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Acharis

Spaceship design: space vs slots

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Typical 4x game where you design spaceships.

There are two options (if you ever encountered more, post):
- space (each hull has X points of space, you can install any components as long as within the total space limit) [Master of Orion 2]
- slots (each hull has several slots, usually of various types, you can (and usually should) install exactly one component on each slot) [Stars! and most of other 4x games IIRC]


I would like to hear your opinions on these and generally discuss the spaceship design part of such games.

I'm not sure if it is only my personal preference, but I feel all slot based spaceship design systems I encountered were broken and simply lame. You always put exactly one engine, one bridge, one life support system... To me the only real choice was about some secondary systems and the whole mechanic felt as a way to not allow me put weapons on all slots (which was always the best choice). On the other hand space system in MOO2, while allowing me to put 100% weapons, was very interesting and I always was ending up with plenty auxiliary systems. At a first glance the space based system seems like an obvious winner to me (althrough, I like the visual aspect of slots and it allows for higher variety of hulls). Edited by Acharis

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I don't want to sound like an ass but its just a random comment on the words you use. If this is going into a game or a design document you might want to change the word weight for mass since when you're in space you have no weight. Just wanted to point it out in case you were going to write this down somewhere.

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weight[/quote]
If we're talking space - its not weight anymore, its mass. And in space, mass is a rather pointless thing to worry about on a spaceship, realistically speaking.

I feel all slot based spaceship design systems I encountered were broken and simply lame.[/quote]
That is because they are almost never properly implemented. There are two things that must be done :
1) Have physical position be actual position. Meaning, putting armour plating on the front will protect you from the front. Putting things in front of other things will determine their destruction order.
and 2) Have weapons have angle arcs according to their actual position.

As far as i know no game ever did both, only one or the other. Most do none. I think Sword of the Stars 2 have both, but i cant say not having actually played it.

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If we're talking space - its not weight anymore, its mass. And in space, mass is a rather pointless thing to worry about on a spaceship, realistically speaking.



That is not true at all. its much harder to accelerate an object with a large mass to high speed than an object with a low mass. while its true that the word weight cant be used in space F=ma is still applicable and very important for space travel. (The greater the force you need to push the more energy you need the bigger the mass, the greater the force you need

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I don't want to sound like an ass but its just a random comment on the words you use. If this is going into a game or a design document you might want to change the word weight for mass since when you're in space you have no weight. Just wanted to point it out in case you were going to write this down somewhere.
Fixed smile.png


I feel all slot based spaceship design systems I encountered were broken and simply lame.

That is because they are almost never properly implemented. There are two things that must be done :
1) Have physical position be actual position. Meaning, putting armour plating on the front will protect you from the front. Putting things in front of other things will determine their destruction order.
[/quote]This has 2 problems. It relys on micromanegement and detailed ship manipulation during combat which is not usable in larger/mid scale battles (imagine positioning 20 destroyers so they all show their stronger side to the enemy and repeat it each turn). Also this still does not solve anything, ship design is still trivial (armour in the exterior, standard systems behind them and the critical systems in the very center).

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F=ma is still applicable and very important for space travel.[/quote]
Well, that depends. Realistically it doesnt matter, since its unlikely that space exploration will ever go anywhere far enough with below-light-speed travel. And if you have an FTL drive - mass is irrelevant.

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Good point. So basicaly, it would be important to look at the actual fiction of a game before even thinking about designing those parts of the game. its sorta interesting to do it that way since you usualy dont restrict gameplay designs to the fiction but the invert.

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LOL, it's really not impotant. Call it mass, space, weight, whatever, a player won't care smile.png Just maximum X of something where X is a number. That's the first option. The second option is slots.

Which you like better and why?

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I think if looking at things realistically, you would need both slots and energy to run certain modules/extensions.

In my opinion, the best way to go would be to have well thought out and named slot types(armor, extensions, weapons, electronics and so on) and then give X amount of these slots on different ships. All of the fittables would have requirements for energy, volume and so on while keeping it realistic.

The above system looks both fun and easy to balance.

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I think no one mentioned it, one of the best 4x games (at least that i heard of) is Aurora, whatever you do, terraforming, bulding spaceships, building defenses, bulding your race, gets an incredible detail, you can set the frequency of the laser you shoot so it can destroy different things more effectively, if you want to make a space-based 4x, i reccomend you look at it, or at least it's wiki, you could get a lot of ideas from it.

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