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Aegis Upgrades
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Fost
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 3734



PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:53 pm    Post subject: Aegis Upgrades Reply with quote

Possibly the most common request we've seen on these boards is for Aegis upgrades. Mainly shields.

I wonder though -is this because you can see existing equipment, and that makes you think: 'I want to put that on the Aegis' ? Or is it something deeper than that?

It makes sense to me that you've already seen bits of equipment, and so can think of ideas to re-use it. However - if we start to make the Aegis invincible, can't you then move it round the map and the game becomes incredibly easy? It implies people don't want the mechanic of needing to protect the Aegis - something I personally love, as it adds that air of urgency to later zones. So I'm guessing people want the Aegis and like it being there, but want to be able to use it for more and more things. I wonder what people would do with it if they could do anything, and how you would consider the conequences of those changes? i.e. -add shields, missiles and nova bombs to the Aegis - what do you do to balance the game out?

It's a really interesting one - adding the Equipment is not so bad, but changing the UI to support it is. The hardest part is coming up with a plan to handle the consequences of a souped up Aegis. I'm conscious of the time we added scoops to the Aegis, which just created more requests.
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No.118



Joined: 04 Nov 2005
Posts: 46
Location: England



PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought shields would be nice. They don't have to be uber powerful, just enough to make it so that, provided you get back quick enough, you can beat off the enemies without taking hull damage on Aegis.

You'd still need to protect the Aegis, it would just last a little longer under fire, and you don't have to repair it as often. To balance this out, you could make it so that the shield generator has to go in place of one of the gunnery turrets, or possibly even the main cannon itself.

It suppose it would be nice to see different weapon types mounted on the Aegis as well. Obviously you'd have to power them down compared to the standard turrets, just like on the fighter.

I don't think that the Aegis should become 'invincible'. But I don't see why it can't be a bit more versatile, so that you have more choice as to how it fights.
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Shad



Joined: 08 Dec 2005
Posts: 16
Location: JAPAN



PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Fost, I'm new but I'd like to ask a question related to the Aegis...

why can I not shoot it?

This may seem simple, or even pointless, but I think that it would be even more urgent, as you say, if we had to defend the Aegis whilst paying close attention to where our *own* shots land...

Frankly, if my shots pass through it - or presumably over it - than I should be able to pass through(over) it too...

I suppose it would be a downgrade then to make it register my shots... Smile
but I like the idea... because right now I can just fire indiscriminately as I circle around it in a swarm of enemies... and that seems a bit silly since I can accidently bump into it, damaging both of us...
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Shad



Joined: 08 Dec 2005
Posts: 16
Location: JAPAN



PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There could be a resource cost associated with using shields... for example, recharging shields uses resources at 1/5 or 1/10th the rate repairing the Aegis does for the equivalent amount of damage...

If 50 damage to the Aegis takes 100 resource units to heal(not real #s)...

then soaking up 50 damage points with the shields would take 20 or 10 resource units of to "re-energize" them...

i think if Aegis shields had this double-cost system(cost to manufacture, cost to operate) then it would balance itself nicely...

EDIT - to blatantly steal an idea from Star Trek... make it so that the shields would have to be lowered for the ship to enter and dock... Smile that would add some spice to their use...
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No.118



Joined: 04 Nov 2005
Posts: 46
Location: England



PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're going to have shields, don't make it so you have to pay to use them. That's the whole point of having shields- you can take a small ammount of damage for free.

I think that a 25% reduction in firepower is balance enough, provided the shields aren't that powerful.
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Shad



Joined: 08 Dec 2005
Posts: 16
Location: JAPAN



PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, provided they're a one-time construction tech, I'm curious to hear at what point in the game you would suggest they be made available to the player... and for what resource cost?

I'm of the opinion that if it's a one-shot investment that it should be heinously expensive...

but that of course is based on me not thinking shields for the Aegis are the least bit necessary, which I genially acknowledge is the opposite of your viewpoint No.118 Very Happy
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Darth Dallas



Joined: 18 Oct 2003
Posts: 411



PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that besides figuring out a strength level the station should reasonably be at and still offer it a challenge, is somehow making it worthwhile to give her these components (or make some) in the first place.

I think there has to be some kind of damage modifier placed on some of these items, so that you then have a reason (perhaps besides straight up trading) to keep extras in stores.


i.e. We know shields help soak up damage to the hulls of our ships, but once the hull does take damage, does this mean the shield is still functional but underpowered/has to charge, or can it also mean that the component is now shot and time to be replaced?

There's probably room for a little of both when thinking about component damage or inoperability at different points (the shield component could be fine, but you lost a battery or something). I don't know to what extreme it ought to go with respect to our fighter craft, but it begins to make sense to me when thinking about the station at least.

This was said in another idea thread by somebody, but I think they had a good idea with respect to certain weapons firing on the station that wasn't the main cannon or corner turrets...If it was fitted with missiles or nova bombs for instance - these would be weapons I'd consider to be last resort in the station's case - the thought was that some of these weapons could only be fired at different stages of hull degredation of the Aegis' overall health bar.

So for instance, at 25%, it might deploy drones, 35% it could deploy missiles, 50% it might fire any other type of fixed "directed" weapons (i.e. lvl 1 or 2, one by one weapons lining the four sides) if any, and finally at around 75%-95% health, she lets loose with nova bombs if any. Now, as each declining health level is reached, the previous weapon that fired is either destroyed, or its battery backup got knocked out, which would explain why the next weapon group fires.

Now to me, the severity of this kind of loadout would suggest that there'd be opposition tough enough to give Aegis a run for her money. More frequent uses of boss encounters can help this along, but so too can additional waves of drones and other small craft like mine layers and such. Heck even more random worm attacks. Have some of the enemy AI always go after your fighter, but also have more directed enemy pathfinding routines that go after the station.

And that's just my thoughts on weapons possibilities the station could have. I also wouldn't mind seeing other non-weapon modules that could be fitted, at an expense of some other feature the player might have been weighing for it when designing their Aegis layout.
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Shad



Joined: 08 Dec 2005
Posts: 16
Location: JAPAN



PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

an alternate idea to assessing damage to Aegis weapons and items... why not simply make weapons like turrets and the cannons have usage lifespans... for example...

-Turret 1 fires 1,000 shots and then must be retired(replaced)
-Turret 2 fires X shots... etc
-Cannon fires Y times... etc

in this manner I think you would create a simple way for Aegis tech to actually matter... as it stands right now I research something like Turret 2 with the foreknowledge that I must build 4 of the suckers and then can forget that build option ever even existed...
(provided I don't scrap one during a dire resource shortage of course...)

and now, as it's 4:51am here in Kyushu, JPN, I'm goin to bed!

gnight all
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Fost
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shad wrote:
why can I not shoot it?


We originally thought it a litttle cruel - blasters maybe ok, but nova bombs causing damage might be a little painful! One really good reason I would keep it was for an enemy idea I had. It would be similar in some respects to a mine layer, but instead of dropping mines, it would drop a limites number of small 'limpet' drones. These would latch onto the surface of the Aegis and drill into the hull causing damage until you blasted them off. the would only be possible if you could shoot 'across the bow' of the Aegis as you can presently.

Anyway, I liked the idea.
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Pkunk



Joined: 04 Dec 2005
Posts: 12



PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why not allow for friendly fire ? I kind of like the idea of positionning myself so that ennemy ships take each other out. Activating friendly fire between your ship and the Aegis could balance out a Aegis made more powerful by better weaponry.
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Fost
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pkunk wrote:
Activating friendly fire between your ship and the Aegis could balance out a Aegis made more powerful by better weaponry.


Play balance is a much more difficult issue than most people realise. Something like half the development time that went into Starscape was spent on play balancing the game, probably more when you take into account the myriad of code changes play testing throws up.

If we decided to put shields in, the process would be something like this:

  • Make several shield strengths that a pretty much required for later levels. Say, 3 strengths, that would match zone 3-4-5.
  • Scale up weapon strengths on enemy units in those nodes by the percentage shield strength.
  • Scale up the hull strength and shields on player ships to match the new enemy weapons.
  • Work out a plan for dealing with Jammers - now the (unshielded) Aegis hull is comparatively weak, when Jammers arrive, the Aegis could probably be destroyed with just a few shots from the enemy. The player should always be given warning and enough time to do soemthing about the situation.
  • Full, Start>Finish play test of the game


The above probably explains the process pretty well. It's not just a case of new effects, and equipment data. Certain things, if dropped into the game have lots of knock on effects, and gameplay is balanced on a knife edge that you can very easily ruin.
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Piratelord



Joined: 08 Dec 2005
Posts: 4



PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe that all tech available to your ship should be available for your Station but, since you start with level 1 tech for your ship, for Aegis, you would first need to research level 1. This is where you are investigating adapating the technology.
All research and construction of technology for Aegis should be double what it is for your ship.
So, to improve Aegis, you sacrafice research/construction for your ship forcing you to make the correct decisions.

It seems to me that Aegis is pretty much invincible at zones 1 to 3, your technology can deal with the threats, but then there is this invisible brick wall that stops all research on Aegis so that for zones 4 and 5 you cannot keep up with the Arms race with the enemy. It wasn't until Zone 4 that I removed the scoop from Aegis and replaced it with a Turret. I needed it to have a little more firepower.

You should be able to research the following:
Shields at the start of the game (it's available technology)
Ion Cannon Turrets when it becomes available to player
Beam Cannon Turrets when it becomes available to player
Drones when it becomes available to player, the different weapon options available to Aegis only when it's first been researched for your ship, then you have to research it again for adapting to Aegis. Aegis can have 4 drones max
The Aegis should have a design screen like your ship, and it can have some general slots where you can put in cargo components (I don't like the max 100 resource storage on Aegis) and your Nova Bombs (if allowed). I agree that Nova bombs should be used as a weapon of last resort. You could give the player the option at how damaged Aegis should be before they are used.

I also agree (reading somewhere) that the idea is to keep it all simple. Some of the suggestions I've read will make playing a little more complex.

You could also give Aegis mass, so if you deck it out in all the latest technology, it naturally get's heavier, so it moves a little more slowly in the "battle zones". It's currently a very fast ship, so you can get it to run away quite easy, if it get slower then it'll have to cope longer among enemies, countering slightly the better technology on the station.
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No.118



Joined: 04 Nov 2005
Posts: 46
Location: England



PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't see why you have to scale up the weapon powers of the enemies once you give the Aegis shields. If you have a choice between, say, the main cannon and a shield generator, the Aegis would be able to take more damage, sure, but it would also be less able to take out the opposition.

I'd say that would actually make the Aegis MORE dependant on your flying skills, because it can't do much damage on its own. The payoff for this would be that, provided you went to its aid pretty quickly, you wouldn't have to pay for repairs.
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Darth Dallas



Joined: 18 Oct 2003
Posts: 411



PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
an alternate idea to assessing damage to Aegis weapons and items... why not simply make weapons like turrets and the cannons have usage lifespans... for example...

-Turret 1 fires 1,000 shots and then must be retired(replaced)
-Turret 2 fires X shots... etc
-Cannon fires Y times... etc


I think this sounds like a decent alternate way of dealing with replacing weapons components, but I also wonder if there's a way to know when its almost time to replace them. My guess would be that when your on the Maintain Aegis page and you've got your cursor over the part, it'll tell you a bit of info about it like that. Or it could be an occasional update by Bud or something warning you of the inevitable change out - then you go to that page and do it when your ready.

Also maybe the type of battery backups used can effect the longevity of even the weakest weapon it has.

All this being said though, I'm more inclined to pay more attention to visual identifiers in combat to tell me this over dialogue prompts for example. Perhaps weapons emplacements can be seen to be destroyed, or working at much lower strength when witnessing what the station's doing. i.e. that double or triple turret you've got appears to only be firing out of one barrel, and my cannon 3 has a longer charge up than usual.

Quote:
You could also give Aegis mass, so if you deck it out in all the latest technology, it naturally get's heavier, so it moves a little more slowly in the "battle zones". It's currently a very fast ship, so you can get it to run away quite easy, if it get slower then it'll have to cope longer among enemies, countering slightly the better technology on the station.


That's not a bad idea, give the station more mass as stuff's added that then decreases movement response times for it.
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The Dark Bunny



Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Posts: 24
Location: Abilene, TX



PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something I'd like to see for the Aegis is weaponry profiles. I have one ship I use for mining in relatively enemy-free zones, and one I use for combat. I also have a weapon configuration on the Aegis for each (mining config uses Cannon3, two Drills, and two Scoops, and combat configuration uses 4 Turret3 and a Cannon3), so why not be able to quck-toggle between the two while in the Grid instead of having to unmount and remount everything?
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