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Topic: More Ships

NexusDarkshade
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Joined: 2019-09-12, 19:42
Posts: 8
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Pry about Widelands
Posted at: 2019-09-12, 21:07

So, I was thinking to myself, ships aren't too useful except to create outposts. Wouldn't it be nice if they could actually engage in battles? Perhaps this was already suggested, but I think that warships (of a sort) would be very beneficial to seafaring maps.

Currently, ships just transport wares and workers between ports, passing by other tribes' ships and ignoring them. In a realistic scenario, this would be bad, as you'd want to cut off supply routes or even take over ports to gain a foothold over the enemy. Here's how I would see the implementation of warships working:

There will be two types of warship available, made from upgraded shipyards, the Frigate and the Battleship. They require the same materials as normal ships, except they cost more. They also must carry soldiers as crew members, with more crew allowing for more damage output.


Frigate:

  • small warship
  • crew of 2 soldiers
  • medium cost
  • low base health (300 hp)
  • fast speed (faster than normal ship)

Battleship:

  • large warship (about the same size as a normal ship)
  • crew of 4 soldiers
  • high cost
  • high base health (500 hp)
  • slow speed (slower than normal ship)

Normal ships (for reference):

  • no crew
  • low cost
  • medium base health (400 hp)
  • medium speed

How do they work?

Shipyards:

To produce warships, you need a better shipyard. Upgrading the shipyard to Level 2 allows you to make Frigates, but requires a master shipwright and a normal shipwright. Further upgrading to Level 3 allows you to produce Battleships, but requires two master shipwrights. Each shipyard only produces the ship they are designed to make, so care must be taken that too many resources are not funneled into upgrading en-masse.

Shipyards are also useful because they can repair damaged ships, similar to how soldiers heal while in military buildings and warehouses. However, shipyards can only repair ships that they are able to build, as well as ones which previous levels can build. So, although a Level 2 shipyard can repair normal ships and Frigates, it cannot repair Battleships. Another thing to consider is that shipyards can only repair one ship at a time, and cannot build ships while doing so.

Ports:

In order for warships to be useful, they must be able to gather a crew, and so must dock at a port. However, an upgraded port must be used to dock the mighty Battleship. Similar to inns, this will not remove the original functionality of the port, only expand it.

When there are at least two ports, warships will patrol between them at random. From upgraded ports, you may also organize attacks, similar to how attacks are made by soldiers, except you may choose how many Frigates or Battleships to use. Ports may also defend themselves from attacks, but aren't very effective even when upgraded, though it does improve their damage.

Crew:

In order to operate, a warship must have a crew of soldiers. Without a crew, a warship will wait at a port until soldiers can be supplied. The crew is tied to the warship, causing the stats of the crew to directly affect the warship. Importantly, a warship can only participate in combat or patrolling if it has at least 1 crew member, but can still be attacked by enemy ships if it doesn't.

If a ship is destroyed, the crew die as well, so don't pile all your good soldiers into a damaged boat.

Stats:

Attack: Equal to combined crew attack.

Defense: Equal to average crew defense.

Evade: No evade is available to ships.

Hitpoints: Equal to the base hitpoints for the ship, plus half the combined crew hitpoints.

Use:

Warships can be controlled individually or collectively. Individually, you can set their behavior to aggressive or passive, causing them to attack enemy ships or only return fire respectively. Collectively, from an upgraded port, they can be commanded to attack enemy ports, causing them to attack the designated port and any enemy warship that opposes them.

Upon a successful attack, the port will be taken over and some percentage of soldiers (but at least one) will leave the warship(s) to defend their new port. If the warship has no crew remaining after this, and is unable to get crew from the captured port, it will automatically return to a nearby port to retrieve more crew.

If damaged, ships (both warship and not) can also be commanded to return for repair. They will then sail to the closest shipyard that can repair them. While in repair, the crew will be returned to circulation, allowing them to go to another warship, military building, or warehouse.

However, unlike normal ships, they may not transport goods or workers, and cannot follow other ships.


I hope you enjoyed my suggestions, and if there are any comments, questions, or concerns you have, feel free to let me know.


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GunChleoc
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Joined: 2013-10-07, 15:56
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Posted at: 2019-09-12, 23:35

Welcome to the forum!

This has been discussed before, e.g. https://www.widelands.org/forum/topic/4492/

And we also have some open bugs about this:

https://github.com/widelands/widelands/issues/1960

which depends on:

https://github.com/widelands/widelands/issues/662

The idea so far has been to allow sending soldiers in a ship.


Busy indexing nil values

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king_of_nowhere
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Joined: 2014-09-15, 18:35
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Posted at: 2019-09-13, 00:42

there are many balance problems with implementing ships. for example, if ships can attack any port, then the attacker can concentrate his troops and the defender cannot, making maps with many ports unplayable. if the attacker has a limited attack range, then maps with distant ports may be impossible to conquer. and what if there is no port? can the defender avoid invasion simply by dismantling his port? and if instead you can conquer a port space and burn whatever stand on it, won't that be too harsh for the defender?

that's a big part of why naval battles were never implemented


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NexusDarkshade
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Joined: 2019-09-12, 19:42
Posts: 8
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Pry about Widelands
Posted at: 2019-09-13, 05:24

GunChleoc:

This has been discussed before

I acknowledge that, however I couldn't find any posts that went into very much depth, and the post you directed me to just seemed to be requesting scout ships, but maybe I'm not very good at searching.

As for the GitHub links, it seems as if you guys are already laying the groundwork for ports as pseudo-military sites. Even if there are bugs from before build 16, at least you're on the path to implementation. Personally, I totally agree that sending soldiers on expeditions is a good fix for ports getting attacked after construction. But the links don't really address the fact that ships have very little functionality as of now.

king_of_nowhere

if ships can attack any port, then the attacker can concentrate his troops and the defender cannot, making maps with many ports unplayable.

That's a good point. Perhaps it would be more reasonable to only be able to attack ports you are currently able to see, but at the moment many seafaring maps don't have ports which are visible to other players without sending out an expedition, passing them with ships transporting wares, or launching an extensive land-based attack (which kind of defeats the purpose of naval warfare).

This could be mitigated by either increasing the vision radius of ships, or allowing warships to maneuver similarly to expedition ships, which has the same problems discussed in the post suggested by GunChleoc.


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GunChleoc
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Posted at: 2019-09-13, 09:11

NexusDarkshade wrote:

GunChleoc:

This has been discussed before

I acknowledge that, however I couldn't find any posts that went into very much depth, and the post you directed me to just seemed to be requesting scout ships, but maybe I'm not very good at searching.

Indeed, I seem to remember that there were more discussions. I just found another topic: https://www.widelands.org/forum/topic/1903/.

Perhaps it would be more reasonable to only be able to attack ports you are currently able to see.

All you need to do then is to place an expedition ship in the vicinity of the ports that you want to attack, send the order and then put your expedition ship somewhere where the enemy can't easily see it to prevent it from being attacked.

Edited: 2019-09-13, 09:13

Busy indexing nil values

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NexusDarkshade
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Joined: 2019-09-12, 19:42
Posts: 8
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Pry about Widelands
Posted at: 2019-09-13, 21:28

GunChleoc wrote:

Indeed, I seem to remember that there were more discussions. I just found another topic

That post is a great example, thanks. Though that does make it appear that not having ships that can attack has been a problem since their release. However, I am grateful to you guys for working on the issue for quite some time. My post is just an idea on how it could look when the issues are fixed and it gets implemented.

All you need to do then is to place an expedition ship in the vicinity of the ports that you want to attack, send the order and then put your expedition ship somewhere where the enemy can't easily see it to prevent it from being attacked.

That doesn't sound like much of a problem. Ships have very little visibility range compared to ports, or even sentries, so it will be very difficult to "hide" a random ship.

For reference:

Ship visibility range:

Widelands-Free-Slow-Paced-Real-Time-Strategy-Game-clone-of-The-Settlers-II.png

Sentry visibility range:

DfiDJOs.png

As you can see, even though the images don't have the same zoom level, the lowly sentry has well over double the visibility range of a ship. A ship would have to be right on top of a port to see it, while a port would see the ship coming from far off.

Edited: 2019-09-13, 21:29

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Nordfriese
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Joined: 2017-01-17, 18:07
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Posted at: 2019-09-14, 14:13

Vision ranges can be adjusted very easily if they´re a problem face-wink.png

The default vision range for militarysites and warehouses is conquer radius + 4. That makes 9 for ports, 10 for sentries (except frisian sentinel with only 8). Towers have up to 21. Ships have 4.


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king_of_nowhere
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Joined: 2014-09-15, 18:35
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Posted at: 2019-09-14, 23:13

yes, but you can't reposition your army fast. so the problem remains, the attacker can focus attack much more effectively than the defender can focus defence.

I'm thinking two options to balance this:

  • every port can only send attacks to the closer enemy port. this limits the number of targets that can be attacked. it's arbitrary, but no more so than military buildings having a fixed radius at which they can send soldiers.

  • if becomes possible to keep soldiers in a fleet and move them around freely among the seas. that way, while the attacker could get an early advantage on a surprise attack, the defender may bring ships of his own and crush all attacking forces. I like this option more, although the resulting gameplay would not feel mucch like widelands.


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WorldSavior
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Joined: 2016-10-15, 04:10
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Posted at: 2019-09-15, 12:32

NexusDarkshade wrote:

GunChleoc:

This has been discussed before

I acknowledge that, however I couldn't find any posts that went into very much depth, and the post you directed me to just seemed to be requesting scout ships, but maybe I'm not very good at searching.

The thread begins with scout ships indeed, but then look at this: https://www.widelands.org/forum/topic/4492/?page=1#post-27561

What about the depth of that post?

NexusDarkshade wrote:

Stats:

Attack: Equal to combined crew attack.

Defense: Equal to average crew defense.

Evade: No evade is available to ships.

Hitpoints: Equal to the base hitpoints for the ship, plus half the combined crew hitpoints.

I think that this is a little bit arbitrary. How should ships attack, with range or melee?

And notice that Frisian soldiers evade only half as often (approximately) as fully trained imperial/atlantean soldiers - Frisian ships could be overpowered.

Upon a successful attack, the port will be taken over and some percentage of soldiers (but at least one) will leave the warship(s) to defend their new port. If the warship has no crew remaining after this, and is unable to get crew from the captured port, it will automatically return to a nearby port to retrieve more crew.

This is not useful if the defender has no port.


“It's a threat to our planet to believe that someone else will save it.” - Robert Swan

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NexusDarkshade
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Joined: 2019-09-12, 19:42
Posts: 8
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Pry about Widelands
Posted at: 2019-09-17, 05:42

king_of_nowhere wrote:

yes, but you can't reposition your army fast. so the problem remains, the attacker can focus attack much more effectively than the defender can focus defence.

I'm thinking two options to balance this:

  • every port can only send attacks to the closer enemy port. this limits the number of targets that can be attacked. it's arbitrary, but no more so than military buildings having a fixed radius at which they can send soldiers.

  • if becomes possible to keep soldiers in a fleet and move them around freely among the seas. that way, while the attacker could get an early advantage on a surprise attack, the defender may bring ships of his own and crush all attacking forces. I like this option more, although the resulting gameplay would not feel mucch like widelands.

I think your first suggestion has the most potential, so long as ports can attack multiple enemy tribes' closest port, rather than the absolute closest enemy port. Of course, the option to set warships to defend a port is also a possibility to mitigate a defender's weakness.

I also agree that having fleets that can move freely would end up making the game a bit less Wideland-ish.


WorldSavior wrote:

The thread begins with scout ships indeed, but then look at this: https://www.widelands.org/forum/topic/4492/?page=1#post-27561

What about the depth of that post?

Yes, they do discuss sea combat, but only briefly and in very little detail. They quickly move back to scout ships, and someone later even dismisses sea combat as not related to the topic.

I think that this is a little bit arbitrary. How should ships attack, with range or melee?

I would think that ships would attack similarly to how soldiers attack now: wait their turn to attack one on one. The crew wouldn't actively participate in battle, only improve the ship's stats. Although ships wouldn't attack with melee per se (they would play a little animation of shooting arrows or something), it would be the same think in essence.

And notice that Frisian soldiers evade only half as often (approximately) as fully trained imperial/atlantean soldiers - Frisian ships could be overpowered.

I couldn't find a source that says that Frisians evade less often, or even what their leveling stats were, so I'll be interested where you found that; but have you considered that Frisians are based on the vikings? It would make sense that their ships are a bit better than the other tribes. I have to admit that I haven't used them all that much, so I don't know how they compare in normal attacks. If they are too strong in naval combat, we could of course just make each tribe have their own warships with different stats to compensate.

This is not useful if the defender has no port.

Of course. I'm only outlining what happens if you attack a port. That is how I outlined attacks working in my original post: you select an enemy port, choose the ships to attack with, and they go at it like soldiers do against military buildings.

If your ships attack other ships outside of an attack, then they are doing so on a patrol, or while defending themselves or a port, and thus have no need to take over a port.


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