small/cheap designs usefull?

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Kizucha
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small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by Kizucha »

Hey all. ^.^

I am actually thinking about smaller or other say cheaper designs. Is it somehow usefull to build smaller/cheaper but weaker ships? If i'm not wrong i see nothing good in the use of smaller ships except that they dont cost so much but no "bonus" for evade because of the smaller design or something like that. :/

Ok one thing that is better with smaller ships, you can lay traps and offer a few of the small ships and in the time they got eaten hit a vital point of the enemy with the other small ships. With a fleet with equal bigger ships but fewer its not possible to split.[:)]

So anyone how can say that smaller ships are usefull or are they "totally crap"?
zenkmander
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by zenkmander »

Cheaper, less maintenance. If you have a larger empire it might be a better idea to have smaller ship designs so you can have a bigger overall fleet to cover that area. Smaller ships can stall an attacking force just long enough for your main fleet to arrive.

Smaller ships are great cannon fodder for your larger ships, especially when attacking a fortified area such as a homeworld.

But of course this depends on your particular game. For example, even if the maintenance of smaller ships is less, the savings may be offset if they end up dying more, since you'll have to reinforce them with new ships and spend even more money. Same goes for resources; even if each of your small ships requires only 5 chromium, if they die a lot that could end up being a massive drain on your resources.
Kizucha
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by Kizucha »

Also more or less they are crap if you have no bigger and better ships in an main fleet, so quality over quantity?[:)]
Hannable
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by Hannable »

I tend to build more expensive, heavily armed ships and put about 30 or so ships in a fleet. I build as many as my economy can handle then station them in strategic points in my empire. For me, the trick is to sacrifice a little firepower for more fuel cells (range is a must) and use the jump drive with the fastest hyperjump time - that way my big fleets don't lollygag too long after I give an attack order and they are capable of long range missions without having to refuel all the time. This somewhat offsets the need to have a bunch of smaller fleets with lots of weak fodder in them. If your big fleets can get there quick enough, you don't have to plop dozens of little fleets all over your empire.
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Novaliz
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by Novaliz »

To make the ship size more interesting and useful they have to limit the size of each design and give the designs different boni for evade.
hardcoregamer
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by hardcoregamer »

Aren't smaller ships harder to hit in general because they are smaller in the first place? I don't think weapons like torpedos are very good against small fast ships for example.

Also, won't a giant swarm of small ships be able to basically overwhelm an enemy in a manner that a few large ships would not be able to simply because of shair numbers and the fact they move faster?

I think there are some advantages to to using lots of small ships that you guys haven't mentioned yet.
Canute0
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by Canute0 »

You think about the fighter theorie.

Basicly yes, smaller ships who are faster and agile then bigger ones are harder to hit. But this don't count in DW so far.
Basicly hit and miss just set by the weapon, target system and countermeasure.

At DW any ship need to have serveral modules at this reason a ship with size 500 got more firepower/defence then 5 ships with size 100, and the single ship would destroy all the other ships without a scratch.
Thats the reason you should avoid ships below max. shipsize, they are just cannonfodder.

hardcoregamer
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by hardcoregamer »

ORIGINAL: Canute

You think about the fighter theorie.

Basicly yes, smaller ships who are faster and agile then bigger ones are harder to hit. But this don't count in DW so far.
Basicly hit and miss just set by the weapon, target system and countermeasure.

At DW any ship need to have serveral modules at this reason a ship with size 500 got more firepower/defence then 5 ships with size 100, and the single ship would destroy all the other ships without a scratch.
Thats the reason you should avoid ships below max. shipsize, they are just cannonfodder.


But what about actual fighters from fighter bays? Do they count as ships?
Kizucha
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by Kizucha »

So theoretical the split in escort, destroyer and so on are only for "flavor" and technically we dont need them. ._. Thats sad for me. I hope on that point sometimes we get anything that makes the different shipclasses worth it.
hardcoregamer
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by hardcoregamer »

ORIGINAL: Kizucha

So theoretical the split in escort, destroyer and so on are only for "flavor" and technically we dont need them. ._. Thats sad for me. I hope on that point sometimes we get anything that makes the different shipclasses worth it.

There is a reason to have different ship classes.

Tactics aren't just about size and the ability to avoid fire from other ships, its also about role on the battlefield and which weapons you put on the ships. This means there are still reasons to have smaller ships and give them only what they need to serve their purpose.

Think of a fleet like legos where each block of different color represents one type of ship which serves some kind of specific purpose. Having more blocks gives you greater flexibility, while fewer give you less.

Thus I don't agree that there is no reason to not just always build as big ships as possible.
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Plant
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by Plant »

I can think of a few reasons to make smaller military ships, but their primary purpose isn't combat. Edit: deleted examples. Lets see what hardcoregamer can come up with.

Most suggestions for small designs come from a wish to use small designs rather than any actual desire to make a cost effective ship design.

For combat ships there isn't any reason to design them for maximum size allowed.

If you can stall with lots of smaller ships, why not make less, but larger and more cost effective stalling ships?
Or even better, just slap on those shields and armour you are paying maintenance for onto that base that needs defending.
Afterall, there is no such thing as so cheap it doesn't matter. Money and resources lost are just that, lost money and resources.

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Plant
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by Plant »

ORIGINAL: hardcoregamer

There is a reason to have different ship classes.
Yet you avoid giving any specific reasons for them.
Tactics aren't just about size and the ability to avoid fire from other ships, its also about role on the battlefield and which weapons you put on the ships. This means there are still reasons to have smaller ships and give them only what they need to serve their purpose.
Meaningless buzzwords. Give an example or something. Build a case arguing for or against.
Think of a fleet like legos where each block of different color represents one type of ship which serves some kind of specific purpose. Having more blocks gives you greater flexibility, while fewer give you less. lol analogy. A fleet is like lego block trolol. Having less blocks is the greatest flexibility of all. In Distant Worlds and real life.

Thus I don't agree that there is no reason to not just always build as big ships as possible. I agree, but you didn't give any examples so...

Response in colour.
zenkmander
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by zenkmander »

I can think of a couple scenarios where smaller ships may have an advantage, but keep in mind that this game as a whole is very situational (depends on starting settings and playstyle).

Capturing Ships
Early to mid game, players are likely to have many pirate raids against their colonies. To save money and resources on building my own ships, I like to capture these pirate raiders. As I research bigger construction sizes, I find it better to keep my capture ships on the smaller side due to speed and maneuverability. In my experience it's best to have 3-4 assault pods per capture ship, plus maybe a tractor beam, and that obviously uses space that weapons would otherwise occupy. If I built these ships to max size, I would run into diminishing returns on thruster speed and vectoring. Since enemy ships usually try to escape once shields are down, speed and turn rate on capture ships is of utmost importance to me.

Invading Colonies
If I'm trying to capture a fortified enemy colony, I like my troop transports to be fast and agile. If I max out their size and throw on a ton of troop compartments, I'll run into diminishing returns on speed again. I like to give them just enough shields/armor to get through the enemy's defenses (takes a bit of trial and error of course). If I make them big and lumbering, that gives the enemy that much more time to reinforce with other ships and possibly destroy a transport and the troops onboard. Since troops can take a while to recruit, I want them to get landed as soon as possible and not be sitting ducks in space.

Expansive Empire
(This depends entirely on starting sizes. I tend to run Occasional Colonies, so empires end up a little more spread out. If you have Plentiful Colonies this might not apply)

My newer fringe colonies (non-strategic locations) tend not to have spaceports or full integration with my supply line at first (ie lower priority when it comes to stocking fuel). I assign a fleet of smaller ships to guard these since they're not necessarily significant (no expensive facilities built, no local refueling point besides maybe a gas mining station). If I go to war, I'd prefer to lose these cheaper defensive ships instead of my big ones. When enemy empires attack my colonies, they usually bring relatively large fleets, and I can't have comparatively large fleets guarding every single colony for obvious reasons.

If I did assign my big ships to these defensive fleets, the number of ships in those fleets would be lower, so as not to crash my economy; and even though it'd be fewer big ships, the overall resource cost (ie chromium) would still be higher than a more plentiful fleet of smaller ships with less extravagant and/or numerous components. Not to mention that since there wouldn't be a spaceport, those bigger and slower ships would spend more time refueling, thus highlighting their maintenance costs in contrast to the costs of smaller ships. If I have the biggest, baddest, most expensive ships around, I want them to be as active as possible.

----------

Again this all depends on playstyle. I just wanted to offer another perspective so people don't outright condemn smaller ship designs. I think they do have their uses.


EDIT: There are also escorts to keep in mind. Every now and then enemies will send some light ships to attack mining stations, resort bases etc. These might have decent defenses, but occasionally one will be outgunned. I like to keep my own escorts just big enough to counter such skirmishes. I see no use in making escorts overly large, just the right size to get the job done. More than that is overkill in my opinion. I could have my big cruisers handle those, but I don't think it's fuel-efficient at all, so overkill again.
Timotheus
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by Timotheus »

An interesting bug, I mean feature, of this game is that there is no enforcement of ship class limits.

So you can make a capital ship with 1 engine, 1 maxos, 1 reactor etc etc and make a frigate with 20 shields, 20 maxos, etc etc.

Seems wonky.

Heavier classes ships should be only available when a new branch of ship tech is researched, IMHO.
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Spidey
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by Spidey »

I think the idea is to give the player more freedom. If the player wants to have battleship size destroyers then why not? If the player want to only fit one engine on a battleship and be unable to move at more than impulse speed then why not? If the player wants to stick 40 engines on his size 1000 battleship then why not? This is 4X with a space opera twist. Do things the way you want and have fun.
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Plant
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by Plant »

Zenkmander, you don't run into diminishing returns on speed on larger ships. Speed is a function proportion to the ratio of thrust to ship size. As long as the same proportion of space is devoted to speed the ship has the exact same speed. In fact, the larger the ship the faster it is as every ship as components which have to be taken, but don't change size and so there is a greater percentage of free space that can be customised.

So, rewrite all of that without the argument that larger ships are slower. Just because the AI designed large ships are slower, it doesn't mean it is becuase there are diminishing returns on speed on larger ships. For example, for your troop transport example, you can build a troop transport twice as big, just as fast and manoeuvrable, with twice the troops compartment and twice the shields/armour. (Actually it'll be a little more than twice but whatever.) And with the benefit that half the damage wouldn't destroy a resource permanently.

I don't condemn smaller ship designs or their playstyle. I condemn it when people try to pass off bad reasons for doing so. Like talking about lego blocks.
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Darkspire
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by Darkspire »

Like talking about lego blocks.

I like Lego. You can make things like shipsets [:)]

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Spidey
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by Spidey »

Zenkmander, you don't run into diminishing returns on speed on larger ships. Speed is a function proportion to the ratio of thrust to ship size. As long as the same proportion of space is devoted to speed the ship has the exact same speed. In fact, the larger the ship the faster it is as every ship as components which have to be taken, but don't change size and so there is a greater percentage of free space that can be customised.
There's no diminishing return on size in terms of speed or turn rate but there is one in terms of acceleration. A size 400 ship with 14 proton thrusters and 4 thrust vectors will be no faster and turn no faster than a size 800 ship with 28 proton thrusters and 8 thrust vectors but I'm quite sure you'll see the smaller ship accelerate faster than the bigger one.

Aside from this, the advantages of smaller ships are mostly rather discrete. Smaller ships can be scaled to costs more easily, they can cover more ground through sheer numbers, bad luck against railguns and gravity weapons (and assault pods) hurts less on smaller ships, and maintenance rotation isn't quite as big a problem. Building smaller ships one at a time is also much safer if your resource supply isn't quite at end game levels.

Combat advantages? Well, smaller ships can hit multiple targets and avoid damage overkill better. Larger ships kill single targets faster but will at times massively overkill the target. A size 1000 monster will make extremely short work of regular pirate escorts but it will only kill one at a time. Then it will find a new target, move in position if necessary, kill, move, kill. Three size 300-350 will also kill those escorts without sustaining too much damage but since they can target individually, the job will be done just a little bit faster.

By the way, if you do throw 30 or so thrusters onto your size 1000 ships so they can almost hope to keep up with my 15 thruster exploration ships, then aren't you handicapping yourself against size 1000 ships that carry less thrust and more boom? The warp drive doesn't give a damn about the size of the ship it's pushing, so as long as your warp ends in close proximity to the target, does it really matter?

It seems to me, though of course I'm not all that experienced in this game yet, that pursuit is something best left to cheaper ships that you don't mind having relatively more engines and relatively less guns, while the specialized task of being a badass-butcher is a job that relies more on shield and boomstick than on raw speed. This game doesn't capture the real world aspects of naval combat perfectly, however, and I think a large reason of why you're not seeing a point in mixed size vessels comes down to two things.

a) Engines have a fabulous fuel efficiency in this game and fuel is so cheap and plentiful. Engines simply require a tiny amount of "energy" from a reactor and then they'll offer large amounts of thrust. This makes it very cheap, arguably too cheap, to push bigger frames around.
b) The AI doesn't punish you for doing things inefficiently, such as hulking up pursuit and patrol vessels. If you spend your resources on a few beefed up ships then the prudent action is to trick them out of position and hitting for the softer targets behind.

Of course, there are a few other things that make bigger ships appealing as well. There's no inertia in this game nor any bulk factor and there aren't any mines or killer artillery either and you don't need a gazilion fuel cells to keep those ten reactors going that are feeding your 50 thrusters. The acceleration loss for big sizes is ridiculously small. There's no dodge penalty for being larger. Maintenance doesn't seem to scale upwards with size and complexity, even though it probably should. There's no crew element that makes it more costly to aim for megaships. There are really few "blammo, you're dead" weapons that will make you want to escort your big ships with a bunch of smaller guardians. And the combat model in the game doesn't really seem to emphasize hit and run tactical encounters, does it?
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Icemania
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by Icemania »

AI ship design is broken. Small ships are broken because there is no apparent bonus (e.g. reduced probability to hit etc).

Per previous posts, the developer should be focusing in improving mechanics before considering new features: SpaceSector Distant Worlds Interview

That said, I still enjoy playing the game!
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Plant
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RE: small/cheap designs usefull?

Post by Plant »

Of course, if you did give small ships reduced probability to hit bonuses the question would be how much? You normally would want to give a bonus to make both trying to make a ship as small or as large as possible viable, though in practice it would be virtually impossible, not to mention that a whole line of tech (ship sizes) would become virtually useless if smaller ships were just as strong as larger ships.
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