Are Ginormous Ships Necessary?

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

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utilae
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#91 Post by utilae »

You should remember that we are talking about equal numbers of ship sizes, not ship roles.

Sure, you might have few scouts, few 'cooks'. More killers.

But that does not mean we will have few small ships and many large ships cause large ships are better killers. You must remember all the useful roles that a small ship is used for, eg
Fighters - a Carrier usually has hundreds
Scouts - May be few, sure
Suicide - Small ships that explode, but don't cost much to loose. Could have many, could have few.
Repair Ships - These could be small, and you may have few or many.
Robot Ships - May be smaller, but can fit same weapons as medium ship (doesn't need crew quarters, life support or luxuries).

In the end, I don't think we should want the player to have an even amount of each ship size. We should want them to consider using any ship size, as though they are all viable, rather than just the large ones being viable in the eyes of the player. As a result, this would lead to the likeliness of have a fleet with a good mix of ships, but the player may choose to have only large or only small. It's up to them. All ship sizes are viable, therefore each size is equally likely to be used by the player.

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#92 Post by ewh02b »

@utilae: Okay, sounds good. I'm perfectly fine with all of that. Players should utilize ships of every size. I like fighters myself, and having to shoot your opponents repair ships adds some fun to the game, as well.

Please clarify one point:
What do you mean by "equal numbers of ship sizes"?

You mean per species?

Or do you mean that all ship sizes should be available from the start of the game, instead of having to research them?

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#93 Post by utilae »

ewh02b wrote: Please clarify one point:
What do you mean by "equal numbers of ship sizes"?
I mean that Geoff has started a discussion about a fleet consisting of equal numbers of ships sizes, ie 5 of each, ie an equal ratio. I was just pointing out the subject of the thread being about ship sizes and not roles, ie "equal numbers of ship sizes" as opposed to "equal numbers of roles" in a fleet.
ewh02b wrote: You mean per species?
Per fleet.
ewh02b wrote: Or do you mean that all ship sizes should be available from the start of the game, instead of having to research them?
I mean that when all ships sizes are available and are an option, that each option should be equally likely to be chosen by the player.

I do think in terms of tech, that it is realistic to have all ship sizes be at the same tech level, because you can easily think of building an object, eg a house that is small or big. The extremes are what is difficult. To build a microscopic sized house is very very difficult and should be higher tech. Building a planet sized house is once again, very difficult and should be higher tech.

So what we decide there is optional. We could have all ship sizes the same tech level, but it should maybe cost more to ensure that the big ship is as durable as the small one, ie add costs for extra structural support systems. But you could equally add costs for making a small ship have room to even fit a pilot, let along an engine.

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#94 Post by skdiw »

Geoff the Medio wrote:
skdiw wrote:for clarification, geoff really means equal resources spent for each size. otherwise, 50 scout + 50 cruiser + 50 death stars is pretty much back to the old drawing board.
No, I mean equal numbers of ships of each size. That's the whole point... to make the numbers of each size in your fleet roughly equal, so that you can have a consistent level of detail for each ship. How cost for this same number of ships would differ between levels is left to be balanced later. Presumably smaller would general cost less to produce, though we could come up with justifications for the difference being relatively minor.
if you really do mean equal numbers, that's a bad idea. it disagrees with a lot of people. it's inconsistent with your proposal. it plays just like other games.

you already said normalized T is the same as you make bigger ships. that already means the cost scales up. 50 scouts and 50 death stars is a way lopesided distribution on the resources spent. how can the player afford 50 death stars when the costs is so high? even if you do manage to build that many, i would say bigger is better and no geniune mixture of ships.

i don't know. it would very interesting how you will get it all to work.
...I highly recommend you don't limit yourself with increasing ship size. I would start more open with ship "classes."
I somewhat dislike predefined ship classes, if that means you have to pick the "battleship" hull to make a battleship, or a "scout" to make a scout. I'd rather have a ship's characteristics be defined by the components put into the hull. In practice though, the distinction might be trivial. Using a slot-based design system, if you put some big guns and lots of armour onto a large hull, you'd have essentially made a battleship. In a medium-sized ship, those same parts would make a cruiser, due to the longer range and reduced combat effectiveness. We can probably have all the benefits you envision for "classes" while keeping size an more abstract choice between small/medium/large/huge. But by not having an explicit predefined set of classes the play can choose from, we would better retain the sense of actually designing the ship, rather than picking a ship to build and tweaking it a bit within a more obviously restrictive limited set of options.
you misunderstood again. think of ship classes this way: classes = size in your proposal, except the only difference is that classes doesn't necessary mean bigger ship = bigger size, though it could mean that. a class just means a set of measures, which one of the measure could be size. "classes" is inclusive your "size." classes have less restrictions than your size.


I strongly recommend you play out your proposal in your head. imagine how battles are conducted and how it changes over time.


I think ships classes should be equal, as in equal roles. if scouts is 3x cheaper than a large ship, then you need 3x more scout ships.
:mrgreen:

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#95 Post by utilae »

skdiw wrote: you misunderstood again. think of ship classes this way: classes = size in your proposal, except the only difference is that classes doesn't necessary mean bigger ship = bigger size, though it could mean that. a class just means a set of measures, which one of the measure could be size. "classes" is inclusive your "size." classes have less restrictions than your size.
That doesnt make any sense. Stop mixing sizes and roles. These things are clearly seperate. By mixing them you confuse everyone.
skdiw wrote: I think ships classes should be equal, as in equal roles. if scouts is 3x cheaper than a large ship, then you need 3x more scout ships.
Replace role with size and it would make more sense. After all, I am the player, I have 'large' scouts. Does your sentence make sense now?

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#96 Post by solrac776 »

Geoff the Medio wrote: My plan / suggestion for FO is to make small and medium ships very inefficient at fighting other ships, specifically so that nobody will build a lot of small and medium ships to fight other ships (regardless of those other ships' size(s)).
Geoff the Medio wrote: (cost) efficiency has nothing to do with how long the battle would take. eg. maybe small ships are very cost inefficient because they blow up if you look at them funny, whereas larger ships take a beating and keep beating back.
*cost* efficiency. That's where you lost me. The previous post reads as your promoting small ships that were inefficient in battle.

I agree with everything else in your post replying to mine (except for the equal numbers of ships of each size) and the one after, we just seem to be repeating it to each other.

I agree with making
Utilae wrote: All ship sizes are viable, therefore each size is equally likely to be used by the player.
and just leaving the rest up to the player. I still promote the innate properties way of doing it and let the players decide the rest. Players who recognize this and who use a well-composed fleet and who best utilize the various abilities of each ship (size & tech) would do better than a player who didn't.

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#97 Post by Geoff the Medio »

skdiw wrote:if you really do mean equal numbers
I have sometimes said, and generally have meant, "roughly equal", meaning, at the very most within a factor of five, and preferably within a factor of two between the number of the smallest and the largest ships. The point of this is to make it possible to have equal amounts of information about each ship regardless of its size. We can't have 80 times as many tiny ships as huge ships in a game if we want to have all ships be treated roughly the same in terms of amount of detail tracked (whether this is much or very little detail).

This will probably mean that if a player wants to build a fleet of huge ships, they will have to spend a lot more production on doing so. This means that a strategy build around building only huge ships isn't likely viable, and that any strategy involving building any huge ships will require an empire that's producing a lot of PP.

Conversely, a strategy that's uses only small ships can do without having lots of PP, which would be useful for strategies that want to focus on things other than building lots of ships, while still allowing the player to have some (small, direct-battle-ineffective) ships to move around and explore / disrupt supply routes with.

Also, we can limit the scale of cost difference between huge and small ships by making the ship engine be quite expensive compared to the rest of the hull an components. If you want to build any ship, you'll have a relatively large initial cost to make an engine. For a small or tiny ship, this engine cost could be more than the rest of the ship. For medium ships, the costs of engine and rest of ship might be equal. For large, rest might be twice the cost of engine, and for huge, the rest of the ship might cost five times the engine cost. (Numbers need some tweaking and balancing obviously)
it plays just like other games.
Why do you say this?
you already said normalized T is the same as you make bigger ships.
I said total cost T for ships could be normalized, or not, and that it didn't matter at that stage in the discussion. But that doesn't matter; even if huge ships cost more than small ones, we balance things so that you don't need many more small ships than huge ships in a fleet, and thus there's no reason to build them.
skdiw wrote:a class just means a set of measures, which one of the measure could be size. "classes" is inclusive your "size." classes have less restrictions than your size.
Perhaps if you gave some examples of various different classes and how they are not just another name for ships built to do a predefined role, it would be clear how you envision this to work. With a system of sizes such as I've proposed, any variations within a size would be a function of what components you put into a ship. I expect the same effect as what you want could be had by keeping "size" as a separate choice, which may or may not be clearer and more intuitive than what you propose; I can't tell because you haven't explained it well enough (since it apparently didn't mean what I thought)
solrac776 wrote:*cost* efficiency. That's where you lost me. The previous post reads as your promoting small ships that were inefficient in battle.
By inefficient, I meant cost inefficient. "Inefficient" does not mean slow by default, though it could be if you specified "time inefficient", but this is not, in my mind, the default interpretation / meaning.
I agree with making
Utilae wrote: All ship sizes are viable, therefore each size is equally likely to be used by the player.
and just leaving the rest up to the player.
As above, it's necessary to have at least roughly the same number of ships of all sizes being built to allow the amount of information about each ship to be consistent across all ship sizes. If we decide to have relatively few ships in the game, then we'll want fairly detailed information to be tracked about each ship. If we deicde to have lots of ships (hundreds, thousands) then we'll have to keep each ship's specific info quite minimal.

Also, it's not just enough to say that all ship sizes are viable. We need to elaborate on that... If all ship sizes are viable, does that mean you're better to have just one size of ship, though this can be any size, or that you're better to have a mixture of ship sizes? Is the choice of what ship size to use made in isolation, or does what strategy you're using overall have some impact? I've suggested that a strategy focused on ships would have some of all ship sizes, and a strategy partly focused on ships would have one ship size which might be medium or large but probably not huge, and a strategy focused on things other than ships would only be able to make small ships. Are there more preferable alternatives to this?

Regarding fighters: Fighters in FO should not be treated as a type of ship, but rather as a type of weapon used by a ship. Fighters would not be able to move around the galaxy on their own, but would require a carrier to move them. They wouldn't have names or any other ship-type information, and when not in battle, would not be represented as a separate game object or have any "state information' like health or experience individually (during a battle fighters might have health, or might be just dead / alive). A carrier would have X number of fighters available, just like it would have X number of missiles left.

This is relevant because it means fighters do not fall under and requirement that there be roughly equal numbers of ships of all sizes. Fighters are not ships, so a single carrier can launch 50 or 100 fighters without conflicting with the rough-equal number requirement for ship sizes.

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#98 Post by skdiw »

utilae wrote:
skdiw wrote: you misunderstood again. think of ship classes this way: classes = size in your proposal, except the only difference is that classes doesn't necessary mean bigger ship = bigger size, though it could mean that. a class just means a set of measures, which one of the measure could be size. "classes" is inclusive your "size." classes have less restrictions than your size.
That doesnt make any sense. Stop mixing sizes and roles. These things are clearly seperate. By mixing them you confuse everyone.
ke sense now?
read geoff's proposal again. look how he uses the word "size," then tell me i use my terminology poorly. small ships are combat ineffective, but good at scouting because of faster speed. large size ships do the heavy battle role. his "size" = "role."

i know what you mean utilae, that size just means more hull space to common understanding, but that's not how geoff is using that word. hence, why i suggested to use the word "class" instead of "size."
Perhaps if you gave some examples of various different classes and how they are not just another name for ships built to do a predefined role, it would be clear how you envision this to work. With a system of sizes such as I've proposed, any variations within a size would be a function of what components you put into a ship. I expect the same effect as what you want could be had by keeping "size" as a separate choice, which may or may not be clearer and more intuitive than what you propose; I can't tell because you haven't explained it well enough (since it apparently didn't mean what I thought)
ok, once more. you can fit whatever you want into different ship class, just as you could with ship size. in your proposal, you have large ship = more space but slower, small ships = less space but faster. ship class is the same exact thing.

following are examples: lets say ship A has following measures: small hull, long range, better fuel econ and ship B has: large hull, short range, bad fuel economy, can mount weapons. in your proposal, you would probably call ship A, a small sized ship, and ship B, a large sized ship. I recommending you call ship A, explorer class, and ship B, battleship class. the difference between your "size" and my "class" is just naming scheme. however, "class" doesn't just have to mean size is changing, measures like mounting ability could be changing. ei. a small hull, but have a good mounting capability could be a set of measures that you want could be a torpedo class ship, which is good at combat but doesn't have a large hull.

50 scouts + 50 death stars fleet looks really weird: 50 dust specs and 50 giant planets flying around is awkward. however, you could have 50 explorer class ships + 50 battlecruiser class ships flying around and suddenly it's more intuitive. performance-wise, your "size" = my "class." the battlecruiser does same thing functionally as death stars and likewise with explorer. the difference is the graphics don't have to be much different. instead of ships getting bigger as you progress with tech, we can take advantage that FO is sci-fi, and up some point in your progression, the ships turn into a small blob that phases in-and-out of the screen. the "blob" class of ship is same as your big "size" ship. the measure of the blob class would say hull size is the same as previous class, but the "multi-dimensionality of the blob takes energy from n-dimension so it uses power more efficiently" the effect is anything component in the blob is reduce by half; compare to your large ship has twice the hull space as previous size. the gameplay didn't change, however the former has better immersion.




The following is my parllelism idea (still in progress). see, the problem with traditional games is that big ship is better, because they are more advanced in tech. that leads to boring battles seeing who can pack the most guns into there ships, as i said before. instead, we would like a mixture of different ships, which I call classes, to help synergy with other game features and have a mixture of different looking ships. as you advanced in tech, there are different classes of ships that you can research, something like:


....a1.................................a2...........
b1..................b2.....................b3.....
c1..................c2.....................b3......
.................d1...............................d3
..............................................e1......
---> progression of tech tree to more advanced

a,b,c,d,f are different classes of ships. each class of ships are particular set of characteristics or measures, if you like. as you go from a->e, your ships generally have more hull size, but slower and less stealthier. the numbers 1,2,3 are same ship class, but improved versions of the class. more advanced ships generally are superior than more primitive ships, obvious. so as the numbers increases, the strategic significants is better.

Furthermore, to ensure that all ship classes would be used, there could be a strategic rps so that a>e>d>c>b>a. for example, a1 could be explorer class. at start of the game, you want fast ships to scout so you might want to invest in explorer class ships that are cheap and faster than scout ship. later on, once the map has been exploered and as engine tech gets better, the speed advantage disappers. however, explorer class ships can be upgraded into mini stealth bomber class that has a unit ability to drop a large payload onto a distant target very quickly. maybe even a intersystem bomb that self-destructs and destroys a heavy starebase or a star class ship (e1) that can be fired from distant starsystems.
:mrgreen:

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#99 Post by utilae »

Geoff the Medio wrote: Also, it's not just enough to say that all ship sizes are viable. We need to elaborate on that... If all ship sizes are viable, does that mean you're better to have just one size of ship, though this can be any size, or that you're better to have a mixture of ship sizes?

Is the choice of what ship size to use made in isolation, or does what strategy you're using overall have some impact?
I guess what ships you have is based on what roles you want. How many of each role is based on how wide an area your strategy is to affect. Ship sizes affect the effectiveness of your roles. So you could use small ship sizes for a suicide strategy, cause the loss of ship will not be a great cost. But if you use a large ship is will be costly, but your explosive effect will be greater.

Maybe we could have roles, ie scout that are slighty different based on ship size. So you could have small sized scouts, they are stealthier and faster. But large sized scouts can fit more powerful scanning equipment, even though they cannot be as stealthy or fast, they can have the scanning power to detect exactly how a ship is built, or pick up ships hiding in nebulas or behind planets.
Geoff the Medio wrote: I've suggested that a strategy focused on ships would have some of all ship sizes, and a strategy partly focused on ships would have one ship size which might be medium or large but probably not huge, and a strategy focused on things other than ships would only be able to make small ships. Are there more preferable alternatives to this?
So my idea is simply that each role, eg scout, fighter, gunship would have advantages that are revealed based on ships size, as I explained with the scout role (above).
Geoff the Medio wrote: This is relevant because it means fighters do not fall under and requirement that there be roughly equal numbers of ships of all sizes. Fighters are not ships, so a single carrier can launch 50 or 100 fighters without conflicting with the rough-equal number requirement for ship sizes.
I disagree. Fighters should be treated as very small ships. Fighters are gonna be large in number, so I see why you want to make them the exception from the 'roughly equal' idea. They should however be balanced in the same way I guess. eg 100 fighters vs 1 large ship. Whatever your 'roughly equal' idea is mean't to do, fighters should proabably be included.

Management of fighters can be abstracted as you explained. But you should be able to design fighters and missiles as you would a ship, in ship design.
skdiw wrote: read geoff's proposal again. look how he uses the word "size," then tell me i use my terminology poorly. small ships are combat ineffective, but good at scouting because of faster speed. large size ships do the heavy battle role. his "size" = "role."
His 'size' just has effects. Whatever role the ship is, the effects always apply. A small ship will have less space regardless of whether it is a scout or a gunship.
skdiw wrote: i know what you mean utilae, that size just means more hull space to common understanding, but that's not how geoff is using that word. hence, why i suggested to use the word "class" instead of "size."
I know how you are using the word. By saying class, it mixes size and role together. It does confuse me, but you can use it. I'll inderstand that you mean role but at a certain size. Ie, your explorer class is probably a scout and small. And your 'Warbird' class (not your word) is probably a gunship and large in size.

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#100 Post by Geoff the Medio »

skdiw wrote:read geoff's proposal again. look how he uses the word "size," then tell me i use my terminology poorly. small ships are combat ineffective, but good at scouting because of faster speed. large size ships do the heavy battle role. his "size" = "role."
Yes, hull size would mean more than just space in the hull, but that does not mean that each "hull size" is specifically tailored for a single role (nor equivalent to roles):
Geoff the Medio wrote:
solrac776 wrote:It seems to be the consensus that the idea of each ship size being better-suited at a particular task is acceptable. If so, then we already have an agreement that each ship size is better suited to a certain role.
I wasn't suggesting that ship sizes be optimized for different roles, but that they have different advantages and disadvantages that influence their effectiveness in a variety of different roles. It's not like "large ships = best short-range beamships" and "small ships = scouts", but rather that large ships can carry more stuff, but have a mass penalty, and small ships can go fast on the map and are stealthier in general, but can't fit many parts, etc. Going fast on the map, stealth and being able to carry more stuff are both benefits for a short-range beamships and scouts, though some of them are more beneficial than others for short-range beamships, and others are more beneficial scouts.
utilae wrote:I disagree. Fighters should be treated as very small ships. Fighters are gonna be large in number, so I see why you want to make them the exception from the 'roughly equal' idea. They should however be balanced in the same way I guess. eg 100 fighters vs 1 large ship. Whatever your 'roughly equal' idea is mean't to do, fighters should proabably be included.

Management of fighters can be abstracted as you explained. But you should be able to design fighters and missiles as you would a ship, in ship design.
The roughly equal was with regard to number of ships. fighters:real_ships at 100:1 is far to big a ratio to have equal amounts of info on both fighters and regular ships.

Beyond that, I'm not sure what you disagree with... what do you mean by "Fighters should be treated as very small ships"? If you accept my suggested way to manage fighters, then they are essentially a variation of missiles: autonomous ordinance... but fighters are recoverable, unlike missiles.

To me, not considering fighters to be real ships means that you can't fly them around the galaxy map on their own without a ship to carry them, and that they don't get as much detailed information stored about them as regular ship (both state information like health or ammo supply, as well as background / fun info like the fighter's (nonexistant) name).

This doesn't mean there can't be a design system for fighters.

That said, I don't think we need a fighter design system, just as we presumably wouldn't have a missile design system, or a beam weapon design system either. Fighters just don't need to have that much detail about them. Each type of fighter can be unlocked as a ship component, just like a new type of beam weapon or missile launch or engine or hull size / role / class / whatever.

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#101 Post by utilae »

Geoff the Medio wrote: The roughly equal was with regard to number of ships. fighters:real_ships at 100:1 is far to big a ratio to have equal amounts of info on both fighters and regular ships.
Ok, I see why. That makes sense.
Geoff the Medio wrote: That said, I don't think we need a fighter design system, just as we presumably wouldn't have a missile design system, or a beam weapon design system either. Fighters just don't need to have that much detail about them. Each type of fighter can be unlocked as a ship component, just like a new type of beam weapon or missile launch or engine or hull size / role / class / whatever.
Yeah, we could design fighters and missiles, ie fighter with lasers or fighter with missiles. But it is probably just simpler to research laser fighter and missile fighter. And just choose them.

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#102 Post by ewh02b »

utilae wrote: Yeah, we could design fighters and missiles, ie fighter with lasers or fighter with missiles. But it is probably just simpler to research laser fighter and missile fighter. And just choose them.
We could just have "figher" and "bomber". Bombers are a serious threat to any large ship, but ineffective against smaller ships. Fighters are mainly useful against other fighers, bombers, assault shuttles, etc--but with a limited ability to attack larger ships.

We should have research available for fighter-sized ships, but no design options--I imagine keeping track of 100 individually modified fighers might increase the size of the save file a bit!

Example: when "fighter shielding" is researched, all fighters are automatically upgraded to have shielding on the next turn.

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#103 Post by utilae »

I would like to customise your fighters abit, but as long as it is simple. Anyway, back to topic.


So, I had this idea. Ships can have roles, eg scout, gunship, fighter, repair, suicide, defense, etc.

The role changes slightly based on the ship size. So a small Scout Ship has some advantages and disadvantages. A large Scout Ship has some advantages and disadvantages.
eg
Small Scout Ship
-------------------
+Faster
+More Stealth
-Lacks space for heavy scouting equipment

=This scout ship is good for identifying enemy locations without being detected and reporting back to the fleet.

Large Scout Ship
-------------------
+Has space for heavy scouting equipment
-Slower
-Less Stealth

=This scout ship has stronger scanning equipment and can penetrate enemy shields and can detect ships behind asteroids and planets. It may even detect stealthy ships. It may also be spotted and as a result is ready to fight.

What do people think of this idea? It make each Role be usable for ships that are small, large or medium. There would be varying degrees of usefulness for a role in this way.

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#104 Post by ewh02b »

utilae wrote:I would like to customise your fighters abit, but as long as it is simple. Anyway, back to topic.


So, I had this idea. Ships can have roles, eg scout, gunship, fighter, repair, suicide, defense, etc.

What do people think of this idea? It make each Role be usable for ships that are small, large or medium. There would be varying degrees of usefulness for a role in this way.
So the user would choose a size and role and the game would autogenerate a ship with certain options? That might be a bit hard to program, but then again, I'm not a programmer.

I would kinda like to not have to do all the designing for the ships, but I would like to be able to "get under the hood" and tweak things a bit.

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#105 Post by utilae »

I wouldn't want it to be completely automatic. An auto design would be cool, eg choose scout and it creates one, then you tweak. That would speed things up. But in the end you create the ship how you want it to be. The role is created by you. Eg, a scout obviously has lots of scanning equipment. You can call it a scout. You don't need to tell the computer it is a scout, so that it can be part of some RPS. It will have scout functions as a result of its equipment. If you put lots of self destruct equipment on your small ship. And set systems so that the ship will detonate all explosives when destroyed. This would obviously be a suicide ship. You don't need to tell the computer. It's only you the player who needs to know, so that you can put that ships suicide role to use.

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