Particle Fleet needs expansion, ideas follow

Started by LordLinus, January 11, 2021, 06:34:42 AM

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Hi all

Particle Fleet is a great game. Better than creeper world 4 even (which was also good). But I couldn't help but feel there are some things which could be implemented to make the game even better:

Upgrading ships/staged construction:
This would mean a ship like a destroyer could be built, then when needed you click a button and it starts constructing the next phase, like it could add a reactor and discharge, or whatever would make sense. You could have more than 2 stages, so could upgrade ships to level 3 where they are tougher, faster or whatever because of components added. The stages would be predefined in the ship editor.

Tech levels for components:
This would mean you could have better versions of the SAME components, so for example you could have a tech level 2 reactor produce twice as much energy as a level 1. It wouldn't even have to look too different, me personally would be happy with a simple colour change of the components. And you could take these levels as far as seemed is reasonable for gameplay

Shields could do with sprucing up:
These things could really do with some kind of blue sparking special effect. (Or could be purple if a tech level 2 shield was used...)

Particulate could "infect" ships:
So if these special particles get to the bridge of a ship they don't destroy it, but take it over, or it could infect the hull and spread slowly. Alternatively it could make your ships start spawning either more particulate or this special stuff, whichever would be more fun and interesting.

As for ship components I will list ideas below:
-Microrift generator, can select a point anywhere on the battlefield for the opposite end
-Particulate generator, have seen this mentioned in another post, but I thought it was a reasonable idea, it could be made to glue to the Hull for a defense layer, but that could be a separate module
-Rift engine, when switched on the ship just teleports to other parts of the battlefield without moving through the space between when given a move command
-Fleet shield, large component used to shield a radius around it and cover other ships.
-An artillery weapon would be interesting, there is no real long range weaponry in the game.


Thanks for taking the time to write this.

Disclaimer: This is an old game, now, and KC is a one-person show. That model means that CW4 and other future games have to take priority over patching older games with more content. So none of this is going to happen.

With that being said, let's look at the suggestions.

"Staged ships": This exists on the Exchange. kajacx made some maps which had upgrade-able ships. I wrote a related script for FOXX to let you (re)design ships mid-mission. FOXX made other maps with kajacx' system, too. However, the game as-it-is uses fixed ship designs to encourage using the right ship for the purpose. Staged ships move into "why would you ever use the base version, just wait for it to upgrade", and maps balanced around the upgraded version.

Tech levels: Again, this encourages power-creep and "why would you ever use the cheap one?", as well as time spent waiting for the expensive version to build. The game's version of this is that if you can't take something on with a destroyer, use a marauder, or two marauders - and so on.

Shield graphics: Shaders for this have a decent chance to cause lag.

"Infection": It's been tried with RPL-scripts. It's not really fun to play with. (Time watching ships for infection, rebuilding them ... it feels like busywork.)

- We call this the Tanker.
- Particle generators have been scripted, they're fun to play with.
- Teleport-ships have been done, and aren't very interesting once the novelty wears off.
- We call this the Hammer.
- We call this the MK7.

Overall, many of these things are things we've thought "wouldn't it be nice if..." about, and tried to script. From that group, you missed the "ship to build big ships really fast" (which I scripted, and it messes with the balance a lot).

knucracker spent a lot of time and effort making a balanced set of components. Unfortunately, few people have the skill to use them well (I'm not among them). Good map/ship/script-making is more than "this is too easy, add more particles", and "this is too hard, add more guns". Keeper Decagon and FOXX have better maps, for this.

For the rest of us, we tend to make massive, lag-inducing ships and huge, lag-inducing maps, and then add lag-inducing numbers of ultratough particles. JoaoPistori has made some of the very few maps which make this interesting, but those are "expert" difficulty.

In games, anything you do has to have a trade-off, even if it's "I put my HQ here, and so can't get to that other mine for a while". If your only trade-off is "it's expensive", that's generally a sign that the thing is going to be unbalanced or win the map singlehanded once you get it (but that'll take a while of waiting and doing effectively-nothing while the cost is paid).

So, while a lot of these look enjoyable now, similar additions tend to result in power creep and waiting, without making the game more fun in the end.
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