Ship Loadouts

One of the main features in the next release is going to be the ability to customize your fleet before you embark on a mission, so I thought I’d talk a bit about how that works.

The are two main aspects of ships you can customize – one is the weapon loadout, and the other is hull modifications, or hull mods. Each ship has a number of weapon mounts (slots), each of which has a type and a size. For example, a small ship might have 4 small energy slots and 2 medium ballistic ones. When you fit a weapon in a hull, the size and type have to match the slot – for example, an Antimatter Blaster is a small energy weapon, and can be fitted into small energy slot. You can also put a weapon into a slot that’s one size larger – so, you could put the aforementioned blaster into a medium energy slot.

Hull mods provide passive bonuses such as increased armor and top speed, as well as more exotic ship and weapon attributes.

So, what’s to stop you from just cramming a hull full of the the best weapons and mods? Ultimately, that’s what you want to do, but both weapons and hull mods require ordnance points to install on a ship. Each ship has a maximum number of points it can support, so deciding just how to spend those on weapons and mods is the challenge in creating a good ship design (also known as a variant).

You can also spend ordnance points on installing additional flux vents (to increase the flux dissipation rate) and flux capacitors (to increase the maximum flux limit). Flux is generated by using shields and firing weapons, so a good balance of firepower and flux efficiency is critical for a successful design. Each extra vent or capacitor costs 1 point each, ensuring that any leftover points can be spent on something useful.

Here are a few screenshots of the refit screen – it’s still a work in progress (in particular, the UI to assign hull mods is missing, as are several other UI components) but it should give you an idea of how it’s shaping up.


Work-in-progress shots of the refit interface

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This entry was posted on Sunday, September 4th, 2011 at 1:20 pm and is filed under Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

17 Comments:

  1. :) very nice
    hope you add a save fleet configuration.
    So that we can replay missions without needing to refit them every time

    by Letsparty
  2. Oh, absolutely – wouldn’t want you to have to do that – in fact, that’s already implemented :)

    by Alex
  3. So awesome. Looks very clear and logical.

    by SeaBee
  4. Nice! Does the custom mission interface come in this release too? If so, that would greatly increase testing efficiency!

    by Avan
  5. And look what else is there! Officer tab, cargo tab and an outpost tab… :)

    The interface actually looks quite good for WIP.

    by Tubs
  6. Hell yes! I love it so far. Can’t wait to tool around in it mang!

    by Trylobot
  7. Your aesthetic grasp of menus and information display never ceases to amaze.

    by Horrigan
  8. Thanks guys! Glad you like how it’s coming along :)

    @Avan: Yeah, custom battles are planned for this release too.

    by Alex
  9. I like it, and it looks damn impressive, but I’m concerned about the ordnance points. Is there a believable in game reason for that?

    Sometimes games use these point systems as an easier way to create balance, but often times it seems more like a crutch- it’s easier to implement artificial constraints rather than create a weapon system that encourages gun diversity between weapon mounts. Not saying your system is like that, the weapons I’ve seen so far seem fairly unique, just a concern.

    I’m looking forward to messing around with it, great work.

    by Travis
  10. The tradeoff between using more hull mods and installing better weapons is the key aspect of the ordnance point system. It also increases the usefulness of lower-quality weapons – which I think is a very good thing, as it should make the game more interesting in the long run.

    If you have any kind of progression in weapons – i.e., if several fill the same role and some are better than others – you need to have some constraints to prevent the end-game from being reduced to the exclusive use of the best guns of every type. Still, we have plenty of different types of weapons, with short progressions within each type – the emphasis is definitely on variety, not having an endless series of guns that are each incrementally better than the last. Even weapons within a loose progression often have some key differences from their inferior predecessor.

    An in-fiction explanation for ordnance points is that they reflect the capacity of the ship to handle various types of equipment (weapons & mods). As the word “points” indicates, it’s a high level abstraction that includes the ship handling things like weight/space, recoil, heat generation, secured magazine storage, crew requirements for maintenance and operation, and just about anything else you can think of.

    by Alex
  11. Well, consider my concern eliminated. Sounds like you’ve really thought it through, awesome.

    by Travis
  12. Nice job!

    I was thinking it would be interesting if the amount of ordnance points would affect the amount of fleet points the ship will cost (Could be wrong on the name. I’m talking about the thing that limits the amount of ships you can have at once).

    Of course that’s just my idea.

    by misterjscape
  13. I’m loving the game at the moment, and i’m loving where its heading! Keep up the amazing work!

    by Coxy
  14. Just a minor thing, but will ships be nameable?

    Also, when there ships are designated as ‘elite’ etc, does this come down to a factor of loadout, crews, or the ship hull itself?

    by Interviglium
  15. @misterjscape: It’s an interesting idea. I don’t like the thought of encouraging weaker loadouts, though – and making the ordnance and fleet points interdependent seems like it would cause balancing trouble down the line.

    @Interviglium: Yeah, you’ll be able to rename ships in the full campaign, but not in the missions. As far as “Elite”, that’s just the name of that particular variant, which includes weapons/modes/etc – crew will be handled separately.

    by Alex
  16. I can see that it would have some issues.

    I was also wondering, the sandbox mode, is it going to be sort of like Mount & Blade?

    by misterjscape
  17. That’s a pretty reasonable way to characterize the sandbox, yeah. Obviously it’ll be different but that’s a good point of reference :)

    by Alex