Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Gimi » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:54 pm

cim wrote:
Gimi wrote:It would be a nice effect to see space in front of your ship compress towards you at increasing speed at the beginning of the jump, and the destination point/system stretching out to its normal form in front of your ship as you arrive.
Not particularly difficult to implement graphically, either. It would probably look a bit like this, only better.

The catch, as you can see, is that the starfield backdrop is generally the major visible object once the compression is under way (space being largely empty, and even more so in a Frontier-scale system), so it probably requires the "backdrop" actually have the real stars on it in their real locations.
I get your point, potentially quite boring, so to make it look good you would probably need to combine it with some other nice effects. I still like the idea, and it should be possible to make it look good.
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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Gimi » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:01 pm

Here is a summary of last weeks topic from the Frontier DDF forum.

[FRONTIER PROPOSAL] “Death is only the beginning” Dying in Elite Summary
Sandro Sammarco wrote:The starter topic has generated a very interesting week for us in the office. We’ve been going round and round, chewing stuff over and checking out all the angles. Here are the conclusions I have drawn, both about the topic and the process.

The Process

Narrower topics
This is a tricky one, since some areas of design are necessarily very inter-related, but in hindsight, the death topic (especially as a starter) was probably a little too broad. Hopefully our second topic covering hyperspace is a little more self-contained – this is definitely what we will aim for in the future.

Focus on game rules over context
Although I’m a firm believer that context and rules are both important, in hindsight I should have tried to guide the discussion more towards rules, as this information is more useful to me. That is not to say that context is unwanted, but probably a little too much time went into discussing it relative to mechanics.

More presence and guidance
Hopefully this is already starting to be addressed with the arrival of Mike Evans in the DDF, but it’s probably common sense to state that the more we developers can communicate in the forum, the better it will be for everyone involved. I’m not claiming this will ever be perfect coverage, but with two of us available it should at least be an improvement.

More discussion about the differences between DDF and PBF
I think my timing was pretty poor on our announcement for polls and thread sharing, even if I don’t see a major issue with what we are actually proposing. With that in mind, I’m probably going to start a new thread here in the DDF in the near future to discuss with you guys and gals what the best way forward would be.

Onwards
With that all stated, and after a lot of discussion in the office, we have come up with the following update to handling death in the game. I’d like you to take a moment and give it a read through.

In this particular instance, in the end I decided that there was not a clear enough set of useful options to poll on. This is mostly my fault – mostly for the reasons stated above – but there appears to me to be a fairly significant and relatively clear split between what I like to call hardcore and casual players (I’m not implying any derisory context with these titles, so neither should you).

I got the impression (especially from a fair few of the replies) that the initial proposal wasn’t a million light years away from what the casual players are looking for, but by definition it didn’t have the weight of consequences that the hardcore players might be looking for.

Whilst we could favour one group over the other, it occurs to me that perhaps there is room for everyone to play (after all, this is one of the keystones of the Elite series) so what we have come up with is an attempt to cast a wide net over the topic and hopefully cater to a broad range of players.

And by using a death switch option, then perhaps there really is no reason for players to avoid dabbling in hardcore game play.

One final point before the rules and this is quite important: as a design team we’re pretty happy with this set of mechanics at the moment. There is a long internal road before we could sign this off, but we think we have a start. If you can see major flaws in the mechanical rules, please fire away, but I’d like to avoid this devolving into another huge debate, so please don’t post otherwise, unless you absolutely detest some or all of the decisions (or want to publicly support them).

Updated proposal
When you start a new game, you are given the choice between two separate modes: Casual and Hardcore.

Let’s look at Casual first. It’s similar to the initial proposal:
  • As you leave a docking port the game records the state of your ship
  • Should your ship be destroyed, you restart the game at the docking port where the ship state was last recorded
  • You are given a replacement ship and equipment identical to the last ship record
  • All cargo and consumables spent since the last ship record are lost
    • Some or all of these may still be present where your ship was destroyed
  • Some active missions may be failed – based on specific mission criteria
  • Escape pods may not be fitted
  • Casual characters are automatically part of the “casual players” group as well as any other groups (such as “all players”, “Friends”, etc.)
    • A character may not be present in both the “Casual players” and “Hardcore Players” group at the same time
    • A Casual character cannot change to the “Hardcore Players” group
Hardcore has some significant differences:
  • All starter ships are equipped with an escape pod for free
  • When your ship is terminally damaged there is a short time (around 5-10 seconds, maybe more) when you able still able to activate the escape pod (even though the ship is technically dead)
  • Escape pods use the following rules:
    • They cannot be attacked, damaged or scooped
    • They are disposable – once used, another must be purchased
    • They allow a one shot hyperspace jump to one of a limited number of destinations based on the current location and the location of the last ship record
    • After using an escape pod, you receive a replacement ship with identical equipment to the last ship record
    • All cargo and consumables spent since the last ship record is lost
    • Some or all of these may still be present where your ship was destroyed
  • If your ship is destroyed and no escape pod is fitted (or the you decide not to activate the escape pod) then where the ship was destroyed determines the result:
    • Some areas are designated as protected
      • You restart at the nearest docking port that sells ships after a short, enforced delay
      • You are given cash equivalent to the value of the ship and equipment
      • Your ship, equipment and cargo is lost
      • The contextualisation for this is that your RemLock activates and you are rescued
    • Some areas are designated as unprotected
      • You have the choice of starting a new hardcore character, or reviving the current character as a casual character, retaining cash, ship and equipment from the last ship record
  • Hardcore characters are automatically part of the “hardcore players” group as well as any other groups (such as “all players”, “Friends”, etc.)
    • A character may not be present in both the “Casual players” and “Hardcore players” group at the same time
    • A Hardcore character can change to the “Casual Players” group (and thereon in follow that group’s death rules), but this process cannot be reversed
Common Rules:
  • When your ship destruction is detected as a criminal act, the perpetrator is suffers temporary forced inclusion into the “All players” group
    • Game time elapsed is used as opposed to real-time
    • You can flag friends to be immune from this rule
  • Cargo ejected as a result of criminal attack is flagged as stolen
    • If you can reach the cargo you may collect it without penalty
    • You may flag friends who are then also allowed to collect it without penalty
  • If your ship was destroyed by authorities or their sub-contractors any bounty and criminal record you have is reduced
Disconnects
  • When the game cannot communicate with your client the following action is preferred (notwithstanding technical limitations)
    • Your ship carries on at the last known trajectory
    • If under attack the ship attempts minimal evasive movement
    • Any turret weapon systems will continue to attack enemies using basic AI
    • There is no obvious feedback to other players that connection has been lost
    • After a delay (around 30 seconds) of contiguous connection loss your ship, if still alive is removed from the game (with some form of contextual escape jump effect)
Last edited by Gimi on Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Cody » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:54 pm

Food for thought there... thanks, Gimi.
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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Diziet Sma » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:14 am

Shaping up interestingly..

Who knows? Perhaps cats can be herded.. :lol:
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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Disembodied » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:37 pm

Sandro Sammarco wrote:What would you expect to see during a jump sequence, and what would feel utterly wrong?
From the "utterly wrong" point of view, I would be opposed to seeing any sort of structures, stations, beacons, advertising hoardings etc. during the jump sequence. I know that such things were mentioned in The Dark Wheel - "... monitoring satellites, and branch lines, and stop points, and rescue stations ..." - but that always felt wrong to me. Similarly, seeing other ships would feel wrong. Seeing anything (anything "real", anyway: hyperspace swirls, etc., are fine) at FTL speeds seems pretty much the definition of wrong, to me.

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by JazHaz » Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:49 pm

Disembodied wrote:
Sandro Sammarco wrote:What would you expect to see during a jump sequence, and what would feel utterly wrong?
From the "utterly wrong" point of view, I would be opposed to seeing any sort of structures, stations, beacons, advertising hoardings etc. during the jump sequence. I know that such things were mentioned in The Dark Wheel - "... monitoring satellites, and branch lines, and stop points, and rescue stations ..." - but that always felt wrong to me. Similarly, seeing other ships would feel wrong. Seeing anything (anything "real", anyway: hyperspace swirls, etc., are fine) at FTL speeds seems pretty much the definition of wrong, to me.
I have put this point through to the DDF for discussion. 8)
JazHaz

Gimi wrote:
drew wrote:£4,500 though! :shock: <Faints>
Cheers,
Drew.
Maybe you could start a Kickstarter Campaign to found your £4500 pledge. 8)
Thanks to Gimi, I got an eBook in my inbox tonight (31st May 2014 - Release of Elite Reclamation)!

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Selezen » Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:51 pm

Disembodied wrote:
Sandro Sammarco wrote:What would you expect to see during a jump sequence, and what would feel utterly wrong?
From the "utterly wrong" point of view, I would be opposed to seeing any sort of structures, stations, beacons, advertising hoardings etc. during the jump sequence. I know that such things were mentioned in The Dark Wheel - "... monitoring satellites, and branch lines, and stop points, and rescue stations ..." - but that always felt wrong to me. Similarly, seeing other ships would feel wrong. Seeing anything (anything "real", anyway: hyperspace swirls, etc., are fine) at FTL speeds seems pretty much the definition of wrong, to me.
That's all "Faraway" system rubbish - all replaced by far more intelligent systems by the time the Elite game itself starts. See, TDW is set some time before Elite. And that might even be actual canon...

:-)

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by JazHaz » Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:44 pm

Here's the 'cliff notes' from this week's discussion. What are 'cliff notes' anyway?
Ashley Barley wrote:Cliff Notes of discussion:

Jump Restrictions
  • Jump drives take longer to charge in combat situations (due to power being allocated to shields and weapons)
  • Jump drives share power will all other ship functions, so players can decide where to allocate power depending on the situation (jump drive to charge it quicker, or shields/weapons for defence, for example).
  • Whilst in combat, the hyperspace drive should be disabled
  • No situational restrictions on jumps, except standard charge time
  • Taking damage or firing slows down jump drive charging
  • Mass Locking- any large body that intercepts your jump will cause you to exit it at it
  • Ship size affects time of jumps, time to charge drive and the possible length of jumps
  • Ways to disable jumps drives in combat
Multiple Jumps
  • Journeys that require multiple jumps can be mapped out in advance (you will have a delay at each jump destination whilst your drive recharges)
  • Beacons in core systems (less regularly on the frontier) that you can use as ‘bookmarks’ for future jumps


Jump Effect

  • Space in front of your ship compress towards you at increasing speed at the beginning of the jump, and the destination point/system stretching out to its normal form in front of your ship as you arrive.
  • A ship about to jump lets off a distinctive glow that is visible to other players. The same glow can be seen within the cockpit
  • Ships about to jump have a ‘bubble effect’ followed by a streak of light that goes into the distance
  • Space should shift through the colour spectrum
  • Different jump effects for different jump drives


Other (for example, mis-jumps)

  • Older jump drives can ‘mis-jump’ or malfunction in some way
  • Mis-jumps either send you to random space or ‘witch-space’
  • Ship hard points can be replaced with fuel tanks, for exploration
  • Fuel scoops
  • Certain systems have properties that can increase/reduce jump range
  • A special jump drive that opens up an ‘entry point’ for multiple ships to jump simultaneously
  • Players can ‘tail-gate’ onto other player’s jumps

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Cody » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:05 pm

JazHaz wrote:What are 'cliff notes' anyway?
The wheat as opposed to the chaff? Thanks, JH... interesting stuff.
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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Disembodied » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:07 pm

JazHaz wrote:Here's the 'cliff notes' from this week's discussion.
Thanks, JazHaz. I assume these are all still under discussion - some of them seem to be mutually exclusive, e.g. "Whilst in combat, the hyperspace drive should be disabled", and "No situational restrictions on jumps, except standard charge time". Personally I'd be against "Whilst in combat, the hyperspace drive should be disabled", because how do you define "in combat"? If someone is chasing you with hostile intent? How does your jump drive know if it's "in combat"?

I'm particularly interested in the last set, as a couple of them suggest an Oolite-style wormhole approach to jumping:
Ashley Barley wrote:Cliff Notes of discussion:

Other (for example, mis-jumps)
  • Older jump drives can ‘mis-jump’ or malfunction in some way
  • Mis-jumps either send you to random space or ‘witch-space’
  • Ship hard points can be replaced with fuel tanks, for exploration
  • Fuel scoops
  • Certain systems have properties that can increase/reduce jump range
  • A special jump drive that opens up an ‘entry point’ for multiple ships to jump simultaneously
  • Players can ‘tail-gate’ onto other player’s jumps
I think letting ships share each other's jumps might be a mistake, in a multi-player game: it would allow players to team up and organise very long-range trips, by taking it in turn to open wormholes. Apart from opening up all sorts of potential game exploits, it would seem to me to shrink the game alarmingly: you'd lose the sense of awesome gulfs of space if you could team up in a pack and whizz across 100 light-years in a couple of minutes. It's a brilliant idea for single-player, but not multiplayer.

I also think the game needs to be careful about "mis-jumps". When player death becomes a much bigger deal, as it does in multiplayer, being killed by a bad dice-roll moves from "tsk!" to "*%^@£!!". The player can't see why it's happened; all they get is a big impersonal turd dropped on top of their game, not by another player or NPC but by the game mechanics itself. Not a crowd-pleaser, I think!

Which is not to say that there couldn't be some sort of jump malfunction, but it needs to be a) foreseeable (i.e. the player has been skipping maintenance, and has been told they're skipping maintenance; or they've been overtaxing the system in some way, and have been told the same: that way it's the player's own fault when the game mechanics bites them), and b) survivable (i.e. no stranding the player in the middle of nowhere with no hope of rescue or return; no "You have died" explosion for no apparent reason). A misjump which is the player's own stupid fault, and from which they have a chance of saving themselves at the cost of much effort and swearing, could be a good thing.

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Gauntlet » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:09 pm

Gimi wrote:One thing is for sure, it's not a discussion forum, so I don't reply to posts there. Frontier have promised that they read all suggestions though, so I have posted a few if the subject intrests me. Appart from that I'm on the look out for suggestions from Frontier that in my view will take it too far from original Elite. Not that I think my voice will be heard, but it's worth a try. Have had a little discussion about the appearance of ships from other SciFi universes, which I'm against.

Last suggestion was about witch space effects:
Gimi wrote:What effect to use when jumping is obviously one of the places where the Frontier graphics designers can go over board and have some fun.

My suggestion would be to use the only conceivable theory for FTL (I think) that has been touched upon by modern physics, The Alcubierre drive.

Here space itself is compressed in front of what ever entity is travelling, so the entity stays below light speed, but space in front is compressed making the distance travelled shorter.

[Suggestion]
It would be a nice effect to see space in front of your ship compress towards you at increasing speed at the beginning of the jump, and the destination point/system stretching out to its normal form in front of your ship as you arrive.
I like this idea, It would give the impression of a seamless transit from one system to the next, I'd also like for the computer to align your ship to its destination during the charging phase to complete the feel of a seamless galaxy.

Of course if you have to jump under fire and can't align to your chosen destination ie a manual or emergency jump then this gives the possibility of a random/mis-jump with possibly hilarious consequences :shock:

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Wolfwood » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:42 am

JazHaz wrote:
Ashley Barley wrote:Cliff Notes of discussion:
Other (for example, mis-jumps)[/b]
  • A special jump drive that opens up an ‘entry point’ for multiple ships to jump simultaneously
  • Players can ‘tail-gate’ onto other player’s jumps
Actually, I had such a suggestion concerning my short story, but it was shot down at the time by Michael. He did not give any reasons (he rarely does), but it could have been the problem of possible exploits such as Disembodied mentioned.
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Author of Marcan Rayger adventures - unofficial fan-fic novellas set in the Frontier universe.

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Diziet Sma » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:58 am

JazHaz wrote:What are 'cliff notes' anyway?
Something only Americans have really encountered..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliff_Notes
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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by NigelJK » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:39 pm

Urban dictionary has this:

"I got the cliffnotes." noun. Used to brush people off during a potentially long-winded story or explanation of current events.
When someone is talking or telling you a story and you don't want to hear it, say "Thanks but I have the cliffnotes," to shut them up. This works in many ways, like if someone asks if you've seen a movie, etc., you can say you have the cliffnotes (to the movie). You can experiment and enjoy pi$$ing people off.

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Gimi » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:29 pm

Interesting development in the DDF, and an elegant way of coming up with issues not yet thought of.
Ashley Barley wrote:Elite Fiction- Ask a Question

On top of our regular updates relating to the design of the game, Michael will also be creating a series of videos that provide details of the fiction within the Elite: Dangerous universe. For this, we once more ask for your input!

The basic format is the same as the question thread in the PBF: submit your questions for Michael and we’ll order them into logical groups. We’ll then release a video update with Michael's answers to your questions.

It won’t be a first come, first served format. Questions will be selected at the discretion of the Frontier team, depending on which ones can be best answered without providing major spoilers & considering their suitability in relation to other questions in the same update. So a question asked early on may not be answered in an update until much later in development, if it can be better answered then.

Please keep your questions concise and be aware that if you submit multiple questions, we may not consider them all. Also, if you have a question please try and make sure that it hasn't been answered already.

So once more, fire away!
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