Devblog 2017 - 10 - 13

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    devbuild 200.122
    ~bug1:
    Repulsor module hover intensity is off balance even when set symmetrically on a ship, and at a certain thrust/repulse-to-mass ratio will flip the ship and roll it clockwise because of this.

    ~bug2:
    Repulsor block texture does not face set direction.

    ~bug3:
    level 2 defense chamber shield outage redux is invalid and resets chamber capacity by the 10% originally taken by level 1 (takes up 0 capacity and becomes ineffective).

    ~bug4:
    Loading in a sector with a station using the new power system will throw a server error saying the station is overheating

    -additionally, but not a bug per se; the amount of repulsors in the default settings required to make a ship hover is almost 1:1 mass:number of repulsor modules. That's just ridiculous. Unless I'm doing something very wrong on accident, those values should be far more reasonable.
     
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    Just pull the trigger and roll out power 2.0 already. The uncertainty and waiting is worse than any solid decision.

    This whole saga is like getting teeth extracted:
    • first there's a whole lot of fear while you wait (about the unknown, and wild crazy imaginings of terrible consequences), <-- the current state we're in
    • then a short bit of pain,
    • then an adjustment/healing period,
    • and then you come out the other side and things are better than they ever were.
     

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    As of 200.123, Reactors are still requiring stabilizers waaay too early and tiny reactors (3x3x3 and below) still don't output nearly enough power to be even remotely useful. Drones, fighters, and "small ships" have been nerfed badly, with no hope for recovery in sight, going by the lack of any changes in the latest devbuilds.

    The new systems are extremely mass heavy, slowing fighters down in spite of the thruster buffs, which now draw insane amounts of power. Additionally, the stabilizer distances for these sizes are completely absurd (for example, 10 meters minimum distance on 32m long drone, with a the huge reactor complex that goes all the way to the middle).



    In my opinion, reactors need to be outputting 5 to 10x their current power gen (500 or 1000e from one block), and reactors of at least 27 blocks should require no stabilizers; or only 10 or less, and have the stabilization distance halved.

    For something to relate to: My drone's old reactor line was thirty one 0.1 mass blocks and produced 10,000 e/s, now my new reactor is
    EDIT: forty eight (26 reactor/22 Stabilizer)* 0.5 mass blocks, and produces only 2600 with a 2597e/s power MAINTENANCE. Not only is that 7.7x more mass* and 4x less power, but now actually doing anything with the ship (such as firing the gun), will put into into comatose.


    Thrusters also need be buffed by a factor of 2x and NOT also doubled power consumption, or have their power consumption halved for smaller scales to account for the mass increase from systems.
    A chamber to reduce thruster power-draw would also be nice.

    Speaking of which, Chamber minimum size compared to reactor size also needs to be reduced, because trying to add a 10 block Mobility Chamber for your 22 block reactor completely negates any bonuses you might be hoping to achieve.
     
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    jontyfreack

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    After a bit of sleep deprived thinking, I got thinking about power and how it could be improved.
    Simply by having the efficiency of each reactor block decrease with the size of the ship to a minimum of 100 power per block.

    Reason why being, small ships should be able to power themselves with the smallest possible reactor and larger ships should have a rather large reactor or even multiple reactors for doing things like travel and combat.

    Also stabilisers should work to improve the efficiency of power per block, so these larger ships can have less reactor and more power. This would justify the distance needed for the stabilisers to be from the reactor, because in large ships you are already big enough to fit the stabilisers and reactors.

    On the subject of stabilisers, they should not be needed on the very small ships such as drones and maybe even up to an average sized corvette (around 100m or upwards of 8k mass), this idea is supported by the fact they simply cannot fit within a ship of this size. With my idea you wont need stabilisers at this size because the reactor will be at its most efficient because you have a small ship and getting around say 100k power per block or some other number higher than 100 per block, however to keep that super efficiency going you will need stabilisers on things that are too large for the maximum efficiency.

    This keeps true with the idea of larger ships having the most power, but it also makes sure that smaller ships have enough power for weapons to do something to something slightly larger than it. For example a drone could damage a fighter, a fighter could damage a corvette, and so on and so on.


    On the subject of ideas related to power and stabilisers, thrust is a bit of a big problem apparently, so I might suggest lowering the mass of a thruster block and lowering the amount of power they require while increasing the amount of thrust they produce. A single thruster should be able to move a 100 mass ship easily with the help of say a 3 block mobility chamber.


    Of course these are just some sleep deprived thoughts so please improve upon these while I have a 15 minute nap that will turn into a 10 hour nap.
     
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    Can we have those side menu sticking more to the edges of the screen ? As they are now they take up way too much space on the screen. We nearly have to peer through them to see our builds...
     
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    now my new reactor is thirty five (25 reactor/10 Stabilizer) 0.5 mass blocks, and produces only 2600
    There's your problem. With only ten stabilizers, fifteen of your reactor blocks are just dead mass. Either remove them, or add more until you have equal numbers of stabilizers and reactors. If you have more stabilizers than reactors, that's no problem apart from the obvious mass they add, but you have to have at least one stabilizer block per reactor block.

    My roughly comparable, 41 meter long, 620t mass test build has ~175 reactors and ~220 stabilizers, because not every single one was beyond "optimal" distance, has a big fat main gun, a few PD turrets, and Top Speed-3 and Turn Rate-3 at a TMR 0f 2.0, and on top of that Shield Capacity-1 because why not, and has no power issues at all.

    And it's not a stick or dumbbell by any means.
     

    Edymnion

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    For something to relate to: My drone's old reactor line was thirty one 0.1 mass blocks and produced 10,000 e/s, now my new reactor is thirty five (25 reactor/10 Stabilizer) 0.5 mass blocks, and produces only 2600 with a 2597e/s power MAINTENANCE. Not only is that 5.7x more mass and 4x less power, but now actually doing anything with the ship (such as firing the gun), will put into into comatose.
    Thank you for providing meaningful feedback and numbers in your response. This is how we get things properly reviewed and potentially changed. :)
     
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    There's your problem. With only ten stabilizers, fifteen of your reactor blocks are just dead mass. Either remove them, or add more until you have equal numbers of stabilizers and reactors. If you have more stabilizers than reactors, that's no problem apart from the obvious mass they add, but you have to have at least one stabilizer block per reactor block.

    My roughly comparable, 41 meter long, 620t mass test build has ~175 reactors and ~220 stabilizers, because not every single one was beyond "optimal" distance, has a big fat main gun, a few PD turrets, and Top Speed-3 and Turn Rate-3 at a TMR 0f 2.0, and on top of that Shield Capacity-1 because why not, and has no power issues at all.

    And it's not a stick or dumbbell by any means.

    at smaller sizes reactors and stabilizers don't need to be equal, i think it's like this until around 100 reactor blocks

    EDIT: I meant 48 total blocks (26 reactor/22 stabilizer, i mistakenly put 35 (25/10) for some reason
     
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    at smaller sizes reactors and stabilizers don't need to be equal, i think it's like this until around 100 reactor blocks
    Yes, you're right. I didn't consider smaller reactors since my case was already well over a hundred, but of course the number of stabilizers required gradually approaches the number of reactor blocks - for ten reactors, that's where stabilizers begin to be required, the ratio is 50% IIRC. I haven't tested much larger reactors to see whether the ratio goes over 100% at some point, the largest I have so far is around 1-2k, I think.
    [doublepost=1508346725,1508346375][/doublepost]I still think a reactor without enough stabilizers, or any at all, should contribute at least some fraction of power per "understabilized" block instead of just adding mass without benefit. It should definitely be more efficient to add stabilizers, but they shouldn't be required to increase power output.
     

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    Yes, you're right. I didn't consider smaller reactors since my case was already well over a hundred, but of course the number of stabilizers required gradually approaches the number of reactor blocks - for ten reactors, that's where stabilizers begin to be required, the ratio is 50% IIRC. I haven't tested much larger reactors to see whether the ratio goes over 100% at some point, the largest I have so far is around 1-2k, I think.

    I've been doing testing on small reactors for a few days now, anyways, here's a picture of some small reactors

    any fighter or drone (sub 50m) using a reactor up to 3x3x3 will be completely and utterly useless
     
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    I've been doing testing on small reactors for a few days now, anyways, here's a picture of some small reactors
    [snip image]
    any fighter or drone (sub 50m) using a reactor up to 3x3x3 will be completely and utterly useless
    Then use a bigger reactor, for chrissake. That ship I mentioned is 40x20x20ish, and has a reactor almost seven times as large as that. With stabilizers to match. In a compact, non-pencil form factor. It's maneuverable, it shoots, and it doesn't run out of juice. With space for crew, cargo and room to spare.
     

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    Then use a bigger reactor, for chrissake. That ship I mentioned is 40x20x20ish, and has a reactor almost seven times as large as that. With stabilizers to match. In a compact, non-pencil form factor. It's maneuverable, it shoots, and it doesn't run out of juice.


    You simply cannot fit a bigger reactor within the ship, this drones is 32 meters long (34 including nose armor piece), the reactor is 9m long, and the stabilizer is 14m long. The required stabilizer distance is 10m.
     
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    FYI currently reactor/stabilizer ratio is 1:1-5. 5-block reactor needs no stabilizers.
    That's some bullshit if you ask me.

    And the required distance is just the icing on the cake, as I haven't found a way to calculate it, which is literally the opposite of what Schine wanted. For those not in the know they wanted the new power system to be "predictable". The irony of it all is unbearable.
     
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    You simply cannot fit a bigger reactor within the ship, this drones is 32 meters long (34 including nose armor piece), the reactor is 9m long, and the stabilizer is 14m long. The required stabilizer distance is 10m.

    Thanks for posting, 10 meters for a small drone is insane, thats 1/3rd of it's total length!!
    For a larger ship the distances would be absurd... This just completly slaughtered the remained of my creative juices :,(
    Who came up with this??????
     
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    Thanks for posting, 10 meters for a small drone is insane, thats 1/3rd of it's total length!!
    For a larger ship the distances would be absurd... This just completly slaughtered the remained of my creative juices :,(
    Who came up with this??????
    I don't know, but if you look at Star Wars ships for example, an approximate rule of thumb that usually fits fairly well is that around 25% of ship volume is taken up by propulsive systems...

    EDIT, sorry, that wasn't really very well related to your post, I read it in isolation and without images...
     
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    It took me a while to get my thoughts in order about the new system. But here is my 2 cents.

    Power blocks and stabilisers:
    1. I would suggest not allowing mixed systems on ships or stations. Like with the rails update it’s either the old or the new system.
    2. The distance between power blocks and stabilisers can in small ship builds (example 35m) be a struggle you don’t want. In a standard ship design the front of a ship houses the cockpit, weapon outputs and now stabilisers. That’s a lot of competition for space.
    3. Power blocks will end up in odd places in your ship if you are maximizing distance. In the spot where engines should be or in wing tips for example.
    4. I would like stabilisers to have some different graphics for top and bottom faces. Similar to the antenna block. This way they could be used as interior blocks as well.



    Chambers:

    1. I would like the chamber blocks to either have graphics that could be used in interiors easily enough or perhaps the same as mentioned for the stabiliser blocks with the top and bottom.
    2. I would suggest making clear groups of chambers. For example offensive, defensive and support. FTL would be a support chamber Regen defensive etc. So you will have 3 branches you can specialise in. Or spend points in 2 or 3 branches. Basic skill three in any RPG game actually.
    3. Some chamber or effect suggestions:

    • Make scanners specialised. Extremely good at scanning for asteroids. Not so much at detecting ships. Or reverse.
    • Some sort of computer booster that lets you hack enemy systems. Actually interfere with enemy systems. Meaning giving them debufs in chamber operation.
    • Or the reverse of the above. Some sort of buffing chamber that increases the ability of you fleet or allies.
    • Creating a gravity well that pulls ships from FTL.
    • Phasing. Weapons fire passes right through the ship but you can’t fire either. Probably a huge power hog. And only for short durations.
    • Increasing your scanner profile. Making yourself a beacon in space. Everyone will know your there.



    Interface (Chambers):

    1. Make it graphically obvious what level a chamber is. It’s easier to see where you are add at a glance instead of reading the information.
    2. Have basic information displayed in the reactor block graphic. Not at the bottom of the screen. Now I have to click the chamber and look down at the bottom of the window for this.
    3. Group functions with the chamber block graphic as well. When you’re looking or interacting with an object it should be clear to the player what they can do with it. Very basic example. Your mail icon on your phone. It most likely gets a number graphic over the icon when you have new mail. This number shows up on top of the icon you can press to open you email app. That’s what I mean by grouping.
    4. At the moment you can’t see what exactly you set a chamber configuration too once chosen. The description and flow chart is only available if you revert the chamber again. You do have the active affects but that does not give you the information about alternatives you might consider.



    Interface (in general):

    Although the interface has improved greatly already there are still things that can be done better. Just checking the game interface against the best practice rules should point out some elements. And I’m not talking only about menu windows and buttons etc. This applies to all interactions in the game. Be it shooting at something or building.

    • Keep the interface simple.
    • Create consistency and use common UI elements.
    • Be purposeful in page layout.
    • Strategically use color and texture.
    • Use typography to create hierarchy and clarity.
    • Make sure that the system communicates what’s happening.
    • Think about the defaults.

    Especially the feedback on what’s happening is something I think can be improved.

    The most glaring example is just flying your ship. There is very little in the interface going on that will give you information about what’s going on in the sector or system you flying through. Why should I break flight mode (and immersion) to open up the nav menu? I need that info while I’m in flight.

    You might have the indicators and map (still to small) but those do not tell you what it is your facing exactly. For example I need a particular ore. In flight mode I’ll have to fly to the asteroid and see if it’s the correct one. The nav menu actually tells me.

    We finally have a better way to control the state of our turrets with the new menu. But only in build mode. Again I have to get out of flight mode and do things to make my ship operate differently and breaking emersion.

    One other thing that should be considered. How does a ship operate? At the moment every ship is basically a fighter. From an interface perspective that is. If you have a slightly bigger ship that is not as manoeuvrable then this makes no sense. A freighter is not a light snub fighter.
    [doublepost=1508449610,1508448747][/doublepost]
    Then use a bigger reactor, for chrissake. That ship I mentioned is 40x20x20ish, and has a reactor almost seven times as large as that. With stabilizers to match. In a compact, non-pencil form factor. It's maneuverable, it shoots, and it doesn't run out of juice. With space for crew, cargo and room to spare.
    Some of us want to build specific astatic designs. In the old system you can still make those functional. In the new systems this is much much harder. It puts a lot of pressure on creative freedom.
     
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    Because it’s very difficult to describe something in words when talking about images I made a simple mock-up of a chamber info graphic.



    This is what I mean with clustering information. One glance and I know what the status is of the chamber, that I can still level it up and at what level it is. The only thing it still needs is a name.
     
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    My issue is that turrets still don't function. Because of this, I can't draw any real conclusions about whether or not the new system is an improvement or if it's even viable.

    To know for certain, I need to be able to do the following:
    1. Build a ship that is outwardly identical to a known functional design under the old system. This will allow me to compare two ships of equal dimensions and armament.
    2. Go out and blow up a NPC station and its defending ships.
    3. Jump to three or four different star systems and cruise around each and collect sensor readings.
    4. Return home. Run the same set as the new ship as the old ship (or the other way round) in order to make both an objective and subjective set of comparisons.
    Until I can do all that, it's impossible for me to compare old power to new power.

    Conceptually, I like the new power idea. However, it still has huge issues to work out before I can say yes or no to the question of "Is this better?" or "What needs to be re-balanced?"

    At the moment, all we can do is try stuff and submit bug reports until things get back to a functional state. Then we can begin balancing.

    It's just my opinion here. I'm just not sure the debates on game meta issues are relevant yet. As long as bancing can still be performed later, I prefer to limit my comments to those of functionality.