Author Topic: Re: Siliconate War  (Read 8657 times)

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Offline Kurt

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« Reply #60 on: September 13, 2007, 09:47:05 AM »
Quote from: "crucis"
Quote from: "Kurt"
Well, I think that Marvin did not fully appreciate the difference in views until after 4th came out.  Marvin had gotten quite a few complaints from people about strategic starfire concerning "explorer's luck", which usually let a person win almost regardless of how good of a player they were.  Because these complaints fit in with his own view of the game, I believe he came to think that everyone, or most everyone, felt the same.  

There's always going to be some luck.  Crap, just look at some of those artifacts in the Galactic Oddities chart in Ultra!  Talk about adding luck to the game.  

Unless you change Starfire from Warp Points (where you have no clue at all what's on the other side of the WP until you go look) to a hyperspace game (where you'd have a minimal idea what sort of system you might chose to go explore, before you jumped into hyperspace), there will always be a level of luck in system generation.  It's the nature of the beast.

Wanna reduce luck?  Get rid of NPRs.

Wanna reduce luck?  Make all star systems exactly the same.

At some point, you just have to accept that in the Starfire paradigm, luck in exploring is, as they say in golf, the rub of the green.

I tend to agree with you.  Which is largely why I am here rather than part of the 4th Ed crowd.  

Quote from: "crucis"
Quote from: "Kurt"
Marvin and I (and others) had many discussions about missiles.  Marvin felt that the problem with missiles is that in the strategic game they are inherently unbalanced against beams in that they are superior in almost every way.  For instance, a HT 1 missile launcher can launch a standard missile with anti-matter warheads and other nifty add-ons without modification, upgrading, or refit, just as a HT 5 capital missile launcher can fire capital missiles with HT 11 or 12 add-ons without refit.  If a player wants to use a beam-only strategy, though, he is forced to constantly refit his ships to upgrade to the latest beam weaponry.  A HT 1 laser cannot fire a HT 7 HET laser beam.  This puts a beam-only player at a disadvantage from the beginning, and Marvin's goal was to make multiple strategies viable.  

My problem (among many) is that missiles SHOULD be superior to beam weapons.  Throughout the history of weaponry superiority fell to the weapons with the greatest range.  And what has always been one of the most important features of new technological development in weapons?  The seeking to increase range over your enemy's weapons.  Superior Range almost always equals victory.

People whining about how missiles are too superior to missiles sound like battleship admirals complaining about naval aricraft and aircraft carriers, and trying to fudge the wargames to make them look inferior.  (Sort of like as DW presented it a parallel situation in one of his HH books.)

Also, it's exactly proper that older missile launchers should be able to fire newer weapons.  Old guns are perfectly capable of firing newer ammunition, as long as the ammo's fitted to the old gun's calibre.  I'm not a gun person, but there's no reason I know of that you can't take an old 1910-something Colt 45 pistol and put the latest teflon coated bullets in it and use it as it.  This crap about requiring a new missile launcher for every missile upgrade is a bunch of bullpucky.

You are hitting are the very core of the schism that ultimately broke apart the starfire community.  Marvin and others wanted balance, while 3rd Ed. loyalists wanted starfire substantially as it had been in all its unbalanced "realism".  

Quote from: "crucis"
Quote from: "Kurt"
My objection to his solution was that by watering down missiles he made things so that no one cared what weapons system they were using.  If everything is balanced, what is the point?  

Exactly.  If every weapon is the same, what *IS* the point?  

Part of the reason that you do tech research is so you can get the bigger, badder, longer ranged gun than your enemy so you can open a big can of whup-ass on his fleet.

Quote
Also, and this was the big one for me, how much can you change everything before it isn't Starfire any more?  I felt that he had crossed that line.  Marvin disagreed, and felt that the changes were needed to produce a balanced strategic game that could only be won by skill and experience, rather than by dumb luck.  

A. "how much can you change everything before it isn't Starfire any more?"  I've had the same thoughts as well.  While 3e is a much larger and involved product than the old 1e baggie game, you can clearly see 3e roots in 1e.  This is not true of 4e.  4e might as well stick a different name on the cover, cuz it's only barely recognizable as Starfire any longer.  

B. If he cares so much about skill, why doesn't he just take die rolls out of the game too?

Frankly, Kurt, the more you describe Marvin to me, the more he sounds like a ... person  at TFG that Dave had to deal with who was , in our opinions at the time, a very clueless person who made life miserable for him for years, before there was some sort of shakeup.

It had gotten so bad, that Dave, Steve, and I actually had produced a complete manuscript for a game to compete against Starfire.  We never got around to trying to submit it to any game company becuase there was a shakeup at TFG that moved the objectionable person out of the way, and allowed Dave to work with more reasonable people and he was able to produce the 3e games and mods with far, far less resistance.

Well, I don't know about that, but I think from our conversation that you can see how things got to the point where the 3rd and 4th adherents nearly came to blows and ultimately split.  The starfire list is now primarily populated by 4th ed supporters, and almost all conversation that takes place there is 4th ed related.  A truce has been called between the two sides, but the schism is complete.  

As for Marvin, I don't agree with the direction he has taken starfire, and I don't agree with much of the way he has done things.  However, I do think he truly cares about starfire, and he did pony up cash to save starfire when TFG was willing to let it rot and the rest of us were saying things like "That's too bad", or "someone should do something".  

Quote from: "crucis"
Quote from: "Kurt"
Again, this goes back to his desire to balance everything.  My argument to him against this was that real life is inherently unbalanced, and by balancing everything he was creating a game environment that was uninteresting and unreal, didn't get very far.  

Of course, Marvin did have a point, Imperial Starfire and 3rd Ed are unbalanced, and to pure gamers that are in the game to fight against other people and defeat them, those imbalances are a significant problem.  SM#2 went a long ways towards eliminating some of the luck factor by making NPRs much more nasty, thus less likely ally themselves with the race that discovers them.  

As you said, real life is inherently unbalanced.  Technological research is a process designed to create imbalance.  People who are reasearching a new weapon aren't looking for a fair fight.  They're looking to IMbalance the status quo, and they're looking to do so in the biggest way possible.  It's the nature of real life.

But by pushing the balance uber alles system for competitive (aka power-) gamers, he's ended up alienating the non-power gamers.  And pissing off a huge chunk of your customer base is REALLY stupid for someone trying to sell a product.

Hence the schism.  Marvin is really, really not a people person.  

Quote from: "crucis"
Quote from: "Kurt"
The thing I didn't like about Starfire was that ships retained 100% of their combat ability right up to the point that their passive defenses were penetrated, and then they evaporated.  Even battleships tended to take some damage, even from shells that didn't penetrate.  They might even be destroyed or knocked out by the first shell to hit them if it penetrates their armor, which can't happen in Starfire.  Of course, real life battleships don't have shields, either.

True, BB's don't have shields.  But Shields are just another form of armor.

And as far as the rest of it, you always have to remember that SF is a very simple tactical system and there are limitations to what you can do and still keep the system simple.

Very true.  We already had one SFB's, no one wanted another <G>.

Quote from: "crucis"
And there's the problem of balancing the tactical game between the "needs" of people who only play the tactical game and those who play strategic Starfire.  The people who only play the tactical game might like a smidge more complexity, particularly since it seems that many of them like small battles.  However, the strategic player probably favors the simplicity since it speeds the play of the tactical battles and helps to prevent the strategic game from getting overly bogged down with those pesky battles.  ;)

Also, the system I describe above would actually create a situation wherein your were getting internal damage without completely wiping out all of the passives.  Of course, depending on the size of the ship and the numbers of passives it was mounting, the target ship could absorb quite a bit of punishment before you penetrated the passive.  Honestly, I think that there's a workable idea in there, it just needs to be honed.

I hope to finish my Ultra-ized system generator soon, as well as my "3rd Fred" House rules.  Maybe then I can get started on my solo campaign.

I actually already have my two player races created.

One is Earth,  called The Solar Concordium.  Nothing fancy.

And the other is The Pitariad.  The Pitari deserve to get played in some way, so what the heck.  The Matriarch is itching to conquer somebody!

Aside from the above work on my system generator and house rules, I'm also trying to give some thought to a campaign theme.  it seems that the best campaigns that I've seen on the list have good themes.  Like the After the Fall theme, or the (ugh) TrekFire theme, etc.  Good themes seem to be inspiring.  I have a theme idea that I'm working on, although
it seems to have ended up suspiciously similar to the Markukan campaign in ISF and Ultra..

I really liked the After the Fall stories.  I know how it is that some races just won't die.  I have one race, in particular, that just keeps coming back no matter how I try to get rid of them.  The funny thing is, I really didn't like them when I originally created them.  

Quote from: "crucis"
BTW, I've got a question for you, Kurt.  I've seen in plenty of List posts by Marvin that he's always been properly concerned about the copyrights for the Dave and Steve's 3e history.  But I'm confused as to why he feels that he can use "Berzerkers" without any copyright problems?  Do you know if he has some sort of waiver from Fred Saberhagen?  Or is he thinking that Berzerkers are public domain?  Seems a bit fishy to me...


I fairly sure he doesn't have a waiver, although you'd have to ask him to be sure.  I'm not sure what Berzerkers you are talking about, they must be in Ultra, which I haven't seen.  I suspect that if he thought about it all, he figured that at this point they are a nearly ubiquitous science fiction theme.  They really should have been called something else, though.  

This entire conversation has been rehashing a lot of the things that were part of flamewars, hate, and discontent on the old list.  If you can stand it you really should dig through the archives to see what happened.  I know that no one wants to start those wars again.  That ground has been salted.  

Kurt
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Kurt »
 

Offline crucis

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« Reply #61 on: September 13, 2007, 10:30:43 AM »
Quote from: "Kurt"
This entire conversation has been rehashing a lot of the things that were part of flamewars, hate, and discontent on the old list.  If you can stand it you really should dig through the archives to see what happened.  I know that no one wants to start those wars again.  That ground has been salted.  

I've actually read thru much of the archives.  I certainly ran across the big Steve/Marvin SA dust-up and will NOT rehash that.  Strangely, I don't recall ever coming across any real flame wars about 3e vs 4e.  Maybe I just didn't hit the right posts, since I wasn't reading absolutely every post.  For the most part, things seemed pretty cordial most of the time.  Oh well.

I'm going to try to limit this reply to no-rehashing sorts of things... :roll:


Later....

Fred
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by crucis »
 

Offline crucis

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« Reply #62 on: September 13, 2007, 10:34:50 AM »
Quote from: "Father Tim"
Quote from: "crucis"
Quote from: "Kurt"
<--Lots of armour talk-->

Car Wars' metal armour handled this beautifully, in my opinion, with its semi-ablative nature.  In that game weapons' damage was measured in d6s - the total damage done was compared to the strength of the armour (with any excess penetrating) but the armour itself was only reduced by the number of 6s rolled.  Metal armour would slowly wear away, sometimes under shots that couldn't penetrate (a single d6 vs 10 points of armour, for example), but that final one or two points seemed to last forever, virtualy irrelevant vs heavy rockets yet still shedding light pistol bullets like road gravel.

Starfire would need a slighty different system (maybe each 1 rolled to hit would ablate a point of armour, or maybe every full 5 points of damage from an attack) but I would love to see semi-ablative armour in the game.


Interesting stuff, Father Tim.

There are a few things to keep in mind.  

1) It's necessary to keep more advanced armors in mind when trying to come up with different armor damage resisting processes.  That is, if the process for mere Ind-2 "A" is too good, imagine how horrifyingly difficult it would be to punch damage thru 2nd Gen Composite Armor?

2) The Anti-Laser armor that's already in 3e was originally called Ablative Armor.  I think that Dave changed its name so that he didn't have an Armor that was coded "Aa".  ;)

3) The idea that idea that a die roll of "1" (or whatever) would ablate 1 unit of armor is an interesting way of doing it.  My fear is that it could end up being too good, as mentioned above in point #1.  Basically, it would mean that only 1/10th of all hits would ablate a unit of armor.  (Of course, the ablative number is open to adjustment.)  

For plinking swarm ships, it would become all but impossible for them to punch thru armor ... which I don't have a problem with, as it would force them to use what I see as more realistic weapon choices and tactics.  (See my previous comments for details.)  

However, volleys with a lot of incoming weapons and plenty of potential "1" die rolls might wear down armor pretty quicky.

Some open questions that I have with this suggestion:

A) If a volley fails to produce to produce enough damage to overwhelm (i.e. penetrate) the armor, is any damage done if no 1's are rolled? Is all of the damage repulsed/absorbed/whatever by the armor?

B) Alternate version of question #1.  Say that a volley of 3 hits (damage type irrelevant for the question) strike the armor (which is more than sufficient to take all of the damage, say 10A vs 6 dp), and only one of the to-hit rolls is a "1", and a point of armor is ablated... what else happens?

I have to admit that at the moment, I'm kind of fond of the system I described above, although I haven't playtested it.  While I don't know if it would be too good, I can foresee the sorts effects that it would have on tactics, since it would force smaller ships (i.e. smaller than their targets) with their smaller volleys that intend on attacking larger, more heavily armored targets to close on their targets and use primary beams, which would remain unaffected by the different armoring scheme (and hence become more valuable for shooting at larger targets) or close to point -blank range and use high short range damage weapons that have the potential to punch thru heavier armor belts.

Father Tim, it's entirely possible that the system that you've roughly described might have the same effect on tactics, which would be a good thing.  I'm not a fan of swarm tactics, and particularly of plinking enemy targets to death.

Come to think of it, for people that would like to see beam weapons have more value in the game, making shields and armor tougher, posibly in a scheme such as I've described, would likely force ships, not just smaller ships to close on their targets so that they could get their beam weapons into their more destrcutive ranges (unless their missile batteries are so superior that they can easily overwhelm a target's passives).  It would also make weapons like Energy Beams, Lasers, and Primaries more valuable, since any weapon that could ignore some or all passive defenses would become much more valuable, particularly against larger ships.  At higher TL's, a high damage weapon like the Converging Anti-Matter Beam would become important for blasting thru the high density defenses that exist at those TL's.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by crucis »
 

Offline crucis

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« Reply #63 on: September 13, 2007, 10:41:22 AM »
Quote from: "Steve Walmsley"
Quote from: "crucis"
My problem (among many) is that missiles SHOULD be superior to beam weapons.  Throughout the history of weaponry superiority fell to the weapons with the greatest range.  And what has always been one of the most important features of new technological development in weapons?  The seeking to increase range over your enemy's weapons.  Superior Range almost always equals victory.

People whining about how missiles are too superior to missiles sound like battleship admirals complaining about naval aricraft and aircraft carriers, and trying to fudge the wargames to make them look inferior.  (Sort of like as DW presented it a parallel situation in one of his HH books.)

Also, it's exactly proper that older missile launchers should be able to fire newer weapons.  Old guns are perfectly capable of firing newer ammunition, as long as the ammo's fitted to the old gun's calibre.  I'm not a gun person, but there's no reason I know of that you can't take an old 1910-something Colt 45 pistol and put the latest teflon coated bullets in it and use it as it.  This crap about requiring a new missile launcher for every missile upgrade is a bunch of bullpucky.

As someone who had played a lot of tactical battles in the Rigellian campaign, I thought the missile rules in 3rdR were fine. Yes, capital missiles were a big advantage in deep space against a non-CM opponent but try assaulting a warp point with them or fighting a close action against gunboats. Below are several currently in service Rigellian designs using different weapon types. If the game was unbalanced toward certain weapon types then why would I be using different weapons on different ships. Answer, because the usefulness of a weapon depends on the intended role of a ship and the situation at any given time. Some ships are designed for long range missile action, some are designed for close or point blank warp point defence and other are designed as mid-range fighter and gunboat killers. I do think that the introduction of the Wc at TL11 swings things toward the missile-equipped ships because capital missile ships suddenly gain a powerful short range capability as well.

I agree that the Wc is a very potent weapon, but it just seems so completely logical, given the existance of the W and Wa, that not including would feel somehow wrong.  (BTW, I really dislike how the GML was taken out of Ultra altogether.  Just another thing about 4e that I don't like.)

And relative to how ships get used relative to how they're armed, I fully agree.  Some people (and historical SF navies) go for balanced fleets while others go for specialized fleets.  The TFN designs tended towards the balanced approach, although there were BCR designs in the TFN (the BCR is just too good a combination of speed and missile power to not use), while the Bugs tended towards the highly, highly specialized.  (God, I should know.  I designed every friggin' one of those designs from scratch, using Dave's general guidelines, i.e. highly specialized designs, commercial engines, etc.)

I suppose that one could say that with balanced designs you can use them in most any battle without fear that you won't have at least some weapons that can engage an enemy at any range.  OTOH, certain specialized designs can be more efficient at specific tasks (such as WP assaults), but at the expense of being vulnerable in other circumstances.  And if you are playing in a low money campaign, cay you really afford the luxury of specialized designs?  Who's to say?  I suppose it depends on the circumstances, how much income you have at the time, how tough the WP defenses are or are expected to be, and so on...

I'm going off on a bit of a tangent...

Regarding Capital missiles, I suppose that it could be argued that maybe giving them the penaids ECM with the initial missile design might be a bit much, although with the UTM or 3rdR, the penaid ECM was heavily nerfed to just -1 on PD rolls, which makes CM's seem far less nasty in that regard.  

Regardless, I agree with you about balance.  But I also have the belief that some weapons should be imbalanced due to their very nature.  I believe that greater range is tantamount to victory in battle.  However, Marvin seems more concerned with balance and skill uber alles.  I find this very wrong.  I find nothing wrong with the idea of a technologically superior, though perhaps tactically inferior player/ship/side being able to defeat the tech inferior, but superior side/ship/player most of the time, if the technology of the weapon in question is sufficently superior.  A weapon like the capital missile should provide such an edge.   I guess that the problem is that 4e-ish players find that galling, but my response to them would be tough bleeping crap.  That's the way "history" is.  Warfare ain't chess.  

If you have a technologically inferior race that runs across someone with cap missiles, your reaction shouldn't be to pray for divine (i.e. game designer) intervention.  Your reaction should be, when your ships are blowing up around you, outside of your own missile range, ... "holy (bleeping) ..." (boom) "crap!" (boom), while your captains are peeing their pants and trying to either run for the proverbial hills or trying to close on the CM armed ships ASAP to engage at closer range.  The inferior (non-CM) side should be trying to create situations where they can use things like terrain (i.e. WPs, etc.) to reduce or nullify their enemy's range advantage.





Quote
However, a simple way to give missile ships a more realistic balancing effect in 3rdR would be to remove their magical ability to reload their magazines whenever they like (thanks to the omnipotent Missile Fund and CFN). In the original 3rd rules, those missiles had to be built and moved to the ships, which gave missile ships a logistical tail that the beam ships didn't need to worry about. I have added this logistical element to missiles in Aurora and you really need to think about manufacture and supply if you want to use a lot of missile ships and/or carriers. The gutting of missile weapons in 4th was using a sledgehammer to crack a nut (a nut that Marvin added in the first place with the CFN and the Missile Fund).

I fully understand what you're saying, Steve.  The problem is that you run into divergent, but legitimate goals of simplicity/reduced paperwork vs game balance/perceived realism.  On one hand, attempting to reduce paperwork and create overall simplicity tends to favor pushing towards not having to buy, move, and track individual missiles and hiding all of that under some layers of abstraction.  OTOH, the desire for game balance and a perception of realism tends to push towards paying attention to all of those individual missiles.

Personally, I've always been enough of an accountant at heart in my campaigns that I never minded paying attention to those details, but I can understand that some might not want to do so.

I suppose that it also comes down to how much of the detail of various things should players have to pay attention to and how much should be subsumed into the game's abstractions.  For example, we don't have to worry about paying for food or specific spare parts or whatever.  All that stuff is assumed to be a part of the maintenance abstraction.  Of course, it's safe to say that those things don't exactly have a direct impact on combat.  

The question for missiles then seems to become what's more important, the simplicity/reduction in paperwork aspect or the balance/realism aspect?  One point that I'd make is that I think that the "balance" question is debateable.  People may feel differently about how out of balance missiles may be.  OTOH, I  would like to think that most people would think that the value of simplicity and paperwork reductions are good things... which in the end, is why I'd probably tend to lean in favor of the simplicity side of the argument, just because its value seems unquestioned, while the balance side of the argument seems much more up in the air.  Of course, as they say, your mileage may vary.  

I suppose if one was playing a low money, low number of ships type of campaign, paying attention to ammo would be far less of a concern.  But at the fleet sizes in ISF, paying attention to ammo at any level of detail could be nasty if you didn't have the soul of an accountant.




Quote
Examples of Current Rigellian Designs
Code: [Select]
BATTLE MOD 5 class BC   AM2 10 XOg Racks 80 Hull TL 12
[2]S2x20Al2Ac2x4Al2Ac2x4Al2Ac2x4Al2Ac2x4Al2Ac2x4Al2Ac2x4H(BbS)Q(III)Q(II)Q(III)(II)(III)Wax6M5?j!2DczWaWaXrsLhQDcz?3DczWaZ2(II)Mgx3[6]
80 RCP  20 MCP  100 FCP     Trg:6  Bmp +6  Tem -2     Cost =  3039/ 455.8
HTK 93 S2x20  Al2x6  Ac2x24  Dczx3  Wax9  Mgx3  
350x SM-b, 120x AFM, 160x fR-b, 40x fL, 320x fM3-b
Code: [Select]
CATACLYSM MOD 2 class SD   AM2 26 XO Racks 130 Hull TL 10
[3]S1x30AiAcx30ZHs(BbM)H(IIII-It)Q(IIII-It)(IIII-It)(IIII-It)XrFcQ?jDcxFcFcDcxFcMi1FcDcxFc!2LhQFcDcx?Dcx(IIII-It)Fc[5]
130 RCP  20 MCP     Trg:9    Atk +1    Def -3  Tem -2     Cost =  3964/ 594.6
HTK 112 S1x30  Aix1  Acx30  Dcxx5  Fcx8  
Code: [Select]
HARBINGER MOD 3 class SD   AM2 16 XOg Racks 130 Hull TL 12
[3]S2x40Al2Ac2x8Al2Ac2x8Al2Ac2x8Al2Ac2x8Al2Ac2x8Al2Ac2x14H(BbS)H(IIII-It)QLhQ(IIII-It)Q(IIII-It)Q(IIII-It)QWcx4Dcz!2Wcx3Mi1DczLhXrsQWcWcDcz?3DczZ2(IIII-It)Mgx4[5]
130 RCP  160 FCP     Trg:9    Atk +1  Bmp +6  Tem -2     Cost =  4915/ 737.2
HTK 158 S2x40  Al2x6  Ac2x54  Dczx4  Wcx9  Mgx4  
150x CBM-b, 36x CAM2-b, 18x AMBAM2, 90x AFM, 192x fR-b, 64x fL, 526x fM3-b
Code: [Select]
TRIBAL MOD 11 class DD   AM2 6 XO Racks 30 Hull TL 12
[1] S2x5Al2Ac2x5Al2Ac2x5Al2Ac2x5ZHsQsM4(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)!2WaWaQs?3WaDcx(I)Mg [7]
30 RCP  20 MCP     Trg:5  Bmp +6  Tem -2     Cost =  1040/ 156
HTK 42 S2x5  Al2x3  Ac2x15  Dcxx1  Wax3  Mgx1  
80x SM-b, 80x AFM
Code: [Select]
VALHALLA MOD 6 class CA   AM2 12 XO Racks 60 Hull TL 9
[1] S0x3Acx12ZHs(BbS)Q(II)(II)(II)(II)(II)Pgx9?jM5DzPgPgLhQPgDz?DzPg(II)Pg [6]
60 RCP  40 MCP     Trg:6  Def -3     Cost =  1615/ 242.2
HTK 53 S0x3  Acx12  Dzx3  Pgx14  
Code: [Select]
BS3H-M class BS3   17 XO Racks 85 Hull TL 7
[0] S0x18Aix18ZH(BbS)Q(MCS)(HET)x4Dc(HET)M6(HET)LhQDc(HET)?Dc(HET) [0]
85 RCP  15 MCP     Trg:7  Def -3   Cost =  1552/ 77.6
HTK 56 S0x18  Aix18  Dcx3  (HET)x8  
Code: [Select]
SWORDSMAN MOD 6 class BC   AM2 10 XOg Racks 80 Hull TL 12
[2]S2x30Al2Ac2x6Al2Ac2x6Al2Ac2x6Al2Ac2x6Al2Ac2x6Al2Ac2x6H(BbS)Q(III)Q(II)Q(III)(II)(III)WcWcDczWcM5!2DczWcLhQ?3WcXrDczZ2(II)MgMg[6]
80 RCP  20 MCP  100 FCP     Trg:6  Bmp +6  Tem -2     Cost =  2997/ 449.5
HTK 109 S2x30  Al2x6  Ac2x36  Dczx3  Wcx5  Mgx2  
81x CBM-b, 15x CAM2-b, 40x AFM, 120x fR-b, 40x fL, 320x fM3-b

Steve


Steve, there are a few Modifiers (?) that I am confused about in the designs above.  What's Bmp?  And what's Tem?  (I know that Trg, Atk, and Def are; they're pretty obvious.)

I notice that you're still calling 130 hs ships "Super"dreadnoughts, instead of the updated UTM (?) term of just "dreadnought".
« Last Edit: September 24, 2007, 02:17:41 PM by crucis »
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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« Reply #64 on: September 13, 2007, 11:18:12 AM »
Quote from: "crucis"
Quote from: "Kurt"
This entire conversation has been rehashing a lot of the things that were part of flamewars, hate, and discontent on the old list.  If you can stand it you really should dig through the archives to see what happened.  I know that no one wants to start those wars again.  That ground has been salted.  
I've actually read thru much of the archives.  I certainly ran across the big Steve/Marvin SA dust-up and will NOT rehash that.  Strangely, I don't recall ever coming across any real flame wars about 3e vs 4e.  Maybe I just didn't hit the right posts, since I wasn't reading absolutely every post.  For the most part, things seemed pretty cordial most of the time.  

The real 3rd vs 4th arguments were in several waves and a while before the two SA dustups. I don't remember the dates but one was just after GSF came out and a second was after I created Unofficial Supplement #1. That one was productive because it eventually resulted in the formation of the 3DG and the production of the Unified Tech Manual (UTM) and the UTM v1.1. Several more rumbled on throughout the time of the 3DG but they were really just rehashed versions of every precceding arugment and I don't think anyone ever changed their minds. Probably because it is a matter of perspective rather than provable fact.

The last big argument was after Marvin invited himself into the 3rd edition design group just as we were finishing up the Unified Rules. As the group was formed to create products for those who didn't like Marvin's game design, you can imagine how well that went. Eventually Marvin declared that the 3DG wasn't producing products up to his standards and he was kicking me out of the group I had formed and led. I should point out that the UTM was out-selling GSF at this point and Ultra was due for release. Given the quality of the products Marvin produced, my personal opinion (which I can't prove) was that he was more concerned that the Unified Rules would significantly out-sell Ultra and therefore reflect badly on his own design. He seemed more interested in stopping 3rdR than making money.

As 3DG was a completely independent entity with its own Yahoo group and no connection to Marvin, except that we passed on free products for him to sell (and we got nothing), he obviously couldn't kick me out. I responded by removing him from the group. While that was extremely satisfying at the time, it wasn't the most helpful thing I could have done.

Marvin said he would not accept any more 3DG products and would form his own group, the 3EEG, which would bring third edition up to his standard of fourth edition. He really didn't get the problem with this idea. I pointed out that he could create whatever 3rdR rules he wanted but the reality was that most 3rdR players used Starfire Assistant and they would use whatever ruleset SA supported. That ruleset wouldn't include any rules that make 3rd more like 4th.

At this point Marvin decided to ban any further updates to Starfire Assistant, including bug fixes. This had become something of a crusade on Marvin's part to stop people playing a game he was selling :). I obviously objected to this idea and we had a major argument about copyright. No one really truly knew the legal situation but in the end I decided it wasn't worth taking the risk of getting sued for a piece of software that I could use at home anyway. The people who were losing out were other players of 3rdR rather than myself. Even with no more SA updates, the 3EEG produced nothing and eventually vanished. I have no idea what happened within this group or why they produced nothing.

I left the Starfire forums and list to avoid further arguments and created a Yahoo group so I could continue publishing updates from the Rigellian diary and have a 3rdR discussion forum.

However, a few months later I got some reliable legal advice that Marvin hadn't got a leg to stand on. We had a second major dust-up and I updated SA, published it on the web and dared him to sue me. Instead of suing me, he then stopped selling all 3rdR products (even though they were electronic and cost him nothing) so new people couldn't use play the game. If anyone asks, he says it is because he is launching legal action against me. Its been two years and I have seen nothing from him. Besides, if you are really going to sue someone, why stop selling the products?

I was going to make some modifications to SA to add new computer-only functionality but that eventually metamorphed into Aurora, which is a completely different game but one that should appeal to 3rdR players. Erik kindly offered to host and moderate these forums, although digests are still sent to the original Rigellian Yahoo group. Now the arguments are all over, I am happy to be in a situation where I creating my own game with the same type of community as once existed for 3rdR Starfire.

Steve
« Last Edit: September 13, 2007, 01:06:19 PM by Steve Walmsley »
 

Offline crucis

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« Reply #65 on: September 13, 2007, 12:12:28 PM »
Yeah, Steve, my impression (flawed though it may be) is that Marvin didn't like having older products and editions of SF being more successful than his own personal edition of SF, and I do think that that has played a part in his surpressing of 3e.

I've been sorely tempted to try to produce a competing product to Starfire, but I don't really have the patience to do that much work.  It's one thing to create a module largely composed of some some racial profiles and a few scenarios, and ship designs.  But producing a new game from scratch (as you obviously know) involves writing/creating/re-creating a lot of basic rules that are taken for granted, even if one tried creating a game that's a near-mirror of Starfire.

I'd love to see 3e resurrected and made into what it should be.  I just don't think that as long as Marvin holds the 3e rights or perhaps the Starfire rights, that it's going to happen... which probably means that the only options are to play with 3e as it remains, or to create a new game as you're doing.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by crucis »
 

Offline Shinanygnz

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« Reply #66 on: September 13, 2007, 12:45:39 PM »
Quote from: "Steve Walmsley"
The real 3rd vs 4th arguments were in several waves and a while before the two SA dustups.
<snip>


A fairly succinct summary.  Some of us tried to play peacemaker, but it didn't work.  Marvin had one particularly vocal crony (a complete and utter pillock IMO) who always seemed to jump in at the wrong moment and make things go to hell again; especially if Steve and Marvin ever appeared to be heading towards some sort of accomodation.

In the end everyone and Starfire were the losers.  A bloody shame.   :D

Stephen
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Shinanygnz »
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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« Reply #67 on: September 13, 2007, 01:01:22 PM »
Quote
Regardless, I agree with you about balance.  But I also have the belief that some weapons should be imbalanced due to their very nature.  I believe that greater range is tantamount to victory in battle.  However, Marvin seems more concerned with balance and skill uber alles.  I find this very wrong.  I find nothing wrong with the idea of a technologically superior, though perhaps tactically inferior player/ship/side being able to defeat the tech inferior, but superior side/ship/player most of the time, if the technology of the weapon in question is sufficently superior.  A weapon like the capital missile should provide such an edge.   I guess that the problem is that players like Marvin find that galling, but my response to them would be tough bleeping crap.  That's the way "history" is.  Warfare ain't chess.  
Exactly. Starfire campaigns are rarely about who is the best tactician because that only matter in a fair fight. The goal of any at-the-front general or admiral should be to avoid a fair fight and the goal of the strategic-commanders should be to ensure material superiority at the points of contact

Quote
If you have a technologically inferior race that runs across someone with cap missiles, your reaction shouldn't be to pray to the god "Marvin" for divine intervention.  Your reaction should be, when your ships are blowing up around you, outside of your own missile range, ... "holy (bleeping) ..." (boom) "crap!" (boom), while your captains are peeing their pants and trying to either run for the proverbial hills or trying to close on the CM armed ships ASAP to engage at closer range.  The inferior (non-CM) side should be trying to create situations where they can use things like terrain (i.e. WPs, etc.) to reduce or nullify their enemy's range advantage.
I totally agree. You fight with what you have and try to make best use of it. What you don't do is fight your enemy where his advantages are greatest unless you have absolutely no other choice.

Quote from: "Steve"
Quote
However, a simple way to give missile ships a more realistic balancing effect in 3rdR would be to remove their magical ability to reload their magazines whenever they like (thanks to the omnipotent Missile Fund and CFN).
I fully understand what you're saying, Steve.  The problem is that you run into divergent, but legitimate goals of simplicity/reduced paperwork vs game balance/perceived realism.  On one hand, attempting to reduce paperwork and create overall simplicity tends to favor pushing towards not having to buy, move, and track individual missiles and hiding all of that under some layers of abstraction.  OTOH, the desire for game balance and a perception of realism tends to push towards paying attention to all of those individual missiles.

The question for missiles then seems to become what's more important, the simplicity/reduction in paperwork aspect or the balance/realism aspect?  One point that I'd make is that I think that the "balance" question is debateable.  People may feel differently about how out of balance missiles may be.  OTOH, I  would like to think that most people would think that the value of simplicity and paperwork reductions are good things... which in the end, is why I'd probably tend to lean in favor of the simplicity side of the argument, just because its value seems unquestioned, while the balance side of the argument seems much more up in the air.  Of course, as they say, your mileage may vary.  
If a campaign was completely paperwork-based then I have to agree that keeping track of individual missiles would be a nightmare. However, I haven't played a game without computer support since second edition and I seem to recall it took an hour to roll up one star system. Its virtually impossible to play any sizeable Starfire campaign wihout computer support so if you assume even limited support, then tracking things like missiles becomes easy enough to be a realistic option.

As an example, the Rigellian universe has seventeen active races, 1937 fully-generated systems, 1200 inhabited worlds and 9420 individual ships. I would guess Kurt's campaign was even larger. That isn't going to be a paper-based campaign so why not make use of the added realism that a computer can provide, especially when the software is free.

Quote
Steve, there are a few Modifiers (?) that I am confused about in the designs above.  What's Bmp?  And what's Tem?  (I know that Trg, Atk, and Def are; they're pretty obvious.)

In the UTM, we combined the effects of the Evasive Maneuvering and ECM rules into Engine Modulation. In the original rules, each one created separate but similar effects. In the UTM, they both produce 'bonus movement points' that can be used for Engine Modulation, which creates an ECM-like effect. Here is the updated rule:

UTM6: ENGINE MODULATION
(Replaces 03.03 Evasive Maneuvering)
Ships may use Engine Modulation (EM) to decrease the hit probability of weapons targeted upon them.
UTM6.1 If a unit desires to use EM, the owning player must so declare before expending that unit's first movement point in the current movement turn. He announces how many points he will use for engine modulation and the unit's movement allowance is reduced by that number.
Example. If a ship had six movement points and chose to use two of them for engine modulation, its effective movement would be only four.
UTM6.2 The first point of EM costs an amount of movement points equal to the ship
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Steve Walmsley »
 

Offline Erik Luken

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« Reply #68 on: September 13, 2007, 01:07:11 PM »
I'll second that "write your own rules" bit is hard. I've done so and if you want a look at them, the address should be in my sig. I spent close to 4 years working on them (mainly because there were things in 3rdR that felt "wrong" and 4e just wasn't "it")
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Erik Luken »
 

Offline crucis

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« Reply #69 on: September 13, 2007, 01:50:18 PM »
Quote from: "Erik Luken"
I'll second that "write your own rules" bit is hard. I've done so and if you want a look at them, the address should be in my sig. I spent close to 4 years working on them (mainly because there were things in 3rdR that felt "wrong" and 4e just wasn't "it")


I take it that the user name and pword that works for this forum doesn't work on the Astra Imperia site.  (Like the name)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by crucis »
 

Offline crucis

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« Reply #70 on: September 13, 2007, 01:51:41 PM »
Quote from: "Steve Walmsley"
Quote
However, a simple way to give missile ships a more realistic balancing effect in 3rdR would be to remove their magical ability to reload their magazines whenever they like (thanks to the omnipotent Missile Fund and CFN).
I fully understand what you're saying, Steve.  The problem is that you run into divergent, but legitimate goals of simplicity/reduced paperwork vs game balance/perceived realism.  On one hand, attempting to reduce paperwork and create overall simplicity tends to favor pushing towards not having to buy, move, and track individual missiles and hiding all of that under some layers of abstraction.  OTOH, the desire for game balance and a perception of realism tends to push towards paying attention to all of those individual missiles.

The question for missiles then seems to become what's more important, the simplicity/reduction in paperwork aspect or the balance/realism aspect?  One point that I'd make is that I think that the "balance" question is debateable.  People may feel differently about how out of balance missiles may be.  OTOH, I  would like to think that most people would think that the value of simplicity and paperwork reductions are good things... which in the end, is why I'd probably tend to lean in favor of the simplicity side of the argument, just because its value seems unquestioned, while the balance side of the argument seems much more up in the air.  Of course, as they say, your mileage may vary.  

If a campaign was completely paperwork-based then I have to agree that keeping track of individual missiles would be a nightmare. However, I haven't played a game without computer support since second edition and I seem to recall it took an hour to roll up one star system. Its virtually impossible to play any sizeable Starfire campaign wihout computer support so if you assume even limited support, then tracking things like missiles becomes easy enough to be a realistic option. [/quote]

I can accept that.  I guess that the trick is that if you write a pen and paper game, you tend to want to write the game with the basic assumption that it should be playable on P&P.  But if you're going to assume that computer support is needed from the start, it almost seems incumbant on the game designer to include the computer support tools with the game, which, of course, is a completely different kettle of fish.

I should say that I also haven't rolled up more than a tiny handful of star systems in most of my campaigns after the mid 80's. I've written my own sys gen programs over the years.  (Now, if only I can get around to finishing my Ultra-ized system generator....)

Other than system generation, I've tended to just use P&P.  Part of the reason is that I just liked grabbing my campaign notebooks and plopping down in a comfy chair and doing my SF game stuff without being tied to my computer, although I suppose that in this age of laptops, one can accomplish the same thing with such a laptop.



Quote
As an example, the Rigellian universe has seventeen active races, 1937 fully-generated systems, 1200 inhabited worlds and 9420 individual ships. I would guess Kurt's campaign was even larger. That isn't going to be a paper-based campaign so why not make use of the added realism that a computer can provide, especially when the software is free.

Ho-lee freakin' crap!!!  That's a LOT of star systems!!!   And 1200 inhabited systems... that's probably a lot of income, even under the (as I understand it) reduced income rules in SM#2.



Quote
I notice that you're still calling 130 hs ships "Super"dreadnoughts, instead of the updated UTM (?) term of just "dreadnought".
The Rigellian campaign has been going for 10-12 years, although the last update was about 18 months ago, so I didn't want to change hull sizes part-way through. The change to using Dreadnought in the UTM was partly to explain where you would get a "Super" Dreadnought but also to get rid of the Light Monitor designation. Personally I prefer the older system because it fits with the books but I think I was outvoted on this one. [/quote]

I think that Dave Weber once considered calling ships in that general range "Heavy Superdreadnoughts", SDH's.  I think I prefer the current DN/SD nomenclature, although it does create a bit of a conflict with the novels.  But, I think that I'd prefer SDH to LM.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by crucis »
 

Offline Erik Luken

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« Reply #71 on: September 13, 2007, 05:14:47 PM »
Quote from: "crucis"
Quote from: "Erik Luken"
I'll second that "write your own rules" bit is hard. I've done so and if you want a look at them, the address should be in my sig. I spent close to 4 years working on them (mainly because there were things in 3rdR that felt "wrong" and 4e just wasn't "it")

I take it that the user name and pword that works for this forum doesn't work on the Astra Imperia site.  (Like the name)


separate forums yes. :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Erik Luken »
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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« Reply #72 on: September 13, 2007, 05:37:58 PM »
Quote from: "crucis"
Quote
As an example, the Rigellian universe has seventeen active races, 1937 fully-generated systems, 1200 inhabited worlds and 9420 individual ships. I would guess Kurt's campaign was even larger. That isn't going to be a paper-based campaign so why not make use of the added realism that a computer can provide, especially when the software is free.
Ho-lee freakin' crap!!!  That's a LOT of star systems!!!   And 1200 inhabited systems... that's probably a lot of income, even under the (as I understand it) reduced income rules in SM#2.

The largest race has 245 inhabited systems (and a lot more uninhabited), 8608 inhabited system bodies (including asteroids), a total income of 960,000 Mc and 3200 ships in service. Their total hull spaces is 195,000. We have been playing 3rd edition campaigns that are larger than the universe in the David Weber Starfire books :)

There are plenty of other after action reports for other Starfire campaigns, including the Phoenix campaign at http://pentarch.org/aurora/viewtopic.php?t=415 which is of a similar size to the Rigellian campaign but uses a different way of telling the story.

Steve
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Steve Walmsley »
 

Offline MWadwell

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« Reply #73 on: September 13, 2007, 06:01:38 PM »
Quote from: "crucis"
Kurt, while I've never spoken to Marvin, I don't know how anyone could miss the fact that the history and the expository quality of the rules were an intergral part of what made Starfire what it was.    After all, shouldn't it have been blindingly obvious that the combination of the historical modules, such as Stars at War and Crusade, combined with the two Starfire novels in the early 90's (Insurrection and Crusade) must have been huge driving forces in whatever popularity Starfire enjoyed in the 90's?

A question that should be asked when considering the above thoughts...

How many people bought the modules like Stars at War, Crusade, or the 2e Gorm-Khanate War and so forth, and then how many people bought them to actually play the scenarios?  I expect that a pretty high number of people bought the modules with little intent on actually playing them, and did so because they treated them like a type of fiction, a type where you got some exposition, but you got to see how the battles were set up, what forces were involved, and the ships designs, and so forth, as well as any new tech that was added.  I certainly know that I'd fall in that category, and I've read and heard a number of other people say that same thing.

So, if that's the case, it's telling me that there's a large group of Starfire customers that are interested in the Starfire fiction and the history, beyond the dry rules of the tactical or strategic game.  (It'd also tell me that there's probably a market for that type of module as well, but that's a different story.)

Well, I'd have to agree with you.

Up until a few years ago, I was collecting all of the campaign fiction being posted on the mailing list, and putting it on a website - and I noticed that almost ALL of the fiction was R3rd ed - very little was 4th ed.

At first, I thought it was due to the fact that 4th ed was new, and so a majority of the players were still playing R3rd ed. But a year later (when a majority of the fiction was still R3rd ed), I realised that it was probably due to the fact that very few of the 4th ed players were interested in fiction......


(SNIP)

Quote from: "crucis"
I've read thru the List archives pretty heavily over the past couple of months and I find it hard to believe that 3rd ed was so unsalvageable.  I just don't believe it.  


Thinking back to the time of the schism, I think that Marvin still believed that 3rd ed was still viable - witness the fact that when he canned the 3DG, he was planning on re-working the 3DG's work and release it within a few months. (This didn't eventuate as a number of 3DG people refused to allow Marvin to use their work.)

But the fact that Marvin believed that it was possible to release a 3rd ed update in a few months means that (at that point in time) Marvin was still willing to support a version of the game.

It was only after the schism, when it was realised that all of the 3DG's work would have to re-done (and so would take more than a year), did Marvin finally kill 3rd ed.....
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by MWadwell »
Later,
Matt
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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« Reply #74 on: September 13, 2007, 06:15:27 PM »
Quote from: "MWadwell"
Up until a few years ago, I was collecting all of the campaign fiction being posted on the mailing list, and putting it on a website - and I noticed that almost ALL of the fiction was R3rd ed - very little was 4th ed.

At first, I thought it was due to the fact that 4th ed was new, and so a majority of the players were still playing R3rd ed. But a year later (when a majority of the fiction was still R3rd ed), I realised that it was probably due to the fact that very few of the 4th ed players were interested in fiction......

Or perhaps it was because there were very few people actually playing any 4th edition campaigns :)

Steve
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Steve Walmsley »
 

 

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