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  #11  
Old February 21st, 2001, 05:46 PM
DrSkull DrSkull is offline
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I must say that the one thing I'd be most interested in seeing in the new system would be seemless ground and starship combat and a fast and easy vehicle design system. I think High Guard was wonderful, but vehicles designed under Striker, MegaTraveller and T4 were just a huge, nasty headache. I don't want to spend a hour when I need to have the stats for a truck.

(Okay, now that I think of it that is really 2 things)
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[This message has been edited by DrSkull (edited 21 February 2001).]

[This message has been edited by DrSkull (edited 21 February 2001).]
  #12  
Old February 22nd, 2001, 10:47 AM
StrikerFan StrikerFan is offline
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Personally, while I enjoyed High Guard, it was a bit too abstract for roleplaying with. A great set of rules for making fleets, certainly, but it was a bit overly limited (IMHO) for the small ships that PCs have available. If I were designing T5, I would take the same approach that MT tried to (but didn't finish): an improved, more detailed CT, using what was developed in Striker to expand what existed in CT and High Guard. But then, I loved Striker, and I enjoyed MT (even if the ship DAMAGE rules needed to be replaced, reusing High Guard made little sense given that each segment of the ship already had damage points calculated as part of the design process).
Was MT ship design complicated? Yep. Was it flexible? Oh, yes. Those two go hand in hand, most of the time. But there are ways to simplify things for those who want to build ships but not deal with all the possible complications. For example, provide standard building block pieces (rather like Book 2 used) that are calculated from the more detailed rules, so a ship designed using the building blocks is using the same rules as the ships designed using the more detailed rules.
  #13  
Old February 22nd, 2001, 03:37 PM
DrSkull DrSkull is offline
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I guess the reason I liked High Guard so much was that I really came to it late in the game. I didn't design a lot of ships when I played CT, but I too was a big fan of Striker and designed Striker vehicles. Then when MT came out I designed a pile of ships and vehicles with its design sequence, it was fun to a degree but more work than was really necessary. I don't want to even think about T4 design sequences--yuck.
Then, recently I went back to basics and started monekying areound with High Guard. It was like a breath of fresh air. Whipping up 2-3 ships in a half hour was possible. I started to dread the thought of Striker/MT design greatly. If I need a TL-8 battle tank or a TL-10 ore-carrier, I don't want to have to fiddle back and forth for hours to get it to work.

I do agree that a compromise might indeed be possible. A basic vehcile and starship construction system with basic hulls/chassis and customizeable space forming the basic system and a more detailed "behind the scenes" system for the real gearheads. I would prefer something fast and easy (that covers ground vehicles, grav vehciles and aircraft, as well as spaceships) as part of the core system.

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  #14  
Old February 22nd, 2001, 05:24 PM
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T. Foster T. Foster is offline
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by StrikerFan:
Was MT ship design complicated? Yep. Was it flexible? Oh, yes. Those two go hand in hand, most of the time. But there are ways to simplify things for those who want to build ships but not deal with all the possible complications. For example, provide standard building block pieces (rather like Book 2 used) that are calculated from the more detailed rules, so a ship designed using the building blocks is using the same rules as the ships designed using the more detailed rules.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The problem with such a system is that you can end up with something like T4's QSDS, combining the worst of both worlds -- you're still dealing with multi-place decimals and counting up Megawatts and such, but you're not given explanations or allowed to fiddle around with anything -- using the same rules but without the options doesn't lead to simplicity, it just leads to sub-optimal designs.

IMO the Core 'simple' system shouldn't just be a list of plug-in components from the complex system, it should operate in an entirely different, more abstract, manner (think Book 2 -- not an xxxMw power plant, but Power Plant C). The simple system should be for people who want to design vehicles and ships on the fly without having to juggle whole streams of numbers -- with the time and inclination they can go back later to convert/re-engineer under the complex system and figure out 'real' values, but in the mean time they can get on with actually playing the game.

Values would have to be checked and optimized to ensure rough inter-system compatability, but a +/-20% or so 'fuzziness threshhold' should also be allowed; the idea is 'close enough' estimation, not gearhead minimaxing.

As for the MT design system, my biggest gripe was always the lack of examples, both of process and of finished product -- I was never confident that I was interpreting the rules properly, and was always unsure how my finished designs 'stacked up.' A particular problem was the various inter-dependent and iterative sequences -- unless you have an intuitive understanding of such things (which I don't) or lots of design experience, it's hard to estimate up-front how these values are going to interact, and where the optimal compromise-points lie.

I don't mind complicated systems, as long as I have clear and concise examples to follow, models to work towards, or even instructional sidebar 'design tips': something to let me know I'm on the right track -- MT didn't provide any of these.
  #15  
Old February 22nd, 2001, 11:27 PM
Vicente Vicente is offline
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My first Question is Which is your target public? Which is your marketing strategy?
Game design and format comes after these are set.
If you're going to sell it for grognards, it will give a lot of rrom for a more complex game, but this will SEVERELY limit your market.
Many companies have died trying to make their games more and more complex.
If in the other hand You're looking for new gamers and making REAl money and growing far future entreprises, I guess the game has to be as simple as possible without being simplistic.
Remember that a Business plan precedes product design.
In both cases I'm more than willing to help the design process, both as a Business professor or as a military engineer (Yes, Striker really shaped my carrer decision back then).
Best regards

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  #16  
Old February 23rd, 2001, 09:58 AM
DrSkull DrSkull is offline
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The goal should be to get as many grognards and as many new players to the game as possible. That's just what Wizards of the Coast did with D&D 3e, and they largely suceeded, so it can be done. The key was the fact that they made a good product that was smooth to use and they had a great marketing strategy (a year-long planned tease). It retained the feel of the old game and to the key features while smoothing out the mechanics.

So, for T5 to be Traveller, it's got to have a strong feel of continuity, but the mechanics must be smoothed out. That says to me 3rd Imperium (or 4th) and NO HALF DICE.

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  #17  
Old February 23rd, 2001, 11:45 AM
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Hmm T5,

I liked T4's attempt to return to the classic traveler mechanics and feel. I also liked the idea of a fairly simple set of core rules with more detailed and complex rules as options. Most people I knew added more complex rules on top of CT and such, but a simple set of core rules makes it easier to introduce the system to new players.
  #18  
Old February 23rd, 2001, 11:58 AM
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IMO the Core 'simple' system shouldn't just be a list of plug-in components from the complex system, it should operate in an entirely different, more abstract, manner (think Book 2 -- not an xxxMw power plant, but Power Plant C). The simple system should be for people who want to design vehicles and ships on the fly without having to juggle whole streams of numbers -- with the time and inclination they can go back later to convert/re-engineer under the complex system and figure out 'real' values, but in the mean time they can get on with actually playing the game.

Values would have to be checked and optimized to ensure rough inter-system compatability, but a +/-20% or so 'fuzziness threshhold' should also be allowed; the idea is 'close enough' estimation, not gearhead minimaxing.[/B][/QUOTE]

Mmmmm, I guess we'll have to disagree on this one. I HATE having to redesign everything for a game, just because a more detailed system has come out that changes things around entirely. Book 2 vs High Guard, for instance: you could do things in High Guard that were completely impossible in Book 2, and not just because the systems didn't appear in Book 2, but because the underlying rules changed.
If, on the other hand, the components are built up from the more detailed layer, the designs made up using the less-detailed system can co-exist with designs made using the more detailed system. They might be slightly sub-optimal, for a given concept, but they will be MUCH closer than they might otherwise be.

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  #19  
Old February 23rd, 2001, 12:04 PM
StrikerFan StrikerFan is offline
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by DrSkull:

Then, recently I went back to basics and started monekying areound with High Guard. It was like a breath of fresh air. Whipping up 2-3 ships in a half hour was possible. I started to dread the thought of Striker/MT design greatly. If I need a TL-8 battle tank or a TL-10 ore-carrier, I don't want to have to fiddle back and forth for hours to get it to work.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

&lt;chuckle&gt; I do remember the High Guard days, and how I would sit in class and crank out a couple of cruisers before class was over, because I had most of the sequence memorized. Striker and MT were more detailed, no question, and there was more to do and more going to and fro to get the weight down or the power up, etc. High Guard was great for a fleet battle game (like TCS), ease of design was certainly there. MT gave more control of more options, but it was certainly more complex, and while I did lots of Striker vehicles with a calculator, I mostly did the piles of MT ships with a spreadsheet because of the interplay of the different systems.

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  #20  
Old February 23rd, 2001, 02:41 PM
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by StrikerFan:
I HATE having to redesign everything for a game, just because a more detailed system has come out that changes things around entirely. Book 2 vs High Guard, for instance: you could do things in High Guard that were completely impossible in Book 2, and not just because the systems didn't appear in Book 2, but because the underlying rules changed.
If, on the other hand, the components are built up from the more detailed layer, the designs made up using the less-detailed system can co-exist with designs made using the more detailed system. They might be slightly sub-optimal, for a given concept, but they will be MUCH closer than they might otherwise be.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I still think there's room for a compromise. In my mind the complex system is established first and the simple system's components are drawn from it, just like you want. However, once we have our list of components we then develop a simpler, more abstracted, way of assembling them.

In QSDS you still tally up Mw of power use, figure surface area, assign workstations, and a bunch of other number-juggling which, since you aren't allowed to change or optimize anything, seems rather pointless; some of these steps should be able to be abstracted without seriously damaging inter-system compatability.

By way of example, in FF&S you're allowed to mount as many turrets as you want on a ship so long as you can account for volume, power use, and surface area; all of which can be juggled and optimized if you're willing to take the time and effort. In QSDS you're given a list of pre-made turret weapons (i.e. no juggling) but you still have to account the volume, power use, and surface area. Couldn't we instead just establish a fixed-value rule of thumb like '1 turret per 100 dtons'? The end result (number of turrets allowed on the ship) will be the same -- the rule-of-thumb having been defined through examination of trends and values in the complex system -- but it requires a lot less work from the prospective ship-designer.

Such 'arbitrary' restrictions might not go down well with number-crunching gearheads, but are they even going to use this system? Did HG-heads design many Book 2 ships? I agree, for consistency's sake, that it should be possible to convert between systems without doing a total re-design, but since I'd imagine folks are by and large going to stick with their complexity-level of choice, actual conversion probably won't be all that common an occurence, and IMO shouldn't be the primary concern in developing a 'simple-alternative' craft design system.
 

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