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Friday, November 4, 2011


One person commented asking if the ships will have transport pods. My original answer was no. But on further thought, I realized that it'd be hard to balance if you can instantly create transports and send them off anywhere. If you see an incoming fleet, you can pack up and leave in an instant. Or you can easily colonize every planet in your region by sending 1 pop to each planet.

So I'm thinking of scrapping the "transport ship" idea, and adding transport pods to ships, so it'd require you to have ships to carry people. Each pod takes up a lot of space, and have a limit on how many people it can hold. New technologies will give you new transport pods that can store more people, or reduce the space usage, or other improvements.

Then the artwork originally planned for the transport ship will be your race's "Ultimate" ship (they're 256x256 pixels).

While this may add a bit more management, it'd help balance the game. The starting fleet will consist of two scouts and one transport ship (a large ship that has all the space used for a transport pod). Or if you're a space race, two scouts and two "motherships" that generates output.

Any feedback on this idea? I haven't started on this yet, so would like to hear your opinions before I commit to it.


  1. What kind of transports? MoO1 style that move population AND are used in invasions, or MoO2 style that just move population?

  2. There are no "colony pods" in this game, only transports. Transports can be used to colonize a new planet, add population to an already owned planet, or invade foreign owned planets.

  3. So that would mean that a transport ship would, or would not be used up in colonizing a new planet? If they aren't used up, then you could still use them to quickly colonize all the planets in a system. This is slightly better than having transports for free, but it still allows very quick colonization.

    If they are used up, then they're essentially colony ships that have multiple possible purposes. I think that's a fine plan.

  4. That brings up a good point. Transport pods have limitations on how many people they can transport as well. Perhaps it could "use up" a ship when colonizing a planet (using the ship for starting infrastructure or whatever reason the ship is "used up"), but the ship isn't used up when transporting people to an already inhabited planet (either invading or otherwise)? So it'd be easy to move people around, but not as easy colonizing planets.

    This is of course subject to balance and feedback.

  5. Well it might kinda suck to lose your stardestroyer style transport/warship for colonizing (Although this might be just punishment for putting such an expensive ship to such a silly use).

    It would also however and inevitably insist on colony ships being small, seen as 3 one pod transports can colonize 3 worlds and 1 3 pod ship can only colonize one. A triple pod ship would only be a better colonizer in the situation that the ship isn't used up. As it'll have 3 units of population aboard to do that 'colony rush' thing without needing to return home each time. So not having the ship used up rewards investment in bigger colonizers.

    That being said I like the idea of transport modules. I just think we a different way of balancing colonies than 'you lose the ship'.

    -Warped Realities

  6. You bring up good points. Perhaps an better approach than losing the entire ship is to lose the transport pod? The transport pod would "separate" from the ship and land on the planet, thereby using it up. It will separate in all three situations (colonizing, invading, or merely moving population)

    Then you will need to refit the ship with a new pod in order to use it as a transport again.

    I think I actually like that idea the best. Can't really move people around easily, and requires you to actually prepare for a ground invasion rather than just sending out 50% of your planet's population. And transports can double as fighting ships in space combat.

    It seems like the ship/population management is becoming more like MoO 2. And I'll need to add ability to refit ships. I think the biggest reason for this is the design change to treat each ship individually in space combat rather than just stacking them as originally designed, which led to cascading design changes.

    I'm even kicking around the idea of having food consumed/output be on a galactic scale, not just limited to per-planet basis. This will remove the ability to force growth of population (since when have that worked in real life?) but introduce the risk of starving planets due to blockades/inhospitable planets/overpopulation.

    However, many elements from MoO 1 will remain, such as planet management, ground invasion mechanics, spying, technology research, tech trees, etc.

  7. I think we might want to ditch it for moving population. It makes sense for a planetary invasion to be an investment (Which we're abstracting as 'it costs the pod') as you're loading up the pod with engines of death and destruction(Please tell me we get to see our choices of warmachine sprites duking it out in the background of our ground invasions, that'd make things more visually interesting). And it makes sense there to be an investment for colonizing, as you're loading up the pod with tracked houselayers and autofarmers.

    There's no such investment with moving population I don't think. But this is never going to be a true to life abstraction unless you knuckle under and implement cargo as well as population. So there's probably someone further down the realism road waving a pitchfork at me for not going far enough right now.

    -Warped Realities

  8. There actually is a benefit to moving population. Planets can support multi-racial population. So if you want super-nerd people, you can transport them to your other planets to boost their research output. Or if you want to breed super-soldiers, you move from one planet that you just either captured or were gifted to a planet that is fertile (+pop growth)

    For invasion, you will see all the people's racial sprites fighting. For example, if you have both Zero People and Humans in one troop pod, you will see both sprites in ground combat.

  9. Having multiple racial sprites fighting is nice. But so is having each race given some kinda 'big troop' sprite so even a single species invasion force is at least a little visually varied.

    Plus tanks, giant mecha, tamed godzillas and hovering cyborg death masks are cool.

    It's a purely aesthetic thing though so I suppose it can be a low priority addition.

    -Warped Realities

  10. The problem with that, art isn't free. Every new artwork that you see (new UI component like button, etc) are paid for mostly from my personal funds. To add those new sprites would be about $20 per race, something that I can't afford for something that's just for visuals. Not to mention the code changes to support the new visuals.

    I do have plans for an expanded and more deep 4X game if Beyond Beyaan prove to be successful (successful meaning I recoup all of my money that I've sunk into this project, and enough left over to pay for development of the sequel). There were a lot of features that I wanted in BB that I had to scrap so I can actually finish it. One example is ground combat that you control, similar to Imperium Galactica 1/2, with combat units that you design. Tanks, mechs, troops, etc., all would be personally designed by you, similar to how ships are designed in this game.

  11. Fair enough. I'd forgotten that you had financial constraints when it comes to art (I try making games as a one horse show, art and programming both, so i have worse arts but no financial constraints) and seen as I'm not prepared to shell out personally for it what the hey.

  12. Regarding colonizing pods and removal of them at colonization: this exactly the same as Ascendancy worked.
    My problem with that idea is that it _requires_ separate management of every single ship - including their current load of people.
    It is a further step toward a MoO2 style game - and I preferred the MoO1... :(
    Reality based argument: I can hardly imagine that such a colonizing module can be easily removed on a newly created - thus spacedock-less - colony, without rendering the ship useless.
    Why don't you create two kind of modules: one for colonizing (for the equipment) - the carrying ship could be destroyed at colony creation, and one for transporting people (in suspended animation or something)?
    Both could be required for a new colony, but not necessarily on the same ship...

  13. You mean that a "Colony Pod" will establish a colony for your empire, but with no people in it, then you need to send a ship with "Transport Pod" filled with people to the newly established colony to have it actually function? And transports pods aren't lost, only the ships with colony pods?

    Hmm, that's actually not a bad idea, and will reduce the management of ships a lot, yet balance the colonization system.

    My beef with MoO 1 colony ships is that they magically give you 1 free population when they colonize a planet. But I'm really liking that idea with colony pods, I think I might implement that instead! Glad you brought it up before I actually implemented the transport pods :)

  14. Actually I don't see much problem with the MoO1 solution either - simply imagine the same colony pod with a small transport pod included.
    In fact something similar can be done in my version - if you put transport pod and colony pod to the same ship. However this solution has some advantages - like giving the possibility of creating a colony with more than 1M people or creating an empty colony for diplomatic purposes - you can offer that to your partner.
    However this still does not solve the issue around the management of people carried with the ships - it requires you to separately manage how many colonists/invaders are on a certain ship.
    The decision of using ships for transport implies the use of separate ships instead of fleets (which is unnecessary micromanagment IMHO).
    The only way I can imagine to circumvent that is to implement some kind of transport reassign dialog for the cases when you divide your fleet into parts. BTW: you may need something like that for individual ships as well... something to transport colonists between ships.
    I would stick to the MoO1 solution in that, except one thing: creating transport could be a separate target for the ship slider.

  15. What you're saying is that instead of deciding which ship to have which people, just add up the total capacity of a fleet, then just transport people up to that capacity using one slider, and the game will automatically assign people to different ships?

    That sounds reasonable, and would reduce the hassle of selecting a ship, fill it, select another ship, fill that.

    I guess I could add a prompt when splitting a fleet if some transport are left behind while others join the new fleet, and it'd show you the two capacities of the fleets, and you assign people between the fleets. That'd reduce the micromanagement a lot.

    Is there really a need for individual ship management then with the features provided above? Would splitting one ship from the fleet using the "split prompt" as described above be sufficient as individual ship management? Or do you want to explicitly decide which kind of people go on which ships?