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Fleet Limit


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#1 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3995

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 05:26 PM

There is a space empire consisting of 100 planets, these planets generate 1,000 recruits that can be used as ships CREW.

You build SHIPS, there is no limit on number of constructed ships but the number of ACTIVE SHIPS (fleet) is limited by crew available.

 

Now, the question is how to handle the crew and ships relationship?

 

Typically in such games crew is used as a hard limit for building ships (you can't build more ships that crew allows) but I can't do it, I need a pool of obsolete/unused ships that are not manned at the moment. My system is supposed to be highly automated (the AI manages which ships are active and which are waiting in reserve, send them to repairs and move older ships to reserve when better ones are built), that part is easy.

 

But what to do if:

- a ship is destoyed (so the crew capacity is freed) - should the crew immediatelly man the next best unmanned ship OR is the crew "dead" and you need to wait till the planets regenerate their pool of recruits?

- a ship is damaged and is sent for repairs - should the crew be able to just switch to a fully operational unmanned ship from reserve (which could be quite unbalancing in case you have a large pool of older unmanned ships, it could make wars quite long; also what to do if their original (better) ship is repaired, should they switch back again)?

 


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#2 Waterlimon   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2641

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 05:46 PM

If ship is destroyed kill the crew. Have some regeneration rate and regen until at theoretical maximum crew reserves.

Crew of damaged ships should just switch to a need one with a shall delay. Some of the crew might die when a ship gets damaged. Or badly hurt. Launching ships could take a lot of resources to get them into space due to gravity and preparations.

Make crew switch to best available free ship only on command, so they won't go back during battle.

I suggest you just kill more ships than damage them so you can't just swap in a new one. The launching costs can be large too or you can have a limited launching rate.

o3o


#3 LorenzoGatti   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2774

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 04:56 AM

I suggest a realistic simulation: less complications and arbitrary decisions for you, and less surprises and aberrant strategies for the players. Abstractions (like "planets regenerating their pool of recruits" or "switching to a ship from reserve") are a threat to the integrity of your game.

  • Damaged ships can be reclassified for automation purposes (e.g. large ship with disabled weapons, capable of transporting cargo but in need of some escort) but they are still flying: sending them to a shipyard for repairs or major upgrades is an order like any other.
  • Reduced-crew ships (e.g. out of redshirts after too many planetary operations) are likewise operating as usual, with reduced capabilities; sending them where new personnel can join the crew should be the player's choice.
  • Severe cases of damage (e.g. no life support) and crew reduction (too few people to pilot) should be treated as a lost ship. Other ships can rescue crew and other stuff, particularly in the case of inoperative engines.
  • The crew of destroyed ships can leave in escape pods or the like, which you can treat as other ships or, more simply, as people reappearing in a preassigned or AI-selected destination after a predictable time (with some chance of dying instead of arriving).
  • Crew assigned to other ships has to travel explicitly (on board a suitable ship) to a base or to a rendez-vous in space, with normal travel time (not "immediately"). Starting such travel on board a damaged ship in the case of recycled crew or on a planet in the case of newly trained officers is a minor detail.
  • Every ship is located somewhere, including mothballed ones. It takes a crew, either directly assigned or manning a big carrier ship, to move "reserve" ships where a full crew will make them operational again. Is there a large difference of quality and/or quantity between the minimum crew required to fly around and the full crew required for war activities?
  • The number of ship officers coming from a certain planet can be limited by the rate of training new starship personnel (e.g. each academy begins a 40 cadets five years course every six months, with 75% dropouts: 10 officers every six months at full capacity) and/or by the rate of breeding exceptional people (e.g. if one child in a million has the required psychic powers to be a warp pilot, a population of 1 billion women who have an average of a child every 50 years yields 20 potential warp pilots per year). Neither limit gives rise to a hard cap on personnel coming from a certain planet, as their numbers, their social impact and their cost of living are negligible.
  • Moreover, anything that happens on the war front has no impact on training replacements for lost crews: qualified starship personnel is supposed to be trained as fast as possible at all times, especially during a war.
  • Both spare ships and spare personnel can be, and should be, shipped around planets and bases according to strategic predictions: places near the front are appropriate for gathering new officers, new ships, repair parts, and ships in need of repairs and crew.

You can effectively limit available personnel, and active fleet sizes as a natural consequence, by making the duration of a war much shorter than the time needed to get significant numbers of new officers.

If a ship can reach any place on the map in 2 days, and there are (at the beginning) 9 mothballed ships for each active one, about 40 days (slightly more in case of losses) are enough to fly every ship you have into battle. Meanwhile, the number of new officers produced is negligible compared to the merely shuttled around ones.


Produci, consuma, crepa

#4 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3995

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 04:04 PM

Things I can't do:

- crew being assigned by player's command - there would be 1,000 ships in a quite early stage of the game, it would be unmanageable; plus it would be inconsistent with the rest of the game. Everything regarding this needs to be fully automated (well, maybe except setting some overall global priorities to your fleet behaviour, like when the AI should retreat with damaged ships, but that's still just a variable of the automated system, not an order issued by the player)

- a realistic simulation - I have no budget (development time) for this :) I need it reasonably simple and easy to implement.

 

More about the overall feel of the game for which I need this subsystem is here: http://www.gamedev.net/topic/644645-sectors-battles-strategy/


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#5 SuperG   Members   -  Reputation: 567

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 11:46 PM

It might be normal that there is no balance between crew vs ships. In peace there is enough crew also experience crew and highly trained and with lot off veterans. Often wen war wages they can build faster then there comes crew. In war with high casulty rate the pool of veterans gets smaller. And new once get younger. Also if there is a shortage of crew, the training get shorter to get more people as fast as possible into the war. At a cost off less trained crew.

How ever depending on what the core gameplay of the game is. There is a pool off gamers that want excesive deep managing core gameplay wich is micro managing. The very multitask capable gamer might like that.
But micromanaging is a very unrealistic way how thing in reallife goes. The norm there is delegation and reponsability. In game this means automation and AI.

The empiror don't command each unit directly. Only his commanders with support of advisors. And go down the chain only in very crusial missions. I expect such game very AI demanding. A empire could be huge with a large amount of ships.
Some RTS games scale down to mission of what commander does. To a group off units. To get a small number game with lot less level off posible micro management.

But it seams it is more large scale with micromanagement off crew.

#6 bluwind   Members   -  Reputation: 181

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 01:12 AM

There is a space empire consisting of 100 planets, these planets generate 1,000 recruits that can be used as ships CREW.

You build SHIPS, there is no limit on number of constructed ships but the number of ACTIVE SHIPS (fleet) is limited by crew available.

 

Now, the question is how to handle the crew and ships relationship?

 

Typically in such games crew is used as a hard limit for building ships (you can't build more ships that crew allows) but I can't do it, I need a pool of obsolete/unused ships that are not manned at the moment. My system is supposed to be highly automated (the AI manages which ships are active and which are waiting in reserve, send them to repairs and move older ships to reserve when better ones are built), that part is easy.

 

But what to do if:

- a ship is destoyed (so the crew capacity is freed) - should the crew immediatelly man the next best unmanned ship OR is the crew "dead" and you need to wait till the planets regenerate their pool of recruits?

- a ship is damaged and is sent for repairs - should the crew be able to just switch to a fully operational unmanned ship from reserve (which could be quite unbalancing in case you have a large pool of older unmanned ships, it could make wars quite long; also what to do if their original (better) ship is repaired, should they switch back again)?

 

 

regarding -"a ship is destroyed", I would personally assign different 'escape pod' values to each type of ship (if your using different types of ship). so say a cruiser may be able to save 20 % of its crew while a science vessel my save 50%. if your, that way your saving some of the crew but still giving the player a reason to not letting his ships die.

 

-"a ship is damaged", this depends entirely on how realistic your making this. it would be one idea to make the crew move to new ships regardless of if the older ship is damaged - after all you don't see the navy still putting out wooden sailing ships. Then again you could have a crew experience field - which increases the ships capability the longer it has served on a vessel. which would mean you would want the crew to return to the older ship once it has been repaired. again my preference would be to have the crew make a permanent move to a new ship every third generation of ship and a temp move while repairs are being made before that, I would also put in the experience field.



#7 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1889

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 04:19 PM

As far as saving crew goes I would first look to your actual battle model. Just saying "The ship has escape pods, and X% of crew magically teleports back to the home world for reassignment" sounds kind of dull to me. Instead having various levels of ship damage (ie, weapon of mass destruction impact on main reactors causing the whole ship to go up vs the hull getting chewed by small weapons fire to the point it is no longer deemed spaceworthy) come into play, as well as the results of the engagement (Your fleet routs and retreats vs a draw with both sides pulling out vs a resounding victory) being the deciding factor in how many actually get to return.

 

Options like a focus on Search and Rescue tech to recover escape pods in battle, or intelligence and special operations for recovering POWs, could really make a difference in a game that fell into total war. 

 

 

As for crew, I suggest limits on logistical movements. Have the player sort out trade/convoy routes which have a set speed and volume, and let the AI move crews around. Have it prompt you if it detects shortages and such so you can quickly spot if you need to enable an emergency convoy or something to move additional forces around. Planets then become resource pools and sinks. 


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#8 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3995

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 04:35 PM


It might be normal that there is no balance between crew vs ships.
Indeed, actually, such balance will be non existant in the game. At the very beginning you will have more crew than ships (planets with population but no fleet) but very soon you will start building ships and as the time progress you will have more and more reserve of older useless ships (I plan rather low casuality rate for ships). So most of the time you will have much more ships than crew.

 

Another thing is that crew (based on population) will be rather static (birth rate is not that big), unlike ships (produced each turn).

 

Generally, I want the player to create formations and ships will be mere weapons (just like in real military). You create a combat squadron (formation) that is supposed to consist of 3 recon ships, 6 combat ships and 2 support ships + the respective crew and the game AI will try to auto assign the best ships to a newly created formation. Note that you can create a formation even if you don't have enough ships for it yet.


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#9 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3995

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 04:44 PM

As far as saving crew goes I would first look to your actual battle model.

Here is the battle model description: http://www.gamedev.net/topic/644645-sectors-battles-strategy/#entry5072337

 

As for crew, I suggest limits on logistical movements. Have the player sort out trade/convoy routes which have a set speed and volume, and let the AI move crews around. Have it prompt you if it detects shortages and such so you can quickly spot if you need to enable an emergency convoy or something to move additional forces around. Planets then become resource pools and sinks.

The player is an emperor (very high level of command) and he won't be able to alter any trade/convoy routes. It will be all either automatized or abstracted.

 

The only logistics related decision would be:

- creation of a starbase/supply depot in a certain sector (which will help with all transport in that sector)

- what percentage of industry is set on building new freighters

- what percentage of industry is set on building new convoy escort ships

- making trade agreements with other empires


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#10 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1889

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 07:52 AM

Well the emperor, if he is to have any control over military strategy, should still be able to say "I want a stockpile/troop depot HERE, make it so", and have the logistics system automate things and pull suitable resources from else where, and divert resources accordingly. If you have a weak freighter infrastructure then any kind of reorganization of your troops/ships would be delayed. If you keep your investment strong then you will have fewer delays (but will likely have fewer ships and trained staff to work with)


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#11 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3995

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 05:06 PM

OK, let's try to make it simplier, not more complex.

 

There are planets that allow (nor produce, more like allow a percentage of population to be recruits) a certain amount of CREW, you also have many SHIPS. Ships require crew to operate. Typically you will have much more ships (most of them old) than available crew, therefore in practice you will have almost unlimited reserve of inferior ships. How to make it work?

 

For example the player gives an order to keep the ratio of:

5% - recon ships

10% - capital ships

70% - destroyers

15% - support ships

 

The HeadQuarters AI will assign the ships from the reserve pool to meet the proportions as similar as possible assigning the best ships first (for example there is enough crew to man 100 ships (so 70 destroyers since that's the proportion) and there are 40 Destroyer II and 150 Destroyer I available, the ACTIVE FLEET will have 40 Destroyer II and 30 Destroyer I.

 

 

But then there is a battle and 5 Destroyer II are destroyed, so the current composition is 35 Destoyer II and 35 Detroyer I. But that's unrealistic and not very playable since the total military numbers have not changed, the crew that was lost is still there? And should these new ships from reserve be added immediately to the active fleet?

This is giving me a bit of headache :D


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#12 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3995

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 03:01 AM

What you think about this?

* significant delay when switching ships (for any reason, could be because the original ship was detroyed (but crew survived) or to man a new ship or to switch to a better ship)

* discourage big ships reserve by maintenance cost

 

Details:

- whenever a crew is assigned to a ship it takes 3 turns before the ship become operational

- the player can set a "Military readiness level", when it's set to low then up to 20% of crew can initiate switching ships each turn (best during peace since it can cause a significant part of the military being locked in the switching state), when it's set to high up to 1% of crew can switch ships (best during war but you can't effectively upgrade to new ships since the new ships will be manned very slowly). All these numbers do not affect unassigned crew, all of them can be assigned at once.

- you pay maintenance for fleet. For active fleet you pay 100%, for reserve fleet you pay 50% but a portion of reserve fleet has a free maintenance (so the player is encouraged to keep some older ships but not too many). The player can scrap ships anytime.


Edited by Acharis, 27 June 2013 - 03:13 AM.

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#13 Archbishop   Members   -  Reputation: 258

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 05:13 PM

Looking at the mechanic of handling crew members directly I see two alternatives to tackling it, depending on how 'important' keeping crew rates high should be.

First Solution - Streaming Crew Members - Background

  • Crew is slowly regenerated over time as long as it is not in combat. Simulates people being slowly shipped to the war front via small vessels or some other means (Quick birthing? I don't know)
  • Crew is freely distributed between ships for efficiency if they are not in combat. (Perhaps a slower rate if they are, to simulate transporting some extra men to a disabled vessel mid-battle)
  • Rate of regeneration is dependent on empire morale, distance from home worlds, and ship size. Being at a friendly planet should offer very very fast crew regeneration rates.

Second Solution - Actual Crew Members - Foreground

  • Crew 'damage' is permanent on a ship to ship basis.
  • Crew can be freely distributed between ships for efficiency when they are, and aren't in combat, similar as above.
  • Ships recover their crew counts by meeting up on friendly well-established worlds (almost instant regeneration, 100 people isn't a lot when there are millions there.) or an extra ship meets up with them to distribute crew.

Something to note for both situations, (of course there might be others as well.), ships can more than likely have more than 100% of their crew, and perhaps can carry 120% of their 'maximum' loads. This would help offset not only crew members dying during combat, but would allow ships to buffer up a damaged fleet without losing efficiency themselves. (120% crew = 100% crew in terms of efficiency in this example, but it could be say 120% = 105-110% efficiency or something like that too)



#14 wodinoneeye   Members   -  Reputation: 878

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 04:58 PM

Command and control  is usually the main scaling issue - can units even communicate sufficiently assuming some commander is capable of coordinating large numbers of ships (usually theiris a hiearchical command structure with group entities to facilitate control AND default orders to handle situations when the command structure breaks down


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#15 Mratthew   Members   -  Reputation: 1582

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 10:37 PM

military lineage is the answer, your full armada will be directed by you but each ship, even as small as corvette will have a captain, upgrading a captain to a commodore enables you to attach multiple ships that commodore to direct a fleet under their direction, enabling you to issue a mission objective to that commodore instead of many different orders and to many different captains. 


Edited by Mratthew, 13 July 2013 - 11:26 PM.





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