Author Topic: Cockpit component and gunboats  (Read 2277 times)

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Offline sloanjh

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Cockpit component and gunboats
« on: October 07, 2007, 01:44:48 PM »
This idea is spawned from the "agility" discussion in the Ship Design section.

I think a lot of us would love to have beam-armed, survivable fighters that weren't just stand-off missile platforms in Aurora.  Here's an idea that might allow something 1/2 way between fighters and ships - I just realized these might be called "gunboats" (since "fighter" is already taken):

Add a 1 HS component called "cockpit" which has the following effects:
    No bridge or life-support is required (cockpit includes lifesupport for crew).  A ship with a cockpit is called a "gunboat".

    A gunboat must be based somewhere (ship or planet); support personnel and material are located at the base.

    Crew requirements are greatly reduced - a crew consisting of a single pilot might be possible.  Support crew are located where ever the gunboat is based.

    Endurance would be GREATLY reduced - 1 day or so max

    Not sure about fuel - 1 HS of tankage would probably be overkill, so maybe fuel should also be abstracted into the cockpit HS.

    No on-board engineering spaces (spares) required - again, these are at the base.

    There might even be a HS bonus for components, (say 25% or maybe even 50%) to represent the fact that they don't need on-board maintenance "space" designed into them.  For example, think about the engine room of a gas-turbine powered DD - it's going to be bigger than just the jet engines themselves.


The idea here is that a real-world fighter is basically minimal life support wrapping an engine, fuel tanks, and a weapon.  All of the support personnel are located at the base.  What this gives you is a MUCH better power-to-weight ratio (which translates into speed and agility), at the cost of MUCH lower endurance.

In gameplay terms, I think this would allow you to build gunboats that are significantly faster than an equivalently armed ship, which I think means they would be a lot nastier (especially if the "agility" ideas were put in).  This in turn would give an alternative option for system defense - you wouldn't need to research missile tech to have a long range strategy for planets.  Steve could also introduce "gunboat tenders" which would have the crew and maintenance facilities onboard (the other 25% to 50% of the tonnage that was shaved off the gunboat systems).

One thing I like about this is that it doesn't break Steve's "plausibility" rules - the "why can't I put 20 of these super-duper-fighter lasers on a big ship" question is answered (the ship would have to be its own tender).  At the same time, the Achilles' heel of gunboats would be maintenance - they would presumably need to spend a LOT of time with their tenders between sorties (perhaps an extra maintenance clock for them that ran at 10x during a sortie and unwound at 10x while at the tender?).  BTW, I would allow gunboats to transit detached from their tender, to allow a decent number of gunboats/tender through the WP.

Whaddaya think?

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

Offline SteveAlt

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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2007, 09:37:19 AM »
It might be possible to handle what you are looking for without much change to the code. Essentially what you need is a new small system that combines crew quarters, bridge, fuel and spares plus the ability for ships to carry other ships in an internal bay. This internal bay would have the ability to replace the spares for the new system.

At the moment, the various systems are as follows:
Bridge: 1 HS, Cost 10,
Crew Quarters: 1 HS, Cost 15, allows 250 crew
Engineering: 3 HS, Cost 30, carries 5 spares
Fuel Storage: 1 HS, Cost 10, Storage 50,000 litres

If we scale this down to combine into a single system by reducing everything in size by 80% and including the 1/5th HS bridge space for free we get:
Cockpit 1HS, Cost (10+15+30+10)/5 = 13
Allows 50 crew, carries 1 spare and 10,000 litres of fuel.

In game terms this would probably have to be three separate tiny systems though to avoid having to rewrite chunks of code to support systems with multiple uses.

The missing bridge in this scenario gives me an idea. The size of the bridge should probably depend on the size of the ship. In reality larger ships should have larger bridges so I could add that to ship design and have a HS limit below which you don't need a bridge at all.

(I am going to go away and create these systems and try to put them on a ship design)

OK, back now. I have the three small 'gunboat' systems and I have been playing with designs. This design includes just the new systems and one engine

Code: [Select]
Kresta class Gunboat    500 tons     34 Crew     69 BP      TCS 10  TH 60  EM 0
6000 km/s     Armour 1     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/0/0/0/0     Damage Control 0-0     PPV 0
Replacement Parts 1    

Sorokin S8 Ion Drive (1)    Power 60    Efficiency 0.80    Signature 60    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 10,000 Litres    Range 108.0 billion km   (208 days at full power)
Unfortunately as soon as you start to add beam weapons (including fire control, reactors and weapons), the whole design is completely blown as you then have a slow ship without enough crew. Missiles would be far easier as they only need a launcher, small fire control and a magazine.

Therefore, to make this concept work I need to find a way to create smaller but still powerful engines and realistic smaller version of weapons and fire control. I also have to do this without changing the way that larger ships are designed.

(going away to think a little more)

I have created a 'gunboat engine', which is only 40% the size of a regular engine but has the same power and uses fuel 10x as fast. I am not convinced this is a good idea because it could be used en masse on larger ships so I need to add some extra restrictions to make that a bad idea (or perhaps I could just restrict the number of these engines allowed on a ship - technobabble required).

For the power reactor, I have added the ability to build 1 HS and 0.5 HS reactors. I have also used a normal basic size 1 fire control system with no multiples for tracking speed or range and a normal 12cm laser as the main armament.

The completed gunboat uses all normal ship design rules and comprises the components listed below. As you can see, the GB mainly uses smaller versions of existing components with with everything scaled down at the same rate, including cost, size and capability. The only real new rule is for the high power, high fuel use engine. Everything uses existing class design rules.

1x GB Fuel Storage (new size system but existing rules)
2x Sorokin GB Drive (new system and new rule for engine power vs fuel))
3x GB Crew Quarters (new size system but existing rules)
4x Composite Armour (existing system and rules
1x 12cm Visible Light Laser (existing system and rules)
1x GB Fire Control (existing system and rules)
1x GB Reactor (new size system but existing rules)
1x GB Engineering Section (new size system but existing rules)

And the final design...

Code: [Select]
Kresta class Gunboat    750 tons     108 Crew     159 BP      TCS 15  TH 120  EM 0
8000 km/s     Armour 1     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/0/0/0/0     Damage Control 0-0     PPV 4
Replacement Parts 1    

Sorokin GB1 Ion Drive (2)    Power 60    Efficiency 8.00    Signature 60    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 10,000 Litres    Range 7.2 billion km   (10 days at full power)

12cm C2 Visible Light Laser (1)    Range 48,000km     TS: 8000 km/s     Power 4-2     RM 2    ROF 10        4 4 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
Gunboat Fire Control (1)    Max Range: 48,000 km   TS: 3200 km/s     79 58 38 17 0 0 0 0 0 0
Gunboat Reactor (1)     Total Power Output 2    Armour 0    Exp 5%


Not sure if this is exactly what you are looking for but it does create a small, fast, short- ranged attack craft that follows all of the existing rules except for the engine (which still might be a problem).

One thing I can't do from your original request is have small jump capable ships because I want to keep jump engines to a minimum size of 15 HS. Therefore I need to think about some type of internal bay to carry smaller ships. I'll look at that once I have your comments on the above.

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

Offline SteveAlt

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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2007, 09:44:02 AM »
I had an idea about the new engine as soon as I logged out :)

Instead of making it smaller but retaining the same power, I could make it the same size with 2x or 2.5x more power (and the 10x fuel use plus a high explosion chance) and have a maximum of one per ship because of 'instability problems'. Suddenly it becomes perfectly reasonable to only use it on small, short-ranged ships. I have to go out for a while but I will look at this again when I get back in.

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

Offline Erik Luken

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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2007, 09:51:57 AM »
Have a boat bay.

Or.... Okay, I have a vision in my head of the transport helicopter (the one that is a cockpit with the "empty" mid-section. So basically your jump carrier is a ship that has space to lock 4-6 gunboats to its hull and then jump.

On the otherhand, treat them as LAC's from the Honorverse. Light in-system defense units.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Erik Luken »
 

Offline Þórgrímr

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« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2007, 10:50:44 AM »
I love the idea of having tenders for them. It would resemble the PT tenders the US used to great extent in the pacific portion of world war 2. So I am all for the tender idea myself.

Personally, I like your concept of the PT Boats so far Steve.  :D




Cheers,
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Þórgrímr »
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Offline SteveAlt

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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2007, 11:33:38 AM »
Firstly, I agree this is looking a lot like the LACs from Honorverse :)

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

Offline sloanjh

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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2007, 11:54:39 AM »
Quote from: "SteveAlt"
I had an idea about the new engine as soon as I logged out :)

Instead of making it smaller but retaining the same power, I could make it the same size with 2x or 2.5x more power (and the 10x fuel use plus a high explosion chance) and have a maximum of one per ship because of 'instability problems'. Suddenly it becomes perfectly reasonable to only use it on small, short-ranged ships. I have to go out for a while but I will look at this again when I get back in.

Steve


Hi Steve,

  I was actually thinking more along the lines having a "gunboat item" property for engines, weapons systems, power plants, etc. that gives a 50% size reduction.  For every gunboat class, there would have to be a special "gunboat rack" design, which would have the coupling device (i.e. the boat bay or external rack) PLUS the mass that was left off the gunboat items (plus maybe a mass penalty, so e.g. 75% the mass of the non-gunboat systems).  This gunboat rack would be a system that could be added to a "tender", which would either be a ship or PDC design.

For example, let's say I had designed the following non-GB systems (sorry I'm not using your design conventions):

MHD engine - 5 HS, crew = 25
24pt Power Plant - 4 HS, crew = 10
Recharge 4 Laser - 6 HS, crew = 5

I could then design equivalent GB systems that would have masses of 2.5, 2, and 3 HS respectively.  I could then design a GB class with the components (assume GB components require 1/5 crew):

GB Avenger
1 cockpit - 1HS
4 MHD engine (GB) - 10 HS
1 24pt Power Plant (GB) - 2 HS
6 Recharge 4 Laser (GB) - 18 HS
crew = 1 pilot + 8 engineering + 2 power + 6 weapon = 17


For an overall mass of 31 HS.  If I assume the actual coupling for a GB rack costs 1 HS for every 10 on the GB, then I would have to design a rack for this GB:

Avenger GB rack - 34 HS  (4 for couplings + 50% original systems size = 30), crew = 64 ( 32 engineering + 8 power + 24 weapon)
or
Avenger GB rack - 49 HS (4 for couplings + 75% original systems size = 45),  crew = 64 ( 32 engineering + 8 power + 24 weapon)

As you can see, the basing facilities (tonnage, cost and crew) for GB are VERY expensive.  I view this a similar to aircraft carriers - there are a couple of thousand air wing crew and a big chunck of the tonnage of a CV to support maybe 1000 tons of aircraft with crew of 100-200.

The nice part of the above is you don't have to worry about putting a bunch of hand-waving in (e.g. artificially limit to one engine due to "instability"), and you don't need to worry about someone putting a lot of them into large ships (they can, they'll just need a REALLY big tender to support the GB).  In other words, the difference between a GB and a "blue water" combatant is that the GB has offloaded a LOT of its tonnage/crew to a basing facility.

You could even have a line of "GB size reduction" tech e.g. 15%, 30%, 40%, 50% offload so that the advantages of having GB wouldn't all accrue from day 1.

As for jumping, GB would work just like any other ship without jump engines, i.e. have to go through with a jump ship or jump gate.  I prefer Erik's view of the tender having external racks (just like sub tenders, where the subs tie up alongside) rather than internal boat bays so as to keep the tender's mass down (so it can make it through the jump point) - the GB can be escorted through since they've got the same engines as anyone else.  In principle I suppose you could even allow jump engines in a GB, except it wouldn't make much economic sense since the size of ships it could escort would still depend on it's (smaller) mass and the total cost of the jump engine (including the tender) would be the same or greater.

Is that clear/does that help?

Thanks,
John

PS - I think you've posted since I started this post, so I'm going to go ahead and hit "send" rather than trying to adjust the above.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by sloanjh »
 

Offline sloanjh

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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2007, 12:13:56 PM »
Quote from: "SteveAlt"
Firstly, I agree this is looking a lot like the LACs from Honorverse :)

Steve Walmsley


Hi Steve,

  I was about to say "yep LACs", but then I thought some more.  I think what you've got coded up is close to GB in Starfire, i.e. a small ship with a very powerful but limited engine.  I think my original suggestion could also extend to parasite ships (some has big as BB or CA) from Dahak or the March to the X books.

  At this point, it looks like the major difference between what you've got coded up and my thoughts is that you've got a high power/weight engine that's controlled in the game balance sense by some severe limitations (most important 1/ship).  My thoughts are to allow low-weight (but same capability) versions of most on-board systems (hadn't thought about sensors/fire control), and to control it in game balance by requiring that the "reduced" weight (and cost and crew) be placed in off-ship support facilities.  Actually, I think I like both ideas :-)  

I agree that yours is less risky from the point of view of "game breaker" tech - there's a chance that the new ship designs could become so powerful that everyone needs to use them.  Even if that happens, though, the tenders are going to be very slow and vulnerable.  My suspicion, however, is that they'll be most useful for system defense, i.e. LACs and at worst make power project against enemy planets a much tougher proposition (which I think fits into your hopes for Aurora).

I think this is the point that I say "it's your game and you're doing the coding - whatever you want to do (one, both, or none) is fine with me"

Thanks,
John

PS - now that I think of it, I think my proposal is in the same spirit of System Defense Ships in Traveller, with endurance and basing facilities being the trade-off rather than jump capability.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by sloanjh »
 

Offline SteveAlt

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« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2007, 12:26:24 PM »
I just reread this before sending and it sounds a little like I am being critical. Its not intended that way but I need to try and get my concerns across so please don't take offence at anything here. It may be I have just misunderstood.

Quote from: "sloanjh"
 I was actually thinking more along the lines having a "gunboat item" property for engines, weapons systems, power plants, etc. that gives a 50% size reduction.  For every gunboat class, there would have to be a special "gunboat rack" design, which would have the coupling device (i.e. the boat bay or external rack) PLUS the mass that was left off the gunboat items (plus maybe a mass penalty, so e.g. 75% the mass of the non-gunboat systems).  This gunboat rack would be a system that could be added to a "tender", which would either be a ship or PDC design.

For example, let's say I had designed the following non-GB systems (sorry I'm not using your design conventions):

MHD engine - 5 HS, crew = 25
24pt Power Plant - 4 HS, crew = 10
Recharge 4 Laser - 6 HS, crew = 5

I could then design equivalent GB systems that would have masses of 2.5, 2, and 3 HS respectively.  I could then design a GB class with the components (assume GB components require 1/5 crew):

GB Avenger
1 cockpit - 1HS
4 MHD engine (GB) - 10 HS
1 24pt Power Plant (GB) - 2 HS
6 Recharge 4 Laser (GB) - 18 HS
crew = 1 pilot + 8 engineering + 2 power + 6 weapon = 17
The problem is that you are introducing a completely new concept that has a lot of knock on implications. For example, why can't I have a ship that only uses the half size lasers and reactors but full size everything else? Presumably that would give me a lot more firepower for minimal basing requirements.

Quote
For an overall mass of 31 HS.  If I assume the actual coupling for a GB rack costs 1 HS for every 10 on the GB, then I would have to design a rack for this GB:

Avenger GB rack - 34 HS  (4 for couplings + 50% original systems size = 30), crew = 64 ( 32 engineering + 8 power + 24 weapon)
or
Avenger GB rack - 49 HS (4 for couplings + 75% original systems size = 45),  crew = 64 ( 32 engineering + 8 power + 24 weapon)

As you can see, the basing facilities (tonnage, cost and crew) for GB are VERY expensive.  I view this a similar to aircraft carriers - there are a couple of thousand air wing crew and a big chunck of the tonnage of a CV to support maybe 1000 tons of aircraft with crew of 100-200.

The nice part of the above is you don't have to worry about putting a bunch of hand-waving in (e.g. artificially limit to one engine due to "instability"), and you don't need to worry about someone putting a lot of them into large ships (they can, they'll just need a REALLY big tender to support the GB).  In other words, the difference between a GB and a "blue water" combatant is that the GB has offloaded a LOT of its tonnage/crew to a basing facility.
The question I have to ask for plausibility purposes is how? Some things like engineering could presumably be offloaded in return for a high failure rate but a half size magazine isn't going to hold as much as a full size one and I am not sure that having half size but fully capable shields, lasers or sensors because some of their normal shipboard functionality would be on board a different ship would be realistic. For systems like fire control or missile launchers there are already rules for making them larger or smaller so any new rule would be in contradiction to that rule.

Quote
You could even have a line of "GB size reduction" tech e.g. 15%, 30%, 40%, 50% offload so that the advantages of having GB wouldn't all accrue from day 1.
Unfortunately this would also lead to requests for normal ship-systems to shrink over time. If you can make gunboat systems smaller over time through technology, why can't you make ship systems smaller over time through technology?

Quote
Is that clear/does that help?

I am concerned that this would create half size ships with full-size capabilities with a hand-wavium that there is a tender involved. Using these rules we would see a lot of 10,000 ton gunboats that would be superior to 'normal' ships and in fact become the standard. I understand the idea but I am concerned it isn't realsitic within the game mechanics. I am happy to try and create realistic smaller ships but they will have to abide by the same game principles as larger ships. It's back to the super-fighter-lasers of Starfire.

When something is made smaller, there has to be some significant penalty to the actual system. The new smaller missile launchers are very slow firing and the new 'gunboat' engine discussed earlier in this thread has a restriction of one per ship plus massive fuel use and high explosion probability. Smaller items have to be useful for a particular situation and not generally useful in all situations

Would the gunboat concept I have laid out in this thread not meet your requrements for a small, fast attack craft anyway? I am looking at ways to hold them on board motherships at the moment.

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

Offline Erik Luken

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« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2007, 12:51:39 PM »
Hmmm

About the engines. Instead of forcing there to be 1 only, allow multiple to be placed, but if one blows, give the others highly increased chances of going with it.

Net effect, you'll most likely see 1 only, except for the speed-mad suicidal races. ;)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Erik Luken »
 

Offline SteveAlt

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« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2007, 01:02:08 PM »
Quote from: "Erik Luken"
Hmmm

About the engines. Instead of forcing there to be 1 only, allow multiple to be placed, but if one blows, give the others highly increased chances of going with it.

Net effect, you'll most likely see 1 only, except for the speed-mad suicidal races. ;)

If I did that I may as well forget the whole power efficiency tech line. The idea of the 'gunboat' engine is to allow a new type of small, fast ships that sit between fighters and 'normal' ships. If I allow multiple engines I am concerned you will see a lot of huge warships with GB engines, counting on speed to reduce overall damage and compensate for any additional engine damage. If that happens, then ship speeds double overnight and everything else will have to be adjusted to compensate. Sorry if I sound negative over this but I am very happy with the way everything fits together at the moment and I am reluctant to introduce any major change that could affect the whole game system.

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

Offline Þórgrímr

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« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2007, 01:09:09 PM »
Steve, I like it the way you have it thought out as of now, since it would allow me to add something like the Patrol Torpedo boats used in WW2. Now all I need is a PT Tender and I can ambush those nasty alien invaders with a swarm of torpedos and run for the hills while reloading.  :D

Plus I never liked the concept of Battleriders, even when Traveller introed them all those years ago. IMO parasites should be small, quick and just as quick to die. They were, after all, designed as attrition units.

To me, designing a battlewagon that can't even escape on its own is just asking for an asskicking.




 Cheers,
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Þórgrímr »
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Offline SteveAlt

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« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2007, 01:48:57 PM »
Some assistance required :)

I am looking at the concept of motherships for smaller 'normal' ships, such as the gunboat, or whatever we end up calling it. At the moment I am trying to figure out what pieces of code need to be changed for this situation. While I realise no one can help me code, it would be useful to think of situations where the a ship would be affected but not a parasite ship, for want of a better term, inside the mothership

For example, a parasite won't use fuel when the fleet moves and it won't check spares. I have coded both of these situations but I know there are going to be a lot more that I haven't thought of yet. Any suggestions as to where to look would be welcome.

EDIT: Added destruction of all parasites if mothership is destroyed.
EDIT #2: Added movement all parasites between fleets when mothership moves between fleets.
EDIT #3: Excluded parasites from Raise Shields and Activate Sensors orders

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

Offline Erik Luken

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« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2007, 02:24:33 PM »
Quote from: "SteveAlt"
Some assistance required :)

I am looking at the concept of motherships for smaller 'normal' ships, such as the gunboat, or whatever we end up calling it. At the moment I am trying to figure out what pieces of code need to be changed for this situation. While I realise no one can help me code, it would be useful to think of situations where the a ship would be affected but not a parasite ship, for want of a better term, inside the mothership

For example, a parasite won't use fuel when the fleet moves and it won't check spares. I have coded both of these situations but I know there are going to be a lot more that I haven't thought of yet. Any suggestions as to where to look would be welcome.

EDIT: Added destruction of all parasites if mothership is destroyed.
EDIT #2: Added movement all parasites between fleets when mothership moves between fleets.
EDIT #3: Excluded parasites from Raise Shields and Activate Sensors orders

Steve


Refuel/Reload Ordnance?
Jumps.

hmm... thinking about your edit #2. Maybe implement a launch readiness state. The closer the parasite is to that, the better chances of launching prior to mothership destruction.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Erik Luken »
 

Offline wildfire142

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« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2007, 02:35:52 PM »
When the mothership reloads it magazines the parasites magazines are also reloaded from the colony etc as long as the right type of missile are availible.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by wildfire142 »
 

 

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