Air Lord, Engineering Corps
I'll keep this one short because i don't think many people like to read the paragraphs i spew out also ill have it divided into tabs for easier access.
I might also try to add a concept image if someone tells me how (i know its possible), I've already made a silly thing on a file in my computer!
OK where to begin, I had a quick idea (probably somewhat inspired by ROCKETSROCKETSROCKETS and SPAZ even though only one of those games is even remotely close to what im about to type, and) that was of some sort of Drone weapon.
So the basic idea is a module a little larger than a Crows Nest and has the same restraints (can only go on the top).
The weapon spawns small clockwork(?) automatons that use suspendium for lift and have a small weapon like a dulled down rifle on a normal airship.
The 'Drone' buzzes around the enemy its 'mothership' has targeted and will act like an AI allied ship you cannot control and can be damaged and destroyed (VERY easily, IF its hit) and does not respawn.
The drone has its own ammo and burning supplies and when low will return to the launch pad where a crew member must refuel it from the 'motherships' supplies!
Its worth noting that the drones will still be active if the carrier dies BUT they will no longer have a place to refuel and they have little max storage for resources so they will die off quickly!
The drones never count as a combatant ship that can hold a battle on its own so you need other functioning ships, or a functional carrier still!
Drones will also NEVER spawn by themselves without a carrier!
-How drones will affect the game-
I think a module like this would be cool to have 'carrier' type ships that sit back in battle and spawn/control the small Drones to do their bidding which makes them a priority target to the enemy!
This also provides a completely new way to design airships and airship tactics now that you can make carriers for smaller little ships!
Imagine normal ships of the line holding a battle and carriers in the back with a flagship that are supporting the front lines with small micro-airships that are kinda like fighters (or VTOLs since they are lighter than air)!
-A side note-
Small drones could also count as a new ship class with 'Micro' components creating an ENTIRELY new type of ship design which can allow for bomber drones or fighter drones or anything you can think of like when building normal airships!
It does not even need to be complicated, either since there is not going to be any 'large' variants on 'micro' ship types..
They could even be used to dock with different allied airships to share supplies instead of direct combat or maybe even be 'repair drones'!
All in all im really proud of thinking this up and i'm confident this would be a REALLY great thing to implement somewhere down the line of Airships Conquer the Skies!
Please go easy this was made on the Paint program in under 5 minutes as fast as i could (i cant art sorry).. But the basic idea is there an the red blob is an air sailor for reference.
Aircraft carriers are already planned to be a thing, if I recall, though they're planned to house WWI style fixed wing airplanes. But steampunk automatons would be cool too. Maybe as a variant of the carrier?
Huh, i never caught word of them being a planned feature..
It sounds neat but i think the small hovering 'drones' (for lack of a better word) would be cooler!
Begs the question how will Zarkonnen implement fixed wing aircraft especially how will he get them to turn, maybe like how luftrausers did it.
-edit- Wow.. I tried to keep it short this time and tis' probably the longest thing I've written on here..
Fixed wing airplanes is something we've talked about a fair amount, and I've considered putting them in, but they're not currently on the feature roadmap.
I quite like the idea of drones mostly for one reason: Aircraft need to maintain airspeed to not fall down, and I'm not sure how to make them constantly move within the rather constrained space of the combat map without it looking really stupid.
BTW, Firebird, your image didn't show, but you can embed images using the following syntax:
![Image Name](Image URL)
Automatons and steampunk universe are often tied together but let me bring some logical thoughts about the drone suggestion...
In the world you created, Zarkonnen, drones like that will feel like magic. We can't seriously think about automated floatting guns making trajectory calculations themself, sticking to enemy ships and coming back alone for ammunition without thinking about miniaturization and electronics...
In this universe, people created a big valved computer room only for simple ballistic calculations, don't expect them to create a "protoss carrier" spawning hundred of drones before the next two centuries ! Lol
Advanced WWII torpedoes were "programmed" before launch only to change angle and speed during course and technically and chronologically we were more advanced than them (except for suspendium).
The only possibility for a drone to be controlled in this period of time is by electrical wire control (there is no proofs inside the game that justify they already discover radio waves - but we all know they use electricity to charge suspendium crystal).
If you want to add flying saucers shooting photon torpedoes or jetpacked cows shooting milk, you're free to do it Zarkonnen ^_^, but this universe is technically logical for now so the only think to do before adding/suggesting a new module, for logical and scientifical sake, is to consider the technical possibilities for the game's countries to discover that technology...
My vulcan side has spoken...
Now for the airplanes, everything depends on the fuel discovery. Small engines -> charged crystal / with or without wings(wings can be used like containers for suspendium dust) and some propeller. The best to add this is probably a post-release add-on where you will put new modules based on fuel engines resulting more compact ships or landing ships, aircrafts and... some others stuffs. So players will re-discover the game with new possibilities.
Yeah i put a '(?)' there for a reason knowing full well someone would have brought up that point and it is a valid one .
I understand its not that far into the 'future' and was hoping someone would have gone "that's stupid ABC would make more sense"..
Maybe it could be some far off addon that brings the universe into the future or maybe the machines could just use the 'Human Torpedo' method of control like they (sometimes) did before torpedo's had simple guiding systems.
A human can do much better than a house-sized robot and will work much more efficiently given the games 'limitations' from the setting!
(note that i don't mean limitations in a negative way i think its good for a game developer to go 'this makes sense and is useful, i should add that' rather than 'that looks cool, i should add that screw backstory')
And regarding the airplanes i was more referring to the technical side of implementing them.
All structures in the game right now can either hover or don't even move (a balloon, or a building). Implementing fixed wing aircraft (if its even planned) would mean you need to devise a way of getting an aircraft a new order system compatible with a always-in-motion vehicle AND you need to somehow figure out how to get the 2d side-view vehicle to roll because thats simply how planes work...
@Zarkonnen Wow i completely missed your comment there, thanks for replying to this!
I think if you replaced 'clockwork' with 'manned' and 'drone' with 'gyrocopter' or 'small helicoper' then it would work without problems involving lore or being silly in game!
You can still use the exact same principals as i mentioned above (with your own additions/subtractions of course, im no game developing wizard and don't know what will/wont work XD) and it would still work fine even if the method behind it being "autonomous" changes
Besides 'clockwork' was the first thing that came to my mind and Rage3069 is absolutely right: it's silly to think springs can do ballistics calculations!
Also i decided against an image. I don't think pseudo pixel art will go very far since im horrible at doing art on computer programs!
-edit- Zarokennen you talk about the Feature Roadmap a lot and i was wondering if you were referring to http://zarkonnen.com/airships/plan right?
No Firebird, your idea is fundamently good but they're not so evolved to put that in practice... Drones are not a bad idea, but the context of this game can't permit it yet... Gyrocopter idea can work but with suspendium crystal there's no need for that... They have first to discover small fuel engines to generate power for propellers and crystal charge... And with small engines come big diesel engines and coal will become obsolete...
If airplanes pop'up in this game, the best and easier method to make them turn is to let them flight off the screen and several seconds later reenter facing the other direction... to simulate wave attacks...
I'm sure you took time to drew something, just let us show the result ! Or give us the link in private ;p
I misinterpreted the setting a little bit i think, i got that it was to the point where the watt(?) engine was a big thing using steam for reciprocating motion and just moving into diesel engines.
But i did not realize the only reason they (the humans/nations/people)are airborne is because of magical crystals that are everywhere and can float by repulsion (which is very origional btw Zarkonnen i love it!).
So they did'nt really do much, just strapped a steam engine onto a rock and flew away! :D
I think a good drone concept would be something like taking a motorbike, taking out the wheels and hooking up propellers and then having four arms going out of the body on each side diagonally with suspendium pylons and a machine gun in the front somewhere and it would work/be simple enough for the nations without being overly advanced, right?
Yes, but they can only produce electricity with coal for now ^_^ and without electricity, no working propellers and no working crystals !! Miniature steam engine will be probably too bad to generate enough electricity...
So something like an "airbike" with 4 tanks of charged suspendium dust on X horizontal structure and windsails to move...
And for aircraft, here a small animated image i made quickly to illustrate what I was talking about in my last post :
Actually, if I recall, Diesel engines are an explicit part of the prelaunch plans. So in the final game, there IS going to be precedent for fuel engines. And I think your concerns of fuel engines making steam engines immediately obsolete is unjustified. They were a known and proven technology during the First World War, but most ships of that era were still propelled by steam engines, and even after a lot of big ships switched to diesel, quite a few still used steam, even today.
As far as automatons go, a bit of silliness is standard for steampunk settings. Yes, having robots that can make these decisions on their own when a simple ballistics calculator is the size of a room might be a bit silly, but loads of settings, and not just steampunk ones, have had setups like that; robots of seemingly human size and intellect and computers the size of houses that can't talk. Of course, the computer might be doing more than just ballistics calculation. It might be pulling double duty as a fire director or something. Still, the point is, it wouldn't be entirely inappropriate.
As for airplanes, they might be launched to run their attacks and come straight back, which wouldn't take a whole lot of animation problems. As far as idle animations when they aren't attacking, you could just not have them in the air at all. They're either on an attack run, returning to their mothership, or in their hangars. The only problem is that it would LOOK cooler to have them orbit their mothership if ordered to intercept enemy planes that get to close, but if that proves too great a technical problem, just launching whenever enemy planes get too close would be acceptable.
And designing our own planes would be cool, but it would be sufficient to have hangars for a variety of fixed types and leave it at that.
1- Yes, coal is still in use today. Switching to new technology is and was only a problem of cost. Making fuel module price more expensive is a reality. Basing thoughts on a civilization scale, finding a new technology always causes the decline of the old one, specially for military forces. Not taking that into account purely means you will loose war against your opponent.
2- Yes again ! But those worlds you spoke about try to preserve consistancy a minimum... Big computers for colony management, robots for small tasks... And don't forget that inventors in these worlds have knowledge about those technologies (not necessarily users). Here, they don't even know how to make batteries, capacitors, radios... And you want them to be able to construct something like automated drones ? In that case, it's inappropriate...(worlds where humans using artefact technologies without knowledge about it need to have a solid historical background).
3- Yes, Hit and run can work too.
4- Yes, minimum one type of plane for each weapon (except larger ones ^^).
You could have fighters 'escort' their motherships/idling by simply being 'out of play' but visually orbiting from background/foreground until they are either attacking or being attacked?
I'd kinda like to get back to the topic of 'hovercraft' style fighters as apposed to planes (since this just became one forum post on two subjects it seems which is fine by me). The 'Airbike' style ship that me and rage3069 literally suggested right after would work fine would it not?
Trying to get a flying steam engine that small is a problem, but diesel can do it easy (so maybe a diesel tech nation exclusive unit) and i see no problem with lift or the need for constant motion because of charged suspendium and there's no need for constant motion, its a small one man airship that needs to resupply a lot with a bigger airship!
We wont even need a covered shuttle, if its a hovercraft and does not go 48km/h you can just strap in a pilot with a rig attaching him to the exposed cockpit and it will probably just hover around its target most of the time and bumble back to a carrier.
OK Imagine This
Buzzing around an enemy airship withering it down with a mitrailleuse weapon
But the craft is smaller with an exposed cockpit and suspendium!
Also, no i did not make that it's some art from the free flash game Stormwinds, by Jared Rily over at http://www.herointeractive.com/
Also Zarkonnen if you don't feel fine with me posting art from another thing (i wouldn't know why) just feel free to let me know here and i'll edit this portion out!
This is a pretty "modern" one but some date back to 1851 which i THINK is perfect for the time setting compared to steam engines!
1: Rule of cool
2: Most robots in steampunk settings actually don't -use- electronics; They're powered by steam and use clockwork computers rather than electrical ones.
Yes, but they don't have the knowledge to do that yet. Clockwork worlds using steam and gears for everyday objects have scientists who know the theories behind this. Let them make something easier first before trying to store binary code with gears and springs !
Once again, it's not the possibilities to create a full advanced clockwork system I criticize, it's the fact you can't imagine people crafting laser sabers and ignoring how to make clothing and houses. All steampunk scientists need learning curve.
If the engineers in Airships have the ability to make diesel engines, targeting computers, lift chambers and cannons that need to be aligned so precise because they shoot suspendium pellets i think a mitrailleuse is well with in their capability.
At its most basic form its a cannon made up of about 60 rifle barrels that are all hooked up to one fuse so one fires after the other!
All they need is a small chassis to install one, some suspendium, small diesel propellers and a trained pilot!
Sorry Firebird, my last reply was for TheClockworks ! You can use gatling guns instead too, they already know how to make those ^_^
Oh yeahh... Gatling guns..
Also whats your opinion on the whole thing from a mechanics standpoint (like i mentioned in the top)?
I think we got the "how it fits in lore" part down. Small, Gatling guns, suspendium/diesel powered, one pilot?
Also i really don't get why people think clockwork devices are good for everything, i mean clockwork is just tightly wound springs that turn some gears to do a simple function like tell time reliably, not control the universe... You need digital for that! :D
Clockwork devices are often fundamental in steampunk worlds. Sometimes, you can try to imagine what our world would be without silicium or advanced electronic...
btw, I started conception of a small hovercraft in 3D to illustrate this topic. One Pilot + One gunner only with suspendium tanks and wings and no diesel yet. Expect a screenshot in few hours... But for now, I really need to sleep, it's almost 5 am for me ! lol
EDIT : windsails, not wings...
Looking forward to it!
Just a quick question, Why sails? it has to go towards the enemy and then back to the carrier to refuel in a battle multiple times don't it?
so that means a lot of switching wind currents, right?
Digital does not mean electrical, it means discrete discontinuous values, as opposed to continuous values found in analogue systems. Babbage's analytical engine was a planned (Never constructed, but there was no reason it would not work) computer that would have been programmable, Turing-complete, and digital. And it would have been fully mechanical, IE clockwork.
And the targeting computer proves that they already understand computation. Computation is universal, that is, if a program can be computed on one machine, it can be computed on another. So yeah, there is really no in-setting reason they shouldn't be able to do this.
Also, regular machine guns in addition to Gatling guns would be pretty nice to have. They could represent a middle ground between the rifle and the Gatling.
Yeah i was thinking of a burst-rifle type of weapon that fires 3-5 of the normal airship rifles in quick succession then needs to reload!
Also the simpler the better, the analytical engine you propose (i swear I've seen before somewhere but anywho it) does not seem to practical when you just compare it to good ol' flesh and blood, right?
I mean humans are really cheap, almost everywhere and don't need to be built (just conscripted XD) and can do the exact same operations the same if not faster.
Plus, say we can store path finding and ballistics calculations on a human sized analytic engine, we still need some way of getting that information to it which means needing to re-invent 'eyes' or something.
Its like writing a set of commands but giving it no numbers/string values to work with..
Also not all nations are that advanced yet which is why the ballistics computer is only unlocked to one nation that has ballistics tech which means 'fighters' are going to be restricted too..
Windsails work in both direction in the game and don't take wind currents into account for now so I'm only using what Zarkonnen set's up.
We already discuss about wind in another topic, go take a look ^^
For drones, they need to miniaturize the concept first. Maybe some kind of global computer sending orders by electrical wires to floating guns can be implemented at their level of knowledge. I can probably work on some prototype at some point. Question is about sensors...
For new guns, I think you can create a new topic. It can be usefull if Zarkonnen want to add some.
Zarkonnen has said they are somewhere in the neighborhood of the First World War technologically. So they could definitely have radio. No need for wire.
I posted a thing in "The Game" to see if zarkonnen will enlighten us on the era, i don't think radio/a global supercomputer is within their grasp seeing as how the hovel-sized ballistics computer that calculates firing trajectories within minutes is only available to SOME nations..
Manpower (in my opinion) still seems like the best option..
Humans already have sensors called eyes and are run by super-advanced conscious computers called brains.. You put two of them on a small craft with a gun and make one a pilot and the other a gunner and you have an awesome autonomous vehicle! :D
@Rage3069, I completely forgot about that! XD
@TheClockworks I don't see anything in the game that prove they know radio waves yet. And if they already know about it, I think we can make other module suggestions before complex ones (like radio module to give commands to building or ship without bridges for example).
@Firebird11 Totally agree for now... Human control is the best compromise until Zarkonnen give us more technical informations.
Until Zarkonnen puts the hammer down on lore, how bout' we talk about mechanics eh?
Also hows the animation coming along?
I'm looking forward to it
Yes I know... I'm on it for now... Take more time than expected ^^
It's not an animation, it's a 3D file ! lol
Oh wow huge thread is huge.
Some disconnected thoughts:
Aww, but I liked the idea of using airplanes! And wings -would- have the advantage of being much more nimble.
As for not being able to send video with 1940s tech, not so! May I present for your consideration, the mechanical television! http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanical_television
These existed BEFORE the forties, and by the late 1920s a few radio stations were sending out broadcasts for them! So getting video from drones is actually pretty feasible! They could even come in two varieties: ones that are controlled remotely by human operators, and ones controlled by a central computer. Human controlled would be cheaper and lighter, but computer controlled could be more nimble/accurate.
As far as small suspendium ships, maybe they could be one of the types of potential parasite craft? Because I don't like the idea of ditching fixed wing craft entirely. But they could have the advantage of extended range and ammo over winged craft, at the cost of speed and maneuverability.
And parasite craft would DEFINITELY be worth it compared to just mounting the equivalent weapons on an airship. Real life aircraft carriers are proof of that.
So... I've read this article and in the first lines of it, something twinkle in my eyes: "However the technology never produced high enough quality images to become popular with the public" and later "Baird's disk had 30 holes, producing an image with only 30 scan lines, just enough to recognize a human face."
Let's imagine a dialogue with two drone operators:
Bill, I have something on screen !
Move the drone within range Bob, I inform the commander.
Oh my god, this thing is huge !!
Commander, we're attacked by a ship ! Plug the speaker, we need to know if they are equipped with diesel engines !
Bob !! It's a cow !!! Need to call back the commander ! Last week you targeted one of our airship !!
Damn this stupid technology, Bill !!
Definitively, we need one of those module in the game ! lol Before, I think we need to ask Zarkonnen to add cows in the game, just for Bill and Bob ! ^_^
This topic was on hovery-attack craft thingies, not fixed winged aircraft i'm afraid to say, if you think it'll work you can post a suggestion on it okay?
Sorry, not really but i'd just like to stick to the original concept and try not to do two things in one thread.
And we don't need to re-invent wheels. we use humans for everything in Airships so why are we trying to come up with alternatives?
I think this would be a brilliant tactical option because your taking the space of a airship (with its coal, ammo, weapons, bridge, suspendium, bridge, crew and supply hatches) and compressing it into one module creating a REAL small attack craft!
Small targets like this wont have much health but can damage/confuse/divert enemies and are hard to hit making a good new kind of danger
Gratuitous Space Battles had a really good description for fighters on their threads so im going to use this as a main point:
"Fighters are the smallest, weakest, and fastest class of ship. They are fragile, but their speed makes them nearly impossible to hit with most weapons. They can be the focus of a fleet, a supplemental counter to other fighters, and anything in between. Even if you do not use fighters, you must understand them so your fleet cannot be defeated by a fighter heavy strategy"
-edit- Sorry if i was being kinda blunt on this post, no offence intended!
Also that conversation between the two operators was really, really funny!
Also speaking of GSB, can we have the airship commanders (the bridge operator) have special chat/remarks?
Maybe ones that appear in a box on the top of the screen or something to keep better track of units?
Like for example you have a bunch of named ships in a fight:
Bread and butter:"A fine day to do battle!"
Airship Two: "New target selected, engaging!"
That bad design you made: "Taking heavy damage here!"
That other bad design you made: "We've lost our guns!"
That good design you made: "Took out their suspendium, they wont be going anywhere for a while!"
(also i'll make this a separate suggestion since its kinda hypocritical of me to dismiss winged aircraft and say it belongs on a different thread to have a separate discussion and then say "this is a interesting idea?" right after)
Zarkonnen, here's the final suggestion of this topic !! ^_^
Hard to play with the windsails when it comes to shoot the enemy, bring one pilot with you !!
WHA..? HOLEY HECK MAN THAT THING IS AMAZING!!!
I love it!!
had no idea someone would take that much time for a concept i thought of!
Also the bottom left of the pic just gave me a thought, you think Zarkonnen could put a little nod to us if he decides to put it in the game? (like saying the "inventor"s name or alias (forum username) as part of the module description)
Also, again. HOLEY CRAP THAT'S AMAZING DUDE I'M IMPRESSED!!
In fact, it was a cross work between us two. You suggested some kind of bike with suspendium tank in X position with possible machine gun / I suggested windsails, pilot and gatling ! ^_^
Glad It please you !
Now, Zarkonnen can come to see the result ! ^^ Maybe it can help him to decide something in the next versions of the game :p
Yeah you definitely deserve credit you helped refine the concept from the top post with me, sorry if my above post made it seem like i was trying to say "I DID IT ALL BECAUSE I'M SELFISH THAT WAY"! (which im not)
And ya, made that really really really good model, holey hell i still cant believe you did that!
-edit- seating looks very comfortable! XD
And i think because it wont tip or anything seat belts wont be needed (which aren't there anyway), so the pilot/gunner could have parachutes if it falls!
Imagine it falling in a fireball and two crewmen floating down on parachutes!
For seatbelts, I don't know... This kind of Hovercraft can stay horizontal and if enemy destroy one of the tank, without parachutes, it's sure death ! I make only the big details on this model, I don't want to take too much time for a suggestion only.
No problem, I never think you're selfish ! ^^
Yay! (also i think this thread hit 40 posts, holey shit!)
Should we wait for Zarkonnen or talk mechanics?
Er, i guess talking mechanics should wait for the games developer..
Btw, if you want to make a new topic just for this hovercraft suggestion, feel free to do it ! This thread is too long for public, maybe we can make a new one with the screenshot !
link is http://img11.hostingpics.net/pics/728011Hovercraftconcept01.jpg
Part 2: mechanics?
I dunno, im really excited for some reason,probably because of you posting that amazing picture and me realizing this is probably the biggest Suggestions thread... Huh..
We definitively need to find something for chatting more easily ! We could ask Zarkonnen about a small chat applet on the forum ! lol
Yeah! Good idea!
So, PART TWO! MECHANICS! INITIATE!
There, skeleton is up!
It's perfect !