Split: Difficulty for new players

General discussion for players of Oolite.

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Re: Split: Difficulty for new players

Post by Smivs » Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:02 pm

I agree. While the idea is interesting I can see too many situations where this would just be a PITA. I also have some misgivings about effectively limiting the areas a player can inhabit - we should be free to go where we want when we want without the hassle of having to get permits or being fined if we leave the designated spacelane.
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Re: Split: Difficulty for new players

Post by Disembodied » Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:11 pm

Smivs wrote:I agree. While the idea is interesting I can see too many situations where this would just be a PITA. I also have some misgivings about effectively limiting the areas a player can inhabit - we should be free to go where we want when we want without the hassle of having to get permits or being fined if we leave the designated spacelane.
I tend to agree too - but there might be some use for something like this in certain more bureaucratic systems (Corporate States, Communist, Dictatorship). If it's possible for the game to detect if the player travels outside the lane for any significant length of time, there could be a chance in these sorts of systems that, on docking, the player is pulled in for a ship/cargo inspection. There's no financial cost, at least if the player is Clean, but all the official faff could take up a few hours of valuable time. Could be a small way to make some systems feel different from other systems, maybe.

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Re: Split: Difficulty for new players

Post by Zireael » Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:12 pm

A random idea on how to limit players torusing out of WP lane.

Spawn some asteroid fields similar to the 1.79 tutorial one beyond the lane randomly as the player is out of lane (similar to what Deep Space Pirates OXP does).
If you're worried about performance, I guess they wouldn't count against the entity limit until they were spawned and they could be removed some time later when the player leaves the field...

@ Disembodied : Agree completely.

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Re: Split: Difficulty for new players

Post by Commander McLane » Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:21 pm

Zireael wrote:A random idea on how to limit players torusing out of WP lane.

Spawn some asteroid fields similar to the 1.79 tutorial one beyond the lane randomly as the player is out of lane
You mean, in front of the player, as some kind of fence, guiding the player back into the corridor? Interesting idea, but I can see one problem: the player would see an asteroid field pop into existence right before him where there was none just a second ago. Deep Space Pirates can get away with spawning ships, because it is doing so outside the player's view. Asteroids, however, are on average bigger than ships, thus they are visible from a greater distance, and the popping in is much more noticeable. Also, in order to create an effective fence, you have to spawn them right in front of the player, whereas Deep Space Pirates can be spawned a little sideways and approach the player from there.

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Re: Split: Difficulty for new players

Post by another_commander » Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:59 pm

The proposal I made is certainly not a perfect one and I do not think there is a perfect proposal to be honest. After all we are discussing changing game mechanics here and there is always going to be a problem with something whatever we decide to do. The point is to find the least obtrusive method of doing that, the one with the less hassle or leave everything as is, which is the only way to not have to change the way we play Oolite.

Regarding sun-skimming, asteroid mining etc. The effect of my proposal for new players would be that they would have to return to the witchpoint in order to start their approach after sun-skimming or mining. The permits are not the only way to re-enter the lane. The actual effect of sun-skimming and mining translates to more time in space flight for the new players and/or some cash less for the more seasoned ones who can afford permits. It is true that it may be tricky finding the witchpoint without an ASC and it may be necessary to add the witchpoint beacon to the default targets of the standard compass in order to accommodate this, which may indeed imply a code change. Also, I'd like to point out in response to Smivs that the proposal does not limit anything and anyone, it just makes one think twice how they are going to approach certain situations. Will you take the risk of becoming Offender or the risk of moving inside the lane? The choice is always up to the player. And of course, you can still leave the lanes and go sight-seeing, the only catch being that when you return you must be at a specified area in order to make your approach (or have loads of money and enter from wherever you feel like). You see, there has to be a change somewhere if we are to justify the lanes properly.

Regarding leaving the lane during battle: True, it can happen a lot, that's why the proposal contains a (intentionally vague) clause about tolerances when leaving the lane and returning to it. The tolerance can be interpreted in multiple ways and one is that no penalties be applied when in battle in close proximity of the lane.

Finally, as Diziet Sma very rightly said, this is just the outline of the proposal with a short backstory to set the mood. The details (price and duration of permit, how far is "far from the lane", actual penalties for moving out of lane, its actual shape and size, etc) are all subject to discussion, experimentation and fine tuning, provided that the base concept gets some acceptance first.

I am just offering a possibility for justification of the lanes here and to be perfectly honest I'd rather not touch any of the gameplay at this point. However, I believe that if at the end it is decided that we do change the way the game plays, the solution that will be preferred will be the one that combines highest plausibility with lowest implementation hassle.

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Re: Split: Difficulty for new players

Post by Zireael » Sat Dec 21, 2013 2:35 pm

Commander McLane wrote:
Zireael wrote:A random idea on how to limit players torusing out of WP lane.

Spawn some asteroid fields similar to the 1.79 tutorial one beyond the lane randomly as the player is out of lane
You mean, in front of the player, as some kind of fence, guiding the player back into the corridor? Interesting idea, but I can see one problem: the player would see an asteroid field pop into existence right before him where there was none just a second ago. Deep Space Pirates can get away with spawning ships, because it is doing so outside the player's view. Asteroids, however, are on average bigger than ships, thus they are visible from a greater distance, and the popping in is much more noticeable. Also, in order to create an effective fence, you have to spawn them right in front of the player, whereas Deep Space Pirates can be spawned a little sideways and approach the player from there.
Something like that, even when it's done in a small distance before the player (~1,5 scanner range) that would make torusing dangerous - I've crashed into an asteroid on torus a few times and that was with normal single scattered asteroids. And for players willing to crawl along at normal speed/on injectors there would be an option of manevuering it like Han Solo did (not to be confused with Hans Olo!)

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Re: Split: Difficulty for new players

Post by Disembodied » Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:30 pm

Disembodied wrote:I tend to agree too - but there might be some use for something like this in certain more bureaucratic systems ...
Although - thinking about this some more - I'm not sure how keen I am on the idea that the station can so closely monitor the player's location and activity: too much oversight might reduce the sense of being out on one's own.

So far, I think the best solution to the off-lane issue is to leave the mechanics as they are, and make going off-lane unpredictably dangerous via occasional pirate nets and Thargoid patrols. As for the "boring" bits, I think Capt. Reynolds is right: this is a game which requires patience and perseverance. Rather than look for ways to merely fast-forward through all the inactive bits, we'd be better off giving commanders other things to do.

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Re: Split: Difficulty for new players

Post by Capt. Reynolds » Sun Dec 22, 2013 4:09 am

Disembodied wrote:So far, I think the best solution to the off-lane issue is to leave the mechanics as they are, and make going off-lane unpredictably dangerous via occasional pirate nets and Thargoid patrols. As for the "boring" bits, I think Capt. Reynolds is right: this is a game which requires patience and perseverance. Rather than look for ways to merely fast-forward through all the inactive bits, we'd be better off giving commanders other things to do.
I can pretty much get behind this - integrating some variation of Deep Space Pirates into core. As it stands right now, there's a chance that ships you encounter in the lane may be up to no good (variable according to system type, etc.). If it were known that pretty much anyone you encounter off-lane is likely to be hostile, new players would think twice before stepping off the beaten path.

As for the "other things to do", I think that's a way better solution than fast forwarding. Personally, I use all kinds of OXPs that I only have there for adding things to see/fly past and not for their intended purpose (Black Monk Monasteries, fuel stations, jump gates, etc.) - I never visit/use them but they add a bit of visual spice to my travels. Fast-forwarding reminds me of the "warp" feature in Microsoft's Combat Flight Sims; it's fine when you're taking on a predetermined mission that involves preselected waypoints and tasks which were detailed in your mission briefing, but doesn't really fit with the open-endedness that sits at the heart of Oolite.

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Re: Split: Difficulty for new players

Post by Ranthe » Sun Dec 22, 2013 5:04 am

spara wrote:The main problem is the torus drive, it's an uber device that gives the player a serious advantage over the npcs. Even when used in the lane.
I'm not so sure. Remember, the only times the player sees ships on the scanner is when they're mass-locked by those ships - isn't it reasonable to assume that from the NPC point of view it's the player mass-locking them?

In other words, it's reasonable to expect that the NPC ships use torus drive as much as the player, but the player doesn't see it because the only time they see NPCs is when they're mutually mass-locked.

Oh, and I'd like to put my hand up for keeping the torus drive as-is. The idea of procedurally-generated NPC ship information is a good one though.
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Re: Split: Difficulty for new players

Post by spara » Sun Dec 22, 2013 7:49 am

For the record I have no serious problem with the torus as it stands. The only time it troubles me is when I'm flying parallel to the lane and can see others crawling. I consider it to be a game mechanic to give the player an edge when escaping with torus. It's bit player centric if that counts to someone.

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Re: Split: Difficulty for new players

Post by Capt. Reynolds » Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:28 pm

spara wrote:The main problem is the torus drive, it's an uber device that gives the player a serious advantage over the npcs. Even when used in the lane.
I'd have to disagree with this too. The only advantage I can see is when you use it to chase down a target who's running away on injectors, and you can only do that if there's nobody else around.

The rest of the time, the only possible advantage it could confer is letting the player get to their destination faster than an NPC would, and I can't see how an NPC would care about that. It's not like the player offloading their cargo first makes a blind bit of difference to them. Prices don't alter once you're in-system (at least I don't think they do).

Maybe it could be said that it disadvantages an NPC who's engaged in a distant furball (the ones you see the laser fire from way beyond scanner range, and sometimes Torus-jump into) if the player suddenly drops in and joins one side of the fight or other, but it provides just as much of an advantage to the NPC(s) the player helps out.

tl;dr - I'm firmly in the "Torus is fine as is" camp.

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Re: Split: Difficulty for new players

Post by Cody » Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:42 pm

I like the torus drive, despite the slight edge it can give to the player occasionly.
It's great for docking at hermits too (and I'm sure I've used it to chase-down errant cargo pods).
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Re: Split: Difficulty for new players

Post by spara » Sun Dec 22, 2013 8:10 pm

I like torus too. It has saved my tail numerous times. First I inject out of mass lock, then I torus to safety. If someone is injecting behind me usually a missile is required to shake 'em off. :mrgreen:

Btw. If someone wants to hamper the torus a bit, Wildeblood has a nice oxp that prevents turning while torusing. No more torus circling.

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Re: Split: Difficulty for new players

Post by Norby » Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:14 pm

Disembodied wrote:I think the best solution to the off-lane issue is to leave the mechanics as they are, and make going off-lane unpredictably dangerous via occasional pirate nets and Thargoid patrols.
It is good, and other ideas can help also to stay in lanes, like GalCop fines, parcel contracts etc. An OXP can hold more solutions, especially if there are variables to disable some parts. I think we will be further ideas if we can test the current ones in game. My question is there are anybody in interest to make this OXP regarding space lanes?
I started to make some sketch so sooner or later I will do something. ;)

I have an idea regarding Torus and lane problem also, without TAF and keep the player only Torus: make highways from lanes. It is a mechanic change but as small as possible.

Torus can go with the maximal 32x speed in lanes (gravity supported highways) only _and_ if no powered ship within (say) 100km: far from any disturbing field, where speed is not important anymore even if pirates has visual detection due to can not see the player.

Other speeds are depending on the distance of nearest ship, down to 1x speed at scanner range (masslock). I do not know the best nonlinear characteristics between the two extreme yet but the goal is to get somewhat slower speedup and brake without large time loss, maybe some seconds in a Rock Hermit run.

In this way injecting pirates can step up with player due to no instant high speed right out of scanner range. Until the enemy is not far (guess within 50km) Torus is not faster than Injectors so no problem if player only.

This support lanes with two reason: 1. highway is faster than offlane, 2. if harder to escape from a combat then outer space is more dangerous.

In addition less pirates are enough to get the same number of intercepts.

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Masslocks and torus drive...

Post by Switeck » Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:53 pm

Disembodied wrote:So far, I think the best solution to the off-lane issue is to leave the mechanics as they are, and make going off-lane unpredictably dangerous via occasional pirate nets and Thargoid patrols.
Capt. Reynolds wrote:I can pretty much get behind this - integrating some variation of Deep Space Pirates into core. As it stands right now, there's a chance that ships you encounter in the lane may be up to no good (variable according to system type, etc.). If it were known that pretty much anyone you encounter off-lane is likely to be hostile, new players would think twice before stepping off the beaten path.
This alone could do much to reduce the advantage/exploit of off-lane torusing to distant locations. Pirates should be more likely to be on/near the space lanes in anarchy systems, but some distance away from the space lanes (where the pirates are safer) in Democracy/Corp. State systems to catch the random passer-by that tries to take a quiet-and-quick shortcut.

Thargoids could be lurking just outside of the space lanes as well, to snatch up easy prey.

Running into a rare asteroid or boulder (which is smaller, more common, and much harder to see) should be a real possibility if you leave the torus running for many minutes at a time.
Disembodied wrote:So far, I think the best solution to the off-lane issue is to leave the mechanics as they are, and make going off-lane unpredictably dangerous via occasional pirate nets and Thargoid patrols.
spara wrote:If someone wants to hamper the torus a bit, Wildeblood has a nice oxp that prevents turning while torusing. No more torus circling.
As for changing the torus, Wildeblood's oxp that prevents turning while torusing seems a good start. But I would go further...

The point of the torus drive is to make long trips bearable time-wise, not as a direct means of combat advantage.

Mass-lock decelerations could be quicker and more extreme so torus drive cannot be used to partially overshoot pirate ambushes. You should need to inject more or fight your way through!

The torus could accelerate slower than injectors but faster than going from 0 to full throttle.
Using the torus to chase a fleeing ship that's using injectors would then be much harder.

Torus drive could be speed-capped lower than 32x max speed for the fastest ships so ultimately the slowest ships and fastest ships can reach the same max speed using torus drive...the slowest just take longer to reach that speed.

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