Would it be possible for you to put in a table of contents so that one could easily skip by sections they've already read (without having to just remember that I've already read up to page 26)?
The lack of table of contents is by design. The report doesn't lend well to excerpting. Each page relies on comments from earlier pages, so it would probably be more confusing than helpful to skip pages. Thus, it is not intended for use as a reference material.
If you have read through a portion and had to stop, then later want to return to where you left off, I've made it easy to get there, IF you have noted the page number. All the pages are numbered. If you open the first page, and then go to your URL command line in your browser and overwrite "tut-1.html" with the applicable page number, you can jump to where you left off.
Will you have more to say about ship building and space combat anytime soon
No, I won't. Although I included many strategy bits in the tutorial, its primary purpose is to familiarize new players with the gameplay elements and the interface.
Ship design strategy cannot be separated from research strategy, which is dependent on economic strategy and subject to the whims of fate with terrain, variable tech trees, opponents, and opponent personalities. The economic strategy depends on the security situation. The security situation changes with the expansion strategy and the map size, as well as the opponents.
There are some general categories of ship designs that will work.
2) Missile Boats
One type is the fighter: a small ship with the best gun you can fit onto it and whatever other goodies you have space left over for. Medium gunships can serve the same function if you want to go with a little less gunpower and a little more goodies.
Another type is the missile boat. Like a fighter, but has one rack of your best available missile type, which won't fit on a small ship, so you use a medium hull.
Dreadnoughts are huge ships packing armor and all your best goodies, which can fight skirmishes and smaller battles without taking losses. Requires an auto-repair device. If you don't have that, you might want to consider a different design.
Specials are ships designed specifically to employ special devices. These are usually built in response to what your enemy is building, to employ an effective countermeasure. Repulsors counter short range gunships, which max firepower. Warp Dissipator counters bombers and any slow stack. Pulsars counter massive stacks of small ships. Missile shields and ECM can counter huge stacks of advanced missile boats. There's a counter available for almost everything.
Bombers are built to reach planets and take out missile bases (or populations) quickly.
There are probably a few other basic designs, but these are the ones I tend to use most.
It's possible to make multi-function ships in the large and huge categories. Not so with the smaller ships. Smaller ships are cheaper and can be spammed, but you can't employ all your tech and your force suffers attrition in every combat. Larger ships can add all your options, but then do less damage. They aim to reduce casualties and better preserve the strength of your forces, or to give you more versatile designs.
Weapons are like everything else in this game. There are a few categories, with several versions of each with increasingly better statistics as you climb the tech ladder. There are missiles (limited ammo), torpedoes (endless ammo, but only fires every other turn), and guns. Guns come in several types. Some guns cut through shields. Some can spread damage beyond a single target. Some have a version with longer range. Some have multiple fire. You'll simply have to see them in action to get to know them. Figuring out what works well is one thing. Figuring out what works best IN THE CURRENT GAME, WITH YOUR CURRENTLY AVAILABLE OPTIONS is something else.
There are lots of ways to combine the options. Every ship is a conglomeration of elements. Every ship has armor, shield rating, engine rating, maneuverability, ECM, and Attack Rating. Each element you improve takes up additional space for the upgrades, leaving less space for other options. There are no perfect designs, there are only choices to be made. The goodies are upgradable to stronger values in each area according to what tech you know. Available weapons and specials are also decided by what tech you know. You will almost never have all the options available. Some potential options are taken off the table by luck, in the layout of your tech table for a particular game. You narrow that further with your strategy, which must be adaptable if you are to succeed in most situations. Your research choices determine which of the available options you'll bring online and when. Tech trades or espionage may help to plug gaps. There are many viable combinations, and you choose the ones that you want to pursue.
This is not a game you should expect to master quickly. Fortunately, you won't have to master it to enjoy it. In fact, its depth is what makes it worth your time. If you enjoy the gameplay, you can look forward to many interesting adventures. Replayability is very high.
That's about the limit of what I can tell you about ships and combat. I will be able to show you the choices I make in my reports, and explain why I made those choices, but there's never a pat answer that fits all situations. The more options you are comfortable using, the more answers you can draw on when the AI poses you a tough question.
On Sunday, I managed to win on Average difficuty (small world, 2 opponents, playing as the Klaxons
Small maps are DIFFICULT if crowded. Smaller does not mean easier in MOO. Playing with two opponents takes some of the edge off that. However, with only two opponents, the diplomatics tend not to be very intricate. I would suggest that players begin with medium maps, then try large, and save small or huge for later, when ready to get more involved. Small maps with four or five opponents require precision. Not much room for error. Huge maps involve more intense competition during expansion and require the ability to fend off massive SoDs. Runaway AI's are the most likely on huge maps. Medium and Large maps can be tough, too, but the skill set required is more mainstream: elements that hold up at all levels of the game. If you build your strategy there, you can adapt to any map size. If you learn how to play the game while using small or huge, you may find yourself having to backtrack and unlearn habits that don't apply to all galaxy sizes.
(hence my interest in more warfare...).
Think of my tutorial as a form of driver training. I aimed to make sure you could operate your vehicle safely, troubleshoot minor problems, and to enable you to go wherever you like. Now the open road lies before you. Hop in and see where the road leads.
We'll get some tourney games going here soonish, or at least some sponsored games, and maybe some SG's. I need help compiling how-to instructions and FAQs for getting the game to run on different platforms. Once we have a smooth procedure for bringing in new players, we can open this up and give it a whirl.