many ships or fewer ships?

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iamrobk
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#61 Post by iamrobk »

RocketMan wrote:In reference to my earlier discussion on some battle sizes in WW I & II,
Ranos wrote: Yes, but this is a battle taking place on a single planet in a relatively small area of one of the vast oceans on the planet. Space is a much larger scale and more than likely, battles will be much larger scale too.
The concept that I'm shooting for is that no matter what, a large capitol ship of the most modern kind is terribly expensive. Why should this change for a star-empire? It would just mean that the ship requires a large portion of a planets resources as opposed to say a citys. As the game progresses, so should the cost of a state of the art vessel.

The reason I would shoot for this is that IMHO the game would be more rewarding if you had a personal stake in each vessel. You designed it, you waited for it to be built, you assigned captain so-and-so to command it (a feature I loved in MOOII, but that was almost forgotten as the game went on towards end-game), you launced it to protect Vega from the evil Zarlons, and you directed it in battle.

The basic way battle was presented in MOOIII wasn't bad. It was rough, unfinished and not worthy of sale, but the concept was ok. Ships do operate in TFs, MOOII had a simplistic version of combat that became unsatisfying after time. Perhaps the way to look at combat isn't a hard cap, that would feel arbitrary. Consider though the task of an admiral in charge of a ton of vessels, the job would be overly complex. What I would like to see is more of a natural economic limiter on number of vessels. Perhaps it also might be usefull to filter out ships that are so technologically inferior that their effects on the battle are minuscule.
I strongly agree with pretty much everything you say here! Well said.

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Geoff the Medio
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#62 Post by Geoff the Medio »

iamrobk wrote:I think if we do have caps, building/upgrading command centers or whatever would be cool, but I think that they should be on planets, not on the ships....
Assuming the location of "command centres" does not affect their function (eg. +1 max fleet points per centre built in empire), then this falls under the same problem I mentioned above.
This would be problematic, as the empire with more planets would always have bigger fleet sizes, so would probably always win battles, assuming equilvalent tech levels.
In this case, replace "planets" with "command centres" on planets.

The benefit of having the "command centres" or enabler / flagship / C&C Logistics ships that move around with your fleet is that the bonus they gives only applies to a single fleet (not every fleet or many fleets). This means that the biggest fleet that an empire can make doesn't depend only on the number of planets (with command centres) that empire has. That means that the maximum size of a fleet is decoupled from the size of an empire: a small empire's biggest possible fleet is the same size as an equivalent tech large empire. That means that battles between individual fleets are more likely to be roughly evenly matched numerically, rather than the big empire's big fleets always vastly outnumbering the small empire's small fleets. That means a small empire might actually win a space battle against a larger empire. That's a good thing.

"That" said, there could be a place for limited area of effect structures that increase fleet size. Perhaps an important defensive structure would be one that incraeses the maximum size of a defensive fleet around a particular (single) planet.

The degree to which this is all relevant depends somewhat on how multiple fleets and battles between multiple fleets in a given system (in a given turn?) are handled. Hopefully, there will be some game mechanics / rules to prevent "stacks of doom" or unstoppable mega-armadas crushing their way across the galaxy with unassailable numbers of ships.
RocketMan wrote:...a large capitol ship of the most modern kind is terribly expensive. Why should this change for a star-empire? It would just mean that the ship requires a large portion of a planets resources as opposed to say a citys. As the game progresses, so should the cost of a state of the art vessel.
[...]
What I would like to see is more of a natural economic limiter on number of vessels.
IMO the scale of things should be such that a, in the middle of the game, a single well developed planet is able to provide, on average, the cost of maintainance / supply for a single moderate-sized ship, and the cost to build an average ship would require several to a dozen planets for ~5-10 turns. Larger / more powerful ships would cost more to build and maintain, and smaller ships less. Also, the cost in avg. planets to build and maintain (esp. maintain) ships should increase with tech / time in the game. At the start, a single well developed planet (homeworld) should be able to support a half-dozen scoutships without much trouble. By the end of the game, a single extremely large (death star-like) ship might require 50 or more well-developed planets to support. (And it should be worthwhile for the player to build, support and use such a ship...)

iamrobk
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#63 Post by iamrobk »

RocketMan wrote:...a large capitol ship of the most modern kind is terribly expensive. Why should this change for a star-empire? It would just mean that the ship requires a large portion of a planets resources as opposed to say a citys. As the game progresses, so should the cost of a state of the art vessel.
[...]
What I would like to see is more of a natural economic limiter on number of vessels.
IMO the scale of things should be such that a, in the middle of the game, a single well developed planet is able to provide, on average, the cost of maintainance / supply for a single moderate-sized ship, and the cost to build an average ship would require several to a dozen planets for ~5-10 turns. Larger / more powerful ships would cost more to build and maintain, and smaller ships less. Also, the cost in avg. planets to build and maintain (esp. maintain) ships should increase with tech / time in the game. At the start, a single well developed planet (homeworld) should be able to support a half-dozen scoutships without much trouble. By the end of the game, a single extremely large (death star-like) ship might require 50 or more well-developed planets to support. (And it should be worthwhile for the player to build, support and use such a ship...)[/quote]

I think those are actually a bit TOO extreme. IMO the largest ships should take maybe 20 or so planets to build/support. 50 is just kinda outrageous, no?

Bastian-Bux
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#64 Post by Bastian-Bux »

Hmm, largest galaxy with 500 stars, plentifull planets, so maybe 2-3.000 well developable planets.

Now use 50 and you get 40-60 doom stars divided between all the empires. So a big empire (holding 1/3 of the galaxy) could afford 20 of them and have half its planets for other things. Plus the small planets.

Sounds ok for me.

In a very small galaxy with 100 stars, and sparse planets. So maybe 100 well developable planets.

The big bad empire holding half of the galaxy can support one doom star, and has to use the production of the small planets for other ships.

Sounds even more fun to me ^^.

iamrobk
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#65 Post by iamrobk »

So I guess we can all agree that limiting ships by economic reasons (IE, they are very expensive, cost a lot to maintain, etc.) is the best way to limit ships, right? I very much support this path, plus if people want to be able to use a lot of ships, they can just mod the costs to be lower.

klackon
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#66 Post by klackon »

Hm what about this idea: each ship have battle computer which allows ship to coordinate fire with other ships, so ship recieves little bonuses for maneuver/targeting/anti-misslie fire etc, and if there are huge number of ships then its harder for them to coordinate so they lose their bonuses (and if number of ships is too big then these bonuses becomes even disadvantages).

Or another little idea :): each ship should have some computers whick let this ship to become part of fleet and number of these computers detemines size of fleet. I.e. if your ships has 20 computers each then you can make fleet of 20 ships max. (and each computer takes 1 unit of inetrnal ship space, for example:)). And if you want to make huge fleet your ships will be full of computers and it will make them weakier in battle so there will be some the best proportion between number of ships and their quality.

:oops:

iamrobk
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#67 Post by iamrobk »

Eh, I don't really like that idea..... :|

Bastian-Bux
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#68 Post by Bastian-Bux »

klackon, we are looking for a way to allow large fleets of small ships but disallow large fleets of large ships ^^.

Your suggestion would only allow for small fleets of large ships, something most people here dislike I think ^^.

Yes, an economic approach would be a very good idea. But then ALL ships have to be so expensive in porduction and upkeep that it will become prohibitive to have a very big fleet.

Your idea with the battle computer isn't to bad though. Though I wouldn't make it dependend on the number of ships, but on the "complexity" of the ships.

Here my proposal:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Each module on a ship adds to its abilities in battle. If you have 10 small ships with just 1 weapon each, your choices are fairly limited, allowing for easy calculations.
If you have instead a very mixed fleet with temporal displacers, cloaking devices and ten different weapons, calculations become much more difficult.

Thus we can assume that each ship has an "inborn ability value", which can be determined during the design process. To use this ship in battle, the fleet command needs processing power at least equalling this IAV. Thus they have to install command units on board of the flagg ship, gaining negative IAVs. Without enough computing power (CP) the coordination of the ships will be severly restricted. Ideally a battle fleet carries enough computing power to zero IAV, plus some reserve.
If the computing power isn't centralized in one ship, its effectivness is dimished to SQR(number of command ships).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This way we can easily balance the size of fleets: a fleet can't be bigger then the number of negative IAVs on the flagg ship(s). If you want to increase this max by X, you have to bring X² flagg ships. This also opens up a new strategy: shoot the flagg ship and if they don't have a replacement in the fleet, well they have a major problem.

For eases sake we could start with generic IAV = modul_cost and CP = computer_cost*X, and start balancing from there (assigning an independent IAV and CP to each modul and computer).

This generic approach assumes that a more expensive modul is either bigger or technological more advanced, both increasing its abilities.


So a swarm race could bring along lotsa cheap small ships, and need minimal computing powers. While a technological advanced race might bring a few shiny ships and still would need a large flaggship.

iamrobk
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#69 Post by iamrobk »

Hmm....interesting, but I think that could get pretty complicated. Also, it makes flag ships too powerful. If an enemy destroys your flag ship in the middle of a battle, what would happen? Do you use control of some fo your ships? Are they just not available in the next battle? What I see happening is that a player would attack, kill the flagship, then run. Not much fun....

Bastian-Bux
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#70 Post by Bastian-Bux »

Actually whats the easiest way to get a military unit down? Cut of the head. Of course the flagg ship then needs defense as well, cutting down its computer size ...

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#71 Post by Ranos »

There is a difference between cutting the head off of a single soldier and just killing the commonding officer of the unit. The entire unit will not just stop and put down their weapons because the CO has been killed, instead, his second in command will take over. There will always be another officer to take command of the troops if the one giving the orders is killed.

Any caps on fleet size/number of ships in battle should be dependant on either a hard cap (that can be adjut by modding or make it an option at the start of a game) or a cap that depends on some kind of C&C system based on number of planets, buildings built on planets, space stations etc. If we clutter up ship building with having to have a command center or if we put in a complex system where number of ships allowed is based off of what the ships have on them or the size of the ships or whatever, then the player is going to get confused with how the number of ships are determined and/or bored with always having to design a command ship.

KISS. If you can't sum up an explain to somebody on how something works in a single sentence and have them understand the system, then it is too complicated. Run-on sentences don't count. "The number of ships you are allowed in a single fleet is based off of how many planets you control, how many C&C centers you have and how many space stations you have." Compair that to, "The number of ships you can have in a fleet is based off of the computing power of a flag ship which is required to help the incompetent commanders on board the other ships to control the abilities of those ships which is determined by the type of engines, the type of weapons, the type of shields, any computers, cloaking devices, etc, etc, the ship has on it." Which is easier to understand?

Max ships per empire could also be based on the economics but the number of ships allowed depends on how big we are talking. If a doom star is the size of a death star or bigger, then 40-60 is a good number for the late game. If a doom star is the size of a super star destroyer, then no, the number should be more. I think the number of ships an empire can have in late game should be at least 1000 and that is if there are a dozen empires in the galaxy still. A few death star sized vessels, a couple dozen huge ships, a few dozen big ships a couple of hundred medium ships and a few hundred small ships. Fighters should not be counted as ships but as weapons on the ships.

Fleets having some kind of cap that forces big empires to have fleets the same size as small empires would be fine as long as there are multiple battles allowed in a single system in a turn. Big empires should have an advantage over small ones. If they are all equal, then there is no point in having a large empire or a large ammount of ships because they would just sit and do nothing. This would end up either allowing big empires to build up their planets defenses which would make it really impossible for other empires to take their planets or allow them to build up their infrastructure and get so far ahead in the tech race that their smae sized fleet would be able to squash the technologically inferior smaller empire.

Small empires having to overcome odds against them is part of the fun of the game. It isn't fun if you are always the top dog or if you are always equal with the other empires. It makes the game too easy.
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iamrobk
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#72 Post by iamrobk »

I still strongly believe in an economic cap (basically, ships are just plain expensive). Extremely simple to understand, able to be changed by modding, and works effectively.

Ranos
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#73 Post by Ranos »

The only potential problem with using economics to limit the number of ships is how expensive is expensive? How much should it cost and how long should it take to build the smallest sized ship? How then do you scale up from there?

To make the game playable, a colony ship can't be extremely expensive or it would take forever just to get your empire built. But if a colony ship isn't expensive, how do you make the other ships expensive enough to affect the max number you can have?

Using a C&C system would be just as easy. One planet can support X number of ships or gives X number of C&C points. Build a C&C center and the number is doubled. Build a space station and that adds Y number of C&C points. Each ship size is given an ammount of required C&C points. This can also easily be modded by lowering the required C&C points on ships and/or raising the number of points given by the items.

It is just as simple and doesn't have the problem of ships being too expensive.
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iamrobk
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#74 Post by iamrobk »

Ranos wrote:The only potential problem with using economics to limit the number of ships is how expensive is expensive? How much should it cost and how long should it take to build the smallest sized ship? How then do you scale up from there?

To make the game playable, a colony ship can't be extremely expensive or it would take forever just to get your empire built. But if a colony ship isn't expensive, how do you make the other ships expensive enough to affect the max number you can have?

Using a C&C system would be just as easy. One planet can support X number of ships or gives X number of C&C points. Build a C&C center and the number is doubled. Build a space station and that adds Y number of C&C points. Each ship size is given an ammount of required C&C points. This can also easily be modded by lowering the required C&C points on ships and/or raising the number of points given by the items.

It is just as simple and doesn't have the problem of ships being too expensive.
Well, a colony ship doesn't have weapons, fighters, heavy armor, a large crew, or much of anything that a warship would have. It wouldn't be TOO expensive. How expensive is too expensive is something that could be tested during the beta, and changed accordingly. About the C&C idea, honestly I just think it's stupid. For one thing it's not realistic at all (I know realism isn't a main point of FO, but even so.....), because unless we have instantaneous communication between all ships and planets and all, how are they going to be commanded? Does command of every ship switch from commander center to command center as they move around? Just doesn't make any sense. Also, I don't want to have to build a command center or whatever on all my planets just to be able to build more ships. Just wasted rescources, at least I think so. Also, your idea suggests that my very developed homeworld can support as many ships as my fringe colony. Of course, we can base it on population or whatever, but again, where do we draw the line? How many is too many and how many is too few?

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utilae
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#75 Post by utilae »

@Bastian-Bux
I don't like your proposal. It seems complex and the explanation is lacking. The proposal sounds like it would suit a mahicine race more. Also shooting the flagship isn't a strategy, it's a weakness in the system. Because everyone will just shoot flagships, then therest of the fleet would become disabled or something silly.

Here's my idea:
You build command centers which give X points. Let's say that command centers built on a planet or spacestation give 2X points (per command center), while command centers built on a ship give X points (per command center). Now each ship has a different size, which creates size points. Examples: Large=5, Medium=3, Small=1. Now let's say that you have 50 points from command centers. Now in order for ships to be able to enter a battle, size points/command center points must be <=1. If size points/command center points is >1 we could say that ships can still enter battle, but their are penalties, such as morale breaks and poor performance.

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