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Universe Mods ... what's cooking?

 
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Universe Mods ... what's cooking? - 4/26/2014 12:50:30 PM   
Icemania


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Some general discussion on mod ideas for Universe would be interesting.

To our modding community, what key features do you have in mind to develop (and for those involved in Universe already can you provide any spoilers)?

For the community, what key features do you want? I'd really like to see AI improvements.

Are any modding groups being formed or are our modders working solo? I'm still amazed by the Star Trek Armada 3 mod work ...



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RE: Universe Mods ... what's cooking? - 4/26/2014 1:11:18 PM   
Osito


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This is more like it ...

As I said in another post, I've been keeping a list of mods I'd like to make. When I say "mod", I'm talking about specific individual changes rather than a complete "mod-pack". I should point out that my main interested in modding is to make changes to my own games, rather than create mods for the community, because I think the changes I'm interested in wouldn't necessarily interest others.

These are a selection from the list of changes I would make, if the Universe modding capability permits it.

Edit - now have a better idea about what's possible. This is based on info available on 7 May, so not absolutely definite.

1. Recreation centres and medical centres should move from space port to planets. Not possible

2. Wonders should, in general, be national not universal. Not possible

3. Barren worlds should be colonisable. It should be done if possible by means of a unique colonisation module which builds shielded cities. I'd have the requisite tech branch off from "massive shield projection" tech. Not possible

4. Colonisation tree should be redone. There should be a basic terraforming tech, then all colonisation types should branch off from that.

5. Sub-light travel should get faster and more economical on fuel. Early on there should be a "scoop" technology, which rapidly improves the efficiency of sub-light travel, possibly making it fuel-independent. Higher levels of sub-light travel should be much faster, possibly enabling speeds of 200-300, or more.

6. Supra light travel should be much more fuel intensive. At the moment, the hyperdrives rapidly make the whole universe explorable. The fuel consumption should be increased dramatically so that you run out of fuel after a sector or two.

7. Running out of fuel should have bigger consequences. If you run out of fuel you should run at sub-light speeds.

8. Late game superfast drive that "ports" you right across the galaxy in a matter of days.

9. I'm interested in trying to distinguish the ship classes a bit more, but will depend on what's possible. Not possible

10. Increase adverse effect of taxes on moral. Not possible

11. Also intend some star maps based on real star positions and names. Might upload those.

Oh well, 6/11 still seem possible. Not too bad, I suppose.

< Message edited by Osito -- 5/7/2014 11:51:47 AM >

(in reply to Icemania)
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RE: Universe Mods ... what's cooking? - 4/26/2014 1:32:55 PM   
CyclopsSlayer


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re #11 above, it might be really hard to properly represent a 3D near space map in a 2d flat space.

Regardless I do recall a cluster of G-class stars in tight proximity at ~80-100LY distance. nice prime target of interest.

(in reply to Osito)
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RE: Universe Mods ... what's cooking? - 4/26/2014 1:46:18 PM   
Osito


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quote:

ORIGINAL: CyclopsSlayer

re #11 above, it might be really hard to properly represent a 3D near space map in a 2d flat space.



It requires a compromise, of course, but you can approximate it. You just have to adjust the magnitutude of the x and y coordinates to take into account the missing z coordinate. So you'll have the correct distance, and the correct x and y direction, but no way to represent the z direction. I already have a spreadsheet with the 2D positions of the closest 100 stars (furthest one is about 22 light years, in case you're interested).

(in reply to CyclopsSlayer)
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RE: Universe Mods ... what's cooking? - 4/26/2014 6:04:19 PM   
feygan

 

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To be honest I want everything, by this I just mean the ability to do anything and everything I want to the game. I struggle to understand why some game titles will laud their modding capabilities but put limits on them, it seems counter intuitive to the concept. Why bother allowing gamers to for example change the graphics but not the sound. Or introduce new AI routines but prevent altering the basic methods of travel etc. I understand you do run in to two issues.

1. The developer may have an overall concept in mind of what the game is and does not want to let modders rip that apart and redesign it. If that is the case then why not just not bother building any form of modding in to the game, put it out there as your own creation and if folks don't like it let them make their own creations.

2. The developer may have built the game using tools that are simply not friendly and a pain to use for others. This I fully understand and agree with. However with a release such as DW:U being all about the modding, I would guess there has had to be some form of gui tool designed for modders to use. In that case why not just include everything and open the stable door since the first point is now moot. If there was an issue of design concept to contend then the tool wouldn't be getting made anyway.

So I fully expect to be able to create new ways for the AI to behave, for both opponents and how my own forces AI work and act. I expect to be able to alter anything to do with galaxy creation such as ow they are laid out, what percentage of each will have different parts such as black holes etc.
I also expect to have full control over technology with regards to making an entire new tree if I desire effecting all possible components and how they function (I could decide I want new shield passing missles etc).
I also expect to have full control over things in space so I could add new types of planets, change where things appear in a solar system or how they orbit and so on.
Finally I expect to have full control over resources and storylines. If I want to make my own full star wars story I will be able to do so with all events etc etc. I could also rip out add or just plain change everything about resources such as their costs and how they effect things or where they appear.

Anything short of all of that just seems a little pointless as you can be sure at some stage someone will find DW and start asking how they mod this or that only to be told the worst word for any modder. Hardcoded........

(in reply to Osito)
Post #: 5
RE: Universe Mods ... what's cooking? - 4/26/2014 8:18:23 PM   
Spidey


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Well, I do have a few things that bug me.

1) Why is it that the super-luxuries can be found on marshy, desert, and volcanic worlds only? Why are there no super-rare and super-valuable things that can be found in gas giants or in ice worlds? Wouldn't it be a lot more fun if there was a reason to scout every planet in a system instead of always skipping everything that isn't either super-lux capable or a ruin?

2) Railguns have short range and are weak against hulls despite essentially being rocks hurled at high velocities. But what slows a chunk of rock down in space? Rocks at speed ought to have great range, bad accuracy, and be hard on hulls, shouldn't they?

3) I get a bad reputation for being unfriendly towards independent colonies, which is making my populations unhappy despite me playing a race that's supposedly quite unfriendly to foreigners. What's up with that? Could there be a way to work around this problem by having access to some kind of tech that makes people happy when the reputation is low?

4) Why would a volcanic based race start out researching continental and desert colonization before learning how to colonize volcanic planets? That doesn't really make sense to me.

5) All those "ultimate" techs seem a bit boring, don't they? Be it weapons, engines, warp drives, or shields, there's a starter tech, a branch, and then you need to research both sides of the branch to get the "ultimate" tech. Which is tremendously superior to everything previous. I'm not sure I wouldn't personally prefer to pick an engine type early on and then just research upgrades along that engine's research path.

6) Even tiny ships can hold several weapons with a range of several hundred units. And yet an entire independent planet (or enemy homeworld) doesn't have a single surface weapon that can put any kind of dent into even the flimsiest of spaceships?

7) The most eggheaded race has +40% research. Technocracy gives +50% research. This means the Quameno is effectively at +90% research and the Zenox are at +50%. These numbers are far beyond what every other faction has access to and something ought to be done about it. And while we're at it, I'm sure it's possible to do some government tweaking to balance things a bit more.

@ Osito

Regarding number 7, that's almost certainly a gameplay concession to avoid your salvaged cruiser becoming useless because you can't build resupply ships yet and a battle guzzled more fuel than anticipated. A sector is 2 million units across and ships generally fly at a sublight speed of 20-30 units. The game could be won years before the ship ever makes it back to a base.

If you want to do this then you might want to consider either making ships move at an appreciable fraction of warp speed or adding an "emergency fuel" component that allows ships to snail home on a slow FTL speed instead of sub-light.

(in reply to feygan)
Post #: 6
RE: Universe Mods ... what's cooking? - 4/26/2014 8:48:53 PM   
Osito


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Spidey

@ Osito

Regarding number 7, that's almost certainly a gameplay concession to avoid your salvaged cruiser becoming useless because you can't build resupply ships yet and a battle guzzled more fuel than anticipated. A sector is 2 million units across and ships generally fly at a sublight speed of 20-30 units. The game could be won years before the ship ever makes it back to a base.




Yeah, I'm not sure it would work, especially given the change I'm proposing in my point 6, which probably makes it even more likely that I'll run out of fuel. On the other hand, I am proposing to make the sub-light speeds much faster (I want to create a world in which it makes sense for some ships not to have a warp drive at all), but it's true that it will still take years to get anywhere. How many years depends on the scale of the playing area: obviously, if I built it at a galactic scale of 100,000 light years across that would be a lot different to 50 light years across.

(in reply to Spidey)
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RE: Universe Mods ... what's cooking? - 4/27/2014 4:53:01 PM   
Shuul

 

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The first thing I will make with modding is rebalance and weapon's mod.
With longer ranges, lower firing speeds and more competitive armor (compared to shields).

(in reply to Osito)
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RE: Universe Mods ... what's cooking? - 4/27/2014 9:26:55 PM   
Spidey


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I've been thinking about mostly the same thing, Shuul, but balancing weapons is hard since it all depends on what your goal with a gun is. And those special abilities against armor are a pain to balance, due to how armor works. Early armor is fairly easily bypassed anyway while late stage armor is a lot more likely to soak a lot of pressure.

And regarding the weapons themselves there are so damned many factors to consider. Damage loss over distance, size, speed, those special modifiers, and of course refire rate. And "dps" isn't just that either, due to how armor works. Small needlepricks have a harder time penetrating armor than massive hammerblows. This all makes it rather complex to decide what actually is or isn't overpowered.

I used to think that shockwave torps were a bit overpowered since they had good range, huge damage, and no rubbish penalties against armor. Then I wrote some data into a spreadsheet and took a look at beamers and torp weapons in terms of DPS per unit size. Can you guess it?

Shockwave torp 1 is third worst in DPS/size at point blank range of all the tier 3 beams and torp weapons, doing 0.53 dmg vs 0.48 from epsilon 3 and 0.44 from velocity shard 1. Maxos 3 does 1.3, impact assault blaster 1 do 1.42, and shatterforce laser 1 does 1.18. That's at point blank where shockwaves are meant to shine.

Go to range 300 and the humiliation continues. Shockwaves are at 0.26, epsies and velo-shards are at 0.28, and the shatterforces are at 0.67. And if we go further out, the velo-shards will just race further ahead.

If we jump to Shockwave 2 and the other tier 4 weapons, the picture remains the same. The shockers can outdamage velo-shards slightly in the 0-200 range window, but at 300 onwards the velo-shards actually do more damage. And everything else will outdamage shockers in the 0-200 range window, with the exception being phaser lances at point blank range.

But of course all this ignores armor penetration. Shockwave torps do a ton of damage on impact, which means that even though they're neither size- or time-efficient, they will make dents in armor if fired at close enough range. Shatterforce lasers, meanwhile, have excellent damage statistics but needs to hit a lot of times to actually dig through heavy layers of armor. But then you get three shatterforce lasers for each shockwave torp launcher and each laser will fire twice as fast.

Confused yet? Have a hard time drawing any solid conclusions? Yeah, me too.

< Message edited by Spidey -- 4/28/2014 8:06:59 AM >

(in reply to Shuul)
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