Capital ships, atmosphere, planet surface and landing

This is a good point.

I can’t imagine a well defended ground base not having some sort of heavy anti-capital AA (Or is it AS? :confused:), thus moving a capital ship closer to the guns *might* not be the wisest of tactics, at least until the guns were destroyed. At that stage, the battle would probably already have been won, seeing as such high-value targets would probably be one of the most heavily defended. At which point, why bother bringing the cap ships in? Capital ships, like battleships and such, would simply be impracticable stationed in the atmosphere, and outright dangerous.

IMHO, atmospheric flight should be allowed if only for the reason that large, 5km long cargo ships could do it (for the reason TA gave on the simplicity of logistics). If there’s a good reason that a certain class of ship can do it, then the mechanics should also allow for other classes to perform the same action, even if said action is impracticable. Who knows, somewhere down the line, there might be a good reason for having battleships in the atmosphere.

Thank goodness we’re here to keep them from producing a bunch of trope-laden crap, eh?. Otherwise it would be airplanes in space again. And dodging through “asteroid fields”! The general public loves that stuff. It seems most of them think that’s the way it really works.

I’m all for coolness, but one man’s cool is another man’s trope.

I don’t want hovering capitals not for any reasons of fiction, but for reasons of gameplay. I fear capitals becoming the easy and quick way to get a lot of stuff done. Want to build a city? Send down a capital and have it drop off a city from its cavernous cargo hold. Want to destroy a city? Send down a capital and have it nuke the city with its bigger guns.

When we’re talking about capital-sized operations, I want lots of people involved. Lots of people on the capitals and lots of support ships. The support ships best get involved when they are mandatory participants, and that means not letting the capitals directly complete certain tasks. They don’t drop off cities. They don’t capture cities. They are involved in creating and capturing cities, but the smaller ships are where the rubber meets the road.

The twist of smaller ships being the prime movers around planets has real appeal to me. I consider that cool. It’s not the usual “Ooo, shiny big” crap. The shinies show up when that 100 meter long ship passes over the city and lands at the spaceport. And then again when that 2km long behemoth docks at the space station while you’re shuttling supplies between the station and the planet surface. The 2km long behemoth hovering over the city just doesn’t respect the size of the ship. Do you want a 2km long industrial complex hovering over your house? Me, I prefer to see blue sky with puffy clouds and the sun. I hate to think what a hash that ship would make of the environment.

Keep the capitals in space. Do it for the gameplay.

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In my opinion

All ships should be allowed to enter atmo or “land”…
That will be first thing people will ask for and it seems like logical thing to do.
Why create artificial and unnecessary boundaries, when you can do this. It is one of the main draws of Infinity.
Don’t shoot yourselves in the leg.

Guys there are different types of planets every one may have different gravity, different or non-existent atmosphere.
I am not saying make it hyper realistic.

But landing big ship on small moon with thin atmosphere seems like fair game.

Let everything enter atmo. if pilot dare to do it.

Ship can warn the player:

Bellow that and that altitude /entering this planet atmosphere
with this particular ship is not recommended
Thrusters/engines/water-horses might not be sufficient for flight in this planet atmosphere.

And if player overdo it… well then sorry but you have been warned.

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Tropes persist for very good reasons. Any new movie or successful game will be full of tropes. The writers of those stories are not amateurs. The ICP had asteroids unrealistically close together, and it was fun. The ICP had restrictions on small ships to make them fly more like planes in space, and it was fun.

As a gameplay designer that sounds great to me and has all sorts of potential. Dropping off cities from the cargo bay of a cap ship is a genius idea and solves all kinds of gameplay questions about how new colonies get established. A capital ship raining down destruction on a ground facility sound like the setting of an awesome fighter battle to me.

It’s horses for courses of course, but ruling out features that play to the strengths of the I-Novae engine for obscure idealogical reasons (that the public don’t care about) doesn’t seem to be the way towards a successful kickstarter campaign.


Er, what? The gameplay that you just described as appealing sounds like rubbish to me. There’s no obscure idealogical reason involved.

Those are features that can be balanced.

I support less restrictions for the diversity sake. The pitfall of it is also not new, the best (read OP) option supressing all others and thus lowering diversity again.

All the features mentioned by crayfish can be nerved without removing them. They can also be made essential without dwarving the rest of the gameplay.
Just because I fear a feature might harm other parts of gameplay doesn’t mean the only way to deal with it is removal. Espesially if you don’t like the feature personally. What is needed is for them to be incorporated into the rest of the gameplay we want to see.

That’s what I see in this discussion. People who think it will be cool and people who don’t really see the need for it and fear it will harm what they think will be cool.
There is no way to justify ether side. Both should be possible and usefull.
And nether of the two should be made useless or taken out of the game.

I guess my eyes are better then yours.

Travel at the speed of light makes planetary distances pointless. Take the horizon into account.

Not a need for container ships for large objects. Just strap on engines.

In the air can travel in three dementions. on the ground down is out. speed is slowed. There is a planet in the way.

Because I want this to be better then Dungeons and Dragons Nevorwinter.

Actually, it’s the contrary. You have to put limitations in order to allow diversity, otherwise people will go for what’s most optimal, even something as stretched as 1% better statistics.
Why use a small ship when a capital ship is almost as fast, can land with barely any more delay, and has so much more firepower?

I, for one, do not “fear” this feature (strange way of describing an argument, but nevermind) for its “coolness” or “uncoolness”. I rather fear what the feature means for the gameplay involvement.
If the capital ship statistics are too good in every aspect, people will go for it, no matter how many other “lower” or “higher” good looking ships exist.

If there are multiple “class type” ships, each one must exist with a purpose in mind. A scout ship may be quick, agile and have long-range sensors, but will be easly dispatched and cannot go very far from a base. And so on …

I’m OK with capital ships “landing” on a planet, as long as it brings some sense somewhere, be it lore-wise or gameplay-wise.

Also, it is good to take gameplay balance into account from the beginning: if the capital ship can make a planet-landing after 30 minutes, is it still a feature or just a plain pain in the ass? Does it have a real justification (repairs / hiding / lore …) apart from “badass-ittude”?
Of course, it also goes the other way around. If a capital ship cannot land to unload its cargo, then cargo ship are to be used. Do they bring anything useful (protect the convoy / lore / …) or are they only another kind of pain in the ass?

What’s valid in a film, like “Independance Day”, it not necessarly valid in a game, because the first is a passive entertainment and the second is active.


Yes I agree, it is a problem. What I’m trying to say is, that, in this case, I think there is a way to cater to both sides. There is a way to balance.

Contrary to your post, a lot of the others don’t go into explaining why such feature could not coexist with what they would like in the game. In such cases I assume emotional reasons.

You wrote up pretty much what I meant with my post above, but also asked some further catch questions.

Lets try to balance one feature for instance. This is just one way one could do it …

Lets try installation building. We have a bunch of capital haulers and loads of smaller haulers.

As mentioned above. The goal is to have a reason for each type of ship to “land” but also, to not make one ship the only ship that “should land”.

We want to build a big resource extraction installation on a planet.
A capital ship needs to descend down to the planet and place or hover near where the installation should be build. The cap hauler was full of “installation building materials”, the installation is now 25% build, and unless someone gets more “installation building materials” from a nearby base it will stay that way.
If the capship decides to fly off to get them themselves, the installation can’t support itself and will slowly degenerate.

Now one way to finish the build is to have another cap hauler make 3 trips from a nearby station to the “build ship” to finish the installation. Or have a lot of small ones do more trips.
Having one big ship do the trip has the drawback that, instead of building another installation, it has to support another building process, thus slowing down expansion.
Cap haulers could be expensive, high value targets. Like base main buildings in RTS (MBF, Castles, Bases). And would need a lot of support while building a structure. Having two of them on one spot could be a big opportunity for the opponent.

This could create new situations of ambushing opponent fleets. Do we hold this position and finish the build or do we retreat our cap haulers?

This introduces a logistic challenge which could be fun. Having cargo pilots or coordinators decide where and how they focus their ship/s depending on the situation in the Battlescape.

Now thinking about it, this also works above planetary surfaces on asteroids or deep space. I don’t really see how planets are that different to be honest.

I’d be highly surprised if capital ships are playable ships in Battlescape. What’s been described to us is basically the ICP with a planet. The larger ships in the ICP were pretty rubbish to fly because they really needed additional UI and gameplay designed specifically for them. Capital ships would be even worse. There is no way I can see that I-Novae will be able to implement capital ship gameplay with the resources they have available.

I imagine that all capital ships will be NPC ships that serve the function of mobile stations and are there to represent the activities of the background story to the game such as establishing colonies or blockading ground facilities.

I fully expect the players in Battlescape to be fighting around the cap ships that are in the game, not in them. In that respect the matter of whether they are OP or not is irrelevant as they will be used in whatever way the devs feel is necessary to further the story.


Yeah I thought this thread was about capitals in the MMO.

Keith has mentioned extracting resources in Battlescape so I suppose it’s conceivable that with enough funding Battlescape could have large NPC ships come in and facilitate the construction of extractors/defences/etc and then depart again.
But players having control over capital ships? I’d be very surprised.

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Agreed, with that and the remainder of your post. Unless they get some amazing funding, capitals won’t be part of Infinity:Battlescape.

That said, I’m fine with discussing the role of capitals in gameplay.

It is both emotional and practical. The goal here is to create interesting gameplay. A capital has the problem of tending to simplify gameplay. I don’t want simple gameplay. I want gameplay with lots of moving parts. Those moving parts are the players themselves. They are the origin of the very best gameplay. That’s the emotional part; seeing a capital land and plop down a city would eliminate something that I’d very much like to experience.

This is one of those destination vs journey things. I don’t care about winning the game and completing the content I’m interested in the actual playing of the game. Not the finishing of the city, but the process of building it, of keeping it, of using it. I want there to be lots of steps along the way. If the process is to create small settlements with small ships so I can build progressively larger settlements with progressively larger ships then I have repetitive gameplay that varies only by the magnitude of the numbers and the size of the models involved. That’s EverQuest gameplay, and I lost interest in that back in 2000.

So my immediate reaction is to say that small ships build settlements. As the settlements grow in size, the player experience changes in character; the tasks before those small ships keep changing. At first, they just drop off a self-contained building. But later they have to drop off power separately from food production separately from living quarters separately from space ports and so on. Keep growing in size and the ships can no longer carry an entire power plant in one trip. They need to carry components for a power plant. The power plant itself has to be laid out and designed because of its size and capacity. More planning. More organization. More ships. More players. More intricacy. Cities become something for enthusiasts of cities to build - instead of just being another icon for a gamer to place on the board.

That’s why I don’t want capitals one-clicking a city into existence. That one click replaces the entirety of a game of Civilization. Obviously, I-Novae Studios can’t implement Civilization, but that’s the general idea - to come up with a city building game of some sort that gets more involved as the size of the city grows. It needn’t be a simulator, but it needs state - data that must be configured well if the owners and operators of the city are going to reap the benefits of having the thing.


Were you around when critic was working on his InfinityCity prototype? It was a prototype for a lot of what you’re describing with a full crafting tree built in to boot.

These days I don’t see a lot of merit in discussing the MMO as it’s looking more like a pipe dream than ever. That’s why I assumed you were discussing Battlescape which has a very real chance of being a real commercial game.

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Cap ships will most likely own space. When they appear smaller ships have to run away or die.
But where can they run to? Simply Hide? - possible but not very funny.

Implementing something that makes it hard for big ships to fight in atmospheres could balance this out.
Small ships would try to dive deep into the lower atmosphere if they get chased by a medium sized ship.
The medium ship could follow despite the atmosphere disadvantage, it still has the bigger guns and might win.
But what happens if a cap ship supporting the small one jumps in and enters the high atmosphere above the battle?

Running away now will be hard for the medium sized ship because it has to leave the planet before it can jump to safety…

In short:
Creating gameplay mechanics that encourage atmospheric fights is a must for a game based on the I-Novae engine.
Punishing Cap ships for entering the atmosphere is one way to create such situations.
But don’t make it impossible to do it.
I want to see a video one day on youtube where some “rich” guy gets beaten to death by small ships in low atmosphere because he wanted to show how cool his new cap ship looks when it’s hoovering above a city…

Even if capital ships aren’t directly playable, there may still be ways to give them orders instead of simply having them on rails. A simple order system would demand far less resources to be made.
I don’t expect it at base funding, but it may be in an accessible stretch goal.

It is called Neverwinter (fan of old series,… if you would just knew… :blush:)

And sure i am all for it to be better then that, but things like this could be balanced.
I am interested what Inovae comes up with. Am sure your concerns will be addressed during development.

Assume that smaller ships are more nimble than larger ships. And assume that engagement distances are orders of magnitude smaller than sensor distances.

That means we’ve got a couple of guys, one small and one large, throwing rocks at each other. They can see each other coming from a mile away, but they can only throw their rocks a short distance. The smaller guy can easily keep his distance from the bigger guy.

So when that medium ship shows up, the small ship needs to keep an eye on him, but he doesn’t need to worry about him attacking. That’s because the small ship can run circles around the medium ship, safely out of rock range.

The problem comes about when the medium ship spots the base of the small ship. Now the small guy has the problem of his stuff being unable to move. So the small guy has the choice of defending his stuff or letting the medium guy take it. He’s outclassed if he decides to defend.

Adding the twist of atmospheres or even massive bodies means that if the small guy chooses to put his gear on a high gravity world or in the depth of an atmosphere, then it is largely invulnerable to larger ships. But if the larger ships can carry smaller ships, or if the larger ships implicitly involve multiple players, then the smaller guy is in trouble even at the bottom of a gravity well. The larger ship will just send some guys down in smaller ships.

Lastly, consider that if there’s a small operation at the bottom of a deep gravity well, how much is it worth to the larger group to go down and take anything from it? If the small guy is sitting on a fortune in resources, it’ll clearly be worth their time and effort. But if he’s on Yet Another Deposit, then they don’t really care if he’s there so long as he doesn’t make a nuisance of himself.

All that is the MMO discussion. In an arena, we’re looking at two roughly-equivalent teams facing each other down. And it may just be that all the ships are small, but with different loadouts to produce different capabilities. In the end, they’ll probably all be peers and this point about asymmetrical engagements will be moot.

Are you talking about the online game or the standalone made by Bioware?

Hard limits/restrictions are silly. Soft limits are hilarious.

I.E. Allow them the opportunity to land a capital ship on a planet. Laugh as they fail miserably because it wasn’t intended for landing / being on a planet. And salvage that wreck because it’s going to crumple itself into a ball of metal.


Well, sure. When their magic drive fails because they took it too far into a gravity well, the ship vanishes in a great flash of light, leaving a bunch of startled player characters floating in space.

(MMO logic: no salvaging, so that every ship isn’t attacked at random merely because they’re an automatic source of loot)