Size matters.

Command a squadron of spaceships
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cavemaniac1
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Size matters.

Post by cavemaniac1 » Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:11 pm

I've been following these message boards for around a year now and there is one topic that I'm surprised never seems to be discussed (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!), though matters related to it get an occasional mention.

Ship Size.

Sean has the default ships size pretty well perfect - the most expensive/heavily armed/heavily armoured ships of each class are physically larger than the 'smaller' ships in the class.

I always stick to a scale similar to the default ships when creating my own designs, though I know this is by no means a universally adopted practice - some time ago I read that one designer makes his custom ships about the size of a missile.

When I design ships for specific purposes, I try to make the form follow their function - heavy bombers are huge lumbering launch platforms, fighters are smaller and more nimble. Having a heavily armed bomber the size of a missile doesn't make much sense to me.

What has prompted this message (and a thought for a 'fix' - see below) is that some enterprising individual (sorry, forgot your call-sign!) has written a program that allows alteration of standard ships and missiles prompting calls for even more customisation - including still more 'mounting points' for equipment - and why not more missile bays while we're at it?

My thought is this:

When designing custom ships, why not have the number of equipment 'mounting points' user definable, with ships that go heavy on the armour/equipment/armourment being automatically having their size (as displayed on-screen) scaled towards the 'huge' end, while tiny 'disposable' drones (I call this class 'motes') which contain little more than a couple of engines and a rack of missiles, displayed noticably smaller.

A historical president for this can be found among WWII era aircraft - the impressive B-29 Super fortress (5 gun turrets with cannon - rather than machineguns - a huge bomb load and a massive range) had a wingspan of 141 ft. 3 in. and a length of 99 ft. Compare this to another aircraft of the era designed for a very different role, the P-51 Mustang - a very successful fighter - Wing span: 37 ft .5 in, Length: 32 ft 2.5 in.

But size only tells part of the story - the resources required to construct ONE B-29 would have built ELEVEN P-51's!

That's it.

Hope this stirs up some discussion!

---------------------------------

Rather off subject I know, but fascinating none the less: A little known factoid, the Manhattan Project (Atomic Bomb) cost US$1 Billion. The Development of the B-29 to deliver the atomic bombs cost US$3 Billion.
The one thing that we learn from history is that we don't learn from history...

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Bob Janova
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Post by Bob Janova » Tue Feb 21, 2006 2:08 pm

I think the size of the ship (as used for missile hits and collisions) is related to the mass of the ship and not to the position of its component triangles. Certainly if you make a ship with no triangles, you still hit things and can be shot down.

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ima_gnu
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Post by ima_gnu » Tue Feb 21, 2006 4:42 pm

Correct. As far as impacts go, its the mass of your ship that matters, not its physical size. Also, I'm going to feel free here to correct you, we did have a part of a thread where we discussed this very topic. Pretty much that is the conclusion we drew, though. I have some custom ships called Wee Fighter, Wee Bomber, and Weeye. They are physically tiny ships, but I notice that I will hit an asteroid when I should have gone past it. So ya. :P
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cavemaniac1
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Post by cavemaniac1 » Tue Feb 21, 2006 5:12 pm

ima_gnu wrote:Correct. As far as impacts go, its the mass of your ship that matters, not its physical size. Also, I'm going to feel free here to correct you, we did have a part of a thread where we discussed this very topic. Pretty much that is the conclusion we drew, though. I have some custom ships called Wee Fighter, Wee Bomber, and Weeye. They are physically tiny ships, but I notice that I will hit an asteroid when I should have gone past it. So ya. :P


I stand corrected!

However, this raises a very important point - collision detection. It really needs to be pixel perfect. How on earth can you navigate around obstacles or choose an aim point if (as you quite rightly point out) the visable representation of the ships aren't even important!

Though...

Surely the ship as visable on-screen has SOME relevence to the game mechanics - I love chasing down Warriors as they're bigger than anything else on screen and therefore easier to hit!

And regarding the mass of your ship being important, I'd like to see this a bit more realistic too - like if two ships of similar mass hit each other, their momentum could be cancled, but if a large ship hit a little one, it's forward momentum wouldn't be affected any near as much as that of the smaller one. Like a truck hitting a Mini.

Just imagine the fun of shoving around an enemy ship smaller than your own! :twisted:

A yes. Discussion. You can tell it's a quiet day at work!
The one thing that we learn from history is that we don't learn from history...

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ima_gnu
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Post by ima_gnu » Tue Feb 21, 2006 6:56 pm

I concur. I hate brushing the back of a Drone with my 400+ credit ships (very heavy) and getting stopped. Aggravates me.
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Bob Janova
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Post by Bob Janova » Tue Feb 21, 2006 7:34 pm

Yes, collisions should be momentum-conservative if you ask me. Even more irritating is when you brush one of your own formation (going in the same direction as you) and it brings you both to a halt.

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Fusion_power
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Post by Fusion_power » Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:41 am

Some valid items here but I have to point out that the logistics of file management dictate a lot of the design of a ship. For example, I would love to have the ability to add more engines, radars, etc. But the current structure of the ship is limited to a certain number of bytes. Changing that structure would be a problem. What I think could be done is to have things like a super engine with 4 times the thrust of a regular engine and a super radar with 4 times the range of a regular radar. This would maintain the ship design standard as is but would allow you to increase the capability of your ship components.

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ima_gnu
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Post by ima_gnu » Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:12 am

That would be pimp. Super engines. sweeeeeet. What about super stealth, with the value of three stealths. You could (almost) ram an enemy and get away with it :D
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TheKangaroo
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Post by TheKangaroo » Sat Feb 25, 2006 6:14 pm

Surely the ship as visable on-screen has SOME relevence to the game mechanics

Well, my guess on that is, that mass kind of determines the 'minimal size' of the ship, just to make sure that the thing you mentioned - making your custom ships that small that they can't get hit anymore - doesn't happen. As far as I know you can always make yourself a larger target if you want to.

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Steve!
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Post by Steve! » Sat Feb 25, 2006 6:29 pm

TheKangaroo wrote:As far as I know you can always make yourself a larger target if you want to.


I don't think this is the case, I made a ship consisting of a full size square, when going past asteroids, the ship's corners could overlap an asteroid.

Not sure about the relationship between mass and actual size of ship, but it makes sense.

I like it the way it is and can't see anyway it could be done without being open for abuse. If collisions were pixel perfect with a custom ship, I'd end up shrinking all my designs down for added survivability.

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Guanchao
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Post by Guanchao » Sat Mar 04, 2006 8:30 pm

The entire point of having custom designed ship sizes and custom fillings are that to make the entire game more functional. If size is determined by the equipment a ship has, then there wouldn't be as much fun.

That aside, I would love a concept of cutting--a ship ramming a much smaller ship and that smaller ship taking either damage according to the speed lost or DIE; it would make killing enemies much easier.

And yes, I do realize it's ability to kill friendlies.
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