Partly in reaction to this request, I'd like to experiment with increasing device slot counts, mostly on mid- and late-game ships. I'm deliberately proceeding slowly (not increasing too much) to make sure we don't alter the balance too much.

The following table shows proposed slots for all playable ship classes. Numbers in brackets are changes from previous version.

               ALL-   WEAPON  NON-WPN  CARGO         MAX
------------- ------- ------- ------- ------- ----- ----- --------- 
EI500           2       -       7       1      200   .18   13,300   
Constellation   3       -       6[+1]   1      150   .18   13,400   
Manticore       9[+1]   -       -       -       50   .20   15,400  
Freyr           4       4       -       -       50   .22   16,600   
Wolfen          4       4       -       -       35   .25   17,400   
Sapphire        8       -       -       -       50   .20   19,400   

Centurion       5[+1]   4       -       -       50   .20   16,300  
EI200           2       -       7[+2]   1      500   .16   17,800  
Helgoland       2       -       6[+1]   1      300   .20   19,600  
Centurion/X     6[+2]   3[-1]   -       -       50   .22   25,300  
Minotaur        6[-2]   3[+3]   -       -      100   .20   43,400  

Raijin          5[+1]   3[-1]   -       -       50   .22   15,700
Hercules        7       -       -       1      200   .20   16,600
Spartan         5[+1]   3[-1]   -       -       50   .20   17,100

Kaiten          4       4       -       -       50   .24   16,800
Demir           5[-3]   4[+4]   -       -       50   .22   20,200
Avenger         5[+1]   4[-1]   -       -       50   .20   21,400
Evren           5[-4]   4[+4]   -       -      100   .20   27,700

Comments welcome!

kourtious 12 Sep 2020:

I see a cargo only column. Why can't certain ships have multiple cargo expansions? That would differentiate ships. I can see some ships using a combination of auton, trade, illegal, and mining expansions. Multiple cargo expansion slots would be a new way to choose some ships over others.

Edit: Black Market ships could totally use this as it makes the most sense for them to act like a cargo ship but in reality, be trading illegal goods. To further this idea, a cargo expansion idea would be a non-weapon device expansion (as I don't think the cargo bay is tactical feasible to shoot weapons from). If multiple cargo-expansions were to be implemented, I would say it should not counted as a device slot as another way to increase device slots per to the interests of balance.

derakon 12 Sep 2020:

Personally I've always felt like 4 weapon-only slots is hard to make effective use of. You have your primary weapon, launcher, maybe a secondary weapon...but a tertiary weapon? Literally the only time I've used three non-launcher weapons in the game was one of my very first runs, where I got lucky enough to find two Ares Lightning Turrets, the ones with really high fire rate and a heat bar.

digarw 12 Sep 2020:

I don't encounter much problem with slots limitation because I usually equips less devices as possible. But yes, playership should at least 8 slots for current game as essential (but not required) devices take much slot.

kourtious 12 Sep 2020:

For weapon slots, there needs to be more ways of making use of them. I was thinking Point Defense devices like Longreach Autocannons should be considered as weapons. After all, they are external emplacements that fires like a weapon.

A more detailed way of making weapon slots more useful is the ability to link weapons. The amount of linking depends on the ship properties. A Minotaur can link up to additional two weapons, and a Wolfen can link up to an additional weapon; but a EI500 cannot link any weapons. To prevent crazy overpowered combinations, certain weapons would take up link spots. For example, most dual weapons would count as one link by itself, so to link it with another weapon, you would need two links.

megas 12 Sep 2020:

Looks like an improvement overall for gunships. The only ship that appears hurt by the change is the Evern, which was overpowered. Even with fewer non-weapon slots, Evern might still remain a solid choice. Freyr appears to be a loser, but I probably would change ships later anyway.

Unless I want to mine, I find myself using no more than three weapons. If I mine, I probably want four or five. Mining rock-paper-scissors asteroids requires two mining weapons. After I get the weapons I need, non-weapon slots are more useful. Any ship can pass as a gunship if it is agile enough and can use at least three weapons. Lately, I have used Constellation as a gunship with more slots than Freyr and without Manticore's annoying quirks, and after upgrading it enough, it played much like a slightly slower Evern with less cargo space.

About non-weapons as weapons:
The problem with making AutoDefensive devices or any non-weapon take a weapon slot is it becomes a weapon that can be selected and fired (which will probably do nothing), and I do not know if it will mess up AI by trying to use them too instead of selecting other weapons. Years ago, I had automated weapons (ICX-like item that targeted ships) take a weapon slot, but removed them once they became weapons to be selected and get in the way of selecting other weapons.

About cargo hold:
I think one is fine. Trader's hold special power has a ROM, get that and the options left are miner's, smuggler's, and maybe auton bay (last one requires Corporate Command). Other items could be made to grant those powers without eating a cargo hold slot (although that would probably be messy redundancy for auton bay), if having all of the powers was really important. For that matter, it is possible to have a cargo hold item in the "miscDevice" category and install multiple such items to stack capacity up to the hull's limit.

the_shrike 27 Sep 2020:

My solution for excess weapon slots as a designer is to give the option of slotted side-mounts (which trade away the flaw of being external), and 2-slot weapons. The latter in particular becomes attractive for slot-heavy gunships when balanced appropriately for commercial weaponry.

kwm1800 2 Nov 2020:

Well, once again I forgot about this game and came back, and I see this. Thank you george for considering my suggestion.

But I am not sure this can be buff, more likely mere adjustments and unfortunately nothing will much change with current change log. But I have to say at least majority of changes are in right direction.

One thing is that the game simply does not allow players to effectively use more than 2 weapons at a time. The devices and resources in this game, for the most of the part, do not regenerate so the overall resources are limited.

Even with near star expansion, the game is simply not long enough for the player to consider multiple weapons unless for mining purposes (Then again, the ships that are ideal for mining cannot have more than 2 weapons. Here is the prime example of game design conflict if you ask me). There are just barely enough boosters and enhance devices for two weapons but certainly not even 3 without making major sacrifices like abandoning a shield. Even at best, 3 is probably max but even that is stretching the effectiveness of the ship.

I don't think I ever equip more than 3 weapons, like ever. Missile launcher, one fast weapon, one WMD and.... that's it. And that was rare case. I usually end up finishing the game with just one launcher and one weapon, or two weapons.

Changes done on Minotaur, Demir and Evren are actually rather large nerf because they essentially lost 1 and 2 device slots respectively. And Minotaur is supposed to be an upgraded ship, yet now it has effectively less slots than most of starting ships.

I think adding one slot is not enough. All normal ships should have at least +2 general slots or even +3 as I suggested on my original thread.

And two-slot weapons is a terrible idea because it is basically making limited slot situation worse.

Finally, "cargo only" should be gone and make those freighters real freighters, not 50+150 ships, please George. It is nothing more than a such massive nerf to freighters, and freighters are really weak in current game balance. Or there have to be some massive bonus for installing cargo upgrades, exclusively for freighters.

megas 3 Nov 2020:

@ kwm1800: I disagree that Minotaur is nerfed. If anything, the extra slot is a minor buff. Being the only ship with a linked-fire slot, it needs to use at least three slot for weapons to exploit its full firepower. Currently, with only eight slots, it effectively has only five slots left if it uses three for weapons, and those five slots are taken by reactor, shield, cargo, engines, and jumpdrive. No variation whatsoever. With nine slots, I can use another non-weapon or weapon. Of course, I cannot use seven slots for non-weapons, but that will not happen if I want to use three or four weapons, which I will on Minotaur thanks to linked-fire slot.

As for Evern, it is a nerf, but seeing that it can equal or exceed Minotaur, it is necessary to bring it closer to everyone else. Of course, it seems you probably want all ships to be raised to at least current Evern's level.

kourtious 4 Nov 2020:

I agree with @kwm1800 that two slot weapons should not exist. It's a much better idea to have position based weapons and you put weapons in those slots.

Personally, the balance is not of big concern to me, but rather the conceptual implementation of customization is not per se up to the same level of other games.

kwm1800 24 Nov 2020:

@megas: Evern better than Minotaur? What? No way. Only meaningful advantage is one extra slot and that's pretty much it. Evern is just above average with one extra slot and maybe that +50 base tonnage.

megas 24 Nov 2020:

@ kwm1800: With Evern and current ship balance, the extra slot means it can equip a weapon enhancer to boost its firepower (or another useful item), while Minotaur does not have an extra slot to do so without giving up something else important. Also, Evern is a bit smaller and more agile than Minotaur. Both Evern and Minotaur are very close in power, at least until this ticket gets implemented.