You prolific folks have raised some helpful as well as intriguing points. I’m going to comment & critique in (I hope) chronological order. But first…
Concerning thoughts of modules in general, there’s another angle here that nobody else has even mentioned yet and which seriously needs to be developed further:
[size=175]module slots themselves.[/size]
GSB1 only has two types of module slots: one for weapon modules, and one for non-weapon modules. The former can also hold the latter’s type of items. Two slots is as far as the original game took the concept, and let’s be direct: that isn’t far at all.
As shown right here in the Master Wish List, there’s an easy way to provide ships with much more functionality by way of a minimal change to the game.
[size=110]If GSB2 has one new type of weapon slot and one new type of non-weapon slot added to the old slots from GSB1, this opens up a significantly wider space for player creativity to thrive.[/size]
This is not the first time it’s been mentioned, but it deserves to be said again today:
My proposal adds dramatically more re-playability to the game, which also increases the value of each customer’s purchase and leads to increased goodwill for Positech. Making the game more extensible than its predecessor is a major advantage, and will help encourage more buyers. I can’t stress that enough. You want a feature which comes with enough tactical “shiny!” to catch potential new customers’ attention, but also offers fresh and exciting functionality as well? This is such a feature.
So that’s the economic argument in favor of the new slots. Here’s how it works within gameplay itself…
[size=120]The first new hull slot is the [/size][size=135]Advanced Module[/size] [size=120]slot.
To distinguish it easily from the basic module slot, this one is octagonal. [/size]
Advanced Module slots can hold either the high-tech modules they’re intended for, OR standard modules instead. This flexibility prevents hulls from having to be given a massive increase in their total number of slots. A ratio of approximately 1 Advanced Module slot to 2 or 3 standard module slots on the “average” GSB2 hull in each size is suggested. There will be exceptions, but the overall goal of Advanced Modules is to improve the survivability of the ship, and also provide some “sideways” upgrade paths for secondary equipment modules. The former includes direct defenses such as shields, armor, EMP Shields, camouflage fields and target boosters. The latter includes (but is far from limited to!) engines, crew quarters, power generators, tractor beams, carrier flight decks and all manner of repair systems.
This slot will allow a second, better tier of shipboard modules to exist alongside regular ordinary modules. Higher-tech & much more capable protective and secondary systems – including ones not even created yet! – are now possible; the sky’s the limit. Naturally not all of the above categories would necessarily be interesting even if they had an advanced “big brother” (or even more than one big brother), but many of those definitely would. It is this ability not only to carry much higher-performance modules aboard your ships, but also to easily restrict them to a reasonable number, that makes Advanced Modules both desirable to play with as well as easy to rein in any excesses.
Add to that whatever completely new types of non-weapon modules that will appear only in GSB2 – advanced versions of those would also be able to exist, too! The player would have a wonderful assortment of gadgets to choose from. Each ship’s total pool of available modules would now have depth as well as width, and this serves as a helpful contrast to the state of GSB1. The end product is interesting and useful without being overly complex or redundant.
[size=120]The second new hull slot is the [/size][size=135]Advanced Weapon[/size] [size=120]slot.
To distinguish it easily from the basic weapon slot, this one is triangular. [/size]
Advanced Weapons are a more powerful tier above standard guns. No surprise there. But what is a pleasant surprise is how the existence of this new slot type will allow for ships to be game-balanced between one another in fascinating new ways that simply aren’t possible in GSB1. With various types of exciting new super-rapid-fire, extended-range, and extra high damage-per-shot weapons doubtless appearing in GSB2 alongside the more modestly-capable (and modestly-priced) weapons, the best guns can very easily be limited to installation into Advanced Slots only. This helps prevent massively out-of-balance warships from being spammed across the missions or the online Challenges.
Advanced Weapon slots can hold either the high-tech guns they’re intended for, OR standard guns instead. This flexibility prevents hulls from having to be blessed with a massive increase in their total number of slots. A ratio of approximately 1 Advanced Weapon slot to 3 or 4 standard weapon slots on the “average” GSB2 hull in each size is suggested. When compared to Advanced Modules, the Advanced Weapons slots will exist in slightly lesser numbers on most hulls. That is because I believe that the relative value & combat usefulness of the upper-tier guns will be rather strong; if I’m wrong about that, we can bump up the number of Advanced Weapon slots somewhat.
When weapon Firing Arcs become a part of GSB2, the often-requested “spinal-mounted” guns can likewise be balanced by only being able to function within an Advanced Weapon slot. Some mechanism will be needed in the code in order for this type of slot to know when the player is plugging-in a spinal-mount weapon, so that this type of gun is correctly given a firing arc that’s much narrower than the default arc a slot normally allows for other, non-spinal weaponry.
We don’t have to, but if we wish to put even stronger limits upon advanced weaponry beyond the slot requirement, I can cover that as well. GSB2 can easily be set up such that there’s a new module type called Advanced Power. Simply require Advanced Weapons to be energized only with units of Advanced Power.
But unlike the ways that the advanced slots can carry non-advanced items, an Advanced Power generator might [size=115]only[/size] be able to energize Advanced Weapons, and no other guns. I can’t help but think of the Wave Motion Gun from “Star Blazers” (aka “Space Battleship Yamato”), and how it can be energized only by connecting the Yamato’s Wave Motion Engine to it.
But in their basic form, Advanced Weapon slots are a simple and flexible means to fine-tune our ships and to grow our menu of useful choices to an extent that the original game could not ever hope to match.
Together, the two new hull slot types I am proposing are a smooth and seamless extension of the existing module and weapon slots from the original game. They are not a difficult concept to grasp. Neither are they something that only a “hardcore” player can understand and make use of.
Even the shapes of the Advanced Slots’ icons are pure simplicity itself! How?
The Advanced Module slot is closely related to the square of the basic module slot, except that its corners are all cut – 8 faces instead of 4.
And the Advanced Weapon Slot is also closely related to the hexagon of the basic weapon slot, except that its triangle has exactly half the faces of the hexagon – 3 instead of 6.
Neither type of Advanced Slot can easily be confused with the other one, OR confused with the basic slot it is an extension of. It truly is simple.
It has been five years since the first appearance of GSB. The competition is not going to be standing still. It’s 2014, Cliff – potential new customers are going to expect – and rightly so – a lot more flexibility from GSB2 than its predecessor could give. Unless something refreshing and useful is provided in GSB2 to improve the old, basic slot-and-module dynamic, the addition of ZERO new functionality to the GSB1 hull slots is not going to be greeted with joy.
Instead, let’s advance the state of the game by implementing the two new hull slots as a powerful yet easy-to-enjoy gift to “The Next Generation” of players in the GSB series. “Make it so!”
For maximum creative usefulness, ALL aspects of the new hull slots need to be [size=125]fully accessible to modders.[/size]
This allows the modding community to pick up where vanilla must, due to time pressure, inevitably turn back.
The modders CAN and WILL do that, Cliff –
– but ONLY IF you grant them the tools to complete the mission.