Talk:0.4 Design Pad

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Andrev, please use the forum for such extensive discussion. This page is intended to discuss content for the wiki page page of the 0.4 design document. It's not intended for feedback on actual game mechanics.

I'll leave this page here for a while, so you don't loose all the stuff you've written.


General Bullet Points

  • Combat will be rendered in 3D. Ships will be represented with 3D models. This does not imply movement in 3D space; it only refers to representation on screen.

I think that 3D implementation is good for next future. At the next verison the battle should be prepared as full 2D to improve battale system with tactics and ship coopertion, damages menagement, speed, weapon, multirace battles.

  • Combat occurs only inside star systems, and is a system-wide affair; all combat assets in a system will be present on the tactical map.

In my opinion some slow ships can be intercept during travel between star system. For example if some ship is travelling to my system, I can send my ship to intercept and destroy him. My opponent will know nothing about my forces at star systems.

  • FO is a turn-based 4X strategy game (primarily) with a RTS-TBS hybrid battle system (secondarily). The pseudo-real-time battles should complement the TBS strategy, and strategically interrelate with it as much as possible. Combat should be important, but other paths to victory should be just as viable. Other strategies than combat should prevail over combat in some cases, or work best in combination with combat.

What about multiplayer game? It is not good idea for multiplayer game and mixed turn and RTS game. If player will send each turn after last player the game will play too many times, with extra time for battle.
But how to control RTS battle system between players if player have few battles with few other races?
To turn based game the best solution is "automated battle" (players give orders and see results). Of course is the question - what about battles? But player can choose formation, tactics for fleet or single ships group before battle.

  • The level or detail of player control of ships should minimize the need (or ability) to micromanage individual ships. Not requiring players to be concerned with single-ship facings or subsystem activation will eliminate a major potential source of the "clickfest" micromangement problem. Most interesting tactics can arise from the relative positions of groups of different kinds of ships, and do not depend on details such as the facing of an individual ship.

Automated battle will solve this problem. Player can use single ships or fleets.

Ship Designs

  • Hulls of a particular size tend to have some common characteristics and uses. The various hulls will be balanced so that all sizes (and all hulls within each size) are useful and an optimal fleet will have a variety of the available sizes, doing different strategic roles within the fleet.

Ship hull's technology can be development by infinite technology tree. If destroyer have 100 health, that with next destroyer technology can have 10% more... and each 10% more per technology

  • Ship size will likely have some relevance to tactical balance. Ships of different size may be differently useful for different jobs in battles, and may be differently useful overall in battles, offset by cost or non-battle considerations.

Ship hull's technology can be development by infinite technology tree.
If destroyer have 100 health, that with next destroyer technology can have 10% more. Technology cost can grow as Fibonacci sequence (or maybe square from result) (1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55), so next destroyer technology can be most expensive than first cruiser technology.

  • There will be several different (sized) hulls on which ships can be designed, which are distinctive in that they are better or worse in ways that affect how well they do various roles, but can be used for roles including ones they aren't particularly well-suited. Different-sized hulls are also visually distinct and will have obvious associated characteristics, which should be easy to describe, discern and understand for players, rather than fully role-independent generic hulls which have no association to particular roles. In this system, it's not as easy to see what a ship is or can do as it would be if there were easy-to-see roles inherent in the ship's form or appearance, but it's better than having no information such as might occur with fully generic hulls.

It is good point to use limited slots for construction (destroyer with 6 slots, cruiser with 9) and construction weight limit (which can be changed by construction technology). The player can decide how many elements should be used (cost, weight) and how many type of elements (fuel or troop tanker on destroyer hull, high-speed recon on battleship hull)

Planets in Combat

  • Orbitals are satellites that give a planet offensive capabilties.

Maybe good point is add the orbital bases at planet with a special attack and defence ability? Base can be developed as ship technology (tiny, small, medium, huge, gigantic), be a 'space dock' for planet and can be improved by bases technology (higher base weight limit).
The base is almost weaker than enemy fleet, so maybe should have extra bonus to attack:
  • attack and defence modules (standard weapon which is used on ships)
    • starbase have extra fire shot before fight between fleets is start
    • starbase need defence to protect stabase hull from fast destroying
The base can have special expensive (with minerals) modules too
  • military modules (improve each weapon or defence used in battle with base by few percent)
  • agricultural modules (improve food production on planet)
  • economic modules (improve gold production from planet)
  • technology modules (improve research modules)
  • production modules (improve ship's production)
  • technology (improving planetary technology)
  • supply modules (improved available supplies for fleets)
Special modules should have few times more weight than standard weapon/defence systems - the player must decide: put one modules or few weapons.

Fleet Supply System

The supply system should conform to several goals:

  • The mechanics of the supply system should be clear and easily understood by players.

That is true, but player must know how many supplies are produced per turn (to calculate fleets movement) and how supplies are produced (to improve main fleet supply). There are two way to build supply mechanism:
  • real number of supplies (if consumption is higher than production the fleet is weaker)
  • supply factor in space (available supply depends from range and power of planets)

  • The player mainly interacts with discrete in-game objects like ships, fleets, buildings, etc. Abstracted sliders or numbers entered to pick how many supply ships to have in an empire, or how much money / production to spend on supply, or how many abstracted, unseen "privateers" to hire are not fun, engaging or easy to understand regarding their direct effect on the actual in-game objects.

Players have additional options, and game is less "readable". Next issue is with stopped fleet or not important ships (or ally ships) which will consume a supply when the main fleet will be unsuppled. Player will probably delete units to provide supply for main fleet.

  • If resupply costs anything, that cost should not vary rapidly from turn-to-turn, or due to immediate state of an empire's fleets. This could cause large, unpredictable variations in the amount of PP consumed by the supply system, which would make planning and allotment of available PP to queued production projects difficult.

If supply production depends from production level, the supply "force" field deletes this problem.

  • Supply should be interruptable by other players, in order to provide ways to fight large supply-hungry attack fleets without a similar defensive large fleet. Smaller fleets of cheaper, faster supply-route cutting craft can position themselves behind the attack fleet to cut its access to supplies and cause it to weaken over time.

The supply "force" field deletes this problem. Only destroying planet (or base) can decrease supply number but not stop permanently. This "field" may be usable when cooperation with other player is provided.

  • Supply routes need to be long enough to allow battles to occur reasonably far from an empire's home territory, but not so long that securing supply routes is trivial, or battles can occur anywhere in the galaxy. Empire shape and cohesion should matter.

The best way is calculation of supply "force" available from all colonies. This solution deletes the problem with supply ships / supply routers and special supply production. Supplies level can be depends from planetary production and double range from planet as summary of each planetary production: supply = planet production / (1+range^2).

    • Range at which supply can be delivered should vary with tech over the course of a game. At the start of the game, supply should be limited and local only, but near the end of the game, it should be much easier to provide supplies much further away.

I'm not sure that it is good idea, because the planetary production is depended from tech level. So if we have technology for increase planetary production and for supply delivery, the supplies power are doubled.
With supply "force" field the real supply depends from source: from one planet at start or from many planets at the game end.

  • Sources of supply shouldn't be trivial to set up. In particular, if it is possible to plant a trivial colony anywhere and be instantly supplied near that system, it becomes too easy to get supply far from one's own empire, and distant-supply considerations are circumvented.

With supply "force" field this problem is solved by planetary production: fleet need strenght planet to provide correct level of supplies (but other part of supplies can be delivered from long-range planet).


  • Supply force field is very easy to implementation,
  • Before battle game is calculated how many supplies are available in fleet position. If fleet need 100 and is available 110 then fleet have 100% power, if is only 30 is available then 30 available/100needed = 0.3 is power factor (fleet is fighting with 30% nominal power),
  • No supply routes or supply indicators: supply level can be calculated is each point of space and is calculated only form planetary productions and range between planets and fleet,
  • Power of supply depends from planetary productions only, and planetary productions depends from tech level and buildings,
  • Supply level can be decreased by enemies by planetary attack or planetary blockade (enemy fleet over planet),
  • Is possible to use "friend" supply system,
  • On each system player have information haw power of supply is current available,
  • Is possible to provide special limits for each supply good:
    • fuel can be depended only from type of base hulls and range (tiny base provides 100fuel, small - 250),
    • weapon can be depended only from each planetary production,
    • fighters can be depended only from each planetary with starbase production,

Ship Upgrades / Part Refinemen

  • Ships can be upgraded by researching refinements to their parts. When a refinement is researched, all parts on existing ships of type that were refined instantly gain refined stats / features / function / properties.

I'm not sure that is good solution. In almost all strategic space games old and new technologies are available, the construction can be created as 'cheap' with older technologies or most expensive new but high-powered technology.
Of course ship with old technologies can be upgraded, but is cost a time, or immediately with money

  • There is no way to change the design of a ship after it is built. The only way to "upgrade" a ship is by researching refinements to its parts.

At second: why not. Ships with this same class should be upgraded to "new improved versions". But it cost time (delete old, put new) or money.

Battle Map Layout

  • The battle map is centred on the system's star
  • Planets are located around the star, at random positions or at positions determined by some algorithm, possibly moving turn-to-turn

Why? Thousand of ships are smaller than "system's star", so problem with generate star and planets is unnecessary.
The background of course can be a part of nebula, deep space, star system, star, some planet, moon, or very close view to planet, but only as screen to generate different background per battles.

  • Starlane endpoints are a medium-sized area of space - not a point, but not a very large region. An entire fleet should fit into the starlane endpoint area. Endpoints are oval or curved-oval in shape. There are gaps between endpoints of different starlanes.
    • Endpoints are located in a ring of space surround the rest of the system. The circle is thin relative to its diameter, but has some finite thickness.
    • Ships can only enter or exit a system via a starlane endpoint on the map

What about if ship which have good speed will be not exit, no escape but but circle around enemy fleet?
It is not important where fleet enter or exit. Important is battle result only. Good option about circle as battle screen, but after enter ship can go back and exit (recon enemy fleet). So it should look like:
|battle border - 1/3 diameter one fleet going to E - 2/3 diameter 2nd fleet going to W - battle border|
ship cannot escape from battle border after few turns or few minutes.

  • Around planets and stars there is a ring of space, of thickness about equal to a planet diamater, which is considered to be the orbital space of the planet (or star). Ships in this space are "in orbit" of the planet, and can interact with the planet in ways ships futher away can't, and may have other tactical effects applied to them.

Other proposal:
* If battle is finished but both fleets are not completely destroyed then entering fleet is "outside" the system and can jump everywhere.
* If one fleet had "retreat order" then this fleet is escaping from system, is "outside" the system" and in next turn can jump everywhere.
* If entering fleet is a winner (defending fleet is destroyed or wiped out) then this fleet is "inside" this solar system and can attack enemy planet.

Exiting Battle

  • Battles end if all ships in the battle are allied / mutually non-hostile.

What about if ship which have good speed will be not exit, no escape but but circle around enemy fleet?
What about if battle is between enemy ships, but these ships have not weapon?
This issue does not fix with "General Bullet Point / Battles should not take excessively long to complete".

Combat Objectives

Possible combat objectvies include:

  • Destroying enemy ships
  • Invading or evacuating a planet (attackers provide cover for transport/assault ships or else perform orbital bombardment; defenders either engage attackers or provide cover for evacuation ships)
  • Transit (attackers attempt to get from point A to point B; defenders interdict attackers or else cause attrition)
  • Reconaissance (maneuvering a stealth ship past sector defenses/scanners to drop or retrieve an agent)
  • Surgical Strike (targeting a specific installation either in the system or planetside)

My proposal to combat objectives (combat objectives are three:
* reconnaissance (know what elements are installed on planet, what about fleet)
* transit (retreat/escaping from battle)
* main battle with battleplans:
** attack special target (f.e. main target are battleships or transporters)
** attack with long/medium/short range
** retreat if % of ships / types will be destroyed

Battle Pace, Timing and Orders

The combat engine will be hybrid real-time and turn-based. Individual turns will play out in real time, but player input, through orders, will only take effect once per turn. Orders may be given at any time (paused or not) and are queued to be processed in subsequent turns. During turns, between the times when orders take effect, the player(s) have no ability to alter the outcome of game events (other than orders given before the start of the present turn). Player(s) may request a pause at any time, but pauses only occur and the ends of turns. Current thinking is that a turn should be somewhere between 3 and 5 seconds. (Example: Knights of the Old Republic)

FO is turn-strategy game, so or you prepare the game to play "prepare turn when you want" or delete the multiplayer mode. It is wrong thinking about 5 or more players, who will sit at this same time with game and wait for solve 20 battles, each 10 min long.

What happens if someone have problems with real-life?

What happens if battle is between 3 or more races?
The best solution is preparing turn "when you want" at build a solution with moving fleets and battles. At this same issue the RTS battle system cannot hold the game. Use your fleet, send them, put orders... and look at result. This is not arcade game, this in not single player, this is not RTS game.
Proposed solution is done with other 4X multiplayer game (Space Empires, Stars) and works fine.

TBS system can be too slow and make be unable to capture any real sense of tactics (Example: Master of Orion 2).

It is holy true, so do not kill multiplayer mode but delete RTS and do auto-battles.
Tactisc and strategies can be included when is time before battle: fleet have strategies (keep LR distance) have tactics (attack only battleships) and have orders (escape when battleships ratio is 0.5)

Other comments
Technology arrangement
I thought about balancing arrangements because strong imperia usually have too many impact to his economy. For example if strong race is producing 1000pts of research and weak race - 100pts then is stupid idea to give this same bonus to their production - 10% bonus give bonus for strong empire like a total production of weak race! Stupid. The proposed solution is this same bonus for both races as percent from average production from both races: At this case it was 1000+100 = 1100/2 = 550; 10% is 55pt per both - in result race has bonus depending from his partner. If partner is weak, this race have 1000+55pts production (5%). If partner is very strong, bonus is higher 100+55pts (55%).
Economy arrangement
This same effect but with money.
Black market & pirates
On black market should be available all goods (stolen technologies, resources, ships, food) and each race can buy it. Of course these goods should be offered by pirates, which can attack other races for money etc, etc.
On some games players decide to attack others without war declaration. It is no system to control it. Good system is add official "non-aggression pact" with 3 turn for cease-fire. Of course breaking "non aggression pact" and immediate attack is still possible, but how to regulate it with muliplayer game? One option may be "trust factor" which add -5% bonus to all tradements with NAP-breaker but non smaller than 0. Free space Model created in FO looks similar as Space-Empires with closed ways between stars. IN my opinion all stars should be available on galaxy map. Player can travelled to each star as they want, with only fuel limitation, and engines consumption.

Of course, this is no criticism but my personal free comments to 0.4 version.