Fleet resupply

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Geoff the Medio
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#61 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Krikkitone wrote:The idea is If supply ships are thought of as moving back and forth, then they should get reassigned when they pick up supplies from home, ie they are 'assigned' on a permanent basis only to the empire.
This defeats the whole purpose of having ships assigned to a fleet. If you can remove or add supply ships to a fleet when it's far away, then there's no reason no to just remove supply ships altogether, and go without resupply at a distance, or one of the abstracted supply systems.
The problem is where you've got that 'supply ship imbalance'. The player has to notice it, merge the fleets (what if they are in only slightly different locations?) and then reseperate them if he wants to do something different.
The idea is that you can add or remove supply ships from a fleet, but they are still at the location of the fleet after you do this. You can also "reassign" them to another fleet, but this would just be a combination of removing them from their current fleet, flying them from their current fleet to their new fleet (skipped if fleets are colocated), and having them join the new fleet. If the fleets were near but not colocated, this would require a turn, minimum to fly from the old to new fleets' locations.
The empire assigns the supply ships to individual fleets as needed
Again, in this case there's no point to having something called "supply ships". Unless you have to move them with the fleet, and have them at the location of the fleet to join the fleet and start supplying it, then it's better to abstract or remove remote supply.

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Geoff the Medio
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#62 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Moved Reply from other thread, after realizing scope of discussion was more suited to here.
drek wrote:
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.
Sounds like a pain in the arse, and an unprecedented one. None of the moo or civ games (nor hw2 or most rts games) force the player to worry at all about rearming ammo. Totally outside the scale of what the player should be worried about. The player's the emperor, not the quartermaster.
Did you read the second sentence of what I said that you quoted? The player doesn't have to do anything to make the fleet resupply... as long as it's at a friendly planet or has working supply lines.

The fact that none of those other games have supply partly explains why small ships are so useless in many of them, except as just another ship in battle. And it's not unprecedented. VGA Planets required the player to build ordinances (mines or torpedos) and fighters. Shot torpedoes were expended, and shot down fighters were lost until you built more and reloaded. It wasn't a huge pain to me, but I imagine it would be for you, so I've suggested that it happen automatically, even in space if you have supply lines working.
Ammo should certainly (and automatically) replace itself after combat.
This is how it would work... except that to resupply, you'd need to have a working supply route to the fleet. You don't have to manually tell the fleet to reload it's ammo and fighters... that happens automatically. You do have to worry about keeping the supply lanes working though.
Fighters (and perhaps troop pods) would be considered another piece of ammo.
It's necessary to separate fighters and missiles (and perhaps types thereof) so that the players can adopt in-battle strategies such as not launching fighters in a battle attacking a bunch of PD ships, or focusing on destroying enemy fighters by sending small PD ships to attack a fleet, knowing that if they keep their supply lines cut, they won't be able to replace them. The reusable nature of fighters is also contrasted against the one-shot and it's lost nature of missiles, meaning missile ships wouldn't operate will without supply lines, however carriers might have a bit easier time of it.

Also, the usefulness of submarines and the degree of their distinction from just some other type of ship armour that makes most weapons useless is dependent on their being supply lines to cut.
Maybe ammo is "infinite". Maybe ammo replaces itself instantly. Maybe it takes a number of turns dependant upon whether the fleet is in a friendly system or not. But it shouldn't be something the player has to constantly concern himself with.
Infinite ammo sucks muchly, as described. Instant replacement (each turn, or perhaps after each battle) is essentially what the supply system described above would have, under the condition that you are supplied by a supply route / ships or are at a friendly base.

The above mechanism isn't something the player has to concern him/herself with constantly. The only issue the player needs to worry about is whether or not his/her supply lines to fleets are blocked by enemy ships. If they aren't, then supply works automatically. If they are, supplies dwindle as they are expended.

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#63 Post by Kosslowski »

Since I have been absent from this forum for a while, I would like to know whether you have discussed implementing freighters like in MOO2. What about multiple purpose freighters used for resupply, trade, trooptransports, migration and transportation of surplus food and mined resources? This could interlink several different aspects of the game. So in case of a bottleneck the player has to decide on priorities. Might pose some interesting decisions. You could seize your merchant fleet for an important offensive but it is also vital for supporting the division of labour of your specialised planets. Attacks on resupply ships or troop transports could also cripple the enemies economy when he misses these ships after the war.

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#64 Post by Odi »

hmm, like Kosslowski, I'm pretty late to this discussion... guess I'll just throw a note in (although I like many of the current ideas -> don't like micro'ing that much):

remember how resupply worked in Space Empires IV ? Big, almost unarmed cargo-transporters (requires some kind of cargo-hulls: no armor, weapon-restrictions, just much space for storage rooms and maybe some kind of resupply-installations like huge solar-panels), opening a weak spot for tactical raid attacks with small, fast ships (fighters/bombers) to cut the enemy fleet from resupply.
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Geoff the Medio
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#65 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Kosslowski wrote:...whether you have discussed implementing freighters like in MOO2. What about multiple purpose freighters used for resupply, trade, trooptransports, migration and transportation of surplus food and mined resources?
I don't see any reason that "supply ships" couldn't be the same thing as freighters that also carry troops... Though the way that supply routes has been suggested, it seems more natural to separate them, imo.

There won't be any use of freighters to transport materials between planets though. Production (PP, minerals, food, research) is pooled freely between all your planets, so transporting production materials is redundant.


Odi: Fleets could be just as vulnerable to having their supply ships destroyed in battle as they are to having their supply lines cut... IMO having multiple ways to stop / indirectly damage large fleets without actually attacking them is a good thing.

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#66 Post by Impaler »

Here are some thoughts I had on Supply lines.

Rather then think of the Fleet snaking a trail of Convoys Back to a Supply Center think of the Supply "Flowing" outward from a Supply Center. Freiters act as pipes to alow the Supplies to flow from system to system. We then total up all the Supply being provided in a system and give it to any needy ships. The Player needs to manage/extend/protect a "Supply Umbrella" underneath which his ships are supplied and outside of which they are not.

Supply Points would be Generated at a Supply Depot which requires some level of Maintance/Money expended per turn. The Depot can be though of as a fountain spilling out this Supply Value each turn into the System its in, multiple Supply Depots can be in a single System.

Freiters or other Supply Ships can be assigned to "Convoy" along a starlane (the fleet of supply ships is given the end points of 1 starlane as its targets). The fleet is then Graphicaly placed ON the starlane (with a convoying symbol of some sort) to indicate that it is conveying back and forth, their is a delay based on travel time for this taking effect. If the convoy is told to stop their is again a delay before it re-emerges from one end of the starlane and can be moved about the map in the normal manor. And ofcorse Escort ships can be assigned to the Convoy and these will enter combat automaticaly if an enemy attacks the Convoy (but they consume resorces wial doing this).

The convoy Fleets design and composition determine some Values lets call it the "Freight Rating" that basicly how much the fleet can Haul each turn. This "Freight Rate" can be though of as the cross-section of a pipe that takes the supply from one system to another. Supply always flows outward from its point of Origin and reaches as far as it can along any avalible pipelines.

A convoy can transport its full freight rate in both directions, but all Convoys "eat" a % of what they transport (think of it as the pipes leaking). This waste is expressed as an Efficiency %. For example system A and B each produce 500 Supply and a Convoy with a freight rate of 250 with an Efficiency of 90% connects them. 250 Supply from each system would enter the convoy from each directions, 10% would be lost and 225 Supply delivered to each system for a total of 725 Supply in each.

It should be Noted here that the total avalible is still just 1000 not 1500. 725 is the POTENTIAL deliverable supply. If something consumes the Supplies before they can leave the system then nothing will flow outward. Likewise when a Big Fleet at the end of the Line "drinks" all of the avalibe supplies nothing will go past that point. Lastly we perform an Empire wide count of all the Supplies being consumed by all ships and Charge the Player a Maintance Fee based on that total. Setting thips to "Moth-ball" drasticaly reduces the amount of Supply they consume and makes them imobile and defenceless.
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#67 Post by Kosslowski »

Geoff the Medio wrote:
There won't be any use of freighters to transport materials between planets though. Production (PP, minerals, food, research) is pooled freely between all your planets, so transporting production materials is redundant.
In MOO2 the freighters were actually used to transport the food to the pool. Without enough freighter capacity the food remained on the producing farming planets while the others had to starve.

For FO though it would propably be difficult to design a consistent freighter system for the different game mechanics of each production (pp, minerals, food).

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#68 Post by Sapphire Wyvern »

Geoff the Medio wrote:


There won't be any use of freighters to transport materials between planets though. Production (PP, minerals, food, research) is pooled freely between all your planets, so transporting production materials is redundant.
I would say more precisely that freighters are used to transport nutrients, minerals, etc, but allocation of sufficient transport capacity is performed perfectly and automatically by {faceless Imperial bureaucrats; the free market economy; The Computational Foresight Matrix; the Hive Mind} (select one). ;) It's all behind the scenes, my friends - but it doesn't mean that stuff teleports from one world to another.

This way, we can still have blockades be meaningful economically. As I've said elsewhere, a blockaded system/world should no longer either contribute resources to or receive resources from the global pools. All the PP should go into projects at that system; any excess nutrients are wasted and shortfall means starvation. Depending on your design preference, RP are either lost (scientists out of touch with the SOTA are not productive) or fully credited despite the blockade (we can't get food to them, but the HyperWave TechnoBabble Communicators are still online!). Either is easy to justify, as I have shown in the parenthetical comments. :)

A similar system could be used for fleet supply - barring hostile deployment, supply is automatic and effective; if hostiles block all the potential routes for the (strategically) invisible freighters, though, you should be in big trouble.

I'm against having to pick a single supply route that can be interrupted by just one enemy fleet. If target world A is connected to my home supply centers by 4 different routes, a competent military command (ie your invisible underlings) would probably run supply routes down at least 2-3 routes to avoid that very danger.

I don't understand the logic of not being able to reassign supply ships from a deployed fleet to home base. C'mon, the supply ships would spend as much time at home as they would in the field; they have to visit home every time they come back for supplies!

One other thought: is there any interest in dividing "supply" into mundane and military requirements? By that I mean your fleets can "forage" for food, water, air, and basic repair materials (ie armour and that's it) from undefended/recently captured hostile worlds, but have to be supplied from a "supply center" for Capital Ship Missiles, mid-scale repairs (limited repairs to broken ship systems, internal structure), and so on. Full repairs would require you to visit a friendly shipyard.

This allows three levels of supply: "Fully Supplied", "We're Running Low on Ammo", and "Oh My God We're All Going To Die! The Bastards Took Out Our Supply Convoy And We're Surrounded And The Water Recycler Broke And The Air Is Running Out And It's Getting So Very Very Cold Out Here In Deep Space!"

Mmm, supplies. :twisted:

Of course, there should be no need to explicitly build "supplies" or "missiles" in the production queue; that's handled by the PP maintenance cost of a fleet.

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#69 Post by Daveybaby »

Sapphire Wyvern wrote:I'm against having to pick a single supply route that can be interrupted by just one enemy fleet. If target world A is connected to my home supply centers by 4 different routes, a competent military command (ie your invisible underlings) would probably run supply routes down at least 2-3 routes to avoid that very danger.
In the system proposed, you wouldnt have to explicitly pick a route, your ships would automatically use the shortest safe route from their host fleet to the nearest supply depot. If that route becomes interdicted, then they will automatically take a longer route, which would result in a reduction in supply per turn for the fleet (since the round trip is longer). If no longer route exists, i.e. the fleet is completely cut off from home, then the fleet becomes out of supply.
I don't understand the logic of not being able to reassign supply ships from a deployed fleet to home base. C'mon, the supply ships would spend as much time at home as they would in the field; they have to visit home every time they come back for supplies!
You should be able to easily reassign supply ships between fleets or whereever you like. The actual travelling they do while supplying is abstracted away (which admittedly is counterintuitive, but it makes everything much less messy), but they will still have to physically travel between locations when being reassigned.
Last edited by Daveybaby on Tue Nov 15, 2005 8:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#70 Post by Magus »

Disclaimer: I attempted to read the entire thread. I was confused. This is my own model.

Ships require 3 types of supply to function: Munitions, Fuel, and Consumables. Munitions includes things like missiles, fighters, bombs, assault landers, and ammunition for certain weapons. Fuel is pretty obvious, it's what makes the ship go. Consumables are things like water, oxygen, food, spare parts, and so on.

Military Supply Ships are designed by the player. These are designed just like normal ships, except their role is defined as "Supply Ship." (The role of Fleet Tender is similar, except it is treated as a normal ship for all purposes, its just a ship with a large supply hold) The tonnage of supplies carried is defined the same way it is for any other ship: excess hull space. Supply ships are built by shipyards, and therefore must be ordered. Supply ships, once built, are removed from the player's view, though their location is recorded.

Supply ships are assigned to groups of ships in a supply manager screen. Specifics are not included, merely: Assign X amount of Matriarch-Class Supply Ships to Battlegroup Z. These supply ships fill up with a generally equal amount of munitions, fuel, and consumables (modified by the needs of the fleet), and move to join the fleet. As much supplies as possible are transfered to the ships of the fleet. If the ship is now empty, it returns to the nearest friendly world to fill up and return.

If a fleet attacks when supply ships are actually with the fleet, they do not join in the attack, they are considered to have been left behind to join up later. If a fleet is attacked with supply ships present, they are on the battlefield. If a supply ship encounters raiders on its route, combat is initiated. This may or may not be player controlled at the player's discretion. However, this proposition assumes a total upper bound of combat time per turn, so dealing with all commerce raids would be time prohibitive. In the pre-combat screen (pick which engagements to participate in, give general orders to the ones you're not), the order to "Disengage and choose a safe route" is available.

If a ship is not fully supplied with munitions, it will be short ammunition. For example, a Wareagle-Class Missile Destroyer carries 6 2-ton missile launchers with a 12 missile magazine each. The missiles are all Deathknell V's, except each magazine has one Firestorm ADD missile. If it uses all 6 Firestorms to raze a planet, it would require 12 tons of Munition supplies. Note that even though different missiles are used, it still requires just a given tonnage. That 12 tons of munitions could have instead provided a Thunderbolt Strike Fighter to the fleet carrier, its all the same.

If a ship is not fully supplied with fuel, its in deep trouble. When running low on fuel, ships will limit evasive maneuvers in combat to attempt to conserve it. When ships run out, they are effectively useless until they can be resupplied.

If a ship runs low on consumables, a steady drop in combat performance ensues. If the ship actually runs out, it becomes a ghost ship.

Ships do not necessarily need supply ships to be resupplied. Fleets get filled up at friendly worlds. Sufficiently advanced races may be able to teleport in supplies, or at least fuel. Fuel can be taken from enemies that use the same fuel. Consumables can also be taken, though that is dependant on biological similarities. Munitions cannot be taken, even if you stole a Silicoid fighter you'd have no way to work it.

One more option is to conscript civilian frieghters for emergency resupply work (Paris taxis anyone?). These frieghters are generated based on technology a few generations old, and are never armed. This conscription will damage your economy, especially these frieghters are lost, and is a security risk with respect to espionage. However, it may allow you to save a starving/drifting/weaponless fleet.

Anyways, there's what I got. Fire at will :D

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#71 Post by Eddie »

Didn't read the entire thread, but some of it. Please excuse if i repeate ideas already posted.

Idea: We start off with a fairly detailed supply system that is acceptable early game when you have few ships and use research and technology to simplifiy it as the game advances.
Example - for your early ships, you need to worry about fuel, consumables (general supplies), and weapon supplies dependant on what armament the ship has (say three categories: carrier supplies, missile supplies, ammunition. Repairing energy based weapons is covered by consumables). Then you research replicators, matter converters and whatnot and end up needing only to worry about one supply (fuel/energy) lategame.
I didn't read up on the fuel debate yet, but if fuel capacity determines how far a ship can go, you could transform a heavy armed ship into a scout by filling its cargo space with fuel instead of ammunition. Also, having detailed supplies allows to have multiple things that happen to a ship out of supplies (out of ammo - can't fight; out of fuel - can't move; out of consumables - crew dies, ship maybe salvagable?).


Now about how to supply your fleet:
My idea involves buildable (but invisible) empire freighter fleets, deep space spacestations, need for ships in your fleet with supply functions and it also handles blockades and supply line cutoff nicely.

I split it up in two categories - ship based and planet based

- planet based: Military supplies are treated like other stuff that needs to be shipped around by freighters, but you need to balance the amounts if there is a shipping shortage (rather ship food to the outpost or missiles for the fleet). You need to build freigthers, or rather freighter tonnage, as they are treated like a global resource that dictates how much trade can go on empirewide (production place of the freighters doesn't matter. There is a new one, all other just move one lane up to where another one is needed). How much tonnage you need to ship x amount of units across a star lane per turn is dependant on star lane length and current hyperdrive technology. Number and quality of spaceports on a planet dictate how much "bandwidth" of trade that planet/system can handle. If the nearest planet spaceport is not big enough to ship that much food to the outpost, more food will have to be sent from another system further away, eating up more freighter tonnage cause the distance is longer. The destination spaceport must also be big enough to handle the load.
Military supplies are shipped from the nearest military base, consumables and fuel from the nearest friendly planet.
For a fleet to be able to resupply, it must be in a system with a spaceport (supply via freighters) or with a military base (direct supply). Freighters do NOT directly supply a fleet. A spaceport is required, size of it dictates amount of supply per turn. There also must be a military base somewhere where the supplies are sent from (size of it dictates how much).
So how does supply work in systems without spaceports, i hear you ask? That falls into the ship based category.

- ship based: The main idea is the introduction of spaceport modules / docking stations for ships. A ship that has a docking station (medium ship) or a full sized spaceport (big ship) acts like a mobile spaceport that you are able to establish a trading route to and then can be supplied by the empire freighter fleet. Again, size/quantity/quality of the spaceport modules dictate supply bandwidth. And of course the empire must have enough freighters.

Example - I imagine it could work like this: a ship with a spaceport gets the order to head to an unpopulated system. After giving that order, you will be asked if you want to establish a supply route to that ship when it reaches destination with your impirial freighter fleet, for they have to leave now to reach the system in time. Supply routes can also be set manually or edited if there is the danger of them beeing cut off. A new supply route "grows" with the speed of your engine tech lvl, so if you forgot to set a supply route to the system your mobile spaceport is in, it will take time before the freighters reach it. You can also set the "bandwidth" of the supply route. How many routes/bandwidth you can keep up is dependant on the freighter tonnage your empire has (which you need to build, as mentioned above). You might need to cut back on other trade routes which supply your outposts with food.
Now this system also manages cutting supply lines nicely. If enemy ships are somewhere on the route, you either loose the line compleately (lots of strong, fast enemy ships) and all freighter tonnage that is cut off is lost. Now if there are only a few, slow enemy ships, a percentage of freighters will get through. If you have enough freighters, you can increase the bandwidth of that lane enough that a few enemy ships won't be enough to threaten the supply of your fleet. Or set up a different route. In advance, preferably. Or set up two routes to start with.

I would also suggest having at least one ship with docking stations in a system is required for any other ships there to be able to pool supplies.
On top of that, cargo modules can/must be put on a ship to store supplies (as has been discussed already). So you can also specifically build military freighters that you can load up and send to resupply fleets. Techlevels should help use space more efficiently.
You can build ships with lots of cargo space that can fight quite a while without need to resupply. Of course, more cargo space means less guns.

Other ways to get supplies, if you have empty cargo space to fill up (requires research):
- Salvaging enemy ships that are not destroyed in battle (if battle allows to not compleately destroy ships). Requires salvage and recycleing module on your ship, higher tech = more percentage recovered.
- Having regenerating energy sources like solar panels and some form of energy to mass converter technology like replicators.
- Harvesting asteroids and planets, if you have a harvesting unit and a processing plant on your ship.

This encourages the player to build big "motherships" (with big spaceport, harvest module, processing plant, much cargo space), that a fleet needs to stay supplied. They would probably best stay one starlane behind the frontline, and the frontline ships need to return to it every 5 turns or so to resupply. Or have smaller military frieghters that go back and forth and you can afford to loose. Having a spaceport on a ship may also be a requirement to make major repairs to other ships. Bigger ships need bigger spaceports.
This may be a major thing to encourage ship size diversity.
- Big ships are needed to supply and repair the fleet, but better stay out of combat because they need to head home for major repairs. They also won't have much firepower because the spaceports and processing plants need lots of space.
- Medium and small sized ships are the main attacking force because they can be easily repaired when a "mothership" is present.
- Space stations in unpopulated systems like Deep Space 9 make sense now. They can repair big ships, resupply, have enough cargo space to endure a blockade and might even be able to upgrade/reoutfit existing ships if the supply line can send enough stuff.
- More strategic possibilities. Find the system the motherships are in and launch an attack, and the fleet will have to retreat if the attack was succesful.

Bugger, thats alot of text. I hope i could make my ideas clear. I also hope such a system won't be too complex. But its quite logical and has no "why can't i do this" things. Another beauty of this system is, non weapon or armor technology can be a major factor for fleet effectiveness. Dense matter storage device means you only need half the space for cargo modules and can fit more guns on the ship. Comments please.

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#72 Post by solidcordon »

blah
Last edited by solidcordon on Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#73 Post by Krikkitone »

Probably have 2 'types' of supply.. but these are ONLY seperate when they get to the ships
1. Operating supply (the amount needed for one turn of normal operation, FTL movement, etc.)... Can be redistributed between ships (yeah they may Actually be using different power plants, but that is less likely than them using different weapons

2. Combat Supply (Each combat based weapon system shot' uses a certain amount of supply.. for constant systems in combat like shields/lightning fields it may be 'Regenerations' or 'seconds' in combat that takes the supply)... Cannot be redistributed between ships

Ship's would then have
Operating Supply Capacity [design]
Operating Supply=stat
Operating Supply/turn [design]
Combat Supply Capacity [design]
Combat Supply=stat


* I'd see this being determined by
1. a counter for each weapon system, (determining how many 'shots' you want that system to be able to 'fire' relative to other systems)
2. a counter for the whole ship (changing how much 'Combat supply' it should have altogether)

I'd have the Supply (Generic) be shipped to the Fleet be Freighter with the Freighter Cost of shipping being determined by the following method

Cost of Shipping missing 'Operating Supply' to the Fleet at that distance
+
% Cost of Shipping the 'Combat Supply Capacity' to the Fleet at that distance


The % varies between of the % of supplies missing and 100%, declining with 'Logistics' and increasing with turns between the fleet and the supply Center

The ship would then receive missing Operating Supply (restored to Capacity)

It would also receive a % of its missing Combat Supply (with THIS % increasing with 'Logistics' declining with distances and varying between 100 and the % of Combat Supply still present)


Freighters could be made Part of a Fleet for Resupply purposes (carrying a certain amount of Supply with them in case the fleet was cut off)

You could also design 'Battle Freighters' in the Ship design with a 'Combat Supply Storage' system. (it could actually be redistributed to the fleet in-between Combat for the same system.. but would not be usable in Combat)

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