Dimensional Power Gen: The Bane of Starmade Ship Design

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    The core issue with power, as I see it, is it's continued reliance on a dimensional variable to calculate power gen. It has always somewhat inhibited ship design and given rise to extreme meta ships that capitalize on this fact to reach ungodly power levels. These ships can be mitigated though through mechanics that further inhibit design.

    Not all limitations are inherently bad. Though for a system that is the basis of balance for nearly all other systems, you better make damn sure it doesn't favor one design style over another. Otherwise you'll be sucking hind tit playing catch up by patching in unintuitive gameplay elements and/or constantly adjusting numbers. All the while you'll be putting more restrictions on players that steer their dicrection when building. Some good, some bad.

    Ask yourself, what makes one ship "better" than another ship? Percentage of system blocks used, how those blocks are arranged and general shape of the ship to name a few. Not one of these characteristics has anything to do with the size of a ship. Yet some use size as a metric for ship comparisons, which I believe this is a big reason we still use dims for power gen. If this is the case, then why do we base the core mechanic of starmade, on an unbalanced metric?

    Schine has said in the past starmade needs a solid foundation to build other systems from. Power IS the foundation of starmade. It needs to be unbiased in it's implementation, otherwise the rest of the game will suffer.

    Using the mass or block count of a ship have my vote. It doesn't matter which one really and for the most part it doesn't matter how it's implemented. Neither one has the same potential for exploits as dims do. Mass for mass, block for block, two ships will have the same level of potential competitiveness and that's what this game needs. A level playing field.

    /rant

    Mostly just venting about something that's been bothering me for a while now. Hopefully good discussion will follow.
     
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    non-sense : the game is about better/worse designs, not equally balanced statistics based on block count. (that would a card-trade game)

    dimensional rules XYZ, logarithmic bonus, diminishing return mechanics, etc are what keep people coming back to the game.

    complex power rules (as a basis for your ship) should be where the competition and 'balancing' begins - power as just a linear saleable block of bricks is just crude and boring, has no design variability or interest, and requires zero rewarding effort to achieve.
     
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    Schine wants to give builders the freedom to put empty spaces in their hulls. Whether its for crew areas or to decrease the amount of blocks you need to place. They want to accomplish this by limiting power output to size or a range of sizes. This is the basic assumption you have to have before you come into this discussion. If you want 1-dimensional power that has no limitation relative to the hull size, that's against what schine wants.

    I can agree with you that mass is the single most intuitive system for determining the relative power of a ship.
     
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    "I can agree with you that mass is the single most intuitive system for determining the relative power of a ship." ?!

    I can't agree : why would eg a heavy cargo ship, have the same 'power' based on its mass as, eg a sleek stealth frigate ??? (insert other examples as required)
     
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    You can trade the length needed for perfect stabiliser efficiency against mass - i.e. you can have the same power output with a higher quantity of less efficient stabilisers, this lets you reduce your length for the cost of increasing stabiliser mass.
    It's an excellent design compromise to have to make: length vs mass - in other words you choose your density.

    The only minor change it needs (Lancake has said it can be done with a small config change) is that reactor efficiency shouldn't drop to 0% when too close, it should have a minimum efficiency between say 5%-20%
     
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    non-sense : the game is about better/worse designs, not equally balanced statistics based on block count. (that would a card-trade game)

    dimensional rules XYZ, logarithmic bonus, diminishing return mechanics, etc are what keep people coming back to the game.

    complex power rules (as a basis for your ship) should be where the competition and 'balancing' begins - power as just a linear saleable block of bricks is just crude and boring, has no design variability or interest, and requires zero rewarding effort to achieve.
    You're not understanding what I'm saying.

    What's stopping you from having a "logarithmic bonus and diminishing return mechanic" in a mass or block count based power system?

    Schine wants to give builders the freedom to put empty spaces in their hulls. Whether its for crew areas or to decrease the amount of blocks you need to place. They want to accomplish this by limiting power output to size or a range of sizes. This is the basic assumption you have to have before you come into this discussion.
    Adjusting the numbers will net the same result in any of these three systems.

    I can't agree : why would eg a heavy cargo ship, have the same 'power' based on its mass as, eg a sleek stealth frigate ??? (insert other examples as required)
    You are correct. Mass does have it's drawbacks, which is why I would rather have block count. Every block is counted as equal and because of this there is very little room for exploitation.

    I mean come on, you cant dispute X, Y, Z has some major downsides. Ones we've been dealing with for years.

    You can trade the length needed for perfect stabiliser efficiency against mass - i.e. you can have the same power output with a higher quantity of less efficient stabilisers, this lets you reduce your length for the cost of increasing stabiliser mass.
    It's an excellent design compromise to have to make: length vs mass - in other words you choose your density.

    The only minor change it needs (Lancake has said it can be done with a small config change) is that reactor efficiency shouldn't drop to 0% when too close, it should have a minimum efficiency between say 5%-20%
    This doesn't fix the problem I outlined in the op. It only mitigates it
     
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    Adjusting the numbers will net the same result in any of these three systems.
    Im going to assume by this you meant "you can solve the problem and leave space for interiors by simply adjusting some values", to which i call bullshit. You'll always want to fill in your hulls, and until crews are completely necessary or have enough impact that they're basically mandatory, people will never use interior spaces in a serious PVP ship because it's more valuable to fill that space with systems to have as much efficiency per silhouette as possible. Its better to get people accustomed to the fact that eventually they are going to need interior spaces in their ships. It's all there in the roadmap.

    If that's not what you meant, i'm sorry.
     
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    Im going to assume by this you meant "you can solve the problem and leave space for interiors by simply adjusting some values", to which i call bullshit. You'll always want to fill in your hulls, and until crews are completely necessary or have enough impact that they're basically mandatory, people will never use interior spaces in a serious PVP ship because it's more valuable to fill that space with systems to have as much efficiency per silhouette as possible. Its better to get people accustomed to the fact that eventually they are going to need interior spaces in their ships. It's all there in the roadmap.

    If that's not what you meant, i'm sorry.
    I should have been more clear. What you are saying is correct, I'm not disputing that.

    Until there is a reason for interior space, people will fill their ships but this has nothing to do with power. The output of a ship based off of mass or block count is much more balanced than basing it off of dims, because their capabilities come down to the type and amount of blocks used. Shape and/or size has very little to do with it.

    Adjusting the numbers when an interior mechanic is introduced, to increase or decrease the amount of empty space, will be much easier If power becomes a more balanced system.
     
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    Until there is a reason for interior space, people will fill their ships but this has nothing to do with power. The output of a ship based off of mass or block count is much more balanced than basing it off of dims, because their capabilities come down to the type and amount of blocks used. Shape and/or size has very little to do with it.
    OK, i think i'm starting to understand where all these misunderstandings are coming from.

    In most suggestions where it's implied your power will be balanced by "silhouette" or "dimensions" or even stabilizers, the power itself is still based on the amount of reactor blocks you have. It's just that the amount of reactor blocks you can realistically support is somehow based on the physical size of your ship. Therefore, you can only support so many systems for a given ship size, and the rest will be left empty (interiors!) or as armor. Some suggestions have very fleshed out ways of determining how many reactor blocks you can realistically support. Some are more lenient or flexible. No suggestion implies that the power would magically increase the larger your ship was.

    Lets look at some suggestions.

    Schine Stabilizers
    How much power you get from your ship is determined by how many reactor blocks you have. The reactor blocks don't output their optimal amount of power unless you have stabilizers far away from the reactor.

    Lecic Stabilizers
    How much power you get from your ship is determined by how many reactor blocks you have. The reactor blocks don't output their optimal power unless you have stabilizers inside an optimal range. You also have to pipe conduits to every one of your systems, and the conduits have to be thick enough or enough power won't make it through.

    Silhouette + Penalty points

    How much power you get from your ship is determined by how many reactor blocks you have. If your ship silhouette isn't big enough, you get penalty points that you must assign to penalties to your ship systems, otherwise the reactor doesn't output the extra power.

    Surface area-to-volume
    How much power you get from your ship is determined by how many reactor blocks you have. If your "surface area", determined by calculating how much SA a cube with equal amount of blocks as your ship would have, isn't large enough, the reactor doesn't output the optimal amount of power.

    I hope you understand what i mean.
     

    AtraUnam

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    To those who want to base power gen off mass/block count I raise you Atra's magic Advanced-armor/dirt reactor, or for a 3 million credit deposit you can make use of our completely unkillable area trigger reactors.
     
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    To those who want to base power gen off mass/block count I raise you Atra's magic Advanced-armor/dirt reactor, or for a 3 million credit deposit you can make use of our completely unkillable area trigger reactors.
    Can you link the thread where you discuss these systems?

    lmao
     
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    Schine wants to give builders the freedom to put empty spaces in their hulls. Whether its for crew areas or to decrease the amount of blocks you need to place. They want to accomplish this by limiting power output to size or a range of sizes. This is the basic assumption you have to have before you come into this discussion. If you want 1-dimensional power that has no limitation relative to the hull size, that's against what schine wants.

    I can agree with you that mass is the single most intuitive system for determining the relative power of a ship.
    Adding an interior doesn't have to come at the cost of performance imo. For builders it's more of a personal choice rather than a detriment to have an interior. Its only drawback is that it will decrease your fps a bit more if you look at it which sucks :/
     
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    the amount of reactor blocks you can realistically support is somehow based on the physical size of your ship.....
    Let's break it down further friend. The amount of reactor blocks don't necessarily matter, what matters is that output is based off of X characteristic of your ship. Where X can be either dims, mass or block count.

    If dims are used, a longer ship will produce more power and thus potentially be more powerful. even though it has similar mass and amount of blocks as another.

    If mass is used the more massive ship can produce more power. Not the greatest. There is still some room for exploitation but not near as bad as dims.

    If block count is used...I don't really know. I can't come up with an exploit for this one. If anyone can, I would like to hear it.

    To those who want to base power gen off mass/block count I raise you Atra's magic Advanced-armor/dirt reactor, or for a 3 million credit deposit you can make use of our completely unkillable area trigger reactors.
    Forget mass based power. What I really want is my reactor to be powered by space whale blubber.
     
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    If block count is used...I don't really know. I can't come up with an exploit for this one. If anyon
    Putting a lot of useless and weightless blocs. ;-)
    Though you can divide the mass by the bloc count. A low ratio mean many cheap blocs, resulting in a not so efficient reactor while the heavy one come with a good reactor. But atthe cost of mass, aka thrusts.
     
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    Putting a lot of useless and weightless blocs. ;-)
    Though you can divide the mass by the bloc count. A low ratio mean many cheap blocs, resulting in a not so efficient reactor while the heavy one come with a good reactor. But atthe cost of mass, aka thrusts.
    If power is based on block count yes, more useless blocks would net more power, but they're useless.

    Two 10k block ships have the same power. If one fills half their ship with say, a lighter material then the other, it would be a tactic, not really an exploit.

    I like your idea about merging the two into a hybrid system though. Seems like it would balance itself out. Might be more intuitive than straight block count also. I'll have to think on it more, looks awesome. You should post a suggestion
     

    sayerulz

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    As atra pointed out but you failed to understand, this would allow people to make an ultra-dense system ship filled with power-guzzling weapons and thrusters, then spam weightless, unhittable area triggers around it until they had enough power. Welcome to tiny ships with the speed of a dedicated racer and the shields and weapons of a battleship because they don't need to dedicate any space or mass to power generation. And that's probably just the tip of the exploit iceberg.

    Also it would take half the skill and strategy out of ship design. You're proposal would make size the ONLY thing that matters for ships power. Welcome to the "the bigger ship wins no matter what" complaints actually being true.
     
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    As atra pointed out but you failed to understand, this would allow people to make an ultra-dense system ship filled with power-guzzling weapons and thrusters, then spam weightless, unhittable area triggers around it until they had enough power. Welcome to tiny ships with the speed of a dedicated racer and the shields and weapons of a battleship because they don't need to dedicate any space or mass to power generation. And that's probably just the tip of the exploit iceberg.
    Ah, thanks for pointing that out. Easily sorted. Honestly, why would anyone in their right mind allow an indestructible block to contribute to output? Should I have said "killable block count based power system" instead. Come on.

    Also it would take half the skill and strategy out of ship design. You're proposal would make size the ONLY thing that matters for ships power. Welcome to the "the bigger ship wins no matter what" complaints actually being true.
    Can you give me a reason why this would have to be true? Mechanics can be built upon this to encourage skill, just as they have in regard to the dimension mechanic.

    As far as the bigger ship always wins argument. Why would this proposal neutralize a smaller better built ship's ability to defeat a larger ship?
     
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    I like your idea about merging the two into a hybrid system though. Seems like it would balance itself out. Might be more intuitive than straight block count also. I'll have to think on it more, looks awesome. You should post a suggestion
    If you feel like it would be worth a suggestion, feel free to do so.
     

    sayerulz

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    As far as the bigger ship always wins argument. Why would this proposal neutralize a smaller better built ship's ability to defeat a larger ship?
    Because having a ships power stat based on size and nothing else means that making a "smaller but better" ship is basically impossible. Power can't be armored, like in the new system, you can't have efficient layouts, like the old system. All you can have is more blocks. The whole of ship design becomes just "put exactly as many power-consuming systems as your block count supports", and that's it. There is no "smaller but better" in this system. May as well just make it so DPS and shield capacity/regen are size based as well.
     
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    Because having a ships power stat based on size and nothing else means that making a "smaller but better" ship is basically impossible. Power can't be armored, like in the new system, you can't have efficient layouts, like the old system. All you can have is more blocks. The whole of ship design becomes just "put exactly as many power-consuming systems as your block count supports", and that's it. There is no "smaller but better" in this system. May as well just make it so DPS and shield capacity/regen are size based as well.
    If current power was ONLY based on increasing one dimension, it would be just as boring and the same problems would exist in that system as well, but it isn't. The premise behind the op was only to give balance to power by changing what it's based on, not to discuss a completed system. I already have a suggestion posted for that.

    I never said base power on mass or BC then do nothing else. An efficient layout mechanic can be applied to reactors in a BC system. If stabilizers are your shtick, they could be added as well. Efficiency curves and limitations are needed in any system we use to make building a challenge, I understand this as well as anyone.

    Dimensional power is just so woefully unbalanced that a ship twice the length of another, built with half as many blocks/resources, can produce more power. It's unbalanced because the longer ship in actuality is smaller (less blocks) but uses this broken mechanic to generate more power.
     
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