-like slots to your liking, based on your current technology. Advances in technology bring you completly new templates and perhaps advanced (cheaper, bigger) versons of older ones.

After you have a template (for example, beam destroyer, carrier or medium transport) you can buld many specific designs on it, using newer tech as you acquire it. When you acquire a new tech that requires completly new template (cause your old ships didnt have shields slots cause you didn't had them at the time you designed their templates, for example), you will likely discard old templates and build new ones.

I like this idea cause it allows me to recreate 'history development in the future' - imagine discarding wooden ships for ironclads, ironclads for combustion engine units, those for nuclear ones, etc.
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#6 Post by Daveybaby » Fri Nov 26, 2004 7:52 pm

Bastian-Bux wrote:I'm utterly against a limit on designs. I prefer a library of designs, containing hundreds, maybe thousands of designs. This will serve a greater immersion AND give the fan base something to do.
No limit on how many designs you can have - just a limit on how many you can have in active service at any one time.
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#7 Post by Prokonsul Piotrus » Fri Nov 26, 2004 8:11 pm

Daveybaby wrote: No limit on how many designs you can have - just a limit on how many you can have in active service at any one time.
Based on ecomomy/maintenance, I hope.
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#8 Post by oolon » Mon Dec 06, 2004 2:32 am

Prokonsul Piotrus wrote: BUT designing a template is very expensive and done as a research project
Will you be able to research refits for a design? Many ships in navys a repeatedly refitted, before being sold for scrap or to other nations. Could you swap designs with other players? What happens if they don't have all the tech in the design? Personally, I don't see ship design as research, I do like think the first few ships of any class should be harder to produce before dropping to a "normal" level. I don't think plans of ships should be sellable either, however selling/giving ships themselves could prove interesting. The problem with all systems that introduce ineria in the system will they favour larger empires having better economies of scale?

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    Last edited by oolon on Mon Dec 06, 2004 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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    utilae
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    #9 Post by utilae » Mon Dec 06, 2004 5:43 am

    I think the most advanced ship design system we could have is to have a dynamic shaped ship based on what components or modules you put into the ship.
    eg each '[]' or '=' is a component. You can basically see an overall ship shape.
    ....[][]......[][]
    ...[][][]==[][][]
    ...[][]=[][]=[][]
    ...[][][]==[][][]
    ....[][]......[][]

    You would think that this would be hard to program, but if everything is put down in tiles, then when it is done you could take the final image and use that as the ships graphic, in space combat and stuff. This would give players the ability to craft the appearance of their ship.

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    #10 Post by miu » Mon Dec 06, 2004 8:04 am

    How I'm looking it now, Graphically I stand for pre-modelled, static 3D-shipmodels. Just because I rather see very well designed and polished spaceships, than have quite certainly messier looking dynamic models. If I had a crazy budget and slaves to spare, I would love to see something like city-of-heroes/sims2 character generator for spaceships, but It's slightly out of our reach.
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    #11 Post by Aquitaine » Mon Dec 06, 2004 2:46 pm

    It's unfortunate that all of our slaves are otherwise occupied.
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    #12 Post by Drakich » Fri Dec 17, 2004 4:37 am

    (Hi folks, I'm new).

    I would recommend that the number of models, type classifications, etc, be dynamic and configurable.

    Example:
    lets say initial version rolls out with 1 model each for a frigate, destroyer, cruiser, battleship, etc.

    later on, an enterprising modeller adds another frigate model.

    players should be able to select from the available models when designing a particular class.

    configuration should also support faction specific models, if and ever separate factions/races are added.

    * * *

    As far as keeping the number of ship designs down, the easiest and least fun way is to hard cap it.

    In a pinch though, what you could do is penalize new designs, penalized rushed designs, penalize new technology, or all of the above.

    Lets use energy weapons and tech levels as an example.

    Lets say TL3, TL4, and TL5 lasers have a nominal damage of 10, 12, and 15 respectively. Particle accelerators become available at TL5, and at TL5 do a nominal damage of 20. However, since particle accelarators are just now available, the first few runs may suffer "production quality problems", and may not be as effective as their nominal damage suggests (effect should be random in severity though).

    The way to quantify that so it can be programmed is this:
    - Items, technologies, or ship designs ("units") are made available at time t.
    - A fixed + random time period is considered the integration period p, during which "problems" with the design are worked out*. Units produced during this period will suffer penalties to their nominal ratings. This is a permanent modifier**
    - Once the integration period is passed, new "units" produced work at their nominal quality.

    Another way to limit the number of designs is:
    1) Charge a premium for prototypes. No other ships of the class can be produced until the prototype is finished.
    2) Prototypes take a fixed (but random) period of time to produce, that, beyond a certain point, isn't modified by industrial or science or engineering capacity. This falls under the category of "9 women can't make a baby in one month". Some things take time.

    I'd argue for allowing for rushed designs.

    For example, it will take us 4 months to build a new frigate design, but the design itself takes 12 months to mature. If we had the luxury of waiting 12 months, we would know we'd have a good design, but we're in the middle of a war, and losing, so we have to rush the design and rush completion of the ship, in effect, gambling.
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    Druuge

    #13 Post by guiguibaah » Sat Dec 18, 2004 3:12 am

    As long as we get Druuge-looking ships like these for beamships

    Image

    Now that would be neat! :)
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    Impaler
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    #14 Post by Impaler » Sat Dec 18, 2004 7:10 pm

    I agree with most of the points we have established

    Design is Stars! oriented with slots rather then Moo oriented with "Space/Size" ratings

    Templates are hard to make and require Research (thier essentialy research projects that fall outside of the normal tec tree and are player designed)

    Refits/Overhauling a ship is relativly easy so long as your not changing templates, your just upgrading Red Lasers to Blue

    Graphics should be completly seperated from the ships design/function with the user simply selecting from a list possibly with some restrictions for size and definatly for race

    I like the Maintance stuff Dave Babby mentioned, by thinking would be 1 or 2 % multiplier on base cost per ship beyond the first.

    Another means of performing Protoyping that I have thought of is called "Design Refinment". Think of the initial Reserch investment on a ship as an Aplication which grants you the ship. After that point you can continue with Refinment (level 2, level 3, level 4 ect ect). Each refinment reduces the ships manufacutring costs. Now heres the clever part, you recive FREE research points towards your next level of refinment everytime you build a ship of that type. The effect will be to gradualy reduce the price as the atma sugjests BUT the player also has the option of alocating some research towards the refinment as well to accelerate the process, that introduces more cost/befitit trading off for you to consider. Should you research a new weapon or refine your existing designs downward in price and try to crush your enemy with numbers.
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    #15 Post by Ranos » Sat Dec 25, 2004 3:25 am

    Impaler wrote:I agree with most of the points we have established

    Design is Stars! oriented with slots rather then Moo oriented with "Space/Size" ratings

    Templates are hard to make and require Research (thier essentialy research projects that fall outside of the normal tec tree and are player designed)

    Refits/Overhauling a ship is relativly easy so long as your not changing templates, your just upgrading Red Lasers to Blue

    Graphics should be completly seperated from the ships design/function with the user simply selecting from a list possibly with some restrictions for size and definatly for race

    I like the Maintance stuff Dave Babby mentioned, by thinking would be 1 or 2 % multiplier on base cost per ship beyond the first.
    First, none of these things has been established as the way that everyone or the majority of people want to see them work. If that isn't what you meant by your statement, then sorry for the misunderstanding.

    I don't like the slot system since it limits design flexibility. The only way to implement smaller or bigger weapons is to say that puting a Laser into a slot means you are puting in 5 lasers and puting a missile into a slot means you are puting in 2 missiles. It means that numbers have to be created and set by the design team and programmers and the player is forced to accept those numbers.

    Using a size/mass number means a player can decide to put on a single weapon or a hundred as long as space allows. It also means there will be little spaces left over so you can put in one extra weapon. You can mix and match and customise without anything being preset. With a slot system, you can't have small, standard and large shield generators. All you can have is a shield generator. Size/mass allows the person to choose between multiple levels of shielding instead of just do they want shields or not.

    I do agree that refitting (upgrading from Mk1 Lasers to Mk2) should be easy and only require giving a refit order to a specific ship, giving a mass refit order to all ships of a class or giving a refit order to all ships. Overhauling (changing from Lasers to Ion Cannon) shoud require that a ship be sent back to a system/planet with a shipyard and be put into the build queue.

    I also agree with ship graphics being separate from design. I would like to see a small list of designs like was in MOO2.

    I am fully against limiting designs in any way. If you limit designs, you limit the flexibility a player has. The more designs we can have, the better. If somebody wants to redisign their ships with each new tech, they should be allowed to. If you only want to make a new design every time you get a new engine tech, then you can do that too. This allows people to choose what they want to do instead of forcing them into one persons idea of fun.

    I also don't want new designs to have to be researched. This would bog down the research process and take focus away from the actual techs and thier refinements. This would only force the players who want to make lots of designs to have to choose between the new tech and the new ship.

    It also makes having different purpose ships more difficult. Some people like to design ships that incorporate everything on that one ship. I like mine to be closer to what realistic would be, not because it's realistic but because it makes for better strategy for me. I want to have my main warships with the big guns, missile racks and/or fighters; have them escorted by ships with some smallr guns and lots of pd and have a few recon vessels to find the enemy.

    By having to research each new design, you totally through this type of strategy out the window.

    The number of ships of each design should be limited in no way either and definately not if the number of designs is limited. This would force each empire to only have, at most, a few dozen ships at any one time. each of those by themselves isn't too bad because it still alows for lots of ships, but combining the two together would knock the number way down.

    If the first ship costs $1 in maintainance, then the 100th ship should also cost only $1.
    Impaler wrote:Another means of performing Protoyping that I have thought of is called "Design Refinment". Think of the initial Reserch investment on a ship as an Aplication which grants you the ship. After that point you can continue with Refinment (level 2, level 3, level 4 ect ect). Each refinment reduces the ships manufacutring costs. Now heres the clever part, you recive FREE research points towards your next level of refinment everytime you build a ship of that type. The effect will be to gradualy reduce the price as the atma sugjests BUT the player also has the option of alocating some research towards the refinment as well to accelerate the process, that introduces more cost/befitit trading off for you to consider. Should you research a new weapon or refine your existing designs downward in price and try to crush your enemy with numbers.
    This isn't prototyping since the player would have to choose to refine the desing to decrease the cost. The best way, imo, is atma's idea of making each additional ship of a certain class cost less than the one before it, with a cap on that so the cost to build a ship doesn't get ridiculously low. This best way to implemented this is to have a starting percentage that the cost is reduced by. Then that number gts smaller and smaller until the reduction is zero.

    The following is just an example so the numbers are not intended for actual use in the game.

    Start with a 1% decrease. Ship 1 costs 1000. Ship 2 costs 1000-(1000*.01)=990. Ship 3 costs 990-(990*.0095)=981. Ship 4 costs 981-(981*.009)=972.

    The number slowly recycles down until it reaches zero and then the cost is locked in at that ammount.
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