Starlanes and tactical combat

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Ragnar
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Starlanes and tactical combat

#1 Post by Ragnar » Tue Mar 02, 2004 11:29 pm

As I've been lurking here, I've been meaning to mention this subject:

When I first heard of the starlanes and high/low entry idea in the MOO3 forums, I envisioned the game's tactical combat to be like a series of books I was reading at the time. The books are Insurection, Crusade, In Death Ground, and The Shiva Option by Steve White and David Weber. In those books the starlanes were in fixed positions, usually way at the edge of the system towards the next star. Most of the travel time was moving across the system to jump. Only one ship at a time could safely transit or else multiple ships had a chance of merging and blowing up.

This drove tactics that included minefield and space stations located near jump points, along with defending fleets. And the attacker was limited to one at a time entry. One race would send multiples and would lose some ships to merging, as a tactic to get more firepower in. Also, missiles that could be fired through the jump from the next system would be used to prep the entry site. Attacking from multiple systems would also divide the defenders.

Any interest in incorporating this into FO?

Edit: Added first names to authors and latest book (reading it now).
Last edited by Ragnar on Wed Aug 18, 2004 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#2 Post by Paul1980au » Wed Mar 03, 2004 3:22 am

Allowing fleeting or multiple ships to go through at once could be a solution - as could multiple warp points and jump gates into the same system.

Shields could also be helpful

As could a delay on ship combat or a limit on how close defending ships get to jump points to limit any immediate attack possibility.

Another idea from Space empires 4 is that of drones ie fast moving attack pre programmed ships that can be targetted at individual ships and planets - cant be altered, that could be used to attack ships on the other side of a jump gate.

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#3 Post by That Guy » Wed Mar 03, 2004 4:01 am

I had a nice thought from a book I am reading, Depths of Time.

They have a travelling system that relies on wormholes and chryogenic freezing. The freezing isn't relivant, but how the wormholes work are. They have stations that form these worm holes. And they can have like 10 - 15 wormholes in each blackhole. Maybe instead of just one ship, depending on the length and other factors, these starlanes could have a certain number of "conduits", to facilitate travel, but only one in each at a time. Or maybe they can only handle a certain volume, like 500 units, which is like 1 huge ship, or like 7 smaller ones, not to limit swarm strategies. Maybe they can also be upgraded by developing and building advancements to increase the capacity.

Also another nice idea if you like that one. In the story, the captain of the ship had to close the wormholes. Maybe that could be a really late game tech, closing and opening them. It would give a great advancement, and a reason to tech.
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#4 Post by skdiw » Wed Mar 03, 2004 6:46 am

Great ideas. The list for galaxy specials are on going. I don't remember where you suppose to submit it or just post it in brainstorm.

I am just worried about how the programmers are hardwiring the starlanes more like an independent modules instead of building on top of flexible platform like in a good programming architecture. I don't think AI is gonna work very well and additional mods are impossible to implement using modules.
:mrgreen:

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#5 Post by Ragnar » Wed Mar 03, 2004 4:31 pm

In the books there were potentially many different wormholes and many types in a system. They would have to send survey ships (scouts could do this) into a new system. These ship had equipmment to find new wormholes, but they had to spent a long time scouring over the fringes of the system. They could even resurvey and find new ones within old systems (there was a new one found that gave the enemy a short cut to a weakly defended Earth in the books). Some types of wormholes were one way or hidden on one end.

These things would add some spice to the strategies used. Extensive time spent surveying would allow more access to other systems and maybe allow surprise attacks into a system that another race didn't survey well. in MOO3 you see all the moment you get to a new system, some kind of mechanism to make you have to find the next wormhole (starlane) would be interesting. The oneway and hidden starlanes would give you a one time surprise attack on a defended system, bypassing mines and such. Of course, the starlane would be known after that. Having to allocate your resources to which starlane to defend, assuming we make travel accross the system lengthy, would add great depth to the tactical combat.

The factional turn arrival idea would fit well with this concept. You could send decoy forces early through one starlane and then the real force arrives later after the defenders commit in that direction, allowing a flanking or rear attack. Or assault on the planet.

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#6 Post by Paul1980au » Thu Mar 04, 2004 5:25 am

You know allowing multiple "load wormholes is interesting" as is late game wormhole opening and closing. Random wormholes appearing and disappering on the game map might add some elements of surprise

If fleet and ships in right area and a 1 way wormhole naturally opens for a "x time before closing" and you can get youre fleet through might be interesting.

Add this into the normal wormholes and it could add alternatives.

Jump gates could be interesting ie construct jumpgate a x co ordinate and have it open to random locations at tech level 1 - then tech level 2 you can set an exact location.

Different wormhole "distances" could also be worked in ie short range with greater capacity for more ships - long range wormholes might allow reduced ships to go through at once but the extra distance.

You could have main fleet on short range hops (take longer attack force) long distance ones could be scout / cloaked / positioning of special units ?

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#7 Post by Ragnar » Wed Mar 10, 2004 10:11 pm

However the starlanes work, I just hope to see the terminations placed around the tactical system maps. Along with combat starting before the attacker arrives, so that the defender has the advantage of setting up for the attack, like in the Total War games. The attacker chooses the time and where to attack, but the defender can set up mines, orbitals, and formations before the attacker gets there.

Any thoughts from the designers on the feasibility/interest in using these two related ideas? (limited entry starlanes and tactical set up)

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#8 Post by Aquitaine » Thu Mar 11, 2004 1:55 pm

Ragnar wrote:However the starlanes work, I just hope to see the terminations placed around the tactical system maps. Along with combat starting before the attacker arrives, so that the defender has the advantage of setting up for the attack, like in the Total War games. The attacker chooses the time and where to attack, but the defender can set up mines, orbitals, and formations before the attacker gets there.

Any thoughts from the designers on the feasibility/interest in using these two related ideas? (limited entry starlanes and tactical set up)
Although I haven't posted about it yet (since I haven't wanted to get embroiled in a debate about it), the biggest influence on my vision for the FO tactical engine is the Total War series. Setting up mines and things sounds like a neat idea, but it may have to wait until many other things are done ... the hard part of the engine will be letting the attacker do something once he gets there in the first place. :)
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#9 Post by Marijn » Fri Mar 12, 2004 11:56 am

Off road travel was going to be implemented too wasn't it? This would have some repercussions for the combat - you could take the long, slow off-road route in order to arrive from a less well-defended angle. How are 'space scanners' and such going to work? Will you be able to easily see ships coming at you through space?

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#10 Post by Ragnar » Fri Mar 12, 2004 3:24 pm

As far as scanners go: maybe you could have a certain amount of time or number of moves to set up your defence based on your scanner range. I would think dense mine fields and weapon platforms would not be able to be shifted quickly.

A couple other thoughts based on the books I mentioned: They also had laser mines, robotic laser cannons that could detect friendlies through an IFF transponder that would be set among the entry point mine fields.
Fighters and small ships would be able to maneuver through these mine type defences but capital ships would be needed to take out the weapon platforms. If we create many options and diverse strengths and weaknesses to the combat system, we can make it much more interesting. MOO2 came the closest of the three, but was still weak on tactical options. I would love to be able to have good 'thinking out of the box' tactics actually make a difference in the space and ground combat, as opposed to tech and numbers deciding everything. Strong leadership and tactics have overcome tech and numerical advantages many times through history.

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#11 Post by noelte » Fri Mar 12, 2004 3:31 pm

Marijn wrote:Off road travel was going to be implemented too wasn't it?
As i remember, someone mention that doing AI becomes much more complicated if we do introduce off road travel. But it might be possible to mod this, doing this mod would only make sense with havy AI adjustment.

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#12 Post by utilae » Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:09 pm

Well, shouldn't off road travel be there anyway. Because if we can't go through open space, that would be wierd. :P

I thought someone said that that programming problem could be avoided by having starlanes everywhere, but with the offroad lanes with the travelling speed reduced. :wink:

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#13 Post by miu » Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:53 pm

edit: ups, wrong thread, comment moved to right one.
Last edited by miu on Sat Mar 13, 2004 3:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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#14 Post by That Guy » Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:57 pm

Or maybe as another defence system, the iris from Star Gate SG1. It would stop a certain amount of ships, based on their sizes, then gave away. And it would open for your ships, but stay open for like a turn after, as a balance, so retreating to that system would really be a tactical decision.

And maybe starlane sensors and space sensors would be different.

But I really like the multiple "loadwormholes" as some one put it. They could even go from two systems to one unload port. That way controlling this port would be a vital defence, and not just having 4 of them surrounding your system, or whatever.
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#15 Post by Krikkitone » Mon Mar 15, 2004 4:57 am

utilae wrote:Well, shouldn't off road travel be there anyway. Because if we can't go through open space, that would be wierd.
Not necessarily.. after all if one cites reality, then moving through open space anything more tha a tiny fraction of light speed is ridiculous.

Although it probably should be in since it makes the map a LITTLE bit easier to use for Humans (although harder for the AI, as mentioned before.. and that has its points)

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