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  #1  
Old December 23rd, 2006, 07:51 PM

Raapys Raapys is offline
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Default Vehicle sizes

I'd like to hear others' opinion about how vehicle sizes 'should' work.

More specifically, ways to balance the ship sizes in such a way that it's not an achievement by itself to build really large ships with lots of guns on them; ways to keep the smaller sizes from becoming obsolete just by having a new size researched.

At the moment( stock/kwok) this is done by the defensive modifier and, to a very small degree, speed. However, I find this method doesn't really do much good for keeping the player from using the biggest ship, at least in my case.

How does one give the player a reason *not* to skip straight to the biggest ship he can get, and how does one have the player keep using those smaller size ships even late-game?

I've a few vague ideas, but nothing coherent as of yet. What I'm thinking is that size shouldn't be what really matters; the ship-task should be. How about completely dropping the rather linear and generic size-based system( ships would still get more tonnage with increased tech level, though) and instead go for specific-task ships? This would require ship- size/task limits on weapons and a few components to be made effective.

A couple of examples:
Scout, can mount light regular weapons, very fast.
Missile ship, can mount no non-PD regular weapons, only missiles.
Destroyer, standard combat vessel which mounts most regular weapons, perhaps supports fighter bay and smaller missiles.
Heavy-cruiser( or something), can mount the largest regular weapons, weak defense, slow, no missiles.

Etc...

The size and stats of the ships would be made according to their task, research would improve the specific ships by giving more speed, tonnage, perhaps better-placed armor slots and such, blabla. The only real all-purpose ship would be the destroyer, but it would become more of a support ship for the special purpose ships, having no special abilities on its own.

Any thoughts on this forced mix of ship classes and its consequences? More fun/interesting than the regular more-size-less-speed each level approach or not? Any other ideas?
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Old December 23rd, 2006, 09:39 PM

shinigami shinigami is offline
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Default Re: Vehicle sizes

While that's not really a bad idea, it is a bit of a heavy handed solution and the rigid ship classes may turn some players off.

I like a solution of separating strategic and combat speed. By adjusting a ship's "Space Combat Maximum Speed Per Movement Point" you can keep the smaller ships useful into the late game. Frigates become fast little gunboats while dreads and baseships become great lumbering fortresses.

I've attached a zip file that contains an example file that you can drop into the Balance Mod. Also included is a modified CompEnhancement file that gives some addition range to the larger mounts to help balance things out.
Attached Files
File Type: zip 482136-CSpeedMod.zip (29.8 KB, 210 views)
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  #3  
Old December 23rd, 2006, 09:43 PM
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Default Re: Vehicle sizes

Something I would like is an easy way to obtain what type of ship you are using, something like

iff(((get_hull_type) = Destroyer), blah blah blah,yadadad)

would allow for specifying components to specific ship types without relying strictly on tonnage the way component enhancements do.
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Old December 23rd, 2006, 10:14 PM

Raapys Raapys is offline
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Default Re: Vehicle sizes

You can do that by adding the ship size as a new vehicle type, Deadmilk. That way you can limit components to fit just on the selected type(s) without the need for any formulas or such.

*edit*

Uhuh, forgot you can only actually add *unit* types. Doubt that would work then, if they'll all end up with unit behaviour.

Quote:
I like a solution of separating strategic and combat speed. By adjusting a ship's "Space Combat Maximum Speed Per Movement Point" you can keep the smaller ships useful into the late game. Frigates become fast little gunboats while dreads and baseships become great lumbering fortresses.
Still, I don't think this really does much to keep it interesting. The ships inbetween all become too similar, with just 100'ish tonnage seperating them. There's simply no need for over half of the ship sizes.
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  #5  
Old December 25th, 2006, 08:27 AM
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Default Re: Vehicle sizes

I have a very simple method which I use in GGmod (and the old GritEcon for SE4)

(Via mounts) Component Prices are proportional to the size of the ship.
(Via hull abilities) Maintenance percent is inversely proportional to the size of the ship, squared.

This results in:
- Build time is proportional to size squared.
- Combat effectiveness is proportional to size (weapons & armor).
- Maintenance is flat rate.

Thusly, you can build Thirty 40kt scoutships in one turn at your homeworld.
You can alternatively build one 300kt Dreadnought, but it takes 2-3 turns at the homeworld.

With scouts, you get ~5 times the tonnage in warships per month, but unless they're dying in combat very fast, maintenance costs will soon choke your budget.
With dreadnoughts, you can build as many as you like, but you have to be patient.

The ship sizes you choose to build will depend somewhat on the components you need to fit in (Spaceyards aren't that small), but for the most part, it will depend on how the war or peace is going.

The longer you are at peace, the larger your ships will become; as your maintenance becomes stifling, you can replace small ships with medium ships, medium ships with large ships. (Thus increasing your navy's size without increasing maintenance costs)
When war breaks out, and you start losing ships, you will need to notch down the sizes you're building. Once maintenance is less of an issue due to casualties, smaller ships are very expendable.
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  #6  
Old December 25th, 2006, 02:04 PM
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Default Re: Vehicle sizes

Well, this is what I did with SEIV with the mod I never finished (I'm translating it to SEV because it will work so much better, but I still might never get around to finishing it). Some of these ideas may or may not work quite right, as I haven't tested all of them yet.

First one is to use Quasi-Newtonian Propultion. That is a lovely, lovely idea. I set thing so that the biggest ship in the mod (Worldship) was set to something around 230 engines/move. Yes, it was massive, but it could barely move. Because Frigates had 2 engines/move, with the top engines being tremendously small (I forget exactly, but after a few million research points they got you around 1.1 move per kT of engine), they could essentially teleport around the universe while the Worldships chugged along.

Frigates got a 40% bonus to hit and a +50% defense, while the Worldship got -90% to hit and -120% to defense. The Frigates could hit the Worldship, but it didn't have a prayer to hit the Frigates without point defense or tracking turrets. However, the Worldship was over 100 times the size of the Frigate. Because higher-end armor and shields had massive amounts of damage resistance compared to tonnage, the thing could just sit there and ignore a Frigate. It's a stalemate, making a variety of ships useful.

That is, if the Frigate ever engages the Worldship. Chances are, the Frigate will maneuver around it. Fleets of smaller ships become skirmishers, while bigger ships fight over planets.

At the same time, Mounts become larger as they get bigger, but also tougher. For example, I set Large to double damage, one extra range, double tonnage, and thrice the structure. It gets a -20% penalty to hit, too. I can be stuffed on any ship that can handle it. This allows for extra fleet customization, as you can make a bunch of Frigates with a single giant gun designed to punch out larger ships but will have trouble with other Frigates, while you can also use Light mounts or even Tracking mounts (big, dont do a lot of damage, bonus to hit - essentially a mass of gyrostabilizers, servos, and targeting gear) on a massive ship to make it an anti-small ship platform.

At the same time, I was experimenting with specialized crew quarters. Things such as officers, engineers, and what not. The specialized quarters are twice to five times the size of regular ones, but give various bonuses. Obviously, a Frigate will only carry one type of crew, which limits the bonuses it can garner from them. The Worldship, however, can carry a LOT more of them, getting bigger bonues. Considering that there's more ship to apply the bonus to and more ship to stuff quarters in, the big ship gets the big gadgets.

This is going to need some extensive tinkering and testing, but it's what I'm up to.

edit: Another thing I'm looking at with SEV and its formulaic stuff is giving specific ship types different bonuses, rather than giving defense bonuses to everything a they get more advanced. Frigates would get maneuverability and defense bonuses, but no extra kTs of space, while big, lumbering ships would never get a defensive bonus, but rather extra tonnage. I'm also thinking that adding Destroyers would be interesting, which would have to be mid-sized ships that get a bonus to hit, making them specialized at taking out smaller boats.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 09:04 AM
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Default Re: Vehicle sizes

So, are you using leaky shields in that mod?

Because otherwise, that large mount gun sounds pretty useless...
Same dmg/kt/turn, but -20% to hit.
+200% hp means more likely to be hit first.
+1 range is a benefit, but that's pretty thin compensation...

The double damage per hit would be a big benefit against leaky shields or powerful emissive armors, but makes no diff at all against normal shields and armor.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 10:18 AM
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Default Re: Vehicle sizes

Quote:
Suicide Junkie said:
So, are you using leaky shields in that mod?

Because otherwise, that large mount gun sounds pretty useless...
Same dmg/kt/turn, but -20% to hit.
+200% hp means more likely to be hit first.
+1 range is a benefit, but that's pretty thin compensation...

The double damage per hit would be a big benefit against leaky shields or powerful emissive armors, but makes no diff at all against normal shields and armor.
Actually, with the formulaic nature of SEV, I've been looking at a variety of leaky and non-leaky damage types. Normal shields and armor would leak different amounts of damage depending on what they were being hit with. It will be a pain to balance it all out (I'm still not 100% certain on the mount balancing - you pointed out it's imperfect that way and I will agree that it is) but it's not like I ever sleep anyway.

Anyway...the idea would be to have technology affect how well the weapons in question punch through the various types of defenses, while more advanced defenses would be better in general, but also specialize against other things. "Regular" armor would be leaky at best and never take damage first. Reactive armor would also leak but be nigh impossible to get through with purely physical weapons (uranium cannons, for example). Nanitic armor would NOT be leaky, as it uses nanomachines to spread the armor to where it is needed. The exception would be nanitic weapons, which are designed to sneak through holes in armor's molecules to bypass it entirely. Shields would be different kinds of energy that would be effective against different kinds of weapons.

OK, a bit on the complex side and perhaps too ambitious for somebody that still has a job, but it's certainly an interesting thing to play with.

I'm thinking about not only adding leaky defenses but also going 300% damage, 200% size, and 300% structure, with an extra bonus to range on large. Even bigger mounts are a different story entirely, though.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: Vehicle sizes

In SE5, the whole leaky defenses scheme is not really possible as we know it.

Fixed percentage penetration instead of random, full hits to internals with armor degrading in absorption as it weakens.

Leaky shields can be done the normal way, but the downside is you lose SE5's fancy weapon animations.

Directional armor (IE inert internals) is not leaky, but it is tactically interesting in its own way.
Layered shielding (IE non-damagable, highly leaky armor) is interesting too, but it does the same thing every time; somewhat boring.
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Old January 16th, 2007, 07:18 PM
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Default Re: Vehicle sizes

Quote:
Suicide Junkie said:
In SE5, the whole leaky defenses scheme is not really possible as we know it.

Fixed percentage penetration instead of random, full hits to internals with armor degrading in absorption as it weakens.

Leaky shields can be done the normal way, but the downside is you lose SE5's fancy weapon animations.

Directional armor (IE inert internals) is not leaky, but it is tactically interesting in its own way.
Layered shielding (IE non-damagable, highly leaky armor) is interesting too, but it does the same thing every time; somewhat boring.
Ah, haven't quite noticed that yet...I haven't gotten around to doing armor components quite yet. I'm still fighting with vehicle sizes. I'm sure there's some way or another to do it. Perhaps even adding some unpredictability with random calls in the functions on the damage types. 'course, I could just be saying stupid impossible things because damage types I haven't played with yet.

Perhaps you could have if statements with random functions that cause all damage to pass through?

Couldn't armor be put in as a standard component and just left there? Armor could have a higher structure per kT than other components. Or are things more likely to be hit if they have more structure? Or is it based on size?

Eh...stuff what I need to test yet.
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