I've put all ship data in a sheet a while ago, which shows the current stats, including calculated deltaV and thrust values.
It also has the volume of each ship, calculated from the collision meshes mostly, and a density derived from that and the dry mass of the ship.
No hyperspace range though, I don't really know the formula for that.
Also it nicely sheds the light on that huge gap we have with our ship capacities.
Also here are the results from the survey I posted on SSC after the second rebalance pass. I think we need some number crunching on that.
What do you guys think?
First, as Johnj and jpab wisely said we should discuss, how we want Pioneer to handle and play, before we get to the specifics.
I personally think that the nerfing of deltaVs and thrusts on the second pass benefited the game, and increased the sense of scale.
Sometimes I'm contemplating nerfing thrusts a bit more, like topping it at 9 or 10 G for an empty light courier. But I'm not sure about that.
- How fast we want the player to travel? (deltaV) - this brings up some realism questions too, like the tanks of current ships would be at least 10x to 100x larger if we used realistic H2 density. In my opinion we need to strike a good balance here, because if it's too fast, the sense of scale and acomplishment diminishes (in E:D they boast 1x scale systems, but you practically can cross most of them in a couple of minutes which sure shrinks them)
- How good accelerations we want to give to the players? - The larger the differences here, the harder our already hard combat will be. Also when I experimented with this, I found that at around 7G combat was far more manageable and enjoyable. Also realism questions apply here too, like where's the threshold for pilot/meatloaf.
- How much we want the player to work for a new ship/upgrade? - Which brings us to profits, like balancing trade and mission rewards.
Also I think there shouldn't be a clear line of progression when it comes to ships. Although we don't have that much stats to play with, like reliability and quality, power rates or so. But on the other hands, I think for a game like Pioneer, trade-offs can add a lot. Like when you need to choose between a bit more cargo space or acceleration for your future courier. Or "is that ship really better for exploration? It has a bit better range and capacity, but doesn't have a fuel scoop mount.
And on the side: the topic of switching capacities to volume instead of mass, and adding mass granularity (like 1.7t) to the game. I agree with @joonics and the others that this would add a lot to the game. Especially in the sense of emergent game-play, like for example you have some packs to deliver to a planet, but your ship is overloaded with valuable stuff, so you need to make the choice of dropping the cargo (will they float there for you to come back and collect them?) to be able to finish the delivery, or risk missing the deadline by first going to an orbital to sell that cargo. Or risk landing with your main thrusters and rotate your ship at the last second to align with the pad? (I was able to do that). All of this because you were greedy, and also forgot to check the gravity of the delivery destination.
And to close my wall of texts, this was my thinking when I came up with ship classes, each with a light, medium and heavy variant:
- Shuttle - Low range, relatively light ships for short travels. Could provide more room as a trade-off, compared to a similar hyperspace capable ship. And they are cheaper too. Simple and sturdy crafts. Lousy in combat.
- Freighter/transports - Hyperspace capable ships with decent range and capacity for passengers/cargo. Sturdy workhorse crafts. Not as simple as a brick of a shuttle, and they should provide the crew/passengers with things necessary for several week/month travels. Not really meant for combat, but some might be a good candidate for retrofitting.
- Courier - Built for speed. Light long range ships. Small cargo space, good acceleration, maneuverability, hyperspace range(comes naturally from the low mass) and deltaV. Could be considered more sophisticated, high performance vessels, with very short maintenance cycles. Not really meant for combat, more for evasion.
- Fighter - Light crafts designed for combat. Armored, and armed, but with little to provide for longer trips. Usually low range/deltaV, but top maneuverability and acceleration. Very short maintenance cycles. (mostly had police and short patrol duties in mind)
So let the discussion take off. :)