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HaydenBarca

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Posts: 198
Reply with quote  #1 
With thanks to nschlein for hosting the ship editing online class, I was able to revisit an earlier idea and create a playable base/station.  It's called the Jump Base and it has no Impulse or Maneuverability, but movs by Jump Drive (as long as you manually select Jump Drive on the Customize Ship screen).  It's a modified Command Base with 1 beam (360deg firing arc), 2 torpedo tubes (to approximate the 6sec cycle time of NPC torpedo_station_port performance), and a carrier bay with 12 fighters.  It can jump into an area and launch fighters, deal with the threat, retrieve fighters, and then jump to the next area.

It can still dock with stationary NPC bases to replenish torpedoes and lost fighters.  To mimic the larger energy supply/reactor of bases, it has a very high efficiency so it doesn't need to dock for energy purposes.  The Weapons Officer can Energy-to-Torp to manufacture its own standard torpedo supply (but it's not able to manufacture other types of torpedoes like a stationary base).  I gave it 5 times the torpedo storage of a Light Cruiser, so it can last a while (though it has to be particularly careful with area of effect torpedoes since it can't flee the blast zone, and I completely removed mines).  I'm particularly happy with how the internal snt file turned out, making it much more durable after shields down than a standard base.  To pick up anomalies/upgrades it needs to use the shuttle to go retrieve them.

For a more strategic game, I'd recommend modifying the Artemis.ini file to change the jumpTimeCoeff to 6 (so it has a base time of 60 sec to jump, ~20 with Engineering help).  So if you're in a hurry to the next area you might initiate a jump before all of the fighters are back ("Hit your boosters, 10 seconds left!").

A few shortcomings:
  • It can still climb and dive at normal speed (despite having a top speed of 0.00001) and tilts to do so, which looks weird, but this is minor imperfection.
  • It look strange when a stationary NPC base tractor beams this base in for docking, but there's no other way to get other torpedoes or replacement fighters.
  • Other player ships cannot dock with you.  I'm picturing a mission script that brings an NPC base just underneath your player base to allow for this, but that's a mission script, not a mod.
  • I haven't tested it, but elsewhere people have cautioned against more than 7 fighters being active at the same time.  I'd treat this station as being for 6 fighter pilots and they each have a backup craft.
In the zipped file, I try to spell out all of the instructions in the ReadMe.txt for folks who are new to modding and adding custom vessels, so hopefully this is understandable.  Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for improvement.

 
Attached Files
zip JumpBase.zip (4.73 KB, 4 views)

ryleyra

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Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #2 
I gave this a try myself, but never got around to creating an SNT file, and never got back to it since all my time lately has been spent on Artemis Away Team. So I think I will definitely download this and add it to my stock game.

I think I will modify it to remove weapons and torpedoes, though, My idea was to eliminate the Weapons officer so there would be no need for a crew on the base. The Captain can handle Helm, and one of the fighter pilots can take Science and act as squadron leader. That leaves Comms and Engineering, both of which are optional if the base itself never gets involved in combat. (Although the base could act as a "tank" for the squadron)

I was also planning on using a re-skinned Arvonian Base or Science Base as the model so it would be smaller. That wouldn't match your SNT file, though. I could post my version of the base, though, which is small and unarmed, and yours would then be the larger, command version. (And I did note that my base would be pretty weak, without Nukes)

I called my version a Mobile Strike Base, BTW. It's basically the equivalent of a movable airfield, either the Army version, set up in a suitable spot for a runway, or the Navy idea that was floated around of a giant platform with an airfield on it, that would be towed into place.
ryleyra

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Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #3 
Okay, I've tried out your mod, and I thought I'd give you some feedback:

First, awesome job on the .SNT file. That's one of the prettiest Engineering displays I've seen in a while. 

Second, your base needs to be able to rotate. Standard bases rotate, and you have two shields to juggle instead of just one. You seem to have put half of the Command base shield strength in your shields, but that means your shields will fall in only half the time. Give Helm the ability to rotate the other shield to face the target and the shield strength is the same. 

I would recommend a turnrate of 0.001. That will allow the base to rotate at the same rate as a standard base at 300% power. And rotation DOES work, even though you have no Maneuver nodes in your SNT file, I tested it. (So does thrust) Without any system nodes, the system doesn't even overheat at 300% power.

Helm can either rotate the weakest shield to face the enemies, or just put the base on constant rotate. 😃 It feels reassuringly sluggish compared to a ship, but it's actually only 1/3 the rate of a Light Cruiser.

Third, while the low efficiency of your base works fine for representing a massive base with its own power generator, your jump efficiency is way too low. You are moving a massive structure bigger than a Juggernaut, which has a jump efficiency of 1.3, so it should be even higher than that. I would say it should be 1.5 at a minimum, possibly as much as 1.7 to 2.0.

Of course, you want to weigh the cost of Jump against being able to move freely around the sector, but you should be able to gain that energy back fairly quickly. And it makes strategic sense that after you Jump, you shouldn't be able to Jump again for a while. The problem comes in when you are trying to Jump into position for docking, but I would experiment with it. 

I also considered whether or not your scale was too big, as I would expect a movable base to be smaller than its stationary counterpart. But honestly, I figure ships are in a different scale that bases anyway. So it's possible that while the Jump Base looks the same size, it's actually significantly smaller. My own version of the base, with its lack of weapons, would definitely be smaller, but in proportion to the command version. 

All in all, a great addition, and I look forward to trying it out with my crew. 

HaydenBarca

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Posts: 198
Reply with quote  #4 
Thanks for the feedback.  I like the slow rotating idea. 

For the jump efficiency I'll have to test it. One challenge with the limitations of the game is it doesn't matter how efficient your ship is, there's a maximum rate at which it acquires energy.  I tried firing a bunch of torpedoes and then Energy-to-Torping 6 times in a row (with standard settings of 150 energy per torp).  After running the energy down to 100, it took a long time to get it back up, even with efficiency set to 0.1.  I'm afraid a super high jump cost will have a similar effect and make it less playable.  But it's worth testing.  If I were running a script, I'd bump maximum energy way up and increase the energy recharge rate up, but that's not possible as a vanilla mission option.  As you point out, when you jump back to a stationary base and end up 1200 km away, having to wait 3 minutes before your last hop to docking range would just be annoying.

Yeah, base scale is of stations is always a bit weird.  And to make it semi-realistically hold 12 fighters I wanted it to seem like a fighter could fit inside.  That said it would be cool to have two jump base options.


nschlein

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Posts: 51
Reply with quote  #5 
I was thinking about this (haven't looked at the SNT file yet), and had a few questions/thoughts.

1.  Are there actually zero Maneuvering Nodes (and Impulse, too)?  If so, I'm surprised it didn't crash the game automatically.  It'd be very nice to know if something in 2.7.5 makes (some?) nodes optional.

2.  If it doesn't auto crash without the node...what happens if you take damage?

3. I'm not sure if you included impulse nodes (guessing not), but it makes sense for a station to have "alignment thrusters."   That would help a crew with coming in to dock, and also account for diving/climbing.  Just give it the lowest possible reasonable speed (like 1/4 juggernaut), and only dedicate 1 node so it is easily burned out.   (I'm envisioning how DS9 was moved closer to the wormhole in the pilot episodes.)  


HaydenBarca

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Posts: 198
Reply with quote  #6 
nshlein, you are correct that there are zero maneuvering and impulse nodes and no crashes.  I've taken damage with it before, so it works as a basic function, but I'm not confident that I've taken enough node damage that it's likely that it would have "rolled" maneuvering or impulse.  I think I will add light maneuvering and impulse (as you and ryleyra have mentioned) because it's kind of ridiculous when you jump next to a stationary base to pick up replacement fighters and are just out of docking range.  Then you have to jump 1k km just to the other side of the station to dock -- seems a bit gratuitous.  Jumping can still be your main mode of transport, but you can nudge a bit if needed.
ryleyra

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Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #7 
It is possible to create a ship without Beam nodes, otherwise there could be no Missile Cruisers. And you can create ships without Warp nodes as well. It makes sense if you could remove any system you don't want. 

In my testing, though, the base was able to move and rotate as long as you set turnrate and topspeed to some non-zero value even with no system nodes. It's possible there is a maximum movement rate, or the actual rate is much lower than if you have system nodes, but as far as I could tell there is no power drain if there are no nodes. 

I'll also note that there is no energy cost for either Impulse or Maneuver movement, there is only the energy drain to maintain the system.
HaydenBarca

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Posts: 198
Reply with quote  #8 
I've updatd the Jump Base to:

<performance turnrate="0.0015" topspeed="0.05" shipefficiency="0.1" warpefficiency="1.0" jumpefficiency="3.0"/>

This means several things:

  • The base can now rotate at the same speed that stationary bases normally rotate (it's a cool ballet when you get a mission with it spawning at another Command Base)
  • The base can move under impulse power, though very slowly.  To reposition the base with impulse basically requires that Engineering boost Impulse (which recreates the DS9 moment nicely) or else it takes for...   ...ever.
  • Even with now having rotation and maneuvering, you're still better off sending the shuttle to pick up anomalies/upgrades.
  • Increasing jumpefficiency to 3.0 doesn't seem to affect the energy cost of jumping (since shipefficiency is still 0.1, or even when it was 0.5 in test), but it does make the base jump prep time 30 second, which is what I was shooting for anyway.  Engineering can knock that down to 10 seconds if they boost Jump Drive energy to 300%.
  • I tried raising shipefficiency, but it meant that once a ship lost energy (due to shielding or energy-to-torp) it would net gain one energy per 10 seconds or so, which was too slow.  I see the base as largely self-sufficient, so I lowered it back to 0.1 and it can now recover energy slowly, but measurably.
  • I added a single node each for both Maneuvering and Impulse.  Interestingly enough, when I raised turnrate and topspeed but did not have nodes, Engineering could boost energy to 300% without accumulating any heat.  With one node each it works as expected.
I forgot to mention that I also took the push radius of the base down to 50 (instead of the original 250) so it feels more realistic with fighter-sized ships approaching the main body, inside the "arms".

Attached is the updated install package.

 
Attached Files
zip JumpBase v2.zip (4.74 KB, 1 views)

ryleyra

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Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #9 
Yeah, I noticed that the Maneuver and Impulse systems would not build up heat, but did not notice any other issues. I'm guessing Thom doesn't check for Maneuver/Impulse nodes before letting the ship move. (Warp IS disabled if you have no Warp nodes, so he checks that)

As I said, it's possible movement is slower or has a cap, but setting power to 300% does increase speed, and setting it to 0 stops all movement. So probably adding a system node is a good thing since it allows heat to build up.

I was pretty sure I tested Jump energy cost to make sure jumpefficiency reduced it, but I would need to check my notes. At any rate, jump cost is based on energyCoeffJump in artemis.ini, and it is definitely based on distance, not power put into the system. There are two factors to Jump energy cost, the cost of the jump itself, and the cost to maintain the Jump engines in the "warmed up" state. The latter depends on shipefficiency, the Jump power level, and the energyCoeffWarp value set in artemis.ini.

Likewise, Warp energy cost is also made up of two parts, the energy to maintain the system, which is again based on energyCoeffWarp, and the energy per second spent while at Warp. This is based on warpefficiency and the square of the Warp speed. Originally, shipefficiency was used to get this value, and it is still the inverse of shipefficiency for most TSN ships.

If jumpefficiency makes Jump faster and not cheaper, that would fit with the concept of Ximni ships being able to jump faster than TSN ships. I'll have to correct the wiki, though, because it includes it in the power calculations.

ryleyra

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Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #10 
Okay, I just dug up my old testing, and repeated it, and found out something interesting. I posted in the Development forum about this, but basically, no matter what you do Jump is not going to cost a significant amount based on distance jumped. I wasn't able to make even the longest Jump cost more than 15 points of energy. So at this point, it really doesn't matter what you make the jumpefficiency. 😃 

I hadn't noticed the increase in warmup time, but if you want to spread that out, you can probably set jumpefficiency to 3.0. Just note that if the game changes again, that might be a significant change to the cost of Jump.

Another point I want to add is that the "bomber" tag in baycount actually has no effect. TSN and Ximni bombers are actually marked as fighters, so technically speaking they are "heavy fighters". You can select as many of them as you want, and the tag does not restrict them. 

I suspect the "bomber" tag is intended for a type of fighter that has not yet been introduced, and you will then be limited to two of them in a carrier, and none for a dreadnought. I'm really hoping these "bombers" carry mines, which they can drop in a "bombing run". That will give carrier squadrons something akin to nukes, with more of a risk than just firing nuke-tipped missiles. (And in fact, you might not want to fire a Nuke into your path if you're in a fighter 😃) 

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