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Acharis

Equipment/modules for ships

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The player has built a ship, it has basic weapons and everything. Then the player researched a new "Point Defence laser" for example. What happens then?

 

I want to avoid the overused to death "so the player makes a new ship design and put the new PD into a module slot and starts producing these new ships ", bleh :)

 

I look for something like: the old ships are auto requipped (probably not instantly) or that the newly invented module is produced like an equipment and the ship "takes one from the inventory and installs it" when it visit the shipyard for next maintenance. Something like this.

 

Ideas?

 

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I think ships would be retrofitted with the new tech but to do so they must return to a shipyard or starbase.

They are then out of action for x days where x depends on the age of the ship, newer ships more easily take new technology.

The age of the ship also has bearing on the effectivrness of the mod, older ships struggling with space and or power requirements etc.

Retrofitting would also cost resources e.g. Money depending on the complexity of the mod.

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I was trying to narrow "must have" properties of the mechanic, here we go:

- there are not that many hulls and these should not get outdated too quickly; basicly a hull is a ship with predefined main weapons you can't change, when you build a hull it's ready to go

- modifications/variants - sometimes you will get an event that "ship designers" ask for audience, you will be presented with an option how to modify a cerain hull (like one designer want to add better armour while other wants engine boosters), you select one and it instantly modifies the basic properties of the hull (so all ships of that hull that exist get instantly upgraded for free I suppose)

- modules - these might be invented after the ship is produced, you need to have an option to install and uninstall these. Modules are highly limited (like 1 module per hull - therefore it's not critical to add a cost to produce these...) Not sure how to handle this, probably there should be some "per hull" screen where you can adjust what module it has installed (and/or per hull per fleet so each fleet could have ships with different modules). Also I'm not sure if these modules should be produced or just "appear"...

 

Optional:

- components - each ship has standard stuff like scanners, shields; when you invent a new version of scanner you might start producing the new scanners (all newly produced ships come with newest possible components) and the old ships can upgrade/replace their scanners (but how/when?)

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How about ships having "slots" for equipment, defense and offense equipment?

 

These slots would represent available space and carrying capacity of the ships, and would be different for the ship types. You could have a newly researched ship type start with no module researched, so players have to research everything, build everything and assemble the ships before they can really field them... or the ships could start with some default modules in the slots that can be replaced by newer equipment as you research and build it.

This might also give you the option of having a more advanced version of a laser weapon, that is very similar to an older version, but only takes up half the amount of slots. This way players can replace an older version of the laser by two of them, or equip a much smaller ship that was not able to field such a powerful weapon before with the newer miniaturized version.

 

Maybe the slots (or some of them) are shared, and players can gear their ships more for defense, offense, or any other kind of task as they see fit? 

 

You could not only have weapon modules, you could also give the player the option to fill modules with additional armour / shields (they can give up some offense for a better defense), you could have troop carrying modules (to turn the ship into a landing boat of some kind), cargo bays (if your game has a resource system), bomb / missile bays (Again, if your game supports that), or any kind of weird and wacky radio / radar / ECM / support-device-of-your-choice that your game mechanics support.

 

Players could then outfit their ships as they see fit, or you could limit that by making part, or all of the slots dedicated to either defense, offense or support and control a little bit more what combinations the players can come up with.

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This might also give you the option of having a more advanced version of a laser weapon, that is very similar to an older version, but only takes up half the amount of slots. This way players can replace an older version of the laser by two of them, or equip a much smaller ship that was not able to field such a powerful weapon before with the newer miniaturized version.
But how could we do it without the overused "ship designer screen"? I don't know, slots are...

 

Maybe the slots (or some of them) are shared, and players can gear their ships more for defense, offense, or any other kind of task as they see fit?
Hmm, I was thinking of simply making more hulls available, so the players can buy what they desire. I mean, I don't want/hate the generic hulls you get in 4X nowadays (you get a frigate full and make out of it a scout, a combat vessel, transporter, colonizer...), the mood here is poor. I wanted something more distinctive like you build a hull with plasma weapons or a hull with one big gun or one that is immune to radiation.

 

But you brought a good point that the player should be able to customize them. Probably I would use here the audience mechanic (designers visit you and ask (mutually exclusive choice) what you want to have in that hull type preinstalled).

 

As for modules, definitely not weapons/shields, only weird ones :) Like:

* Communications array

* Tactical net

* Command bridge

* Escape pods

* Tractor beam

 

 

 

As for outfiting ships with the modules, the simpliest way would be:

- you select what module a certain hull type should have in a given fleet (I have a system that supports formations)

- after you click OK all these ships (in that fleet only), existing and future and transferred (transfer of ships always must go via the shipyard anyway, can't move ships between fleets freely), get this module instantly installed and for free; for the next 1-2 turns all ships of that type in this fleet get -10% to something (less ready to fight because of change of equipment).

Not sure I'm happy with it but that's the simpliest solution I can think of for now.

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This might also give you the option of having a more advanced version of a laser weapon, that is very similar to an older version, but only takes up half the amount of slots. This way players can replace an older version of the laser by two of them, or equip a much smaller ship that was not able to field such a powerful weapon before with the newer miniaturized version.
But how could we do it without the overused "ship designer screen"? I don't know, slots are...

 

 

 

Maybe the slots (or some of them) are shared, and players can gear their ships more for defense, offense, or any other kind of task as they see fit?
Hmm, I was thinking of simply making more hulls available, so the players can buy what they desire. I mean, I don't want/hate the generic hulls you get in 4X nowadays (you get a frigate full and make out of it a scout, a combat vessel, transporter, colonizer...), the mood here is poor. I wanted something more distinctive like you build a hull with plasma weapons or a hull with one big gun or one that is immune to radiation.

 

But you brought a good point that the player should be able to customize them. Probably I would use here the audience mechanic (designers visit you and ask (mutually exclusive choice) what you want to have in that hull type preinstalled).

 

As for modules, definitely not weapons/shields, only weird ones smile.png Like:

* Communications array

* Tactical net

* Command bridge

* Escape pods

* Tractor beam

 

 

 

As for outfiting ships with the modules, the simpliest way would be:

- you select what module a certain hull type should have in a given fleet (I have a system that supports formations)

- after you click OK all these ships (in that fleet only), existing and future and transferred (transfer of ships always must go via the shipyard anyway, can't move ships between fleets freely), get this module instantly installed and for free; for the next 1-2 turns all ships of that type in this fleet get -10% to something (less ready to fight because of change of equipment).

Not sure I'm happy with it but that's the simpliest solution I can think of for now.

 

 

You could always put limits on your slots... like if its a huge support weapon, it can only go into a spezialized weapon carrier ship. If its a very sophisticated radar array, it can only be installed in a specialized radar ship.

 

My intention was less to have only generic hulls and then have the players customize them with the modules... my intention was to give even more choice with different hulls having different stats bound to the hull (for example how quick a ship can turn, how much normal armour it has, some crew modifier showing how efficinet the crew can work in it, and so on... and, of course, how much slots of which type it has, so that it can be outfitted with guns, additional armour, support systems, engines, and so on).

 

Of course that could prove to be a balancing nightmare, so IDK how far you want to take it. Most probably you should decide for a subset of these ideas and leave the rest out, just to prevent "runaway OP builds" slipping through your testing radar. In the end, if a single build is clearly better than others, all that customizabilty will go to waste anyway.

 

 

About your dislike of the ship designer screen... why not give the player the option to swap modules "on the field" so to speak? Explain it with a quick-change module technology that allows ships to swap modules in minutes. Have a repair ship / forge ship / mother ship, that other ships can dock on / fly close to, and can swap out installed modules against modules in storage. 

This way, you do not need a ship designer window. If ships are in the range of your mother ship, they will show a neat drag and drop interface where players can drag a module from the motherships storage unto the slot on the other ship, and the rest of the module swap will be done automatically.

 

If your game is about larger formations, maybe make a similar drag and drop interface available without the need of a mothership, and all changes will affect all ships of that type?

 

Or is your dislike of a ship designer screen meant differently?

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Or is your dislike of a ship designer screen meant differently?
I mean, you invent a new gun, you go to the ShipDesigner and redesign all ships, switch production queue to build the new ship, then you invent a new shields, you go to the ShipDesigner and redesign all ships, switch production queue to build the new ship, and so on, so on :D It's soooooo repetitive to redesign all these ships when you make no real choices here anyway (replace Laser I with Laser II).

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Well it seams logical that fleets and ships manage repairs and upgrading them selfs. No deep micro management there.

If you have many fleets some might be reserve to re- enforce or replace battle reduced fleet.

Ship damage comes in light and heavy. Light can be repaired by ship crew medium need repair assistance heavy damage a repar frigate. Or equipment dock. While severe damage means shipyard or repair dock.
That means depending on mission impotance. Some mission have a high priority and are crusal for the war. Then ships go all the way. While less urgend missions depending on damage, ships return to shipyard. Or fall back to the support group.

So as commander you can set the urgency of mission and treshold when to go to defensive stance to where return for repairs.

Repair are costly but lot less then build a new ship.

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I mean, you invent a new gun, you go to the ShipDesigner and redesign all ships, switch production queue to build the new ship, then you invent a new shields, you go to the ShipDesigner and redesign all ships, switch production queue to build the new ship, and so on, so on biggrin.png It's soooooo repetitive to redesign all these ships when you make no real choices here anyway (replace Laser I with Laser II).

 

 

I can understand your dislike of bad UI choices in RTS / strategy games very well... I myself am annoyed to death by such things. When an RTS degrades into a contest of who can do the necessary 1000 mouse clicks to complete a simple task quicker, a strategy game degrades to a simple dexterity contest.... strategy often takes a back seat.

 

Like having to trigger the units special abilities manually, unit-by-unit in SC2.... uuuuugh! Or having to navigate 100 different building and factory and research tree window for simply developing and outfitting a new weapon to a unit.

 

This all is just noise in a strategy game.

 

 

So, how about you just drop any kind of ship builder window? Instead, when the notification window pops up telling the player a new hardware part is researched, add a button "outfit all ships with new part", or a list of ship types (with select / deselect all) to tell the system what ships should be upgraded? Maybe make it a rule that as soon as a new part is developed, and you have the needed resources to produce it, all ships will try to upgrade until you run out of resources, starting in some priority order from the most important ship to the least important one?

 

How about streamlining even more, merging research and production/installation? When a part is researched, all your ships will upgrade automatically to use the newest part. All resource costs involved with that will isntead be accounted for when you initiate the research.

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So, how about you just drop any kind of ship builder window? Instead, when the notification window pops up telling the player a new hardware part is researched, add a button "outfit all ships with new part", or a list of ship types (with select / deselect all) to tell the system what ships should be upgraded? Maybe make it a rule that as soon as a new part is developed, and you have the needed resources to produce it, all ships will try to upgrade until you run out of resources, starting in some priority order from the most important ship to the least important one?

How about streamlining even more, merging research and production/installation? When a part is researched, all your ships will upgrade automatically to use the newest part. All resource costs involved with that will isntead be accounted for when you initiate the research.
Yeah... I should streamline and simplify it.

 

What you think of this?

Each, already built, ship has slots: 1x electronics, 1x scanners, 2x aux. Each slot can have only modules of certain kind (so no choice between weapons and armours), for example electronics slot can have "targetting computer: +5% to hit", "anti hacking: computer is immune to all attacks", "EMP protection: immune to EMP burst", "anti missile tracker: +25% missile/torpedoe resistance". Of course you need to research these modules first to unlock these.

Decision what to install is done on formation level (fleet), per hull. These can be reinstalled anytime (you don't need to produce these).

You can change up to 2 modules each turn (per hull) and all ships/hulls of this kind get -20% to all stats (the penalty dimishes by 10% per turn (or halves each turn?)). If you have -50% penalty you can't reinstall modules (until the penalty fades away a bit).

All new ships/transferred ships come with the fleet's designated modules (they simply inherit the modules and the penalty as well, it's per formation, not per ship).

 

I'm also wondering if the reinstall should not cost some credits (money)...

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Or even simplier:

 

When you research you get from time to time "Additional hull upgrade" tech. Then you go to the panel with list of hulls (per formation/fleet) and select upgrades (weapons, armour, scanners, boosters, electronics, etc), you can get up to X upgrades for each hull (where X is the number of "Additional hull upgrade" techs you have). There are no slots of anything, just number of upgrades allowed. Some upgrade types are always available while some need to be unlocked (research).

 

You might get "Additional hull upgrade" from other sources than research too, like obtaining some ancient alien artifact might grant it or if you invest in imperial manufacturing project (high tech factories able to fit some additional upgrades on hulls).

 

 

Changing upgrades is allowed anytime and gives a temporary penalty to all hulls/ships of that type (like in the post above). But adding new upgrades is less disruptive (-5% for 2 turns) than removing existing upgrades (-20% for 3 turns, also possibly -1 credit(money) per 1k weight of existing hulls), so you are discouraged from removing old upgrades.

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I do like the idea of dedicated slots, makes balancing the whole system definitely easier.

 

What I don't like so much is only having a single choice per hull type...

 

What I mean by this is the following: in real militaries, hulls, no matter what vehicles (ships, tanks, jeeps...) are often used for different vehicles in different roles. Need a new artillery, like right now? Or at least ASAP? You will not have the time to develop a completly new hull, and that would also make little sense. Most probably the old artillery hull is still pretty much up to the task, and its turret might accept the newer, larger gun... or there is that armoured APC you spent lots of money on some years ago, that has plenty of space fo the newer, larger gun, if you sacrifice its troop carrying capacity on it...

 

In the end, developing a new hull from scratch everytime a need for a different vehicle emerges is not very economical, even though the repurposed hull might not be 100% fitting for the new specification. In the end, resources and money for the army are limited, and the same is true for your players most probably.

 

 

So instead of just giving them the option to outfit ALL ships of a certain hull type with a single configuration, would there be an option to give them the possibility to manage multiple different layouts for the same hull type? So that players could repurpose the already built hull for a slightly different task, instead of having to research and build another hull again (which might, if the player DOES spend his resources on that new hull, be more suited to the task because of different hull stats and slot layouts, but at the price of having to research and build that hull first).

 

 

How to make it easy for players to manage that without a complicated ship designer is more difficult though. One possibility might be to show the player, when he select a hulltype, the total amount of ships of that type, together with buttons and UI elements to divide and combine this amount into multiple subtypes. As long as the player is not using these UI elements (maybe they could be hidden from sight until a checkbox is selected), all modifications done on the hulltype affect ALL ships of that type. 

 

As soon as the player chooses to "subdivide the type", he can choose the amount of ships assigned to the new subtype with a slider, or other UI elements. Maybe give him the option to assign quotas of these subtypes to the different formations right from the same interface.

The module slot selection interface will now also "subdivide", showing the player two or more tabs with the subclass name or numbers. He can now manage two or more different module layouts for the same hulltype, for example a small ship outfitted with large weapons as kind of attack craft against larger ships, and the same vessel with lighter weapons and very strong electronic gear as scout ships.....

 

 

I like the idea of handling upgrades and downgrades with penalties... that will not disrupt the flow of the game, or need any additional "building" or interface, yet there is a strong incentive to take care of these upgrades outside of battles.

 

 

Personally, I'd say tinkering with the ships should always have a cost attached... simply outfitting ships with already built modules should be much cheaper than building thos modules, which should be much cheaper than building already researched hull types, which should be much cheaper than researching new modules, which should be much cheaper than researching new hull types.

 

This would force the player to really think about investing his resources into research, to be able to build a force consisting of individually more advanced and superior ships later in the game, instead of building all the already researched hulls and modules he can, and amassing a technological inferior army with superior numbers earlier in the game.

 

If you make both strategies viable, and give each one a distinctive advantage and disadvantage as well as a way to counter them, that might make for some interesting variety in gameplay (early rush with superior numbers vs late game dominance thanks to superior tech... maybe the latter player needs to fight the early rush by keeping his forces on the move until he gets advanced enough? Maybe the early game rusher that failed needs to himself switch to guerillia warfare in the later game to avoid direct confrontation with the now superior foe, until he can close the technological gap somewhat?)

 

 

Just some random ideas.... hope they help

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What I don't like so much is only having a single choice per hull type...

What I mean by this is the following: in real militaries, hulls, no matter what vehicles (ships, tanks, jeeps...) are often used for different vehicles in different roles. Need a new artillery, like right now? Or at least ASAP? You will not have the time to develop a completly new hull, and that would also make little sense. Most probably the old artillery hull is still pretty much up to the task, and its turret might accept the newer, larger gun... or there is that armoured APC you spent lots of money on some years ago, that has plenty of space fo the newer, larger gun, if you sacrifice its troop carrying capacity on it...
When I was reading what you wrote my head started to spin :D Too complex, far too complex :)

"Subdividing the type" is an interface horror.

 

I would rather give the player more hull types (artillery hull) and do not outdate too soon. Also, it makes hulls more unique (like StarCraft 1 units, marine can't be a modification of a battlecruiser and a vulture is not subtype of tank).

I would also allow some permanent versioning/variants of these hulls (like you have a choice if *all* Falcons (hull type) get +2 to attack or +3 to speed). Once you selected the variant all your hulls of that type are of that variant and you can't change it. OR you have an option to change the variant (of all existing and future hulls) from time to time, for a price (like -10 credits per existing hull)?

 

 


Personally, I'd say tinkering with the ships should always have a cost attached... simply outfitting ships with already built modules should be much cheaper than building thos modules, which should be much cheaper than building already researched hull types, which should be much cheaper than researching new modules, which should be much cheaper than researching new hull types.
But how? Cost attached is nice but... would it mean I have to add "producing and storing components/modules"? I would like to avoid it, especialy since I see how complex the simple hull purchase became (with auto reassignement units between squadrons - more than half of the bugs in my prototype originate from this module :D).

Yet, some sort of cost attached would be nice...

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be careful how much you sacrifice realism for simplicity.

 

an un-realistic game mechanic can be just as much of a turnoff as an overly complex game mechanic. perhaps even moreso: with a complex mechanic, it might be kludgey yet realistic. with an oversimplified mechanic it might turn out to just be silly or stupid.

 

in the real world, ships have space (slots). pretty much anything can go in any hull, assuming there is enough free space (unused slots). 

 

systems are researched and developed, which takes time and money. and usually a lot more time than modeled in games (that's -1 point for games, for lack of realism: bad designer! no twinkie!).

 

ships are refitted at shipyards.

 

refits take time and money.

 

performance is a function of engine size and ship mass - hull type is irrelevant.

 

 

 

 

all this can be automated.

 

 

 

 

the computer can decide for the player what to research.

 

ships can automatically refit when at a shipyard.

 

the PC can decide what type of ships to build.

 

at that point you have a fully automated realistic system. but with zero user control.

 

 

 

 

so add in a bit of user control, but not so much that things get too complicated.

 

 

 

 

let them decide what general areas to research (offense / defense / surveillance ). or more complex: what systems to research.

 

let them give general guidance as to what type of ships to build. or more complex: specific ship classes and numbers to build.

 

let them turn auto-refits on/off, in case they need a ship right away and can't wait six weeks while its in the yard getting a refit, or in case they are running low on money, and need to hold off on refits for a while.  or more complex: optional refit on a ship by ship basis when they reach a shipyard.

 

 

 

often the best approach is a high level + low level approach. provide both a high level UI  with basic controls, and a low level UI for micro-managing stuff if desired. Total War uses this in may of their titles for settlement management (tax rates, what to build, etc).  A similar concept is the Hearth fire add-on for Skyrim. At the high level you can hire a steward and simply tell them to buy stuff and furnish the house (furnish this room, buy a horse, etc). At the low level you can go hunt the animal yourself, forge the nails, and make your own stuffed head mounted on the wall. 

Edited by Norman Barrows

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hull type is irrelevant.

Are you SURE? A ship might have a 50 year old hull barely capable of sub light speeds. You just try strapping that brand new warp/wormhole drive into it and see how long it takes before you turn the crew inside out... :lol:

Actually that's not a bad mechanic for the game? You could forcibly jerry-rig a new type of equipment into an old frame (e.g. field modification without proper retrofit at the shipyard) but there is an increasing chance of catastrophic failure on use, destroying both the ship and all its components (probability dependent on age gap between the component and it's ship)... Ouch.

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The improvements could be software. If it's the far future, perhaps Moore's Law has been dead for millennia, engines are negligible distance from maximum theoretical efficiency, and even if a new laser design is discovered the starships all have 3d printers to build the new widget themselves. An upgraded laser might be just that spies discovered the enemy's shield frequency modularization function. A better engine is an upgrade to the missile avoidance algorithm. Then the improvements can just be pushed out to the fleet without any further worry. The improvements could also be more options rather than better options. Then if you have a technological advantage it's not that your ships do 20 damage to there 10, it's that you have 6 types of ships and they have 2, so you can send increasingly specialized ships for the right mission. Your old ships aren't obsolete, and with a new weapon you don't just replace the old weapon on a design, you create a new specialized ship for exactly its new, unique role

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The player has built a ship, it has basic weapons and everything. Then the player researched a new "Point Defence laser" for example. What happens then?

 

I want to avoid the overused to death "so the player makes a new ship design and put the new PD into a module slot and starts producing these new ships ", bleh smile.png

 

I look for something like: the old ships are auto requipped (probably not instantly) or that the newly invented module is produced like an equipment and the ship "takes one from the inventory and installs it" when it visit the shipyard for next maintenance. Something like this.

 

Player researches new tech, any ships created from then on get new tech automaticly, any old ships get retrofitted in-space, but after a delay depending on how far out from the empire's center they are, but auto-update instantly next time they visit a planet with a shipyard.

 

Any spaceship of any significant star-destroyer-esque size would have to have the supplies and equipment to manufacture their own parts for repairs; basic parts, anyway, probably not huge engines and complicated circuitry, but that can be handwaved. So if your ships can produce their own parts, all that needs to be done is transmit the new details and then time to manufacture them.

Though you'd want to transmit them securely, so you aren't accidentally broadcasting military-industrial secrets to your enemies. Nor would you want your ships to be mobile archives of all your latest tech...

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A ship might have a 50 year old hull barely capable of sub light speeds. You just try strapping that brand new warp/wormhole drive into it and see how long it takes before you turn the crew inside out...

 

the ENGINES are barely capable of sublite.

 

the hull is just a box or frame to hang systems off of.

 

assuming the hull has enough space for warp drive, AND the protected crew area that requires, no biggie.

 

About the only thing you need to worry about with hulls is fatigue wear and mass to space ratio.  Armor is best modeled as a separate system from the hull.

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Actually that's not a bad mechanic for the game? You could forcibly jerry-rig a new type of equipment into an old frame (e.g. field modification without proper retrofit at the shipyard) but there is an increasing chance of catastrophic failure on use, destroying both the ship and all its components (probability dependent on age gap between the component and it's ship)... Ouch.

 

your talking about the modeling the ability to tell "Scotty" to jury rig something.

 

of course "repairs at sea" should be modeled! and of course your engineer's skill should affect outcome!

 

Don't think in terms of game mechanics, think in terms of what you want to simulate in your game world.

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Because (insert science fiction excuse here)... Excessive subspace stress, space folding friction. Take your pick?

 

(personal opinion):

 

contrived, hokey, unrealistic.  

 

as designer's we can do better than that.

 

as player's we want better than that.

 

and our paying customers deserve better than that. 

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Because (insert science fiction excuse here)... Excessive subspace stress, space folding friction. Take your pick?


(personal opinion):

contrived, hokey, unrealistic.

as designer's we can do better than that.

as player's we want better than that.

and our paying customers deserve better than that.
You're dealing with fictional propulsion drives, with fictional power sources.

Take the warp drive in warhammer 40k which projects the ship into an alternate dimension filled with evil. Without the correctly blessed and arcane hull you're all good as dead, or worse.

Or, the more realistic Alcubierre drive which would need to resist a massive buildup of exotic particles to prevent cooking it's crew alive.

I'm more than willing to accept a reason as to why you can't just plug the drive in, because it's not something that's real world.

Or yes, even just simple acceleration forces.

There's more to consider than simple friction even in real non fictional science and it can be made very believable if you have a good writer and like all good lies base it partly in truth...

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the computer can decide for the player what to research.
And have all the fun? No way! :D I want to decide what to research, it's fun.

 

 

hull type is irrelevant.

Are you SURE? A ship might have a 50 year old hull barely capable of sub light speeds. You just try strapping that brand new warp/wormhole drive into it and see how long it takes before you turn the crew inside out... laugh.png

Actually that's not a bad mechanic for the game? You could forcibly jerry-rig a new type of equipment into an old frame (e.g. field modification without proper retrofit at the shipyard) but there is an increasing chance of catastrophic failure on use, destroying both the ship and all its components (probability dependent on age gap between the component and it's ship)... Ouch.

No, I'm not sure :) Outdated hulls are nice... Yet, hulls in my game are quite unique and the new ones are not simply "better", just different. More hull types allow you to optimize your fleet composition better, not just provide you with better firepower. If I were to make hulls outdated I would need to make replacements for these hull types in various parts of the tech tree, or resign from the hull uniqueness (and like how unique the hulls are). And I already have like 20 hull types and I was trying to limit myself (if there were 3 tiers of hull "outdateness" I would need to make 60 hull types, not a problem to me, but the players brains would explode :D)

I simply doubt it's doable with so many hulls...

 

 


Player researches new tech, any ships created from then on get new tech automaticly, any old ships get retrofitted in-space, but after a delay depending on how far out from the empire's center they are, but auto-update instantly next time they visit a planet with a shipyard.

Any spaceship of any significant star-destroyer-esque size would have to have the supplies and equipment to manufacture their own parts for repairs; basic parts, anyway, probably not huge engines and complicated circuitry, but that can be handwaved. So if your ships can produce their own parts, all that needs to be done is transmit the new details and then time to manufacture them.
Though you'd want to transmit them securely, so you aren't accidentally broadcasting military-industrial secrets to your enemies. Nor would you want your ships to be mobile archives of all your latest tech...
Yeah, I could add the delay and costs and secure transmissions... but what it adds to the gameplay? Interesting choices? Resource management? Strategic considerations? Mood?

I mean, I don't want the realism to eat up all the fun.

 

 

Another idea, let's have "supply". Each fleet gets supply points, it's consumed at a rate of 1 supply point per ship each turn. Now, each upgrade is instant but require 2 supply points per upgraded ship (so it's equal to 2 turns of normal supply consumption).

Or supply could be replaced with money (maintenance and cost of upgrade).

 

Still, is it worth implementing?

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A ship might have a 50 year old hull barely capable of sub light speeds. You just try strapping that brand new warp/wormhole drive into it and see how long it takes before you turn the crew inside out...

 

the ENGINES are barely capable of sublite.

 

the hull is just a box or frame to hang systems off of.

 

assuming the hull has enough space for warp drive, AND the protected crew area that requires, no biggie.

 

About the only thing you need to worry about with hulls is fatigue wear and mass to space ratio.  Armor is best modeled as a separate system from the hull.

 

 

Well, if we go with "realism", at some point a hull will become obsolete. Lets say the newer Modules have Ferro-fluid-bullshittium-wireless-energy sockets for enery transfer, yet these energy cables need a special form of shielding that would mean the whole hull needs to be besically ripped apart and rebuilt so the cables could be integrated.

Or newer ships hulls are made from newer materials that make them lighter, more endurable, whatever.... is there much point in producing the old hulls with the newer materials? Isn't that already a new hull?

 

I see that mixing "current day realism", which means taking ships, tanks and other vehicles as reference, with "sci-fi / future realism", which means space ships, and technologies barely understood even in theory today, is making this thing much more complicated.

 

Yes, there will most probably be little reason to change hull shapes in space, where there is little friction. Maybe even the savings in weight is not that important when a slower acceleration just means spending more time and fuel to get to the same end speed (altough fuel consumption WILL be a problem, save for some advanced future tech that makes fuel obsolete for space ships). There will still be plenty of reasons to move away from a very old hull.

 

 

And then, there is player expectations. No matter how much we think we know our science and are ready to ditch cheesy exploding cars for more realistic outcomes of a car being damaged, at some point most people are dissapointed by "realistic lasers" in movies for example. The horribly unrealistic, 50's cliche Star Wars laser cannons might be giving any physicist headaches, but they do look and sound much cooler to the average person, even though they do not make sense.

So having hull types become obsolete as they age is something people would expect, because that is what happens in our world. There might be exceptions (like the M2 12mm Heavy Machine gun still being the state of the art western heavy machine gun after almost 100 years of service life), but generally, most vehicles are in dire need of upgrades after a mere 10 years, and most become oboslete after 20+ years... some are obsolete the day they are built because of some rapid shift in technological advancement or strategies. 

Edited by Gian-Reto

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