StarMade - PvP & PvE balance, Perspective & Direction

    Az14el

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    With all that in mind I came to the realization that my perspective on balance might be a bit off. In trying to put out fires, new fires are coming up while development of other things suffers. We have been focusing on fighting the extreme cases of exploits way to much.


    The conclusion of this is that I want to go back to those things that make the game fun.
    Starmades gonna be a game again :eek:
    maybe...

    Many of these changes could have been followed to their logical conclusion a bit better, but there was too much fearmongering and honestly just straight up misunderstandings and assumptions about .199 "issues"
     
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    Aw... I'm going to miss the stabilization stream. I kinda liked building parts of my ship around it and I actually think I used it to create a pretty cool aesthetic.

    But overall, I feel this is a great direction for the game to move. Congratulations, schema.
     

    Dr. Whammy

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    Awesome news to hear. Server configs seem like a far better way to address 99% of the issues we've been having, than the previous hard restrictions. Now StarMade can evolve into an actual game rather than just a building/systems testbed.

    Here's to the universe update and all the other cools things over the horizon.
    Toast.jpg
     
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    Aw... I'm going to miss the stabilization stream. I kinda liked building parts of my ship around it and I actually think I used it to create a pretty cool aesthetic.

    But overall, I feel this is a great direction for the game to move. Congratulations, schema.
    Yes it looks allright for a few builders.

    But most of the people, including me, had troubles routing this stream. In the case that I needed to route a stream over 3 or more nodes, and there were multiple streams close to each other, it was unmanageable: On sector reload all the connections were randomly broken and all the tedious c-v work was lost.
    [doublepost=1539606548,1539606339][/doublepost]
    Competitiveness is also nice as long as I doesn't go to extremes. So I want to focus on that fun part. Unlike many games nowadays, I don't want to create an esport. If you want to play hardcore, you are welcome to do so, but you will have to make your own rules.
    Please don't forget this part next time people talk about pvp mechanics. Fun > Meta. A percentage of players don't enjoy minmaxing and building hardcore pvp oriented builds (and it doesn't matter if they are majority or minority).

    Own rules means booth: server side restrictions that get checked by the code, and own rules (like for example agreeing to only use cannon primary weapons and for example only 50m/s max ship thrust. - no matter what the server dictates).
     

    Tsnonak

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    I'd like to see rules for:
    • Total docked entities
    • Chain-dock depth
    • Number of turrets
    • Outputs per weapon computer
    • Thrust to mass ratio
    some of this is already there...

    MAX_CHAIN_DOCKING = 25 //null

    <GroupLimits>
    <Controller>
    <ID>4</ID>
    <GroupMax>30</GroupMax>
    </Controller>
    <Controller>
    <ID>544</ID>
    <ComputerMax>2</ComputerMax>
    </Controller>
    </GroupLimits>
    [doublepost=1539617849,1539616161][/doublepost]I am glad to hear of the change in "Direction" / "Focus".

    I will go out on limb here and say that:

    I believe Starmade was meant to be a fun and engaging creative multiplayer Sandbox from the start, not an "egoShooter"...

    Admins should have the tools to dictate what is "acceptable" on thier server.

    Anarchy for the rest...

    +10 Schema
     

    Master1398

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    The universe will be torn down and recreated according to what we planned.
    All hail the great Cat God!

    Aw... I'm going to miss the stabilization stream. I kinda liked building parts of my ship around it and I actually think I used it to create a pretty cool aesthetic.

    But overall, I feel this is a great direction for the game to move. Congratulations, schema.
    How about reusing the Reactor Stabilizer Stream Nodes as a decorative block. They don't need to be powered or connected to the power system in any way. They just emit that beam to the nearest (grouped?) node. So in the case of your image, you'd just need to place one node at each side.
    Bonus points for Schema if the beam changes it's color depending on a connected light source.
     

    Tsnonak

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    Aw... I'm going to miss the stabilization stream. I kinda liked building parts of my ship around it and I actually think I used it to create a pretty cool aesthetic.

    But overall, I feel this is a great direction for the game to move. Congratulations, schema.
    I also found the stream good, it is logical that systems need energy... streams...
    I also integrated them into my builds and will be sad to see them go...
     

    Edymnion

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    See? You present the problem calmly and don't resort to name calling, and actually give 'em time to mull things over, and stuff gets changed. The devs are listening. Only thing the ranting and the name calling does is make 'em dig their heels in and double down. :)

    That said, kudos on being man enough to admit that things were potentially going in the wrong direction and backing down from some of it.

    I'm very happy to see the server side rules that will allow actual server types to be set up without needing custom configs all over the place (especially if those conditions are editable on the fly in game). Couple of things I'd like to see as conditions:

    • PC vs. NPC indicator. Specifically a flag that would allow the system to differentiate between something made by a player and something made by an NPC (such as pirates and NPC factions) so that different rules can be applied to just one group or the other.
    • Increase defenses for/decrease damage against specific groups. For example, if someone wanted a PvE server with limitations on PvP, you could simply adjust how much damage is done to/taken by PC vessels when attacked by other PC vessels. Make it so that player weapons end up doing a scalable amount of damage to other players (so the server could set it to say 50% normal damage, or 10%, etc). On the flip side, a PvP server could be set up to decrease the damage done by NPCs to players.
    • Time played should be a condition as well. That way the server could set up things like new player protections if they wanted. Like being able to say that if a player has less than X hours played on the server, increase their defenses or something so that they are harder to kill. Could give new players say 100% invincibility against other players (or even NPCs) for the first 24 hours played (and vice versa, make it so that new players can't attack other players for X hours to prevent griefers).

    Yeah, I'm seeing TONS of great ways that these rules and conditions could be used to fine tune a server. I like 'em!

    I'll also second/third/fourth the "Let us keep the stabilizer/reactor beams as decorative items". I also incorporated those into builds as decorative pieces, and I'd like to be able to keep them.
     
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    Schema and team. Thank you for really great solutions to some of the directional problems, to really great flexibility and an emphasis on FUN.
    Starmade is a tricky game to bring together. With so many different ways to play, the most difficult thing is to balance the very diverse desires of many different players and still have the game get finished.

    I very much appreciate the main goal of making a FUN game. Running a close second is a wish that you get to a finished product - a 1.0 version. Anything that can be done to make forward progress on the core aspects of the game should be prioritized, even if some of the more subtle features are left to the end or even post-launch. I sense a deep commitment to this game and feel that you always have the best interests of the players in mind. I applaud the changes you are considering and look forward to the day the game is fully realized. All should remember, nothing is perfect in the eyes of everyone, or for that matter, anyone. Just do your best and the results will stand on their own.

    Some rules I would like to see:
    • Shield effectiveness (a percentage of how much a shield can mitigate)
    • Thrust to mass ratio (the relationship between ship mass and the effectiveness of thrust modules)
    • Chain dock depth
    • Weapon size to power requirement ratio (the relationship between the number of weapon blocks and the power draw for reloading those weapons

    Thank you.
     

    Az14el

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    Please don't forget this part next time people talk about pvp mechanics. Fun > Meta. A percentage of players don't enjoy minmaxing and building hardcore pvp oriented builds (and it doesn't matter if they are majority or minority).
    Meta exists as a result of the gamestate not the players, it depends on what the games actual logic determines is strongest in given situations, not player desires. So even when focusing on fun you have to take note of the meta and make sure it's something healthy, or players will "ruin eachothers fun" playing an unfun meta (like bm spam)

    You're right of course, Starmade should be fun over an "esport", just that you do have to keep in mind the logical outcome of the games rules when it comes to the meta and make sure its actually something "fun" to some degree.
     
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    HOLY CRAP the devs finally listened! This is a welcome surprise, I had nearly written this off as dead.

    Glad to hear the over complicated crap is about to go. The original issue was with death cubes and spaghetti monsters, and other boring META. Stabilizers fixed both those issues.

    Now we will finally start getting better planets, and faction systems, and economy, and npc stuff I hope. Really glad to see the devs finally saw how insane the power update has been.

    Hell, I think I am actually going to go reinstall Starmade now. The game is saved lol
     
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    Hello Players,


    This is more of a blog post about the general direction of the game.


    With the recent updates there have been a lot of new build mechanics and restrictions that were controversial. However, they seemed necessary to solve certain problems with people exploiting certain aspects of the mechanics. Most players never plan or intent to abuse these mechanics but they were still negatively affected by them. New players are also affected by the added complexity. Even the existence of an additional number while building has a negative effect. Understandably, a lot of those players asked the question “Why is this even a thing?”.


    Restricting the build mechanics is most of the time affecting the wrong people, and a lot of times they are also not 100% effective in what they are trying to prevent. Making them more severe would put even more restriction on the whole system. Reducing them would make them completely ineffective.


    With all that in mind I came to the realization that my perspective on balance might be a bit off. In trying to put out fires, new fires are coming up while development of other things suffers. We have been focusing on fighting the extreme cases of exploits way to much.


    The conclusion of this is that I want to go back to those things that make the game fun.

    To explain it better: The game should be fun for one or a group of players that are enjoying the game without going out of their way to exploit mechanics. While there still need to be things to prevent these exploits, it will be done with a different perspective. Measures that solely exist to prevent to exploitation will be put into a rule system, so a server admin can apply them. This rule system will be quick and easy to setup, which will be explained a bit later.


    We will still be sticking with the basic premise of reactors and stabilizers but will be simplifying things a fair bit.

    The first things that will be removed from the game is integrity and the reactor stream between reactor and stabilizers. Also, while I can not promise for sure, the required reactor stabilization distance will likely be reduced.


    Server Rules

    The server rule system will work as follows:


    The server admin picks one or multiple conditions with either “all conditions must be true” or “one of the conditions must be true”. While there will be other affected areas, this explanation will be for structures. This means that these conditions will be checked while a player builds or spawns a ship. These conditions will include a reactivation of integrity, the stability stream, ship size, mass, dimension, block counts per type, weapon strength, shield strength and a lot more.


    After the admin picked a set of conditions, they can choose from one or more actions. These will range from very light “ship weapons are disabled while conditions are true” to more harsh “remove ship” or even “ban player”. It’s the admin’s choice. They will also have the option to warn players on certain actions.


    A simple rule would be:


    • “If block count is over 1 million, deactivate the ship’s power”
    The player would then be notified in their structure view in build mode that a their ship is currently triggering the rule.


    Another rule would be:

    • If integrity is in the negatives, the ship is disabled.
      The condition can be more soft like “mark ship for admins”. Admins would be able to track those marked ships in a panel, as well as the blueprints.
    This would exactly emulate how the integrity works right now.

    For normal gameplay all integrity would not be visible as long as the player is on a server that doesn’t use a rule that relates to integrity. Same is true for the stabilization stream, and other things that will be removed for simplification.


    When I make the game I think about people that have fun together player the game. Exploring, building, fighting. Competitiveness is also nice as long as I doesn't go to extremes. So I want to focus on that fun part. Unlike many games nowadays, I don't want to create an esport. If you want to play hardcore, you are welcome to do so, but you will have to make your own rules.


    With this, development can move a lot more freely and will have a lot more resources available for other things. For anything that might be exploitive, conditions will be added to help a server effectively detect and remove it from their server if they so wish. We will be also providing default options for servers to quickly setup. These default options will be based upon what rules are typically set on the different types of servers PvP, PvE, RP, Building etc


    This is all of course not a complete fix to all balance problems, but it enables us to create a balance for a specific scenario instead of doing the impossible task of coming up with a balance that works in a possible scenarios. For example, the intended vanilla balance will be based on economy also, something that currently doesn’t matter on some servers, which in turn completely changes the scenario and the requirements for any balance. By focusing on a specific scenario and then letting the admins control what kind of play they want to see on a server, we can reduce the amount of forced restrictions considerably making building and the game a lot more fun.


    The rule GUI will come equipped with a simple way to create new rules. Also it will be possible to create and export/import ruleset templates. There will also be some general rulesets available that an admin can choose from like “Creative Build”, “Restricted Pvp” or “Hardcore PvP Open”.


    List of Conditions and reactions
    There are a lot of possible conditions and actions. I’ll be compiling a list shortly with all possible conditions and actions I can come up with. Since any action will be specific to a server to use them I’m willing to implement pretty much any request a server admin has for a rule.


    Possible conditions would include

    • ship size

    • ship mass

    • block count (per type)

    • system count (specific to system)

    • integrity (which would activate the integrity GUI and stats for all peple on that server. Otherwise integrity would be completely removed)

    • Shield size

    • Reactor level

    • A lot more. Whatever we can come up with.

    Actions would affect the entity & creator/spawner of the entity and would range from hidden to severe including:

    • Mark entity for admins. This entity is then trackable by the admins in a panel

    • Mark entity for everyone in hud/name

    • Disable certain systems

    • Add an effect (like a reactor effect) to the vessel

    • Disable completely

    • Warn player for amount of time

    • Remove completely (conditions can be chained, so that would for example be after a warning)

    • Kick/Ban player (same as above)

    This would also enable servers to implement buffs for certain builds (e.g. bigger stations) by applying certain effects. This would be a lot easier than modifying the config. Also it would be compatible with most updates of the game.




    General
    In general there have been a few adjustments to my perspective as well. With the universe update coming up, I will be going moving away from trying to middleground on things that would cost extra time. Too many “you can do either this or that” choices for how the basics of the game work are not good for complexity and code. This is not directed on gameplay, in fact gameplay should be enriched with more options, but for things like having an option to use old deprecated things still (old turrets etc are a good example).


    The universe update is pretty huge in scope, but all in all I’m looking very much to 100% dive into it. The basics are already there. Most of the old systems have been overhauled internally. The few old ones that are left will be overhauled at the beginning of the update (amongst other things AI, fleets, the basic loading system and sector transitions). The universe will be torn down and recreated according to what we planned. And then it will be filled with new and interesting things, adding gameplay and things to do, as well as making the surroundings a lot more recognizable.


    Thanks for playing StarMade,

    • schema
    Cool, I'm looking toward to the updates. Will make my refiting of old ships much easier. Also, can you have someone update the tutorials and ADD more of them? Other than that I'm looking toward to the new update.
     

    klawxx

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    Aw... I'm going to miss the stabilization stream. I kinda liked building parts of my ship around it and I actually think I used it to create a pretty cool aesthetic.

    But overall, I feel this is a great direction for the game to move. Congratulations, schema.
    MAN! THIS IS SPART.... I mean THIS IS EPIC!
    [doublepost=1539698306,1539698126][/doublepost]
    Cool, I'm looking toward to the updates. Will make my refitting of old ships much easier. Also, can you have someone update the tutorials and ADD more of them? Other than that I'm looking toward to the new update.
    I Miss the Bench videos about Logic. It would be awesome if he could make some about specific topics, like "ship wide red alert" or maybe "how to make elevators with doors that open and close" (on the elevator as well as on the floor doors).
     
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    Awesome keep up the good work!
    I was liking the stabilizer stream design. But that makes sense.
     

    OfficialCoding

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    I Miss the Bench videos about Logic. It would be awesome if he could make some about specific topics, like "ship wide red alert" or maybe "how to make elevators with doors that open and close" (on the elevator as well as on the floor doors).
    Well maybe someone will make some. Maybe I might even do a couple of logic tutorials.
     
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    Really liking the idea of having integrity being removed. Really annoying when i made a ship in single player, made the engines slightly rounded (7 blocks horizontal and vertical, 10 blocks deep) only to have the system somehow say they were at negative integrity.

    I will miss the power stream, though. As someone else did, i too used it as a decorative piece.
     
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