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Member Since 15 Jul 2013
Offline Last Active Aug 28 2016 03:36 AM

#5191911 Complexity of Modular defense systems in my game(Modulus)

Posted by on 09 November 2014 - 04:11 AM

Thanks you replying!   I was starting to think my fixation on defensive sensors and systems was out of place heh.   Since I made the previous post I have re-coded my radar system and now support a much more realistic model,  as well as supporting  3 distant types of radar,  navigational(longer wave)  rotating mast type,  directional (90 degree arcs) specialized defense system radars modeled on phased array panel types, and a mixed mode type that gives both types of functionality but at much degraded performance at cost equivalence to the other two.  I also made a separate class of "combat computer" s  that add to the total defensive tracks a ship can support.  


 < Simple visualization of radar coverage.


The most critical thing during a battle seems to be knowing why things are going right or wrong. If you have lots of individual specializations I wonder if there will be difficulty accounting for why things are going wrong. Mileage may vary, though, on the pace of the battle, of course. Slow and stately capital ship battles I think can stand lots of specialization because there's more time to react when things start going south. Another big factor might be in interface tells: Does a specific effect, such as obscuring snow or interface flickers, happen when a specific component gets damaged? That might help a lot even if things are fast paced.


Things in the video happen very fast due to the enemy ships being legacy and being generally unable to survive under the heavy fire of the ships I built. Screen obscuring effects don't make too much sense beyond the mothership(as that is supposedly your point of command).  There is another view you can switch too that pauses the action, but I was thinking of doing another more indepth and informative version.  

#5190699 Complexity of Modular defense systems in my game(Modulus)

Posted by on 02 November 2014 - 03:35 AM



I haven't posted in a great while, but when i have I have gotten valuable responses and insight.  So I'm back again-

My game has advanced much(thanks to said feedback)  but now I have a wild hair about redesigning the ship defensive weapons... As the current setup may be too simplified to make missile defense classed ship significantly different from other classes.  


(shameless plug, playlist of videos of game so you can see what i have been up too and spare me from explaining everything) 




Currently you can place as many radar units on a ship as you like, but only the strongest one counts. Radar performance is based on a range factor, pulse rate, and number of intercept tracks the system can handle.  So right now you can just throw on a class 5 radar and  forget about it. 


What I have a wild hair about is  separating those factors into different units,   Namely "area" radar (for finding large objects/ship at range) akin to navigational rotating mast type,  target designation radars (tracking missiles/fighters, ect)  and combat control modules that would additive boost the number of hostile tracks the total system could engage.  I could further  complement this by having the designation type have directional arcs of cover ala fixed AESA panels.  The fun part about doing all this would be the potential of having much finer ability to impair said systems when modules are disabled/destroyed.      


The cons that comes to mind with this setup is that the minimum number of modules needed for a viable air defense system goes up quite a bit. The added complexity of the system might throw new players off some as well. The pros that come to mind are I could have a much wider variety of real unit builds between classes (especially between Command & Control  class and AA Defense class)  Where basic enemy detection and strong intercept capability could be wildly different builds.  I could mix and match the capabilities of the modules between super specialized and generally poor all round performers.   


The minimum modules a single ship would need to be viable would jump from 5 to 10 or so though...    






 ^ Circus comes to town! Missile design with a dozen plus VLS packs ^ 


#5128916 Space RTS design quandary!

Posted by on 04 February 2014 - 10:05 PM

Hello, posting again after a long time working on things!


< New combat footage


My game has advanced nicely,   but now I come to a quandary (after almost 3 years of engine building)-



Currently the game is played(or will play, as the mission player is still WIP) on a procedurally generated galaxy with 81 playable solar systems with story missions distributed amongst them(ala Space Pirates and Zombies).   The player is primarily concerned with his mothership,  which has the ability to store ships in a pocket dimension after construction in order to carry them into other regions (the built ships do not have independent interstellar jump capability).    


My problem is this.... other then  holding a construction base or resource base....  What should I do in order to make planets truly valuable?   This isn't an empire building game-   The plot actually has you as the last human alive!  So the fundamental issue of territory control  arises(since ships can jump anywhere on  a map)...And with the ship repository the player does not need a forward base within a region to actually assault it (he can build up a fleet and take it with him)  I've been beating myself over the head with this dilemma for several months now and it keeps me up at night.   In order to make territory valuable,   and give the player something to lose when he ignores his holdings, there must be something more.

#5079062 ww2 naval weapons? History buffs plz comment

Posted by on 19 July 2013 - 08:01 PM

Some small notes -  


Fusing -  Ranging skill would be major factor for manual timed flack rounds.  Parts and sensitivity for radio proximity type....


The Japanese navel AA gunners took to using color coded smoke in their rounds in order to tell which battery fired which round and thus improve their deflection...Not that this seemed to matter to much but would make for a great visual flair game wise! 

#5079029 Tablet (space) RTS's and limits of Unencumbered UI and gameplay design.

Posted by on 19 July 2013 - 03:53 PM

This may seem to be the case,  but as the scale of play approaches my desired heights(small SINS scale, dozen planets+,200+ ships)  it's simply the level of abstraction necessary to enable workable play.  One of the things I always disliked about the C&C series was the units were not capable of acting on their own in any reasonable fashion...you could drive an army into an enemy base and they would just sit there after clearing the offensive units...ugh.    Compare this to Total Annihilation -  where you can ignore entire non critical battlefields after issuing your overarching commands.    Setting simple behavior tags such as  "Fire at will/Hold Fire/Return Fire"  and   "Hold Position/Maneuver/Roam"  create surprisingly complex results.


That said, and to the question of the user being a mere spectator,   Any user commands (to include setting target, where to move) override the behaviors system until that command is completed.  If the user tell a ship to target a particular enemy,  they will do so until they or their target is destroyed...same for movement.   For super heavy weapons this is critical.... you shouldn't waste nukes/blackholes/asteroids /mirv weapons  on small fry(the cycle-time/cooldown is too long) .   


As for the AI changing targets mid way,  a weakened/crippled ship's  attack value is higher then a fresh one...they make a tasty target!   Ships that would not normally risk engaging them may take the opportunity it get some shots in.  


There is no friendly fire at this time because it's simpler to handle the collisions...If I have to start checking the fire lines of each weapon all the time that's allot of checks-  On pc not an issue....on a single core android tablet...


That's said the decision AI does not run 1 to 1 with the stepping,  in fact its semi random within a given range  but typically it takes several seconds between a single ship  target preference check.    When there is not a preference or the preference has been destroyed or lost contact with they revert to targets of opportunity.   


Those tracking missiles actually are targeting on individual parts of a ship, so if the part is separated from their parent the missile will continue to track it.  If the part completely vanished before the missile impacts they go dumb until they time out, there is no redesignation.  I like things to be able to miss!


Mines exist currently but do not actually have a AI deployment method....still working on that one.  I hadn't considered chaff/decoy's  which is an oversight on my part, I'll add those ASAP.  There is a EMP missile that has the ability to interrupt a ships offensive/defensive targeting ability BTW (and another that cripples engines)... Also on the weirder end of the defensive spectrum there is a "return to sender"   beam that reprograms enemy missiles and fighter drones sending them back where they came from...thinking of doing a special shield with similar reflection properties that acts on a pulsing  behavior(I mean, if it was always effective they'd be invincible.)


EDIT - Chaff launcher in!  Clouds break track lock of enemy missiles and some direction change, making then likely to miss. Good call on that one!

#5078809 Tablet (space) RTS's and limits of Unencumbered UI and gameplay design.

Posted by on 18 July 2013 - 06:45 PM

Actually, I feel I should explain the root of the behavior system as it is now-


As I said before, I use the concepts used in AI War as seen here






When I set out to do this though I found I had a unique problem....Classic comparison does not work (or work simply) when all the ships are dynamic in nature....so i needed the ships to be able to self classify-


Each ship when spawned goes down a list and inventory before deciding on 4 major behavior modifiers-    


Class  -  "Corvette" "Frigate" "Destroyer"; "Cruiser" "Battlecruiser" "Dreadnought" "Battleship"-

Weight Class - "Light"  "Battle" "Medium" "Large" "Armored" "Heavy"-


Type -  "Gun-Boat" "Anti-Ship Missile" "Missile Defence" "Command & Control" "Carrier Wing"

Speed class - "Medium Speed" "Quick" "Fast" "Fast Attack"-




Optimal-Range is then determined based on the min/max values of the decided primary role weapons systems(each weapons, defense system has a value attributed to it) .

During combat each ship will of course fire on targets of opportunity,  but each ship will try to find the most appropriate available target to engage.   During the threat level check  each ship within action range  is compared based on all values  to include ship health  and type,   IE a  command and control ship will not prefer to go toe to toe with  heavy battleship.    


This is where I want my fleet layer to come into play....  I plan to auto sort each fleet and group the ships into formation based  on all these factors, with the primary capital ships at the heart,  ships designated as escort to the edges  ( or other choose able profiles). 


By being able to select standoff profile,  the ships in the fleet will maintain formation  and attack from maximum range.   Escorts could be set to break formation and engage when the enemy breaks into a certain radius( or not).  Defensive ships would set their inbound  engagement  radius several time over to shield the most value ships.  


#5078800 Tablet (space) RTS's and limits of Unencumbered UI and gameplay design.

Posted by on 18 July 2013 - 06:07 PM

Before we get too far into the simulated personality in charge type setup here let me say I had no such intention.  I find the setting commanders and governors type gameplay be rather annoying...the user is either in command or not. Furthermore the flow of battle is far too fast to enable meaningful 'personality' behavior modifiers.  Setting fleet behaviors does essentially the same thing while not tacking a face to it or forcing you into a particular  option set. 


Having to set and use avatars and sub commanders in that fashion makes sense in Total War historical type simulation or pure a pure simulation, but is cumbersome unless your going to limit yourself to a semi turn based play style.    


In fact most of the limitations in scope mentioned so far in the discussion seem  designed specifically to eliminate or substantially diminish such play style.  


-However ...although I do not approve of this play for the user I do believe in behavior modifiers for the opposing agents.   By adjusting the fudge-factors in the weighted random states of the sub-commanders would create stronger groups of behavior.   This would allow stronger campaign setups as the user finds himself going against multiple personality command styles.   

#5078630 Tablet (space) RTS's and limits of Unencumbered UI and gameplay design.

Posted by on 17 July 2013 - 10:21 PM

Well, I'm not sure how appropriate it is for me to start multiple threads on my first week here.  Yes things have quickly gotten a bit off topic, but the UI and the scope of the game are inexorably linked.    If I want access to each layer at any point in play  they have to be.   If you only ever have ten or less ships in play...fleet control is redundant. If you have 50 or so entries in each weapon/hull section category...how you present the (useful)information is paramount.  


One UI solution I've been pondering is to have a series of tabs on the 4 sides the display that when activated pull out to reveal the control set for a particular use(Or for that matter, from the corners).   Individual ship settings(Escort mode, move to contact, standoff attack, missile defense envelope size, ect),  fleet mode, economic mode, builder mode...and anything else I can think off as being useful.    

#5078602 Tablet (space) RTS's and limits of Unencumbered UI and gameplay design.

Posted by on 17 July 2013 - 06:49 PM

I'm not totally married to one play style...   

In fact  I've put some thought to a limited scope play mode as you describe.   The mode would allow you a financial and tonnage limit budget to do with as you please... Free to make a super heavy dreadnought or a fleet of light corvettes or any combination you see fit.  The obvious advantage of this approach is it places a performance cost cap, you can only have so many units in play at a single time.  Another is the player is able to skip any economic simulation or upkeep...      This is akin to the approach for the opposition in AI war(which methodology I borrow from heavily for my own agent setup).   

#5078312 Tablet (space) RTS's and limits of Unencumbered UI and gameplay design.

Posted by on 16 July 2013 - 05:31 PM

I have considered staggered releases built toward different play types for such reasons of complexity, suitability(fast game, short game types)....and last but not least monetization (more sku's).  I can't help but feel in my heart though if my primary or initial release does not have the lion share of 4x features it would likely fail to gain the attention of the intended target audience.  


There are a few design types though that would limit the scope of these issues without divorcing the desired features.  Take for example the Homeworld games,   each 'map'  is fresh and your play is based around a single central point/object of limited mobility.   Infrastructure  does not generally carry over into the stage or map... But you could have scenario's where you have to colonize/build up a world in a temporary fashion in order to gain technology and natural resources.    


A good example would be the recent Battlestar Galactica TV series,  where a central capital ship has to protect it's fleet as it moves from area to area without any intention of retreading the past locations.  Yet in order to maintain their population they must go planeside/asteroid mining in order to survive.  

#5078039 Tablet (space) RTS's and limits of Unencumbered UI and gameplay design.

Posted by on 15 July 2013 - 09:52 PM

I am ATM about 2 years into the development of my personal dream/pet game project, and now that I have met the major design goals I had at the outset I have run into a wall as to how far I should push the games complexity.


First off  - Design Touchstones: 

1 -   I wanted  a game were you truly created  the ships in your fleet...That means being able to roughly recreate essentially any ship in sci-fi history should you choose.   


2 -  In turn I wanted the freedom to truly tear ships apart, not go to pre arranged chunks (ala Gratuitous Space Battles).


3 - For simplicity sake(and my lack of skill were 3d is concerned) this a 2d overhead type game.


Lofty goals to be sure,  especially since my programming experience had stopped about 15 years prior playing with Borland 3.0 for DOS.   To make matters worse, I decided the game would be targeted at tablets with their comparatively puny resources.    


So to reiterate, I have an incomplete game were you can design, build and destroy ships....It's pretty fun as the pure sandbox experiment it is now...    But Where to Go From Here?   


I found myself scratching my head.  This is not a complete game yet by a wide margin.  My personal circle of space RTS games extends from Master of Orion series to  Homeworld  and Sins of a Solar Empire.   Its got to be 4x or go home!


Large scale map experiments have been only mildly successful to date given both play speed and processing requirements.  Exactly how long is someone going to sit and play on their tablet?.. Certainly not the length of a large scale SINS or Orion game.   I have experimented with gravity wells ala SINS and trying to implement a jump/hyperspace system,  but being able to issue the command quickly on a touch pad proved cumbersome...ideas?


I find seemingly simple decisions like resource gathering and management  setups have to be looked at in a new light in terms of how much direct interaction is safe to ask the players for...To say nothing about acquiring new tech and build tree options...Thoughts?   


Planet capture and orbital structures -  Do I make these absolutely minimal as to only show ownership of a planet , or do I allow for complex infrastructure the player has to maintain?   How much cpu time am I willing to put aside for this? Hmmmm



UI -   How many buttons and tabs can I really make use of before the screen becomes over cluttered?  Many strategy games have died on poor UI...


One solution seems to be to make large scale usage of fleet behavior, thus removing the need to control too many individual ships.

Another method though that popped into my head of late is to allow multiple devices per game session.  I'm not talking about  multiplayer here, I mean using both a phone and two tablets and perhaps a PC all in a single session with control and monitoring interfaces distributed across and communicating over local network.  (Picture Supreme Commander's multi monitor mode taken into separate devices). The extra displays would have a selection of dedicated interface mode options such as strategic view,  full  interface,  Ships/fleet status readouts,  research UI , economic  readout and so forth. I am confident I can make this happen, but is it even a good idea?   


Trying to squeeze a 4x RTS onto tablets has proven to be very delicate balancing act between UI and expected play time share.  The existing games on the mobile markets all had to make generous concessions to the medium.  Most of the time(for me personally) this made them not worth large amounts of play time and indeed, their designs seemed to encourage this.  This is not how I want my game to be, but If I ever want to succeed in any commercial form I may have to set aside my own preferences.


I thank you if you are still reading this, two years in and I have spent the last few weeks staring blankly at my IDE  hoping for some inspiration... Any thoughts on the subject matter or over my ranting welcome.  I decided to post this here on this community because reading over the threads I see many good minds and genuine peer design sprit.  I look forward to discussing the genre and design merits of any such game.  


If anyone cares, here is some test footage running on PC - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEpr--Rti1A