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4X Spaceships innate special abilities


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#1 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7734

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 08:35 AM

Hey folks,

 

As some know, I'm currently developing a 4X type of game. I've come a long way in terms of development and general game design, and I find myself designing spaceships that are unique to each race. At this stage, I want to spice it up a bit:

 

What I'm looking for is ideas of how to make these unique. I want to include some "topdown design" to focus on the theme.

 

So basically, anything special a spaceship could do would be interesting. Can be battle-related, economy-related, movement-related, stealth-related, or anything you can possibly think of that could be of interest.

 

Cheap / Stock examples:

- Double Speed

- Cloaking Device

- Terraforming

- Long range scanners

- Hyperjump

- etc.

 

Thoughts?



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#2 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2884

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 09:25 AM

Battle related

 

clustership -- ship can break down into multiple self powered modules for tactical engagement

Harpoons for dragging prey spaceships or dragging your ship onto the enemy ship

Ramships -- Ramming speed!!!
Organic ships -- harder to detect

 

 

Economy related

Sun harvesters -- scooping elements from the corona

Rock chewers -- processing asteroids, comets etc

privateers/pirates/slave traders 

Circus ships (or theme alternatives such as casino or whorehouse or zoo)

Salvage ships

 

 

Meh found myself reading your post more clearly and realised you were referring to features within ships, I will come back to this when I have thought about it more.



#3 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7734

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 10:29 AM


clustership -- ship can break down into multiple self powered modules for tactical engagement

 

Much akin to a fighter-squadron being attached to a carrier? What would the key difference be?

If one of the modules gets destroyed, at the end of a combat sequence, would it still be allowed to reform and be a functional entity no matter how many modules there are left?

I'm particularly interested in this implementation as this is something that was recently added to VGA Planets NU, but while the idea has potential, I feel the implementation they did is lackluster.

 


Harpoons for dragging prey spaceships or dragging your ship onto the enemy ship

Like a towing beam? If so, yes, I already use this :)

 


Ramships -- Ramming speed!!!

Hell yeah! I've already got two of them, one of which actually self-destructs on contact (assuming it reaches the target) making it an efficient missile-ship

 


Organic ships -- harder to detect

As in, the ship hull's shape would have harder to detect emissions because of its shape? if so, yes, I do have this as an alternative to actual cloaking devices already, based on stealth bombers.

 


Sun harvesters -- scooping elements from the corona

Rock chewers -- processing asteroids, comets etc

I'm actually using a single ship to harvest different spacebound objects.

 


privateers/pirates/slave traders

One of my playable races is based around the idea of Pirates. I do have a mercenary ship to support it, and slaves are a key component of the game economy.

 


Circus ships (or theme alternatives such as casino or whorehouse or zoo)

Any reference I could draw from? I imagine the primary uses for these would be both profitability and morale. There was such a ship in VGA Planets (a casino ship). I refrained from doing so because I felt it was a very straightforward ship with no actual decision (fill it with population and it generates cash, no other reason to use it).

I'm interested in the zoo / circus variant because it feels like filling it with population wouldn't be enough. There would be an actual use of resources to fill it with (animals, gear, etc) which would make it less straightforward.

However, one of the key principles of my game is that all ships should be reusable in combat. Even the freighters would be requisitioned to bring ammunition to the front if necessary. I'm having a tough time finding a way to make a circus ship also relevant during warfare.

 


Meh found myself reading your post more clearly and realised you were referring to features within ships, I will come back to this when I have thought about it more.

Your post remains relevant. These ideas are also in line with what I'm trying to achieve. Ramships, for example, caused a nerdgasm when I figured them out ;)



#4 Archbishop   Members   -  Reputation: 258

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 10:46 AM

Economy Driven

  • Terraforming
  • Mining with either very large drills or lasers.
  • Cargo Space Modifiers +/-
  • Planet Smasher 
  • Orbital Bombardment Bonuses / Capabilities
  • Broadcast / Advertising Ship (Space Radio of sorts, or perhaps supplies goods too?)

Movement Driven

  • Standard Impulse Speed Modifiers +/-
  • Warp to and from locations +/-
  • Turn Rate Modifiers +/-
  • Warp 'Network' to warp to and from predetermined locations.
  • No engines at all (Immobile Stations)
  • Warping to specific units (Perhaps a scout with a Warp Signature Module or something for ambushes)

Defensive Driven

  • Sensor Boosting Modifiers +/- (Improved/Lower Accuracy)
  • Sensor Range Modifiers +/- (Improved/Lower 'Vision')
  • Weapon Capable Cloak (Weaker/No energy weapons, some sort of flickering)
  • Non-Weapons Cloak (Standard)
  • X-Weapon Type Hardened Shields/Armor/Hull (Resistance to X type)
  • X-Weapon Type Weakened Shields/Armor/Hull (Opposite of above)
  • Defensive Point Defense Systems (Flares, Weak AM lasers)
  • Offensive Point Defense Systems (Space-Flak, can be used as a 'real' weapon too.)
  • EM Burst (Takes friendly / enemy modules offline. Deadens combat for a while?)
  • Repair Crew Skill Modifiers (Repair Rate +/-)
  • Repair Shuttles (Repair of friendly ships)
  • Shield Transfer 

Offensive Driven

  • Unique Ammo Types targeted at Shield/Armor/Hull
  • Missile Velocity Modifiers +/-
  • Weapon Type Damage Modifiers +/-
  • Reload Speed Modifiers +/-
  • Effective Weapon Range Modifiers +/-
  • Ramming Modules (Mentioned, and a great one)
  • Multi-Module Ship (The Clustership idea mentioned above. I think they're referring to  where a single ship can split up in to two functional parts and combat the enemy on its own.)
  • Drone and Drone defense modules
  • Drone Damage, Drone Speed, Drone Accuracy Modifiers +/-

Types of Weapons

  • High Speed Mass Drivers
  • Lasers
  • Missiles and Torpedos
  • Tractor and Repulse Beams
  • Kinetic Projectile Weapons (Ala Space-Chaingun)
  • Scatter-cannon (Ala Space-Shotgun)
  • Bore Drill (I personally haven't seen anything like this, but if such a missile could get through shields, or even a Shield Bore variant it could hurt. (No idea how that would work))


#5 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3557

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 02:01 PM

- Low maintenance cost

- Reduced crew required (if you use a system where you have X crew empire wide to man all your ships)

- Safe reactors (does not explode upon critical hit)

- Flagship (gives a bonus to other units, 1 flagship per 100 units for full bonus; or enables admiral slot - whatever it means smile.png)

- Tactical net (each ship in a fleet that have it works better with other ships that have it, best if 100% of your ships have it; this makes sense only if the player have means (via upgrades for example) to assure all ships eventually get this ability)

- Escape pod (after destroying you get a "pod" ship that auto moves to neares friendly base, you can upgrade it to another ship or disband to get some dicsount to your cost (the premise is that the crew escaped and you can use them again, so part of your military asset survived))

- Fully AI managed (no crew, immune to some weapons, cheaper maintenance, vurnerable to viruses and electronic warfare)

 

Don't forget you can mix the traits, A+B, A+C, B+C, this can make a veeery interesting mechanic. Overall I think at least some of the abilities should be reused in other ships (in different configurations).


Edited by Acharis, 08 July 2013 - 02:02 PM.

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#6 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7734

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 11:02 AM

All items in strikethrough hae already been implemented.

 

@Archbishop

 

Economy Driven

  • Terraforming
  • Mining with either very large drills or lasers.
  • Cargo Space Modifiers +/- As in a freighter-dedicated vessel?
  • Planet Smasher As in a ship that destroys planets?
  • Orbital Bombardment Bonuses / Capabilities
  • Broadcast / Advertising Ship (Space Radio of sorts, or perhaps supplies goods too?) I'm interested in this one. How do you envision its role, on a purely theoretical basis? How do you anticipate communications to be essential to your fleet, etc.

Movement Driven

  • Standard Impulse Speed Modifiers +/- As in, more manoeuvrable ships in combat? If so, already done too.
  • Warp to and from locations +/-
  • Turn Rate Modifiers +/- Would that tie in with the standard impulse speed modifiers, or is the intent to actually be more proficient at dodging attacks in combat?
  • Warp 'Network' to warp to and from predetermined locations.
  • No engines at all (Immobile Stations) Weapons Platforms?
  • Warping to specific units (Perhaps a scout with a Warp Signature Module or something for ambushes)

Defensive Driven

  • Sensor Boosting Modifiers +/- (Improved/Lower Accuracy)
  • Sensor Range Modifiers +/- (Improved/Lower 'Vision')
  • Weapon Capable Cloak (Weaker/No energy weapons, some sort of flickering) As in, firing a weapon does not remove the cloak?
  • Non-Weapons Cloak (Standard)
  • X-Weapon Type Hardened Shields/Armor/Hull (Resistance to X type)
  • X-Weapon Type Weakened Shields/Armor/Hull (Opposite of above)
  • Defensive Point Defense Systems (Flares, Weak AM lasers)
  • Offensive Point Defense Systems (Space-Flak, can be used as a 'real' weapon too.)
  • EM Burst (Takes friendly / enemy modules offline. Deadens combat for a while?)
  • Repair Crew Skill Modifiers (Repair Rate +/-)
  • Repair Shuttles (Repair of friendly ships)
  • Shield Transfer As in, any nearby allies would receive its shields in addition?

Offensive Driven

  • Unique Ammo Types targeted at Shield/Armor/Hull
  • Missile Velocity Modifiers +/- Interesting, especially given that my game deals with point-defense and interception of missiles...
  • Weapon Type Damage Modifiers +/-
  • Reload Speed Modifiers +/-
  • Effective Weapon Range Modifiers +/-
  • Ramming Modules (Mentioned, and a great one)
  • Multi-Module Ship (The Clustership idea mentioned above. I think they're referring to where a single ship can split up in to two functional parts and combat the enemy on its own.)
  • Drone and Drone defense modules Akin to "fighters" aboard a carrier?
  • Drone Damage, Drone Speed, Drone Accuracy Modifiers +/-

Types of Weapons

  • High Speed Mass Drivers
  • Lasers
  • Missiles and Torpedos
  • Tractor and Repulse Beams
  • Kinetic Projectile Weapons (Ala Space-Chaingun)
  • Scatter-cannon (Ala Space-Shotgun)
  • Bore Drill (I personally haven't seen anything like this, but if such a missile could get through shields, or even a Shield Bore variant it could hurt. (No idea how that would work)) Perhaps as a melee weapon attached to ramships? You RAM, then you drill, and then, your boarding parties can get through easily?

 

@Acharis

 

- Low maintenance cost

- Reduced crew required (if you use a system where you have X crew empire wide to man all your ships)

- Safe reactors (does not explode upon critical hit) Interesting. While it can't be taken "as is" in my current system, I have a "component status" kind of mechanic where it would be possible to make engines "safer" and give a better chance of retreat when damaged. Definitely food for thought.

- Flagship (gives a bonus to other units, 1 flagship per 100 units for full bonus; or enables admiral slot - whatever it means smile.png)

- Tactical net (each ship in a fleet that have it works better with other ships that have it, best if 100% of your ships have it; this makes sense only if the player have means (via upgrades for example) to assure all ships eventually get this ability) I'm considering using the reverse idea so to speak. The idea of a tactical net comes with some kind of "spread". Perhaps, much akin to one of Star Trek TNG's episodes, they could form a net of intelligence where everything that comes between them, if they are not too far apart, would be detected, cloaked or not?

- Escape pod (after destroying you get a "pod" ship that auto moves to neares friendly base, you can upgrade it to another ship or disband to get some dicsount to your cost (the premise is that the crew escaped and you can use them again, so part of your military asset survived))

- Fully AI managed (no crew, immune to some weapons, cheaper maintenance, vurnerable to viruses and electronic warfare)

 

 

Overall, I'm faced with two conclusions:

Positive: I've already covered a lot of the elements that you guys have suggested, which means my research has been fruitful, and I've got a decent mix of hulls already planned.

Negative: You've mentionned the majority of the hull mechanics I had listed on my own. I believe I fall a bit short of "spicing things up" if a quick brainstorm has revealed most of my ship designs already.

 

What I'm really looking for at this stage is original "out of the box" concepts. For starters, I've implemented a mercenary ship that will recruit troops only if it has money onboard, and only if it is orbiting a ground conflict. These troops will leave as soon as the conflict is over. It was the best way I could think of to implement this topdown idea (the concept of space mercenaries). Presumably, your ship broadcasts a signal, issued by a quartermaster, and nearby mercenaries are drawn to it. They get paid (the cash you lose in the process) and help during the battle.

 

I've got a few more in that vein, which have a strong theme attachment and are not usually seen in other games.

 

Do you guys have any suggestion along these guidelines?



#7 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2682

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 03:52 PM

Some out of the box ideas...

 

Von Neumann Cloud -  A cloud of self replicating machines. Each machine acts as an automated self propelled war heads.  As long as they have access to raw materials like a  planet or moon the cloud can grow exponentially large. Each swarm can contain hundreds or thousands of machines.

 

Cyber Slicer Ship - Small stealth ship equipped with advanced hacking tools. Can steal information and credits from colonies or in battle hack enemy ships removing friendly ships from their sensors or change making their allies appear to be enemies.

 

Dimensional Drift -  A dimensional drift ships in not bound by standard 3 dimensional movement they can effectively move freely to anywhere in range by passing through another dimension.

 

Superconductive fan ship -  A superconductive ship is completely immune to all energy based weapons. The hull transmits the energy and heat from these attacks harmlessly across the hull into arrays that radiate the energy into space.

 

Hard Rock Powered Ultimate Weapon -  As featured in my favorite anime series of all time Black Heaven( you can see it used at around the 50 second mark in this clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LYz29JVHDc)   The ultimate weapon is capable destroying an entire fleet in an single blast and is powered by groove.  The collective  excitement and happiness of the people watching the performance determines the power of the weapon.  So it could a weapon the turns the empires moral into offensive weapon.

 

Mouse Missile -  Missiles that deliver of a payload of techno organic lifeforms that rapidly disable or destroy ships they hit.

 

Black Hole ship -  a super weapon that once activated shrinks in size and grows in mass until forms an artificial singularity trapping and destroying nearby ships and forcing changes to navigation around the anomaly.  Can be used a weapon or to create "walls" in space.

 

Tree Ship - A ships powered by a sacred tree (As seen in the tenchi muyo series) carries minimal weapons but a nearly indestructible defensive system in a one on one battle the Tree Ship will never be destroyed.  They can also create pocket dimensions inside themselves making the ideal for tourism, travel, and colonization.  One tree ship could carry hundreds of times as many people as a comparable ship of its size.

 

Cluster ships - are made of dozens of small ships joined together to function as single ship.  They are effective transports as each is small an lightly equipped but combined act as a much larger single ship.  They can also in emergency separate and scatter to allow most of the cluster to escape an aggressor. If worse comes to worse you might lose one or two small ships rather than a single large ship and all its cargo.

 

Forwarding Platform -  A space platform that can send ships fast distance instantly.  Of course if you con't have a forwarding platform at the other end then it will be a one trip or take a long time to return.  

 

Solar Sailing ship -  Requires no engine thanks to its light weight design and vast solar sails that propel it by the solar winds.

 

 

Near Light Speed Accelerator escape pod. -Taking advantage of the effects of relativity the ship accelerates to near light speed and then slows down.  Effectively sending it hours, days, weeks, or even years into the future.

 

Comfort Cruiser - Luxury ship that carries companions for "comfort" to planets.  Generates income, increases the happiness of the colony, add establishes espionage networks.

 

Holo ship - a simple drone designed to generate holographic ship and false sensor data.  Useful for launching fake attacks on an enemy diverting their fleet away from the real fleet.

 

Just some ideas


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#8 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7734

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 06:55 AM

Definitely some interesting ideas in there!

 

 

Von Neumann Cloud - A cloud of self replicating machines. Each machine acts as an automated self propelled war heads. As long as they have access to raw materials like a planet or moon the cloud can grow exponentially large. Each swarm can contain hundreds or thousands of machines.

So, by design, they'd be self-destruct devices (warheads) rather than actual ships? Technically, a cloud of sentient missiles so to speak?

Wouldn't the drawback be that one explosive device would set them all off?

 

Cyber Slicer Ship - Small stealth ship equipped with advanced hacking tools. Can steal information and credits from colonies or in battle hack enemy ships removing friendly ships from their sensors or change making their allies appear to be enemies.

I actually have three variants of these, but I like the implications you're listing here. Especially "removing allied ships from sensors". My other cloaked hackers deal mostly with sensor hacking, casting illusions, etc. Assuming one of these ships can only hack one enemy ship at a time, it would need to work in taskforce to defeat a fleet's vision and create an incursion, and I can see fun in trying to plan such an attack, or thwart it.

The stealing "information" part is a bit tricky, but its food for thought as well.

I also like the misinformation part where you turn allies into enemy blips, causing potential political turmoil. I have one species that focuses on that, so I'll be sure to include this somehow!

 

 

Dimensional Drift - A dimensional drift ships in not bound by standard 3 dimensional movement they can effectively move freely to anywhere in range by passing through another dimension.

Basically, warping?

 

Superconductive fan ship - A superconductive ship is completely immune to all energy based weapons. The hull transmits the energy and heat from these attacks harmlessly across the hull into arrays that radiate the energy into space.

Interesting. It's a bit of a "beam weaponry hoser" kind of hull, but it would be interesting to throw something similar into the mix and see how people would react (whether they expect their enemy to use it or not, and how they respond to it). I would try to make sure that it does not obliterate the use of beam weaponry though.

 

Hard Rock Powered Ultimate Weapon - As featured in my favorite anime series of all time Black Heaven( you can see it used at around the 50 second mark in this clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LYz29JVHDc) The ultimate weapon is capable destroying an entire fleet in an single blast and is powered by groove. The collective excitement and happiness of the people watching the performance determines the power of the weapon. So it could a weapon the turns the empires moral into offensive weapon.

I like the idea of channeling morale, but this implementation feels indeed a bit anime. I'd want something a bit more science-related.

I currently have a species that has a strong empathic capacity, and the abilities of the ships become stronger based on the amount of population onboard. It sort of ties in with your idea here, except it doesn't apply to actual firepower per se.

 

Mouse Missile - Missiles that deliver of a payload of techno organic lifeforms that rapidly disable or destroy ships they hit.

Like nanobots? I'm trying to refrain from using uber-powerful concepts as they would be hard to counter and would make for potentially dull gameplay. Assuming the nanobots would work like a poison (take longer than regular weaponry to take effect) it could work for hit-and-run tactics perhaps?

 

Black Hole ship - a super weapon that once activated shrinks in size and grows in mass until forms an artificial singularity trapping and destroying nearby ships and forcing changes to navigation around the anomaly. Can be used a weapon or to create "walls" in space.

I actually had a static defense behave much like that, but the idea of a mobile starship performing this is actually great. Some kind of a mobile warp well is indeed something that I'd like to implement. One of my species deals in physics and could do with such a ship very well.

 

Tree Ship - A ships powered by a sacred tree (As seen in the tenchi muyo series) carries minimal weapons but a nearly indestructible defensive system in a one on one battle the Tree Ship will never be destroyed. They can also create pocket dimensions inside themselves making the ideal for tourism, travel, and colonization. One tree ship could carry hundreds of times as many people as a comparable ship of its size.

So, in essence, its cargo capacity would not be directly tied to extra mass? I'm affraid I already have one of those.

How exactly does it defensive system work? why is it so tough to break?

 

Cluster ships - are made of dozens of small ships joined together to function as single ship. They are effective transports as each is small an lightly equipped but combined act as a much larger single ship. They can also in emergency separate and scatter to allow most of the cluster to escape an aggressor. If worse comes to worse you might lose one or two small ships rather than a single large ship and all its cargo.

Third person to mention the Cluster Ship. I really need to look into this then :P

 

Forwarding Platform - A space platform that can send ships fast distance instantly. Of course if you con't have a forwarding platform at the other end then it will be a one trip or take a long time to return.

I've called them Warpgates, but they are the same in essence. Once again, only one species has access to this.

 

Solar Sailing ship - Requires no engine thanks to its light weight design and vast solar sails that propel it by the solar winds.

Yeah, one of the first ships I made, following some extensive research on wikipedia. The concept intrigued me and I messed around until I figured this one out. Sadly only good at transport, not warfare, but still a good economic ship because of the free movement.

 

Near Light Speed Accelerator escape pod. -Taking advantage of the effects of relativity the ship accelerates to near light speed and then slows down. Effectively sending it hours, days, weeks, or even years into the future.

I'm having a rough time figuring the implications of forward time travel in a turn-based strategy game. Would the ship disappear for a few turns, and then reappear someplace else afterwards? Would there be strategic gain and denying yourself the use of this ship for all of this time?

Or as you suggest, would it be a last resort to "spare" a ship from destruction (rather than being destroyed, the ship disappears for 3-5 turns, and then reappears).

 

 

Comfort Cruiser - Luxury ship that carries companions for "comfort" to planets. Generates income, increases the happiness of the colony, add establishes espionage networks.

The first two I can understand, but how would the comfort cruiser help espionage? Wouldn't the enemy see the ship? If I see a comfort cruiser I didn't build come my way, I'd probably shoot it dead unless I also get a benefit from it? Is the intent to have the ship increase the colony, regardless of the owner? in such a way, you could "loan it" to other players, but still get leverage on them as you would reap information from the "temporary trade" so an enemy will never know if your offer is genuine, or an attempt to doublecross them?

 

Holo ship - a simple drone designed to generate holographic ship and false sensor data. Useful for launching fake attacks on an enemy diverting their fleet away from the real fleet.

Got this one too already.

 

 

Thanks for the ideas, very clever concepts in there. I doubt I can implement all of them, but I might be able to modify some of the ideas and come up with great hulls!






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