Author Topic: Replacing Teams?  (Read 2211 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline Steve Walmsley

  • Moderator
  • Admiral of the Fleet
  • *****
  • Posts: 6659
  • Thanked: 1055 times
    • View Profile
    • http://www.starfireassistant.com
Replacing Teams?
« on: February 11, 2018, 07:13:30 AM »
This is a repost from the main VB6 suggestions thread, which triggered an idea.

I could remove the concept of teams entirely and replace them with new ground force capabilities. Thinking out loud....

1) Espionage team replaced by a scout function for ground forces. Scout formations can land on alien worlds to learn about the alien population (size, industry, tech, ground forces). They are have (expensive) stealth capabilities boosted by the formation commander (stealth bonus replaces espionage). They can be hunted by hostile ground forces or have a chance of detection by any civilian population (much higher if not same species). Might even have sabotage capabilities. In fact, this could be the Aurora equivalent of Special Forces.

2) Geology team replaced by geological survey capability for ground forces and ground survey becomes a significantly larger task requiring more personnel - to prevent simply creating vast number of geo-survey formations. Geology bonus based on the formation commander

3) Xenology team replaced by Xenoarchaeology capability for ground forces. Surveying and deciphering alien ruins becomes a significantly larger task requiring more personnel. Xenology bonus based on the formation commander.

4) Diplomacy team replaced by small but expensive ship module that can only function when in the same system as an alien population. I also change NPR responses so that their reaction to alien ships in the system is based on ship size and reduced if the ship has a diplomatic function. Diplomacy skill is based on the ship commander.
 
The following users thanked this post: froggiest1982

Offline dukea42

  • Leading Rate
  • *
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2018, 08:28:42 AM »
I like the idea a lot.   It would add some further value and excitement to stealth ships to try to land a team on to a planet.   If it was just passives to worry about, then it's easy to have a small ship wait in orbit path of a planet to get scooped up.

Even though new active sensors are reduced in range, if actives are on ( an R1) it is impossible to get any size ship past them.   Will stealth tech and bonuses be able to get to a size 0 (undetectable) ship? Or at least to the point a sufficiently fast ship can close the range to drop a pod (and then hopefully flee again).

Also will diplomacy functions required being detected by the other side?
 

Offline Zincat

  • Lt. Commander
  • ********
  • Posts: 247
  • Thanked: 19 times
    • View Profile
Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2018, 09:14:39 AM »
I like the idea of doing away with teams, they never made much sense in the setting. You certainly need a lot more than 5 people for all of those tasks.  I have one single reservation regarding ground-based geological survey.


I was one of the people who would do ground-based geological survey of everything. Every single small moon even in 15 planet systems. And also, by actually moving the teams with ships, each and every single time. The micromanagement was immense, but I still did it.

Regarding ground-based geological survey, the process would now require troops. I'm fine with that, IF the process is not completely "random", so to speak. This could be done in two different ways.

Possibility number one, after a geo survey from orbit we could have an indicator of how likely we are to find more minerals. For example, we could know that Mars is "likely to have more" TN minerals, while venus would be "extremely unlikely" to have more. This would indicate the chances, once we do a ground-base geo survey, to find more minerals. This is how things work in real life by the way, mining company never go in "blind", it is possible to have an idea of how likely you are to find minerals.
Roleplay extract: "our studies have noticed these minerals but due to the morphology of the planet it is highly likely that a more detailed survey might find additional deposits". A perfectly reasonable gameplay compromise in my opinion

Possibility number two, we go in "blind", but the chance to find something and the amount of what we find is proportional to either how big the planet is, or how many minerals we have already, or a combination of the two. So surveying a huge planet and /or a planet with a lot of TN minerals already present is more likely to yield additional minerals, and in larger amount.


The point is, while I am ok with the process being a bit random, we should at least be able to optimize our chances to find things and/or to choose the most likely to be valuable targets first. Not like it is right now, an almost completely random situation where every  midsized moon can spawn 150 millions duranium and there is no way to tell beforehand where to start from, so every single celestial body has the same priority.



Likewise, both for ground-based geological survey and xenological survey, the time of the process should be less random, and more dependind on planet size / xeno installation size or tech level. Right now it's really too random.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 09:35:27 AM by Zincat »
 
The following users thanked this post: xhunterx

Offline jonw

  • Leading Rate
  • *
  • Posts: 14
  • Thanked: 2 times
    • View Profile
Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2018, 09:35:55 AM »
Yeah, this seems like a solid idea. The concept of stealth insertion of scout forces is really cool, combining this with a sabotage feature would be nice. Actually needing survey units on the physical planet would negate one of the most egregious exploits as well
 

Offline sloanjh

  • Global Moderator
  • Admiral of the Fleet
  • *****
  • Posts: 2653
  • Thanked: 27 times
    • View Profile
Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2018, 09:56:52 AM »
This is a repost from the main VB6 suggestions thread, which triggered an idea.

Is this idea to: A) make it easier to code things up, B) improve game mechanics consistency, or C) improve gameplay experience?

I suspect it's mostly A+B, with some C thrown in.  In particular, it solves the problem of magically teleporting teams.

On the "A" front (with some "B" thrown in), it feels like you've identified more unit capabilities that can be handled using the same mechanism as e.g. anti-armor or anti-orbital (I haven't been playing close attention to the details of the ground combat stuff, so I probably got the names wrong).  A nice thing about this is it allows for hybrid units with an intrinsic ground combat capability, e.g. a Xeno force that has both xeno capabilities and ground combat capabilities in case they dig up something nasty or pirates decide to raid them. 

This hybrid ground unit idea leads me to suggest having an "Embassy" unit for diplomacy, which can be emplaced on an alien world (rather than just being in a ship in orbit) - the combat component would be the equivalent of the Marine guards at a US embassy.  Note this is not intended to replace the diplomacy ship, rather it's an alternate mechanism analogous to orbital vs. ground terraformers.

The next coding/mechanics idea this leads to is that there seems to be a "ICommandable" abstraction; things that implement ICommandable can have a commander attached that applies bonuses.  I can think of colonies, ships, research complexes, and military units as the existing ICommandables at this moment.  One thing that stands out in this list is that a research complex is a facility, while a colony owns multiple facilities (multiple scientists working on different projects, factories, etc.).  This seems like a little bit of an inconsistency in level of detail.  So the questions here are "do you need to think some more about how leaders interact with the production capabilities of colonies (possibly by introducing "ministers" who are analogous to staff officers on ships)" and "Are there other things in Aurora that should implement ICommandable?". 

Another question: "Are there other capabilities out there that ground units should be able to fulfill?" (which presumable would be boostable by commander abilities).

If one carried this reasoning to an extreme, factory complexes and research labs would be just another form of ground unit.  I do NOT think this is a good idea, however - I think designing such installations would add to micro-management (and possibly code complexity) without a commensurate increase in gameplay, and would probably delay the Aurora release.  It might be fruitful, however to think about facilities as "canned" ground units that have non-editable OOB and are very difficult to move.  To a certain extent, this would bring things full circle back to PDCs, but with them being facilities (like a factory or research lab) that have anti-orbit capabilities rather then ships that are stuck on the ground (which is where I think the special-case-code problems came in with their first incarnation).  As I said, I wasn't paying close attention, but it seems like there were some "doesn't quite fit" issues with anti-orbital static ground units that might be solved through the introduction of "fortification" facilities. 

Taking this even further might lead to "terrain" abstractions for ground combat, where facilities have units explicitly defending them.  The facilities would be clusterable (into cities) so that one unit could defend several facilities, but there would presumably be some efficiency penalty to encourage spreading them out to allow the possibility of defeat in detail (for example mineral deposit hotpoints that mines would be built on, and/or population hotpoints where people would want to live).

Note:  none of the above is intended to say "I think you should do a major rewrite to xxx", instead it's just some ideas on tweaks you might want to make in the current mechanism to take you closer to your new idea and/or avoid painting yourself into a corner in the code if you want to go down one of these roads in the future.

On the "C" (gameplay) front: Overall, it seems a good solution to the instant teleportation problem, and from a fiction-driver side having a military component to a xeno site could lead to lots of richness (e.g. is the expedition commander scientific or military?  This brings up the question though:  "can scientists command a (military) ground unit?".) 

My main concern is to not introduce overly-burdensome mechanics into more parts of the game (e.g. the original maintenance/refit rules).  For example, it's probably not worth having a military component to an embassy, since whichever planet they're on should be able to overwhelm the military part easily.  The way it would make sense would be by sneaking stealth-equipped spies in as part of the military unit, but that starts to get you back into worrying about special-case situations for the stealth capability (which maybe should simply be "intel") or if there was a "low-level threat" abstraction that endangered the diplomats that required a security element to reduce.

John
 

Offline the obelisk

  • Leading Rate
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Thanked: 2 times
    • View Profile
Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2018, 11:44:34 AM »
I like the idea of new ground units with special capabilities, especially ones that can preform some kind of scouting role (which, depending on how that works, could be used as a way to target enemy units with support units/orbital barrages using the forward firing control while both sides still keep their combat units on defense (AFAIR that was still something that hadn't gotten resolved but maybe I'm misremembering).   I'm not sure that such a unit should also be what you use to preform espionage, though, since the two are fairly different.   I'm also not sure how I feel about having diplomatic modules for ships, but I feel like they certainly shouldn't simply REPLACE having a group of diplomats on the surface.   I can definitely get behind the xenoarchaeology units.

Also, I'm interested in sloanjh's suggestion of giving Civilian Administrators some kind of analogue to the new ship officer roles.   I imagine that like with ship officer roles, what's available would depend on what's on the planet, either through building special facilities, or a system that revolves around the size of the population and amount/presence of various facilities.   For example, you might have a position dedicated to terraforming, but you'd only be able to assign someone to that position in locations that either
A: have some kind of special office built
or
B: have terraformers

sloanjh also does bring up a good question in terms of whether or not we're still going to be able to use leaders who aren't ground officers when it comes to xeno-archaeology.   On the plus side though, if the initial investigation of the ruins is now preformed by ground units with some kind of special equipment, you might also be able to just use them for recovering the installations after the investigation is complete.
 

Offline Barkhorn

  • Captain
  • **********
  • Posts: 423
  • Thanked: 51 times
    • View Profile
Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2018, 11:52:07 AM »
As long as we're talking about teams, I'd like to suggest that we consider ways to ease some of the team transfer micromanagement.  I think a big reason that people teleport geosurvey teams around is just because it's such a hassle to manually load them in a shuttle, ferry them to the next survey target, and then unload them again.

I would really appreciate if there were some kind of conditional order that could be used to automate this process.
 

Offline Bremen

  • Commander
  • *********
  • Posts: 326
  • Thanked: 18 times
    • View Profile
Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2018, 02:09:49 PM »
I'm going to be the odd man out and argue in favor of streamlining.

I'm in favor of removing teams for that reason; it's really its own system and folding the functions into other stuff will help streamline the game without taking away any of the complexity we love Aurora for.

However, and if I'm the vast minority on this I'm perfectly happy with getting ignored, I'd argue for removing geosurvey teams/stuff beyond the initial survey entirely. I never really saw the point besides additional micromanagement, to be honest; it doesn't really add much to be able to go around after the initial survey and do something that effectively costs nothing except player effort to unlock more minerals. It seems like it would just avoid make-work if you found all the mineral deposits straight up. However, I just react to that by not using geosurvey teams, so it's not a dealbreaker for me. Another alternative might be to just have civilian populations have a chance to uncover new mineral deposits (to a limit, of course, so Earth isn't still finding new deposits 200 years into a game); that provides a benefit to setting up a full colony instead of just automated mines.

Xenoarchaeology by troops instead of teams sounds good, though on the streamlining note could it be one unit type for both discovery and excavation? That way you'd send a unit in to identify the ruins, and once it was identified they'd start excavating and you could send in more units as well to excavate faster. That might be what you meant, I wasn't quite sure from your post.

Diplomacy ships sound like a big improvement, and open up a lot of interesting options as well.

Espionage troops sound like the trickiest to implement, but I guess if you'd like to add special forces options they might as well be combined. The new ground combat system seems like it could really benefit from some way to gain intelligence on enemy group troops anyways.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 03:56:38 PM by Bremen »
 

Online Iranon

  • Captain
  • **********
  • Posts: 497
  • Thanked: 34 times
    • View Profile
Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2018, 03:22:25 PM »
Don't like teams as they are, too little depth to them - mostly mindless busywork that doesn't lend itself to automation.
Expanding the concept to be meaningful seems fine, but so does straightforward deletion.
 

Offline Titanian

  • Warrant Officer, Class 2
  • ****
  • Posts: 67
  • Thanked: 17 times
    • View Profile
Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2018, 05:24:55 PM »
Is there any reason for the proposed change? Any advantages you hope to gain? Deeper game-play? Easier to handle?

My general opinion:
1) Espionage:  Current problems: Can be created anywhere. If their creation was restricted to own populations, this would not help much. i) If you have trade access to another empire, you could still smuggle them in on a freighter, so still rather easy. ii) If you have no trade access, you would need to find some undefended small 'colony' (single DSTS is enough I guess) and drop the team there - once the team is there, it is safe and can work with full efficiency from that remote location...
If espionage teams were to become troops, i) would become difficult, as nobody sane would allow a troop transport (or non-freighter) access their worlds without being suspicious. ii) would become more difficult as the team would not be safe any more after landing due to the detection chance. I guess keeping teams with the team creation restriction is the best solution here. Otherwise the espionage system in general would have to be change (maybe not a bad idea, see below).

2) Geology: Current problems: They provide benefits without costing anything (encourages their use) but are VERY micromanagement intensive. Restricting their creation to own colonies would make this worse. Automatic team relocation orders would help though. But the game-play benefit of having the teams in the game at all would still be questionable. Changing teams to ground forces here would not change a thing here, except for making teams cost maintenance. If the amount was meaningful, that would at least make their use a niche for the desperate.

3) Would probably be fine either way. Ruin are rare enough that moving or creating the teams is no big annoyance. The construction troops have to be moved anyway, so moving additional ground units would be no big difference.

4) This looks like a good idea in general. Probably limit it to the ship being at the same position as the population, otherwise empires still get influenced by ships they don't even know are there. Problem cases: Why do I need a ship to conduct diplomacy between empires sharing a planet or even capital planet? And it might become difficult to increase relation to an empire that shoots your diplomatic ship on sight.


In general, I guess discussing whether the tasks teams do currently are worth keeping in a similar way as they are now is the right way to go, or whether finding completely different systems is better.

General ideas:
1) Espionage: i) Current system is easy to game: Just create lots of empty ship class designs, and enemy espionage teams mostly get useless information anyway. The same problem appears with the civilian ship designs, 8 designs per company and tech level are in many cases more that I design myself, assuming at least 3 shipping lines. ii) On the other hand, it is currently impossible to gain even very basic information, like rough population or industry estimates. Or whether the ship at the same position has big gun turrets or not. On the other hand, information on the most important tech can be gained easily from design names of civilian ships, or their speeds. iii) Refitting ships completely screws tactical information as ships don't get reclassified.
My recommendation: Make clear what kind of information can be gained in which ways. Some ideas: Rough population estimates? Simply detecting the population. Invading the country. Building reconnaissance satellites. Detailed information on enemy ground forces opposing you? Scout ground units infiltrating enemy territory. Low morale in enemy army (deserters) Ship class or tech info? Observing their construction. Seeing them in action (as of now). Being close for some time. Boarding (again a ground unit). Salvaging (currently requires me to note salvaged components manually in many cases). Infiltrating design/research staff (Team?). To me it seems whether a ground unit or a team or whatever is better for the task depends entirely on what they are meant to achive.

2) Geology: What is the system meant to add to the game? Pleasant surprises after a system has long been colonized? Make it random and either easy to automate or based directly on population activity or size. Or give hints and make it a larger investment so a meaningful choice can be made by the player. Maybe even make it a research project, like 'Investigate Mars', 1000RP.

4) Diplomacy: You mentioned that diplomacy is going to get an overhaul. If yes: How is this going to look like? What impact are teams meant to have? The current model of  'if you have no team assigned, they are going to kill you no matter what you do' is too basic that talking about special ship modules can improve it. If the new system features embassies, why not also have mobile ship based ones? If we assume FTL communication to anywhere, basic diplomacy could be possible without any special hardware. Maybe we need small shuttles to transport diplomats to conferences?
« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 05:34:12 PM by Titanian »
 

Offline ardem

  • Commodore
  • **********
  • Posts: 762
  • Thanked: 10 times
    • View Profile
Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2018, 06:46:12 PM »
The biggest issue I have with espionage is the fact, you cannot land them on a planet without being seen, an active sensor or thermal sensor on a planet will pick even the stealthy fighter out. Unless you can get a combat formation onto the ground, a scout team is useless.

I think you either need to simulate an insert just like sending a team to a planet, or enhance stealth that allows you to put a small team on a planet, or a commercial freighter. I personally would love to see a scout team in the mix but you need to have an ability to insert that is more than a slim chance of success.

Geology I would like to see teams stripped out, even units. I think if you land Mines on the planet, it should automatically have a small survey team look for new resources, just like private enterprise, and then after a period of time, possibly linked to the amount of mines it jsut comes up with survey complete. I think there is no need for teams or special units or micro management here, also the governor bonus can be included so you can keep that, maybe it governor bonus is about policy. Hey look at earth we have had technically 100 years of real searching and we still find deposits.

« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 07:03:04 PM by ardem »
 

Offline Zincat

  • Lt. Commander
  • ********
  • Posts: 247
  • Thanked: 19 times
    • View Profile
Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2018, 06:58:16 PM »
The problem with an espionage team is that it's frankly hardly realistic as it is now. If you are in a "cold war" situation with the tentacle heads of alpha centauri, how are you going to infiltrate them?

There is no trade and no realistic way to send a team, unless you send a ship in orbit and that ship endures STO weapons long enough to drop off people.

From a realistic point of view, it makes no sense because unless you send a warship you have no way to send people there. It's not like human or whatever can just pretend to be tentalce heads.
 

Offline ardem

  • Commodore
  • **********
  • Posts: 762
  • Thanked: 10 times
    • View Profile
Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2018, 07:12:51 PM »
I am reading a book at the moment that has real unique way of insertions for SOCOM teams. Frontlines series are really great read,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marko_Kloos


They fire individual missile pods at the planet and the team inserts itself, now since these pods carry only one person they are smaller then even a Mk 1 Missile, you should be able to send it a small detachment for Special Operations, if you can research some ground stealth tech as well, such as optimal camouflage, thermal dampening. You should be able to deploy a team that could stay onsite for more then a year.

The downside is how do you extract them. Other books talk about Stealth shuttles 50 to 100 tons, but it using terrain features like orbiting moons or the planet rotation, no burn and glide to help in extraction. I would love to see this aspect but you would need to change the principles about the current thermal and active sensors since they pick up Size 1 missiles. Maybe you could extract some of this.
 

Offline the obelisk

  • Leading Rate
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Thanked: 2 times
    • View Profile
Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2018, 07:19:34 PM »
I think the issue with having what would effectively be some kind of ship based embassy is that from an RP perspective there just doesn't seem to be any real reason why you wouldn't just set up an embassy on the planet.

Also, if we're talking about the instant teleportation of leaders being an issue, that can happen with more than just teams.   Naval officers can be teleported onto ships, ground officers can be teleported to ground units, and civilian administrators and researchers can both be teleported to far flung colonies.

Having thought about it for a bit, I think I'd rather see the team system expanded than done away with, if it's at all possible.   Mostly what I'm thinking is that it might be a good idea to make it so that teams are attached to specific things, such as a xenoarchaeology team being attached to a ground unit with xenoarchaeology capabilities.

As far as what ardem suggested, having some kind of stealth drop ship component seems like a reasonable way to handle the insertion of any ground unit you don't want an empire knowing about (though I maintain there shouldn't just be one catch all component for ground units that make them into some kind of recon/espionage/saboteur/special forces combo).
 

Offline Seolferwulf

  • Petty Officer
  • **
  • Posts: 21
  • Thanked: 4 times
    • View Profile
Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2018, 07:23:06 PM »
Replacing teams with ground forces sounds good.
Makes the game mechanics more consistent and eliminates an exploit.
I second the suggestion to add another order for geo. team ground forces to completely automate surveys.
A ship with this new conditional order could simply wait at a colony until a geo. ground unit is done surveying, fly there and then drop them off somewhere else.

For espionage you need some way to infiltrate their colonies and home planet.
I could imagine a stealthy ship getting close enough to an enemy ship without being noticed to drop off some special forces, which then hide as stowaways until they get to a colony.
Once there they start their infiltration on their own.
 

 

Sitemap 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52