Yes I have @SilentNSly. Infact this is something I was going to roll out when I implement team games and the new Economy and Sciences techs we were discussing last month. For all the reasons you suggest this is a good idea.
I’m not sure what the price should be. But I probably should make it configurable.
One possible problem with the idea is that it doesn’t really make waging war or defending more expensive, you can do this with just a handful of carriers, but the end game logistics of just gathering ships from stars requires almost a carrier for every star.
The problem being, there would be financial rewards for not collecting up your ships, or collecting them slowly, which might just act like a dampener on the pace at the end of the game.
Ugh. I hate this. Building Carriers in game, especially in early game is a balancing act. You can’t improve infrastructure, but you can grab worlds. I often load up on carriers for a land grab, and in later game they help me loop effectively.
If you were ramping up costs, consider an efficiency bonus. Once you have 10 worlds they cost 30, 20 worlds 50 etc…
Currently NP2 treats all other infrastructure is based on prior built infrastructure from that same star, then carriers should reflect that as well.
I like the starting price of 25 credits for the 1st carrier at the capital, but perhaps apply the variable price from carrier #2 and beyond. Maybe $25 should be a standard starting price for the 1st carrier of each player from any given star. This postpones the price question on to carrier #2 from that same star. I think a capital star (50 resource) , terraform 1 cost of about $40 for the carrier #2 , and $55 for carrier #3… would do well to encourage early outward exploration. (you can then layer on cheap , regular and expensive carrier cost modifiers). Not sure how you would code it though.
This allows Terraform tech to gradually make carrier builds more economical with the progression of the game.as a balancer.
Carrier costs staying high as carriers are lost in combat, could further collapse a weak empire combating a strong, so maybe allow the infrastructure count costs to roll back with a loss to balance.
I can see this convolute to where neighboring players would abandon border stars to each other just to get better priced carriers, but that takes a very high threshold of trust. A same IP player with 2 or more empires in the same game would gain a significant carrier infrastructure advantage with such a tactic.
If I remember correctly, each carrier received an experience point for every enemy ship destroyed. You “leveled” up when you collect 100 times your current level in exp. (ie level 5 needs 400 exp, perhaps 500 exp something like that.) You got an bonus weapons skill for every level in combat.
A lot of people liked it, and I might bring it back one day, but there were a few problems.
Combat was a little more difficult to predict because there were huge scary carriers flying round that would just destroy anything you put in front of it.
Bonus weapons tech sounds like too big a combat multiplier to me.
I recall Samurai Swords gave a movement bonus to Damyios after 5 and 10 battle victories.
if not movement ,
then some nominal combat advantage per experience gain, such as ::
100 Kills = Weapons Tech + 0 combat ship ship bonus during battle .
200 Kills = Weapons Tech + 1 combat ship ship bonus during battle .
300 Kills = Weapons Tech + 3 combat ship ship bonus during battle .
400 Kills = Weapons Tech + 4 combat ship ship bonus during battle .
… Maybe cap the carriers after reaching a 50 or 100 combat ship bonus
I could see how carriers getting stronger with XP/kills would make things unbalanced late game. Look at it from an analogous point of view - if you had rolling games where once players dropped out new players could join, you’d run into issues where new players would struggle to ever upgrade to the level where they could compete with players who have been in the game for several weeks or months. The same applies to the carriers. If the upgrade they get over time is meaingfully big, then once some carriers have survived several battles they’ll start to dominate, and players will struggle to overcome them because any carriers they create will be several levels behind and will struggle to win engagements. If the upgrade from XP/kills isn’t meaningful then there’s little point in it being there in the first place.
I feel all you’re doing by making carriers get stronger depending on the number of battles won would be to indtroduce a mechanic that makes stronger players even stronger, and therefore makes it harder for people to create strategies that allow them to comeback from games where they’re behind. Each battle you lose is not just a loss in terms of loss of ships/planets, but is also a loss that makes your opponent harder to beat in the next battle.
I think these are problems that would definitely arise if you didn’t balance the introduction of rising carrier costs, but I don’t think it necessarily has to be the case.
The way I see strategy games is that they tend to get more interesting and therefore more fun when there are multiple viable strategies that can be taken (up to a point at least, before things get overcomplicated). Different strategies become viable because there is usually some trade-off involved, and that trade-off balances things out and stops things becoming stale as one dominant strategy emerges. The typical one being early investment in economy at the expense of military vulnerability, versus military strength at the expense of building economy.
I feel with carriers as they are, there’s no strategy late-game for whether you build carriers or not because they become so cheap. You buy as many as you possibly need and there’s very little you sacrifice by doing that - buying loads becomes pretty much the only viable strategy because anything else puts you at a disadvantage. On the other hand if carriers become expensive and there’s a financial penalty associated with buying loads of them, it makes things far more tactical. If the balance is right, it creates conflicting strategies between buying EIS and buying warp gates, and between buying carriers to allow you to reinforce and have a mobile army. You allow people to sacrifice buying carriers and therefore mobility of their forces to concentrate on economy, or vice-versa. It maybe generates scenarios where a larger but less mobile army could be beaten by a player with a smaller army, but one which is more mobile and can reinforce more quickly because he invested in carriers rather than in industry, for example.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be that carriers become more expensive to buy. It could be that there’s some kind of cap elsewhere on how many you can have (maybe a tech upgrade), or that carriers have some kind of running upkeep cost per turn so holding loads becomes expensive to maintain. Just some mechanic that means if a player wants 100 carriers instead of 50, they’re actually sacrificing something significant to do so. Obviously it’s important not to tip the scales too far the other way, so that carriers become prohibitively expensive or it will, as you said, slow everything down to a crawl as armies become incredibly immobile and slow to reinforce.
I will, however, throw a disclaimer onto this comment that I’m actually a complete noob at Neptune’s Pride, as much as I’m pretty experienced with turn-based and real-time strategy games in general. I will openly admit this comment comes more from how I’d imagine late game strategy to pan out rather than proper in-game experience so far, but for what it’s worth it’s my two cents anyway.
You make excellent points. I think late game carriers are like candy, as they taste good and don’t cost too much, so you create them without thinking. Creation cost should probably scale somehow based on the size of the existing fleet, as suggested by @SilentNSly
Wrt experience, I played one game with that feature. I accumulated a handful of carriers with material experience, one with +40 weps because one player kept tossing ships at a choke point. They were mostly created on defense, but these mega carriers didn’t prevent me from losing. So I hear what you are saying, but I don’t think it is as deterministic as you suggest.
I think bonus weapon skill per carrier would be too big an advantage.
Maybe you could try to bring it back with either a minimal advantage or as statistics for bragging rights.
Here’s some ideas for a minimal advantage:
For each battle, the player with the carrier that has the highest level does damage first; in case of a tie, the defender does damage first; worlds without carriers would be considered the same level as a newly build carrier.
For each battle, the player with the carrier that has the highest level get +1 Weapon skill
However, I would like to stress that making carriers cost progressively more expensive also has another reason in that it currently is the only thing that has a fixed cost while everything else increase in price (or research points) the more you have. This feels really weird if you think about it.