Developer Updates: Developer Blog #39 – Component System Changes

Last week, Huginn from the forums came up with the idea of the final environmental area being a swarm of space-faring Acean microorganisms. We feel this fits nicely into the lore of Novus Aeterno. These creatures feed off the emissions given off from engines and weaponry. When active, they become bio-luminescent allowing other players to see where units hidden in the swarm are. When inactive their swarms are dense enough to hide units. Thanks once again to Huginn. Feel free to come up with a name for these swarms or individual creatures.

This week we’ll be talking about future component system alterations (and a few hull changes). This includes things that currently have a UI element but aren’t yet implemented. Since these are future changes, all are subject to change.

For those of you who have yet to play Novus Aeterno or don’t know the terminology, a component is anything that can be equipped on a ship. We are in the process of expanding the component framework to work with all units; this means fighters/fighter swarms, space stations, target-able projectiles, semi-natural space wildlife and even normal / mechanized ground combat troops will all run off the component framework.

 

Hull Modules

Hull modules have been in the ship designer for a while but there are currently no components for them. Hull modules will give players the opportunity to armor sides of the unit how they want. Mixed with the hull blocking mechanic, this can be very powerful. Usually the sides of units are fairly weak, adding extra armor to the side can bolster defences and make that unit a perfect broad-side combatant. Some hull modules may even have damage reflective properties.

 

Holds

We will be adding the Hold component type. All transportation of goods will be stored in a hold. Currently cargo is transported in a storage component in the bays category. While a hold contains cargo, the unit will not be able to utilize FTL or travel speed; this will mean transporting goods over long distances will require escorts or merchant convoys and safe ports/areas to resupply. To further enhance piracy and frequency of hiring guards, we will be marking units whose holds contain cargo with a UI element visible to all players. We will be adding a freighter class of ship which is loaded with Holds, but has very low Hull Integrity and very few offensive or defensive capabilities. Most other classes of ships will not have any holds. Because of freighters’ low health, raiding pirates will have to be careful not to target freighters with direct weapon fire or area of effect weapons.

Component Classifications

At the moment, the ship designer displays primary and secondary slots; these will be removed and replaced with a size classification system where components are one of the following: S, A, B, C, D, E, F. Each successive letter may fit into the previous but not following letters.

For example:
A size S component may only fit in a S classification slot.
A classification components may fit in A or S slots.
Components classified as F may fit into any slot.

This system fits for all units, and behind the scenes we can manipulate this to limit components to a single type of unit, such as weapons meant for fighters not being equip-able on ships and vice-versa.

Hull Cooldown

Most components will be restricted to the cooldown of the hull itself. This restriction enforces a limit to the amount of actions a unit can take at any time. Currently weapons follow this rule but it will be expanded to all components. Components which do not trigger the hull cooldown are exceptions but will be marked accordingly.

Common Gameplay Features

Actions which are currently special features such as fast travel will be tied to a specific component. This will allow us to write more generic code and allow systems to be reused.

Default Components

Every hull will come with a series of components built into it. These components have no CP cost and no additional build cost (the cost of the hull includes everything). Common gameplay features like fast travel components will be included in these default components as well as ship specific components like supply depots. Again, this allows us to make more generic systems which lead to faster development.

Supply and Power Systems

All hulls will come with a supply bay and power system (if needed) used by that hulls race. In order to use components from other races, their supply bays and power systems will need to be equipped on the unit. Human supplies will remain supplies and their power source is electricity. Veru’nas components require both a plasma reactor and electrical system to run and their supplies are plasma. Cauldron-Born supplies and power system is both electricity; this means using their components will weaken them, but they can repair the electrical system while in space or combat. Acean components expend biomass and require a life source to activate and live. If Acean components go for extended amounts of time without a life source, they will expire. All Acean buildings and units come with a life source. Azendi draw their powers from crystals which recharge automatically over time.

System Integrity

Every hull comes with its own form of system integrity. This can be slowly repaired in space but some races may repair at faster rates. When system integrity falls to 0 the unit becomes incapacitated and is vulnerable to boarding for 30 seconds; during this time, cargo holds may be pillaged. After the 30 seconds are up, a unit may come back online or remain incapacitated and continue repairing. While incapacitated, system integrity cannot be damaged. Human’s, Veru’nas’ and Cauldron-Born’s system integrity comes from their electrical systems. Acean units have a limited amount of punishment they can take before becoming dazed. Finally, Azendi units require a gravitational field to keep their shell together, when system integrity drops too low they must divert all power to keeping the ship intact.

That’s all for this week, don’t forget to leave a name for the Acean swarms or individual creatures!