Spacecraft Propulsion

For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.

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Carbon Copy Man
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#31 Post by Carbon Copy Man » Wed Aug 31, 2005 9:56 pm

Hmm. Extending the easy-click-upgrade to upgrade weapons and such could work.

Though I think that maybe it should be restricted only to refinements (and things like engines and armour). I'd still like for ships to become obsolete so that the ship design part of the game stays interesting.

You can refit ships, but you need a design to refit to.

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#32 Post by Argus » Thu Sep 01, 2005 6:49 pm

Maybe we could treat upgrading as a type of project. I'm not too sure how projects are handled anymore but maybe you could say [upgrade this type to another type ship project 10 PPs/turn 10 turns] cost and time depending on the number and properties of the ships being upgraded(large/small, etc).

That way we wouldn't need any special interface to do the upgrades. The type being upgraded would be used to design the type upgraded to.

The upgrade projects would be listed for each ship type in service that has another design based off it. This would avoid cluttering up the project lists.

The more the ships the longer it would take to upgrade them all. Some of us wanted it to take longer with a bigger fleets/empires so this would make that happen nicely.

Ships would be upgraded only at bases at the rate that you are paying for them to be upgraded. If there aren't enough ships at bases you still pay the amount that round but then more ships could be upgraded the next round/or later on if there are extra ships at bases that need upgrading. If some ships get destroyed you would either lose those points or get them back (don't matter to me personally)!

We could also require that ships vanish for a certain period during upgrade if we wanted to as well. Perhaps the bigger the ship the longer it would take to upgrade hence wouldn't be available for more turns where as tiny ships would never become unavailabe.

My thoughts about upgrading weapons/shields/armor/etc. You should only be able to upgrade/refit a ship part to another part directly down the tech tree from that item. So if you had a laser on a ship you could upgrade it to ion cannon only if the tech that gives you ion cannon requires the tech which gave you laser. Or possible you could upgrade to some other weapon which ion cannon tech is a prereq.

If say the tech that gives you subspace phasors isn't a prereq for anything then that ship would become obsolete once something better came along.

Also you wouldn't be able to sub missiles for those lasers because the tech for lasers isn't a prereq for any tech that gives you missiles.

You could still carefully upgrade your ships so they wouldn't become obsolete but I'm thinking we could make the dead end ship part techs really nice to encourage players to use those techs. So there would be a sacrifice between a great ship part and the need to build completely new ships later on.

There is still the problem of what if I don't want the ships at a certain location to be upgraded cuz I need them ready at all times however. But maybe that could be part of the decision making of whether to upgrade or not.

Argus

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yaromir
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#33 Post by yaromir » Thu Sep 01, 2005 8:29 pm

You can refit ships, but you need a design to refit to.
Yes, but this would involve ripping the old systems and support-structures, cutting bulk-heads, creating new hard-points and scrapping old ones. THEN, putting in new weapons, support-systems..etc. So first you have to destroy and then re-create.

It should be cheaper and less hassle to simply build a new ship.
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Carbon Copy Man
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#34 Post by Carbon Copy Man » Thu Sep 01, 2005 9:56 pm

And I don't really see how you'd be able to upgrade your "laser cannon" to an "ion cannon" any more easily.

I would assume that the weapons would have different power requirements and would require different targeting systems.

"Refitting" might seem fairly extreme for it to be of any actual value, but even if we were talking about a mass-produced assembly line of cars, it's not so strange that someone would want to take out that V5 engine, replace it with a V8, add a CD player, add extra shielding to the fuel tank or add a roll-cage for protection in a crash.

If you want to take the comparison away from cars... At least in the early part of the game, these aren't mass produced things. It takes a lot of effort for NASA to build a space ship and send it into space, and they'd rather improve the ships they've got than start again from scratch.


But the realism argument isn't really an excuse, so as far as gameplay's concerned, I don't want to be upgrading an obsolete ship to the pinnacle of engineering technology with a single click. I want it to be my pinnacle of engineering technology, not just the same old ship with bigger guns.

I'd like refitting ships to be a compromise between upgrading and building a new ship. You wouldn't have as much freedom as you would with a completely new ship (eg ship size is fixed), but you are able to redesign a ship to keep up with modern technological standards, and ensure it's still able to make a fair contribution in battle.

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Kharagh
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#35 Post by Kharagh » Fri Sep 02, 2005 9:57 am

IMO we should make a differrence between upgrading and refitting a ship.

When you upgrade a ship, you improve the parts already installed in the ship, but you don't install new ones. E.g. you would improve your Lasers to Lasers MK2 and improve your engines to engines MK2, etc.
You would need to install a better lense in the laser, perhaps reconfigure the targeting software, etc. The engine would e.g. get a software update to improve the efficiency of the warp field.
So you see, there would not be too much trouble involved, the software could be sent via the communication system, the lense could be transferred with a small courier ship, or even by an automated drone.
Upgrades shouldn't be very expensive and the ships should not be needed to dock to a starbase to upgrade. They would only take one or two turns to take effect (perhaps longer, if the ship is furher away from the empires borders)

A refit on the other hand can change the entire ship, new weapons can be installed, a new engine installed, new armour, sensors, etc.
The ship is literally taken apart and reassembed in a new fashion. This may sound like more trouble than building a new one from scratch, but as stated above, the NASA doesn't build new space shuttles all the time.
The more parts of the ship are changed, the more the refitting of the ship would cost.
We could divide each ship in major sections, like engine, armour, bridge, etc and set percentage of the ship value as the cost to deassemble a section.
When refitting, the player pays for the deassembling of the ship section, in addition to the cost of the new part installed and the reassembling of the section. So if only one section is deassembled, it would not be that expensive.
Obviously, to refit a ship, it will have to be at a spacedock. This may require a small amount of micromanagement, but the the players don't have to refit their ships every two turns or at all if they don't want to.


All of this of course partly depends on if and how we will implement refinements of technologies like e.g. Laser ->LaserMK2->LaserMK3->...

The refinements could be upgraded and the new techs would require a refit of the ship to install. This will give players the chance to keep their ships from getting obsolete too fest, but they would not be able to keep them up to date forever. It seems to be a good compromise and will reduce micromanagement (We could introduce an "upgrade all" ships of a type button, which will upgrade all ships of a type in the empire for a reasonable amount of credits).

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utilae
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#36 Post by utilae » Fri Sep 02, 2005 10:29 pm

We should limit refits/upgrades. Let's make it so that you can do limited upgrades on a ship. You can replace cannons, engines, shields, radar if you want. But some things are just going to be too expensive and it would be cheaper to buy a new ship. We could even say that an old ship with new technology costs more to maintain then a new ship with new technology.



I think we should have some kind of slider bar type thing where you can decide how much of a refit you want. Increasing the slider will increase the time to refit and the cost. If you select to refit in one turn at low cost, then low level tech upgrades would be performed. In this case it would be a quick method where no design is involved, you juse decide how much time and cost and the ship design AI will automatically upgrade your ship according to the time and cost and will follow the path already set by the ship (eg if the ship has missiles, then better missiles will be fitted instead of lasers or something different).

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Kharagh
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#37 Post by Kharagh » Mon Sep 05, 2005 8:16 am

I don't like the idea of the AI automatically upgrading my ships.

What if I want an old ship to be able to keep up with my fleet, but keep its old weapons, sensors, etc ?
I want to be able to specify, what parts are upgraded and in which way.

What if there are different weapons of the same weapon category to upgrade to? I want to decide which one gets on my new ship.

What if I want to refit my old battleship (which is quite slow and low tech overall) with bombs, so it can be used to smash planets to dust, after my fighting fleet has destroyed all resistence.

These are the kind of things I want to decide, and I don't think the AI can anticipate my thoughts and upgrade my ships accordingly.

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noelte
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#38 Post by noelte » Mon Sep 05, 2005 10:02 am

@utilae: Did i read slider bar. ts ts.

I don't like the idea of defining some refit amount. If i want to refit a ship, i will say so. Also autoupgrades are rather bad as Kharagh explained.
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utilae
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#39 Post by utilae » Tue Sep 06, 2005 12:18 am

When I said the AI would auto refit the ship based on the slider position, I did not mean that the AI would chose your ships then refit them at it's whim.

Basically you would go to the refit screen. You would have the option of a detailed custom refit or auto refit. If you choose auto refit, you set the slider to low, so 1 turn refit, low cost. The AI then determines the best way to refit your ship in 1 turn and at low cost. The AI will not change your ship in a major way, for example the AI will not rip out your lasers and put in bombs, the AI will rip out your lasers and put in lasers MK2.

So really, it will be a tool.

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Carbon Copy Man
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#40 Post by Carbon Copy Man » Tue Sep 06, 2005 1:51 am

I could see that, but at the same time, I kind of want interplanetary engine upgrading to be easier than having to go through your entire fleet to auto-upgrade or manual-upgrade every last one.

I mean, whether or not you care that your ship's pretty weak in battle, you'll care that it's holding back your entire fleet with it's crappy engines.

If it doesn't upgrade automatically, there should be a very easy way to upgrade it manually.


Maybe we could class it as "hyperspace window" technology or something, so that it refers to the entry into hyperspace, and your ships automatically move faster starting from the next time they enter hyperspace because all they have to do is recalibrate their systems to improve the quality of the window.

Just an idea.

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Geoff the Medio
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#41 Post by Geoff the Medio » Tue Sep 06, 2005 2:34 am

There could be different types of engines which require different sorts of upgrading as part of their differences...

Typical self-contained ship engines require the ship to fly back to a shipyard, where it is automatically upgraded (if the player has enabled this) or manually upgraded (if they have not) to the best / newest version of the engine.

The alternative engine would consist of nothing but an antenna on the ship, which never needs upgrading, and a projector building you'd put on a planet which powers all ships (that have antennas) within some range (meaning the ship can't fly further from the projector than its range). When you research a new version of the engine, you'd upgrade / build a new projector building, but wouldn't have to upgrade the ships, or even move them back to a ship yard to get the benefits of the upgrade.

(there could obviously be other distinctions between these types of engines... like the need or independence of the ship from a fuel supply, the cost, the weight / combat characteristics, stealth properties, etc.)

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Kharagh
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#42 Post by Kharagh » Tue Sep 06, 2005 9:59 am

Impaler suggested something like differrent upgrade styles for differrent engines not so long ago and I think it is a good idea.
The player will have to chose between engines, and the decisions will be tough.

Will I take a very efficient engine, which requires the ship to be docked at a spacedock to be upgraded, or will I take a slower (perhaps more expensive ?) engine which upgrades automatically, once the tech is reseached.
Or will I prefer an engine which requires an expensive building to be constructed on every planet, as Goeff suggested.

There are loads of possibilities for this and I think it is a great way to make engines more differrent and so more interesting in FO. After all, normally, ppl just install the best engine and that's it. Now they would actually have to choose, which engine to reseach, when to upgrade it, etc.

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yaromir
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#43 Post by yaromir » Tue Sep 06, 2005 5:48 pm

What if I want an old ship to be able to keep up with my fleet, but keep its old weapons, sensors, etc ?
I want to be able to specify, what parts are upgraded and in which way.
Too complicated. Why wouldn't you want your Laser Mk1 upgraded to Laster Mk2? Upgrade should always mean BETTER, never a trade-off.
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utilae
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#44 Post by utilae » Tue Sep 06, 2005 10:51 pm

yaromir wrote:
What if I want an old ship to be able to keep up with my fleet, but keep its old weapons, sensors, etc ?
I want to be able to specify, what parts are upgraded and in which way.
Too complicated. Why wouldn't you want your Laser Mk1 upgraded to Laster Mk2? Upgrade should always mean BETTER, never a trade-off.
You might want to not spend money upgrading and save that money for something else.

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Kharagh
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#45 Post by Kharagh » Wed Sep 07, 2005 10:27 am

yep, exactly :wink:

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