Saturday, 9 July 2011

Adeptus Titanicus: Some random ideas

So, taking a break from the whole "proper design", most of which is being executed on paper the way I like writing these things, I've decided to do some bad-game-design, which is coming up with properties for fictional weapons and such. Actually I'm sort of threading the needle here, trying to come up with some concepts for crew-oriented game-play. So, in no particular order: Fire Control, Target Acquisition, Movement, and Damage Control. But first a word on what I'm going to call actions. These are decisions made by a player which change the state of the Titan. This is different than deciding what a unit is going to do in a turn; this is deciding how the Titan's behaviour is going to change from turn to turn. If anyone is familiar with the mandatory movement in Battlefleet: Gothic, think of actions as being like changing direction.

Fire Control
Placing shots is pretty important to Titans, which means fire control is more than just rolling a die and hoping that you hit a threshold number. The concept I like at the moment involves the players setting a range, elevation/declination, and arc to each weapon. When a designated target enters that 'slot' then the player rolls for success. The margin of success on this roll determines deviation, with some number being divided by the margin of success to determine where the shot(s) actually fall. Yeah, lots of work, but it has a couple of upshots: makes the calculation of collateral damage interesting: remember that Titans aren't just moving often moving targets, but also changing shape with momentum, recoil, and other factors at play. It also means that target acquisition can be separated from fire control.

Target Acquisition
Part of the fun of driving a Titan should be target acquisition. Part of this needs to depend on battlefield conditions, without the assumption that the weather is nice, that lines of sight are clear, or that sight is needed at all. Although the players have perfect information, or as close to that concept as needs happen in a tabletop wargame (aka "the 10,000' general" or "god's eye view"), the Titans themselves should have much less despite their powerful auspex or sensor suits. My first crack at a solution involves giving Titans a sensor profile and a sensor acuity, presuming that however they're acquiring targets that some things stand out. The relationship would be mediated by battlefield conditions, as well as the behaviour of the Titans. The sensor profile would involve trade-offs with using the Titan's systems such as high-energy weapons, shields, and other crap that would be great to maximize in a slug-fest, but makes them a target on anything but a clear day on a flat field. The sensors would be affected by damage, and yes, called 'auspex' (depending on the species of Titan).

This is usually just a distance and maybe an integral rule about handling terrain. Account is often taken for flying/skimming/jumping movement. Given the design notes about expandability, I would assign Titans a Stride Length, Traction, and Agility. In other words, something about how far the Titan must go each turn, a limit on how fast/agile it can go when not under fire, and a limit on how quickly it can turn, with the third depending on the first, and the 1st/3rd limited by the 2nd. Maybe the order needs to be modified...

Damage Control
So Titans often go down quickly, but certain things like repairing shields, and so takes crew attention away from murdering other Titans, and it's nice to incentivize players to withdraw and force a cat-and-mouse instead of slugging matches. Plus, as FPS have taught us, regenerating shields and health are user-friendly. Again, the ability to run without throwing the game is pretty useful. Like the other concepts, a couple of numbers and a limit seems to be the notion, but gork-knows I'm not sure how to apply it.

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