Warp Points, Take 3

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Re: Warp Points, Take 3

Postby Cralis on Sun 17 Feb 2013 13:22

Crucis wrote:And it's not uncommon for some people to dislike WP capacities preventing movement and choosing to not use WP capacities. Which is why I wonder if they're worth the trouble.


Wait wait wait... let me change the viewpoint here slightly and see if you agree or not. Two viewpoints.

First, do WP capacities add a meaningful choice for the player to make?

I think so. Your choice is to try and find a way assault a WP with limit ship sizes or find another way around. Each has advantages and disadvantages (mostly in cost vs. time IMHO).

Second, are you saying that because some players don't want to have to make a difficult choice, they like to mod it out of the game?

Really? Is that the criteria you want for the game? Whether or not players are going to remove it because it means that have to make a hard choice?
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Re: Warp Points, Take 3

Postby Crucis on Sun 17 Feb 2013 17:02

Vandervecken wrote:Variety is the spice of life. I hope that if Crucis goes with a unlimited WP capacity system for Cosmic; that he would have an optional/alternate set of rules that did include some version of WP capacity as well.

My 8th thru 10th (Current) version of my own 4X space empire rules use a just about unlimited WP (Jump Point in my game) capacity system. In it, over 1,000 of the largest class vessels could transfer over. Note that the maint. alone for that many vessels is larger than the Gross income of any empire I have play-tested. But now for my 'Three Empires' campaign using Solar, I'm using my own variant WP rules that restrict WP movement even slight more than the regular rules. I like that. I like having something different about each campaign I do. Each campaign has its own challenges and WP assaults in this one could be an issue later in the campaign. If it does stagnate badly, the empires will stumble on either WP stretching tech and/or Gate tech (I haven't made up my mind 100% if both might be available) but if you read the opening story thread for the (6-8x2) Hive race, you have an idea. Like a roleplaying GM, if you give your players/empires a problem, you need to allow them one or more ways to work around it. It's OK for them to suffer a bit, the universe isn't "FAIR". But later, if the problem continues to persists and seems to be hurting the campaign flow, let them find a way to overcome it (WP stretchers or Jump Gates are just 2 ideas).

But back to the main topic. For different campaigns, I like both having no WP cross-over limit rules to choose from (or something close) and rules for WP's that have limits. This won't help you tighten the rules up but in the best of worlds, give me a rule variant for for both stringent and relaxed limits. I beg all designers to please let me have choices so I can "season my campaign to fit my current taste". Yet I know for practical purposes, the choices I sometimes crave will have to go down as "House Rules" that possibly can be annotated on an online Forum for others to mull over.


Vandervecken, if I choose to have no WP Capacity variety, I think that's somewhat likely that I might just choose to have a universal max capacity of either 300 or 500 hs, just to avoid mega-ships from using WPs.

However, I understand your position. You like having options. And as I well know, different people have different tastes for just about everything in this game. Me personally, I tend towards a somewhat more simplistic view of most things in the game, generally a little simpler than is the case in the Ultra and Solar rules. And due to a certain enjoyment of astronomy, I do tend to like a greater level of detail in the sysgen rules than in other areas, though at times it also seems like a siren song trying to seduce me into levels of complexity that I really would prefer to avoid.

House Rules vs. Optional Rules: I think that a lot here depends on just how complex the optional rules really are vs what they add to the game. Different people will judge the balance of those two things much differently. Using sysgen as a familiar example, some people (you, for example) are willing to accept greater levels of complexity to gain the increased detail and realism that increases their enjoyment of the game. But there are other players who don't get any particular enjoyment from increased sysgen details and probably see it as an increased burden. And then there's the question of how much does this or that optional rule increase page count. Taken to an obviously ridiculous extreme, one could probably add options for almost everything in the game, and end up with a rules set that was a thousand pages long. But on a more reasonable level, I think that one has to try and find a balance. Also, there's the option of doing the optional rules as a separate product from the basic rules to try to keep the page count of the basic rules down. I realize that some people will wonder why page count matters in an electronic document. It's not really about the size of the PDF file so much as it is about overloading the players with too much information. Also, there are some players who might want to purchase a printed version. Making at least a passing effort at not letting page count get out of control seems like a good idea to me, though I'm also fairly sure that some might prefer a shorter, leaner product than others.

Anyways, that's all I have for now. Thanks for your input Vandervecken.
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Re: Warp Points, Take 3

Postby Crucis on Sun 17 Feb 2013 17:33

Cralis wrote:
Crucis wrote:And it's not uncommon for some people to dislike WP capacities preventing movement and choosing to not use WP capacities. Which is why I wonder if they're worth the trouble.


Wait wait wait... let me change the viewpoint here slightly and see if you agree or not. Two viewpoints.

First, do WP capacities add a meaningful choice for the player to make?

I think so. Your choice is to try and find a way assault a WP with limit ship sizes or find another way around. Each has advantages and disadvantages (mostly in cost vs. time IMHO).


I think that it adds more to Ultra and Solar than it does to Classic because regardless of your EL/SL, in USF/SSF, WP capacities affect things. However, my best read is that hardcore Classic players don't like how Ultra managed to do this with the use of the TSA rules, etc. and find it too complex for their taste. I personally agree with them, but to each their own. I'm not looking to start an argument over it.

Furthermore, as I've said repeatedly, in the Canonical History's novels, from CRUSADE up thru INSURRECTION there's not a single instance that I can recall where a WP with a low capacity affected any navy's actions. Only in EXODUS and EXTREMIS did this occur and only because it was a critical plot element. It wasn't some random small WP blocking some monitors from reaching the front. It was lots of WP's not being large enough for the Terran Republic's new Devastators and Super-Devastator hull types, which necessitated the creation of a technology in the story to dredge WP's to be sufficiently large for them. This wasn't a case of low capacity WP's forcing a navy to just deal with it. This was more a case of the writer wanting to introduce a new larger type of hull to combat the Arduan mega-ships and then creating the tech to allow it to happen. Not exactly deus ex machina, but definitely some intervention by the author.



Second, are you saying that because some players don't want to have to make a difficult choice, they like to mod it out of the game?


Clearly, the answer to this question is yes. Some have said that they remove WP capacities from the game, while other use soft capacities and multi-impulse transits. But in either case, they are definitely modding the game because they don't like playing the game with hard WP capacity limits.



Really? Is that the criteria you want for the game? Whether or not players are going to remove it because it means that have to make a hard choice?


Funny. Some people might call it responding to one's customers. ;)

But I'd go so far as to say "what hard choices?". Those supposed hard choices are rare in Classic. They don't exist at all prior to the development of the 130 hs SD hull type, and even then, it's only about 13% of all WP's. And then it only increases to about 20% when 200 hs monitors appear. And then about 26-27% when 300 hs supermonitors appear. But how many campaigns reach those TL's sufficiently high for MT's and SMT's to be available? Probably not all that many. So I tend to look at the 130 hs SD and the 13% number as being the most important number, since that will be the standard up until TL11 when MT's become available.


I also have to say that for me personally, WP capacity rules never did much for me. I played 1E and 2E campaigns without WP capacities and was perfectly content doing so, and tended to see WP capacities as an annoyance more than anything else. I'm sure that others disagree, but I have to admit that I am rather old school when it comes to WP capacities. And if I find ISF's WP capacities mostly annoying, imagine how I feel about Ultra's WP capacities. ;)

Anyways, that's all I have for now... Thanks for the input!
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Re: Warp Points, Take 3

Postby Cralis on Sun 17 Feb 2013 18:40

Crucis wrote:
Cralis wrote:First, do WP capacities add a meaningful choice for the player to make?

I think so. Your choice is to try and find a way assault a WP with limit ship sizes or find another way around. Each has advantages and disadvantages (mostly in cost vs. time IMHO).


I think that it adds more to Ultra and Solar than it does to Classic because regardless of your EL/SL, in USF/SSF, WP capacities affect things. However, my best read is that hardcore Classic players don't like how Ultra managed to do this with the use of the TSA rules, etc. and find it too complex for their taste. I personally agree with them, but to each their own. I'm not looking to start an argument over it.


I didn't bring up Ultra or Solar either, because I believe that it does add a strategic aspect to Classic Starfire. I did, after all, play Classic Starfire for 4+ years before I started helping Marvin with Galactic Starfire. That is why I'm approaching your Classic Starfire-based conversation purely from a Classic Starfire view :)

Furthermore, as I've said repeatedly, in the Canonical History's novels, from CRUSADE up thru INSURRECTION there's not a single instance that I can recall where a WP with a low capacity affected any navy's actions.


I know for a FACT that I mentioned that it did in the novel for Crusade (I don't think that it was mentioned in the scenario book). The Larame-Blackfoot WP was 180 HS sized and that is why Blackfoot was the last population saved, because they couldn't send the largest ships through the WP to assault the system.

Only in EXODUS and EXTREMIS did this occur and only because it was a critical plot element. It wasn't some random small WP blocking some monitors from reaching the front. It was lots of WP's not being large enough for the Terran Republic's new Devastators and Super-Devastator hull types, which necessitated the creation of a technology in the story to dredge WP's to be sufficiently large for them. This wasn't a case of low capacity WP's forcing a navy to just deal with it. This was more a case of the writer wanting to introduce a new larger type of hull to combat the Arduan mega-ships and then creating the tech to allow it to happen. Not exactly deus ex machina, but definitely some intervention by the author.


While possible, I do believe that Steve has mentioned that some of the technologies and stuff had been thought of quite a long time before he wrote the book.

Really? Is that the criteria you want for the game? Whether or not players are going to remove it because it means that have to make a hard choice?


Funny. Some people might call it responding to one's customers. ;)


It is a little different with a game. In a game you want to have choices for your players, otherwise the game gets boring. Starfire has one cool quality in that there are soooo many choices we could easily cull a quarter of them and still have a great game, but I don't use that as a criteria for whether or not a particular design element should be kept or added. That's just me though :)

But I'd go so far as to say "what hard choices?". Those supposed hard choices are rare in Classic.


Isn't that what you want? It SHOULD be a rare choice early on because otherwise you limit your players when they are in the prime growth stages of the game. Later, after they've grown a bit, having the larger ships get more limited is not quite the detriment that it would be early in the game.

They don't exist at all prior to the development of the 130 hs SD hull type, and even then, it's only about 13% of all WP's. And then it only increases to about 20% when 200 hs monitors appear. And then about 26-27% when 300 hs supermonitors appear. But how many campaigns reach those TL's sufficiently high for MT's and SMT's to be available? Probably not all that many. So I tend to look at the 130 hs SD and the 13% number as being the most important number, since that will be the standard up until TL11 when MT's become available.


And I have said before ... as far back as 1997-1998 ...that I thought this was a mistake. It should have been metered so scale with ship growth. But that was not my decision to make then, and not one I'm going to make now. It's your show :)

I also have to say that for me personally, WP capacity rules never did much for me. I played 1E and 2E campaigns without WP capacities and was perfectly content doing so, and tended to see WP capacities as an annoyance more than anything else. I'm sure that others disagree, but I have to admit that I am rather old school when it comes to WP capacities. And if I find ISF's WP capacities mostly annoying, imagine how I feel about Ultra's WP capacities. ;)


At least Ultra doesn't eat your ships when you transit a "too small" WP on the initial survey probe :) But it does bring its own set of problems and tactics. But as I said before, I wasn't trying to compare the two.

When I ran a couple campaigns back in the '90s I actually changed the WP capacities so there were 50, 100, 120, and 150 HS capacities. I think everything under 200 HS only accounted for ~20% of all WP, so they were more common than they are in the rules as written.
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Re: Warp Points, Take 3

Postby AlexeiTimoshenko on Sun 17 Feb 2013 19:06

It's been a couple of weeks since I've had a chance to post due to work/flu, but I have a few thoughts on the wp subject.

1) Prior to 3rd/ISF fixed wp defenses were somewhat limited. Bases were fairly small and the only AP were MF. Attrition warfare required tying up mobile hulls.

2) as Crucis says, in all canon from pre ISW-1 to Insurrection, wp capacity had no effect on combat. Most campaigns that I played in never made it to SD's let alone MT's or larger.

3) I'm not sure quite how to work it, but I think wp visibility could be tied to stellar class. For example, a Blue Giant (Rigel?) with it's stronger stellar wind would produce more particle interactions than a Red Dwarf. Those paticle interactions would in theory make it easier to find wp's in a system with a more massive primary. I'm not advocating tweaking the number of wp's in a system, just how easy/hard they are to find.
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Re: Warp Points, Take 3

Postby AlexeiTimoshenko on Sun 17 Feb 2013 19:27

Cralis wrote:I know for a FACT that I mentioned that it did in the novel for Crusade (I don't think that it was mentioned in the scenario book). The Larame-Blackfoot WP was 180 HS sized and that is why Blackfoot was the last population saved, because they couldn't send the largest ships through the WP to assault the system.


There were no TFN ships larger than 130 HS in Crusade. The type 11 wp issue my have affected some of the Star Union's choices towards the end of ISW-4.
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Re: Warp Points, Take 3

Postby Crucis on Sun 17 Feb 2013 21:11

AlexeiTimoshenko wrote:
Cralis wrote:I know for a FACT that I mentioned that it did in the novel for Crusade (I don't think that it was mentioned in the scenario book). The Larame-Blackfoot WP was 180 HS sized and that is why Blackfoot was the last population saved, because they couldn't send the largest ships through the WP to assault the system.


There were no TFN ships larger than 130 HS in Crusade. The type 11 wp issue my have affected some of the Star Union's choices towards the end of ISW-4.


I just got done checking my copy of the Crusade scenario module. There were two 180 hs WP's of note in the Theban War area; the Larame-Blackfoot WP and the QR107-Parsifal WP. And the only 100 hs WP in the region led to the Siebold system, which was a dead-end red dwarf system with no habitable planets and no populations.

So, since the largest ships used in the Theban War were SD's, clearly WP capacities didn't have any effect on any ship movements during that conflict.
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Re: Warp Points, Take 3

Postby Crucis on Sun 17 Feb 2013 21:25

AlexeiTimoshenko wrote:It's been a couple of weeks since I've had a chance to post due to work/flu, but I have a few thoughts on the wp subject.

1) Prior to 3rd/ISF fixed wp defenses were somewhat limited. Bases were fairly small and the only AP were MF. Attrition warfare required tying up mobile hulls.


IIRC, the bases that existed in the game prior to 3E went up to BS4, which is roughly similar in size to a SD, which also happened to be the largest hull type pre-3E. Of course, it's also worth noting that pre-3E, Starfire was still a fairly immature game by comparison.


2) as Crucis says, in all canon from pre ISW-1 to Insurrection, wp capacity had no effect on combat. Most campaigns that I played in never made it to SD's let alone MT's or larger.


And the underlying point in this observation is that if WP capacities really have NO effect prior to SD's and very little effect with SD's, SDH's, and MT's (which cover all the TL's up to TL11), is the supposed loss all that great here? It doesn't seem that way to me, but opinions vary.


3) I'm not sure quite how to work it, but I think wp visibility could be tied to stellar class. For example, a Blue Giant (Rigel?) with it's stronger stellar wind would produce more particle interactions than a Red Dwarf. Those particle interactions would in theory make it easier to find wp's in a system with a more massive primary. I'm not advocating tweaking the number of wp's in a system, just how easy/hard they are to find.


It's possible. But the extreme case I've come to use to test these ideas that stars affect WPs in some way is to test the idea when the system has no star, i.e. is a starless nexus.

For example, if WP's are larger and more visible the further away from its star a WP is and conversely WP's are smaller and less visible the closer they are, does this mean that all WP's in starless nexuses are large and open because there's no star in the vicinity? Canonical systems clearly say no (think Shanak).

I've kind of come to the conclusion that the simplest way to avoid the apparent contradictions that starless nexuses create is to assume that stars have no effect on any WP characteristic other than the # of WP's present in a system.
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Re: Warp Points, Take 3

Postby Crucis on Wed 20 Feb 2013 15:49

Just a minor point here regarding capacities and hard vs. soft limits (i.e. allowing multi-impulse transits)...

It seems to me that using soft capacity limits is sort of trying to have one's cake and eating it too. That is, you get to say that you're using WP capacities, but they don't really prevent any ship from going wherever it wants to go. The only limitation that soft limits creates is that they slow up WP transits when over-capacity starships use the WP.

In normal use, this "limitation" goes unnoticed because a few impulses lost here and there during an uncontested strategic movement. It's only really a noticeable limitation in a WP assault, where over-capacity starships will disrupt the WP for a number of extra impulses, depending on just how much over the capacity said ship is. And with the range of WP capacities present in ISF, only 100 hs WP's (and perhaps 180 hs WP's in a highish TL campaign) are ever really likely to have their capacities exceeded by a larger hull type (i.e. SD's, which would only disrupt the WP for a single extra impulse).

I think that if one likes and wants to use WP capacities, one has to ask one's self what you want out of it.

If one likes hard limits, well, those are obviously the most limiting of all and IMO most favor the defender once the larger (than BB) hull types start becoming available.

But when I think about combining the ISF WP capacity range (i.e. 100-500 hs) with soft limits, it just seems like it's saying that "I don't like WP's preventing me from going where I want to go, but I still want something from WP capacities". However, the combination just doesn't seem to provide much to the game, since only about 20% of WP's are ever like to ever require a multi-impulse transit.

It then seems to me that if one likes the effect of over-capacity transits without blocking ships from going wherever they choose to go, then perhaps you should be using a lower WP capacity range than is used in ISF, though not necessarily the range used in Ultra/Solar, which is so low that it's clearly intended to be used with the TSA concept. Maybe a range somewhere between 50 or so HS to around 200 or 300 HS might work, since this might mean that over-capacity transits would be more common (depending on the relative frequency of the sizes). Obviously, a WP capacity range of 50-200 HS is thoroughly non-canonical, but it does seem as if it would be playable without going to the extreme of requiring a TSA-like process. Depending on how common sub-100 hs WP's were, it seems like it'd make multi-impulse transits more common and more of a factor in WP assaults.

Now in all honesty, I find that having no WP capacities whatsoever is my strong (and very old school) preference. However, if one likes WP capacities combined with multi-impulse transits, then a smaller capacity range seems to be a better and more interesting alternative than the old ISF capacity range. (I'll try to up with a potential table of WP capacities for a 50 to 200 hs range later today...)


I see now that my "just a minor point" post turned into a moderate tome... Oh well. :mrgreen:
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Re: Warp Points, Take 3

Postby AlexeiTimoshenko on Wed 20 Feb 2013 18:38

Crucis wrote:Now in all honesty, I find that having no WP capacities whatsoever is my strong (and very old school) preference. However, if one likes WP capacities combined with multi-impulse transits, then a smaller capacity range seems to be a better and more interesting alternative than the old ISF capacity range. (I'll try to up with a potential table of WP capacities for a 50 to 200 hs range later today...)


I think part of the old school players perspective is that given that ships were unlikely to exceed a wp's capacity, such cap's were just a curiosity. Think of it this way. If a race can only build 60 HS CA's and hasn't encountered another race with bigger ships, they most likely going to treat variable wp size as an oddity to be filed for the eggheads back home to figure out.
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