Ship Scaling

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Poll: Ship Scaling (31 member(s) have cast votes)
What is the best way to present ships of different sizes?
Accurately scaled, with tiny fighters
(11 votes [35.48%])
Percentage of vote: 35.48%
Accurately scaled, with 'normal-sized' fighters (massive CapShips)
(5 votes [16.13%])
Percentage of vote: 16.13%
Different sizes, like Nova did it
(15 votes [48.39%])
Percentage of vote: 48.39%
Roughly equal sizes for all
(0 votes [0.00%])
Percentage of vote: 0.00%

Ships I have been toying with over the past few months have been at either extreme in terms of size. This can lead to the interesting situation of a massive starship firing its weapons at a pipsqueak fighter. I know how I feel about this, but what is the overall consensus on the issue of scaling in EV Nova?

For example, is it reasonable for a carrier only be 2-4 times bigger than its fighters? Is it too difficult to shoot an accurately scaled fighter? Is accurate scaling worth the loss in perfomance (from massive images) or the loss in fidelity (due to tiny images)? Should missiles fired by a fighter be smaller than the fighter, or is it acceptable to have them about the same size in order to preserve accuracy?

Furthermore, what are some reflections on size and its relation with damage? Should an anti-fighter missile mounted on a fighter inflict the same level of magnitude of damage as a capital ship's torpedos? Should a direct hit from a carrier's large blaster battery destroy a fighter in a single shot, with the corollary that the fighter does minimal damage to the carrierwith its micro-cannons?

Personally, I like accurate scaling of ships with the fighters still visible, making the capital ships huge. I like missiles to be large enough to see, but I am working on a way to make this practical and accurate. I don't like single fighters being a threat to capital ships with their limited payloads.

Werhner,
a noted rocket scientist

If you accurately scale ships then I demand accurately scaled planets and weapon shots to accompany them.

I would personally like the graphics to be closer to Nova: fighters about the same scale, capital ships getting somewhat larger, but not fully to scale (rEV's cruisers are too large). This is primarily for gameplay purposes:
For the fighters, making them too small may make it too hard to hit them with non-homing and small-sprite weapons, so fighters would have a hard time killing each other.
For the capital ships, making them very large both makes it hard to have "smooth" rotation, and, in order to get weapon ranges to scale, "engagement range" for the primary batteries of capital ships would always be off-screen for the player, which would make combat significantly less fun (albeit likely more realistic). Also, no matter how large its sprites, a ship can only have four exit points for a particular weapon, which could make it hard to provide good coverage with some weapons (such as PD).
Weapon sprites, like fighters, shouldn't get too small, but they needn't be larger than the firing ship. EVC/O had primary weapon sprite sizes in the 4-6 pixel range, so going that small for fighter weapons should not cause any major problems.

As for relative strengths, capital ships should be able to swat fighters like the flies they are, and fighters should only be able to threaten capital ships in large swarms (or if there are several torpedo bombers involved). Super-fast pocket dreadnaughts (such as the PVIV) should not exist at all (somewhat on that note, keep the damage output of any commonly-available beams equivalent to projectile damage, even if it means scaling up the total damage of all projectiles considerably).

Edwards

It would be fun to have a plug where things are more realistically scaled though. Just not planets. If you didn't have many weapons, you could make a big version for the capital ship and a little version for the fighters. Then you could scale the damage better too.

I think having oversized big capital ship sprites might be ridiculous because that can actually affect the performance of the game, not just in RAMs though, I've noticed that escort formation can become overcrowded.

@werhner, on Sep 13 2006, 11:52 AM, said in Ship Scaling:

Personally, I like accurate scaling of ships with the fighters still visible, making the capital ships huge.

Yeah, I'm all for big stuff. Not necessarily as big as rEV though - Nova's ships could all be doubled in size and none would be as big as the Confed Cruiser (400x400). I'd say around 300x300 is a good upper limit for cap ships and would be fine performance-wise too.
I'll agree with Edwards about the strengths - is that what the last option on the poll means?

@Coraxus: "RAMs"?? Escorts would be limited to six large ships, which should be fine.

This post has been edited by Guy : 13 September 2006 - 12:50 AM

Personally, I like the idea of having fighters (at least, not the most basic fighters) be able to take down a capital ship with an incredible amount of skill. I kinda like(d) being able to take down Star Destroyers or Nebulon B frigates in my X-Wing, and the size and firepower difference between a SD and a XW is larger than any difference between fighters and capital ships in any EV.

As for size, well, EVs have never been meant to be really realistic, so we might as well keep gameplay and not overuse RAM by hvaing ships about the same size as Nova's.

I think a relative scale works good.

Smaller things are smaller, and bigger things are bigger, yes. But not necessairly a linear scale. Pick a small point, and then pick a large point, and make everything fit in-between. I do think a bit more range can be represented than Nova's stock scenario.

I've personaly had good results with tiny fighters, the smallest being 16x16
The AI doesn't have much problem hitting them at this size.

My largest capitol ships will probably be around 200-250 pixels.

Planets are obviously not to scale, but I think having them larger than Nova is desirable. I may have them around 300-400 pixels.

Missile and shots are 8x8 for very small fighter-to-fighter missiles, and 16x16 for larger missiles. So missiles are small, but not strictly to scale. It's a relative scale.

I should mention that my scale is as if viewed from farther away. Everything travels much slower (top fighter speed is 255), except guns
(so they are relatively fast compared to ships and missiles), and most gun ranges very short, but missile ranges are much greater.

As to weapon strengths, I guess it just depends on how you want the plug to be played.

In my own plug I'm working on, a fighter tasked in an anti-fighter role can pretty much be ignored by capitol ships. However, if that same fighter was to be loaded out with anti-ship missiles, then it becomes a threat. Its limitations are that it can't hold very many missiles, and also, a fighter variant of an anti-ship missile is not quite as capable as a ship-launched version.

Basicaly, the weapon is deadly vs. what it has been designed to be used against.

Big ship gus can tear through a fighter about 100 times over, but they are slow to fire and aren't accurate enough to easily hit the fighters. Very deadly vs. large ships though.

PD weapons will take a few shots to kill a fighter, but will probably kill a fighter faster than a big gun due to ROF and accuracy issues. They are all but usless vs. other capitol ships though.

Medium-sized ship weapons try to bridge the gap. They have good accuracy and can kill a fighter with 1 (maybe 2) shots, and can inflict weak-to-moderate damage to large ships. But the bigger guns tend to out-range the smaller ones...

Well, I wasn't sure if it was RAMs, but using the Facelift plug-ins for the EVO port, the speed of the game bogged down, but that's sort of stating the obvious. However things like plundering fighters with capital ships were much harder cause you really couldn't determine quickly which direction the disabled fighter was facing. Also if the ship you're piloting was a capitol ship in the verge of death, you were not able to escape it quickly because your ship was so large, that it was close enough for the enemy to catch up to you, especially if they were large ships as well.

Personally that's why I'd choose to scale ships in a similar fashion Nova did to theirs. In the case of the EVO facelift ships, making the Dreadnought just slightly bigger than the Leviathon should be more than enought to make a reference anchor point.

I am using straight scale except with the largest of capital ships. My largest sprite sizes are 256251, 263201, 259200, 255235, 355273 and 480360. Average ship sizes are within 50 pixels of 100 horizontal. Smallest are 1615 and 2420. Shots range from 65 on up. Planets are in the range of 150150 on up to 400*400 plus depending. Moons are sub-50. Roids average under 50. Understandably there are some frame rate issues that I intend to rectify when I go through and reassign some düdes to prevent five of the largest cap ships from showing up at once.

On scaling, I think you can make ships a little bigger without making things horrible. However, planets can be made significantly larger without making a horrible mess of gameplay.

Hm

While it's true I'd like to see a TC with scaling, I must admit I like EVN's size style: it means you can see fighters, and capital ships don't take up the whole screen. Also, planets that size don't use up too much RAM. Basically, it's good for gameplay in my opinion.

Sure, it is kind of strange to see large fighters have the same size as medium ships such as the Starbridge (& Subarashii :p), but it's also fun.

Now, EV3D 😄

@pace, on Sep 14 2006, 01:53 AM, said in Ship Scaling:

Now, EV3D 😄

OH NO YOU DIDN'T JUST GO THERE!!

Actually, that does lead to a good trail of speculation. In a 3D game, scaling doesn't encounter the same problems as it does in 2D. However, even in 3D, scaling does have problems when you're trying to shoot a little speck of a fighter that's at a realistic 200,000 miles away. I think if an EV4 ever does exist, it would be a pretty good idea to make it 3D.

The stereoscopic sprites for capital ships should be rendered much farther from the plane of the screen than those of fighters, planets should be even further back, and stars not in stereo at all, except maybe the big ones. This should be done with all models made at exactly the same scale, and the depth of field should be such that the final result is to have the pixel dimensions of sprites be Nova-sized or maybe smaller.

There is still the problem of weapons, because if they're in one plane they'll look funny being launched from or hitting a target in a different plane. Perhaps the best thing to do is embrace this fully, and while ships appear behind the screen weapons should not be steroscopic at all, rendered flat on the screen. Explosions can have very pronounced depths, blasting far back away from the screen and also a little bit forward into space off the screen toward the player, just for that extra thrill factor.

I am suprised to say that I understand that and pretty much agree...

@fnoigy, on Sep 15 2006, 04:34 PM, said in Ship Scaling:

I think if an EV4 ever does exist, it would be a pretty good idea to make it 3D.

Not first person. I'd be okay with Homeworld-style.

Visual scaling should have ships of the same tonnage scaled appropriately to each other, and ships of different tonnages should be saled so that we can see they are different, but not so much that a battleship takes up two screens or a fighter turns into a 3-pixel triangle. as for damage, fighter is waaaaaayyyyyyyy less threataning than BB, the scaling and controlls are not set up for a fighter to slip between a capship's defenses and do any damage at all, a fighter in EV is typically vaprized before it can get near a capship unless there are many of them attacking at once.

That's a pretty neat idea, Qaanol. I should try it and see what it's like...

Congratulations to Croikle for making the EVDC's Most satanic post!

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Ooh, who did the 6,666 topic?

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