[DWU] Ship design templates (Full Version)

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Wanabe -> [DWU] Ship design templates (6/1/2014 11:08:41 AM)

These are my ship design templates that I've made for DWU:Universe to try to get a little more challenge and in some cases flavour out of the game. All original races were tweaked along with the DW:U Extended mod races.

Download ship design templates

I've also tinkered slightly with the policies of the various races which defines how they approach certain aspects of the gmae.

Download Policy

To install navigate to your Distant Worlds folder and then open the Customization folder. Open the current mod you're using and then you may drop in my "designtemplates" folder to replace the old one. I recommend backing up the original designtemplates folder.

Keep in mind while I am trying to have some sort of "balance" it's not an easy task partially due to all the variability of the game itself. I'm also not a pro player so I'm absolutely positive that the designs could be improved further.


Hey guys, relatively new player here to the Distant Worlds Universe thanks to the recent steam release. I really love the game but as I've played I've been noting lots of little to big flaws and one of them are the ship designs which I always manage to out design. I learned that the design templates are exposed so I searched online to see if anyone had done a set but couldn't seem to find any.

So here's my first pass on all the designs. It is my hope that they are slightly better than the originals. I haven't had time to test very much (very time consuming) to see exactly how the AI copes with the designs and the extra maintenance that'll occur in general...so fair warning.

I'd love it if more people were to tinker and also discuss the designs for the game so we can figure out just how well the AI can deal with it all when it can't fit it all (for instance I'm discovering it's having a hard time placing fighter bays on smaller ships like destroyers when I want the AI to do so). I just want better AI designs along with more variety of focuses for each race :)

I was also thinking it could be useful if the design templates also had another number on each module which allows the priority of the module to be specified for when the AI can't fit everything. IE "Engine ;1,1" the value after the comma is the priority value, higher means more likely to chuck it on in place of something with a lower value?

FireLion1983 -> RE: [WIP/DISCUSS]Design Templates (6/1/2014 6:24:32 PM)

So this is meant to replace the AI designs? How do you install it?

Wanabe -> RE: [WIP/DISCUSS]Design Templates (6/1/2014 10:49:02 PM)

Yeah basically the files determin what the AI auto design puts on the ships. You can place the designtemplates folder in Distant Worlds Universe\Customization and then in the folder of which mod you run. Definitely backup the old one first. I'm still working on these, the above was only my "first pass" as there's a ton of designs to go through and I'm coming up with some better rules for some of them and applying them to all the races.

FireLion1983 -> RE: [WIP/DISCUSS]Design Templates (6/2/2014 1:48:13 AM)

Wonder why no one else is doing this?

Wanabe -> RE: [WIP/DISCUSS]Design Templates (6/2/2014 2:23:40 AM)

I'm a little surprised by the lack of other ship designs out there but also at the same time not.

It's very time consuming and there's lots of number fiddling and it certainly gets hard to track what's what after a little bit. Testing is something that can take quite a bit, balancing it so the races are "equal" would be extremely difficult (though I'm not after that personally though I wouldn't want to encourage super super powerful races every game as that'd be a bit boring/predictable)

I'd love for there to be more ship designs floating around though and I think having more community members on board giving their knowledge/time on this particular subject would be awesome. I'm quite positive that there's a bunch of people out there that would do a far better job than I could do with my limited game experience/knowledge.

So far since the first pass I've standardized some of the rules for all the space-ports of the races. Certain races have more or less con yards/docks, certain races emphasize their research a bit more, overall slightly more research across the board depending on race personality. Did another pass on the escort designs removing some redundant engines and in some cases adding another reactor (which will become redundant later in the game but the AI won't just build 2 on its own when it can't deal with the energy requirements) and added some better than stock civilian ships for some of the races I didn't get to on the first go around. Also implemented some standardized rules for gas mines regarding docking bays, some races have more some have less. Overall they all have more than the stock setups even at their lowest docking amount to help reduce the war time refuelling crisis.

I've noticed the AI doesn't like to build research stations very much at all, if this was fixed by the devs I think the races would have a better time since they'd be more likely to get to their max research cap...from my observations they are often quite a bit lower than their research cap with the default designs, at least early game.

FireLion1983 -> RE: [WIP/DISCUSS]Design Templates (6/2/2014 3:28:07 AM)

I've definitely noticed the research issue, especially when playing full auto - the AI just does not build them.

Wanabe -> RE: [WIP/DISCUSS]Design Templates (6/2/2014 3:43:02 AM)

I've seen the AI construct the research stations however they only seem to do them where they can get a research bonus, which overall is fair enough.

It would be nice if the AI had a concept of an "early" game and do some things a bit differently though, like early on not mind so much about the research bonus and just chuck a couple on the homeworld to get full research asap, probably dependant on the AI "intelligence" personality level

Wanabe -> RE: [WIP/DISCUSS]Design Templates (6/2/2014 7:49:56 AM)

Well, here's another snapshot of what I've got which I'm slightly happier with from what little I've been able to observe.

I plan on trying to have a break from this for a bit so I can play and see how the performance differs for better or worse of the various factions as I encounter them in regular game-play.

I also read that another member, Shark7, is making/releasing a set of custom designs in the near future which is fantastic. Eventually I think we'll have a pretty decent set of designs that are relatively "balanced" and more importantly "fun" which I'm really looking forward to.

"Improved explorer and Construction ship for all races
Improved all civilian ship designs
All race starbases:
Depending on AI personality, more docking bays/construction , More or focused research labs in particular areas, More point defence, Weapon systems slightly favour long range weapons
All race gas mines:
Depending on AI personality may have more or less docking bays (lowest amount of docking bays is still more than the default game designs)
Tweaked escort ships of all races
Tweaked Ackdarian, Ikkuro, Keskudon, Ketarov, Kiadian, Caleph, Human, XHuman and Haakonish warship designs"

Locarnus -> RE: [WIP/DISCUSS]Design Templates (6/2/2014 7:56:49 AM)

Nice Effort!
I looked at the designs myself as well, but then focused on the research.

You might want to focus your efforts on DW:U Extended mod, since that is effectively the standard for all non-full-conversion mod users.

Those additional races are based on vanilla, so most designs should be copy+pasteable.

Also keep in mind that there are some autodesign quirks yet to be adressed:

My extended tech tree BalanceMod should work with vanilla based designs as well:

Wanabe -> RE: [WIP/DISCUSS]Design Templates (6/2/2014 8:28:33 AM)

Thanks for the kind words. I am glad you looked into the research stuff, what you've been doing looks like something that'd end up being a must have for a lot of people, probably also including myself.

Yeah I also use DW:U Extended which I base my decisions off of. Yes there's quite a bit of copying and pasting going on as well as lots of little tweaks for certain races...crazyness

I have absolutely noticed those auto design quirks and look forward to them being fixed and more ;-). Hopefully the devs can fix your issue too with the CTD on your mod on certain settings.

Also I think the game need a few more "Flee When" settings for ships. "Flee when XX% components damaged". That way it's basically the same as "Flee when armour 50%" or whatever the number. I also just realized that as far as I can tell each design file can't have the retreat setting value for each design pre-set. Maybe they can but it's not in the manual or I missed it.

moonraker65 -> RE: [WIP/DISCUSS]Design Templates (6/2/2014 8:46:10 AM)

I will give this a look. Whilst designing my own ships I noticed that unless you turn off automation from the options menu at game start, any created designs will be overwritten by default ships which can be a tad frustrating if you've already got 8 or 9 designs up and running. If you click on turn off automation from the Ship Design screen it stays as automatic for some reason. Possibly a bug

Darkspire -> RE: [WIP/DISCUSS]Design Templates (6/2/2014 9:05:34 AM)

Are you altering the individual policy file tech focus settings for each race to take into account your Template Designs?
If not then the AI is not going to properly use your new templates.

The race files can be used as well to streamline the process with the disallowed tech section, so for any Design Template set you also need the other file(s) modded to match them, releasing a generic set, a one size fits all as it were, will not really work.

UMG 29:32


Note that you should match the tech focuses on a race in their Empire Policy
file (ResearchDesignTechFocus1-6) with the components selected in their
design templates so that these components actually appear in their ship and
base designs. Each AI empire will follow the tech focuses from their Empire
Policy when selecting new Research projects


MartialDoctor -> RE: [WIP/DISCUSS]Design Templates (6/2/2014 2:32:24 PM)

It's nice to see someone starting on this. Good luck with it all.

Hopefully, some cool templates will come out of it [:)]

Wanabe -> RE: [WIP/DISCUSS]Design Templates (6/3/2014 10:37:37 AM)

I have not begun to look at the policy files just yet but I have noted some things down that I'd change if/when I get around to it. The designs I've been altering should use the already set weaponry types of the races unless I missed some or typos which is pretty much inevitable when editing so many files.

I've been keeping an eye on the Distant Worlds AI and there's some good ideas in there regarding changing the policy files and designs of ships aswell as ideas to change some of the hardcoded behaviours which I hope the devs look at. From all the focus from the community etc on the AI I think by the end of it we'll have something quite a bit better.

I've put up another snap shot of what I've done since last time.

"Removed 1 gas extractor from gas miners (ship) to help with early game mining (needed more fuel, sometimes it couldn't find a mining target)

Took some pointers from Icemania:
Reduced manufacturing plants from 4 to 2 on large space stations
Reduced manufacturing plants from 2 to 1 on medium space stations
Increased miners from 2 to 3 and Luxury miners on mining stations, stronger defence across the board
Increased gas extractors from 2 to 3 and luxury from 1 to 3, stronger defense across the board

Done a pass on research bases for all races. More defenses and some weaponry. Races with research bonuses put more money into their research bases (more defenses/weapons)
Done a pass on the small space stations
Certain races will put troop transport capability on their destroyers
Tweaked Mortalen warship designs
Teekan mining stations beefed up in defense and offense
Partial pass on the defense stations"

hewwo -> RE: [WIP/DISCUSS]Design Templates (6/3/2014 2:40:00 PM)

lookin' good:)

Haree78 -> RE: [WIP/DISCUSS]Design Templates (6/3/2014 6:07:53 PM)

A little background to the design files.
When these were first introduced to the game, I forget which expansion I actually created these templates that are part of the game, every single one, from 2 base templates, it took me many many hours work!

When I created them I had the following strategy:

I split which weapons races would use, and I based this partly on the previous policy files research concentration, there was some left over ambiguity and I just tried to make sure there was good distribution of differences.

So then I tried to create competitive designs that were weighted something like
2 parts their research preference
1 part based on their aggression where they put weapons etc.
1 part flavour (less intelligent designs for stupider races etc.)
1 part trying to meet victory conditions
then I stirred it all up and tried to make every race a little bit different than the last.

I didn't game the system, such as tons of research labs on Large Space ports because eventually there would be a crazy over use of them by the AI. Perhaps people would prefer it that way though.

After all that I then had to do even more for my Extended races.
I tested how the AI handles these designs as best I could at different tech levels. This took even more crazy amounts of hours and reporting of issues and Elliot continually tweaking how the AI handled the templates I was creating.

The actual work involved must have been many man hours and it does make me squirm a little when after all that work people still moan about how bad the AI is etc.

That being said, there is no doubt plenty of room for improvement and the game would definitely benefit from people tweaking and improving designs, other people are probably way better at designing ships than I am also, as I tend not to go crazy overboard doing this in games. I look forward to see what is done.

Locarnus -> RE: [WIP/DISCUSS]Design Templates (6/3/2014 6:20:55 PM)

I just let the AI run a game to test my research BalanceMod.

My home colony was on a moon in high orbit of a gas giant.

So in the early game I sat there and watched how 2 AI designed constructors (my only 2 ones) played catch up with the moon/starbase to fetch resources.

For over 7 months ingame time!

Then, after they had finished their constuction job, they came to the starport again.
And again played catch up for another 5 months.

After that you dont wonder anymore why some ai empires have economic problems.

Wanabe -> RE: [WIP/DISCUSS]Design Templates (6/3/2014 10:18:39 PM)


Thanks a ton for the initial designs, I have a small idea of how insanely time consuming and difficult it can be to create them, not only that but to have some idea of "balance" between the races and have them all be competitive against each other.

I find myself doing a similar thing with having "rules" which try to define certain differences based on aggression, intelligence, unique techs, and some racial bonuses. Also slightly taking into account default policy research ideals.

Ultimately fiddling for countless hours with the designs is only one aspect of "improving" the AI. It's one that can and will lead to a lot of balance issues which is not exactly easy to test and sort out.

While I've played through a few games now and learned a thing or two I'd say my designs are also subpar. Primarily sharing them to keep the ball rolling and to get more discussion going on :)

Crikey, the poor AI :(.

Definitely having some more speed modules on the designs could help there but due to how limited the design template file is it's a pain to balance the various stages of the game. The AI knowing how to intercept the orbit could be interesting aswell but I'd say that's not likely to be anywhere near feasible for this game, certainly not for a patch update.

It could be useful if the AI during the game would put more engines on its ships (within size limits of course) until it got hyperdrive capability. I've already noticed that the AI deviates a bit from the design templates depending on its policies and maybe some other factors, so some extra deviations for pre warp could be useful.

Another day, another snapshot

Wanabe -> RE: [WIP/DISCUSS]Design Templates (6/5/2014 10:41:07 AM)

Chucked up another version, didn't do a lot really, just been playing instead [:)].

Between the latest patch and my designs I'm happier than previously in regard to AI difficulty. Designs templates are one of those things that require a lot of testing though to make sure the AI can build certain sized ships at certain times ETC depending on tech unlocked and trying to work around how the built in AI deals with adjusting the designs on the fly depending on its various settings.

Without a doubt the policy files could use some tweaks aswell but I'm trying to refrain from doing those...especially since the devs seem to be having a crack at enhancing the AI as-well.

It seems like down the line we may eventually have an "all in one" mod that has better (hopefully more flavour aswell) designs for races and policy files which would be cool...

"Increased troop transport fuel from 3 to 4 on a lot of races
Implemented pirate changes for the stock races from patch
Implemented changes to Mechanoid and Shakturi from patch"

Wanabe -> RE: [DWU] Ship design templates (6/10/2014 9:07:40 AM)

Thought I'd put up another version,

"Implemented pirate changes from DW Extended 1.01
More fuel for most warships
Tweaked Tairoshan, Naxxilian,Phaerax,Sluken,Zenox,Jintus,Ortain,Ackdarian,Enton,Haakonish, Lemeresh,Yl'ta,Caleph,Gizurean,Quameno,Mortalen and Naopar warships
Boskara civilian ships are now armed"

Icemania -> RE: [DWU] Ship design templates (6/10/2014 10:51:53 AM)

Great initiative Wanabe! And even better to hear you are interested in consolidating input from Shark7 and others!

There are some suggestions I've made on Base Designs and Policy Files in the Distant Worlds AI thread. Have you considered the changes not made by the Developers so far? Or are you waiting what happens with the next patch given Erik mentioned there maybe more changes coming?

Do you have a changelog for the template files? Very happy to comment and also test once consolidated with Shark7.

One of the limitations with the design is the lack of conditional logic. However, we could do some really nasty designs customised for a scenario, either to support a scenario developed by the community, and even the Ancient Galaxy Storyline.

Wanabe -> RE: [DWU] Ship design templates (6/10/2014 11:09:28 AM)

Thanks Icemania,

I pretty much just want the game to be as interesting and also challenging if possible. I'm quite positive that Shark7's designs should be better than what I've done so far as he is more experienced with the game and probably also more aware of how the AI decides to change your design when it can't fit or when it changes it based on personality.

Yes I saw some of your suggestions indeed and I had implemented a few of the ones I hadn't done yet. Others (like suggestions on raising docking amounts) I had already done for all the races and gas mines.

There is a pretty basic changelog which I included with the download and then I also have a file I use which is an absolute mess with the list of races, some vague description of their design changes and their personalities/policy settings for research. But otherwise no, I don't have an overly detailed changelog and a lot of my own personal notes are even out dated.

I'd agree that the lack of conditional logic is quite a downside to the design templates. It's difficult to balance for multiple stages of the game, and it's not currently possible to prioritize how the design keeps certain modules or dumps others when there's not enough space available

There are a few rules for the AI like it'll always drop off any spare armour modules when it is unable to fit your design template to try to fit other thigns on, it seems to do this for fighterbays sometimes and weapons sometimes aswell but I havn't quite worked out all the rules as they stand. I do agree designs setup for specific galaxy scenarios are very very possible as you can control a lot more in those scenario...scenarios (lol)

It has been increasingly tempting to look at the policy files aswell but I'm trying to just stick to the designs for now. I also do wonder if a policy has multiple of its "ResearchDesignTechFocus" values set to the same tree/value if it would super emphasize that tech line.

Icemania -> RE: [DWU] Ship design templates (6/10/2014 11:24:32 AM)

Please keep developing it Wanabe!

I'll give it a crack after you update for the next patch as mods that improve the AI are always top of my list!

Darkspire -> RE: [DWU] Ship design templates (6/10/2014 11:31:53 AM)

Hopefully this might help you on your journey [:)]

Having made a good 2000+ Optimized Designs I had to scrap them as Shadows moved the goal posts and relegated them in favor of the Design Templates.

I was a bit OMG at first but I applied the level 7 Optimized Designs theory on the new templates and other than the PreWarp being a little off as the design did not fit the size for some of the classes it seemed to work fairly well.

Start a custom game.
Choose the race you want the templates for.
Ramp the tech level to the highest possible, which is currently 7.
Go straight into the design screen and design each class of ship, state and private, to how you want them for that race, remember you are designing at the end level.
If you have a second monitor open each class.txt and note down what the design consists of like 10 engines, 5 thrusters etc, the designs will then scale down to the construction size and level during the game but is working from the best possible design so any designs made from it that have less components are only a diluted version.

If you haven't got a second monitor then just make a list of components out and print it out and laminate it so you can wipe clean or just print copies or photocopy the sheet.

Hope that helps, I am no expert, Haree78 is the dude for the theory as he made the ones for Shadows and tweaked them for Universe.


Wanabe -> RE: [DWU] Ship design templates (6/10/2014 12:19:08 PM)


Yeah I'm likely to keep churning along here and there depending on how inspired I feel at the time. Am definitely interested in feedback, at the very least confirmation that the designs are actually better rather than worse [;)].


Well done on making the 2,000+ designs on the previous design system, that would have taken some serious amount of time.

So far my process is a combination of just altering values without checking if I am am at least a little sure it won't stop the AI from building it at certain stages of the game (I tend to check these eventually and tweak if needed). When I'm looking into it a bit more I"ve been starting the game for each race I'm editing several times in several different tech levels to make sure the design is buildable at certain levels as well (also making use of the ship designer, just gotta double check it uses the designs "properly" aswell). From what I can tell if the AI decides it can't ditch certain non-essentual modules it won't try to fit the ship and it'll just design it to be the same as the design template which is the primary reason for possible redundant game restarts to check. It's also useful to just play a new game after enough changes to the designs to take note of consistantly poor or consistantly strong factions but that's difficult due to all the many many factors involved in an empires success or failure.

An example for the AI not always reducing modules down to a size that can be fit. I could be a race with a current size of 500 and have a ship designed at size 650 or some other much higher size value. The AI decides it can't drop enough non-essentual modules to fit the ship into size 500 and so the ship stays at the designtemplate version at size 650. In that case sometimes dropping a single shield module changes the AI to deciding "I can now fit this within 500" so thus the ship is now 500 or slightly below even though I've just removed the one module. It seems a little inflexible in terms of dumping certain modules in favour of being able to fit some sort of skeleton version of the ship design. Design templates at the very least could use the additional ability to set priority values for varous modules so the AI can decide to ditch different modules based on your prioties rather than the current built in behaviour.

Thanks for the posts guys, appreciate it.

Tanaka -> RE: [DWU] Ship design templates (6/10/2014 7:14:28 PM)

Thanks for putting the effort into this looking forward to trying out the better AI challenge!

WaflHead -> RE: [DWU] Ship design templates (6/10/2014 7:41:18 PM)

Thank you very much for working on this, all mods that help improve the AI will keep the game interesting.

bugbear777 -> RE: [DWU] Ship design templates (6/12/2014 9:27:27 AM)

Thanks a lot for your effort Wanabe [:)]

Wanabe -> RE: [DWU] Ship design templates (6/13/2014 5:25:01 AM)

Here's another version of the design templates I've got so far. I've also fiddled with the policies a little bit seeing as though this week the official patch was more about bug and crash fixes.

"Design Templates Version 7

Significantly reduced armour on gas and mining stations, went overboard on this on the first pass. Slightly increased their shields.
Slightly increased Zenox fire-power
Tweaked Dhayut warships
Tweaked defense bases
Resupply ships are now basically heavily armed mobile bases/capital ships
Reduced luxury miners from 3 to 2 on gas miners (how often are luxury resources on gas sources, in the base game?)
Tweaked Keskudon and Lipid warships"

"Policy Version 1
All races have construction as a tech emphasis where there was room to add it.
Ikkuro now also has Armour as a tech emphasis
Sluken and Lipid board ships if stronger
Keskudons always try to board ships
Population required to construct most facilities doubled
Increased population threshold for space ports (generally doubled)
Passive races have reduced tax rates on Medium colonies
Races with migration bonus and/or tourism bonus also reduce taxes for medium colonies
Race military ratios altered to generally favour larger ship types.
Races with military size bonuses favour larger ships more than smaller (set to values suggested by IceMania)
Caleph favour building more carriers compared to capitals"

Ardryn -> RE: [DWU] Ship design templates (6/13/2014 5:36:16 AM)



Reduced luxury miners from 3 to 2 on gas miners (how often are luxury resources on gas sources, in the base game?)

This is probably for ice worlds, which can have tyderios gas and luxury resources on them.

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