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Automatic/semi automatic building space ships


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#21 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3000

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 03:43 AM

Below I ignored personnel, fuel, missions for now. It's only about components (mechanical stuff you install on ships).

 

 

Production & budget

I think there should be two completely separate production facilities: shipyards (produce ships) and factories (produce equipment you install on ships). It would give more control to the player (on the ratio of ships to equipment) plus it's intuitive and realistic (orbital shipyards make hulls and ground factories equipment to install on these hulls).

Also, when idle these should produce civilian goods (actually, I feel the player should be encouraged to keep like 25% of these permanently idle for purpose of supplying civilian sector and switch to 100% only during wartime). Anyway, they player would not be punished for not having a perfect ratio of shipyards to factories.

 

As for budget, I think there should be a numeric [$1,000,000] general military budget (production of new stuff) and then a percenatge [40%/60%] budget for shipyards & factories. So, when there is lack of resources the player can tamper with just the general military spending slider while the ratios of production would remian constant.

Also, since factories & shipyards can produce civilian goods, whenever you have too low budget to use these at full capacity these would automaticly produce resources (civilian goods/income) which later allows you to increase the military spending (a nice self balancing system without micromanagement).

 


by selecting core component, offensive, defensive, and luxury/misc. supply priorities. The automation takes over and the player uses whatever he gets.
I'm not sure, I was thinking more of mutually exclusive choices (if you installed heavy armor there is not enough room for weapons; besides, if you have heavy armours you might want life pods as well I suppose), it might be more fun/reasonable this way... On the other hand having slots and saying that Hull type X can always have at least one shield and it does not limit the number of other components is fun too... Maybe some mix of these (tonnage & slots)?

 

Also, I was thinking of not having priorities for all things (if the choice is obvious).

For example, reactors (delivers energy). These could be fully automated, like if a ship has lots of weapons the AI installs a better reactor, when it has too much power it uninstalls current reactor and installs a weaker one instead (the AI would try to always install the weakest reactor that meets the energy criteria).

Or (more complex, not sure if it's good) boosters. The player would have a slider "optimum speed" for each fleet. The AI will try to add to that fleet ships that meet this criteria and if the ship is too slow it would add engine boosters as the first priority (overriding other priorities like weaponry and armour).

 

With this system I guess there would need to be some feedback system. So the AI can report to the player "we are having not enough reactors of power 40 or higher" or "more engine boosters would be nice". Then the player could adjust production priorities or budget or build more factories or order researching better reactors.


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#22 ActiveUnique   Members   -  Reputation: 769

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 08:14 PM

I can't really see a flaw, but it seems overloaded with extra details.

 

  • You have the mutually exclusive design component, this would be a slots based ship layout system, and it works fine.
  • The civilian supplies would indicate there are extra economic behaviors established in the intended game, I think this means production of useless goods would be avoided in favor of these boosting goods.
  • The feedback system mentioned could occur, but I think it'd be easier to represent in strings of numbers.
  • You said something about a general military budget, but that seems to be the only budget we have to look at anyway.

Something about mentioning the player decides anything other than the ships, it just seems off-topic. So if you want to have the player to do those things, it is fine.

 

But I think it could just as easily be: player picks fleet, everything bends to make it work and it could even have a time prediction when it's done, [insert game, obstacles / something tempting the player to continue, maybe even a sandbox].


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#23 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3000

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 06:53 AM


You have the mutually exclusive design component, this would be a slots based ship layout system, and it works fine.
Yeah, but how exactly visualize it (interface)... And are these slot filled by the player or by AI?

 


The feedback system mentioned could occur, but I think it'd be easier to represent in strings of numbers.
I have two objections. First, the player needs to understand these numbers :) Second (far more important), isn't it cool that you (the player) are some sort of emperor sitting on your throne and there is your minister coming to you each turn giving you a report on production.

 

Also, numbers can't tell you everything. If I tie the AI logs to "reports" then I can show the player where exactly the production AI has a problem (AIs are rarely perfect, by the numbers it might look all right sometimes and it might be a situation easy to handle by the human, but for AI it might be sometimes an obstacle it can't deal with), so, this "report" is also a sort of "AIs cry for human help" :)

 


You said something about a general military budget, but that seems to be the only budget we have to look at anyway.
Research budget, recreation budget (so people don't rebel), spy network budget, indusutry & infrastructure budget (buildings new shipyards & factories). There will be no shortage of these :)

 


Something about mentioning the player decides anything other than the ships, it just seems off-topic. So if you want to have the player to do those things, it is fine.

But I think it could just as easily be: player picks fleet, everything bends to make it work and it could even have a time prediction when it's done, [insert game, obstacles / something tempting the player to continue, maybe even a sandbox].
I have a problem deciding what kind of level of control the palyer should have. We can discuss it.

 

My only/primary goal is that there are no trivial decisions to make, boring stuff to deal with and chores to do (like manual replacement of old ships, moving ship one by one, etc). The rest is negotiatable :D


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#24 Wai   Members   -  Reputation: 861

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 08:37 PM

 

My only/primary goal is that there are no trivial decisions to make, boring stuff to deal with and chores to do (like manual replacement of old ships, moving ship one by one, etc). The rest is negotiable biggrin.png

In 2002 I made a game with similar premise and it was fun. The fun factor was that in that game, the player could manually pilot any unit and fight with the squadron and the fleet. The player could freely change their role to match the actions in the game.

 

1. The player can choose what and where to build (How much resource to spend on infrastructure, defense, and offense)

2. The player can choose the composition and formation of each fleet and squadron

3. The player can choose the command structure and engagement pattern of the fleet and squadron

4. The player can override and specify which target for a fleet/squadron to attack first

5. The player can override and pilot any individual unit and fight manually like an arcade game

 

One of the design decisions I made was to expose the decision points as physical objects in the game. Instead of interacting with a GUI to select what to do, the player makes decision by physically building stuff on the map. The implementation allows a player to tactically select what part of the enemy to disturb by destroying specific targets in the game.

 

In the end, I found that I just wanted to fight with a fleet in 5 minute sessions. I liked piloting a battle ship to destroy a base while being protected by small fighters. I liked piloting a small fighter with a squadron to attack battleships, or to protect supply ships from enemy small fighters. So I ended up setting up scenarios and just fight.



#25 ActiveUnique   Members   -  Reputation: 769

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 02:03 PM


Yeah, but how exactly visualize it (interface)... And are these slot filled by the player or by AI?

 

Ok here's the simplest answer to this question.

 

http://i.imgur.com/sZpIp6R.png

 

The slot component system has a market weight limit, and a specific number of empty boxes to fill. Weight is a common element in the slot system, better equipment tends to be heavier so your performance is limited. If you've ever played a game where you had to equip only 1 item per hand and wear specific equipment, it's really the same thing, but now you need to visualize the ship instead of a human. Each ship has base stats. Of course, equipping components tends to improve the ship's total stats.

 

Here's the program logic. Each ship is a collection of empty slots, the ship may be a class. A slot has / is accessed by a public method for accepting a component. If a component of the engine type were entered into a missile bay it'd be rejected, it's an improper parameter. But the missile bay could have accepted bombs and missiles if it were programmed to (it would say bombs/missiles).

 

The diagram is also a double for a user interface of the slots system. The AI would only need to understand the public methods, or how many empty slots the ship has. (In a short stretch, empty land can contain only so many factories, zoning land is also the component slots system)

 

If the player were having any hand in designing the ship, they'd see this. If the AI was designing the ship based on what it's told then it would only have to understand this and have an optimized input method, reading the ship class and then adding the proper components in.


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#26 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3000

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 05:48 PM


If the player were having any hand in designing the ship, they'd see this. If the AI was designing the ship based on what it's told then it would only have to understand this and have an optimized input method, reading the ship class and then adding the proper components in.
So, should the human fill slots or AI? Or maybe half/half (human gives priorities and AI fills slots based on these priorities)?

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#27 ActiveUnique   Members   -  Reputation: 769

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 08:06 PM

 


If the player were having any hand in designing the ship, they'd see this. If the AI was designing the ship based on what it's told then it would only have to understand this and have an optimized input method, reading the ship class and then adding the proper components in.
So, should the human fill slots or AI? Or maybe half/half (human gives priorities and AI fills slots based on these priorities)?

 

If 1000 ships are meant to all be created differently, let the AI do it based on those priorities we talked about. But if a player was allowed to at least view what his ships are flying out of dock with limitations, he might have something to consider.

 

If the player could customize one ship and have the rest streamlined then we're not accomplishing our goal here.


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#28 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3000

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 12:56 PM

Let's take a look at it from the interface point of view.

 

 

Misc screens

The player would have a standard reseach screen where ship hulls and other stuff is invented (I'm ignoring it since it's easy). Then there is some sort of "imperial budget" screen where the player can decide how many credits/resources are spent on military (I will ignore that one for now too).

 

 

Ships production screen

I could have a list of all ships invented. Next to each there are buttons:

- First one is a green "build" and when you click it it turns into red "don't build" (it affects if the AI is allowed to buy that hull/ship)

- Second is green "active duty" and when you click it it turns into red "in reserve" (it affects if the AI is allowed to put that ship into fleets, if marked as "in reserve" it will try to remove this model from existing fleets, even if there are shortages)

- Third is green "in service" and when you click it it turns into red "allow scrapping" (it affects if the AI is allowed to scrap that ship model if it thinks these are outdated, too many and generally not needed anymore)

 

And that's it, no production priorities (generally, the AI will try to automaticly adjust production based on desired fleets composition & size, always producing the newest researched model (that is marked as allowed to be built) of desired class).

 

 

Equipment production screen

I'm not sure, maybe a list of all equipment (boosters, missiles, shields) with a priority setting? (but reactors would be not listed since these need to be selexcted by the AI (energy generated to energy used by the ship, which is much better to be left to the AI... but on the other hand, if the player knows he will soon need better reactors since a new power hungly battleships will be researched soon, he might want to say he wants more "too powerfull" reactors to be produced...) That one is hard for me :)

 

 

Fleet screen (separate per fleet)

The most important screen, it decides on the composition of your fleets. I think I would not list there any specific ships/hulls, but just classes (flagships, battleships, fighter carriers, torped corvetes, destroyers, recon frigates, etc). And the AI will decide what model of each class to assign there based on the fleet priority. Also, I think I would list the classes without exact percentages but as a description.

 

It could look like this:

- number of flotillas (1-6) (or "add flotilla" button)

- priority (very low, low, below average, average, above average, high, very high) [determines quality of ships and reinforcements speed]

- composition

* [support] flagships (none, minimum, optimum, maximum) [it will adjust the exact number of flagships to the size of each flotilla, default is "optimum"]

* [support] recon - similar to flagships, proportional to other ships  (none, minimum, optimum, maximum)

* [combat] battleships (none, few, some, many, a lot) [how many of these proportional to other combat ships]

* [combat] cruisers (none, few, some, many, a lot) [how many of these proportional to other combat ships]

* [combat] destroyers (none, few, some, many, a lot) [how many of these proportional to other combat ships]

* [combat] etc, all types of combat ships would be listed similarly

- tactics [some setting deciding how flotillas of that fleet fight, not sure]

- agressiveness (victory at all cost, reasonable, defensive) [affects under what level of casualities flottilas of that fleet will retreat]

 

Probably there also need to be some sort of "equipment" setting (what install first on ships of that fleet). Without exact models of equipment, just categories (engine boosters, armours, additional shields, escape pods, targetting computers).

 

 

Flotilla screen (separate per flotilla)

Each flotilla belongs to a fleet. It has minimum cusrtomization since most is decided on the fleet screen.

- size (tiny, small, average, big, huge) [how many ships are there, compared to your total number of ships]

- maybe specialization? (like combat, recon, space marines on board, etc) ?


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