drek wrote:Battlefield reserves, like in Total War.
There's no way the graphics engine can have infinite ships on the tactical field, so there will have to be a cap on the number of units in combat.
I've never played a Total War game. How do battlefield reserves work?
The important thing is that it cost nearly the same to build a scout unit, a corvette unit, a frigate unit, and a capital ships unit. Or rather, that the build and maintaince costs are in the same ballpark. Meaning if a scout ship costs 200, a battleship might cost 1000. If a scout ship costs 5 and a battleship costs 1000, the results are: an incredibly screwed up build queue, more clutter on the galaxy map, the typical 4x game problems in balancing small ships vs. large, and a confusing counterintuitive "point system" for dragging ships in and out of the battlefield reserves.
We can accomplish this without forcing small ships to be built in groups (or "units" if those are something different).
In battle, I don't expect that multiple smaller ships will always work as a tight team... they'd likely spread out around the big ships / search for enemy fleets as many semiautonomous ships, not as a clumped group of ships....
Try out hw2 to see how it plays out in practice. There are also movies and screenshots of hw2 gameplay.
How it works in hw2 is irrelivant. We're making FreeOrion.
drek wrote:Of course smaller ships need to be able to fight larger ships. Building small ships exclusively ought to be a viable strategy.
Geoff the Medio wrote: Small ships generally wouldn't be used to fight big ships, unless that's all you had to fight with, in which case an RTS-like control group could be easily made by drag-selecting a bunch of ships and giving them an order all at once.
IMO in a mixed size fleet in a battle, the smaller ships would be designed to be the pickets and scouts and hit-and-run harassment ships. The larger ships would be the carriers and battleships and command ships. The only time you'd want, in such a fleet, to use small ships as a tight group, would be hit and run. The other roles would have many autonomous ships spreading out to scan, or surrounding the bigger ships. In the former, each ship would be working independently. In the latter, the small ships would be effectively in a formation with the larger ships, which would be a battle control group (as opposed to a group that has just the small ships).
Also, keep in mind that we can balance larger ships' better combat abilities with smaller ships' galaxy-map travel speed / efficiency.
What's the point in having small and large ships both be viable strategies if they're essentially the same thing anyway? I'd imagine that if you're building just small ships, you'd often view a few of them to be expendible. You'd have lots of small fleets of them roaming around continually cutting off supply lies or raiding production shipping, preventing the enemy from building the larger ships easily.
And yes, it does need to be possible to use small ships to kill big ships at some point, as you can't avoid direct confrontation forever if using small ships only, but that doesn't meant he big ships can't have a combat effectiveness per PP cost advantage. With range tradeoffs, it's harder to get your big ships over to the other empire to attack, but you need to get over more small ships to actually do damage, so it balances out.
Guiguibaah also makes a good point:
guiguibaah wrote:1. Open space combat would be a chaotic melee since there is little place to hide. A fleet of large, cumbersome ships would work best in this region. 5-6 turns most.
2. Cluttered space combat in asteroid belts / planetary rings / Solar Coronas or Black holes / Nebulas would allow small ships to attack, then to a secure area, making the game a cat-and mouse chase.
So if you wanted to fight with only small ships, you'd try to lure the enemy's big ships into combat near lots of obstructions that give you an advantage. Maybe in that situation, small ships do have a combat effectiveness per PP spent advantage.
drek wrote:When/if ground combat gets into game, will each individual soldier be a game object? Each tank? Each jeep? How about tanks that are the size of a corvette? When these units "heal", where's the extra manpower/tanks/whatever coming from?
Why do we need a "health" number for a ground unit? Armies should just have a single number for how many squads / platoons / battillions are in the army of each type of ground troop, say 47/205/24/63. There would be no subdivision below this level, and squads / platoons / battillions would be dead or alive, and not have health tracked below that level. Smaller degrees of damage would be abstracted. You wouldn't "heal" ground troops, but would just build more.
This assumes ground combat without any sort of RTS game, though...
If Petty Officer Jones on Battleship X dies, should we model finding his replacement? If a battleship loses most of it's hitpoints in combat, do we really care where the material is coming from to repair it?
Petty Officer Jones would be a crewmember like any other. Ship's would have a number of crew. Damage to the ship that kills crew would take away form this number, but there is no details concerning which crew member or what their job was for those who die. Replacing the crew would happen at a starbase or shipyard, or perhaps by redistributing crew from other ships in the fleet.
I'm not sure what your point about the source of the materials is...
For carriers with fighters, if a fighter or three is lost do we really want to bother the player with the details involved in replacing those fighters? How about ships that carry giant, fighter sized missles?
Fighters and missiles can be replaced at starbases or shipyards at some cost. The player doesn't need to deal with each one, but would have to spend whatever prorduction or money cost it takes to replace them.
If you don't want to ahve to fly back to a base to resupply, consumables like fighters and missiles are part of the cost of keeping a fleet resupplied while in the field. You'd only be able to replace fighters / missiles if you have a viable supply route and supply ships stationed with the fleet. (See the supply thread.)
Having the available missiles / fighters tracked for fleets is rather essential to make keeping your fleets supplied important. Needing to keep your fleets supplied is rather essential to giving smaller ships some important roles outside of direct combat: raiding and protecting supply lines.
If you're using small ships only, it's easy to leave a few behind your main group to secure the supply lines from enemy raiders. If you're using big ships, it's too expensive to leave a bunch behind you to secure the supply line, so you need some smaller ships as well, or will have to do without resupply for a while. The latter should be impractical in most cases. (If possible, we should probably avoid getting into a fleet supply debate on this thread... use the fleet supply thread for that)
Treating a group of indivdual military entities as a single cohesive unit is par for course in wargames.
And treating any group / unit that can operate somewhat independently as a single cohesive unit is also par. In Warcraft, you don't build a group of 3 footmen later in the game. In a game with fleets of ships, each ship can, in a battle, work as a separate entity, so should be buildable that way.
If damage types that can't be repaired in the field are desired, then include critical damage. If a ship in a squadron (or a fighter on a carrier) is destroyed the damage would be "critical" and must be repaired at a shipyard.
Expendables such as fighters and missiles should be tracked separately from structural damage to the ship that launches them. Between battles, the results can be summed up and stored for a fleet, rather than each ship. Critical damage that must be repaired at a starbase/shipyard is fine though.