Thoughts on ships and armor mass

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george moromisato
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Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:57 am

Shrike/Song has been working on differentiating various ships and I want to share some thoughts. Let's consider Commonwealth/friendly ships that the player might be able to pilot. I created the following table:
ShipTable1.jpg
ShipTable1.jpg (335.33 KiB) Viewed 3290 times
The full spreadsheet it here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing

I categorized each gunship based on its mass (freighters are always freighters):

<= 40 tons: light gunship
41-80 tons: medium gunship
81-120 tons: heavy gunship
>120 tons: super-heavy, or freighter, or corvette.

Let's concentrate on light, medium, and heavy gunships (and let's ignore IAVs for now). Some thoughts:
  • Light-gunships should be fast and should trade-off armor mass to get more speed. Their standard armor should be relatively low--around 3 tons [by "standard armor" I mean the armor mass at which they don't incur a speed penalty or bonus.] Their max armor can vary, but they should pay a huge penalty (2-4 points) on speed for super-heavy armor and above (> 6 tons).
  • Medium-gunships should have a max speed around 20-21. Their standard armor should still be around 3 tons, but their max armor can be heavier (9 tons) in exchange for a moderate speed penalty (1-2 points).
  • Heavy-gunships should in general be slower (max speed 19-20). Their standard armor should be around 5 tons (heavy armor) and their max armor should be 12 (incurring a moderate speed penalty of 1-2 points).
  • All of the above can be bent or broken by specific ship classes. For example, maybe the Britannias are fast (speed 23) even though they are heavy. The trade-off is that they should be much more expensive (in terms of hull prices).
Given all the above we can talk about specific ship classes:
  • Sapphire-class yacht: No changes needed.
  • Wolfen-class gunship: I think we should either lower maxArmor to 9 or reduce the number of segments. 2 segments feels too few to me. I can make a big difference in combat, so I'd rather reduce the maximum armor mass.
  • Freyr-class gunship: We should do the same thing as the Wolfen.
  • Ronin/A, B, C: I think the /A can have 3 std/6 max armor, while the other two classes should have 4/8. [Chalk it up to improvements over time.]
  • Manticore-class heavy gunship: The Manticore is already slower than normal, so it should have standard armor of 6 tons. But I think we should bring its max armor down to 12 (and then only with a minor penalty of 1 point). I would also increase the default thrust: its ratio is way off compared to other heavy gunships.
  • Centurion-class heavy gunship: The Centurion is fine, but I think it shouldn't get a speed bonus for having lighter armor.
  • Britannia-class heavy gunship: The Britannia should match the Centurion for armor (6/12).
These are just some random thoughts, and I'm interested in what people think. Respond and let me know!

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Song
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Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:26 am

These make sense to me. ^_^

The player ships I'm currently adding myself based on modified NPC stats are the Ronin/B, Oromo, Sotho, Asterion, Scorpion (though I'm doing something fairly exotic with it involving sidemounts so it's not entirely parallel to the NPC), and Armstrong. They mostly fit into the spectrum you're suggesting. It does rely on all the armor being where it should be though in terms of mass. Personally I think I'm in favor of making the wolfen capable of fitting heavy armor, but having it be a bad idea. At least if it fits heavy and not super-heavy armor. Reduced segments....it's on the verge of it, but I'm torn on it.

The manticore having heavier armor makes sense: it has a shield penalty and a bonus to armor repair, and it's slow. No issues there. I know we're ignoring IAVs, but those can probably be handled easily in much the same way: give them heavier armor to compensate partially for not having a shield. Since they don't have shields and are generally slow, it would make sense that they're designed to make up for it in being able to haul slabs of metal around to reliably defend themselves. Apart from that great big window on the front of the heavy IAV, of course.


The other things that would be useful to work out: device slots and rotation speeds. The balance of weapons to non-weapons can vary a lot, but I think generally the smaller ships should have fewer device slots...and rotation speed is fairly obvious. There's a lot of ships with the same rotation speeds and it's a good tool to use for differentiation, plus to make heavy gunships 'feel' heavy to fly. That's...kind of a thing to work out later though. :P
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Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:10 pm

Do not forget about Eternity Port ships. In particular, Spartan and Raijin. (Also interested in Evern if it becomes playable.) I guess Hercules could be considered a freighter for this purpose.

I have no problem with barring 'massive' armor from Wolfen, for 9 ton limit.

Freyr appears too big to be a light gunship. If Freyr is a light gunship, it should be rerendered to a smaller sprite. If it is not rerendered, it should be promoted to medium gunship. Part of the reason why Wolfen is superior to Freyr is Freyr is a bigger target.
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Song
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Sat Sep 29, 2018 10:15 am

It might also be worth adding the Molotok to the mix. It's the right size to be a playership if the Syndikat gets expanded in future.
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The Lone Badger
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Sat Sep 29, 2018 1:56 pm

Re ship types, I'd like to see an exploration-class superheavy. Only a medium sized cargo hold and doesn't have a turret like the Minotaur, but has a *lot* of device slots.

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Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:04 am

As someone pointed out elsewhere, the Wolfen already has a massive advantage in that it can outrun nearly everything in the game. So some restrictions make sense. Cutting armor segment numbers would be a big disadvantage but the ship would still be fast regardless. Limiting weapons would be another disadvantage. It should handle like an absolute pig with heavy armor (more than it already does with a full installed cargo hold).

Ronins should all be much the same with low armor limits but cheap/basic. Suggested values sound good. Weapon/device slot numbers also lower than the Wolfen. An entry-level model but more combat capable than the Sapphire which isn't a warship.

With corvettes and more freighters now in the game able to mount very heavy armor, possibly drop all max armor limits on gunships. A 30 ton Wolfen with maxArmor = 9 can have 36 tons of armor fitted! Drop it to 3 tons? Make max armor mass related to ship mass/number of armor segments so armor mass can't exceed ship mass/ half ship mass/ two thirds?

Or increase max armor limits and compensate by needing thrusters (a device, possibly external) to turn the ship.

Heavier ships should be more capable. The Wolfen has a weapon and a launcher. If the Asterion has the same, what is the difference? Speed and armor mass. The drop in speed is a bigger disadvantage than the gain in armor. There needs to be a significant advantage to selecting a heavier, slower ship. Multiple weapons are an advantage in the big, slow Minotaur, armor repair is great in the slow Manticore. Two launchers on the Asterion? More device slots as ship mass increases?

Related balance ramblings.
Balance in miltary warships (Cent, Brit, etc as opposed to "civilian" warships, Wolfen, Ronin, etc) could be more dependent on combat capability rather than armor restricitions, although still have limits. eg Cent/X is faster than Cent but can also (insert combat enhancement here). Another example, Cent/X is equal to Brit in (insert whichever capability) but Brit is more expensive because it can also (insert another advantage).
Whereas Ronin/Wolfen/others are priced in direct relationship to ship stats rather than any increased/descreased ability.

Expecting a Wolfen to take down a large station is unrealistic, you wouldn't send an F16 to do that. Possibly the Wolfen (or all light gunships) should have flight range or weapon limitations. Only smallish fuel storage? Limits on WMD weapons or missile launchers? Or missile size. One or two heavy missiles or 10 to 15 KMs only? Or only disposable launchers? No howitzers or ammo weapons? Someone suggested built-in ship magazines instead of cargo holds for ammo storage. Great idea. Limits the amount of ammo that can be carried. (Idea: fuel tanks/bunkers/storage on the ship instead of cargo hold fuel storage?)

Maybe make the game unwinnable in a light gunship? Make it very difficult somehow after St Kats or Eta Ceti instead of forcing a ship change?

Swap ships in missions more? This shows the player the different advantages of different ships. If flying a Wolfen, change to a Brit to bombard a station because the Brit fits the mission better. In a supply mission change to a freighter.

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Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:34 pm

The main advantage Wolfen has over similar ships is it is fast enough to not need an engine. It pays for that by having less cargo space (35 tons instead of 50). If I grab the Freyr or Spartan, I might forgo cargo hold for a Titan or better engine. By midgame, mobility is better than Wolfen in exchange for cargo space.

The only ship that seems unbalanced to me is Minotaur because it is the only ship that can fire two primary weapons and the rest of its stats aside from rotation speed are good or better. Heavy armor does not slow Minotaur much, if at all, unlike Wolfen or some other smaller ships. As strong as Wolfen is, I dump it as soon as I find Minotaur, which is somewhere between Sanctuary and Jiang's Star. I might use other ships if they were as strong as Minotaur. Rather than weakening the Minotaur, I like to see more ships comparable to it. Maybe the Centurion/X or Britannia can have a built-in enhancement to have firepower closer to Minotaur. Maybe have another corvette with different stats? Maybe have a super Manticore that can dual wield primary weapons? So far, the only other ship that might compete with Minotaur is the EI200 due to its massive cargo hold.
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