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Author Topic: Make boarding a real choice  (Read 22748 times)

Gothars

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Make boarding a real choice
« on: October 11, 2012, 12:29:19 PM »

EDIT 2: New Interface Screenshots on Page 4!

EDIT: Further details and clarifications on Page 2!

I think the current boarding system suffers from a major problem: it offers no relevant choice. When it was new, Alex wrote:
Quote
The “board or scrap” choice doesn’t come up all the time, but it does have a cost – the player is likely to lose marines every time they do it, so it has to be an explicit call on their part.

But this choice is not real, because the possible costs involved are negligible. You get 100 marines for 3600 credits. If you capture for example a Medusa class destroyer you are likely to lose about 10 of those marines, or 360 credits. The Medusa sells for 12000 credits! So to not attempt a boarding would almost always be the wrong choice, even if you have so few marines that they are not likely to succeed. And to have few marines is another non-choice because of the huge gap between investment and possible benefit and because many marines guarantee a 100% success rate.


So here’s my suggestion to make boarding a real choice: Presume boarding in Starfarer was executed via ship-to-ship docking, the old fashioned way. The player chooses one of his ships to perform a docking  maneuver on the target ship. The ship will then only be manned by a skeleton crew, all other space is taken by marines (provided enough are available). E.g. a Hammerhead destroyer could carry 50 marines. After docking those marines commence boarding and try to capture the target.
Your causalities and the likeliness of a positive outcome depend on the ratio of marines on the docking ship vs. remaining crew and possible modifiers like character skills, officers, marine experience or even docking ship special properties (think Valkyrie-class Troop Transport).

Possible outcomes:

- The marines successfully overwhelm the crew and the ship is captured. Possible acts of sabotage or malfunction on secondary reactors, airlocks or ammunition depots may lead to explosions on the target and thus to light damage (and crew loss) on the docking ship.

- The marines overwhelm the crew, but the heavy fighting and sabotage have damaged central systems irrevocable. The ship can only be scrapped. Light damage on the docking ship is possible due to the reasons stated above.

-The marines are to few or to weak, they have to retreat and the docking ship has to disengage. Marines have heavy causalities, light damage on the docking ship is likely. The player can make another attempt at boarding.

- The enemy crew activates the self-destruction. The marines don’t manage to defuse it in time, the ship blows up. The marines suffer heavy causalities and the docking ship is severely damaged or even destroyed (depending on relative ship sizes).

- The marines are vastly outnumbered, the enemy crew manages to overrun the airlocks and capture your boarding ship. They escape with it, there’s a new enemy fleet on the campaign screen with that stolen ship. This is only likely to happen if you try to capture f.e. a battle cruiser with a frigate.

Here's a visualization:





This way boarding would be a dangerous undertaking, and the player would really have to consider if a ship is worth the attempt. And even then there's still the choice how much he wants to invest: it is enough to send a frigate, or do you risk damage on your cruiser?

Opinions?
« Last Edit: October 13, 2012, 04:17:53 AM by Gothars »
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Alex

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Re: Make boarding a real choice
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2012, 12:42:05 PM »

Initial reaction: I like this, a lot. Will definitely keep the idea in mind.

No promises, yadda yadda yadda :)
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Thaago

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Re: Make boarding a real choice
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2012, 12:46:27 PM »

This looks really good! It would make all those pirate ships being high population vessels make sense too...

One thing that would need to be fixed for this to work is the casualties during autocomplete battles.

[Edit] Ninja'd by Alex...
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Upgradecap

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Re: Make boarding a real choice
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2012, 12:46:59 PM »

Initial reaction: I like this, a lot.

Very much the same with me, i'd like a refreshment to the boarding scene that'd not involve an entire new game or minigame :)
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Faiter119

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Re: Make boarding a real choice
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2012, 12:49:36 PM »

Great stuff! Now you cant capture a Venture or something with a few frigates. This would be great to make for some better progression in the game.

+5
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icepick37

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Re: Make boarding a real choice
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2012, 01:15:02 PM »

I dunno that you'd use an actual ship for boarding like that, haha. You'd more likely send over boarding shuttles (which is why the troop transport feels very helicopter carrier to me). Either way the points still stand. If YOU have boarding shuttles, so do they.

I feel like another (added? It does mesh with your ideas) way to do this is to make marines more precious. You definitely get that feeling with crew currently (mostly...). When you level up your crew to elite/vet levels, you REALLY don't want to lose them. But that's been suggested a million times already, haha, so I don't claim it's new, just trying to add to the discussion.
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Catra

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Re: Make boarding a real choice
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2012, 01:28:53 PM »

this style of boarding was brought up last month :|

http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=4236.msg69592#msg69592


though, +1 for fleshing it out some more.
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icepick37

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Re: Make boarding a real choice
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2012, 01:47:45 PM »

Eh, the mode of boarding doesn't really matter. This is more a thread to flesh out mechanics already in existence, not add boarding as a combat mechanic.
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Aleskander

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Re: Make boarding a real choice
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2012, 01:57:06 PM »

When would you make the decision to board the ship? It's already been shot down in another thread to have it be done in-battle. Before battle makes since, but would the target ship play a part in the battle? Do you make the choice when the battle is over, which seems kind of silly, invading a ship that's been blown apart?

It's a good idea, just not sure how it would be implemented.
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Reshy

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Re: Make boarding a real choice
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2012, 02:01:47 PM »

Great stuff! Now you cant capture a Venture or something with a few frigates. This would be great to make for some better progression in the game.

+5


You probably could however, depending on the frigate.
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Thaago

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Re: Make boarding a real choice
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2012, 02:02:58 PM »

When would you make the decision to board the ship? It's already been shot down in another thread to have it be done in-battle. Before battle makes since, but would the target ship play a part in the battle? Do you make the choice when the battle is over, which seems kind of silly, invading a ship that's been blown apart?

It's a good idea, just not sure how it would be implemented.

I had assumed it would be after the battle and just be an extension of the current system. I don't think it would be fair gameplay wise to board a ship without giving the chance to fight back.
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Aleskander

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Re: Make boarding a real choice
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2012, 02:07:11 PM »

I had figured that the ships that you could capture were the ones that weren't totally destroyed, and the ones that were un-capturabe were just junk. Is this not the case?
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Catra

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Re: Make boarding a real choice
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2012, 03:35:39 PM »

wouldn't the valkyrie make boarding trivial? ~200 Spartans SPESS MEHREENS convicts with guns being prodded forward can easily overwhelm anything that isn't a paragon / astral.

Quote
I had figured that the ships that you could capture were the ones that weren't totally destroyed, and the ones that were un-capturabe were just junk. Is this not the case?

that is indeed how it currently is.
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xenoargh

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Re: Make boarding a real choice
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2012, 03:39:38 PM »

I'd like this to be how it worked, but only if it becomes possible to deliberately leave enemy ships in a boardable state during combat.  

Otherwise it's just a profit-loss system where sometimes the dice fall in a bad way, which doesn't add much skill or fun.  

In effect, this is just the same as raising the number of Marines it takes to board (because, let's face it, if the ship that boards takes damage, you're going to go to port and repair it, in most cases), and it doesn't introduce any new skill factors that would make it a better feature.

The obvious route towards more Fun is to make it possible to make weapons that disable a target without destroying it (i.e., make a sharper division between Disabled and Destroyed).  Then boarding may be more dicey, but there's an upside on average and it becomes pretty profitable if you're skilled.  There's nothing wrong with players making lots of money via captures in the longer-term play, either; after a while, 12K for a captured ship is just going to be a drop in the bucket and players will probably have largely quit bothering anyhow.  But, for players wanting to RP Space Pirates, this and selling the cargoes is pretty core to their experience, so it needs to be profitable enough, if one specializes in this area, that one can have a pretty solid income from it.
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icepick37

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Re: Make boarding a real choice
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2012, 03:45:45 PM »

I wouldn't say that's THE way to do it as much as A way to do it.

Also you assume a lot about an economic system that doesn't even exist yet.
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