Author Topic: Possible game tweaks for Newtonian games  (Read 5999 times)

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Offline chrislocke2000

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Possible game tweaks for Newtonian games
« on: December 19, 2011, 09:31:00 AM »
Further to Steve’s recent post on slowing down the economies and growth rates to match off against the slower general expansion I was thinking about some of the knock on implications of this and ideas on further tweaks:

People:
The impact of individual bonuses appears to me to be a little too much and can often make huge differences in the performance of the economy / research etc. In order to re-balance this slightly I was thinking that the reductions in production and research could be more limited but then reduce the upside bonuses of characters to say 25% rather than 50%.
With a slower paced game retirement age is going to become more of an issue. This could potentially be addressed through a new genetics research tree that allows extensions of life expectancy and related increases in retirement age. At high levels this might even allow rejuvenation of people as in Peter Hamilton’s series of books.
Research:
With a matched decrease in research and ship building times I think we will still end up with the often frustrating situation of, by the time you re-tool and build a ship, having it technically out of date. (I seem to recollect this happening a lot to the poor old Russians in Steve’s last campaign as well). This could potentially be addressed to some extent through widening the gap between research and development – ie make core technology research take a bit longer then reduce the requirements for individual item development such that it’s a lot easier for players to design multiple iterations of different components for ships whilst relying on the same tech. This would for example make it worth designing a building several different sizes and types of jump engine without just waiting to research the next efficiency grade.
The other option of slowing down individual developments but not slowing down the overall research process would be to reduce the number of research facilities that a single project can use at any one time in the same way as noted above.
Ship production:
The reduced speed of ships production is going to leave empires more exposed to the impact of being caught by the likes of a swarm and less able to change focus in times of a war. Could be addressed through a few areas:
•   Increase maintenance lives of ships so that overhauls are required less often and keep current overall timelines to current rates to add value in overhauling rather than just scrapping
•   Keep current upgrade speeds at the same rate or reduce less than shipbuilding rate reduction to reflect ease of upgrading existing ships v trying to build new hulls
•   Potentially allow for faster building of ships through economies of scale or acceptance of lower quality work. (Thinking of the US approach to building commercial ships in WWII and the building of basic designs to allow rapid production.) Maybe this good be replicated through bonuses to production speed where more than one shipyard is building the same ship or a reduction to build costs where using technology that has been superseded – ie build with Ion engines rather than MPDs that have been researched would cost less than original ion engine to represent that its now an easily understood technology. Another option might be to have a sliding scale on reliability, reduce reliability but build quicker – this ramps up failure rate but reflects the fact that you are now building stuff that you don’t expect to survive for too long.
Shipyards:
Without wishing to get into the whole discussion on weapon accuracy etc again I’m must admit that I’m leaning towards the need for people to distribute their shipyards and, if at all possible, try to hide some of them away. However, with current mechanics I see this as something that’s going to be very hard to do something along the lines of sticking construction facilities away from habitable planets mainly due to population requirement constraints and mineral movements.
I think the points on moving minerals around has been discussed already so won’t comment further here.
On the population requirements I can think of two options:
•   Reduce the rate of increase in worker requirements for the shipyards
•   Create a middle ground between infrastructure and habitation modules – perhaps something what works along the line of a PDC – once built can’t be moved but can be pre fabricated and shipped to an otherwise uninhabitable location (such as an asteroid) and built using engineers. Would be considerably less expensive and bulky than a habitat module and would have the same zero growth as down side but would mean less logistics to get up and running.
Anyway that’s everything I can think of for now! Interested to hear other people’s thoughts and ideas but focused on addressing Newtonian issues rather than more general game play thoughts.
 

Offline UnLimiTeD

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Re: Possible game tweaks for Newtonian games
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2011, 11:19:38 AM »
You could also implement the improvement of outdated tech by efficiency research into existing parts; maybe making it slightly smaller, thus also reducing the material requirements.

As example, again, WW2, where the German Army had serious doubts about the 20mm Flak 30, given they've been working on a more advanced 37mm version for 10 years, but it always improved enough to stay useful, in the end mounting four guns on the same mount, saving 50% weight and cost.

This could be simulated by having equipment start slightly larger, maybe 5%, in dispalcement, but being very cheap to develop, then more research, cheap but slow (maybe make it cost 50% wealth?) would take away the penalty, and from there you could miniaturize it in 1 or 2% steps, but only if you're seriously short on money or develop in a completely different direction now will it ever reach full efficiency before it's completely outdated.

I expect that this would definitely improve on the "finished and obsolete" situation.
 

Offline byron

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Re: Possible game tweaks for Newtonian games
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2011, 09:20:59 PM »
My solution is quite simple.  Base cost/build time reductions on this link:
http://www.alternatewars.com/BBOW/Engineering/Production_Cost_Curves.htm
Learning curve slope is how expensive unit 2n is when compared to unit n.
I would count units built at a specific yard as 2 units for these costs. 
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Offline Yonder

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Re: Possible game tweaks for Newtonian games
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2011, 10:26:23 PM »
My solution is quite simple.  Base cost/build time reductions on this link:
http://www.alternatewars.com/BBOW/Engineering/Production_Cost_Curves.htm
Learning curve slope is how expensive unit 2n is when compared to unit n.
I would count units built at a specific yard as 2 units for these costs. 

A really interesting idea, rewards building larger numbers of a design, and provides an incentive to stick with older hardware longer.
 

Offline UnLimiTeD

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Re: Possible game tweaks for Newtonian games
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2011, 03:44:25 AM »
+1
Though it doesn't allow to improve old hardware; Auroras research completely ignores the engineering part.^^
 

Offline jseah

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Re: Possible game tweaks for Newtonian games
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2011, 12:29:43 PM »
If you look at the table at the bottom of the link, aircraft have a smaller learning curve factor than ships.  Which means they get cheaper faster per unit produced than ships do. 

Perhaps this could make fighters slightly more viable. 

Have the learning curve factor drop based on the size of the thing being produced.  20kton cruisers might have a learning curve factor of 95%.  5kton corvettes might have 90%. 

500ton fighter-bombers might have 85%. 
And missiles would have 80%. 
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Possible game tweaks for Newtonian games
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2011, 01:23:27 PM »
My solution is quite simple.  Base cost/build time reductions on this link:
http://www.alternatewars.com/BBOW/Engineering/Production_Cost_Curves.htm
Learning curve slope is how expensive unit 2n is when compared to unit n.
I would count units built at a specific yard as 2 units for these costs. 

This mechanic is handled at the moment by the cost of retooling shipyards. Taking retooling into consideration, if you build 10 ships before retooling again, the overall cost per ship will be much lower than if you just built 1.

Steve
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Possible game tweaks for Newtonian games
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2011, 02:36:19 PM »
Shipyards:
Without wishing to get into the whole discussion on weapon accuracy etc again I’m must admit that I’m leaning towards the need for people to distribute their shipyards and, if at all possible, try to hide some of them away. However, with current mechanics I see this as something that’s going to be very hard to do something along the lines of sticking construction facilities away from habitable planets mainly due to population requirement constraints and mineral movements.
I think the points on moving minerals around has been discussed already so won’t comment further here.
On the population requirements I can think of two options:
•   Reduce the rate of increase in worker requirements for the shipyards
•   Create a middle ground between infrastructure and habitation modules – perhaps something what works along the line of a PDC – once built can’t be moved but can be pre fabricated and shipped to an otherwise uninhabitable location (such as an asteroid) and built using engineers. Would be considerably less expensive and bulky than a habitat module and would have the same zero growth as down side but would mean less logistics to get up and running.

I have already been giving shipyards some thought. Based on the high level of potential damage in Newtonian Aurora, hiding shipyards or at least providing them with defences is going to be important. However, towing them through jump points is no longer possible. I am leaning toward some type of ship-based shipyard module to replace current shipyards. The issues will be expanding them, handling the difference between individual shipyards/slipways, using them in combination with populations, etc.

My current line of thinking is to create a new class of structure called a Space Station. In principle, the Space Station will be distinguished by having certain types of large, fragile modules such as a Habitat or a Shipyard Module. It will be very restricted in terms of acceleration and limited to minimal armour but you will be able to equip it with an FTL drive and you will be able to build it using construction factories. Most likely, only one shipyard module will be permitted per ship but you will be able to expand that module after the ship is built.

The expanding part could be tricky though. One option is to create different shipyard module sizes and allow you to refit the space station, without the usual charge for increasing size. That could mean a LOT of different shipyard modules though. Another option is to allow multiple shipyard modules in class design with the total capacity of the modules being used as one shipyard and allows refits as per option 1. To allow multiple slipways per shipyard there could be 0 space/cost slipway modules to designate how the available capacity is divided but that may get messy for refits. A third option would be to use the existing mechanics (without the constant increase option) to increase modules/add slipways and have the game automatically create a new ship class for the ship containing the shipyard module when the expansion is complete. Those automatically created classes could mount up though - maybe they are deleted automatically when no longer in use.

Not really happy with any of the above though, which is why I haven't tackled this yet, Still thinking :)

Just about to press Send when I had another thought. Going back to option one, which is to create different shipyard module sizes and allow you to refit the space station, without the usual charge for increasing size. I guess multiple modules could mean multiple slipways and I could restrict a design to only one type of module in the same way as one type of engine so the slipways would all be the same size. That way you could design a shipyard with two 2000 ton modules and expand it to two 3000 ton modules, or three 4000 tons modules, etc. At larger sizes, I could start to skip sizes - so 6000 ton, 8000 ton, 10,000, 12,500, 15,000, 20,000, 25,000, etc. and still have the distinction between commercial and military shipyards. The drawback is still a long list of shipyard modules in the class design window. Although if you have Space Station as a specific type, like ship or PDC, those modules would only appear when you were actually designing a shipyard. Still messy though.

In all the above scenarios I would still have shipyards operating in orbit of a population and using the existing mechanics. I may allow the use of tiny asteroids though as an anchoring point for those shipyards that have their workers in habitats.

Steve
 

Offline Naismith

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Re: Possible game tweaks for Newtonian games
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2011, 03:08:48 PM »
Maybe you could handle shipyards kind of like armor. Instead of adding modules you would have a selector to choose the size and number of slipways.
 

Offline Gidoran

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Re: Possible game tweaks for Newtonian games
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2011, 03:29:09 PM »
I actually like the space station idea, at least from what you've already got going for it. It'd provide a lot of decentralization, though the downside is you'd need to figure out some way to ferry materials to it regularly. Maybe an automatic order for freighters? Could go hand in hand with an idea I've seen tossed around about maintaining certain mineral levels/amounts at planets.

The type of free-floating shipyard you could make with this would be highly variable, even if it was one design per station. You could have many smaller stations to produce screen vessels or frontier fleet ships, then mix that up with a couple of gigantic stations intended to produce cruisers, battleships, and carriers.

As for expansion, I'd argue you shouldn't let the stations expand themselves once they're built. Unless the slipways are external affairs where everything is floating, and they've just got enough of a frame to keep it from all floating apart, it makes no sense as you'd basically be letting the station build itself bigger. And it may make it easier on you if you treated the shipyard module like, say, a Jump Drive, where the options would be how many slipways it has, the maximum capacity of each slipway, and how effective it is at production.

Now, all of this said... Is there any reason the old style of shipyard couldn't still exist alongside it? That way you have the flexibility but weakness of traditional shipyards, or the mobility but rigidity of the module-based ones.
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Offline boggo2300

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Re: Possible game tweaks for Newtonian games
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2011, 03:40:03 PM »
What about having say Military and Commercial modules at 500 and 1000 ton capacity, and then at construction (or refit) combining them then into slips so for example building a shipyard with 4 1000 ton modules, but combining them as two separate 2000 ton slipways.

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Offline UnLimiTeD

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Re: Possible game tweaks for Newtonian games
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2011, 03:51:26 PM »
You could allow planetary shipyards, that assemble 90% of the ship on the ground and just bring large chunks up to fit them together.
It would have the drawback of ship construction costing fuel...
I'd say that'd be an interesting tactical option.
Maybe limit those ships in armor layers, or require a normal shipyard for some parts....

Also, why not just allow multiple modules to work on one ship?
It's space, no gravity, the "shipyard" could just fly around the ship.
These "drones" obviously wouldn't be able to repair/overhaul properly, you can't just open the ship^^

Edit: That might give problems with tooling, though. The suggestion below seems to be the same limited to stations; why not.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 04:51:37 PM by UnLimiTeD »
 

Offline halzet

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Re: Possible game tweaks for Newtonian games
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2011, 03:59:33 PM »
Hello.  A long time lurker and the idea of Newtonian Aurora makes me as excited as the prospect of a lifetime supply of chocolate.   :D

The lack of jump gates did make me wonder how you were going to handle orbital constructs (Fuel harvester stations, orbital habitats, shipyards, e. t. c. ) as they would have been limited to where they were constructed, which sort of defeats the point.  :)  But instead of allowing the space station being able to move and then jump themselves, why not have a construction module that only allows construction of 'space station' designs?

Maybe allow construction facilities to still build space station designs so you can still easily build them in highly developed systems, but for newly aquired systems allow two options;

Pre-fab space station constructed at a developed colony, transported to the new system in freighters and then constructed by a construction vessel.  (Much like engineers could do with PDC's but faster. )
Construction vessel builds Space Station on site - Would require the construction vessel access to resources.

The only problem I can think of with both of the above would require access to pre-fab parts/resources and therefore wouldn't be able to be built around a non-habitable planet and would have to be tugged into orbit of these planets.   Though that wouldn't work in systems with no planet you can set up a temporary colony on.   Unless ships can draw resources from other ships in the fleet, instead of from a colony? Which I don't think is the case as the current gate construction vessels don't use any resources at all.

This would mean that you also wouldn't be able to have a heavily armoured space station jumping a fleet of non-FTL craft into an enemy system, so would be able to allow heavily armoured/armed defensive stations too, possibly? (With a huge maintenance bill. )

As for expansion of shipyards, why not disallow expanding already built shipyards?  I'm not be an engineer, but I can't imagine the frame and infrastructure required for the construction of a 5k ton vessel ever being able to be increased in size to support the construction of a vessel that is 10k tons without taking everything apart and then re-building the facility.   If you allow the construction of shipyards at set sizes, it means that shipyards will not have to grow from the 1k ton sizes they currently start at.   So, if you're building 10k ton ships and then get the urge to build a 50k ton military behemoth, instead of increasing the size by 10k each time, you'd design and build a 50k ton shipyard.

It would also give the player a chance to plan out.   Do you build a 5k ton shipyard to start churning ships out immediately and then build a 10k ton shipyard at a later date for larger vessels, or put a bit more time into the shipyard straight off and allow you a bit more flexibility and the space to grow your ship designs.

Of course, this is just an idea and might be in a completely different direction to what you want to do.   :)  I tend to have lots.  (With most being completely whacky. )
 

Offline chrislocke2000

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Re: Possible game tweaks for Newtonian games
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2011, 04:43:50 PM »
Just been having a bit more of a think on these and how you might be able to make use of existing mechanics to do this and have come up with a three part solution:

1) As already mentioned, create a space yard construction module much the same as gate construction module.

2) Create a shipyard core item, this is built in factories and can be transported in cargo holds as with infrastructure etc. To "launch" a core you need to be in a valid position (please please include asteroids!!) and have a ship with a construction module present. Maybe scale this so a ship with the module could also reasonably have enough cargo space to hold one of these. Alternatively allow launch from planet so that if in orbit round earth for example the construction ship is not needed.

3) Create the equivalent of maintenance facility units which can also be transported in a cargo hold. Research could allow 250 / 500 / 1000 ton items. These can then be shipped to the location of the shipyard core and dropped off at the planet or used directly from the cargo hold if in the same fleet as the construction ship. The construction ship then has a target of the shipyard core in the orders and from there can be instructed to add x number of facilities to a slipway on add x slipways etc. It then has a build time to erect the increased capacity etc. Importantly the ship should also have orders to be able to deconstruct the shipyard into its components for shipping somewhere else.

This system would then enable direct construction from planets where you have industry present and allow distributed construction without having to deal with getting round towing or having huge stations with jump engines on them. Based on size of each module and build and deconstruction times you can make the location more or less of a strategic decision for the player.
 

Offline UnLimiTeD

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Re: Possible game tweaks for Newtonian games
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2011, 04:56:33 PM »
Hmm, so the options so far seem to be:

1) They are rather immobile; Not in favor
2) They can jump themselves
3) They are smaller, either just that, or one can combine them (POWERRANGERS!  ;D no you don't)
4) They can be constructed by special ships, like Gate Constructors so far, which could not create actual Ships
5) They work like PDCs, assembled by Industry, as above requiring build where it's needed
6) This problem could also be alleviated by allowing special jump modules that can jump larger ships, maybe in combination with a tow.
Speaking of which, I think Tractor Beams don't quite fit.
Will we get transportation clamps? Ropes? Glue?


The idea of building them to specified size is also an interesting point, though I suppose in space, where a Shipyard is likely not a solid construct, expansion is possible.
If it's empty, wouldn't it be partially hollow?
 

 

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