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    Looting and Salvage Revamp Proposition, Navigational hazards, Piracy 2.0

    Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by Durendal5150, Jan 10, 2017.

    1. Durendal5150

      Joined:
      Dec 19, 2015
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      As it is, looting the clouds of random stuff that drop from pirates is tedious, and salvaging overheating ships produces nothing of particular value. At this point the 'salvage' beam is mostly used as a 'mining beam' as a result. So here comes an idea to make this aspect of play a little more engaging.

      1; Cargo and Debris Clouds
      When a pirate ship drops loot, instead of a cloud of items floating in space as if a player had dropped them, we'd instead get 'loot fields.' Essentially, the cargo is dropped as a static entity with no physical presence aside from a particle effect. It contains the loot, appears on navigation, appears on scan reports, and persists for a long time, if not indefinitely. Salvage beams or hull contact are used to collect the components from it, after which it despawns.

      Similarly, overheating ships who run their timer down explode into 'debris fields' that behave in exactly the same way. The remaining blocks of the ship, or some percentage of them, seeing as it just exploded, remain in a debris cloud that can be salvaged via salvage array.

      Clouds of both types are sized proportional to the number of items within them.

      2; Navigational Hazard
      Unharvested Debris clouds could, potentially, cause damage to ships passing through them. Moreso, while 'cloud nodes' that are nav entities and contain salvageable loot as described above may do so, their combined presence becomes outright dangerous. If enough are close together, additional particle zones are spawned around and connecting them. These do less damage than running into nodes, and may be proportional to the mass and speed of the vessel traversing them. (Smalls hips moving carefully take no damage)

      In this way, combat taking place along the new trade routes may result in those routes becoming 'clogged' with dangerous debris, and difficult to traverse quickly and safely. This both deposits a source of salvage for players pursuing that playstyle, and potentially a mission type for later implementation. (NPC faction offers pay to clear their trade route, etc)

      As a side note; in addition to debris and cargo cloud nodes, perhaps asteroids could create natural debris fields around them on occasion? Making approaching certain ones with large ships a questionable idea, and making them an additional navigational hazard.

      [​IMG]
      [​IMG]
      3; Piracy 2.0
      So now that ships drop loot, we can adjust the possibilities for piracy by adding the option for them to do it on purpose. NPC trade ships for example, may drop their cargo and run when attacked and damaged, instead of exploding. NPC pirates may at this point cease attacking them and pick it up. As a result generating a source of the loot the pirates are carrying, instead of plucking it from an RNG table. Pirates may even be convinced to stop attacking the player by the jettisoning of the players inventory.

      In such a model, pirate bases would be somewhat less common, and have their own contingent of ships, seeking to add to them as current NPC factions do. Though they only acquire resources via looting other vessels and trade routes. Their faction inventory is actually stored aboard the pirate station, making its destruction or capture a lucrative endeavor, and possibly even allowing parties who's shipments have been stolen to retrieve them, if they attack the base before it turns their stolen goods into more pirate ships.

      [​IMG]

      4; Conclusions
      In this way, both debris clouds and pirates can become larger annoyances, if not outright threats, as the game progresses. Just one more way to make the universe feel lived in and dynamic. As well as opening up new ways to acquire resources and avenues for interaction.
       
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    2. Batavium

      Batavium Certified Doom Cube User

      Joined:
      Jan 28, 2015
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      Top tip:

      1. Make sure you have a Storage with some Cargo on your anti Pirate ship.

      2. Set the Storage as your Personal Cargo.

      3. Shoot Pirates and hope for massive cloud of stuff!

      4. Select your Personal Cargo and fly through the cloud with your ship.

      5. $$$
       
    3. Durendal5150

      Joined:
      Dec 19, 2015
      Messages:
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      That's exactly my point. As it is, the looting mechanic is just a sort of unengaging lottery. It's clearly a placeholder mechanic, (At least, I sincerely hope it is,) hence the proposal for how it should be replaced as the game goes forward.

      "Shoot pirate ships at close range to maybe spot random cloud of items unrelated to anything, then run through it," is not what I'd call a good design, especially when there's room to emplace systems, example above, with which the player can actually engage in a meaningful way.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    4. jayman38

      jayman38 Precentor-Primus, pro-tempore

      Joined:
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      A particle cloud is not different enough from the existing mechanic for me. I'd rather see the entity have a separate inventory list that is added to when it dies, or when a storage locker or factory block is destroyed. The item stack limitation will ensure that you never receive more than 2 billion of any particular item. This way, you don't need to cloud the combat zone with drops, including particle clouds and nav points. Instead, you would simply go to each destroyed ship and "salvage" it with your beam, pulling items straight from the inventory list into your storage. Pulling salvage directly from entities is what players should expect.

      Alternately, have the entity drop 1-block storage entities that can be targeted and salvaged. This would increase nav point polution, but would make more sense than keeping a bunch of stuff on a list in a ship that has been nearly wiped out.
       
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    5. Durendal5150

      Joined:
      Dec 19, 2015
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      I'd considered that as a possibility, and it would be a lot more interesting to have the wrecks of vessels stick around, but I wasn't sure how the engine would handle storing all of these different entity grids in different states of decomposition. I assumed the answer was 'poorly' and that this is why ships overheat and explode in the first place. Going off of that, that's why I figured the 'debris cloud' item storage system would be more sensible without straining anyone's computer overmuch or flooding memory with wrecked ships.

      Also as noted under the navigational hazards, part of the reason for 'clouding' the combat zone was a way to dynamically make terrain of a sort making space a little more interesting.

      I admit the loot clouds at least aren't very different from the ones that exist, aside from the nav marker and being a single entity inventory instead of a cloud of individual item-markers. That said, I don't think that system is completely without merit, aside from the short lifespan and difficulty of finding them after a fight at long range.
       
    6. jayman38

      jayman38 Precentor-Primus, pro-tempore

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      I would still assume that overheating ships will still eventually explode, so one would need to get in there and salvage those ships quick.

      It does make space a bit more interesting if one can find it. So the nav waypoint is a very great improvement to loot clouds that would solve that issue.
       
    7. Durendal5150

      Joined:
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      Ah, the idea is that the debris clouds only appear after a ship has fully overheated and exploded. They're not a replacement for that, but an extension of it. Nothing here changes the process of ships overheating, merely the aftermath.


      Essentially yes. The idea with the change of them to a single-point static entity w/ particle effect is to reduce the resource footprint of keeping track of them, and allow them to remain around. The alternative is to...I'm not sure how you'd attach navpoints to current loot clouds. Nav any floating object? Have each one check in some order if others are nearby and not draw if one already is? The simplest solution is to create a nav marker along with them and remove it once all items are removed, but at that point putting them into the inventory of the nav-point-entity seems more elegant, and involves less floating entities and checks therof.
       
    8. CaptainTaz

      Joined:
      Aug 8, 2013
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      I love this idea a lot! I'm so sick of being forced into high-speed fights just to finally nail the dude running away like a pansy, and watch as loot appears for a second, and then it's gone and I can't find it because I can't stop on a dime.
       
    9. Durendal5150

      Joined:
      Dec 19, 2015
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      Thank you. That is, indeed, one of the situations this is intended to alleviate. It could really be an aspect of play with its own challenge and interest, instead of, as it is now, being mostly tedious and frustrating.
       
    10. Batavium

      Batavium Certified Doom Cube User

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      The loot cloud mechanic is not frustrating nor is it tedious at least to me. Getting good loot clouds is the job of the server Admin.

      I will try to explain how the current system works. You are right in that it is a lottery mechanism. Loot clouds can appear after you shoot a Pirate ship and make the Core overload. The loot cloud spawns at the exact point in space where the Core went into overload. Most of the time the now death Pirate has momentum so the cloud will be somewhere back along the line of the ships travel. If the Pirate ship had any Storage Chests onboard and they were destroyed then they to may drop clouds of loot to at the same time that the Core of the ship overloads. Storage chest that did not get destroyed before the ships Core goes into overload do not spawn a loot cloud nor do they contain items if you open them up.

      But the server admin has a lot of control on how it plays out

      First in the server.cfg there are the following lines:

      FLOATING_ITEM_LIFETIME_SECS = 240 //How much seconds items floating in space should be alive

      The default time for when a loot cloud dissapears is pretty short. So often by the time the sector is save enough to look around and not wage combat all the stuff is gone. I recommend to use a longer time more equal to the countdown time of most ships Cores after they gone into overload.

      AI_DESTRUCTION_LOOT_COUNT_MULTIPLIER = 0.9 //multiply amount of items in a loot stack. use values smaller 1 for less and 0 for none

      This sets how much each stack of items can contain. Do not set this to high you do not want people to get rich after shooting just a few Pirates.

      AI_DESTRUCTION_LOOT_STACK_MULTIPLIER = 0.9 //multiply amount of items spawned after AI destruction. use values smaller 1 for less and 0 for none

      This sets how many different items or how dense the loot cloud that appears will be. If you set this high then you get much better and bigger visual loot clouds that are more easy to spot. Beware to keep the loot_count_multiplier low if you do.

      CHEST_LOOT_COUNT_MULTIPLIER = 0.9 //multiply amount of items in a loot stack. use values smaller 1 for less and 0 for none

      CHEST_LOOT_STACK_MULTIPLIER = 0.9 //multiply amount of items spawned in chests of generated chests. use values smaller 1 for less and 0 for none

      These two settings control what happens to destroyed Storage Chest clouds and work exactly like the Ships Core settings.

      If you add Storage Chests to your Pirate ships than you can take advantage of this mechanic. I used to have an enemy Miner with lots of Storage Chests that made a very impressive large cloud after you managed to destroy it.

      Note that on servers with large sectors it can be very hard to spot anything because everything gets so small at distance. The travel time to a cloud is then also long. So you need very high time to live settings to allow players to get anything for there spoils.


      Your idea is not bad. But might take a lot of redesign as there are no mechanics at all as far as I know. That govern loot stack placement or subsequent behavior of the AI in response to dropped loot clouds.

      Some of your idea also looks like a simple addition of extra grind. A harder way to do something that is already established and in the game. Something I am not a fan of. The cargo update falls into that category.

      I would rather see your idea involve a new type of loot. One that requires your proposed mechanic. And that the current loot clouds and the way they work are kept as they are.
       
    11. kurosawa

      Joined:
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      good ideas, i really like the part with gettting loot clouds on the nav map
       
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    12. Durendal5150

      Joined:
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      I admit I only ever play on servers with >~10km sector sizes, so this may be part of why I feel the mechanics as are are grindy.

      In my experience it's largely just been a matter of squinting really hard at where ships overheated then tracking down the cloud, or hitting things at short range and then braking as hard as possible to try and catch the cloud before you get far enough away and lose sight of it. In either case, maneuvers in combat tend to preclude keeping track of the trajectories of all sorts of pirate ships in an attempt to find small piles of items with short render distances.

      Nothing in my proposal actually changes the base loot system or amps up the grind on it, really. To run back through linearly;

      1. Vessel is attacked until it overheats and drops loot cloud as before.

      ~ Loot cloud changed from floating inventory entities to single nav-point entity with internal cargo and particle effect, reducing resource footprint
      ~Loot cloud can be collected either by flying through it as before, or with the use, optionally, of salvage beams.
      ~Possibility salvage beam opens its inventory and allows you to pick and choose? Add 'searched' tag to cloud once this is done?

      2. Vessel is overheating
      ~Can be boarded and rebooted as ever, no changes

      3. Vessel completes overheating and explodes
      ~Generates a debris cloud based on remaining blocks it had
      ~Similar to loot cloud but requires salvage beam to remove
      ~Possibly only drops fragments/components that must be recombined into usable blocks, or broken back down into raw resources (Sketchy on this)
      ~ Debris cloud has a 'danger radius' based on number of blocks in inventory
      ~Debris cloud nodes can 'merge' into larger danger zones and threaten travel
      ~Danger zone damages ships based on mass and speed? Randomly generates non-block statics ships can collide with? Picking through them should bear some hazard in any case.

      Everything else was an extension of the possibilities the above creates. I'm no fan of grind either, and would prefer that looting remain streamlined as above, while debris and salvage is a totally separate game system that just happens to share some mechanical features.

      With the advent of NPC factions and the incoming updates to fleets, it was my hope that combats, even those not directly involving the palyer, woudl leave behind something they could interact with. The salvage of such debris fields maybe posing both a challenge and potential advancement path for the early to mid game.

      Thank you. I know that placing loot clouds on the nav map has been suggested before. I only include it here because I think it'd be a fine solution to make the nav marker and loot cloud/container all one entity.
       
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    13. Ezekial Alexander

      Joined:
      May 12, 2016
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      I'd even be ok with no cloud forming, but instead the loot bring tied to the overheated core. Hit it with a salvage beam to obtain the loot. This way, you don't need to create a new loot drop mechanic (namely, the navigation marker).

      It just makes sense that you would need salvage equipment to salvage/loot a ship.
       
    14. psteiner

      Joined:
      Jan 14, 2014
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      I may just be going the entirely wrong direction here, but it would realistically make sense to make debris generated from destroyed blocks salvageable for the most basic components of the destroyed block. Because this mechanic is already implemented, all that needs to be done is a faster/ multi-threaded generator for debris and a damage calculator for collisions with debris entities. Because debris already is destroyed by weapon fire and collides with blocks, taking the next step would be feasible.
       
    15. Durendal5150

      Joined:
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      The existing debris is also, if I recall correctly, an entirely cosmetic, client-side construction. Moving the work of tracking all of that onto the server and keeping them as physics entities, now with inventories, would be completely untenable. The generation of debris in the suggestion as solely static entities is because of this. Servers tend to already be overworked at the best of times, and there's a slider for debris amount and persistence because some people already have trouble with rendering it as is.

      It'd be hella cool if ships stayed around, got chunks broken off, and created dynamic debris fields, but it's beyond the scope of what can be handled on most computers currently. I'm of the opinion that altering and creating mechanics to have as low a resource footprint as possible for what they have to do is just sound design.
       
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    16. Durendal5150

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      Somehow I missed this post entirely.

      The point of the mechanic is that it allows the loot or debris to stay around after the lifetime of the ship which is overheating. Which must overheat and explode because, as a full voxel entity, it'd take up too much space otherwise. The gist of this whole suggestion is a 'have your cake and eat it too,' of reducing the resource footprint of looting and salvaging to the point where they can stick around long after overheat timers have run down.

      I do like the idea you've got there, but the problem of requiring salvage equipment to loot at all is, as Batavium has said, the idea that you can pick up floating cargo so long as you have the space aboard, with no extra equipment, is pretty integral to how PvE works right now, and isn't likely to change.
       
    17. Ezekial Alexander

      Joined:
      May 12, 2016
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      The need for salvage wasn't sitting completely well with me either. Perhaps being able to pull the resources from the core with your own core beam instead would be preferable (everyone has one by default after all)
       
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