Friday, 25 May 2012

Delta Vector the Game: Ship Builder


 Orbital Shipyard

This is vital for any space game as space wargamers are inveterate tinkerers.  Besides there are a lot of generic spaceships out there that need profiles.  I am also aware that most gamers like to win, so the potential to min-max should be minimised.
 Remember the overpowered fighters in Full Thrust inspiring fleets of home-made 'disposable paper carriers - or spinal mount throwaway suicide ships?

Before I get too carried away, I need to find a benchmark for firepower dice and for the hull dice. Once we have this as the 'baseline', we can extrapolate the data elsewhere.   


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DEFENCE (HULL) COST
My original formula was:
DF x 4 = Cost

1DF = 4
2DF = 8
3DF = 12
4DF = 16 etc
Basically DF costs were x4 as it took 4 'damages' to destroy a ship.

This did not work.  As DvTG uses a 'threshold' system, larger hulls can totally ignore certain levels of damage making them exponentially more valuable. 

I found that having double the DF was actually 3-4 x more useful. The current hull costs allowed bigger ships to totally dominate. Example:

2 Destroyers (2 DF, 2 AF) take on a heavy cruiser (4DF, 4 AF).  
The destroyers are extremely unlikely to have the 100% accuracy or criticals needed to score 4 hits necessary to damage the cruiser.   Even if they did, they best they could hope for would be light damage. A more likely result is the cruiser being "shaken" with a temporary die roll penalty. The cruiser is almost guaranteed of crippling a destroyer with each round of fire.  After a few rounds of combat, the most likely result would see the cruiser only 25% (lightly) damaged and both destroyers vaporised (100% damage).

This led me to my current formula:
DF squared = cost.
1DF = $1
2DF = $4
3DF = $9
4DF= $16
5DF = $25
6DF = $36
7DF = $49
8DF = $64

This costing method would see four destroyers facing the cruiser in the above example. This will now have to be playtested as I have a feeling it is may penalise larger ships slightly too much. I may end up with something like
1DF = $1
2DF = $3
3DF = $6
4DF = $9
where having double the DF costs 3 x the price. 

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BASE FIREPOWER COST
Each hex of range is its actual distance.  We then divide it by the percentage chance of actually hitting at that range. I.e. a d6 has a 83% chance (roll of 2-6) of hitting at 2" range.  So 83% of 2 is 1.66.

D6 Firepower
100% of 1= 1.00
83% of 2= 1.66
67% of 3 = 2.01
50% of 4 = 2.00
33% of 5 = 1.65
17% of 6 = 1.00
Total      =9.28

D8 Firepower
100% of 1 = 1.00
87.5% of 2 = 1.75
75% of 3=     2.25
62.5% of 4 = 2.50
50% of 5   = 2.50
37.5% of 6  = 2.25
25% of   7 = 1.75
12.5% of  8 = 1.00
Total           =15.00

D10 Firepower
.100 x 1 = 1.00
.90 x 2 = 1.80
.80 x 3 = 2.40
.70 x 4 = 2.80
.60 x 5 = 3.00
.50 x 6 = 3.00
.40 x 7 = 2.80
.30 x 8 = 2.40
.20 x 9 = 1.80
.10 x 10 = 1.00
Total       = 22.00

D12 Firepower
.100 x 1 = 1.00
.92 x 2 = 1.84
.83 x 3 = 2.49
 .75 x 4 = 3.00
.67 x 5 = 3.35
.58 x 6 = 3.48
. 50 x 7 = 3.50
.42 x 8 = 3.36
. 33 x 9 = 2.97
. 25 x 10 = 2.50
.17 x 11 = 1.87
Total      = 29.36 

So proportionate to each other, guns are worth
D6 = 1
D8 = 1.5
D10 = 2
D12 = 3
The exact price proportionate to the hull may vary. 

Firepower: Defence Ratio
As a rough guide, the weapon cost can be up to 3 x the DF. So a 2DF destroyer could mount 6 x d6 cannons or 4 x d8 cannons, 3 x d10 cannons or 2 x d12 cannons. 

Rule of thumb: Equal sized ships should be able to inflict light damage on each other on an average firing pass, with a chance to cripple. 

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THRUST COST

I want to keep bigger ships slower and smaller ships faster. I could simply do thrust x DF, or thrust x hull cost.

Below is my current idea. All ships get 1 thrust for free.  Additional thrust costs proportionate to the size of the ship.
                                 Thrust 2          Thrust 3       Thrust 4
Small Ships                x1.33              x1.66             x2
Medium Ships            x1.5                x2                  x3
Large Ships                x2                    x4                 x8

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"LIVING" CONSTRUCTION GUIDE

This guide will change drastically. I also intend to use the build rules to shape the ships.  By making "classes" and giving them cost cuts for certain equipment, I can give players the freedom to make their own ships but also "channel" them towards specific builds.  

I intend for small ships to be made very useful, in specific roles, rather than as simple meatshields/extra hit points/throwaway weapons, and for a range of classes to exist, all fulfulling different roles, rather than a few cookie-cutter 'best builds'  - or Full Thrust style disposable carriers.  

Example:

Interceptor Class
Thrust cost reduced to the next cheapest column
Maximum DF 2
Tractor beam costs halved

Obviously players who are interested in having tractor beams are now likely to mount it on a smaller ship - as the cost is halved and they get a free speed boost. 

This will hopefully encourage more small & medium ships with specific roles rather than a few gigantic battlecarrier-interdictor-bombardment-dreadnoughts with everything including the kitchen sink strapped on.

Classes could also vary according to the universe you are playing in, to encourage ships which resemble the real thing. 

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