Answers + Clarification to Ship Systems 2.0

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    Head of Testing
    Aug 20, 2013
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    • Schine
    • Tester
    Answer to asked questions, and some extra clarification are provided in this thread. If you have any other questions or concerns, make sure to mention them here StarMade Ship Systems 2.0

    Any new information will be added to the bottom of each section, there will also be a spoiler tag at the bottom that contains those additions.


    What's to stop people from simply filling out their hulls as they do now or putting stabilizers/reactors outside the ship?

    The distance required between Stabilizers and Reactors for 100% efficiency would increase with the reactor size. You could fill your ship with reactors and stabilizers only, but it will be extremely inefficient. Nothing stops you from filling your ship with reactors and stabilizers, but the sheer amount of stabilizers needed to just get more power out of the relatively small reactor group would be enormous, resulting in a heavy, expensive and thus inefficient ship.

    You could put your stabilizers outside of the ship but it does not give you any benefit. The reactor itself is what you will be able to track down with information warfare systems. Targeting that will quickly reduce your power recharge without even touching the stabilizers.

    You could do it the other way around, and put your reactor blocks outside with stabilizers in the ship. But as you can only have 1 active reactor only per entity, it too will quickly be found and targeted.​

    Passive effects and chambers, how would they work exactly?

    Some passive effects such as increased max speed, would be automatically enabled with a specific chamber.
    Other effects that require you to toggle it such as the momentum effects, would give you a hotbar icon to be used if that chamber is active. Most likely there will also be logic interaction for that.

    It’s however not that straightforward since some of the defensive effects are a necessity/unbalanced.​

    How does this play into the crew system?

    It’s too early to tell what they would do exactly, but most likely they’ll be incorporated with chambers, stabilizers and reactors. As those systems should be relatively small groups, crew could be put around them to “maintain/operate” them.

    This could be an additional buff to the chamber, or prevent the effect from dissipating over time if we do that. Impossible to give you a concrete answer right now.​

    What will prevent players from building One-Strike Ships - ships with huge alpha strike weapons?

    The top-off rate is a percentage of the weapons max power draw. For big weapons that require a lot of internal capacity to fire once, there will be a large enough power consumption that you need a large enough reactor to fire them at least once.

    Even if you use a reactor that is just big enough for the top off-rate, you’ll only fire it once which is a concern if you miss that shot or fail to hit anything vital.

    If it is a concern during testing, we could implement a form of power penalty that increases the % top-off rate depending on reactor vs weapon size ratio.​

    What determines the recharge rate and power discharge?

    Depends on balance but right now we’re aiming for the simplest of rules.

    The internal capacity of something to be fired, will scale in a linear way with its block count.
    • Max Recharge rate = Internal capacity / reload time
    • Min Recharge rate/Top of rate = % of Max Recharge rate

    Does this fix the “thrusters <-> mass” bidirectional relationship?

    It does not fix it, only alleviates the issue. It’s easier now to add extra power and thrust if needed because the groups are that much smaller.

    However that does require you to make your chambers at least larger than the minimum size or else just increasing your reactor size a little could make all of your chambers invalid. It should still be way easier to manage compared to the completely filled ships right now with a large amount of system blocks. Especially if you can use copy/paste and templates.​

    Why the tech points? Why can't chambers just consume power? Why create a completely redundant different resource coming from the very same reactor?

    If chambers would consume power, it would be another thing to worry about when you also have to consider the power for your thrusters, shields, weapons, tools and so forth.

    We wanted chambers to be a way to specialize your ship. If you then had smaller backup reactors connected to the same chambers when you changed to your backup reactor then you suddenly won’t be able to use your cool specializations you spent a lot of time on.

    In what way are stabilizers different than the original heatsinks?

    We never talked about heatsinks in the 1st power proposal. I assume you mean the Heatbox around then.

    Heatboxes would influence every system on your ship, here only the reactor block cares about stabilizers which makes it so much easier to manage.​

    In what way would this system effect drones, passive push clock warheads, and other ships of minimal size?

    Smaller ships will have enough room to fit power and chambers, they’ll be a bit stronger in general compared to what they’re now. Passive push might be removed and if it isn’t, it would take shape as a chamber that could be activated on your hotbar or through logic.

    There will still be a way to interact with certain chambers, these will likely have a computer to interface with that can be anywhere, but this could change and could possibly only show up in the weapons menu. The passive push effects are likely to become much more useful for ships other than drones as we can really modify their behavior since it is no longer balanced based on mass ratio.​

    Doesn't the docked reactor - stabilizer bounding box encourage boxy ships?

    It does yes, or at least limits the places where you could put down docked entities with their own reactors. The Bounding Box check is the simplest and most performant system to prevent people from putting docked reactors within docked reactors. It is possible that there is a better system that is as simple as this that would distinguish between ship shapes more. It won’t be more performant though.​

    Why not disable all docked reactors? By making turrets need to draw power from the main ship, you remove the advantage they have of splitting up all the reactor HP.

    It’s something that has crossed our minds, the rail system makes it hard to come up with a simple system that still allows people to use reactor + chambers on docked entities and the simplest solution would be to just not allow it.​

    There are pros and cons of having self powered turrets/docked weapons which could add extra depth if it worked:

    • No inheriting required: On the main ship, your priority queue will most likely prioritize thrusters, main weapons and shields. Turrets would quickly not get any power from the main reactor after sustaining only a light amount of damage.
    • Allowing modular ships, with a main ship that only has power for its thrust and anything else docked to it that could be swapped. Performance issues with involuntary undocking are a different issue and can be resolved without changing how the power system works.
    • More expensive, requiring you to put down more reactor and stabilizer blocks
    • You’re not inheriting chamber effects from the main ship.

    To clarify, if the main ship’s RHP is too low and it “overheats”, anything docked to it would also disable/overheat.


    That said, after discussing it once more we agree that the current system to allow docked reactors doesn’t work like it should. The ability to still use chambers on docked entities will cause an imbalance and open up for exploits. With a fixed amount of Tech Points per entity, you could bypass this limit and use AI controlled weapons with their own weapon chambers, and then the main ship would have defense/mobility only chambers.

    We considered different ways of scaling Tech Points, partial inheriting and even reactor modes to somewhat allow docked reactors but they don’t add anything besides some more confusion.

    For now we’ll simply not allow docked reactors to work at all, it may be re-introduced later if we can make it work. If you have any suggestions to do so, make sure to leave a response on the Ship Systems 2.0 thread.

    Why are you not required to wire/connect everything with each other?

    It’s more fun to build a physically connected system, but for weapons, those are generally very large, and C-V works very well in those cases due to having only one computer. We didn’t want to touch weapons as they are right now. The system works well enough, besides a few weapon combos.

    There are also scalability reasons. If you had to connect every power consuming system (shields, thrusters, weapons, …) with your active + inactive reactors, it would be a tedious, and boring process. This easily done for something the size of 20 meters but if your ship is 200 meters long with system groups all over the place, it would be anything but a fun process.​

    Is it not too complicated?

    The system has a lot of depth to it and optimizing your ships to perfection could take a lot of time and effort. However, there’s a clear level of progression here.

    A new player will only want power to use their thrusters/weapons which is done easily by placing down a small group of reactor blocks. At very low block amounts you don’t need stabilizers and even if you did, it’s easy enough to put those stabilizers down.

    It’s all you need to get a powered ship, it also scales completely linear which makes it easy to see how many reactor blocks you’ll need to power your systems.

    Later on, you’ll see that there is a chamber system and experiment with it from your point of view. As each chamber category will have their own resource needed to craft it, it would also mean that you can’t build every chamber right from the start. You’ll see some combinations that go well together and others that only make sense in very specific situations.

    The real challenge of making a great ship, is balancing out efficiency versus longevity. Armoring up your reactors, chambers and systems.., the number and size of backup reactors, which chambers they’re connected to, the placement of each system, even the shape of these systems matters since some of them will be easier hit depending from where you’re being shot at.

    All this adds up and it’s not something tangible, it’s something you’ll only learn from experience.​

    Why make chambers explosive?

    Depends on how it will look in-game. The intention here is to persuade people to build chambers bigger than the minimum required size to add longevity to your reactor (although not that much). The more reactor blocks you have, the slower your RHP% will go down by the same weapons. The explosiveness of chambers is there for us to fine tune this balance of extra longevity at the cost of mass/extra blocks + armor needed to protect it.

    It may turn out we don’t need the chambers to be explosive at all.​

    Why would conduits require power to function?

    To prevent you from building the chambers extremely far away. You’re not able to see chambers with information warfare tools but you can see the active reactor. Someone aiming for your reactor will never hit your chambers if they’re 200 meters away but will most likely hit them if they’re close to it. Chamber damage in addition to Reactor damage will deplete your RHP much faster so this is the penalty of putting your chambers further away, by having an additional constant drain on your reactor based on conduit block count.

    The reason why chambers would not be visible with information warfare tools is that it would be an overflow of information.

    It won’t be a huge penalty but definitely something to consider if you try to build all of your chambers far away.​


    One active reactor per entity

    At first there was no limit on here. Each entity would have a fixed number of Tech Points, let’s take 100 as an example.

    Those Tech Points would distribute over all reactor groups respecting reactor size:

    Example, 3 reactors on ship:
    • Reactor 1: 100 blocks => 66.67% of total Tech Points = 66
    • Reactor 2: 25 blocks => 16.67% of total Tech Points = 16
    • Reactor 3: 25 blocks => 16.67% of total Tech Points = 16
    Problem here is that adding more reactor groups or changing their size, will also change how many TP they have and require you to redo most of your chambers.

    Another problem is, since power is scaling linearly, that there are no group related bonuses and only the need for chambers would stop you from making 1000 reactor groups with lots of empty space in between.

    A ship without chambers is still completely functional though, so you could still do this but just not have any chamber because of the large amount of reactor groups.

    If you’re able to put this many groups down, you would stumble upon performance and gameplay issues. Information warfare for example, falls apart completely if there are 1000 green dots to aim for, and destroying enough reactor groups to disable the target would take a large amount of effort and time (and luck).

    There are variations on this, like a form of power penalty/inefficiency the more groups you add but we decided to opt for the current solution of 1 active reactor per entity. It also adds more opportunity to use logic controlled systems that automatically switch (using sensor input).

    Conduits being disconnected in combat

    There seems to be a misconception here. Conduits only matter when you’re building the reactor and its chambers. As soon as you take damage, it will remember that and even if conduits get damaged/disconnected, the disconnected chambers will still work just fine.

    It’s why RHP% is there and disables certain chambers if it reaches a RHP % threshold.

    Stabilizers and Reactors

    The minimum distance required between Stabilizers and Reactors is calculated based on the biggest reactor group on the ship, doesn’t matter if it is inactive or active.

    Only the active reactor cares about how close the stabilizers are. You could put your stabilizers right next to an inactive reactor without a problem...of course if you ever activate that reactor, the stabilizers next to it will be inefficient.

    Depending on performance, we may have to change it so that also the inactive reactors care about the stabilizers.

    User Interface

    Anything we used that resembles UI elements in-game, are not final. They’re quick mockups to illustrate the function of a specific mechanic and will look and work completely different in-game.
    We do not want more menus within menus, most of the new information will be context based and only show when needed.

    Old Power Capacity

    Gone completely as you know it, now it’s just a separate capacity per weapon group that scales with the group size and holds enough power to use it once (or maybe multiple times with ship wide modifications with chambers).

    Some systems such as shields and thrusters only use power on demand, and have no internal power capacity.​

    Old Power System

    As mentioned in the power proposal, the new power system will co-exist with the old one and can be enabled/disabled through a config option. At a certain stage, the old system will be completely disabled as default and will make any older blueprint non functional. You’ll still be able to load/save them of course.

    To ease the overhauling part, extra build tools will be implemented to help such as mass removing a block type on an entity, and an area limited flood fill tool.


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