Changing ships at shipyards

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george moromisato
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Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:41 pm

For 1.8 I'd like Commonwealth dry docks and Corporate shipyards to offer to sell new ships to the player. This would work as follows:

1. The player can choose a new ship and trade in their current ship. The new ships would come with some set of devices (weapons/shields/reactor) appropriate to their level.

2. The player can decide to sell their ship with all installed devices or they can just sell the hull (at trade-in time, the devices are uninstalled and moved to cargo in the new ship).

3. If for some reason the new ship cannot hold all the cargo of the old ship, then the overflow cargo is left in a crate near the station.

4. ROM installations (targeting, etc.) always get propagated to the new ship (and some new ships might come with such ROMs by default).

5. Special devices (such as Eternity Port's CDM shard) are always moved.

6. If you have wingmen (Volkov, etc.) you can either upgrade their ship (as above) or give your ship to them and trade in their ship. [Not sure the UI for this; maybe you just have to swap ships with them.]

For 1.8, I'd like to offer 6 playable ships that you can buy (not counting the existing player ships).

Which ship classes would you like to be available as playable ships? Let me know in responses.

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Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:06 pm

Ronin and Centurion gunship is good for playable starship, also Asterion and Scorpion is nice. I don't know about Freighter and other-type ship.
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Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:25 am

Black Market shipyards could sell Penitent gunships, while the UAS may sell weaker civilian variants which lack the Penitent styling.
After the Benedict mission where you pilot an Atonement, there could be an opportunity to trade your ship for it. At the station's Meeting hall or Matriarch's chamber, you could negotiate with the station master or abbess and unlock the Atonement for purchase at that station, with a discount depending on your Sisters attitude value.
Six device slots and considerable engine power consumption in exchange for cargo space and maneuverability is a compelling choice for me, but the maneuverability could be toned down a little and it would still be powerful.

The Armstrong transport would be nice as a more spacious freighter.

I agree with DigaRW on the Asterion and Scorpion. Perhaps the Asterion and Scorpion would be available at around St. Katherines' Star. At that point I usually upgrade everything, so I would be willing to invest in a change of ship that does just that.

If Teratons or Ringers had ships I'd definitely consider getting myself one. I'll suggest a new class of ship for the late game.
An explorer ship, meaning limited weapon slots and strong maneuverability. It'd be available at Ringer Shipyards. Two weapon slots and low cargo space would be restrictive, but for combat you could use the device slots for a patcher arm or two, a quantum CPU and Corporate Command's weapon enhancers.

My suggestions for buyable player ships:
  1. Atonement gunship, without needing to blast your old ship during Benedict06.
  2. A civilian variant of the Atonement. Weaker engine and equipment than a Penitent Atonement-class, but available earlier.
  3. Armstrong transport.
  4. Asterion heavy gunship.
  5. Scorpion gunship.
  6. A new explorer ship. 8 slots, 2 of which are for weapons, but with a gunship's strong drive and maneuverability.

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Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:57 am

Here are some ideas:
  • The player should get more opportunities to temporarily fly ships for free. For instance, when a player joins the Commonwealth military/fleet, they could get the option to station their personal ship in a hangar and borrow a standard-issue military ship such as a Centurion or Britannia during missions.
  • Some ships should be restricted or unlockable with multiple ways to acquire them (i.e. more powerful ships would require the player to have a military ID or a good reputation). For instance, the player could purchase a Centurion or Britannia from a Commonwealth Fortress using a Military ID, or they could go to a Black Market station and buy for a high price.
  • Some shipyards should specialize in ship-dealing and offer a great number of ships for sale while other stations focus more on services and devices, offering much more limited selection of ships.

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Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:48 am

Thing is, I'm not overly sure why you'd want to swap ship. There's no "tiers" of ship in this game, so you wouldn't be getting much of an upgrade. Any ship can have a Hyperion shoved on it and have god-tier weapons welded improbably to the hull. We still need more meaningful specialisation, and limitations, of ships before there's a compelling reason for ship swapping besides the novelty value. And yes, I say that knowing that it's one of the most requested features of all time. It still needs some actual utility.

That being said, ships I can see working if you do manage to figure something out are the Centurion, Centurion/X, Sotho, T31, Anika, Molotok, Scorpion, and as the upper-end "this is as heavy as is advisable" ship, the Troglav. The Asterion may also work well.

(Also as I've done playerships of the Asterion, Sotho and Scorpion I'd like to offer my assistance if those three do get done, since there's a few good ways to differentiate them)


I wouldn't add the Ronin personally, because 1: They're borderline obsolete in-setting and 2: They're a downgrade from virtually any ship the player can start in.
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Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:01 am

 On the note of adding ships, there needs to be a way for players to add the list of available ships at any given station that would offer them — preferably without overwriting the ship or station, or resorting to XML functions.
 The best way I can think of to go about it? Don’t include a list on the station at all, or at least not an XML list.
 Using something like (typSetData stationUNID 'shipList (list ship1 ship2…)) in <OnGameStart> or <OnGlobalUniverseCreated> would allow for fairly straightforward of appending to the list, even in the middle of a game after certain criteria have been met. If you wanted to, you could even remove ships from the list in this manner. The only real issue there would be a need to remove duplicate entries on that list so they didn’t show up seven or eight times if everyone wants to write a mod that makes, say, the EI7000 available for purchase at Korolov Shipping, but that could probably be taken care of when it’s time to pull up the ship swap dockscreen.
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Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:03 am

Shrike wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:48 am
We still need more meaningful specialisation, and limitations, of ships before there's a compelling reason for ship swapping besides the novelty value.
Agreed. Currently the hull mostly determines the speed/maneuverability and number of armor segments, and these stats are similar for most non-capital ships. Slot and armor mass restrictions and special gimmicks make the choice of ship more meaningful, but would be hard to implement in an interesting and balanced way for a much larger number of ships.

In a more "realistic" game, the equipment a ship could use would be heavily dependent on its size. Capital ships would have much more numerous and/or more powerful (for their tech level) weapons and much tougher defenses. This would require to players to upgrade to a capital ship themselves (sacrificing maneuverability), acquire a large fleet of gunship escorts (currently a management nightmare and crippled by friendly fire issues), or engage in long fights relying on extreme skill or tedious exploits. You see these dynamics in other games in the genre, including Endless Sky, NAEV, and of course the Escape Velocity series (though somewhat mitigated in EV:Nova by OP gunship hulls and weapons). Some of them handle it in more fun ways than others, but trying to turn Transcendence into this sort of game seems unwise.

So what ship do I want to be able to buy? Hmmm, hornet-class battlepod, assuming it can be upgraded reasonably? EI200?

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Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:49 am

I agree that there currently is no incentive to change ships in SOTP. The experienced player has no trouble upgrading the available ships to battleship status.
So, suggestion, why not impose for example a limit on the possibility to put any kind of reactor on any available ship. It kind of does not make sense to be able to put a big hulking Hyperion reactor on a small and nimble gunship like the Wolfen. So if we for example limit that to be able to fit the SN2500 as maximum power plant, then we have a reason to upgrade ship once we need to install power hungry weapons, shields or devices. We could then opt for a bigger gunship like the Brittannia or Scorpion.
Same thing for the Sapphire, it should also not be able to fit anything bigger then a SN2500. Upgrading to a Mega Yacht would be fun but expensive, or perhaps something like a Heavy IAV?
The Freighter likely can upgrade to a big reactor but not upgrade the drive. There should be the possibility to upgrade to a bigger freighter to haul more cargo, Any of the big EI series freighters would do. Of course they would come with a penalty of being slow, limits, to the amount of weapons (max 2) but with the ability to install many additional devices and massive armour and shields.
It would also be nice to have missions dependent on the type of ship you have, for example, with the freighter you get to transport cargo, like the Korolov missions, the more valuable the cargo, the more likely it is to attract attention from pirates or other enemies (in case of military cargo) Bigger freighters of course carry more cargo thus attract more enemies. It would also be nice to have Wingmen and or escorts that can be hired and ordered for these missions.
Gunships get fighting or escort missions, like the current Korolov, Militia or Military missions. But no Cargo hauling missions.
Yachts could have missions carrying people from A to B or limited amounts of small freight or light escort duties, but no extreme fighting or military missions other than perhaps scouting an area.

Just some thoughts, but it might make the game more immersive.

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Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:06 pm

I would like to see upgrade paths, or at least an upgrade of a playership with a similar role playership.
For example:
- wolfen --> centurion --> centurion x
- freighter --> EI200 --> some other larger freighter.

upgrades can be done with a tradeoff: new ship can mount larger armor sections but it's slower for example.

or (harder to rebalance) upgrades will be important because we are going to nerf the current playerships. :shock: In fact, playerships atm are viable and well balanced from the beginning till endgame. What if we rebalance them by nerfing them ? This will "force" the player to swap ship to continue or face a harder challenging game if they do not.

There is also an opportunity for challenges and player conducts of course. The player could swap the ship with a less powerful one, and try to beat the game with that. This would be the same as using the Tourist class in nethack.

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Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:06 pm

For SotP Commonwealth / Corporate shipyards I'd go with: Ronin, Centurion, Britannia, IAV, Asterion, Scorpion

EP / near stars could add the UAS ships (Zulu, Oromo, Sotho, T31)

Freighters (EI100, EI200, and Armstrong) probably need more trading content / balance before adding them as playable ships.
We still need more meaningful specialisation, and limitations, of ships before there's a compelling reason for ship swapping besides the novelty value.
Agreed, but we also need the ability to swap ships first.

I think a good way to solve the massive weapons on a tiny ship problem would be to add mass restrictions to device slots similar to the armor restrictions:
  • This could distinguish light and heavy gunships e.g. can't put massive howitzers or heavy weapons on the Wolfen, but larger ships can still use them. We'd need to balance the weapon masses so there is a suitable selection of light / medium / heavy weapons at all levels.
  • Omni or large firearc turret on transports / large ships restricted to light weapons (and maybe external attribute)
Some ships can have manufacuture specific bonuses like the Freyr or Raijin. e.g. manufacturer specific linked-fire slots so Scorpion could dual-fire EI energy weapons or Manticore could dual-fire Makayev weapons etc.
So, suggestion, why not impose for example a limit on the possibility to put any kind of reactor on any available ship.
There is a maxReactorPower attribute for ships in the source code (I don't know if it actually works though.) This would force the player to swap ships to get access to the end-game reactors and equipment.

However, I think the mass restriction would work better. Mostly, the player should want to try other ships, rather than being forced to swap ships to continue. Ideally the ships should be balanced so that different players will prefer different ships. Some other games which force the player to upgrade ships start out with a reasonable ship choice, but fall into the trap of having a single overpowered end-game ship that is the best at everything.
I wouldn't add the Ronin personally, because 1: They're borderline obsolete in-setting and 2: They're a downgrade from virtually any ship the player can start in.
But they are common and already used by one wingman, so it would be hard to justify them not being available for sale.
If the player is expected to change ships during the game, then a cheap / obsolete ship like the Ronin could actually be better as a starting ship instead of the Wolfen. Maybe add an achievement for completing the game with an inferior ship (Ronin / Hornet etc.)

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Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:39 pm

I like the idea of reactor limits(or a similar mechanic) for ships. This allows for faster, more forgiving ships early on without making it trivial to outrun everything in late game, while providing a solid incentive to upgrade. Lowering the weight limit on early ships would also be an improvement, given that the quick, tiny Wolfen can currently mount capital ship - grade armor. In addition to this, I think every ship should have one small, unique trait similar to what was done in CC. For the 6 buyable ships, I suggest the following:

1. Centurion - class:
- Weapon limit: 1 (+0)
- Device limit: 4 (+0)
- Cargo: 50 (80)
- Armor limit: 10kg
- Unique trait: +50% damage to energy weapons
- Other: Add 1 more armor segment to compensate for its large profile and slow speed

2. Borer - class:
- Weapon limit: 1 (+1)
- Device limit: 5 (+1)
- Cargo: 100 (250)
- Armor limit: 12kg
- Unique trait: Built - in miner's bay, +efficient enhancement for mining laser

3. Ronin - class:
- Weapon limit: 2 (+4)
- Device limit: 2 (+4)
- Cargo: 50 (150)
- Armor limit: 8kg
- Unique trait: +efficient to any installed reactor

4. Scorpion - class:
- Weapon limit: 3 (+2)
- Device limit: 2 (+2)
- Cargo: 80 (150)
- Armor limit: 14kg
- Unique trait: +100% damage; +50% power cost for ion weapons

5. Aurochs - class:
- Weapon limit: 1 (+0)
- Device limit: 5 (+0)
- Cargo: 250 (350)
- Armor limit: 17kg
- Unique trait: Omnidirectional turret for all weapons that lack recoil

6. Heavy IAV:
- Weapon limit: 1 (+6)
- Device limit: 1 (+6)
- Cargo: 70 (180)
- Armor limit: 25kg
- Unique trait: Built - in 'workshop', which can be used to convert any armor segment in the cargo hold into an armor repair consumable of similar value. Cannot install shields.
Last edited by JohnBWatson on Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:32 pm

Back in the day, I would like to change ships partly to get into something with more mass so that overloading and losing turn speed did not happen anymore or something with more cargo or more linked-fire guns.

I probably would buy ships because they look nice.

As for the question, which I assume is for Commonwealth ships and nothing with loads of cargo and/or linked-fire weapons, I would like the Scorpion most; it is colorful and looks nice. Ronins and Centurions are also good. EI200 would be bigger alternative to EI500, though the cargo might be a bit much. The new NAMI ships are an option too.

Borer could be good as a specialized mining ship.

Sometimes, I do not care about stats being all the same if the ship I want to pilot looks better than others.
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Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:32 pm

 I’m sort of leaning toward suggesting six available playerships in vanilla, and maybe three each in Corporate Command and Eternity Port (and don’t forget to transfer the CDM shard over). Also, while shipyards are the obvious choice for buying a ship, even larger stations like a Starton might have something equivalent to a used car dealership.

 Another thought to keep in mind: You’re trading in your current ship. Half of ship’s base value should probably be applied to the new ship’s price before you calculate the final total to charge the player for the new ship. If you really want to get into some of the details, charge the player for device/armor removal from the old ship and installation onto the new ship — and take maximum device/armor install/remove levels into account (“Sorry, we can’t remove a positron lancer out here in the backwater of Starton Eridani.”).

 Just a few of my ideas on what could be sold as a playership, and where:

Starton, Commonwealth dry dock, or Corporate metropolis (CC)
Borer, IAV, Ronin, Sapphire, Wolfen

Black Market Shipyard
Anika (CC), Molotok, T31

Commonwealth Fortress (with usual dock facilities requirements) or Point Juno (if saved)
Britannia (if highly ranked), Centurion

Korolov Shipping
EI200, EI500

Corporate Shipyard (CC)
Asterion, Sapphire, Scorpion

Polyarny Shipyard (EP)
Anika, Manticore, Molotok

UAS Shipyard Kibo (EP)
Oromo, Sotho, T31
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Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:19 am

If expansions are included, I definitely want to see the Evern offered (or promoted to starter ship). Only Eurasian Diarchy does not have a starter ship representing the four factions that are featured in Eternity Port. (The cold war between ED and APD is more prominent than the Luminous threat.) UAS has Hercules, NAU has Spartan, APD has Raijin... but ED has no starter.
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Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:58 pm

There are some great ideas on this thread.

In terms of game mechanics, I see two primary advantages to changing ships:

1. Access to new mechanics not available in existing ship classes. For example, I think capital ships (even at the low end) could have different mechanics, such as point-and-click course plotting and control over secondary weapons, damage control, and even crews. This might also give us access to new (heavy) devices that cannot be mounted on gunships.

2. Some ships could have synergistic device/armor configurations for a low (bundle) price. For example, rather than struggling to find an Omsk deflector and matching armor, you could just buy the ship at a shipyard. We can set the price to give the player an interesting choice (not so low that it's a no-brainer, but not so high that it's never an option).

I think we could introduce new item series to increase these kinds of synergistic combinations. When combined with special ship class abilities, this might give us a lot of variety.

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