Mining Ships idea

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posted on May 1st, 2022, 10:55 pm
Here's the thing I'd like to talk about: mining ships. Dilithium moons... and somewhat, the mining station.

Normally, we'd get two or three per moon/station, and let them just queue up. sometimes it means that timing of where they are in an orbit when they start results in when they're finished making a pathing snafu, sometimes its JUST about right. bit here's a crazy idea though, so its pretty much the same place they start when approaching from the same departure station/point...

what if multiple ships can mine the moon simultaneously? Okay, mining rate and/or stored amount to be reduced, whilst the station can have a higher transfer rate, but it pretty much makes a queue naturally short.
I was thinking about this recently due to installing armada II from GOG, I modified a few bits across the board, like resourcing costs, station crew counts, sensor ranges, etc. And, of course, adding special energy to the construction ship so I can equip it with a cloaking device. Build under cloak for the win, lol. (yes yes this is CHEATING, but so is the computer with nebulas that destroy the repair ships you gotta send to the enterprise in the campaign. higher health/shields/crew/etc and I still lost seven of nine.
well, eight, but the joke doesn't work with that number :D)
I wanted to make resourcing an added issue, so without infinite moons, you have to be smarter about which units you build. (I also did a pulse platform variant with rapid fire pulse phasers, and two can overwhelm and destroy a cube with fifty percent losses. three, without loosing any of them. four is overkill.)

Anyway, with this there's the new strategy: do you try to get a LOT of resources quickly, but conversely, some of those resources are needed to make the extra mining ships, or go for the crawl, so you can maximise how much resourcing goes to combat, likewise, the more miners on a single moon, the quicker it's depleted.

so, these are the values right now: 188 capacity in the mandril. takes, what ten to fifteen seconds to mine? just about twelve seconds to transfer to mining station, so same time at both. instead, we reduce the RATE to mine, or increase both capacity of the mandril and transfer rate of the station, so it'll be at a moon for about two to three times the length of time it takes to dump it at the station.
And at the moon, all orbiting mining ships can mine at the same time - so you'd see, like, three or four mining beams from orbiting ships.
Factional differences (as in FO) can apply, though. Say, one faction can only have one ship mine at the same time, but it picks up half-again as much in the same time, with a slower transfer at station. And on 'infinite' moons, one, or maybe just two, can mine at once on those anyway. And even interferes. say you have two factions mining the same moon. one faction is multi-ship with individually smaller capacities, one just has one or two ships sent, and only one mines at any one time. And the two factions are NOT allies. The faction that has just the two ships mining, can block the others, but because the multi-ship faction can, well, deplete the moon faster with say, three or more, because they can do so at the same time...
Fight for resources? instead of the straight strategy of 'well I want my enemy to take longer', resources becomes even more important... I mean, its not like you can steal from the other players' gathered resources that are ready to spend but not yet spent, like in some other strategy games.
However... it only
posted on May 2nd, 2022, 1:01 pm
There are some unfortunate balance issues with this approach. In Armada 2, and RTS games in general, the cost of resource gatherers is so small as to be uncomparable to the amount of resources gained. As a result, there would never be a reason for any player to build fewer than the maximum amount of miners that can get income from a moon.

Starcraft has a relatively high cost for gatherers, with maximum efficiency achieved at one TH building and 16 workers (1200 Minerals), maximum income at 24 workers (1600 Minerals) and a standard base holding 10800 Minerals. That means about 1/10th of the resources go towards gatherers, but these can be transferred to future mining bases.
Starcraft has two limitations on gathering: worker build time in the early game and Supply usage in the late game.

Age of Empires uses a similar method, where an "economy focused" strategy involves getting additional Town Halls ASAP just to build workers faster.

Armada 2 and Fleet Ops don't really have these limitations. Miners are incredibly cheap, and build quickly compared to the number that are needed. In my research, I found that even if 2 miners could bring in 90% of a moon's potential income, it was still worth it to build a 3rd miner and get that last 10% income on every moon.

If you do want to play with the idea though, you don't have to program multiple ships mining at the same time. You just have to make it so the ships fill up to capacity after only orbiting the moon a tiny bit of the way. The miners behave in such a way that they'll continue and complete one full orbit of the moon before returning to the storage dock. This way you could make it so a moon's income isn't maxed out until there are 5-6 miners working it.
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