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Subject: What's changed? rss

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Ken Burnside
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---

What's changed?

For one, we went through and did a massive overhaul of the ship design process and engine. The upshot of it is that it's considerably automated from 1.0. We also had to really dig deep into how ships are made to make sure we had a process that could be automated, rather than rely on designer intuition and "That Looks About Right..." While we were at it, we removed things nobody ever reported using (crew casualty rules) and fixed a few things that were providing cheap and reliable mission kills, at the expense of fun. (Reactors now take more hits to destroy, for example).

Every rules question we had in writing has been incorporated into the rulebook.

We also added a few technologies to the game, based on commentary from SFCONSIM-L and 2 years of player input since publication - we now have water heat sinks (which store 1 heat point, or can be "flushed" to remove 6), chemical batteries as an alternate "reactor" power input, solar arrays (including the ability to accept beamed power between engagements), and (under the hood) a consistently applied metric for power generation systems dependand on the technology used. (The Civilian reactor now fits the curve, it didn't before).

We've added flash coolers as something that can be in a weapon mount - fire a weapon, spend coolant, and reduce its cycle time.

There are now certain actions (such as burning fuel) which can reduce the mass of the ship - reducing the mass of the ship can increase its maximum thrust rating in game scale units. (See below.)

We've added over three pages of "Science Behind The Rules" notes throughout the book.

The seeking weapon rules have been rewritten - they havn't changed, but they've been explained in greater depth, with more examples and more explanatory diagrams.

On the back cover of the rulebook, we've printed the Range-Angle Lookup Table, which combines two steps of shooting a bearing into one color coded table.

Missiles now have to check for reliability, depending on how long the ship has been deployed. You can baby them along, but t costs balance points...and helps give the right feel for the logistics mess of using expendable ordnance on ships that do multi-month independant cruises away from supply freighters, without making you track the freighters.

Defenses against inbound seekers were improved - EMP warheads, counterfired nukes, counterfired coilguns. The Zone Defense Particle Beam had its aggregation cap removed. Lots of cases were explictly spelled out.

----

The Fuel Unit Trick:

Fuel units are arrayed in a matrix, like this:


()()()()()()()()()() ()()()()()()()()()() ()()()()()()()()
()()()()()()()()()() ()()()()()()()[][][] [][][][][][][][]
[][][][][][][][][][] [][][][][][][][][][] [][][][][][][][]
[] [] [] () () () () () () () () ()


The "()" are circles, the "[]" is a square.

Fuel is burned from left to right - the gaps between groupings are just visual spacers at 10 columns to make it easier to count. If you spent 6 fuel units, you'd mark off the 6th fuel dot from the left. On a second burn, if you burned 12 fuel units, you'd mark out the 18th fuel unit (counting twelve from the last one you marked off.)

If you take damage to a fuel tank, you mark off an entire column.

Now comes the fun stuff. When you mark off the last circle (fuel unit number 47), you've burned off enough fuel that your maximum thrust rating has increased. When you mark off the last square, the fuel units transition to circles, and your maximum thrust rating has increased again.

Some columns of fuel have extra fuel units. These extra fuel units are placed under specific columns based on declining mass fraction of the ship; as your ship gets lighter, the amount of fuel needed to get a given increment of thrust decreases, which allows you to stretch your fuel usage out a little bit - this is a classic example of an integration. So, we not only show you the total delta v as a function of the mass of the ship devoted to fuel, but show the increase in thrust from flying with nearly empty fuel tanks as well.

While we were doing that, it only made sense to check to see if your ship's maximum thrust increase would happen from launching munitions overboard; on the ships where it can happen, there's a note stating so.

And once we were doing that, it only made sense to backtrack and fix some of the interesting discrepancies in ship designs (like the fact that the FN maximum torch output in terawatts declined on later ships with no real reason given...) and to plug those numbers into a historical timeline progression, and the entire project (which was just going to be an errata hunt) sort of snowballed.

On the other hand, the process of generating ships for AV:T has gone to about an hour and a half per ship, down from the roughly 30(!) it took before.
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Peter Cobcroft
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This is all good.
I can see further updates may happen in future as we advance technologically and changes in techonolgy may be incorporated to add realism.
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Tiggo Morrison
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High Trader/Rocket Flight. Any movement on this?
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Tiggo Morrison
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High Trader/Rocket Flight. Any movement on this?
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Ken Burnside
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Curufea wrote:
This is all good.
I can see further updates may happen in future as we advance technologically and changes in techonolgy may be incorporated to add realism.


I hope it doesn't happen for a while; this was a lot of work.
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Ken Burnside
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stuarttigger wrote:
High Trader/Rocket Flight. Any movement on this?


Stuart - we're making some progress on play aids - the part of the game that attracted my attention (how to get around the solar system with real rocket science) is VASTLY improved, and we're trying to build a circular slide wheel for calculating trip times.

However, the game play aspects are still lacking. I need to sit down and start from the victory conditions and work backwards. We've got 3/4 of three different games here, no one of which can stand on its own...and the 3/4 don't quite fit together to make one compelling game yet.
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Peter Cobcroft
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SpaceGamer wrote:
Curufea wrote:
This is all good.
I can see further updates may happen in future as we advance technologically and changes in techonolgy may be incorporated to add realism.


I hope it doesn't happen for a while; this was a lot of work.


Think of it like childbirth - by the time a sufficient amount of time has passed that you begin to forget the pain involved, you may be able to be convinced to do it all over again
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