A suggestion to revamp mining

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    Starmade Mining:

    We all know it well, the traditional 8-12 block waffle board pattern design we all have on a huge box ship docked to one of our stations in the server you play on. Its not the best of things is it, its laggy, generally makes your ship look awful over performance, and worst of all takes ages to build.

    Recently I had some ideas for mining ships in starmade and wanted to try and make them but ran into some issues, or the main issue being how the mining in this game works and actually how restrictive and outdated it is. If for some reason you don’t know how it works its simple, you link up a grid of alternating salvage beams generally 8 – 10 blocks deep, in a repeating alternating checkerboard pattern, to allow you to hit as many blocks as possible when mining an asteroid / planet, station or whatever. Doing this is the most efficient way to mine, but it is also incredibly taxing on servers and your own PC depending on the size of the setup and how powerful your rig is to begin with.

    Now I know that Schema and team are working hard on the new anticipated Universe 2 update of starmade, but I wanted to add this idea in because I believe this is part of an area which has kind of been forgotten in starmade, as the main focus for a long time has been the power and weapon systems of the game. So I just wanted to throw out a few ideas I had from what I’ve seen that might make mining more pleasant, less taxing and more streamlined to make this part of gameplay more “entertaining” or at least less clunky and more of a focused on area.

    First things first resources In this game are acquired via mining, yield is determined by system claim & reactor chamber setup. This is fine and I don’t believe it needs changing, there could be possibilities where the area claimed has limited types of resources making more systems claimed more beneficial, but without a proper scanning system currently working in game I don’t think there is much point to that. But what I do think needs changing is how we mine blocks in the game.

    I was looking at Beam weapons a while back with the Heat effect, and I was interested in the way that the beams have this almost Acid like effect to nearby blocks as It hit, spreading around to nearby blocks and continuing like that. What if we took this idea and made a beam that is programmed to hit an object that is mineable such as an asteroid, unclaimed planet or unclaimed ship/station and begins to mine blocks from the point at which the beam originally impacted, it could function in 2 different ways that I could think off.

    A: the beam impacts, and mines blocks and surrounding blocks depending on its total power of the mining array, and will act very similar to a weapon system in the sense of how it interacts with the asteroid.

    B: the beam hits the target and is locked at its impact position for the duration of the beam pulse, and will continuously mine blocks in a circular radius around the impact site until the pulse has finished, the speed and radius of this mining action is defined by the power of the mining array, affecting how fact it mines 1 block layer per tick, and as such how wide the radius will get.

    With both of these systems, the ideas would be that it affects how mining beams could be used Option A leans more towards a middle ground between current and future systems, whereas option B looks at a new way of mining. But both would allow for more simple systems benefiting all skill levels of players.

    I did also have a option C but I am unsure if this can be applied for anything other than asteroids; which is to change how asteroids work and make them more like resource Pools, having them have a simple % of resources available, using a mining beam will extract resources but not delete blocks on the asteroid just draw from a visible resource pool % seen on the Nav menu when highlighted, the lower the % the less overall yield your going to get, this would regen Very slowly over time and can be extracted from again. Like I said, cool idea but not sure it fits within the game as a technical aspect and gameplay aspect.

    Anyways think of the benefits we would have from a system like A and B no longer will there be a need of monstrous ships with massive leggy waffle beams on them for mining, there could be different ways to go around that, larger miners won’t need to be so large as they can become more compact, allowing for more creativity in the way the cargo system could be designed, or alternative ship functions. This will also benefit newer players into the game who will benefit from a simpler system to manage with. As well as this this can open the doors to more AI mechanics with this system.

    It would also be nice to see AI mining in the new system, or at least a system that can allow for turrets to target and fire at asteroids automatically when in range or, a selected asteroid target, and also understand that it needs to aim for blocks and not just the centre of mass to allow for effective mining. Personally I’m not bothered at the moment with AI ship mining working as in the fleet system as it I think would need an overhaul of its own but it would be brilliant to see turrets get a dedicated Auto mine or selected mine targeting section in AI computers.

    Overall I was hoping to put some ideas out there for mining in starmade, as I do believe it needs changing and it could be made more interesting and a more pleasant experience with a system like what I have highlighted in this post.

    Any suggestions please add in comments tell me what you think.
     

    DrTarDIS

    Eldrich Timelord
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    The real issue depends on the overall resource model I'd think. For "starting out" the existing system makes sense, it's once you get into the "next stage" of (wanting multiple ships, setting up a fleet, et cetera) that any real server impact is going to happen. Addressing that core mechanic as "stages" go would go a long way.

    Example:

    If the system seed(the word seed in the universe description used to calculate what the system contains) automatically returned a % of what was in it to the "owner" I'd think a lot of the actual issues with mining would go away as it became a "passive" thing. That would eliminate the need that dives the waffle-ships to be created in the first place. Having a "multiplier" in owned systems is really just a patch that passively multiplies the logical number of arrays you have active.

    Making a station reactor module to do this could be the equivalent gateway mechanic and help make "more than just a home base invulnerable station" have meaning.
     
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    My suggestion would be a combination of new "weapon"/"game mechanic" blocks:
    1) A beam or missile or whatever hits the surface and desintagrates the blocks in a spherical area, they are now items.
    2) A tracktor beam pulls the items towards the ship.
    3) A small square shaped grid at the end of the beam picks them up.

    Benefits: It would be up to the player wether he automates it with turrets or hard points, or if he has a seperate AI controlled ship that fires the missiles and a second ship for picking up the items. -> Creativity.

    Example:
    Turret1 desintegrates the asteroid.
    Then Turret2 pulls the items towards the ship.
    In front of Turret2 are the pickup grid blocks (that are blocks of the mothership entity) that draw a transparent forcefield, everything that hits that forcefield gets picked up by the ship.
     
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    DrTarDIS

    Eldrich Timelord
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    My suggestion would be a combination of new "weapon"/"game mechanic" blocks:
    1) A beam or missile or whatever hits the surface and desintagrates the blocks in a spherical area, they are now items.
    2) A tracktor beam pulls the items towards the ship.
    3) A small square shaped grid at the end of the beam picks them up.

    Benefits: It would be up to the player wether he automates it with turrets or hard points, or if he has a seperate AI controlled ship that fires the missiles and a second ship for picking up the items. -> Creativity.

    Example:
    Turret1 desintegrates the asteroid.
    Then Turret2 pulls the items towards the ship.
    In front of Turret2 are the pickup grid blocks (that are blocks of the mothership entity) that draw a transparent forcefield, everything that hits that forcefield gets picked up by the ship.
    Problem: stil causes lots of block-change events, which mens chunk writes and network traffic, which makes for server lag as soon as anyone "automates" it and scales it up to a "faction level" of harvesting.
     
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    scales it up to a "faction level" of harvesting.
    Well for mining big chunks without lag you can simply cheat...just saying any more rewarding (and therefore more complex) mechanic that a dev can come up with will eventually be less "faction level mining" suitable.

    Anyway if point and collect shall stay as it is, I guess it will be a single mining beam in any of OPs mentioned alternations. And I think thats fine too.
     
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