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Re: A Reinterpretation of Research

An idea on "connecting" the components:

I'd use 2 general types of connections.


Energy is flowing from a source through components that modify it to a sink.

for a laser weapon for example
Energy connector -> lasing array -> focusing array.

the energy that flows through the system is the "effect" of the device, in this case the laser beam

It gets modified by components until its in an applicable form.

From electricity to laser light to focused laser blasts

I'd use a frequency sheme here too, electricity is "white" energy, a flat line in the frequency graph without any peaks or valleys.

Along the virtually infinite possibilities are other (procedural) energy forms too.

Dont like electricity?
Use plasma conduits instead!

The form of energy you use aboard your ship modifies the effectivity of your equipment.

If you use plasma energy, you have an easier time using plasma weapons as you dont have to create the plasma from electricity first.

(Gameplay wise it could be a simple efficiency modificator. Or if we want to go hardcore a hard compability wall and you have to install transformers between your energy grid and your equipment.)

You can also combine multiple energy forms to create new effects or maybe even damage types.

combine plasma and electricity in a plasma accelerator to increase the damage output of your weapon.

The other form of connections, Data modifies the energy manipulator devices.

For example if you install a "focus analyser" between the focusing array and the muzzle of your laser, you can use the data to improve the effectivity of your focusing array.

There can be modificator devices for data too, if you include a "focus coprocessor" between the focusing array and the focus analyser the data gets "better" and has a higher effect on the focusing array.

You can also combine multiple data sources to apply multiple effects.

for example route laser rangefinder data and the focus analyser datainto the focus coprocessor to increase the damage and range of your laser weapon (or even define damage and range that way!)

I'd like to re-use the frequency diagram sheme to visualise data too.
Maybe along what data it contains? :think:
"Focusing data, range data, space time geometry data"

So, enough brainfart for now :)

Re: A Reinterpretation of Research

an idea for projectile weapons:
what if we include the "ammunition" in the modular construction? :shock:

warhead shapers, engine mounters, engine chargers, DIY customizable ammunition.

This would require another type of connection for the engineering phase "material", for the flow of ammunition in projectile weapons and eventually the material flow in transfer units.

The concept would also remove the gameplay potential (or hassle like others put it) of producing and transporting different kinds of ammunition.

Every weapon would just use a generic kind of ammunition units.

Maybe a concept like the energy type for energy weapons could be used.

Standard ammunition (equals electricity), plasma ammunition, nuclear ammunition etc, which modifies the efficiency of weapons according to their internal processes

Re: A Reinterpretation of Research

so, had a very big idea concerning all that modular research/design/production

after the above posts i had a hassle of including ships into it.

how to include core modules in a part based design, or something which gives the same functionality.

but now i have it:

equipment is an illusion!

a ship and all parts out which are mounted in "hardpoints", the eqipment are sharing the same "design space".

so a plasma source from your engines could also be co-used by your weapons, your shields, whatever.
so all your equipment is connectable to each other by all channels you see fit to use.

route plasma from your drives to your weapons and your shields, directly route targetting data from your "main sensors" to your weapons etc.

basically star trek engineering :D

but this would make it a hassle to get new weapons or in general eqipment.

would there even be "equipment" you fit into hardpoints?

i think the concept could be retained.

at first: all externally mounted equipment needs a point to protrude from the ship, a gun cannot fire from anywhere on the hull.

so we'd have a limited number of points where things can stick out of the hull.

i'd limit that to 3 general classes:

fixed equipment points, everything that doesnt need to move (fixed weapons, sensors etc)

rotatable equipment points, turrets, rotatable sensors etc.

and engine ports (i feel like they warrant an own class, but i could be wrong)

(some parts could actually modify the hardpoint itself, so you can mount servo motors on the anchor to increase turning rate of the turret)

so external equipment is based around those ports, which are the "anchors" for the parts.

you can mount preassembled pieces of equipment, which already contain all the parts they need to function (besides energy supply maybe)

so you can buy a plasma cannon, which already contains a plasma source, accelerator and focusing array and works out of the box.

or you can buy all the parts separate and build a plasma distribution network around your ship, building a highly specialised ship which cannot take standard parts anymore without rewiring it internally.

equipment may use both sides of a port for its use.

so a plasma cannon may has its plasma source inside the hull and only the acceleration and focusing stages outside the ship.

this should have drawbacks and advantages.

having pieces inside the ship costs you internal volume, so you can mount less of the critical stuff inside (like generators)
pieces on the outside dont cost you internal space, but can be damaged much more easily, as they are visible from the outside and not armored nearly as good.

this also enables pirates and outlaws to have their own ship and equipment designs without requiring them to have research facilities.

they salvage together parts from all around and build their equipment themself.

they may not have the parts to build a pure plasma cannon, but they can use a plasma source cannibalised from a drive unit, a particle accelerator from a defunct particle cannon to accelerate the plasma, and a focusing array built for phaser weapons, but as phasers are similar enough to plasma weapons, it works.

a salvaged, kitbashed weapon system that perfectly fits a "pirate" theme.

Re: A Reinterpretation of Research

Image a bit of more visual explanation.

the image above would be the shematic of a ship with 2 weapons and 2 drives.

the green circles are the sources of (lets say plasma) energy flow.

the engines consist of an accelerator (symbolised by a blue box in the graph), which accelerates the plasma, then the accelerated plasma gets routed through the equipment anchor and into an engine nozzle where it gets converted to thrust.

the left weapon doesnt have an independent plasma source but gets its energy feeded through a capacitor, making the weapon a pulsed one (assuming the capacitor fully fills, then discharges fully again)
its not a weapon you can easily sum up to a hardpoint mounted one, as it doesnt contain everything in it to work on its own, sharing its plasma source with the engines.

the right weapon would be able to be disconnected as a "hardpoint mounted weapon" as it has all its parts dedicated to it and only needs energy feeded into it.
(its also a continous beam weapon, as there is no capacitor to pulse the output)
Image this would be the hardpoint equivalent of the weapon.

it would be possible to design this independently of a ship and mount it everywhere where an equipment anchor is free to mount it.

you can also build and assemble the parts into complete weapons and sell them as ready to use equipment on the market.

After having mounted a preassembly, it is possible to rewire it to the different ship systems, for example one could disconnect the independent plasma source and feed both weapons from the central one.
Last edited by Cornflakes_91 on Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: A Reinterpretation of Research

I've been wanting to reply to this all afternoon and night. :D

This is really nice work, Cornflakes. The concept is interesting, and the diagrams do a fine job of explaining what you're thinking.

I'm not saying this as a nice way to start disagreeing. I actually like this a lot, and I'd be happy if it showed up in LT.

What I will say is that it could probably be both simplified AND expanded. Here's what I mean.

While I can see where you were trying to go with the notion of self-contained systems, it's probably too much extra work for not enough payoff. The core concept -- modular systems that can be interconnected to produce specific and different effects -- is the most important thing. Just implementing that would be huge. I think most players would be just fine with building their own internal systems; if not, well, you can always buy ships and stations that are pre-built for you (presumably at a higher cost, but hey, so it goes).

And what I mean by expanding that idea is that it's what I was after in my Star Trek Engineering blog post and what Thymine was describing at the start of this thread... so why not apply it to all complex objects, not just ships and stations?

Doing that would make those mechanics consistent, which is valuable for a game that's going to have a lot of complex systems. And I don't think it would be tedious with the kind of automation of production that I suspect Josh is thinking of supporting through "projects." You'd design a prototype object -- with specific internal components -- and then you can build any number of copies of that object, as long as your supply of each required component remains > 0.

I'm curious to hear what other folks think of these ideas.

Re: A Reinterpretation of Research

Flatfingers wrote: And what I mean by expanding that idea is that it's what I was after in my Star Trek Engineering blog post and what Thymine was describing at the start of this thread... so why not apply it to all complex objects, not just ships and stations?
Isnt it already expanded to everything?

The "self contained systems" are just groups of parts that you could describe in hardpoint/equipment terms.

This few parts are a production module, these a drive, these a shield generator etc.

You can build and modify those pieces of equiment the same way you described on your blog posts.

but after mounting a piece of equiment into your ship it shares its "module space" with everything else aboard your ship.

The preassembled pieces are just a concession to players who dont want to play around with the parts of their equipment.

So you can buy your equipment preassembled and just slot it into your ship,
you can modify those preassemblies independently,
Or you take all of it apart and build a highly integrated ship without anything that you could identify as self-contained pieces of equipment.

If that isnt what you were referring to, could you clarify your point? :think:

Re: A Reinterpretation of Research

IRC log from yesterday, bit more discussion about that (or more like me explaining it to people :oops:)

Code: Select all

+Zeadar:	Helloes!
+Cornflakes:	hellow
+Zeadar:	Yay Cornflakes
how are you?
+Cornflakes:	i think i had an awesome idea for modularised construction
+Zeadar:	been thinking about somthing technically imresing recently?
oh dear
I need to ask
+Cornflakes:	not hull-weapon-generator
+Zeadar:	I need not ask* lol
+Cornflakes:	etc
+Zeadar:	alright,
+Cornflakes:	but instead that every component is made of subcomponents
so far so known
+Zeadar:	how little subcomponents are we talking about?
+Cornflakes:	1 level below equipment
for example an engine consists out of a plasma source, an accelerator and a nozzle
im thinking about min 3 to maybe about 20 (in extreme cases) parts for each piece of equipment
and those assembled equipment pieces are then slotted into the ship
but they are not isolated form each other
if you like to you could build your whole ship from parts
have the weapons feeding from the same plasma source as the engines for example
throwing everything into a big basket of parts you can connect
+Zeadar:	kinda like an engineering simulator if anythigng like that would exist?
+Cornflakes:	yep
+Zeadar:	That's cool
+Cornflakes:	if you dont want to deal with it, you just buy preassembled equipment and put it together
+Zeadar:	That's probably possible to write in ltsl
+Cornflakes:	mhm
+Zeadar:	hah, kinda like those DIY for newbies :P
+Cornflakes:	so you can either put weapon-reactor-drive-hull together, or buy the parts all separate and build your highly integrated ship
this would kinda remove hardpoints
maybe external mounting points have to be "fixed", as such that you can only move them with a cost, rebuilding your ship hull should take longer than to swap out warp conduits
+Zeadar:	or, maybe, you could build your own hardpoints
on a realistic scale of course
+Cornflakes:	i have a bit of a problem with incorporating the moving parts, a turret isnt that easily abstracted with that :think:
+Zeadar:	well, a turret basically needs power, a controller circuit and acccess to ammunition "clips", unless they get preloaded on bay, but that would be inconvenient
+Cornflakes:	i ment more like how to abstract that its an external part
and that it needs to move
+Zeadar:	like you mount it on a rotating disc?
+Cornflakes:	how to do that without getting to have to do all this in 3d
i'd like to have a couple of nozzles and ports spread around the ships model
and the rest flows from the flowgraph of equipment

+Cornflakes:	hey cha0zz
+Cha0zz:	hi Cornflakes
+Cornflakes:	you've read my rambling from earlier?
+Cha0zz:	half and half
you mean about components right?
+Cornflakes:	yep
+Cha0zz:	so it is resource->(refining)->subcomponent->component->equipment?
+Cornflakes:	yep
+Cha0zz:	with multiple equipments possible sharing components?
or sub components?
+Cornflakes:	maybe not multiple pieces of equipment using the same component simultaneously
but at the very least interchangeable
and the advanced overkill version is: there is no equipment
+Cha0zz:	hm
+Cornflakes:	you throw all the parts in your ship, plasma sources, accelerators, focusers, capacitors
all thrown around your shipo and you connect them to form your equipment
+Cha0zz:	ah yeah, the equipment emerges from the components without aqtually making the equipment in a factory
+Cornflakes:	yep
+Cha0zz:	interesting
certainly realistic
+Cornflakes:	i'd retain the concept of hardpoints/equipment by using standard ports and the equipment being preassembled pieces you just slot into your ship
+Cha0zz:	hmm
+Cornflakes:	multiple components you buy as a box and slot in
so when you dont want to mess with parts, you just buy preassembled stuff and you are fine
+Cha0zz:	I like the idea, but I think it's probably not something for the real game, as a mod however
+Cornflakes:	yeah
i thought something similar
but it would definitely unify everything ^.^
+Cha0zz:	it certainly would
+Cornflakes:	we'd need to find a neat way to retain equipment while using that sheme
cause im not sure about that now
+Cha0zz:	would also fit nice with the idea that the resource dictates the characteristics of the components that has been tossed around in the past
+Cornflakes:	another layer of tinkering :D
+Cha0zz:	yep
only thing is, there should probably be a predefined amount of components/subcomponents to prevent lots of unbuildable things because of 'limited' resources in an unlimited universe
or at least based on zones
to prevent having the need for travelling 1000 sectors to find a resource
+Cornflakes:	well, you could replace the part with a locally produced one
that would not be a problem with that sheme
+Cha0zz:	hmm
however for base resources
+Cornflakes:	what is a base resouce?
a commonly used stuff in that area
+Cha0zz:	ore, mined resources and stuff
+Cornflakes:	in one cluster iron might be the primary building material
in another one titan
because its much more common there
+Cha0zz:	yeah that's what I meant with zones, keep resources used in a zone, don't let them get out to far to regions where they aren't found
(to far being 10000 sectors away or so)
+Cornflakes:	i have troubles parsing your second to last sentence
what should not go out?
the zones or the used resouces?
or the using technology?
+Cha0zz:	nah, never mind, just having a mind fart :P
+Cornflakes:	lol

+Cha0zz:	so there would be a predefined amount of component types?
+Cornflakes:	i guess so
but they could have different "affinities" similar to my "damage types" idea
+Cha0zz:	yeah
+Cornflakes:	so a plasma accelerator and a particle accelerator are the same "part" engine wise, but they have different spectra, and have different efficiencies when affecting different types of energy flowing through them
+Cha0zz:	yeah sure, otherwise they would just be relabeled clones of each other
+Cornflakes:	yep
that would also enable kitbashing
of equipment
have only damaged stuff?
take a plasma source, accelerate it with a particle accelerator and focus it using phaser tech
it works, but how is another question
+Cha0zz:	yeah


Re: A Reinterpretation of Research

Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Flatfingers wrote:And what I mean by expanding that idea is that it's what I was after in my Star Trek Engineering blog post and what Thymine was describing at the start of this thread... so why not apply it to all complex objects, not just ships and stations?
Isnt it already expanded to everything?
I don't know. Is it?

I have no visibility into how Josh has actually implemented how objects work, and I'm trying not to assume things.
Cornflakes_91 wrote:you can buy your equipment preassembled and just slot it into your ship,
you can modify those preassemblies independently,
Or you take all of it apart and build a highly integrated ship without anything that you could identify as self-contained pieces of equipment.

If that isnt what you were referring to, could you clarify your point? :think:
Yes, I understood what you meant.

What I was suggesting was that the important part of your idea seemed to be the notion that an object's functions are determined by its components and their connections (where "object" means a ship or a station or a weapon or any non-simple constructed thing).

If the choice was between getting that PLUS preassembled complex objects, or not getting componentized systems at all, I was saying that I'd be OK with not having preassembled objects since that doesn't seem to be the most important element of this idea. I'm just looking for ways to maximize the chance of this being considered for implementation (assuming that's possible).

Re: A Reinterpretation of Research

Flatfingers wrote: I don't know. Is it?

I have no visibility into how Josh has actually implemented how objects work, and I'm trying not to assume things.
grammar wasnt with me xD

I ment: doesnt my concept already do that?
Flatfingers wrote: If the choice was between getting that PLUS preassembled complex objects, or not getting componentized systems at all, I was saying that I'd be OK with not having preassembled objects since that doesn't seem to be the most important element of this idea. I'm just looking for ways to maximize the chance of this being considered for implementation (assuming that's possible).
Yeah, i agree with that.

But i think the preassembled components would be a very nice convenience not to have to deal with components but just with functional equipment.

Also i dont think that preassemblies would cost much in terms of implementation

Re: A Reinterpretation of Research

Another thing that came to my mind today:

Compartmentalised ordonnance!

we could build drones and missles/bullets too from parts!

(Maybe not from the exact same parts as ships, maybe from "miniature" variants, just ramblin')

dont build a missle, take a missle hull, stick an engine, sensors and a warhead in there and there you go.

No distinct "long range photon missle" or something like that anymore, but instead "photon warheads", "micro plasma source" and "high efficiency micro nozzle" you assemble into the missles.

Bullets would only contain warheads (or would they?) And would be much smaller than an equivalently-hitting missle, as you dont need heavy drives and sensor arrangements.

same for drones, no distinct drone classes, but if you want a combat drone, fit a weapon in it.
If you want a repair drone, fit transfer beams and welding lasers in it.

Re: A Reinterpretation of Research

mindblurb again.

"control modules"

control modules are small computer components that define the logistical affilation of components.

they enable a bunch of parts to be controlled as a single piece of equipment.

i'll reuse my picture of the self-contained weapon here
Image the components in this picture would be attached to the same control module.

they'd be controlled from that control module (which would in this example be the control over that specific weapon/turret)

energy allocation would also affect all of the modules which are connected to the same control module

that the energy management can be broken down into a few distinct functional groups, and one doesnt have to fiddle with the part interface only to divert power from weapons to shields.

there could (and maybe should) be a hard design rule of "only one kind of functionality per control module".
so a control module does only ever have one "effect", it cannot control a weapon and a drive simultaneously.

another blurb:


("arrays", "magazines", however you want to call it)

banks are groups of identical blocks of functionality which you can order to be activated sequentially (one after another) or simultaneously (all at once)

such a functional block could be anything, from a single capacitor to whole guns.

they would serve the purpose of magazines or multi barreled weapons

want a gattling gun?

make a bank of multiple guns and set it to fire sequentially, they will now time their action for maximum cadence

want a missle storm pod?

take a bank of missle tubes and set them to activate somultaneously, you now fire your missles in groups.

also: in relation to my previous post in this thread.

there should be "chambers" as components which house a bullet/missle/drone of a given size and which can be arranged into banks to make magazines for your weapons.

Re: A Reinterpretation of Research


Casings are a purely graphical thing.

They define how parts belong to each other.

parts in the same casing will be placed together, and different casings will be separated in a distinct way.

for example you have a triple cannon.

when you place the gun assemblies into different casings, the whole turret will look somewhat like WW2 battleship turrets, with 3 distinct barrels.

If you place the assemblies into a single casing you get something similar to a gatling gun, or like the front cannons of the flying dutchman in the pirates of the carribean.

Or if you have a quad missle launcher.
Simply by using different casing arrangements you can create a 1x4 block, 2x2 blocks or 4 single tubes.

banks within banks would be a useful concept there.
The plans for the 3 kinds of missle launchers wouldnt need to look different, but only the numbers in the parametrisations of the barrel and casing banks (which enclose the barrel banks).

but this would of course change the costs for building the weapon, as you change the amount of components.

Dynamic parametrisation

An interesting concept for missles would be dynamic parametrisation.
Or in star trek terms "warheads with variable yield".

Some extra component which could exectute some very simple conditionals and change the weights of connections.

For example there could be an "explosion focuser" component whichs effectivity is dependent on the energy input on its secondary side.
(Primary side: explosion to be shaped, secondary side: energy supply for the shaping)

The parametric coprocessor could then use some of the energy of the warhead to focus the explosion (or not)
And the ratio of how much energy used could depend on the conditionals.

Small ship -> focused blast to get as much energy as possible into the small target.

Big ship -> big blast as the target is so big that that focusing doesnt change the effect, and focusing itself costs damage.

this adaptability would come at generally lower damage, as you need space for the dynamic energy splitting equipment, and that equipment simply is not warhead.

Could create general "good at everything" weapons, but its just an idea

Re: A Reinterpretation of Research

So, after speaking with Cha0zz yesterday i came to a conclusion on how to implement generators.

First: reactors have fuel cells, but for all gameplay purposes they are infinite (and are implemented as such).

Since its projected that fusion reactors will only need a few kg of fuel per year of running, and for a projected game time of (in extreme cases) 1000hours, which are roughly 40 days i think its safe to handwave that.

This solves my conceptual problems with introducing reactors and it makes retrofitting/modding in fuel much easier as there are already mechanics in place for it.

the base of all generators are the fuel cells, these fuel cells contain an arbitary material.
This material has a certain energy spectrum
Around which the reactor then gets built.

Fuel injectors, containment arrays, compressors, heaters, whatever constitutes a reactor.

All of these parts need a given amount of energy but increase the quality of the fusion plasma, denser, hotter plasma has higher reaction rates and releases more energy.

So you have to balance your part energy consumption with the actual energy generation.

Different fuels could have different density/heat to energy output maps, so some fuels could ignite at really low temperatures and pressures but would have lower energy output at large, and fuels with high output but high density/temperature ignition points.
(And funky nonlinearities, that more is not always better)

so a capship, which has more room for compressors/heaters could use higher output fuels and get higher outputs.

Also: as the parts sll need energy themself you could not throttle down a reactor to completely no emissions, as you cant turn it on again without an energy source.
So without any capacitors dedicated to kickstarting the reactor you could only turn it down to break even point, and anything below that point would cause the reactor to fail and turn off.

So you can design especially stealthy ships be designing small and efficient reactors with low break even point, that you can turn down to very low emissions.

the "important" parts of the reactor, the energy converters would have a few limitations/stats.
  • maximum energy output
    Kinda self explainimg, the maximum amount of watts you can get out of that component with ideal fuel
  • absorbed spectrum
    The spectral parts which the absorber takes out of the fuels spectrum.
    absorbers behind that point dont get that spectral parts anymore.
    So order of absorbers matters to get the most out of your fuel
  • converted spectrum
    The spectral parts that are actually used to generate electricity.
    The difference between absorbed and used spectrum is the (in)efficiency of the component.
    Ideally you only want spectral portions that are in the used spectrum to reach the converter
    Again, ordering matters

The concept of fuel cells could also be used for weapons and drives.
Plasma sources for example could create their plasma out of the fuel you feed it, the plasma having spectral (damage type) characteristics of the fuel used to generate the plasma.
The weapon assembly would then change the spectral parts of the weaponised material.

So you could manipulate the damage type of the weapon by using different fuels in the fuel cells.
But this only within boundaries, as the parts efficiency changes when manipulating materials with different spectra.

Changing the fuel would equate to eve onlines crystals, giving the weapon different characteristics

Also the spectral manipulation of the weapon would stay similar, giving the weapon 2 "signatures", one dependent on the easily changeable fuel which then gets superimposed by the weapon assemblies signature.


the fuel cell stuff could also be used to limit range/endurance of drones.

just say that the "micro" fuel cells dont have practically infinite fuel reserves, which limits drone and missle endurance/range.

the rest of the mechanics could stay the same

with a bit of handwaving a single big fuel cell could be perpetually fueling drone cells, as its so much larger that its also practically infinite.

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