Upcoming ship mod: tugship

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TaxiService
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Upcoming ship mod: tugship

Postby TaxiService » Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:59 am

Hello. I'll get straight to the point. I like the graphical aspect of shipmaking, and spend lots of time working on ship hulls, interiors, and whatnot. I am not really good at coming up with stories concerning my designs, though (if it were for me all my ships would be freighters, dammit!), and I'm not good at coming up with interesting strategies for gameplay either. (let alone balance them out, my god)

I am working on yet another ship. Here is its design.

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This design is already completely different from what i had in mind when i started working on this ship. And i'm still working on it, as you can tell.

The concept behind this thing, as of now, is that this is a "tugship". A vessel meant to aid larger vessels to dock in spaceports, or something. (kind of like tugboats help huge ships to dock in... normal ports)
You would be able to tell this from the hook and coil i'm gonna draw on the back.


I can take care of the design. I like doing so. I have no problems with that.

What I would really need is some inspiration regarding the actual gameplay for this thing, and this is where you guys come in.

I thought about having the ship start with drone control and hacking. It would come with two 0-energy system-repair drone blueprints. It would allow the player to keep them online all the time, and possibly allowing it to not use the crew to repair system damage... But since it would rely on hacking too, you'd have to be careful with your drone parts.
(I guess that when a repair drone gets destroyed it would be replaced instantly, making you lose a drone part, but they would probably work even if drone control is busted, probably. I didn't check...)

...but i don't know. What would you guys think it would be the best gameplay design for a ship like this? It's basically a service ship, able to make repairs and, generally, aid other ships.

I am predisposing it to house four weapon slots, but that can be changed as well. I just need inspiration for this kind of stuff, so i'm just leaving this here hoping any good soul could share some ideas with me. :V

And while you're at it, you could even just share some ideas about the lore of it, i don't know. I just suck at coming up with this kind of stuff. (for example, i wanted to call this ship "platypus" because it reminded me of an echidna's dick, and i mistook platypuses for echidnas.)


So... yeah. Any comment is appreciated. ◡‿◡

Of course if i'm going to use your ideas you are going to be credited when and if i ever release this thing.
Thanks for your time~

PS: if anyone's interested i can provide sketches of prior versions.
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Sleeper Service
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Re: Upcoming ship mod: tugship

Postby Sleeper Service » Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:00 am

Sweet! I'm so pumped for this. I'd love to see your early sketches, I find it pretty interesting to see through which ways different authors get to their final results.

As for gameplay:
There was a ship that incorporated some basic ramming mechanics the other week. Maybe the concept could be extended. I always imagined weapons that simulate ramming via a dummy weapon that has a fire point off screen and an the the ship graphic as its projectiles. The explosion graphic could be a bright screen filling flash to hide the fact that the projectile (ship) just disappears upon impact. Making this a ram ship does not fit the lore exactly though. I like the whole starting point of this being a civilian ship and I'd stick with it. The drone idea was good to begin with. I briefly considered projectile based weapons for CE that cant deal hull damage, only system damage (likes some kind of mass accelerators/railgun/kinetic chaingun). Hull-buster grenade launchers where also something I considered. (basically missiles that don't do hull damage, aka projectile based bombs) Together with hacking, such an "antique" loadout could work for the initial game, with a strong emphasis on modernizing and upgrading the ship later. I don't know, just some thoughts.
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stylesrj
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Re: Upcoming ship mod: tugship

Postby stylesrj » Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:12 am

It would come with two 0-energy system-repair drone blueprints.


Is that even possible? I heard things like 5-power weapons/drones cause problems but can the same be said for 0 power weapons and drones?
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NarnKar
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Re: Upcoming ship mod: tugship

Postby NarnKar » Sun Oct 12, 2014 2:03 pm

Well, a tugship's basic function is to clamp onto ships (perhaps with robotic arms, perhaps with tethers) and guide them to where they need to go. It's capable of repairs and is an ideal vessel to do so, but its basic service is still in taking ships to where they need to go.

i guess that'd make it a....TAXI SERVICE

Perhaps those clamps could be weaponized--to breach the ship, rather than simply grab it; you could shoot a tether through the hull, or have a robotic arm pinch the hull...idk. Similar to the ramming thing discussed earlier.

The other thing that comes to mind is, even though a tugship is very slow, it has to have good engine power to keep the massive ships in check. Which brings to mind something like, releasing the excess heat into an enemy...or something like that? Something involving the engines and fire weaponry.

The trouble with 0-energy weapons is that they can't be deactivated. Same with 0-energy drones. If you had 0-energy repair drones, they would constantly be active, and you'd run out of drone parts very quickly.

TaxiService wrote:I am predisposing it to house four weapon slots, but that can be changed as well. I just need inspiration for this kind of stuff, so i'm just leaving this here hoping any good soul could share some ideas with me. :V

I'd lean more towards 3--something unique and ship specific, maybe two, and then a basic laser or something.

TaxiService wrote:And while you're at it, you could even just share some ideas about the lore of it, i don't know. I just suck at coming up with this kind of stuff. (for example, i wanted to call this ship "platypus" because it reminded me of an echidna's dick, and i mistook platypuses for echidnas.)

Having seen many an echidna cock in my lifetime, I can tell you that I'm not at all reminded of an echidna's penis.
okay i only looked it up cause of that one joke on game grumps
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kartoFlane
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Re: Upcoming ship mod: tugship

Postby kartoFlane » Sun Oct 12, 2014 2:33 pm

NarnKar wrote:i guess that'd make it a....TAXI SERVICE

http://i.imgur.com/sFB0sUr.gif

Other than that, it looks awesome :P My initial thought was some missile-based weaponry -- hit once, but with a punch... Perhaps charge mechanic could be used here?
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TaxiService
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Re: Upcoming ship mod: tugship

Postby TaxiService » Mon Oct 13, 2014 2:04 pm

(sorry in advance for [the complicated way] [concepts] [are put together] in this long post, but i can't convey informations in any other ways yet. It takes a lot of time and effort for me to communicate because i seriously want to avoid giving room to misunderstandings relative to semantics. So please bear with me!!)

Thanks for the feedback. I truly appreciate all the ideas and thoughts put into your posts, guys. ◡‿◡
The idea that inspired me most comes from NarnKar's post.
NarnKar wrote:even though a tugship is very slow, it has to have good engine power to keep the massive ships in check. Which brings to mind something like, releasing the excess heat into an enemy...or something like that? Something involving the engines and fire weaponry.

I like that idea! This could be a reason to add an artillery weapon that would fire, maybe, a huge fireball to the enemy!

I like it because i think i would be able to make the whole thing look pretty cool. One of the engines would have this weird weapon attached to it, that would visibly look like a "hack", of sorts.
It would look like a last minute addition to turn this normally harmless ship into a weapon. :P I really love this sort of thing.

...the problem would be with balancing. : \ Which, after all, is the most important thing.
I have to use artillery for this, because i want the weapon to be undetachable from the ship. But adding an artillery system will force us to find a solid way to balance it!


Sleeper Service wrote:I'd love to see your early sketches, I find it pretty interesting to see through which ways different authors get to their final results.

Very well. Brace yourself, for to understand the sketches i have to give you some backstory:

I started this project because of a ship i saw in an episode of Doctor Who. (season 3, ep. 7)
It reminded me of the Raven's Claw from Jedi Knight II. (click here for a better view)
You can't tell the shape clearly by this screenshot, so i schematised the outlines of the ship with a sketch.

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The TAXI SERVICE joke was spot on! My current pseudonym has been chosen because of reasons that derive from my innate love for the concept of "transportation". ·‿·

And thus transport ships are what really inspire me. Only once i designed a ship that wasn't meant directly for transportation of goods. (and i haven't released it yet...)
In this case, I love how the cargo is attached to the lower side of this long "neck". It's a very essential design, and I am a sucker for this kind of thing.

So i tried to adapt the general design to the size of a FTL ship. I do this by drawing floor layouts on superluminal and picturing the general shape of the ship in my mind. But with time the design evolved into something completely different.

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I would have liked to use a 1-square-wide corridor for connecting the cockpit with the rest of the ship, but i was content with how the room layout had turned out.

What i do after coming up with the room layout is making a provisional version of the floor and then draw around it, trying to reproduce what i imagined while designing it.

In this gif i tried to synthesise the drawing process. In the last frame, you'll see some rough red lines replacing clean black ones from the previous frame. I did this because i realised that i didn't like their look. The red lines are the new design's draft.

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When designing ships i try to do it with sense. The tugship idea has been recycled from another unfinished project of mine. (you can see a red hook of sorts coming out of the top of the ship, but it was just poorly thought.)

I thought the concept would work better with this ship design rather than the other one. The thrusters in the previous design got in the way of the hook; and i thought that the empty space between the two thrusters of the new ship would be almost(*) perfect for an hook.

So... I guess that's it. :P I hope i did not forget anything... If i did i will edit the post anyway.

I won't be able to dedicate a lot of time to modding FTL lately, but as soon as i have some significant update for this thing, I'll post it right away. ·‿· Estimate: within the weekend.

Thank you guys again for your interest and help! If anyone has more ideas and/or opinions i'd still be glad to hear them~! ◡‿◡


Warning: This is an absurd, self-centred and boring existentialist pindaric flight. Skip it unless you are really interested in understanding my thought processes. I'm posting this only because it's an honest insight that some might be interested in. I would really like to avoid giving the impression of an egocentric person. ◡⁔◡
(*): i say “almost” because it really isn't. And it bothers me a lot too. It's hard to tell from the sketches, but… *basically* the center of gravity wouldn’t be placed correctly for such a ship to actually be able to drag around bigger ships efficiently. But, you know, who would’ve ever noticed if i didn’t tell you? So i'm torn. I don't know if redesigning it again or just not care. Redesigning it might mean sacrifice "coolness" for technical accuracy, and i guess that players really just look for "cool" ships. (unless they consider "technically accurate" ships "cool", but i bet that's seldom the case.)
I want to make a "good" product, but my personal standards for "good" are usually too high, and my additional work would be able to be noticed and appreciated just by a small fraction of the people that saw my ship anyway, so why bothering? should I try to reach out to those humans? or should i try cutting some small corners, and release the ship sooner? ·⁔·
...I know I should just stop overthinking things so much, but I believe it's this kind of reasoning that makes me able to draw spaceships in the first place, so i guess i should just learn how to use my thoughts properly and, most importantly, care generally less about other humans' opinions of myself. ·_·
Yes, i am talking to myself here. I realise I shouldn't do this here, too. But hey, i warned you about the boringness and absurdity of this paragraph.
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NarnKar
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Re: Upcoming ship mod: tugship

Postby NarnKar » Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:23 pm

The struggles of an artist, Taxi. I feel ya on that one.

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