New Mechanic

Cool, or needlessly confusing?

So I've been thinking recently (OK truthfully I just ripped it straight from Mass Effect) about having some weapons that go beyond being your typical short-range fare into the realm of so short-range that only smaller ships can use them effectively. The way this would work is that more maneuverable ships would have access to a few small, very short range, but very powerful weapons that larger ships would be barred from buying. The reason for this would be that larger ships, being far more difficult to maneuver in proximity to an enemy (not just in terms of speed but sheer size), would run too large a risk of collision if they moved into range of said weapons.

This would then be balanced out in part by the use of some very large spinal-mount weapons that have a considerable prox safety (meaning they have a minimum effective range) to simulate the fact that it's impossible to line up a shot once a ship is within a certain distance; you'd have to swing your (huge) ship way too far to get it into alignment.

Now, this probably wouldn't seem like too much for the player to keep in mind, since all the öutf dëscs would detail this, but the hypothetical TC already involves quite a few outfit restrictions. For example, a few factions have modular ships a la Colosseum, a few require different power grids to use different weapons, and one in particular needs to possess the proper token to buy just about any upgrade (advanced electronics (powerful sensors/afterburners), small/medium/large guns, small/medium/large turrets, small/large/heavy missiles, fighter bays, reactors, beams, etc.).

Soooooooo yeah. Is that going to be too much to handle? And in case you're wondering, said hypothetical TC is still in the early, early planning phases and already has 268 outfits. Stock Nova has 242. :unsure:

For me, it would be cool, and not very confusing, but I am worried about balance issues. If a small and maneuverable fighter can catch up to the mid-sized ships (corvettes, frigates, or destroyers) I usually fly and has a very strong weapon, what can I do if I am surrounded by them? Imagine attacking a lightly armed fed carrier and having scores of thunderhead lance-armed vellos darts fly out of the carrier to attack your starbridge. It's unnerving.

True, but keep in mind that the smaller ships are also going to have much lower tonnage and defenses. Like 390 tons and 1375 defense total for the largest ship that could use them vs 1790 tons and 12400 defense total for the same faction's largest ship.

Also, I should have specified that the weapons would be very powerful for their weight/class , not necessarily compared to the weapons the larger ships will be able to mount. So say the smaller weapons do 10 damage every second and weighs 5 tons, and large weapons deal 100 damage every second but weigh 150 tons (totally made up numbers, just for illustration). That would give smaller ships a bit of extra kick without putting the balance dangerously close to the "big is useless" genre.

I like it! No, I say it's not too much for the player to handle. At this point, while there is always new blood, the majority of your target market has been in the EV series for a while, and has seen their fill of standard mechanics. So, the more you can mix it up, the better!

I especially approve if you're going with the "Big expensive ship is most definitely better than small cheap ship" realism (with the exception of advanced tactical ships). This way, players who like to fly fighters will have a chance to use their skill, and make fighters better in the hands of ace pilots. As long as it doesn't throw off the balance (which it doesn't sound like it will), I say go for it.

Maybe they should have "blast radii" to worry about, so the player must actually attempt to fly at just the right distance, but not too close so as to cause a "collision"?

This post has been edited by n64mon : 06 October 2009 - 07:15 PM

I like. In fact, I like so much that you just made me start considering a ridiculously short-range incredibly inaccurate invisible PD weapon on large ships to simulate a crash if the player gets too close.

And yeah, definitely going for the "big ships > small ships" route, with some obvious weaknesses. Still, the weaknesses make some smaller ships good counters to bigger ships on a resource:resource level, not ship:ship. This will then lead to major missions being specified to what type of ship you have, which will then lead to the player taking part in major confrontations in ways that fit their type. So in shorthand yes bigger > smaller, but tactics > bigger. 😛

I like the way you think! Make sure, whatever you do, the AI knows how to handle it. Only making players

Although, personally, I would allow for at least one faction to offer an uber-fighter or corvette, for those of us who still have azdara-printed bedsheets. It can be ridiculously top-of-the-line break-the-bank to maintain the realism. As for myself, I like adding "reverse thrusters" as secondary weapons with kickback; something along those lines may help if you want to give the player a chance to use their skill to the fullest. That said: reverse thrusters + very close range weapons + turret blind spots on big ships = wicked. If the player figures it out and manages to pull it off, though, they deserve it. It's risky, because if fighters come to back them up then you're stuck between a rock and a beehive. Curse you, 2D combat!

As far as "major confrontations in ways that fit their type", let me know how that works out. With the AI being what it is, I'm having trouble making challenging missions where the AI plays a legitimate role. Too easy, and the player can let the AuxShips do the work. Too hard, and your whole squadron dies, and you're the one who saves the day on your own time and time again.

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