Tactical space combat is a key part of Lord of Rigel. For Lord of Rigel we wanted to have an in-depth system that was still easy for players to access. Master of Orion 2 provided a solid template for how space combat should work. Though the system was created in the mid 1990's it has all of the essentials needed for ship to ship tactical combat and a means to upgrade those systems as players research better technology. This article will focus on the armor and structure systems in tactical combat and provide players with a better understanding of how these systems work.
We felt that this system was superior to having an oversimplified hit point pool that simply provided health to all units. Additionally, with a unified health pool the players or the AI would not have the ability to focus their fire on the weakest, least shielded and armored part of the enemy ship to destroy it or disable internal systems. The amount of damage ships can take is categorized into shields, armor, structure, and systems. Ship armor and structure take a certain amount of damage before they fail.
Damage is dependent on the size of a ship (frigate, destroyer, cruiser) and the type of armor technology installed (titanium, duranium). If a ship's structure fails, a ship is destroyed. Ship armor consists of four facings that take damage. Rear armor on ships is also weaker, allowing for flanking maneuvers. Ship structure doesn't have facings, so any damage that gets through armor damages structure. Some weapon types can penetrate or even ignore armor, and other types of weapons are weak against armor but excellent against structure. This means that players should mix and match different weapon types (mass drivers, graviton cannons) to maximize the damage they can do to a ship.
Armor and structure can be modified by some special devices (reinforced hull, heavy armor) which not only increases the strength of a ship's armor or structure but can also make them more resistant to weapons that penetrate armor. Generally, a ship's armor and structure is repaired from combat damage once a ship returns to a friendly colony or outpost. Some technologies and heroes though can repair a ship immediately after combat, or even restore ship systems during combat. The organic armor used by Elder species can also regenerate during combat. Join us next week as we discuss another system in Lord of Rigel!