User:Josh/Musings

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Some of my more private musings. This is not FO canon by any stretch of the imagination, they're just ideas and thoughts I have or have had in the course of my time with FO that I didn't want to necessarily put up for public discussion. Also, it helps keeps track of these ideas so I don't forget.

A Living Battlefield

Battle fields in FO are set in solar systems, where the system's star at the located at the center of up to 10 orbiting satellites in 10 separate orbital zones. Space itself is fairly vacuous in real life, punctuated by cosmic bodies and the occasional asteroid. Waging tactical warfare could become an ordeal as a result of the constant sameness of the battlefield but herein is contained a catalog of some ideas:

Space Terrain

As a rule, this concerns "stuff" in space that occurs predictably. I.E. Planets, stars, star lanes...

  • Empty space, the default terrain.
  • Nebulae or dust clouds that are propagated throughout certain star systems, and may hide ships and dissipate shields.
  • Planets that can exploited for one or more tactical advantages.
    • Fortification: Ships in orbit around a planet might get some kind of blanket bonus to defense or stealth.
    • Ambush: Planets could obstruct line of sight, or be used by ships to perform surprise gravity whip maneuvers.
    • Planet Hopping: If planetary positions changes predictably over the course of a battle, attacks could also be planned around the alignment of the planets, so as to allow fleets to safely and quickly hop from orbit to orbit.
  • Asteroid belts that provide a similar bonus to planets.
  • Planetary specials and buildings that physically manifest themselves during combat; Buildings that could be blown up in combat.
  • Star Lane entry points permit travel between systems. If they can be interfered with on a tactical level, such as a blockade, it could cause serious problems on a strategic level, such preventing reinforcement or retreat.

Anomalies

This concerns "stuff" in space that sporadically appear, introducing a random element to the environment.

  • Occurrence of dangerous solar storms that may damage unprepared ships and play havoc with planning.
  • Meteoroids and comets that randomly wander about the solar system from time to time in varying quantities. Asteroid belts or planet specials might influence their presence.
    • Meteoroids could be hurled at enemy planets like gigantic projectiles.
    • They might also carry rare ores and volatiles that can be gathered to resupply the ship mid-combat.
  • Unusual star systems that defy normal conventions, like brown dwarfs with few or no orbiting planets.


Other Ideas

Ammunition

right now it's meant to keep long range weapons in check, in order to prevent the phenomena of "shoot & scoot" and acts as a subset of the supply mechanic of FO. I was wondering if it's definition could be expanded to include all weapons or all vessels actually, so that waging war for extended periods would cause fleets to naturally suffer from attrition. I believe that's what is desired effect of the supply mechanic is? Renaming planet supply to command & control and renaming ammo to supply might help... The kinds of language we use to describe what supply does helps us think about it differently, similarly to why "trade" isn't just called "money" or "credits"; Whatever name is given is both aesthetically and conceptually important.


Special Weapons Traits

I don't know what level of combat complexity is actually desired for FO, but it seems to me there are a few items which happen to be near and dear to the hearts of FO gamers. These are damage, range (as per FO design), and Cost & Mass

Notice I didn't put something like accuracy there. That's not to say that I think accuracy should never be added, but I believe there are other qualities that are more desired and interesting to have in weapons that should be considered first before additional complexity is tacked on, and this is what I would call special traits. Notice I didn't say special abilities either, because it's conceivable that weapons could be made to possess either negative or positive abilities. To say 'abilities' would lead to mean something exclusively positive, and is not a fair presentation of the idea that I'm trying to convey.

There seems to be a tacit agreement in the community that quite a bit of depth in FO's combat engine is desired, but also some technologies and ship armaments in particular should NOT be made obsolescent by every new technology an empire churns out (which would make the combat engine rather shallow).

The most straightforward way to do this seems to be to assign unique, special values or rules to certain weapons to ensure all devices get equal face-time in FO. It's possible that with this method some devices may never go out of favor at all. I also predict the inclusion of such a system will be a significant programming hurtle that might preclude the addition of more complex elements to the combat system.

Perhaps this is a trite concern.

What would constitute such a trait however could be discussed, and as I have previously posited these don't have to be good traits, and if it was desired, traits could be a device used to help simulate limited, imperfect weapons as well.


"Prettification"

"Prettification" (a highly technical art term) of some of the meter icons is something that I might want to do. Generally all of FO must undergo "prettification", but for now I'll settle for a couple meter icons...

In particular it occurred to me I wanted to tweak the meter icons for fuel and trade. I would "prettify" the fuel icon to look more like energy cells than oil barrels, which of course I was responsible for making them look that way in the first place. I'm convinced that trade icon could be made better somehow. I'll wait until it's purpose is more well defined before taking action. For instance, I already prettified the mineral icon and I am happy with it.

Maybe it's just that I feel the icons need to look more slick. They're not bad, but I feel they need to be better looking if the rest of FO's graphics are also going to be more slick. The quality of each needs to match the other, in other words.