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    MicroMade - Modded StarMade

    Discussion in 'Mods' started by Asvarduil, Sep 12, 2017.

    1. Asvarduil

      Asvarduil Builder of Very Small Ships

      Joined:
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      After much consideration...I think I'll hold off until I have a first beta of the mod/server. You're right that at 100 mass, stuff doesn't get too crazy in terms of ship design.

      Additionally, at 100 mass, it literally takes me an hour to build a ship from scratch (except for each faction's "big" ship with an interior), so I'm not concerned too much about rebuilding stuff. Indeed, some of my faction ships have oversights due to how the game works that I need to address with a rebuild - for instance, the Valron Flamberge is rocking both shield-eating autocannons, and powerful beam weapons, but the beams render the cannons obsolete due to how AI works. Thanks, game.

      As to the stations, my plan with those is to have a dedicated power chamber; thus, the power system changes down the line won't affect stations too badly. I've almost got my Coalition Station built, and plan to showcase it and the ideas that have gone into it on my Week 3 update.

      As for PvP advice...I've not really PvPed too much in StarMade for a variety of reasons. I think what I can do best for the PvP community, is expose gameplay systems that make PvP 'worth it' and more fun, but know what and when to take my hands off and let people build (and blow up) starships. Something else useful I can do is PvP with y'all and let you all kick my behind silly!

      I'll always take advice from those who really love PvP into consideration, though - in other games, like FFXIV, I'm a PvP lover myself, so I know what it is to love pwning other players! I just have to mindfully incorporate those changes with the PvE modifications I'm making as well.
       
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    2. Asvarduil

      Asvarduil Builder of Very Small Ships

      Joined:
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      Week 3 - "Ewww, bugs!"
      This week had both ups and downs.

      New Admin Commands:
      !READFEEDBACK [PlayerName] - Reads all feedback. If a player name is given, only reads that player's feedback.

      StarMade Bugs Make Level Design Harder
      The big issue I had this week, was with working on the Coalition System Base Type A.

      Week 3 Coalition Station.png

      I was able to create a power plant on the underside of the station. My first problem came when I tried to dock some new turrets to hardpoints I created on the station - specifically, T2495, where trying to dock entities sometimes leads to an infinite 'waiting to dock' error message. I was able to contribute my details to the ongoing effort to stomp StarMade bugs.

      This same error also exploded my plans for elevators inside the main area of the Type A Base. I literally could not get elevators set onto the rails inside the base, despite my best efforts.

      So, this has led me to make a necessary modification for this first iteration's scope - no Astronaut PvE challenges this time 'round. Due to game engine bugs, I can't do the sorts of things I want to do. I'll focus on creating space content instead.

      The Shifting Penumbra
      On the backend, I was easily able to upgrade Penumbra, such that commands return a list of feedback commands that StarMade then runs. This is how the !READFEEDBACK command fundamentally works. I was also able to create some extension methods off of List<string>, which further simplify creating PMing players and server-wide broadcasts. They were trivial, but make the code more readable, and create less labor for me.

      Also, I changed my Windows 10 installation to be able to use the experimental Linux subsystem, whereby I can install Linux shells, and thus more easily experiment with Linux support. Efforts to do that, begin this week, as my hosting options generally all involve Linux servers.

      Piece of Power
      As to the power update, I issued an open question earlier in the week, on if I should modify power blocks. I've decided: not this iteration. Maybe later. I've really got to make sure that the ships and stations are well-implmented and fun, first. I can always mess with power later, and at the scales we're building at, it doesn't take long to build ships.

      Conclusion, and Roadmap to Beta 1
      I had some hiccups this week, but ultimately made progress towards a mid-October first Beta.

      This coming week, I'll create the Valron, Esthar, and Mjolnir stations, and maybe create miners for the Valron and Esthar. With the content in place, I can then do the initial configuration changes, to ensure that the Valron Empire, Coalition, and Esthar Fleet Systems are the default empires in the game world. Having the backend working, and having the basic factions, will be a great place to take a pulse on the mod, and see what should come next.

      As always, thank you all very much for your support. If you have ideas, concerns, emotional overreactions, or even just questions, be sure to voice them all! I want this mod and server not only to release, but to be of the best possible quality I can create. I want to show Schine what this game can actually do, even in its early state, and at the end of this day, I want them to make this mod entirely obsolete.

      I can't do this without y'all - thank you for being a part of this!
       
      #102 Asvarduil, Oct 1, 2017
      Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
    3. Tunk

      Tunk Who's idea was this?

      Joined:
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      Well if you need a linux box to experiment on mines currently mostly idle (waiting on some new games to wind up).

      You wont have root access, but you dont really need it as mono and java 8 are already installed, might need to grab a mono sqlite lib for you at most.
       
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    4. Asvarduil

      Asvarduil Builder of Very Small Ships

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      I'll contact you via PM when it comes time for that.
       
    5. Asvarduil

      Asvarduil Builder of Very Small Ships

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      Update -

      I've built the shell of a Valron station. This started out as an outpost similar to the Coalition one...but it's twice as massive, and probably twice as large in nearly all dimensions...

      [​IMG]

      It needs work still, but players who join the Valron Empire can waltz right into one of these.

      Also, I took a screenshot without UI, but the advanced build helper symmetry planes still rendered in the screenshot. Sadface.
       
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    6. Madman198237

      Joined:
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      Keep up the overachievement!
       
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    7. Sgtwisky

      Joined:
      Dec 3, 2013
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      *sees 100 mass limit*

      Well. Most of the drones Ive built in the past are about 100 mass. Looks like I have done lots of my building work already so when this kicks off I may join in too. *Cue evil laughter*
       
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    8. Valck

      Joined:
      Jun 27, 2013
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      Press <F1>+<G> to get rid of the interface entirely the next time; you toggle it back on with the same key combination. Careful with other <F1> combinations though, they might mess up your install.
      You've been warned ;)
       
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      • Informative Informative x 1
    9. Asvarduil

      Asvarduil Builder of Very Small Ships

      Joined:
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      Week 4 - "That's No Moon"
      What started as an 'outpost' grew a bit out of proportion.

      The Valron Castrum
      This week was mostly spent working on the Valron Castrum, the Outpost for the Valron Empire. I've been able to install partial systems on it, but I've also been paring back parts of the station's design, as it's just too massive.

      [​IMG]

      When doing game level design, the size of what the player has to traverse is actually a very important consideration. Levels that are small can work; they encourage the player to continue simply due to lack of stuff to explore, but due to being more easily understandable, feel safer. Levels that are large can work, as you can encourage players to poke around and find stuff. Friendly stations should gravitate towards the smaller end of my level designs, since the main conceit of StarMade is building starships, then doing stuff with them. Friendly stations are also safe havens, so they should feel safe for players. Not being big and daunting helps immensely with that.

      Another point of note, is that I haven't even tried blocking out any of the astronaut challenges, as I did in the Coalition System Base. The Valron station is still roughly twice as massive as its Coalition counterpart, and that's after I spent part of yesterday replacing interior Standard Armor with Hulls, which are lighter.

      Much as I like how the Valron station turned out, I'm considering reconsidering the design at a later date. That's because...

      Beta Iteration Time!
      ...It's been four weeks since I formally started this project. It's time for a small-scale, closed beta, where I can solicit feedback and see what needs to happen next.

      With this beta, I'm not expecting awesome reviews - I've implemented minimal new game systems, and have implemented early drafts of my custom faction content. Long story short, this iteration is barely-augmented vanilla StarMade, which I'm not happy with. The game needs a lot more TLC than what I've thrown at it.

      Also, before I actually put this mod up on a server, I have four things I need to do:

      1. Write the Net Worth daemon that grants Net Worth to all online players, periodically.
      2. Transition my back-end from SQLite - which has terrible performance - to something like MySQL.
      3. Configuration - double the current sector size, set 100 mass limit, disable ship uploads (it turns out uploaded designs disregard mass limit settings.)
      4. Actually rent a server, and make sure my Penumbra code works on it (which, as we noted a couple of weeks ago, it should.)

      If at all possible, I want this mod to be up on a server at the end of the week.

      What Comes Next?
      When I get the current state of the mod up on the server, I've got a few things I can do while play is happening and feedback is being issued.

      First, my initial ship designs have some problems due to things I didn't understand about how StarMade's AI works. Also, working on stations and being informed about the Power Overhaul means I need to change some details of my small ship designs.

      Next, adding variety to stations is a reasonable idea. In this first iteration, I worked hard on crossing the 'useful friendly stations' feature off my list of things to implement, but it doesn't really end there. Dedicated shipyards are an important feature. Factions do need mining ships. Adding some super-small faction starter ships for new players is something that also needs to happen - as I'm starting players off with no resources, I want to create an opening scenario for the game, where the player can get a small, but well-equipped ship based on the faction they align themselves with. This lets players begin to play in the sandbox with some confidence.

      Also, there's the matter of aligning with factions. Early on my idea was to join players to one of the three factions, the Coalition, Valron Empire, or Esthar Fleet Systems, where EFS is a surrogate 'neutral' faction. In a post earlier in this thread, NaStral of LvD weighed in on some points, as well as players being able to "hijack" NPC vessels, and NPC factions having some rather quirky behavior that can have performance implications. Definintely in the run up to my second iteration, I'm going to be spending some time doing some more in-depth game design. On the one hand, I don't want to be derivative/copycat others' work - on the other, LvD's !align command might just be the best solution to aligning with a particular super-faction, though it has caveats to consider.

      I think what I'll do is, after this first beta of MicroMade is put out, I'll just take a week and plan Iteration 2 before I embark on it. As always, I listen to my community, though. Feel free to tell me what you'd like to see.

      Conclusion
      The mod is coming together...slowly. Still, I'm at a point where taking a moment to take a pulse is a good idea, and this is a really big milestone. I know this beta won't go perfectly - in fact, my expectations for it are low by necessity. Still, this is another step forward in the tale of MicroMade, and hopefully how it convinces Schine to change StarMade for the better.
       
      #109 Asvarduil, Oct 8, 2017
      Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
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    10. JumpSuit

      JumpSuit Lost-Legacy Director

      Joined:
      Feb 5, 2015
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      Now your changing your story to have Schine take size from your server? They seem to be on their own path way before you to decreasing size... *cough* Power Update *cough*...
      I do have more to say regarding 100 mass size, which I am highly sure Schine will probably never adapt imo. But, I'll leave my 'more to say' statement unjustified for the moment.
       
      • Friendly Friendly x 1
    11. Madman198237

      Joined:
      Feb 25, 2016
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      Asvarduil Here's an idea I just had:
      Make something like the !align command, that allows you to choose what mega-faction you're part of. However, make a point-based system that allows you to unlock bigger and better things (The purchase of faction ships and stations at discounts, perhaps?) by doing programmed semirandom "quests" for each faction. This puts a goal/progression of friendliness into the game while still allowing for players to get the protection of your monster factions.
       
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    12. Asvarduil

      Asvarduil Builder of Very Small Ships

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      Apr 17, 2015
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      Not really. Both stations have a huge power chamber on the ventral side that can be adapted to either power setup.

      As for Schine adapting 100 mass...they gave us a config option, but I don't think they really thought it through in some regards. But, whatever. The 100 mass thing is just one way to ensure better gameplay, and probably the least important. What is important is that A) the game is generally more fun, B) there's better competitive balance, and C) there's a reason for one to build starships.

      I really like this idea. While I know LvD has a quest system as well, making sure there's incentives for more peaceful gameplay is an awesome idea. Further, I can add some Net Worth rewards to such a setup - doing good deeds not only goes unpunished, but pays!
       
      #112 Asvarduil, Oct 8, 2017
      Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
    13. Sgtwisky

      Joined:
      Dec 3, 2013
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      Interesting issue with uploads. Just wondering, but does it allow the upload/spawn because your an admin? If you have not already might I suggest trying to have a "Normal" player upload/spawn/build in shipyard a ship that is too big.

      At the 100 Mass size its not hard to do custom builds or even manually copy a ship design So it wouldn't be a big deal to turn off ship uploads.
       
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    14. kulbolen

      Joined:
      Jan 4, 2015
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      thats news to me, they musta really messed up the configs. ive had uploads on with mass limits, and the ship would spawn in but be unusable.
       
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    15. Asvarduil

      Asvarduil Builder of Very Small Ships

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      Sgtwisky kulbolen - When I get this to my test environment for the 'beta', this is something I'm going to ask people to try out. I remember that MiniMade actually had a script to teleport over-mass vehicles to a jail sector because of this problem, but Olxinos didn't want to disable uploads of ships. It's been a while, though, so maybe that was fixed.

      Only one way to find out!
       
    16. Matt_Bradock

      Matt_Bradock The Shrink

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      Yep, ships over mass limit can be spawned and can spawn, but will be disabled until their total mass (docked and cargo included) goes under the mass limit, as well as ships initially below the limit will be immediately disabled when going as much as 0.01 mass above it, and will remain so until mass is reduced.

      Keep that in mind when designing ships near the limit with cargo space.
       
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    17. Sgtwisky

      Joined:
      Dec 3, 2013
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      some good info Matt. Gotta keep the mining drones light enough to carry their materials back to base !
       
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    18. Asvarduil

      Asvarduil Builder of Very Small Ships

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      Apr 17, 2015
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      Hi all, quick update!

      I've created the GitHub repository for the back-end and have committed my code up to it. I'm satisfied with my manual tests of the code. I have some potential concerns that the upcoming beta will either validate, or invalidate

      I'm starting on configuration changes. I will be versioning my config changes with my source code; all someone who wants to set up the mod will have to do is rename the appropriate files, and drop the new ones in-place. Heck, I could even create a batch job or an installer to do that. But...one thing at a time.

      For those of you who enjoy code, try not to shoot too many bullet holes in the Penumbra source. Oh, and I take pull requests, but it might take me a while to see them.

      Lastly, the GitHub link is on the original post now, too, just in case anyone loses track of this post.
       
    19. JumpSuit

      JumpSuit Lost-Legacy Director

      Joined:
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      I'm sure Benevolent27 will grab a minigun and shoot it down that way haha!
       
    20. Asvarduil

      Asvarduil Builder of Very Small Ships

      Joined:
      Apr 17, 2015
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      Week 5 - "When A Plan Comes Together, a Station Doesn't"
      I've achieved most goals set down last week, only content is slowing me down (but, in games, content is always the bottleneck, as well as a pain in the butt.)

      Technical Easiness
      This week I put the finishing touches on the Penumbra back end, and was satisfied in my manual tests. I still suspect during testing that concurrency issues could theoretically rear their ugly head, but that's a bridge I'll cross when I get to it. For now, I've pronounced the code, "Good Enough", and have committed it up to GitHub, where it's publicly visible, and forkable. The GitHub link was added to the OP for easy access.

      The Valron Castrum Can Kiss My Engine Exhaust.
      While the Valron Castrum is probably the most impressive station I've designed, even chopping a significant portion of mass off didn't help, because it turns out it's got some rather serious power issues, even with my having the reactor block just about filled out with reactor setups optimized for maximum dimensions. I suspect that it's having two shipyards and rather extensive shielding that's draining the power; each shipyard needs 6600 e/s, which my system more than provides - together that adds up to 13200 e/s. In combination with the shielding (worth about 480 shields/s, to a cap of about 50k) I bet I know where the drain is coming from.

      Given that I've spent two weeks (off-and-on) on this godawful station, I've decided that ultimately, I can't wait to redesign the Castrum. It has to happen now, because players who want to align with the Valron Empire need a friendly station with full amenities. Thus, the Castrum v.1 is a total show-stopper, so you know what I get to work on this coming week.

      ...But if you want to know what I trimmed it down to...

      Valron Castrum v1 Final Shot.png

      I think my next design will be smaller. See? Smaller can very often be better.

      Beta Test Hosting
      This is the part where I give a huge shout-out to Tunk for allowing me to set up the MicroMade system on a server he controls. He's also given me some advice on some system/server administration topics, which I'm a total n00b to. At present this is not a permanent arrangement, and when v1.0 of MicroMade goes live, it will be on a server I've bought, on my own dollar, as noted before. That being said, Tunk is really helping make MicroMade get off the ground; take a moment to give him some cookies, kudos, or even just a casual thanks.

      Week Priorities
      This week, I'm going to:

      1. Design a Valron Castrum that doesn't suck.
      2. Ensure that the Coalition System Base doesn't have problems.
      3. Make StarMade configurations, committed up with source code.
      4. Additional developer play-testing, to make sure my configurations work right.

      What I want to do this week?

      5. Deploy a closed-beta test version to Tunk's server, and begin whitelisting people for technical test sessions.

      Conclusion
      This has been an interesting, but productive week. When closed-beta begins, I will get useful data that I can use to create additional aspects of key game systems, and ensure that the MicroMade back-end performs to the best of its ability. I can then focus on expansion to the mod and making the game more fun.
       
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