Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

General discussion for players of Oolite.

Moderators: another_commander, winston

Should the Anaconda be made 'sensible'?

Poll ended at Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:55 am

No, leave it alone!
14
30%
Yes, give it the 150TC capacity it should have had.
20
43%
Other (detailed below).
13
28%
 
Total votes: 47

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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by Gimi »

We could of course ask DB or IB. From what I have read on the Frontier forums and in the Kickstarter thread, they are both answering questions when they feel they can.

Edit: Elite-A uses 250t for the Anaconda.
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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by cim »

Without expressing an opinion on whether this change is desirable in principle, there are a few practical issues with doing it.
  1. Synchronisation with shipset OXPs. The move from 1.76 to 1.77/8 comes with a couple of tweaks to shipdata.plist (bug fix to rock hermit scan class, adding weapon_facings parameter to NPC ships for guidance to scripts). These are changes which it is perfectly safe to apply without causing odd behaviour in 1.76 - but the shipsets vary quite a bit in terms of licensing and maintenance, so it's quite possible that some shipsets will never get them.
    For a factor of 5 difference in cargo capacity (and corresponding adjustment in sales price), that makes a very big difference, in a way that "some NPCs might or might not get aft lasers depending on shipset" does not.
    While the Anaconda is not as popular a basis for variant OXPs as the Asp, Cobra or Python, there are a few, which might also need re-releasing to avoid oddities.
  2. Save-game compatibility. What should happen when someone loads a game with a large Anaconda into a version with a small Anaconda? (At the moment, what will happen is that cargo above the new capacity will be discarded without compensation)
  3. Cargo contracts. The range currently assumes the existence of a large Anaconda (though, 1.77 does generate proportionately more contracts within Python/Boa/BoaCC capacity than 1.76 did). Should those large contracts be discarded, or just reduced significantly in size?
Thoughts on how those might be dealt with would be necessary.

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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by Switeck »

Even beyond costs, the Anaconda is so much below the armor, speed, firepower pyramid relative to the Boa 2 that it's not funny.
Technically, the firepower is more in terms of missiles carried, but ability to point the lasers quickly where you want them is reduced.

If the Anaconda MUST be reduced at all, 250 TC is still going to be painful enough as that's really about the only thing the ship has to offer over the other "big freighters".

It's all academic though in terms of raw game balance, since the individual commodities are limited to 127 TC selling and 63 TC buying (assuming max availability) at all stations. Outside of rather bad cargo contracts (which were made much worse than they were in v1.76.1), the effective credit-earning capacity of an Anaconda over a Boa 2 is thus marginal to almost nonexistent if you have few OXP-added stations. What it does have is more flexibility -- you have spare capacity to carry cargo elsewhere if the selling price isn't good.

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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by GGShinobi »

I agree with cim and Switeck. And why change the ship? No one has to buy it if he thinks it's cargo capacity is too large and this would unbalance his game...
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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by Smivs »

GGShinobi wrote:And why change the ship?
For the simple reason that it is badly wrong!
My concern is, what will be the incentive to OXP authors designing big (Capital) player ships when to be 'balanced' they will carry less cargo and cost a lot more than the Anaconda.
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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by Switeck »

"Fixing" the Anaconda does nothing for the underlying and far worse problem!

Even if OXP-added stations copies the main station's commodities.plist exactly, they would use different seed values for current price than the main station and could still show significant price differences on highly variable items. The ultimate example of this is narcotics -- it might be <10 credits/TC at a OXP station and >90 credits/TC at the main station. Since most OXP-added stations have vastly different commodity prices than the main station, the profit potential is considerably greater even than trading between main stations in different systems.

Even a Cobra 3's 35 TC capacity is ample to exploit this, often requiring only a few trips between in-system stations to clear each out of cheap selling goods. (That is if you plan your trips right!) If anything, an Anaconda gains little from this as it takes much longer to travel between stations!

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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by Cmd. Cheyd »

Lower the capacity of the Anaconda to 150-250 Range (I'm flexible here, but favor 200 or higher). Lower the contracts on offer to match the new range for core vessels.

The Contracts should be calculated based on the capacity of the core ships alone. Not everyone utilizes OXPs with ships larger than the core set. Some of us will NEVER add capital ships. Core functions and offerings should not be altered based on the supposition certain OXPs will be present. If you size contracts based on core, capital ships will work. They will just be capable of handling multiple contracts simultaneously. If you size Contracts based on OXP and Capital ships, but those OXPs are not present, you have a broken contract system where contracts are generated where NO ship can perform them. One approach is broken, one is not. I vote for the non-broken environment.

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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by Smivs »

The current contract system is already broken because it is built to accomodate a broken core ship.
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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by cim »

Remember that a large-capacity freighter OXP could add its own contracts to the list [1], if the core game didn't generate sufficiently large ones to make use of that capacity. So there's no need for the core game to generate contracts larger than its biggest ship just in case an OXP could use them.

[1] The API for this is documented in the contract scripts, but I haven't yet got around to making a Wiki page for it; similar ones exist for passengers and parcels.

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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by Switeck »

Smivs wrote:The current contract system is already broken because it is built to accomodate a broken core ship.
The current contract system is broken (in the sense of game balance) in multiple ways. The whole point of having a large cargo carrier (read: Anaconda) to do them is rendered unnecessary after about 10 runs. The price of each contract was greatly increased from v1.76. Each contract is often to the other side of the galaxy chart, effectively forcing you to visit probably multiple dangerous systems and even a possible unscheduled misjump. Neither destination is likely to be "fun" in an Anaconda!

Sure, the Anaconda's broken...but I contend it's not broken in the player's favor!
None of the message threads on this forum that I've seen even dare to claim the Anaconda's 750 TC cargo capacity makes it a "worthwhile" ship.

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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by Diziet Sma »

Switeck wrote:None of the message threads on this forum that I've seen even dare to claim the Anaconda's 750 TC cargo capacity makes it a "worthwhile" ship.
I dunno about that.. Ranthe seems quite happy to keep tootling along the spaceways in his "Atomic Annie".. :wink:

I'd actually quite like to see his take on this discussion..
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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by ZygoUgo »

I'm voting to fix it with 220tons, please keep it a little granduer! I am agreeing that the Annie is a floating cavern with precarious hainging walkways inside, small crew facilities, employment for the desperate or collaborative risktakers after high risk high gain business. It is a veritable zeppelin with walls that creak and an unnerving sway as she turns 8)
And she pops well too, spilling her belly full of treasure across the lanes for the greedy pirates and desperate scavengers to hang about and squabble up.

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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by Commander McLane »

Even though I'm usually in favour of staying close to the Elite/Oolite legacy, I'd say: go ahead and fix the Anaconda.

There's another argument for that: in my opinion, in vanilla Oolite the player isn't meant to fly a capital ship. The Anaconda breaks this rule, because its cargo capacity effectively makes it a capital ship, regardless of its hull size. If the player wants to fly a capital ship, they should add it as an OXP.

As for the fixed cargo capacity, I'd allow it a little more than the BCC for reasons of balance. The BCC is the superior ship in each regard except cargo hold. The Anaconda should have this one advantage. If it's inferior to the BCC in every aspect, how come that we see Anacondas in the space lanes all the time? Wouldn't all Anaconda owners have replaced their ships with BCCs looooooong ago? Thus I'd give it about 200-220TC.

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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by Selezen »

In regard to the "broken" trading system, it may have been mentioned before by one has to remember that Elite's trading system was based around the Cobra's capacity of up to 35t cargo. Introducing the other ships as playable in Oolite, Elite-A or other Elite-based games will mess up that system.

"Fixing" the anaconda will help with the game balance but will not really solve the "broken" issues unless all player ships are given max cargo cap of 35.

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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by Smivs »

It is interesting that this discussion is now more focussed on the contract system than the Anaconda!
There seems to be a consensus developing that the Anaconda should be 'fixed' and that a capacity of around 200TC is appropriate, which is broadly in line with my original suggestion.
But the 'contracts' can of worms is an interesting one. I know some of you feel that contracts should only be generated which can be fullfilled by core ships, and this has lead to cim's point that they should only be targeted at Cobra 3s. While there is a logic to this, I personally feel that a wide range of contracts should be made available, even if most players could not accept them with the ship they have. As well as aiding immersion in the game (there is a big Ooniverse out there, with big companies and big ships carrying huge amounts of stuff) it also gives players options. A Cobby 3 pilot might see big contracts available and decide to trade up to a bigger ship to forge a career as a Bulk Hauler. This would be the case just with the core game, but as and when the Capital ships become available (via OXP) I think the player should find suitable contracts available as well. I realise that these could be provided as part of the OXP, but Oolite is a game designed from the ground up with OXPs in mind, and adding features to the game that facilitate this is an established principle. The only criterion should be that use of the core game is un-affected - these features just add options for expansions.
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