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Crew Experience

Petty Officer Registered
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 14
Topic starter  

Engage your capital ships in combat to improve your officer’s skills...

What kind of scope are you thinking there?

I don't mean in all gory detail but more a general direction like...

  • A ship has one captain and that's the only one who can gain experience.


  • Number of officer slots depends on the size of the ship.


  • Not an officer but the crew as a whole gains experience.

    When replacing losses, the experience is somewhat "diluted" by the new recruits.


  • An officer has a "class" and designed to have a very specific skill set. No best-at-everything crew.


  • Free skill choice from a skill tree.


  • Ships and experience are retained between "missions".  (WH40k: Final Liberation style)


  • You only get to choose 3 officers to bring into the next mission. The others are lost to you or "have different assignments" like an unavailable mercenary in Jagged Alliance.

    Ships and setup will depend on the mission's needs.

It can't be Runequest or it wouldn't work in realtime but if skills are tangible and have meaningful effects (no level 7 in Shiphandling) then a swift selection would be possible.

Petty Officer Registered
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 45

I would go for having the ship as a whole gain and keep the experience due to its crew.  In real life navy ships do pass a series of tests to receive its rating. The crew must work together as a team to get the best ratings possible, so it makes sense to chose this option.


This experience would govern all "skills" or features related to the eficiency of the crew:  damage control / repairs, reloading / fire rate  etc.

Would be nice to also have a Captain character that can be assigned to the ship to buff other set of "skill"  that reflects the good (or bad) decisions a captain makes on the tactics and decision-making area. This characters would be an aditional gameplay feature were diferent captains have diferent traits with its own strong and weak points, while the crew experience would generally simply improve the ship eficiency and nothing more.

Petty Officer Registered
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 14
Topic starter  

True enough and this is the preferred method in several strategy games like MOO or GalCiv.

Crew is fully abstracted, leaving only The Ship as an object you can interact with.


SS is smaller scale, though. (assumption =)

In MOO or GalCiv I had hundreds or thousands of ships and was actually using them.

(a GalCiv game with a score like that is an effort in madness - you don't do that for fun)

In SS I expect to be commanding maybe 20-40 units in a meaningful way.


The scope of the game affects everything. The UI, what level of detail you can interact with, if you can still see and interact with an officer on a ship instead of only with the ship in it's entirety.

Officers are something tangible, not an amorphous mass of "crew of the light cruiser Negotiable Virtue".

That's a good thing because it is an opportunity to add glitz and quirks to the game, to give the player good officers with drawbacks like cowardice or a short attention sp


Abstract experience would work, of course. If it's "better" is another question and depends on what else you can do and when.

For instance, crew / officer training could be long term investments that you don't have to deal with in the middle of a battle.

It would be "filler" content to keep the game more evenly paced for the stretches of time when nothing interesting happens.

A "you don't lose anything by making the decision later" could be implemented so that crew continues to gain XP and simply accumulates "unused skill points" or somesuch.

Then again, with officers it's much easier to transfer them to other ship types with greatly varying crew sizes.

The crew of a DD is not going to be running a BB in anything but the most haphazard fashion.



But mostly this thread is a big request to spill the beans in some shape or form. =P

I mean we (for values of we) enjoy our theorycrafting but it's more motivating if it's somewhat close to the vision so there's a chance it ends up being in the game.

(Unless the suggestion is so good that the vision changes instead. You never know.)

Petty Officer Registered
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 13

Well how about breaking it down to the essential players.

1. Captain/Commodore/Admiral a guy who LEADS meaning his skill would be  tactical or strategical improvements

(unlocking formations for fighters for instance or on a larger scale a cleverer AI that automatically responds faster with the right ship vs a  specific threat) I am imagining something like pulling ships with screening weaponry in front of more artillery-like ships when fighters/bombers are approaching.

2. Weapons Officer: pretty straightforward, increases accuracy and maybe unlocks certain skills like suppression fire, longrange precision shots and maybe firing frequences.

3. Engineering Officer: Bascially knows the ship like his pocket, can dissasemble and reassemble the ships main reactor while playing poker and welding a new armorplate at the ships exterior with his eyes closed. Could increase the main engines and or thrusters output. Unlockable skills like emergency acceleration or stop.


I agree that those guys should be fixed to a certain class of ship and might have different skillsets therefore but I also fear that balancing would be a bitch.




Petty Officer Registered
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 14
Topic starter  

I agree that those guys should be fixed to a certain class of ship and might have different skillsets therefore but I also fear that balancing would be a bitch.


Not necessarily.

If a "Chief Engineer" can have bonus A, B, or C, and a corvette doesn't have a slot for an engineer, then the corvette class as a whole would be balanced with that in mind.

For instance, the speed of corvettes might be 3x that of battleships.

Adding an "engineer" bonus to get 3.75 x the speed wouldn't make a major difference between those two classes.


You probably have a lot more corvettes than battleships so it's okay for them to be less detailed. Less buttons to fiddle with. Just send another corvette. =)


Different ship classes can have different levels of detail...





The only "problem" with that is crew progression.

If the battleship is the first ship class with a Chief Engineer slot, you will not have an experienced CE to put on your shiny new battleship.



Possible solution:

Temporary crew ranks.


If you transfer a level 6 captain to the new ship, your auto-generated chief engineer on it will immediately level up to level 3 and you get to assign the relevant skills / boni.

His real experience is still starting at level 1 and keeps counting up from there.

If you transfer the CE to yet another ship, he's back to level 1... or to whatever temporary level the crew member with the highest level confers to him.

Your skill selection stays permanent, though (don't want to do the same thing over and over!) even if he may not be able to use the skills he picked while with a temporary level.


A side effect would be that it would help with the "recruit effect".

In a game like XCOM where you will lose operatives, having a bloody newbie on the team sucks.

With temporary levels your more experienced crew members "get replacements up to speed" faster while it still doesn't change the XP requirement to go above that temporary level and kick serious butt. =)

Master Chief Registered
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 155

Hey guys, I disappear for a week and the conversations spark up - typical! I have a lot of reading to do!


OK so, Gazz you are right - you'll probably only command a maximum of 30 ships (excluding fighter and bomber wings) but you'll have a very granular level of control. The trouble is that as I flesh out the mechanics I realise that the game is becoming more and more complex, good for some - but as well as being a fleet simulator I want to actually make the game fun. 


Anyways with that in mind the following applies with respect to the RPG-like crew elements:

  • The only player progressable characters will be Officers commanding the Capital Ships and Cruisers
  • The player will encounter the characters as the play through the single player campaign and can choose which ship the officer will pilot
  • The officer will occupy a branch of a skill tree (such as Tactical, Engineering and Science)
  • The office can gain passive abilities that effect the ship, pack and fleet at large.
  • Some of the officers will act out the storyline so if they are lost the player will fail the game.

I hope this clears it up for you, I have acknowledged all you comments and the joy of this project is that I can alter the dynamics to fit. I hope you also understand that what reads well on 'paper' could make for very complex and confusing gameplay, but I will look into perhaps having 2/3 command or officer slots for the capital ships.