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'Secondary' Mechanics Design - Hyperspace
Typhoone
Hi team;

As development of PDS:RM continues, I need some input here as I start to bring in 'secondary' mechanics of gameplay like research, modules, build, resourcing, etc. I've started this thread to kick off the discussion around how some of these non-combat mechanics will work in PDS:RM. I could really use advice from the team.

Let's talk about Hyperspace in PDS:Remastered. In core Homeworld lore, hyperspace plays a key plot driver to the story-arc and between missions. There are the three cores, the interdiction mechanics, and of course the tactical gameplay elements of the hyperspace jump. Some of these are confusing though. If only the HGN fleet has a single hyperspace core, is that for long-range jumps only? Are modules built on carriers and battlecruisers for short-range tactical jumps only? How do gate mechanics work exactly when compared to hyperspace cores?

When you break it down, there seem to be three unique mechanics to hyperspace in a game:

The Sub-Module: an independent sub-module that grants the hyperspace ability to a unit or to units in proximity. It costs money to build, it can be targeted, it can be researched, it is a resource that must be considered when also considering whether to build a fire-control tower or a research module for example.

The Ability: ships can also have an inherent ability to hyperspace, without requiring a module. This could also be granted via research, but it can't be 'built' as a feature. It can't be targeted in a sub-system attack. It can apply to the unit locally or a sphere of influence around a unit.

The Hyperspace Gate: this is actually just a unique style of hyperspace ability that can be applied to any unit. (e.g. even two carriers could form a hyperspace gate). This is a sphere-of-influence effect between two units that is a unique mechanic and some units are specifically designed to form/maintain gates.

Beyond the three mechanics, there are also the minimum and maximum RU cost for hyperspace (or potentially other resources we could insert, like fuel-rods or nav-com computer cycles), and the rate at which such resources are burned depending on the jump distance and at what scale. There is also the transition time / speed of hyperspace transit, and of course the influence of the inhibitor ability that can pull ships out of hyperspace, potentially damaging and disabling of them.

In PDS, the tactical hyperspace jump, and the frequency with which off-map built ships will warp into the battlespace, and potentially the sizes of the maps we will deploy means we should all take a look at how hyperspace will work. Here are some proposed ideas to start the conversation, let me know your thoughts!

--Frigates and above can hyperspace via gate or within a sphere of influence of a hyperspace module. This is standard Homeworld doctrine. What should the RU cost be? Or should there be a secondary resource specifically produced/used for making tactical hyperspace jumps?

--The hyperspace module should be powerfully different than the hyperspace ability. The module can be sub-targeted, built independently, and open up research options. Providing 'sphere-of-influence' (SoI) hyperspace capabilities should be restricted to the module. Large ships that can independently hyperspace without the module cannot relay coordinates in SoI, but they may be able to build the module to extend their ability to do so (e.g. Shipyard can inherently hyperspace, but must be equipped with module to provide nearby fleet ships with hyperspace ability).

--Tuning the hyperspace entry/exit time to be a few seconds quicker, thereby increasing the tactical 'surprise' element of nearby hyperspace jump.

--Super-capital ships, and late-game capital and lineships equipped with single-ship hyperspace abilities which when used cost RUs or a secondary to-be-implemented resource.

--Alternatively, the hyperspace module could be renamed to something like the "core foundry" and it can be used to create hyperspace gate ships/bouys (think platforms with hyperspace gate functionality). Large ships can still hyperspace independently at some cost, hyperspacing via buoys is free.

--Hyperspace ability could potentially be unlocked via research for every sizeable ship. I am not preferential to this model but it is an option.

--What are the differences in the way we develop VGR versus HGN versus other race hyperspace military tactics?

Please let me know your thoughts, recommendations, and other discussion points for how we want Hyperspace to look in the game!

Typh.
 
Ironwatsas
For our purposes, we are going with the HW1 style of "all ships bigger than a corvette can hyperspace all the time, unless a gravity well or hyperspace inhibitor is present". The main limiting factors of hyperspace are the ubiquity of inhibitors in the modern battlespace, and the fact that hyperspace drives require a large amount of reactant mass (which I assume is a Matter-Antimatter reaction) to generate sufficient energy to generate a quantum wave-front. Another possible limiting factor for tactical-level hyperspace are HSNAV systems accurate enough to operate to such close ranges. The latter would be the main justification for the existence of something the player would have to build.

The differences between Hiigarans and Vaygr in terms of Hyperspace Tech are substantial when it comes to force projecton. Hiigarans, compared to the Vaygr, have lots of Carriers, Support Frigates, etc which can move fighters from place to place, which implies highly mobile CVBGs or direct action groups which can rapidly move about the theatre and run sorties on targets. Individual Hiigaran carriers have a high capability to replace their losses with multiple onboard manufacturing and maintenance facilities.

Vaygr on the other hand tend to use Hyperspace Gate platforms, which create rigid 'lanes' of travel to rallying sectors, but have the advantage of being immune to Gravity Wells (can it be scripted to be otherwise?) and relatively low cost. And also being able to deploy fighters and corvettes through them without having to drag a carrier along. Vaygr carriers are far lower in overall capability (E.G. single build module vs full build capabilities for the Hiigarans) and carrying capacity, but are far more adaptable strategically due to being more durable and better suited for conversion into proper warships or other uses. So, the Vaygr would tend to 'turtle', and operate from heavily fortified Naval Bastions, surrounded by platforms, mines, and patrol ships, and use Hyperspace gates to react to trouble spots and set up a field network, and generally re-positioning only if they need to.

Another thing we need to look into is Civilian hypergates or Cataclysm style 'slipgates'; Naturally occuring wormholes through which ships of either side can transit for free, bypassing gravity wells, and making them strategic assets to control. The down side being Slipgates may potentially become unstable and unusable, either temporarily or permanently, and thus dangerous or impossible to use.

I consider a secondary resource for hyperspace to be superfluous. I believe, if we wish to justify the existance of the Hyperspace Module, have it do as I said above and be the 'navigation system' to allow capable ships in it's radius to jump. I.E. vanilla HW2 style.

There's some lore ideas I've had, but I'll put that in a separate thread.
 
Typhoone
Thanks iron for the comments.

Alright, so I did some basic modelling here. Let's keep this discussion alive and eventually translate what we agree upon for mechanics to a table in the wiki design guide or similar. I assumed it always costs RUs to hyperspace, but we can change this - e.g. should HS via gates be free?

Again, the goal is to try and encourage VGR player to build gate networks. For the purposes of mechanics in ship balancing for the two primary races, this is what the current blueprint is: (for reference SoI means 'sphere of influence', which is centered around a ship which broadcasts an HS ability to nearby ships within radius.)

HGN:
--Large Capitals/Superships: all can HS independently. Can build modules granting HS via SoI. Superships cannot HS via Gate (too big), but can build HGN-style gates for trade ships and setting up resource lanes.
--Small Capitals/Destroyers: all can HS via SoI and gates. Late/advanced can HS independently, early era capitals need module/research. Some specific adv command vessels can broadcast HS via SoI.
--Frigates: some (advanced/research-triggered) can HS independently, all can HS via SoI and gates.
--Corvettes: some can HS via SoI, most cannot. All can HS via gate.
--Fighters: cannot HS independently, some can HS via gate (drones cannot).

Cost Modeling
Minimum Cost: 200 RU
Maximum Cost: 2000 RU
HGN Hyperspace Jump Gate Cost: 500 RU for establishing link, 200 RU per jump
Large/Super capitals are 2x jump cost
Small/Destroyer capitals are 1.5x jump cost
HGN Gate Usage Modifier: 0.5x
Examples:
--Tactically jump a HGN frigate to the other side of a battle would be 200 RUs, a capital ship either 300 or 400 RUs depending on class.
--Sending a frigate through a gate is 100 RUs (200 RU gate jump x0.5 using gate)
--Sending a large capital ship through a gate is 200 RUs (200 RU gate jump x0.5 using gate, x2 ship class)
--Sending a large capital ship to the other side of the map via module is 4000 RU max (2k x2)

VGR:
--Superships: all can HS independently. Can build Vagyr-style combat gates, and modules granting HS via SoI. Superships too large for HS via gate.
--Large Capitals: all can HS via module, SoI and gates. Can build gates and modules, or research local HS ability.
--Small Capitals/Destroyers: Must build module for local HS, SoI broadcast, or gate construction. Some specific adv command vessels can broadcast HS via SoI.
--Frigates: All can HS via SoI and gates.
--Corvettes: Can HS via gate but not SoI (?)
--Fighters: Can HS via gate but not SoI (?)

Cost Modeling, twice as expensive as HGN for independent HS, but 1/2 expensive when using gates.
Minimum Cost: 300 RU
Maximum Cost: 4000 RU
HGN Hyperspace Jump Gate Cost: 300 RU for establishing link, 100 RU per jump
Large/Super capitals are 3x jump cost
Small/Destroyer capitals are 2x jump cost
VGR Gate Usage Modifier: 0.5x
Examples:
--Tactically jump a VGR frigate to the other side of a battle would be 300 RUs, a capital ship either 600 or 900 RUs depending on class.
--Sending a frigate through a gate is 50 RUs (100 RU gate jump x0.5 using gate)
--Sending a small capital ship through a gate is 100 RUs (100 RU gate jump x0.5 using gate, x2 ship class)
--Sending a large capital ship through a gate is 150 RUs (100 RU gate jump x0.5 using gate, x3 ship class)
--Sending a small capital ship to the other side of the map via module is 8000 RU max (3k x2)
--Sending a large capital ship to the other side of the map via module is 12000 RU max (3k x3)
--Possible idea: we could have VGR 'combat gates' which have no recovery time and have an even lower cost modifier (e.g. 10%) for usage but more expensive to build/setup links?
--Possible idea: we could have VGR 'recon gates' which are fast probes that can form a gate at increased link cost or jump cost but can move across the map at a decent speed?

Slipgates will potentially be possible with megalith units that have 'form HS gate' property, but how to allow them to apply to any players' ships will be more of a challenge so I will work on trying to figure that out down the road. Let me know your thoughts about balancing, as I know this will need work and is not perfect. Thanks everyone;

Typh.
 
mrWHO
I have a question - is remastered allow you to make hyperspace a cooldown ability? E.g ship can jump, but after that it has to wait X-amount of time before it can jump again?

I was never a fan of the RU based jump solution - either you don't have any RU to spare for jumps or you have so much RU that your ships jump all over the map like crazy.

If each jump capable ship would have "hyperdrive energy" bar and could jump only when the bar is at 100% this would be perfect because it would free your RU pool for production and in the same time limit the OP factor of the HS when you're absurdly rich.
 
Typhoone
There is a property to the Hyperspace ability called "RecoveryTime" - this has to do with the delay between when a ship exits HS and when it will start responding to orders (it is disabled in between). usually this is one or two seconds, because it starts counting down as soon as the ship appears on the map. (One or two seconds allows the box-effect to move across the ship and it stays still and doesn't shoot anything).

Unfortunately, it wouldn't quite work to make that be 4-5 minutes because then the ship couldn't move/fire at all. But we could, with some substantial work, try to add some kind of energy resource to the ships or fleet (computer cycles or something) to limit hyperspace. Ironwatsas is leaning against this I think because he doesn't want resources to get too Complex. I'll let him chime in there.

mrWHO by the way you should get on the GitHub and try out the latest dev version of PDS:Remastered!

Typh.
 
mrWHO
Sure, I'll tests it on weekend.

Edit: Wow! Tomorrow will be exactly 10 years since I first signed to this forum.
 
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