So, I've been absorbing any information I could find about DU, this post will be about some of the ideas that I have, related to all aspects of this game.
Let's get to it, shall we?
Now, I've tried to refine my ideas and sort of compile them together but they might still be a mess, I promise I will try to give full ideas only, not bare concepts.
The first thing on my list is something that for now will have no use but later could be a vital part of warfare in DU. Player Developed Jamming System by Fernix, I'm working on an acronym.
Too many times in too many games space warfare gets limited to a good old slugfest and numbers game, no much space for any flashy tactics or strategy, not much to take into account at all, the equation is more or less like this: more and bigger ships = win. That's pretty much it, you can see it clearly in Eve Online, specifically World War Bee if I'm not mistaken, the Empire got simply overwhelmed because their enemy had trillions upon trillions of ISK from various sources and could dish out more ships than the Empire could kill. This is why diversification of combat on a tactical and strategic level has to be as diverse as possible, sooner or later one alliance will trump all others and WHEN that happens unless half of the people rebel the main empire will have too much of an advantage, any rebellion, be it a regular army uprising, insurgency or a pirate empire, will be crushed by simple numbers if they are not given the possibility to outclass their enemy in a tactical engagement.
Now, the jamming system, how would it work?
There would be 3 levels of this technology, or 5, depends on how is it done. The communications officer (I will get to this part later) would use a specific "frequency" (aka type in xx, xxx "x" is a random number) and disperse this information throughout the fleet. The enemy vessels would be affected in the following way:
1. Lack of IFF. No vessels would be marked as friendly or as an enemy, just a white symbol showing its position.
2. Any sort of tracking/homing missiles would not work.
3. Any remotely controlled vessels would seize to function.
4. Automated defenses would be of no use since they couldn't select out the enemy ships, switching them to autofire would work but it could potentially kill friendly forces.
Now, what would all this accomplish? What is the goal of this?
The point here is to allow a technologically superior/better-equipped force to gain an advantage against a numerically superior opponent. This would also force all organizations to use a specific color scheme to avoid friendly-fire as much as possible in case the group gets jammed.
Of course, installing jammers on all ships would be VERY expensive so at the start it would force smaller groups to create a ship dedicated to serve as both a jammer and an anti-jammer.
Empires could afford to mount low-level jamming system on all of their ships of course, but it would come at a great cost and almost no gain since the number of jammers of the same level would not increase the difficulty for the other side to counter the jamming. And high-tech jammers would be EXPENSIVE.
How would it be countered though? I thought about it for some time and then I found a solution, the "comms officer" (simply someone handling this and a communications array) would have the tools to try and decipher the jamming frequency, allowing his side to effectively counter the jamming by simply filtering it out(aka typing in the numbers he got and pressing "enable")
How would he do that though? The tools (in his specialized console) would create a specific number of random math problems for him to solve that would lead to the final number being the enemy jamming codes, the higher level of the jammer the higher difficulty and number of equations to solve.
Level one could just be simple adding subtracting multiplying and dividing, level two would be that plus square roots and exponentiation, level three would be that PLUS trigonometry, 10-15-20 equations each. They would be automatically generated and it would not only be simple equations but also (on the 3rd level) adding a missing part of the equation or a specific number. After this is handled, the officer would get the enemy jamming frequency, allowing his team to counter it. Recalibrating the jammer would take time and the codes would have to be re-send to the entire fleet.
True, 1st and 2nd level would be just annoying but if activated at the right moment it could provide a significant advantage in an important part of the battle, they could be solved by anyone with a calculator BUT it would still take time, during which this could change the course of the battle.
The highest jamming tech would require someone who actually know enough math to figure this stuff out or a group of people, whatever you decide.
Automated Mining Systems by Fernix.
(AMSF for an acronym sounds good, don't ya all think?)
What would this be? To put it simply, the galaxy is HUGE, I mean, REALLY huge. And its FILLED with low-level resources like iron, ice, silicon. Basic resources would be crucial to sustaining any organization be it a pirate squadron, big-ass empire or a factory. Basic resources are needed but they are also abundant and it takes a lot of them to build capital ships. If mining guilds were to hire players for mining it would drive the costs of materials so high that even a simple cruiser would be a colossal undertaking for a lot of groups and majority of the players would be forced to use fighter craft for any combat, with light frigates serving as frontline capital ships.
The drones would change it all, and I don't mean remotely controlled drones, I mean drones, fully automated.
How would it work? Well, a sort of a programmable block (like in Space Engineers) would be required for this, it would allow creating a basic mining algorithm telling the drone what to do and how and where to mine. It, of course, could be modified by the players however they wish so they can use it, sell it or rent tamper-proof drones with this algorithm already in.
What would it serve?
1st. Human manpower would be used for deep core mining only since drones would have a hard time doing it, and only for rare resources where they are hard to mine. This would stabilize the economy at usually low-prices for basic resources(excluding wartime), the rare resources would not only be rare but also the price would have the cost of hiring a miner to mine it within it, driving it up, making sure that the most high-tech technologies stay expensive and not available to all.
2. It would encourage piracy and through that, law enforcement.
Yea, this is a plus, the further away from civilization the better deposits of rare resources that are untouched, but also more pirates, if a mining guild would try to claim more, its transports could be raided by pirates looking for an easy score. This would force miners to higher protection or pay the pirates off. The level of piracy would impact the economy significantly if the outlaws decided to raid some of the heavier transports en-masse.
3. During wartime, this would be an awesome target.
War means the destruction of assets, assets need replacing, hence why during such time resources are more expensive, both factions would be forced to protect its mining operations, from pirates emboldened by the recent losses of warships by one of the sides, from another empire trying to cripple its enemy... this would give us a load of options and allow us to fight proxy wars before the main conflict begins.
Galactic Trade Market and trading outposts.
Not much to say here, but I do have one point.
1. The GTM outposts have to be separated.
What does it mean? Let's say I want to buy some resources, I visit the closest GTM outpost (player-owned station of course with either a docking fee or a trade tax in place, but I will have to think of a way how this can be implemented) and while there are those resources for sale, they are in other GTM outposts far away (it would be based in which outpost the items are sold) so this would force me to go to another system and claim my already bought resources from that station.
What would be the purpose of this? Seems like just making it tougher for players doesn't it?
Well, you're right, it does. But this is closely tied to how the expansion to new resource-rich systems would work later. When a GTM station has multiple mining operations in range, a lot of small companies would simply look to dump those resources in the closest GTM outpost (which would be linked to the main trading system of course) but this issue has a lot of angles: distance, price, safety, amount of resources, political situation, shipping.
Distance: to be frank, some of those outposts will be in the middle of nowhere, it will take a long time to reach them.
Price: because it's distant, you would have to lower prices, you would still make a profit if you mine enough but it would be a lot lower than in more civilized and resource-deprived systems.
Safety: as the outpost becomes larger, it would draw more people in and might possibly become a part of another organization given its location, it would also be a good spot for pirates since there would be a lot of raiding to do in the area.
Amount of resources: new deposits = a lot of resources to mine and process. and sell, more work for people to do.
Political situation: during wartime or an economic crisis separation of individual GTM outposts would mean that in many cases the situation is contained to a specific region, not the entire galaxy. Effectively creating a buffer that can be drained before any major crisis hits.
For example, 2 major empires rage war, their resources are running out and they need more, they can start buying on the GTM but if they do they will only drain the stockpile from their region of space first, then others, but it will take time, time miners can use to increase production to meet the need for resources. This will also serve as a countermeasure to jackasses buying out the entire stockpile of a specific resource and then for a limited time getting a monopoly on selling it. I've seen this in SWTOR, in 2014 when there were a lot of new players who wanted to buy a lot of player-made components (they were better than npc-vendor stuff) but it required a lot of Rubat crystals, they were easily obtainable but the demand was always relatively high so while getting a set of a dozen or so would cost you more or less 349 credits, you could sell each crystal for 200 credits. One night some genius bought ALL of them on the market, changing the prices from ~ 200-250 to almost 1750 per crystal. It was good business for me because I had a fresh stockpile to sell at a time, but from his later gloating in the chat, I remember that it cost him 3 mil credits to buy all of those rubats and he made 7 mils on selling them. I know, player-driven economy, but dividing up the individual outposts to prevent an immediate flow of resources from one end of the galaxy to another would prevent this sort of thing on a mass scale and allow people to throw resources from other sectors, effectively making that temporary monopoly unviable.
After the resources run out in one sector, those empires would have to import, that means logistics and hauling. And pirate attacks, and ambushes by the enemy. Loads of fun.
Shipping: don't want to fly across half the galaxy to get resources? Fear not! Hire a shipping company to do it for you! This would also let individual entrepreneurs WITHOUT a group to play with to do something other than mine, invent new stuff, enlist or become a pirate. In the grand galaxy of tens of thousands of players online at the same time, wars and conquests, new inventions and the crisis it would be up to them to restore the price balance throughout the universe and make decent money in the process.
Okay, I had much to say here...
Communication Systems for individuals and Empires by Fernix.
The more players this game has the more chaos there will be, it's up to you to make it a controlled chaos or an anarchy.
The Communication Systems are a must-have, plain a simple. I don't only mean chat and voice chat between people but also between ships.
How do we achieve this and how would it work?
Communications console as a separate prop. Or an integrated for the smaller ships. For larger ships and fleet command stations there would have to be a lot of the specialized comms consoles to handle everything.
First, let's look at how normal hailing would look like shall we?
Open the console, select a ship you want to hail, an icon will show if they accepted your hail or not (they would get a message on the console that they are being hailed by you) after that you can either send a text or a voice message to them, a data pack(I will get to that later) or a set of coordinates, whatever you want to. You could also encrypt the comms but I will explain it once we get to Fernix's Espionage Revolution.
In combat, when you have a carrier for example and fighters have to refuel, this would allow a wing or a squadron or a formation leader to contact a ship and inform them about it and ask them to for example open the hangar.
"Hold up Fernix! You can do that on Teamspeak or Discord!" some of you are probably already typing something along those lines.
Hah, bullshit. Yes if you a have just a small carrier with a few fighters you can do that. Good luck doing the same with a full battlegroup, nevermind a fleet!
"But smaller groups can still stay on their own channels and the CO can simply use the super speaker option to skip channels!"
True, but irrelevant, let's say you spot a boarding skiff on a CBDR with a fellowship, have fun switching TS channels in the middle of combat and alt-tabbing all the time while you could just tell you comms operator to contact that ship himself and relay the information.
This would essentially create a requirement for a real-life hierarchy and structure like in a normal navy battlegroup. I believe it would be an awesome feature that in many cases could determine the outcome of a battle, it would also mean that empires would use ONLY the best and most active players for their most powerful ships, forcing people to learn and stay active if they want to progress in the ranks, it would also mean that once those players get assigned to the post they wanted for some time already, they will be a lot less likely to quit and more likely to play more, making them even more experienced in their role, making them desirable by many organizations and allowing them to capitalize on their skillset. If you ask me, it would be an awesome thing if being posted at a renown ship would mean that if you decide to leave this faction, you won't have to start up from the bottom because others will WANT you on THEIR capital ships and in command positions because of where and how you worked earlier.
Communications meet Spies.
Something that is a must-have in a sandbox with empires is an active espionage system.
What would that even mean though?
1. You can encrypt all communications AND intercept communications.
Pretty simple and basic, as to what communications you could intercept read next points.
2. Keeping in contact with automated outposts.
They are supposed to be just that, automated. The players would set how often are they supposed to send a status update, meaning full inventory list and list of contacts or any relayed communications. This would mean of course that if you intercept such communication, even if it is unencrypted, you would know what it has, who owns it and that it is in the area. Also if its full you would know that soon there will be a ship arriving to transport the mined resources to another place, good info for pirates I think.
3. Active spies.
Let's make a scenario shall we?
Two groups, A and B, both are of equal strength and they hate each other, A has a spy inside B, said spy manages to get access to the comms console and copy a list of mining outposts and their locations. A wipes out all of them in a surprise attack. B is in deep shit now.
4. What could be gathered?
Blueprints from the shipyard mainframe, jamming frequencies before the battle, encryption codes for comms, list of active ships, a location of other bases, coordinates for mining outposts. Anything could be downloaded by clicking "copy information" while looking through information on the enemy mainframe. This would require an in-depth computer system in-game but I think it would really be worth it in the long rung.
5. How would it be gathered?
Gain access to a console, a comms console, for example, each transponder could be assigned to a specific directory in the comms overlook, sort of a "friend directory" option. From there you could select any set of information and select "copy to data disk".
Why like this? Simple, having access to a mainframe without authorization for an hour can be... lethal, and doing screenshots of a list of a hundred outposts ships or blueprints where you would have to select it and check it's coordinates or any info manually... well, have fun getting caught.
This would force the player to do either of 3 things: exfil, send it OR a dead drop.
Exfil means your mission is over and you lose an asset inside an enemy structure with access to crucial information.
Sending means you possibly leave a trail because (ideally) you would have to log-in with your ID or a passcode or whatever and send this to someone, this leaves a trail and you can get caught if someone checks the logs and who was using the console at a time.
Dead drops can never reach the intended person or can get compromised by accident.
As you can see, this would be a lot of fun. And it could decide a fate of the war before it begins, just like in the real world.
This is it for now. If you've read this far, thank you, you earned a right to comment on this and either criticize or agree or make some suggestions using all of this.
If you didn't read all of it and don't understand how it is all tied together in a lot of ways, I don't care about your opinion.
This is only an idea that would require a lot of players and is mainly focused on the structure of long-term gameplay, something I hope you understand.
It's also 5 A.M when I finished writing it and to top it English is not my primary language, so I'm sorry for errors.