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A Different Scale for Different Worlds

 
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A Different Scale for Different Worlds - 12/8/2011 4:37:30 PM   
Paul Roberts

 

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I've just been playing for about a week, and I really love this game!

I find myself thinking about the time scale, though...

Watching the days tick by, it's kind of shocking how fast everything happens in the DW universe. I can accept that hyperspace travel is much, much faster than light (otherwise space empires are impossible), but some other things seem way off: not only are massive ships built from scratch in a few days' time, but whole new worlds are colonized in an instant, and populations grow at astonishing rates. My civilization blows through whole generations of technology in the space of a few years.

I know all of this is as it is for the purpose of game play, but I've been thinking about how the time scales might be adjusted for something more realistic. I'm not suggesting that the core game should be radically redesigned, but what about these changes for an option or a modding project?

--Hyperspace remains fast, although perhaps a little slower than now,
--Communication (i.e. knowing what's going on all over your galaxy) remains instantaneous... tachyon phone or whatever,
--Construction is much slower, perhaps a year to build a size 500+ ship,
--Colonization is much much slower, with the period that a colony ship takes to "build" a colony being extended to ten or even twenty years. This would still be fudging reality, but it wouldn't be instant,
--Tech'ing up is slower, so the player would spend a longer time with each generation of tech,
--Retrofitting old ships and bases wouldn't be nearly so quick, and for some techs would be impossible.

Obviously, game pace would slow way down--but I'd want the game to give us the option to run at 10x or 20x speeds (with auto-pause/slowdown options for various events). But the feeling of growing an empire over generations would be richer, I think. The player would have to plan ahead more for fleet-building. Wars would have to be fought with the fleets already at hand, rather than with massive ship-spamming build-ups happening almost as quickly as it takes enemy fleets to arrive. Players would have to plan ahead for tech more carefully, and knowing what techs your enemy uses would be crucial.

All this would be to produce a game where we grow a space empire over 500 years instead of 50. The slower pace satisfies the hard-SF side of me, and the constraints of tech and ship-building might make wars feel more dramatic and harder to recover from. Individual worlds would probably be more important too, since they required more of an investment.

Anyway, just daydreaming here. I've always been interested in the huge distance involved in space travel and how space opera SF deals (or doesn't deal) with it.
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RE: A Different Scale for Different Worlds - 12/8/2011 4:53:49 PM   
Cauldyth

 

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Interesting idea.

As you mentioned, wars would be fought with what you have on-hand, which makes me think wars would be pretty definitive when they occur. A war breaks out, and the militaries immediately clash. Whichever one comes out the victor of that initial clash has pretty much won the war. If they went in having an advantage in fleet size or technology level, it's doom for the other side.

Certainly more how we'd expect an interstellar war to unfold. Complete walk-over by the side with the superior technology and numbers.

(in reply to Paul Roberts)
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RE: A Different Scale for Different Worlds - 12/8/2011 4:54:16 PM   
Data


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I'm with you every step of you post, right now I role play most of this. Immersion is one of this game's many strongpoints so obviously we're entitled to demand perfection from it. Elliot did wonders so far and as long as other players styles are not affected I also want this.


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RE: A Different Scale for Different Worlds - 12/8/2011 5:44:40 PM   
Theluin


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Would really increase the immersion however I think it might pose a very big problem from the technical side. A 10x or 20x would be a real challenge for even the most modern CPU. Calculating the position of every ship, creature, base and planet 20x faster I think it would make the game unplayable or people with slower computers. But I'm no programming or computer expert so perhaps that difficulty could be overcome

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RE: A Different Scale for Different Worlds - 12/8/2011 5:59:50 PM   
Texashawk

 

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+1 to this. I'm working on a personal project that takes this kind of scale into account (an Honorverse war game that recreates the Haven-Manticore war on a strategic and tactical level), and the time scale to design and build some of the larger ships is literally years. Plus, there's crewing time, shakedown time, and fleet integration time to consider. It's a tricky balance between fun and realism, and I suspect Eliot opted for action over 'realism'. It'd be a nice option to have, though.

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RE: A Different Scale for Different Worlds - 12/8/2011 6:02:56 PM   
JCVocke

 

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If I Remember correctly, inside every Species Definition file there is a 'Construction Speed' entry or some such, something similar. Crank that down for everyone, also doing the same for Research Speed, and there you go. Although ship speeds will still be the same, although actually, there might be a 'Ship Speed' entry in there too.

There are a lot of things you can play around with in the Species Definition Files that could accomplish most of these, construction speed should logically also affect retrofit and retire speed, although it won't prevent massive retrofits, but personally I have always considered the massive Retrofits to be the empire building a new ship at the same time they decommission the old one, and then just transferring the crew.

I've been planning to do it for a while now, for much the same reasons you list, in addition to a bunch of other small changes, most of which are cosmetic.

(in reply to Theluin)
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RE: A Different Scale for Different Worlds - 12/8/2011 6:07:42 PM   
Paul Roberts

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cauldyth

Interesting idea.

As you mentioned, wars would be fought with what you have on-hand, which makes me think wars would be pretty definitive when they occur. A war breaks out, and the militaries immediately clash. Whichever one comes out the victor of that initial clash has pretty much won the war. If they went in having an advantage in fleet size or technology level, it's doom for the other side.

Certainly more how we'd expect an interstellar war to unfold. Complete walk-over by the side with the superior technology and numbers.



Yeah, I've been wondering about this. Balance would be a real problem, especially where the AI was concerned.

I guess *hard-core* realism would be one species lucky enough to evolve first and rolling over all the others while they're still working on opposable thumbs, but that wouldn't be much of a game.


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RE: A Different Scale for Different Worlds - 12/8/2011 7:23:51 PM   
Raap

 

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Been wishing for this for some time. The (physical) galaxy size slider introduced in Legends was a step in the right direction, but I'd love to have more such options. Even bigger maps( than 15x15), a 'fuel usage' slider, construction speed slider, hyperengine and normal engine speed sliders, etc. Kinda like the research speed slider, where you can either use the presets or you can put in a custom number. The problem, aside from whatever technical limitations related to the implementation, is of course the AI.

(in reply to Paul Roberts)
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RE: A Different Scale for Different Worlds - 12/8/2011 7:34:01 PM   
MasterChief


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Agree!! Great suggestions! Of course we can already limit research to some extent but the other ideas are spot on! As Data mentioned I try to role model this allready. Not always easy though

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RE: A Different Scale for Different Worlds - 12/8/2011 7:41:19 PM   
Nedrear


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You can adjust the time scale a little by reducing the population growth of all not bug races. I always set my AAR humans to 3,5% instead of the game amount.

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