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An Idea to rebalance Max Speed without breaking everything

Discussion in 'Balancing' started by Sid_raptor, Sep 23, 2017.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. Sid_raptor Trainee Engineer

    Ok, I understand why the speed limit is in place. Going too fast breaks the game. That made me realise, it is kind of the same IRL too, going too fast and approaching the speed of light kinda breaks physics. So I am not telling you to increase the speed limit to some ungodly figure. But there are other ways around this.

    The question we need to look at is why players want a higher max speed. It is not really about going somewhere fast as Jump drives can pretty much take you anywhere you want to go. The core of the problem is that no matter how awesome your attack fighter craft is, It is the same speed as a bulky cargo freighter.

    With enough gyros, a cargo freighter can turn just as well as a fighter. so that leave the cargo ship with only one disadvantage, and that is its size and it is a bigger target. But bigger Target means more armor. Bottom line is that is sort of how ships tend to balance out.

    But what if there were another way?

    Step 1: Marginally increase max speed. Somewhere between 150-200 at most.

    Step 2: Any ship travelling more than 99 will require exponentially more power to push against the speed limit, Just like approaching the speed of light. The engines will start to draw more power/hydrogen and keep increasing this rate as you go faster. (This can also be done by simulating relatavistic mass increase?)

    Step 3: Ships in atmospheres will still be limited to the regular max speed. There should be advantages of going into orbit to get somewhere faster.

    So basically, a small fighter will be able to go fairly fast but it will need more and more power as it pushes against the speed limit. So a fast ship will be a ship that has the ability to generate a huge amount of power and has the engines to match. This will force players to come up with more creative designs to work around this problem. Also there will be huge differences in performances of ships so a fighter may easily be able to chase down a convoy or freighters if it has the required power. But that will mean more reactors and will result in larger more complex fighters that need better protection on those reactors etc.

    I think this will solve one of the core problems with max speed, which is that the speeds of ships will be entirely dependent on their designs.
    • Disagree Disagree x 4
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. Bumber Senior Engineer

    I don't think that is the issue at all. Better craft are more maneuverable. It doesn't matter that you can spin around with gyros if you don't have adequate thrust. You're just going to be flying backwards until your thrusters can counteract your inertia.

    The problem is stuff like not being able to move fast enough to maintain an orbit around a planet. Time required to locate a source of ice on a planet. Warp drive instant teleportation being an unsatisfying, blind method of travel.
  3. Sinbad Senior Engineer

    ten tons or a thousand, both can have 40ms/s acceleration in six directions. both can be made to turn rapidly.
    both will end up with most of their mass being taken up by reactors, thrusters and gyros.
    but with even just 10% of the ships mass able to be put into payload (in a warship payload is weapons/armor) the 10 ton ship has only 1 ton worth of weapons/armor, the 1000 ton ship has 100 tons of weapons and armor. sure the lightweight fighter might score a few hits, but the capital ship 'fighter' won't miss one or two of it's wall of fixed missile launchers while throwing a wall of explosives at the fighter. big ships win.

    there is no reason for spacecraft to have a mass related speed disparity if properly engineered.
    in ww2 it made sense to strafe a destroyer with a fighter bomber. the plane was ten times faster, and if it was close its radial velocity was higher than the tracking speed of AAA guns.
    we don't do that any more because weapons evolved beyond it. we send missiles now instead, and try to intercept them with weapons that react faster than humans can follow. we just upped the speed of everything.
    the dynamic of small things topping out at a higher speed for the same power to weight ratio is only valid when the craft is traveling through a medium that provides a counter force to high speeds. namely: friction. smaller cross sections mean less friction, so more speed before accelleration = drag and speed caps out.
    thats not an issue in space so if the twr is the same, the ships are equally matched.
    the point is that attacking a capital ship in space with a space fighter is nonsense. the firepower a fighter scale craft can bring to bear on an equally manouverable capital ship won't be enough to harm the capital ship. meanwhile, the capital ship can bring enough firepower to saturate the fighters vector with ordinance, tracking speed be damned, and it only needs one or two hits.

    sure there are times when you are not attacking a warship. but consider a thousand ton freighter with only 10% of its mass put into manouvering systems. reason stands its much less nimble than the fighter. but it can still sacrifice another 10% of its mass or more to weapons and armor and still have more than 50% of its mass as cargo mass. that makes for a slow freighter hauling 500-800 tons of cargo, with 100-400 tons of weapons and armor. whats a pirate fighter to do against that?
    the only time a small ship makes sense is when it doesn't have to confront overwhelming firepower and armor. scouts, prospectors, people movers, trans-atmospheric transports and maybe anti-personel platforms are all that make sense. stuff thats never intended to go head to head with a capital ship.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. PLPM Junior Engineer

    I`d rather have a fun and maleable SE combat experience than a realistic macross missile massacre with speeds too fast to follow and potentially just looking at a radar screen.
    • Disagree Disagree x 2
  5. Sea_Kerman Trainee Engineer

    Unfortunately, the square-cube law applies. a ship 2x as large has 8x the mass but only 4x the area for thrusters, so it will be more sluggish, no matter what you do.
  6. Sinbad Senior Engineer

    it also has enough volume for internal thrusters as well as external ones. the square cube law is also a good point here, but it relates more to geometry than overall mass. its a good justification for death cubes as a lower percentage of total mass is required for the same armour thickness compared to a smaller cube. if we could build nice spheres that would be the ideal ship shape, the cube is the closest we can manage (maybe a cube with cut corners). the farther the shape gets from being spherical, the less efficiently its using its surface area.
    but that means that for armour 10 layers thick a 100x100x100 ship has 80x80x80 (512,000, or ~51% of its volume) blocks of internal space to put thrusters, reactors and all the stuff that makes a ship actualy work. a 50x50x50 ship only has 30x30x30 (27,000 or ~22% of its volume) to work with, which means about half the potential twr as the larger one for the same level of armour protection. the larger ship, especialy with a geometry that maximises returns on the cube square rule, wins.
  7. Bumber Senior Engineer

    Square-cube doesn't apply if the cube is hollow. It's really just 6 (two-sided) squares put together, which contains less mass than any solid 3D shape.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
  8. Sea_Kerman Trainee Engineer

    How are you going to use internal volume for thrusters? Unless you are doing really cheaty things, thrusters need a place for the exhaust to go, and that depends on the surface area.
  9. Sinbad Senior Engineer

    its a game. thruster damage isn't infinate range. leave a gap, then put in some more thrusters pointing the other way. use that gap twice or more if you can.
  10. Cursedth Apprentice Engineer

    I have my Large ship speeds set about 2.5 times more then Small ship speeds.

    Small ship might be more agile and accelerate faster, but Large ships can ultimately out run them as they 'have' more power and endurance.
  11. Malware Master Engineer

    That's cheating in my book. Thruster damage should be much, much bigger. Enough to prevent reasonably sized ships from having internal thrusters.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  12. TenshouYoku Apprentice Engineer

    From a Youtube video I watched before the game starts breaking up when you travel at really high speeds, which is.....probably higher than 8000 m/s. Sure, it's single player which means much less stuff to calculate and probably to stream, but this also means there is much more to allow room for speeding.

    The problem about fighters feels so massively underpowered is exactly because they probably could accelerate much quicker at the fraction of cost compared to big ships, but in the meantime the really low speed limit makes chasing or juking around a big ship a chore as you probably could take ages to catch up to a cargo hauler provided it's far enough, especially when you can't jump drive like big grid ships. And game turrets have unholy aim.

    I agree using fighters against big ships weren't a good idea in general anyway, but you cannot nerf turrets to oblivion just for the sake of making fighters stronger. If speed is a bit higher in SE (let's say, 300 or 500) it probably would make fighters that have a stronger emphasis in acceleration much more prominent and important as this makes them harder to hit, instead of having to cope with the limit of 100.
  13. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    Small ships also have small fuel supply. My mothership can't outrun a fighter, but it can outlast one. Once we both hit top speed I can then begin random maneuvers, forcing the fighter to keep the power on if they want to keep up, with no chance to just drift. Once they run out of fuel I can decide how I want to dispose of it.
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  14. Levits Senior Engineer

    It's been forever since I've been back here; Haven't sat down to play SE for a good while either... But one thing that still gets to me is the lack of customization for things. One very specific one being thrusters.

    I'm past the point of expecting any additions to the game, but they could at least have allowed people to increase thruster scale and output by allowing modules to connect to them. Instead of building walls of thrusters or stacking them internally (which I myself have decided is the only appropriate means of mimicking what would have been internal space for the entire thruster from the beginning), instead of having to rely on gravity drives, they could have simply given us nozzles and then added modules to fill the rest of the ships internal space in, in a more balanced way.

    Max speed isn't changing, I'm not sure that there's anything new coming that will rope me back into building anything, but they could at least have let us do a bit more than stacking the same thrusters anywhere and everywhere we can fit them.

    No real reason to argue that, but I'd see a problem with that scenario if that enemy fighter is setup with solar panels and ions as primary propulsion. Only real limiting factor for it would be oxygen as small ships lack the solar-oxygen generator and (given enough time) would eventually run out of ice... in about half a century.

    Another one of those things that SE simply hasn't or can't address is that of "catching" prey. It is either staged events or their target is AFK (or not at the helm). I don't think that there was ever any situation where a strike craft or large ship has ever managed to successfully "chase down" or intercept an alerted ship without their target being unable to escape. Just about every video I'd ever seen of PvP'ers has been when someone stubbles upon a ship or station just sitting still; can't think of any video or story of them successfully capturing one in motion or being controlled.
  15. Elfi Wolfe Apprentice Engineer

    The speed limit is due to the physics engine. as you go above the limit, collision and other stuff start to break.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
  16. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    I've got ions and solar panels, too ;)

    Well, since my ship is very large, I'm not going to go around chasing anybody, so most my strategies are defensive. I'm getting the vibe here, though, that people would like it if small ships could outrun large ships, much like your character can outrun either one. I think the deal is that the game originally only had one grid size, what we now call "small". Players demanded larger blocks to build bigger things without using a lot of blocks. Keen obliged but never made any distinction between small and large grids when it came to speed limits. I guess, like so many things, they just saw no need ("why would you want to do that?"). There are speed mods galore out there that can apparently let you tailor ship speeds to your liking. Given the vastness of the "battlefield", though, surprise attacks are difficult and jump drives are in the game as well. You're not likely to catch someone unless they're either not paying attention or want to be caught.
  17. Dax23333 Junior Engineer

    I get the impression that small outrunning large because is small ships are veiwed as more nimble, but each ship can have a different acelleration that can be calculated from the amount of thrusters it has. I'm not sure it'd feel right to have my tiny underthrusted and overladen miner being able to outrun any large grid ship that may be chasing me. I think it'd be much better to tie it to accelleration, so a ship with not many thrusters might do 100.5m/s max, but a ship with loads of thrusters would do 110m/s and so it would be worth making the faster ship.

    Related, I don't think you can rebalance something like this which I doubt has been looked at for how it impacts gameplay very much if at all. But it could be used as a kind of handwavey way to make fast ships faster and slow ships slower, even if only by a few m/s.
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