Summary:“In the lawless regions of space, there has long been a silent battle to crack the Pilots Federation's iron hand on outfitting restrictions in ships. Through the increased acceptance of engineered modules, these restrictions have lessened to the point that illegal ship tuning is now possible. Thus rapidly becoming common practice.”
This proposal is about the principle of converting hardpoint slots to optional internal module slots. This allows an increase in the number of optional internals a ship can carry (= versatility/functionality), at the cost of firepower.
Example of conversion rates:
Small Hardpoint = Size 1 Optional Module (Restricted*)
Medium Hardpoint = Size 1 Optional Module
Large Hardpoint = Size 2 Optional Module
Huge Hardpoint = Size 3 Optional Module
* restricted to advanced discovery scanner, detailed surface scanner, hull reinforcement package, module reinforcement package, limpet controllers, shield cell banks
Benefits to the game:
- eliminate the waste of internal space in non-combat oriented ships (explorers, traders, passenger liners, miners)
- allow for further variation among all ship builds, by balancing versatility through choice of firepower vs durability vs usability (instead of simply adding more optional internal slots)
- reduce the need and desire for additional dedicated non-combat/civilian ships and variants (such as explorers & traders) through more efficient module usage of existing ships
(- add significance to anarchy systems by offering conversions and free illegal outfitting services; see implementation below)
(- add optional significance to minor faction reputation; see implementation below)
Possible implementation (simplified):
Outfitting at a starport within an anarchy system would enable the player to select one of their hardpoints and convert it to an appropriate module slot (see list above). This hardpoint slot would then be labeled converted and allow the use of either a module or a hardpoint.
Possible implementation (with additional complexity/impact):
After the conversion, a player can then outfit any appropriate optional internal module in said slot for free at an any anarchy starport offering outfitting. Any non-anarchy starport will do so for an additional fee (= bribe), which must be paid upfront after selecting the outfitting screen. The player will have the option to cancel the use of the outfitting service and return to station services if they cannot afford or refuse to pay the bribe.
Forms of bribes:
1) "One-time use", requiring the player to pay the fee again after having exited the outfitting screen.
2) “Lifetime pass”, costing a substantial one-time fee for indefinite free outfitting services in the future at that starport for any ship (requires at least friendly reputation with controlling faction at the time of acquisition).
An empty converted slot can be converted back to equip only hardpoints at any starport offering outfitting. All starports will do this for free, as you will already have paid a bribe at said starport to access the outfitting service in the first place.
The advantage of this system in general is that no modules are altered and no changes are necessary to any ship builds within the current game to enable such a feature (in contrast to changing discovery scanners to utility modules for example).
The example of "additional complexity" above depicts a detailed and complex system that focuses on a balanced and lore-friendly approach. It is certainly subject to change/simplification and by no means “the only way” or “perfect”.
Interested in everyone’s thoughts on this!
P.S.: For those of you thinking, but that makes a HUGE difference to what is currently possible, especially with large ships! Yes, you are right. A large enough difference that it actually has a significant and logical impact on the functionality of a non-combat build vs a combat one, as well as the risk involved flying a larger ship. On the other hand, small ships also become more interesting (for exploration)...