Core slots balancing

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This article describes the balancing approach to the core outfits, and explains some of the decisions made during it. This information applies to the original core outfit set, created by BTAxis and merged into master on 2012-08-19.

The core outfit definitions may be found here:
Engines: dat/outfits/core_engine
Hull mods: dat/outfits/core_hull
Systems: dat/outfits/core_system

Parameter value ranges

To determine the value range for each parameter (speed, acceleration, CPU, energy...), I first dumped the existing ship data to a spreadsheet using Naev's --devcsv command line switch. I separated the data out into small, medium and large ship sizes, and for each size calculated the minimum, maximum and average values for each relevant parameter. This gave me a rough idea for the value range for each parameter for each outfit size.

This data in hand, I proceeded to remove all these values from the ship definitions, rendering them effectively 0 for all ships. However, the following exceptions apply:

  • Half the ship's original mass remains with the ship. The other half is mainly found in the hull mod.
  • Half the ship's original cargo space remains with the ship. The other half is provided (or not) by the hull mod.
  • Half the ship's original armour and damage absorption remain with the ship. The other half is provided (or not) by the hull mod.
  • All of the ship's original crew remains with the ship.

Price range

The philosophy for each core size, in all core classes, is as follows:

  • The worst of all the outfits in that size in that class shall be free. This ensures the player can always build a space-worthy ship, even if it'll suck.
  • The second-worst of all the outfits in that size in that class shall have an arbitrarily chosen price that represents some reasonable fraction of the price of a typical ship of that size.
  • The best of all the outfits in that size in that class shall have a price 15 times higher than the price of the second-worst, or thereabouts. For small outfits this is actually 50 times.
  • The price of outfits in between the second-worst and the best outfits in that size in that class shall progress roughly along an exponential curve, so that the higher end outfits are disproportionally expensive compared to their increase in performance.

Core specializations

All core outfits come in two basic flavors: all-round and specialized.

  • An all-round outfit will have balanced parameters, and all all-round outfits in that size in that class scale linearly in all things. All-round outfits comprise the bulk of all cores.
  • Specialized outfits will favor one or more parameters at the expense of all others. Usually, various specializations will be available in the same price range.

For example, an all-round core outfit with parameters A, B and C might look like 10, 10, 10, whereas a specialized outfit in that price range might look like 8, 12, 8.

An overview of all cores by type

Engines

  • Beat-up Engines: The worst engines ever. Free and sucky.
  • Manufacturer Engines: The engines that most ships will come equipped with when bought. Main purpose is to be replaced by something better.
  • Unicorp KRD range: Low-end all-round engines.
  • Unicorp EXA range: Low-end maneuverability specialist engines.
  • Unicorp AUR range: Low-end fuel and top speed specialist engines.
  • Unicorp JNS range: Low-end mass limit specialist engines.
  • Tricon Naga range: High-end all-round small engines.
  • Tricon Centaur range: High-end all-round medium engines.
  • Tricon Harpy range: High-end all-round large engines.
  • Tricon Albatross, Antelope, Kraken: High-end top speed specialist engines.
  • Tricon Crane, Kolibri, Raven: High-end maneuverability specialist engines.
  • Tricon Oxen, Buffalo, Mammoth: High-end mass limit specialist engines.
  • Tricon Model X: Large all-round engine that outperforms everything else. Not for sale, presumably meant as a mission reward? I'll have to ask whoever added it. Oh wait, that's me. Hm.

Hull mods

  • Patchwork Plating: The worst hull mods ever. Free and sucky.
  • Unmodified Hulls: The hull mods that most ships will come equipped with when bought. Main purpose is to be replaced by something better.
  • Unicorp Light, Medium, Heavy Plating: Low-end armour-centric hull mods.
  • Unicorp Cargo Hulls: Low-end cargo-centric hull mods.
  • Schafer & Kane Combat Plating series: High-end armour-centric hull mods.
  • Schafer & Kane Cargo Hulls: High-end cargo-centric hull mods.
  • Schafer & Kane Solar Plating: Specialized hull mod that improves energy regeneration.
  • Schafer & Kane Stealth Plating: Specialized hull mod that increases Hide factor.

Systems

  • Previous Generation Systems: The worst systems ever. Free and sucky.
  • Basic Systems: The systems that most ships will come equipped with when bought. Main purpose is to be replaced by something better.
  • Unicorp PT range: Low-end all-round systems.
  • Unicorp RX range: Low-end CPU-centric specialist systems.
  • Unicorp JX range: Low-end shield-centric specialist systems.
  • Unicorp EX range: Low-end energy-centric specialist systems.
  • Milspec Orion range: High-end all-round systems.
  • Milspec Gemini range: High-end CPU-centric specialist systems.
  • Milspec Taurus range: High-end shield-centric specialist systems.
  • Milspec Vespa range: High-end energy-centric specialist systems.