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Darrin

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Here's Training Mission #2: How to Capture Bases. 

Some caveats to keep in mind: The Armada V scripts are still under development, so I can't say that this is *exactly* how capturing bases will work in the Persistent War, but this is what we are currently leaning towards. We playtested this mission last night, and it worked very well. I've made some changes based on last night's feedback, which have *not* been playtested, so... there may be some bugs/rough spots I haven't smoothed out yet. 

Current thinking is that every hour or so, the TSN Admiralty will be given a certain amount of "Build Points" to purchase new ships to replace any that have been destroyed. Protecting your bases and capturing enemy bases will be the key to making sure your crews are flying around in something a little sportier than scout ships. We're hoping to have a "Battle Board" where the TSN Admirals can push around little miniature ships to keep track of the shifting tides of battle. 

To capture an enemy base, you need to fly within 1000 km, and COMMS has to press the "Deploy Beacon" button. An "Attract Wreck" beacon will be deployed, and two TSN Marine Transports will be dispatched to home in on the beacon. When the transports get close enough to the enemy base, the marines will attempt to board and capture it. If successful, the base changes sides. If unsuccessful, you'll need to deploy another beacon and send in more marines. While it is possible for a single transport to take over a base, you'll probably need at least two transports for a successful capture. 

If, for some reason, COMMS has to reset their client and the "Deploy Beacon" button disappears, you can reset the COMMS buttons by having ENGINEERING set Sensor Power to 0% and Sensor Coolant to 8.

 
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notsabbat

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Just in time for this week's game! Is there any specific feedback you would like other than reports of anything breaking?


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Darrin

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Quote:
Originally Posted by notsabbat
Just in time for this week's game! Is there any specific feedback you would like other than reports of anything breaking?


The Ximni base introduced a carrier and fighters to the mission, which we didn't playtest. So I'm curious if all those fighters makes it a little too tough for a training mission?

(I don't have as much experience dealing with fighters in Artemis... my first instinct when fighters start popping out is to scream RUN AWAY! and NUKE THEM FROM LONG RANGE!) 

The transports are probably moving too fast... they can easily outrun the enemy capital ships, but I'm loathe to reduce their speed, because then the mission would really DRAG, waiting for the transports to get to their targets. From a narrative standpoint, the TSN has warp drives, which are considerably faster than the other factions, so... why shouldn't the TSN transports be fast? 

I have some other concerns, but they are mostly mechanical issues that are constrained by limitations in the code. Is there a way for Science to tell how strong the station's defense are? (No, the scan information and description on stations aren't easily editable from within a script.) If the players attack the station with beams/torpedoes, does that help wear down the station's defenses? (No, stations only have 1 hull point, and if it takes any damage at all beyond its shields, it's destroyed.) Why don't the enemy stations/ships attack the beacon? (Um... anomalies aren't exactly targetable, and scripting enemy AI is one of those "nailing jello to the wall" kinda endeavors.) 

The larger question I have, "Is this a reasonable way to capture an enemy base?" or "Why do we have to drop a beacon? Why can't we just tell the marines, 'Hey, go attack TB1! You know, that big round thing over there?' Can't the transports see the stations already?" My answer for that, which I'm not entirely firm on:

1) Dropping a beacon right next to the station involves more danger and risk than pointing at a circle on the map. This makes things more interesting and fun for a human crew. There are a lot of things in Artemis that don't make sense from a logistical standpoint, but are fun for six people yelling at each other about torpedoes and fighters and shields and stuff. 

2) There was an initial narrative reason to use a beacon, as my first idea was that the beacon would be transmitting something that disrupts the station's defenses, such as ECM or multi-band jamming or hacking the airlock codes that allows the transports to dock at a hostile base. So, if you need a narrative reason... you can start with that. 

The TSN Mod has something different for capturing bases, with COMMS loading marines onto a shuttle, and then notifying the GM what the drop-zone will be. We will have GMs running things at Armada V, so I'll have to take a look at how they handle it. I really need to set some time aside to take a closer look at the TSN Mod.

I guess that all boils down to a simpler question: "Is the mission fun, or is it more of a tedious chore?"



Mike Substelny

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Darrin, having played the mission I think the mechanism will work fine at Armada. We could rationalize that the transports are faster in this training simulation than they will be in the actual war (but not by too much).

I also suggest that transports full of Marines are not free. Every time the players drop a beacon the Game Masters should send a tax collector over the the Admirals to demand X build points. When dispatching player ships on a base-capture mission the Admirals might establish a "beacon budget." To wit: "Go into Sirius sector and capture as many bases as you can with three beacons."

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Gypsyjuggler

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Will the beacons be reusable?
Mike Substelny

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gypsyjuggler
Will the beacons be reusable?


You would need to play the mission to understand, but the beacons themselves are not the expensive resource. Players can drop as many as they want. But when a player Communications Officer drops one of THESE beacons near an enemy Base, it summons two TSN transports full of TSN Marines who attempt to take over that Base. The TSN Transports and Marines are used up in the attempt.

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Darrin

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gypsyjuggler
Will the beacons be reusable?


The beacons can be picked up by flying over them (like any other beacon). So yes, they are re-usable in that sense. Most Terran bases start the game with 15 beacons available, so you can get more by docking at a station. It is possible to run out of beacons, but you can pick up the ones you've dropped if you really need one and the station is out. 

(The "Attract Wreck" was a bit of gallows humor aimed at the marines, who have certain opinions about how the TSN Admiralty measures their contributions to the war effort against, say, a battleship or dreadnought.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny

I also suggest that transports full of Marines are not free. Every time the players drop a beacon the Game Masters should send a tax collector over the the Admirals to demand X build points. When dispatching player ships on a base-capture mission the Admirals might establish a "beacon budget." To wit: "Go into Sirius sector and capture as many bases as you can with three beacons."


More like a "transport budget", but that's what I'm leaning towards. We might try a limited number of transports per hour (maybe 2? 4?), and if they want more, maybe we can offer them additional transports for a certain amount of build points. I can add some code for the GM to keep track of how many transports are available in a particular sector, and throw up a warning message if they run out. 

The other thing I think I need to put some thought into... how will the Kraliens/Torgoth/Ximni attempt to capture the *Terran* bases...


notsabbat

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darrin

The other thing I think I need to put some thought into... how will the Kraliens/Torgoth/Ximni attempt to capture the *Terran* bases...


LOL. One of my crewmen asked me that question. Here was my response: "Since the sectors will be GMd, my guess is that the GM will approximate its use by placing mcguffins, etc on the map or just calling a PC wipe a capture. However that is all speculation."


I guess another question is will the admiralty be able to buy new bases or supply ships in addition to shiney new ships? Support ships such as destroyers?


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Mike Substelny

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Quote:
Originally Posted by notsabbat

I guess another question is will the admiralty be able to buy new bases or supply ships in addition to shiney new ships? Support ships such as destroyers?



The answer is yes, there should be no problem buying new support ships.

We have never seen the Kraliens, Torgoth or Skaraans attempt to capture a Terran base. Their goal is usually to destroy them. Will they try to capture Terran bases during the war, and what about the Ximni? Tune in to find out in March . . .

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Angel of Rust

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darrin
We're hoping to have a "Battle Board" where the TSN Admirals can push around little miniature ships to keep track of the shifting tides of battle.



A while back Mike mentioned the following about the "Battle Board":

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny
At this point I don't know. It depends on how large the model ships are. I was assuming we would need sectors that are about 24" x 24" for a total board size of 72" x 72". But really we just want it to be fun and cool so the starting place is the 3D printed miniatures.



I have an idea about how to put a board together in a way that will be fun to use and will also transport well: 24" x 24" tiles with glow-in-the-dark faces. I can mount a black light overhead to make the whole thing glow. There's still the major issue of having the ship minis to push around. I'm able to assemble some laser-cut ship minis with glowing highlights that should fit the bill, but I'm curious if others here want to pitch in as well. Also looking for comments on this concept. Between us, I'm sure we can put something together for Armada.

notsabbat

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Im planning on 3d printing ships from the game files. I have most of them in STL, though the space stations are a little more challenging since they have floating parts. Likely this will mean a big box full of minis. I may look at simplifying things, aka a single Krelian to represent a wing of 5 etc.
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Mike Substelny

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Quote:
Originally Posted by notsabbat
Im planning on 3d printing ships from the game files. I have most of them in STL, though the space stations are a little more challenging since they have floating parts. Likely this will mean a big box full of minis. I may look at simplifying things, aka a single Krelian to represent a wing of 5 etc.


If you can't do the space stations don't worry about it. Since they are terrain they could be handled another way, if necessary. Though minifigs would look cool.

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DupeOfURL

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Darrin - in regards to the Fast Transports, allow me to cite a historical precedent.  In WW II the Queens {Elizabeth & Mary*} were requisitioned as a troop transports.  They were so fast they did not need escorts.  Just plain outrun any German U-boats!  She was never torpedoed, so it seems to have been QUITE successful.  Besides, if I were a grunt or devil-dog being transported, it would be great for my morale to know we can outrun any enemy ship that could blow me to itsy-bitsy atoms..... 

* code name Gray Ghost  --  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Queen_Mary    Nota Bene - she rammed and sank a CL! 







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Angel of Rust

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Quote:
Originally Posted by notsabbat
Im planning on 3d printing ships from the game files. I have most of them in STL, though the space stations are a little more challenging since they have floating parts. Likely this will mean a big box full of minis. I may look at simplifying things, aka a single Krelian to represent a wing of 5 etc.


Awesome! A big box of minis sounds like a good time to me!

I have been looking into the details of the map -- things like surface texture, portability, reliability, luminescence, blah blah, blah . . . and have decided to switch technologies in the interests of making something that will actually work. One major hurdle is the venue. Ambient light in a conference center tends to be rather high, so I'm leaning towards a full-color printed surface. I found a commercially available starfield/nebula 72" x 72" print on sturdy fabric that will work perfectly. Rather than back- or front-lighting the map in a bright room, I'm looking into implementing bright RGB LED brackets for the sectors that can be switched from a table-top console. Should add to the immersion while ensuring that it will actually do the job.

Here's the basic layout:
map concept 20200116.jpg

notsabbat

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Reply with quote  #15 
So, one thing that occurs to me is that the sector maps dont need to be connected to each other. I am mkaing an assumption that the individual sectors are self contained, so they could just be 9 separate squares. Not a suggestion on how to design it, but rather an observation to allow more freedom for construction.
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