Antiubericity

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Killer Wolf
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Antiubericity

Post by Killer Wolf »

Was thinking the other day about specs and stuff. given things are hard coded like the fuel capacity and laser power, would there be any mileage in hardcoding other stats to prevent ships getting out of hand? Granted people can go in and edit OXPs now, but i feel that's slightly against the spirit.
would it be worth capping speed at say 4.1LM, recharge rates at 6.5 or whatever, power at 750 mebbes?
might be constrictive in some people's mind but it's kinda like real life i'd think. it's like cars, the uberest road car can do say 230mph, and no matter what you want to do or pretend you can't make one that does 300mph no matter what you stick in it ~ stuff like that is purely into the realms of landspeed record vehicles. we could maybe have a higher limit for military craft?

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Post by Cmdr James »

I think its a lost cause, if people want to fly a ship with a million turrets they can do so. I dont think it is our place to say otherwise, and to be honest, it is pretty easy for anyone to remove the limits and recompile.

Guidelines on sensible limits that we agree as a community might be interesting, but I suspect the people who like powerful ships will continue to build and fly ships. I dont see anything wrong with that.

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Post by Micha »

What I think would be nice (but probably won't happen), would be 'ship builders kit'.

Basically, define a set of components needed for ships, such as engines, laser mountings, missile bay, cargo bay, scoop fitting, etc etc. For a given tech-level, a component is a specific size, mass, and cost, and possibly affects other parameters. (eg, a TL1 missile bay can only load and fire standard (non-hardened) missiles). Arguments can be made for and against whether a particular TL item should be larger (more functionality) or smaller (better implementation).
Military kit should not be, by standard, available for inclusion in a ship (MilLasers excepted). Ships containing MilTech should only be attainable through a mission.

Even if a ship isn't actually fitted with a particular item (eg, scoops), but can be retrofitted with it, there'd still need to provisions in the hull for it, so it should still affect the hull size.

Then also have some additional overheads, for example, a hull of a particular size has a minimum mass (additional internal structure). Also, low-TL hulls would need more crew for a given size, which again, takes up additional space.

For a particular hull size/mass the engine size & TL determines max speed and maneuverability specs.

All up, it should then be possible to create ships which -roughly- make sense when compared to other ships.

Of course this would just be a tool to give the OXP author a rough indication of final price/performance. He'd still have full control over the final end product specs and price, of course.
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Post by Smivs »

This is a subject I've recently fallen foul of in some respects when I introduced the Contractor. Despite my showing what I thought was restraint, the first incarnation clearly crossed some boundaries, and (quite rightly) I was criticised for this. Being a responsible citizen I listened to people's views and comments and moderated things to the point where (I hope) the Contractor is now acceptable.
So my first point has to be 'Leave it to the Market' in the sense that peer pressure and social acceptability will moderate future super-ships. If someone then still releases an un-acceptable ship, one would hope it would be ignored and just fade away.
There will always be super-ships in Oolite, just as there are super-cars in the real world, and the idea, the concept is a valid and acceptable one.
I think the important thing here is balance. Getting the mix right between speed, cargo capacity, energy etc, and of course price.
Some sort of guidelines may be useful to developers in the future, but it would be very difficult to do this an a useable way, as there are so many factors to balance.
What we could end up with is something crazy like "You can have a top speed of 'X', but only if you have less than 'Y' cargo capacity, but then if you want 'Z' energy banks you must reduce the speed by 'A' unless you increase the price to 'B' or reduce the recharge rate to 'C'.
You can see where I'm going with this I hope.
Perhaps there is a case for setting absolute maximum speed and Energy, but even this is fraught with problems. A big ship can probably physically carry more energy banks than a small one, but if you set a sensible limit for a big ship, someone will come along and use that number for a small ship.
It's an imperfect world, and the current situation is probably as good as it can realistically get. If a developer has gone too far, let them know in no uncertain terms, and if a ship or other OXP is un-acceptable, don't accept it...vote with your feet and just walk away!
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Post by Micha »

Smivs wrote: There will always be super-ships in Oolite, just as there are super-cars in the real world, and the idea, the concept is a valid and acceptable one.
I don't see too many tanks packing enough artillery to take out a small third-world country, small and nimble enough to drive through London at rush-hour, use 5l/100km, and able to drag an F1 car off the line.. :-D

See, that's the point - real-world supercars are optimised for speed, NOT durability, efficiency, or luggage-space. Similar trade-offs -should- (imho) happen in the Ooniverse.

And yes, it is way more complex to get some sort of balance into place since there are so many parameters. I never said it was easy, and I already said it was unlikely to happen. But one can dream.. :-)


(EDIT)PS. And I don't think anybody was picking on any specific uber-ship. It's a recurring issue.(/EDIT)
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Post by JazHaz »

The point is moot though. No-one is being forced to have a uber-ship in their Oolite. If you don't want uber-ships in your Ooniverse you don't have to.
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Post by Cmdr James »

JazHaz wrote:The point is moot though. No-one is being forced to have a uber-ship in their Oolite. If you don't want uber-ships in your Ooniverse you don't have to.
Which is what I said at the start :) It still makes sense to have guidelines to give people some idea of what is sensible. You dont have to follow the guides, but if you do you will have a more balanced ship, and hopefully it will fit the game better and be more popular.

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Post by Disembodied »

It might help if designers thought about what roles their ships were going to perform, and compared them to the core ships, e.g.:

Basic bulk hauler: Python
Basic light trader: Cobra I
Basic fighter: Mamba, Sidewinder, Krait

Superior bulk hauler: Boa
Superior light trader: Cobra III
Superior fighter: Asp II

It might also help if we defined what I think are the two major axes of ship capability. On the one hand there's performance (speed and manoeuvrability); on the other, there's what might be best described as "bulk" (a combination of physical size, cargo capacity, and ability to absorb damage). If you want your ship to be more towards the performance end, then there should be a tradeoff reduction in the "bulk" capabilities, and vice-versa.

BULK <-----------|-----------> PERFORMANCE

There's nothing wrong with making a really spiffy ship, but you should think long and hard before letting it outperform the basic model in every single aspect – and it certainly shouldn't outperform the superior model in every respect without being seriously special, e.g. an almost unique reward for doing something spectacular. Better in one direction should mean less capable in another. Much better in one direction should mean a significant drop in another.

If someone wants to make a ship that's faster, tougher and more nimble than the Cobra III, that's pretty much the same size and can carry more cargo, that's fine – but it should be appreciated just how far away from the norm such a ship would be, and that it should be rare, high-tech and expensive. The more an OXP ship outperforms its "superior" core counterpart, without really significant tradeoffs, the more rare, high-tech and expensive it should get.

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Post by Smivs »

Micha wrote: ... real-world supercars are optimised for speed, NOT durability, efficiency, or luggage-space. Similar trade-offs -should- (imho) happen in the Ooniverse.
I agree whole-heartedly, but this is only true up to a point. As technology moves forward the impossible can become possible. Just look at the BMW M5 Touring. This is a 4-5 seater family estate car with a 507bhp 5.0-litre V10 engine which does 0-62 in 4.8 seconds, has a (limited) top speed of 155mph and has a 500 litre boot with the back seats up! Being a BMW we assume it's efficient and durable, and as Estate Cars go, that sounds pretty super :)
Micha wrote: And yes, it is way more complex to get some sort of balance into place since there are so many parameters. I never said it was easy, and I already said it was unlikely to happen. But one can dream.. :-)
Yes, it can only ever be a dream, I'm afraid. It's up to the community to set the rules, but we can't enforce them. Here we're reliant on the maturity of the developers.
Micha wrote: (EDIT)PS. And I don't think anybody was picking on any specific uber-ship. It's a recurring issue.(/EDIT)
It IS an ongoing issue, but I'm chipping in as I've recently been bitten by it. I've never been a fan of 'silly' ships, which is why I was disappointed with myself for going OTT with the original Contractor. All I will say is that it's an easy trap to fall into...in my case I actually de-tuned what is essentially a core Oolite ship and it was still too much. I got the balance wrong, pure and simple.
Perhaps one option that might work up to point is to urge developers to consult the forum before release of a potentially contentious ship. Yes, it would spoil any suprise, but a quick post to the effect of "My new ship will have a spec like this...What do you think?" might help moderate any excesses and indeed a range of second opinions would help the developer to fine tune their new project, and might even lead to all sorts of other improvements the developer hadn't even thought of.
I did this a bit with Smivs'Shipset and the feedback was really useful. In retrospect I wish I'd done the same with Contractor.
This can only be done on a voluntary basis, but a recommendation to this effect on the Wiki OXP front page might be an idea worth considering.
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Post by ChazFox »

My only outlook on this issue is that it's much and such like an Elder Scrolls game. In something like Oblivion, it's perfectly possible to excel in every single stat and become the head of pretty much every organisation should you wish to do so. Some people might find the game more fun this way. But not everybody likes doing that, some like to focus only on certain stats and play out a certain role in Tamriel, such as a hunter or merchant, and that's where those players get their fun.

Yes, it's possible to make an uber ship for yourself that absolutely excels in every stat, and yes, some players might get their kicks this way. But nobody's forcing you to make an uber ship, nor are they forcing you to download and use an uber ship.

Since Oolite doesn't have multiplayer, that means there's no way someone who makes an uber ship can flatten your more realistic ship with ease.

Personally, I prefer the idea of more realistic/balanced ships to uber ships, so while I've said all that above, I do like some of the ideas being put forth here. Once I make enough money I might see about getting a hauler of my own. XD

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Post by Smivs »

Good thread, this...very thought provoking.
It occurs to me that even vanilla Oolite has at least two Uber ships. The first of course is the Constrictor. The specs here are outrageous, but as they're classified I won't say anything. :lol:
Look at the spec of the other:
Top speed: 0.5LM
ECM as standard
Energy banks: 9 (yes, nine!)
Recharge rate: Good (4)
Fuel range: 15 Light-years
Weapons: revolving plasma turret and 5 remote fighters.
Yes, you've guessed, it's the Thargoid Warship.
So Oolite already DOES have Uber ships. Just an observation :)

As an aside, what are your views on OXP NPC (non-player controlled) Uberships? Should the Ooniverse have the odd ship that is to be feared, respected and avoided?
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Post by ClymAngus »

Smivs wrote: As an aside, what are your views on OXP NPC (non-player controlled) Uberships? Should the Ooniverse have the odd ship that is to be feared, respected and avoided?
What like the monks? I dislike the idea of anything in a game that's so hard core it literally cannot be beaten.

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Post by Disembodied »

Smivs wrote:As an aside, what are your views on OXP NPC (non-player controlled) Uberships? Should the Ooniverse have the odd ship that is to be feared, respected and avoided?
I don't think there's any harm in giving the player a hard time, stats-wise. It's traditional in computer games anyway: give the NPC enemies big advantages in toughs, because they're way, way behind on smarts. Particularly if it's a rare encounter, and/or the climax to a long buildup. It serves to kick the player out of any sense of complacency, and can provide a satisfying closure to a story.
ClymAngus wrote:What like the monks? I dislike the idea of anything in a game that's so hard core it literally cannot be beaten.
It's possible to take things too far, of course. Invulnerable enemies aren't much fun. Mind you, there's nothing wrong with putting the player in a position where the only viable course of action is running away. I don't think everything in the game should be player-defeatable (Coriolis stations, for example). I think it's OK to drop super-hard opposition on the player from time to time, as long as the player has other options – running away, making friends, zapping a good old-fashioned Secret Weakness™, etc.

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Post by another_commander »

Smivs wrote:Good thread, this...very thought provoking.
It occurs to me that even vanilla Oolite has at least two Uber ships. The first of course is the Constrictor. The specs here are outrageous, but as they're classified I won't say anything. :lol:
Look at the spec of the other:
Top speed: 0.5LM
ECM as standard
Energy banks: 9 (yes, nine!)
Recharge rate: Good (4)
Fuel range: 15 Light-years
Weapons: revolving plasma turret and 5 remote fighters.
Yes, you've guessed, it's the Thargoid Warship.
So Oolite already DOES have Uber ships. Just an observation :)

As an aside, what are your views on OXP NPC (non-player controlled) Uberships? Should the Ooniverse have the odd ship that is to be feared, respected and avoided?
The Constrictor is an experimental secret-project Navy ship. It is supposed to be uber by mission design. So it is perfectly justified to have it in game the way it is.

As for the Thargoid Warships, these are meant to represent a technologically advanced alien threat. Players are supposed to run away from them at the early stages of the game and confront them only when properly equipped, if they want to have any kind of chance for success. Again, in this case, these stats are justified and are comparable to the stats of the same ship in the early Elite incarnations.

In my opinion, any ship that carries sufficient justification for its existence can be fair game. Obviously, I would object if things started getting silly, like having twenty five uberfighters created as secret Navy projects (especially if they get subsequently stolen) or introducing one alien species after the other, each with their own unbeatable motherships. It all comes down to common sense, at the end.

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Post by JensAyton »

Cmdr James wrote:I think its a lost cause, if people want to fly a ship with a million turrets they can do so. I dont think it is our place to say otherwise, and to be honest, it is pretty easy for anyone to remove the limits and recompile.

Guidelines on sensible limits that we agree as a community might be interesting, but I suspect the people who like powerful ships will continue to build and fly ships. I dont see anything wrong with that.
Agreed.

OXPs that add ridiculously overpowered ships are badly-designed OXPs. If you don’t like playing with badly-designed OXPs, throw them away. You shouldn’t need a design police to do it for you.

(Then again, maybe we should introduce a curated OXP store… nah.)

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