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On the Roles of Ships

 
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Lordling
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 23:19    Post subject: On the Roles of Ships Reply with quote

Ok, I know I'm going open/reopen a can of worms with this, but the issue is irksome.

The fleet concept is based on "roles". Ships are normally conceptualised with a purpose, for which they are uniquely designed and outfitted. Several Kosmor hull types are rarely (if ever) built due to having no suitable use, combined with a poor upkeep to effectiveness ratio.
We currently have 11 hull types for ships. As I see it, these actually encompass only 6 different "classes" of vessel:

Probe
H1
Primarily used as cannon fodder or extended reactive shield system

Fighter
H2
H3
H4
All 3 of these hulls are basically fighters (even though the H2
is questionable).

Light Combatant
H5
H6

Medium Combatant
H7
H8

Heavy Combatant
H9
H10

Super Heavy Combatant (more like a mobile gun fortress or "Death Star")
H11

Non-Pro's build huge fleets of H3/H4, since those are the most effective vessel at the hull level restriction.
Pro's tend to build a mixture of H1, H9, H10, H11, since this offers the maximum amount of firepower & utilisation vs. the upkeep costs. Very few players seem to build any of the other hull types. Why? Because there is no reason to. So, why have them? This odd condition has become more pronounced with the new rules for hit probability. I'm definitely NOT lobbying to have them removed, but I am suggesting that some analysis toward suitability of use be done.

For instance, let's take the Frigate concept as an example. In the "real world" this class was originally designed as an economical escort for ocean-based logistics convoys. It was designed primarily to fulfil an ASW (Anti Submarine Warfare) role, and secondarily as an AA (Anti Aircraft) platform. In space, of course, things change a bit, since, obviously, there aren't many submarines lurking about. Traditionally, in modern games, Frigate class vessels have tended to take on more of the AA role for a space fleet, defending the larger combatants against smaller, faster attackers. In accordance with "real-life" observations, it is widely understood that since the large main guns of a heavy combatant are not designed for close-range engagements, they are unable to effectively track small, highly maneuverable targets. Enter the Frigate; this class of vessel is specifically designed to counter this threat. With missile systems (real world also) and pulse-lasers (real world CIWS), in conjunction with a specialised fire control system engineered for the AA role, the Frigate has no problem simultaneously engaging multiple small, fast, highly maneuverable hostiles, and eliminating the threat to the larger combatants of the fleet.

My point is basically this - The Frigate shouldn't be penalized for the "size" of it's gun platforms in relation to the size of the target's hull; rather it should have bonuses to hit these targets, as that is precisely what it was designed to do. Furthermore, if it is to be penalized at all, then it should be vs. larger combatants, since it's armament is not designed to engage other surface vessels.

This is an analysis of only one class; similar conditions impair the others as well. The ship's classes do not reflect their intended purposes, or fulfil any of the roles of a fleet. Until this is corrected, there is little or no reason to utilise these hull types. If some advantage existed vs. some other class, for each, then you would see real fleets deployed in Kosmor for the first time, with the ships actually working together to protect the fleet, and accomplish their mission. Speaking for myself, if I knew that Frigates were poison to Fighters & Interceptors, then I would have no reservations about the greater upkeep cost, as I would receive some benefit for it. Right now, there are no fleets, only mobs of ships.

Thanks for your attention, and, as always, comments are welcome.


Lordling
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Keule
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 11:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

interesting point, what's your professional background?

I fully second your main idea to make the game more interesting by having a look at real life ship classes and their particular functions and maybe implementing some of them.
Fleet management would be more exciting once fleets would have to consist of many different components to be well protected and come up with the necessary firepower. Right now it's more or less unbalanced and only about firepower...
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Shadowmaster
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 12:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

I definatly agree too. I would like it more if there change to the game like that. Haveing an actual need to build your fleets using more thought is more interesting to me, and adds more need for versatility to the game.
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Locutus
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 13:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe that this is a good way to add more strategy to the game.
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Gozer
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 17:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another concept that is missing is the bomber, a small ship that is weak defensively but very powerful offensively. Then there is the nemisis of the bomber, the interceptor.

Actually, a space equivalent of the submarine is also possible via cloaking or some type of dimensional shifting.

The options are almost limitless, but could be very hard to balance.
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Xilento
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 18:32    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actuly, pretaining to the bomber thing, but on a larger scale, it would be interesting if there were an array of ships, of which certain ones were built specificly for defence, or offence (just generaly), at either of which they would accell...
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Lordling
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 19:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keule wrote:
interesting point, what's your professional background?


I'm an 8 year veteran of the US Navy. My first 4 year tour was with an experimental fast surface combatant squadron, where I worked closely with Navy R & D staff (NavSeaSysCom, NavMat, NavSurfWarCen, and so on) & civilian contractors (Raytheon, Sperry, Rockwell, Boeing) in the logistics and materiel field. I was there from prototype through completion of the squadron. I had an abnormal amount (as compared to the typical sailor) of exposure to design concepts, combatant role assignments, threat assessments, logistics support, component failure analysis (to determine spare parts stocking levels), etc, etc, as they tried to decide how to incorporate the new vessels into the fleet concept. My 3rd tour was with an amphibious assault group, where I was exposed to forward logistics, and fleet support roles during beach assaults. I continue to try to keep up with current developments through such entities as the Navy League, and periodicals like Sea Power magazine, as well as Jane's. I also tend to ask a lot of questions when I know I'm with people that know more than I do! Laughing

Now, as a civilian, I'm a computer systems engineer & analyst for a major insurance company.
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Maelstroem
Commander


Joined: 30 Jan 2004
Posts: 430
Location: Munich, Germany

PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 21:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lordling, i very much respect all of your postings. Thanks!
In conjunction with the "slot-system", I will do my best to work in a direction you just suggested.
A big issue however is, how this can this be integrated into a running game?

Bye,
Maelstroem
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Commander Maelstroem in the house Nemesis
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Lordling
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 23:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Maelstroem, and my compliments on the overall game design, as well as the enhancements implemented so far. I think I am not alone in offering you great praise.

Active integration of something so close to the heart of a system is always tricky. I think, possibly, if done by modifying sets of opposing pairs, it may work.

Could the implementation of the slot system could be done non-invasively, with whatever configuration the ships are currently in, carried over into the new slots? Players could then re-engineer them at their shipyards.

Could the modification, of the role bonuses for ship types, be accomplished in matched pairs, to maintain game balance?
Especially if all the players are given adequate forewarning that the changes are to be made. That way, they could go ahead and be
building the classes of ships needed to counter the existing & future threats. I guess I would tackle the Fighters and Frigates first, as there are already plenty of large combatants to counter the increase in the number of Frigates (H5 & H6). You also might entertain the idea of calling the H5 a Corvette, H6 a Frigate, H7 a Cruiser, H8 a Battleship, H9 a Dreadnought, with the H10 still being the Goliath, as well as the H11 remaining a Leviathan. I would probably raise the hull restriction on Non-Pros to H5 to give them, at least, a chance of survival. Has anyone thought about, instead, just capping the Non-Pro CP at, for example, 2500 or so?

In summary, I would give torpedoes a bonus to hit H6 & above, and penalize lasers for the same:

H1............No bonuses, no penalties

H2..........*Depends on what you decide to do with it

H3-H6.......Bonus to hit H7 and above if using torpedoes - Penalty to hit H6-H11 with lasers.

H5-H7.......Bonus to hit H1-H4 while using lasers - H6 special bonus to hit H5 with lasers.

H7-H11.....Bonus (decreasing by size difference, as you have it now) to hit any lower class through H6, while using torpedoes - Penalty to hit H1-H5 with torpedoes.

The H6 is the pivot point for bonuses/penalties in relation to H7-H11, as the H7-H11 would have no penalty to use torpedoes vs. this class, while the H6 would be penalized in regard to laser combat with an opponent of the same class, and higher.

*On a side note, the H2 Orbital Shuttle is a utility craft with no mission, bearing only the most basic defences & armaments. I'd suggest either giving it a mission, or turning it into something else. For example, if made a working ship, in orbit around a friendly planet, it could enhance either mining or factory output. Put a cap on the amount of the bonus, so no one will build gobs of them on one system; maybe 1% per shuttle, with a maximum of, say, 20; maybe even let the player decide which industry he wants to assign the individual shuttles to. Another option is to call it a scout, and give it an increased sensor range. With the implementation of the slot system, you could have a really fast, but unarmed vessel.

It's late & I'm getting a little fuzzy, so if any of the above is unworkable, please forgive me. If it makes sense, then I'll consider it a miracle. Shocked

~PS:

If you are wondering why I stated different bonuses for lasers & torpedoes, the same overall logic applies: If they accomplish the same thing (other than the amount of damage, and their initiative in the combat round), then why have two classes of weapons? i.e., Rock, Fast - Type 1, Big Rock, Not so Fast - Type 1. Confused
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Keule
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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 11:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lordling wrote:
Keule wrote:
interesting point, what's your professional background?


I'm an 8 year veteran of the US Navy. My first 4 year tour was with an experimental fast surface combatant squadron, where I worked closely with Navy R & D staff (NavSeaSysCom, NavMat, NavSurfWarCen, and so on) & civilian contractors (Raytheon, Sperry, Rockwell, Boeing) in the logistics and materiel field. I was there from prototype through completion of the squadron. I had an abnormal amount (as compared to the typical sailor) of exposure to design concepts, combatant role assignments, threat assessments, logistics support, component failure analysis (to determine spare parts stocking levels), etc, etc, as they tried to decide how to incorporate the new vessels into the fleet concept. My 3rd tour was with an amphibious assault group, where I was exposed to forward logistics, and fleet support roles during beach assaults. I continue to try to keep up with current developments through such entities as the Navy League, and periodicals like Sea Power magazine, as well as Jane's. I also tend to ask a lot of questions when I know I'm with people that know more than I do! Laughing

Now, as a civilian, I'm a computer systems engineer & analyst for a major insurance company.


yeah, I could smell a lot of navy professionalism in your post... Smile
Jane's is also part of my lecture, and one of my closest colleagues is a British Royal Marine... Wink

Please forgive me for a rather topic-unrelated intervention, but then again applause for your follow-up suggestions and for Maelstroem's intervention!
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