Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Supply Limits

One of the naturally occuring design conundrums with GSB is preventing there emerging any single killer strategy that always wins. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into avoiding this, both before and after releasing the game. One way to do this is the conventional Rock Paper Scissors design, where there is a counter for each weapon. But GSB introduces a new quirk, in that you can tell 100% absolutely what the enemy brings to the battle, and how they behave.

One of the best ways the game prevents killer game-killing strategies emerging is variety between battles. Because the size of maps, the spatial anomalies and the race of the enemy is different in each map, the player is (hopefully) working with different strategies on each map, having to adjust their fleet design to fit the cirumstances. In addition, financial and pilot limits also restrict the design of fleet.

And Generally… I think for the majority of the non obsessed uber-gamer, this is working ok. The problem is that although a strategy doesnt emerge that wins every battle with the same effectiveness, it is true that sometimes the best fleet turns out to be aesthetically very dull. Such as a block of 64 identical frigates all flying in formation. This isn’t what GSB is about, so I need a way to make the player design fleets that not only win, but look l33t.

Enter supply limits, which I’m working on now (in-between testing the now almost done expansion pack). The general idea is that as well as having pilot and cash limits, a scenario (or a challenge) can support arbitrary total limits for any ship component. So for example, there may only be 11 frigate engines available, and 3 plasma launchers, meaning that certain ship designs are now only deployable in small numbers. By default, every module has infinite supply, but the scenario can limit some, none or all of them.

In code terms this is nearly done, but in UI terms it will take ages :D. However, I am very very excited about seeing the effect it will have on the game, especially going onwards into its potential for user-designed scenarios. It wouldnt be a massive leap further to allow challenges with player-chosen supply limits, and take that extra step towards letting GSB players shape the nature of the competitive game.

Supply Limits: It’s the future!

6 thoughts on Supply Limits

  1. Hey, that sounds like a pretty cool feature!
    Another thing I thought of today which could improve the visual variety, though it might be hard to implement, is paint schemes. It would be cool if you could select how the ship is painted from a selection of paint schemes. I guess the way it would have to work would be for each hull to have several different graphics and for the game to just use the graphic that is selected. If someone made a custom scheme for one of their ships and then put a scenario using it onto the challenges list and another person didn’t have the graphic, the game could just pick another random one.
    On the subject of custom ones, it would also be cool to have a basic paint scheme editor in-game, but I guess that would be a bit too time consuming when other tools are already available.
    Looking forward to the expansion! :D

  2. Good idea,
    however I would like to point that might be an interesting idea to give player feedback why he/she can’t deploy certain ships.

    You can’t deploy more fighters/ships because you are out of pilots, ship icon painted in red.
    You can’t deploy cruisers because the map dosn’t allow them, ship icon in dark grey.
    You can’t deploy this ship because you don’t have enough money, ship icon in yellow.
    And so on.

  3. This feels sort of like a patch fix. Instead of “every ship is identical” you’ll end up with “every ship is identical, except for these other ships that are better because we had some neat components left”.

    I’d recommend some kind of a balance system that really encourages variety and specializing. Perhaps hulls or modules with large bonuses to X while simultaneously having penalties to Y – if you want a bunch of repair ability and a bunch of guns, make it preferable to have a repairboat and a gunboat instead of two repair/gun ships.

    Or perhaps some kind of diminishing returns behavior, where diversifying is actually useful rather than being suboptimal.

  4. Ugh. I mean I get the reasoning but it’s also a limiting behaviour but won’t solve the problem. So instead of having an optimal fleet 64 frigates, players will have optimal fleets of 12 frigates, 24 fighter wings and etc. Such things are usually handled better through build/resource and upkeep mechanics.

    However what it sounds like is more you’re worried about depth of the game. I don’t think that’s going to have an easy solution because the game is specifically telling me what the enemy will throw at me, it really does boil down to “more rocks or scissors” questions.

  5. I feel this is a mistake already the game is limited by unlocks .
    and now there is more limitations placed on the player.
    hopefully this will be optional .

    there is more elegant and creative ways to solve this solve this problem .

    im going to refer to master of Orion 2 .

    in a game i was playing one time the Antares attacked me mid game so i really didnt have uber ships that i usually had .
    but i had a plethra of weaponry available to me.
    One being stasis beams so instead of building a bunch of ships to try and defeat the Antares i built several ships around the ideology of quickly moving in and placing the Antares ships into stasis so that way i could fight the fleet more easily and also capture a Antares ship.

    my points are that i was limited in my response to the threat due to not having the resources necessary to create a uber fleet. but i was able to over come this because i was able to use clever design to defeat the threat because i had options available to me .

    this is what GSB needs . it needs more player options which means greater diversity in modules and hulls . to create your desired effects you could create hulls and modules that are exclusive to one another .

    for example we lay out several hulls

    assault class hulls these hulls are designed to fit the heavy weaponry in the game . these ships have power bonuses and maybe even range bonuses
    they will have a drawback for they will be slow and easy to hit . i dont expect any plasma torpedoes to miss these ships less they are packing the requisite defenses. or better yet have the following.

    logistics class hulls these ships are able to equip technolgy that enable accompying ships easier target aquistion maybe damge bonuses and of course defense bonuses .

    Traige class these hulls are able to equip remote sheild extenders and repair systems these keep the fleet alive they provide sheild bonuses as well equipping technolgy that remote repairs ships.

    that would at least give you fleets that should have at least 2 types of hulls in them .

    to get more frigates into battle there should also be hulls and modules designed in the same spirit . they would be designed to exploit weakness of the larger hull clases .

    specialized ecm frigates would be a major pain as well as logistics disruption
    also frigates that intefere with triage efforts and of course leathal antifrigate systems .

    that way people who use these in battles will be giving an advantage over people who dont

    so now you have very potent reasons to use at least three or four hull classes in your fleet.

    and the final which i feel is good enough is fighters and bombers these all ready seem pretty potent as is so i see no need to radically change them .

    so that should give you all the diversty in fleets you are looking for.

    of course its not easy :( but at least it gives the players more options in creating fleets instead of limiting them even more.

    diversifying the modules and making them exclusive to certain hulls would give you the diversification in fleets that you are seeking .

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