Author Topic: renegade capital ships info  (Read 9118 times)

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Offline gevatter Lars

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Re: renegade capital ships info
The little differance is that Kilrah is destroyed by the officials. New Rom isn't or is it?
Even if I only read one book and parts of the manual. It dosn't seam to be that this universe would have the technologie to destroy the entire planet. I think it would be ok to say we sneak in and kill all the higher ups. To make it more intresting to the players lets say they meet at a space station that the player can blow away.
Also there is a little bit of political correctness from my point of view. I don't like how in today games everywhere the mashroom-bombs are poping up and make it look like that would be normal warfare. It isn't and blowing up planets is the counterpart to that in scifi games to me. That is my totaly personal point of view. When I played WC3 for the first time I didn't care. I was young, there was a bunch of pixels that blow up, ending credits and after that I got out to my friends and played tag...or whatever...you get the point.
Today I see this a bit different. As said its just a thought I have today and when you blow up planets make it beliveable and realy nesessary. Something like your "Oh there was a secret bomb that blow up the earth. Sorry for that we didn't know it. Thing like that happen." Dosn't realy do it. If you want to keep that kind of storypart make it so that its realy the only and last chance. That even a blind one can see the reason.
In WC we had the failure of the Behemoth, the fact that the Kilrathi where pushing Confed back at all fronts and even then Blair wasn't happy about the destruction of Kilrah. We also knew from the "Battle of earth" that the Kilrathi would destroy all of humanity if they aren't stopped.....or get bored. (Some parts where never mentioned in the game but in the books)

So a big event like this should have a proper reason and dramatic plot to it.

Oh and a thought on a total differnt matter. When you plan on doing kind of episodes...think about cliffhangers ^_^
"Yes! That is my plan, and I see nothing wrong with it. I figure that if I stick to a stupid strategy long enough it might start to work."
 - comment to "Robotech: The Masters"

 

Offline starlord

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Re: renegade capital ships info
No no: here, destroying a planet simply means rendering it unhabitable (breaking it's crust, etc..): battleships can do that, actually: the exact expression would be to lay waste to an entire planet.

As for the episodes: I'm not there yet: No freders, no associates as a matter of fact, and besides, I study. :doubt:

But it would be great to see it done one day, and I'll contribute the best I can!
« Last Edit: November 30, 2007, 01:18:12 pm by starlord »

 

Offline gevatter Lars

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Re: renegade capital ships info
Its still an interesting project with a kind a fresh universe. I wish you good luck and good ideas.
"Yes! That is my plan, and I see nothing wrong with it. I figure that if I stick to a stupid strategy long enough it might start to work."
 - comment to "Robotech: The Masters"

 

Offline starlord

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Re: renegade capital ships info
Well, who knows, I may get lucky, one day. and we may see it completed...

However, good luck wishes are always appreciated. :nod:

On a side note, I'm glad the renegade legion convinced you it did not deserve to die until the story was finished.

 

Offline gevatter Lars

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Re: renegade capital ships info
I don't see any reason why I should wish that the mod dosn't get finished.
Its not that I am a big fan of it or anything but that dosn't mean I should stop others, does it?
Also making a quick post that might help dosn't hurt me much and I like fresh ideas and not so much used scenarios.
"Yes! That is my plan, and I see nothing wrong with it. I figure that if I stick to a stupid strategy long enough it might start to work."
 - comment to "Robotech: The Masters"

 

Offline starlord

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Re: renegade capital ships info
I have finished my search for the renegade cap ship classes: however, I don't have pictures for those ones (as they are perhaps newer designs).

TOG Adscripticius class gunboat (this is the smallest cap ship class: uncalable of t-space travel but very effectuve at planetary defense (capable of atmosphere flight) or base defense: use swarm maneuvers to crush enemies by their numbers. Capable of being transported by capships =0.15Km.

TOG cataphractarii class escort: the largest of the patrol ships (larger than corvettes and gunboats). This one is basically a big corvette with inproved weaponry featuring a spinal mount (although small). This renders it effective in cap ship fights. This is the latgest ship capable of being carried by larger ships, in small numbers =0.3Km.

TOG Morkanium destroyer class carrier. Basically a stripped down destroyer capable of transporting 130 interceptors (half a wing). as all destroyers are fitted with anti grav engines giving them atmospheric capabilities, this one can launch all it's interceptors directly in the atmosphere of a planet (something a xerxes or canis can never do). =1.1km long with a huge frontal hangar bay and the usual vertical fin under the ship (close to the tail).

TOG Canis cruiser class carrier: The biggest of all carrier classes: this class can ferry 3 wings (1080 interceptors) in the heat of battles. The destruction of those carriers are a great loss to the enemy. =2.3 Km, unknown design, but believed slightly close to the xerxes.

Well, thats it for the missing designs (this and the following: http://www.madcoyote.com/renleg/int/int-b.html , where you will find the courrier type corvette (cingulum, which is weakest), the assault corvette, and the carrier corvette (capable of carrying 6 interceptors): all these corvettes can be carried by larger ships (destroyer and beyond) in limited numbers (along with escorts and gunboats).

There is also a type of freighter in operation for both the renegades and the TOG: I would give it the size and capabilities/design of the asmodeus shivan freighter.

So, scooby: Would you like to try to model a capship? (say the shiva or syracuse)? :nod:


So long, I'll try to scan (one day) the battle for jacob's star manual in order to give you the renegade illustrious destroyer carrier, the renegade inflexible cruiser, and the TOG seneca cruiser (the newest and sexiest design the TOG have, In small numbers, which is exclusive so far to the lictor).

so long.

starlord.

 

Offline starlord

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Re: renegade capital ships info
As a reply to you, lars: I'll tell you I gave a thought to the multibranch campaign, and I think it'll be the best option, rather thansystematical failure of destroying the senate. To this end, I have 3 endings in mind:

bad ending: the commonwhealth are overthrown by the soon to be victorious TOG pouring out from an unknown location  ;7, the messana has been taken in it's entirety and it's ressources ( ores and gennium arsenic crystals for laser cannon fabrication) now serve the enemy. The capital system of the county, defiance, is on the verge of falling to the onslaught. In short, the commonwhealth is forced to retreat from shannedam county (the cultural center of the alaric grand dukedom). In short, the complete fall of alaric is a near certainty. While the renegades and commonwhealth will continue to battle in other theatres,the fact that the TOG seems to appear out of nowhere behind our lines makes the situation look more than grim, as the dukedoms beyond alaric are no more than lightly defended.


Average ending: The attack on new rome failed and the preplanned TOG invasion fleet is en route to commonwhealth space as we speak. Nevertheless, after the safe return in gilpin of the tourmentor, we destroyed the "vae victis" device, shutting down the path the TOG invasion fleet was due to follow. Hopefully this added time will mean we will be able to withstand the invaders. Yet due to incomplete intelligence gathering, the odds for victory are uncertain, just as much as the lengh of this war will be.


Successful ending: The TOG has been destroyed, it's left factions are left warring against each other, commonwhealth space is beeing constantly liberated, and the lictor has been annihilated. The war that has raged on for centuries has waned to an end at last, thanks mostly to the daring efforts of your wing. As victory finally graces us, the dawning of a new future is coming.

So, what do you think?

 

Offline gevatter Lars

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Re: renegade capital ships info
Sounds a lot better to me. Now try to see if there are more places where you can add different pathes like this.
I know it might be hard but I think it could be worth it, storywise.
From WC1 or 2 I have once seen a diagram of the mission branching. It was like you looked at a Tree with many many splittings. Mostly it was the same mission with more or less enemys but sometimes there where even bigger changes...depending on how often you screw up a mission ^_^
"Yes! That is my plan, and I see nothing wrong with it. I figure that if I stick to a stupid strategy long enough it might start to work."
 - comment to "Robotech: The Masters"

 

Offline starlord

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Re: renegade capital ships info
yeah I saw it too: and there will be several more branching paths with campaign 4 and 5 (after the TOG's death), one being the reunification of a new TOG and the election of a new ceaser, and the other simply not being able to stop the imperator from entering into renegade space with a high loss of civilians on a lot of planets being bombarded.

Also, I thought that during campaign 3, the renegades will stealthily take control of other ships, and perhaps instead of taking the direct approach of destroying the senate, after a failed attempt, it would be decided to ram the stolen seneca tourmentor directly into the building (something like a desperate attempt).

 

Offline starlord

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Re: renegade capital ships info
Ok, I made a synopsis on capital ship weaponry: those leviathans are armed to the teeth:

first of all: the first weapon capital ships are destined to use are their gun bays (those come in 25/50/100 gun varieties): Those bays consists of heavy laser cannons clustered together in a tight grooping (25/50 or 100 depending on the bays): Those bays are made to fire simultaneously in salvos, making up a very potent weapon exchange between ships. heavy ships like the shiva have about 20 bays (most heavy) in the starboard/port/aft/stern sections allowing the ship to saturate the area with laser fire from virtually any angle.

Second: nearly all classes (except the carriers since they transport additionnal interceptors) possess a spinal mount weapon of varrying power (the shiva's being the strongest): this cannon, as it's name inplies is so big it runs through all the ship's superstructure. This cannon is basically a very big linear mass driver (allways forward facing) hurling a huge projectile called a crowbar at near relativity speed after having charged it in a plasma chamber: no doubt those cannons would be identical visually speaking to the freespace 2 beam cannons (with the shiva's E type being the sathanas's BFred).

Third: Some ships have a missile system of varrying power: However those missiles are nothing to compare to interceptor missiles: those are big nuclear warheads capable of being launched in swarms in virtually any angle from the ship's silos. (think wing commander capship missiles). Those missiles are so big they are destroyable.

Forth: each vessel has an abundance of turrets (although the exact number is unknown) as they are being referred to as "turret factor" with the biggest one being 6. But it can be safely assumed that those turrets are virtually covering all the ship's angles: therefore, they are no doubt numerous. Those turrets serve as point defense against capship missiles and interceptor attacks (each turret can mount any type of interceptor caliber weapons (lasers, mass drivers, EPC's, NPC's, cone lasers, thorium phase inducers) and missiles. Each turret can carry up to 6 cannons.

Would the freespace engine handle a prolonged weapon exchange with those factors?

Also, concerning the carriers: while every ship containing a normal number of interceptors can launch them at a rate of 6 per launch (1 squadron), The carriers it seems can deploy one wing (360 interceptors) in a single launch  :nervous: Is this feasable?

Capital ships (destroyer and beyond) are shielded: So much in fact that swarms of interceptors are required to attack in order to break the shield (their weapons otherwiseare deflected very easily (including missiles). Some exceptions exist however with the tchak'mul strike fighter and his heavy gatling mass drivers (4) or the new vrak'tar and his miniature spinal mount (think wing commander prophecy heavy plasma cannon (devastator)). Therefore, cap ship assault will require a big number of interceptors appearing simultaneously. Is it possible? The tactic for such an assault (followed by the 2 opponents generally) consists of the interceptors battling against each other while the capships start to fight amonst themselves, then surviving interceptors move on to the capships, helping with their destruction by sniping at sub systems like shield generators, weapon control, VLCA comm arrays, turrets bays, or the spinal mount weapon. It will be seen at some point that a torpedo will have been designed to be mounted on interceptors: those torpedoes, capable of percing the capship's shield, can right away be targeted at the shield generators, rendering the ships quickly vulnerable to interceptor weapons and armor damage.

Regarding the patrol ships: the gunboat has 2 turrets of 4 cannons each, can not travel faster than light, yet has a shield capable of power allocation like the big cap ships: meaning it can elect to allocate power to a shield covering a quadrant of it's choice of equalise the shields, etc... Also, the gunboat has several interceptor calibre cannons fore and aft.

The corvettes have the same shield as the gunboat and have 2 turrets: Even though the light corvettes have normal beam weapons like the gunboat (however more plentiful), the assault corvette and the carrier corvette have 2 small weapons bay fore and aft (as wellas the 2 turrets of 4 cannons each). Each corvette is faster than light travel capable, the carrier corvette can deploy 6 fighters (1 squadron) of interceptors.

The escort can transport 12 fighters (2 squadrons), has 4turrets of 4 cannons each and has 4 small weapons bays (fore/aft/starboard/port) Also, the escort mounts one small spinal mount.

All patrol class ships (gunboats, all corvettes and escorts) can be carried along with interceptors in cap ships of destroyer class and beyond (carriers included).

Except for some interceptors like the space gull, all interceptors in general, patrol class ships and destroyer class ships are capable of atmospheric flight.

Next I'll give you a description of weapons (mass drivers, EPC,NPC, lasers, missiles, etc...)

Note that the renegades and commonwhealth have also static stations known as installations: those have their own subsystems and weapons (similar to capships) yet they don't have spinal mounts.

That's it.

 

Offline gevatter Lars

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Re: renegade capital ships info
Gun Bays:
So when in the book it says 100 37.5/20 it means I got 100 guns with 37.5m length and 20cm diameter. Damage is determend by range?
Thats is a lot of weaponfire when you remeber that these are most likely close to each other in this kind of bay. There is also the limitation that a bay can only fire at one target at once.
I would imagne them to be like gunports on old sailing warships. Fixed to a very small firing arc. I would use a short beam animation with a long charge animation. That would give fighterpilots the posibility to get out of the way because a blast of such a batterie would surely kill them instandly when they get in the way. This is just a gameplay thought. Surely you could make it surprising but I think it would also be a greate effect to represent the greate amount of energie that needs to be "collected" to charge these bays.
Also would it be possible to have each bay be a single weapons that only has many beams comming out of it? That way you could make sure that all of them target the same target.

Spinal Mounts:
I don't know if I would make the spinal mount a beamcanon. You said its a massdriver / plasma weapon. Maybe an animation as TBP uses it for there massdrivers (Centrauri) would be a good choice. At least at my opinion.

Missile systems:
I think the reference to Wing Commanders Capshipmissiles would be the best fitting. I think it is possible to have these missiles beeing launched like on Stargate Ships....there is a name for this kind of missile launch but I keep forgetting it. Still it would be quite cool to have this kind of missile launch for these big missiles.

Turrets:
This could become a problem with the numbers as well as with the placement. I think you should keep the number a bit lower and place them as good as possible to cover all of the ship surface. Surely you should check that a ship with a higher turret number has more turrets but I think that will become a balance thing beside the technial problem.
I am not sure but I think for multipart turrets the current limit was about 50? Set that as a max number and then scale the others down accordingly.

Shielding
Saga has shielded capships so it should be possible to shield these too. Only point is I have forgotten if it was possible to give different weapons different impacts for shields so that you could make it so that the smaller Interceptors are nearly useless...except in greate numbers. Only the bigger ones get through.
I allways liked that kind of design. Its also very WingCommanderish ^_^

Gunboats, Corvettes and Escorts. I kind of thinking about makeing them player flyable. It depends of there size and if they have any forward mounted weapons the player can use for himself. Its also a matter of the size of these ships and what kind of "physiks" you want the game to have.
Still I could imagne a near newton like way where you can set your gunboat to slide and pass by a capship while your forward guns wrack havok at the enemy weaponbays.
The other option would be to give just these ships the option to slide as the Wing Commander Arrow can or its possible with the BTRL ships.
"Yes! That is my plan, and I see nothing wrong with it. I figure that if I stick to a stupid strategy long enough it might start to work."
 - comment to "Robotech: The Masters"

 

Offline starlord

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Re: renegade capital ships info
Regarding the patrol ships:

Gunboat: 0.15Km
corvettes: 0.2 to 0.3 Km (depending on the class)
escort: 0.4Km

Those ships are still quite big really, I wounder if they could be player flyable. On the other hand perhaps the player could play as a gunner on those ships (controlling a turret).

Besides: regarding the fact of carrying ships, can the game make possible the fact that a ships as "small" as the carrier corvette can carry 6 interceptors?

Than again, can the warships (destroyer and beyond) launch patrol ships as well as fighters? For instance, can a destroyer launch fighters and a carrier corvette or escort and can that corvette or escort launch it's OWN fighters afterwards? Here we have a unique case of inter-carrying ships: a carrier into a carrier.

also, can capships (up to destroyers which are true warships) descend into the atmosphere? When something as big as a destroyer is hit, it would be good to see it crash on the ground. Can a destroyed ship (while exploding in minor explosions) be set to change course to the ground? In freespace, a ship in such a state is somewhat coherent, as it is still solid, for instance.

Regarding carriers, Is it possible for the game engine to launch a wing of fighters simultaneously? Would it only be possible for the engine to control the number of interceptors needed in a capship fight? It seems that in those partucular fights, interceptors will be much more numerous than either in freespace or in WCsaga.

And something else also, as you may have noticed, the designs for the gunboat, escort,morkanium destroyer class carrier some fighters like the pugio, vrak'tar, tchak'mul and ssora fighter sstarotht and the canis cruiser class carrier and the old ULTOR TOG battleship are missing. It will be no doubt necessary to "invent" those again while inspiring ourselves from the other designs.

And regarding shields, is it possible for capship's IA to manage the shield in their preferable way? For instance, when a cingulum corvette is attacked by interceptors on the port side exclusively, can the corvette concentrate all shield power to the port side so as to have more efficient protection? This would add a whole new thread of tactics to engage cap ships.

 

Offline gevatter Lars

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Re: renegade capital ships info
Indeed these ships are bigger then I aspected them to be. So these wouldn't be good player ships. The gunnery idea also isn't fitting in since that is not possible to my knowledge.

As for carrier ships. That could mostly be faked and should. I even think there is a limit on the number of ships you can have at the same time. The number of fighters that can start at the same time is most likely limited by the size of the hangar they are launched from. Also there is a fixed limit for the numbers of fighters in a wing. I think it was 6.

I am not so sure about all these groundmission stuff. I think you could have groundmissions with any ships you would like to be there but ships falling apart as you discribed aren't possible to my knowledge.

About shield changeing..I don't know how the AI handles this. But since FS wasn't initaly made to have caps with shields I doubt that the AI will do this.


I thought again about the weapon bays on capships. I think there is an overall limit to the weapons you can add to a ship and I think it was quite close to 100 for fixed weapons. So a weapons-bay must be presented with a fake. So that you only got one weapon entry but it shows 100guns firing at the same time and target.
I don't know if that is possible. Maybe you should ask about it in the modding department when you get to the point that a mod is possible. AKA you find someone to model, texture, TBL and FRED all this stuff.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2007, 04:15:29 am by gevatter Lars »
"Yes! That is my plan, and I see nothing wrong with it. I figure that if I stick to a stupid strategy long enough it might start to work."
 - comment to "Robotech: The Masters"

 

Offline starlord

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Re: renegade capital ships info
Gunnery is not possible? How come? In WCsaga, don't players have the possibility to control the turret of , say, a longbow?

Also, I'm sorry, I didn't quite get that point about the carriers: Would it be possible to have patrol carriers (escorts and carrier corvettes) to launch from warships and them to launch fighters? Come to think of it, can the freespace engine handle a warship launching a patrol ship (gunboat, corvette, escort) as those are bigger than interceptors?

Also, a thread was started in the modding section, but it was quickly forgotten. However, I didn't have a quarter of the info I now have displayed on this thread so it would be worth restarting. I just hope some persons (more than last time) will be attracted to this, or esle the only thing I'll be doing is bothering the moderators. I'll ask if it is possible to start a new renegade legion MOD thread.

 

Offline starlord

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Re: renegade capital ships info
Also, I was thinking about one thing regarding the weapons bays of capships: why not make a gun component (sort of turret) this way: a big cluster of guns (melded together like the tubes of an organ instrument) that would register as 1 gun. Actually, the fact of nicnaming them the "organs" is quite attractive too.

 

Offline gevatter Lars

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Re: renegade capital ships info
Gunnery
As said not possible to my knowledge. In Sage you also only got control over the forward guns but not the turrets. Still I don't mind that because the turret AI is quite good and most likely better then me.

Carrier carrier
Never tried this but it could be possible. Also a question to ask. I would guess it could be done with some hacks.

weapon bays
I just thought "Stalinorgel" or Katjuscha/Katyusha, I think thats there original name. ^_^
As for weapons. There is a difference between how they are geometriewise (look), how they are registerd in the tables and how the effect looks.
Because of the limits of possible turrets and the big number of guns in one bay, I mean 100 guns in one bay ! Thats more then most ships that are used in the FS have at all...as far as I know.
So the question is if its possible to have a weaponsbay that visualy shows the player 100guns firing at the same time, in whatever formation they will be build and still have them all count as just one weapon.
This would be like haveing one turret with multiple beams.
Next question would be how damage is handeld. If its just one turret would the damage be devided for each beam seperatly or would there be only one bean that does damage and the others aren't.

As for asking...I think if you can formulate your questions well I don't see any reason why people shouldn't answere them...except they don't know the answere themself ^_^
Just make a new thread or dig up the old one. I think I would just make a new thread where you make a list of questions you have got.

PS: to give a better idea of how a 100 37.5 30 weaponbay might look like I made this quick image.
I noticed that the length of the barrels compared to their width is totaly stupid looking IMO. Still this is a design quiestion for you and whoever will make the ships for you. This is just a 5min job to get a rough idea what it could look like. To me I won't like to get hit by such a brute force that these ships can unleash.

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« Last Edit: December 05, 2007, 08:10:43 am by gevatter Lars »
"Yes! That is my plan, and I see nothing wrong with it. I figure that if I stick to a stupid strategy long enough it might start to work."
 - comment to "Robotech: The Masters"

 

Offline starlord

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Re: renegade capital ships info
WOW, It may have taken 5 minutes as you say, but this is exactly what I'm looking for. Those death dealing organs are SUPERB (and when a bay like this is disable by interceptor fire, This will mean ALL Guns in that bay are disabled).

Right: I'll tell you later about the last 2 unique points of the game: recon missions and planetary ground drop bombing from an interceptor. Also (but I think this will be simple), the game will need an auto pilot system (like WCsaga) and take offs/landings from the hangar.

 

Offline gevatter Lars

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Re: renegade capital ships info
Whats so special about recon missions?
Planetary missions are possible but need a lot of attention to details.
Autopilot, langding and starting from a carrier are also not a big problem. Saga does these kind of things in nearly every mission.
"Yes! That is my plan, and I see nothing wrong with it. I figure that if I stick to a stupid strategy long enough it might start to work."
 - comment to "Robotech: The Masters"

 

Offline starlord

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Re: renegade capital ships info
Regarding recon missions: things are a little different: In renegade, when you recon, you must mount a recon pod on one of your hard points (where you normally attach missiles), since recon is reserved for light interceptors such as the launcea or cheetah, dogfighting in those conditions will require more concentration (especially in a cheetah as this fighter has only 1 hardpoint (containing the data pod in that case: so NO missiles).

In Battle for jacob's star, when reconing, the enemy fleet is VERY far ahead of you (actually, it is only an image so you can't fly up to the enemy ships). They can only be seen visually. At that moment, you must select the data pod as your weapon, pull the trigger while having the fleet in your sights for 30 seconds (when you start reconning the fleet, you see a lock on sign near it). A sound tone indicates a completed scan (after 30 seconds).

Is it possible to scan a whole fleet in one go from that distance and to register a sensor pod as a "weapon" that can take a hard point and require firing?

Also, chaff pods require a hard point to be mounted on. Meaning you have to consider the load out of your interceptor's hard point with strategy.

Regarding planetary missions, I was woundering if it would be possible to include drop bombs as a weapon also. This would mean that when a bomb is selected, a ground telepointer would appear, marking the spot where the bomb would blow. This telepointer would takeinto account the angling of the interceptor and it's speed.
Those bombs would be perfect against tanks or TOG ground legions.

Which brings me to this: is it possible to model legions of soldiers (since they are small)? They would keep a preset corse while retaining their cohesion yet they must be thought as a "swarm", meaning you cannot target it and to destroy it you must "sweep" it completely (as it takes hits, it will shrink volume since soldiers inside it will die, etc...) Naturally since soldiers (legionnaries) all have rifles, the legion can fire at your interceptor from any part. I hope you see what I mean (even if it is somewhat difficult).

Oh, I don't think this will be a problem, but several interceptors can mount more than 2 primary banks of weapons (cannons). For instance, the avenger has no missiles, but has 2 wing mounted lasers, 2 wing mounted mass drivers AND one bow mounted EPC.

I think that we have now covered all of the "unique characteristics" of the renegade legion universe.

Next I'll describe the weapons (interceptor cannons and interceptor spinal mount (vrak'tarr only) and missiles. This should be easy as there aren't as much as in freespace.

so long.

P.S: Oh, and when I'll have finished the descriptions of the weapons, I'll start a new thread in modding. With all we have covered recently, more persons are bound to be interested this time (At least I hope).

bye!

 

Offline gevatter Lars

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Re: renegade capital ships info
Recon missions
I think you will have to change some parts of it. For example its possible to scan ships but not a complete fleet...except you trick around a bit and make a fleet to be one model but then you will most likely hit the limits for polycounts and stuff. Also these ships wouldn't be independent anymore but when you hit one you hit all at the same time.
Another solution could be to use the image of a fleet and set an invisible placeholder object in space that you can target and scan. In that case you would have to place the fleet very far away or find another solution to keep the player from going to close.
First thing that comes up my mind is to let a swarm of enemys get close to your own position so that you have a very little timewindow before you are swarmed by enemys and can't finish your recon job.
Another point is that I doubt that you could make a scaning device as a hardpoint replacement. What you could do is strip of the player from selecting his weapons loadout, give him the scanner and tell him that this pod is requiered to boost his fighters sensors so he can't have any missiles...or whatever mounted in addition.
The make the pod in a way that the player can't fire it. I think that could be done by giveing the pod a lock-on requierment to fire but let it never log on to something.

Same problem with chafts. By default they are stored in your fighter and not in an external hardpoint. I don't know of any solutions or workarounds to this.

Drop bombs
I think it would be quite possible to make some kind of bomb but not in the way you discribed it. Most likely you could create a slow movieing missile that needs a lock-on to a groundtarget and then flys in a more or less balistic way. I think there was something like a ballistic thing in the launcher to select.
A special pointer isn't possible to my knowledge.

Soldiers
This one is problematic I think. You could maybe create a box that is textured with an animated texture that shows soldiers running around and give it a weapon to simulate backfire from the soldiers.
Problem is that it would most likely impossible to take out specific targets or let the crowd become smaller the more you hit them. I think the best solution would be one bomb one kill and breake up the "legion" into smaller troop contingents.

# of weapons on fighters
The limit is 3 different primary weapons and 3 secondary types if weapons AFAIK.

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