Author Topic: New Hulls proposal  (Read 278 times)

Offline Pumpkin

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New Hulls proposal
« on: August 31, 2016, 04:51:54 AM »
GOAL: make the game more READABLE (but do NOT make it more simple); make it more coherent, thus more easy to understand and to learn.

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   Design rules that must be respected

Hull type describe what a ship IS, not what it should be good or bad against. Hull bonuses describe that.

Thus, ships with similar stats and abilities must have the same hull type. Some dominant (both common and game changing) abilities (like cloaking) could have a reserved hull type. Some rarer but very ship-defining abilities (like teleporting and tractor) must all share a common hull type.

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   Hull Types

   Hull type's names:
- ultra-heavy
- heavy
- medium
- light
- ultra-light
- artillery
- close-combat
- composite
- neutron
- polycrystal
- refractive
- swarmer

   Special hull type's names:
- command-grade
- structural
- scout
- turret

   Thematic Problem:

Ultra-heavy, heavy, medium, light and ultra-light are lame (thematically speaking); merge heavy with ultra-heavy, light with ultra-light (ultra-* sounds cool), and rename medium to give it a more cool name.

Close-combat, Artillery and Swarmer are names of roles. (So are command-grade, structural, scout and turret, but they are not available for combat ships, so... eh.) They need to be renamed too.

As Command-Grade is a role name and is less thematic (like close-combat, swarmer, etc), it is candidate to a rename. However, it seems to have acquired a high thematic value in the community, and renaming it might be a bad thing.

   New hull type's names:
- Nanomesh
- Laminar
- Polymer
- Xenosteel

   Some refused suggestions:
- Titanium
- Chitinous
- Sorian-Scale
- Quark
- Quicksilver
- Carbonite (StarWars)
- Raw-***
- ***layered / Nanolayer(ed) / Polylayer(ed) / Multilayer(ed)
- Quasarian

   Commentary on current hull types' attribution:

* Command-grade is for special, key buildings, the kind Chivalric would avoid. This is completely coherent.
* Turret is only for turrets; This is coherent too. However, the human raid starship has a bonus against turrets... Meh.
* Neutron seem to be also for energy related or builder units, like energy collector, matter convertor, subspace signal receiver, engineer, RRebuilder, mobile builder, etc. This if fine, but why not "structural"? If structural must be reserved to immobile units, which would be totally coherent, then only mobile economical units must be neutron. However, the energy-related attribution of neutron sounds relatively fine...
* Structural is for FFields and immobile builders, like space docks, SShip constructor, etc. No mobile unit wear it, which is fine, but more small, logistical structures have random hull types and should have structural instead: advanced warp sensor, rally posts, harvester exo-shield, Zenith STManipulator and mines. Tachyon drone and decloaker too, maybe, but they are mobile units (neutron, then?)

* Artillery bear no coherence in terms of speed, range or armor. It seems to have a long-range quick, but no. Entire revamp required.
* Close-combat has a partial coherence: it's for contact and suicidal attacks (range -1000), but then the chameleon and acid sprayer have nothing to do there, and the vampire should be there (however it has cloaking, but contact attack sounds more specific than the wide-spread cloaking).
* Composite seems to have a small AoE quirk (beam frigate, electric shuttle, lightning starship; the spire gravity drain and reaper kinda, but... meh); however the younglings weasel and railcluster just work against that.
* Heavy counts half the starships and the shield bearer, which is mostly fine. Having the plasma, spire and zenith starships in would be nice.
* Light counts a slightly higher than average speed. The ***Fighters (standard, micro and bulletproof) share the same hull bonuses, which is nice; there is also the armor-piercing quick, shared by the anti-armor ship. Overall, a well designed family, however a bit small, and the saboter and spider kinda ruin that.
* Medium is rather wide and tasteless, however not totally incoherent: there is two fast-drone launcher (having the artillery-tagged lightning torpedo frigate would have been nice); there is two teleporting ships out of three (ultra-light tele-raider), but also a load of ships that have clearly no idea where they should be.
* Neutron, for the military units, have a collection of specialized units that do extra damages to special ships (Impulse, Polarizer and Vulture; also Mirror, why not); however they share don't share much beside a relatively high armor (but the Impulse).
* Polycrystal looks like a well-rounded hull family. They are siege units with a slightly lower speed and range and a mostly high armor, and they widely share a bonus against heavy and structural targets. Even the powerslaver, beside its singular ability, stay very in line with the other topics. The Zelec Bomber (neutron) should be polycrystal because it perfectly fits in, beside the fact it has a bonus against polycrystal.
* Refractive could be a very thematic hull family, just like polycrystal, built around sneaky ships with assassin style. Many refractive ships have the cloaking ability, however many cloaked ships aren't refractive. Having the infiltrator in would be great because it's assassin firstly and swarmer then. Same idea for the ultra-light space plane. Also, that family seems "polluted" by a support quirk, with both the shield and munition boosters.
* Swarmer is a very coherent family, beside the fact it must include all the younglings, not only one. Swarmers are numerous small annoyance with high rate of fire and a relatively high speed. However it's rather a small family, and while the infiltrator seems more assassin than swarmer, the autocannon sounds much more swarmer, with its small armor damage.
* Ultra-heavy must just join the heavy family (or rather they should join it, because "ultra-heavy" sounds much more fun than "heavy").
* Ultra-light could have been interesting if merged with light: they are fast and ultra-fast ships designed for raid, which is highly thematic and recognizable. However several ships are out of place: the sniper must be in medium, like many long-range support ships; the parasite and micro-parasite... should be elsewhere too; maybe refractive can have both assassins and thieves. The speed-booster must go with the armor and munition boosters, wherever they go. The translocator has nothing to do in the ultra-light theme. The hull bonuses of the ultra-light are completely random, however. They must adopt the anti-polycrystal/anti-medium bonuses of the light ***Fighters while merging with them.

   Note on the "Youngling Problem":
All younglings must have the "swarmer" hull. Sure they have their small internal triangle, but it makes no sense to the rest of the game that this youngling must be hit with that while this other youngling must be hit with something else. They have a very strong thematic and mechanical bond: insane speed, spammable-price and short lifetime; 3 huge features; even ships which share only one ability, like cloaking or teleporting, often share a hull type. Younglings shouldn't be that different in the hull/bonuses metagame.

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   New Hulls

   Merged/Renamed Types:
Light -> Ultra-Light
Heavy -> Ultra-Heavy
Artillery -> Ultra-Heavy
Medium -> Nanomesh
Close-Combat -> Laminar
Swarmer -> Polymer

   Totally New Hull Type:

Ultra-heavy: high health, low speed, bonus against ultra-light and refractive. (Also starships but without bonus)
Ultra-light: high speed (and teleport), low health, short range, bonus against polycrystal and nanomesh.
Polycrystal: short range, high damages, bonus against ultra-heavy and structural.
Nanomesh: fragile support ships with long range or spawner. (Medium renamed.)
Composite: AoE and multitarget.
Laminar: rare hull for contact and suicidal ships. (Close-Combat renamed.) (Also, all warheads should become Laminar, IMO.)
Neutron: Strange weapons and high armor, also very Zenith themed.
Polymer: high cap, "annoying" perks (Weasel, Attractor, ...). (Swarmer renamed.)
Refractive: cloaked assassin ships.
Xenosteel: Special abilities as teleport, reclamation and booster. (Brand new.)

   Individually moved ships (16):
Youngling * (but the nanoswarm) -> Polymer (Swarmer) (because cheap and short life)
Lightning Torpedo Frigate -> Nanomesh (Medium) (because long range)
Chameleon -> Polycrystal (because siege > stealth > short range)
Spire Mini-Ram -> Laminar (CCombat) (because suicidal)
Sniper -> Nanomesh (Medium) (because long range)
Space Plane -> Refractive (because stealth > ulight-raid)
Infiltrator -> Refractive (because assassin > swarmer)
Zenith Electric Bomber -> Polycrystal (because == bomber)
Zenith Paralyser -> Neutron (because Zenith and special weapon)
Saboteur -> Composite (because AoE)
Zenith Bombard -> Polycrystal (because siege and anti-heavy bonuses)
Acid Sprayer -> Neutron (because strange weapon > short range)
MLRS -> Composite (because multitarget)
Zenith Reprocessor -> Neutron (because Zenith and special weapon)
Spire Armor Rotter -> Neutron (because special weapon)

   Ships moved into new hull (9):
Spire Teleporting Leech -> Xenosteel (because leech and teleport)
Parasite -> Xenosteel (because leech)
Micro Parasite -> Xenosteel (because leech)
Teleport Battle Station -> Xenosteel (because teleport)
Translocator -> Xenosteel (because teleport)
Teleport Raider -> Xenosteel (because teleport)
Speed Booster -> Xenosteel (because booster)
Armor Booster -> Xenosteel (because booster)
Munition Booster -> Xenosteel (because booster)

   Fleetships' Hull Families Recap:
UHeavy (7): Missile Frigate, Zenith Hydra, Shield Bearer, Tractor Platform, Spire Maw, Armor Ship, Spire Stealth Battleship.
ULight (6+1xp): Standard Fighter, Bulletproof Fighter, Tachyon MicroFighter, Anti Armor, Raider, Spider Drone, Decoy Drone.
Polycrystal (6): Bomber, Space Tank, Zenith Electric Bomber, Zenith Bombard, Powerslaver, Zenith Siege Engine.
Nanomesh (8 ): Sentinel Frigate, Sniper, Spire Blade Spawner, Tackle Drone Launcher, Lightning Torpedo Frigate, Neinzul Railpod, Neinzul Scapegoat, Zenith Medic Frigate.
Composite (8 ): Zenith Beam Frigate, Electric Shuttle, Grenade Launcher, Saboteur, Spire Railcluster, Spire Gravity Reaper, Spire Gravity Drain, MLRS.
Laminar (4): Viral Shredder, Vorticular Cutlass, Zenith Auto Bomb, Y. Nanoswarm.
Neutron (7): Zenith Mirror, Zenith Polarizer, Zenith Paralyser, Impulse Reaction Emitter, Acid Sprayer, Zenith Reprocessor, Spire Armor Rotter.
Polymer (9): Laser Gatling, Autocannon Minipod, Attractor Drone, Y. Commando, Y. Tigger, Y. Firefly, Y. Shrike, Y. Weasel, Y. Vulture.
Refractive (6): Raptor, EtherJet Tractor, Eye Bot, Infiltrator, Space Place, Vampire Claw.
Xenosteel (6+3xp): Spire Teleporting Leech, Parasite, Micro Parasite, Teleport Battle Station, Teleport Raider, Translocator, Armor Booster, Munition Booster, Speed Booster.

   Design choice to be made: more or less?
Merging Laminar into Refractive. Laminar is a very small family and they rather fit in the "assassin" theme.
On the opposite direction, for more diverse and smaller families, a true "support" family can be created, with ZMedic, NScapegoat and the three boosters. That would drain the big Nanomesh family.
On the same "more diverse and smaller families" idea,

   Moved Starships:
Warbird -> ULight (because fast and bonus against polycrystal)
Neinzul Enclave -> Nanomesh (because long range spawner)
Neinzul Combat Carrier -> Nanomesh (because long range spawner)

   Starships' Hull Families Recap:
UHeavy (6+1xp): Flagship, Leech Starship, Plasma Siege Starship, Riot Control Starship, Beam Starship, Translocator Starship, Protector Starship.
ULight (1+1xp): Raid Starship, Warbird.
Polycrystal (2): Heavy Bomber Starship, Zenith Devastator.
Nanomesh (4): Spire Starship, Spire Corvette, Neinzul Enclave Starship, Neinzul Combat Carrier.
Composite (1): Lightning Starship.
Neutron (1): Zenith Starship.
Refractive (1): Cloaker Starship.

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   Hull Bonuses

   Design Rules:
* No more than 5 positive hull bonuses per ship. (I wish to bring it down to 4; maybe with the ultra- merged, it's possible without too much changes.)
* Only one hull bonus value per ship (and zero).
* Only rounded bonus values (no 2.4 or 3.2) and nothing between 1 and 0 (0 instead of 0.1 or 0.01; the multipliers of fortresses are an insult to clarity and elegance).
* I'm also tempted to put a minimum for hull multipliers at 3 or 4...
* UHeavy, ULight and Polycrystal form a triangle; they have one mandatory bonus against their triangle's target.
* The triangle's families have few distinctive perks, and to better convey their role, they all have one more mandatory bonus. (The other families have very distinctive combat/support perks.)

   Mandatory Bonuses:
* UHeavy -> ULight and Refractive.
* ULight -> Polycrystal and Nanomesh.
* Polycrystal -> UHeavy and Structural.

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   Non-Military Hull Types

Turret -> Structural
Scout -> Command-Grade

Structural: all defensive and economical units such as turrets, engineers, metal harvesters, energy collectors, space docks, etc.
Command-Grade: all non-military key structures and capturables such as Command Stations, Advanced Factory, Core Fabricator, Gravity Drill, Black Hole Machine, etc, and also key movable units such as scouts and colony ships.

Structural: Engineer Drone, Metal Harvester, Science Lab, Hacker (and hacker's devices), Survey Ship, Energy Collector, Matter Converter, Cleanup Drone, Remains Rebuilder, Space Dock, Mercenary Space Dock, Starship Constructor, Missile Silo, Mobile Builder, Advanced Warp Sensor, Rally Post, Harvester Exo-Shield, Zenith SpaceTime Manipulator, Neinzul Regeneration Chamber, Minefield, Area Minefield, Widow Minefield, Force Field Generator, Hardened Force FIeld Generator, and all turrets including the Tachyon Beam Emitter; Zenith Reserve, Distribution Node, AI Barracks.
UHeavy: Mobile Space Dock, Fortress, Modular Fortress, Mini-Fortress, SuperFortress; Ion Cannon, Orbital Mass Driver, Core Warhead Interceptor, Dire Guardian Lair.
Command-Grade: all Command Stations, all Warp Gates, Human Cryogenic Pod, Human Settlement, Transport, Assault Transport, Scout, Scout Starship, all Warheads, Advanced Research Station, Core Turret Controllers, Core Fabricators, Advanced Factory, Advanced Starship Constructor, Spire Archive, Planetary Armor Inhibitor, Planetary Armor Booster, Planetary Cloaker, Interplanetary Munitions Booster, Data Center, CoProcessor, Design Backup Server, Super Terminal, Core Shield Generator, all Eyes, Wormhole Guard Post, Zenith Power Generator, Black Hole Machine, Radar Jammer, Counter Spy, Gravity Drill.

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   Armor, Armor Piercing and Rof across the hull families
(cf. "armor revamp")

   Copy-pasted Features:
Ultra-heavy: high health, low speed, bonus against ultra-light and refractive. (Also starships but without bonus)
Ultra-light: high speed (and teleport), low health, short range, bonus against polycrystal and nanomesh.
Polycrystal: short range, high damages, bonus against ultra-heavy and structural.
Nanomesh: fragile support ships with long range or spawner. (Medium renamed.)
Composite: AoE and multitarget.
Laminar: rare hull for contact and suicidal ships. (Close-Combat renamed.)
Neutron: Strange weapons and high armor, also very Zenith themed.
Polymer: high cap, "annoying" perks (Weasel, Attractor, ...). (Swarmer renamed.)
Refractive: cloaked assassin ships.
Xenosteel: Special abilities as teleport, reclamation and booster. (Brand new.)

   Armor-ish features:
Ultra-heavy: high armor.
Ultra-light: high RoF, no armor piercing, no armor (only the bulletproof and raid starship have high/very high armors).
Polycrystal: low RoF, high impact, some armor piercing, no armor (must be vulnerable to ULight).
Nanomesh: no armor.
Composite: no armor piercing (AoE replace high RoF).
Laminar: high armor (because close combat).
Neutron: high armor (because Zenith themed).
Polymer: no armor, no armor piercing (they are weak against armored targets).
Refractive: no armor (cloaking is kind of a protection) and might have some armor piercing (however UHeavy has bonus against them).
Xenosteel: no armor, no armor piercing.

(only 3 families with high armor. Good.)

   Impact on the triangle ships:
* Standard Fighter has no armor piercing and no armor (more damages to balance).
* Bomber has no armor and some armor piercing (more life to balance).
* Missile Frigate has medium/high armor (less life to balance).

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   Try at Artillery

The Artillery hull type is rather coherent among the Guard Post family.
Also, the UHeavy family is rather large, especially since many starships and all the golems are in.
However, who will have a bonus against one and not the other? Most Polycrystal units will have bonuses agasint both.
If Artillery and UHeavy are always paired in hull bonuses, there is no point in telling them appart.
Artillery convey the same slow and tanky theme as UHeavy, but they can be separated on the attack theme, specifically:
* UHeavy would be equiped with high RoF weapons and powerful against swarmers and raiders (Polymer and ULight).
* Artillery would be equiped with long ranged, high impact weapons, effective as "can opener" against other tanky units (UHeavy, Artillery and Neutron).
* Neutron would be the third, exotic member of the tanky family, with weird weaponary and a Zenith theme.

Unfortunately, there is extremely few units for the Artillery family: the Missile Frigate (which is a base ship, however), the Zombard and the Plasma starship.
From the former Artillery units, no other can stay:
* the Hydra clearly fits in the UHeavy, with its high RoF flames and "crowd control" heads;
* the Grenade Launcher isn't very long-ranged and fits so well in the Composite family;
* the Lightning Torpedo is a long range drone unit, which is right into the Nanomesh theme.
From the Heavy and UHeavy families, none is long-ranged, not even close.
The Polycrystal Zenith Siege Engine, however, is a good candidate for integration in the Artillery family; its low cap makes it thematically resilient and trading speed for armor would perfectly make it switch from Polycrystal-siege to Artillery-tank.
However, that still makes 3 fleet ships and one starship, which is a very small family (as small as Laminar!!!)
Does that justify the split? Does the UHeavy drain is good? Also, that would tear down the Polycristal family from 6 to 4 units, which is... kinda lame, for such a thematic and coherent family.
Unless we can make up one new Polycrystal and one new Artillery units which would perfectly fit their respective themes...

Yeap, I'm afraid UHeavy is destined to be a very common hull type.
And I'm afraid Artillery is destined to be a wacky, incoherent family that needs to go bye-bye.
Sad; the UHeavy / Artillery / Neutron slow tanks would have been elegant.

Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!