Penalty for ramming ships near stations

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phkb
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Penalty for ramming ships near stations

Post by phkb »

User DTHP posted an issue on GitHub (here), showing that it's economically viable to stay outside stations and just ram smaller ships to collect their cargo. DTHP then made some suggestions about how to fix it.

I thought this might be a good issue to discuss here, because I think it's potentially all solvable with an OXP (I created one to test the theory - I'll post a link if anyone's interested). The question is, though, do we need it? The only person you're cheating by ramming ships is yourself. If you think it's a cheat, don't do it. If you like the idea as a creative way to earn money, then go for it. The only character in the game who is going to exploit ramming is the player, so this OXP would only apply to them. Do you need an OXP sitting over you, making sure you play by your own rules?

I guess there is a question of whether the core game should be monitoring this behaviour.

So, should this be a core code fix or simply an OXP fix for those who want it? Does anyone use the ramming ship method to gain some extra credits?

Then there's the question of implementation: how to best go about doing it? Include ship speed and mass in the equation? Should there be penalties for just ramming another ship which doesn't lead to that ships destruction, or just if the player kills the other ship? How far away from the station should this be considered illegal? Just within scanner range, or the full station aegis? Should there be loop holes, like if you're outside scanner range of the station you can get away with it, but not if you're within the aegis and also in scanner range of a viper?

Thoughts? Opinions? Questions?

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Re: Penalty for ramming ships near stations

Post by cim »

This is also a problem not near stations, in that the game does not consider a deliberate ram to be an attack. (As Elite Dangerous has seen, telling the difference between a deliberate ram and an accidental one is tricky, but it's much easier with only one player about)

One thing to consider might be adjusting how collision damage is calculated. At the moment, collision damage is extremely powerful (a Cobra III on full injectors deals almost enough damage to destroy a Coriolis station) and calculated entirely from a naive mass-velocity calculation (so tapping a heavy object like a station or large asteroid at 1m/s will always destroy your ship)

How about this:
- if the collision velocity in m/s is less than the current shield strength of an involved ship, deal light shield damage only to that ship (maybe capped at 10% of max shield strength), and apply an inertial velocity to that ship away from the collision sized equal to its current speed as the shields prevent damage and push the ships apart. The top 50% of an NPCs health would count as shields in this case, pending a proper NPC shield implementation.
- if the collision velocity is greater, deal full collision damage as now *but* also trigger the "attack"/"attacked by" events (unless the damage is being dealt to the player, to stop the player lightly tapping another ship with their own shields down to trigger a police response).

This makes low-speed collisions safer (which will be nice for new players trying to dock, as most of the time if they mess up they'll bounce), while not stopping ramming being usable as a combat tactic (it might make deliberately ramming a ship to finish it off into a viable combat tactic, if your own shields were still up). It also effectively fixes the original issue in that a collision fast enough to do damage will be counted as a crime.

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Re: Penalty for ramming ships near stations

Post by Anonymissimus »

I'd like to point out that NPCs sometimes "use" ramming too.
-I've been waiting once with a very light (small/little mass) ship between the nav buoy and the station. A Caddy Omega came out, was playing chicken game, hit me, I was thrown backwards into the nav buoy. BOOM press space.
-I suppose it can happen similarly with Aegis botherers (when you've got parcel contracts). I've also been hit by those and ejected from the Aegis, twice I think. Not sure whether it was an assassin, maybe it was an undocking trader. Assassins can and do ram you sometimes at least, intentionally or not. So just lurking in the aegis is not safe.

So part of this "be repelled back from a collision" functionality must already be there.

What's always been bothering me is why thargoids don't simply go on kamikaze attack. Warships are fast and have hight mass. The player stands no chance. The warhip being destroyed in this action is obviously no problem for the thargoids.
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Re: Penalty for ramming ships near stations

Post by Cody »

Ramming is a perfectly valid tactic, whether within the aegis or not. Should it trigger the "attack"/"attacked by" events? Hmm... probably!

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Re: Penalty for ramming ships near stations

Post by Disembodied »

Cody wrote:Ramming is a perfectly valid tactic, whether within the aegis or not. Should it trigger the "attack"/"attacked by" events? Hmm... probably!
I agree (although I think it's probably a tactic best reserved for use by the player, rather than by NPCs: it would be difficult to build in the smarts for them to use it properly, and it would be very hard to tell the difference between artificial intelligence and artificial stupidity). I think Cim's suggestion would differentiate between a more-or-less accidental bump, which might trigger some verbal abuse but not an aggressive response, and a deliberate collision with hostile intent.

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Re: Penalty for ramming ships near stations

Post by Fritz »

There are two different issues:

1) Is ramming calculated correctly? It isn't, at least if you hit something very heavy very slowly, as cim pointed out. So recalibrating the calculations behind this certainly wouldn't be wrong.

2) Should ramming be considered as an attack?

Flying a heavy ship with strong shields, I use ramming regularly if I'm harassed by assassins inside the station aegis, and I can even destroy a Cobra 3 without risking much damage. It is fun, but it somehow feels wrong, almost like cheating, because it can be repeated over and over without somebody objecting. On the other hand, ramming a Viper is treated like an attack, even if it is accidental. Telling the difference between a deliberate ram and an accident is not easy, but I don't think we need to distinguish: In most cases ramming is intentional, so it should count as an attack by default, as with the Vipers. Or, to make it less strict, the first ramming could still count as an accident, but the second ramming should tell the police that something is fishy...

Something related: Docking without clearance gets you a fine. But an accident during an illegal docking doesn't matter, although this would be a very serious issue in reality. In this case it should at least change your status to offender!
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Re: Penalty for ramming ships near stations

Post by UK_Eliter »

Fritz wrote: 2) Should ramming be considered as an attack?
Yes - when it is (and it's been pointed out in this thread that it might be hard for the code to determine that; but I think it should try).

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Re: Penalty for ramming ships near stations

Post by Astrobe »

UK_Eliter wrote:
Fritz wrote: 2) Should ramming be considered as an attack?
Yes - when it is (and it's been pointed out in this thread that it might be hard for the code to determine that; but I think it should try).
I've seen triple-A racing games fail completely fail at it. I'd suggest a different approach: make it risky, like inflicting random damage.

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