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Author Topic: Master of Orion tangent thread  (Read 9826 times)
Elerium
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Master of Orion tangent thread
« on: October 14, 2008, 12:25:43 pm »

I think I've seen this guy on some art forum.

I should take a look at this MoO 1/2 game some time. I keep hearing nice things about it.

http://www.angelfire.com/empire/ezixl/picture/elerian2.html

The original in my opinion is the best one of the lot, tons of fun and easy to understand (plus it's abandonware). The second is a fun game, but it suffers from micromanagement hell syndrome and racial balance problems.

Elerians imo were one of the stacked races in that they could mentally dominate any planet if they brought a cruiser or higher class (something like that) to an undefended world without attacking it like any other race would (Space troop ground assault). In addition they could see where every race would start on the map.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2008, 12:05:04 pm by meep-eep » Logged
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Re: Outsider, SC inspired web comic...
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2008, 05:13:41 pm »

The original in my opinion is the best one of the lot, tons of fun and easy to understand (plus it's abandonware). The second is a fun game, but it suffers from micromanagement hell syndrome and racial balance problems.

The original suffers from AI players that can't figure out how to crack a series of missile bases underneath a planetary defense shield. Maybe if the AI knew it needed a ton of bombers to go on the offensive it would be truly flawless for its time. MoO 2 didn't have the same problem, but you are right that the second game turns into a huge micromanagement chore after a while.
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Re: Outsider, SC inspired web comic...
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2008, 07:44:25 pm »

I see. In MoO2 you have to build bases in a lightweight SimCity style right? MoO1 had the slider abstraction instead. (I've been watching some YouTube videos.) Did the second game have multiple planets per solar system too? I'm not sure what that would add except realism.

I played a lot of Utopia and K240 (aka Fragile Allegiance), and there was a shareware(?) game for the Amiga called Colonial Conquest (2). K240 used asteroids instead planets, so a few abstraction problems disappeared. Each asteroid could be conveniently city-sized, and the distances between the asteroids allowed for reasonable fleet travel time without the use of FTL drives etc. The drawback is that asteroids are dead environments, so the playfield doesn't require much adaptation by the player. They did vary in placement, movement, size and mineral deposits though, and their surfaces had some cliffs where you couldn't build.

How do you guys feel about time control rather than turns? Turns are a bit abstract to me, so I prefer time control. I can think of two areas where turns are better than realtime: the player is presented with easy to grasp Boolean situations, and is given the ability to multitask without stressing around and missing little details. In time control games like Baldur's Gate and Mega lo Mania the player can slow or freeze time, making multitasking more feasible. Doesn't work well with multiplayer though. In MoO1 it seems like the ships moves (slides between source and destination) between the turns. Can they be interrupted by combat while this happens? If so, it's more like you get to pause to manage at certain set intervals.

MoO3 'doesn't exist'?
« Last Edit: October 14, 2008, 09:23:35 pm by Arne » Logged
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Re: Outsider, SC inspired web comic...
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2008, 06:41:19 pm »

I see. In MoO2 you have to build bases in a lightweight SimCity style right? MoO1 had the slider abstraction instead. (I've been watching some YouTube videos.) Did the second game have multiple planets per solar system too? I'm not sure what that would add except realism.
Sort of, in MoO2 you have a list of buildings what you want to make, then you pick them and your workers make it for you, which then graphically when done appears on the bottom. Then your citizens are separated into three rows, workers, farmers and scientists, which you divert them to the job rows. Eventually you can make robots to replace the human workers or use them as head-starters for planets that haven't been colonized fully. More terraforming/planet class level= more space for citizens. You had to also manage netwide food across your empire, something which MoO1 didn't have, which you build more freighters to carry the food and divert people to crop duty, etc..

MoO1 had a slider that simplified most functions to "defence", "industry", "ship", "research" just off the top of my head.

Second game had multiple planets in a system, which most asteroids and planets can be turned into outpost bases to deny your enemy to colonize it, and use it as a refueling station so you can travel further. Also asteroid belts could eventually be turned into new planets given tech to make artificial planets.

Quote
I played a lot of Utopia and K240 (aka Fragile Allegiance), and there was a shareware(?) game for the Amiga called Colonial Conquest (2). K240 used asteroids instead planets, so a few abstraction problems disappeared. Each asteroid could be conveniently city-sized, and the distances between the asteroids allowed for reasonable fleet travel time without the use of FTL drives etc. The drawback is that asteroids are dead environments, so the playfield doesn't require much adaptation by the player. They did vary in placement, movement, size and mineral deposits though, and their surfaces had some cliffs where you couldn't build.

How do you guys feel about time control rather than turns? Turns are a bit abstract to me, so I prefer time control. I can think of two areas where turns are better than realtime: the player is presented with easy to grasp Boolean situations, and is given the ability to multitask without stressing around and missing little details. In time control games like Baldur's Gate and Mega lo Mania the player can slow or freeze time, making multitasking more feasible. Doesn't work well with multiplayer though. In MoO1 it seems like the ships moves (slides between source and destination) between the turns. Can they be interrupted by combat while this happens? If so, it's more like you get to pause to manage at certain set intervals.

I usually can adapt to turn based or real time games, although I usually prefer real time more. Turn based allows me to think about decisions more on a managerial aspect but usually because of this they emphasise more focus in micromanagement which I dislike for the most part. Real time games also shouldn't be made so that they become "who can click faster and get their economies up faster than the computer". Games such as Imperium Galactica (a really fun game, you should look at it and its sequel Imperium Galactica 2) uses a real time flow system from slow, pause, and super fast so you can manage your empire and colonize worlds etc. Although it can be a bit frustrating when stuff happens and you aren't able to slow it down fast enough. Multiplayer was sort of dodgy with that game either way.

MoO1 combat is turn based, attacker gets the first turn I think or something, speed depends on the type of engines you fitted to your ship (and any other stuff). Once I had to scream cheese at the computer however when the enemy got "Warp Dissipators" (that's a special doohicky that coats your ship in green stuff that prevents you from moving (it decreases your engine speed by 1), plus these could shoot them halfway across the map so you literally can't do anything while you're getting shot at). MoO1 also had asteroids in the combat screen too (impassable objects). MoO1 had fleets that bunch up depending on their number then they first use their special powers (like Warp Dissipators), then the attack phase they add their shots of the first weapon on the list going down to the last (when you design a ship you have a list of weapons to choose from, although the game ignores any ground weapons/bio stuff against other ships in that combat phase). When the computer adds the shots, it calculates the damage each one does taking into account the current computer level of the ship and special abilities/devices to increase the damage (targetters, racial powers). The enemy that gets hit relies on the level of their engine, counter-special abilities, shields and armour to negate the damage that they get hit by. The result that's left is battle damage, if it exceeds the HP of a single ship, a number is removed from the stack and then it's carried over to the others. So if you had a fleet of two 100 HP ships, it comes to a total HP of 200, then if I was to have superior tech in every way and deal 300 damage at once, both ships would be lost, but if I managed to deal 130 damage using lower level weapons, one ship would be lost and the other would have 70 HP. Missiles would chase you across the map, and run out of fuel/energy per square depending on their level, and ECM Jammers decrease the damage the missiles do. Bioweapons and subatomics like Neutromium Bombs only come into play against planets, decreasing population (for bio weapons only) and industry every turn they are next to a planet and you give the attack order. It's a poor way of doing it, as sometimes if you want the industry intact with the bio weapons you have to drop the load in a combat screen, whereas in "orbital bombardment" on the megamap you'll toast what you want to keep.

MoO2 however had individual ships, the weapons were split into more several types (rather than MoO1 having single shot heavies and normal weapons, rapid firing blasters were their own weapons in their own right), so you had continuous type, long range type, hard shot type, heavy type, it was just confusing (missiles could be set to different quantities launched). In addition you could choose what angle they could fire at, more angle= more points spent. Most of the combat is the same, except ships could "warp core breach" at random if they took too much damage which sucked, because your battleship would randomly explode and damage the other ships if a lucky shot hit it (and if they're luckier, your ships will core breach and do a chain reaction, yay). You had to get through a bar of shields first, then attack the hull. Also it had leaders that add could benefits to the entire fleet, and marine strikes where you could capture ships then send it back to your own planets to reverse engineer them and get a random number of techs instantly (funny when you take an Antaran vessel which is nigh impossible then salvage their Particle Beam techs or something if you didn't take Orion).
Quote
MoO3 'doesn't exist'?
MoO3? Whaaa? Oh that... Nope..

I saw some previews, and it looked like it stunk. Really bad. StarConNot 3 worse. They also amplified the micromanagement to insane levels if I recall a lot of people saying as well.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2008, 05:37:56 pm by Elerium » Logged
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Re: Outsider, SC inspired web comic...
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2008, 09:18:51 pm »

M00 2 is a fun game to play... m00 3 is horible nothing more to say about moo3 it just plain suck
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Re: Outsider, SC inspired web comic...
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2008, 09:29:55 pm »

How do you guys feel about time control rather than turns? Turns are a bit abstract to me, so I prefer time control. I can think of two areas where turns are better than realtime: the player is presented with easy to grasp Boolean situations, and is given the ability to multitask without stressing around and missing little details. In time control games like Baldur's Gate and Mega lo Mania the player can slow or freeze time, making multitasking more feasible. Doesn't work well with multiplayer though. In MoO1 it seems like the ships moves (slides between source and destination) between the turns. Can they be interrupted by combat while this happens? If so, it's more like you get to pause to manage at certain set intervals.

Is "time control" an official name? Well anyway, I've never liked games that pause during the action. That's a problem with Knights of the Old Republic, but of course no one played that for the combat.
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Re: Outsider, SC inspired web comic...
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2008, 12:01:27 pm »

Thanks for the replies.

As always, I wouldn't mind scalability, macro control with micro control there as an option. I've heard good things about GalCiv2.

I just made up the term time control if that's what you're asking. Elite 2 Frontier had it. There was a warning system if something happened. Mega lo Mania would also pause or slow down time (optional) triggered by certain events.


Also, Poot.
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Re: Outsider, SC inspired web comic...
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2008, 05:36:01 pm »

Quote
Real time games also should be made so that they become a "who can click faster and get their economies up faster than the computer".

Whoops, meant to say "shouldn't be made", my mistake. Edited.

Galactic Civilizations 2 is a fun game, although the combat is sort of lacking/basic (you got 3 types of weapons, Mass Drivers, Lasers and Missiles, which are cancelled out by Armour, Shields and Chaff. If you have a fleet the damage is spread out I assume).

Oh and the sliders of diversion are a bit hard to work out as well, you can move a slider that modifies itself when you want to research more into Social, Military or Research investment. Only problem is that it's for all your planets in your empire so diverting more into military means your research ones get left out in the cold.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2008, 05:43:55 pm by Elerium » Logged
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Re: Outsider, SC inspired web comic...
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2008, 04:18:55 am »

Galactic Civilizations 2 is pretty decent, and probably the best such game since MOO2, but I find the pacing to be pretty poor. It seems to take forever before you get to do anything interesting, and sometimes you never get to do anything interesting... I once played a whole game where I never really got to fight anyone.
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Re: Outsider, SC inspired web comic...
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2008, 08:31:04 pm »

Also, Poot.
Was the Bulwrath supposed to look like a Pedobear?

As usual I am in awe of what you do, Arne.
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Re: Outsider, SC inspired web comic...
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2008, 09:29:30 pm »

Regarding technology, don't forget that in MoO1, the available technologies in your tech tree varied from game to game. There were a few, core technologies that you were guaranteed to get (like nuclear missiles, for example). But most everything else only had a 50% chance being available for research. (Psilons, I believe, had a higher percentage.)

Personally, I liked this better than the MoO2 alternative and I think it was beneficial in several ways. First, it added replay value in that no two games are alike, tech-wise. Second, you couldn't count on one particular tech for being your powerhouse for any given game. For example, if you relied on black hole generators to wipe out swarms of Klackon raiders, you might be screwed if have no backup plan. Lastly, I think it encouraged diplomacy and spying as alternate means to acquire that 'must-have' piece of technology.

The original suffers from AI players that can't figure out how to crack a series of missile bases underneath a planetary defense shield. Maybe if the AI knew it needed a ton of bombers to go on the offensive it would be truly flawless for its time. MoO 2 didn't have the same problem, but you are right that the second game turns into a huge micromanagement chore after a while.

The AI does build some pretty poor ships. It also sends in unescorted transports, which you can laugh at unless they are Bulrathi.  On higher difficulties, however, the AI usually packs in LOTS of biological weapons on its ships that will make short work of your colonies. (The AI doesn't seem to suffer any diplomatic penalty for using these either.  Angry )
« Last Edit: October 22, 2008, 01:23:41 am by AngusThermopyle » Logged
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Re: Outsider, SC inspired web comic...
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2008, 08:07:31 am »

I've played MoO1 on DosBox now. at first I didn't like it (cumbersome UI, confusing, abstracted TBS), but it grew on me as I worked out the quirks.

Replayability is important to me. I never quite liked games which brags about 20-40-70 hrs of gameplay. Many of my favourite games have lasted for decades.

Presenting the player with a new landscape (tech, geography, opposition) adds great replay value since the player will need to adapt each time. Another mechanic which I enjoy is when not all avenues can be explored because there's not enough resources. Then the player will have to choose what to concentrate on, average in several fields, or peak skill in a few. Perhaps it would be fun with a system where all inventions (names, stats) were random generated based on level?

Being able to see global trends (past, present, future projections) is important and I find MoO1 lacking here, perhaps because it's a TBS and rather old. You don't see a lot of info about the fleets on the map for example. I think a game should provide the player with a lot of info really fast (best way is visual, by color and size coding), but at the same time the player should be able to filter out and only see the necessary info.

I also find the tech'ing a bit too extreme, you start off as a retard, then pretty soon you're a god. It makes me reluctant to design new ships since I know they're gonna be old real soon. It's almost like buying a new computer. I don't mind tech going into the extremes though, in fact I like that aspect of the game. It's fun to see tactics change. I think it would be interesting if the tech'ing was a bit slower, and you could start in certain eras (early, mid, late), kind of like Star Trek ENT, TOS, TNG, etc.

Tech design sheet from a design doc I'm writing...

« Last Edit: October 22, 2008, 08:12:02 am by Arne » Logged
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Re: Outsider, SC inspired web comic...
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2008, 03:00:41 am »


Tech design sheet from a design doc I'm writing...

...Onion shield?
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Re: Outsider, SC inspired web comic...
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2008, 07:37:43 am »

The names are made up. I suppose an onion shield would have a layer mechanic... several weak shields or somesuch.

Poot II.

I think a real time + time control mechanic would be interesting, because you could do the following things:

* Real time, continuous. (works with MP, although I wouldn't want to write the network code.)
* Real time + time control, including pause.  (What I prefer.)
* Real time + pause at frequent intervals. (For TBS freaks, enables some form of hotseat MP, although it might be hard to keep track of many events occurring at the same time.)
* Real time + pause at infrequent intervals. (Play by mail MP, results in all sorts of psychological / prediction gameplay. Requires that the game can be somewhat autonomous (macro). Probably requires deterministic simulation / replay.)
« Last Edit: October 23, 2008, 07:49:05 am by Arne » Logged
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Re: Outsider, SC inspired web comic...
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2008, 01:10:17 pm »

NIce drawings, especially the Sakkra. Maybe have the Silicoid spy look more 'humanoid' as it will employ holofields, cloaking generators and such to remain unseen. The Bulrathi though look a bit odd though (the bulbous stomach). Maybe if they were bears given loads of muscle for the military types (like the MoO2 versions) whereas the more bulbous ones are more diplomacy (the vest it wears is the diplomat one so these Bulrathi types are ones that offer a sense of security?). The Alkari and Mrrshan look fine to me. The Meklars there remind me of wretched aliens that literally have to live in suits of armour to survive, perhaps they evolved on a world lacking predators but one that was harsh and resource rich thus evolution made them put more emphasis on industriousness? Perhaps as the global tech progresses, the Meklars gain different suits, so global tech level 1 would be normal pre-warp suits as they've always used them, yet when they advance to global tech level 2, the suits would be changed to different ones reflecting their cybernetic enhancement for better adaptation/combat/etc.

Likewise, perhaps Sakkra and other aliens also change in their appearance once they develop psionics, genetic modification or the like (or advancing global tech levels). Another idea could be having them relative to the "one shot" global racial modifications to a particular race like in Master of Orion 2 later on in the game allowing you to choose a new bonus to your species. Perhaps Meklars as an example could get a choice of better suits (after stuff like Powered Armour) offering new abilities which you can research later on which would count as a racial modification, such as they could become globally more interfacial with computers = more industry for the worker types, the soldier ones could become more resistant to ground combat/space bombardment, or spy versions have a better time hacking etc. Darloks on the otherhand might research a racial modification where their soldier kind might be an amalgamation of all species put together and their own technology combined as the Darloks use their shapeshifting recklessly to make the perfect soldiers.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2008, 01:18:10 pm by Elerium » Logged
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