Monday, 9 July 2012

Delta Vector the Game: Boarding and Hacking

I'm trying to come up with more specialist roles. One freezes or controls enemy fire; the other freezes or controls its movement.

A warship from Dust 514. Like EvE Online, I want all ships (even the smallest) to have a role and equal survivability; unlike most games where small ships are an easily swatted distraction.

Electronic Warfare (Hacking Module)
Targets can only be hacked in the ships 'zone of control' but this can be extended by "Relay Drones" or recon ships with datalinks. Roll an opposed roll between ships.
1st success: Target is paralysed; cannot fire

The next turn, if still in its zone of control, it may test again:
2nd success: Target weapon systems can be controlled by enemy

Any failure instantly breaks the lock.

Specialist Role: Hacker Escort
Small ships equipped with a EW module can be used to join rolls against hacking attempts as a "defensive hacker" to break hacks on allies.
 Ships from "Angels Fall First" a mod for the PC game Unreal. You can board and hijack ships!

Boarding Parties
These are pods or EVA suits that attack at half a ship's CQ range.  Relative velocity (of either ship) must be under 10" or half maximum movement.  

Boarding the ship:
The target may pass a CQ roll to engage the pods with point defence fire* OR use thrust to evade (and add thrust bonus to first opposed roll). The next opposed roll is to see if pods gain a "Foothold" on the ship.

Opposed rolls:
1st success: Marines gain a foothold on ship; ship makes all rolls at -1
Failure: Marines expelled

2nd success: Marines control ship; may not fire weapons but can control its movement (permanent)
Failure: Marines return to "Foothold" stage again

Specialist Role: Assault Ship
Small fast ships with good defences can try to capture large expensive enemy vessels - like the salvage frigate on Homeworld.  Also there is an added reason for escort frigates who can engage pods with point defence.


  1. I like the concept of Electronic Warfare, but not the taking control of other peoples ships. If you could do that, then you could just set them to self destruct. Even in our time we can build TEMPEST hardened computers that cannot be easily affected by EW.

  2. Ah but in the future they have forgotten to make things as simple as night vision goggles (see Aliens movies for example)

    Bear in mind
    (a) there is no option to self destruct the ship, red button, DOS command, or otherwise. Cos that's a bit risky and you can simply use a stick of dynamite for that :-)

    (b) the 'hackable' computers controls sensors and weapons targeting systems, not the critical power core controls which ARE shielded ... ....or not on password protected wifi/bluetooth ;-)

    Have you played the PC game Homeworld? Or the skirmish game "Infinity" where you can hack and totally control an opponent's power armour/robots?

    The two two options here are LESS powerful than these and they did not break gameplay.

    Hacking would be very hard to accomplish. More mundane EW is detailed in another post here

    - this is a different option, based on the two games above. My aim is to provide a multitude of roles for light ships. In "normal" space games like Full Thrust (available for free - google it) small ships are simply throwaway distractions that die in the first few turns.

    I like games like EvE Online (a great but punishingly hard MMORPG for hardcore PvPers) where tiny ships are if anything more survivable than big ships and fulfil vital roles BESIDES dps or simply being a free kill to the enemy

  3. Yeah I play Infinity, and I've played Full Thrust, a long time ago.

    And certainly I understand the reason for giving smaller ships a role, that is necessary and wise. I am questioning two things.

    1) Is hacking to powerful / powerful enough?

    2) Is the dice mechanic right. Personally I don't like the having to make two rolls when one should do it.

    I'd suggest that hacking have multiple possible effects. At that perhaps hacking player puts down a marker with the effect on it but doesn't reveal it until it comes into play. Hacking the helm controls turns the ship right when the controller wants to left. hacking engines could change the amount of thrust available, hacking the IFF system, could make the ship a target for 'friendly fire' as it suddenly shows up on targeting scanners as an enemy ship.

  4. 1) that's to be determined (modifiers etc need to be playtested. It is LESS powerful here than in Infinity so I doubt it will be OP

    2) you don't make a double roll - rolls are on consecutive turns (like Infinity) i.e. you only make a 2nd roll to take full control if you are still in the zone of control on the 2nd turn in a row. Does it work in Infinity? I think it does.

    Multiple effect hacking complicates things too much. I am simply offering it as one of a range of options, not making hacking a core gameplay mechanic on par with shooting. Most times squadrons won't even have a "hacker" vessel with them due to their expense.

    It's simply one of a dozen or so modules a ship can mount.

  5. With Infinity it is not on consecutive turns, but on consecutive orders. Which can be almost immediately done by assigning more orders from the Order Reserve.

    If multiple hacking effects is to complex, then drop the ability to possess a ship and just go with 'stunning' it

  6. "With Infinity it is not on consecutive turns, but on consecutive orders. Which can be almost immediately done by assigning more orders from the Order Reserve."

    Which makes the DvtG version even weaker (as it can't do consecutive orders/actions in a turn) so it can't be OP if the vastly more powerful Infinity hacking isn't

    Infinity: Can stop weapons AND movement and/or take over movement and weapons in a single turn

    DvTG: Can stop weapons, and then, if can remain in contact, can take over weapons

    Basically I have divided the Infinity hacking effects in two (firing and movement) and to apply the more drastic effect it has to stay close to its foe over 2 turns. Only small ships are agile enough to do this and have a chance of surviving, ergo, another use for small ships.

    A straight-out 'immobilise weapons' ECM/hack is done on EvE Online. I've tried it and it's somewhat boring - ships sitting around not firing = dull. Turning a ships guns on its allies = amusing.

    Ultimately, if you don't like it, you don't have to use it.

  7. No I like it, I just like to explore it and talk about it.