General Discussion

Re: General Discussion

Postby BigJKU316 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 12:15 pm

Mark wrote:Not to criticize, because I know how much work you guys put into this (hence the awards nominations), but I do feel that we are restricted alot in our R&D. Basically, we can't have a real propulsion advance because we are all using warp, we can only kick up our top speeds, which doens't really give us much advantage. We can't really research new weapons, as there is no way to calculate them (I'd love to develop a hyper-iso phaser after all), which again, prevents a real significant step forward. Same with shields, stealth tech, and alot of other areas.

I sort of suspect if someone only focused on ships, weapons, and speed, that most R&D advantages would be useless anyway.


That all sounds more interesting than it likely is. Here are the reasons R&D is not totally wide open.

1. Weapons and Defenses- Ok, so say I let someone develop the modern equal of a polaron beam that passes straight through shields. Well as soon as the other side finds out about it they will R&D shields to counter it AND they will want to develop their own weapon that does the same thing. Basically where you are going to end up is with people just topping one weapon after another, almost like the scene from dumb and dumber where Harry declares you can't triple stamp a double stamp. It really takes any planning and skill out of the game and it comes down to timing. More than that I, and most here, don't have enough of a science grounding to rule on if these ideas are feasible (in as much as that applies in a world with FTL travel). By keeping weapons within the realm of what we have seen in trek, torps and beams, we make the game much more about planning and interaction that we do about crazy ideas. Plenty of innovative weapons systems have been developed by people in both sims, but in general if your idea starts with "It will pass through shields and crush my enemies in one shot" the answer will be no.

To take your specific example. Does a Hyper-Iso Phaser beat another players Phased-Refractive Shield system that just drops incoming weapons fire into another plane of existence? Beats the hell out of me. Debating such matters is not really what this is supposed to be about. I have seen longer ranged beam weapons developed, higher-yield torpedoes, ultra-high output phaser arrays and other such things. Just don't pitch an uber-weapon and generally it can be worked into the game for you.

2. Stealth- Honestly, I have considered just making cloaks vanish in Alpha by decree of a Q who finds you all groping around blind for one another boring. I have not and probably won't but from a GM perspective perfect stealth just takes all player skill and planning right out the window. That is why no cloaking system will be perfect for long. It is just almost impossible to manage in operation movements for the players.

3. Propulsion- You can develop different methods of moving, it is just horribly expensive. The reason for this is two fold. One IC the UFP has been trying since at least the TOS movies to get faster than warp to work and they have not. There are a few examples seen in Voyager but that is about it. Two OOC the problem is the scale of the map. If someone develops slipstream drive we go from our little corner to the whole galaxy being open (and possibly adjacent galaxys). That is just too much to manage.
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Re: General Discussion

Postby Mark » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:06 pm

1. When designing a new weapons system, specific power requirements need to be stated. Now, a standard power "maser" beam may very well be three times more powerful than a phaser of the same caliber. We've seen arms races in real life and in Trek, so pretending they don't exist makes no sense. So, for example, I develop the Hyper Iso Phaser. I dictate exactly what the range and power is supposed to be. Now, no weapons system is perfect (ie BoT plasma torps, Breen energy dampning weapon, and so forth.) You could require that a drawback be set for an overly advantagous weapon, like limited range, limited power for firing, damage to the firing ship and so forth. Even if I develop say, interphasic phasers designed to bypass shields, there may be a heavy drawback like a loss of a significant amount of power limiting damage, unable to fire at warp, or.....the other powers develop a shield modification to block it.

To be honest, I've got a problem with applying real science to Star Trek. If we started a SIM today, we'd be unable to develo FTL, phasers, shields, or anything. Trek science is MEANT to be bypassed with a bunch of technobabble.

Now, on that note.....a smaller R & D modification should be easier than entirely new research like when we research and modify phaser power. I'm thinking minor modifications like more efficiant shields, upgraded armor, and so forth should be something more easily incorporated than another full blown R & D. If you only have PTs and want QTs, yes, you need to research it from scratch. But if you want your torps to have a more effective proximity detonation (to act more like a grenade), that isn't changing the entire system, just modifying and existing one.

2. I agree, never in Trek have we seen a perfect stealth system. But our current stealth systems quite honestly suck. I'd suggest a system something like....the Romulans develop cloaking device 1.0 and Starfleet is boggled. The Romulans attack at will, with only a small chance to detect the Romulans like in BoT. So, Starfleet develops sensors 1.0 to detect cloaked ships. So, the Romulans again start R & D to develop cloak 2.0 to reclaim their advantage. That seems like a more realistic approach honestly. If say the Cardassian spend no time, money, or effort researching anti stealth tech, whose fault is that? This would acutally balance the game better in my opinion. Right now, the UFP enjoys an unrivaled advantage in the game, which is discouraging to other players as they have no advantage at all.

3. Well, IC the UFP DID make a major propulsion breakthrough from the TOS scale to the TNG scale. In "All Good Things" we saw that they'd made another breakthrough. We saw those breakthroughs again in Voyager as you mentioned. We've never had a show based in any of the other powers so we have no idea what they're doing. I just think that if say a smaller power (like the Tholians) had such a propulsion advantage, they'd suddenly become a greater threat (yeah we could send a fleet into their space and decimate them, but THEY could get a fleet to our homeworld and bomb it to hell before we could stop them)....again, it seems to be a greater balance against the bigger powers.

Anyway, these are just suggestions I feel would improve the games dynamics.
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Re: General Discussion

Postby Lt. Staplic » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:53 pm

1. Tactical Systems are tricky. For the most part I think Big and I try to incorporate new weapons technologies into the SIM, without getting too specific I know of torpedo advancements, altered torpedo systems, beam advancements, anti-weapons systems, etc. the problem with inventing the Hypo-Iso-Phaser is that we can't standardize it without giving away someone made it. If player A wants advanced Phaser system 1 that has settings alpha, it's very difficult to balance that with player B who wants advanced phaser system 2 and settings beta, and the more people that upgrade the harder it is to maintain any kind of continuity, prevent god-moding with these advanced weapons and keep it fair in the sense that you pay for what you get. Is it right to charge teh same price for upgrading to these phaser systems if player A has a better idea and gets phasers that are 2x better than player B, what if it's 10x better, or 100x better?

Also the application of physics/science is necessiary, but we have to apply it in different forms. There is the Trek Technobabble science that we do have to consider and incorporate (which I think we do a fairly good job of), but the Trek Universe still exists in ours so real physics does apply (so no one gets to create a device that reverses causality), and lastly we have Game Physics, which is the reason that Time Travel is not possible to create IC. while we've seen it in Trek, Game Physics dictates that it's impossible because it would be a) way too much work to go back even 2 turns and rerun every ones turns for the minor change that was made. Plus we have no idea how everyone would react to a new development.

Your point about research differences has been addressed. It's the different between true research and development. Something like developing advanced shields, armored infantry, etc is simply development, the technology exists it's just about getting it put together right. Something like a hyper-phaser-Ion cannon would be research where you get an approximation on how long and for how much; but it could take anywhere from half that time, to that time squared to actually do.

Stealth Tech has it's own set of issues. The cloak really is the only way to do it, and there are only so many ways to do that.

Also as for propulsion tech we're not talking about the difference from warp 5 to warp 9. that's doable, the hard challanging, expensive part is going from Warp 9 to a propulsion system that isn't warp, either transwarp, slipstream, et el.
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Re: General Discussion

Postby Mark » Sat Apr 23, 2011 10:39 pm

1. It would depend. If Klingons in Alpha have been focusing on phaser research for most of the game in one form or another, then Romulans in Beta would have to do SIMILAR footwork. If I decided to build a self guiding starship drone, I'd have to do all kinds of preliminary research such as AI, automated systems (one by one), self loading weapons, self repairing systems. Its the smaller components that would prevent the larger sum invention, unless someone is dedicated.

Insofar as science in Trek, we already KNOW that Trek science is mostly cock and bull. It is a make believe science fiction universe with make believe tech. Science and physics are routinely dismessed in favor of the story. As a player, I feel limited in what we can R & D. IMO, if I've got a great idea for a ground breaking tech, and am willing to invest the time and effort in developing it to give me an edge in the game, it shouldn't be a problem. Now, IC time travel is outside the scope of the game, and would screw the whole game up for everyone if taken into account. I can agree with that from the get go. But if a power like the Cardassians DON'T come up with a tactical edge somehow, how would that player even stand a chance to win this game against the Federation?

The Stealth tech rules need some work. My battles I've fought with cloak capable ships may as well not have even had them. Cloaked ships are easily detected and give next to no tactical advantage in combat. I can accept that anti cloak tech has naturally developed, but next gen stealth tech isn't allowed to be developed........so why did those of us who didn't start with it spend time and money on it?

And I still don't see the problem with different propulsion systems. Warp is restricted by the overall warp factor, size of the ship (ie its consumables), and how far its trying to go. Something like a jump gate is restricted as you can't jump to a place without a jump gate. Hyperspace (ala SW), you can't navagate in Hyperspace, its riskier, and you can't attack or BE attacked while in transit. Every system has advantages and drawbacks, and are totally different, more so than driving vs flying.
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Re: General Discussion

Postby Tsukiyumi » Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:49 am

I thought there was some discussion about splitting research and development into separate parts at some point 30 turns or so ago.

That way, you could develop new shields or engines or armor without having to design a whole new ship. Same system, just with the ability to up the "current max" on individual categories.
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Re: General Discussion

Postby Reliant121 » Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:30 am

The idea of having technology research separate so you can up the maxes without a new ship I like, a lot.

The problem Mark is administrative, not about integrating it into the game. The level of work, and the insanely complicated calcution required to fit it all in would make the game far less enjoyable. Plus, the ranking of starship systems we utilize (the calculator) works on existing technology. If you were to invent blah-de-blah technology (especially prevalent in FTL technology) you can't rate it any longer. So the CR system is pointless and useless.

You have to remember this is a roleplay with game rules (like the Rogue Trader WH40K thing Kendall was up to a while back). In games, your technology is limited by caveat of integrating it into the rule ssytem. It's no different here. The roleplay comes in how you interract and operate in game. The Roleplay element comes in because, realistically the Cardassian union could never win against the federation. The Klingons maybe, but no other power could threaten them. Thats just tough, so you have to play to the best of your ability. Be the most scheming, the most politically apt, the best resourcer, the best designer. This is the roleplay element, working within the confines of what you've got. I've never personally even tried to win the "rolegame" because I know that's not what I play for. I play for roleplay satisfaction.
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Re: General Discussion

Postby Lt. Staplic » Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:01 am

There is a distinction between Research and Development. You develop things that you already basically have the know how to do it's just a matter of putting it together correctly. Research is going into new fields or more advanced areas. The main difference is time, with development you know pretty much exactly how long it's going to take, with research you can guess, but break throughs can put you there in half the time, other factors can stretch it out a lot longer (mathematically speaking the square of half the quoted time).

I am also somewhat curious as to what you mean by 'win the game'. As far as I've ever read into the game: the CU can't 'beat' the Federation any more than the Federation can 'beat' the CU. Both have their roles, their objectives, their motivations to act upon and pursue. Each power has distinct reasons, motivations, objectives, et el, from eachother, although there can be and is overlap; interaction happens, diplomacy happens, and we continue on....
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Re: General Discussion

Postby Mark » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:01 pm

I'm speaking in a strictly tactical situation.

No matter what Cardassia would do, for example, they would have no way to hold out against Starfleet should they go to war.

My thoughts are this

Say I wanted to build an iso-phaser. I tell the GM that the Iso-phaser is 3 times stronger than conventional phasers. So, the Iso Phaser is assigned a value in the calculator, but it opens up a weapon that uses less power, and is cheaper to get the same effect once it's online.
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Re: General Discussion

Postby BigJKU316 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:13 pm

Mark wrote:I'm speaking in a strictly tactical situation.

No matter what Cardassia would do, for example, they would have no way to hold out against Starfleet should they go to war.

My thoughts are this

Say I wanted to build an iso-phaser. I tell the GM that the Iso-phaser is 3 times stronger than conventional phasers. So, the Iso Phaser is assigned a value in the calculator, but it opens up a weapon that uses less power, and is cheaper to get the same effect once it's online.


That would be doable, though expensive, as a project. The key is that in the end everything will be denominated in some level of Tera-Joules for game purposes and, at least in Alpha, it won't have a polaron type effect of just skipping through shields because that just leads to the game sort of falling apart at the seams.
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Re: General Discussion

Postby Mark » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:48 pm

Well, the skipping through shields advantage was resolved rather quickly. Insofar as what I'm proposing in game terms, it would be an "upgrade". Remember, they developed a workable defense in about a year or so. They countered the EDW in half a season.
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