Ship ID (SEIV)

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Ship ID

need to correctly order this section based on the faq thread discussions.


Douglas recently discovered how the game orders ships and done testing for some of the effects on the game. This section highlights some of the in-game effects.

A ship's ID number is a unique identifier assigned to ships when they are built. It is not visible to the player. The first available ID is the one assigned. When a ship is destroyed, its ID becomes available again. Now for a way to make all this information actually useful: Ships are sorted in the fleet transfer screen by ID number, lowest ID at the top. This sort order is in effect both in the list of ships not in fleets and within each fleet. The order of the fleets is by fleet ID, which is used for nothing else that I can tell, except the order fleets are displayed in the ships screen (F6). The order ships are gone through by the "Next ship" operation, typically accessed by the space bar hotkey, is also by ship ID. Unfortunately, this order is cyclical and your current position in it appears to be stored in the savegame, even through turn execution. Of course, you could try building an escort on turn 1 specifically to keep it around forever as your known lowest-ID ship, but this isn't guaranteed to work perfectly unless you're player 1 - anything players before you build on turn one will have a lower ID, which could possibly be freed later and taken up by another one of your ships. (Douglas) Q: Does each player have a separate ID list or do all players share the same list? This would be important because if a player I haven't "met" yet loses a ship and the game has a single ship ID list, the next ship produced by anyone will take that spot and that spot may be a very early ID number. If each player has his own ID list then you might kinda know if when new ships will get an older ID. It doesn't seem like you can control this very much. A(Douglas): All players share the same ID list. This makes it very hard to predict whether you'll have trouble seeking after an enemy ship or not unless you have some past experience with that particular enemy ship to go by. Controlling anything related to ship ID numbers is practically impossible outside of a test game. All you can do is observe the order of ships in the fleet transfer screen and the next-ship list and try to take advantage of what you see.

All of the following statements have been thoroughly tested. Please do not dispute them without testing them yourself. They also all refer to "ship ID". A ship's ID number is a unique identifier assigned to ships when they are built. It is not visible to the player. The first available ID is the one assigned. When a ship is destroyed, its ID becomes available again.

The order of repairing ships is completely independent from the repair priorities list. Ships are repaired in order by ID number. Repair priorities only affects the order of components repaired within the ship.

Within each day in a turn's movement, ships move in order by ID number. This matters for certain stellar manipulations, seek after orders, and minesweeping. Fleets move all at once when their lowest-ID ship moves.

Stellar manipulation: Whether trying to open a warp point and go through it at exactly the same time works or not depends on whether the warp opener has a lower ID than the moving ship. Also, destroying and recreating a planet in one turn with two different ships requires that the create order be executed either on a later day or on the same day by a ship with a higher ID.

Seek after: Particularly important when all ships involved have the same speed. If a ship with ID 1 is seeking a ship with ID 2, both moving at the same speed, 1 will seek 2's location at the start of the day, and then 2 will get to move away. In this situation, 1 must either get very lucky or the player must deliberately and correctly anticipate 2's movement in order to catch 2. Going the other way, 2 will have a much easier time seeking 1, as 2 will seek after 1's after-movement location.

Minesweeping: Minesweeping, unlike combat, is calculated after each individual ship movement rather than at the end of the day. This means that a minesweeper can only protect a fleet that it's not in if the minesweeper (or the minesweeper's fleet's lowest-ID ship) has a lower ID than any ship in the fleet. This is rarely important, but there have been occasions when I wanted to attack RIGHT NOW and my fleet didn't have a minesweeper, but I did have a minesweeper the fleet could meet up with part way through the turn. I also occasionally have large forces split into multiple fleets travelling together so that I can split the force up without losing the fleet training bonus. (Douglas)

I discovered this recently when I set repair priorities specifically to repair a damaged minesweeper first (putting Unit Launch at the top, with minesweepers being the only "Unit Launch" components I use right now), only to discover the next turn that the two damaged warships present were repaired first. I then ran a test game with the following series of events: build two ships with just engines; retrofit one with a weapon (moved weapons to bottom of repair priorities) and the other with several extra crew quarters, move both to same sector with inadequate repair ability; the weapon was still not repaired; retrofit both back to base design, send one to ship training center for one turn; retrofit trained ship with weapon (again, weapons are at bottom of list) and other ship with extra crew quarters, send both to repair center; trained ship was repaired first, even though its only damaged component was at the very bottom of the priorities list while the other had six components at the very top of the list (vehicle control).

I have continued the experiment, and order of construction appears to be the deciding factor. The ship that was built first gets repaired first.

It's a bit more complicated than that apparently. Hold on, this explanation is going to get technical and includes some suppositions about the inner workings of the game. It appears that on construction each ship is assigned a unique ID, possibly an index into an array of ships, that never changes. This ID starts at 1 or 0 for the first ship, and the lowest available ID is assigned to each new ship on construction. When a ship is destroyed (scrapped in my test game), its ID is freed and available for another ship. Repair order of ships appears to be determined exclusively by this ID number, with the lowest ID ship repaired first. In practice, once ships start being destroyed irregularly (i.e. some stay around, others don't; typically happens first when you're regularly building both warships and colony ships), repair order is very difficult to predict or influence with any great degree of accuracy.

Once again, I reiterate that relative AGE DOES NOT CORRESPOND DIRECTLY TO SHIP ID. Suppose you have ships 1, 2, 3, and 4. 2 gets destroyed. Another ship gets built. The new ship WILL NOT be ship 5. Instead, it will take 2's empty slot. The new ship 2 was built after 3 and 4, but has a lower ID number. (Douglas)

Q: Unless I am horribly mistaken, the repair priority list is definitely followed. Repair order by ship, not by component. A ship with a damaged component of the hihgest priority will be repaired first. The entire ship will be repaired though, not just the component. Isn't this the case? A(Douglas): I wish that were true. If it were, my 200+ ship fleet wouldn't be held up an extra turn because the lone minesweeper can't move yet. In my test game, the ship with a weapon (bottom of the list) had ONLY the weapon needing to be repaired, and the ship with extra crew quarters (top of the list) had ONLY those crew quarters to be repaired. Despite this, whenever the weapon ship was the one that had been built first or replaced the one that had been built first, it was repaired first. Repeating the experiment with the weapon ship being the later-built ship resulted in it being forced to wait for the other to finish repairing all 6 extra CQ.

I have just tested it, and I have confirmed that construction is handled one player at a time in order by player number, regardless of order of colonization of planets belonging to different empires (I didn't test order of construction within an empire). This means that ships belonging to players higher up on the list, particularly player 1, tend to have lower ID's, and therefore have an easier time escaping star destruction death traps but a harder time pursuing enemies in certain circumstances. (Douglas)

I tested retrofitting's effect on ship ID by building three ships and scrapping the first. The two ships remaining had ID number 2 and 3 (assume for this discussion that ID's start at 1). I then retrofitted ship 3 to another design. It was still listed after ship 2 in the fleet transfer screen, so its ID was >2. I then built two more ships. The order in the fleet transfer screen was then first new ship, ship 2, retrofitted ship 3, second new ship. The retrofitted ship's ID was therefore 3 both before and after the retrofit, even though ID 1 was available when the retrofit was done. Note that each action (scrap, retrofit, build, etc.) was done on a separate turn to make absolutely sure that order of events within a turn would have no effect on the trial. [Therefore] retrofitting does not change ship ID. Note that ship ID is NOT strictly by build order, as any destroyed ship's ID becomes available again. (Douglas)

Preceded by:
Manual (SEIV)
Section 5.13
Followed by:
Space Combat