Because it already exists (sorta).
If you're looking for a EV-style multiplayer combat game, look at http://www.getcontinuum.com/
or Xsera (whenever it gets finished).
If you're looking for a modern-engine EV-style game, look at NAEV (http://blog.naev.org/).
Best posts made by LNSU
Latest posts made by LNSU
Because it already exists (sorta).
Fighters, or maybe all ships, could have an inherent evasion number. This is actually doable in EVN, I believe, if you use lights to represent the ship's graphic and use the rotation feature to make the ship's spin mask flicker on and off, meaning you can make shots pass through X% of the time (again, I haven't tested this, but I think you can do it). That would help to overcome the limitations of the 2D platform while adding a whole new layer of customization. Likewise, some weapons would have a greater or lesser chance of evasion.
Turret tracking limits would solve this. If you can outfly the gunner of the capital ship turret, it will miss you. You don't need a chance to miss or damage reduction against smaller ships.
Allow % modifiers to various systems. For a Nova example, make Port and Polish give, say, 50 speed to a Starbridge but only 5 to a Carrier.
The above could also be done by making weapon mass, ship mass, and ship thrust all factors in determining propulsion. That's probably too complex to be a good feature, since that's a lot of information to make the player contend with.
A %-based bonus system (optional, you also should be able to have a defined increase) for afterburners, outfits which increase shield/armor amount or regen, other propulsion mods, etc... would help a lot. This way adding armor plates to your carrier would give it much more armor than the same plate on a fighter.
With a %-based bonus system, you don't need ship mass and afterburner thrust or such things, you can just have outfits that make the ship x % faster, or armor plates that make the ship x% slower, etc...
Otherwise good ideas.
On the note about different fuel types, heat generation, etc...
Don't add things for the sake of complexity. Don't add things which will result in gameplay that is mathematically deterministic (stuff for which I will be better at the game if I have pen, paper and a calculator beside me).
Eg: If you want to create a universe of scarcity by not having fuel available everywhere, that will just frustrate the player when he runs out of fuel by accident and can't buy more. If you want to do it by allowing planets to charge different prices for fuel, then you've succeeded and won't cause unneeded frustration.
This post has been edited by LNSU : 30 January 2012 - 06:55 PM
I'll probably think of more later, but for now:
-Distance-based cloaking system (its been done in other games). Cloaking reduces your chance of being detected by nearby ships, some ships have stronger sensors than others, and doing things like lighting your afterburner, firing/arming weapons, raising shields, giving orders to escorts, recalling/relaunching fighters, and anything else interesting you can think of increases your chance of being detected.
---Cloaking wouldn't just be about hitting cloak and flying - you would need to choose to fly stealthily, not aggressively (no weapons/shields) and there would be pilot skill involved in staying undetected (distance from other ships).
-Option for intercept, not just chase missiles. This would add some challenge to the player just outrunning missile spam from the AI.
-Manual and dynamic zooming (Ares).
-Option in addition to PD type turrets, for a type of turret that just fires at everything around as the AI sees fit.
Mounting weapons to radiators isn't the best idea - you want radiators to be very thin so you can face them edge-on to the nearest star to prevent them from absorbing heat from it. Making them sturdy enough to carry weapons means less efficient cooling considering the heat needs to be dissipated anyways. Also, radiators tend to be not as sturdy as hull plating because of this, and its likely that a stray shot putting a hole through one of them will rip off the attached weaponry.
Unless you claim that the weapons can operate at a higher temperature than the squishy living things inside the ship can withstand, and are thus kept away from the ship so the cooling system doesn't need to drain the heet that bleeds from the weapons into the living quarters. Or something. Or the radiators are made of sci-fi-ish super strong stuff. Either way, it doesn't matter as long as it looks cool.
Regarding self-ionizing weapons: Submunitions - make the first part explode immediately after launch, deal a small radius of ionization, make sure it can affect the parent ship, and then submunition into the actual weapon. Of course, this doesn't work with beams directly.
If you want the ionizing weapon with a beam, the beam outfit needs to add another outfit that is a primary self-ionizing weapon. Doesn't work for secondary weapon beams. Remember to remove the self-ionizing weapon when selling the beam outfit. You can even have different self-ionizing weapons for different ionization rates.
@Darth, you can have non-electrical wheeled transport easier than non-electrical legged transport. EMP shielding can be made from thin mesh, use the power source that powers the rest of the vehicle, and does not weigh enough of use enough power to really have any tradeoffs, especially on a cargo-carrying vehicle. Also, legged transport relies on electronics just as much as wheeled, if not more so.
@JTH: They're intended to carry supplies through rough terrain where trucks can't go, but people can. I think.
When fully developed (AlphaDog) will carry 400 lbs of payload on 20-mile missions in rough terrain. The first version of the complete robot will be ready in 2012.
Boston Dynamics is doing a lot of good work in walking robots:
There are a lot of other people doing similar work too, they're just who came to mind first for me.
Regarding FTL travel and communications, that's entirely up to how the author designs the universe.
For example, say Quantum Entanglement is developed into a digital high-bandwidth communication system. You now have instant communication regardless of distance, you can now control entire ships remotely with robot crews from humans sitting on a planet somewhere.
Otherwise you make up the speed of FTL communication as you see fit for the story - slower if you want a more independent group at the frontier, faster if you want more bureaucracy or a unified and coordinated military over the entire universe.
On FTL travel speed, you can throw special relativity out the window and say "it takes x days (relative to a motionless clock) to jump y distance, based on ship mass or whatever" as the EV universe does, in which case reinforcements, resupply and other deliveries might arrive too late. If you have an instant-jump (eg: wormhole-on-demand type engines) then there's no reason for resupply/reinforcement/etc to ever arrive too late unless someone screws up. Or you can keep the time dilation section of special relativity ("these huge engines just make me go really really fast in normal space") and nothing will ever arrive in reasonable time, and the frontier is really on its own.
@Darthkev: Planetary magnetic fields tend to be weak. You would need a ridiculously strong magnet to hover on most planets, and there's the small side effect that any magnetizable or already magnetized metal near the hovermagnet will either fly towards or away from the hovermagnet at very great speed. Also, EMP-shielded electronics already exist (see: Faraday Cage).
Why have wheels when you can just hover above the ground? That is, assuming that using up fuel isn't a concern.
War has developed around the ground soldier. The infantry's task has been (and will be) to take, hold, and protect an area of land. The navy was developed to bring the infantry to distant lands, or stop enemy infantry from invading by sea. The air force fills a similar role (but with close air support and bombing - mobile accurate artillery - thrown in). Unless you are invading a planet of birds or fish, there's no reason these roles will change much.
When defending a planet you have resources on, fuel and vehicles are not a concern. You can build and fuel whatever you want by using the resources of the planet. When invading, fuel and vehicles are a concern (you need to transport or capture any fuel and vehicles you need) and then wheels are better than hovercraft. Assuming your orbital strike capability from the spaceships is very precise, you don't need airplanes for ground support. You do, however, need airplanes or very good AAA to enforce air superiority. You don't need a navy if you have a transport system that can launch things from the spaceships, return them to the spaceships, and launch them again without too much hassle.
If you manage to invade a planet and immediately manufacture all the fuel you need to use hovercraft instead of tanks, the defenders aren't doing a very good job.
There are other reasons for using ground vehicles instead of hovering vehicles - namely the amount of thrust required to make something hover, the reduced durability of the engines associated with stronger engines, difficulty involved in ground soldiers quickly entering/exiting the tank or using it as cover, and that's all i can think of right now, but I'm sure there's more.
@Kruger: if you have orbital bombardment, there's no need to aircraft in a close-air-support or bombing role, and no need for naval artillery near shore. You need aircraft and AAA solely for air superiority to prevent the enemy from bombing you. You still need an aerial transport craft to bring things to/from the spaceship, and something like a tank to provide mobile cover for infantry.
Sorry if this was a jumbled mess, I was fairly exhausted while writing this.
IMO, the space branch of the military should be its own branch; the air force was created rather recently with the invention of the airplane. Before the airplane it was just the army and the navy. It needs its own rank system just to fit with the others. However, the ranks and advancement system can be analagous to army/navy/air force.
Regarding marines, I would argue that a crewed ship needs them. Redundancy not only in the mechanical parts of the ship but in the crew itself is important for allowing a ship the option to keep fighting after taking losses. If the crew fights, then there may not be enough people to run the ship while until the crew finishes fighting and returns. What if you board a ship to capture it, and then its friends show up (who you had not detected before)? You need to be able to run the ship while fighting in close quarters.
From a technical perspective, a planet invasion needs airplanes, tanks, and other vehicles. Long-distance spaceships will not be practical for ground or in-atmosphere combat. Joint operations on the ground will proceed similar to how they do now, with the spaceships providing reconnaissance, supply drops and possibly orbital strikes.