Author Topic: Missile Design and Engines.  (Read 1556 times)

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Offline se5a

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Missile Design and Engines.
« on: March 08, 2015, 12:45:20 AM »
We're tossing around the idea of simplifying the missile design.
Notably with lockable sliders, something along the lines of, lock the slider for "Size" at 5, then slide the Warhead slider up, and have the Fuel slider decrease automatically.

Which brought up whether missile engines should just be another slider, or a researchable item in its own right.
Arguments For a simplified engine approach:
Missile engines are not an component object in the way that ships are anyway, you can't build just a missile engine to speed up construction of missiles in the same way you can with ship engines.
It would make missile design easier, you wouldn't have to wait for an engine to be researched before you start designing a missile for it, It'd be a Power vs Efficiency slider and a Percent of Missile Space used (engine size) slider.  

Arguments for keeping them separate:
It'd remove the planning/decision to go with multiple already designed engines, vs spending time to make a new purpose build engine. (I guess this could really go in both arguments).


Regardless of what we decide to go with, we'd likely put the missile engine design into the missile design screen anyway.  just if we keep them separate, and you decide on a new engine, you'd get two research projects one for the engine and one for the Missile itself (both of which would need to be completed to build the missile ofc)  

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: March 08, 2015, 01:00:05 AM by se5a »
 

Offline alex_brunius

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Re: Missile Design and Engines.
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2015, 09:01:50 AM »
I like it. Thought several times myself how many of the design options in Aurora could be better visualized and more userfriendly by introducing sliders and cutting or simplifying a few tedious steps like missile engine design/research loop.

As long as most details are kept and you can still input numerical values I fully support it.
 

Offline Rod-Serling

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Re: Missile Design and Engines.
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2015, 05:43:58 PM »
Like what exactly?

What we're trying to ask, is should we simplify the engine/missile design setup by combining them?

We can make missile engines nothing more than another MSP slider in missile design. Would that be oversimplification? Would you lose some sort of gameplay value? Or does it add to the overall usability and user experience?

Should we keep the separate missile engine design, but just make it more user friendly, or abstract it out as an unnecessary step?
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Offline alex_brunius

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Re: Missile Design and Engines.
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2015, 04:26:56 AM »
IMO it's a mostly unnecessary step to actually have to research the engines unless you can re-use the missile engine for other design and purposes like miniature fighters, drones or shuttles for boarding assaults. The extra cost of research for missile engines is also so minor that I don't think it really matters in the long run.

Taking away the fuel efficiency choice and making it automatically the best is a no-brainier unless you want to attach it to a higher unit cost ( retain ability to build older inefficient but cheaper engines for the missiles )

But as you say it comes down a bit to play-style too. For a player really doing micromanagement with 10-20 different missile designs in use at the same time I can totally see a point in keeping the engine design step and retaining the choice of how many engines you need to design just like when you have this amount of ship designs.

But for most players I think you stick with 2-3 designs that have pretty different engine needs anyways ( AMM, Fast shortrange ASM and Slow longrange ASM ), and then engine research is an extra step only gets in the way except for some minor flavor addition.

We can make missile engines nothing more than another MSP slider in missile design. Would that be oversimplification? Would you lose some sort of gameplay value? Or does it add to the overall usability and user experience?

Yes that would be oversimplification IMO since it's very important for gameplay to be able to specify power mod to differentiate between efficient slow or ineffective fast missiles.

It would also be nice to keep the ability to design missile buses that release multiple other missiles ( not really related to missile engine design perhaps, but still something to keep in mind when designing the interface/gameplay ).



Suggestion ( Depending on how much you want/can deviate from base Aurora experience ):

What would be pretty cool is having a few things to choose from anyways except for the normal missile engine choices, for example what if you had a few engine manufacturers in your empire to choose from for all engine designs that can tweak the stats around a bit to make it more interesting. This is on top of the normal choices of power-mod and size.

Example:
Manufacturer X (missile) engines gain +10% higher Powermod but will consume 5% more fuel
Manufacturer Y (missile) engines have -5% less fuel consumption but will add 10% higher research cost/time for the missile

That way you can retain the flavor and choice part, while keeping the interface simple only adding an extra drop-down ( instead of fuel efficiency choice perhaps? )
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 04:38:51 AM by alex_brunius »
 

Offline se5a

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Re: Missile Design and Engines.
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2015, 05:55:21 AM »
quick dirty mockup of what I have in mind:

so with this you'd basically choose the size you're aiming for (floats allowed for submunitions)
then assign different amounts of space for the different parameters. from there, go to the tabs to do the more fine details. in this I'm showing the payload tab, in the dropdown you'd be able to select: Warhead, Laser Warhead, Radiation Warhead, and a list of missiles you've previously designed that are the same size or smaller than the amount of space you've designated for the payload via the Payload Slider.

The CheckBoxes are "Locks" for the sliders. lock a slider and it won't auto adjust when sliding another slider. in the above example if you moved fuel up, agility would go down, but Payload, Engine and Sensors would not move.

Missing from this is the Missile Series (probably another tab) and the resulting design info(Proposed System Parameters), which hopefully will fit under the TabControl.

yes, if engines were simplified we'd need a power vs efficiency slider. not just size.

Sensors/Defence tab would have your different sensor types, reactor space would go in here as part of the space you'd allocated, as well as ECM and Armor.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 05:58:24 AM by se5a »
 

Offline MarcAFK

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Re: Missile Design and Engines.
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2015, 07:34:13 AM »
I like the proposed idea for simplifying missiles, however I might suggest a slight increase in complexity, albeit one that isn't really visible to the player.
To justify not needing to research engines the cost of researching the missile should be increased, maybe double or tripled, but then any additional missiles researched with either the same warhead or engine should get a bonus, research points subtracted because of prior work at that tech level. I'm not entirely sure how to scale it but does that sound like a good idea? Also the bonus should have a cap so that similar missiles don't become too cheap.
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Offline alex_brunius

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Re: Missile Design and Engines.
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2015, 08:54:51 AM »
Nice mockup. As long as we can specify power mod under engine I'm happy  :)

I like the proposed idea for simplifying missiles, however I might suggest a slight increase in complexity, albeit one that isn't really visible to the player.
To justify not needing to research engines the cost of researching the missile should be increased, maybe double or tripled, but then any additional missiles researched with either the same warhead or engine should get a bonus, research points subtracted because of prior work at that tech level. I'm not entirely sure how to scale it but does that sound like a good idea? Also the bonus should have a cap so that similar missiles don't become too cheap.

Perhaps when you finish research of a completely new missile it will also automatically unlock 3 components named:

"[missilename] - payload"
"[missilename] - engine"
"[missilename] - sensor and defense"

The research/cost contribution of these would be scaled with how much size they each take up ideally and what type ( throwing in 2x as much payload is probably easier then redesigning the engine ).

If you select to reuse any of these in future missile designs it will say half the research and credit cost contribution of these components to the missile and research project.

At least engine should be possible to use multiple existing engines to build a new bigger missile, question is if the same is true for warhead? It probably should not be possible for sensors & defense.


In terms of research contribution I don't think warhead should be such a large part. The majority R&D needed for a new missile should probably be engine and sensors/ECM/reactor ( so these are the areas logically that makes the most sense to reuse ).

Another related question... Do you want to add some mandatory sensor "receiver" component that needs to be bigger the further you want to be able to control the missile from your ship?
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 09:03:38 AM by alex_brunius »
 

Offline se5a

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Re: Missile Design and Engines.
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2015, 09:44:41 PM »
Missiles don't currently have subcomponents like ships do,
and I don't think we're likely to add that at this stage either.
 

Offline alex_brunius

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Re: Missile Design and Engines.
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2015, 10:22:24 AM »
Missiles don't currently have subcomponents like ships do,
and I don't think we're likely to add that at this stage either.

Yes it was just a suggestion for what kind of future complexity can be considered to be added.
If they are handled automatically much like crew quarters & armor for ships is it's not much complexity for the player, but I guess still quite a bit of complexity to code and develop.
 

Offline se5a

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Re: Missile Design and Engines.
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2015, 06:48:20 AM »
Yeah sorry.
We're getting off topic though.
 

Offline alex_brunius

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Re: Missile Design and Engines.
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2015, 10:25:29 AM »
Sorry for going offtopic  :)

A few thoughts I got when seeing the mockup with sliders:

What happens if you modify Missile size without changing the components, are they re-calculated to have the same ratio distribution matching the new total size? Should this happen also if you have locked sliders or should these stay in place?

Would it be useful to also display percentage size distribution somewhere here or how much they contribute to missile cost in resources / credits?
 

Offline MarcAFK

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Re: Missile Design and Engines.
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2015, 12:48:47 AM »
I'm thinking that rather than discrete missile components which can be reused instead you just pay for the difference compared to old designs. So if your new missile is the same tech level as a similar one you have researched but has 20% bigger warhead and Engine, you pay full price only for the 20%s and a reduced cost for the rest. The goal would be for something like alpha centauri where a new unit has double the cost for the prototype but the rest are cheaper.
Also it would help with the problem that aurora has with large or complex components having seriously large research requirements. You could finish a size 50 engine in half the time if you've already made some smaller engines for instance.
 Or maybe just add a multiplier to the research cost of each tech and whenever a design is ordered using that tech the multiplier is reduced a percentage based on the size of the component.
For instance if you just researched fission-fusion-fusion warheads start with a +100% multiplier to research. Say that this tech normally costs 50 RP per point of warhead MSP so a size 7 missile with 3 MSP warhead will cost 300 RP for the warhead alone.
But each completed design using the tech lowers the multiplier, let's say it takes 10 points to completely remove the multiplier. If you first design a size 1 AMM using .125 MSP warhead it costs 6.25 RP for the warhead for this missile and lowers the percentage for future designs by 1.25% making the size 7 missile above now cost only 296.25 RP. I think the reduction should be higher for small MSP than for larger though.
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Offline se5a

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Re: Missile Design and Engines.
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2015, 06:27:43 PM »
Sorry for going offtopic  :)

A few thoughts I got when seeing the mockup with sliders:

What happens if you modify Missile size without changing the components, are they re-calculated to have the same ratio distribution matching the new total size? Should this happen also if you have locked sliders or should these stay in place?

Would it be useful to also display percentage size distribution somewhere here or how much they contribute to missile cost in resources / credits?

It will move unlocked sliders to use up the rest of the space.  Actually it already does this,  but not as cleanly as I'd like.  (I've already made a working implementation of that part of the mock up)  is cost really that much of a decision factor when designing missiles?  Remember anything like that is going to take up space and clutter the interface.  I can't do a whole lot more to this till we've got more of the backend in anyway.
 

Offline alex_brunius

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Re: Missile Design and Engines.
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2015, 03:34:32 AM »
It will move unlocked sliders to use up the rest of the space.  Actually it already does this,  but not as cleanly as I'd like.  (I've already made a working implementation of that part of the mock up)  is cost really that much of a decision factor when designing missiles?  Remember anything like that is going to take up space and clutter the interface.  I can't do a whole lot more to this till we've got more of the backend in anyway.

A mineral + BP summary somewhere that's not hidden behind a tab would be useful at least, since you can experiment with the sliders and choices in the tabs and quickly figure out what impacts what cost then.

Mineral cost  ( and buildtime/BP ) is pretty important for missiles that you will crank out in tens of thousands, IMO it's almost as big of a limitation in holding back offensives as fuel is in standard Aurora at least.

Most will attest that the expensive missile cost is the only big weakness of missiles really.

Research cost ( at least for small missiles ) is probably not as important unless you plan to make it more expensive.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2015, 03:38:10 AM by alex_brunius »
 

 

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