Author Topic: The Evolution Of Ship Design, Combat, And Player Tactics  (Read 4934 times)

RLS0812

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 66
  • Captain of the SS Clueless
The Evolution Of Ship Design, Combat, And Player Tactics
« on: January 10, 2014, 10:40:43 pm »
 Here are my thoughts on what may happen to the player "ecology" once a permanent server is established, and a gaming community is built.

Player Evolution:

 When every one first starts out, they will mostly be working alone, collecting reassures and building their own ships. As resources run low, players will explore for more, often times fighting others for their resources.
 Eventually players will band together into small clans to provide protection for each other while building and resource gathering.
 As the clans' population grows, they will be forced to expand to find even more territory and resources, morphing into large guilds. As guilds conquer ( or merge with ) each other, small empires will be born.
 After some time, 2 or 3 all powerful empires will be present. Internal conflict will leave to civil war, which will break the empires down into factions fighting for control.
 The cycle of Empire <> factions <> Empire will continue forever, leading to some very interesting and rich histories.
 There will always be pirates, privateers and free lancers, however I believe most players will be focused on large group dynamics.

Ship Evolution:

 In the early days of the server, the designs of player's ships will be as numerous as players themselves. As time goes on, however, only a handful of designs will emerge as players get more accustomed to what designs are practical, and which ones are not.
 I believe that large ships will play more a roll of support ships in combat, than actual combat ships. It is very easy for a small ship to seriously damage a "mega" ship by placing mines in the flight path, or launching torpedoes, and be agile enough to dodge a larger ship's defenses.
 Smaller ships are far more agile, and cheaper to build, so they will be the dominate space craft during combat.

 I believe also that player bases will be mostly built inside of asteroids due to the fact it is cheaper,  the asteroid provides many layers of protection from external attacks, and secret bases will be easy to construct.

Combat Evolution:

 As expected at first, combat will be pure chaos until players learn what strategy will work, and what won't. When larger groups start popping up, we will eventually see organized combat.
 First the fighters will be sent in to distract the enemies. Torpedo ships will than be launched to deal with larger threats in the "field of battle". Last the heavy bombers and raiding ships will be dispatched to attempt to take over enemy ships ( or steal resources ).
 Groups will probably come up with their own specialty ships that are very effective in 1 specific combat roll.

 I do see groups spying on each other, actively sabotaging each other,  and causing all sorts of mayhem.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2014, 10:42:43 pm by RLS0812 »

My YouTube Channel Filled With Geek, Nerd, Politics, Economics, & More ! 
[Click Here]

Cy83r

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 1254
  • It's Shooowtime!
Re: The Evolution Of Ship Design, Combat, And Player Tactics
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2014, 01:48:01 am »
My own opinion on the matter?

Medium to Large vessels will mainly serve as combat platforms.  I assume this based on one of a few factors: a larger ship has more stable energy production and space for redundancies.  This becomes more important when shields come into play and opposing factions start playing with optimal emitter configurations and develop protocols for orientation and maneuver.

Small vessels will serve to augment larger vessels or ground forces as the strategy behind resourcing in combat evolves.  I see a place for 'raiders' that come into contested space, land mining elements, and pull as much out of the local rocks as possible before retreating under fire, whereas a more invested approach would push to gain aerospace superiority with military assets before setting up a mining base.

As with everything, both of these approaches will blend into a gradient with 'raiding' and 'entrenching' being idealistic extremes on opposite ends.
Jibreel: Yeah but [Hufer] that's like [Axis] complaining that his Toyota Camry is stuck in the mud and you responding "Well my M1 Abrams doesn't seem to be having much trouble."

Iago

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 148
  • Keep calm and charge the FTL drive
Re: The Evolution Of Ship Design, Combat, And Player Tactics
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2014, 09:40:44 am »
I think boarding also will be a possibility, too. I picture it as when two ships careen into each other, the crew will jump over and start killing. (I want melee weapons for hand-held and ships, so I can Warhammer style)
Superbia mentis potens in armis.

wad67

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 39
Re: The Evolution Of Ship Design, Combat, And Player Tactics
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2014, 11:58:11 am »
As far as I am concerned, when multiplayer hits its often nothing like people predicted.
I remember in the wee days of survival minecraft, before multiplayer. People were speculating that bases would be constructed out of furnace blocks, as they were the hardest to mine player made material back then.

But despite all that, my speculation is that it will hardly be advanced as people will want it to be. Ships will probably just sit there loaded up with as much firepower as possible and duke it out till one stops working.

Guilds or clans will probably only exist temporarily and on a small scale.

and majority of the time it will be more or less a screaming fest over in game chat. "HE BLEW UP MY SHIP IN A SAFE SECTOR"

VengantMjolnir

  • Founder
  • Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: The Evolution Of Ship Design, Combat, And Player Tactics
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2014, 05:36:25 pm »
I do not understand how this is supposed to play out... multiplayer has been stated many times to be on the small scale. a few dozen people maybe, not hundreds. The ideas you are putting forth sound like they would need hundreds of players to make work.

I'm expecting it to be on the scale of Guns of Icarus online, where 32 people can battle it out in various PVP matches, four to a boat.

Strait Raider

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1335
  • It's "Strait", as in the body of water.
Re: The Evolution Of Ship Design, Combat, And Player Tactics
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2014, 10:08:36 am »
It'll depend entirely on what sort of game modes there are.

If we're starting from relatively small teams on a small map, mining out resources for ships, it'll likely end up with the standard strategy game result - the victor will be the team that can most quickly assemble 2-3 fighter craft and set about harassing the enemy's workers, leading to a permanent resource advantage until the rest of the team scraped together enough resources to arm a corvette/frigate with the siege weapons needed to crack the last enemy players out of their asteroid base.

At least, that's how I imagine it would play out.

Arena matches with a set tonnage/cost/whatever limit per team would be an entirely different ball game.

Cy83r

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 1254
  • It's Shooowtime!
Re: The Evolution Of Ship Design, Combat, And Player Tactics
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2014, 08:17:13 am »
Orion's Belt: Oh, could you imagine a tightly packed belt of asteroids that players could navigate along with judicious use of jetpacks and inertia?  There's the simplicity of an early rush tactic against setting up base and trying to supply a few strike craft to patrol and harass.  Multiple victory conditions possible.

Dominion: It'd be interesting how cross-server links are set up and maintained, like jump gates or just hyperspace coordinates, and the way you ship objects between them.  Two regions of several maps could allow for pushing into the outlying regions and trying to take control of the core maps of the other server.  Possibly even room enough to link the servers of several regions together for larger meta-maps.  I suppose each server's number and size of regions would be limited by its own hardware limitations as well, maybe keeping the size of a map, the number of players allowed, each 'gate' or 'hyperspace corridor' would also limit the upward mass allowed through to each map.

The connections between gates relies on who controls what sections of the region, any faction can freely ship a mass-legal vessel into any map that they control and having transportation to uncontrolled maps limited to those bordering your faction's zone of control.  Thus, each server's forces can redeploy from coreward production centers quite rapidly and in whatever configuration and size deemed legal by the local map-gate.  Control of a map might be determined by who can construct a station with a special 'gravity anchor' that prevents it from drifting away from the gate past a certain point; tougher coreward maps having smaller spheres of anchorage - a the capital map at the center only allows control to the faction with a tethered station built on top of the gate.

It'd be difficult to build opposing stations inside of tight anchorage points, but control is supremely determined by who has the most gravity anchors powered up in a single map.  Each server's designated players can only construct gravity anchors ID'd to their home server and cannot use any form of FTL while powered; a no-rush option could be ticked off that disaallows GAs from being transported by FTL, period, forcing them to be constructed on-site.  It should be given that providing power to a gravity anchor would preclude a faction from using anything but the largest vessels from acting as FTL-mobile stations, assuming GAs are FTL-portable in any particular instance - maybe a "modular station" setup could be exploited around the restriction, but that's just clever use of limited resources and I've always had a fancy for smart use of prefabrication.

The distinction between size-legal and mass-legal is an important one as well, since if upward mass is limited, combat vessels and their ability to provide for their roles will be strictly determined by the limitations of the region's gates and how easy it is to make new designs of vessel, especially if each region has a different set of gate proportions between small, medium, large, and capital maps compared to other regions (now imagine the problems of a foreign fleet tackling alien gate limitations).  Additionally, freighters will be bound by the mass of their intended cargo and the limitations of reactors and thrusters as well as fuel elements for both - capital maps won't be so heavily burdened, but as a faction expands, their home faction will have to evaluate how quickly they need resources to come in versus how much they want to haul at once.

Once a server's faction develops the technical base to start pumping out hyperspace drives, their ability to jump into more distant systems where larger vessels are permitted is no longer bound by gate control, but by the power and thus size of a ship's hyperdrive array.  Smaller drives can potentially jump much farther than their rating would suggest if overcharged by a capacitor bank, meaning some time is required for a raiding party to make massive jumps - a must if your industrial capacity is hamstrung by the opponent and you have to make do with either secondary shipyards in smaller maps and limited resources.  Alternately, they could make multiple smaller jumps between legal systems for better positioning and a shorter charging period to reach a distant target.  Big ships will literally be relegated to the most important systems by this scaling effect, meaning the upward size of vessel in a system is directly proportional to its value in the grand strategy, while also preventing a militarily secure playerbase from running completely rampant.  Hopefully, allowing gameplay where players can feasibly play the game in multiple sittings over several days or weeks and interact with a cast of players much larger than a single map can provide.  Victory occurs when all enemy gravity anchors are destroyed, the set material cost and power requirements of individual gravity anchors may be altered to suit desired play-style.

Domination: large map, possibly a collection of maps, some connected by gates, some unconnected, where two teams spread out and attempt to build up their industry and eliminate the opposition.  As a no-holds-barred match, the gates have no limitations aside from were they are placed in a web of one-to-one linkages to other gates, larger maps having more gates and thus connecting to more maps and promoting greater contest over their control.  Hyperdrives add another element since a gate network is not arranged by distance and instead seemingly random, while the power requirements of a hyperdrive are directly related to the distance between two maps.  Victory is achieved when all players and their cloning facilities are destroyed; alternate victory conditions possible; variable gate mass limitation optional.


I'm drooling here.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 08:43:53 am by Cy83r »
Jibreel: Yeah but [Hufer] that's like [Axis] complaining that his Toyota Camry is stuck in the mud and you responding "Well my M1 Abrams doesn't seem to be having much trouble."

RLS0812

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 66
  • Captain of the SS Clueless
Re: The Evolution Of Ship Design, Combat, And Player Tactics
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2014, 04:35:02 pm »
I've been reading some more recent posts in the forums - it seems like the community is starting to realize that small ships can be a major threat to larger ships .
 As this game progresses, I still believe what I posted over 2 months ago will end up happening once more folks join and start playing.

My YouTube Channel Filled With Geek, Nerd, Politics, Economics, & More ! 
[Click Here]

Holy Thunder

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 655
Re: The Evolution Of Ship Design, Combat, And Player Tactics
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2014, 09:19:50 am »
The dynamics discussed so far seem to be looking for PvP mods ranging from EVE-esque MMO to a first-person RTS.

Since simpler is easier to implement and rampant PvP is inconsistent with the devs' vision of vanilla BR, the most succesful mods will probably be sandboxy. Players load up their individual designs, pick teams, and duke it out. In such cases, larger ships will be more likely to win, as there is no penalty for using the rest of your 255^3 allotment.

A mode where players mine resources, build infrastructure, and then port in their designs as they get resources would also be interesting, but you'd have to balance it carefully to keep matches from lasting for hours.  This would give weight to smaller classes, and encourage multi-pilot design for larger ships--that is, a team pools their resources for one ship that has one pilot and weapon ports for everyone else.

If anybody (again, not the devs, as they've stated this is not their intent) has the time and resources to launch a permanent PvP server with MMO rules and scale, that would be awesome.  But to do that, you've got to:

1) generate and store maps large enough to handle a set number of players and their data, not all of whom will be online at the same time. Conservatively, you're talking at least two hundred players, where a 10 to 100 may be online at the same time. You've got to have a server up that can handle such traffic without crashing.

2) Figure out how to code and  balance single players owning multiple peieces of equipment (ie stations), equipment being used by multiple players, and equipment staying/disappearing when players log out.

3) design and create NPC stations and ships, and code in "safe" areas so that griefers can't go and crash everything.

4) design and code in the functions that allow for the creation and management of clans.

If you can do all that and get it online, expect people to want to be a part. But it's a pretty tall order.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 09:22:12 am by Holy Thunder »
--Trespassers will be promptly riddled with bullets and other unpleasant projectiles.

--Survivors will treated with apologies, steak dinner, and a VIP tour of our facilities.

RLS0812

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 66
  • Captain of the SS Clueless
Re: The Evolution Of Ship Design, Combat, And Player Tactics
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2014, 04:35:10 pm »
@ Holy Thunder
 It can be done with a multi-server setup. I would imagine that each server has a certain "quadrant" of space, and to get from one quadrant to the next you'd probably have to use "warp" gates or "warp drives" .
 As with MineCraft, nothing is "loaded" into active memory unless a player in in the area. I'd go as far as setting all physics properties to "0" once something is unloaded.
 Limiting all "mobile" builds to 256 ^3 would also be great to reduce server stress.

 I did some quick guesstimates, and figured that each server could handle an area up to 100,000 ^3 and about 30 active players at once.  ( assuming the server is high end )
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 04:47:37 pm by RLS0812 »

My YouTube Channel Filled With Geek, Nerd, Politics, Economics, & More ! 
[Click Here]

Aaron

  • BR Developer
  • Creative Director, ZanMgt
  • *****
  • Posts: 2024
  • Available on the IRC from 9:00am to 5:00pm (EST)
    • http://www.zanmgt.com
Re: The Evolution Of Ship Design, Combat, And Player Tactics
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2014, 05:06:26 pm »
@Holy Thunder

With the way we're setting up the server joining procedure there might be some work-arounds you could use to get the multi-server portion to work.  Security, in terms of hacker/griefers is something we can't exactly guarantee though, so any "MMO" would probably have to be invite-only or heavily moderated.

The question I'd have is how the initial game setup would be?  More like Natural Selection 2/RTS, or more of a loosey-goosey "start wherever, build wherever" ala EVE:Online?
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 06:40:57 pm by Aaron »
Stop by the IRC and say Hi! -- Online Dev Chat

RLS0812

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 66
  • Captain of the SS Clueless
Re: The Evolution Of Ship Design, Combat, And Player Tactics
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2014, 05:48:51 pm »
@ Aaron
3 options:
1: Start at a random NPC space station.
2: Start at a fixed NPC space station.
3: Start at a random location in space.

My YouTube Channel Filled With Geek, Nerd, Politics, Economics, & More ! 
[Click Here]

Commander Jackson

  • Founder
  • Lazy dev E.M.T.
  • *
  • Posts: 773
  • Ex astris, scientia
Re: The Evolution Of Ship Design, Combat, And Player Tactics
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2014, 07:35:47 pm »
@ Aaron
3 options:
1: Start at a random NPC space station.
2: Start at a fixed NPC space station.
3: Start at a random location in space.


Then have a wormhole to dump a player to a random quadrant of space to give newcomers a chance of getting away from spawn.
Gabe has a wraith? That explains so much.

Holy Thunder

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 655
Re: The Evolution Of Ship Design, Combat, And Player Tactics
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2014, 09:03:25 am »
I think an EVE: Online ish setupt would be best. Start people in a designated "safe" zone at an NPC Station. Give them a limited tutorial and a shuttle, and send them on their way.

--While hacking may not be easily preventable, non-hacking griefers can be stymied by forcing a weapons lock in the safe zone. I'm only in my first semester learning programming, but it seems that disabling any weapons fire within x radius of x,y,z point would be the easiest solution to secure the safe zone--much easier than creating a patrolling uber-powered NPC police force.

--As players are added, slowly create new sectors and new stations on a moving path. Preferably, arrange the universe so that older players are outside of an expanding center. They'll have and need more room, while new players get a decent (but not too large) swath of territory to claim without necessarily having to bump shoulders with more powerful players.  The idea would be to maintain a just-barely-enough-space feeling, no matter how many players join.  Enough to create territory conflict--but not enough to cause overcrowding.

--Create safe zone corridors or "highways" beetween safe zones in different sectors, so that players can move freely and make money via transport. I'm a big fan of Freelancer's  highway system, traveling within destructible rings that allow  3x normal speed.  If the transport nodes are difficult to destroy, or can only be destroyed once every xx minutes, this would allow some number of piracy encounters while also allowing a (mostly) functioning economy.  It also would give plenty of room for NPC quests--protect this trade route! Escort this caravan! Intercept that shipment!

--Encourage ship-building in game, but don't require it. Allow a "bank" storage at any given shipyard for each player, so they can drop off supplies for safe-keeping. When a player gets enough resources to build their ship, station, player shipyard, or turret, they can pay a 15% premium for the item to instantly be built for them at the station. Then they tow it to wherever they wanted, through a simple hand-wavium mechanic.

--Allow block upgrades on a linear benefit scale, but an exponential cost scale--so that they get progressively harder to obtain (and therefore, more worthwhile) A level 2 block of the same mass provides, say, 1.2x the benefit at 2x the cost. A level 3 block provides 1.4x the benefit  by combining two level 2 blocks, and so on. It seems like a small benefit for such a large cost, until you consider the cumulative benefit of thousands of such blocks. A shipyard can only build ships up to its own level--a level 3 shipyard, for instance, is built entirely of level 3 blocks and can only build ships as high as level-3 quality, which will be 8 times the cost of level-1 quality ships.  Once you've invested so heavily in your ship, you'll have a lot of incentive to keep it around.

--Higher level players and groups will eventually have time to build their own shipyards and NPC Stations.  They can charge other players for use of their shipyards (inevitably higher than NPC shipyards), and profit from selling weapons/raw goods at their own stations.   If their shipyards are used to build warships, they can profit from mercenary contracts utilizing their advanced ships. Instead of having to mine 1,024 standard ore blocks for every level 10 iron block they want, they can just buy it at market price or contract lower-level players to get it for them. In that way, even the highest-level players have something to do that's not meaningless grinding, and entry-level players can obtain gainful employment.

--Code in the structure for guilds/clans/factions, with leader rights and all that. But more importantly, code in the structure for contracts allowed between any two (or more) players.  Build in a few preset contracts such as delivery of goods, duration of time, or escort (complete when all parties reach the designated point), and allow for custom contracts. All contracts would be structured for half upfront and half on completion, with room to change this if they prefer. Allow contracts to be recorded at NPC stations. The second half of the contract payment would be at the employer's discretion, requiring that the the employee completed the contract satisfactorily. Unsatisfied employers or employees could leave player ratings, accessible for any player at any NPC station. 

The key factor of contracts is that once a player is contracted, the parties will be unable to harm each other until the contract has completed--preventing betrayal. If the leader of a faction takes a peace bribe from another faction, for instance, none of those faction members will be able to harm each other until the contract is expired. Weapons fire will simply do no damage.

--

That's just my vision of an ideal PvP open-world server, and I'm sure we all have different such opinions. I just don't believe I've shared mine yet. ;D
« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 09:43:55 am by Holy Thunder »
--Trespassers will be promptly riddled with bullets and other unpleasant projectiles.

--Survivors will treated with apologies, steak dinner, and a VIP tour of our facilities.

Aaron

  • BR Developer
  • Creative Director, ZanMgt
  • *****
  • Posts: 2024
  • Available on the IRC from 9:00am to 5:00pm (EST)
    • http://www.zanmgt.com
Re: The Evolution Of Ship Design, Combat, And Player Tactics
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2014, 11:23:53 am »
@Holy Thunder

Well, this year will mostly entail setting up the modding API, so starting on a full-scale MMO PvP mod might be a rough endeavor in its beginning.  A lot of what you're suggesting may be do-able by a skilled mod team over time though.

One issue I could see with an EVE-style setup is dealing with players griefing the "stable at 16~ players" restriction.  Maybe, just maybe time compression ala EVE could resolve it, but it isn't something we're really looking into building into the engine atm.  Otherwise you'd need to prevent 10 players of one faction from gimping another 10 players by outnumbering them in a sector before their teammates could join in.  One mechanism could be a "queue" favoring the outnumbered side but you've still got some balance issues there to consider.

With only three coders you can see why we're just aiming for "Legos (done really well)", as there's a lot of work involved with PvP. =\
Stop by the IRC and say Hi! -- Online Dev Chat