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Acharis

Stacked spaceships and shields

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A HoM&M style combat but with spaceships.

One stack fire at another, total damage 50, enemy stack HP reduced by 50. Trivial.
But how to incorporate shields? In non stacked it's easy, first all shield points have to be down, then hull structure takes damage. But with a stack of 1000 spaceships it would make no sense...

For example, one ship has 100 HP and 50 shields. There is a stack of 1000 of such ships.
If we sum up all the shields and prohibit any damage until shield is down it would make it progressively invulnerable to make huge stacks (with 1000 ships it would mean 50000 shield points to be taken down before any casualities (and decrease of offensive capabilities) take place. Construction of huge stacks of high shield low HP fleets would be the only reasonable strategy.

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off the top of my head turn the shield value in to percentages example enemy ship has 100 hp and 100% shields you fire for 50 damage enemy ship now has 100 hp and 50% shields you fire again for 50 enemy ship now has 75 life and 0% shields ect..
have the shields have a time regeneration period where so much of the percentage comes back ( which also opens a feature for customizing ships if you wanted)

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off the top of my head turn the shield value in to percentages example enemy ship has 100 hp and 100% shields you fire for 50 damage enemy ship now has 100 hp and 50% shields you fire again for 50 enemy ship now has 75 life and 0% shields ect..
have the shields have a time regeneration period where so much of the percentage comes back ( which also opens a feature for customizing ships if you wanted)
Don't forget the stacks. You don't fire at a single ship, you fire at the whole stack. There are 1000 ships with 100 HP and X shields each (so total HP of the stack is 10,000 and shields 1000*X). Why one shot of a mere 50 damage would reduce the shields of 1000 ships by 50%?

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Simulate them individually. Computers can do that easily these days. Also, this will prevent an anti capital ship weapon dealing 1000 damage to destroy 5 smaller ships at once. If you want to save on resources, you could limit the number of targets to 100 per stack. When a ship fires at a stack, it randomly targets one of the active ships. If it kills that ship, another ship from the stack is promoted if there are more than 100 ships in the stack. It will create a result closer to what a player might expect.

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Simulate them individually.
Impossible, I need it for a MMO, so it would kill the server; plus it is basicly impossible to convey in the interface (showing this stack as individual things); plus confusing to the player (a stack is a stack, the player expects it to behave like a stack); and above all it is "stupid work" because I would be coding something the player won't see nor notice 99% of the time :(
Simulating them individually is soooo much work and added complexity for so tiny gain of fun that I would rather abandon the whole shields idea than implement it :)


I was thinking along the lines: each hit deals 50% of damage to HP and 50% to shields, if there are no shields all damage is done directly to HP, when enough HP is lost a ship is destroyed (HoM&M style) regardless of remaining shield (but what happens to "leftovers of shields", the portion of what the ship would have left is removed as the ship dies?) Would it work? Or something similar maybe?

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Maybe it would help if you break down in general terms what HP, Shields and Stacks are representing (and maybe you've already done this).

In these types of games, Stacks & HP can be thought of as just plain hit points in a typical RPG, with the additional component of tiers of degraded combat performance. What I mean is that, for example, if you have 5 ships each having 2 HP, you have a total of 10 HP stack. Each time 2 Damage is taken, the stack degrades in capabilities (usually damage output) by 1/5.

What do you want shields to represent? Free HP without degradation tiers (which is what is sounds like from your first post)? Note that percentages (or penalties to attack chance) boil down to basically the same thing - adding HPs. A free HP pool like this would be powerful, you will need to balance shields with a cost. Some examples:

Diminishing returns - as stacks get larger, added shield HP per ship decreases
Restriction to movement, or disallow movement altogether when shields are up
Cost/power requirements, or requries other resources that are present in the game
Damage penalty when shields are up Edited by laztrezort

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Why don't you just introduce an artillery weapon to the game, which instead of a fixed amount of damage gives a small amount of damage per unit in the stack? This weapon would be weak against small stacks, strong against large stacks, and the only thing that can take out very large stacks of shielded ships. Edited by Wiggin

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What do you want shields to represent?
Good question. I want shields because spaceships are supposed to have shields and shields are cool and everyone like shields and you can make decisions if you want to build ships that have shields or that have something else instead :) That's my premise, I don't need it for any mechanics purpose (could do with HP alone well enough). As long as shields have something to do with reducing damage the ship takes and it is intuitive to the player I'm fine with it.

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Another avenue to consider would be having different Defenses, which are matched against different types of Weapons to determine damage effectiveness. As an off the top of my head example, you could have something like:

Armor - standard defense, average protection against most weapons
Deflection Shields - good vs. ballistics & missles, bad vs. beam & lasers
Energy Shields - good vs. beams & lasers, bad vs. ballistics & missles

You could potentially expand on that, for example having "tuned" shields which are effective only against certain types of energy weapons, or fast speedy ships gaining a bonus due to ability to dodge ballistic or missles. For some more examples, either look at some table-top space RPGs, or games like Gratuitous Space Battles.

You often see something like this in fantasy RPGs, where certain elemental attacks are more effective vs. certain enemies, or certain weapons are more effective vs. certain armor types.

A well-balanced scheme like this can add some strategy to army design, and will ensure that no defense is overpowered against all enemy types.

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When I said to simulate them individually, I meant within the stack. You still target the stack, but damage is done to a particular ship in the stack. It will behave differently than if you grouped them and killed as if a single ship was targeted all the time, so it's not wasted effort. Instead of linearly losing strength, the stack will fight at near full strength until it reaches very low HP, at which point its power will decrease sharply.

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