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Old 2013-12-28, 07:10 PM   [Ignore Me] #294
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Re: Outfit Air Cruisers Redux

Original OP Text Reposted for Historical Reference (OP is over length limits, so had to remove something).

Outfit Air Cruisers Redux

This has been in the works in one form or another since 2004, and even now I still believe that Airships are the way to bring outfit bases into the game. They give outfits a centerpiece to either relax in safely from a distance or bring into actual combat. They also give outfits something to invest in to increase their relative power and prestige. And the most critical part, they add a naval combat aspect that will add to and not take from the existing PlanetSide theatres of war.

Air Cruisers would not be BFRs nor GGs, they would have little to no direct interaction with the ground game outside of being a transport and mobile spawn point. Air Cruisers cannot land and they are locked into a fixed altitude (roughly 60% of whatever flight ceiling will be). Their weapons are designed to engage other Air Cruisers with. They have limited built in AA (essentially only gatling guns, no flak). Outfits can only have one Air Cruiser at a time and losing it starts a 7 day timer before a replacement can be purchased. The idea is that these are significant assets to protect. On the other hand, Air Cruisers also constantly consume resources, whether they are being used or not. They are persistant assets and can't all fit in the 'sanc'.

Each Faction would have three base hulls to choose from designed to facilitate that faction's strengths and evidence their weaknesses. Air Cruisers would have several modular subsystems to upgrade to alter the operation or even just enhance the Air Cruiser. The modules include: Engineering Module (Engines and Generator), Defensive Module (Shield Generator and Armor Plating), Offensive Module (Weapon hardpoints), Spawn Module (spawn capacity and utilities such as terminals), Hangar Module (Size and Capacity of Hangar Deck), and Cargo Module (Ability to transport Vehicles Supreme Commander style such as MBTs).

The three hull classifications would be Light Cruiser, Heavy Cruiser, and Battle Cruiser. The Light Cruiser is roughly 100 meters in length, with the Heavy coming in at 160 and the Battle Cruiser rocking 220 meters. The Light Cruiser is allowed ten module upgrade points, the Heavy twenty, and the Battle thirty. Each module requires a certain point cost to be upgraded. Light Cruisers cannot upgrade any module beyond Mark III regardless of available points. Heavy Cruisers cannot upgrade beyond Mark IV leaving Battle Cruisers as the only hull able to upgrade to Mark V.

Air Cruisers will have several vulnerabilities, such as balconeys with access doors, enemy accessible flight deck/hangars, limited maneuverability to avoid heavy ordinance, destructible weapons (Heavy Weapons can be disabled via concentrated fire or internal sabotage), crew compliment requirements to maintain the vessel, and finally NTU fuel. Deprive an Air Cruiser of NTU and it will enter an offline mod, which will make destroying it relatively easy. Shields and Engines are the primary NTU burners, with weapons and spawns taking a smaller constant amount. Normal non combat operations with a Basic Engineering Module would need refueling every eight hours (twenty four with Mark V Engineering). Combat Operations could drop that down to as little as two hours (six with Mark V Engineering). Generators (Power and Shield), Engines, and Spawns can be disabled through damage and/or sabotage.

An unmanned Air Cruiser would be destroyed in short order. Yet a fully crewed AC could shrug off the same attack.

Each Module System comes in Six Levels:

Mark I
Mark II
Mark III
Mark IV
Mark V

All hulls are equipped with Basic Modules when purchased.

Module Key words:

Standard = 100%
Enhanced = 125%
Advanced = 150%
HAWT     = High Altitude Warrior Transfer
Basic Module Overview: No Upgrade Point

Engineering - One Standard Power Generator, One Standard NTU Storage Tank, One Standard Engine
Defensive   - One Standard Shield Generator (100,000 HP), Standard Armor Plating
Offensive   - One Forward Heavy Weapon Hardpoint, Two Lateral Point Defense Hardpoints
Spawn       - One 60 Second Spawn Tube, One Non MAX Access Equipment Terminal, One HAWT Drop tube
Hangar      - One Small Aircraft Hangar Bay (hangar door not large enough for Liberators or Galaxies)
Cargo       - One Ventral Heavy Lift Platform (One MBT or Two Lightnings per Platform)
Mark I Module OVerview: One Upgrade Point

Engineering - One Enhanced Power Generator, One Large Capacity NTU Storage Tank, One Enhanced Engine
Defensive   - One Enhanced Shield Generator (125,000 HP), Enhanced Armor Plating (increases damage mitigation of hull, adds mass)
Offensive   - Two Forward Heavy Weapon Hardpoints, Four Lateral Point Defense Hardpoints
Spawn       - Two 60 Second Spawn Tubes, Two non MAX Access Equipment Terminals, Two HAWT Drop Tubes
Hangar      - One Large Aircraft Hangar Bay (large enough for one Galaxy)
Cargo       - Two Ventral Heavy Lift Platforms
Mark II Module Overview: Two Upgrade Points

Engineering - One Advanced Power Generator, One Advanced NTU Storage Tank, One Advanced Engine
Defensive   - One Advanced Shield Generator (150,000 HP), Advanced Armor Plating
Offensive   - Two Forward Heavy Weapon Hardpoints, One Aft Heavy Weapon Hardpoint, Four Lateral Point Defense Hardpoints
Spawn       - Three 60 Second Spawn Tubes, Three Non MAX Access Terminals, Three HAWT Drop Tubes
Hangar      - One Large Aircraft Hangar Bay, One Small Aircraft Hangar Bay
Cargo       - Four Ventral Heavy Lift Platforms
Mark III Module Overview: Four Upgrade Points (Max for Light Cruiser)

Engineering - Two Standard Power Generators, Two Standard NTU Storage Tanks, Two Standard Engines
Defensive   - Two Standard Shield Generators (200,000 HP), Advanced Armor Plating, Standard Armor Plating for Weapon Hardpoints
Offensive   - Two Forward Heavy Weapon Hardpoints, Two Aft Heavy Weapon Hardpoints, Four Lateral Point Defense Hardpoints
Spawn       - Three 45 Second Spawn Tubes, Three MAXable Terminals, Three HAWT Tubes
Hangar      - Two Large Aircraft Hangar Bays
Cargo       - Six Ventral Heavy Lift Platforms
Mark IV Module Overview: Eight Upgrade Points (Max for Heavy Cruiser)

Engineering - Two Enhanced Power Generators, Two Enhanceded NTU Storage Tanks, Two Enhanced Engines
Defensive   - Two Enhanced Shield Generators (250,000 HP), Advanced Armor Plating, Enhanced Armor Plating for Hardpoints
Offensive   - Three Forward Heavy Weapon Hardpoints, Two Aft Heavy Weapon Hardpoints, Six Lateral Point Defense Hardpoints
Spawn       - Three 30 Second Spawn Tubes, Three MAXable Terminals w/ 25% discount, Three HAWT Tubes
Hangar      - Small Flight Deck (large enough to comfortably handle three Galaxies; Flight Decks are all through deck designs)
Cargo       - Eight Ventral Heavy Lift Platforms
Mark V Module OVerview: Sixteen Upgrade Points

Engineering - Two Advanced Power Generators, Two Advanced NTU Storage Tanks, Two Advanced Engines
Defensive   - Two Advanced Shield Generators (300,000 HP), Advanced Armor Plating, Advanced Armor Plating for Hardpoints
Offensive   - Three Forward Heavy Weapon Hardpoints, Three Aft Heavy Weapon Hardpoints, Six Lateral Point Defense Hardpoints
Spawn       - Three 15 Second Spawn Tubes, Three MAXable Terminals w/ 50% discount, Three HAWT Tubes
Hangar      - Large Flight Deck (five Galaxies comfortably)
Cargo       - Twelve Ventral Heavy Lift Platforms
As you can see, even with a Battle Cruiser, you can't max out every module, you have to consider a balance or even a specialization for your Air Cruiser, no one setup to rule them all.

Weapons Hardpoints can be turrets or launchers. They are empire specific. TR might have a Kinetic Autocannon or a Rapid Fire Missile Launcher. NC might have a good ole 500mm Cannon or Torpedo Launcher. And those pesky VS might be looking at choosing between a Laser Beam or a Plasma Burst. Point Defense Hardpoints are typically common gatling guns or something more empire specific: TR 1000 rounds per minute chaingun, NC Rotary Flechette Cannon, VS Rapid Fire Railgun.

All Heavy Turrets are locked into a 270 degree horizontal arc with absolutely no verticle arc. Meaning it can't aim up or down, only left and right. Broadsides are possible and even encouraged. Launchers can only fire on something within a 90 degree horizontal arc, can't lock on to a non Air Cruiser. Lateral Point Defense are side oriented ball turrets designed to engage in close air support against attempted boardings and outright hostile air power. These weapons are not air farming as any enemy pilot coming close enough to be fired upon is likely engaging in a hostile maneuver. Laterals have 270 degree arcs both horizontal and vertically.

Air Cruisers have Command Abilities, which range from Shield Boosting to Engine Overload:

Shield Boost: Directly drains NTU resources to replenish an amount of Shield HP
Shield Hardening: For a limited time the Air Cruiser will burn NTU instead of Shield HP when taking damage.
Engine Overload: Provides a massive engine power boost for a short time with a 20% risk of disabling one entirely (if two engines, each gets the 20% roll separately). 100% chance of damaging engines and reducing performance after the Overload is over.
Engine Cruise: Sustained High Output setting for engines to allow fast transit from one point to another. All functions (except Spawning) disabled for duration. Air Cruiser travels roughly 50% faster while engaged. Cruise disabled if Engines are damaged or disabled.

Air Cruisers are not fast. Even with upgraded engines, they are still slow ungainly behemoths. A Light Cruiser with One Standard Engine will top out at about 30 kph. A Battle Cruiser at 20. The Light Cruiser will take almost 60 seconds to go from 0 to 30 kph, the Battle Cruiser 300 seconds to get from 0 to 20 kph. Heavy Cruiser roughly halfway between at 25 kph max and 180 seconds acceleration time. This mean that engine upgrades are meaningful as a Mark V Engineering Module can cut that 300 second burn for a Battle Cruiser down to 100 seconds. The Light Cruiser similarly would drop to 20 seconds. It takes a Light Cruiser roughly 30 seconds to make a 180 degree turn. 180 seconds for the Battle Cruiser. Engine upgrades to improve this, but only 50% as much as they do for thrust thrust. Mark V Engines would have the Light Cruiser making a 180 degree turn in 15 seconds with 90 for the Battle Cruiser.

As with anything, the numbers used are examples, nothing is locked in stone. The Outfit Air Cruiser idea is an old one that has morphed many times over the years. But I believe this formula is going to be the final. It espouses the new values in PS 2, such as versatility and modularity. All while not dominating the ground game in a direct fashion.

I would need to know more about how resourcing might work in PS 2 to really get into cost:benefit.

The absolute rules any Airship in PlanetSide must follow:

1. Can't ruin the ground battle (see BFR).

2. Can't provide a overpowering advantage to the empire it belongs to (outfit oriented).

3. Can't be impervious to non Air Cruiser threats. (sabotage, concentrated fire from combined arms)

I suppose 2 is debatable, but those are my rules since breaking them leads to OPness.

Originally Posted by Baneblade View Post

Originally I planned to have these spawned in safety, but after further consideration I think it is better to have a contestable base to fight over. Enter the Shipyard, a wholly unremarkable structure save for its sheer size. A large underground HART style building spawns the air cruisers. There is also a Service Docking Tower.

When an air cruiser is freshly spawned it is extremely vulnerable to attack as all of its systems are offlined while it ascends to operating altitude over the span of several minutes.

The Service Docking Tower is required for refits, refueling, and repairing super critical damage. SCD is damage that cannot be repaired through traditional field methods. Systems that are damaged into an offline state often enough develop an unreliability RNG roll. This roll determines whether the system will be offline or online minute to minute. It will likely be 10% chance of offline.
Originally Posted by Alternate Idea I - 06/29/12
Alternative Design Compendium

This isn't intended to replace the OP, but rather to supplement it with further Outfit Air Cruiser possibilities.

This is a simpler and less progressive design philosophy, more intended to give side grade options and to emphasize crew capability more than outfit buying power. The original idea created a rift in capability that was not insurmountable, but at the same time far beyond significant.

Empire Specific Classes:

Tempest - NC
Babylon - TR
Scythe.. (damnit, my VS AC name was stolen for PS2!)
Hyperion - VS

Each can choose one specialization of the following:

Stealth Frigate

The Carrier Specialization Option is designed to be logistics focused with an expansive flight deck (should be large enough to handle five Galaxies or the future Lodestar comfortably and their cargos) and vehicle spawn capabilities (ground vehicles after Lodestars are introduced). The Carrier has only one forward heavy weapon mount and two medium weapon mounts, but has eight point defense mounts.

The Destroyer is far and above the ultimate in Air Cruiser aggression. It features three forward heavy weapon mounts, two rear heavy weapon mounts, four medium mounts, but only four point defense mounts.

The Battlecruiser is the middle weight in direct fire capability, but easily the heaviest defenses of the lot. It features two forward heavies, one rear heavy, six medium mounts, and six point defense mounts. It has a much stronger shield and heavier armor.

The Stealth Frigate is the antithesis of an overt airship. It has a full time cloaking bubble that is maintained as long as it is not taking damage or firing weapons (think PS1 AMS). The Frigate has no heavy weapons, but has four medium and four point defense mounts it can use in a pinch.

All Air Cruisers have outfit spawns, engine rooms, hangar decks (Carrier has the flight deck instead), observation lounges, bridges, and weapon decks (gunners access weapons on this deck).

Heavy Weapons are empire specific and generally represent the pinnacle of that empire's design philosophy.

Medium Weapons are basically MBT weapons repurposed for use in a naval capacity.

Point Defense Weapons can be empire specific, but Lightning weapons would also work.

Like the original idea, these are altitude locked and cannot attack ground targets directly. They also deploy infantry to the surface safely.

They are still outfit purchased, maintained, and crewed.
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