I've wanted to make a post about this for a while now, but I never really got around to it...
So, here's the thing. Right now, weapons, propellers, telescopes etc are limited when it comes to placement because you can't obstruct them. I realise that that is an interesting limitation to prevent people from placing weapons anywhere, but there are some problems with it.
First of all, large ships. Unless you make it only large in one dimension, then there are some issues with larger ships. You see, the bigger your ship is, the less weapons you can place on any regularly shaped ship. Hoe so? Well, it's simple. Circumference increases disproportionately to the area of the ship, and you can only place weapons around the edges. This makes for less options in design of large ships - you can't opt for lots of weapons but little supply or vice versa as easily, as the latter is basically what you're forced into unless you make some unpractical special design.
The second problematic thing is ramming combat. While normal weapons target all areas of the enemy ship equally, ramming mainly damages its outer edges where the majority of weapons will be located, making it easy to disable a ship that way. Now, you can counter it to some extent by making indentations in your ship and putting some weapons in there, so it encourages creative designing, but that still only goes so far before being problematic for the design.
What I suggest to counter this issues while still forcing people to actually be somewhat creative and not taking out an interesting aspect of design is weapons that do not have an obstructed view, but either have other limitations in the form of other placement limitations, worse stats, more size some other properties or a combination of those limitations.
Here are three examples that I would, personally, absolutely love to see in the game as I feel they might make this interesting.
First example, you could have a rifle or cannon like weapon that shoots both backwards and forward (with a full circle of targetting for rifleesque weapons but vertically limited for cannon like weapons just like regular cannons). The game might be 2d, but it is set in a 3d universe, so I imagine they would utilise the sides of the ship and maybe use openings in side walls and sticking weapons out. Now, those weapons could have generally worse stats to make up for it - damage, fire rate etc. But especially range. Unless you have your weapons completely outside the main segment or the ship either placed on some balcony-esque-thing or something, aiming directly forward would make the weapon shoot through your ship. You can't directly emulate that - disabling the ability to shoot in the two axes available in the game without using the third which is not present would make the weapons basically useless. You can, however, limit the range of those weapons considerably to imitate that instead. Then you could have other stats that are lower just cause. Also, limiting how many weapons you can place in a certain area around such a weapon would be a good idea, to avoid weapon spam. I mean all weapons. Got an in-ship side-weapon-thingy near the front? Too bad, no frontal weapons for you. Want to place several side-weapons on your ship? You'll need a large ship, you'll need to sacrifice some module space, you'll have a less efficient weapon taking up the same amount of space a better rear or frontal weapon would.
The second idea would be mortars. While they would still have a line of obstruction either diagonally, vertically or maybe both if you decide to make some variations, they would not shoot straight, so they could shoot targets not in their targeting angle range. So you could have weapons obstructed in one way, yet hitting weapons in another. I mean, a weapon with projectiles that don't travel straight, but in a parabolic or ballistic curve. The mortar weapon would have the line of obstruction diagonal or vertical, while it would shoot at targets in front of the ship.
The third suggestion is an another weapon which, like the first one, has no obstruction, but this time with a different placement limitation. You can have a weapon that simply shakes a lot or has a lot of recoil so it has to be fixated between two keels or in some other way, forcing you to plan out your paths really carefully. You could also possibly make it explosive to increase the risk of having it.
As you can hopefully see from the suggestions above (which I hope you'll consider implementing), there are various ways you can approach weapon placement other than the way you've used so far, so you could have new, interesting ways to design your ship while retaining the degree of challenge provided by the current placement system. It could probably even give a lot more interesting methods of design, resulting in more diversity and hopefully an even more entertaining experience.
Well, I hope you'll consider my suggestion(s), and even if you decide against them, that they'll give you something to think about.
EDIT: This also made me think of some weapon suggestions unrelated to the main topic:
Weapons that can fire mutliple shots at once, shotgun style.
Also, projectiles with submunitions. The difference between the latter and the former when it comes to the tactical and strategic aspect of the game is that the latter could have less spread as submunitions would be together in the projectile until they split, making them split later. Another way to approach that would be to have submunitions go a limited distance in all directions, giving an area of effect. Maybe both approaches to the weapon could be tried.
There are really so many interesting weapon systems that I would all love to see implemented. (Okay, six or seven. The ones from suggestions. But that's a lot.) I know that very likely not all will get in. Hey, maybe even a minority of them will get in, or none. But, well, it's still fun to think of them.
(If I had the time to learn Java, I'd probably try to mod all my suggestions in if they didn't get into the normal game itself. :P)
I've already made some suggestions to remove weapon limitations some time ago (in the name of logic and realistic ship construction ^^)... Unfortunately with no real answers. Topic is here :
Modding the game is a good solution to obtain this, but learning java can take time ! lol
Air Lord, Engineering Corps
Honestly i don't really see why it is a problem. If the surface area to volume ratio is so poor for large ships (which it is not, most in-game weapons compensate by being very powerful) just make many smaller vehicles. That's why most organisms are multicellular, its more efficient.
This 'feature' also acts as a really good stopper for players who like to build one-ship armies (capitol ships/large dreadnoughts are fine. but an overpowered super ship that take out entire coastal defenses? i think not). In my opinion there is no strategy in that other than "build the bigger ship that's more credits than the enemy fleet".
Having ships disabled by ramming in combat is an issue though but you can always just place scaffold in front of most guns and all suspendium chambers (the red zone) to act as a guard against rams last time i checked (but this may just be a bug).
-edit- Uh, sorry if this post seems a little blunt. No offence intended!
Yeah, I'm afraid this is one of the bits where I disagree. Having the limitations to weapon placement both provides interesting design constraints and limits ship size. The latter of which is good because huge ships are bad for performance...
"just make many smaller vehicles"
Each time I use small ships (boarding troops / small bombers), I don't know why, but they can't even reach buildings on the other size or die in less than 20 seconds. Almost like the AI makes perfect shots or the hit probability don't take the size of the ship into account. On the other hand, AI makes a really good use of smaller ones, going through defenses pretty easily, doing virtually what they want even when I force my ships or my buildings to target them directly... Building those ships is useless for me, spending money on capital ships is a better investment.
"(capitol ships/large dreadnoughts are fine. but an overpowered super ship that take out entire coastal defenses? i think not)"
That was called a 74' ship of the line during the middle of the 18th century. If gun power is not one of the strategic choises, I don't know why this ship design spread rapidly over the entire europe to become the mainstay of all world fleets. Btw, don't forget coastal defenses can use heavy armouring more easily, the weight is not a problem in that case.
Between one dreadnought, two capital ships, or maybe 6 small ships, finally the choise will be made by the player, spending his money as he want...
Third rate navy ships were not built to just "have more guns and Armour then the other guys and storm places by themselves", the 74' got pretty popular because it was one of the bigger french ships and the British were impressed by it (they had little in the way of large ships and) since it carried 74 cannons it had a very powerful broadside..
But it was also a really fast ship for the amount of armaments it was carrying and was maneuverable enough to be a pretty good all-round' ship. Thats what most ships of the line were good for (other than for forming lines and firing huge broadsides).
Also in the way of small airships try not to plan them like large ones.
Good small airships (in my opinion) have redundant systems.
My strategy for small ships is usually two small suspendium chambers at minimum instead of one (so if one dies it was redundant, the 2nd one works fine). Smaller ships, because there is less surface area meaning the same spot is more likely to get hit repeatedly need better armour than their larger counterparts (which might explain why yours die often?).
So a large ship might be wooden and have a large suspendium chamber.
A small one would have two small suspendium chambers and some steel Armour and two/three of these might work the same as the single large one if not better in terms of cost.
I hope this helps!
Yes, true. The 74' was well balanced between power and speed (fortunately). Harbor blockades was certainely impressive with this kind of ship.
I will try your suggestion for small ships, at least at the beginning of campaign but as soon as money rises, I will keep my belial style strategy ! ^^ But if it works better, maybe I will make some commando ships to help the big ones !
"Yeah, I'm afraid this is one of the bits where I disagree. Having the limitations to weapon placement both provides interesting design constraints..."
Yeah, that's why I proposed various additional limitations for new types of weapons, which would possibly allow for additional interesting designs while still not letting people place anything anywhere. Only having weapons with a straight line of sight or two is not the only way to add interesting design limitations, and frankly, I'd say it's a boring approach.
Now, I'm not proposing the possibility to place current weapons anywhere. What I'm proposing are new weapons with their own limitations in placement and functionality which I described in the op.
"and limits ship size. The latter of which is good because huge ships are bad for performance..."
It's a beta. People shouldn't expect great performance from massive ships. But those with stronger computers can handle them somewhat, and discouraging the use of large ships seems somewhat pointless to me.
Commander, Engineering Corps
Couldnt we just have weapons that detect what sides they are blocked on?
Such as in Older sprite based RTS games, how walls would change depending on if theirs a wall above, below or to the side (For the sprite to match, to make a wall)
Now, if we think the same, Put a Cannon on the top of a ship, its obstructed below only, so it can shoot forward as well as up (A bit more than what we have now). With the sprite changing to respect this (Different mounts for the cannon, whatnot).
This would make more specialized craft possible without having different module types (Ie, the top and below cannons we have now, removing cutter) as:
- Heavy Cannon obstructed left/right/above, Simple, it now can only fire downwards
- Gattling gun obstructed Left/Right/Below, simple, it can only fire at like 45 Degree upto, say, 75 degree (Usefull for sneaky ships, zip under something, pump it full of lead!)
- Cannon obstructed Above/Below/Behind, More limited firing arc (Than what we have now)
Dont have a clue how to do it, I know stuff all about scripting, but, sounds doable...
I gotta agree with Zark here. Removing gun placement limitations causes a lot of unwanted side effects. The real intrigue of Airships building mechanics is the fact that in order to HAVE 10 heavy cannons you need to have a huge ship in both dimensions and logistics.
There's a reason the HMS Belial is a really effective design, it's really gun-heavy. Implementing system to promote easier gun-heavy designs will only make that worse and in a sense, make fewer effective ship designs.
While no-limitations 'could' allow a player to build a large capital ship with 74 smaller caliber cannons, it 'could' also be used to create a really small capital ship with 10 huge cannons.
I can agree with some of what Lukasmah is saying here. Whatever the system is, it should still have restrictions.
--------- Solutions? ---------
There's certainly less destructive ways to implement denser weapon placements without completely removing the placement limitations on 'every' gun. Mainly comes down to changing/adding certain special guns or building mechanics.
Create specific "broadside guns":
Have really bad range and can only shoot above/below the ship. They need to basically be placed nearer the top and bottom of the ship to be in effective firing range and as you stack more and more layers on top the interior guns get further and further away. If a 74 gun cruiser is the ideal design make these sub-cannon size but much better than rifles.
Make placement have 'softer' limits:
The turreted heavy cannons could have soft limits on their arcs, so if something is placed in their firing arc they lose some flexibility; can't aim backwards. Similar to WolvrNZ idea. You could then create a ship with 2 turreted cannons, they could both fire on targets above you, but only 1 at a time would be able to shoot off the front/back. You could even pyramid the guns, offset them by 2 vertically so that more could fire forward but would increase the height of the ship at a "relatively the same as heavy cannon stacking" rate but obviously because turreted cannons are worse than heavy cannons this wouldn't be a 'loss-less' gun-heavy design.
Bigger ships should be easier to hit:
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure bigger ships aren't easier to hit. But, they should be. Ideally they should have a 'cross-section' based accuracy. So shooting at the front of a ship would only take the ship's vertical size into account, and shoot from top/bottom would take the ships horizontal size into account. This would make fighting ships like the HMS Belial slightly easier, and could encourage larger numbers of smaller ships in your fleet compositions.
--------- Design Rant ---------
If you look at other "block building" style games that don't limit the number of guns aggressively enough you get into dangerous situations. If you can place them in large numbers anywhere on your vehicles it will always leads to very gun-heavy designs.
Personally I hate gun-heavy designs, it's just that sometimes the meta-game doesn't permit anything but the 1-2 dominant designs.
Reassembly has this problem REALLY REALLY badly. There's basically no point to building a ship that isn't silly numbers of thrusters and guns because you can pack them too closely together. It leads to things like capital-sized ships being WAY faster and IMPOSSIBLY well armed especially compared to frigates or similarly sized capital ships that don't follow that. While the preset in-game designs don't abuse this, every player fleet you'll encounter is a gun and thruster spam. Because it's a dominant strategy doing otherwise causes you to lose, or abuse glitches in the AI to win.
Even 3D games like Space Engineers has this gun count problem. In any player vs player engagement the number of guns has to be limited through agreed upon terms or else the ship with 10 guns will beat the one with only 2 guns every time simply because speed/maneuverability/armour<firepower.
There's some real life lessons that were learned about war machine design. Ships such as HMS Hood, getting magazine-d immediately proving that speed was not a good replacement for armor as guns and fire control got more accurate. Same applies for things like the Leopard 1 MBT; HEAT ammunition made armor pointless in the 1960s so some countries adopted faster tanks, eventually ammunition because guided and smarter so now tanks need to be built to survive multiple un-avoidable hits as faster wasn't good enough to protect the crews.
I tentatively like the idea of weapons detecting the sides they're blocked on. An interesting consequence would be that the exact placement of the hinge inside the module would really matter: if the hinge was exactly at the front of the module, it could get a 180 degree field of fire even if blocked in at the top and bottom.
And it would let you do designs like staggered multi-turreted ships, which could look quite cool.
OTOH, it's yet another mechanic to introduce. I'll think about it.
On the whole, mrCarlton hits it on the head: relaxing weapon placement restrictions too much would make designs less interesting. It's extremely important to me that there's no globally dominant ship design.
And actually, larger ships are easier to hit, in the sense that it's much more likely that an off-target shot will still hit the ship, just not in the intended module.
One of the things I'm going to try out is making gunners smarter and have them take current target velocity into account, but then decrease accuracy of most weapons a bit to compensate. The upshot of this would hopefully be that smaller ships are harder to hit, but micro-intensive evasive manoeuvres become less effective.
"On the whole, mrCarlton hits it on the head: relaxing weapon placement restrictions too much would make designs less interesting."
I now realise that you completely misunderstood my suggestion. Perhaps you didn't read my whole post, or I wasn't clear enough. I have the feeling it's the former, to be honest.
I am NOT suggesting the removal of weapon limitations. I don't think that would be a good idea at all - it would allow for weapon spam and really boring designs.
I'm suggesting the addition of new weapons and modules, which use different limitations that the basic line of sight.
Limiting yourself to one placement method makes the designs less interesting, in my opinion, and that's why all of my suggestions have alternative limitations.
Limiting the amount of weapons in a certain area, forcing you to place a weapon between keels and others supports (thus limiting the crew paths and increasing the weight) etc etc.
All the things I suggested have a different limitation, which I think would make designs more interesting.
What I suggest is by no means removing the limitations. I'm suggesting alternative placements and different limitations to allow for interesting designs.
I still think current weapons need current limitations. But I'd like to see new weapons and modules that are limited in different ways, with several suggestions in the op.
That's actually exactly why I'm an opponent of only having the line-of-sight thing. It limits the amount of possible designs, and makes things less interesting.
Now THIS is a suggestion I could get behind. Alternate weapons that have unusual placement limitations could be fun to play around with! For example, mrCarlton suggested broadside guns. Maybe these could, instead of a firing arc, have a circle around them representing the area in which they can hit targets; anything outside the circle cannot be hit, but anything inside can.
Or Lukasmah's idea for a super-heavy weapon that needs keels adjacent to it to absorb the recoil.
It wouldn't be getting rid of existing limitations on current weapons, it would be putting new limitations on weapons yet to be devised!
Yep, that is EXACTLY what I am suggesting. It's nice that someone understood what I meant, and phrased it better at that.
So, it appears that you misunderstood what I was suggesting.
Now that it was clarified, what is your opinion of the suggestion?