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Wavinator

How many of you would bother with ship building?

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quote:
Original post by Wavinator

Also, another question: My first instinct is to make this something that the player can earn, to help cut down on initial complexity and give you another reason to level up. Or do you think people should be able to customize right off the bat?



Why not keep it realistic the player can customize as early in they game as they want, provided they have the credits of course.

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"Fate and Destiny only give you the opportunity the rest you have to do on your own."
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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Neither. Make the internals determine the ship''s appearance. See the EarthSeige games, or better yet see the Armored Core series for a good example.

If the ship has an Ion drive, then make the model an Ion drive. If a ship has a tachion scanner, then stick a tachion scanner on top. The only problem is that you may have to force concepts into "slots" and "mounts" instead of being able to just say "you have X space available to fill". Still, it works very well in many games I play.

Just design various parts of the ship, design reasons to choose each one. Various crew pods, hull sections, weapon types, etc. that a player can assemble a ship out of, and the unique appearances handle themselves. Then the player gets a little choice of decals and textures so if he has two extremely similar ship classes then he can tell them apart.

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It may just be me, but I *love* *love* *LOVE* customizing ships and the like. I say let it be an option early on, but it seems reasonable that as the player advances they get bigger/more space efficient/just more ships/etc, so there should be some element of advancement.

One of my favorite games of this type was Earthsiege 2, which took into account weapons/systems placement to such a degree that placement didn''t only affect weapon-angling potential, but damage to your mech was figured logically: if you got hit on the right shoulder and that''s where your missile pack was mounted, it took damage and potentially would no longer be useful. What I really thought was cool was that if you took damage to your central chassis such that your shields either overloaded or fell, even if your armor held out, your power core or computer systems could take shock damage (either electrical or physical), which could hinder performance. Sometimes you''d get hit so hard that computer systems would go on the fritz or fail outright...this could include targeting systems, the ability to control some of your weapons (even if the weapons themselves were still good), or - my favorite - your Heads-Up Display might go haywire, blinking on and off, even just shutdown..so you could drive with no diagnostic read-outs at all.

I would offer to help you make this game, but I''m still a beginner. =) I cannot wait to play it though. Keep us posted as to your progress and when you might need beta-testers.

Good luck, man.
~Steve

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So I just read a few of your other recent threads and, well, after having read something about "Stealing ships", "editting black boxes", and "surviving crash landings", I have to say I am more excited about this game than any game that''s been on the market for years.

I wish more games involved customizability. I don''t mind micromanaging if it''s my spaceship. =) Or even my little wing of spaceships. Managing a galaxy-spanning economy, that I wouldn''t mind having simplified. Or well automated.

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quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Also, another question: My first instinct is to make this something that the player can earn, to help cut down on initial complexity and give you another reason to level up. Or do you think people should be able to customize right off the bat?



Surely in order to build a ship, you''d need to acquire a suitable shipyard... The bigger and more advanced the shipyard, the bigger and better ships you can build.

Earlier on in the game, you could of course spend money on custom jobs and upgrades if you dock at a suitable place, but your customization options would more limited and probably rather more expensive this way around.

Oh and to answer the original question, definitely yes to custom ship building!

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oeh oeh make it something the player can earn, if IMHO there was SOMETHING I hated most in RPG''s or any other game was the lack of things to do with my hard earned loot/cash and such. It is pointless if you have 3.000.000 (currency) and you cant do anything with it anymore, more options the better :D

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Interesting, I tried producing a game like this several years ago, but finally wrote it off as too complicated. Mind you, I was a considerably less experienced programmer at the time, perhaps it would not seem too daunting now.

I ended up moving away from micromanagement, not only because it tends to bore players, but is also devilishly difficult to code and maintain as the underlying game evolves. On the other hand, customisation rules, it really seems to grab players attention and keep them interested, but I think the customisation should be centred on the ship''s abilities, rather than its graphics.

Good Luck, and make us some demos!

Here''s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently.

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I had a similar idea as well after playing Homeworld where I got a bit carried away with the salvage corvette. My idea for the game goes something like this. Feel free to use these concepts as i''m working on another project now.

The game starts with you as the pilot of a repair ship in the middle of a war between two human factions. The particular battle you are in is in some remote region of outter space, significantly far away from your nearest friendly planet. Anyway, by some bizzare sequence of events you and your rusty bucket of bolts ends up being the only ship to survive the battle and you find yourself stranded. Since your repair ship has no way of travelling back home by itself you have to salvage different components from the the remaining reckage and construct a new ship. The first ship you''ll create is rather simple and serves as a training mission, where you salvage an energy supply,(nuclear power plant), a rocket motor and a life support system. The way the modules attach to each other is a bit like using lego, where each module will allow certain other modules to stick to them. However, everytime you add a new module on it drains power from your power supply and thins out your oxygen. So on the next level, you will either have to find a bigger power supply and rebuild your ship, or attach another small power supply to a different part of the ship. Of course along the way, other upgrades and modules can be added like weapons, bigger engines etc. I also thought about rescuing some other humans in one mission so you had to build sleeping and living quarters for them away from areas of high radiation concentration. You''d then have to micromanage all of the ships subsystems to keep these humans alive. This game is more resource management rather than ships battling it out which is what I prefer.

I have pictures in my head of how it would look like, but I''m unable to take screen dump at the moment and show you what its like.

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I'm headed for bed so I didn't read all the posts.. Sorry if this was said before.

I would really enjoy designing my own ships (and it's going to be included in my space sim/rpg if I ever get started on coding it). I would enjoy doing everything myself down to the smallest detail except making the 3d models myself (in game at least )

This works best for large ships or perhaps statinons:
Interior: You could consider "stealing" bits from the X-COM series (UFO, etc). Make premade rooms with various functions and let the user decide how to put them together. Corridors are 1 block wide and rooms were usually 2x2 or 3x3 or something.
For exterior you could either let the user "draw" the outer hull (at least in 2d) before he starts on the interior or make outer-hull-blocks for the ship designer. The player should decide how many decks the ship should have as well. Making a good design could be crucial if the ship gets attacked and you have to fight enemies onboard the ship. It might also play a part in efficiency and controllability of the ship and functions. A single engine for a big a** cruiser might be too little for instance.

Another approach could be to let the player draw walls for rooms and corridors (accuracy is up to you - stright or allow curves, 1m "grid" or smaller) and then place various objects - consoles, bunks, surveillance, anti intruder weaponry etc afterwards. The "disadvantage" with doing it this way is that every room will look more or less the same (textures on walls etc), while premaking the rooms will leave some artistic freedom to the 3d designer. Premade rooms would also be better with portal PVS at least. The advantage is that the player is not forced to make a 3x3 room somewhere he would rather have a 3x4 room or something.

To make it simpler, each deck should have a fixed height. Perhaps some rooms may span 2 or more decks without adding too much complexity. The engine room/generator room is a prime example.

The outer hull can be calculated to follow the design of the floors either as a "boxlike" shell or a more curved shell. Think Earth Force vs Minbari in B5.

Each component - walls, floors, ceilings, consoles etc should have a monetary cost and a mass value. Consoles etc should have a power consumption value and power generators should have a power output value. Engines should have a power/fuel consumption value and max thrust. With the mass of everything aboard you can calculate the minimum engines the ship would need (acceleration at max thrust etc) and allow the player to choose the "payload" or extra mass the ship would carry (crew, cargo, passengers, food, missiles, fighters) to update the minimum engines.

The price of the ship would be the price of all the components + building costs (based on size or complexity or something)

Based on the mass of the ship and engines you get handling, acceleration etc, and the weapons systems could work into the threat rating.

Well... this got a little bigger than planned.. I'll go to bed now, and come back later and read the previous posts..

EDIT: Oh- And crawlspaces and "Jeffires-tubes" (stolen from Star Trek ) Absolutely a must if the ship is attacked and you need to defend it.

[edited by - frostburn on June 3, 2004 1:41:55 AM]

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Again, thx for the good replies, everyone. People are a bit more in favor of this idea than I thought. I am working on getting some visuals together to show what this will look like.


quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
Why not keep it realistic the player can customize as early in they game as they want, provided they have the credits of course.



Thanks this is what I meant. It keeps the same rewards mechanic that every other part of leveling up has.

quote:
Original post by Pxtl
Neither. Make the internals determine the ship''s appearance. See the EarthSeige games, or better yet see the Armored Core series for a good example.



There''s the issue of granularity here. For simplicity''s sake, I do have large modules that are distinctive (carousel reactors, engines or launch bays), but the majority of parts you mix and match are shapes will hull textures. If the engine supports it, you should be able to merge pieces without graphic artifacts (the console game Phantasy Star does this, and you can tell things like floors, building parts or even monsters are merged meshes).


quote:
Original post by serratemplar
One of my favorite games of this type was Earthsiege 2, which took into account weapons/systems placement to such a degree that placement didn''t only affect weapon-angling potential, but damage to your mech was figured logically:



Yes, this is really cool. I want to do this for the things sticking out outside your ship and to stuff inside for internal damage (I haven''t yet figured out how this works exactly). This would make your internal level design as important as your external shaping.


quote:
Original post by Sandman
Surely in order to build a ship, you''d need to acquire a suitable shipyard... The bigger and more advanced the shipyard, the bigger and better ships you can build.



Maybe this should be the way it works. What I was thinking about, story-wise, was that the tech level allows a molecular bonding so that pieces can simply be stacked on one another, with access points drilled through (which you never see-- you just place the airlocks).

So let''s say you start out with a beveled rectangle with engines on the back and a wedge nose. You can "phase" additional modules by buying them and then sticking them onto any flat surface. With this idea, you don''t really need "plans" because ships are built by accretion. If you want a really wide ship, you "phase" hull modules side by side. If you want sleek and long, you''d line up modules one right after another (there are common connector pieces, just like with LEGOs). (btw, we''re not talking boxes, there are angled structures for variety... but this approach won''t yeild a USS Enterprise, but it will easily yeild a Babylon 5 Earthforce ship or ships like those the Rebellion uses in Star Wars)

I''m partial to the idea of plans, though (maybe too much Star Wars for me). So plans that can be discovered, stolen and whatnot could govern how many modules you could stick together.


quote:
Original post by Jamaludin
oeh oeh make it something the player can earn, if IMHO there was SOMETHING I hated most in RPG''s or any other game was the lack of things to do with my hard earned loot/cash and such. It is pointless if you have 3.000.000 (currency) and you cant do anything with it anymore, more options the better :D


Agreed. I think the more sophistocated and elaborate hull pieces should cost more money. This implies that they do more in gameplay terms, though.



quote:
Original post by swiftcoder
On the other hand, customisation rules, it really seems to grab players attention and keep them interested, but I think the customisation should be centred on the ship''s abilities, rather than its graphics.

Good Luck, and make us some demos!



Thanks! Definitely working on it! I think I''ve finally got some texture skills, and a demo for mixing and merging ship pieces is on the top of my list.


quote:
Original post by frostburn
This works best for large ships or perhaps statinons:
Interior: You could consider "stealing" bits from the X-COM series (UFO, etc). Make premade rooms with various functions and let the user decide how to put them together. Corridors are 1 block wide and rooms were usually 2x2 or 3x3 or something.



I definitely want a mix of premade and user creatable rooms. The former is for convenience: You need to be able to drag and drop things like medbays or the bridge. I see you being able to scale these rooms, though, as you need them, and able to drop in walls of varying strengths just like you put down stations, chairs, etc.

quote:

The outer hull can be calculated to follow the design of the floors either as a "boxlike" shell or a more curved shell.



Hmmm... I''m not sure what I want to do with curves and angles. A fine grid will help with some of this, and I may want to investigate how much of a headache it will be for players to be able to place things at angles. Pathfinding is probably going to end up being nodal based on junctions and lines rather than a grid, so you could end up with angular or curving cooridoors without too much trouble.


quote:

Each component - walls, floors, ceilings, consoles etc should have a monetary cost and a mass value. Consoles etc should have a power consumption value and power generators should have a power output value. Engines should have a power/fuel consumption value and max thrust. With the mass of everything aboard you can calculate the minimum engines the ship would need (acceleration at max thrust etc) and allow the player to choose the "payload" or extra mass the ship would carry (crew, cargo, passengers, food, missiles, fighters) to update the minimum engines.



Okay, how crazy would you want to get with this?

I could give you the detail of SimCity: You could draw powernodes and pipes, and make strategic choices. Maybe you run big conduits near the outer hull, which means they can be more easily destroyed. Or maybe you put them along the spine, but risk destroying central equipment near it.

quote:

Based on the mass of the ship and engines you get handling, acceleration etc, and the weapons systems could work into the threat rating.



Yes, I also think that you should be able to fill the interior of hull components with armor, reducing the interior volume but increasing strength (and mass). Then engines become important vs. mass.

quote:

Oh- And crawlspaces and "Jeffires-tubes" (stolen from Star Trek ) Absolutely a must if the ship is attacked and you need to defend it.



Secret passages and doors should also be an option. It would be interesting to make the level complex enough that you could lift out floorplates and manuever through crawlspaces, but I''m not sure how evil this will be from an AI standpoint. You could easily run into stupid AI if I don''t do this fully.










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Just waiting for the mothership...

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