Make Stargates zero-speed ships (not buildings)

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Oberlus
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Make Stargates zero-speed ships (not buildings)

#1 Post by Oberlus » Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:49 pm

I'd love Stargates to be vulnerable to enemy pew pew. This forces the defender of the gate to be aware of incomming attacks beforehand (in order to send reinforcements through the gate). Right now only way to supress quickly an stargate is to attack with strong force and troopers (turn 1) and invade the stargate-containing planet (turn 2). Defender can bring in ships from any other stargate (on turn 2 if he just reacts to the attack after the combat sitrep).

Plus I'd love to get rid of the repetitive actions that require managing stargates: set focus on origin and destiny, next turn, unset focus on origin and destiny. I mean, it bugs me that sometimes I forget to get the foci back to their industry.

How to set origin and destiny on the stargates if they are ships in the system instead of buildings in a planet?
Maybe, select them in the map (as any other ship) and set a destination (that won't change until you select the stargate again to click a different system). The stargate won't move (speed 0), but will send any holding fleets in its system to its destination system if there is another gate in there that is not being used to send (i.e. has no destination set).

They would require a new special hull, with no part slots, 0 speed, high HP (500? 1000?) and a similar cost to the current stargate building.

Also, I think stargates could/should require some PP expenses on each use (energy comsuption to maintain the wormhole of fluffever), like starting a "project" that once completed produces an effect instead of a building or a ship.

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Re: Make Stargates zero-speed ships (not buildings)

#2 Post by Jaumito » Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:17 pm

Or it could be a planet (an artificial one) instead of a ship. Once created, it gets standard defenses and an outpost, but you can't build anything on it, including colonies. It would contribute negatively to production and be destroyed if invaded.

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Re: Make Stargates zero-speed ships (not buildings)

#3 Post by Dilvish » Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:56 pm

Jaumito wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:17 pm
Or it could be a planet (an artificial one) instead of a ship. Once created, it gets standard defenses and an outpost, but you can't build anything on it, including colonies. It would contribute negatively to production and be destroyed if invaded.
While I think that such a thing could be scripted, it sounds to me like it would be at best a very minimal improvement (somewhat reduced defending troops) to the problem Oberlus cites, and it would introduce a new incentive to build stargates all over the place as extra defenses.
Oberlus wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:49 pm
Plus I'd love to get rid of the repetitive actions that require managing stargates: set focus on origin and destiny, next turn, unset focus on origin and destiny. I mean, it bugs me that sometimes I forget to get the foci back to their industry.
How to set origin and destiny on the stargates if they are ships in the system instead of buildings in a planet?
Maybe, select them in the map (as any other ship) and set a destination (that won't change until you select the stargate again to click a different system). The stargate won't move (speed 0), but will send any holding fleets in its system to its destination system if there is another gate in there that is not being used to send (i.e. has no destination set).
That couldn't simply be scripted up, and would require a number of changes to the UI (at a minimum, to allow a zero speed ship to get a destination at all, and then to somehow avoid having the flight path planning code try to make the infinitely long (in steps) flight path to the destination). What might be more in keeping with our general approach would be prevent or dissuade you from changing the focus so frequently. Sending or receiving ships could add a timed special that either imposes a big penalty for shifting focus too soon or else perhaps altogether prevents the focus from changing (though I haven't confirmed that latter handling is possible to script).
I'd love Stargates to be vulnerable to enemy pew pew.
That much I think could be readily scripted. Its operation could simply be disabled if there is combat in the system on the prior turn. Or for a more significant vulnerability, you could have the Starget require a min infrastructure on its home planet, if the infrastructure goes below that (due to enemy fire or being consumed by other buildings) then it could add a special which sends sitreps to the owner warning them of the impending doom and then counts down a couple or few turns; if the infrastructure isn't brought back up so that the special removes itself then it instead destroys the stargate.
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Re: Make Stargates zero-speed ships (not buildings)

#4 Post by Jaumito » Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:49 pm

Dilvish wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:56 pm
... and it would introduce a new incentive to build stargates all over the place as extra defenses.
If I want extra defenses, I'd invest all those PPs in ships rather than in an extra planet which drains more PPs every turn.

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Re: Make Stargates zero-speed ships (not buildings)

#5 Post by Oberlus » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:56 pm

@Dilvish, all reasonable objections.

What about this (merging Jaumito and Dilvish's suggestions):

The Stargate can be built only on asteroid belts. As with the artificial factory "building", the asteroid belt gets substituted by a, in this case, special planet with outposted planet (or exobot colony with minimal population?) that only has the stargate focus settings, disabled when infrastructure is down enough (or when shields and defenses are 0), and defenses... those of an outpost?

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Re: Make Stargates zero-speed ships (not buildings)

#6 Post by Vezzra » Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:08 pm

Again, as I just mentioned in the terraforming thread, we need to keep two things separate: the one being improving the game mechanic as such, and the other one being UI/micromanagement issues. Mixing these up and trying to address one by changing the other are hacks in my eyes. They can work, to a certain extend, but usually are not pretty solutions, and not what I would consider a good design.

In our case here: there are concerns about the game mechanic of stargates: they should be more vulnerable, their operation should be more costly, etc. Apart from that there are issues with how a player currently needs to operate them, which admittedly isn't exactly optimal (it has been even worse before, when you needed to build 1PP "beacon" buildings at the destination systems instead of "just" switching around focus settings, so the current solution is already better than what we had originally!).

Making stargates basically 0 movement ships or make the building on the planet more susceptible to orbital attacks are reasonable approaches to make them more vulnerable. As for making their operation more costly, IMO the easiest aproach would be to incur a high influence cost for them (which abstracts a supposed high logistical effort necessary to keep it operational).

As for the clunky way they currently have to be operated by the player, my idea has always been to radically change the implementation of how they work (code-wise). All operational stargates an empire owns should just be connected to each other, and the pathfinding/routing code for fleets should be extended as to allow fleets to automatically path through the stargates, no further player interference required. When giving a move command, a fleet would automatically use the stargate network for the shortest possible route. It's basically the same as if all systems which contain a stargate were connected to each other by wormholes.

That of course is quite powerful, but all approaches which make using the stargate network harder by making it more tedious for the player to operate their UI are certainly a bad idea (as it results in a player willing to do more micromanagement being able to play a more optimal game, which is something we specifically try to avoid). The proper solution for that would be to e.g. have a fixed destination for each stargate which is set when building it, or implement UI elements that allow for selecting a stargates destination, but each time you change that you have to pay for it, or it requires a certain amounts of turns. Just two ideas off the top of my head.

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Re: Make Stargates zero-speed ships (not buildings)

#7 Post by Oberlus » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:20 pm

Vezzra wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:08 pm
for making their operation more costly, IMO the easiest aproach would be to incur a high influence cost for them (which abstracts a supposed high logistical effort necessary to keep it operational).
Indeed!
Vezzra wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:08 pm
As for the clunky way they currently have to be operated by the player, my idea has always been to radically change the implementation of how they work (code-wise). All operational stargates an empire owns should just be connected to each other, and the pathfinding/routing code for fleets should be extended as to allow fleets to automatically path through the stargates, no further player interference required. When giving a move command, a fleet would automatically use the stargate network for the shortest possible route. It's basically the same as if all systems which contain a stargate were connected to each other by wormholes.
Another great suggestion. Should we open a issue asking for it?

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Re: Make Stargates zero-speed ships (not buildings)

#8 Post by Vezzra » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:38 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:20 pm
Another great suggestion. Should we open a issue asking for it?
It certainly can't hurt. ;) But unless someone who's able to code that likes the idea so much they give it priority, I don't expect it being addressed/implemented anytime soon. Like many other good ideas/suggestions floating around...

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Re: Make Stargates zero-speed ships (not buildings)

#9 Post by Dilvish » Fri Dec 14, 2018 3:14 pm

I think a couple tweaks to the wormhole idea would be in order-- since we have a very strong aversion to coding up scripted content (stargate) behavior in the c++ engine, we'd want the stargate to actually create wormholes rather than just acting like them. And having the stargates make a fully connected network seems a bit overpowerful (plus could strain our ability to represent wormholes).

I think it would be best that you still have to go through a little bit of work to actually make the wormhole (i.e., could be just about identical to how you establish the link now, it just then creates the wormhole). (I would also tend to think there should be a limit of 1 wormhole per system, there could be a process to collapse the wormhole if you wanted to change it.) The improvements over now would be that you would not need to leave the focus setting in stargate mode for it to work, and that the pathing routine would be able to use the info.

Keep in mind, also, though, that wormholes themselves are not fully implemented yet. The main sticking point that comes to mind is the UI element.
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Re: Make Stargates zero-speed ships (not buildings)

#10 Post by em3 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:57 am

There could be added a notion of a "wormhole network", in which all wormholes in a given network are interconnected.

A two-wormhole network would be a trivial example and could be represented by a line connection. Anything over two could be represented by an icon unique to the given network (a roman number, for example, or emprie's emblem for stargate network) instead of a line connection.

Also to keep stargates to be empire-specific (or empire and allies), a scope should be added to a wormhole (or wormhole network).

Network identifier could even be a tag of the wormhole, instead of an object to itself.

Then, adding entry and exit conditions to wormholes could be like:
"Entry: only ships owned by the same empire or allied empire to the one that owns the stargate"
"Exit: only ships owned by the same empire or allied empire to the one that owns the stargate and moving from a system with a stargate owned by the same empire or its ally"

EDIT: I was distracted when writing the post, so my point about network ID being used as a tag got no explanation.

I was thinking about something like:
"Entry: any ship"
"Exit: any ship from a wormhole with the same network ID"

HIghlighting a wormhole icon could temporarily display all incoming and outgoing connections.
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Re: Make Stargates zero-speed ships (not buildings)

#11 Post by Dilvish » Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:36 pm

For reference if we wind up pursuing this stargate-as-wormhole idea -- some older discussion re implementation for wormholes.
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Re: Make Stargates zero-speed ships (not buildings)

#12 Post by Vezzra » Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:09 am

Dilvish wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 3:14 pm
I think a couple tweaks to the wormhole idea would be in order-- since we have a very strong aversion to coding up scripted content (stargate) behavior in the c++ engine, we'd want the stargate to actually create wormholes rather than just acting like them.
Yes, of course. I was thinking along similar lines - use the wormhole mechanic (or an extended implementation of it) for the stargates.
And having the stargates make a fully connected network seems a bit overpowerful
That's already a more detailed discussion about balancing the stargate game mechanic. The engine should be able to handle even a fully connected network. In the game stargates that are able to spawn such a network probably could/should be super expensive high end late game tech (if we decide to go all the way to that at all).
(plus could strain our ability to represent wormholes)
I wouldn't try to represent a fully connected stargate network at all, just provide a way to highlight all systems on the map containing such stargates. Ensure that a player can only build/maintain a sufficiently limited number of them, and we should be fine.
I think it would be best that you still have to go through a little bit of work to actually make the wormhole (i.e., could be just about identical to how you establish the link now, it just then creates the wormhole). (I would also tend to think there should be a limit of 1 wormhole per system, there could be a process to collapse the wormhole if you wanted to change it.) The improvements over now would be that you would not need to leave the focus setting in stargate mode for it to work, and that the pathing routine would be able to use the info.
I'm still worried that players might want to switch stargate connections so often/frequently, that handling it becomes too micromanagy. A stargate mechanic that doesn't do a fully connected network needs to make sure that often/frequent switching isn't a viable strategy.

Otherwise we are back to where we are now. The stargate UI might be easier to handle than the cumbersome focus switching we have to do now, but it would still require doing lot of repetitive steps over and over again each turn. I'd like to avoid that.
Keep in mind, also, though, that wormholes themselves are not fully implemented yet. The main sticking point that comes to mind is the UI element.
Yep, definitely.

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Re: Make Stargates zero-speed ships (not buildings)

#13 Post by Telos » Sun Dec 30, 2018 5:12 pm

Here's another simple solution to make stargates harder to reinforce after having been attacked: script in a planetary infrastructure requirement on use of the stargate. Since a large attacking fleet usually knocks planetary infrastructure down to zero, this will have the effect of immediately making a stargate be unusable for several turns.

(This might be roughly equivalent to Vezzra's influence cost suggestion above, though I don't really understand how influence is going to work yet.)

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Re: Make Stargates zero-speed ships (not buildings)

#14 Post by Oberlus » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:14 am

Telos wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 5:12 pm
Here's another simple solution to make stargates harder to reinforce after having been attacked: script in a planetary infrastructure requirement on use of the stargate. Since a large attacking fleet usually knocks planetary infrastructure down to zero, this will have the effect of immediately making a stargate be unusable for several turns.
+1!
I think that requirement seems reasonable (or better) with and without influence in place. I think that could be a good thing to implement now.

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Re: Make Stargates zero-speed ships (not buildings)

#15 Post by Vezzra » Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:15 am

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:14 am
I think that could be a good thing to implement now.
Patches welcome :D

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