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Space Gadgets ( defenses)

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In summary, here are the broad range of defenses I want to be able to give you (heh, for an in-game price, that is. I''ll post weapons shortly. There are 5 basic types: Armor, Shields, Fields, Point Defenses, Clouds Armor Types:
  • Single Cast - Armored fibers are spun over the hull. Cheap, but cannot be repaired, must be replaced.
  • Plated - Intricate interlocking plates cover the hull. Moderately expensive, but allows for armor to be repaired.
  • Self Healing - Capillaries connected to a dispensing module continuously repair the hull as long as you have enough nanites.
Shields Have 5 types
  • DefRed (Deflector / Reducer) - Only reduces damage by 50%. Ignores EMP and magnetic (nebula) disruption.
  • Static - Can''t regenerate, must be recharged at recharging stations (for a fee). Has low energy signature for stealth.
  • Regenerative - Recovers damage over time at a rate equal to the tech and quality of the emitter. Emits the strongest energy signature.
  • Energy Absorbing - Absorbs damage up to its Durability in energy. Must be connected to excess capacitors with energy space or emitter overloads and takes damage directly.
  • Spectrum - If shield color matches color of laser, effective damage is 50% before Durability is calculated (turning a 100HP strike into 50HP, then reducing it by Durability). If not, damage is 50% greater. Skill in switching is based on crew skill.
in 4 configurations:
  • Flat - Flat square. Resizing larger lowers Durability. Cheapest energy-wise
  • Segmented - Several flat shields arrayed together. Damage can penetrate seams. Can shift energy to different segments to strengthen sides. May or may not be circular.
  • Sigma Halfdome - Half spherical shields that uniformly absorb damage. Collisions at 15'' angles cause objects to reflect of of the shield. Energy intensive.
  • Globular - Full coverage. Cannot be used on the ground (static discharge disrupts). Can be expanded to protect nearby allies, but this reduces Durability
with 4 mounting options
  • Fixed - Stable, difficult to disrupt shield with critical hits or excessive manuevers (overthrust that turn you quick), but least flexible
  • Turret Mount - Allows fixed, segmented or halfdome shields to be rotated. Shield must deactivate while turret rotates, creating a risk for larger ships with huge generators on slower turrets
  • Spin Housing - Shield is mounted within a stabelized gymbal housing. Does not deactivate when rotating, but uses 3x energy.
  • Fliplink - Two shields can be linked with a third module 1/2 their size. Allows shields to be exchanged without deactivation.
Shields implode on critical damage, raining bosons and other heavy particles in damage equivalent to the shield''s HP. Optional modules include detachable mounts, emergency ejectors, shield extender modules, and an overcharger that sacrifices generator HP for shield HP. Fields Any field emitter (like the jump drive, sensors, scanners or shield generator) can generate a specific field in a cone or area. Normally, you buy a dedicated module to do this reliablely, or rely on your engineers in a pinch. Fields cover: Sensor masking, Jammers, Counter-jammers, photon coherence disrupters / enhancers (affect laser damage and range), cloaking, spatial distorters (movement speed, effective HP level) and psionics. Point Defenses Either anti-personnel (vs. boarders) or anti-missile. Come in a variety to strengths, qualities, and reliabilities. Clouds Clouds require a ship not to change course while effect is applied. Clouds can be placed on a single side or all around a ship. Types:
  • IceCaster - Fires snowballs with patterned explosives which create a cloud around the ship. Diffuses laser fire. Refueled at any comet or wherever there''s ice.
  • Glazer - Fires nanites clouds at range that coat any target passing through, increasing the chance it will be hit by point defenses.
  • Shard Net - Recoverable mesh of tiny thrusters linked by monofilaments. Physical objects passing are reduced to -50% HP. Easily destroyed by lasers or shields.
  • Swarm Cloud - Large nanite cloud which attempts to burrow into incoming objects and disable them.
  • Ready Rockets - Cloud of independent, cheap thrusters which, when encountering an object, attach to the hull, walk along it, and exert thrust in one direction, sending it off target.
Opinions welcome. -------------------- Just waiting for the mothership...

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shields:
I noticed you missing my two kinds of shields that I always thought where interesting.

Layered - ship is surrouned by multiple layers of shields in order for an attack to hit the ship it must pass through all the shield layers. Also allows the controller to alternate shields allowing one to recharge while the other protects the ship. Most powerful kind of shield but also the most demanding in terms of energy consumption and generates a large foot print.

Pin point shields - tiny impentrable shields, that are moved around a vessel to block incoming attacks. Only effective if the operator can manuever to shield into posistion in time.


Also what about stealth shields? They are shields that don''t show up on sensors.

Thoughts on fields:

It might be a good idea if all devices, shields and fields generated "noise", that noise combines to determine a ships footprint the larger the foot print the more EM radiation it generates and the easier it is to detect, as well as the larger footprint the more interference that sensors and scanners suffer. Because of this your ship may become completely blind if install and operate too many devices.



-----------------------------------------------------
"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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Not to creep you all out, but I''ve been *stalking* the forums for this post =) And here it is.

I presume the "energy-absorbtion" shields would allow you to use the absorbed energy in weapons discharges (dump the power into a phaser bank and let her rip), but if you hadn''t considered that, please do. =)

Also, the "cloud" thing versus "personell" interested me. You may already have considered this, but if not...well, I think it would rock if marines in combat-spacesuits could board an incapacitated ship, bypassing the ship-to-ship or shuttle-to-ship boarding options. (Don''t get me wrong. Considering this game and it''s attitude, I really think all *three* of these options should be included.)

Though this may actually be beyond the scope of this project =) there are two reasons that ships can fire its own laser weapons thru its own shields. (Shields have no effect on physical shots like slugs or missiles, of course.)

1. The shields are angled deflectors with slits between them that lasers may be fired through.
2. The laser weapons are ST-like "phasers" that are fire on a wave-length that the shields allow thru.

Now, if you include these options, I think it''d be neat to include the option for opponents to exploit those openings. To either determine the wave-length they need to fire thru, or to somehow detect where the slits between the deflectors are. Likewise, the ship captain should be able to develop or have the ability to alter the deflector angles/change the wave-length of both its own phasers and its own shields.

That may be too complicated, but perhaps you''ve already considered it.

ooooo, I cannot wait for a demo!!! Though I understand it maybe almost a year before that happens =)

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Something akin to the technologies from the Honor Harrington series by Weber (1st 13 ebooks are freely available, legally...) would be interesting.

Probably in the high end department.

I like the sidewalls & wedge. These are a planar gravity wave powerful enough to shread matter, and in the same order of magnitude as the surface of a neutron star(for a 1st generation sidewall, ship wedges are much more powerful).

The wedge is projected ''above'' & ''below'', and in militray ships, they have 2 planes of gravity & a sidewall between those planes.

Then sides are then closed off by sidewalls, however the front and the back remain open. And its physically imposible to completely enclose a ship with sidewalls attached to the wedge (bubblewall, which is a spherical sidewall is another story, but vastly less powerful than a wedge).

So the ship in the sidewalls & wedge looks like this

This types of technology arent nearly as clinched as some of the stuff you have listed here.

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quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
Layered - ship is surrouned by multiple layers of shields in order for an attack to hit the ship it must pass through all the shield layers. Also allows the controller to alternate shields allowing one to recharge while the other protects the ship. Most powerful kind of shield but also the most demanding in terms of energy consumption and generates a large foot print.



Nice. Players could simply add as many shield modules as they want, sacrificing other things like weapons or cargo space. You could control it with an interface similar to ranking repairs on your ship.

quote:

Pin point shields - tiny impentrable shields, that are moved around a vessel to block incoming attacks. Only effective if the operator can manuever to shield into posistion in time.



Like in Macross??? You''ve got it!

quote:

Also what about stealth shields? They are shields that don''t show up on sensors.



I''ll add this as an alien variant. The way stealth is supposed to work is that you trade off readiness for being able to hide. This means you power down your shields, weapons and engines because they''re the highest energy signatures. But this would be a nice thing for players to buy, salvage or find.

quote:

It might be a good idea if all devices, shields and fields generated "noise", that noise combines to determine a ships footprint the larger the foot print the more EM radiation it generates and the easier it is to detect,



We''re one the same wavelength.

quote:

as well as the larger footprint the more interference that sensors and scanners suffer. Because of this your ship may become completely blind if install and operate too many devices.



Excellent, this offers a nice strategic tradeoff and a natural way to help limit powermaxing (at least in the beginning). This can flow right into the changing tech in the game universe, as you''d also be waiting for more interoperable tech to come down the pike.



--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Original post by serratemplar
Not to creep you all out, but I''ve been *stalking* the forums for this post =) And here it is.



Haha!

quote:

I presume the "energy-absorbtion" shields would allow you to use the absorbed energy in weapons discharges (dump the power into a phaser bank and let her rip), but if you hadn''t considered that, please do. =)



Yes, that''s exactly how it''ll work, and you''ll want to have capacitors on your ship to pick up the extra slack in case you absorb more than you can fire.

quote:

Also, the "cloud" thing versus "personell" interested me. You may already have considered this, but if not...well, I think it would rock if marines in combat-spacesuits could board an incapacitated ship, bypassing the ship-to-ship or shuttle-to-ship boarding options.



Do you mean remotely, as an option? What I had in mind is that you could order Security to launch an offensive while you''re flying buy, or about to dock. You could select the team or let your crew do it. Then they''d jet over, the game would calculate results, and any survivors would jet back. And if you bought microprobes, you could use them to scout the way before either going yourself or sending people (just to see if they''ve triggered the destruct sequence on spite ).

(this is the "Away Mission" option which I haven''t posted about yet because it''s not soup yet... sorry, another post to wait for )

quote:

(Shields have no effect on physical shots like slugs or missiles, of course.)



I give them a bit of an effect against physical strikes, just for balance (effectively 50%, as I posted in another thread). Although, as part of the changing cosmos, I could start them out with no effect then raise the stat up slowly over time, so that eventually they do. What that would do is make shields more important than armor as time passes.

quote:

1. The shields are angled deflectors with slits between them that lasers may be fired through.



This could be a cool option for segmented shields, with the corresponding risk of being hit.

quote:

2. The laser weapons are ST-like "phasers" that are fire on a wave-length that the shields allow thru.



Yes, this works, too. Hey, maybe you have to have a certain type of shields and weapons (like the Spectrum Lasers and Shields) that can do this, putting a nice bias on this combo.

I''m also thinking that there should be a "Flicker Module" which flips the shields on and off as you fire. There could also be a module that creates "holes" in the shield. (This is really just a bit saying you can or can''t fire through shoulds, btw, no biggie AFAIK).

quote:

Now, if you include these options, I think it''d be neat to include the option for opponents to exploit those openings. To either determine the wave-length they need to fire thru, or to somehow detect where the slits between the deflectors are.



I forgot to post it, but a special weapon I have in mind for seams is a low powered but effective weapon called the Seam Sniper, which can score light critical hits through shields with holes or seams.

Let me think about the wavelength idea. I like the idea of frequency, but why couldn''t they simply continuously vary it to keep people from guessing?

Maybe this can be a matter of sensors and these things called Engineering Miracles. Assign some crack Engineers and maybe science staff, and you can temporarily negate the effect of these shields (Miracles are going to be a sort of get out jail free reward for managing crew well. Same could be true for giving YOU better shields.

quote:

ooooo, I cannot wait for a demo!!! Though I understand it maybe almost a year before that happens =)


I''ve been working on this for a LONG time, but that just means I''m closer. Thanks for the enthusiasm, it''s infectious!


--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Original post by ggs
Something akin to the technologies from the Honor Harrington series by Weber (1st 13 ebooks are freely available, legally...) would be interesting.

Probably in the high end department.



I have a space for something weird like this in the form of ancient artifacts. This is interesting.

quote:

I like the sidewalls & wedge. These are a planar gravity wave powerful enough to shread matter, and in the same order of magnitude as the surface of a neutron star(for a 1st generation sidewall, ship wedges are much more powerful).



That must take ALOT of power. Maybe powered by feeding a singularity? And do ships just fly through things to attack? I can''t imagine munitions or even lasers doing that well inside. And what happens when two ships collide?

quote:

So the ship in the sidewalls & wedge looks like this


Thanks, this really clarifies.

quote:

This types of technology arent nearly as clinched as some of the stuff you have listed here.


Yeah, I have to admit that lasers and missiles are the elves and dwarves of the science fiction world. Unfortunately, Star Trek and Star Wars have gotten us into the habit of thinking of space warfare as akin to World War II. What it really should be is deadly, instant, and the strict province of well-funded governments. But that would be boring.

This stuff is for people who play Terrans, who I''m going to (for the sake of workload and art) make dominant.

But how up for understanding strange alien play styles would you be? A gravity wedge isn''t really all that different from shields that do damage on contact, AFAICT.

Really different defenses would be a liquid hull that can split into globs to avoid fire and wrap around ships when it hits (David Brin''s Uplift series), but that would be a UI evil. The more exotic the weapon or defense, the more likely it''ll be hard to understand and balance.






--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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In answer to your question ("Could they just keep changing shield frequency"), Yeah, I guess so...but they''d have to change their own phasers in tune with it. If that were the game, it could come down to the other ship trying to determine what algorithm you''re using to modulate your shields, and configuring it''s phasers to that.

Yeah, that''s *way* too complicated...which is why I stuck with the simpler recommendation. =)

The seam snipe is a cool idea. =) I''m too tired to think any deeper than that. Time for bed.

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quote:
Original post by Wavinator

I have a space for something weird like this in the form of ancient artifacts. This is interesting.

This type of thing wouldnt really fit into the game as anything else. It would be a very mixed bag to obtain this type of technology. While it can offer much, stealth is not its middle name.

quote:
That must take ALOT of power. Maybe powered by feeding a singularity? And do ships just fly through things to attack? I can''t imagine munitions or even lasers doing that well inside. And what happens when two ships collide?

The wedge/sidewalls arent directly powered by the ship. Impeller nodes generate a region of space which is quasi-hyperspace, and in Honorverse hyperspace, there exist massively powerful gravity waves. The nodes basicly pull down a very tame gravity wave into real space.

Since the wedge/sidewalls are gravitational in nature, forget about KE attacks against them. Gravitational attacks can induce feedback in the generates themselves can cause the generaters to fail, but this is even more exotic.

When a sidewall/wedge runs into normal matter, the normal matter goes poof into a cloud of rapidly expanding plasma and is chucked away from the sidewall/wedge by the gravitational shear(if you have tech which allows you to land on the surface of a neutron star, you might be able to bypass a sidewall easy).

When a wedge hits another wedge, the lesser wedge (and attached ship), get turning into plasma. When 2 wedges of equal strength collide, both ships are reduced to their atomic compoents. Needless to say, loosing 2 8 million ton ships due to a slight navigation error while in formation is not a happy sight.

The common weapon is a very powerful gamma ray laser focused by exterme gravitational lensing (similar effect to a sidewall/wedge). Since a laser is mass-less, it isnt effected like matter is when it passes through an extreme gravity field.

They use bomb pumped version which are mounted on missiles to deliver them to the target, and the ship''s have a broadside armaments which are composed of more powerful versions than the missile''s energy armaments. However, if your in range of the enemy with your energy weapons, the enemy is aready firing.

Closing to energy range is the equivelent of getting into a H2H fight with a grizzly bear, but with the ability to bailout at any time by rotating the wedge to face the enemy.

The wedge can provide as much acceleration as your inertia dampeners(and ship structure) can handle. Going from relative 0 m/s to +0.9c in less than a second isnt much good if you turn the interior bulkheads to plasma from the sudden acceleration. Also inertia dampeners in Honorverse have a really nasty property, the only warning you have of them failing si the crew turning to a not so chunk paste. Thus pushing the inertia dampeners beyond the operational safty parameters is tangent to a very mess death.

quote:
Yeah, I have to admit that lasers and missiles are the elves and dwarves of the science fiction world. Unfortunately, Star Trek and Star Wars have gotten us into the habit of thinking of space warfare as akin to World War II. What it really should be is deadly, instant, and the strict province of well-funded governments. But that would be boring.

Yup. Thats how it would be, now onto how to make it interesting.

quote:
This stuff is for people who play Terrans, who I''m going to (for the sake of workload and art) make dominant.

That is a very reasonable move. The number of different technologies isnt very important. Its the number of interactions between the different technologies.

If I have a Inertia dampeners #1, and Inertia dampeners #2 there should be more thena just their capacity to act as Inertia dampeners.

Inertia dampener #1 might have a low max acceleration, but within that domain it is near 100% effective.

Inertia dampener #2 might have a much high acceleration, but only in a limited direction.

Then alien inertia dampener #1234 might be only being effecive at high acceleration. Drop below it minium acceleration, and the inertia dampener might as well not be there.

Thus combining the use of alien inertia dampener #1234 & Inertia dampener #2 should be posible, but would require computer upgrades to allow you to switch between them while on the fly and more energy to power them. Then you need to find engines which actually need this type of setup. If your using chemical rockets(aka modern rocket technology), that combo is a complete waste of time.

Then someone might just use Inertia dampener #1, and fill the thing with missiles which use drive system #4321 which can out run the ship with inertia dampener #1234 & Inertia dampener #2.

quote:
But how up for understanding strange alien play styles would you be? A gravity wedge isn''t really all that different from shields that do damage on contact, AFAICT.

The wedge is actually a honorverse''s primary STL & FTL drive system The fact that it can be used as a defense and a weapon is just a bonus.

quote:
Really different defenses would be a liquid hull that can split into globs to avoid fire and wrap around ships when it hits (David Brin''s Uplift series), but that would be a UI evil. The more exotic the weapon or defense, the more likely it''ll be hard to understand and balance.

Perfect balance is evil. You dont want it to be perfectly balanced. A perfecly balanced system is inherently very stable and generally has very low levels of dynamics to the interactions.

Emergent properties are near imposible to achieve in a system with perfect balance, and just as hard to achive in a system without any balance.

And that is boring.

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Shield and laser frequency or modulation:

The sensors on the ship should perhaps be able to detect the frequency of an enemy laser if it hits. The sensors shuold however NOT be able to detect the frequency or modulation on the shield on the enemy ship (or at least you''ll need extremely good sensors to do it). Changing the frequency or modulation should not be instant, but take a few seconds at least. That way you avoid "invulnerable" ships with ever changing shields.

Engineering miracles are still possible - They manage to hack the enemy''s computer and download their frequency, by a stroke of luck you happen to pick the correct frequency, someone on your crew devises a way to change frequencies quicker, but at the cost of computer power/energy/shield lifetime. etc.

Holes in shields when firing own ordnance:
This should be a very advanced tech: 1. It''s not really realistic - a shield is a continous area isn''t it? 2. It''s a major advantage/improvement over having to turn off one''s own shields to fire.
Enemies should be able to fire through the same holes at the player''s ship.

Own missiles and projectile weapons should also be hindered by shields. One way to avoid it could be to place the cannon/launcher/projector outside the shield (some kind of pylon that sticks outside the shield. This should perhaps lower the shields efficiency, and the hardpoint would obviously be easier to destroy. Another problem would be that missiles and shells can''t be reloaded without sending out a reload "bot" or ship. Otherwise the shield must be dropped to fire or a hole opened.

Shields as a continous area:
Each shield should be a single "entity" - if it get''s hit then the entire shield gets drained, not only the part that gets hit. This makes it easier to implement (I think) as well as being more realistic IMO. The shield should have a "efficiency" value - if you increase the area of the shield then the energy/m2 decreases. This can be used to determine how much energy the shield can reduce or absorb. If you want to protect a single very important area you can reduce the size of the shield to only cover that area, but the amount of energy that gets reduced increases.

Fixed reduction:
I see in the original post that the shields reduce damage with 50%. Perhaps it would be better to set it to reduced a fixed amount of energy instead; Say an enemy laser has an output of 10MW. If the shield can reduce it with 5MW then you reduce with 50%. If the enemy get''s a bigger gun - say 50MW then the shield reduces it with 10%. I don''t see the logic with having the shield improve as the enemies weapons improve. Also if you improve your own shields then you may be able to block all of the enemy laser. If this is not desirable you can implement a limit that let''s say 10% of the enemy laser through no matter what.

Regenerating shields:
In the original post you say that the regenerating shields have the highest energy signature. Perhaps it should be possible to turn off the regenerating to lower the energy signature and increase stealth. A tradeoff may be that the shields continously drains when they''re not being recharged so you sometimes have to take a chance and recharge them. Drainage shouldn''t be too high though.. Balance issue.

Spectrum shields:
I don''t see why the damage should be 50% greater if the shield doesn''t match the color of the laser.. It would be more logical that the laser just went through as if the shield wasn''t there. Is it amplified by the mismatching shield?

Jammers/Counter Jammers
Jammers work by sending out a powerful signal (usually directional) on the frequency someone wants to listen to, effectively drowning out the signal. It''s like putting headphones with loud music on the head of one person who tries to talk to another. The signal that the person being jammed sends out is sent out as normal and unless the reciever is being jammed or is in the same direction as the jamming signal is directed to (J---->T---->R), it recieves it without problems. What they may do to avoid the jamming is to change frequencies (Obviously the ones being jammed must decide which frequency) or the nonjammed party must increase it''s signal strenght (In the headphones example - shout to be heard over the music)
IE it''s done to the reciever not the transmitter. A counter jammer could be a powerful sensor or computer that manages to filter out the jamming signal so they can hear the message.

I''m not certain how radar jammers work, but I suspect it''s in a similar fashion - They send out a signal on the radar''s frequency so that the radar is unable to determine the distance to the target. The direction however becomes much easier to see (On a cirular radar screen you''d see a while line from the center to the edge in the direction to the jammer. I don''t know if it''s possible to make a counter jammer in that case, but it may be possible to boost the radar signal (but it would have to be extremely much boosted - jammers are typically several times stronger than the signal), or continously change frequencies. In space however changing frequensies have an additional problem - if you change frequncies every second, the maximum range on the radar becomes 1/2 light second.

Point defence:
AFIK these are automatic turrets that have relatively slow turning speed (changing heading and "altitude"), fast rate of fire and low "calibre". As such they might also be able to attack enemy fighters that moves directly towards or away from the ship. Mines would be a peice of cake to target if they "notices" them - I suspect mines have a fairly low signature compared to missiles and fighters.
Normal turrets should also be allowed to target missiles, but since they probably have a lower rate of fire,higher calibre and faster turning speed, they''re more suited to tracking fighters that attack at an angle (moves along the side of the ship etc) and thus needs the higher turning rate.


Ah, well... I''ve written as much as I feel like for now, but I''ll probably return later with more ideas..
I''ve mentioned it before - my dream is to make a space-sim / RPG a bit like your game (except I''ll focus on the space-sim/ FPSish part) so I''m probably going to be using a few of the same ideas

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An idea on the Shield and laser frequency or modulation. Make it more of a side effect of a critical hit. For normal firing assume that the shields and lasers are in sync when firing, but if the ship’s computer core is hit with EM damage have a chance that the shield and laser frequencies get out of sync and a portion of lasers shot are absorbed by the ship’s own shields.

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hmm, come to think of it spectrum shields sound like a neat idea at first, but the I realized that if you can change the spectrum of your weapons they are useless. After all you could use an 18th century peice of technology called a spectrum analyzer to instantly determine the correct spectrum to fire your weapons on. Or if you don't have one those on hand a prism would do just as well.


Some other thoughts come to mind are reflective shields the reflect part EW power back at the attacker.

Also you should probably think about how weapons fire through you own shields.

some ideas are
1) the biplane method - shields arn't constant they alternate between on and off at an extremely high frequency that gives the appearence of being constant, weapons are rigged to fire during those brief instants when the shields are down.

2)Startrek method - Weapons are configured to certain frequency that lets them path through the ships shields.

3)Gaps method - Small holes open in the shields around weapon turrets for just long enough for the weapon to fire.

4) they just do method - Weapon can just fire through shields and stop asking why.

depending on the method you choose, you should consider adding another kind of attack method Cyber attacks, these are weapons specificly designed to damage and destroy another ships on board computers. As computer go down, shields and weapon maybe become out of synch and you end up damaging your own shields.


Also for armor, are you including thermal,reflective, and reflixive? In other words certain types of armor are more effective against certain kinds of attacks and less effective against others.


One more thing, Are their clouds for stealth? Such as generating a ice cloud to disgue the ship as a comet?
-----------------------------------------------------
"Fate and Destiny only give you the opportunity the rest you have to do on your own."
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave


[edited by - TechnoGoth on June 10, 2004 1:58:00 PM]

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Heheh, yeah, somebody like Macross.

Imho, you have to be careful with shields. Often they tend to horribly unbalance the gameplay in unexpected ways, or create odd emergent strategies. Fore example, I once did a combat game where you had a shield layer and hull layer, but the shield regeneration took weapon energy. It didn''t take energy when it was at full charge.

So, what was the emergent strategy? Never shoot first - attack when he misses you. If you shoot first, then when the other guy hits you your energy will be low, and thus your shields will not be regenerating while you''re being hit.

Obviously, this was because the values were strange too (the regeneration and consumption rates were way, way too high).

Still, keep things like this in mind. Complex damage systems create complex strategies.

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Another note: there is a realism issue here, beyond the whole "sci-fi energy gear equipment". How many types of weapons are currently in use today? Fundamentally, there are only 3 - bullets, explosives (self propelled or not) and electronics-driven missiles. On the large scale there are nuclear/emp weapons, but they''re never used. How many types of armour are there? I''ve heard its about 3: Solid ceramics/plastics, threaded ceramics/plastics(like Kevlar), and metal. And of them, only metal is used on heavy vehicles.

In the real world, there are only a handful of viable solutions to problems. While there maybe millions of other approaches to a problem (crossbows, flamethrowers, air rifles), only a handful are actually good enough to compete with each other, and usually each problem has a very obvious solution technology (shooting from the ground at people? bullets. Vehicles? Rockets. Planes? Homing missiles). Having lists upon lists of totally orthogonal technologies that serve nearly the same purpose and are all viable enough for regular use is somewhat unrealistic.

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Whew! I asked for feedback and boy did I get it!

quote:
Original post by ggs
The number of different technologies isnt very important. Its the number of interactions between the different technologies.



Thanks for reminding me of this, I find myself losing sight of it as I try to keep all of this from flying apart. But I think your point is absolutely critical both to replayability and to make a game like this, which while having nice visuals WON’T have the latest graphics, a deep experience where you keep coming back for more. Much appreciated.

quote:

If I have a Inertia dampeners #1, and Inertia dampeners #2 there should be more thena just their capacity to act as Inertia dampeners.

Inertia dampener #1 might have a low max acceleration, but within that domain it is near 100% effective.

Inertia dampener #2 might have a much high acceleration, but only in a limited direction.
...



FWIW, this can only be accomplished with a lot of little hidden stats, which can be varied. Coincidentally, this is pricisely what alot of games don’t allow you to do, and what is comparatively easy to do.


quote:

Perfect balance is evil. You dont want it to be perfectly balanced. A perfecly balanced system is inherently very stable and generally has very low levels of dynamics to the interactions.


While I agree with you to a point, there’s a danger lurking in a freeform game which gives little to no attention to balance, and that is that you can’t ensure that the game won’t become wildly impossible or ridiculously easy at some point. Without some notion of balance, you’ll be reloading an awful lot as you try to discover the nature of the newly emergent system. This hurts your ability to comprehend the meta-strategy of the game over time: Are shields good or not? Are lasers good or not? You have to have at least SOMETHING that you can fall back on, since nobody likes to be helpless.

quote:

Emergent properties are near imposible to achieve in a system with perfect balance, and just as hard to achive in a system without any balance.



Agreed.


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Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Original post by Kars
An idea on the Shield and laser frequency or modulation. Make it more of a side effect of a critical hit. For normal firing assume that the shields and lasers are in sync when firing, but if the ship’s computer core is hit with EM damage have a chance that the shield and laser frequencies get out of sync and a portion of lasers shot are absorbed by the ship’s own shields.


I’m not so sure about this, because it’s a bit of an obvious choice: In the heat of battle, the only choice this would leave you would be to not fire and get engineers on it or to drop shields. It may not be fun to be shot at while you can’t do anything. How would you personally feel if this happened to you?

Now that I think about it, though, because I’ve got the idea of System Defense (see the core rules thread) which allows you to disable parts without damaging them, being shot at and being helpless might just be unavoidable. Maybe it’s fair: If you can do it to the AI, the AI can do it to you.


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Just waiting for the mothership...

[edited by - Wavinator on June 11, 2004 1:12:49 AM]

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quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
hmm, come to think of it spectrum shields sound like a neat idea at first, but the I realized that if you can change the spectrum of your weapons they are useless.


Forget the spectrum analysis, it’s not supposed to mean that the spectrum is a key to unlocking the shield, it’s meant to imply that shields and weapons have colors in this world and defenses work better if the colors match.

Most lasers would be fixed in color, with the Variable Spectrum Laser being an expensive exception. To switch the color of the shield, I envision that the shield must go offline and be reconfigured. The time it takes to do this is based on how crack your crew is. So what I see you mostly doing is scanning enemies at range, hurrying to reconfigure shields, then going at it against them. The exceptions would be when you see the dreaded VS Laser, inwhich case you hope you can switch faster than their crew can (like loading cannon in the 1800s).

Gameplay-wise, I see you coming into range, fighting, moving out of range, adjusting, then coming back if you’re fighting the VS Laser. If you’re fighting enemies with multiple colors, then you’re going to want to try to divide and conquer.

quote:

Some other thoughts come to mind are reflective shields the reflect part EW power back at the attacker.



Very nice. But it needs a vulnerability tradeoff. How about, as serratemplar was suggesting above, this is the type of shield that offers NO defense against physical attacks? You’d be excellent against beams, but have to rely on armor to deal with missiles and guns.

quote:

Also you should probably think about how weapons fire through you own shields.

some ideas are
1) the biplane method - shields arn''t constant they alternate between on and off at an extremely high frequency that gives the appearence of being constant, weapons are rigged to fire during those brief instants when the shields are down.

2)Startrek method - Weapons are configured to certain frequency that lets them path through the ships shields.

3)Gaps method - Small holes open in the shields around weapon turrets for just long enough for the weapon to fire.



I like 1 and 3, and they can easily be a modular add on to shields. The interrupt method could work at the cost of straining generator health (like turning your monitor on and off again and again rapidly) and increase the chance that you’re hit overall. With gaps, you’re better protected, but it’s a much more expensive module and you have a greater chance of losing the weapon when shields are hit in that facing. (I like this, it adds nice flavor.)

quote:

4) they just do method - Weapon can just fire through shields and stop asking why.



I never miss an opportunity to vary things by stats when it doesn’t require additional graphics!!!

quote:

depending on the method you choose, you should consider adding another kind of attack method Cyber attacks, these are weapons specificly designed to damage and destroy another ships on board computers.



Yes, EMP strikes would be excellent for this.

quote:

As computer go down, shields and weapon maybe become out of synch and you end up damaging your own shields.



Do you REALLY, REALLY want this? I’d think this one thing would make you extremely ticked. “That’s so lame, what idiot would design a game where your own fire damages you?”

This could be disasterous if you fire missiles, which would explode in contact with your own shield and deal you damage as if you’re unshielded. OTOH, it would place added emphasis on you if it did happen to have a crack engineering team to fix the problem. (After all, why are you carting their lazy hides around in the first place if it’s not for this.)

I’ll put it in if you think it wouldn’t be a game killer.

quote:

Also for armor, are you including thermal,reflective, and reflixive? In other words certain types of armor are more effective against certain kinds of attacks and less effective against others.


Gee, I’m glad you asked!

From the core rules post: (which nobody commented on-- see, I told ya I know how you feel. )
quote:

Defenses
Come in 3 flavors:

  • Plate/Bioplate - Durability is effectively 100% against Force damage, 50% vs. Thermal, 25% vs. EM
  • Shield/Field - Durability is effectively 100% vs EM, 50% vs Force, 25% vs Thermal
  • T-flec (Thermal Reflection) - Durability is effectively 100% vs. Thermal, 50% vs. EM, and 25% vs. Force





quote:

One more thing, Are their clouds for stealth? Such as generating a ice cloud to disgue the ship as a comet?


Hah! I did not think of this, but why not? They were meant to diffuse beams, to have a handy baby nebula that you could launch whose particles would decohere the beam. But I’ll add the property of being cold to confuse energy seeking missiles, thereby giving them double strategy.


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Just waiting for the mothership...

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Balance is good, as long as it''s not Rock, Paper, Scissors type balance.

--------------------------------------
I am the master of stories.....
If only I could just write them down...

I just saw this quote and had to put it here, "Just look at 99% of entertainment, it''s all in your face detritus."

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quote:
Original post by Pxtl
Imho, you have to be careful with shields. Often they tend to horribly unbalance the gameplay in unexpected ways, or create odd emergent strategies.



Yes, good warning. The worst case I’ve seen is when you can’t play the game because you’re waiting for your shields to regenerate, and armor is useless. Escape Velocity has a ship, the Manticore, which is like this AFAICT. It’s shields die instantly, it’s slow as a meandering asteroid, and you can’t mount long range weapons on it. As a result, battling anything but fighters and light ships is suicide.

quote:

Obviously, this was because the values were strange too (the regeneration and consumption rates were way, way too high).



The good news is that you’ll be able to vary a stat like this. Consumption rate too high? Carry extra capacitors, or throw in another reactor, or upgrade your existing one. Course, that''ll cost you extra mass and weapons space...


quote:
Original post by Pxtl
Another note: there is a realism issue here, beyond the whole "sci-fi energy gear equipment". How many types of weapons are currently in use today? Fundamentally, there are only 3 - bullets, explosives (self propelled or not) and electronics-driven missiles. On the large scale there are nuclear/emp weapons, but they''re never used. How many types of armour are there? I''ve heard its about 3: Solid ceramics/plastics, threaded ceramics/plastics(like Kevlar), and metal. And of them, only metal is used on heavy vehicles.

In the real world, there are only a handful of viable solutions to problems. While there maybe millions of other approaches to a problem (crossbows, flamethrowers, air rifles), only a handful are actually good enough to compete with each other, and usually each problem has a very obvious solution technology (shooting from the ground at people? bullets. Vehicles? Rockets. Planes? Homing missiles). Having lists upon lists of totally orthogonal technologies that serve nearly the same purpose and are all viable enough for regular use is somewhat unrealistic.


But which is more fun? RPGs are in part about the whole shopping / spending money / leveling up dynamic. For that to work, you’ve got to have stuff to buy.

And look at handguns as an analogy: Why are there so many variants and knockoffs? What’s the real difference between an AK-47 and an AR-15? Well, there are issues with reliability, weight, durability, ease of use, etc. And there are different manufacturers responding to different variants on the same need.

In a world where individual people can possess starships that are not astronomically expensive and ultramassive (as they''d likely be in reality), you can imagine that there is as much need as there are free spacefarers encountering danger. Story-wise, it''s a universe that once held over 100 quadrillion beings, now post-apocalyptic, with tech and space monsters (Siegers) everywhere.

I think that leaves some room for the Mac-10 vs. Uzi equivalent variety of weapons, defenses and other gadgets, especially since they''re climbing back up the tech tree.


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Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Original post by Nathaniel Hammen
Balance is good, as long as it''s not Rock, Paper, Scissors type balance.


Oy, very much agreed. I think a core balance of reduced defense versus certain attack types is best, modified by special effects which change up strategy.

Right now it''s armor best against physical strikes, okay against heat, and so-so against direct beams; T-flec best against heat, okay against direct beams and so-so against physical strikes; and shields best against beams, okay against force and so-so against heat.

But stats still come into play. You can have a beam that does so much damage that it still overwhelms shields, and some weapons do damage to multiple types, requiring a mixed defense strategy.

To round it off, there are also status effects, such as EMP to disable weapons and cancel shields, or radiation clouds to irradiate the hull.

There will likely be some strategic powermax strategies, but the fact that the tech level and prices vary as you play should keep it interesting.


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Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Gameplay-wise, I see you coming into range, fighting, moving out of range, adjusting, then coming back if you’re fighting the VS Laser.


Since you mentioned this I'm wondering will ship to ship combat invole constant motion? Meaning that will both ships be constantly moving, and the player will have to perform turns and such to get back into firing posistion.

quote:

Do you REALLY, REALLY want this? I’d think this one thing would make you extremely ticked. “That’s so lame, what idiot would design a game where your own fire damages you?”

This could be disasterous if you fire missiles, which would explode in contact with your own shield and deal you damage as if you’re unshielded. OTOH, it would place added emphasis on you if it did happen to have a crack engineering team to fix the problem. (After all, why are you carting their lazy hides around in the first place if it’s not for this.)

I’ll put it in if you think it wouldn’t be a game killer.



Well, it defently could be problematic, but I guess it depends of the focous of combat, to me it seems as though your going for a very tactical approach to space combat. As such, I would expect the player to have to deal with various tactical problems. Such as weapons and shields out of synch, power consumption, heat disapation, etc...

All the best tactical games have friendly fire causing damage, so if you are to close to the enemy when you launch a missle you might very well get damaged.

edit:

Forgot something, Hull and armor configurations.

I would think the a custom casted armor would be the most expensive but also the most durable, since it specificly crafted for your vessel and since it is a sold piece much stronger then a modular version.

Lastly when are you going to post a thread on the stealth aspect of the game?

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


[edited by - TechnoGoth on June 11, 2004 8:36:10 PM]

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quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
Since you mentioned this I''m wondering will ship to ship combat invole constant motion? Meaning that will both ships be constantly moving, and the player will have to perform turns and such to get back into firing posistion.



Yes, although the bigger the ship, the more slow and stately I see combat as being. Fighter groups you can zip around with, but dreadnaughts will turn like a tortoise.

quote:

Well, it defently could be problematic, but I guess it depends of the focous of combat, to me it seems as though your going for a very tactical approach to space combat. As such, I would expect the player to have to deal with various tactical problems. Such as weapons and shields out of synch, power consumption, heat disapation, etc...



Yes, I have no problem with tactical questions, but I''m just double checking with you on this one idea. It would be like playing a game where your gun could explode in your hand.

quote:

All the best tactical games have friendly fire causing damage, so if you are to close to the enemy when you launch a missle you might very well get damaged.



I guess as long as it''s clear this will be okay. *shrug* I like the idea from a design standpoint, I''m just concerned for you as a player.

quote:

I would think the a custom casted armor would be the most expensive but also the most durable, since it specificly crafted for your vessel and since it is a sold piece much stronger then a modular version.



But what if the tech was such that armor was painted on, layer by layer, almost like fiberglass? Does that still make sense? Whatever the reason, I just wanted a type of armor that''s cheap but you have to replace vs. one that''s more expensive but repairable. Now, technically, you could say, "why can''t they just respray it?" And I could say "because the armor would actually be weaker due to *blah blah blah*"

quote:

Lastly when are you going to post a thread on the stealth aspect of the game?



I could do this, but this is one of the sections that''s actually DONE! *whoo hoo!*

But I''m sure the great ideas that have been coming out of this forum could improve it.

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quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Yes, I have no problem with tactical questions, but I''m just double checking with you on this one idea. It would be like playing a game where your gun could explode in your hand.



I think that happened to me once in fallout. Think of it as a condition akin to status ailments in RPGs. So the ship takes computer damage and a little indicator lights up singling firing control systems out-synch condition. Then a little dialog box appears and the XO infroms you that you can either deactivate shields or weapons for about 60 seconds to correct the problem or leave it alone and risk weapons impacting on the shields.


You could have a number of conditions that ship can suffer from, and beauty is that these are almost always internal problems and thus require no art.



-----------------------------------------------------
"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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Always enjoy read your posts Wavinator (and the resulting discussions). Just got couple of points to add, one for shields, one for armour.

I've always wondered why shields don't blind the ship using them. If you have a shield that blocks a laser, then shouldn't it block all visible light as well. Or if your ship uses radar (active or passive) then it should be vulnerable to EM weapons that use similar freqencies. (though it is easy for even a lightly armoured hull to deal with a microwave laser).

Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's Mote in God's Eye series has the ships being shielded having to extend masts through the shields in order to be able to "see". During an extended battle, the masts would be replaced many times as they were destroyed, and once you ran out, you were blind till you lowered the shields.


There are some circumstances where having less armour may be better than more. If your ship is hit by a hyper-velocity slug (traveling at a significant % of c), then you definatly want less armour. The more armour the slug has to punch through, the more energy it transfers to your ship (and this energy is transfered in the form of superheated armour plasma). A 10kg slug traveling at 10% c will just leave a small hole in a lightly armoured scout ship, but it will hit an astroid base with the force of a small nuke.

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Amazing how the weapons thread is on page three while this one is not ;)

Quote:
Original post by Korvan

Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's Mote in God's Eye series has the ships being shielded having to extend masts through the shields in order to be able to "see". During an extended battle, the masts would be replaced many times as they were destroyed, and once you ran out, you were blind till you lowered the shields.


Yep, those shields are a fascinating variant of the absorption shields. On activation, they block the complete EM spectrum, so that the contained ship appears as a perfectly black spheroid. As the shields absorb energy, that energy is distributed to the whole shield surface (no hot spots) and radiated off. If the absorption rate is higher that the emission rate (they fly into the outer region of some cold star, a red giant IIRC), the shield starts to "glow", with an ever increasing wavelength until the shield's capacity is reached and energy is apssed through to the ship.

For game purposes, I would use this as a "panic shield" that can be activated rapidly and allow for a blind escape, like a jump to hyperspace or whatever. It would also seem a pretty good solution to vanish off EM based sensors quickly, but I guess Psi personnell and weapons would see through it. As such, time needed for activation should be rather low, time to recharge long and uptime low to medium.

It doesn't seem quite as effective as the stasis fields used as personal or squad armor in Haldeman's Forever War since it doesn't reduce kinetic energy of objects entering the shield - spears and arrows were quite effective weapons -, but allows normal operation inside the shield.

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