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Games => AI War II => Topic started by: keith.lamothe on November 11, 2016, 09:58:26 AM

Title: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 11, 2016, 09:58:26 AM
Rather than make an exhaustive document I've focused on the new stuff and the key details. On the other hand, I have tried to be comprehensively clear about what's in and not in.

So here's the link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15SQiart062NJRSockhQk9OLaoIj933vKkz59DvFhL90/

There's also an appendix detailing what's not coming over from AIW 1, and what's not coming in 1.0 but we want to bring over later:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/19dWF_HdhKoxugfByN_2G2FN3NifJrrrof9pf-d7acBE/


There's not yet info in these about stretch goal specifics, and that's intentional. Some stretch goals may get wrapped up into 1.0 but it should be able to stand alone.


Anyway, have a look, and please tell me what's wrong :)
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Apathetic on November 11, 2016, 11:12:07 AM
It looks like it should make for an interesting game. 

The only implementation detail level of thoughts I have are that playable races seems to be pushed out of 1.0, and something to do with hacking the AI to provide permanent scouting for a region of planets rather than need scouts there.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 11, 2016, 11:22:14 AM
playable races seems to be pushed out of 1.0
Correct, that was a huge part of the budget that was evidently too large, so it was an obvious thing to defer.

Being able to play the spire (whether from the lobby or something less totally-different-game-to-balance) will probably be the first or second stretch goal, and if we hit that it would probably get rolled into 1.0 (which would put the 1.0 release date later than otherwise).


Quote
and something to do with hacking the AI to provide permanent scouting for a region of planets rather than need scouts there.
Yep, that's what is meant by:
Quote
Scout-picketing will need to change, obviously, as this would leave you with no way to maintain intel on AI planets. So the plan is to have structures you can hack (or possibly capture) that give you vision on all planets in that region.  It’s far kinder to your CPU, and easier for you to manage from a gameplay standpoint, too.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: x4000 on November 11, 2016, 11:37:28 AM
We'll have to start getting the basics of the stretch goal designs (for the first couple) in place next week, but this is a great place to start in terms of hopefully getting everything across about the base game.

Incidentally Keith, my hope is to set the 1.0 deliverable date such that X number of stretch goals would be included in that date, and any beyond that are pushing that date back.  And any we fail to hit out of those aren't guaranteed to push the deliverable date sooner, but presumably would.  In terms of what we promise it would still be the more conservative date either way.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Draco18s on November 11, 2016, 12:22:00 PM
My only complaint is that this doesn't include a "What is AI War and why should I play it" paragraph at the top.  You've got a "why a sequel" which is great, but for someone who's never heard of the first one, that's going to be their first question.

"We're making a sequel to our 2009 hit title about massive space combat and cooperative asymmetric RTS play." etc. etc.

Then "Why a sequel?"

Under "What's Included?" you should create a short bullet list of the major points from the other document.  Pull out the "big one," i.e. if someone is worried it won't exist, but does, bullet it (e.g. map types).  If it's a significant change that is cut for an important reason, bullet it (e.g. network performance profiles because it's going to be optimized away).  Try to keep it to about 6 of each.
eg.
Quote
Keeping:
Multiple galaxy map layouts
A few more interesting AI plots (more post 1.0)
Most AI personality types (ones cut have had their mechanics cut)
A variety of AI Guardian ships
A variety of guard posts
A variety of Core Guard posts (the big scary ones on the AI homeworld)

Not Keeping:
Most minor factions (a few are with more post-1.0 or in an expansion)
Defender mode (no one played it)
Map Untangling (not needed with the returning map types)
Ability to disable ship categories (can bring it back if needed)
Unit cap scaling (moddable)
Network performance profiles (we're optimizing this, it shouldn't be needed)
Champions
You kind of did this already for the "what's in this KS vs. the other KS?" and it sums things up nicely for the more casual reader.

Lastly I'd move "tell me about motherships" to after "energy and fuel?" just because that section seems more like a "tell me about specific units" rather than "new mechanic? do tell" and I'd rather read about new mechanics before I read the nitty gritty about specific units.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Lord Of Nothing on November 11, 2016, 12:29:32 PM
My £0.02:

The hacking change is interesting- requiring the mothership. I like it, but a slight misgiving there is that it probably means that if the hack goes wrong, you're going to die, as opposed to having to figure out how to handle the fallout of it going wrong. I suspect a lot of people reload saves if that happens in the current game anyway, though.
Also, I notice it's called the ark in this section- I think I actually prefer that name...

With regard to the new armour mechanics and such, I'm slightly worried that this may be overusing percentage reductions, but I'll reserve judgement- the overlapping types certainly should create lots of potential for interesting interactions. Are those percentages planned to be the same across all units for simplicity, or different and the given numbers are examples?

I love the cloaking changes, since this sounds friendlier for defending players and less exploitable against the AI, while simultaneously making more room for interesting non-binary cloaking games!
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: NichG on November 11, 2016, 12:41:01 PM
I'm not sure if this is intended as the actual KS front page for the reboot, or if this is a meta-discussion about the content of that. The following are comments based on the assumption that it's the first rather than the second.

Thoughts on presentation aspects:

- Needs a 'What is AI War?' section first before 'Why make a sequel?'

- Derelicts sound awesome! I don't care what they are, it's just plain evocative. I want to hear about this new feature early on, and have it feel like its a plot point. The fantasy of 'we're weak and the AI is strong, but the people who came before us were strong too and we're reviving that strength as a core part of our way to win' is cool, and a distinct feel from (early) AIW1's more guerilla warfare theme. This is IMO a good thing.

- Lots of technical details, but much of it is under the hood (lidgren? How many backers will know what that is?). I think its okay to provide those technical details, but it's probably good to have that further down the page and not mixed in with where you're explaining 'these are the new features' for the first time. I think stuff like 'changeable controls' is okay level of detail, but maybe 'NAT punchthrough' is just on the other side of that line.
-- Since actually you say that much of this is already completed or at least researched out, I think you can instead make the point that the existing work is added value for KS support. Basically 'well, we've already spent $50k on doing all this stuff, so if you guys give us $50k more funding you're effectively getting a $100k game for it'. You could say it something like: 'oh, and by the way, since we can do things from scratch there are a huge set of technical improvements we can make - and have already done so in many cases!'. It makes it almost like a free stretch goal.
-- For stuff that amounts to a performance improvement, I think it would be good to include something about what that performance will enable gameplay-wise that was hard in AIW1. What's the cool thing the player will experience that they couldn't before, assuming that their computer runs AIW1 without problems?

- The explanation of new gameplay features, things like that at the end is great, exactly what you need. For me, this is the first stuff I'd want to read about following the broad 'What is AI War, bullet point list of features' intro section.
-- Nitpick, but in the Cloaking section, I had a bit of a mental hitch when you describe the problem with lurkers being CPU usage rather than, say, the annoyance to the player of having the micromanage clearing them out or some other player-focused reason for the game design shift. Think of it this way - if I'm not currently having speed problems with AI War (and, I'm not, actually), it sounds like maybe sacrificing gameplay for sake of unnecessary code optimization. I don't think this is the case, since you really are describing a number of gameplay motivated adjustments there, but you don't want to accidentally give that impression.

- You talk about a 'Hacker' and an 'Ark' without making it clear if they're equivalent things. Some left-over old terms?

Thoughts on content:

- Saying it again, I really like the explanation of new gameplay features and changes.

- Derelicts! Sorry, just had to say it.
-- The Admirals thing also sounds cool - I can imagine a different feel of playing that, where rather than building a sort of static set of worlds I've seized, the worlds I've seized create lanes in which I can move more freely but the things I grab from them are sort of a small set of points of action I can (or have to) use to cover a space which is growing faster than I'm gaining things to station in it. It gives more of a feeling that where you place things in response to the current situation will matter a lot more and be more dynamic/less frozen in.

- In defense/counter section, I really like that you point out intentionally enforcing certain correlations in the design space, with rare/expensive exceptions. It's a big part of adding character and a feeling of uniqueness to things, and a lot of games miss that point and just make every combination possible in some form or other with the result that everything feels generic.

- One point with Power/Fuel is, in AIW1, you could have a cascade failure of your defenses when the AI took out some energy collector you needed to power the shields on a wormhole mouth, etc, etc. It seems like that's going away. Upside is, rebuilding boonies stations just to make sure your Energy budget was okay was a bit tedious, especially if the AI would plink them with tiny amounts of Threat, so that's one tedious thing you don't have to do as much of anymore. Downside is, it made for a strategic incentive to have defenses outside of a sequence of bottleneck worlds you know the AI has to pass through. Not sure what I think or to what degree this kind of detail needs to be discussed on the KS, but it came to mind so I'm mentioning it.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: kasnavada on November 11, 2016, 01:41:27 PM
Remarks:
Hu, you need to know the first game to understand the doc... ok fine on the forum here, but on KS, not much. Or an explanation of the first game's needed somewhere.

Paragraph: "And the new stuff from the first Kickstarter?"
Separating technical aspect from "new or modified" game rules will make that paragraph much clearer IMO.


The "Tell me more about Arks." up to "Where did my Cloaking go?" and similar gameplay feature advertized... ok. showing the gameplay's nice but why those among all the rest ? Ain't clear to me. I think those need to be sub-chapters in a "major mechanic changes from AI War I" chapter. Here it's confusing because, even if I do have the history, I've no clue whatsoever why those deserve a mention.


2nd doc:

That's an unit list. It's not that I'm against a unit list, but... I think this requires a "retained mechanics" list of sorts. If only for you guys to actually know when to stop coding stuff and exceptions.


Opinion:

Ok, the good point is that it's very clear where you're going. Bad point is that it's very much requiring understanding AI War I to get. Also, it paints a complete different structure for the KS. I had no idea that the "prototype" was that advanced already. That's also IMO the kind of stuff that needs to be in the KS... "we're looking for the last stretch of money to complete our game rather" than "we're building from scratch", I would vote for the first one.


Question:

Will the predicted modding & tutorial possibilities enable players to create scenarios ?
By that I mean, do you not bring in additional races because actually doing the race and the eventual campaigns associated to it, and the balancing, and the models, cost too much ? Or because you won't have the features in to make one "custom mod" additional race work ?

Thing is I and others are attached to this feature, and this would make a significant difference in my opinion of the game.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: x4000 on November 11, 2016, 02:44:29 PM
Keith can largely respond to this himself, but a couple of notes for me:

- This was aimed at you guys, not a wider audience, at least thus far.  This needs much fleshing out before the next kickstarter, for sure.

- This is analogous to my 160 page design document, but intended to be more concise and gameplay-oriented rather than exhaustively feature-focused.

- This further splits things out into two documents so that one is more for anyone (intended), whereas the other one is for people who want the really heavy details.

- Overall the actual structure of the kickstarter campaign page itself will be vastly different from either one of these.  My intent is to base it loosely on the pitch from the first campaign, since we refined that over a goodly while... but to at the same time really redo the top end of that in particular.

- Yes, the prototype is already pretty decently far along.  If you look at the images in the first kickstarter about what is actually complete, it gives a fairly decent picture.  Though enough things are I guess in progress or ongoing that it's hard to make a judgement if you don't already know with those things.

- That said, the difference between a functional early prototype of the sim and the graphics and whatnot is a far cry from actually having a full game itself.  It is a lot of parts that already have had a ton of work on them, though, so it is something that isn't "we're starting from scratch here and these are mockups."  Never was, gui aside.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Draco18s on November 11, 2016, 02:52:38 PM
- This was aimed at you guys, not a wider audience, at least thus far.  This needs much fleshing out before the next kickstarter, for sure.

Ok, cool. For us, its probably fine.

Speaking of, I wouldn't mind helping trying to craft a coherent project description for the relaunch. I ended up not actually getting around to the "help us make this better" thread last time, for one reason or another.  It's weird that while I consider myself "not a people person" running the kickstarter for Velociraptor! Cannibalism! was apparently something I was very good at.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 11, 2016, 02:55:57 PM
Good points from a number of you about the document assuming too much knowledge of the first game. Honestly I'm pitching to people who already know the first game, but it doesn't need to exclude the others.

The hacking change is interesting- requiring the mothership. I like it, but a slight misgiving there is that it probably means that if the hack goes wrong, you're going to die, as opposed to having to figure out how to handle the fallout of it going wrong. I suspect a lot of people reload saves if that happens in the current game anyway, though.
Also, I notice it's called the ark in this section- I think I actually prefer that name...
Yea, I wrote Central Control Ark (later abbreviated as "Ark") and Chris rewrote with Mothership. We now both agree that simply "Ark" is better.

Thanks for bringing up the savescum thing. Not that I'm worried about savescumming, actually, but it brought to mind a good refinement of the idea and a better term than "Admiral" (Chris's term, I'd written "Relay Control Starship" or something like that). Admiral is nice as a term but it makes it sound like a person, rather than a ship, and it might get people thinking along the lines of leaders with names and personalities and so on, in which case they would be disappointed.

I don't want all the "Admiral"/whatever ships to be able to hack, as at some point you'd have enough that you didn't mind losing one to a risky hack. But...

What I'm thinking is:
- Rename "Admiral" to "Aspect"
- Have different types of Aspect, all of which can do the basic logistical things (building stuff, repairing derelicts, etc):
-- Shield Aspect: has a big shield, useful for giving your fleet a chance to get off some extra salvos before it starts losing attack power to incoming damage
-- Refiner Aspect: gives a bonus to metal output on its planet
-- Sentinel Aspect: has a lot of tachyon coverage, and gives normal vision on all adjacent planets
-- Hacker Aspect: can hack, but cannot perform the more advanced hacks (this constraint would also apply to the Ark, initially)
-- probably others
- If an Aspect is on the same planet as your Ark, you can select it and click the "Merge" button to irrevocably remove that Aspect from the game and grant your Ark a stronger version of that Aspect's ability. So:
-- Shield: stronger shield
-- Refiner: bigger metal bonus
-- Sentinel: even more tachyon coverage, normal vision on all planets 2 hops out
-- Hacker: can hack, and can perform all hacks

So you'd have a choice between having an expendable control unit, or having a more powerful non-expendable control unit. And you'd be able to hack without risking a loss, but only a very limited number of times unless you recovered the wrecked hacker aspect.

Quote
With regard to the new armour mechanics and such, I'm slightly worried that this may be overusing percentage reductions, but I'll reserve judgement- the overlapping types certainly should create lots of potential for interesting interactions. Are those percentages planned to be the same across all units for simplicity, or different and the given numbers are examples?
The intent is for those %'s to be global across all armor/deflectors/shields, but I'm not dead set on that. I'm sure those numbers (global or otherwise) will change for balancing, I was just trying to get the idea across.

Anyway, gotta run again, but will check back later.

Thanks for the feedback, everyone :)
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Apathetic on November 11, 2016, 04:07:26 PM
My random thoughts on the multitude of damage mitigation.

It appears that 3 out of the 4 base 'triangle' ship types get unique forms of damage reduction.  This doesn't quite seem to be moving forward towards a simpler model.  I understand how armor, deflection and shields should represent different aspects of damage mitigation, but in the end they all end up doing the same thing.

Per the design document there are 3 types of mitigation:
   Armor: Reduce damage by a percentage.
   Deflection: Reduce damage by a percentage.
   Shields: Reduce damage by a percentage.

Having 3 different mechanics that end up doing the same thing seems a bit overkill.  To me it makes more sense to have armor always provide a damage mitigation, remove deflection and have shields be full absorption until they are depleted then the target(s) take full damage.



If deflection were removed from fighters something else would need to change to make the designed triangle work.  My proposal is to essentially give all squads a maximum amount of damage that they can take per single attack.

Already in the design document:
   All small ships are now squadrons
   Squadrons do damage proportional to their current health.

New Change:
   Enumerate how many ships are in each squadron, this will vary based on unit type.  Limit the maximum damage any single hit can do to the squadron to the equivalent health of 1 ship in the squadron (max squad health / squad size).

This should keep the triangle of bombers < fighters < missile corvettes < bombers ...

Example:
   Bombers: 5 ships / squad.  1 shot / ship.  High damage / shot.  Slow reload.
   Fighters:  15 ships / squad.  1 shot / ship.  Medium damage / shot.  Fast reload.
   Missile Corvettes: 5 ships / squad. 5 shots / ship.  Low damage / shot.  medium reload.

Fighters kill bombers.  They take the alpha strike, lose 5 fighters (5 attacks), then clean up while the bombers reload.
Missile Corvettes kill Fighters.  Given the quantity of shots / ships they can easily destroy squads of fighters.
Bombers kill Corvettes .  Bombers would initially take some damage on approach, but should be able to clean up the Corvettes with high damage shots.

Like anything the numbers would need to be tweaked to work.

I think that this could lead to some interesting features when something like the Neinzul Younglings are put back in, a unit with a nigh number of ships / squad.  Depending on the defenses, they would either get immediately vaporized or completely clog everything up.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: x4000 on November 11, 2016, 04:08:34 PM
For Admiral, not sure on the name, but something like Aspect is really confusing to me.  I get that we don't want it to sound like a person, though, for sure.

Random thesaurus pulls: overseer?  executor? director?  advocate?  broker?  proctor? dissident?  disrupter?  provocateur? ringleader?
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 11, 2016, 04:39:50 PM
Lastly I'd move "tell me about motherships" to after "energy and fuel?" just because that section seems more like a "tell me about specific units" rather than "new mechanic? do tell" and I'd rather read about new mechanics before I read the nitty gritty about specific units.
I agree on the principle, but the stuff about your "if you lose this you lose the game" isn't nitty gritty about specific units, it's about a difference in the basic rules of the game. If you made a version of chess where the King can move like the Queen, that would be pretty prominent.

- Lots of technical details, but much of it is under the hood (lidgren? How many backers will know what that is?)
Good point.

For stuff that amounts to a performance improvement, I think it would be good to include something about what that performance will enable gameplay-wise that was hard in AIW1.
Also good. Perhaps it would be best to have a section fairly early on about "Why improve performance?". The main reasons are that there are lots of things we didn't do because they would chug the CPU. And as it was if you were playing very large battles (especially with lots of superweapons and the correspondingly larger AI forces) your computer would strongly object.

One point with Power/Fuel is, in AIW1, you could have a cascade failure of your defenses when the AI took out some energy collector you needed to power the shields on a wormhole mouth, etc, etc. It seems like that's going away.
It does prevent a loss of an power source on planet A shutting down the defenses on planet B. It doesn't stop the loss of a power source on planet A shutting down the defenses on planet A. In fact, it makes it very likely that a strike against your power source will shut things down on that planet, since the stuff on the planet can't be powered from something elsewhere.

The "Tell me more about Arks." up to "Where did my Cloaking go?" and similar gameplay feature advertized... ok. showing the gameplay's nice but why those among all the rest ? Ain't clear to me.
Those are the planned key design shifts. Other shifts are likely to happen during development, but those are the ones that are planned. So there's not an "all the rest" to show, unless you mean mechanics that aren't changing.

That's an unit list. It's not that I'm against a unit list, but... I think this requires a "retained mechanics" list of sorts.
The mechanics being retained are the ones necessary to implement those units. If no implemented unit has a mechanic, it doesn't really matter to the player whether or not that mechanic is implemented. Hence the focus on things the player "touches", rather than how things might look to us on the back-end.

I had no idea that the "prototype" was that advanced already. That's also IMO the kind of stuff that needs to be in the KS... "we're looking for the last stretch of money to complete our game rather" than "we're building from scratch", I would vote for the first one.
It's not the last stretch. I'd say we've done about 25% of the work. It's playable, sure, but the only mobile military ship in the prototype is the fighter :)

Will the predicted modding & tutorial possibilities enable players to create scenarios ?
Short answer: yes. Longer answer: probably, but I can't commit to it giving you everything you need for a robust scenario editor or whatever. That might require more building out than I have time for during the project. I hope it winds up giving you all the power you need, though.

It appears that 3 out of the 4 base 'triangle' ship types get unique forms of damage reduction.  This doesn't quite seem to be moving forward towards a simpler model.
Those are the only forms of damage reduction/prevention planned for 1.0, and that's a lot less than the number of different hull types in AIW classic.

Having 3 different mechanics that end up doing the same thing seems a bit overkill.
They don't do the same thing. Shields cover an area of the map, and they absorb damage rather than only reduce it. Armor and deflectors have several differences. Deflectors reduce engine damage, for instance, but are ineffective if the unit is tractored.

Should armor and deflectors be more different? Quite possibly. But I don't see that as an argument for collapsing them into the same thing. Rather, for making them more different. For now I just plan to see how it works out in practice.

On the squads thing, yes, it was my intent that most shots not be able to kill more than one "sub-unit" inside a squad, which does differentiate the swarm types. But I didn't mention it, so thank you for pointing that out.

have shields be full absorption until they are depleted then the target(s) take full damage
I must have not been clear. These are basically forcefields from AIW classic, but they normally only take 30% damage from most stuff (the 70% reduction). So you have to batter down the shield and then you have to kill the hull. If it's some kind of big starship with a shield, you'd presumably want to use plasma torpedos to take down the shield, and then fusion bombs to blow the ship itself up. So no one unit would be the best counter to that starship.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Sounds on November 11, 2016, 05:46:44 PM
Ah much better length than (whilst interesting) 160+ behemoth to start with. :P

The thing that I don't see is any talk about sound design, is this getting a look into?

I might have misunderstood, but are mines not being implemented? I kinda like that mechanic, but maybe I'm in the minority.

Also is their going to be any sort of short form game? Not defender mode, but I always wished there was a way to have the same game but could be played in under 2-4 hours.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Cyborg on November 11, 2016, 06:00:14 PM
Looks good except for one alarming thing.

Shield bearers are being eliminated? That is my favorite unit. There is a lot of strategy available from that mechanic. Is it possible to mod that stuff back in, as a player? I hope that this isn't about cheese, because transports are way more cheesy than shield bearers.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 11, 2016, 06:41:46 PM
Looks good except for one alarming thing.

Shield bearers are being eliminated? That is my favorite unit. There is a lot of strategy available from that mechanic. Is it possible to mod that stuff back in, as a player? I hope that this isn't about cheese, because transports are way more cheesy than shield bearers.
That's being moved to a starship that's part of the always available set. The main reason is that having lots of forcefields is a performance drain. So having a smaller number of stronger ones is preferable. You could certainly mod their cap up easily.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: jenya on November 11, 2016, 06:46:49 PM
I had a lot of fan with mines due to the AI predisposition to bee-line directly to the command station, right through my long string of mines. I kinda see why they should be removed, AI can't counter them effectively.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: NichG on November 11, 2016, 10:37:22 PM
It does prevent a loss of an power source on planet A shutting down the defenses on planet B. It doesn't stop the loss of a power source on planet A shutting down the defenses on planet A. In fact, it makes it very likely that a strike against your power source will shut things down on that planet, since the stuff on the planet can't be powered from something elsewhere.

Well, I note it because in my last campaign at least, this was a serious midgame consideration for me after an almost-wipe due to some boonies planets having their Econ stations knocked out by residual threat during a Fallen Spire exo wave. It made me seriously think 'do I want to pay the 20-40 AIP to grab one of the Zenith Power Generators a few worlds from my border?', though what I ended up doing was just to micro the turrets a bit (scrap turrets in the directions the AI wasn't attacking from and rebuild after). So yeah, a bit good but also a bit bad due to the micro.

Maybe a way to provide that sort of non-local defense aspect of the game would be if planets with Turret Controllers need to be held for those turrets to function at all (rather than just needing to hold the planet to build them)? That way, if the AI pops your Missile Turret V world first, it can soften up your defensive line protecting your Ark or other core planets? (I should say that I always play with Chivalric since I think I'd likely just savescum on permanently losing a fabricator or turret controller otherwise, so that may influence my take on this).

Also, for Admirals/Aspects, I think that 'Aspect' is too abstract. Admiral is nice because I sort of get that this is a rare, solitary unit that has large-scale strategic implications as to where it's placed. But if you want to avoid person names, why not keep up the Chess analogy and actually call it a Tower?
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: kasnavada on November 12, 2016, 01:20:25 AM
Also is their going to be any sort of short form game? Not defender mode, but I always wished there was a way to have the same game but could be played in under 2-4 hours.

Given that it's moddable, I was planning to do a mod to do exactly that. I'm not sure it needs to be in the base game, but I'd certainly like it too. That said, if additional races can't be in, this probably can't be in either.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Tridus on November 12, 2016, 11:03:54 AM
So if I'm understanding this right, I should forget what I read in the first document and read these ones instead? That means things like solar systems that were in that one but not this one are out?

It looks like a pretty solid scope, overall. Disappointed by the lack of Spire, but I guess that was inevitable with the budget cut. Hopefully they make it back in some form.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Cyborg on November 12, 2016, 11:13:10 AM
I have no doubt that the spire will be back someday. This is just for 1.0.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 12, 2016, 11:21:18 AM
So if I'm understanding this right, I should forget what I read in the first document and read these ones instead? That means things like solar systems that were in that one but not this one are out?
Correct.

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disappointed by the lack of Spire, but I guess that was inevitable with the budget cut. Hopefully they make it back in some form.
Yep, me too. There will be a stretch goal.

I don't like the idea of mutually exclusive toolsets, but having the playstyle available is important. Perhaps a middle ground where you start with a Spire Colony Ship in addition to your Ark.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Tridus on November 12, 2016, 11:28:16 AM
So if I'm understanding this right, I should forget what I read in the first document and read these ones instead? That means things like solar systems that were in that one but not this one are out?
Correct.

Okay thanks. It looks pretty solid. :)

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disappointed by the lack of Spire, but I guess that was inevitable with the budget cut. Hopefully they make it back in some form.
Yep, me too. There will be a stretch goal.

I don't like the idea of mutually exclusive toolsets, but having the playstyle available is important. Perhaps a middle ground where you start with a Spire Colony Ship in addition to your Ark.
[/quote]

Cool. :)
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: wyvern83 on November 12, 2016, 11:34:43 AM
Why not call the Admirals/Aspects --> Command Ships?

Its an existing term that would denote its function and strategic importance without reinventing the wheel to come up with a different one. In usage in science fiction command ships are often special and more powerful than regular ships.

It appears that you've gone with Overseer for the time being since I read the document yesterday. It's a shorter word, adequately descriptive, and has the advantage of being distinct from other ship names currently in use. It does have a corporate or empire type feeling to it, though it could still work depending on the human faction of origin if there is going to be any lore surrounding them.


Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: NichG on November 12, 2016, 11:48:03 AM
Overseer reminds me of Starcraft, even though that's not actually the unit name in Starcraft. It's just close enough that I look at it twice and say 'waita... no'.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 12, 2016, 12:11:09 PM
Why not call the Admirals/Aspects --> Command Ships?
I think Chris wants to avoid multi word names for those. But it does raise a good point: why not just call them flagships.

There is the Starship with the same name, but munitions boosting is shifting towards stationary/rare stuff so those would end up being called something different anyway.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: wyvern83 on November 12, 2016, 01:08:47 PM
Overseer reminds me of Starcraft, even though that's not actually the unit name in Starcraft. It's just close enough that I look at it twice and say 'waita... no'.

I thought of it as well. It actually is by the way, its an upgraded/transformed Overlord in Starcraft 2.

Why not call the Admirals/Aspects --> Command Ships?
I think Chris wants to avoid multi word names for those. But it does raise a good point: why not just call them flagships.

There is the Starship with the same name, but munitions boosting is shifting towards stationary/rare stuff so those would end up being called something different anyway.

I kinda figured that would be a good reason not to use it after thinking about it for abit. Flagship on the other hand I didn't even think of and it communicates the same thing. If it's becoming free anyway it would be a great choice. 

I notice the Bouncer AI Personality is listed as being retained in the second document, but wormhole guardposts are listed as unlikely to make it into the game so is the implication then that this personality's static positions are or include the wormhole entry points?

I'd like more information about stuff in the AI defense section. It possibly doesn't need to be in the initial document but as a veteran player of the first game I'm curious how things will transition or be different in AI War II. Questions I find myself asking are as follows:

- Will there be far fewer guard-posts in each system than before or will they simply be more centralized in the one or two static positions per planet mentioned in the document?

- If the ratio of guard posts to guardians number wise is shifting towards more guardians will the power level of each change respectively? Will both see an increase in power for example for being less or more numerous than they were before? Especially as all guardians are essentially planet bound carriers now. Barracks, the other available comparison, were weak in the first game though so perhaps not.  Edit: I remembered guardians are capable of wormhole travel so I guess what I'm really asking is will their toughness be adjusted up or not due to them now housing units in times of inaction?

- How will the AI dispense its defense budget? With wormhole guard posts likely out and in addition to potentially fewer guard posts in each system in general will guardians now be counted for defense budget allocation?

- How will Special Force regional bases work in relation to where their fleets decide to patrol? (also can a regional base support more than one fleet?) Do they path towards other bases and back? Or do they patrol a certain number of jumps away and back at random? How far will they travel outside their usual region of operations in response to perceived threats and attacks?
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 12, 2016, 09:14:49 PM
I notice the Bouncer AI Personality is listed as being retained in the second document, but wormhole guardposts are listed as unlikely to make it into the game so is the implication then that this personality's static positions are or include the wormhole entry points?
That's a good point. That AI type was invented to be less annoying than normal (because it's easy to clean the wormholes, even though you take more casualties entering the first time). Making it have static defense around every wormhole (when that's not the norm) would be more annoying than normal.

It could be repurposed, or it might just go away. Anyway, thanks for pointing it out.

Quote
- Will there be far fewer guard-posts in each system than before or will they simply be more centralized in the one or two static positions per planet mentioned in the document?
Both fewer and number and concentrated, probably. The guardians would basically become mobile guard posts.

Quote
- If the ratio of guard posts to guardians number wise is shifting towards more guardians will the power level of each change respectively?
Yea, balance in general is likely to involve very different numbers than AIW 1.

Quote
- How will the AI dispense its defense budget? With wormhole guard posts likely out and in addition to potentially fewer guard posts in each system in general will guardians now be counted for defense budget allocation?
Yep, when they're guarding the system versus being free threat.

Quote
- How will Special Force regional bases work in relation to where their fleets decide to patrol? (also can a regional base support more than one fleet?) Do they path towards other bases and back? Or do they patrol a certain number of jumps away and back at random? How far will they travel outside their usual region of operations in response to perceived threats and attacks?
One fleet per base, and they'd have a set group of planets to consider. Probably 2 or 3 hops out from the base, with the potential for overlapping with other bases.

Anyway, good info to have in a document somewhere, yes.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Captain Jack on November 13, 2016, 01:12:10 AM
I see you ended up going with "flagships" in place of admiral or aspect. Good choice!

Don't have much to add, except to say years late that the Zenith Descendant AI type should really be named the "Zenith Inheritor" and a few other naming things that might not end up mattering!
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Glyoxim on November 13, 2016, 09:21:58 AM
I finally created my account here on the forums. I know I'm late but I thought of the term "Flagship" as soon as the discussion with admirals started. So I definitely support this since that's what flagships should do.
I always used the flagships in AI War classic but much more as a support unit or even defensive unit that boosts my turrets.

Now onward to reading the rest of the document  :)

Edit: As a questions, Keith mentioned giving some of the Flagships the ability to hack so one does not necessarily loose the Ark during hacking. In the design document it's mentioned that the Ark is used to build command stations, metal harvesters etc. (same as Flagships?). So if I use some deep-striking strategy where I skip some invaluable planets and then conquer one, do I have to bring the Ark all the way into enemy territory which is of course high risk? Can I at least put it into a transport for improved security? Because that's my main offensive strategy with colony ships in AI War Classic at the moment (I'm still learning and probably will be for a long time to come ;) )
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Cyborg on November 13, 2016, 11:14:11 AM
I also echo the comments about flagships. Good name for it.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Vinco on November 13, 2016, 02:52:52 PM
I'm looking forward to the relaunch.  You've a compelling vision laid out there.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: yllamana on November 13, 2016, 05:41:21 PM
The "deflectors" label strikes me as a little confusing. It has semantic overlap with "shields." Why not just call it "agility"? You're already just one step removed from that anyway, since the implication seems to be that the deflectors allow the ships to leverage their agility to avoid shots. Then the counter to agility can be explosive missiles and flak, since you can't dodge the explosion.

And then maybe it'd make sense if "bombs" were actually torpedoes, since people usually expect bombs to do area damage, and AI War ones don't? Maybe not so much since there's a pretty strong sci-fi tradition of "bombers" that just attack hard targets, but that's not universal.

On a slightly different note: are shields fun? They seem to make battles a lot more binary - if the attacker can't kill the shield they make very little impact. This seems to me like it's pretty negative both for defense (where your defense frequently crumbles based on whether the shield drops) and offense (where shields can cause incredible grinds). Would the game be better if they just didn't exist and things were however much tougher?

When I read about them the first time, I thought squads were going to be a collection of ships, letting you group things into one unit. Reading this document, I'm getting the impression a squad is actually just a ship. Is that correct? That's perhaps a bit disappointing if so, since grouping things together and having them fight as a unit sounded interesting and like it could make other things, like what ships the AI actually has on the game field, clearer.

The document seems light on detail about how defenses will be more interesting, or how the UI will be improved. I think the UI especially is one of the things that could most benefit from improvement and I am sure people would love to hear about it and also that if you do anything really interesting it'll cause controversy.

Anyway, it's an interesting document, but people are right that you could cut out all the technical stuff, or at least refocus it on the user experience. NAT punchthrough or lidgren are boring, but multiplayer working more seamlessly and smoothly is awesome. Multithreading is boring, but bigger battles than ever before would be awesome. And stuff like that.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: x4000 on November 14, 2016, 10:37:06 AM
I like the idea of agility.  Given that these are shown swarming about (any sort of ship that would have agility), it would make sense in general just from an intuitive sense.

I like the term flagship as well, although I thought there was always basically one of those in a real-world sense.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 14, 2016, 11:24:18 AM
I think "Evasion" would be better than "Agility". "Deflectors" just gives a more concrete explanation of how it's doing the evasion, and why it isn't just something that all small ships have. But understood on the conceptual overlap with "Shields".
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: x4000 on November 14, 2016, 11:26:04 AM
I like evasion.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Draco18s on November 14, 2016, 01:03:45 PM
+1 for Evasion.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: x4000 on November 14, 2016, 01:06:26 PM
+1 for Evasion.

Now roll for initiative.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Draco18s on November 14, 2016, 01:14:17 PM
Now roll for initiative.

(https://65.media.tumblr.com/7512c915f51b9656d4e609213e9246f6/tumblr_nwc2sbWBjH1ubteczo1_500.jpg)
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: x4000 on November 14, 2016, 02:37:59 PM
That's awesome. :)
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: nas1m on November 14, 2016, 02:52:33 PM
Now roll for initiative.

(https://65.media.tumblr.com/7512c915f51b9656d4e609213e9246f6/tumblr_nwc2sbWBjH1ubteczo1_500.jpg)
Sir, you just made my day :D.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Captain Jack on November 15, 2016, 12:31:22 AM
Hahahaha.  :D

Oh, I just thought of one thing that's been bothering me since the first KS. We've been using derelicts to refer to the metal and research points on the map. This almost has to be changed to "debris field", "ship graveyard" or something similar. See, I thought the derelicts were SINGLE SHIPS that were producing metal, research and so on, because derelict has a singular connotation even in plural form. Please make this terminology change to avoid confusing people like me!
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 15, 2016, 06:07:58 AM
Jack, the problem is that a lot of people really like the word derelicts. So to some extent we have to change the mechanic to fit the word ;)

That said, I don't see wht they can't simply be an old broken asteroid mine, an old broken energy reactor, an old broken science archive, or an old broken network node (hacking points).
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Tridus on November 15, 2016, 07:30:20 AM
I didn't even realize that had changed. When I hear "derelict ship", I'm thinking of an abandoned ship that I can capture and do something with, since that's the meaning of the word. Not a scrap field. Those tend to be called scrap.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Cinth on November 15, 2016, 07:43:38 AM
I'm thinking of an abandoned ship that I can capture and do something with

Technically, that's what is happening.  You capture those derelicts and doing something with them.  That something is automated though.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: kasnavada on November 15, 2016, 08:45:49 AM
Quote
We've been using derelicts to refer to the metal and research points on the map.
Jack, the problem is that a lot of people really like the word derelicts. So to some extent we have to change the mechanic to fit the word ;)

That said, I don't see wht they can't simply be an old broken asteroid mine, an old broken energy reactor, an old broken science archive, or an old broken network node (hacking points).

I think I misunderstood something here. Derelicts were from what I expect, from the name only, some "exceptional" historic sites or older "lost science points", or similar things. Are they for all "ressource" points ?

Calling derelicts technology such as extracting metal or simple research centers for a civilization that heavily uses metal makes litterally no sense to me. An metal asteroid mine mostly does not require high-tech / exceptional stuff to a spacefaring people. Derelict implies something worth rebuilding / that somehow is lost and can't be done again. Making them all exceptional ain't the solution either. To quote a movie I liked a lot, "And when everyone's super... no one will be".

Outside of context, what "derelict" evokes me in a "salvage strategy game" is that it should be somewhat of a goal.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 15, 2016, 08:59:34 AM
Fair point on the mines/reactors. I think it's not too unusual for an extensive mining network in a large asteroid to be something you wouldn't have time to build yourself, but either way.

Anyway, what we're dealing with on one hand are "derelict facilities".

On the other hand there are the derelict flagships (formerly "secondary motherships") that you find and repair and then do stuff with.

We could also change "Broken Golems" => "Derelict Golems".
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: x4000 on November 15, 2016, 10:10:10 AM
Wait, wait, wait -- something has gotten screwy in the terminology since I last was the one writing the document (first KS). ;)

Derelicts: these are indeed intended to be singular ships, which are where you extract metal and science from.  That's my intent anyhow, and I think I get final say on that in this case since it's primarily an art thing. ;)  The debris fields are ugly as well as hard to see, and it's so much more thematic and interesting to see this burned-out ship that you learn stuff from and get resources out of.  The idea that there would be X number of derelicts on a planet, same as there were previously X number of scrap metal points.  We'd have a variety of actual derelict definitions that look different as well as being different sizes, and they would yield different amounts of metal per second and/or different amounts of science total.  I may never have been very clear on that.

Husks: I was using this term to refer to ships that were once functional but that you can repair back to a functional state.  Whether that's a flagship that got destroyed and is now a husk you have to go rescue and repair (so you can't permanently lose a flagship -- I really like that mechanic both in terms of the safety as well as the need to rescue them occasionally), and in terms of golems.  Basically these are "burned out husks" that you get to repair.  The name with these is freakier and more menacing, hence my preference for using husk for the ones that are more rare (these not being scattered all over every stinking planet, heh).

That was my intent, anyhow.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Captain Jack on November 15, 2016, 12:39:10 PM
Wait, wait, wait -- something has gotten screwy in the terminology since I last was the one writing the document (first KS). ;)

Derelicts: these are indeed intended to be singular ships, which are where you extract metal and science from.  That's my intent anyhow, and I think I get final say on that in this case since it's primarily an art thing. ;)  The debris fields are ugly as well as hard to see, and it's so much more thematic and interesting to see this burned-out ship that you learn stuff from and get resources out of.  The idea that there would be X number of derelicts on a planet, same as there were previously X number of scrap metal points.  We'd have a variety of actual derelict definitions that look different as well as being different sizes, and they would yield different amounts of metal per second and/or different amounts of science total.  I may never have been very clear on that.

Husks: I was using this term to refer to ships that were once functional but that you can repair back to a functional state.  Whether that's a flagship that got destroyed and is now a husk you have to go rescue and repair (so you can't permanently lose a flagship -- I really like that mechanic both in terms of the safety as well as the need to rescue them occasionally), and in terms of golems.  Basically these are "burned out husks" that you get to repair.  The name with these is freakier and more menacing, hence my preference for using husk for the ones that are more rare (these not being scattered all over every stinking planet, heh).

That was my intent, anyhow.
Not sure how that works from a suspension of disbelief perspective. Individual ships producing research as you study them? Makes a lot of sense. Endlessly mining individual ships for metal? Not so much. A single ship is a finite resource, once you cut it up it's gone. Think about how many ships a player usually fields in AI War, even the largest Golem could only support a(n expendable) fleet or two. And that's BEFORE you talk about the gaping holes in the structure that rendered the ships derelict in the first place. Debris fields "worked" because there's no issue with using up an individual ship.

Saying the the ships are "generating" metal after you repair them opens up a lore hole, because then the AI should recognize them as a strategic target and obliterate them like everything else.

Making the derelicts into facilities per Keith's musing works well. Making the derelicts into derelict fields works. Even making derelicts into super-size things that the AI can't completely destroy works (and then begs a whole BUNCH of new questions). The idea as it stands now does not work.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: x4000 on November 15, 2016, 12:42:02 PM
Why would there be facilities all over the place?

At any rate, perhaps these things used some sort of specialized interdimensional warp drive or something, and we're extracting resources from an alternate universe through quantum holes inside the warp drive.

Or similar BS.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Draco18s on November 15, 2016, 01:03:44 PM
I'm unsure if "husks" is the more-better object to turn into a functional unit than a "derelict" would be.

A husk, to me, sounds empty inside.  e.g. "An empty husk, worth no more than the metal it is made of."  Whereas a derelict is just in poor repair due to having been abandoned; i.e. fixable.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Captain Jack on November 15, 2016, 01:07:27 PM
Why would there be facilities all over the place?

At any rate, perhaps these things used some sort of specialized interdimensional warp drive or something, and we're extracting resources from an alternate universe through quantum holes inside the warp drive.

Or similar BS.
Because there were people all over the place!  :D

As to your second point: the AI's not stupid, why would it leave these derelicts alone if you could mine from them forever? AND it's really dangerous to advance galactic technology to that point. Interdimensional resource extraction is a skip away from being able to create wormholes on demand. "Instant wormhole, just add quantum" makes slinging galaxies around look inefficient and lazy.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Tridus on November 15, 2016, 02:04:14 PM
Wait, wait, wait -- something has gotten screwy in the terminology since I last was the one writing the document (first KS). ;)

Derelicts: these are indeed intended to be singular ships, which are where you extract metal and science from.  That's my intent anyhow, and I think I get final say on that in this case since it's primarily an art thing. ;)  The debris fields are ugly as well as hard to see, and it's so much more thematic and interesting to see this burned-out ship that you learn stuff from and get resources out of.  The idea that there would be X number of derelicts on a planet, same as there were previously X number of scrap metal points.  We'd have a variety of actual derelict definitions that look different as well as being different sizes, and they would yield different amounts of metal per second and/or different amounts of science total.  I may never have been very clear on that.

Husks: I was using this term to refer to ships that were once functional but that you can repair back to a functional state.  Whether that's a flagship that got destroyed and is now a husk you have to go rescue and repair (so you can't permanently lose a flagship -- I really like that mechanic both in terms of the safety as well as the need to rescue them occasionally), and in terms of golems.  Basically these are "burned out husks" that you get to repair.  The name with these is freakier and more menacing, hence my preference for using husk for the ones that are more rare (these not being scattered all over every stinking planet, heh).

That was my intent, anyhow.
Not sure how that works from a suspension of disbelief perspective. Individual ships producing research as you study them? Makes a lot of sense. Endlessly mining individual ships for metal? Not so much. A single ship is a finite resource, once you cut it up it's gone. Think about how many ships a player usually fields in AI War, even the largest Golem could only support a(n expendable) fleet or two. And that's BEFORE you talk about the gaping holes in the structure that rendered the ships derelict in the first place. Debris fields "worked" because there's no issue with using up an individual ship.

Saying the the ships are "generating" metal after you repair them opens up a lore hole, because then the AI should recognize them as a strategic target and obliterate them like everything else.

Making the derelicts into facilities per Keith's musing works well. Making the derelicts into derelict fields works. Even making derelicts into super-size things that the AI can't completely destroy works (and then begs a whole BUNCH of new questions). The idea as it stands now does not work.

Agreed. Unless we're talking finite amounts of metal now (which is a large departure that I don't see mentioned in the design document at all), a single derelict ship that I can salvage to get enough resources to make twenty fleets of ships out of makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. What is this ship, the Death Star?
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Apathetic on November 15, 2016, 02:42:46 PM
Wait, wait, wait -- something has gotten screwy in the terminology since I last was the one writing the document (first KS). ;)

Derelicts: these are indeed intended to be singular ships, which are where you extract metal and science from.  That's my intent anyhow, and I think I get final say on that in this case since it's primarily an art thing. ;)  The debris fields are ugly as well as hard to see, and it's so much more thematic and interesting to see this burned-out ship that you learn stuff from and get resources out of.  The idea that there would be X number of derelicts on a planet, same as there were previously X number of scrap metal points.  We'd have a variety of actual derelict definitions that look different as well as being different sizes, and they would yield different amounts of metal per second and/or different amounts of science total.  I may never have been very clear on that.

Husks: I was using this term to refer to ships that were once functional but that you can repair back to a functional state.  Whether that's a flagship that got destroyed and is now a husk you have to go rescue and repair (so you can't permanently lose a flagship -- I really like that mechanic both in terms of the safety as well as the need to rescue them occasionally), and in terms of golems.  Basically these are "burned out husks" that you get to repair.  The name with these is freakier and more menacing, hence my preference for using husk for the ones that are more rare (these not being scattered all over every stinking planet, heh).

That was my intent, anyhow.
Not sure how that works from a suspension of disbelief perspective. Individual ships producing research as you study them? Makes a lot of sense. Endlessly mining individual ships for metal? Not so much. A single ship is a finite resource, once you cut it up it's gone. Think about how many ships a player usually fields in AI War, even the largest Golem could only support a(n expendable) fleet or two. And that's BEFORE you talk about the gaping holes in the structure that rendered the ships derelict in the first place. Debris fields "worked" because there's no issue with using up an individual ship.

Saying the the ships are "generating" metal after you repair them opens up a lore hole, because then the AI should recognize them as a strategic target and obliterate them like everything else.

Making the derelicts into facilities per Keith's musing works well. Making the derelicts into derelict fields works. Even making derelicts into super-size things that the AI can't completely destroy works (and then begs a whole BUNCH of new questions). The idea as it stands now does not work.

Agreed. Unless we're talking finite amounts of metal now (which is a large departure that I don't see mentioned in the design document at all), a single derelict ship that I can salvage to get enough resources to make twenty fleets of ships out of makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. What is this ship, the Death Star?


I think that depends on what you're doing with the derelict.  Are you taking the derelict apart for material, or are you rebuilding it so that it can harvest metal from an asteroid belt, or convert solar energy into usable material (yes the conversion rate should be awful), if it's one of the latter options than it makes sense it can produce material in perpetuity. 
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: x4000 on November 15, 2016, 02:59:31 PM
I mean, if you guys just want a pile of trash and we call it a derelict, I can certainly do that.  If I don't make the trash pile have a bunch of gaps in it, you'll still be able to see it from afar just fine.

As far as any objections to particular believability bits: frankly Keith and I historically tend to think that technobabble can sort out most things.

1. Why doesn't the AI realize the benefit the players are getting from the derelicts and do it themselves?  Because they don't rely on optical sensors, perhaps (why would they?), and there's something only apparent in the visual spectrum.  Or because they already have a much better source of resources.  Heck, maybe they ARE using them.

2. Why not destroy them if they know what they are?  Maybe that would cause a really really big explosion.  Or maybe they just figure they'll recapture them soon.  If someone invades your own country, generally you don't firebomb your own fields and factories unless you REALLY don't think you can get them back.  Sabotage them, though, sure: and we already see the AI doing that.  If the AI assumes it's going to win, its behavior seems entirely reasonable to me.

3. Isn't advanced technology risky there?  Sure, but perhaps these are things that accidentally happened when AI weapons of some specific sort hit a certain kind of human propulsion system, creating these too-small-to-do-much gates between universes.  All you can really do is suck matter through the cheese grater that are these existing gates.  This would also explain why you can't move these things.  So nobody made it on purpose, and it's not useful in anything remotely close to its current form in general.

Or pick your alternate BS explanation.  Basically anything you can come up with that is a problem, things can be twisted to make that not a problem.  That can then create new problems, but then just twist and repeat until there are no problems left.  And now you have Star Trek! ;)
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Tridus on November 15, 2016, 04:39:56 PM
aka: You really want to use derelict ships for whatever reason and just want to handwave it away. Change for the sake of change? I honestly have no idea.

Derelict ships that you capture and repair and/or disassemble for research and such are reasonable enough. Other derelict ships that provide infinite amounts of resources because space magic? I simply have no understanding of how that's an improvement.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: kasnavada on November 15, 2016, 06:22:23 PM
Because there were people all over the place!  :D
This. I mean I can get that one derelict gives a boost to metal reserves for a while, but endless ? Then the derelict is a mine that pumps to another galaxy. Ok, why not. ONCE or twice a game. For every ressource ever ? Huuuuu, suspension of disbelief died, no matter the amount of technobabble. If it's advanced at that point... there's no way the AI would win.

I mean, there is a spacefaring civilization prior to the AI invading stuff, and that requires somewhat automated basic mines and somewhat automated building center to work.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Cinth on November 15, 2016, 07:01:27 PM
For every ressource ever ? Huuuuu, suspension of disbelief died,
And you were able to maintain that feel in AI War Classic even though metal was gained in infinite quantities from those tiny asteroids?

That aside, was there this much complaining about derelicts in the first proposal?  I don't recall.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: z99-_ on November 15, 2016, 07:08:07 PM
Just out of curiosity, were there people complaining about the human settlement/colonies giving metal when they were first implemented in AIWC? After all, they are just bubbles in space, with no explanation as to how they could produce metal constantly . . .

On the other side, if we're thinking of using X amount of technobabble to make normal derelict ships believable, why not instead use X amount of technobabble to allow normal facilities to be made cooler while still being believable? For instance, from an idea perspective (certainly not a mechanics perspective) I really loved the gravity drills from AIWC. The idea of drilling into the fabric of spacetime to generate energy just seems so awesome - regardless of how scientifically accurate it is. The unique concept also allowed a similarly interesting sprite to be used. Surely, if the facilities in AIWII could be made just as unique, designing them wouldn't be a drag?
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Tridus on November 15, 2016, 07:28:01 PM
For every ressource ever ? Huuuuu, suspension of disbelief died,
And you were able to maintain that feel in AI War Classic even though metal was gained in infinite quantities from those tiny asteroids?

That aside, was there this much complaining about derelicts in the first proposal?  I don't recall.

Honestly, I didn't know they were even in the first proposal. They were added at some point without me noticing (not surprising given the size of that document). The only ones I remember were the first idea of having something you could capture from the AI and drag back to your planets for study, which I guess got changed at some point. But yes, now that we're on the subject...

Quote from: The Old Design
The amount of metal generated per second by derelicts at planets you control will vary based on the design of the derelict itself (we’ll have a variety of designs of various sizes and values).
It also will vary based on what the current health of the derelict is. 
So it’s not an on/off situation of “the AI destroys the metal harvester and thus your metal from it goes completely away for a while.”
Instead it’s “the AI damages the derelict by some percentage of its health (potentially even all the way), and then that derelict yields less metal for a while.
If a derelict has been reduced to 0 health, there will be a timer (based on the derelict in question) that is enforced before it can start being repaired again.  Generally this would vary from 30 seconds on the cheap end of derelicts to more like 2 minutes for the nicer ones.

So, I have a derelict ship that I'm scrapping for metal, but I have to *repair* it if it gets damaged before I can resume scrapping it for metal? I'm repairing it to it's previously useless, derelict state, as opposed to a useless, derelict state that has a laser hole in it? Why? I've never seen the guy at the auto wreckers trying to fix the brake system before he takes apart the car for parts & scrap.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Cinth on November 15, 2016, 07:37:06 PM
Honestly, I didn't know they were even in the first proposal. They were added at some point without me noticing (not surprising given the size of that document). The only ones I remember were the first idea of having something you could capture from the AI and drag back to your planets for study, which I guess got changed at some point. But yes, now that we're on the subject...

I think the original idea was you were repairing derelict mining facilities or something of that sort.  Husks were the ships you could repair to usable states (and has always been that way).
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Tridus on November 15, 2016, 07:48:39 PM
Honestly, I didn't know they were even in the first proposal. They were added at some point without me noticing (not surprising given the size of that document). The only ones I remember were the first idea of having something you could capture from the AI and drag back to your planets for study, which I guess got changed at some point. But yes, now that we're on the subject...

I think the original idea was you were repairing derelict mining facilities or something of that sort.  Husks were the ships you could repair to usable states (and has always been that way).

Maybe at some point, but that's not what was in the document. It flat out says they're ships you repair and then harvest for resources.

Quote from: The Old Design
In exactly the same manner that metal deposits were seeded, derelicts are seeded instead.
Derelicts are old, burnt-out ships from past wars.  You can’t move them or capture them (per se).
Derelicts have health on them, like any ship, and on all planets that are not your starting planet(s), the health starts at zero.
These ships are repaired by your command-station-based nanobots just like any other allied ship would be.  They are also targeted by AI ships just like any other ship would be.
Aka, the AI will still attack your sources of metal (now derelicts instead of metal harvesters), and you’ll still have to repair them -- but it’s all automated now, and one more irritating source of micro is gone.
These ships cannot be repaired on planets not controlled by a player (aka one that is neutral or that belongs to the AI or a minor faction).
The amount of metal generated per second by derelicts at planets you control will vary based on the design of the derelict itself (we’ll have a variety of designs of various sizes and values).
It also will vary based on what the current health of the derelict is. 
So it’s not an on/off situation of “the AI destroys the metal harvester and thus your metal from it goes completely away for a while.”
Instead it’s “the AI damages the derelict by some percentage of its health (potentially even all the way), and then that derelict yields less metal for a while.
If a derelict has been reduced to 0 health, there will be a timer (based on the derelict in question) that is enforced before it can start being repaired again.  Generally this would vary from 30 seconds on the cheap end of derelicts to more like 2 minutes for the nicer ones.
The amount of metal generated by a derelict will never be below 20% of its max generation rate, even if it has zero health at the moment.

Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Cinth on November 15, 2016, 08:06:00 PM
I'm probably remembering bits and pieces of the forum conversation that led to that.

Happens with the effective memory of a goldfish (upgrading damaged ram isn't always an option :) )
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Tridus on November 15, 2016, 08:46:06 PM
Oh I totally understand that. :) I only know this because I looked it up.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: yllamana on November 15, 2016, 08:46:56 PM
What if instead you had Metal Harvesters that harvest metal from metal sources (which could be varied - so maybe it's a ship graveyard, or an asteroid, or a big, destroyed golem) and how efficiently they harvest is based on their health level?
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: x4000 on November 15, 2016, 08:51:26 PM
aka: You really want to use derelict ships for whatever reason and just want to handwave it away.

Right.  Do you have any idea how many ideas there are that you take for granted in AI War that started this way? ;)  I say that in jest, kinda, but honestly that's sort of the nature of this sort of thing.  I needed a plausible reason for the AI to not just crush you, so had to invent it being distracted.  I had a mechanic that needed to have some sort of lore attached to it, so lore was conjured-up.

The Neinzul as a race came about because I wanted to explore a mechanic where there were perpetual children through attrition.  So a whole race popped out of that.  The nature of the spire as a species came because I was playing around in Zbrush and came up with a cool visual style with the white.  So then I came up with some reason why they would look that way.  I also was able to cheaply make really large ships with that style, so hence them becoming the most powerful race.

If you're a AAA studio then you can just make things out of whole cloth because you thought of it, but for me I've generally had to take ideas in all sorts of random orders, often because "hey I can do this thing, so how can I make it fit?"  Or "hey this art would look cool, what can I do with it?"

Change for the sake of change? I honestly have no idea.

It's really very simple: I have a cool way of doing the graphics for destroyed ships, and I think it would look dramatic on planets scattered around.  Thematically it would also be fitting with the wreckage of past wars (which is what the scrap piles were in the first game, too).  People also have really latched onto the name of derelicts, because it just sounds nifty.

Frankly I don't really care that much beyond that, but I think it would look cool as heck.  These were in the spec from day one on the first KS and nobody complained.

The repair mechanics on these is simply so that the AI has a way of denying you resources (as with metal harvesters), but you don't have to expend metal to get metal, as that previously led to slow doom cycles of annoyance.  There are a few other mild usability features that get smoothed out with this, too.  Visually it would work with any of these approaches, even with metal harvesters if we wanted to make those free to build but just take time, or whatever the case.

Overall it doesn't really matter a huge amount, but visually this is what I have a cool idea for, and I think you'd enjoy looking at this more than anything else I can think of for this thing.  That's really it.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: x4000 on November 15, 2016, 08:56:39 PM
What if instead you had Metal Harvesters that harvest metal from metal sources (which could be varied - so maybe it's a ship graveyard, or an asteroid, or a big, destroyed golem) and how efficiently they harvest is based on their health level?

This is pretty similar to what I was suggesting.  But I was thinking that we could cut out the metal harvesters and thus have a few less ship graphics in the system.  In terms of the burned out derelicts, I thought they would look the neatest and also would be using a consistent shader, meaning they can be batched very efficiently.  If I do asteroids and so forth, that's a second draw call, which is not killer, but there are a variety of ways I could make that work.

Making metal harvesters always auto-build and cost zero power AND be free to build (and not accelerate-able?  Not sure.) would solve the death spirals that could otherwise happen with them.  Frankly that's up to Keith; if you guys want it the same as it was before, it's not some grand crisis, but it's a minor pain in your butts and also one minor thing that a new player has to learn, etc.

I'm not planning on taking a general attitude of "trust me guys, there is good and sufficient reason to just do what I say every time," as I don't think that serves anyone well.  Often there is good and sufficient reason to NOT do the thing, too.  I just am a little frustrated right now because I hadn't expected to get into a giant debate two days before the relaunch about what feels to me to be a pretty minor point that is mostly a visual thing.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: yllamana on November 15, 2016, 09:49:41 PM
What if instead you had Metal Harvesters that harvest metal from metal sources (which could be varied - so maybe it's a ship graveyard, or an asteroid, or a big, destroyed golem) and how efficiently they harvest is based on their health level?

This is pretty similar to what I was suggesting.  But I was thinking that we could cut out the metal harvesters and thus have a few less ship graphics in the system.  In terms of the burned out derelicts, I thought they would look the neatest and also would be using a consistent shader, meaning they can be batched very efficiently.  If I do asteroids and so forth, that's a second draw call, which is not killer, but there are a variety of ways I could make that work.

Making metal harvesters always auto-build and cost zero power AND be free to build (and not accelerate-able?  Not sure.) would solve the death spirals that could otherwise happen with them.  Frankly that's up to Keith; if you guys want it the same as it was before, it's not some grand crisis, but it's a minor pain in your butts and also one minor thing that a new player has to learn, etc.

I'm not planning on taking a general attitude of "trust me guys, there is good and sufficient reason to just do what I say every time," as I don't think that serves anyone well.  Often there is good and sufficient reason to NOT do the thing, too.  I just am a little frustrated right now because I hadn't expected to get into a giant debate two days before the relaunch about what feels to me to be a pretty minor point that is mostly a visual thing.
Well, you know, I did make a bunch of comments in my post earlier that you didn't respond to. If you wanted a way to derail the current conversation that would be an easy one. :) I read through that entire document to make those comments!! :)

What I'm trying to get at here, in the frustrating conversation, is that there's no reason they have to be named derelicts in the game. They can just be metal sources, and then metal harvesters can go on the metal sources when you take the planet, and metal harvesters can work exactly the way you're describing the derelicts - basically being these unkillable structures that manage themselves - while being free of the baggage that comes with "derelict." You can still visually have your cool derelicts and people who like the concept can have them there without it confusing anyone.

But please feel free to take the conversation on a different path!
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Captain Jack on November 15, 2016, 09:54:15 PM
Frankly I don't really care that much beyond that, but I think it would look cool as heck.  These were in the spec from day one on the first KS and nobody complained.
I've actually been meaning to bring this up three or four times. Other things (that matter) keep coming up. Like the apocalyptic email, our story talk, rewriting the KS document, etc. etc. etc. ;p

Like you said, it's a small thing, but I do think it matters for setting consistency.

What I'm trying to get at here, in the frustrating conversation, is that there's no reason they have to be named derelicts in the game.
The issue is that he has a cool visual effect for damaged spaceships. If resource points aren't derelicts anymore, then there's no point in using the cool visual effect.

Sorry Chris!
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 15, 2016, 10:21:48 PM
I thought the original document's usage of the term derelict was odd. The mechanic was fine, and I was busy, so I didn't say much.

Handwaving is fine where necessary, but I don't think it's really all that necessary here. The more we have, the more confusing the initial impression of the game (which runs counter to usability), especially if we use words in ways that are counter-intuitive to real-world usage (having "husks" be closer to spaceworthy than "derelicts" is a bit like a fantasy world that has "dwarves" that are consistently taller and skinnier than humans).

Is there a reason we can't:

1) call the "ships you can actually make fly again" derelicts
2) and call the "weird things you can get resources out of but are otherwise completely inoperable" husks?

Then make the metal-producing husks look like hollowed out huge (as in "we're not sure what race built ships this big") transports that you can't see most of the interior of. Or whatever in the toolbox is most conducive to that helps support the suspension of disbelief.

The science-producing ones as more-normal-sized husks that would be fine. Similar with energy, since small-ish reactors that produce impressive amounts of power essentially forever are a staple of many sci-fi worlds. Especially if it's from some race that no one knows about anymore, or something like that.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: hatless on November 15, 2016, 10:58:30 PM
But what colour should the bikeshed be?
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Captain Jack on November 15, 2016, 11:02:15 PM
we're not sure what race built ships this big
Take your pick: Zenith or Spire? :D Plus it makes sense for both to produce material over time. (I'm actually not against the idea of ships making metal, but it can't be galactic standard.)

Also, don't all resource generators produce the same material? So the same metal point is making your metal and your science, not two different ones. Is that right? Without checking the design doc, are power and fuel separate from that or part of the same package?
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: yllamana on November 15, 2016, 11:23:39 PM
You could always keep it simple and say they're from the earlier human wars, either with or without the AI. They're no longer made because technology superceded them or because nobody has enough metal (or fuel?) to actually make one functional anymore. A system's supply of metal could be the remnants of just one or two of those ships that haven't yet crashed into a gravity well. :)

Then you can make an expansion where you can collect enough husk bits from across the galaxy and turn them into a functional ship at the price of removing those metal sources from the galaxy!!
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: kasnavada on November 16, 2016, 03:58:42 AM
For every ressource ever ? Huuuuu, suspension of disbelief died,
And you were able to maintain that feel in AI War Classic even though metal was gained in infinite quantities from those tiny asteroids?

That aside, was there this much complaining about derelicts in the first proposal?  I don't recall.

Then again, derelicts weren't exactly explained to people on the forum, or I missed the explanations apart from "we can write a description of it" part.


And, nope I don't have issues with "tiny asteroids".

I originally read this on science magazines, but, from wikipedia:
Quote
In 1997 it was speculated that a relatively small metallic asteroid with a diameter of 1.6 km (1 mi) contains more than US$20 trillion worth of industrial and precious metals.[7][57] A comparatively small M-type asteroid with a mean diameter of 1 km (0.62 mi) could contain more than two billion metric tons of iron–nickel ore,[58] or two to three times the world production of 2004.[59] The asteroid 16 Psyche is believed to contain 1.7×1019 kg of nickel–iron, which could supply the world production requirement for several million years. A small portion of the extracted material would also be precious metals.

So yeah, an asteroid or 2 could actually produce enough for an AI War game or 2.

What I'm objecting to here is that spacefaring people capable of replicating ships in seconds being unable to build a metal mine. That some derelicts could be mines, I don't have an issue with that. That whatever factions are in AI War rely exclusively on derelicts for metal is what's causing an issue to me.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: NichG on November 16, 2016, 05:16:37 AM
It's a strategic abstraction anyhow. Calling it 'metal' avoids technobabble and makes it easy to understand (consumable resource needed to make stuff), but you could say that actually you're mining qubits of entangled matter to make use of an extragalactic computational resource created long ago by an since-departed alien civilization; and if that entanglement is broken because it wasn't extracted carefully enough, it decoheres and you can no longer make use of it, but there's a ton of it in the ancient scouts and dreadnaughts. But, I think if you called it 'qubits' or 'entmat' or something, people would just get unnecessarily confused, even if it might make more sense in terms of exactly how it behaves in the simulation.

To that extent, you might as well just call it 'Futuristic Materials' - not just raw resources from an asteroid, but some other material which has been manufactured/modified/etc in a way that requires care and special facilities to feasibly extract.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Captain Jack on November 16, 2016, 06:32:04 AM
So I rolled some thoughts around in my head and actually came up with an explanation that lets Chris keep his ships, but has less ooptech, and reconciles a gameplay/lore issue.

First off? The derelicts don't make, refine or collect metal. The derelicts are salvage coordinators, helping your command stations optimize the process of collecting scrap. They're left over from the post-AI War period, when they helped coordinate the recovery of military grade metals. They made one way trips to orbit, and were eventually abandoned in place after the most valuable pieces got picked up. Fast forward to the present, and the devices are more useful than ever because the AI's return means a bunch of new scrap, and no time for it to form metal fields. After all, AIW2 takes place much earlier in its war than Classic does its own. No time for those familiar fields to show up.

The AI can't listen in on human communications this time around, which is why it doesn't bother to destroy the derelicts completely -- they are neither serving a military nor economic purpose that it can tell, and they are not supporting human life. The AI blasts holes in them to stop their signal and moves on. The player's forces don't even need to repair them entirely if Chris wants to keep the damaged ship thing going, since a fully repaired ship represents a possible threat to the AI, while a half repaired weaponless vessel is a curiosity worth exploring much later (though it's still getting blasted).

This is just a lore change, they keep all the same gameplay functions. They produce metal and science under player control, are immobile, don't have weapons, etc. etc. This way toothey can be completely destroyed and rebuilt in game. There just has to be one in place when the player arrives in a system.

Change the name from "derelict" to something more descriptive when it's captured and I'm content. How's this work for everyone else?
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: NichG on November 16, 2016, 07:07:22 AM
Thing is, I really like the name 'derelict' as well as the idea of scavenging stuff from relics and remainders that the humans don't fully understand. The nice thing about the term for me is that it adds a bit of mystique. Metal harvesters or scrap collectors or whatever feels like kind of a dead end - there isn't really a way to make them interesting. But if the thing you're gathering from isn't fully understood, then there's a sense in which further development of that line in DLC could lead to plot-based stuff, alternate kinds of derelicts that are more than just big metal harvesting sites, etc. I could for example see a DLC adding a system where as you spend in tech, for example, you get secondary benefits from derelicts (so all provide metal, but after buying the second rank of 'metal harvester' equivalent tech you find that some give you power, others have weapon systems that come online, or drone controllers, or whatever).
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Tridus on November 16, 2016, 07:46:27 AM
Thing is, I really like the name 'derelict' as well as the idea of scavenging stuff from relics and remainders that the humans don't fully understand. The nice thing about the term for me is that it adds a bit of mystique. Metal harvesters or scrap collectors or whatever feels like kind of a dead end - there isn't really a way to make them interesting. But if the thing you're gathering from isn't fully understood, then there's a sense in which further development of that line in DLC could lead to plot-based stuff, alternate kinds of derelicts that are more than just big metal harvesting sites, etc. I could for example see a DLC adding a system where as you spend in tech, for example, you get secondary benefits from derelicts (so all provide metal, but after buying the second rank of 'metal harvester' equivalent tech you find that some give you power, others have weapon systems that come online, or drone controllers, or whatever).

Or you could add actual derelict ships when you have a game mechanic that warrants having derelict ships, rather than trying to shoehorn them in where they don't make any sense because people are highly attached to misusing the word "derelict". Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

I mean, according to this thread, the human forces are getting their metal, science, AND power from these derelict ships. They're literally the only reason we can fight the AI at all. I guess we're really fortunate the AI never studied military tactics, because if it does, it can end the entire threat to itself with two words: Scorched Earth.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: z99-_ on November 16, 2016, 08:19:33 AM
So I rolled some thoughts around in my head and actually came up with an explanation that lets Chris keep his ships, but has less ooptech, and reconciles a gameplay/lore issue.

First off? The derelicts don't make, refine or collect metal. The derelicts are salvage coordinators, helping your command stations optimize the process of collecting scrap. They're left over from the post-AI War period, when they helped coordinate the recovery of military grade metals. They made one way trips to orbit, and were eventually abandoned in place after the most valuable pieces got picked up. Fast forward to the present, and the devices are more useful than ever because the AI's return means a bunch of new scrap, and no time for it to form metal fields. After all, AIW2 takes place much earlier in its war than Classic does its own. No time for those familiar fields to show up.

The AI can't listen in on human communications this time around, which is why it doesn't bother to destroy the derelicts completely -- they are neither serving a military nor economic purpose that it can tell, and they are not supporting human life. The AI blasts holes in them to stop their signal and moves on. The player's forces don't even need to repair them entirely if Chris wants to keep the damaged ship thing going, since a fully repaired ship represents a possible threat to the AI, while a half repaired weaponless vessel is a curiosity worth exploring much later (though it's still getting blasted).

This is just a lore change, they keep all the same gameplay functions. They produce metal and science under player control, are immobile, don't have weapons, etc. etc. This way toothey can be completely destroyed and rebuilt in game. There just has to be one in place when the player arrives in a system.

Change the name from "derelict" to something more descriptive when it's captured and I'm content. How's this work for everyone else?

+1 to all of this.

For the 'scavenging stuff from relics and remainders that humans don't fully understand' thing, I think that would be better served by a stretch goal / expansion that brings back relics from the original design doc.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: kasnavada on November 16, 2016, 08:38:05 AM
Thing is, I really like the name 'derelict' as well as the idea of scavenging stuff from relics and remainders that the humans don't fully understand. The nice thing about the term for me is that it adds a bit of mystique. Metal harvesters or scrap collectors or whatever feels like kind of a dead end - there isn't really a way to make them interesting. But if the thing you're gathering from isn't fully understood, then there's a sense in which further development of that line in DLC could lead to plot-based stuff, alternate kinds of derelicts that are more than just big metal harvesting sites, etc. I could for example see a DLC adding a system where as you spend in tech, for example, you get secondary benefits from derelicts (so all provide metal, but after buying the second rank of 'metal harvester' equivalent tech you find that some give you power, others have weapon systems that come online, or drone controllers, or whatever).

Or you could add actual derelict ships when you have a game mechanic that warrants having derelict ships, rather than trying to shoehorn them in where they don't make any sense because people are highly attached to misusing the word "derelict". Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

I mean, according to this thread, the human forces are getting their metal, science, AND power from these derelict ships. They're literally the only reason we can fight the AI at all. I guess we're really fortunate the AI never studied military tactics, because if it does, it can end the entire threat to itself with two words: Scorched Earth.

+1
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: NichG on November 16, 2016, 08:39:20 AM
I mean, according to this thread, the human forces are getting their metal, science, AND power from these derelict ships. They're literally the only reason we can fight the AI at all. I guess we're really fortunate the AI never studied military tactics, because if it does, it can end the entire threat to itself with two words: Scorched Earth.

Well this pretty much applies to the entire premise. If the humans were the priority target, the AI could end the entire threat to itself by just killing them before they got big. I think you have to accept that either the AI is behaving suboptimally, and that is the only reason its possible to win. Barring a stealth system, that is.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: Tridus on November 16, 2016, 08:46:52 AM
I mean, according to this thread, the human forces are getting their metal, science, AND power from these derelict ships. They're literally the only reason we can fight the AI at all. I guess we're really fortunate the AI never studied military tactics, because if it does, it can end the entire threat to itself with two words: Scorched Earth.

Well this pretty much applies to the entire premise. If the humans were the priority target, the AI could end the entire threat to itself by just killing them before they got big. I think you have to accept that either the AI is behaving suboptimally, and that is the only reason its possible to win. Barring a stealth system, that is.

It's always been a thing to a degree, yeah (with the AI leaving golems lying around and such, but it did remove backup design servers if it lost the system at least). But we're taking it to extremes now, with the idea that the humans apparently can't mine, can't run a power plant, can't repair these ships to be functional, but can get infinite amounts of resources out of them and run their power generation systems just fine.

I'm not a fan, obviously.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 16, 2016, 08:52:58 AM
I mean, according to this thread, the human forces are getting their metal, science, AND power from these derelict ships. They're literally the only reason we can fight the AI at all. I guess we're really fortunate the AI never studied military tactics, because if it does, it can end the entire threat to itself with two words: Scorched Earth.

Well this pretty much applies to the entire premise. If the humans were the priority target, the AI could end the entire threat to itself by just killing them before they got big. I think you have to accept that either the AI is behaving suboptimally, and that is the only reason its possible to win. Barring a stealth system, that is.
Yea, but combining the disbelief of "the AI isn't destroying this thing that's critical to my war effort" and "my metal comes from this broken magic spaceship that constantly creates matter out of nothing (or warps it in from some other universe)" into the same mechanic, when it's a basic, background, supposed-to-not-get-in-the-way mechanic... just boggles the mind of someone encountering it. It's like, "why?".

Since we can do "broken ship" graphics well, we can have "broken ship" derelicts that get repaired into flagships and golems. If they need to be more common than that, use them for science and maybe energy gathering places.

I don't see the need to have them also do metal.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: NichG on November 16, 2016, 10:23:56 AM
So I guess that brings up a question - is there actually a point to having the sources of metal be separately destructible compared to just requiring that the system be under player control in order to extract resources from it?

It seems like it resolves this issue if the derelicts are the science sources, and metal sources are just an invisible 'if you own the system, it gets taken care of' thing.
Title: Re: (Please review) Design info for re-launch of AIW 2 Kickstarter
Post by: x4000 on November 16, 2016, 11:16:21 AM
Mostly I'm going to bow out of this conversation, because I've got video and presentation things to do.  And ultimately this is Keith's show in terms of this sort of thing in particular, so I'll let him sort it out. ;)

As far as why these things would be destructible, the reason is so that every planet has multiple weak spots for you.  There needs to be a reason for you to defend more than just one big blob at your command station.  Beyond that, there's not real reason.