Firstly, it is great to see you so proactive Tyreth. We are definately making progress now I feel. And there is more activity on the forums too. When does this one close?
* Is a ship's role determined by what predefined role-specific hull it is based on
Partially. But no. I think that all things such as size and role and ship components should be independant of each other. It is the sum of all these things though that determine the ships role.
* Is a ship's role simply what you make of it, based on a design starting from a role-neutral clean slate?
Yes. Based on what components you put in the ship, a description is guessed and displayed. Eg if you have alot of scanners on your ship, then it is a scout/detector. And it shouldn't be a specific combination of things to make it a scout for example. Eg simply having the detection equipment in most of its hull space makes it a scout. It might not be fast, it might not be small and stealthy, it is a scout, just not a very good one
We may have the options to auto-fill designs that you can then modify, or just use blank slates - this can be discussed later.
We can have both. Afterall, you can start with a blank slate. Then if the player wants they can choose the 'scout' template and it puts in the appropriate things, eg scanners.
*Sizes and Roles are separate things. Ie Size=Huge, Role=Scout, No "Battleship", No "Destroyer". The last two can be roles, but have no bearing on size.
*Each and every Size/Role is equally likey to be used by the player, based on their strategy. Ie We shall not have a situation where small ships eventually become useless and never used.
Somewhere in this thread are some good ideas on ship sizes.http://www.freeorion.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1309&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0
Geoff, had an idea on each ship size having certain built in advantages and disadvantages.
Things could be set up with a few more roles... perhaps:
- Small ships are fast but have very short range and are weak in combat and can't fit almost any useful non-combat modules (engines take up most of the space).
- Medium ships are moderate speed, variable range, moderately useful in combat and can fit a few lower-end non-combat modules (engine takes up a smaller fraction of the space, leaving some room for fuel or weapons or modules; weapons or modules add lots of mass and slow things down, but using that space for fuel instead adds range)
- Large ships are slow, variable-but-limited range, optimally effective in combat, and can fit the same lower-end non-combat modules as Medium ships (engines take up an even smaller fraction of the space, leaving lots of room for weapons and fuel, but Large ships have an additional mass penalty due to their size, so are shorter-range than an eqilvalent fuel-loaded Medium ship, and much slower if loaded with weapons or modules instead of fuel)
- Huge ships are very slow, variable-but-very-limited range, as good as Medium ships in combat, and can fit all kinds of useful non-combat modules that no smaller ships can fit (engines are neglidible, and there's lots of space for weapons or various modules, but large size makes them weaker structurally and very non-maneuvrable. Huge ships also have a very large mass penalty due to size, so are even shorter-range than an equivalent fuel-loaded Large ship)
- Bigger ship sizes can also exist, which are better than Huge at loading up modules and such, but correspondingly worse in combat, and even more range-limited.
My memory of it though (from proabably a different post) was that Huge ships would be the only size able to fit mega sized components, eg Stellar Converter or Fleet Wide Shield, and wouldn't necesarily be as good at 'weapons ship' as it size suggests. Moderate ships would be most optimal for everything.
We already have some roles:
Design Pad wrote:
Combat balance is organized primarily around different types of weapon delivery systems: Point Defense (PD), Short Range (SR), Long Range (LR), and Fighters.
SR is short range, direct-fire weaponry that is good against ships, but bad against fighters.
PD is short range, direct-fire weaponry that is good against fighters and incoming LR, but bad against ships.
LR is long range, indirect-fire weaponry that is good against ships, but bad against fighters.
Fighters move independently at long range from the ship that launches them to attack ships or other fighters. Fighters are divided into Interceptors (good against other Fighters), and Bombers (good against Ships).
The details of ship design, such as how many types of weapons ships may have are undecided.
The following are tentative and preliminary values, to be used for intial engine design and content creation, and are sure to need balancing and tweaking later:
Ships move about 5 AU per combat turn
Short Range (SR) ships can fire at targets within 5 AU
Point Defence (PD) ships can shoot about 3 AU
Fighters can shoot about 3 AU
Long Range (LR) ships shoot about 15 AU
Reasons and Consequences
SR ships can't shoot further than they can travel in one turn, giving a reasonable meaning for "short range".
PD range should similar or smaller than SR range. This way, PD ships can't protect SR ships from LR missiles or fighters by sitting behind the SR. Rather, the PD has to be out front of its SR, giving the PD more time to shoot at LR missles as they go by (towards the SR). This leaves the PD vulnerable to attacking SR (since the friendly SR is behind the friendly PD).
PD shouldn't have to chase after fighters due to its range being too small, and fighters shouldn't be able to fly around PD too easily, or else PD might be too difficult to use.
Keeping fighter range and PD range roughly equal should ensure fighters can't shoot past PD to hit something behind the PD, but that fighters can get fairly close to the PD, and can shoot back at it without too much difficulty.
LR range should be more than two turns travel (or twice SR range), but not much larger than this so that the LR needs to be kept within a reasonable distance of their targets to keep them vulnerable to counterattacks.
However I think it is possible to have more.
Buff - Provides bonuses to other ships, eg group shield/stealth
Short Range - Short range, high damage weapons
Missile Ship - Missiles, long range
Long Range - Slow tracking long range weapons
Defense - Fast tracking weapons (point defense)
Carrier - Fighters/Heavy Fighters/Bombers/Interceptors/Droids
Fighter - Short range craft, short range weapons, fast, manueverable, accurate weapons, for protecting slower ships
Bomber - Close Range, Heavy Damage, Planetary Bombardment
Suicide - Fast, All Or Nothing Attack (eg suicide/explosive), Smaller ships better in role since large ships too costly to sacrifice
Raider - Hit and run attacks, designed to harrass/distract and not necesarily destroy.
Spotter - Ship type that is able to allow another long range ship target enemies out of its field of view
but in the spotters field of view. Not all ships can be spotters.
Recon - Stealth, Scaning
Troop Ship - Board, Troops, Ramming (spike may be used), Troop Pods, Disable
Mine Layer - Mines (types: laser, missile, proximity, net, sound [paralyse, waves, etc], Magnetic [attach, beacon], )
Droid - Ship with no crew, only AI meaning more space since no need for life/crew support
Planet Killer - Focus on taking out a planet either slowly and permanently or quick through bombing
Tanker - Supplys fuel. Extended role, mine fuel.
Repair Ships - Repairs ships, may carry repair drones (like fighters), repairs % of fighters, restocks certain % missiles
Salvage Ship - Gain resources from debris after space combat (if you win). Chance to recover enemy technology
Medical Ship - Heal injured crew
Constructor - Deploy/Construct objects, eg stargates.
Miner - Mine a resource and store cargo. This is automatic. When the ship returns to a habited system, money is gained.
Freighter - Transports cargo
Certainly the problem is that given the component based nature of ship design in these games, it is very likely that there will be roles created by players that are not currently in the design pad.
Long Range Direct Fire Ships (eg Beam Weapons) are not mentioned in the design pad, yet will be very common. They would come under LR in the design pad, and effectively would change from Missile LR like so:
PD cannot shoot down incoming LR Beams.