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.
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.
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.)
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.
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 >