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The issue of power creep and its solutions.

 
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The issue of power creep and its solutions. - 8/21/2014 3:29:15 PM   
Gas Can

 

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So basically as you progress through the tech tree you just build larger and larger ships, there's absolutely not point in having smaller ones. It is always better to have one ship with 200DPM and 200HP than to have 2 ships with 100DPM and 100HP each because:
1. One of the smaller ships will be destroyed first and there will be one less gun firing.
2. Certain modules like Warp Drive and Command Center do not scale with the ship size. The same warp drive will take a dreadnought and an escort to the same warp speed while taking up the same room on each ship, therefore it is always more efficient to build bigger ships. In the end, it is really dump that for ship design you just stuff everything in and destroy an entire fleet with one ship.

Solutions:
1. Since this game does not support module scaling like some other games, a way to do it is to either force the player to add multiple warp drives into one ship, or just make the warp drive less and less energy efficient with increasing ship size. So it will eventually come to a stage that a dreadnought is totally incapable of high warp travel not matter how much energy cores you squeeze into it.
2. Ships exceeding certain sizes cannot be built by normal stations, and they cannot dock on normal stations neither, making repairs/retrofit work difficult. You need to build a special station exceeding certain size to do so.
3. Bigger ships have more difficulty in staying stealth or avoiding fire. Clocking device and ECM generally dont work well on dreadnought class ships.

EDIT: Also changing the variety of weapons can help to make smaller faster ships useful. For example, phaser array can fire 360 degrees and has longer range, however it is bigger and less energy efficient, therefore it is only good for big slow ships. Phaser cannon can only fire forward, and has much less range but a lot more energy efficient, so you can build some fast raider ships that are good at hit-and-run.

Of course bigger ships should also suffer from mobility punishment, that they are always slower for acceleration and turning, and that cool down times should be added for warp drive. When you warp into a system, you should have a cool down time for like half a minute before warping again, so that you really have to rely on thruster.


< Message edited by Gas Can -- 8/22/2014 2:19:03 AM >
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RE: The issue of power creep and its solutions. - 8/21/2014 4:28:55 PM   
Blackstork


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It could be solved by linking size of ship and countermeasure and enemy targeting multipliers. Smaller the ship countermeasure effects will be more effective on it and enemy targeting less effective.

_____________________________


(in reply to Gas Can)
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RE: The issue of power creep and its solutions. - 8/21/2014 6:46:56 PM   
Tanaka


Posts: 3011
Joined: 4/8/2003
From: USA
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Gas Can

So basically as you progress through the tech tree you just build larger and larger ships, there's absolutely not point in having smaller ones. It is always better to have one ship with 200DPM and 200HP than to have 2 ships with 100DPM and 100HP each because:
1. One of the smaller ships will be destroyed first and there will be one less gun firing.
2. Certain modules like Warp Drive and Command Center do not scale with the ship size. The same warp drive will take a dreadnought and an escort to the same warp speed while taking up the same room on each ship, therefore it is always more efficient to build bigger ships. In the end, it is really dump that for ship design you just stuff everything in and destroy an entire fleet with one ship.

Solutions:
1. Since this game does not support module scaling like some other games, a way to do it is to either force the player to add multiple warp drives into one ship, or just make the warp drive less and less energy efficient with increasing ship size. So it will eventually come to a stage that a dreadnought is totally incapable of high warp travel not matter how much energy cores you squeeze into it.
2. Ships exceeding certain sizes cannot be built by normal stations, and they cannot dock on normal stations neither, making repairs/retrofit work difficult. You need to build a special station exceeding certain size to do so.
3. Bigger ships have more difficulty in staying stealth or avoiding fire. Clocking device and ECM generally dont work well on dreadnought class ships.


Great ideas.

See this discussion: http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3670373

I definitely recommend the AI improvement mod it gives you the best current solution for this problem! It is a must have mod!

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3647528

< Message edited by Tanaka -- 8/21/2014 7:48:55 PM >


_____________________________


(in reply to Gas Can)
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RE: The issue of power creep and its solutions. - 8/22/2014 1:21:34 AM   
Gas Can

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Tanaka

quote:

ORIGINAL: Gas Can

So basically as you progress through the tech tree you just build larger and larger ships, there's absolutely not point in having smaller ones. It is always better to have one ship with 200DPM and 200HP than to have 2 ships with 100DPM and 100HP each because:
1. One of the smaller ships will be destroyed first and there will be one less gun firing.
2. Certain modules like Warp Drive and Command Center do not scale with the ship size. The same warp drive will take a dreadnought and an escort to the same warp speed while taking up the same room on each ship, therefore it is always more efficient to build bigger ships. In the end, it is really dump that for ship design you just stuff everything in and destroy an entire fleet with one ship.

Solutions:
1. Since this game does not support module scaling like some other games, a way to do it is to either force the player to add multiple warp drives into one ship, or just make the warp drive less and less energy efficient with increasing ship size. So it will eventually come to a stage that a dreadnought is totally incapable of high warp travel not matter how much energy cores you squeeze into it.
2. Ships exceeding certain sizes cannot be built by normal stations, and they cannot dock on normal stations neither, making repairs/retrofit work difficult. You need to build a special station exceeding certain size to do so.
3. Bigger ships have more difficulty in staying stealth or avoiding fire. Clocking device and ECM generally dont work well on dreadnought class ships.


Great ideas.

See this discussion: http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3670373

I definitely recommend the AI improvement mod it gives you the best current solution for this problem! It is a must have mod!

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3647528


Im happy that someone else already had the same idea, otherwise it would be stupid that I could be the first one. I mean come on it is so obvious, how could the devs ignore this all the time!

(in reply to Tanaka)
Post #: 4
RE: The issue of power creep and its solutions. - 8/22/2014 3:51:31 AM   
Aeson

 

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quote:

3. Bigger ships have more difficulty in staying stealth or avoiding fire. Clocking device and ECM generally dont work well on dreadnought class ships.

As far as I know, we don't currently know how stealth, countermeasures, and size interact. It's possible that it's already the case that larger vessels gain less benefit from stealth and countermeasures.

quote:

1. Since this game does not support module scaling like some other games, a way to do it is to either force the player to add multiple warp drives into one ship, or just make the warp drive less and less energy efficient with increasing ship size. So it will eventually come to a stage that a dreadnought is totally incapable of high warp travel not matter how much energy cores you squeeze into it.

I have no particular issues with magitech such as hyperdrives functioning as effectively on small ships as on large ships. You could make an efficiency argument for shield generators, too - after all, that size-10 100-strength 0.2-recharge covridian shield generator covering a size-200 ship has ~67% more volumetric energy density than the same generator covering a size-300 ship (assuming size is more or less directly related to volume; if size is more or less directly related to maximum linear dimension, then it's more like a 338% increase in the shield's volumetric energy density), and so should theoretically be stronger. (If what matters for the shield's strength is an area energy density, then it's more like ~131% stronger for the size-200 ship with size corresponding to volume, or ~225% stronger for the size-200 ship with size corresponding to maximum linear dimension). I'd say, based on how size affects sublight speed, that ship size is more or less directly related to mass, which is somewhat problematic for relating it to either length or volume since I'd be a bit doubtful that e.g. an armor plate has a similar density to a habitation module. Incidentally, the shield argument on the surface area basis also applies to some degree to armor - 1 unit of armor on a size-200 ship is significantly more concentrated than 1 unit of armor on a size-300 ship is, which should mean that it is on average thicker and therefore more difficult to penetrate, but in-game both ship sizes obtain the same benefits from a single armor plate.

For what it's worth, I'd consider the argument for size affecting shield efficiency (and armor) to be more compelling than the argument for hyperdrive efficiency, especially if the hyperdrive functions by 'warping space.' After all, if the hyperdrive functions by warping space, I would expect that what matters is more how much you try to warp space than how big the ship that you're trying to move is, and it could even be argued that a larger vessel is helpful for warping space in that its gravity naturally warps space more than the gravity of a smaller ship. Regardless, it's all magitech anyways.

On the other hand, this is also something that can get out of hand rather quickly. If you use the first set of numbers I provided, you'd need 5 shield generators on your size-300 ship to match 3 shield generators on your size-200 ship, meaning that you're dedicating a relatively larger fraction of the total size of the ship to the same level of protection (although the difference between size-200 and size-300 is fairly small). If you instead go with something like the ~338% difference in energy density, then your size-300 ship would instead need 4 to 5 shield generators for every generator on a size-200 ship to have equally potent shields, and this is simply excessive. Further, you must consider that at some point, if shield effectiveness declines with increasing size, shielding a large vessel will become too impractical to be useful, which isn't necessarily a positive outcome.

It should be noted that the shape of the shield and the mechanics behind how it functions have the potential to make a significant difference to these numbers. For example, if the shield is a layer that follows the contours of the hull closely and size is related directly to hull length, a size-300 pencil could easily be better-protected than a size-200 doughnut.

quote:

2. Ships exceeding certain sizes cannot be built by normal stations, and they cannot dock on normal stations neither, making repairs/retrofit work difficult. You need to build a special station exceeding certain size to do so.

This is, to some extent, already in place with construction and resupply ships, though not with any other classes of vessel. In principle, I agree that it would be interesting to have ship size affect what kinds of shipyards need to be used to construct the vessel. Given the current mechanics, I would think that the simplest mechanical change would be to make individual construction yard components capable of handling only so many size units worth of ship at the same time, and perhaps no more than one ship each, and so a station with 30 construction yards might be able to build 30 size-50 vessels in parallel or one size 1500 vessel, or some other such thing. However, I do not believe that such is possible with modding, and I rather suspect that this would not be added by way of a patch. (The above numbers are an illustrative example, not something indicative of the severity of the restriction I would deem appropriate.)

quote:

It is always better to have one ship with 200DPM and 200HP than to have 2 ships with 100DPM and 100HP each because:
1. One of the smaller ships will be destroyed first and there will be one less gun firing.
2. Certain modules like Warp Drive and Command Center do not scale with the ship size. The same warp drive will take a dreadnought and an escort to the same warp speed while taking up the same room on each ship, therefore it is always more efficient to build bigger ships. In the end, it is really dump that for ship design you just stuff everything in and destroy an entire fleet with one ship.

Interestingly enough, there's already a potential advantage for the smaller ships, depending on your ship design philosophy. After all, it's not unreasonable in Distant Worlds for the small ships to be about as well-armored as the large ships, as 5 to 20 plates of armor is generally sufficient for most purposes. If both the small ships and the large ship have 10 armor plates each, then it takes the small ships approximately as much time to break through the armor of the larger ship as it takes the larger ship to break through the armor of one of the smaller ships. This is probably more than offset by the larger vessel's shield advantage, however. This is, furthermore, both an advantage and a disadvantage, as if a ship is 50% larger but hasn't spent any of that extra 50% size on more armor, it gained an advantage somewhere else.

One further remark - in Distant Worlds, 200 non-shield, non-armor HP concentrated in a big ship is little different from 200 non-shield, non-armor HP spread across several smaller ships, as HP loss translates to component damage. If you deal 50 hull damage to a big ship and 50 hull damage to a collection of 5 smaller ships, the big ship is likely to have lost about as many guns as the 5 smaller ships, since the components of the larger vessel are no stronger than the components of the smaller vessels. If the vessels have the same speeds and use the same main thrusters, they've dedicated the same fraction of the ship's total size to main thrusters, and similarly for turning rates, which implies a corresponding increase in reactor requirements. The vessels also require correspondingly larger numbers of life support and habitation modules. As a result, the overall balance of components on a large vessel is similar to the balance of components on a small vessel, which means that any hull damage to either vessel has a similar chance at hitting a weapon. Thus, in Distant Worlds, equal amounts of hull damage applied to a large ship as to a collection of small ships results in approximately the same loss of effective power. This becomes less true once you bring shields and, to some extent, armor into the picture.

Distant Worlds is not one of those games where a unit at 1% HP functions exactly like the same unit at 100% HP. If you deal ~50% damage to a Distant Worlds unit, you've reduced the effectiveness of that unit by about 50%, depending on what you've hit. It doesn't much matter if that unit was a single size-600 ship or two size-300 ships. The big difference is in the ability of the size-600 ship to survive to fight another day, both due to its shields (presuming the same fraction of ship size is dedicated to shields and weapons for both sizes of vessel and that the same types of components are used in equal ratios on all ships, the size-600 ship is at least as capable of repelling the combined firepower of two size-300 ships as the size-300 ships are capable of repelling the firepower of the size-600 ship - it's only if it divides its fire equally between its opponents that the size-600 ship is merely as capable of repelling the attacks of the size-300 ships as they are of repelling its own attacks), and because it's more likely to be able to successfully retreat due to the lower likelihood of losing its hyperdrive or simply being destroyed outright.

I will add that the concentration of shield regeneration on a large ship isn't a particularly great advantage. Even a single pulse blaster has enough DPS at its maximum range to overcome about 2 points of shield regeneration, and better weapons, as you might expect, can overcome more. While the concentration of shield regeneration on a large capital ship does nullify a greater proportion of concentrated fire than the more spread out shield regeneration of smaller ships with similar size fractions spent on shielding, it also isn't really nullifying enough to make a huge difference. Having a one or two gun advantage out of thirty or forty guns isn't a terribly significant advantage, the bigger issue is that having those thirty or forty guns pounding on a target with half the total shield strength means that your big ship is going to start hitting stuff that matters sooner than the other side's thirty or forty guns all pounding on your big blob of shield strength.

quote:

I mean come on it is so obvious, how could the devs ignore this all the time!

It's quite simple to ignore it 'all this time,' because it's not, in my opinion, a particularly significant issue.

< Message edited by Aeson -- 8/22/2014 4:54:20 AM >

(in reply to Gas Can)
Post #: 5
RE: The issue of power creep and its solutions. - 8/22/2014 4:18:25 AM   
Gas Can

 

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You can always check the effectiveness of ECM on ship design penal, and it seems to have nothing to do with size.

As for component damage, there has been no indication that the modules are damaged with the same level of HP(armor), and it is random as to which component would be damaged first. And when shield is around, bigger ship surely has the advantage. The effects of shield was not included in my previous discussion because I was lazy. I wouldnt bother with the shield effectiveness regarding the size, it will just further complicate the gameplay.

(in reply to Aeson)
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RE: The issue of power creep and its solutions. - 8/22/2014 12:56:03 PM   
feelotraveller


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Did you actually bother to read the thread?

I wanna see you defend (or attack for that matter) two systems at once with your mega-ship...

Or to pushing your logic to its extreme - the winning strategy would be to have one mega-powerful fleet of max sized ships and nothing else. Strangely enough in practice that will not work...

(in reply to Gas Can)
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RE: The issue of power creep and its solutions. - 8/22/2014 1:13:13 PM   
Aeson

 

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quote:

You can always check the effectiveness of ECM on ship design penal, and it seems to have nothing to do with size.

The effectiveness of countermeasures is given as "+10%" or some similar percentage. Thus, it presumably modifies the underlying hit chances, which we do not know. Nor do we know with certainty whether or not the hit chances depend on the size of the ship. As such, we cannot say whether or not it has nothing to do with size, because we don't know whether or not the thing that it modifies has anything to do with size or how it interacts with whatever it modifies.

quote:

As for component damage, there has been no indication that the modules are damaged with the same level of HP(armor),

A ship's "HP" is essentially its size, less the number of size units which make up its armor, and each non-armor component carried by a ship can absorb an amount of damage equal to its size. Armor and HP are functionally very different in Distant Worlds, and you'll notice that against the majority of weapons your ships will not take HP damage (i.e. damage that causes the green bar to turn red) until their armor components have all broken, at which point your ships will begin losing components at roughly the same rate as the green bar goes down.

quote:

and it is random as to which component would be damaged first.

This is not an advantage for larger vessels. Moreover, while it is random, you can guess at what will be hit first. If it randomly selects a component from the list of available components with no weighting by component size, then a ship with 200 components is more likely to lose something like a hyperdrive than a ship with 500 components and relatively less likely to lose a weapon, presuming that the balance of modules outside the required core of modules is the same in the two designs. If it selects a component randomly but with the hit chance weighted by size fraction, then once again the larger vessel is slightly more likely to lose a weapon than the smaller vessel as it presumably has a somewhat greater fraction of its total size dedicated to weapons than the smaller vessel does.

quote:

I wouldnt bother with the shield effectiveness regarding the size, it will just further complicate the gameplay.

The difference between the effectiveness of 500 shield points and 5 regeneration on one ship or 100 shield points and 1 regeneration on each of 5 ships is the single biggest factor determining the relative effectiveness of big ships as opposed to small ships. You can ignore it if you wish, but this is the feature of large ships that makes the most difference in terms of combat effectiveness. The fraction of a ship's size that has to be dedicated to main and maneuvering thrusters to attain a given speed and turn rate is constant for a given set of thruster technology, and the minimum required set of components makes little difference overall - you don't get that much of a space savings by not having that extra hyperdrive or command center on a big ship, and the other required components (reactor, fuel cell, habitation module, life support) are all things which will mostly scale with the size of the ship you're trying to build. This leaves you with roughly the same fraction of the ship's overall size to put your weapons, shields, and armor into on the big ships as on the small ships, unless you're sacrificing engines for weapons, but if you're doing that, then you're already placing the big ships into a different role than you'd be placing the little ships and so it makes little sense to make a direct comparison.

Beyond that, for a given investment I can have more little ships than I can have big ships. Yes, in the big fleet battles, it's better to have a few big ships than a bunch of little ships. However, you're not always fighting the big fleet battles, and sometimes it's more useful to have several smaller ships than one big ship - after all, the big ship can only be in one place at any given time, whereas two or three smaller ships can be in two or three places at one time. This isn't an advantage when launching a major attack or when fending off a major offensive, but it's rather useful when raiding, it's fairly good for dealing with pirates, and it's better for defending your own sites against minor raiding.

(in reply to Gas Can)
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RE: The issue of power creep and its solutions. - 8/22/2014 3:02:15 PM   
corwin90

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: feelotraveller

Did you actually bother to read the thread?

I wanna see you defend (or attack for that matter) two systems at once with your mega-ship...

Or to pushing your logic to its extreme - the winning strategy would be to have one mega-powerful fleet of max sized ships and nothing else. Strangely enough in practice that will not work...


Yellow Card.

(in reply to feelotraveller)
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RE: The issue of power creep and its solutions. - 8/22/2014 8:52:56 PM   
feelotraveller


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Actually corwin90 if anybody is going to get sent off here it is you since your comment adds absolutely nothing but snark to the thread. It certainly does not add anything to the discussion.

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RE: The issue of power creep and its solutions. - 8/23/2014 7:04:54 AM   
Gas Can

 

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I will just build 2 of them, considering that in later-game stage money is the least Im short with. Hell even if I crash all the research and build excessive stations and fleets, it still flows in faster than I could spend... Also, I will always build space port on highly populated planet, and AI generally has no chance to scratch it.

Also it has something to do not only with gameplay balance, but also with immersion as I play Star Trek mod only. Really seeing one Galaxy cruiser decimating an entire Klingon fleet is stupid.

(in reply to Aeson)
Post #: 11
RE: The issue of power creep and its solutions. - 8/23/2014 1:12:37 PM   
Vardis

 

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In my game, I've been building mega resupply ships with one or more of the devastator pulse weapons for attack ships, and leaving that off for defense (I don't completely trust the AI on firing that thing). They don't auto intercept like a "military" ship, but with only 20% of the space needed for resupply stuff (gas/cargo/docking), that leaves me with twice as much space to cram on military hardware compared to a capital ship. When I tell it to attack something, it warps in and the target ship instantly explodes. I don't know what that's all about (I don't even see the shot being fired, nor does it show an AOE explosion), but it's pretty funny.

In my main fleet (which is overkill ATM), I have all my fleet admirals and ship captains on one of these things, and it's getting something like a 50% range bonus and nearly double damage. It shows up, and a large pirate space station and everything around it just explodes. The legendary pirates and the Shakturi on extreme difficultly (with no TT, even) were a joke. Sadly, it's made my current game sort of boring.

(in reply to Gas Can)
Post #: 12
RE: The issue of power creep and its solutions. - 8/23/2014 3:45:07 PM   
feelotraveller


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Gas Can

I will just build 2 of them, considering that in later-game stage money is the least Im short with. Hell even if I crash all the research and build excessive stations and fleets, it still flows in faster than I could spend... Also, I will always build space port on highly populated planet, and AI generally has no chance to scratch it.

Also it has something to do not only with gameplay balance, but also with immersion as I play Star Trek mod only. Really seeing one Galaxy cruiser decimating an entire Klingon fleet is stupid.


Yeah, that's fair enough. But I guess to me that just screams problem with the economy rather than with big ships. If there is so much money that it can't all be spent then what does it matter if it's one big ship or a horde of disposable smaller ones (which cost a bit more to build and maintain...)? So why care about 'efficiency' or losing a few ships if it makes no difference?

(Slightly off topic: there are many way to dampen the in game economy, from the difficulty slider, to starting with a harsher homeworld, to avoiding tech trading and exploiting the cpu players for cash, playing fair with pirate protection payments earlier in the game, and/or avoiding taking those juicy cpu player capitals somewhat later, to name just a few.)

Remember too that research is needed for the construction size so there is an opportunity cost. Maybe getting better weapons on the old size ships can be as effective, or upgrading the engines, or the shields, or...

By the way what do you do earlier in the game when money is tight(er)?

(in reply to Gas Can)
Post #: 13
RE: The issue of power creep and its solutions. - 8/23/2014 5:52:13 PM   
Gas Can

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: feelotraveller


quote:

ORIGINAL: Gas Can

I will just build 2 of them, considering that in later-game stage money is the least Im short with. Hell even if I crash all the research and build excessive stations and fleets, it still flows in faster than I could spend... Also, I will always build space port on highly populated planet, and AI generally has no chance to scratch it.

Also it has something to do not only with gameplay balance, but also with immersion as I play Star Trek mod only. Really seeing one Galaxy cruiser decimating an entire Klingon fleet is stupid.


Yeah, that's fair enough. But I guess to me that just screams problem with the economy rather than with big ships. If there is so much money that it can't all be spent then what does it matter if it's one big ship or a horde of disposable smaller ones (which cost a bit more to build and maintain...)? So why care about 'efficiency' or losing a few ships if it makes no difference?

(Slightly off topic: there are many way to dampen the in game economy, from the difficulty slider, to starting with a harsher homeworld, to avoiding tech trading and exploiting the cpu players for cash, playing fair with pirate protection payments earlier in the game, and/or avoiding taking those juicy cpu player capitals somewhat later, to name just a few.)

Remember too that research is needed for the construction size so there is an opportunity cost. Maybe getting better weapons on the old size ships can be as effective, or upgrading the engines, or the shields, or...

By the way what do you do earlier in the game when money is tight(er)?


In early stage of the game you generally are unable to build bigger ships anyway--you stuff the critical components in and add a few weapons to fit the energy output and its oversized... So size doesnt matter at that time, and everyone is trying to build bigger ships to reduce the loss in combat.

You were quite right about the game mech being easily exploited though, just build some wonders and trade some techs with allies and you will soon be unstoppable.

< Message edited by Gas Can -- 8/23/2014 6:55:47 PM >

(in reply to feelotraveller)
Post #: 14
RE: The issue of power creep and its solutions. - 8/26/2014 1:46:24 AM   
corwin90

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: feelotraveller

Actually corwin90 if anybody is going to get sent off here it is you since your comment adds absolutely nothing but snark to the thread. It certainly does not add anything to the discussion.



I find it disappointing that someone with 1000+ posts expects newcomers to have read all 100,000 posts about the game before posting. I find it disappointing that someone with 1000+ posts doesn't show a bit more tact. When referencing a multi-page thread, I think it would have been more helpful if you had referenced specific posts in the thread.

I found the informtion from the OP very helpful and informative. I thought his ideas were very good and interesting and appreciated him posting. I also appreciated you posting the link to the other thread. I want to read that information as well. Thank you for posting the link to it.

Please forgive those of us who are novices and who post stuff that may have been covered in previous threads--possibly over and over again.

< Message edited by corwin90 -- 8/26/2014 2:51:17 AM >

(in reply to feelotraveller)
Post #: 15
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