Merge Engines and Powerplants


#1

Simple solution to the “no engine” tankers, just merge Engines and Powerplants so that Engines produce the power for the ship. This way to get the power you need to run the rest of the ship, you have to put in engines.

After all, Kirk always called the Engine room for more power, not some separate powerplant room.

IMHO, have each engine produce about the same amount of excess power for the rest of the ship, regardless of how much thrust it provides. So a low-thrust, light-weight engine produces nearly as much as much excess power as a high-thrust, heavy engine. This will further encourage quicker ships since you’ll have to pack in engines to get all the power you need on a big cruiser.

Perhaps “left over” power is used to improve thrust (“More power to the engines!”). So you can make fast ships by putting lots of big engines but not using all the power.

It would also simplify ship design since you don’t have separate power plants to worry about.


#2

The only downside I see is that power and thrust are usually tradeoffs, e.g. there’s only so much power to go around, so you either have a fast ship or lots of guns. I find that needing power for your engines, while also having powerful weapons, requires you to make some major concessions, giving up an extra slot and some credits for another power generator. If you merge engines and power generators, it would mean that ships with lots of weapons are necessarily fast because they need lots of engines to power the weapons.

Having lots of thrust (and speed) should be a tradeoff against other things like armor and weapons, because speed has a huge defensive effect (hit percentages directly relate to speed). I don’t think we should be encouraging all ships to be fast, nor should we be requiring them to be fast just because they need power for other things. A ship that is both fast and has powerful weapons is going to be a monster.


#3

I don’t agree with this.

Right now, you can have two balanced ships with the same engines and a large difference in power. You’d lose that differentiation

What if I want a ship with missiles and armor? What do I do with all that power? I can’t use it on more engines, as they’d give me even more power. So i’m forced to either load some high energy weapon in mi missile ship or put high energy shields on my armor centered ship.

With a change like this we’d only standarize ships. Reducing the game to a mere arrangement of the same few working builds, just as it happens right now with fighters because of their lack of choices.


#4

Um, why couldn’t you have 2 balanced ships with a large power difference? There’s no reason to have just Ship/Power 1, 2, and 3. Have different combos. Have the super beafy power-plant that has crappy engines. Or super engines that have crap for extra power output. Have 6+ combinations.

You can still have the difference, you just can’t have no engines and power.


#5

I see what sanddemon is saying. You can still accomplish this through giving varied options for the engine. Make some engines have low thrust but lots of extra power generation, while other engines have lots of thrust and little extra power. That way, you’ll always have some thrust, but you still have to choose your power vs. thrust tradeoff.

That would address my concern.


#6

If what you suggest is, for example:

Engine A: Power 1, Thrust 1, cost X
Engine B: Power 1, Thrust 2, cost 2x
Engine C: Power 1, Thrust 3, cost 3x
Engine D: Power 3, Thrust 1, cost 3x
Engine E: Power 3, Thrust 2, cost 4x
Engine F: Power 3, Thrust 3, cost 5x

Thus allowing you to keep all the design preferences and all the variety, while still having engines in all ships. I agree with that solution.

However, Notice that the solution is essentially a mathematical equivalent to adding the weakest thrust speed to the ship itself and subtracting that amount from all engines.

On that example, if the ship itself has a forced Thrust of 1 and Engine F becomes P3 T2 C5, you reach the same result.

i.e.: If you put engines and generators together and also create various combinations to allow customization, you reach almost the same builds as if you simply add a minimum speed to all ships.

Which I’m not against. However, I still think that we shouldn’t surrender to forcing the movement by “law” instead of trying to find a way of “forcing” it by usefulness.

For example, an extreme range weapon that utterly devastates its target and has a tracking speed of 0.1. I’ll make a thread about that concept.


#7

Yeah that would be nice, something like a railgun where if they’re not moving it absolutely rips through the ship (maybe even all in a line). Either that or just take movement more into effect like landing critical hits against sitting ships.

They would at least have some engines though, which is nice because since stalemates don’t work it forces them to move closer after some point.


#8

I’d almost say that you’d be better off giving each ship hull default engines (since many have giant, obvious engines without any ‘engine modules’). Thus, you add engines to go faster by upgrading or swapping the engines wihtout losing slots required for ‘proper’ stuff and without problematically dropping the speed to zero. I admit I haven’t played the game long enough to really know how this issue should be addressed, however.

The example of Star Trek is hilarious, because the ‘engine room’ contains the powerplant (ie the silly reactor) and the actual ‘engines’ are the red lights on the outside (and the big nacelles). Oops. :slight_smile:


#9

My instinct would be to merely make separate engine slots that are in the locations of the engines on the art assets, rather than merging engines and powerplants. These slots could not be left empty, and would be the only place engines could go. Speed is still determined by:

a) The number of engines the hull type supports.
b) The type of engines you choose to install in those slots.
c) The mass of the ship as it is designed.

This would help to differentiate the hull types a bit and it would eliminate the question of no engine designs.


#10

But then youre making engines mandatory, which a lot of people dont want either.

I’d rather see this engines=power thing tested at least, with the power to thrust balanced out as suggested above (or thereabouts).


#11

Making it mandatory may not be a bad thing. If it were to happen, I think dedicated stations should be created. The only ships that look okay (and it is still cheesy) as immobile fortresses are the Empire ships. Others should never be immobile.(I am still pleased that I created a functional missile ship, but it was super cheesy) You can not even claim that the rebels at least look like a space station. This said, we will run into dedicated space station challenges. There is nothing wrong with these. They are hard, but not impossible. In this case, if no damage is taken, a draw button should be given. There is also some good strategic advantage to be had around creating a fleet around a space station. (Once/If greater control over ship orders is given) Disallowing them completely is dumb. Creating class limitations may not be.

For example if a station model is created, map ‘A’ may have an allocation of 30,000. At 30,000, two stations may be used in fleet composition. These compositions and limitations may be set up by the person designing the challenge. Such that, I choose Defending Sirus. Then I set total expenditures. Then I choose anomalies. Then I set possible unit composition. . . . 1 stations max. 8 cruisers max. Kind of like the pilot limitation, but allowing a greater degree of freedom and control over the challenges that we create. (This is train of thought, but having reread this, I would really like this degree of control.)


#12

Well the anti-mandatory camp has the advantage of loud voices and Cliff saying he wasnt sure about making stuff mandatory. And I can see what he means, its a bit of a cheat in a ship design game to say you cant design ships in a specific way.

On the other hand, if the use of engines was noticeably more effective than their absence, then there’d be no need for them to be mandatory. In the other thread its suggested that non-moving ships should be easier to hit, which makes a lot of sense to me.


#13

I’m a bit baffled as to why people wouldn’t want ship engines to be mandatory. While I fully respect the sentiment of avoiding restrictions that limit the strategic range of choices to the player, mandating engines is less a balance issue than a matter of preserving the integrity of the game’s internal reality. I also understand the interest in space stations; that is an interesting idea. But a ship without a means of propulsion does not become a space station if there are giant, highly visible engines on the art assets telling the player otherwise.

Engineless cruisers are not credible, and if you allow them, a fair number of people will see it as an exploit rather than a viable strategy. To tell them otherwise is possible, but it would break the implicit covenant with the player in which they are allowed to trust the game to follow certain commonsense assumptions about the mechanics of the game. They will be jarred out the game to ask such questions as “Why is this possible that a ship that looks like it has Star Trek warp nacelles has no engines? And how is it fair that I lost to this nonsensical fleet?”

My suggestion above is a fairly radical approach the problem, but other alternatives also exist. Obviously mandating at least one engine will deal with it gracefully. Giving ships a base thrust that is built into the hull would also deal with it smoothly: The engines in the art assets are always there, and thrusters just increase their power. Merging engines and powerplants would also work, but it’s linking two orthogonal functionalities into one object, so it requires (the number of reactor types)x(the number of engine types) in new parts if you want to maintain the current depth of options, and even then that’s assuming you have equal numbers of power plants and engines in the current system. Keeping them independent is more conducive to strategic freedom, even if you do require at least one of both.

I can understand the sentiment to avoid any of these moves by taking a soft approach and merely weakening the appeal of engineless ships without prohibiting them, but most of these do collateral damage by weakening any stopped ships as well. Additionally, while it addresses a balance question, it doesn’t resolve what I consider a more fundamental issue, which is that engineless ships don’t make sense within the reality of the game world.


#14

Ships that don’t have engines shouldn’t be able to warp to the battleground…