The best thing about the new vehicle design is that Horus has disposed of the three vehicle objects, (hatch, window and control), that were necessary before, to make the vehicles function. These objects inside the vehicles caused a lot of problems, for instance when a spaceship was destroyed they didn't always disappear with the ship, and so caused the new reset to screw up.
Since the new ships work without these extra objects, it now becomes possible to load them on the fly, so we can now have shops selling an unlimited number of spaceships, rather like the spacebikes. This is of course making spacetravel easier, but will probably also make the spacebikes redundant.
Also, since the ships have different classes, the ones sold in shops will be of the lowest class. The old ships, which are of higher classes with better armour, will be converted to the new design, and will still be kept in hangars on different home planets. It will also be possible to make ships with more than one room, like ships with enhanced cargo capacity. The main idea is to use the ships from the shop mainly as a transport means to find a better one by scouting the planets.
So why would you need a high class ship? Because these will be faster, have better firing power, and also resist impacts from meteorites and missiles better. If you want to become a successful spacefighter, you'll be dependant not only on your own dogfighting skills, but on how good your ship is. A Class 3 battle cruiser will resist more direct hits from missiles or meteorites than a small fighter, and a freighter would have extra room for cargo. On the other hand the fighter would be faster and easier to navigate.
There will be two subskills specially designed for spacepilots, (Navigation and Dogfighting). Both will be acquired from different stages of the Roger Young Quest. The Navigation skill will allow you to choose destinations for spacejumps, while the Dogfighting skill will reduce the delay when missiles are fired and increase your speed when moving.
Advanced Trading, Spacefights and Naval battles, as well as Piracy, could be some fun new pastimes with this new feature, now that the ships are planned to be crashproof but enterable for anyone, which means that they can also be raided. Naturally you'll want defences against people bordering your ship.
For instance, as Horus already indicated, you could buy camouflage and decoy devices if you leave the ship unguarded.
Personally I'd also like the following additions:
- the ability to hire mob guards to protect your cargo
- some kind of lock device to make bording the ship a bit harder.
- a homing device, which would send your ship to the set home location on command,
- a device that would automatically avoid meteorites,
- the ability to repair the ship's hull after direct missile hits. (This should not be instantaneous)
It's mostly in the Prehistoric and Future Dimensions that ships and piracy is planned, since both have large grids to sail/fly in.
I'd like the ships and their attributes to be different in the two Dimenstions for consistency and atmosphere. In Pre the warships would be Penteconters, Biremes and Triremes, and the missile launchers would be contraptions to throw large stones and burning material instead (catapults, arbalests, balisters and whatever they were called). Grapple in Pre would not be done by laser beams, but by hooks and chains, shot out from catapults.
Hyperjump would not be possible in Pre, but the command 'sail <island_name> would send the ship automatically on route to that destination.
The Dogfighting skill might need a different name in Pre, or at least the room messages should be generic for both Dimensions
This all will make the coding a bit more complicated, (different object types, room messages etc. are needed), but hopefully Horus can manage that.
Other planned additions will be pushcarts (containers on wheels) and floating discs. The pushcarts already exist, but have never been taken into common use, since they are not yet available in many places. The discs are for spellcaster, and will follow the owner around and carry stuff for them.
Not everyone might probably like everything with the planned changes however - there will be some drawbacks:
* With improved ships and pushcarts available, we'll probably raise the weight considerably on certain tradegoods, like tree logs, stone blocks and metal ore, so that you'd need a vehicle - or at least a pushcart or strong mount - to carry more than one of those. (I've always found it silly, that a player could walk around with dozens of supposedly heavy logs in inventory). In return we'd also raise the price of these trading assets, to make lumberjacking, mining and quarrying more worthwhile.
* Another thing that probably won't be so popular is that you'll need fuel to power the spaceships. We'll use the already existing gemclusters for this, and the amount of fuel needed - as well as the max speed of the ship - will depend on things like weight, size and armour class. As Horus already indicated, certain features, like hyperjump, using heat censors and cloaking would affect the speed of the ship and the amount of fuel needed.
* Thirdly, since the ships will be crashproof, we'll need to set a limit for how much cargo you can carry, or the memory might be too cluttered. The capacity would be different depending on the class of the ships, large carrying capacity would mean reduced speed and more fuel needed.
If you have more ideas how to improve the vehicles, please share them on this thread.