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Speed of fleets

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This is a "fork" of http://www.gamedev.net/topic/658143-how-to-greatly-reduce-fleet-micromanagement/ discussion. Quite a lot of people raised the concern of controling the speed of fleets (like being annoyed by one outdated ship that slows down the whole fleet, or an option to control the speed of a whole fleet). So I think it deserves a separate topic.

 

Personal request, if possible make it usabe to turn based since that's the one I make :)

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Well I am not much into space games except I still play 1996 made Fragile Allegiance time to time (It would be wise to check if you didn't yet imo). Their solution was using Command Cruiser ships carrying certain number of smaller ships and greatly increasing range.

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The simplest solution is that the speed of the fleet is determined by the speed of the slowest ship. The same goes for the range.

 

If you don't do this, then it's not really a fleet, more a collection of ships that happened to be at the same point at some time.

 

I'd say it's up to the player to determine what ships he wants in the fleet. He can always give a command to break it up into two or more fleets if necessary.

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I don't really know the official conventions of space games, so this may not be useful to you... but... why is speed a factor in space?  Can't you just keep speeding up as long as you have fuel?  The real problem then becomes having enough fuel to slow down at the right spot.  Couldn't you have one big engine ship that the entire fleet connects to that could propel all of them at one single speed to their destination?

 

Space is a weird environment and all I know about it comes from physics classes, some Stephen Hawking books,  and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.  Not sure if those things make for great game design.

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Make entire fleets move at their combined averaged speed.

 

Alternatively, have the entire fleet move at 0.6 of the difference between the fastest and slowest ship. If the slowest ship moves at 7 speed-units, and the fastest moves at 20 speed units, then the entire fleet together moves at (7 + ((20 - 7) * 0.6)) = 15 speed units.

 

This solution makes the most sense to me.  Simple, easy to implement, and very logical -- the slow guys are somewhat rushed and the fast guys are somewhat held back. 

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Make entire fleets move at their combined averaged speed.

 

Alternatively, have the entire fleet move at 0.6 of the difference between the fastest and slowest ship. If the slowest ship moves at 7 speed-units, and the fastest moves at 20 speed units, then the entire fleet together moves at (7 + ((20 - 7) * 0.6)) = 15 speed units.

 

While I do think it's an elegant way to prevent fleets from moving very slowly, I don't think this would be very realistic (as far as space travel of this sort is currently realistic). The slowest ship can't move faster than its maximum speed, can it? Unless it has an overdrive of some sort, but then I'd apply some damage while this is active to show extra wear and tear.

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Or just highlight why the fleet is going slow, and allow for fleets to be broken up easily / updated easily.

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As for unit speed, I've always thought it would be interesting to have variable control of unit speed using the mouse wheel (or something of the sort). It would be interesting to be able to push ships beyond their engines capability at the risk of a meltdown. The variable control of the mouse wheel could be case sensitive as well. Cursor over friendly ship to adjust shields, cursor over enemies to adjust power to weapons, group select and micro a squad of starfighters to "set shields double front" or "go in full throttle this time, that should help keep those fighters off our back", etc.
Maybe like this:

You can select the speed of the fleet (on the fleet panel), all too slow ships will be automaticly excluded and no too slow ones will be allowed to join.

And/or make tankers & "overspeed". Like a ship can go faster but it require a presence of a tanker in the fleet (1 tanker per +1 speed for one ship), these takers automaticaly boost the speed of the slowest ships in the fleet.

And/or make fuel usage or some sort. Like a ship can go faster but it uses up more fuel, which is a resource (have a too slow fleet, build more refineries so they can catch up).

 

Also, there could be two speed designated on the fleet panel, "cruise speed" and "full speed", you set the cruise speed only, the full speed is automatic (uses max fuel to gain the best speed - of course only the too slow (relative to others) ones use up fuel).

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Technically, you could accelerate 'forever' but rocket science actually determine there's a 'topspeed' which is determined by the amount of fuel you have, its mass, and how burning that fuel grants you speed.

 

That's what I was trying to express in my inelgant way -- the real issue being how much fuel you have to decellerate

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AND accelerate too. The speed of acceleration also matters.
I am personally ok with the concept of speed max in space but I personally uuse fuel and acceleration capacity only (these two allow me to control what is possible and give players choices).
Space Engineers (the game) does that too btw.

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I like your implementation as it would make it helpful to have fuel hoarders in the fleet. I like it when a game bothers to include some form of logistcs even if it is easily managed.
Adds an economic layer to fleet management!

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lag behind seems like a waste of design space tbh. It adds a lot of complexity for very little actual strategy.
As much as I tend to prefer granularity, I believe Acharis' vision does better at avoiding everything micro...

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Realism is enjoyable and definitely worth pursuing, but when it conflicts with enjoyable gameplay, sometimes it has to take a backseat. smile.png

Weaker guns not doing much damage against a more powerful shield players can tolerate, but slow moving ships gets irritating really fast. dry.png

 

Fun is indeed more important than realism. I guess I missed the part where Acharis wants to remove micro management, which my suggestion would more or less require :)

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Many observations made so far point in the same direction: speed differences make little sense and can be eliminated as a source of pointless annoyance.

  • FTL propulsion can have the same pseudo-speed for every ship because it's based on the same technology: for example, a succession of "jumps" involves a maximum or fixed distance and a constant preparation time for each jump, with the only difference between ships being energy cost and device size.
  • Realistic propulsion can be designed to give the same "standard" acceleration, and therefore the same travel time on any route, to any ship.
    If both engines and robust materials are very good and relatively cheap, the limiting constraint for acceleration is not squashing passengers to death (rather than affording powerful engines or not breaking the ship apart) and it doesn't vary by ship type. Improved engines are going to be smaller, cheaper, more efficient, but not "faster".

If FTL speed differences (like in Star Trek) are needed, they can be simplified to a few tiers and used to forbid ships with different speeds to belong to the same fleet. Serious speed differences are going to imply different strategic movements in any case.

 

If limiting thrust of realistic engines according to available fuel is a normal occurrence, it can be assumed that the fleet automatically allocates available fuel to maintain the same travel time for every ship, rather than slowing down specific fuel-challenged ships. Computations are easy: fuel is proportional to ship mass.

Edited by LorenzoGatti

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Adds an economic layer to fleet management!
In principle, I would rather remove than add :) Especially if it's something as minor as fleet speed.

 


Make entire fleets move at their combined averaged speed.
It has a game design appeal for sure... But those annoying players, they will scream it's unrealistic :D

 


Many observations made so far point in the same direction: speed differences make little sense and can be eliminated as a source of pointless annoyance.
Yes... Still, it's so cute to have those slow big ships :D I don't know, it's both annoying and fun at the same time to me :)

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Still, it's so cute to have those slow big ships biggrin.png I don't know, it's both annoying and fun at the same time to me smile.png

 

I can see the benefit of slow and powerful ships. I can see myself tolerating that (just barely) as long as they aren't too slow. But outdated (i.e. weak) ships that are also slow are an annoyance.

Edited by Servant of the Lord

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Still, it's so cute to have those slow big ships biggrin.png I don't know, it's both annoying and fun at the same time to me smile.png

 

I can see the benefit of slow and powerful ships. I can see myself tolerating that (just barely) as long as they aren't too slow. But outdated (i.e. weak) ships that are also slow are an annoyance.

 

 

It was a bit annoying in Master of Orion, but not too much.

 

Dammit, now I have to play that again :)

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Masters of Orion 2 gets really easy if you hack the starting points so you can have all the perks.

 

Some times big slow ships can be a waste. Galc CIV 2 had Terrorstars which could destroy a whole star system but they took loads of research and resources to build, took 10 turns after completion before you could use them, no defences of any kind and then had the slowest movement possible in the game which meant they were completely useless. 

 

I always found slow ships so very painful when trying to expand my empire in games.  I don't want to have to have wait ages for them to move from core worlds to the enemies territory. I want to strike hard and fast capturing all the enemies tech not spend most of my time waiting for the armada to get to the enemy only to wipe them out in an instant.

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If you take a look at VGA Planets or Planets Nu, you'll notice that all ships can go any speed, but their fuel consumption ratio will vary depending on the engines you've fitted on them.

That way, even a Tech 1 engine can run at warp 9 (but at what impossible fuel cost!) whereas WarpDrive (tech 10) engines allow you to run at Warp 9 with manageable fuel costs.

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Make entire fleets move at their combined averaged speed.
I like that one as a designer, but as a player I feel it's very, very wrong... It made me think, what is the purpose of different ships speed in 4X?

 

Well, the purpose is to have SLOW ships so you can make a decision to either include them in your fleet (and make the whole fleet slow) or discard them and form another, slow, fleet from these. That's the real purpose, I feel.

 

But, another thought, how it works in practice in games? In practice you don't make such decision, never, because you NEED to include your slow battleships. So it's not a real decision... Instead the slow speed is a sign of outdated ship that you need to refit, which does not sound fun at all to me :)

 

So, I wonder, what's the whole point of having different speed of ships in 4X? :D

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One of the points of slow ships could be giving them important and exclusive abilities, turning them from part of a fleet to strategic weapons or strategic resources. For example, colony ships that can terraform planets and should often have a fleet as an escort, or Death Star-like planet scale weapons. But it is not necessary, and other types of strategic problems could be better

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