Well, I got a pretty good start to the new shields feature today. I added the new properties to the ship object, updated the networking code, updated the GUI and got a good start on the ship update method. It is not working correctly yet but it is getting there pretty quickly.
So, my intention for how shields are supposed to work goes something like this: You start with your shield turned off. If you turn it on it will immediately begin to charge. By default, it requires 1 energy to provide 1 point of protection. And it pulls that 1 energy at the same rate of speed that you ship’s power plant can provide energy to the capacitor.
What that means is that as soon as your shield begins to charge you will no longer be filling up your capacitor for use by other components like your thrusters and weapons. So you really need to be careful about when to turn shields on.
Also, any time the shield absorbs damage it will automatically begin to recharge to recover that lost protection. This means that during battle, if you are taking heavy damage to your shields you will also be pulling power away from navigation and weapons.
When the shields are fully charged, they then require half the amount of energy to maintain the charge. This means that once your shields are fully charged you capacitor will be recharging at half the the normal rate. So you have to weigh the protection your shields grant you versus the lost energy you will have to spend on navigation and weapons.
When the shields are turned off they will no longer consume any energy and will begin to lose protection value at the same rate they charge at. Also, if at anytime the energy you require to charge or sustain your shields is not available you will begin the lose protection until you shields reach 0 protection.
So, for example, if you shields are fully charged the capacitor will recover energy at half the rate it normally would be because it will be sustaining the shields.
The next major thing I will need to add to the game is the concept of health. Right now any collision of any kind results in the complete destruction of both objects. But, the idea of shields means an object has to be able to substance damage. Otherwise the shields would be pretty pointless.
Along with the idea of health is that both the ship’s hull itself and the shields will have health. Major differences will be that hull damage cannot be repaired during a battle but shields can recharge. At some point it may be possible to add more armor, which would slow the ship down but not require energy to keep it running like the shields do.