Random element in parcel rep, bonuses, and maintenance

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Cody
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Random element in parcel rep, bonuses, and maintenance

Post by Cody »

I only have the rather coarse Display Reputation OXP to go by, but the (presumed?) random element is driving me crackers! I've just delivered four high-value, high-risk, parcels within the last ten systems - and one jump after the final delivery, my rep dropped a level. If I'd re-rolled the dice (which I have experimented with at length), it almost certainly wouldn't have dropped for some time. Parcel bonuses vary greatly too - a 52k contract payout varied between 63k and 92k. The dice roll again? Then there's maintenance overhauls - the need for one also varies wildly (though I only have my ship's value as an indicator).

As a dumb pilot, I can only presume that there is a random element in these calculations, yes? If so, it doesn't feel right - too much variance!

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Re: Random element in parcel rep, bonuses, and maintenance

Post by Disembodied »

Cody wrote:As a dumb pilot, I can only presume that there is a random element in these calculations, yes? If so, it doesn't feel right - too much variance!
There's some truth in this, I think: random bad luck would possibly be easier to swallow if it came with a dab of "explanation", e.g. "A blown power coupling has overloaded your ship's energy grid" or similar, for a poor dice roll leading to the need for a sudden maintenance overhaul. There would need to be a number of such results, of course - and there would have to be others (good and bad) to justify varying delivery bonuses, reputation drops, and so on.

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Re: Random element in parcel rep, bonuses, and maintenance

Post by Bogatyr »

My understanding of the mechanism is that there is only one "spot" at maximum reputation: once you reach it, any reputation gained above this is thrown away. So you cannot increase your top status or strengthen it by continuing to deliver more: multiple, frequent, high risk contracts make no difference since you're already at max reputation. One single random reputation erosion event (about 1/32 chance per jump) moves you back to one step away from max reputation (back to almost impeccable) regardless of recent delivery history.

I just keep my eye on the reputation string while going about other business, and when it goes from "the best in the galaxy" to "almost impeccable" I take a quick contract to move it back to max.

It would be interesting if some flavor could be added like having messages about delivery rivals who bad-mouth your reputation with clients, compete for the most lucrative contracts ("I heard there's going to be a high-end parcel on Teesdi in 2 weeks, and Beeso Mudego is already on his way to pick it up!"), and hire assassins "Beeso Mudego says hello! Now die!")

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Re: Random element in parcel rep, bonuses, and maintenance

Post by Anonymissimus »

The reputation decay system does obviously not take into account how long it has been since the last positive delivery event(s). It never happened to me yet that my cargo reputation dropped two full steps though. It would mean losing the reputation at all, if the ship doesn't have the neccessary cargo space to take something else than precious metal contracts.
This problem doesn't exist with parcels, but both can decrease immediately after the last conctract was fulfilled.

As for maintenance overhauls, I once had an overhaul in a Tech 15 system and was at maximum service level. The next three jumps it went down so heavily each time that I was offered the next overhaul already - after only 3 jumps.
IMHO it is basically impossible to calculate at which point the ship might need an overhaul and the range of service level at which an overhaul is offered until the level drops to the minimum is way too small. A high probability of a very low decrease per jump instead of a low probability of an insane decrease per jump would be better.
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Re: Random element in parcel rep, bonuses, and maintenance

Post by Astrobe »

Maintenance could be fully deterministic. Things that could affect it:
- taking hull damage
- Hitting canisters or splinters, ramming into another ship
- using injectors (bad for the engine)
- using torus (the frame doesn't like high accelerations/decelerations)
- docking and launching (light shocks, but still)
- heat (sun skimming)
- distance to the sun (those cosmic rays are bad for electronics) for small periodic "damage"

For contracts, there are fewer variables to play with. But knowing in advance how much extra money you can make with a contract doesn't look like a bad thing to me. Is the randomness necessary at all?

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Re: Random element in parcel rep, bonuses, and maintenance

Post by Cody »

Astrobe wrote:But knowing in advance how much extra money you can make with a contract doesn't look like a bad thing to me.
Exactly how early a parcel will be delivered can't be predicted though.
Astrobe wrote:Is the randomness necessary at all?
As regards parcel bonuses, not for me.

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Re: Random element in parcel rep, bonuses, and maintenance

Post by kanthoney »

I've just been digging to find out what the rules actually are:

Reputation

At each clean witch jump, there's a 1/32 chance that your reputation will be eroded back to unknown. If there's a misjump, it's a 1 in 10 chance.

Parcel bonuses

This one's complicated. If you're a day early, there's a 75% chance you'll get a 10% tip. If you do get a tip, Oolite checks to see if you're two days early - if so, there's a 75% chance you'll get an extra 10% tip on top of that (which compounds with the first tip.) If you get the extra tip, Oolite checks to see if you're 4 days early (if so, same rules), then 8 days etc. So to get a 92k payout on a 52k parcel contract, by my maths you have to be at least 32 days early, and then there'll be an 18% chance of getting the 92k.

Maintenance overhauls

The maintenance is governed by the ship trade in factor, which is a number between 75 (old banger) to 100 (pristine). The maintenance overhaul message kicks in when this factor drops below 85. According to a comment in the text, the trade in factor drops by a random amount between 1 and 4 every eight jumps or so. I'm not sure I believe the comment - the actual formula is that the value drops if 2*market_rnd < ship_trade_in_factor, where market_rnd is a random number between 0 and 255. So if your ship is a pristine 100 it should drop every 5 jumps, while if it's a knackered 75 it'd drop every 7 jumps (if it was allowed to drop below 75, which it isn't).

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Re: Random element in parcel rep, bonuses, and maintenance

Post by Cody »

kanthoney wrote:Parcel bonuses

If you're a day early, there's a 75% chance you'll get a 10% tip. If you do get a tip, Oolite checks to see if you're two days early - if so, there's a 75% chance you'll get an extra 10% tip on top of that (which compounds with the first tip.) If you get the extra tip, Oolite checks to see if you're 4 days early (if so, same rules), then 8 days etc. So to get a 92k payout on a 52k parcel contract, by my maths you have to be at least 32 days early, and then there'll be an 18% chance of getting the 92k.
Fascinating... thanks!

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Re: Random element in parcel rep, bonuses, and maintenance

Post by Cody »

If you're a day early, there's a 75% chance you'll get a 10% tip.
The other 25% has just robbed me! A 44k parcel delivered 31 days early paid 44k - not a penny more! <sobs>

Edit to add: the game's got it in for me now - the next three deliveries also failed to pay a bonus!

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Re: Random element in parcel rep, bonuses, and maintenance

Post by cim »

Maintenance levels also will potentially go down if your hull is hit.

Ships with destructable subentities will be offered maintenance if any are missing, even if they are otherwise fully serviced.


On contract reputation, I think it's probably fine for parcels/passengers now - the difference between 70 and 69 reputation is trivial, and I think "display reputation" might be better off considering something like 65+ as "perfect". Cargo contracts, which still use the old +/-7 point scale, do have a particularly sharp change between 7 and 6, of course - but cargo contracts need more work anyway.

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Re: Random element in parcel rep, bonuses, and maintenance

Post by kanthoney »

Cody wrote:
Edit to add: the game's got it in for me now - the next three deliveries also failed to pay a bonus!
I must've missed the part of the code where the game checks the BB to see who's been complaining about it too much!

I wonder if we could make it so the bonus calculation could be overridden by OXP? That way you could do stuff such as using system information in the calculation (I bet those felines would be lousy tippers!)

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Re: Random element in parcel rep, bonuses, and maintenance

Post by Cody »

Complain? Moi? Perish the thought! <shuffles off to find something else wrong on F6>

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Re: Random element in parcel rep, bonuses, and maintenance

Post by another_commander »

I found it earlier, but can't see it anymore, someone must have fixed it. It was in GameController.m, no, honestly:

Code: Select all

char user[256];
DWORD userNameLength = 256;
GetUserName(user, &userNameLength));
if ([[NSString stringWithCString:user] isEqualToString:@"Cody"])
{
    badLuckEverywhere = YES;
    awardContractBonuses = NO;
    persistentMaintenanceOverhauls = YES;
}
See, it all has a logical explanation.

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Re: Random element in parcel rep, bonuses, and maintenance

Post by Cody »

<chuckles> Where's the bit about the Green Gecko always appearing at exactly the wrong moment? I'm thinking of renaming it Kato!

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Re: Random element in parcel rep, bonuses, and maintenance

Post by Bogatyr »

Cody wrote:
If you're a day early, there's a 75% chance you'll get a 10% tip.
The other 25% has just robbed me! A 44k parcel delivered 31 days early paid 44k - not a penny more! <sobs>

Edit to add: the game's got it in for me now - the next three deliveries also failed to pay a bonus!
WHERE do you find these 44k parcel jobs? Mine are all nickel and dime unless I'm in the very very corner of the galaxy and the route runs clear to the other side, and even then 10-15K are the best I see. Are you in G1 any more? I wonder if they pay more beyond G1....? It's not that they're in the list and unavailable to me because of combat status, I just don't see them *at all*.

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