If you can completely redesign Stellaris military systems, which would be your first priority?

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Pancakelord

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Is food and water created ex nihilo as well?
I think there is a real-world quote that sums this up well:
"Yesterday's coffee, is tomorrow's coffee. [...] I drank it for six months, and it was actually quite tasty."

- Col. Douglas H. Wheelock, ISS commander on water recycling in space.
Worm help you if you get to the mess hall, and all that's left are some chocolate-chip muffins, reconstituted from a Blorg crewman's first dump of the day.
 
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InvisibleBison

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And it also doesn't make sense if we're using Space Fleets in space, but now we're invading, let's just bring in foot soldiers without similar war machines. I think you need at least some tanks, airplanes, sea ships and combat robots.
Where does it say that assault armies are only infantry?
And there will be no reason to never build war machines similar in scope to the spaceships but adapted for surface combats.
Those are called battle frames and mega-warforms.
 
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GOLANX

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Formations, ships try to stay in formation until otherwise ordered cranes wings formation help you flank an enemy and set up a crossfire, wedge formation bores a hole through the center of the enemy formation while protecting valuable ships in back, line formation projects most damage simultaneously. Combat computer sets place in the formation, swarm computer causes ships to break ranks an dive into the middle of the enemy fleet.

One too many times I have chased an enemy fleet into one of their systems and watched in horror as my fleet engages the enemy fleet then ignores them and races for the station so they can be caught in a crossfire. They really should stick together and attack the enemy procedurally. Could also help the small fleets vs big fleets dilemma where small fleets always get routed without doing significant damage.

More tactical decision making, keep fleets moving to maximize evasion, slow them down so they can divert power to weapons, push power to shields to sponge better. Target priority: weakest/strongest/closest, focus fire on single targets risking overkill or spread fire to whichever your ships are best equipped to deal with and risk not killing any ships.
 

Bezborg

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I’d love an automated theater of operations system, where fleets are a decentralized structure that rarely operates jointly. A “fleet sector” would have missions, supporting infrastructure, a commander (opportunity for meaningful military characters), all sorts of things.
 
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gamerk2

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I've been kicking around a military re-work mod for ages now. Here are my biggest complaints with the current system:

1: At the end of the day, you can really only build around either Kinetics (correct) or Energy (incorrect) based builds, to counter one specific type of defense. Unless build options for fleets are significantly re-thought, the fact we have a ship designer is largely just a feature that doesn't really accomplish much. Frankly, CK3's Men-At-Arms system has more strategic depth when all is said and done, given how bad certain weapon options are.

2: There's a point where "just build nothing but Battleships" takes over. There's a reason why real navies don't do this: These ships need support fleets since they can easily be destroyed by specialized ships when left alone. This type of depth is completely absent; just make a few dedicated PD Battleships and you're good.

3: Torpedo Corvettes anyone? Once you hit 90%+ dodge, they significantly out-punch their cost.

4: Lack of any Carrier-based option prior to the Cruiser makes going down that research path inefficient at best.

5: Eventually, even "standard" weapon/defense options require some amount of Strategic Resources. Ideally, it would be some of the optional components that require them, not baseline items. This has the side-effect of forcing users to dedicate one (or more) planets JUST to pump out these resources, which is one of my long-standing economic complaints as well.

6: Especially on larger ships, unless running 100% maximum shields you never have to worry about Power. There's a lot of potential there; I've got a LOT of thoughts below.

So here are some of my solutions:

1: Weapon loadouts will fall into one of FOUR categories:
  • Primary (Kinetic, Energy, Missile)
  • Torpedo (certain ship types only)
  • Hanger (certain ship types only)
  • Auxiliary (PD, any other optional weapon type)
Note the promotion of Missiles in this case, which makes getting some PD builds early much more important since all-missile boats can be a thing. To compensate, Torpedo's are now their own special slot that only certain ship types/configurations can use.

2: For every ship size, there will be TWO build options: A more versatile/cheaper/weaker option, and a frontline combat option. As a general rule, the first will tend to have more Auxiliary/Hanger slots, where the second will have heavier weapon options be stronger overall and have (optional) Torpedo slots. How I'd lay everything out:
  • Corvettes shrink a size and lose their third slot; only options are Dual-Primary or Primary-Aux. To compensate, their build cost will drop by half (50 Alloys with all T1 equipment). They're meant to be build cheaply early on, but immediately get obsolete.
  • Frigates/Destroyers are the "small" size ships. The first will be heavy on Aux slots and have an optional Hanger option (to serve as an early-game Carrier). The second is optimized for, frankly, killing Frigates. [You'll see why this matters soon]
  • Moving up: Cruisers/Battlecruisers (I'd love to come up with a better name for the second). Same type of split.
  • Carriers/Battleships couldn't be more obvious, though this is the odd case where the Former is actually more specialized than the latter.
3: Power should be much more important, and I absolutely want negative power to be a thing. Here are some of the changes I've been considering:
  • Shields should now have no base power cost. Instead, they recharge per day at a rate equal to the ships excess power capacity. So if you have 100k shields but +1 power capacity, your shields will recharge at the rate of 1 unit per day. Conversely, you can have a ship capable of recharging it's shields daily, if you build right. [Don't worry, I got counters :p]
  • To compensate, Armor will give comparatively more defense [due to not being able to be fixed in the field, barring use of a defensive aux slot].
  • To compensate, two Aux weapons will directly target a ships power: The Energy Siphon (which also boosts your power generation, but has a lower effect) and Disruptors (deal small damage, but hit a ships power systems HARD)
  • If a ship reaches negative power, it will begin powering off systems to try and regain power. There will be a priority, with Thrusters and FTL being the last two systems off.
4: I noted some of the Aux weapons above; pretty much all Aux weapons should be "special" in that they don't just do some damage; they have advantages and disadvantages that may or may not be worth pursuing. Some examples:
  • Mining Drone Laser: Penetrates Armor, deals double damage to Hull
  • Disruptor: Targets ships Energy systems
  • Plasma: Low damage, has %chance to nullify shield recharge per hit
Lots you can do when you separate out the weapon types like this.

And I've got "lots" more ideas tossing around; I've actually been working on a design document for over a year now, and got to the point where I made a C program to simulate some of my changes to try and balance everything. Sadly, I more or less walked away from Stellaris, and don't have the time to actually DO any of my changes. :/
 
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Qwerlancer

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3: Power should be much more important, and I absolutely want negative power to be a thing. Here are some of the changes I've been considering:
  • Shields should now have no base power cost. Instead, they recharge per day at a rate equal to the ships excess power capacity. So if you have 100k shields but +1 power capacity, your shields will recharge at the rate of 1 unit per day. Conversely, you can have a ship capable of recharging it's shields daily, if you build right. [Don't worry, I got counters :p]
  • To compensate, Armor will give comparatively more defense [due to not being able to be fixed in the field, barring use of a defensive aux slot].
  • To compensate, two Aux weapons will directly target a ships power: The Energy Siphon (which also boosts your power generation, but has a lower effect) and Disruptors (deal small damage, but hit a ships power systems HARD)
  • If a ship reaches negative power, it will begin powering off systems to try and regain power. There will be a priority, with Thrusters and FTL being the last two systems off.
Interesting. It reminds me some similar power management concepts in other space games like EVE, ED...
 

Unclellama

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I think i'd do away with the ship designer / component system, and instead have a larger variety of predefined classes of ships, with strengths and weaknesses against each other / against starbases / against planet defenses.

focus the balance more around a few powerful units and their strike fighters. a battleship should be a significant investment and risky to deploy on its own. fleets would be more of a loose association, with an admiral giving a buff to nearby ships, and the option to form up and move as a fleet. but there would be situations where it's worth micromanaging the individual carriers and bigger ships.

match this with a logistics system (fuel and crew), and components that can take damage (e.g. broken hyperdrive, shield generator, fighter bay). implement training manouvers in peacetime (something like EU4 where your troops are temporarily vulnerable, cost more in maintenance, but gain xp). the idea is that you care more about the individual ships / fleets, they have a history, and you might want to try to salvage a crippled fleet stuck behind enemy lines.
 
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Iosue Yu

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Where does it say that assault armies are only infantry?

Those are called battle frames and mega-warforms.
If it doesn't cost Alloys for building and upkeep, then it isn't on the same level of things.
 
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Iosue Yu

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I think i'd do away with the ship designer / component system, and instead have a larger variety of predefined classes of ships, with strengths and weaknesses against each other / against starbases / against planet defenses.

focus the balance more around a few powerful units and their strike fighters. a battleship should be a significant investment and risky to deploy on its own. fleets would be more of a loose association, with an admiral giving a buff to nearby ships, and the option to form up and move as a fleet. but there would be situations where it's worth micromanaging the individual carriers and bigger ships.

match this with a logistics system (fuel and crew), and components that can take damage (e.g. broken hyperdrive, shield generator, fighter bay). implement training manouvers in peacetime (something like EU4 where your troops are temporarily vulnerable, cost more in maintenance, but gain xp). the idea is that you care more about the individual ships / fleets, they have a history, and you might want to try to salvage a crippled fleet stuck behind enemy lines.
Well this would be difficult.

It works very well in some games that have a thick literature that you can use directly without worrying about using franchises. It works in HOI because you already have all the historical ships you can just draw the models without needing to come up with something new. Or in a Gundam Medley game like the G Generation, you can use all the units from the Gundam franchises.

Stellaris draws inspirations from other works but is not paying for the rights to use designs directly. So it just means the Devs have to design every single ship, their capabilities and looks. Each DLC can only contain so much contents so we eventually will just never get something like a full ship package with changes to mechanics as well.
 

Jamaican Castle

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If it doesn't cost Alloys for building and upkeep, then it isn't on the same level of things.
Well they don't require as advanced of materials, because they're not in space - which is a hostile environment that puts constaint strain on materials - but they certainly have the raw quantity down. If you took the minerals for a mega warform and converted them, you'd end up with 400 alloys - so if it's really just one gigantic war machine, it ought to be cruiser-sized!
 
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Well they don't require as advanced of materials, because they're not in space - which is a hostile environment that puts constaint strain on materials - but they certainly have the raw quantity down. If you took the minerals for a mega warform and converted them, you'd end up with 400 alloys - so if it's really just one gigantic war machine, it ought to be cruiser-sized!
Yes it's fun when you can move the goal. Not particularly a bad thing but sometimes we want to stick to the basics.

Regular Armies. Say if we accept the Warforms to be a flying Atmospheric Cruiser, then what do you make of Regular Armies that cost you 100 Minerals?
 

Ikael

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is, almost always, only fun to play if you are the rebels.

It's very difficult to design a satisfactory gameplay loop for counterinsurgency operations, since the whole point of insurgency is to harass, disrupt, and frustrate.

You are equating the general opinion about espionage systems with "sabotage X" operations (which yes, more often than not, they become a huge pain in the ass) with asymmetric warfare.

But these are two different things, or at least, when I think about asymmetric warfare I don't envision a "this planet rebelled!" pop up testing your nerves periodically, a la "funding pirates". I am thinking mostly about ambushes, stealth ships, surprise attacks, heroic raids, and hit and run tactics, that is, means to defeat bigger fleets. Would rebellions be implemented on Stellaris 2, I do hope that it will be a question of internal politics, which is its own area in need of rework.
 

grommile

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I am thinking mostly about ambushes, stealth ships, surprise attacks, heroic raids, and hit and run tactics, that is, means to defeat bigger fleets.
Those aren't means to defeat bigger fleets.

They're means to harass, disrupt, and frustrate your enemy into (a) dispersing their bigger fleet into chunks small enough for you to defeat in detail or (b) adding you to their "do not invite to the next session" list.
 
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Bankipriel

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For Stellaris 2, I will be hoping/praying for:

1) free movement
(i.e. no hyperlanes, I'm done with hyperlanes. I've always hated them, but gave them a try for several years when Stellaris made them mandatory, and I now, more than ever, hate what they do to warfare. DW2 & Gal Civ 4 are on the horizon in the next 1 to 2 years, and Gal Civ 3 will suffice until then. If Stellaris 2 is hyperlanes only, it will be a hard pass for me.)

2) no "hard" borders. After hyperlanes, hard borders are the (most ridiculous) thing that I hate about warfare in Stellaris.

3) no B.S. warscore system. If I want to fight an empire to the death over 250 years, make it difficult, make it nigh impossible, but don't just tell me that I *must* sign a peace treaty.

4) 4X pacing, or GSG pacing, but not both mish-mashed into one game. Same for single-player or multiplayer. Stellaris is hobbled by trying to be all things to all players.
 
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impspy

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Nobody likes caps, but the simple fact is, we Do Not have proper AI access, and have to play with a hand behind our backs if we're going to see any measure of competitiveness. Being able to overflow my fleet cap by 2x destroys difficulty when the AI doesn't 1) consider aggressively raising its FC 2) consider aggressively going over its FC (because its shite economy couldn't support it anyway).

Sure you can increase exceed_naval_cap penalties by a factor of 10x, or increase individual ship upkeep costs, but that accomplishes the same thing - whilst also shattering the AIs economy when it loses a starbase, sending it into a death spiral.

Caps, IMO, are the lesser evil.
  • Hard caps using the "titan code", as I'm calling it, are very binary (though do integrate into the game well as you say).
  • Rather, scripted caps appear in tooltips (with the checks and crosses) and are more flexible and respond to different conditions + can take variables that are scaled dynamically - they'd be what I use.
How did you do the scripted caps, if you don't mind sharing?
 

Cordane

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On planets, yes. Airplanes are much more able to dodge than oceanic ships. But in space, all spaceships are equally maneuverable. A big battleship can dodge just as easily as a tiny fighter (assuming competent ship design, of course). This is why it's bad when people treat space combat as being the same as naval combat: The physics involved are completely different and give rise to different tactical situations.
No, battleships cannot dodge as easily as a tiny fighter. Part of it is physics, the rest is just size.

Even if a battleship could somehow generate the same acceleration as a tiny fighter, the distances involved would keep it from being as effective. If a fighter's fuselage is 3-4 meters wide and it's making a lateral acceleration of 2 meters/second squared, it can displace its entire fuselage width in less than two seconds. If a battleship's fuselage/beam is 30-40 meters wide and it's making that same lateral acceleration of 2m/s^2, it will take around 6 seconds to clear its fuselage. But the other, bigger part deals with the Square-Cube Law, and whether a battleship's frame can handle the same proportional forces put on it by accelerations and its engines can produce proportionally larger forces without exceeding its materials' tolerances for temperature and pressure.

Between a Corvette and a Battleship in Stellaris, it could be viewed that the Corvette is one eighth the volume and mass of the Battleship. If everything is proportional between the two ships, the Battleship's frame is going to be trying to handle stresses through its frame that are eight times as large, while the members of that frame are only going to have four times the cross-section as the Corvette. In order for the Battleship to handle the same proportional stresses as the Corvette, it would need to increase the cross-section (thickness) to eight times that of the Corvette (2x what it would be just proportionately). The thrusters for the Battleship will also have to be bigger and/or more numerous, with bigger thrusters trying to push eight times as much thrust out of an exit port only four times as large (and facing higher pressures/temperatures), or twice as many thrusters operating at the same pressure/temperature conditions now competing for the proportional aft-facing hull emplacements.

Only if the frame and the thrusters are a very small proportion of the whole hull will the increase to their values not cut into the operational capacity of a Battleship, IF they try to keep up with the capabilities of even a Corvette. A "tiny fighter" (Strike Craft) is at least another eighth or two below the Corvette, so I don't see any Battleship coming close to the same evading ability.
 
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Cordane

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There's a lot of stuff in this thread, but you forgot a pair of things, there are tachyon sensors that are instantaneous and tachyon lances that are instantaneous because tachyons travel backwards in time, people keep thinking stellaris is eu4 or hoi4 in space but they forget all the advanced tech in stellaris:


Tachyon Sensors
Advanced sensors that rely on rotating tachyon beams to detect ship movements even at extreme distances.

Tachyon Lances
A more powerful version of the particle lance, this weapon fires a tachyon beam of immense power. Like its predecessor, its use is limited to battleships and titans.

A tachyon (/ˈtækiɒn/) or tachyonic particle is a hypothetical particle that always travels faster than light.
Stellaris doesn't have "tachyon" weapons, they have Tier 6 weapons which are fractionally better than Tier 5 weapons, which are fractionally better than Tier 4, etc. If they were actual "tachyon" weapons, they would have much greater range, accuracy, and tracking than the "particle" predecessors. But they don't because it's just techno-babble Stellaris uses to sound fancy. Same thing with the "tachyon" sensors - they don't have effects that would be in line with predicting target movement.
 
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Cordane

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Stellaris missiles are only Ballistic Missiles in name. They don't act like them.

You don't shoot and go drink tea to wait for the results. You shoot and watch it hit. It's more like homing missiles of air fighters.

If they're actually Ballistic Missiles, they should outrange strikecrafts by 100 times and regular weapons by 1000 or more times.

Stellaris ranges are actually just within a few hundreds of km, but only with graphics enlarged to look nice. And the missiles are just combat missiles instead of cruising or any longer range. Strikecrafts are unmanned drones with limited reception ranges.

That's why Dog Fights need to be a thing. Because at extreme distances, you aren't really shooting them with any plausible accuracy. And you don't have cruising missiles somehow.

Cruising Missiles should be shot at even longer ranges and you expect none to actually hit due to countermeasures when you have nothing else going on. But they can be shot at 5x engagement ranges. Then dog fights would be like 3x engagement ranges.

The 5x and 3x are compromises. You don't want a real-world tactic simulator.
I do disagree with your take on weapon ranges, but you actually kept in mind that the "ranges" shown on the system map are a total conceit to the "game clock = calendar" reality (I just thought you overcorrected). Weapon ranges for direct-fire mounts are more likely to be in light-second territory, with the best beam weapons reaching out to several million kilometers (e.g., 3M km is 10 light-seconds). Kinetic weapons are going to have real difficulty getting their projectiles to even 10% of the speed of light, and at that speed, for example, event a 1M km shot is going to deal with 33.3 seconds of flight time (plus at least 3.3 seconds of sensor lag), gobs of time for a target to even unwittingly wander away from where the attacker expects them to end up (never mind a target that is actively "drunk walking"). These ranges are necessary for energy weapons to have any chance of missing, while not dooming every single kinetic shot to an all-expenses-paid trip to a neighboring galaxy, and a chance at being included in some distant event's flavor text.

A Strike Craft pulling a 4G burn can cross 10M km (assuming an acceleration burn out to the midway point and a deceleration burn down to a more manageable speed on approach) in about 8.5-9.0 hours, an hour or two of loiter time over the target, and then a return trip at maybe a gravity less in acceleration - 24-hour sortie, including downtime in the aft-of-cockpit accommodations (think B-1B bomber, not F-15E fighter in terms of size). A Guided Weapon, like a Missile, might be pulling an easy 8G, not worrying about slowing down, and getting to the target that same 10M km out in less than 4.5 hours, with only the last couple of minutes close enough (150K km, 1/2 light-second) to have a chance for PD to knock them out. (And even a Corvette is only going to be pulling a single gravity of acceleration and would take around 17 hours to get within range of its guns.)

If that last bit would make you scared witless enough to want to dump a whole bunch of defensive firepower into defeating that threat, then you should be able to see why PD and Flak would realistically need to be very heavy in order to stave off such deadly attacks. But this scenario also shows that direct-fire weapons are going to be way down the list of distant threats to a fleet, yet in vanilla Stellaris, direct-fire weapons regularly match SC and GW effective ranges (distance between fleets on first hit by each weapon type), hit nearly as often despite SC/GW having much closer aiming ranges, and do comparable damage over time even though a missile accelerating that distance and just impacting a hull (never mind any explosion) would hit with the force of a delivery truck moving at around 4.5M km/hour! (Granted a 1-kilogram slug coming in at 108M kph is no slouch...)
 
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