From: Vermont, USA
I may not be posting much more until I am officially "back to work" on January 6th, but I wanted to leave you with a few more points regarding ship design and ship hulls, as there are a number of reasons that influenced our decision design-wise to go with ship hulls in DW2.
We believe the current system still allows for a lot of design flexibility, especially in the larger ships, but it is certainly a limitation compared to DW1's "no limits but size" ship design. The DW1 system also had some issues though.
The first consideration we had was balance, which is not a huge concern in a single-player game, but it does have an effect especially where the AI is concerned. The AI in DW2 is significantly smarter than the AI in DW1, but it's still not a human player. "Extreme" designs in DW1 were certainly one of the major weak points for the AI as it could not always correctly assess the strength of such designs or make good use of them itself. Allowing ship hulls and a more meaningful and realistic system of hulls and roles helps the AI be able to compete better with human ship design and in general in space combat. Balance is also a consideration should DW2 at any point in the future support multi-player and this system will help there as well.
A second consideration was the 3D side. We wanted to have a nice 3D environment with nice 3D ships that you could look at both far away and up close. The investment in 3D simply doesn't make sense if everything is going to shoot its weapons from a central point through the hull. As soon as you look at that from any relatively close distance, it's going to look bad. So you need some way to have external points for weapons and once you specify those, you need some kind of weapon mount or turret and ideally it should be able to rotate and fire in a way that looks realistic and cool. Then you need specific places for engines, maybe also things like defenses and sensors, etc. The end result of all this guides you towards a system that allows for the external visualization of component choices, which in turn guides you to component slots or design bays.
A third consideration is increasing the number of meaningful design choices for the player. This is something that differentiation between hulls and roles and specialization choices within those hulls and roles helps to enable. We wanted Escorts, Frigates, Destroyers, etc. to have a purpose in the mid and late game as well both on their own and within the context of a fleet. We also wanted you to have some choices to make within each hull and role about how to best achieve your design goals, without limiting you too strictly. One of the things we haven't discussed much yet are the changes in some component category sizes, resulting in components such as reactors, engines and shields among others realistically taking up a bit more space, as well as weapons coming in a larger variety of sizes, ranging from fighter and point defense weapons to standard weapons, medium weapons and heavy weapons. There's also variation in that each faction's hulls are somewhat different and each faction also has more unique technologies than in DW1 (more on that when we discuss research). For most hulls and ship roles, once you have a good bit of research done, there are a lot of choices to be made within each design bay category, within each hull and within each role about what you want your ships to do and whether a design is better suited to operate independently or is design to fill a particular role within a fleet.
Finally, while it's too early to discuss or commit to exactly what will be moddable for the initial release, our hope is as always that within our design there will be a combination of choices and options that will allow your preferred playstyle to be possible. If at the end of the day you still disagree with the direction we've taken, we're expect over the course of time to make more and more modding possible as well to allow DW2 to match everyone's wishes in the end.
< Message edited by Erik Rutins -- 12/24/2019 3:58:05 PM >