Power System Overhaul Proposal

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    They might have issues making docked entities that are properly attached to ships, but they seem to scrap things properly, last time I checked.
    I do recall scrapping working pretty smoothly. I just don't bother with shipyards in general now though because I ended up doing it all by hand more often even when I did have them. My main station has one... functional, but only there for decoration at this point. I certainly don't have them on outposts though.
     

    Matt_Bradock

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    Maybe they fixed shipyards? I haven't been using them at all for about 6 months now because I got sick of random docked entities shooting into space, or left drifting after a scrap, or appearing in adjacent sectors. I spent most of their first year working with them, trying to adjust to the kinks and work around them, then ditched them and I haven't bothered with them since because after a year they still weren't working properly. Are they not occasionally having issues with docked entities anymore?
    Whoa. I understand the sentiment, but what's this about not being able to do this with a shipyard? I've scrapped stuff using shipyards (and then rebuilt via blueprint) and nothing anomalous has happened... The only bug I'm aware of has to do with actually building the ship using a shipyard, and IIRC that only triggers with something like 10 or more docked entities. (Don't quote me on that last bit, though.)
    Exactly. Shipyards are supposed to be able to disassemble stuff fine, even with plenty of docked entities (did it before without a flaw) and even store the contents of the ship's cargo hold in the shipyard's (or connected storage)
    They are however still wonky if you want to build stuff with them. AI settings, display blocks, wireless logic connections and logic states don't save, unlike the actual blueprint, so those reset upon shipyard construction, AND in addition, there are still issues with docked entities spawning incorrectly (inverted, ghosted, falling off etc.)

    MacThule has a valid point though. The game has been in Alpha for well over 5 (6?) years. Much bigger games FINISHED development sooner. There is now plenty of competition for Starmade (Space Engineers, Empyrion, OSIRIS etc.). I know schema tried to one-man-army the game for a long time, BUT it is maybe time to DECIDE which the core features and gameplay elements should be, and STICK WITH THEM, and accept their pros and cons, virtues and flaws, and start improving on them, instead of throwing them out of the window. Restructuring the entire core system which all other ship systems are built around, would cause a huge setback in the timetable, and at this point, the playerbase is already growing impatient, RIGHTFULLY SO.
    As a psychologist I have to tell an uncomfortable truth: You can never please everyone. Don't try to.
    Maximalism is only a good thing as long as it doesn't start hindering progress. Don't try to make the perfect game, try make a good game, but first of all, a finished one. Many devs made the fatal mistake of wanting too much from their game, constantly reworking it, which ultimately resulted in an incomprehensible mess. There is such a thing as taking too much time making a game. Remember the infamous Duke Nukem Forever and how it turned out to be a clusterf***.
    So how about maybe some fine tuning to the current system, and sticking to the time table you guys set up, instead of taking another quarter to full year to turn the whole thing upside down? At this point, many people already have this feeling that Starmade will never leave Alpha. I'm one of them.
     

    Ithirahad

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    I do recall scrapping working pretty smoothly. I just don't bother with shipyards in general now though because I ended up doing it all by hand more often even when I did have them. My main station has one... functional, but only there for decoration at this point. I certainly don't have them on outposts though.
    I have them on most stations, as manual scrapping with docked entities is a huge pain in the arse. :\
     
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    Well, we have two shipyards at our station, and the smaller of the two is working rather inconsistently. Loading in designs end up either "cannot dock" or "overlap structure" or "randomly unloaded" even with ships that are only 10-15% of the actual dimensions of the yard and this happens on a seemingly random pattern(it might load stuff correctly like 10-20% of the time and bork somehow otherwise). A few weeks back I had to ask an admin to clean up after a botched load ended up having docked parts of the design (shuttles parked in a ship hangar) appear as undocked outside the yard and of course, I couldn't enter them, even though they appeared solid, and the actual ship in the design ended up being unloaded during the load process.

    So yeah, I'd say there are some problems with shipyards still...
     

    Fellow Starmadian

    Oh cool so thats what this is
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    I guess since I don't have college tomorrow I'll be making another thread STRICTLY for pros + cons + suggestions. The only posts that will be left in the thread after 24 hours of posting them will be concise suggestions, posts with pros and cons will get added to the main post and deleted.
    So I guess unless I put the thread in factions or servers I cant delete stuff, since Im not an admin or anything. And it would be off topic so...

    RIP

    I guess if an admin could do it
     
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    Seems like it. Doombrickers are a small minority in the Starmade community, but apparently they are a large enough thorn in people's sights to cry for fundamental changes in power that'll lose a lot of experienced players who'd think it's not worth learning everything about ship systems again from the ground up. Yet the goal will stay unachieved, because some people WILL keep min-maxing.
    Min/maxing doesn't necessarily result in "doombricks".
     

    Matt_Bradock

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    Min/maxing doesn't necessarily result in "doombricks".
    By "doombrick" I obviously mean a single type of hull (if any), one (or a few at best) basic geometric shape and minimal detailing, obviously without any effort to be aesthetically pleasing.

    BUT if a ship is min-maxed, but it's also a nicely detailed, well thought out hull, with (maybe) even a decent interior, then it is the apex of Starmade building skills, and not a problem to be eliminated.
     
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    So how about maybe some fine tuning to the current system, and sticking to the time table you guys set up, instead of taking another quarter to full year to turn the whole thing upside down?
    I am one of those, who many times spoken about avoiding adding new features, and focusing on mastering the existing ones.
    Though right HERE, in this thread, I support Schema's decision to revamp the current system, because the current system is totally awful.
    I consider it to be one of the most gamebreaking factors:
    1) Energy design
    2) Lack of economics drain
    3) Lack of war stimuli
    4) Useless planets
    5) Poor advanced build mode
    6) Lack of AI and fleet management

    But at the same time I'd propose to draw a red line, saying until what time the game gonna stay in pre release. Like 30.12.2017. And after that - boom! release.
     

    Nuclear Doughnut

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    Schine throws 4-5 years of Meta down the toilet. Old players are already frustrated with the constant rebuilds of their favorite shells. There will always be people with massive titans.

    Doomcubes used to be a thing. Maybe if Schine did something then instead of now when the meta for so many people on the PVP is fairly set in. Even I who was considered one of the worst Aesthetically PVP build ships. I still have been working to improve my build style.

    NOT approving of this change. But will not leave because of it.
     
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    But at the same time I'd propose to draw a red line, saying until what time the game gonna stay in pre release. Like 30.12.2017. And after that - boom! release.
    That's a terrible idea - for reference: nearly the entire Obsidian catalogue has been screwed up at least in part by forced deadlins.
     
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    As always these threads are full of flame wars and serve no purpose to get to the heart of the problems here. Why do we have to make the system more complex than it already is? I have an example for all of you RP builders out there: space engineers. When that game got way more complex the player base dropped out drastically. This is the inevitable future of Starmade as per suggestions like this. We have seen our player base dropping out already so I guess why not make that even more of a reality? My friend Tomatart_B can give you an alternative game that many may go to as it gains popularity. My suggestion to Schine is to not destroy the game and its player base, of course the RP people will stay but the rest will begin to leave, and to fulfill the promises it has set forth already. I'm sure everyone who is for this idea will find a way to kick and scream at what I am saying but I think you guys are ridiculous right now. We have so much to fix as is why should we break it even more? Is this game ever going to get out of alpha? Or will we kill it in its cradle? Nuclear Doughnut is correct about many things here when talking about the frustration that many older players are having with ideas like this.
     
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    That's a terrible idea - for reference: nearly the entire Obsidian catalogue has been screwed up at least in part by forced deadlins.
    what the hell is that, "Obsidian catalogue"?
    Projects MUST have deadlines. It is normal. This is how things are done. Or you will have Sagrada Familia in everything.
     

    Zyrr

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    Exactly. Shipyards are supposed to be able to disassemble stuff fine, even with plenty of docked entities (did it before without a flaw) and even store the contents of the ship's cargo hold in the shipyard's (or connected storage)
    They are however still wonky if you want to build stuff with them. AI settings, display blocks, wireless logic connections and logic states don't save, unlike the actual blueprint, so those reset upon shipyard construction, AND in addition, there are still issues with docked entities spawning incorrectly (inverted, ghosted, falling off etc.)

    MacThule has a valid point though. The game has been in Alpha for well over 5 (6?) years. Much bigger games FINISHED development sooner. There is now plenty of competition for Starmade (Space Engineers, Empyrion, OSIRIS etc.). I know schema tried to one-man-army the game for a long time, BUT it is maybe time to DECIDE which the core features and gameplay elements should be, and STICK WITH THEM, and accept their pros and cons, virtues and flaws, and start improving on them, instead of throwing them out of the window. Restructuring the entire core system which all other ship systems are built around, would cause a huge setback in the timetable, and at this point, the playerbase is already growing impatient, RIGHTFULLY SO.
    As a psychologist I have to tell an uncomfortable truth: You can never please everyone. Don't try to.
    Maximalism is only a good thing as long as it doesn't start hindering progress. Don't try to make the perfect game, try make a good game, but first of all, a finished one. Many devs made the fatal mistake of wanting too much from their game, constantly reworking it, which ultimately resulted in an incomprehensible mess. There is such a thing as taking too much time making a game. Remember the infamous Duke Nukem Forever and how it turned out to be a clusterf***.
    So how about maybe some fine tuning to the current system, and sticking to the time table you guys set up, instead of taking another quarter to full year to turn the whole thing upside down? At this point, many people already have this feeling that Starmade will never leave Alpha. I'm one of them.
    Matt really hits the nail on the head here, bringing an issue - no, THE issue - that has been skirted for at least two years now to the surface. Every time a new large overhaul suggestion comes by, there's always at least a few players saying "is this really the best time to change this?" or "is this the best allocation of Schine's resources?" And the underlying reason for this is the notion that has been repeatedly drilled into our attitude here by both Schine statements and actions that we can observe ourselves - this dev team is small and isn't notorious for pushing out rapid updates nor fixing broken features very quickly.

    This is not an attack on Schine, merely an observation. I don't mind a slow pace to development because I know regardless of what happens Schema's ultimate goal hasn't changed and each successive step, however slow, is a step towards a finished game; but these complaints are really very pertinent, because we still have to take into account exactly that - Schine simply cannot tackle many new features at once nor tackle them quickly. A power overhaul is perhaps the largest thing you can change in this game short of a total engine rework - it affects every other system in the game one way or another. To fully replace what we have now, on top of all the adjustments that would have to be made for the rest of the game, would take a year at best to completely finish.

    I think this outpouring of responses from the most experienced players at large is a telling sign that, hopefully, Schine will not only recognise but also respect. There are innumerable concerns, from building and general performance, resource allocation and the management or explanation thereof as well as the plethora of concerns from PVP junkies and the average player alike in regards to gameplay itself. Work with what you've built, Schine - it is perfectly acceptable and there are numerous improvements and additions you can make to tailor gameplay to work as you wish without needing to trash it and make a new one.
     
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    Given all the heat (heh) why can't we have both systems; big bulky power stacks and more efficient but complicated reactors? You could even then go as far as to limit one or the other in the server config file for those folks that got to have it one way or the other. No broken designs and everyone wins.
     

    Lancake

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    So far I've managed to read every single post up till page 35, it's hard to catch up so I'm making a post right now and read the remaining part afterwards.

    As our proposal is vague at best, a lot of you are filling in the gaps with mechanics we wouldn't put into the game. That's to be expected and it also gave me better insight to what some players are concerned about.

    RP vs PvP?

    This proposal isn't meant to favor "Role players" and to ruin the game for "PvPers". The reason why I use quotes is that it is not possible to classify your whole player base into 2 very specific play styles... Most SMD users consist of experienced players that by now, developed their very own mindset on how to play the game and what they want it to be in the future. If you think your voice isn't heard, think about all those people that aren't willing to join the SMD community and read/post on the forums. It does give Schine a wrong representation of our entire player base, but we're just looking for constructive feedback from your own perspective/experience. Whether that's right or wrong according to others doesn't matter as long as it opens up more options for us to explore.
    Some Clarification

    Forced Design: The way we worded it, was wrong indeed. Forced Design does work when applied properly and we were of an opinion that right now, the forced part doesn't contain enough variety or other viable ways of building. That isn't necessarily true as some pointed out so it's definitely going to be a point of discussion again. The forced part in our proposal could use some work too.

    Lack of complexity: It seems all of us have their own opinion what "complexity" was about. To us it was more like a lack of depth, especially when you build larger ships. The only system that requires some creative thinking is the power system and that's not the case for every ship. Of course making turrets and some having to work with exotic ship shapes make a build process more complex but overall, it was too easy to get something work well without having to think about it a lot.

    Too many blocks involved (amount, not types): Most posts disagreed with that but perhaps we didn't explain it too well? It's a mix of both types and amount, with the 5 most prominent system blocks you usually end up using a few types as filler and together with the remaining types, you have to juggle with each amount to get it right. With ships that have a limited amount of volume to play around with, this can be an interesting enough to keep you busy and entertained.

    This idea of building just doesn't scale well though, when your ship size gets bigger, the volume increases too.
    The amount of blocks you can put down increases and there is little reason left to use a specific way of placing them down. Even power past its soft cap has no real design philosophy besides putting it somewhere deep and safe inside your ship. Although I doubt we did it on purpose back then, but it makes sense that it is all rather simplified at this scale. How can we add interesting build methods to improve its efficiency when you need to apply it on that many blocks?
    Imagine a specific pattern for shields to improve its efficiency, do you really want to put shield lines down for your whole ship if there are 400 000 of them? Copy paste and symmetry speeds it up, but you might as well keep what we have right now since almost the same amount of thinking goes into it. You make a decent pattern, and you put it all over your ship.

    Regen vs Capacity: This is something most agree on but not for the reason said in our proposal. This relation between having power to fire and needing to regenerate while it's on cooldown is indeed wrong.
    For example 2 important things that were pointed out:
    1. For every slow firing weapon, you need the same amount of power used by a fast firing weapon in a given amount of time (cooldown of the slowest weapon). As the DPS is equal for both weapons and the block destruction favors the fast firing weapon It makes the slow firing weapon a bad choice, especially when you need to place down more capacity blocks in order to use it.
    2. Instead of consuming the power needed when fired, it should consume power over time during its cooldown.

    Heat boundary box: The only thing we wanted it to do, was to represent a larger amount of blocks without you needing to place them down. In order to enforce that, any system placed within the heat boundary box would need to be penalized. I've seen some great suggestions to either replace this system with something else, or adjust how this area would work/scale to improve it. The name for this wasn't exactly chosen well either, some suggested "Magnetic/Electric interference area" which does fit it a lot better with its current function.

    Example of what we tried to do: a 50 x 20 x 20 Power block system (assuming you're past the soft cap and you don't want to put power aux down, or rely on docked reactors) would be you putting down a 5 x 2 x 2 reactor and its heat boundary box volume would contain 50 x 20 x 20 blocks.​

    Also this heat boundary box would only be on the power blocks to minimize the amount of influence areas to care about. Without power you can't use any other system. You could fill your ship with shields, thrusters and weapons but if you can't power them, they're useless.

    Some people suggested buffing 1 or more systems so they're better per block, but that only buffs each ship and the amount of blocks placed down remains the same. If your filled ship has 5 000 power blocks and we make them 10 times stronger, then your power is 10 times better. If we alse make power blocks heavier, you would use more thrusters on your ship while reducing the power block amount. There are more thrusters than power blocks then, but the amount of system blocks on your ship remains the same.

    Heat and Docks: Heat boundary boxes would care about other heat boundary boxes on docked entities. Some flaws were mentioned with that such as: docked ships interfering with your main ship (like what carriers would have) which can be resolved by "turning ships off" when they're docked and ignoring them with heat penalty. Or simply ignoring their heat boundary box if the ship isn't doing anything to create heat itself. Even these suggestions have loopholes which requires more finetuning to get it to work.

    Another flaw which was pointed out, was that the heat box on rotating entities could be moved out of the way when needed which is indeed a serious concern, thank you for pointing that out Raisinbat.

    Losing a reactor: Most assumed that having a damaged reactor or a completely destroyed one also meant that you lost its entire functionality. This wouldn't be true, we would either just penalize the stats of what that reactor offered when it was back at 100% SHP or make sure that your ship could still do "something" when reactors were taken away. How exactly we do that is up for discussion.

    Other Flaws: The first mentioned one was the "Chandelier" ship shape that would avoid a game mechanic by using spikes or just blocks to expand the dimension box area. Others pointed out that some mechanics are illogical. Possible performance issues were mentioned, the heat boundary box shouldn't be a problem although the lack of occlusion culling would indeed decrease the framerate for ships made with the new systems if you decide to not fill it up.
    The heat boundary box changing while adjusting or building on a ship is also a significant flaw that would turn out to be frustrating.

    Other concerns such as Armor and Weapons needing change to work properly with the new system and how strange the filler block would be are valid too.

    Most seem to agree that the current in-game system has flaws and believe it can be resolved with less drastic changes. The proposed system would improve on some areas and be worse in others. It's hard to say if that's true or not but if possible, we prefer less work if the result is the same or even better.
    What now
    We'll discuss our proposal internally and adjust it to better fit all your concerns. Some parts will be scrapped entirely, some will be refined more or we might redoing everything. When we're done with that, a new thread will be created for more feedback where you can help us further refining ideas and point out flaws we've missed. I estimate this can take us up to 2 weeks to do so depending on how much additional research we need to do.

    I'll also be contacting a few users personally to get additional information on some of their posts or opinions.
    This thread will be closed shortly but you can of course make your own discussion threads, as several people already did to further discuss your own ideas. Feel free to poke me on SMD if you have additional questions or want to discuss things with me.
     

    Lancake

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    I've also looked in a few PvP ships that were linked to see its overall design philosophy. Sorry if the ships look like they were disfigured but it should give you an idea of how it is perceived by me. This is my point of view which is of course not going to be neutral so keep that in mind.

    Medium ship
    PvP ship medium 1.png
    Front of the ship is the left side.
    While taking slices off this ship I noticed this:
    - Shield capacitors were used below armor. The reason I believe is that shield capacitors are the least important blocks when taking block damage. Your capacity is already down and even if you start regen'ing again, the chance of you reaching 100% shields again is extremely low so it doesn't matter if you lose a portion of those at that point.
    - Shield rechargers where used deeper inside the ship, behind shield capacitors. Rechargers matter slightly more after sustaining hull damage since in the few seconds you're capable of recharging, you want as much HP back as possible before taking damage again.
    - Thrusters, placed at the back of a ship or in places unlikely to be hit by weapons.
    - Power lines were put all over the ship and most were placed to maximize the dimension box they would span, obviously to get more power regen per block
    - Armor were 2 layers with some systems in between, most likely to make penetration weapons slightly less effective.
    - Weapons were put down near the front of the ship, in long columns to minimize their profile when looking from the front
    - Not show in picture, most of the damage was put in turrets


    Large ship PvP ship large 1.png
    Front of the ship is again the left side.
    Similar as the previous one:
    - Some system groups appear to be put down randomly, mostly rechargers and shields although still used as a buffer between more important systems and your hull.
    - Thrusters are put behind the thicker armor parts, not necessarily the parts least likely to be hit
    - Didn't notice anything special about power, seems to be following the same idea as with the thrusters
    - Armor: Thick from the front and has a checkerboard armor pattern inside the ship (also at the front) where it is alternated by systems and armor sheets. Not sure how effective it is but it does create extra buffer. The ship most likely sustains damage from the sides which would penetrate along the Z-axis and destroy more of the useless shield blocks while making sure that thrust and power are kept functional as long as possbile.
    - Plenty of varying turrets



    To me both examples show a lack of depth. I'm sure you can give more reasons why it was put down in a certain way but a good pvp ship uses shields as filler and buffer when sustaining block damage. And protects its power and thrusters by putting it behind thick armor or in unlikely to hit places.

    EDIT: I didn't ask permission to show the ships in this state but it's in no way meant to discredit the builder of it.
    In fact, I like both ships quite a lot and especially the way armor was done on the larger ship.
     

    Zyrr

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    So, then, your answer is to replace what we use as filler (see: because we need a lot of them - this can be changed with configs right now) blocks in larger ships with a new and improved™ low HP/armor filler block?

    How is this an improvement?
     

    The_Owl

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    So when are we getting minelayers?
    /s

    But seriously, focus the limited resources that schine has onto areas of the game that don't work or don't exist, instead of attempting to change something that already works while leaving the others because "shiny!"
     

    DukeofRealms

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    ut seriously, focus the limited resources that schine has onto areas of the game that don't work or don't exist, instead of attempting to change something that already works while leaving the others because "shiny!"
    To be completely honest, that's already what we're doing. The majority of our focus for 2017 is to get features implemented and head out of alpha, that's the focus, redesigns, bugfixes, optimisations all take a back seat to this main goal (unless specifically needed for the main goal). We're starting to get ready for beta; the path is getting clearer every day.

    This proposal doesn't detract from that, in fact, while this proposal was drawn up and while it has been open for these past few days, we've been working on feature additions. To tell the truth, no one at Schine knows when or if we'd be working on this system. We make proposals for systems quite often; some past proposals sat gathering dust for years before we eventually got around to them. We're simply opening up this process to the community.

    A proposal that is so massive and far-reaching takes a lot of time to mature, as I've said this before in the thread. If we're going to rework power, the earlier we start planning for it, the better.

    If a new system is designed, matured and approved, the next step would be finding where we put that onto our internal development maps. As I mentioned, our main focus for 2017 is to cover major ground towards beta, so core feature implementation. If it was approved, there would be a massive internal discussion and planning for when we start implementation.

    I'm not sure where an overhaul would fit in our 2017 plans, in my own view, I see overhauls being right at the end of alpha, transitioning to beta (so after we've implemented all major features). From my brief discussions with other team members, there is no consensus on when we would begin implementation if approved. That's a large discussion we will have to have.
     
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