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    Issues with the 2.0 Power System (Regarding the Goals of the New System)

    Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Nosajimiki, Oct 9, 2017.

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    1. Nosajimiki

      Joined:
      Sep 14, 2017
      Messages:
      18
      Schine announced these goals as reasons for the power 2.0 update:
      Goals/Rules

      First thing we did, was figuring out which criteria our new system should fulfill.
      These are the ones we used for power and anything tied to power consumption:
      1. Predictability: Placing a block leads to predictable outcomes
      2. Simplicity: The game should only describe the rules to the player, not telling the player exactly what to do
      3. Make every block matter without losing its importance with different ship sizes
      4. Depth: The system needs to have equally viable choices within each possible situation, creating additional gameplay possibilities where possible, keeping complexity unchanged.
      5. Performance: Game limits must not be avoidable, using the least amount of these limits is better to minimize any potential exploits
      6. Performant: Must perform well from a game engine perspective
      7. Creativity: Allow as much creativity as possible
      8. Logical: Needs to make sense to the player
      9. Solution focused: Must solve any current game issues with that particular system

      With these goals/rules, we went over the current power system and any of our new ideas including the heatbox mechanic we shared before. We combined the things we liked into a new system that is explained below.​

      I like these goals, and I think this power update COULD meet them, but below are a list of reasons why the current dev build does not meet them and suggestions that could be taken to help the new system get there.

      ----------------


      - By enforcing a gap between the reactor and the stabilizer, you enforce a specific logical shape for ships (Long and skinny) or worse, with a stupid looking floating enhancer a km outside your ship. They also contradict the statement that they want ships to be easier to modify. If I discover I need 10% more power to finish a design, I need to do a total rebuild of parts of my ship to increase the gap and chamber sizes. In their current state, stabilizers do nothing but add an unnecessary layer of complexity and unpredictability to ship design.

      - While stabilizers fundamentally fail at the goal of giving players a reason to build an interior, I have heard two proposed ideas from the community that might do this much better:

      - Add a proper "crew" mechanic to the game so that your interior would need to be able to give your crew maintenance access to your ship

      [EDIT]
      - Add some kind of heat-sink mechanic that modifies your reactor's efficiency based on your ship's total surface area instead of using stabilizers. This way you can stabilize your reactor on any sized or dimensioned ship just by adding detail work to it.

      - In terms of being Performant, I would like to note that surface area has to be rendered. While this would be a good way to achieve the goal of balancing RP vs PvP builds, a system that requires ships with more internal and external surface area per mass will get more Client-side lag. Experienced PvP players don’t just design larger ships with fairly small interiors because they are lazy or to take advantage of any special meta, most of us do it because it reduces lag and makes for smoother gameplay when dealing with larger ships. If this system is adopted, please add an admin setting that can be used to adjust optimal surface area balancing for servers that cater more to Titan builds.

      So I've been thinking more on this topic, and come to an idea that might be a good compromise of these issues. If your ship's total surface area is a benefit (which would offer good advantages to RP builds), but too much surface area is a major detriment to titans' client-side performance and required design times, then the logical solution would to replace stabilizers with a system that you can bury inside of other blocks in place of surface area (ie: cooling blocks). These blocks would "waste" mass in exchange for simplifying a ship's design.

      I image a block with .1 mass that can simulate 20 exposed surfaces. This would typically be less mass efficient than an equivalent group of light weight decorative blocks, but make up for it with simplicity of implementation. In this way, players would have 3 ways to resolve the heat-sink dilemma which each appeal to different play styles.
      1- build a detailed interior: The lightest weight solution which rewards RP builds.
      2- build a solid ship with elaborate outer armor details: A different kind of RP solution. Heaviest weight, but approaches the problem from a "no wasted block" perspective.
      3- build a solid ship with cooling blocks: A simplified solution for ships too large for a full RP surface area to be practical.

      [END EDIT]

      - Piping to chambers creates two other issues as well:

      - Efficiency fall off creates another situation of game mechanics defining ship shapes. If I must pipe my chambers in the shortest possible path to retain optimal efficiency, then the most logical reactor setup is a giant ball or box with chambers surrounding my reactor in minimal proximity. This limits options for curvy linear or flat ships.

      - While this distance penalty is small, keep in mind many players will do stupid looking things to make a stronger ship, and anything that preforms good while looking bad will further the gap between RP and PvP builds.

      - This also creates a new game mechanic where one already exists increasing the learning curve for new players. If they were connected by computers like everything else, it would be easier to distribute systems to meet your design and it would build on an already familiar system of connecting things.

      - By limiting the number of chambers, you can have, you limit the optional roles you can build a ship too. Bigger reactors already mean bigger chambers. If you stick to that idea, you realize you can actually do without this limit since chambers take up mass, space, and cost in place of other systems. If for example a level 3 upgrade actually required 3 chambers, you could nix this hard limit and create more options without sacrificing balance.
      - For example: I have a ship right now that can perma cloak, scan, jam, and chain drive. It has no guns, no shields, and its "hull" is made out of motherboard, but it is designed to jump while cloaked for optimal scouting. A similar class of ship could be made in the new system if I were to devote the entire ship to chamber effects and propulsion while trying to minimize its base reactor size to the bare minimum, but with a hard limit of 10 chambers, highly specialized "effect" builds like this cannot be done.

      - Weapon upgrades by class are also limiting. There is a lot of merit in experimenting with combinations of beams, cannons, and missiles. This upgrade system forces you to commit to a single main weapon system.

      - Instead, I would suggest focusing on things that might apply to ALL weapon classes such as increasing AI accuracy or raw damage, or at least to reduce the by class upgrades to a single tier, so that a diverse build is still an "affordable" payoff
       
      #1 Nosajimiki, Oct 9, 2017
      Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
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    2. kiddan

      Joined:
      May 12, 2014
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      1,003
      These ^ are very good points and I hope Schine takes them into consideration.

      A chamber limit with scaling just to keep them running gives small ships a buff, as a larger ships requires more blocks to create a chamber as powerful as a maxed smaller ship. Do many community members complain about bigger being better? Absolutely.
       
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    3. kikaha

      Joined:
      Jul 10, 2013
      Messages:
      443
      Totally agree with that.

      For the rest, well i understood, badly it seem, that with the new power system we would use less blocks. But after refitting quite a few ship with it, all not some, all of my ships end up having the same amount of blocks dedicated to power inside them. Les reactor maybe but stabilizers make the rest.

      Multiply everything about reactors and stabilizers including the cost of making them by a big number and the new system might be viable.
       
    4. Coyote27

      Joined:
      Jul 30, 2017
      Messages:
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      I feel that offensive chambers should be removed, at least in their current iteration; not only do they not do anything at all interesting, but they limit effective choices for no good reason.


      Edit: As far as stabilizers and distance go, I'd like to suggest a square-root distance formula, eg.: for four reactor blocks, the stabilizers should be two blocks away, for 100 reactor blocks the stabilizers should be 10 blocks away, so on and so forth. A multiplier could be thrown in there or not, it doesn't really matter so much as long as it's not too large, but the square-root progression would make stabilizer distance less of an issue for larger reactors and no longer encourage silly solutions, while still being somewhat relevant.
       
      #4 Coyote27, Oct 9, 2017
      Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
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    5. Valck

      Joined:
      Jun 27, 2013
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      Respectfully disagree.

      Instead I'd like to see the non-physical linking reduced as much as possible, and replaced with physical links wherever it makes sense. Actual pipes from a reactor to its chambers is an instance where I think it does immediately and obviously make sense.
      Weapons computers to barrels etc. might need some getting used to, but here too I think it makes sense, if you decouple the control aspect from them. I could imagine if and when chairs and in extension, multiple control points beside the core, come out, you wouldn't have x weapon computers on your bridge, but several control stations that each can control individual or multiple systems.
      Consider turrets, they usually have their controllers close to the modules, and are already controlled 'from the bridge' in a way, by means of switching on and off the AI.
      Virtual linking arguably makes sense for logic, but then I think the entire block-based logic needs to be replaced with something way more compact...

      Also the impact on a new player's learning curve would of course not be negligible, but not that much of an issue either.
       
    6. Scypio

      Joined:
      Sep 18, 2014
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      I don't know. Having your ship optimised for one type of weapon could be interesting. Low range tank build for beams, light long range missile boat for example.
      Problem comes from the current state of weapons where some are good in all aspects, some in a few niches and then the rest is "meh". So you're forced to pick everywhere to get your stuff working.
      In conclusion, if all weapons are balanced and i hope schine want to get to this point one day, then being specialized in one type of weapon is just a choice of game design. Being forced to pick only one type of weapon if we want to use chambers or no chambers and being able to use all kind of weapons equally is just a matter of how you want to design the game. I mean, your probably understood the idea, i know that is a limit to something but then who wouldn't just pick a weapon bonus to all weapons for like 10 or 20 % ?
       
    7. Nosajimiki

      Joined:
      Sep 14, 2017
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      18
      To clarify, I am an advocate for all or nothing. If everything were piped together, that could be okay, but mixed systems is unnecessarily complex.

      I think I am also put off by the fact the most chambers have nothing to do with power. If my reactor had to be piped into chambers that actually gave my POWER system a unique flavor, I think a piping system would make more sense. Instead, all this is is a replacement of the old system of passives with a new system that is bound to reactor instead of mass.
      --- Updated post (merge), Oct 9, 2017, Original Post Date: Oct 9, 2017 ---
      If you are building a warship, you WILL pick a weapon bonus if one exists; that is a given. My point is that their stated goal was to not limit creativity, and making a mixed-arms ship take 3x as many chambers as a single arms ship to achieve the same effect does that.
       
    8. Ithirahad

      Ithirahad Arana'Aethi
      Community Mentor

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      Nah, if you're building an optimized warship, you will probably want to take one or two weapon chambers and one or two weapon types, not all three. If you're building a replica or something, there's still nothing stopping you from adding more.

      While it may 'limit creativity,' encouraging ship specialization is not a bad thing.
       
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    9. Az14el

      Az14el Lord Procrastinator General

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      Never not had reason to use all 3 weapon primaries (pulse is kek tier so i dont mean that)
      Cannon, missile & beam DAMAGE (so not one or two in plinky support guns, i mean GUNS) are all important for their own reasons, be it range, hitscan, reliability, damage potential, etc. Specialised ships are fine, really good in fact, but they sure as hell don't have only one viable offensive weapon on them beyond smaller scale dogfighter types that can control engagement range (and find themselves wanting against others their type that picked rock into their scissors weapons wise)


      Such a shame they confuse "has a LOT more systems in it than me" with "better ship"
      as far as potential relative to mass, smaller ships win at almost every mass right now by greater and greater margins the closer they are to a mass range that will efficiently utilize current e/s soft caps (why those big op ships are absolutely covered in small actually op ships as turrets), and it's not like those people had any other Starmade to make their complaints off of.
       
      #9 Az14el, Oct 10, 2017
      Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
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    10. Dire Venom

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      Props to the OP for making this thread, your post is well detailed and valuable feedback for the devs.
      My conclusions:

      =>Having required distances for stabilizers should not be a thing. Remove the distance mechanic.

      =>Stabilizers should take on a different role. They contribute little to the game in their current state.

      =>Having chambers for each upgrade seems like a solid idea to me. Chambers should not recive penalities for being a bit further away from the reactor.
       
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    11. Edymnion

      Joined:
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      I totally agree here.

      We should not be able to have "Jack of All Trade" ships that are as effective as a "dedicated" ship.

      I like the idea that you can have a glass cannon that is all weapon damage and fire rate, with nothing left over for shields. Or build a tank that has tons of upgrades to defenses, but nothing left over for a good jump drive. Or you can try to do everything in a generic ship, and not really be good at any of it.

      Especially with fleet control already a thing, I can see this GREATLY encouraging the design of multiple ship types that have to be juggled together to be fully effective. Heavy bombers, light harassers, etc.
       
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    12. Nosajimiki

      Joined:
      Sep 14, 2017
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      Chambers take up mass and >10 chambers take up a lot of it. If you build a ship with a reasonably sized reactor and 10 chambers, you'll see what I mean. A jack-of-all trades ship IS naturally and significantly penalized compared to specialized ships for this reason because you sacrifice so much shields, engines, weapons, etc for each chamber you add to your design. In my example you will see, I am not describing a jack-of-all-trades ship at all. Anything with more than 10 chambers would inherently be a very specialized ship because there would be no room left to make it a proper warship. (typically a freighter, scout, etc.) In order to make specialization work, for warships (if that is a desired outcome), the trees could be rebalanced similar to how the stealth tree is where you get so-so abilities in the first ranks and you work your way up the chain to more complex and valuable capabilities.

      In this context, if there is an offensive meta/synergy/ability that requires a 10 chamber combo (equivalently desireable to perma-cloaking), it could be balanced to pay-off better than 5 offensive and 5 defensive chambers.
       
    13. Nosajimiki

      Joined:
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      So I've been thinking more on this topic, and come to an idea that might be a good compromise of these issues. If your ship's total surface area is a benefit (which would offer good advantages to RP builds), but too much surface area is a major detriment to titans' client-side performance and required design times, then the logical solution would to replace stabilizers with a system that you can bury inside of other blocks in place of surface area (ie: cooling blocks). These blocks would "waste" mass in exchange for simplifying a ship's design.

      I image a block with .1 mass that can simulate 20 exposed surfaces. This would typically be less mass efficient than an equivalent group of light weight decorative blocks, but make up for it with simplicity of implementation. In this way, players would have 3 ways to resolve the heat-sink dilemma which each appeal to different play styles.
      1- build a detailed interior: The lightest weight solution which rewards RP builds.
      2- build a solid ship with elaborate outer armor details: A different kind of RP solution. Heaviest weight, but approaches the problem from a "no wasted block" perspective.
      3- build a solid ship with cooling blocks: A simplified solution for ships too large for a full RP surface area to be practical.
       
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    14. diremage

      diremage Tech Wizard

      Joined:
      Oct 26, 2016
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      4. Build a ship with no interior or cooling blocks, but move the hull 1 block away from everything else. This doubles your surface area for relatively little effort. As an added bonus, it makes you more resistant to missiles (kind of falls under 2. above).
       
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    15. GnomeKing

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      Feb 21, 2015
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      4b- previous ideas included; penalties for systems blocks which touch different system blocks (or bonuses for the opposite) > again heading in a similar direction
       
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    16. Nosajimiki

      Joined:
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      Yes, spaced armor did occur to me as a variation of that. That said, spaced armor is still (typically) a more complicated build than normal tight laid armor. Also, most people who do spaced armor on big ships still have to coat the inner layer of systems will hull or more armor if for no other reason than to keep from loading all that animated texture.

      Beyond that, going in and filling that space with RP elements would then be more rewarding because you can turn a lot of surface area out of a few blocks. Adding connective "scaffolding" so that your armor is not just floating there suddenly becomes more rewarding to the PvPer who wants those extra blocks with 4 exposed sides each. Or you could use it as a place to build crew quarters and such, and now then that space would work much like filling composite armor up with obliteratives while also serving as a heatsink.
       
    17. Madman198237

      Joined:
      Feb 25, 2016
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      Interesting note I never thought about earlier---one of the things the stabilizer mechanic was supposed to do, as I recall, is promote interior space. The devs have gone after the wrong system for that---power systems have never taken up as much internal space as shield blocks, weapons, effects, etc.
       
    18. Jojomo

      Joined:
      Aug 23, 2016
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      The new system doesn't just reduce the volume of power systems though, it also increases the total volume required for an equivalent ship (due to putting the stabilisers as far away as possible).
       
    19. Az14el

      Az14el Lord Procrastinator General

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      dimensions =/= volume, especially considering parts don't have to be physically attached
       
    20. Jojomo

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      True, but people will presumably place everything other than reactors and stabilisers between them, with not much reason to bunch them up, so I'd guess in practice we will see volume increases.
       
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