Improved device requirements: Slots and mass restrictions

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Shrike
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Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:56 am

Currently, large capital-ship guns are differentiated (very rarely) from regular weapons by having additional slot restrictions. The problem is, this is actually has the opposite effect: the only playerships that should be able to fit big guns used on capital ships are likely to be the heaviest of heavy gunships, and modified freighters. But freighters in particular only have 2 weapon slots....so they're barred from using capital-ship weapons.


My suggested solution is to separate weapon restrictions into two factors, and introduce them for all weapons in the game. Ships will continue to have slot restrictions on combat/non-combat gear as they do right now, but will gain another: maximum weapon mass. This is high for heavy gunships and freighters, and low for lightweight ships. For hybrids (transports and possibly the sapphire) they have a moderate mass limit, varying with the size of the ship itself. It might even be practical to establish a formula based on tonnage of ship, multiplied by a ship class multiplier (eg. X1.25 mass limit for heavy gunships, X0.8 for yachts, etc). This then sets the scene for a new change to the weapon system: slot requirements for specialised dogfighting weapons.

Currently, special slot adjustments are very rare. To make guns more suitable for different ships, this would change: a 'basic' gun takes 1 slot, as does a regular omni weapon. dual-fire weapons require two slots universally, as do some alternating dual-fire and larger weapons (eg. Shuriken, laser cannon array). Some even larger arrays (ion flame?) might require 3 or 4 slots, but this would be rare. However, the individual mass of high-slot weapons is fairly low, as they're built around channeling power from a lot of sources and spread it around a bit: they don't have the same build requirements. For heavy artillery, even if it does have slot restrictions (and some of them possibly should eg. the dual mark III), the gun draws a lot of power through a single slot, requiring a heavier constructions. So guns designed for heavy ships are a lot heavier than dogfighting weapons. In between the two extremes you have moderately heavy weapons which are borderline on both systems and are fairly universal weapons (eg. Mark V howitzer, Mark I howitzer, Ion9, etc). There'd also be a lot of weapons that were still just "pick up and go" regardless of what ship you were flying. Weapon mass and slot requirements would need a numerical basis of some sort to allow them to be added to the damage calculation charts.

The result of this would be that a gun is no longer just good or bad: it depends even more on what ship you fly, and in some extreme cases you won't even be able to install it if you're flying the wrong ship. It also removes the problem of the EI500 not being able to install guns that honestly it should be the only thing able to run, and lets all those un-used "weapons only" slots on most gunship builds get soaked up by the weapons they'll be running anyway.
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JohnBWatson
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Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:47 pm

Shrike wrote:Currently, large capital-ship guns are differentiated (very rarely) from regular weapons by having additional slot restrictions. The problem is, this is actually has the opposite effect: the only playerships that should be able to fit big guns used on capital ships are likely to be the heaviest of heavy gunships, and modified freighters. But freighters in particular only have 2 weapon slots....so they're barred from using capital-ship weapons.
Freighters? I sincerely doubt it. They're large, but it's mainly cargo space, and they're designed with the intent of mounting small turreted weaponry. The ability to cope with that kind of recoil without issues would likely be more present in gunships.

My suggested solution is to separate weapon restrictions into two factors, and introduce them for all weapons in the game. Ships will continue to have slot restrictions on combat/non-combat gear as they do right now, but will gain another: maximum weapon mass. This is high for heavy gunships and freighters, and low for lightweight ships. For hybrids (transports and possibly the sapphire) they have a moderate mass limit, varying with the size of the ship itself. It might even be practical to establish a formula based on tonnage of ship, multiplied by a ship class multiplier (eg. X1.25 mass limit for heavy gunships, X0.8 for yachts, etc). This then sets the scene for a new change to the weapon system: slot requirements for specialised dogfighting weapons.
You're overthinking it, in my opinion. Rather than specializing slots with lots of unneeded and difficult to adjust code, a simple weight restriction could be added onto a ship's weapon slots. Capital ships that rely on linked weaponry rather than swapping guns could have different limits on different slots, as well, differentiating turrets from spinal guns.

Ultraheavy weaponry like the APA could require specialized devices to be mounted on gunships. For example, a device that takes one or two weapon slots in order to increase or double the weight limit of remaining slots.

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Shrike
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Tue Jun 30, 2015 11:40 pm

Right, I hate doing the quote thingie, so I'll do this once.
JohnBWatson wrote: Freighters? I sincerely doubt it. They're large, but it's mainly cargo space, and they're designed with the intent of mounting small turreted weaponry. The ability to cope with that kind of recoil without issues would likely be more present in gunships.
Freighters share the highest mass limits on armor (thus, higher hull strength), and have enough space to mount the gun. If the gun doesn't physically fit in the spaces available, it shouldn't be mountable. Admittedly, most guns have really really low mass right now so it's hard to say what should and shouldn't fit. But a gun that an entire dreadnought is built around? Should not fit on a small gunship built to mount the Tev9 family of weapons (Wolfen). Also: omnidirectional weapons suck. There are hardly any of them and they tend to be terrible at higher levels.
You're overthinking it, in my opinion. Rather than specializing slots with lots of unneeded and difficult to adjust code, a simple weight restriction could be added onto a ship's weapon slots. Capital ships that rely on linked weaponry rather than swapping guns could have different limits on different slots, as well, differentiating turrets from spinal guns.
This was actually my original idea (and one various community peeps have been suggesting for many years now), but the problem of multi-slots is still there: it's a massively under-used system that exists only to make the biggest guns only usable on the smallest ships. And in fact my approach is actually an extension of what's already in the game: of the three guns I can think of with multi-slot requirements (APA, CLAW, heavy CLAW), two of them are dual weapons (the original CLAW being so good that everyone used it. Since then it's been nerfed into near oblivion and the slot requirement isn't really needed under the current system). This was supposed to show that it's a "heavy" gun and thus you lost the ability to fit more weapons....but the only real result is that it blocked it from freighters.


Adding slots in is why this is a new proposal, rather than just ticketing the old one (and the 5-6 times we've brought it up since. Mass limitations are an old idea).

(Actually it may already be a ticket. I'll need to search Ministry some time)
Ultraheavy weaponry like the APA could require specialized devices to be mounted on gunships. For example, a device that takes one or two weapon slots in order to increase or double the weight limit of remaining slots.
But under the current system, gunships have many, many slots to spare on weapons....you can afford to burn a bunch if it then hands you a win button because doing so doesn't have any negative effects. It'd work better with more slot restrictions so that losing those slots might actually mean something.
That being said...a device that worked like that WITHOUT changes to slot-use by weapons would be a good idea if it had a penalty for use that actually mattered. Perhaps a cargo-hold 'upgrade' that cost some space and weighed a lot but gave a heavy weapon slot. That way you trade practicality, agility and cargo space for the ability to fire the WTF cannon you ripped off a massive dreadnought.


Personally, I could live with just having mass restrictions since it'd be an improvement...but taking the annoying slot restriction system and making it into something useful would be a much better way to actually specialise the ships.
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Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:06 am

Shrike wrote:Right, I hate doing the quote thingie, so I'll do this once.
Am I really the only one on this board that likes this format? It seems to be the default everywhere else.
Freighters share the highest mass limits on armor (thus, higher hull strength), and have enough space to mount the gun. If the gun doesn't physically fit in the spaces available, it shouldn't be mountable. Admittedly, most guns have really really low mass right now so it's hard to say what should and shouldn't fit. But a gun that an entire dreadnought is built around? Should not fit on a small gunship built to mount the Tev9 family of weapons (Wolfen).
I don't think armor limits are based on hull strength. Might have something to do with surface area, given the correlation.

The fact that guns don't have mass differences is something that ought to be changed. If an APA is truly laid out across the entire spine of the Phobos, it shouldn't fit anything that isn't a heavily modified capital ship. The current vanilla set of playerships are all civilian models in some way, and I'd like to see that explored further as well, though. Perhaps capital ship grade weaponry could be mounted in smaller slots(within a certain range) but with drawbacks like severely reduced firerate or hull damage during use.
Also: omnidirectional weapons suck. There are hardly any of them and they tend to be terrible at higher levels.
Really? The enhanced OT9 that can be looted off the corpses of dead CW defenders is amazing, and the ALT is my go - to late game flyswatter, even on the Wolfen. The OTL(enhanced as much as possible, of course) is my main weapon up until the Outer Realm.
This was actually my original idea (and one various community peeps have been suggesting for many years now), but the problem of multi-slots is still there: it's a massively under-used system that exists only to make the biggest guns only usable on the smallest ships. And in fact my approach is actually an extension of what's already in the game: of the three guns I can think of with multi-slot requirements (APA, CLAW, heavy CLAW), two of them are dual weapons (the original CLAW being so good that everyone used it. Since then it's been nerfed into near oblivion and the slot requirement isn't really needed under the current system). This was supposed to show that it's a "heavy" gun and thus you lost the ability to fit more weapons....but the only real result is that it blocked it from freighters.
Freighters aren't really intended to mount forward firing weaponry, especially heavy stuff. A freighter has no real use for WMD or long range armament on the tasks most pilots use it for. That said, faster ships should also be excluded from free use of non - ammo bombardment weaponry, given that if it were practical to mount a howitzer on something that could escape before being intercepted, nobody would build any of the heavier bombers.
But under the current system, gunships have many, many slots to spare on weapons....you can afford to burn a bunch if it then hands you a win button because doing so doesn't have any negative effects. It'd work better with more slot restrictions so that losing those slots might actually mean something.
Weapons slots could do to be reduced in number across the board, as it is. You'll only ever need three at most, so having that be the cap for the most combat - oriented ships might make the loss of a weapon slot more of a hit to the player's strategy, and force people to think about their choices. Having players need to forsake their launcher or omni to put a MK V on their Wolfens might make people actually use those expensive siege missiles, too.
That being said...a device that worked like that WITHOUT changes to slot-use by weapons would be a good idea if it had a penalty for use that actually mattered. Perhaps a cargo-hold 'upgrade' that cost some space and weighed a lot but gave a heavy weapon slot. That way you trade practicality, agility and cargo space for the ability to fire the WTF cannon you ripped off a massive dreadnought.
IMO, that's perfect. I think it's the sort of thing George would be looking for, given that it allows cargo space to remain relevant in late game when the player no longer needs to trade.
Personally, I could live with just having mass restrictions since it'd be an improvement...but taking the annoying slot restriction system and making it into something useful would be a much better way to actually specialise the ships.
More specialized ships is something I'd like too, but having slots be restricted to a specific kind of weapon would be very restrictive to gameplay and would cause tons of issues with modding.

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Tue Jul 07, 2015 6:19 pm

More specialized ships is something I'd like too, but having slots be restricted to a specific kind of weapon would be very restrictive to gameplay and would cause tons of issues with modding.
true, sadly. This is because how the 3 main playerships have always been balanced. THe slots are fairly generic available spaces on the ship, with the exception of the shield slot (and armor slots, but those are not slots in the sense of what we are talking about)
Historically the slots have been restricted by limiting the number of weapons or non-weapons slots. Recently George added slots properties like omnidirectional slots or swivelling slots. Are we going towards higher and higher slot specialisation ?

Should we go RPG all the way ? you know right hand slot, left hand slot, necklace slot, armor slot, ring slot, quiver slot, trousers slot, shoes slot and so on...


I have a proposal, what if we limit device installations based on the ratio of the mass of the device and mass of the ship ?
The result is that heavier devices will be restricted to large ships with a large mass. This gives modder flexibility, as the same device/weapon could be placed at different levels based on the mass, with higher mass devices being lighter (as better tech = better components/miniaturisation?)

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Wed Jul 08, 2015 2:01 am

If ships are to have limits they should be defined not derived. Otherwise freighters that are big and hollow would mount better weapons than gunships that have solid spines to brace weapons against.
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Wed Jul 08, 2015 3:28 am

Atarlost wrote:If ships are to have limits they should be defined not derived. Otherwise freighters that are big and hollow would mount better weapons than gunships that have solid spines to brace weapons against.
I'd agree with this. At most, a default algorithm that can be overridden could be used.

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Wed Jul 08, 2015 5:13 am

JohnBWatson wrote:
Atarlost wrote:If ships are to have limits they should be defined not derived. Otherwise freighters that are big and hollow would mount better weapons than gunships that have solid spines to brace weapons against.
I'd agree with this. At most, a default algorithm that can be overridden could be used.
I think that this hypothesized algorithm should be based off of the same limitations for the heaviest armor segments that a ship can equip. The way I interpret it is that the armor limit is the maximum amount of mass that a ship can have attached to one spot before the ship's hull starts tearing itself apart during maneuvering. If a device exceeded a similar limit then it would to use a second slot for implied structural reinforcement and its install cost would be increased. There could also be a similar limitation based on a weapon's recoil. If its recoil exceeds a certain amount then it could either only be installed in a dedicated heavy weapon slot or it would require a second device slot for implied structural reinforcements. It would also be interesting if we had a series of space magic/inertial dampening devices that reduced the recoil of installed weapons, potentially turning howitzers into giant recoilless cannons if you had enough of them installed.
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