Space Combat Proposal

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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Space Combat Proposal

#1 Post by utilae » Sun Jul 06, 2003 3:30 am

My idea of space combat is on this page:
http://utilae.orcon.net.nz/spacecombat.html

Lots of cool pics, as well as explanations, should give an idea of what I'm talking about, as well as give an idea of how the game will play, etc.

My idea:
-micromanagement (like Moo2)
-macromanagement
-or macro and micro to refine
-all players issue orders at once
-when all players have finished issuing orders, it plays out and orders are executed in real-time
-attack all planets in solar system, in one battle, over many turns
-many battles per turn, naturally
-multiple races take part in any one battle
if ground combat is linked as closely as I want
-trigger ground combat when troop pods are sent to the planet surface

Comments, Questions?

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#2 Post by jbarcz1 » Sun Jul 06, 2003 3:37 am

I think it looks great, though I find the circles to be a bit hard to decipher. I would prefer a set of bars below the ship.
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#3 Post by utilae » Sun Jul 06, 2003 3:42 am

To save room (ie having both selection circle and life bars, I combined them).

The selection circles/life bars are divided into four parts.
Green=Structure or HP
Purple=Armour
Blue=Shields
Yellow=Systems
(these were all in Moo2, all shown graphically)

All of those four can be diminished, as you know when the green part of the circle is empty, BOOM, the ship is gone.

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#4 Post by Krait » Sun Jul 06, 2003 9:42 am

The idea seems nice enough. Maybe the 'order' phases should also have an (optional) time limit for multiplayer to keep things reasonably fast paced. In that event, at the beginning of the battle there should be something like a setup-phase with no time limit where everyone can assign initial groups, hotkeys etc, which are later used in the timed order phases...

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#5 Post by utilae » Sun Jul 06, 2003 10:31 am

Krait wrote:The idea seems nice enough. Maybe the 'order' phases should also have an (optional) time limit for multiplayer to keep things reasonably fast paced. In that event, at the beginning of the battle there should be something like a setup-phase with no time limit where everyone can assign initial groups, hotkeys etc, which are later used in the timed order phases...

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A time limit would be good.

But the setup phase may not be necesary, just allow more time.

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#6 Post by The Silent One » Sun Jul 06, 2003 12:22 pm

I like youe idea very much, with one exception: I think it would be rather difficult to let the combat take place in the whole star system, it could be hard to keep track of your units actions etc..

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#7 Post by Yoghurt » Sun Jul 06, 2003 12:32 pm

I like the idea of combining selection and status-bars.
If you want all stats of all your ships, you'll simple press CTRL-A for example to select all of them.

A combined setup-realtime-approch would be nice, but leads so some problems.

What if, for example, your enemy has ordered one of his ships to teleport behind your ship? Does you ship turn automatically?

What if 2 of your ships attack 3 enemies, and 1 teleports further away, 1 behind and 1 between your ships?

I think we'll have to suspend action in this case, which could make battle very tedious.

Making the teleportation last as long as a real-time part doesn't work, for numerous reasons:
  • - The enemy could teleport at the beginning of every cycle to bepractically unvurnuable
    - What if the enemy teleports just before the ending of a cycle, how long will he be teleporting?
And what if you want to give orders like, advance a bit, then turn and run-away? Or what if one of your ships destroys a weak enemy ship at the first shot? Does it sit there for the end of the battle, or does the AI take over?

Maybe it would be better to allow any player a fixed amount of "time-outs" that he can use? In case you have no time-outs left, you can still command your entire fleet to retreat.

Oh, and BTW, I wouldn't like it if you're able to destroy a planet in space-combat, and if you target the planet, you should be able to specify what you want to destroy. (This would also be handy when dealing with ships: aim for this auto-repair-device etc.) But this may go too far in this case, after all, we're building an 4X, not a space-shooter ;)

Edit: Hmm, combining Moo2 with Bridge Commander, that would be nice... And probably unplayable, because each combat takes 5 minutes ;)

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#8 Post by jbarcz1 » Sun Jul 06, 2003 1:52 pm

I think exceptions would probably have to be made. For example, you wouldn't be able to conduct 'hit and run' maneuvers very easily (unless we had a tool that let you specify the intended movement path, with turns, instead of just the direction). Also, in the case where the enemy teleports, your ships would have to act on their own in that case, firing at whatever target they prefer.

The nature of a staggered real-time system is to give up some of the fine control in order to allow for larger battles with more ships.

Regarding combat in the whole system, I like the idea, but the planets should be spaced pretty far apart, and there needs to be a minimap

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#9 Post by drek » Sun Jul 06, 2003 9:03 pm

Random comments:

1: agreed, planets should be spaced out far apart. Each world should have a radius of concern. Outside the radius, the planet's can't fire weapons (although it could still launch fighters and troop pods).

An in-system warp might cut down the the drudgy of moving across a large combat map, like in Nettrek Paradise.

2: The single move phase and precise movement orders won't work out well, imho. Better would Starships Unlimited's model: ships are given missions rather than specfic orders (although one mission might be "Go to point x.y). Also, instead of a single move phase the game pauses to allow the player to issue new orders when a ship needs a mission. A key or mouse click cancel's a ship's current mission, pausing the game and allowing the player to react to events.

3: The ring around the ship ought to be reserved for aft and front shields/armor (and maybe port and starboard for larger ships). A seprate bar for enegry, and the internals each have thier own set of hitpoints. If a componet is damaged (say the engines) an yellow icon appears near the ship....if destroyed the icon is red.

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#10 Post by utilae » Sun Jul 06, 2003 9:48 pm

Yoghurt wrote: What if, for example, your enemy has ordered one of his ships to teleport behind your ship? Does you ship turn automatically?
Your ship would try to rotate and fire as it could focus on the target, this is where the pilot/crew would be important.
Yoghurt wrote: What if 2 of your ships attack 3 enemies, and 1 teleports further away, 1 behind and 1 between your ships?
Maybe they would spread there weapons over all three, or adjust to focus on the two closest.
Yoghurt wrote: Making the teleportation last as long as a real-time part doesn't work, for numerous reasons:
  • - The enemy could teleport at the beginning of every cycle to bepractically unvurnuable
    - What if the enemy teleports just before the ending of a cycle, how long will he be teleporting?
This is where balance comes in I supose, maybe teleport could only be used every two turns. Or maybe he would teleport instantly, stay there as a sitting duck while your ship slowly rotates around and attacks. While your ship is rotating, it would be getting wasted.
Yoghurt wrote: And what if you want to give orders like, advance a bit, then turn and run-away? Or what if one of your ships destroys a weak enemy ship at the first shot? Does it sit there for the end of the battle, or does the AI take over?
I think if you could give movement orders like waypoints, so when you do the move line thingy, then you could make a complex path, move here, then here, then here, etc. Rotations would be taken into account automatically.

And if it destroy's an enemy ship on the first shot, it would save energy (like in Moo2, though how much energy saved could be based on computers-efficiency). The ai could take over. when it's orders are carried out and fire at the closest targets.
Yoghurt wrote: Maybe it would be better to allow any player a fixed amount of "time-outs" that he can use? In case you have no time-outs left, you can still command your entire fleet to retreat.
Maybe, maybe only for retreats, otherwise it might become just like pausing for multiplayer. So you could go Oh, I'm getting wasted, ok, timeout, select units to retreat, and they retreat when battle resumes.
Yoghurt wrote: Oh, and BTW, I wouldn't like it if you're able to destroy a planet in space-combat, and if you target the planet, you should be able to specify what you want to destroy. (This would also be handy when dealing with ships: aim for this auto-repair-device etc.) But this may go too far in this case, after all, we're building an 4X, not a space-shooter ;)
Yes, like another menu to prioritise specific targets. There would not be many planets, so this would not be any extra micromanagement burden. A ship is probably too dificult to focus on specific targets. A laser could damage any number of things. Too much microamangement I think.
jbarcz1 wrote: I think exceptions would probably have to be made. For example, you wouldn't be able to conduct 'hit and run' maneuvers very easily (unless we had a tool that let you specify the intended movement path, with turns, instead of just the direction). Also, in the case where the enemy teleports, your ships would have to act on their own in that case, firing at whatever target they prefer.
Like a waypoint, though automatically attached to the initial move line. So you could keep right clicking to fraw more lines and left click to finish the path and then move various points (where the ship would rotate) around.
jbarcz1 wrote: The nature of a staggered real-time system is to give up some of the fine control in order to allow for larger battles with more ships.
I don't think there is much harm in letting the ai adjust your orders. So it would try to rotate and keep the enemey in it's sights and fire. Besides there as to be some unpredictability in the game, where plans change or become useless because your openent decides to teleport behind you, in the end, it may be about guessing what your oponent might do and knowing what technologies they have. See if you knew they had teleport devices you could try guessing what they would do with them and take action.
jbarcz1 wrote: Regarding combat in the whole system, I like the idea, but the planets should be spaced pretty far apart, and there needs to be a minimap

JB
I have a minimap in the screenshots. Also it wouls be larger than that. I did not want to go into too much detail, and draw 100 ships. Yes planets would be far apart, all based on where they are in the solar system.
drek wrote: Random comments:
1: agreed, planets should be spaced out far apart. Each world should have a radius of concern. Outside the radius, the planet's can't fire weapons (although it could still launch fighters and troop pods).
Yes, weapons for close range against troop pods, etc. Weapons for short range and weapons for long range.
drek wrote: An in-system warp might cut down the the drudgy of moving across a large combat map, like in Nettrek Paradise.
Perhaps.
drek wrote: 2: The single move phase and precise movement orders won't work out well, imho. Better would Starships Unlimited's model: ships are given missions rather than specfic orders (although one mission might be "Go to point x.y). Also, instead of a single move phase the game pauses to allow the player to issue new orders when a ship needs a mission. A key or mouse click cancel's a ship's current mission, pausing the game and allowing the player to react to events.
I don't know, I think it could be good. Balance may be the thing that helps, ie how long is the real time part, how long should a ships mission last, so that there is minimum time left when the ai takes over, until new orders are given.
drek wrote: 3: The ring around the ship ought to be reserved for aft and front shields/armor (and maybe port and starboard for larger ships). A seprate bar for enegry, and the internals each have thier own set of hitpoints. If a componet is damaged (say the engines) an yellow icon appears near the ship....if destroyed the icon is red.
I was saving drawing time and space, but I think they look cool. I did not take shields into account, forgot about them. Maybe two rings, out ring could be shields, split into four.

By the way, all four of those bars in the circles are intended to be seperate. So the green, purple, blue and yellow bar could all be half filled.

Yes, such icons would be a good way of showing damage to specific parts.

We could probably have weapons specialised in damaging different parts of a ship, such as engines, computers, shields, armour, structure, weapons. Combining different specialised weapons would be a very important factor of designing a ship.

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#11 Post by Yoghurt » Mon Jul 07, 2003 2:19 pm

utilae wrote:I don't think there is much harm in letting the ai adjust your orders.
I do. This is was I wanted to address when giving these teleport-examples. My experience is that every AI has it's weak points, and if a player knows them (and you don't) and exploits them using maneuvers that let take the AI over, there is nothing you could do about it. You might loose the battle simply because someone knew the AI's weak spots (which never change) instead of yours (which are different for every kind of player)

I want to have complete control of what my ships are doing, and I don't want to be able to blame "the stupid AI" for my mistakes...

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#12 Post by jbarcz1 » Mon Jul 07, 2003 2:28 pm

Except that the enemy is going to be subject to the same restrictions as you. He's not going to have that much fine control over his ships either, so the "stupid AI" will be just as much of a hangup to him.

Given a choice between fine control and few ships, vs less control but many ships, I vote for the latter.
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#13 Post by utilae » Mon Jul 07, 2003 9:09 pm

Yoghurt wrote:
utilae wrote:I don't think there is much harm in letting the ai adjust your orders.
I do. This is was I wanted to address when giving these teleport-examples. My experience is that every AI has it's weak points, and if a player knows them (and you don't) and exploits them using maneuvers that let take the AI over, there is nothing you could do about it. You might loose the battle simply because someone knew the AI's weak spots (which never change) instead of yours (which are different for every kind of player)

I want to have complete control of what my ships are doing, and I don't want to be able to blame "the stupid AI" for my mistakes...
Really all it would involve when they teleport behind you is for your ship to rotate around to shoot it. The ai wouldn't do much other than that. The ships ability to rotate quicly would also be a huge factor.

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#14 Post by discord » Sun Jul 27, 2003 10:59 am

just a small point, planetary positioning is not static, they change all the time...
and as a point on 'deep space military stations' i can see a use for them aswell, a military target away from what you want to protect, but close enough to attack you in the rear with in system ships(read fighters/corvette's) if yo try to attack the planets, and the other way around if you go for the DSS(DeepSpaceStation)....and in a 'erratic' orbit(in other words not on the same plane as the others) it would always be 'away' from everything else.....giving some serious security space during peace time(for the secure military/research base)....ahwell.

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#15 Post by Impaler » Mon Jul 28, 2003 6:55 pm

Well that brings up another good question.

What determines (if any) the limits on the number of space stations I can build in a system and at what types of locations?

I think limiting them too 1 per planet is kind of lame.

Perhaps the player can select the location of the base by opening up what will eventualy be the system wide battle screen and placing it anyware in the empty space. But what about the movment of the planets in the system?

But then what prevents them from building a million such stations? Will they just be expensive enough to prevent this from a practical stand point?
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