From: Arlington TN U.S.A
I always redesign from the start of the game onwards. I expect each ship to have the following characteristics :
1) Turn rate of at least 20. If you can turn around fast enough, then you can get away from dangerous situations.
2) Never go slower in hyper than your best hyper drive allows due to limited reactor power.
3) Never fail to recharge your shields or fire your weapons due to limited reactor power or energy storage.
Basically, start with static energy, add in the power used by all of your weapons firing at once, then add in the energy used at sprint mode, then add in your shield recharge rate. This is the absolute maximum power you CAN use per unit time. Compare that figure to static energy plus average weapons energy plus cruise energy plus half of the maximum shield recharge rate. Then strike a balance between the two which makes you feel comfortable. Early in the game that might mean using one or two less reactors than max power indicates. Later on when I am rich, I ADD an extra reactor for redundancy above the maximum indicated necessary.
4) I add engines until the total of static plus average weapons energy plus sprint engine energy plus half of the maximum shield recharge energy is right at the reactor output. If that is not fast enough, then I add another reactor and repeat. For warships I use the maximum rather than average weapons and shield recharge energy.
5) The level which I use for shields and armor depends heavily upon the stage of the game, and the ship role. I try to have at least 2-4 armor minimum on every type of ship which I build. It eats aculon like crazy, but is worth the extra cost in the long run.
6) I arm all of the ships in my civilian fleet with the weapon which provides the most firepower at a reasonable range, (except not the DEATH RAY or DEVASTATOR PULSE).
7) Since I learned in the forum here that the pirates copy my designs for escorts, frigates, and destroyers, I build none of those. Instead I build lots of cruisers,. and once I get the Death ray, as many capital ships armed with that as I can afford to maintain.
8) I arm all constructors who will be working in an unguarded system rather than proving an escort. Typically they have firepower, shields and armor comparable to a cruiser. A helpful hint - when a pirate attacks such a constructor or the project which it is building, tell it to attack rather than ignore the pest. You should have the "flee when" set to shields 20 or 50 and the attack mode set to all weapons firing. When the pest is dead, select the constructor and tell it to repair the construction project which was interrupted. In a pinch, you can use a constructor armed like that to guard a spaceport being built until its weapons and shields are at reasonable levels. HOWEVER that DOES cost more than a comparable cruiser.
9) As soon as practical in each game, I build 2-4 so called explorers which have a long range scanner. At size 230 you can build a slow pig of an explorer with lots of fuel and send it out into nebulae to find restricted zones. In my most recent game that was a terrific strategy, because I found a zone which had a capital ship in it which when finally repaired gave the beacon for the archive of lost technology, which I opened in 56/10/14 gaining warp 32 hyper drives among other goodies! Later on I build a fleet of so called explorers which are actually cruisers with a long range scanner. They are not much good for fighting pirate ships, but with their weapons and shields they take out pirate BASES which they locate quite nicely!
10) The earliest ships which I build are destroyers disguised as explorers. I build them as fast as my cash situation and construction queue on the home world allows. I use them to destroy pirate bases near my home system, gaining reputation points and treasure, often even a beacon for a lost warship, rarely a pirate faction joining me. Once all of the nearby pirates are dead, these so called explorers visit star systems to name them, checking as explore only the continental and swamp planets (use move to rather than explore unknown system). But most important of all this lightning quick name-only check of systems allows me to find ruins and AI empires with which to trade. I will not introduce a spoiler into this thread regarding the most important ruins to find, but just note that in most of the six games which I have played (until the galaxy of 1400 stars was fully named) the most important ruins were 1-3 sectors away from my home system rather than exceedingly far or very close by. So a good target number to build of such explorers is 15-25. Then once you open the technology archive and get warp 32 hyper drives, you can replace those old ships with resource scanner level 2 warp 32 explorers...
more to come in edits!
On spaceports, you should have something like the following component order, more or less, for new ports (not upgrades) a) Command and Commerce Centers b) ECM c) Life Support and Habitation d) damage control and repair bots
e) docking bays - as soon as the first docking bay is added, your port is in business even though you have no power! Notice in the expansion planner that the "my empire resources" distance for the colony goes to zero as soon as the first dock is built.
f) hospital and g) recreation center
h) the best targeting computer and weapons which can be built using only the resources available when the new colony plants, to firepower of 100-300 depending upon game progress and spaceport size.
i) all armor, then the best shields which can be built using only the resources available when the new colony plants, to shield strength of 500-1500 depending upon progress and spaceport size.
j) same for reactors, giving yourself about 600-1200 energy storage depending upon spaceport size
k) now add on energy collectors until you get to the output needed to support your static energy, all weapons firing, and shields recharging. What you lose in build time will be compensated by your shields starting to charge up, and savings in fuel once your spaceport is built. One thing to keep in mind is that for low output stars at outer orbits, you might need more energy collectors than normal, because the rate for a collector varies depending upon radiation at the planet. The value for an energy collector is its MAXIMUM potential, rather than actual collected. It will probably take as long for all of the energy collectors to be built as the combined time of a) through j.
l) long range scanner and cargo bay (at least one cargo for each docking bay)
m) IF and ONLY if you can afford the extra build time, add on mining, luxury, or gas extractors to increase the rate at which your colony mines resources. I do this on a regular basis. The result is often that the stock of the mined resource hits 20k before the spaceport completes!
n) Add your best shields till you get whatever level makes you comfortable. You might want to use different categories of shield (corvidian, deucallos, talassos) so that you get at least SOME built even if the others are delayed to to lack of a strategic resource. I have noticed that variety pays.
o) Use the same strategy for modern reactors, but USE the SAME fuel type as the earlier reactors in your design! Your energy storage level should exceed the maximum energy usage rather than the average required by static, weapons, and shields.
p) same strategy for weapons.
s) one of each type of manufacturer PER SHIPYARD plus an extra one or two of industrial.
t) fuel storage - at least one for each reactor
1) It is a BAD idea to put hyper-deny weapons on a spaceport!
2) It is a BAD idea to put area weapons on a spaceport EARLY in the game, but a VERY good idea later on, because you MIGHT need them to wipe out a horde of destroyers or troop transports each carrying one troop.
3) Pirates LOVE to attack spaceports when they are vulnerable, so let your best available ships guard those being built. Once a port has a decent level of weapons and shields charged up, you COULD send your better ship to another port and just use smaller ships to ward off the pirates, who WILL visit you if you lack overwhelming strength. Notice how early I add the long range scanner, right after the energy collectors...
more to come in edits!
Ever seen a Strength 71 Kraltor? Awesome!
EDIT - attached is a ship designs file from one of my games, zipped up. unzip it to your desktop, then in the game design screen load the designs in a new game (for examination purposes). As discussed below, the mines on spaceports are not effective...
< Message edited by Jeeves -- 10/29/2010 6:46:15 AM >