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A game of survival, trade and exploration in the universe of Fallen London

Balance Discussion - Benefits for Max Crew? Messages in this topic - RSS

MisterGone
MisterGone
Posts: 139

2/25/2015
So right now it seems like there's a bit of a . . . semi-bit of exploitative gaming of the system going on with experienced players and crew.

Namely, that since more crew means more supply consumption, especially as players upgrade to larger ships there is an increasing need to not fully staff your vessel. Players are encouraged by this mechanic to keep their crew numbers hovering around the 51%-70% crew range, but never to attempt to max it out on say a frigate or a Dreadnought with the sole reason to attempt this being risk reduction guarding against potential crew loss on a voyage.

The player wants to avoid getting below 50% crew so they can keep their ship running at max speed, but the increased supply costs get very burdensome on larger vessels, both in the consumption (and thus cost) and in the amount of supplies they need to carry with them to keep feeding them, reducing their ability to haul cargo for trade or other purposes.

Without some kind of benefit to hitting Max Crew, the risk reduction for having it is relatively minimal on your average voyage.

So I propose two things:

1) There should be some kind of benefit to getting Max Crew - likely in the form of a quality the player gains like "Fully Manned" that confers some specific benefit.

2) That the "Having a cook aboard" quality does something to reduce supply consumption relative to the max crew size of a vessel. Something like a "Meal Efficiency" bonus that is like 0.1% x Max Crew size - so on the base steamer you get a 1% decrease in hunger rise, but on the Dreadnought you get a 4% decrease in hunger size (that's on the low end of the speculative scale, but the high end where say the bonus increases because you complete a chef's personal storyline, it could go up to a 0.25 bonus, so you get a 2.5% decrease on a steamer and a 9% decrease on a Dreadnought) - but only triggers if the crew is at least 70% manned. The logic being that the cook is preparing larger meals for the crew (relative to the potential size of it) and having a trained officer in the role rather than having some crewman do it gives a bonus to the task.

The second part of this is mostly because it seems like, aside from their standard officer bonuses, the "having a cook aboard" quality is only minimally used in the game. From what I can tell, all it does is allow for players to prepare strange catches into more palatable meals to feed the crew should they run out of supplies. This is useful, but it's not super common and very chancy in application - they have to both run out of supplies AND have strange catches on board. It becomes more common later in the game, but will almost never occur

This only bothers me because I read in another thread that the "Having a Doctor Aboard" quality is currently not fully-implemented, as Doctors are supposed to be able to let the player use certain items (like Solace fruit) to heal wounds they may gain. Which makes me wonder what the "Cook Aboard" quality might also be missing functionality on, or what it could potentially be capable of doing.

But that leaves many questions:

What would be a suitable bonus for having Max Crew? You're losing out on supply costs and cargo space, so what should you gain in return?

There are lots of potentials here: increased ship speed? Increased Fuel Efficiency? Increased rate of Target Acquisition? Some small bonus to all three (Like +100 speed, +5% efficiency, +5% acquisition rate)?

Should cooks have increased functionality related to their "Cook aboard quality"? Or is it fine as is?

More fundamentally: Is the guarding against crew loss potential enough of a benefit to gain max crew as is? I.E. should this concept of Max Crew benefit be disregarded?

Eager to hear other player's thoughts.
edited by MisterGone on 2/25/2015

--
If you'd ever like to enjoy a good round of pugilism or discussing the higher mysteries, Reginald Drownheart may be the dapper gentleman for you!

http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Reginald~Drownheart~
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lady ciel
lady ciel
Posts: 2545

2/25/2015
I don't like running with a full crew for a different reason. The random SAY event to pick up a new crew member, most of the time that gives Salts attention that can be spent to upgrade stats in another SAY event. If it doesn't give Salts attention you get a +1 to veils and the chance of a good or bad outcome after zailing around for a while.

--
ciel

Sorry RL means I am not a very active player at the moment. No social actions unless you are prepared to wait and definitely no sparring or other mult-action things.

No Calling Cards or boxed cats please. Will take dupes on the affluent photographers. Other social invitations welcome. Parabolan Kittens usually available, send me an in-game social action saying you want one and I will get one to you as soon as possible.

storynexus name - reveurciel
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Shadow
Shadow
Posts: 49

2/25/2015
Personally, I'd make it so that the ship performs better across the board past the half crew threshold, all the way to full crew. Significant increases when fully manned compared to the half crew, because the downside of maintaining a large crew is just as considerable.

Everything from ship speed and fuel efficiency to target acquisition and even weapon damage, representing larger and better coordinated specialist teams.

Smaller vessels with smaller crew requirements would suffer less from being undermanned, but at the same time gain less from having a full crew. Larger ships, on the other hand, would suffer the lack of crewmen to a greater extent, but also benefit from bigger bonuses as they approach maximum crew.

Of course, this would all be balanced. It's not that a fully-manned Dreadnought would necessarily zip past a Corvette, but ideally a properly crewed large warship would maintain respectable speeds, be able to stay at zee longer than smaller ships (with reasonable stores for its size), and display much greater combat performance beyond what a couple extra weapon mounts imply.

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In Her Enduring Majesty's Service
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WormApotheote
WormApotheote
Posts: 725

2/25/2015
I don't think you're supposed to have full crew, like, that's the maximum you can support without running out of bunk space/people just getting in the way of each other.

If people are consistantly getting away with just one person over 50 percent though perhaps that means there needs to be more effects that can kill off crew unexpectedly.

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SporksAreGoodForYou
SporksAreGoodForYou
Posts: 291

2/25/2015
I like number 2. Cooks should reduce supply needs, no question.

While we're on it, First Officers should allow you to plot a course, and have a little arrow on the edge of the map to where you're heading, so you don't have to keep going to the map.

And gunners should increase reload speed.

Also! Engineers should increase (slightly), the chance success when your engine goes boom.

As for crew themselves, yes. There should be a balance. If you want to run with less supply demand (less crew), then you should go slower/shoot slower. Actually, scratch that. Increase the top speed with max crew. Don't slow things down even more.
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MisterGone
MisterGone
Posts: 139

2/26/2015
SporksAreGoodForYou wrote:
I like number 2. Cooks should reduce supply needs, no question.

While we're on it, First Officers should allow you to plot a course, and have a little arrow on the edge of the map to where you're heading, so you don't have to keep going to the map.

And gunners should increase reload speed.

Also! Engineers should increase (slightly), the chance success when your engine goes boom.

As for crew themselves, yes. There should be a balance. If you want to run with less supply demand (less crew), then you should go slower/shoot slower. Actually, scratch that. Increase the top speed with max crew. Don't slow things down even more.


Actually, after I wrote all of that I was thinking about the other officer applications that seem a bit under utilized compared to the (eventual) implementation of the "Doctor Aboard" and the potential expansion of the "Cook Aboard" statuses.

Engineers are pretty much fine as is - mostly. Of the three in the game, two convey benefits directly related to your engines (in either fuel efficiency or increased power). The Magician is a pretty unique case as he does neither, but he's also obviously not originally an engineer, and has a very unique skillset to make up for it (the whole "Banishing the Darkness" ability). The only idea I have for making it so that having an "Engineer Aboard" quality conveys a benefit would be to decrease the challenge rating on skill checks if your engines catch fire, like you mention.

First Officers are trickier though. Yeah, the Sigil-Ridden Navigator is a navigator, so some type of navigation ability makes sense for him, but the Carnelian Exile? She's fairly vague at the moment as to what she brings to the table. Are all 1st Officers supposed to be navigators? Or are they sort of the Colonel Tigh to the player's Captain Adama (for those who watched Battlestar Galactica that will make sense)? The person in charge of taking heat and enforcing discipline amongst the ranks to make sure the Captain isn't as hated.

A navigation ability would be nice though. Being able to set a waypoint on the map screen, then having a little indicator on the edge of the screen when you're sailing would be a handy feature to implement, and it would make a lot of sense if that was tied into having a 1st Officer aboard.

Gunnery Chiefs, they're the trickiest. Raising target acquisition is the obvious benefit with the mechanics currently in the game, but you mention reloading, something I think should be in the game but currently isn't. It's one of those extra wrinkles that could be added to the combat system that I think would add more complexity to it which would make it a lot more interesting, and it would make sense. If anyone's looked at the pictures of 1890's battleships (like this one of the Battleship Indiana), Deck guns were HUGE, especially relative to the size of the vessels themselves. We're talking giant cannons that fired shells in 12" -13" diameter barrels. The process of reloading them would be something that had to take a lot of coordination and effort.

If there were a reloading mechanic, then different gunnery chiefs could totally make the mechanic alterations to how it works in all sorts of fun ways. Maybe the Irrepressible Cannoneer can load two different shots immediately, but the 3rd shots on the cannons take twice as long. It'd make him better for strong opening volleys in a combat, trying to end things quickly, but worse at extended conflicts. The Adventuress might be more steadfast, and just reduce reloading time all around. A potential new Gunnery chief could be specialized at reloading torpedoes and Flensing weapons, but worse with cannons. There's a lot of possibilities if reloading were a thing in the game.

--
If you'd ever like to enjoy a good round of pugilism or discussing the higher mysteries, Reginald Drownheart may be the dapper gentleman for you!

http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Reginald~Drownheart~
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SporksAreGoodForYou
SporksAreGoodForYou
Posts: 291

2/26/2015
First officers are second-in-commands. Yes, the sigil-ridden navigator is technically the only navigator, but if they're my first officer on a _ship_, they should be able to read a map, and point. But yes, more commonly a first officer/executive officer is as you describe. He can go find someone else to shout directions if he'd rather. But I want those directions ; ) I'm also fine if we can only plot locations we've visited (or zeebatted).

I think the target acquisition is supposed to mimic the reloading. I pretend in my head that it's just a misfire, because they rushed the reload. That's what I was referring to. However, I do like that idea of changing shot patterns for different gunnery officers. That's fun.
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Red-XIII
Red-XIII
Posts: 51

2/26/2015
http://sunlesssea.gamepedia.com/Officers#First_Officers
2 out of 3 "first officers" are actually called navigators. I believe they are ALL navigators.

Anyway, closer to the topic(s). There's little point in incorporating personnel-based bonuses as long as they aren't tied to specific persons (like we have for mechanics). The reason for that should, I believe, be quite obvious - NOBODY sails around with empty slot for long. EVERYONE has a cook and a surgeon for the majority of the time. Giving unique bonuses for theses 5 (6? anyone else thinks mascots need MORE attention?) slots are more or less equivalent to simply introducing a new "common" feature to SS.

As for crew - I've had similar thoughts. Here's an example of how it is handled in a certain pirate sim:
You have a "minimum" crew soft cap - this is how much crew you need to properly run the ship.
You have a "maximum" crew SOFT cap - this is how much crew your vessel can comfortably accommodate.
You can go ABOVE maximum, but that costs you an arm and a leg in supplies (Thankfully, not literally. Whoever decided that It'd be a good idea to stuff cannibalism into games needs to thoroughly reconsider his position of representation of morals in media.) and in crew efficiency. (in there, the crew itself has an average level of skill(s), and the ship performs based on that)

And it all works. Just like that. Without any bonuses above the "skeleton crew". And you know why it works? Because in there you can board things.

My point - wait with this until the capturing and possibly boarding makes it into London. THEN we shal see if crew size becomes something more than a nuisance and a barley noticeable defensive mechanism. (The events that waste your crew are easier to handle on a fully stocked big vessel. -5 crew from a harlot is a HUGE problem for a starting ship and is just a matter of hiring more later on a frigate.)
edited by Red-XIII on 2/26/2015
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SouthSea Rutherby
SouthSea Rutherby
Posts: 224

2/26/2015
MisterGone wrote:
So right now it seems like there's a bit of a . . . semi-bit of exploitative gaming of the system going on with experienced players and crew.

Namely, that since more crew means more supply consumption, especially as players upgrade to larger ships there is an increasing need to not fully staff your vessel. Players are encouraged by this mechanic to keep their crew numbers hovering around the 51%-70% crew range, but never to attempt to max it out on say a frigate or a Dreadnought with the sole reason to attempt this being risk reduction guarding against potential crew loss on a voyage.


Forgive me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't this be considered the strategy involved in playing the game? Part of the point of Sunless Sea is managing a crew -- much like in Sid Meier's Pirates, there are advantages both to having a well-manned vessel and a well-stocked vessel, and everything in between amounts to strategy.
Personally, I like to vary my crew size depending on where I'm going or what I'm doing. Running sunlight to the Isle of Cats? Skeleton crew with 1-2 extra hands at most. Hunting pirates around Gaider's Mourn? Much larger crew. Hunting Mount Nomad? Maximum crew. It all depends on strategy. It's part of the fun of playing the game.



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    MisterGone
    MisterGone
    Posts: 139

    2/26/2015
    SouthSea Rutherby wrote:


    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't this be considered the strategy involved in playing the game? Part of the point of Sunless Sea is managing a crew -- much like in Sid Meier's Pirates, there are advantages both to having a well-manned vessel and a well-stocked vessel, and everything in between amounts to strategy.
    Personally, I like to vary my crew size depending on where I'm going or what I'm doing. Running sunlight to the Isle of Cats? Skeleton crew with 1-2 extra hands at most. Hunting pirates around Gaider's Mourn? Much larger crew. Hunting Mount Nomad? Maximum crew. It all depends on strategy. It's part of the fun of playing the game.


    While it's surely supposed to be a strategy, the point that I'm making is that there's not enough granularity in the system right now for it all to be considered in any way "strategic".

    If there were benefits to going past 50% crew, even if not at 100% - in order to get the true Sid Meier's Pirates feel, then there would be detriments essentially on both ends of the scale of both too few and too many crew and an advantage somewhere in the middle. In that case, as Red mentioned, there wouldn't BE a hard cap on crew members as there is currently, there would be "Soft Cap" for the players to figure out on each ship, and there would be obvious benefits to staying in the range of that Soft Cap without going to far over or too far under.

    To a degree the game does this - too low and the ship is only hitting half-throttle, at max you're getting no benefit but consuming way more supplies than you need. The issue is that there's no benefit for finding the sweet spot. Nor for maxing out. Other than safe-guarding against losses to crew, which is relatively rare compared to the consumption of supplies, which is constant (not saying it doesn't happen often - it does - but generally not in numbers so high as to be burdensome at any one time, nor at nearly the rate that supplies are consumed).

    All more crew does is add crew in case you lose crew. There's no sweet spot other than hovering at 50-70%, but no advantage to that either. In fact, by introducing a cap, and turning the numbers green when you're at max crew (look in the corner when you debark with max crew), the game implies that having max crew is the best of all possible situations for your ship. Importantly, if varying crew size was meant to be a mechanic for the player to do on a per voyage basis, then there would be an easy way to dismiss crew once you got to London. As far as I'm aware, the only way for the player to get rid of crew is through events, where they don't control the amount of crew that are eliminated.

    How do you purposely run a skeleton crew when you're sunlight trading I wonder? You're not doing it with full control over that outcome. At best you're taking advantage of a high probability zone that will cause crew desertion through an event (which can happen a lot on the Surface if you try your hand at trading around the Mediterranean). Essentially, you're exploiting what is supposed to be a penalty to gain a benefit.

    This all implies that again, the intent is for Max Crew to be a benefit, and for shrinking crews to be thought of as a penalty. That's what all the mechanics currently in place imply and encourage.

    But currently, Max Crew is actually quite bad. Which means there's no real strategy to it. It's not something you have to think about much when playing the game usually, and if you follow along the intent of the design - indicated by only being able to willingly add, but not subtract crew, that the number turns green at max crew, and that losing crew is always stated in storylets as some level of "bad thing" for your boat (though not always for the crewmen - then you're screwing yourself over on the later ships more than you're helping.

    What I'm saying is that it would be best if there were some way for the player to get a benefit for hitting max crew, as intended by the rest of the design of the system currently exhibited by the game.

    Looking at your point and Red's though, it also seems obvious that the hard cap should probably be eliminated as well. So if the player were to put, say, 12 crew on the steamer when it's normal crew allotment is 10, then they'd start receiving diminishing returns. One easy way to do that would be to make any crewman past the normal allotment take up 1 space of cargo in an impromptu sleeping arrangement (conversely, one advantage they could add is to add extra cargo space if you DO run a skeleton crew, which would give the player a reason to do this). On top of this, it also seems obvious that the system would be better if there were a way for the player to dismiss crewmen back at London at will. Then the flexibility of crew use per voyage could be a real mechanic.

    Red is correct that the advantages of having a better crew whenever pirating and boarding are re-entered into the game. But at the same time, it still seems strange that there aren't obvious benefits for your ship's performance for having crewmen past the minimum until it hits the sweet spot . . . which is currently implied to be Max Crew. Even if it were the imposition of simple penalties in a range - like, for every 10% under 100% but above 50%, you receive +0.2 time to Acquire Targets, -10 Engine Power and -1 Fuel Efficiency - so then the benefit for max crew would be the total elimination of these penalties. That would be a total stick approach, though I tend to think you need both carrot & stick for the best design possible.



  • --
    If you'd ever like to enjoy a good round of pugilism or discussing the higher mysteries, Reginald Drownheart may be the dapper gentleman for you!

    http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Reginald~Drownheart~
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    Action Hank
    Action Hank
    Posts: 1

    2/27/2015
    Maybe more crew = less terror gained?
    Like a safety in numbers sort of thing.

    I think it would also be neat if new story options were unlocked if you had a really big crew, solutions through numbers!
    Like have some options only available if you have 20+ crew members, with a hearts modifier determining success or to minimize casualties, with generally more favorable odds.
    Would also makes the hearts stat a little more relevant, since it seems to be the least useful stat.
    edited by Action Hank on 2/27/2015
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    penknife
    penknife
    Posts: 85

    2/27/2015
    I'm surprised that so many people like running with a skeleton crew. I usually keep my crew near the max, because I have limped home on half speed one too many times to want to ever do it again. Lots of crew at the beginning of a long voyage means not having to come back to London to recruit more suckers ... er, zailors ... for a nice long time. (And you can always eat the extras if you get really low on supplies.) But running out of supplies is rarely a problem for me -- just shoot some zee-beasts if you get hungry.

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    Rilauven
    Rilauven
    Posts: 68

    2/27/2015
    penknife wrote:
    I'm surprised that so many people like running with a skeleton crew. I usually keep my crew near the max, because I have limped home on half speed one too many times to want to ever do it again. Lots of crew at the beginning of a long voyage means not having to come back to London to recruit more suckers ... er, zailors ... for a nice long time. (And you can always eat the extras if you get really low on supplies.) But running out of supplies is rarely a problem for me -- just shoot some zee-beasts if you get hungry.


    I agree with this. Crew's fine the way it is, I usually run with 2-3 crew short of the maximum to insure I have plenty of zee-beast fodder wink and to make sure I have room for unexpected new recruits so I don't insult Salt.

    I do like the idea of cooks allowing you to use supplies more efficiently.

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    Gregg Johnson
    Gregg Johnson
    Posts: 263

    2/27/2015
    I don't particularly see why maximum crew needs (or should provide) benefits. Fully manned isn't the same as maximally manned--your ship may have the berths for 40 crew, but that doesn't mean all 40 can actually find something useful to do. Fully manned is probably somewhere in the middle, going beyond that *should* lead to inefficient resource use, because those extra crew are just sitting around waiting to replace crew members that fall ill or get tentacled. (Well, really it probably just means shorter shifts for everyone, but shift changes themselves are inefficient.)

    Half-filled quarters is *not* a skeleton crew.
    edited by Olorin on 2/27/2015
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    Jascob
    Jascob
    Posts: 40

    2/27/2015
    I don't feel that it's necessary for this game that maximum crew provide some benefit, but it does make sense. My argument is that space on ships usually has a premium, which is why that crew compartments are usually so cramped; everything on a working ship usually has a purpose. If a working ship has room for 10 crew, then it probably needs 10 crew to operate properly. Sure, a 10 crew ship isn't going to suddenly stop working if one or two crew are lost, but it probably means someone is going to have to do the jobs of those two missing crew in addition to their own assignments.
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    MisterGone
    MisterGone
    Posts: 139

    2/27/2015
    So, two things.

    1 - I agree with Jascob, and I really don't get why people don't get that point. I can only assume few people here haven't sailed much or know how space on a vessel is allotted.

    These ships are designed with a particular allotment of Crew Quarters. That's really the presumed minimum for keeping the ship running at peak efficiency, otherwise why would they design so many quarters?

    Going to half-filled on those quarters and then somehow thinking that's "fully manned" seems like you're trying hard to justify why you don't want exploitative holes in the game mechanics to be removed because it's an exploit you like to use.

    Having the ship run at max speed when undermanned is nice for the leeway it gives, that's really what it is - leeway so you're not too boned too soon if you suffer some losses. I'm guessing if the loss of speed occurred upon reaching 25% of crew instead of 50%, folks on here would argue that 50% crew was "fully manned".

    2 - While I know that this is a fantasical setting, it's also a historical fantastical setting. That means if we compare the crew sizes of the ships in the game with their historical equivalents, we find that . . . these ships are horribly undermanned skeleton crews AT their max crew allotments.

    The HMS Dreadnought, upon which the Dreadnaught is most certainly based, had a crew of 700-810 Men. In SS, it's only 40.

    The Pre-Dreadnought battleships, many of which could be equivalents of the in-game Frigate (though that term was out of use in the actual era, being replaced with "Cruiser", as Frigates were more thought of as Ships of the Line of the Age of Sail) had similar numbers of crewmen.

    Torpedo Gunboats - like the Alarm-Class - would probably be the equivalent of the in-game Corvette - weighed 810 tons and had a complement of 91 men. In SS it's only 15.

    Civilian Vessels are more difficult to get the general complements of, but I found one for a Steam-Yacht, the Yacona, when it was put into service for WW1. It was only 527 Tons and had a crew complement of 67. Pretty tiny, but in SS, the Steam-Yacht has a crew max of 20.

    Actually, that's fairly close compared to the Dreadnought/Dreadnaught comparison.

    My point is just that, sure, there's probably Hellish material and Rattus engineering making these ships more efficient, but on boats of any great size, it still takes dozens - if not hundreds - of men to run the things. Thinking that you'll have 40 men on a Dreadnaught just sitting around doing nothing or getting into each others' way (especially when sailing around in a Dreadnaught the size is comparabe to the village squares or entire mansions or castles on most of the islands you pass) is, well, it's a bit ill-considered

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    If you'd ever like to enjoy a good round of pugilism or discussing the higher mysteries, Reginald Drownheart may be the dapper gentleman for you!

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    Shadow
    Shadow
    Posts: 49

    2/27/2015
    I agree with MisterGone.

    I suppose the matter is less about benefits and disadvantages and more about progressive performance degradation the further you are from a full crew complement. While it's possible for certain ships to have a certain measure of passenger capacity, the likelihood of that drops sharply in the realm of warships. At best, the "extras" aboard a warship which wouldn't contribute to its operation would be part of the vessel's marine complement.

    I figure the following is a bit gamey, but it would be interesting to have a streamlined crew management system, which would let you assign crewmen to various areas of the ship (gunnery, engines, galley, etc.). All sections would be maxed out when fully manned, but as you lost people you'd have to decide how to manage your remaining manpower, and certain functions would degrade as you shift people to keep others running at full capacity. For instance, you wouldn't be able to maintain full speed at half crew unless you make significant compromises in other areas. Likewise, if you found yourself in an unavoidable fight, you might want to make sure your gunnery section is fully staffed, while accepting the negative impact on ship speed (and perhaps poor supply efficiency, from an undermanned galley).

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    Gregg Johnson
    Gregg Johnson
    Posts: 263

    2/27/2015
    *sigh* The forums ate my WoT so I'll just cover the main points:

    Something that appears, at first glance, to be unrealistic, is not an exploit. An exploit breaks the game in some fashion. This is not an exploit.

    The HMS Dreadnought is not the basis for the Dreadnaught. The graphics and the time frame both point to it being the equivalent of a Royal Sovereign-class battleship.

    The HMS Dreadnought's crew complement of 700 was not its maximum crew. It could carry at least up to 810, probably more, but it's very difficult to find anything specific here. Ships regularly leave port with more than their listed complement, so that is clearly not the most it can carry. Therefore, Sunless Sea ships should have room for additional zailors beyond "fully manned".

    How many more? Well, the German SMS Seydlitz' normal complement was about 1070, but in the battle of Jutland it was carrying 1425 crew members. If we were to equate the Seydlitz's fully manned 1000 with the Dreadnaught's fully manned 25*, this extra ~400 men on the Seydlitz would be an extra 10 on the Dreadnaught, i.e. we could pack in about 35 crew for the same ratio. Of course, the Seydlitz and the Battle of Jutland are long after our period of concern, but you still have ships in that era leaving port with 20-50 crew over their standard complement. True, these extra crew would not just be sitting around in their bunks, but they also aren't going to meaningfully enhance the ship's functioning over that standard complement.

    Unfortunately, these ratios that you hinted at, and I spelled out, are meaningless. Sunless Sea simplifies the number of crew required, presumably to make the 'zee feel lonelier and to make each crew member's life (and inevitable death) matter more. "One is a tragedy, a million is a statistic"--and, unfortunately, so is a hundred. Even worse, your last crew member is explicitly one person: you. So, we can't really argue based on ratios how many extra crew should be possible over the standard complement. The same gameplay concerns that reduced those complements must also determine what optimally manned is. 50% is probably not the best choice, but neither is 100%.

    In that regard, I'm fine with:
    * Adding some benefit for 75% filled quarters--speed, aiming, repairs, etc.
    * Better yet, giving Weapons and advanced Equipment an additional crew requirement to operate at peak efficiency.
    * Cooks affecting supply consumption to make larger crew less onerous.

    I am absolutely *not* fine with giving any benefit to 100% filled quarters, unless it be a result of using all of the best, most crew-intensive equipment rather than fiat.


    * Supply consumption is identical in the range between 19 and 25.
    edited by Olorin on 2/27/2015
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    Alexis Kennedy
    Alexis Kennedy
    Posts: 1374

    2/27/2015
    Whenever someone starts quoting naval history, I'm always surprised that they think we weren't capable of spending the fifteen minutes on Wikipedia necessary to find out some of this stuff. :-)


    Back in 2013, we looked at standard ship dimensions from 1800 to 1950, crew numbers, hold capacity, range. We spent a good deal of time in the Royal Maritime Museum, just down the road. We looked at maximum and minimum likely sizes of ship, tried to scale ships and buildings, weapons ranges (distance as a stat flitted in and out of the design of old-style combat). We went halfway mad trying to work out how to make a crate visible without zooming in, but also without having crates, ships and houses all weirdly disproportionate sizes.


    Then we threw most of it out, because it made the numbers confusing and the scale deranged and the game feel like it was trying, and failing, to be a hardcore grognard sim. The ship dimensions are still vaguely ballpark for steamships in terms of Unity's internal 'meters' measurement, but vessels turn on their axis, jellyfish travel faster than steamships, a stoker is indistinguishable from a gunner, whirlpools can destroy iron-hulled ships, silk and coke are stored in the same hold space, bonfires are the size of corvettes. We use 'frigate' and 'corvette' and 'dreadnaught' with promiscuous disregard for period, because everyone understands what those are from other games. Although in a nod to the obvious ahistoricity of pre-naming HMS Dreadnought, we spelt it differently and added an in-game explanation.


    The crew mechanic was designed to have an easy-to-understand trade-off between extra supply cost and safety, and a critical threshold you could watch for. In very early versions, the % crewed fed directly into your weapon cooldown speeds and your ship speed, and the result was that there was frantic pressure to top up your crew the whole time, and no interesting decision about crew numbers to make. FWIW A 75% cutoff (3/4 speed, I think) made it into an internal build just before RUBY, but we didn't like the extra angle on the resource juggling for a gradation we didn't really notice and we took it out.


    It's great - I mean non-sarcastically exciting, fascinating, gratifying, useful! - to watch y'all argue about whether that decision was right in game design terms or not. But I want to make it clear that realism was last on our list, so that people can sleep more easily tonight.
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    Alexis Kennedy
    Alexis Kennedy
    Posts: 1374

    2/27/2015
    Gregg Johnson wrote:
    make the 'zee feel lonelier and to make each crew member's life (and inevitable death) matter more. "One is a tragedy, a million is a statistic"--and, unfortunately, so is a hundred


    This was part of our thinking. Honestly, it bothers me still that Officers aren't modelled as Crew, so although you're sailing your ship alone (which itself is preposterously unrealistic, but narratively delicious) you still get those five portraits up the top. As late as STEEL, we had a task in the list to fold the Officers into Crew and add a risk of them dying in battle, but in the end we couldn't make the faff and frustration worth it.


    Here's a reposted Qt3 Geryk piece on where realism falls down (among other things, not all of which I agree with, but as usual for Geryk it's a good read). http://www.wargamespace.com/2014/05/05/geryk-analysis-odium-vs-shadow-watch/


    Night all! I'm serious about it being rewarding to see people chewing over this stuff - thanks for caring!
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