Author Topic: Pulsar 4X Ideas  (Read 11080 times)

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Offline SnopyDogy

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Re: Pulsar 4X Ideas
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2012, 06:32:19 AM »
Quote from: Redshirt link=topic=5177. msg53265#msg53265 date=1344979026
Got a few ideas on the UI to toss about.  Not sure how everything's going to be implimented, but in addition to opening up windows with icons, maybe the system map could open up windows- for example, right-clicking on a populated planet could open up the Summary/Industry/Research/etc.  window.  Right-clicking on a star could open up the system summary.  Right-clicking a ship, the fleet menu (maybe include the individual ship screen on a tab behind it. ) Right-clicking an explored jump point could take you to the system on the other side.

I understand that the reason things like this haven’t been done in Aurora is because of limitation in the Technology used by Steve (VB6, etc. ).  I see no reason why we can’t do this in Pulsar4x.

Regarding Scripting, I’m about to start a side course at collage on Visual Scripting in Unity (think Unreal Kismet).  I was thinking maybe we could do something along the same line in Pulsar4X, in addition to (or instead of) a full blown scripting language like Lua.  Thoughts?
 

Offline Antagonist

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Re: Pulsar 4X Ideas
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2012, 06:49:58 AM »
I see no benefit to using something like Visual Scripting above something as well-know, well-implemented, fast and easy to bind as lua.

Personally I still feel using C# as the scripting language makes sense, but I wouldn't be opposed to lua or js or something.

We are interested in UI ideas, especially UI mockups.  Even more interested in someone who knows WinForms stepping up and implementing them, but keep ideas flowing in.
 

Offline Antagonist

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Re: Pulsar 4X Ideas
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2012, 10:56:55 AM »
Some more on sensors:

sublight mentioned different tech 'trees' that can be followed, all roughly equivalent, balanced differently but can be researched independantly. Applying this to sensors you can think of a few ways to detect stuff in space, some better at others at some tasks.  Some with emitters and some passive-only.

First, instead of having detection or non-detection binary, we can vary it a little:
Presence - Artificial signatures detected in system, location and any further information unknown. Direction might be revealed.
Detection - Location known, but too uncertain to hit with weapons.  Would start revealing details like size and type of vessel.
Lock - Location known with enough precision for weapons fire. More detailed scans are possible.

Stealth systems would prevent detection or even presence by masking any emissions while ECM systems might actually increase emission but decrease ability to obtain a lock.  There are also varying degrees of locking your opponent which can factor into to-hit along with actual size. Knowing a 30m ship's location within 5m might be more than enough to fire on it, but a 2m ship within 5m might be a different story.  Missiles fit with sensors might have an advantage in that they can be fired with only signal location detected and obtain a lock itself when it gets close.

LIDAR (active), Optical (passive)  - possibly with optical a base tech for all
Thermal (passive) - bonus against populations and reaction mass propulsion drives
RADAR (active), EM (passive) - bonus effectiveness against shielded opponents
Gravity (passive) - weak sensor but powerful at high endgame levels, bonus against artificial gravity equipped ships and gravity-based propulsion systems
Radiation (passive) - bonus against vessels using fission or fusion power systems
Telepathic (passive) - Inbuilt in race, research has minor effect on effectiveness, cant be used to achieve weapons lock, effectiveness scales with population or crew
Laser (active) - Special for use with target painters to achieve weapons lock
Geological (active) - Deep planetary sensors, base tech

Also some more sci-fi sensor types:
Antiproton (active) - I imagine emitting antimatter and detecting even minute matter interactions
Magneton (active/passive) - Magnetic I think? From Star Trek
Tachyon (?) - Used a lot in Scifi
Spacetime (?) - Bonus against zero point power modules

As well as something truely exotic perhaps for the version of invaders we might use.

For sanity I suggest that all sensors operate faster than light. Simply makes programming much easier. Later additions could render sensors (most anyway) limited to lightspeed, but I doubt that it would really add much to gameplay if done.
 

Offline sublight

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Re: Pulsar 4X Ideas
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2012, 01:21:18 PM »
Agreed. Sensors are instantaneous for sanity.

Earlier there was some debate on the fun/realism on not being able to hide in space. I think we can do both, since space is BIG. It may take days or months to notice that one little 'star' is moving, but once seen a ship can be easily tracked.

Passive sensors would have three attributes: Size, Sensitivity, and scan time.
A slower scan time increases exposure time and sensitivity: allowing for longer range detection.

Active emitters would come in two types: wide beam and narrow beam.
Wide beam causes all ships (including your own) to echo an EM or other signature.
Narrow beam would be a range finder that provides a large targeting bonus and helps keep known targets from leaving sensor range.

Example Passive sensors:

Fast Scanner: Good for seeing fast object nearby.
Scan Speed: 1 revolution/second
Detection range: 1x
Detection time: 1 second
Maximum target speed: None.

Minute Man
Scan Speed: 1 revolution/minute
Detection range (sqrt scanTime): 7.7x
Detection time: (25-75% scanTime) 15-45 seconds
Maximum target speed: (2Pi * distance / scanTime):  105 km/s@1k km, 105k km/s @1m km

Day Scanner: A slow methodical sensor that will find nearly everything, given time.
Scan Speed: 1 revolution/day
Detection range: 294x
Detection time: 6-18 hours
Maximum target speed: 72 m/s@1k km, 72 km/s@1m km, 72k km/s@1b km
--------------------------------------

Detection levels:

Presence - Lets say location known, but race/class unknown.
Detection - As with Presence, but signature has been observed long enough to identify race/class or other details.
Lock - Target is illuminated with a narrow-beam range finder.

Breaking Contact:
Contact can be broken by:
a) moving faster than the sensor can track you.
b) moving ten times as far as the sensor's acquisition range. They know what to look for and where.
c) hiding behind an asteroid or other planetary object outside of acquisition range.
 

Offline Nathan_

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Re: Pulsar 4X Ideas
« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2012, 03:01:09 PM »
Right now aurora only has 2 different detection rules, one for actives, and one for passives. can ~10 mechanically different detection rules be thought up, or are they going to be flavor differences?

As to the sensor sweep idea, that basically conflicts with the sensor-instantaneous principle, since the sweep itself determines when a ship is detected. likewise devoting more tonnage to multiple sensor sweeps for the slower ones would basically approximate just building a larger sensor as now. Its an interesting idea, and the math might not be too crippling, but that one will definitely need a proof of concept.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2012, 03:31:19 PM by Nathan_ »
 

Offline jseah

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Re: Pulsar 4X Ideas
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2012, 07:33:59 AM »
RE the big picture:

Most of that seems ok to me, but the tech lockout thing I would disagree with. 

You can achieve the same effect by making tech progress have linear cost and benefit increase.  This would make it so that investing in the same tech is always going to be just as good as it always was, so there's no need to diversify.  Of course, this would necessitate having rather more levels than Aurora has so perhaps not a good idea. 

And in fact, you already wouldn't.  Often in TN Aurora, I pick missiles and one energy weapon then just focus solely on them.  Why should I sink a few hundred thousand RP into a new weapons system when I can make my already awesome laser even 1 TL more awesome?
Having multiple drives to research would mean I would pick one or two to focus on (probably one primary used for everything and one secondary to fill gaps); especially since getting the absolute best engine performance will be critical in a Newtonian environment. 

EDIT: basically, we should encourage the tech lockout by constructing the technology/research system appropriately, instead of making it a built-in thing.  We CAN research steam engines if we want to, there's just no economic sense.  Same thing with the tech system. 

Also, reactionless drives are probably not a good idea if you're doing Newtonian.  Just saying.  Even if it was ten or twenty times as inefficient, reactionless is a major major advantage. 
« Last Edit: August 16, 2012, 07:36:45 AM by jseah »
 

Offline Antagonist

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Re: Pulsar 4X Ideas
« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2012, 08:10:52 AM »
Agreed on the tech-lockout being an emergent property instead of forced.

re: Reactionless drives, what I was thinking is like a gravity drive, use artificial gravity to create gravity pockets your ship 'falls' into, like Mass Effect.  You still have accelleration constraints and these can still use fuel to power, mostly due to the assumed much much higher energy requirements such a system might have.  I don't see any specific advantage these would have over reaction drives beyond the stealth factor against thermal scans, tho would show up clearly using gravity scans.

Alternate reaction drives might access a 'fluid' dimension it pushes against like a ship propeller might.  Okay, still a reaction drive, but counts as reactionless since the opposing reaction isn't in this dimension.  I was thinking about this when I read (dunno official or speculation) that this is how Mi-Go fly in space with wings, since a large potion of their mass doesn't exist in our 3 dimensions.  Again though I don't see how this is a 'major, major advantage'.

If the advantage is in less fuel needed? Then also consider that reaction drives can take advantage of ramscoops which should help reduce fuel requirements of interstellar travels.  Reactionless drives maybe too, but we can balance that.
 

Offline jseah

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Re: Pulsar 4X Ideas
« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2012, 02:04:28 PM »
The advantage is that fuel / mass = delta-v. 
It's a simple linear equation while reaction drives follow tsiolkovsky's rocket equation, which is rather more than linear. 

Unless its nerfed into uselessness, reactionless drives make high velocities feasible faster than reaction drives. 
 

Offline sublight

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Re: Pulsar 4X Ideas
« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2012, 10:28:50 AM »
Reactionles drives would be a cool tech to have, but we would need some thought on how to make them work. Perhapse a low acceleration, low maximum speed - but zero fuel use?

For tech lockout to be an emergent property we would either need to increase the research cost of 'old tech' if more advanced variants exist or better yet have a minimum research time constraint. Otherwise it would be too easy to snap up bypassed tech latter when you have massive numbers of labs.

On detection rules: It will be cool to have 3 or 4 mechanically different detection methods, but more than that would be overkill.

On scanners with a sweep time: still instantaneous detection. We wouldn't actually both tracking where a sweep was: the number is technically a probability that the scanner is facing you with the head and tail of the probability curve chopped off.

On Ship Speed.
In the Vision thread I proposed Nuclear Fission as the energy baseline. It has a nice plausible feel, but I'm having 2nd thoughts. Should we ramp the energy baseline up toward encapsulated anti-matter? It would give the game a feel closer to egg shells dueling with chainsaws, but would get ships moving faster.
 

Online Erik Luken

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Re: Pulsar 4X Ideas
« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2012, 11:11:32 AM »
To me reactionless drives would have a smaller turn radius. Maybe give them a lower acceleration to compensate.

Making old tech more expensive to research doesn't really pass the giggle test. Is there a reason to research steam engines when you have Mr. Fusion?
 

Offline Antagonist

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Re: Pulsar 4X Ideas
« Reply #25 on: August 17, 2012, 11:20:21 AM »
Nothing stopping you from researching steam engines, but its gonna cost a lot less research to make your combustion drives a little faster than to make your steam engine equivalent to combustion drive, then a little faster.

If all you want is a faster engine, then its pretty obvious where you gonna put your research points.
 

Offline Antagonist

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Re: Pulsar 4X Ideas
« Reply #26 on: August 17, 2012, 11:32:16 AM »
I'd like to give 2 ideas for gravity engines...

1) Either it creates a 'pocket' of gravity then has the ship 'fall' into it

2) Some spooky action at a distance.  Its not truely reactionless, it just manages to 'push' off local gravity sources, dumping kinetic energy into nearby stars and planets.  This means this device is FAST around large gravity wells.  Deep space or further out around where others take advantage of hyperdrives? Not so much.

Reaction drives might be able to apply continuous thrust while travelling between stars, but gravity drives can't, relying on the momentum they built up around the source star.  This gives a natural advantage to reaction over gravity in interstellar travels as well as wide orbiting planets, while gravity drives have a distinct advantage in inner systems.  Perhaps it consumes fuel? Perhaps most gravity drive civs will invest a LITTLE into a reaction drive to help boost their interstellar speeds and so they aren't helpless in a fight in the outer system where they would otherwise have circles run around them with hyperdrive equipped ships.  This assumes hyperdrive is something you can use in-system instead of just used as a velocity multiplier for inter-system flight.

This is a proposal for a mechanically different propulsion type.
 

Online Erik Luken

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Re: Pulsar 4X Ideas
« Reply #27 on: August 17, 2012, 11:48:06 AM »
Nothing stopping you from researching steam engines, but its gonna cost a lot less research to make your combustion drives a little faster than to make your steam engine equivalent to combustion drive, then a little faster.

If all you want is a faster engine, then its pretty obvious where you gonna put your research points.

That's what I'm saying. If a steam engine gives 1 unit of thrust for 100 RP, and a combustion engine gives 2 units for 150 RP and both are available at the start, why bother with steam? Unless there is something coming off the steam trunk later that I might want.

To preclude this, I'd say hidden tech trees. You start with techs X, Y, Z. A different game you start with W, X, Z. A third game start is R, M, O. Obviously there should be "always" have techs, and if an NPR starts with A, B, C and you have D, E, F, then when you encounter them, you can capture and reverse engineer A, B, C. But without the base techs they belong to, you cannot research A+, B+, C+.

If that makes sense. :)
 

Offline clement

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Re: Pulsar 4X Ideas
« Reply #28 on: August 17, 2012, 01:02:49 PM »
That's what I'm saying. If a steam engine gives 1 unit of thrust for 100 RP, and a combustion engine gives 2 units for 150 RP and both are available at the start, why bother with steam? Unless there is something coming off the steam trunk later that I might want.

To preclude this, I'd say hidden tech trees. You start with techs X, Y, Z. A different game you start with W, X, Z. A third game start is R, M, O. Obviously there should be "always" have techs, and if an NPR starts with A, B, C and you have D, E, F, then when you encounter them, you can capture and reverse engineer A, B, C. But without the base techs they belong to, you cannot research A+, B+, C+.

If that makes sense. :)

I believe what Antagonist was getting at is that if you are in Combustion Drives Level 5 vs. Steam Engines Level 1, then going to Combustion Drives 6 will be cheaper than researching everything to get to Steam Engines 6. Effect the player is pot committed to Combustion Drives over Steam Engines due to all of the previous research that has been put into it and relative cost to get to the next level of better performance regardless of what the tech is.

The hidden tech is what Sword of Stars II does, or aims at if they fix all the bugs. There are several different tech trees in each research categories like Weapons. In weapons there are missiles, torpedoes, beams, mass drivers and so on. Randomly some of them will be available or not available to different races. In addition some races have bonuses to certain types like Mass Drivers and will always have access to that form of Weapon.
 

Offline Redshirt

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Re: Pulsar 4X Ideas
« Reply #29 on: August 17, 2012, 02:12:05 PM »
Somehow, the hidden/allowed techs should be dependant on species and/or starting system- or maybe allow the player to choose? For instance, if you're a race of robots that live in a nebula, (I dunno, maybe Von Neumann machines crashed on the planet then gained sentience?) it's going to suck if your research trees include biotech, shields, and missiles.
Living up to my username. . .
 

 

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