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  #1  
Old May 14th, 2011, 05:07 PM

MattII MattII is offline
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Default Races

How variable do we want to make the races/factions, all fixed values, a few pre-game-modifiable options (Space Empires 3), most of the races attributes are pre-game-modifiable (Space Empires 4), or having some basic attributes pre-game-modifiable and some IN-game modifiable?
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Old May 27th, 2011, 06:56 AM

Central_Speaker_Dan Central_Speaker_Dan is offline
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Default Re: Races

In SEV I always found that the race creation had very ,little effect on how the game worked.
It made absolutely no difference to the game whether you were a humanoid, insectoid or a boiling blob of goo. Surely all of these different racial types would have slightly different technologies?
Take Star Trek for an example; 90% of all ships are corridors and living space but what would the ship look like if the crew was only 50cm tall?
Equally wouldn't the life support technologies be rather different if the race lived in an atmosphere with a pH 0f 14? And on top of that such an alkaline environment would corrode most technologies that we currently use so all of their tech would have to be different in order to survive.


As for what variables a player should be able to set:
Ideal Gravity Range. For humans this would be from 0.5g-1.5g.
pH of the environment. For humans this would be 6.5-7.5.
Atmosphere composition. For humans it would be Oxygen-Nitrogen.
Air pressure. For humans it would be 95KPa-105KPa.
Radiation resistance. For humans it would be low. This must cost something to raise else everyone will instantly go for high.
Planet Type. Gas Giant, Terrestrial, Water World, Asteroid, etc.

I think that is about it really.
You should be able to create anything you want with that set of variables,
Dan.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 07:02 PM
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Gregstrom Gregstrom is offline
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Default Re: Races

How much effect would some of these things actually have on gameplay from the player's perspective? Okay, a race that lived in a corrosive or caustic atmosphere might rely on ceramics rather than metals, but to the player it's still a resource cost. And varying research and construction costs by home environment is probably rather hard to balance. The idea of setting tolerances for temperature, atmosphere and gravity is definitely workable - Stars! used something like it, and it was a key part of the race design. I rather enjoyed it. Possibly having 6 environment variables is too many though... it could become too easy to end up in games where all the players had such different preferences that nobody needed to fight each other.

I didn't think much of race design in the SE games either - the MOO2 system of checkboxes for preferences and predilections allowed a whole lot of variety while still encouraging competition for resources, and the Stars! system of sliders did the same in a different way. I'd like to see something more like Stars! myself, as far as race design goes. It was fun and a little unusual.

By the way, why place humans at the low end of radiation resistance? Earth has a relatively thin atmosphere, isn't too far from our nice hot yellow sun, and for that matter we don't live underwater where our surroundings would provide a rarely handy radiation shield. I'd prefer to see humans around the mid-point of radiation tolerance.

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Old May 28th, 2011, 08:12 PM

MattII MattII is offline
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Default Re: Races

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregstrom View Post
Possibly having 6 environment variables is too many though... it could become too easy to end up in games where all the players had such different preferences that nobody needed to fight each other.
Agreed, drop Causticity and Air Pressure, the other 4 are bigger concerns and provide enough complexity.

Quote:
I didn't think much of race design in the SE games either - the MOO2 system of checkboxes for preferences and predilections allowed a whole lot of variety while still encouraging competition for resources, and the Stars! system of sliders did the same in a different way. I'd like to see something more like Stars! myself, as far as race design goes. It was fun and a little unusual.
Well I don't know about SE5, but SE4 got both, levelled sliders for basic attributes, and check-boxes for some advanced options (specialist technology, less fuel use, emotionless populations).

BTW, could you maybe get me some screens of the MOO2 and Stars! race design screens, they seem remarkably hard to come by on the net.
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Old May 30th, 2011, 04:40 PM

Central_Speaker_Dan Central_Speaker_Dan is offline
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Default Re: Races

Quote:
I'd prefer to see humans around the mid-point of radiation tolerance.
because a fruit fly has 10 million times the resistance to radiation that a human.
And who says low has to be the lowest?

Dan.
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Old May 31st, 2011, 05:36 PM
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Default Re: Races

I'm not sure I agree with your numbers there. Besides which, there's quite a difference between acute doses of radiation and environmental exposure. And comparisons between terrestrial organisms (where I admit mammals generally don't seem to come off very well) aren't the point. You want to be looking as possible non-terrestrial environments, and quite a lot of those have lower background radiation levels than Earth. Gas giants seem to have enormous amounts of radiation shielding, for example. It doesn't seem an unreasonable assumption that life evolving on planets with little background radiation wouldn't have any great degree of tolerance.

@MattII: I don't have screenies for either game, I'm afraid - I haven't had them installed for a while. Wikipedia describes the different options rather well, and http://www.starsfaq.com/articles/basic_race_design.htm goes into the advanced techniques.

Basically, you get to set width and position of sliders on 3 habitability ranges determining what proportion of the galaxy's planets are initially habitable. You set a primary racial trait, which affects your overall play style quite strongly. A series of minor racial traits are available, which add perks with corresponding disadvantages. You also configure racial productivity settings (for both population and factories) and how effectively you can research.
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Old June 3rd, 2011, 04:49 AM

Central_Speaker_Dan Central_Speaker_Dan is offline
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Default Re: Races

Quote:
I'm not sure I agree with your numbers there.
I know they aren't right but it was late and I was on my way to bed. I have the actual article stating the value here somewhere in my room but as it is immaterial I haven't been bothered to find it.
I think it said that a particular species of fly (I can't remember exactly which one) could survive a dose of up to and not including 10 million siverts (10,000,000Sv).

Quote:
You want to be looking as possible non-terrestrial environments, and quite a lot of those have lower background radiation levels than Earth.
You are absolutely right that the Earth has a relatively thin atmosphere and that we sit on the inner half of our sun's goldilocks zone. In that sense the Earth has a relatively high amount of celestial radiation but have you thought about the radiation that the planet itself will generate?
The interactions between the layers of a Gas Giant, its rings and its moons are bound to create massive electromagnetic distortions and possibly generate a lot of radiation.
Never-the-less you are correct to say that there will be organisms with far lower and for that matter far higher radiation resistances.

Quote:
Radiation resistance... This must cost something to raise else everyone will instantly go for high.
I was contemplating a way to make radiation resistance an automated system that the player has no direct control over and I realised that it all depends on how radiation levels are generated for planets.
I would think it something like this:
-The thicker the atmosphere the less radiation.
-The further from the star/stars the less radiation (Inverse square law).
-The less radioactive resource produced the less radiation.

As such the radiation resistance of a race could be set up to follow the same rules.
-Atmosphere type has an effect. No atmosphere has highest radiation resistance, really dense atmosphere (this is were air pressure comes in at least as a background, non active, calculation aid) has a really low radiation level.
-Racial types have different effects. Say a Humanoid has a moderate and an Insectoid a high resistance.
-Home Planet type has an effect. A gas Giant has less radiation that a terrestrial.

These are all determined during race creation but a second set of influencing factors could be added so that the same race has a different resistance every game.
-Distance of home-world from star. The further the lower the resistance.
-Radioactive resource output of planet. The higher the output the higher the races radiation resistance.
-Number of stars. If you start in a system with three stars the radiation output will be aprox 3 times greater so your resistance will be aprox 3 times greater.

What do you both think?
Dan.
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  #8  
Old June 4th, 2011, 06:06 PM

MattII MattII is offline
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Default Re: Races

What I'd like to see is certain cultural attributes that can be changed during the game itself, such as how good you are at research compared to how good you are at construction compared to how militaristic your culture is, etc.
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Old June 5th, 2011, 04:29 AM

Central_Speaker_Dan Central_Speaker_Dan is offline
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Default Re: Races

How do you mean?

Am I right in thinking that you are leaning towards something like a 'budget slider' so that you can control how much of your empires resources are spent on these things?
That way if I needed to build ships quickly I could increase the construction budget or if I needed a new tech fast then I could increase the research budget.

Does that sound like a usable system?
Dan.
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Old June 5th, 2011, 07:51 AM

MattII MattII is offline
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Default Re: Races

Quote:
Originally Posted by Central_Speaker_Dan View Post
Am I right in thinking that you are leaning towards something like a 'budget slider' so that you can control how much of your empires resources are spent on these things?
That way if I needed to build ships quickly I could increase the construction budget or if I needed a new tech fast then I could increase the research budget.
No, what I was meaning would be like the Characteristics screen in the SE4 Empire Setup section, only with the categories being Racial (covering what is now Environmental Resistance, Reproduction and Happiness) and Cultural (pretty much everything else in the screen). Racial characteristics would be fixed at the start of the game, but Cultural characteristics would be modifiable during the game, though the changes would take time to take effect (like say 1 point per turn per characteristic).

Last edited by MattII; June 5th, 2011 at 08:04 AM..
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