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Games => AI War II => AI War II - Gameplay Ideas => Topic started by: x4000 on September 08, 2016, 05:03:16 PM

Title: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: x4000 on September 08, 2016, 05:03:16 PM
That's obviously very much in-progress right now, so please don't go pointing out omissions just yet. ;)

But I decided to take a break from some of the larger stuff today and instead focus on the million, million pieces of minutia.  I can't thank Cinth and those other of you enough for helping to set up this document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1E78-KtgIKyAExd9VpIKe2aXEKFO14A8b9zRLwRENkRk/edit#

Anyway, I might or might not have time to finish this tonight, I'm not sure.  It's taking slightly longer than I expected, but going well.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Wingflier on September 08, 2016, 05:18:26 PM
Thanks for this Chris, really liking it so far.

Whether or not you keep the Hull Types, I think the main thing that could instantly make a lot of these things useful/balance would be a revamped armor system.

I brought up the suggestion before of an "Armor Value" system, going from 0 to 10. Each point represents 10% resistance to all damage, with 10 armor being 100% resistance to damage. Ships then have Armor Penetration values which are subtracted from the Armor Value of any ship, resulting in the net damage reduction (if any).

I like this system because it's simple, intuitive, and easy to balance.

For example, I see that your "Snipers" are considered a massive balance issue right now. However, what if they stayed pretty much the way they are, except in the Armor system I've proposed they have 0 Armor Penetration? Suddenly against anything with Armor Values they are dealing significantly reduced damage, and against Heavily armored ships (and structures, which by their very nature are armored) they are dealing almost no damage at all.

This ship is balanced almost instantly as a long-range light unit killer (which seems like whats role should have been from the very start). It would also make the Armor Booster, Armor ship, and Space Tank instantly good.

The armor system could also create variations in ships with otherwise very similar roles. The Raider and the Space Plane may have a lot in common (with the Space Plane being in most cases, defacto better), but if the Raider has significantly more armor or armor pen, it can do things the Space Plane can't.

Also, if we're keeping forcefields I suggest that anything that can fire through them be revamped or removed from the game.

Those are my thoughts.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: PokerChen on September 08, 2016, 05:25:14 PM
Actually it's more our turn to apologise because we didn't group the giant unit list by something other than expansion - alphabetical. :P It took me a while to realise, e.g., there is a third teleporting fleetship (those leeches), etc.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: chemical_art on September 08, 2016, 06:42:51 PM
Just went through the mobile units. Lots and lots of material! Yikes!
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: tadrinth on September 08, 2016, 07:20:51 PM
For example, I see that your "Snipers" are considered a massive balance issue right now. However, what if they stayed pretty much the way they are, except in the Armor system I've proposed they have 0 Armor Penetration? Suddenly against anything with Armor Values they are dealing significantly reduced damage, and against Heavily armored ships (and structures, which by their very nature are armored) they are dealing almost no damage at all.

This ship is balanced almost instantly as a long-range light unit killer (which seems like whats role should have been from the very start).

Snipers have 6x bonuses vs light and poor base DPS.  They're already a long range light unit killer. 
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Wingflier on September 08, 2016, 09:03:14 PM
For example, I see that your "Snipers" are considered a massive balance issue right now. However, what if they stayed pretty much the way they are, except in the Armor system I've proposed they have 0 Armor Penetration? Suddenly against anything with Armor Values they are dealing significantly reduced damage, and against Heavily armored ships (and structures, which by their very nature are armored) they are dealing almost no damage at all.

This ship is balanced almost instantly as a long-range light unit killer (which seems like whats role should have been from the very start).

Snipers have 6x bonuses vs light and poor base DPS.  They're already a long range light unit killer.
True but that's not the problem people generally have with them. In a large group they can kill just about anything. And even if they did only counter light units, a 6x bonus is a little extreme wouldn't you say?

Small things don't generally have a lot of hp, so their DPS wouldn't have to be that high to counter those things without killing them all in one volley. Bonuses like that seem excessive.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: x4000 on September 08, 2016, 09:06:49 PM
Hey folks,

So I've not remotely gotten through all of the ships (ahahahaha that I thought I could, sheesh).

However, what I have managed to do:

1. 7.a General Mechanics is "complete."
- I have at least ported over everything from the old game, and made changes where need be.
- I added in jacketing, as one new thing that worked well in TLF.
- I shifted the armor and piercing mechanics to work like Wingflier suggested in this thread, because that's awesome.
- I have a number of ~*~ entries in there where I'm actually asking for clarification because I don't remember what something does.
- I combined a LOT of immunities, because typically those went in predictable groups anyhow, and when they didn't they needed to.
- I am not addressing hull types or shot types yet, because I'm still thinking on that, but I think removal or at least vast simplification may happen.  I'm not really "there yet" mentally on that one, though.
- I removed sizes, because very little relies on that, and the things that did rely on that I didn't feel like warranted that much text all over the place.

2. 7.b Tech Upgrades is in progress.
- This is definitely not remotely complete, but I'm creating these as I go through ships from AI War Classic and look at how to at least pull them over in spirit if I'm not pulling them over directly.

3. 8.a Player-And-AI Ship Designs is in progress.
- I've only got 9 ships on this so far, but it's actually more than it seems like.
- Those 9 ships are what resulted after parsing the first 17 ships, so already we see a sharp reduction in ship types.
- THAT said, the techs that these things have available make for some potential freaking monstrosities of ships, holy cow. :D  Cloaked Forcefield-Evading Engine-Boring Electric Shuttles are a terrifying prospect.

4. 8.b Player-Only Ship Designs and 8.c. AI-Only Ship Designs barely have anything.
- However, the Minelayer for the AI was a great suggestion from Zharmad and will definitely make mines more meaningful from the AI.
- The Minesweeper on the other end of things was something I added as kind of a response to the role the tachyon microfighter could have before, but this is a lot more generalized and always available.

5. Section 8.5: Ships In Limbo (Temporarily)
- This has some stuff that I'm just undecided on in some manner so far.
- Either exactly how I want to handle the mechanics (scouts), or if I truly want it at all (drone spawning and those immunities)
- I had been on the fence about the boosts, but those will probably return if people want.

6. Section 9: Abandoned Mechanics is not remotely complete, but what is in there is "correct and complete" based on my current thinking.
- Most of this is not a surprise probably, although removing the longest-range stuff from the game has been a goal of mine for a looong time.
- I also am removing some other mechanics that were clunky for one reason or another, or just general balance issues.
- Mostly it was a matter of clunkiness, though.

7. Section 10: To Investigate During Early Access
- That's just a log of things that I don't really want to discuss right now (too theoretical and too complex without being able to prototype), but that I don't want to forget for us to look into during early access.
- Right now just reclamation, but I imagine that list will grow.


Anyhow, so that's where things are.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Tridus on September 08, 2016, 09:39:41 PM
Quote
Counter-shots (specialized turrets, Protector Starship, Scout Starship)

So sad. So very very sad. :(
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Toranth on September 08, 2016, 09:45:39 PM
Quote
Counter-shots (specialized turrets, Protector Starship, Scout Starship)
So sad. So very very sad. :(
Agreed.  I loved the counter-* abilities.  Except dark matter, because that didn't matter.  But anti-missile turrets, and especially Protector Starships, were happiness and joy.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: chemical_art on September 08, 2016, 09:51:21 PM
One "new" variant of the attack mechanics that I didn't manage to sneak in time would be a version of cutting through defenses. Rather then acting as armor rotters do by reducing the armor directly, the unit would cumulatively do more damage as the unit is attacked. This mechanic would be shared by other ships by that mechanic (so golems can't do double damage, but perhaps specialized swarms can). It give a potential counter to swammers against larger craft.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: kasnavada on September 09, 2016, 01:56:18 AM
Quote
Counter-shots (specialized turrets, Protector Starship, Scout Starship)
So sad. So very very sad. :(
Agreed.  I loved the counter-* abilities.  Except dark matter, because that didn't matter.  But anti-missile turrets, and especially Protector Starships, were happiness and joy.

I'm glad that those are done with.
One of the issues with AI war was "Hey, that ship's cool !" but in practice it can't even shoot at anything. With that mechanic gone, it'll be better.


Removal of radar dampening & sniper immunities ? Finally ?

 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Wingflier on September 09, 2016, 04:35:25 AM
I agree. Parasite was such a cool mechanic but the ships you really wanted to steal were all immune to it. :(

Glad to see the immunities getting a big revamp!
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: kasnavada on September 09, 2016, 05:03:38 AM
So I read the WIP there:
- https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IdzU90psGas_3UFe23BLvsGQ8fclec49NmnbHfwkZ8w/edit#
Unit section.

About modificators:
- engine bore => terribly unclear what this ability is / does.
- jacketing => same issue.
- cloak boosting => same issue. I know what it does because I played AI war. But I always figured it as a workaround to make cloaked units more useful. I'd suggest a discussion on reworking cloaking.

Note, I'm pretty sure someone will point me to the section where it's defined. Which I didn't look at yet ON PURPOSE. My point ain't that I don't know what it is. My remark is that the name should immediately convey a general idea of what it does.

Forcefield evasion... that was kind of an OP possibility. All ships with forcefield immunity were of note. I would not put that one on "regular" upgrade paths, because that would be the only one I'd take - unless forcefields are somehow much less prevalent. Nah...who am I kidding. I'd use the forcefields to defend my units, making it OP again.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Tridus on September 09, 2016, 07:39:33 AM
Quote
Counter-shots (specialized turrets, Protector Starship, Scout Starship)
So sad. So very very sad. :(
Agreed.  I loved the counter-* abilities.  Except dark matter, because that didn't matter.  But anti-missile turrets, and especially Protector Starships, were happiness and joy.

I'm glad that those are done with.
One of the issues with AI war was "Hey, that ship's cool !" but in practice it can't even shoot at anything. With that mechanic gone, it'll be better.


Removal of radar dampening & sniper immunities ? Finally ?

 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

Sniper immunity doesn't matter because snipers themselves appear to be gone, so there's nothing to be immune from.

There was a difference between "ships that can't shoot at anything because of piles of immunities and couter turrets", and the Protector Starship, which was an awesome fleet defense unit. Don't expect me to cheer when my favorite ship is unceremoniously yanked out of the game. :P
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: kasnavada on September 09, 2016, 08:23:37 AM
Sniper immunity doesn't matter because snipers themselves appear to be gone, so there's nothing to be immune from.

Yes, still I won't regret them. OP on both sides, those were.
More immunities gone, I wish we had. Immunities, as a game mechanic, I hate.

There was a difference between "ships that can't shoot at anything because of piles of immunities and couter turrets", and the Protector Starship, which was an awesome fleet defense unit. Don't expect me to cheer when my favorite ship is unceremoniously yanked out of the game.
I can understand losing your favorite ships... I was very fond of the plane myself. Yet I'm glad it's gone. It was causing more issues than helping in anything.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: PokerChen on September 09, 2016, 10:45:15 AM
There's an interesting idea, as long as any single ammo-based immunity makes it through to 1.0, it may then be possible to recreate protector starships.
Making and Distributing mod will be another matter - but we've got websites for that.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Tridus on September 09, 2016, 10:58:41 AM
There's an interesting idea, as long as any single ammo-based immunity makes it through to 1.0, it may then be possible to recreate protector starships.

Hopefully! I'll be all over that.

Quote
Making and Distributing mod will be another matter - but we've got websites for that.

The sad thing is that it doesn't have to be a problem. Steam Workshop solved that. Loading mods into XCOM 2 and Cities: Skylines is a breeze. They're discoverable, rateable, they auto-patch themselves when the mod creator posts an update after a new game version breaks it, the whole nine yards. (Skylines even lets you publish asset changes like new buildings directly from the editor, it's simple as pie.)

Will be a shame if we get something external and clunky instead.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Pumpkin on September 09, 2016, 11:09:07 AM
I'm emotionally involved with several of these retired mechanisms (sniper, swallowing, etc) but I recognize the game balance and clarity would be better without them.

And... no more ammo immunities! Yes!

However I'm growing more and more worried about "candy techs". And short warning: I will use the word "upgrade" instead of "candy tech" from now on.

I would like to see more "ship personality" by lowering the number of upgrades one ship has access to. But it seems many units have access to a common ground of defensive upgrades (Hardening, Repulsors, Regeneration, Jacketing, Armor) and only a few more. So I would support the establishment of a design rule that would allow every ships to have these mostly-non-twisting upgrades available, and save really-twisting ones (cloaking, FField-ignore, teleportation, reclamation, vampirism, etc) for crafting what I name "unit personality".

A few examples. The Raptors are unique because they start with an insane speed and have access to the rare cloaking upgrade. The possibility for a teleport battlestation to acquire the rare leech ability (to become a teleporting leech) would be part of its "personality" (because few can).

However, I'm afraid the common ground of defensive upgrades would confuse new players and clutter the interface. I would like to see a distinction (maybe just graphic) between "defensive" and "twisting" upgrades. For example, just by looking at the Raptor stats (to keep that example), a player could quickly see "this one has the usual protection upgrades plus cloaking and engine bore." (instead of "Cloaking, Hardening, Regeneration, Jacketing, Armor, Piercing, Engine Bore", which is harder to mentally untangle).

Also, I really dislike most of the current names and prefixes of the upgrades. I hope they are only working names.
Please rename "engine bore" as "engine damage" for the upgrade itself and use "Spider" for the prefix.
Repulsors -> immunity to "capture" -> immunity to tractors and mines (aka Raider perks). That is highly confusing. I have no name to suggest right now, but please tell me you'll change it.
Suggestion: speed x2 upgrade; prefix "swift" or something.

I like the old perk names and prefixes: "spider" for engine damage, "leech" for reclamation, "widow" for tractor beams, "arachnid" for starship targetting, etc. I hope to see them used in AIW2, and to see new thematic prefixes, like (totally improvised suggestions subject to discussion) "acidic" for armor damage, "blinker" for teleportation, "tesla" for electric AoE, etc.

About the "Interference" immunity (aka "Starship cocktail")...
So you replaced my "size" idea with a handle name for the starship cocktail of immunities. Why not. I'm sad, but why not. So no more size-based targeting? No more OMD, Arachnid GPosts, disassemblers and Artillery Golems? Well, okay. I won't regret them specifically.
Interferences = tractor, paralysis, EMP, translocation, reclamation, etc. I think this is dangerously unclear. Where will the game tell what is the "interference" perk? Where will it list these immunities?
My "size" idea, while having different issues, had the advantage of letting each perk define to what it apply (or not). The definition of a tractor beam, for example, would say "target only small units". A big unit would have only to say "I am big" (instead of "I am immune to tractors and reclamation and translocation and paralysis and etc").
That's nitpicking, but I personally prefer the "size" approach. If everybody prefer the "interferences" handle for the cocktail of immunities, I'll shut my mouth.


Anyway, overall, I really pleased with the development of the design document. That's a hell of an emotional travel, but the net result for the game is truly positive, I believe.
Keep it up!


EDIT:
I really like how you streamlined the perks. Regeneration for instance, having a general "2 minutes for full regen" instead of per-unit-type times and rates.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: kasnavada on September 09, 2016, 11:29:50 AM
However, I'm afraid the common ground of defensive upgrades would confuse new players and clutter the interface. I would like to see a distinction (maybe just graphic) between "defensive" and "twisting" upgrades. For example, just by looking at the Raptor stats (to keep that example), a player could quickly see "this one has the usual protection upgrades plus cloaking and engine bore." (instead of "Cloaking, Hardening, Regeneration, Jacketing, Armor, Piercing, Engine Bore", which is harder to mentally untangle).

This is an excellent point.

Also, would it be possible to take multiple counts of "stat" upgrades ?


Also, I really dislike most of the current names and prefixes of the upgrades. I hope they are only working names.

I looked at what that does... jacketing. In every other game there is that I know of, or science fiction book, or board game, it's called "shield". That's how it's called everywhere. Litteraly. Jacketing sounds like clothes. I've left myself to hours to guess, and litterally have no idea that would be shields.

There is no reason, if that's it, to be afraid players wouldn't make a distinction between forcefields (immobile, blocks movements) and shields (regenerating portion of hit points).
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: skrutsch on September 09, 2016, 11:30:23 AM
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Minelayer (Specialist Raider)
Visits your planets and flies around erratically, leaving invisible minefields for you.

Player-built mines are common, defensive weapons placed logically and are visible to the player.
AI "mines" are far from common, non-defensive weapons placed erratically and are invisible to the player.

Using the same name for both concepts is confusing.  May I suggest "booby traps" or "snares" for the AI version?  I want to be able to build "snare sweepers"  :)

Also, I think that AI booby traps/snares should do something more interesting than just cause damage, to incentivize the player to not just ignore them.  Maybe paralyze/heavily damage engines ("snare")?  Maybe instakill the strongest ship on the planet?  EMP pulse?  Launch a Nuke MK III??  Burn down your apartment???

Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: skrutsch on September 09, 2016, 11:50:43 AM
Quote
Galaxy Map Types
All of those from AI War Classic are gone.  Instead there are new types, and new solar system interior types as well.  The reason for this shift is the addition of solar systems causing a pretty fundamental shift in what galaxy maps are like.  The actual variety you can experience in the new game should be higher than in the old game.

Zharmad observed the fundamental shift -- all solar system maps are like AIW Classic map type Clusters.  That observation and a couple pieces of scrap paper helped me a lot to visualize what the new galaxy maps will be like.

Please excuse my rambling and general lack of clue, but I just wanted to note that the bold statement would be clearer if it mentioned the extra variety comes from the new planet types and the importance of solar systems... or something like that.  ???


Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: skrutsch on September 09, 2016, 12:26:09 PM
I looked at what that does... jacketing. In every other game there is that I know of, or science fiction book, or board game, it's called "shield". That's how it's called everywhere.

+1, maybe +2 :)
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Tridus on September 09, 2016, 12:41:31 PM
I would like to see more "ship personality" by lowering the number of upgrades one ship has access to. But it seems many units have access to a common ground of defensive upgrades (Hardening, Repulsors, Regeneration, Jacketing, Armor) and only a few more. So I would support the establishment of a design rule that would allow every ships to have these mostly-non-twisting upgrades available, and save really-twisting ones (cloaking, FField-ignore, teleportation, reclamation, vampirism, etc) for crafting what I name "unit personality".

A few examples. The Raptors are unique because they start with an insane speed and have access to the rare cloaking upgrade. The possibility for a teleport battlestation to acquire the rare leech ability (to become a teleporting leech) would be part of its "personality" (because few can).

However, I'm afraid the common ground of defensive upgrades would confuse new players and clutter the interface. I would like to see a distinction (maybe just graphic) between "defensive" and "twisting" upgrades. For example, just by looking at the Raptor stats (to keep that example), a player could quickly see "this one has the usual protection upgrades plus cloaking and engine bore." (instead of "Cloaking, Hardening, Regeneration, Jacketing, Armor, Piercing, Engine Bore", which is harder to mentally untangle).

Makes sense. Getting the balance of how many should get it right would be tricky, but it does beat "everything".

Quote
Also, I really dislike most of the current names and prefixes of the upgrades. I hope they are only working names.
Please rename "engine bore" as "engine damage" for the upgrade itself and use "Spider" for the prefix.
Repulsors -> immunity to "capture" -> immunity to tractors and mines (aka Raider perks). That is highly confusing. I have no name to suggest right now, but please tell me you'll change it.
Suggestion: speed x2 upgrade; prefix "swift" or something.

I like the old perk names and prefixes: "spider" for engine damage, "leech" for reclamation, "widow" for tractor beams, "arachnid" for starship targetting, etc. I hope to see them used in AIW2, and to see new thematic prefixes, like (totally improvised suggestions subject to discussion) "acidic" for armor damage, "blinker" for teleportation, "tesla" for electric AoE, etc.

Agreed. Fortunately, names are easily changed during development.

Quote
About the "Interference" immunity (aka "Starship cocktail")...
So you replaced my "size" idea with a handle name for the starship cocktail of immunities. Why not. I'm sad, but why not. So no more size-based targeting? No more OMD, Arachnid GPosts, disassemblers and Artillery Golems? Well, okay. I won't regret them specifically.
Interferences = tractor, paralysis, EMP, translocation, reclamation, etc. I think this is dangerously unclear. Where will the game tell what is the "interference" perk? Where will it list these immunities?
My "size" idea, while having different issues, had the advantage of letting each perk define to what it apply (or not). The definition of a tractor beam, for example, would say "target only small units". A big unit would have only to say "I am big" (instead of "I am immune to tractors and reclamation and translocation and paralysis and etc").
That's nitpicking, but I personally prefer the "size" approach. If everybody prefer the "interferences" handle for the cocktail of immunities, I'll shut my mouth.

I guess for this, it matters how it scales as the game grows. As more things are added, size can get clunky. What if something is big but we don't want it to behave the same way as other "big" things? Is it not "big" now? In a case like that, it's easier to invent a new tag name for it (like: Imperial Spire Starship) that has different rules than "Starship", even if it's the same size as other big things. Otherwise, we have things that are the same size but some are "big" and some are not, which is weird.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Tridus on September 09, 2016, 12:46:34 PM
I looked at what that does... jacketing. In every other game there is that I know of, or science fiction book, or board game, it's called "shield". That's how it's called everywhere. Litteraly. Jacketing sounds like clothes. I've left myself to hours to guess, and litterally have no idea that would be shields.

There is no reason, if that's it, to be afraid players wouldn't make a distinction between forcefields (immobile, blocks movements) and shields (regenerating portion of hit points).

Seconded or thirded or whatever. "Jacketing" in common terminlogy is putting a jacket on a toddler. :P

In a combat sense, what actually came to mind was a "full metal jacket", which is a bullet that's core is jacketed in a harder metal to aid in feeding lots of ammunition quickly (and as a side effect, being more likely to penetrate a target completely and carry on through it, rather than deforming and stopping in the target).

That it's somehow a *shield* never occurred to me until I read this thread.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: x4000 on September 09, 2016, 12:48:25 PM
Regarding the names of some of the abilities, if you're not going to look up what those do I can't really help. ;)  None of those names are final right now anyway, so I'd rather not debate semantics on that stuff right now.  There's lots of terminology that one has to learn in order to play this game, and plenty of things you only understand because you played classic.  Jacketing wasn't in classic, so of course you don't know what that is from the name alone. ;)

One "new" variant of the attack mechanics that I didn't manage to sneak in time would be a version of cutting through defenses. Rather then acting as armor rotters do by reducing the armor directly, the unit would cumulatively do more damage as the unit is attacked. This mechanic would be shared by other ships by that mechanic (so golems can't do double damage, but perhaps specialized swarms can). It give a potential counter to swammers against larger craft.

This sounds promising, but can you elaborate on this?  I don't fully follow it.

More immunities gone, I wish we had. Immunities, as a game mechanic, I hate.

There was a difference between "ships that can't shoot at anything because of piles of immunities and couter turrets", and the Protector Starship, which was an awesome fleet defense unit. Don't expect me to cheer when my favorite ship is unceremoniously yanked out of the game.
I can understand losing your favorite ships... I was very fond of the plane myself. Yet I'm glad it's gone. It was causing more issues than helping in anything.

I'm sorry to see that folks are upset by the removal of some of the counter-whatever stuff, and some of those immunities.  Bear in mind that when it comes to something like the protector starship, I'm totally down with re-implementing that in a more clear, generally-palatable fashion.  That said, things that in general provide perfect protection are... dangerous, to say the least.  So easy to be OP.  The role of a starship that travels with ships and makes them safer in some fashion when normally they'd be at great risk is very cool, but making them all completely immune to a lot of types of shots is a dangerous thing, and just using a forcefield is boring.  Something more in the middle of that, perhaps.

Maybe it does something like halve all damage that hits any ships in its range, and whenever a ship would die from a shot there's a 75% chance it will just stick at 1HP instead.  That would be something quite exciting and fresh, and get at the same sort of idea, but without perfect immunity and without just being forcefields by a different name.  Some of the old mechanics that are dying I'm really cool with reviving in an alternative form that would hopefully be more clear and more fun and more balanced.

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Terminology complaints

I'm working on various things with that, based on suggestions here.  Bear in mind it's pretty temporary right now.

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Separating out basic upgrades on ships versus the extra-neat ones
Yep, I'll do that.  Good idea, that was becoming a mess.

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Worry about ships becoming overly generic via upgrades
One way or another, we won't let that happen.  Most of the upgrades that seem generic-ish are ones that are extremely basic.  I've started on the base game of AI War and am working my way down, so naturally there's the largest amount of overlap thus far.

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Reclamation immunity
Oops!  That was missing and has been added back.  Still, it was over-used previously and I want to make that not the case.

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Steam workshop
That all depends on the steamworks.net quality for things like that.  So I have no idea.

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Anything else I missed?
It may be good to break out certain discussions into their own general groups.  Not on every ship, but we have like 5 general conversations in this one thread and so I'm sure I missed some stuff.  Immunities stuff, reclamation stuff, upgrades, naming stuff, and so on.

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jacketing
Hey, come on, cut me some slack.  I was thinking about those from All You Need Is Kill (I can't recall if they also called them that in Edge of Tomorrow, which is based on that).  But also the sheaths around bullets themselves (shell casings for large shells... isn't that right, or am I remembering wrong?).  Anyway, I thought it was neat.  Either way, it's changing.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: x4000 on September 09, 2016, 01:05:58 PM
More comments:

1. I've updated the document to now have jacketing gone, and shielding in.

2. The techs are now broken out into basic and specialized on each ship type, and will have some colorization or whatever in the tech list in game.

3. The specialization of techs is a lot better now.  It was indeed overly-broad before.

4. In absolutely no way will I consider adding prefixes like "spider" and whatnot.  That would be an insanely unclear system to anyone except hardcore AI War players.  I have 20,000 hours in the game and yet it's been 3 years since I put time into it and I wouldn't know what that meant.  Thematic is great, but clarity is better.  I think the Binding of Isaac was a great example of that being handled horribly, and people seemed to appreciate what we did with Starward Rogue instead.  It's even something people complain about with Java, and why we like C# better even though they are pretty similar.  Tell me: what do "java beans" do?  I keep learning that and forgetting, and it's just one example with that language.

5. The "starship cocktail" is clearer since it doesn't have a million pieces of immunity listed all over the place.  You learn what it means once, and then you know.  I anticipate having two things to help with that: a) a way in the game in general to "freeze a tooltip" so that you can then hover over it and get tooltips on the tooltip (basically like the Civolopedia but without having to search into it); and possibly a way to "expand tooltip" via a different hotkey that translates the abbreviated info into the "oh my eyes are bleeding" info dump style.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Tridus on September 09, 2016, 01:07:28 PM
I'm sorry to see that folks are upset by the removal of some of the counter-whatever stuff, and some of those immunities.  Bear in mind that when it comes to something like the protector starship, I'm totally down with re-implementing that in a more clear, generally-palatable fashion.  That said, things that in general provide perfect protection are... dangerous, to say the least.  So easy to be OP.  The role of a starship that travels with ships and makes them safer in some fashion when normally they'd be at great risk is very cool, but making them all completely immune to a lot of types of shots is a dangerous thing, and just using a forcefield is boring.  Something more in the middle of that, perhaps.

Oh good. :) It's a great idea for a ship, hopefully it's back in some form.

To be fair to it though, the Protector Starship *never* granted immunity. It mounted modules, and each module could counter a certain amount of damage from a certain type of shot. So, the pair of mk I's you got initially could stop X damage from two of the four options of shot types, or stop 2X of one of them. Each mk could mount an extra module, so if you went all the way up to IV, you could stop a whole lot of everything or provide near immunity to one thing, but they could still be overwhelmed in terms of incoming damage.

Of course, that time I loaded them all up with energy counter and fought a mk III Fortress with only fighters/missile frigates and didn't lose any might have looked like immunity. ;) (But in that case, the ship was doing *nothing* against any other type of shot. So even then there's an opportunity cost for doing that.)

It was really a "counter DPS up to the ship's limit" ship, rather than a "grant immunity" ship. That's what made it cool, honestly. A "stick this here and now you're immune to X" ship is pretty lame in comparison.

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Maybe it does something like halve all damage that hits any ships in its range, and whenever a ship would die from a shot there's a 75% chance it will just stick at 1HP instead.  That would be something quite exciting and fresh, and get at the same sort of idea, but without perfect immunity and without just being forcefields by a different name.  Some of the old mechanics that are dying I'm really cool with reviving in an alternative form that would hopefully be more clear and more fun and more balanced.

That'd be cool, yeah. Half is quite a huge damage reduction though, ulness that's on the mk V variant. There's lots of room to sort out exactly how it works later, but thematically that's a good idea.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: x4000 on September 09, 2016, 01:22:06 PM
These are now in under perks, though not assigned to any ships yet:

Area Protection [X]%
New. Reduces all damage that hits any ships in its range (except itself) by that percentage, so area protection 60% makes all incoming damage 60% weaker.
Life Roulette [X]%
New. Can be ranged (affecting all ships in range except itself), or applied to itself.
Whenever an affected ship would die from a shot there's an [X]% chance it will just stick at 1HP instead.


Oh good. :) It's a great idea for a ship, hopefully it's back in some form.

To be fair to it though, the Protector Starship *never* granted immunity. It mounted modules, and each module could counter a certain amount of damage from a certain type of shot. So, the pair of mk I's you got initially could stop X damage from two of the four options of shot types, or stop 2X of one of them. Each mk could mount an extra module, so if you went all the way up to IV, you could stop a whole lot of everything or provide near immunity to one thing, but they could still be overwhelmed in terms of incoming damage.

Of course, that time I loaded them all up with energy counter and fought a mk III Fortress with only fighters/missile frigates and didn't lose any might have looked like immunity. ;) (But in that case, the ship was doing *nothing* against any other type of shot. So even then there's an opportunity cost for doing that.)

It was really a "counter DPS up to the ship's limit" ship, rather than a "grant immunity" ship. That's what made it cool, honestly. A "stick this here and now you're immune to X" ship is pretty lame in comparison.

Clearly I'm missing the boat on this one.  Any extra clarity on how this work would be good.  I'd be tempted to make it for all damage that is incoming, not just specific types, but I dunno.  I could see a new "Area Damage Prevention [X numeric]" mechanic that can be applied to an area like the area protection above does.

But what I'm not clear on is:
1. How does it prevent damage: is it basically a FIFO thing? (first in, first out)?
2. Is that something that's resetting every clock second, or every tick is that reducing the "amount I've done lately" by a fixed amount?

You may not know the answers on those, and I can ping Keith.  But in practice, I imagine you have an idea of in general what it was doing since it's a favorite of yours, and I was curious from that perspective what it appeared to be doing.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: kasnavada on September 09, 2016, 01:25:43 PM
Area Protection [X]%
New. Reduces all damage that hits any ships in its range (except itself) by that percentage, so area protection 60% makes all incoming damage 60% weaker.

This, I like. Much better than the counter mechanic of before, that made you invicible against threats "up to a certain point", or immunities.

Hey, come on, cut me some slack.  I was thinking about those from All You Need Is Kill (I can't recall if they also called them that in Edge of Tomorrow, which is based on that).  But also the sheaths around bullets themselves (shell casings for large shells... isn't that right, or am I remembering wrong?).  Anyway, I thought it was neat.  Either way, it's changing.

Errr. Sorry if my tone or remarks offended you, I was more "puzzled" at finding out what it was than trying to be mean.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Cinth on September 09, 2016, 01:27:40 PM
IIRC Protector modules worked fifo and are salvo based, so many intercepted shots per time period.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: tadrinth on September 09, 2016, 01:30:16 PM
I want to make a general prediction that people's favorite ships are disproportionately ships that are hard to balance.   I know most of mine are.  Broken crazy ships are fun.

I think a good general rule is to say that anything the AI can't have is never a bonus ship type.  You can't have things like Protector Starships and NCCs and Lightning Torpedo Frigates competing with Laser Gatlings.  They should instead compete with each other somehow. 

I would do that either by Human Faction Leaders (which give you a CRAZY bonus, like access to protector starships), or by making them champion hulls so you have to pick one. 

That makes explicit the difference between 'crazy human OP schtick' and 'regular balanced fleet ship'. It's okay for the humans to have some crazy stuff, I think. 

The other good general rule is that everything needs a counter and most things need a triangle counter.   Once you had a protector starship, you could make it counter just about anything.  Remove its ability to stop energy bombs and it would be much less OP because bombers would wreck it. 
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: tadrinth on September 09, 2016, 01:33:02 PM
But what I'm not clear on is:
1. How does it prevent damage: is it basically a FIFO thing? (first in, first out)?
2. Is that something that's resetting every clock second, or every tick is that reducing the "amount I've done lately" by a fixed amount?
Original version, where they had so many counter-shots available:
https://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=AI_War:Current_Post-6.000_Beta#Prerelease_6.035_Dire_Protector

Update to limit each countershot to a certain maximum damage:
https://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=AI_War:Current_Post-6.000_Beta#Revising.2FPolishing_Expansion_Stuff

The second link has some examples that make it pretty clear how they work. 
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Tridus on September 09, 2016, 01:35:24 PM
Keith probably knows the specific numbers bettre than I do, but you're right, since it's my favorite I do know. :D

It's a modular ship, cap of 2 per mk. Each one gets mk modules. There's five modules: a FF generator (that I never use), and four counter modules: Shell/Laser/Missile/Energy (which is a broad definition including negative energy, energy waves, implosion shots, impulse reactive shots, flame waves).

The way it works is that when an incoming shot of the appropriate type enters its area of effect, the Protector fires a counter shot that nullifies the shot in question. That takes one shot from the Protector. If the shot it's countering is over 1000 (I think) damage, then it takes more shots (a 4500 damage shot would take 5 Protector shots to counter).

The Protector modules regain 10 shots/second and have a cap of 100 shots available. So they can stop a big alpha strike salvo, but then have an effective shots per second and DPS limit on what they can stop. If you outfit them for a specific damage type, you can stop a LOT of that type, or you can use them more well rounded by having a wide variety of modules. They can be overwhelmed either by huge damage shots, or by swarms that fire so many shots they simply can't stop them all. Amusingly, Laser Gatlings are a PITA for them because they are a big swarm and rapid fire small shots, which is the worst thing for Protectors to try and stop.


A non-modular version could work where it simply stops any eligible type of shot, up to its limit. That'd make them easier to use and not let you abuse them to counter a SuperFortress, but because they have a finite amount of DPS and shots they can react to, a strong defense still beats them. That's why I like to call them "counter DPS" ships: their attack is effectively anti-damage. :D

It's a very unique mechanic that nothing else in the game has, IIRC.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: tadrinth on September 09, 2016, 01:45:48 PM
Tridus, to very slightly nitpick, I think the protector module calculations occur when an enemy ship fires upon a friendly ship within range of a friendly protector module.  If you move the protector into range of a ship AFTER it's been fired upon, the protector won't save it.  At least, I'm pretty sure that's how that works (its definitely how counter-sniper coverage works).  I think it's animated differently, which is a bit confusing. 

How good would Protectors be if they only protected the nearest squadron, or nearest X squadrons? 
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Tridus on September 09, 2016, 01:52:14 PM
Tridus, to very slightly nitpick, I think the protector module calculations occur when an enemy ship fires upon a friendly ship within range of a friendly protector module.  If you move the protector into range of a ship AFTER it's been fired upon, the protector won't save it.  At least, I'm pretty sure that's how that works (its definitely how counter-sniper coverage works).  I think it's animated differently, which is a bit confusing. 

That sounds right. Good catch. :)

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How good would Protectors be if they only protected the nearest squadron, or nearest X squadrons?

Then it'd depend on what is getting shot at, since if the things in range want to shoot ships not in those squadrons, it wouldn't really do anything and you'd have to reposition it to get better coverage (kinda micro heavy). If your bombers are getting wrecked by something that hates them specifically but the Protectors are only guarding your fighters, they're not doing anything.

You ideally want it to have a large enough area of effect that you don't have to micro it between specific ships, but rather have to choose which group to send it with if you split your fleet (like if you go after multiple targets in a gravity well at the same time, you'd have to pick which group to send it with). Right now that's also compounded by knowing which module loadout it has so you know what it can actually counter, but a more generic AIW2 non-modular version could reduce that while leaving the tactical decision in place.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: kasnavada on September 09, 2016, 02:10:54 PM
How good would Protectors be if they only protected the nearest squadron, or nearest X squadrons? 

OP ? Whatever the game, units belong to archetypes. Tank, glass cannon... and so on. Invariably, in games, some units are balanced because they are glass cannons. With this idea, the group of glass cannons + protector would become a possibly cheap lighning bruiser. A single protecting unit, that'll cause balance issues much larger than itself.

The issue here is that "protectors" and "healers", no matter what the game is, change the balance of the game completely compared to when they're not here. Is it worth it, to be including a possible balance headache into the game ?
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: x4000 on September 09, 2016, 03:19:26 PM
Thanks for all the notes about protectors, guys!

Hey, come on, cut me some slack.  I was thinking about those from All You Need Is Kill (I can't recall if they also called them that in Edge of Tomorrow, which is based on that).  But also the sheaths around bullets themselves (shell casings for large shells... isn't that right, or am I remembering wrong?).  Anyway, I thought it was neat.  Either way, it's changing.

Errr. Sorry if my tone or remarks offended you, I was more "puzzled" at finding out what it was than trying to be mean.

Sorry, humor really doesn't come across well at all in writing.  I was actually amused, and kind of teasing back with the "cut me some slack" bit.  But that completely doesn't come across, I realize on a re-read.

No harm, no foul!

IIRC Protector modules worked fifo and are salvo based, so many intercepted shots per time period.

Salvo-based would be pretty strange, because normally that would be perfect protection except for certain really big ships like MLRS or what have you.

I want to make a general prediction that people's favorite ships are disproportionately ships that are hard to balance.   I know most of mine are.  Broken crazy ships are fun.

I think a good general rule is to say that anything the AI can't have is never a bonus ship type.  You can't have things like Protector Starships and NCCs and Lightning Torpedo Frigates competing with Laser Gatlings.  They should instead compete with each other somehow.

This is a brilliant point, actually.  I don't want these things to be something that you start the game with, though.  I'd like for them to be something along the lines of "quest rewards" (that's really misleading) for protecting background factions.  We actually could use quite a few ships for that, since there could be a lot of background factions in the game.

You'd have access to build this ship type (fleet style or starship style) so long as you protect that background faction, and if they die then bye-bye for your ability to build that sort of thing for the rest of that campaign.  That would be the perfect thing for background factions actually, and anyone who wants to start a thread about ships that maybe should go there would be more than welcome to. ;)
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Cinth on September 09, 2016, 03:39:49 PM
IIRC Protector modules worked fifo and are salvo based, so many intercepted shots per time period.

Salvo-based would be pretty strange, because normally that would be perfect protection except for certain really big ships like MLRS or what have you.

Not really.  You would have a saturation point at which the Protector can't absorb any more incoming shots of a certain type.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Pumpkin on September 09, 2016, 03:47:23 PM
I want to make a general prediction that people's favorite ships are disproportionately ships that are hard to balance.   I know most of mine are.  Broken crazy ships are fun.

I think a good general rule is to say that anything the AI can't have is never a bonus ship type.  You can't have things like Protector Starships and NCCs and Lightning Torpedo Frigates competing with Laser Gatlings.  They should instead compete with each other somehow.

This is a brilliant point, actually.  I don't want these things to be something that you start the game with, though.  I'd like for them to be something along the lines of "quest rewards" (that's really misleading) for protecting background factions.  We actually could use quite a few ships for that, since there could be a lot of background factions in the game.

You'd have access to build this ship type (fleet style or starship style) so long as you protect that background faction, and if they die then bye-bye for your ability to build that sort of thing for the rest of that campaign.  That would be the perfect thing for background factions actually, and anyone who wants to start a thread about ships that maybe should go there would be more than welcome to. ;)
That would be a sort of "rebelling colonies" all over the place. Why not. The early game will be stressful and frustrating, I guess. I don't know...

May I rise a concern about the ship families? (Yeah, OCD.) If they are human-reserved, I would like to give them a specific family name. For example, guardians are not starships, because starships are shared and guardians are AI-only. However, I don't have a name right now. Maybe "resistance something" or simply "human something"...
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Orelius on September 09, 2016, 04:18:00 PM
So are snipers completely dead?  While they're troublesome as a shiptype, but they would still be cool to have as turrets or guardposts, in my opinion.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: tadrinth on September 09, 2016, 08:36:00 PM
Hrm, in Classic all guard posts have radar dampening... I guess without snipers around they no longer need it?
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Pumpkin on September 10, 2016, 02:04:51 AM
Hrm, in Classic all guard posts have radar dampening... I guess without snipers around they no longer need it?
Indeed, that will change a lot of things. Long range units (missile frigates) will be able to sink short-ranged guard posts (MLRS) from afar. Is that terrible? I don't know.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: kasnavada on September 10, 2016, 02:11:43 AM
Hrm, in Classic all guard posts have radar dampening... I guess without snipers around they no longer need it?
Indeed, that will change a lot of things. Long range units (missile frigates) will be able to sink short-ranged guard posts (MLRS) from afar. Is that terrible? I don't know.

Or, range could be relanced so this kind of situation does not occur anymore.
My proposal would be that turrets & guard posts should outrange all standard units.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: PokerChen on September 11, 2016, 10:48:20 AM
Hrm, in Classic all guard posts have radar dampening... I guess without snipers around they no longer need it?
Indeed, that will change a lot of things. Long range units (missile frigates) will be able to sink short-ranged guard posts (MLRS) from afar. Is that terrible? I don't know.
Or, range could be relanced so this kind of situation does not occur anymore.
My proposal would be that turrets & guard posts should outrange all standard units.
It would go hand in hand with the armour/hull rebalance, I'd say. Human turrets currently out-range their same-shot counterparts, and the same goes for guardposts. I don't think this needs to change per see, given that we do have artillery archetypes.

Hopefully infinite-range advantage will have less of an attraction in the sequel due to the much smaller grav-wells. Classic has it such that median speed ships take their sweet time to cross the system.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: PokerChen on September 11, 2016, 12:22:59 PM
I added the Dire Guardians - if anyone has a particular opinion of the relationship between guardians and dire guardians, please note this somewhere. (I wrote in the doc that Guardians and Dire Guardians could be merged, so that Guardians are a bit bigger than starships and a bit more special, to distinguish themselves. Although maybe this blurs the line between guardians and mobile guardposts.)
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: chemical_art on September 18, 2016, 03:48:11 PM
How has the progress on this going? I am reading through the notes and I am not sure...
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: PokerChen on September 19, 2016, 01:05:08 PM
I'm assuming Chris will come back to it after another round of everything else that needs to be done for the kick-starter.
Also, I wonder whether the eventual final ship list will be constrained by the time to implement mechanics, the time to implement art, or the time to balance them all.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Cinth on September 19, 2016, 01:51:21 PM
I'm assuming Chris will come back to it after another round of everything else that needs to be done for the kick-starter.
Also, I wonder whether the eventual final ship list will be constrained by the time to implement mechanics, the time to implement art, or the time to balance them all.

 :-X
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: PokerChen on September 19, 2016, 02:25:32 PM
I'm assuming Chris will come back to it after another round of everything else that needs to be done for the kick-starter.
Also, I wonder whether the eventual final ship list will be constrained by the time to implement mechanics, the time to implement art, or the time to balance them all.
:-X *Does not reveal Chris's plans to turn AI War 2 into a space pilot sim like Eve Online.*
FIFY. ;P
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Cinth on September 19, 2016, 02:26:16 PM
 8)
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: tadrinth on September 20, 2016, 07:27:44 PM
Hrm, I think the following kinds of attrition are missing from the doc (and Chris already went through that section):

* attrition on hostile wormhole transit (transport, spirecraft scout)
* attrition while on high-mark planet (spirecraft jumpship)

Also, the concept of 'build points' is used by things like the Dire Guardian Lair, where build points accumulate when the planet is on alert. Not sure if anything else works like that, H/K factories maybe?
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: Cinth on September 20, 2016, 07:45:59 PM
Hrm, I think the following kinds of attrition are missing from the doc (and Chris already went through that section):

* attrition on hostile wormhole transit (transport, spirecraft scout)
* attrition while on high-mark planet (spirecraft jumpship)

Also, the concept of 'build points' is used by things like the Dire Guardian Lair, where build points accumulate when the planet is on alert. Not sure if anything else works like that, H/K factories maybe?

Somethings in due time...

* attrition on hostile wormhole transit (transport, spirecraft scout) - Fuel should account for this rather easily.  Fuel should limit how far you can go with the transports and feel better than attrition.

* attrition while on high-mark planet (spirecraft jumpship) - Jumpships are probably not going to look like their AIWC counterparts.

Also, the concept of 'build points' is used by things like the Dire Guardian Lair, where build points accumulate when the planet is on alert. Not sure if anything else works like that, H/K factories maybe? - There's probably a better way to make these function that feels natural and nasty.
Title: Re: I'm going through all the ship mechanics and ships today.
Post by: tadrinth on September 21, 2016, 07:31:50 AM
I brought them up not because I think they need reimplemented, but because those mechanics were there to solve certain problems.  If those problems need to be solved in AIW2, and if those solutions come in the form of new mechanics, then those mechanics need to be in the design doc, even if they're not the same mechanics. 

Well, that and just for the sake of completeness; Chris did ask for every single mechanic in AIW1.

I would be much happier if transports just refused to go more than X hops out, rather than attritioning, assuming they return at all.   I'm not sure how the currently planned 'fuel is like energy except you have a separate pool for mobile units' system solves the transport issue; did that change again? 

I think DG Lairs and any other build point-based units will work really well as ship bays, actually.  A DG lair could be nicely implemented as a ship bay that contains 3 dire guardians, and periodically builds and releases dire guardians when alerted. That's basically how it works today, except the ship bay version lets you see what's going to spawn.  You'd still need a way to say 'this ship bay doesn't get reinforcements but instead builds X when alerted', ideally in XML for the modders, and perhaps specified in time units rather than build points for clarity.  I think Preservation Wardens and Roaming Enclaves and Neinzul Nests use a vaguely similar system, as well.  I don't think these need to be implemented very differently under the hood, they just need a better UI that shows what they've built and how long you have until they build more.