Hi there. I found this game from the thread on the Dwarf Fortress forums other games board. Looks real nice, and I'm glad to support the game by purchasing an early access copy.
So, I suppose this is a fairly obvious idea that the dev may well have considered already, but one class of air ship should be an air-mother ship I think. So, a room which is fairly long and can hold a suitably steam-punkish fighter plane (perhaps a WWI style biplane?), for launching and landing. The plane can be launched in a battle with some button, or perhaps launches automatically? When damaged, it may come back in for repairs.
The ideal would be that you could have an air ship which specializes as a carrier, having minimal guns in exchange for extra landing bays. It could hang about on the edge of the screen, and just send the planes in for fighting with their gatling guns or what have you.
More complex version would be to have a single landing "deck" which could be up top, or maybe suspended below? and then for extra plans you add smaller sized storage hangers which feed planes into the deck for take off as you go.
Hey! I'm glad that the game found interest on the DF forums. I was a little worried about just going in there and going "HI I MADE THIS GAME PLEASE BUY IT BYE".
I quite like the idea of a carrier deck for biplanes. Main question is how the planes would be modelled in-game. Can you design them like airships or they come in a fixed set of designs? What happens to them if they stall?
The official "tech level" of the game is roughly 1870 - 1915 BTW, so steam engines to some basic petrol/diesel stuff. (And indeed diesel-powered modules are planned.)
Diesel Power!? uuh, will that be for the bigger ships?
I think the planes should come in fixed sets of designs, as they would be as small as a two square module or so. They fly out, maybe have a limited about of ammunition, health, and fuel, and when any of those get too low, they return for repairs/refueling/etc. All of this would be done automatically, the same way weapons shoot. But perhaps some settings could be available, for setting planes to fly in defensive or aggressive manners.
If you do add the planes, you could add a suspendium AA, which would fire suspendium at the planes, destabilizing them and stalling them.
Captain, Engineering Corps
Yeah, so the planes would be a "human shield." I was also thinking of maybe having several planes per hanger, or have a huge hanger with little holes that push out and bring a plane from a storage zone.
The planes could be used for a distraction against your dreadnaughts who don't last long.
And maybe if the planes do die, it would take a bit to build another one using repair supplies or something.
I also have been thinking, there is so many resources, maybe think about having something that holds everything, but not as much.
I was thinking about this... and it seems like a good answer would be to have a fighter module. The module will take 1 or 2 squares, and it gives you Suspendium Chamber, propeller, coal store, and cockpit functionality. This module is very specialized and sensitive, with a small operation time before it breaks down, so it requires intensive maintenance and very short operation times, making it only useable with a carrier.
Every time a plane returns to the carrier, it consumes x amount of coal, y amount of ammo, and z amount of repair tools. This will force you to carry a large cache of supplies, simulating the logistics of operating a carrier, and the risks of exploding modules. Go for efficient refit times for your planes, or decrease the risk of a catastrophic event and increase the time it takes to refit planes.
To make things more simple, the planes will be built as modules which require open space above it, like how weapons require open space for their facing. This will allow you to have different modules for different loadouts.
If you feel like making it more complicated, you can have different landing pad modules for various effects, such as having an attached fire extinguisher in the landing pad, or very advanced auto-supply landing pad where crew loads needed supplies into the module, and the module quickly loads the supplies into the landed plane. After placing the pad, the plane would then be built with 2 additional modules that represents the "fighter module" and the weapon module.
Yeah, and there could also be bombers who are most effective against defenses (and landships when they come out). I like the idea a lot. It definitely brings a whole new aspect to the idea of carriers. But of course they can't be too good, but I think autoloaders are fine as this is set in 1860-1914 era. So the planes will be pretty primitave for their kind, but still can fight the other airships/defenses. I like the new idea.
Also esprit crafter, you can claim your own set of arms in the main menu. They give bonuses to which symbol you use. Such as mine which gives my cannons x2 as accurate.