Commander, Engineering Corps
Since ground-based combat is coming soon, why not add modules to transport foot soldiers and field pieces?
This module holds 2 soldiers, an officer, and a wheeled Gatling Gun. It has limited movement as its wheels prevent it from going up or down ledges (though a Suspendium upgrade would give it more mobility). While the gun is less powerful than its naval counterpart, it fires fast enough to mow down opposing infantry units at close range, and can also fire at buildings, land ships, or downed airships.
This module has the same crew as above, but carries a wheeled cannon instead of a Gatling gun. It's movement is even slower than that of the Gatling gun, but it packs enough of a punch to damage light to medium armored units. The wheeled cannon's main weakness is that it fires slowly, so it can be outgunned at close range by infantry or a Gatling gun.
To deploy the units from the module, the ship first has to be grounded. Then there would be a "Deploy" button which would let the ground units exit through the front of the module.
Since the infantry units aren't trained in aerial combat, they can't fire their main weapons while airborne, and will only fight boarders when they enter their own module.
Air Lord, Engineering Corps
Wow i think i like this idea, the concept behind it looks pretty solid!
If i find some discrepancy i'll make sure to edit it in this comment..
-edit- I don't think you need 'upgrades', the modules should just be as is, like everything else, so your level one Gatling guns are the only ones, less to keep track of and levels make it sound like an RPG or Clash of Clans, not Airships..
Also here's an image provided by the developer Even small ground vehicles like this wagon use suspendium crystals, this removes the need for wheels and gets over the limitation of not going up/down easily!
The suspendium variant ground vehicles also differ from actual airships because they are basically a frame wrapped around a heavy cannon! Not much service ceiling there..
-edit, the sequel-
Nice art BTW! Looks splendid!
I had that illustration in mind when I mentioned the suspendium; I meant that the traditional wheeled artillery carts would be cheaper, but heavier and less mobile than the Suspendium hover carts.
The wheeled carts would basically be the ground equivalent of balloons and sails in airships—cheap, but not very effective.
I think the wheeled carts should have a two wheeled caisson rather than the four wheeled one you depicted. Also, I think you should re-examine the limitations of the module placement as you've shown them. It would make it difficult to deploy large numbers of ground troops.
I'm still working on exactly how the artillery exits the ship. They probably couldn't be hauled out of a supply hatch along the side of the ship, so I thought they would deploy from the front of the module, but that would only work if the exit was at ground level.
Modules could be deployed in 'racks', where one module actually spawns two or three cannons (but the module just looks like they are one behind the other from the players perspective).
So a dropship with one module can actually hold three vehicles and can drop them as long as the ground is clear of the last set of soldiers!
Also now that i think about it, small suspendium carts will never work.
Normal real life cannons have a lot of recoil when they fire, a cart is floating so.. You'd probably only get off one shot before your cannon flew backwards into the far off hills of the background!
Maybe we also get a rampdoor. so we can carry more ground units and they rush out of the ramp.
And maybe we can connect this idea with Firebird11's idea of gunships and my suggestion of costum units. So we can make your own ground trupps and vehicle.
Yeah i think almost all units should be somewhat customizable, that is one of the main focuses of airships after all..
Maybe for the land ships you could have new versions of marines that travel on foot and are more heavily armed, or carry wheeled guns like this because this idea's really good. So this should be a land ship exclusive module.
To deploy ground troops, I imagine it would be similar to deploying marines: When you get close to the ground, the soldiers and equipment are lowered by ropes from a cargo bay. Larger pieces of equipment (that is, bigger than a cannon, but smaller than a landship) would need a larger cargo bay to disembark. Such equipment would also be able to move through cargo bays and any adjacent troop modules.
To facilitate this, cargo bays and troop modules would have specialized elevators to allow heavier equipment to move up and down within them, and cargo bays could now have cranes that could slide out of the side of the ship to lower machines and personnel to the ground.
To disembark troops in this manner, the ship would have to be either grounded, or, in the case of landships, stationary.
We could take the easy approach:
Invader(?) modules hold around eight specialized ground troops, 2 guys carrying an RPG like weapon (i don't know what to call this), 1 medic (with a pistol, but acts as a mobile sickbay) and five footsoldiers that carry a downgraded airship rifle.
The block place restriction is the same as bombs, the module itself has a winch and a ramp on a hinge. When a dropship gets close enough to the ground the winch lowers the ramp and the invaders run down the ramp onto the battlefield and begin to attack whatever they see within reason!
Medics and footsoldiers shoot other enemy medics and footsoldiers primarily while Rocket-guys focus on buildings, medics can also 'heal' allied soldiers in range but has a limited amount of uses.
These guys are very vulnerable to flying machines, may need air-support i can imagine!
All invaders are stronger (health/damage wise) than boarders but cannot leave the dropship module into other components of the 'host' airship, too much cumbersome gear. Plus a rocket-man in the hallways of an airship is a BAD idea, also want them to stay in the exit room so they can all leave at once, no sense in having half of them chase boarders and then be yelling "WAIT FOR ME!" when the ramp drops!
how you could do the suspendium-supported cannon-carts, is when they are firing, someone could jam a rear support or two into the ground to brace against recoil. this could add a period where the cannon is in position, but cannot fire, because the brace is not wedged in yet. not sure what effect this would have, but it would prevent suspendium-supported cannons (or Gatling guns) from flying back when fired.
So like, a Siege Tank from starcraft then that needs to be set up before firing?
That sounds good!
Deploying troops from supply hatches already has precedent in that marines enter and exit ships through them.
You'd probably be only able to fit two or four soldiers into a supply hatch, a cannon might barely fit into a large one, but not likely.
It will probably have to be either it's own module or need a three long cargo hatch in my opinion.
Well, we know how long and how tall cargo hatches are, but we have know idea how -deep- they are. So we could get around that by turning a cannon sideways (That is, so its muzzle is facing the player), allowing it to fit through even a small cargo hatch.
I guess that works!
Airborne ground units!
The Aeronaut flies above the battlefield with his Suspendium pack, firing at ground troops and picking off boarders from nearby airships. However, his cumbersome flight gear prevents him from transporting ammo/coal on friendly ships and from boarding enemy ships.
that looks cool! but where's his gun?
He doesn't have a gun. He just flies up to his enemies and kicks them in the face.
but what if they have guns. one could just decide "that guy's really annoying" and shoot him mid-flight. it would be fairly easy considering how big and slow of a target he is.
What abou they explode when they die
inefficient. you would end up losing more troops that you killed, due to most flying suicide troops dying away from the immediate area of a hostile.
How bout' giving them really cheap guns (and haphazard flight gear) and send forth multiple soldiers at a time, that way a gunner cant just decide "that group is annoying" and try to shoot all of them at the same time while there are more pressing matters like a rival airship.
-edit- or just try the Just Cause way of flying around with a grappling hook, obviously!
now THAT would be hard to handle. especially with a whole bunch of floating airships providing anchor points for grappling hooks.
Would be really funny to see small speedy airships crossing the map with guys wearing parachutes in tow behind them!
maybe when aeronaut goes down he deployes a parchute
and you would also be able to shoot the aeronaut with the parachute so they dont reach ground