New Jameson here, some initial feedback

General discussion for players of Oolite.

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New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by TS13 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:51 pm

Greetings! New player here, thought I 'd give Oolite a try. I have never played Elite, but I used to play and enjoy WC Privateer.

- Oolite has an excellent in-game tutorial. I think this is a big deal for a game with complex controls as Oolite, and should be better advertised on the front page. If I knew about the tutorial, I might have tried the game earlier.

- The OXP page is not particularly user-friendly, partially due to the large number of OXPs. Please, strongly suggest to your OXP creators to write a small description for the front OXP page. In addition, information about the effect on gameplay balance should be available for every OXP at a glance, imo (does the OXP provide the player with an unfair advantage, as compared to the base game?).

OXPs that are not relevant to Oolite's latest version should be moved to a different page.

It is still unclear to me what is going to happen if I install two different OXPs that are partially overlapping. I assume that the latest one overwrites the previous one?

- I find manual docking to be easy enough, but initially it was not clear to me at all that I had to move towards the end wall of the dock. I would just enter the dock and stop the engines, wondering what I am supposed to do next. Tutorials explain how to enter the dock , but not what to do next.

- The game starts a bit slow, but I don't mind. I am trying to come to terms with the fact that there is no story, but in principle I don't mind this either. It would be extremely cool if there are little secrets hidden in various sectors, hopefully there are. If not, please consider creating some.

The game looks very promising, glad to have found it. Cheers.

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Cody » Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:12 pm

Welcome aboard, Commander! In Oolite, you write your own story - and there may well be a few 'little secrets' to be found.

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by maik » Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:22 pm

Welcome, and thanks for the good feedback!

Try some of the mission OXPs for scripted stories, check their wiki pages for explanation on what they are about.

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by another_commander » Sun Mar 03, 2019 8:46 am

Welcome to Oolite!
TS13 wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:51 pm
It would be extremely cool if there are little secrets hidden in various sectors, hopefully there are.
Oh boy, you have no idea what's coming your way... [/spoilers] ;-) Right On, Commander!

Edit: In the OXP list you can select an OXP and press "i" to display some more detailed information. Pressing "i" also copies the information link for the specific OXP to the clipboard, so you can paste it straight onto your browser.

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by TS13 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:50 pm

Thank you for the warm welcome, Commanders!

On the issue of the "unfriendly" OXP page, I was actually talking about the website's page. I have not figured out where the OXPs go if I install them from in-game (they do not go into the Add On folder, I can tell you that), so I try not to use it unless I am given no choice.

So, the website OXP page has duplicates, it has different OXPs that link to the same page, it has OXPs that are really old and possibly incompatible with current version, and it even has greyed out titles that are not available any more. It might worth it to clean it up a little bit and make it less overwhelming for newcomers.

Great to hear about the "little secrets"!

I have just bought witchspace fuel injectors. Things are looking up!

PS. A bit surprised that I don't start with the worst ship possible. Sounds like Cobra III is a decent ship.

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Disembodied » Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:18 pm

TS13 wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:50 pm
PS. A bit surprised that I don't start with the worst ship possible. Sounds like Cobra III is a decent ship.
Yes - this is a legacy of the fact that Oolite is a remake of the 1984 original, Elite. In the original (32K!) game, although you could buy new equipment to improve your ship, you couldn't change ships: of the original Elite ships, the Cobra III is the best all-round ship in the game.

It would make much more sense, I think, for a modern game to start the player in (probably) an Adder, which is the smallest and cheapest jump-capable ship. But to make this work successfully requires a LOT of rejigging - everything from in-game ship prices and economics to how (and if) the player-only Torus drive works.

Which is not to say that it's not possible to start in an Adder, and there are a couple of OXPs which let you experience this: [EliteWiki] Modern Start and [EliteWiki] Start Choices. It's worth waiting until you're an experienced player, though: not only is it significantly more challenging to fly a smaller, slower, less capable ship than a Cobra III, you also have to be prepared to wiggle around some of the game mechanics (like, how to avoid constant mass-locking when most ships are faster than you).

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by phkb » Mon Mar 04, 2019 3:45 am

TS13 wrote: On the issue of the "unfriendly" OXP page, I was actually talking about the website's page.
The issue of clutter on the OXP page is one that has been batted around a bit before, without reaching a conclusion. Or a satisfying conclusion, anyway. The list of OXP's on the website is not curated in any way, meaning there are old ones that have been abandoned by the author and may not be working, and un-spotted conflicts just waiting to happen. The Oolite dev's do not test all (or even any of) the OXP's prior to a new release, so everything offered on that page is "buyer beware". That said, if the OXP author is still around, and a conflict is mentioned on the forum thread for the OXP, you can be pretty sure the issue will be resolved very quickly.

The original advice still stands - add OXP's slowly, to see what the impacts are, before deciding if it's to your liking.
TS13 wrote: I have not figured out where the OXPs go if I install them from in-game
On Windows the Managed AddOns are installed in this directory: C:\Oolite\oolite.app\GNUstep\Library\ApplicationSupport\Oolite\ManagedAddOns

However, if you want to play with an OXZ installed here, it's probably easier to just to select the "List installed expansion packs" in the Download Manager, select the pack to want to tinker with, and press "x" to extract the content to the AddOns folder, where it will have an extension of ".off". You can then rename the folder to have ".oxp" instead of ".off" to make it "live", and you would then need to delete the version in the Download Manager.

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Damocles Edge » Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:53 am

Greetings & welcome to the friendliest board this side of Lave TS13.
TS13 wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:51 pm

- The OXP page is not particularly user-friendly, partially due to the large number of OXPs. Please, strongly suggest to your OXP creators to write a small description for the front OXP page.
As well as having info and feedback located on the oxp pages on this board most oxp's also have wiki pages. See http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/Oolite_Main_Page
TS13 wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:51 pm

OXPs that are not relevant to Oolite's latest version should be moved to a different page.
I understand what you mean but that could be a can of worms as people can play different game versions (some may chose to play an older game version than the current 1.88 , plus there is also the "nightly" version of the game, which I have never tried, but understand is kinda like a beta option for latest options in development (please someone correct me on this point if I am not correct).
It is also true to say that with Oolite and oxp options that it is unlikely that any 2 players are playing the exact same game (unless they have oxp's switched off via strict mode) - it's your game, the way you want it. What is relevant to another player may not necessarily be relevant to you and vice versa. It's all about personal choice and preference.

TS13 wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:51 pm

A bit surprised that I don't start with the worst ship possible. Sounds like Cobra III is a decent ship.
The cobbie mk3 is an insanely good ship at just about everything, especially considering the paltry 150,000 credits that it costs - I personally think it's way too good and needs to be nerfed or instead be a ship that you aspire to own for a much higher price - but many traditionalists may strongly disagree on this point as it was the only ship you could pilot in the original Elite game back in the 80's.
The cobra mk3 is a good ship for a new player who is getting to grips with the game, as the game can and does frequently go from quiet on the enemy front to "GET ME OUT OF HERE NOW!!!".

Above all have fun and enjoy the game that you want, in your way.
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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Cody » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:59 am

Damocles Edge wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:53 am
... plus there is also the "nightly" version of the game, which I have never tried...
Try it sometime - it'll sit happily alongside your normal install.

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by TS13 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:35 pm

OXP list:
Right, I am not saying that older OXPs should be thrown out. Some of them may still be relevant, and as mentioned some people may be playing older versions of Oolite anyway. It is just an idea to create different pages so that the list gets easier to navigate for newcomers. Maybe it was a bad idea, not sure, but still something needs to be done. There are several 100s of OXPs and the list is only going to get longer. You guys need a plan.

Respecting the original:
Of course, I absolutely agree that the original game has to be respected, especially in spirit. I often get angry myself when a favorite game or movie gets a remake, only to find that nothing I held sacred was respected in the remake. That said, having to change ships is definitely within the spirit of the game, since a core part of gameplay is gathering money to do upgrades.
I understand the difficulties, and maybe having OXPs that allow different starts is good enough. I just thought that starting with an Adder might make the start of the game a bit more interesting, trying to upgrade to a Cobra III. Getting the Cobra III will be the first big "Yes!!!" moment. It doesn't have to take long. But yes, initial location should probably be looked into.

Combat:
Now, ladies and gentlemen, gather around, for this is the moment you have all been waiting for! A new Jameson complains about combat difficulty! OK, not really. I do enjoy challenging games.That said, here come some initial impressions (I do have injectors, fwd and aft beam lasers):

- There is no featured learning curve, although I may have just been unlucky. Always at least 4 enemies, and no fight I have engaged in was easy. I always get battered, still haven't managed to kill anyone.

- They can hit me while I can't see them on my screen, which is a weird design decision. I am really missing an option to magnify my optics (not talking about the scanner, I mean the space and ships around me- there is no option to magnify, right?)

- Combat looks to be a bit too fast for someone who is using keyboard

- At least I know that combat will be challenging

I will give further feedback on combat once I have improved. Unless there is a way to deliberately go after weak enemies, I will probably have to download a combat training OXP that I saw.

On the plus side, I learned how to do fuel scooping!

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Redspear » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:24 am

Hi TS13 and welcome :)

TS13 wrote: There are several 100s of OXPs and the list is only going to get longer. You guys need a plan.
I know you were talking more about the wiki pages but the in game manager is quite searchable with various filters that you can use and has less of the old oxps present. In some ways I think of it as the replacement for the old oxp list.

TS13 wrote: That said, having to change ships is definitely within the spirit of the game, since a core part of gameplay is gathering money to do upgrades.
I think that if the creator of Oolite had built it that way then it would have been largely accepted but he didn't. For some elite verterans the chance to slip straight back behind the flight controls of the ol' Mk III is a big part of the appeal and, like many things in life, the thought of losing what one has can be an unpleasant one.

Disembodied's point about speed and masslock is a key one I think, so much so that I made a couple of OXPs to address it (see my sig) as like you I personally find the Mk III too good for a starter ship.

TS13 wrote: There is no featured learning curve, although I may have just been unlucky. Always at least 4 enemies, and no fight I have engaged in was easy. I always get battered, still haven't managed to kill anyone.
Which systems are you flying in?

You're probably familiar with the Corporate to Anarchy difficulty scale but are you also aware that neighbouring systems can influence the threat?
For example, the Leesti - Diso trade route is more dangerous than you might think because of proximity to Riedquat (an anarchy), whereas Tionisle - Isinor is a bit safer.

I've been working on this but (as always) only in so far as something that makes more sense to me - update to one of my oxps within the hour...

TS13 wrote: They can hit me while I can't see them on my screen, which is a weird design decision.
Are you sure about that?

Assuming that you're facing them this sounds like it might be the angle or settings on your monitor - if they can shoot you then they should be on your scanner and therefore visible. At distance they can be very small however, so again I'm looking into this for my aforementioned oxp with regards to laser ranges.

TS13 wrote:On the plus side, I learned how to do fuel scooping!
8)
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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by another_commander » Tue Mar 05, 2019 8:17 am

Redspear wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:24 am
TS13 wrote: That said, having to change ships is definitely within the spirit of the game, since a core part of gameplay is gathering money to do upgrades.
I think that if the creator of Oolite had built it that way then it would have been largely accepted but he didn't. For some elite verterans the chance to slip straight back behind the flight controls of the ol' Mk III is a big part of the appeal and, like many things in life, the thought of losing what one has can be an unpleasant one.

Disembodied's point about speed and masslock is a key one I think, so much so that I made a couple of OXPs to address it (see my sig) as like you I personally find the Mk III too good for a starter ship.
We also need to consider balance here. The Cobra Mk III is one of the best all-around vessels, yet the difficulty at the start of the game is borderline extreme, as ST13 has already experienced. Trying to survive the first crucial trips with an Adder would be potentially very frustrating. Not to say it is impossible - it is certainly possible and people reading this board have done it, but I would not expect the normal newcomer to have the patience to go through it, despite the feeling of fulfillment when eventually the step to the next great ship happens. As a matter of fact, the Easy Start at Tionisla with 1000 Cr was implemented precisely because the default start - even with the Cobra MkIII - was deemed too difficult for some players.
TS13 wrote: There is no featured learning curve, although I may have just been unlucky. Always at least 4 enemies, and no fight I have engaged in was easy. I always get battered, still haven't managed to kill anyone.
The principal advice in a few words: Always alter your direction vector. For more words, here is a very worthwhile read: http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/Oolite_Tactics

You are correct that there is essentially no learning curve. Oolite does not start you up easy and with progressively increasing difficulty. It just throws you in the universe and you follow the same set of rules every NPC does. For a poorly equipped ship, it will mean massacre - and this is why the Cobra is just about what you need. It is very poorly kitted out at the beginning, but at least it is a very good ship.

TS13 wrote: They can hit me while I can't see them on my screen, which is a weird design decision.
When you start there is no clever combat system in your ship and most of the targeting work has to be done manually. Later on you will be able to upgrade your targeting system to something that will make your life a lot easier. I imagine when you say you can't see them on your screen you mean that they are in front of you but too far away. But as Redspear said, if they are firing then they are within range and, if you do notice where they are firing from you can then try to lock on on them and you can maybe hit them too, depending on the range of your laser vs the range of their laser. The rules of the game do not allow for magic shots. If they are hitting you, then they can see you, they are within laser range and they have you in the center of their sights.

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Disembodied » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:00 am

another_commander wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 8:17 am
TS13 wrote: There is no featured learning curve, although I may have just been unlucky. Always at least 4 enemies, and no fight I have engaged in was easy. I always get battered, still haven't managed to kill anyone.
The principal advice in a few words: Always alter your direction vector. For more words, here is a very worthwhile read: http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/Oolite_Tactics

You are correct that there is essentially no learning curve. Oolite does not start you up easy and with progressively increasing difficulty. It just throws you in the universe and you follow the same set of rules every NPC does. For a poorly equipped ship, it will mean massacre - and this is why the Cobra is just about what you need. It is very poorly kitted out at the beginning, but at least it is a very good ship.
There is of course a way around this, but it requires yet more guddling about with the original game: the creation of a (nearly or completely) safe "core systems" set of planets, where the police are plentiful and pirates rare to nonexistent. The profitability of trade within any such core systems, of course, should be lower, but it would be a place for Jamesons to pooter about in their Adder, learn the basic game mechanics, and shoot a few asteroids, before scraping enough credits together for a few bits of decent kit (or maybe even e.g. a Moray or a Cobra I) and setting off for riskier, and more rewarding, trade routes among the Outer Worlds.

This is such a standard setup for a game that a lot of people get fooled into thinking that Lave must be a safe system, because it's where you start … I think I may even have thought this when playing the original game back in 1984.

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Redspear » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:49 am

Certainly difficulty is a factor but early difficulty has almost as much to do with lack of equipment as ship choice.

Aegidian gave 2 core ships a speed boost of 0.05 LM: the Cobra Mk III and the Moray. The Mk III is tougher, faster and has more cargo space; therefore it can take more punishment, has more chance to escape combat and (after the first few trade runs) can make money faster, progressively so.

The cargo space in particular (20 - 35TC vs 7TC) means that once you can afford your first upgrade to a Mk III then they start to come thick and fast. Were it not for survivability and mass lock, the moray makes a much 'better' starting ship IMHO.

So, are there any non-oxp solutions to survivability and mass lock?
Survivability: extra energy unit - still won't be as tough as a Mk III but getting there. Maybe an E.C.M. too, for some extra help.
Masslock: fuel injectors - only fast in a pinch but much more likely to escape at least some of the time.

The argument that such a situation is a give away is countered by the fact that you'd need to buy them all over again if you were to upgrade ship and also that you'll likely be paying to repair them quite a few times before you can afford a ship upgrade.

This start is potentially in core game if a Moray is for sale in the shipyard (just trade in your Mk III) but it is both counterintuitive and leaves you with (if memory serves) too much spending cash.

On difficulty, it is unfortunate that the most obvious trade route lies so close to Riedquat...
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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by TS13 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:24 pm

Yes, I meant that I can't see the enemies because they are too small. Apparently, I am not too small for them. Fine, I will move closer when I want to fight, but it is still a weird design decision. On the other hand, I read that some commanders snipe with the military laser. It blows my mind that it is doable.

I downloaded the Combat Simulator OXP to get some training. Currently, I am just good enough to have epic fights with lone "Mostly Harmless" opponents (ie, I suck).

Yes, I know of the government hierarchy of difficulty. No, I didn't know that nearby sectors play a role, that's extremely cool! The question remains: If I want to dogfight lone weak enemies, what type of sectors should I be looking in? I am currently well-equipped enough to start looking for trouble, but I want to take it step-by-step and get experience.

Other feedback:

- The suns are too bright. Did some reading around the forum and found out that it actually has gameplay consequences (for the AI too). Unfortunately, I had to OXP the sun glare out, because otherwise fuel scooping was too painful.
Of course, my issue is not with realism, I just don't find this to be good gameplay. Anyway, I see that there has been controversy on the subject, you now know where I stand.

- Generally, at this moment I am trying to avoid OXPs that change game balance or mechanics, and am mostly going for Ambience. I did make a couple of exceptions though, like the glare killer above.

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