Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

General discussion for players of Oolite.

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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 cim »

Smivs wrote:and this has lead to cim's point that they should only be targeted at Cobra 3s.
I think you've misunderstood what I said somewhere. I said that the core game should only generate contracts fulfillable with core ships. Since the purpose of them is to give freighter pilots something to use that space on, I certainly don't think that many of them should be small enough for Cobra III pilots, though there should be plenty in the Python/Boa range.

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

Post by Zieman »

Ah, people are comparing Anaconda (inherited from ELITE) to the new addition Boa 2 (duped Cass Cruiser). If you look at ELITE manual, it refers to the standard Boa as Boa Class Cruiser (http://www.iancgbell.clara.net/elite/manual.htm#A47 and/or http://www.replacementdocs.com/download.php?view.4026). I view Oolite's Boa 2 as an abomination, that would justice itself as an OXP ship but not in the core game. BTW, does it exist in Strict Mode ?

If you absolutely MUST butcher the Anaconda, then at least 250 TC cargo space, NO less.
Elite manual wrote:ANACONDA
The largest known freighter with a cargo bay designed by Beerbaum and ThruSpace Inc., the Anaconda is the only freighter fitted with Dizaner SpaceWares swing-float platforms. These load-balance metering devices enable the loadmaster to rearrange the cargo within seconds to increase maneuverability of the great ship. Equipped only with laser weaponry (the 500 Gigazap front-firing pulse), and sometimes with missiles, the Anaconda range of craft usually have fighter escorts. In trader parlance, the Anaconda is built as strong as a rogue asteroid, and steers like one.
The last sentence of that quote brings up another, more serious flaw in Oolite. Well, this is mostly moot now for almost anyone not playing in strict mode, but a serious design flaw still. The Energy Bomb is too powerful. In ELITE there were two ship types that survived the blast: Anacondas and Thargoid Invasion ships. So why not cut the EB damage to half (as it should be) at the same time if we're going to nerf Anaconda.

And now I got myself started, forward comes the personal favourite Oolite pet peeve:
player Cobra 3 is too fast!.
What's the point of being able to switch ships, if you already fly an übership?
This speed advantage is both badly deviating from Elite and making the game more player-centric by giving the player an unfair advantage of having the fastest Cobra mk 3 of the entire Ooniverse right from start.
In addition, it nerfs core NPCs unnecessartily. In Elite you couldn't run away from a Mamba or a Viper because they were that crucial 0.2 LM faster than you. Also, Fer-de-lances and Kraits could keep up with you when in pursuit (and vice versa, you could keep up with those two, but not any closer if the flew straight).

So, if tha Anaconda is to be robbed of its cargo space, fixing the energy bomb and (even more important) player Cobra 3 speed are also a MUST.
...and keep it under lightspeed!

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Re: Contracts

Post by aegidian »

I created the contracts options to cater specifically for ships with capacities far above the Cobra, where the 127 unit limit for trading commodities was proving a nuisance, and to give an extra 'mission-like' element. So really designed for ships other than the Cobra3.

If the Anaconda's capacity is reduced then, yes, the contracts system should match it. Actually though, the contract generation system should be adjusted so that it takes account of the largest capacity ships available to the player from the core ships and from OXPs.
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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by Smivs »

Firstly, apologies to cim for mis-understanding :)
As it stands there is absolutely no point in offering contracts outside the range of the core ships because no ship could accept them, and with the Anaconda having its current capacity that means that big contracts are already available anyway.
My original post was more concerned with balance and realism. Taken alone, the Anaconda is seriously un-balanced inasmuch as it's physical size and its capacity simply don't make any sense. Based on its physical size in comparison with the other core ships there is no way it should have a capacity greater than 200TC.
My point though is that as Capital player ships become available, to maintain balance overall within the game, these also will need to fit in and make sense. It just seems illogical to me that a balanced OXP Capital player ship (which would cost 1 000 000+ Cr and have a capacity of say 250-500TC) would look such poor value compared to the 600 000Cr 'Tardis' that can carry 700TC!
The contracts are really a seperate issue. It would not bother me particularly if they were just pitched at core ships - the capital ship OXP could add big contracts. And in fact if both the Anaconda and the contracts system were left untouched that in many ways would be fine as the big contracts would be there for the Capital player ship as well, although the issues of value and balance would not be addressed.
So the Big Question regarding contracts then is 'Should they just be pitched at core ships (whether the Anaconda is fixed or not) or do we want contracts made available for potential Capital OXP ships as well?'
Finally, as Zieman points out, there are other anomalies in the core game. One not mentioned so far is the Adder - the NPC has a 5TC hold, the player version only 2TC.
So the debate has gone beyond Anaconda. Other core ship specs are disputable. How far do we want to go with this? Well, again just my 2Cr-worth, but I favour balance. In a nutshell I want my game's ships to be sensible (Anaconda issue) and I want ships to be like-for-like (Cobra 3 speed and Adder hold capacity).
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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by cim »

Changing player Cobra III speed back to the Elite level would also have other problems.
  1. Shipset OXPs. Basically just copy/paste everything I said about shipset OXPs and the Anaconda above (which no-one has yet suggested any solutions for, remember), but then add on that the Cobra III is a very popular ship for making OXP variants, and that it's almost certainly the most common player ship, so discrepancies are more noticeable.
  2. Masslocking. Every single trader on the spacelane would masslock you for longer, and it takes a long time to get from witchpoint to planet at conventional speeds. A lot of adjustment would be needed to stop people going off-lane in frustration to avoid the traders, and we already have enough people doing that to avoid the pirates...

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

Post by Lone_Wolf »

For the record : 200 - 250 TC for anaconda would be fine for me
cim wrote:[*]Shipset OXPs. Basically just copy/paste everything I said about shipset OXPs and the Anaconda above (which no-one has yet suggested any solutions for, remember)
How about this :

Adjust the 750 TC anaconda to only appear in strict mode, like was done for the energy bomb.
This will allow oxps to keep using like-ship anacondas.

Introduce an anaconda-new, with the new cargo capacity for non-strict mode..
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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by Disembodied »

Smivs wrote:My point though is that as Capital player ships become available, to maintain balance overall within the game, these also will need to fit in and make sense.
I'm not sure that this is possible: I don't see any way to let players have capital ships, and maintain game balance. The game is built around the idea of players dogfighting in small fighter-traders, and giving the player a battleship will mean that the rest of the game would have to change pretty drastically to accommodate it. I get the point about making sense of the Anaconda's 750TC hold in relation to the other core ships, but I think the game still needs a core-ship heavy hauler, and 250TC sounds good to me: significantly better in this one single respect than any other core ship without being too much of a stretch to believe it.

I don't think, though, that capital ships should have vast cargo holds. These are military vessels, and there ain't much room for cargo on a battleship or a carrier: supplies, yes, but these would be constantly being consumed, and wouldn't really be up for sale. If we're talking about letting players fly giant cargo haulers, though, then a huge hold is fair enough - although it's still going to mean that the game balance is lost. Not that this is a bad thing, necessarily: it's up to the individual players to play the game they want. But with the player inside a huge ship, whether it's a capital ship or a monster hauler, even getting close to balancing things out again will require a lot more than just trimming down the Anaconda's hold.

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

Post by cim »

Lone_Wolf wrote:How about this :
Unfortunately most current shipset OXPs don't use like_ship in the first place (and for coexistence between "replacement" and "addition" shipsets, can't easily do so). Everything is redefined, instead. Changing the core definition will only change the Anaconda's size in those games without a shipset installed. Then if you have multiple "addition" shipsets, you could have two very different ships available as "Anaconda", depending on whether that shipset author has made the change or not.

I can only see two 'solutions' to the problem.
  • "update all the shipset OXPs" - implausible, since at least one has an absent author who didn't leave a permissive license, so how does this get done and coordinated?
  • "declare major incompatibility", so OXPs are either updated or don't work at all - which we aren't going to do over the cargo capacity of the Anaconda.
Strict mode is at least not an issue in this case: you can't buy an Anaconda at all in strict mode, there's no practical difference between 150 and 750 capacity in terms of debris or behaviour for the NPC ships, and there aren't any contracts to worry about.

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

Post by Selezen »

I think we're hitting on something here that has always been a risk with OXPs - this concept of large haulers or capital ships is something completely outside what Oolite / Elite was as a game. The game is balanced around the concept of small ships trading goods to buy equipment to become better armed and able to trade at more heavily "defended" worlds. It was an open-ended game that was based around a very restrictive economic model.

The base concept was expanded in Oolite and Elite-A to include more ships, and this introduced a small imbalance in terms of the Python, Anaconda and Boa, which had considerably bigger cargo capacities, but the player still had to start in a Cobra and trade their way up to affording a bigger ship. By the time the player was flying a big tub, they already had enough money and experience to have enjoyed the game and now relax in the easy life.

This large hauler concept is a good one, but it does fly completely outside the economic model that the game is restricted to. If it is to be a balanced part of the game, then the economic model has to change along with it. If the increase in profit means that there's nothing now outside the reach of the player, then some sort of reward system would need to be introduced alongside it - an expansion to the GAME rather than the content. Could the OXP include a sliding scale of larger ships that could be bought at larger increments of cost? What about specific equipment that can only be used on those ships and is considerably more expensive than the equipment for the base ships? How about a script for the payment of wages to the crews of these huge ships? Maybe the cost of the large scale contracts should be substantially higher?

The Anaconda is top of the scale for the base ships, whether it be carrying 750, 250 or 150 tonnes of cargo. If this new addon is to take that a significant step further it needs more incentive for the player to want to continue in the game and progress further up that new chain.

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

Post by Smivs »

Selezen wrote:I think we're hitting on something here that has always been a risk with OXPs - this concept of large haulers or capital ships is something completely outside what Oolite / Elite was as a game. The game is balanced around the concept of small ships trading goods to buy equipment to become better armed and able to trade at more heavily "defended" worlds. It was an open-ended game that was based around a very restrictive economic model.
This is true, and it's also true that OXPs can have a serious affect on the game - that's one reason I tend to use very few these days. No silly uber-ships or market-changing stations here!
However in a sense this is also what I'm sort of looking for here. To get away from the 'small ships trading/fighting' model. Open-ended it may be, but it is also very restrictive and in truth gets a bit 'samey' after a while. There is a case to argue that the game needs more options. That's why some of us are playing Iron-man games starting with an Adder or similar to increase the challenge. That's why some of us would like the option to save away from main stations so that they can properly pursue a career as a pirate.
You will all be aware by now that I am collaborating with McLane and others to produce a Capital player ship, and it is this which prompted my train of thought that lead to this thread. This ship will be a trader - I personally see no point in producing a Battleship/carrier/whatever - and I have two considerations with respect to this and similar subsequent vessels.
1) It should sit comfortably in the Ooniverse of the core game. It is obviously outside any previous experience in the game but if well thought-through, sensibly spec'd and priced and designed as an 'Oolite' ship this should be acheivable.
2) It should (has to, by its nature) offer the player a whole new experience. To this end it needs something to do, hence the useful debate about the contract system. And the OXP will aid this by including certain features. For example it will not necessarily be a quick route to great riches. The ship will be expensive to buy, and will also be very expensive to run. It is a two-part ship - Mothership and Shuttle section (which does the docking at stations etc), and both sections will need fuel, supplies, ordnance replenishment etc. Also because of the high initial purchase price the 'escape capsule insurance' will not be adequate so it will have car-like insurance available at extra cost (and if you don't insure it and lose your Mothership you'll have to buy another at full price). :twisted:
In short it will be unlike anything else on offer, and I hope the experience will also be an entirely new one. It won't suit everybody, but for those who want to try a very different game it will offer one alternative.
And this general point is one that I think should be considered more. Most OXPs up to now have added eye-candy (a good thing), more missions to do (again a good thing) or weapons/equipment/ships/stations to the Ooniverse (not necessarily a good thing!) which either gently add to the core game or add something that has a big influence on game balance without actually improving the options open to the player within the game.
I hope that this OXP will for the first time offer a genuinely new career path to the player which sits comfortably within and works well with the basic game, the career of Bulk Hauler. OK, it's not a glamorous or exciting career by any means, and aspects of both the ship and the role it has might make it a bit tedious in some ways, but that does not in any way diminish it. The important point is that it will offer a genuinely new career option, and if other OXPs in the future could also be made with this in mind, that has to be a good thing, even if it requires subtle massaging of some core game features.
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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by Diziet Sma »

I vote 220-250 TC.

I also second this:
Zieman wrote:I view Oolite's Boa 2 as an abomination, that would justice itself as an OXP ship but not in the core game. BTW, does it exist in Strict Mode ?
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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by Smivs »

Diziet Sma wrote: I also second this:
Zieman wrote:I view Oolite's Boa 2 as an abomination, that would justice itself as an OXP ship but not in the core game. BTW, does it exist in Strict Mode ?
Yeah, the BCC is the ship the Anaconda should have been, and compared to most of the core ships it is a bit Uber, that's for sure. But it's not the only one <looks at the Cobra Mk III> 8)
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Re: Is it time to 'fix' the Anaconda?

Post by Switeck »

Commander McLane wrote: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.
There is one problem with that assumption about capital ships. The player can already pilot a capital ship -- the Boa 2 Cruiser! Considerably cheaper than an Anaconda, faster, and tougher.
Commander McLane wrote: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.
If the Anaconda's cargo capacity must be reduced, I vastly prefer it be reduced to 250 TC as opposed to lower. The Anaconda sacrifices far too much to barely be any larger cargo-wise than the Boa 2 Cruiser.
But that unmasks another problem -- ship prices!
You can't balance the Anaconda relative to the Boa 2 Cruiser unless you decrease the Anaconda's cost immensely and/or possibly leave cargo capacity at 750 TC. Even before any changes the Boa 2 Cruiser is a much better deal. Despite all the talk about overlarge cargo capacity, there's almost no way to even use it short of dubious "oversized" cargo contracts which will likely send the Anaconda to dangerous systems or misjumps where it is at a FAR higher risk than the Boa 2.

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

Post by Disembodied »

Smivs wrote:You will all be aware by now that I am collaborating with McLane and others to produce a Capital player ship, and it is this which prompted my train of thought that lead to this thread. This ship will be a trader - I personally see no point in producing a Battleship/carrier/whatever - and I have two considerations with respect to this and similar subsequent vessels.
1) It should sit comfortably in the Ooniverse of the core game. It is obviously outside any previous experience in the game but if well thought-through, sensibly spec'd and priced and designed as an 'Oolite' ship this should be acheivable.
2) It should (has to, by its nature) offer the player a whole new experience.
Particularly with regard to point 2), possibly the best way to do this (and indeed to bring about some balance) is to remove, almost completely, any chance of the player dogfighting in this beast. You could perhaps launch the shuttle, and defend the mothership that way; or you could give the hauler passive defences only, e.g. turrets, and have a small squadron of escorts which you can issue commands to as per Ramirez's [wiki]Resistance Commander[/wiki].

The other option is to shift things away from the usual commodities, especially the commodities normally carried by players - i.e. computers, furs, liquor and wines, machinery - and move towards truly bulk hauling: e.g. minerals, alloys, radioactives, and indeed specialised versions of these not available at main stations. These could be sourced in large quantities from asteroid (or moon-based) mining stations, and the player wouldn't be buying and selling these so much as being paid to transport them (which would make things easier when it comes to balancing out the profitability of such a ship). There could be specific issues with loading these bulk cargoes, with getting permissions, with sourcing intelligence on the latest movements of pirate fleets and so on. All this would help shift things away from the core game, and make the experience genuinely different from being the pilot of a more-or-less nimble lone-wolf trader.

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

Post by DaddyHoggy »

Disembodied wrote:
Smivs wrote:You will all be aware by now that I am collaborating with McLane and others to produce a Capital player ship, and it is this which prompted my train of thought that lead to this thread. This ship will be a trader - I personally see no point in producing a Battleship/carrier/whatever - and I have two considerations with respect to this and similar subsequent vessels.
1) It should sit comfortably in the Ooniverse of the core game. It is obviously outside any previous experience in the game but if well thought-through, sensibly spec'd and priced and designed as an 'Oolite' ship this should be acheivable.
2) It should (has to, by its nature) offer the player a whole new experience.
Particularly with regard to point 2), possibly the best way to do this (and indeed to bring about some balance) is to remove, almost completely, any chance of the player dogfighting in this beast. You could perhaps launch the shuttle, and defend the mothership that way; or you could give the hauler passive defences only, e.g. turrets, and have a small squadron of escorts which you can issue commands to as per Ramirez's [wiki]Resistance Commander[/wiki].

The other option is to shift things away from the usual commodities, especially the commodities normally carried by players - i.e. computers, furs, liquor and wines, machinery - and move towards truly bulk hauling: e.g. minerals, alloys, radioactives, and indeed specialised versions of these not available at main stations. These could be sourced in large quantities from asteroid (or moon-based) mining stations, and the player wouldn't be buying and selling these so much as being paid to transport them (which would make things easier when it comes to balancing out the profitability of such a ship). There could be specific issues with loading these bulk cargoes, with getting permissions, with sourcing intelligence on the latest movements of pirate fleets and so on. All this would help shift things away from the core game, and make the experience genuinely different from being the pilot of a more-or-less nimble lone-wolf trader.
One thing that has always bothered me about Oolite/Elite is actually the concept of TCs and the cannisters themselves. While I can accept the idea of food, furs, L&W, minerals, computers, etc... being divided up so that they fit inside this specialist style cannister... BUT... How do you move a Combine Harvester from an Industrial planet that built it to an agricultural planet that wants it, or a huge turbine for a low tech planet that's building a Hydro-Electric power plant? It makes absolutely no sense to break these delicate items down into lego style blocks and slide them into these little cannisters.

So, bulk carriers (this may possibly include the Anaconda (in its current state)) have a certain capacity *THE EQUIVALENT OF* X TCs - so they can take these very large items intact.

Modern cars have boot (trunk for US members) sizes given in litres even though this shape may be terribly laid out. (For example my car has an alleged capacity of 320 litres, but I couldn't get a small fridge into it that had an internal capacity of 160 litres (and measuring up an external capacity of about 210 litres))

So how about this - bulk carriers (possibly including the Anaconda) can take a certain number of physical TC cannisters BUT can take very large, bulky items, intact. So, you could limit the Anaconda to, for example, 250TCs for actual trading in TC cannisters - but its equivalent ACTUAL capacity is 750TCs, so contracts could also include genuinely bulky items that only Anacondas (core ship) and Bulk haulers (OXP ships) can carry. This way BULK Hauler would mean something. You would buy an Anaconda (core game) because you wanted to haul actual large items - with the ability to carry large but not silly amounts of TC cannisters for normal trading when no bulk items are available.

Let's not smash up the mythos of the original Elite, because "we" have decided that we want to expand the game and have decided the original core game is broken. Let's work with it instead, lets give Annie pilots a reason to exist, a genuine, alternative, career path, through the contracts system to haul bulk items.

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