Something that went in yesterday, but I haven’t put final data in for, is bonuses for individual ships. The actual ship designs are handled by the player (although the game ships with one sample design for each hull), based upon a range of ship ‘hull’s which determine how the ship physically looks, it’s size and base cost and base power production.
The thing is, given that frigates are roughly the same size as each other, I need reasons that a player picks frigate hull A instead of B, etc. So that is where ship bonuses come in. There are currently five different bonus types, Shields, Armour, Integrity, Speed and Power. So if a ship has a 20% power bonus, any power plant modules on that ship produce 20% more power. The Integrity bonus increases the hit points of every module on the ship.
This system us augmented by additional ‘racial’ bonuses which I’m applying to every hull in a fleet, so all the Alliance ships are getting a 10% armour bonus, for example. Hopefully this means that the different races will tend to use different tactics, and play to different strengths.
The individual ship bonuses will encourage the player to pick specific ships for a task, so one frigate might have a big power bonus, and thus be a good choice for beam lasers. Another might have a speed bonus, and thus be more use for flying out first to intercept the first wave of enemies, and so on. It also means that a player who prefers armour over shields will tend to pick specific hulls within a fleet. In theory, it also means that when you see the enemy fleet coming, you might eventually get a feel for which what strategy he has gone with by looking at the ship choice (you can’t see the module load-out of enemy ships during battle).
This is the current theory and hope anyway, I haven’t spent enough time configuring fleets and playing full battles yet to get it all tweaked.