PopulationControl.oxz

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PopulationControl.oxz

Post by phkb » Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:15 am

This topic does seem to come up fairly regularly for new players, so...

Here is an OXZ called PopulationControl.oxz. Download this and put it in your AddOns folder. What this OXZ will do is limit the size of pirate and assassin groups while the player score is less than 64 (Average rating). Once your rating is over 64 (Above Average) everything will be back to normal.

I've left some debug messages in the log file so you can see the impact of it. After a few shake downs by other players I'll turn them off.

Note: This OXP will change the core populator routines, so any other OXP that does something similar may end up being in conflict. I don't know of any, but if someone else does please let me know. Also, this will only impact the core populator routines, so if you have some other OXP that adds pirates or assassins (eg Random Hits, GalCop Missions), they might still create large groups. Just so as you know.

Also note: This OXP will make the early part of the game substantially easier. And, yes, this is breaking the "non-player-centric" concept of the core game.

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Re: Too many pirates...

Post by Mikkail » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:27 am

phkb wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:15 am
Here is an OXZ called PopulationControl.oxz. Download this and put it in your AddOns folder. What this OXZ will do is limit the size of pirate and assassin groups while the player score is less than 64 (Average rating). Once your rating is over 64 (Above Average) everything will be back to normal.
Many thanks for that! Glad to hear I'm not the only one, too.
However, I have managed to claw my way up to "Above Average" (hit & run, picking my fights, ...) so I'll have to keep plugging away, I guess.
And get used to seeing, "Press Space, Commander" more often than I used to :D
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Re: Too many pirates...

Post by phkb » Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:08 am

The beauty of OXPs is that we can always tweak them, and a pack of this nature warrants some discussion. Should the pirate limits be extended to Above Average ranks or higher? Thoughts, anyone?

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Re: Too many pirates...

Post by Disembodied » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:54 am

I think - and this would preserve the non-player-centric nature of things - that it might be better to change the populator by government type rather than by player rank. Keep pirate groups small (from lone-wolf raiders to a larger ship plus two fighter escorts max) in Corporate States, Democracies, Confederacies, and Communist worlds. Start bringing in larger packs from Dictatorships on. Allow the total number of pirates and pirate packs in a system to increase as government levels drop.

Players of all ranks can then avoid big pirate packs by sticking to safer systems. If a beginning player - or an experienced player in a big, slow, or otherwise non-combat-optimised ship - gets attacked by large gangs in a dangerous system, then it's their own fault.

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Re: Too many pirates...

Post by Cody » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:54 am

Mikkail wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:27 am
However, I have managed to claw my way up to "Above Average" (hit & run, picking my fights, ...)
You're learning - and welcome back!

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Re: Too many pirates...

Post by phkb » Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:02 pm

Disembodied wrote: I think - and this would preserve the non-player-centric nature of things - that it might be better to change the populator by government type rather than by player rank.
That's a good idea. I'll have another play with the code and look to get an update out tomorrow. Thanks Disembodied!

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Re: Too many pirates...

Post by phkb » Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:27 pm

A general question - should this limitation on the size of pirate packs in safer systems have an expiry? eg when the player reaches a certain score? After a certain number of in-game days has passed? Or just keep it in place permanently?

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Re: Too many pirates...

Post by Cody » Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:38 pm

As an alternative, you could perhaps increase the number of Viper patrols in 'safer' systems.

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Re: Too many pirates...

Post by Disembodied » Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:26 pm

Cody wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:38 pm
As an alternative, you could perhaps increase the number of Viper patrols in 'safer' systems.
You could do both – increasing the Viper patrols in Corporate States and Democracies, for sure. Anything that helps make different types of systems look and feel different is a good thing, I think.

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Re: Too many pirates...

Post by Cody » Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:43 pm

Disembodied wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:26 pm
Anything that helps make different types of systems look and feel different is a good thing, I think.
<nods>

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Re: Too many pirates...

Post by Redspear » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:13 pm

phkb wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:02 pm
Disembodied wrote: I think - and this would preserve the non-player-centric nature of things - that it might be better to change the populator by government type rather than by player rank.
That's a good idea. I'll have another play with the code and look to get an update out tomorrow. Thanks Disembodied!
Agreed!

Disembodied wrote:
Cody wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:38 pm
As an alternative, you could perhaps increase the number of Viper patrols in 'safer' systems.
You could do both – increasing the Viper patrols in Corporate States and Democracies, for sure. Anything that helps make different types of systems look and feel different is a good thing, I think.
A few points on this.

  • More police means more traffic (and therefore more masslocks)
  • More police means that although you'll bump into them more often, the chance that you will do so when heavily outnumbered remains small (they hunt rather than follow the pirates and when doing so will have less impact on the larger packs)
  • An alternative to more police would be better policing...

On the last point there are at least two simple approaches:

The first would be to redistribute Viper Interceptors

IIRC they are currently found in high-tech, safe systems. wouldn't it make sense that they were also found in rich safe systems (you don't need to manufacture what you can buy)?
Safer systems tend to be both richer and higher tech and so this might not appear to make much of a difference but that depends upon where exactly the thresholds are set. e.g to the interceptors require a minimum tech level of 11 or of 9?

The second would be to improve police response times

Less straightforward in terms of programming and not without possible knock-on effects. If the police could respond to your distress evebn when they were off scanner, and could actually reach you relatively quickly (a la torus drive) then they would be much more helpful to the player.

This potentially impacts the whole way that legal rating currently works however in that unseen crimes currently go unpunished.


For the above reasons I favour limiting pirates over increasing police.
If there were still a drive to increase police presence/potency then I favour making interceptors a little more common rather than increasing police numbers.
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Re: Too many pirates...

Post by phkb » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:38 pm

Redspear wrote: wouldn't it make sense that they were also found in rich safe systems
How rich, do you think? Greater than 20000 MCr?

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Re: Too many pirates...

Post by phkb » Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:46 am

In the interests of efficiency, I've gone with 20000MCr for the moment, although it can be easily changed later.

Here's version 0.2: PopulationControl.oxz

I've removed the player score logic, and gone with the system government logic. Police patrols should get a small bump, as well as interceptors appearing in any rich safe system, regardless of techlevel.

I've also included a small chance that you might get a larger pirate pack in a safe system. It's pretty low, though, so if you meet one you should feel lucky. Or unlucky. Or something, anyway.

Due to the nature of this tweak, it's hard to gauge it's impact on a single run. For all you enthusiastic testers out there, please chime in with your experiences. Again, I've left some debug messages in so you can check your latest.log file to see what's getting changed.

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Re: Too many pirates...

Post by Mikkail » Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:23 am

Thanks for the good work. I'll check it out tomorrow.
Right on, Commander!
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Re: Too many pirates...

Post by Redspear » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:16 am

phkb wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:38 pm
Redspear wrote: wouldn't it make sense that they were also found in rich safe systems
How rich, do you think? Greater than 20000 MCr?
Not sure. It depends how much it would alter the staus quo but I'm happy to give that threshold a try.

phkb wrote: Due to the nature of this tweak, it's hard to gauge it's impact on a single run. For all you enthusiastic testers out there, please chime in with your experiences. Again, I've left some debug messages in so you can check your latest.log file to see what's getting changed.
I regularly 'milk-run' when testing oxps so I'll give this a go on my next play.

On police again, unless I'm much mistaken there's a dynamic that might not be immediately obvious to some.

1. Police fight pirates whether the player is present or not
2. Therefore pirate numbers are likely to be reduced
3. Therefore police make the player safer whether or not they are directly assisting the player

Well, that's not quite as true as you might think.

1. The system is only fully populated once the player arrives and so police have yet to interact with pirates
2. Whilst police are likely to thin pirate numbers there is also a reasonable chance that most of them won't meet any pirates by the time the player has docked. The torus drive means that the player can be hurtling along at approx 30 times the speed of the police and the thing that is most likely to delay the player for more than a few minutes is... a pirate encounter.
3. Therefore the police don't have enough time to make the system as safe as one might think. The player will likely run into many, if not all, of the pirates before the police get a chance to do so.

Non oxp specific suggestion:
Reduce pirate numbers from the outset to simulate police having already interacted with them.
(Non player centric heresy:) The police are there in a game sense to police the player and to occasionally spice up pirate interactions.

Although my suggestion might appear to be very player-centric, consider that it would actually exist to reduce the impact of one of the biggest player centric elements of the game: the torus drive.

Back on the oxp specifically... I look forward to trying this out. Thanks phkb.
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