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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:45 pm 
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Checkpoints might be a bit hard to justify in-game, but could there be something else that attracts the player?
How about the police don't have the resources to patrol an entire system but a space lane is something they can cope with? Thus the checkpoints, thus the penalties if you miss them.
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Maybe torus could be one shot speed burst and to be used again, it would need to be charged and there are charge points along the way or something. No, I don't have any good ideas really :mrgreen: .
:lol: Well, I'd say it's the start of an idea, maybe the 'charge points' are actually 'torus magnets' that the torus drive pulls you to? It still needs more work but...
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The checkpoint solution seems to me a bit tedious, 5 checkpoints on the current wp -> station distance?
the indirect solution from dsp sounds more fitting
I'm going to quote the typical pre-oxp defence here: it depends how it's done.

You can willfully (or accidentally) miss a checkpoint and still dock. You could willfully miss all of them (should you wish) and still dock.
You could even be assigned a waiting time at a checkpoint (for dodging the lane) and decide to just ignore it with no wait - they can't/ won't stop you.
In fact, it really wouldn't stop you doing anything.

Upon docking however, you pay the penalty for each of the checkpoints that you missed.
  • 1 missed = 5 credits; almost nothing, even for a new pilot
    2 missed = 25 credits; if you're not a beginner, who cares, right?
    3 missed = 125 credits; maybe this might actually matter soon
    4 missed = 625 credits; starting to get serious...
    5 missed = 3125 credits; are you sure you want to dock?
Of course the numbers could be made either more forgiving or more draconian but if you miss one or two most pilots aren't going to care. Personally, I'd add a time penalty at the station for processing too (with a similar scaling) so that those running (potentially lucrative) contracts might be inclined to stay on the lane too.
  • I'm sorry sir, we do like to welcome trade from other systems but I'm afraid you missed all of our check points you see and... we're really left with no choice but to ask you to complete your docking protocol with the shuttle pilots. Terribly sorry sir.
As for the comm messages, they could be direct to your ship so you don't need to hear every other pilots's messages as you are passing by...
Quote:
also as penalty for speeding up perhaps blowing a fuse or even risk of destroying your engine or enginecomponents,
the ship requires severe reparations but you made it, overdriving your engines just like in those scifi shows :)
Interesting... but on those shows they normally have a better reason for doing so than the one I'm about to give below...
Quote:
I've read several solutions for speeding up, some are even already ( :) ) available to try,
but in 1 sentence what is it one is to achieve here?
To reduce time (and boredom) spent in mass-lock trying to overtake ships that are both in front of and travelling in the same direction as you.

How's that?

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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:23 pm 
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With regard to "surjectors" the Torus drive is still there and it bugs me. So one more try.

So fuel-free (and shields-free) injectors looks like a good solution to the lane-crawling issue. The problem of long distances (wp-sun, wp-second planet etc.) remains.

I'm considering in-system hyperjumps ("hyperleaps"?). The player selects a target with the compass, somehow engages the hyperdrive, countdown, and the player lands at a good distance of the target (probably same distance as wp-main station). Of course if the station is actually behind the sun the player may be fried on arrival but hey, natural selection is a good thing!

Except that by the looks of it, it'll be difficult to trick the system into accepting a jump to the same system. Perhaps create a wormhole to the current system and intercept the jump failure? But at the very least I think one can just teleport the ship to the location (but enemies won't be able to follow, so no-go if masslocked), and do the Light'n'magic manually.

One important question though: I think I've heard the Torus drive can play a role in escaping interstellar space; is it the case?


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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:00 pm 
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Not sure how relevant this is, but I've done some thinking about NPC torus drives (perfectly OXP-able these days if I ever get round to it).
Obviously when everyone has torus drive, no trader will stick to the lane if there's any chance of a pirate encounter. So pirates will go where the traders are: near the witchpoint (and to a lesser extent any trading stations). Not too close because that makes them easy prey for cops or bounty hunters, but instead of packs strung out along the lane, you'd have a loose 'shell' of groups around the witchpoint. This means most trade runs would produce just 1 or 2 battles if any, so the NPCs may need to get a bit deadlier.

Of course this kind of change would not be appreciated by the traditionalists?

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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:35 pm 
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Of course this kind of change would not be appreciated by the traditionalists?
<chortles>

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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:39 pm 
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I think that penalising the player for minimising the 'boring bits' is an unusual (and questionable) game design strategy. So if there's to be no penalty then the question becomes why aren't the non-players doing it too?

One thing I failed to mention in my '1 sentence' answer to cbr is that we want to avoid the tedium without also avoiding the 'action'. The action is more exciting when it's surprising and unpredictable, not when it's mundane. So we need those trader encounters but it would just be nice if they didn't take so long to resolve.
Quote:
The problem of long distances (wp-sun, wp-second planet etc.) remains.

I'm considering in-system hyperjumps ("hyperleaps"?)
I personally don't find torusing to other planets/suns boring - I see the planet slowly looming larger as I approach, there is a sense of speed, of distance, of progress.
I don't find manual docking boring (although I do like the option of using the docking computers) - I hear all of the system coms, against a backdrop of station and planet, and I'm involved in skill based procedure that will be rewarded if completed successfully.
I didn't even find mass-lock boring in elite - 'I wonder what ship that is passing by... another python, there it goes'.
Atmospheric, scenic, progressive. Overtaking an inbound mass-lock however is none of those things, well maybe one, if you're being generous.

'Hyperleaps' could be fun though.
Quote:
Obviously when everyone has torus drive, no trader will stick to the lane if there's any chance of a pirate encounter. So pirates will go where the traders are: near the witchpoint (and to a lesser extent any trading stations). Not too close because that makes them easy prey for cops or bounty hunters, but instead of packs strung out along the lane, you'd have a loose 'shell' of groups around the witchpoint.
...until (if you extrapolate further) the lane becomes the optimal route to take, and so the traders return, and so the centre of those 'shells' become the most guarded and so the pirates position themselves along the lanes rather than just the at ends, until the police patrol the lanes, etc. etc. etc.

The appeal of the lane is that it has the shortest distance. Unless I'm getting myself confused (quite possible) an optimal strategy, where there is free movement of all parties, would be one where the distance from the lane was as little as necessary to avoid significant increase of risk and no further. Thus the lane will likely always have a pull of sorts to the extent that traffic generally would not likely stray too far from it.

Meanwhile, back on ship roles...

After having an initial look at the weighting idea, I can happily shave about 0.03 from the average speed of the typical trader, courier & smuggler. That might not sound like much but consider that aegidian granted the player ship a bonus of only 0.05 in an attempt to remedy the same issue (IIRC). The 0.03 benefit would be to ALL player ships however and not just the MkIII.

If I can get the benefit up to 0.05 and still have a plausible weighting then I think I'll be happy with that.

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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:35 pm 
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So I've reached my target of reducing average system trader speed by approx 0.05.
Here's the difference that would make to a game with no oxp ships according to my calculations

Speed at which a mkIII currently overtakes the average inbound trader masslock:
  • Trader - 0.1
    Courier - 0.03
    Smuggler - 0.07
Speed of same with role weight adjustments:
  • Trader - 0.15 (one and a half times as fast)
    Courier - 0.08 (more than twice as fast)
    Smuggler - 0.11 (more than one and a half times as fast)
Note that the biggest increase is also where it is most needed.

For the adder start fans, your ship currently performs as follows:
  • Trader - negative 0.01
    Courier - negative 0.08
    Smuggler - negative 0.04

In other words, without injectors you can expect to do very little in the way of overtaking - maybe a below average trader or two)

And with the suggested alterations...
  • Trader - 0.04 (yay! - faster than the mkIII currently overtakes couriers)
    Courier - negative 0.03 (sorry, speed is a virtue for couriers)
    Smuggler - 0.003 (you can at least expect to overtake the slower ones)
Whichever ship you are flying, your speed relative to the average trader will be improved and yet your actual speed has remained unchanged.
Furthermore, if the mkIII and the moray are returned to their elite speeds (0.3 and 0.25 respectively) then overtaking improves when piloting any if the other ships (please note this was not done to achieve the results given above).

Combining this with another idea would improve the benefits further.

Thinking some more about the original 'solution' to the problem i.e. giving the player-only version of the mkIII a 0.05 speed boost (non-player mkIIIs were slower then)...
Imagine if, instead of it being a boost to the default player ship, it were actually a piece of equipment that the player started with.

It would need to be otherwise rare, or else what's the point?, but it could be very useful for making travel more fun in player ships generally. For non-player ships, there could just be a variant that has the speed boost included but they should also be sufficiently rare that they had little influence on the figures given above.

There's the potential for wreaking havoc with oxp ships here but it needn't be available by default; besides, if it's not intended by the oxp writer then it won't appear in the non-player version and if you don't want it as a player then don't buy it!

So this drive accelerator, or whatever it is, could justify reducing typical mkIII and moray speeds and once equipped would improve the above figures for any ship (even the mkIII and moray as their non-player counterparts would typically not be so equipped). This needn't be done of course but I think the mkIII is more than fast enough already; despite being one of the biggest default ships it is also one of the fastest.

So I see two options here:
  • 1. It's a high tech item, just expensive enough to justify it being available only rarely to non-player ships.
    2. It's a special item that the player starts with and is transferable between ships.
I much prefer option one at present but whichever were implemented, it could result in similar advantages to those listed above for the mkIII being available to most player ships.

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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 2:05 pm 
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Have you altered the max_speed of the ships? Another possibility could be altering the AIs so that when ships are flying on lane, they would fly at "cruise" speed. Just a thought.


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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:23 pm 
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Nope, just their relative probabilities of appearing but not the total weighting (i.e. oxp trader ships would still appear with the same probabilities as before).
No ship has lost a role and no ship has gained one.

Cruise speed is quite a nice idea, the couriers probably wouldn't use it much however and they're the most problematic in terms of mass-lock.

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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:39 pm 
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About skipping the line. Why does everyone fly on a lane? I can think of two reasons, safety and economy. With practically free in-system travel the economy part would require bigger changes.

The police patrol the lane so it's sort of safe assuming there's some danger lurking outside the lane. There could be something like automated sensors planted by pirates outside the lane to alert the raiding party to intercept. Too bad the player can safely torus away. What if these intercepting pirates would be granted torus drives to catch the player?

So, there could be an ambush pirate party (or more) waiting somewhere oustside the lane. Around the lane should be X number of tracker drones waiting and alerting the ambush party. The drone should follow the player and should not be visible on the radar and keep on transmitting the coordinates of the player so that the ambush party can home in to the player. Both, the tracker drones and the ambush party should be granted with torus speed.


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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:00 pm 
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Quote:
I think that penalising the player for minimising the 'boring bits' is an unusual (and questionable) game design strategy. So if there's to be no penalty then the question becomes why aren't the non-players doing it too?
What the modification does is reduce the boring bits, and make them less boring. It's not penalising the player, it offers a trade-off. Indeed it's a bit unusual in a game that gives the player an übership right from the beginning :wink:

The "penalty" of bringing shields down for fuel-free injectors achieves various goals:
- it follows a well established rule saying that risk comes with a reward; the reward here being that travelling faster on average than before increases your credits/minutes.
- it creates easy to understand risks and rewards.
- it gives more options: use fuel and fly safely until your tank is empty, or live dangerously and keep your fuel for when you really need it (well perhaps you'll need it because you decided to live dangerously...).
- it creates more variety in combat situations. Now crossing the path of lone pirate is no joke any more even with your IronAss because your overboosted shields are down. Or it can be used as a desperate attempt to flee when you're low on fuel.
- because flying without shields is a really dangerous thing to do, it is believable that ordinary traders won't use it (I've considered adding a very tiny chance of being hit by some rock to reinforce this point).
- the modification that allows to combine Torus+injectors in a single device implies that you also have no shields when using Torus. I think it's an improvement because while using it to travel to the sun or another planet, it's easy to avoid wandering ships. Furthermore because of the way the populator is configured they're sparse and in small groups, so it's often easy to take them down. With shields down, failing to avoid them puts you in a troublesome situation.

Now, if the risk is to high for the reward, it can be fixed. For instance, award some shield regen boost while the weapons are offline.


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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:04 pm 
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automated sensors planted by pirates outside the lane to alert the raiding party to intercept.
Like Pirate Centres?

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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:16 pm 
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automated sensors planted by pirates outside the lane to alert the raiding party to intercept.
Like Pirate Centres?
Yeah. I had those in mind :D . However I would not extend the scanner ranges and would distribute the drones randomly on a cylinder around the lane. There would be holes in the net so the pirates would not not always attack when you leave the lane. With the possible exception of the witchspace buoy perhaps. And not use pirate centers, just a couple/few pirate groups with special AI waiting for call.

This should definitely be tested. Maybe I'll find some spare time somewhere. Or did you, Norby, create something at that time to test the idea?


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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:40 pm 
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The police patrol the lane so it's sort of safe assuming there's some danger lurking outside the lane.
As I see it, the police patrol the lane so that there is a path for the traders to follow: go this way and we will protect you, anywhere else and we won't be able to or will refuse (by drawing police from the lane you'd be making their defence of traders inefficient). That should attract most of the traders, and indeed most of the pirates.

Rather than being on the lane as such, pirates might be better placed at trying to overlap the lane with their mass-locks. Like ambush predators on the edge of a migration path - they want the prey on the weak but not be trampled by the strong. As things stand, on player scanner = inducing a mass-lock, so the pirates couldn't be positioned too wide else you could often just pass straight through.

Maybe pirates aren't just waiting for you to travel down the lane, they're also waiting for you to leave it.

Imagine if once the player has left the lane, the nearest pirate pack moves to intercept. They dont have torus of course but couldn't this be simulated as an exception without too much processing strain? Then what? Well I think that would work better if it wasn't constantly happening, so you've then broken free but only after a serious fight perhaps proportional to the danger of the system.

One pirate pack not enough? How about the nearest two pirate packs or three but at the same time - I think that would keep me on lane :shock:
An individual has been seperated from the herd, the predators begin to close in for the kill... The lane is a rather sparsely populated for this analogy to work particularly well however.
Quote:
Now, if the risk is to high for the reward, it can be fixed. For instance, award some shield regen boost while the weapons are offline.
Very true but where one choice is something that I'd rather wasn't in the game in the first place (i.e. crawl-by mass-locks) then, for me at least, it's not much of a choice in such instances.

To be fair, I've yet to try your particular oxp but whilst choosing a level of risk is a nice game element, even the 'low risk' option should still be fun else I think it is to the detriment of the game as a whole.

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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:49 pm 
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Perhaps multiple stations per planet could a solution against masslocking traffic jams.
3 to 8 stations around a planet depending on planet size, evenly distributed each has it's own spacelane and witchpoint, the systemplanet acts kinda like an airport with multiple runways. The systems traffic control sends you to the least busy spacelane?

also interstation traffic around the planet, almost equal markets with minimal differences to give beginning traders a way to make some credits.


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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:18 pm 
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did you, Norby, create something at that time to test the idea?
It is still a plan, feel free to continue it.
Quote:
3 to 8 stations around a planet depending on planet size, evenly distributed each has it's own spacelane and witchpoint
Imho the single witchpoint is a feature of Oolite so more could be in an OXP only. More parallel lanes are possible, could solve the jams but also reduce the police density due to the wider covered area.

Better GalCop actions could help to keep traders on lanes: clean ships send a long-range distress signal in red alert, a reply message show the time when the nearest Vipers can arrive to help using full synchronised torus. The main station should send out new ships for help also. In advanced systems a small GalCop outpost could be at the half of the main lane which send Vipers also.

Lurking pirates in exchange could use visual tracking to detect and pursuit off-lane ships from 4x scanner range, this is where a trader appear as a moving dot. Moreover could attack on-lane ships also if no GalCop ship in sight and retreat off-lane when one arrive. Vipers should not follow them but stay on the lane.

A warning message should be displayed before the player leave the lane to keep within.
Another should say at off-lane attacks that no help will arrive.

Alternatively, if the only goal is to avoid masslocks then use visual contact (1-4x scanner range depending on ship size, calculated by the core game) to predict if a ship will enter into scanner soon. In this case give a message with the remaining distance and where should turn to avoid it, as a well-known voice say: "turn right". ;)
Just before masslock Torus drive could auto slow down to Injector speed which give a last chance to turn.
Send a message when the prediction is clear again after enough turn and remove the speed limit.

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