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Ship design obsolescence and other management issues

 
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Ship design obsolescence and other management issues - 5/28/2015 6:31:07 PM   
avamk

 

Posts: 16
Joined: 5/27/2015
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Hello again,

Thanks to everyone's help so far, I am now playing a much more informed game. However, there are still many things I can't figure out regarding ship design (I have my game set to manual ship design, fleet management, and construction/upgrading/retrofitting), and here are some of the issues:

(1) When my research produces a new buildable component, my advisors would suggest retrofitting my ships and bases. Clicking on "show me first" doesn't seem to show me anything, is this right?

(2) When I follow their suggestion to retrofit ships, what are the specific things being done? Do they design new ships with the new components and retrofit all my ships to those designs??? Or do they upgrade my existing designs? Or something else?

(3) One annoying thing I discovered is that if I let the AI retrofit my ships and bases, sometimes they retrofit them from one design to another within the same role. E.g. I have two designs in the Escort role, one with "generic" weapons, another that only has ion weapons for disabling ships (not even sure if this is a good idea??). Sometimes the AI would retrofit my ships from the generic design to the ion-only design or vice versa! This happens with spaceports, too. I have a mini, barebones space port meant to be quickly constructed after colonising a new planet, and another slightly bigger one but both are under the Small Space Port subrole. The AI sometimes retrofits them from one design to another which is annoying. My other designs have this problem, too.

(4) Speaking of designs under the same role (or subrole?), only one of them will show up if I select "Show latest designs" or "Show latest buildable designs". I guess this makes sense because only one of the designs within the role is technically the "latest". But as I said above I might have different kinds of escorts, and I have to select "Show non-obsolete" or "Show buildable non-obsolete" designs to see all of them. This then becomes annoying because I will actually see lots of old, obsolete designs as well and I have to manually mark designs as obsolete after using the copy as new button to upgrade designs. Again this is clunky but at least manageable, but then it becomes annoying again when I select many designs and click on "Auto Upgrade Selected Designs" because I'll end up with a ton of old designs that I have to manually mark as obsolete. What is a more optimised way to manage all these designs and obsolescence when ship design is manual?

(5) I am enjoying manually designing ships and tinkering and figuring it all out. However, I'd like my ships to automatically retrofit themselves to the latest design in their own "line". By lines I mean the different designs I have under the same "role", e.g. a generic escort line vs an ion-only escort line, etc. etc. How can this be achieved? Right now I have to go to the Ships and Bases screen to manually find ships and bases to retrofit, often missing some of them because it is very hard for me to look at the list and see at a glance which ones have updated designs available, because there is no "design" column. And I can't figure out a way to name my designs so that need-to-be-retrofitted ships appear obvious in the Ships and Bases screen. How do people manage all this stuff in a big and busy galaxy with hundreds of ships if not more???

(6) I suspect for some of the above questions, the difference between roles and subroles become important. So what are the differences?

(7) What is the Optimized column for in the Designs screen???

(8) Somewhat related question: When building ships, does a construction yard build one component at a time or one ship at a time? That is, if I have 10 construction yards on a spaceport, can it build 10 ships simultaneously or would it be building 10 components on one ship simultaneously?

Right now I feel I am making a big mess of managing ship designs and keeping all ships updated and fully retrofitted. So any tips would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

< Message edited by avamk -- 5/28/2015 7:34:32 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: Ship design obsolescence and other management issues - 5/28/2015 6:55:06 PM   
Bingeling

 

Posts: 4649
Joined: 8/12/2010
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1: It is probably a bug that the button is not disabled. For things with a location, it should zoom to the item, or something. Be aware that accepting that suggestion will lead to the AI "upsizing" spaceports where it thinks they should be larger. Annoying if you are happy with your medium spaceport and happy with the extra cashflow.

2: They send the ships to retrofit. All at once, but probably after they complete their mission. To retrofit is to move to a spaceport to get upgraded. The design is a different task. If enabled, the AI creates new designs whenever new tech is available (and then prompts for retrofit if the construction adviser is enabled (on suggest)).

3: The AI always retrofits to the newest, non-obsolete design of the class. And default build buttons are also always to the latest design. If you have two types of escorts, you have to retrofit manually and carefully. It is probably better to use the escort as ion ships, and have no other escorts, or something like that. You can manually retrofit to the chosen design if retrofitting by the ship list (and possibly in other ways too). Using the ship list has the added benefit of showing the retrofit cost.

4: I believe "manually upgrade the design" or whatever it is called should automatically place the old design as obsolete. I am a bit surprised you have all those old designs being non-obsolete.

5: You can not achieve this in the current game. The AI believes all escorts are the same, and that the latest design is the way to go.

6: They are important for the AI, and not important for you. As said above, the AI retrofits within each class. The AI also have construction percentages based on ship class and believes that they are ranked in size in the line escort-frigate-destroyer-cruiser-capital ship. It will try put single, automated ships on appropriate targets, escorts to escort freighters, cruisers to guard colonies or important mines. Apart form that, they do not matter for the human player.

7. Not sure, and the game is not open. I suspect it may be related to optimizing designs to fit under the build limit. The AI will drop shields and weapons (and other stuff) from design to make the design buildable even if limited on size. This could be wrong, though.

8. The shipyard assemble the ship, the manufacture component creates the ship components. When testing, people have not found a limit to the manufacture components, building is equally fast with 20 shipyards with 1 or 4 of each manufacture component.

I think just about every player would like to have an open amount of ship classes. The game does not support that, though. Having multiple designs of each class is a small pain to manage. You could try to consider "do you really use more than 4 different military ship designs (not being carriers)?". For bases you have a spare design class in "star base".

I have never been fond of ship designing, but I believe the ones that are often have had saved designs that they load into each game. I have never looked at that, though, and have used AI designs. Now, it is possible to run a custom mod and have your own design templates for your own race. The templates are text files in the designTemplate folder that you can put in your mod to override the defaults.

(in reply to avamk)
Post #: 2
RE: Ship design obsolescence and other management issues - 5/28/2015 7:06:51 PM   
Siddham

 

Posts: 76
Joined: 3/18/2012
Status: offline
I dont think the AI is able to discern the different design lines within a class as you want it to
It will retrofit to the latest design of the class
I always handle it manually
Since the different class designations dont matter in terms of size & function for the player
you coould use that to differentiate design lines
eg use escort class for generic; and frigate for ion; and destroyer for missiles
Something like that might work

< Message edited by Siddham -- 5/28/2015 8:07:39 PM >

(in reply to Bingeling)
Post #: 3
RE: Ship design obsolescence and other management issues - 5/29/2015 3:52:53 AM   
Aeson

 

Posts: 713
Joined: 8/30/2013
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quote:

another that only has ion weapons for disabling ships (not even sure if this is a good idea??)

Personally, if I'm going to put, say, 10 ion cannons and ~100 blasters into a 10-ship fleet, I'd rather have 1 ion cannon and 10 blasters per ship than 12 blasters on each of 8 ships and 5 ion cannons on each of 2 ships. Much less likely to lose all the ion cannons in my fleet, much more likely to have at least some of the ion cannons in the right place to participate in the fighting, and none of the ships are useless on their own (with an exception for a special monster). This applies, to varying degrees, to several other special weapons, as well - tractor beams, point defense weapons, graviton beams, boarding pods, and jump denial systems* all benefit from being distributed as it makes them more likely to be in the right place when you need them.

*More so for the first jump denial component than the second, due to the difference in effect radius. The first component cannot really trap anything that isn't already close to the ship carrying the component, except maybe if the ship carrying it is very fast. The second has a significantly larger area of effect and as a result is much more suitable for employment on specialists within the fleet.

(in reply to Siddham)
Post #: 4
RE: Ship design obsolescence and other management issues - 5/29/2015 10:17:38 AM   
avamk

 

Posts: 16
Joined: 5/27/2015
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Based on the responses, looks like in Distant Worlds Universe it is much better to have generalised ships instead of highly specialised ones. This is very different from my previous RTS experience of having to manage a ton of different specialised units. Lots to get used to! And I guess if my designs are generalised I'll also be able to avoid the problem of having multiple designs under the same role? I did observe that if I try to have a bit of everything I tend to easily max out my ship sizes for every design/role.

Also, once you're done with designing and start building LOTS of ships. Do you keep all of them in fleets? I am discovering that it is really really hard to manage individual ships, especially if they are on their own and not in a fleet. Is it just widespread, standard practise to always have a ship in a fleet for easier management?

(in reply to Aeson)
Post #: 5
RE: Ship design obsolescence and other management issues - 5/29/2015 10:24:16 AM   
Bingeling

 

Posts: 4649
Joined: 8/12/2010
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First: There are lots of ways to play this game. None of them are right or wrong, but some may be more efficient by some random measure.

I prefer simplicity. A main fleet ship. Possibly a special fleet ship. Maybe another fighting ship that is faster. And carriers. I play just fine with AI designs, and stock up on cruisers.

I never run ships outside fleets, apart from special circumstances. I don't add resupply ships, and I may have non-fleeted automated troop transports, since the AI is good at having them run around and load troops when there is no nearby good source for a full load.

I use main battle fleets, and possibly a larger battle setup for those well defended colonies and similar targets. I may use smaller fleets for basic pirate protection (in later game) and to run around and bust mines during war. For those smaller fleets, cruisers and carriers may not be ideal, but they work just fine there too...

I tend to stop my games before capital ships being a factor, it could be capitals and carriers if I play far enough. Slow research is more fun for me :)


< Message edited by Bingeling -- 5/29/2015 11:24:25 AM >

(in reply to avamk)
Post #: 6
RE: Ship design obsolescence and other management issues - 5/29/2015 5:58:00 PM   
Aeson

 

Posts: 713
Joined: 8/30/2013
Status: offline
quote:

Also, once you're done with designing and start building LOTS of ships. Do you keep all of them in fleets? I am discovering that it is really really hard to manage individual ships, especially if they are on their own and not in a fleet. Is it just widespread, standard practice to always have a ship in a fleet for easier management?

Aside from resupply ships, I put all of the ships that I'm going to actively control, and many of the ships that I'm not going to actively control, into fleets. Sometimes I'll have a cheap escort design that I'll just build lots of and leave automated and unfleeted for the computer to play with, though that rapidly gets annoying in wartime; the computer's quite good at sending lone escorts on suicide raids.

quote:

Based on the responses, looks like in Distant Worlds Universe it is much better to have generalised ships instead of highly specialised ones. This is very different from my previous RTS experience of having to manage a ton of different specialised units. Lots to get used to! And I guess if my designs are generalised I'll also be able to avoid the problem of having multiple designs under the same role? I did observe that if I try to have a bit of everything I tend to easily max out my ship sizes for every design/role.

I wouldn't look at it as a lack of specialization so much as it being a different kind of specialization. A capture fleet, for example, is going to want a rather different kind of ship than a battle fleet would; capture fleets want just enough firepower to take out the shields but not enough firepower to risk seriously damaging the target, whereas battle fleets are not terribly concerned about preserving the target (and, in fact, preserving the target can easily be seen as being diametrically opposed to the purpose of the battle fleet - the battle fleet is arguably there to destroy the target, or at least drive it off). Thus, a capture ship might carry ion cannons (to degrade the target's ability to fight back without damaging it), tractor beams (to keep the target in close proximity), and jump inhibitors (to prevent the target from running), and might be relatively fast or heavily shielded but with a somewhat light armament. A battleship, on the other hand, might use graviton beams to pin the target and degrade its performance rather than a mix ion cannons and tractor beams like the capture ship did, and it might not bother with jump inhibitors - if you take the position that a battle fleet's job is to secure control of local space, making the other guy run away fulfills the requirements, probably reduces the threat to your fleet more rapidly than destroying the other guy does (though it probably takes longer to completely eliminate the threat), and allows you to concentrate your fleet's fire more rapidly (because less targets are in the area at any given time), and dropping the jump inhibitor frees up space for additional weapons or defenses. A hunter-killer, debatably unlike a battleship, probably wants the jump inhibitors to keep the enemy from running, but it doesn't really want the ion cannons and boarding pods of the capture ships, and graviton beams may be adequate for pinning the target; the hunter-killer may also sacrifice some of its defensive strength for greater speed to better catch its targets, as hunter-killers aren't really intended for fair fights (unlike battleships, which want to be able to go toe to toe with ships in their own weight class, and also unlike capture ships, which want the target to survive the engagement and so are more likely to sacrifice firepower for staying power and speed than staying power for firepower and speed). The game's generic bombardment weapons are either completely useless in fleet actions (Nuclear Devastators and Exterminators) or perhaps not as good as other anti-ship weapons at their tech level (Heavy and Massive Railguns), and on top of that need to be used in great numbers if they're to have an effect on a mid-size or larger colony in a relatively short time frame, which suggests the creation of dedicated monitors rather than the addition of a bombardment weapon or two on the larger ship designs; since the monitors will be of limited use in fleet actions, this further suggests creating special bombardment squadrons (both for convenience - the monitors can be given separate target orders from the battle fleet - and to help keep the monitors safe), much as is the case with troop transports.

< Message edited by Aeson -- 5/29/2015 7:00:16 PM >

(in reply to Bingeling)
Post #: 7
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