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Gameplay Brainstorming (and a bit of nostalgia)


It's also important for setting the political framework for creating a unified Hiigaran Navy, and increasing the oversight of the Diamiid over the Kiith Governments. The Individual Kiith retained their own private navies basically up until the Vaygr showed up, but the unified fleet started slowly taking primacy.

To be fair that sounds like your starting from a fairly different take on the cata era kith navies.

Now to cover some points raised up-thread about cooling weaponry e.t.c. I?m going to deal with each weapon in turn but I?ve ended up addressing a lot more than just cooling here as it?s kind of interrelated. But there will be a TDLR at the bottom.

Everything is based on the science I know, I do have a number of reference books on the star wars program plus have read other stuff unrelated to that which covers the same ground so for kinetic and ionic weaponry I?ve got at least a grounding, the rest is just applying my mechanical engineering and material?s science knowledge.

First we don?t know IRL what would really happen if we fired such massive railgun slugs at one another. We know that at least some of the projectile will likely turn to plasma, but we don?t know how much or what the plasma will do. I?d guess however that given the masses involved and the energy levels involved if the slug did turn to pure plasma the sheer amount produced and the rate at which it would occur would induce what amounts to an explosion via super rapid expansion of an extreme volume of plasma. It?s thus likely you?ll see kenetic cannon produce crater like damage profiles. Coilguns are pretty efficient overall but I?d assume as a matter of course that psychical ammunition using weapons have small magazines fed by a mass beamer + assembler system on frigate class and above vessel?s. The reduction in vessel mass, (and effects on amount of armour or other systems that can be carried), is too handy to give up. We?ve no way of knowing how efficient those are but for the sake of argument I?d assume it?s best to assume it?s at least as efficient as the driver itself. Still the amount of mass involved is going to require a fair bit of power, conversely the simple construction will probably offset this in the assembler quite a lot.

Plasma Bombs really are just pre-plasmated kinetic rounds, though their pre-plasmated design does mean they aren?t going to turn much of the target into plasma through kinetic transfer energy. Especially once the lower velocity is accounted for. On the other hand your never going to be able to keep the plasma in the same compressed state density as the actual kinetic driver round which is going to force you to include more energy in the rounds, (and makes plasma bombs of the same damage larger), the plasma that has to be stored in each bomb and then expended to maintain the containment field and provide thrust hurts this as well. On the plus side if the thermal loss from the reactor to the bomb is low enough the overall system efficiency may be much better than the comparable coilgun, (A coilgun has to turn reactor plasma into electricity first so the absolute efficiency in coilgun terms could exceed 100%). The much lower launch velocity is also a huge advantage here. They would presumably need a mass beam and assembler for the bombs themselves, but they?re, (the bomb casing), certainly much lighter then a coilgun round, and whilst are more complicated that?s probably heavily offset by the mass factor. In fact of the external mass feed designs plasma bombs are probably the best on that stage of things. Overall Plasma Bombs may well end up more efficient than kinetic drivers for a race with a tech base that focuses this way. But the much larger size of the launcher and assembler is probably going to be a sharp downside by contrast. Damage wise they?ll be similar in propagation characteristic to kinetic rounds but probably with a broader shallower crater.

Ion Cannon if we assume actually useful armour are interesting. Again we come to the point of no one really considering or having played with particle beams on this level. We know the damage mechanism pretty well, and we?ve considered medium power setups. In really basic terms where going to see all of that energy transferred into heat via particle fragmentation and emitted EM radiation, primarily X-Ray?s. This will naturally manifest itself as the most heavily energised armour sections, (at these energy levels), becoming plasma. Given the rapidity of deliver your probably going to see a similar ?plasma explosion? phenomenon to what I?d expect from kinetic cannon rounds. Though in absolute, (as apposed to naked eye), terms the rate of transfer will be much slower than with kinetic rounds producing a slower shockwave effect. Also it would almost certainly tend to heat the plasma to a higher degree than a kinetic or plasma bomb round meaning a given volume of destroyed target takes more energy, (though the greater heating would increase the shockwave effect somewhat compensating for the slower delivery). For Pulsed beams the damage pattern will probably be very similar to a kinetic strike, albeit with the penetrating nature of the beam and x-ray?s tending to produce a narrower deeper crater. Against sufficiently small targets the penetration depth is probably a big enough plus to offset the lower absolute volume destruction. But i suspect scaling one up to anti-frigate levels would still prove less efficient than a kinetic cannon in energy terms. However the extreme accuracy lends itself well to hard to hit targets. Long duration Ion beams are a bit different. Whilst they have the same over heating the plasma issues as pulsed beams, (only more so), their long duration allows them to burrow deeper as the overheated plasma eventually gets out of the way. This may very well end up compensating entirely or more than entirely for the lower mass destruction to energy ratio by letting them get at buried components. Also Ion systems shouldn?t need a mass beaming system, and won?t need any kind of assembler. So they get major energy, (and thus heat generation), savings there. Their biggest weakness as evidenced by how even the Deverish can?t reach standard frigate power levels in cata is that if you want high power you have to have a long straight line accelerator and energy efficiency, (in energy to damage terms), is tied to a combination of beam duration and total beam energy. So the shorter your accelerator the less armour the enemy needs before a given burst fails to burn deep enough to get at buried stuff. Damage patterns will probably either be simple ?drill holes? if held steady, or deep fissures, (useful if you have more energy than needed to get at the guts), if swept back and forth.

Pulsed Plasma Cannon, (i.e. Vanilla Vaygr BC main gun and Laser Corvette cannon), are as shown via FX are unworkable. If we assume however they simply represent a different weapon type to the lance systems and the FX is a game convention that works. By their nature they have to fire the plasma at a high velocity to stop it flying apart and dispersing uselessly en-route to target, as such whilst the velocity might be low enough to produce a discreet pulse and be lower than a lance system, to the naked eye it would still look like a lance. However that velocity whilst certainly higher than a kinetic cannon would be much lower than an ion beam. Mass would equally be somewhere in between, though both are probably closer to the kinetic cannon than the ion beam. Damage effects would likely also between the two as the plasma is a big heavy mass like the kinetic round, but is travelling at very low particle beam velocities and plasma is ultimately a lot of lose subatomic particles at the end of the day. Energy delivery rate could fall either side of the kinetic cannon depending on velocity and the length (especially after post barrel expansion), of the plasma ?bullet?. The guaranteed lower projectile density would be unhelpful here. I suspect, (assuming a cool gas medium as a starting point which becomes plasma due to the sudden compression and acceleration), that overall energy to target mass destruction ratios would still be worse than kinetic cannon, even accounting for the lack of need of a mass beaming system and assembly system. Though it?s hard to be sure. Damage pattern would probably be similar to a pulsar system. Albeit very scaled up which could come with the same penetration depth advantages as long duration ion beams. Albiet less so. (Probably enough to compensate against frigates and DD?s/Carrier?s, but not against BC?s IMO). However the lower velocity guarantees a much more compact setup than an Ion beam system and due to the difference between KE and momentum, (the later is what really matters for recoil purposes), recoil is probably much lower than a comparable damage Kinetic system. Which lends itself well to really oversized spinal mountings. But not so much turret mountings. Overall the probable greater energy for damage factor likely makes the pulsed plasma cannon design the least thermally efficient. But it?s probably the second most compact heavy hitter after kinetics and due to lower recoil can be scaled up to level?s, (e.g. Ion Beam), that Kinetics can?t.

Plasma Lances I?m assuming work on a different principle and I can think of a few ways of doing it. The most obvious however would make the plasma pulse generation and acceleration virtually thermal free as all the heat goes out the barrel. However the presence of the laser containment system and maybe magnetic focusing and/or aiming systems would tend to counteract the good thermal efficiency. Still Plasma Lances are probably somewhere around Missiles in efficiency terms unless the laser component represents far more of the total energy than I?m assuming, (i.e. the vast majority). Damage profile would probably resemble a pulsar. Though of course the really solid thermal efficiency would offset the damage profile inefficiency. However plasma lances would scale poorly with the concepts I?m imagining, basically they?d scale with the square rather than the cube of the increase in size. Damage pattern should be comparable to a Pulsar, though I?m not sure how fine grained the accuracy could be made to be, so that might be an advantage something like a pulsar would have. Also enough physical mass is involved a mass beam and assembler would be ideal. Easily involves the lowest amount of raw mass however, so more a consideration for sub frigate platforms or very heavy usage on larger platforms.

Missiles are awkward primarily because we have to ask why they wouldn?t use shaped nuclear charges. I can come up with answers but they?re weak. However shaped nukes are just way too powerful and their standoff distance in the context of practical coilgun/ion cannon/plasma cannon ranges is too long, (at the heavy duty power levels where talking about in missiles). A simple all direction burst like all known in service modern nukes evades those issues. Surprisingly the actual missile size is fairly reasonable. For their size the missiles themselves are probably the most destructive of the options. However since their manufactured on board, (for frigates and up at least), you need a mass beamer and assembler. How massive the missiles are is hard to say. But less than a kinetic round of the same size for sure. Overall though they?d be the second biggest in mass beamer mass budget though after kinetic drivers. The biggest issue is that unlike a kinetic cannon round their rather complicated pieces of kit, which guarantees a lot of need for sub assembly, and there?s a need to handle a lot more types of elements and create complex compounds. Thus whilst a missile is going to be much smaller than even the biggest kinetic cannon round the simple factor of increased complexity of assembly could easily push the size and power consumption of the assembler to similar or even greater levels, (it depends how big you interpret kinetic cannon rounds to be based off statements). An additional issue is that you can?t really light a fusion drive off internally so you?ve got to get it out the tube. This matches HW2?s actual observed behaviour however whilst the missiles are small enough to use a chemical booster, from a practical PoV they may not be ideal, The diameter of the missile puts a limit on practical thrust from a booster of that type, you really want to minimise flight time for PD reasons so getting to the clearance speed ASAP is important. Also the Exhaust gasses, even if vented rapidly will add to the thermal stress. The obvious option would be to use coilguns. The ejection velocities given in the HW2 files are pretty modest so whilst there will still be some thermal cost it should be low. That said given the complicated systems in missiles I?d assume extreme accelerations are out, that and a likely need to keep the missile casing out of contact with the coilgun system is likely to result in a much bigger launcher than an equivalent coilgun system. A final factor to bear in mind is that despite Destroyers and BC?s having much heavier power and longer ranged missiles than destroyers they use missile models of the same size so the exact dimensions are potentially up for debate for the heavier stuff. Overall missiles will be the most thermally efficient possibly competed by plasma lances. But they?re unlikely to be very compact for their damage because of the oversized launching and assembling apparatus plus required mass beamer, (the same would hold true on strikecraft, the sheer volume you?d need to dedicate to missile storage would be a problem volumetrically speaking).


Thermally speaking Missiles and Plasma Lances are likely to be the two most thermally efficient, (relative to damage done), however neither is likely to be as far removed from the rest as first thought might imply. Kinetic Cannon, Pulsars, Plasma Bomb Launchers, and Ion Beam systems are all going to fall fairly close together, and despite comments in my little sections above I suspect at high power levels they?ll turn out close enough that we can ignore the minor differences for our broad grained approach. Plasma Cannon will of course be the least thermally efficient.

However Pulsars and Plasma Lances are unlikely to scale in a volume efficiently fashion to anti-capital levels and it would probably take very advanced and capable designs to scale to anti-frigate, albeit still at a volume cost. Kinetic anon do scale, but as emphasised by large scale designs low damage output they?re clearly subject to some degree of diminishing returns in scaling volume to damage efficiencies. Plasma Bombs will probably depend greatly on the design used, some advanced designs might be able to out-compete Kinetic?s, but it would depend on a lot of factors. Basically factions specialising in them would get good designs, but factions using them more like the existing HW2 factions would likely be higher volume for damage. Ion Beams are awkward in terms of accelerator length, however they may not be especially high volume overall for their damage, just awkwardly long. Plasma Cannon will probably be the most compact at high damage levels and scale to sizes in recoil terms that kinetics can?t. Missiles are probably going to prove one of the higher volume systems for their damage, but will outperform kinetic cannon at large sizes.
I'm going to come right out and say it: please don't try to make the new version of PDS into Space Harpoon. Tel tried that with the later, wierder versions of the original and it was a) not well recieved by most and Cool almost unplayable by anyone who hadn't actually worked on it.

The HW2 engine is not suited at all for simulator-style gameplay.
PDS 2 will be based closer to PDS v7, with some of the neat innovations from v11 thrown in, and Homeworld 1 ships/special abilities.

If we wanted to do Space Harpoon we'd have the entire game played in the sensor manager. We can always try some science experiments on the side but that's another story.
If I might chime in here on the issue of clarification of classes. I do agree that it needs to be simplified and I don't think things like leader classes are necessary.

Non Capship Vessels:

All three weight classes should have an offense, defense, special, and resource collection variant. I'd have to think on what would go where, but I have a general idea.

Capship Vessels:

All capships except carriers would have three different variants for each hull form. Each would have a baseline normal, a guided missile variant with guns and missiles from the next type down but more of them, and a heavy variant with guns and missiles from the next type up but less of them. Carriers would break down in light, fleet, and assault variants which would only be able to produce light, medium, and heavy non-capships respectively with the exception of resource collectors. The Battlecarrier would be, as its name implies, a hybrid of the heavy battleship and assault carrier. The Shipyard would be what you start with and can build resource collectors and capships only.
That unrealistically simplifies things. Spacecraft in PDS are the way they are as the culmination of an arms race, and a nation or faction's individual experiences with warfare and technological capabilities, each trying to create vessels to fill some specific niche role.

Things are never going to be that clear cut since that's now how the world works. Modern day naval ships on Earth are just the same, since they represent thousands of years of cumulative technological development and experience. Things are never 'balanced' since each side is actively trying to outdo the other somehow.
A board game I used to play (Leviathans) was actually not designed to be balanced. It has two sides, the British and the French in an alternate WW1 history where we figured out how to 'trivially' make flying warships. The British were the first to do all this stuff in that game so everybody avoided them in fights because of how much 'experience' they had. Meanwhile the French looked at the British fleet with envy and watched them and made a lot of notes about how to improve things, so they suddenly have a flying navy and when the two clashed the French were quite victorious.

The intention was that each successive pack of units was going to add new nations to the war as well as provide 'updates' as navies like the British learn from the others.

This was all very fun, until the company that made their models split (apparently they had the copywrite to the ship designs) so that game is stalled.

To sum it up, I do like the idea of the various nations not being fundamentally balanced against each other, especially if they have different approaches. Like, maybe one group specializes in close hitting firepower and the other has long ranged weapons. Each can just kind of pummel the other with impunity when in their element, but there are other considerations that end up needing to be taken into account when planning out a fight.
That's basically the thing. Most of the races are of a comprable level of technological development overall, exempting of course the progenitors and unbound races.

To sum it up very simplistically, the faction calculus goes a bit like this.

Hiigarans - Balanced/High Tech/Manuver Warfare/Electronic Warfare
Vaygr - Zerg Rush/Close Assault/Missile spam
IVF/RDR - Guerrilla/Adaptive
Imperialist Taiidan - Manuver Tactics/Mix of High and Low tech/Zerg rush
Frrern Aggrigate - Brute Force/Blitzkrieg Tactics/Manuver warfare
Cush Federation - Hiigara Jr/Special Operations/Artillery

Alot of minor factions haven't been extensively written, but I've got atleast a basic framework for them. Just in case.

Turanic Raiders - Guerrilla/Stealth/Pirates
Progenitors - Very high tech/Hyperspace Abuse/Energy Field Warfare/Ludicrously Well Armored
Nalthorans - Similar to Hiigarans/More Fragile but Faster
Yomi - High Tech/Unorthodox/Stealth/Bullet Hell
Beast - Zombie Apocalypse/Mashup of everybody else
T-MAT - Super High Tech/Nearly Unrecognizable Style of Warfare

Granted that's a gross simplification, and each faction can be assumed to have exceptions to these rules, but there's a reason for each to fight in the manner they do. It's not a cookie cutter deal.

There's also a lot of fleshing out to be done on the minor factions, which should be done, because it'd be cool.
Sun Tzu
Vaygr are so much more than a horde of Zergs!
Yes I know. Though they were much more zerg-y early in the war, since they had to be. That's the other thing. Doctrines change over time in response to the realities of war.

But that's trying to sum it up in one sentence. And they generally have a higher numerical ratio to the Hiigarans no matter how you slice it. Not quite as extreme as, say, the Kadeshi would have been, but still.
I am ancient
Chiming in on an old thread - I gave a bit of background in the intro thread about some of the forked-mod work I have done off of PDS. It's safe to say in any PDS:RM work there will be ongoing discussion about doctrine/classification cannon. I wanted to frame this in the greater context of gameplay.

The largest gameplay fork I made of PDS was adding complex resourcing schemes. I drew a lot of inspiration from the "Anno" series of games, if anyone has ever played those. Basic HW gameplay had a maximum of five resources to manage: RUs, fleet capacity, build slots, research-tree progression, and time. Most attention devolved to managing RU/sec and gameplay in HW orbits around resource-management.

So I forked the skirmish mode gameplay to bolt on two mechanics to PDS - 'control-point' gameplay (realized through maps with strategic resource control points and encouraging long-distance hyperspace-based operations to move between action zones) and 'widening' gameplay choices through more complex resource trees such as 'command capacity/pool', 'refined ore', 'munitions', etc. From a lore-perspective PDS brought lots of depth, variety, and fluff. From a gameplay perspective, it went from rock-paper-scissors to most ships becoming variously more powerful multi-role. No offense is meant here, but gameplay became more boring - a rush to get out 'cool stuff' that allowed a flavorful, immersive experience but reduced gameplay complexity.

In looking to the future of PDS:RM, I absolutely want to maintain the rich lore developed around naval classification and doctrines - it's what I love about PDS. But I also want this to be tied into rich gameplay as well. Progressing through heavier ship chassis and abilities through the basic resource-management mechanics the game provides. Examples like academy/training ship modules, which increase command pool resources but reduce combat efficiency, or "Strikecraft Munitions Bay modules" which removes the ability to 'build' strikecraft but allows research options to activate special weapon systems on bombers, e.g.

I also had a huge issue with HW's "nano-fabrication" lore. I never liked how you could shipyard-fabricate and crew a battlecruiser in 180 seconds. I liked what PDS started to do with "research operational support priority" and a battlecruiser will warp-in to support fleet activities in the current sector. I developed more resourcing/gameplay mechanics to support such themes. I did this by adding a second resource 'command pool' and ships could be either nano-fabricated using RUs or warped in via spending command-pool. It was never a fully-flushed out mechanic but it was a way to explore increasing gameplay depth within the PDS universe.

The team will have to decide whether or not this is an area we'd like to see PDS:RM go towards. In the spirit of traditional PDS, overhauling gameplay, build, and resourcing logic was never something realized (you may not have had scripting development capacity). The spirit of PDS is in the ships-as-characters, developed from the rich lore and art the team produced. The roadmap may start with a rehash of Tactical Fleet Simulator (adding weapons and re-rolling ship loadouts), but I think their are opportunities to develop the lore/world of PDS through tweaking gameplay mechanics too - and I'd look forward to hearing any ideas or wish-list items the team has always wanted to see; the HW:RM engine and I might be able to help you realize them.

To be honest, I've always been a little iffy with the idea of carriers constantly building replacements and popping open a cold crew to fill them. Mostly because, while that is a convenient way to store extra crew/ships effectively, in a great many battles once you show up, you might want to just go all in, dump the extra fighters you don't have space for when its time to fly away (or crush them and recycle later).

The mechanic made sense in the campaign, but in an established world with logistical lines and such, not so much.
Typhoone- sounds great! So what do we do next?
I am ancient
Give me a day or two to bring an online collaborating space online via GitHub, I'll make it private at first and send out invites.
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