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Module/Socket based Suit Customization

Discussion in 'Suggestions and Feedback' started by plaYer2k, Jan 12, 2016.

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  1. plaYer2k

    plaYer2k Master Engineer

    We have seen many suggestions for new suits but sadly none of them really satisfied me as all those i am aware of are rather limited in offering diverse sets of suits as they are but little customization to it.

    Thus i tried to refine the system i though of about a year ago.
    The result is this small list of frames and sockets with corresponding modules.

    The general idea is to have a barebone structure with physical additions to them so that you see the changes and thus can visually identify the purpose of such a suit.
    It is also very important to note that the "progression" is horizontal (diversity with specializations but none is generally better) over vertical (having better and better types like the current tools/machinegun).

    Frames are the raw/barebone suit as a whole. They are the coating around a naked astronaut giving them their vital abilities for survival. Frames are divided into different size categories with physical socket layouts.

    Light Frame
    This frame is a pretty light and agile build. It doesnt offer many sockets and armor but it got a unique fast and sneaky approach.
    • mass: 10kg (estimated range for upgraded suits: 20kg - 50kg)
    • modules: light inner slots / 2 small misc sockets / 1 small jetpack socket / 1 small backpack sockets
    • armor: tissue
    • speed 1.2 / carry weight 0.7

    Medium Frame
    A mixed approach inbetween the light and heavy frame. This resembles the current astronauts suit the most with a slight touch towards heavy.
    • mass: 30kg (estimated range for upgraded suits: 40kg - 100kg)
    • modules: medium inner sockets / 2 small + 1 large misc sockets / 1 large jetpack sockets/ 1 small backpack socket
    • armor: light plating
    • speed 1 / carry weight 1

    Heavy Frame
    A frame for front combat and special backpacks at the cost of agility. This resource and time intensive investment is a worthy piece of gear when things get rough.
    • mass: 100kg (estimated range for upgraded suits: 120kg - 200kg)
    • modules: heavy inner sockets / 1 small + 2 large misc sockets / 1 large jetpack socket / 1 large backpack sockets
    • armor: light / heavy plating
    • speed 0.7 / carry weight 1.6

    The modules are items that can be inserted into sockets. For sake of organisation they also are grouped into certain categories that sometimes allow the application of similar modules as they share similar sockets.

    These are damage protections that are visually exposed to the outside as they usually define outmost part.

    • tissue
      • low physical resistance
      • no movement penalty
      • low mass
      • optional organic camouflage (grass, sand, dynamically adaptive etc.)
    • light plating
      • high physical resistance
      • slight movement penalty
      • medium mass
    • heavy plating
      • extreme physical resistance
      • high movement penalty
      • high mass
    Note: There are crude types with simple cheap materials but bad mass/penalty stats (i.e. plain iron armor) aswell as better costly alloys with high resistances and slighter mass/penalties (i.e. titanium-magnesium-alloys)

    Inner Sockets (Group)
    These sockets are usually hid inside the frames and under armor. So they tend to have no visual impact and dont directly expose their specifications upon visual contacts.
    • 3 storages sockets
      • types: cargo(items) / oxygen(gas) / hydrogen(gas) / none
      • volume: light 2L / medium 3L / large 5L
    • 1 battery socket
      • light 2 unit / medium 4 units / heavy 8 units (1 unit = 240 kW @ 1 kWh => max discharge = 1 kWh / 240 kW = 15s)
    • 1 flashlight socket
      • different colors
      • range and intensity vs power consumption
    • joint servo sockets (These could come in either one servo per joint or simply as "sets" for all servos to make it simplier)
      • speed / carry weight vs mass / power consumption (mass-velocity-curves)
      • sprint capabilities vs walking capabilities
      • higher carry weight ratings also reduce falling damage under load
    • helmet / visor socket
      • different HUDs
      • optional overlays?
        • ore detection
        • night vision
        • heat detection
        • target tracking

    Hand Sockets
    Hands allow to change the way how the suit user directly interacts with the environment through a variation of either improving or highly specialized but limiting applications.
    • hand usage upgrades (welding/grinding/drilling/shooting) vs dedicated hand tools (drill/grinder/welder/guns, very high efficiency/damage but unable to use anything else)
    • upgrade modules
      • faster grinding/drilling/welding
      • more energy efficient grinding/drilling/welding
      • extended range for grinding/drilling/welding
      • more precise shooting (steady aim)
      • hook to grapple things based on LandingGear[sup]TM[/sup] technology (pull blocks, play spiderman etc)
    • dedicated modules
      • these are versions of existent tools and weapons that are far superior to their upgraded versions
      • some tools/weapons may only apply to this category and are not available as small handtool (i.e. minigun)
      • you are unable to use any other tool with such a dedicated hand module
    • wrist computer
      • this is essentially a programmable block with text panel you can look at as you are mobile

    Feet Sockets
    Feet upgrades generally have an effect on walking properties.
    • reduced noise generation
    • optional magnetic / electroadhesive locks

    Jetpack Sockets
    Jetpacks with varying thrust-consumption characteristics for different environments.

    • types: hydrogen / atmospheric / ion / mixed
    • consumption efficiency vs propulsion power (long gliding vs fast acceleration)

    Misc Sockets
    These sockets and modules allow for actual specialisation as you can boost one application or another.
    • storage
      • types: items / oxygen / hydrogen
      • small 2L / medium 3L / large 5L
    • battery
      • small 2 unit / large 5 units
    • reactor (no cargo storage included)
      • become largely independent from energy resupply and generate your own power with a steady uranium ingot supply
      • power generation: small 100 kW / large 250 kW, no cargo
    • CO2 scrubber
      • become largely independent from oxygen resupplies through CO2 conditioning/processing
      • "generate" oxygen or decrease the oxygen consumption (both are equal when oxygen is used up)
      • reduce oxygen consumption vs power consumption
    • antenna amplifier
      • the ideal upgrade for drone pilots to extend the tiny 200m antenna range
      • extend antenna range vs power consumption
    • adapter socket
      • this socket exposes two small sockets at the cost of one large socket and thus sacrifices specialization for versatility
      • large only
    Backpack Sockets
    These rather large modules attached to the astronauts back offer more unique or strong generic features.

    • adapter misc socket
      • offer an adapter to misc sockets for higher versatility over efficiency
      • large adapter offers 2 large misc sockets, small adapter offers 2 small misc sockets
    • additional jetpack
      • incredibly strong jetpack
      • 2x jetpack stats
    • additional storage
      • 3x storage stats
    • additional battery
      • 3x storage stats
    • additional reactor
      • 3x reactor stats
    • additional antenna amplifier
      • 3x antenna stats
    • turret/tool mount
      • have an actual automatic small turret/tool mounted to the back shooting enemies / welding/grinding blocks
      • weapons: large only
      • tool efficiency/power: 1x small / 3x large
    • mobile medic station
      • recharge health and energy at the cost of the carriers power
      • small 1x recharge / large 3x recharge
    • mobile mini gravity generator
      • a small gravity field (fixed in space or dynamic with suit orientation, linear or spherical)
      • large only
    • reinforcement module
      • respawn point
      • high power consumption per spawn
      • large only
    • detonation packs
      • small explosive pack that triggers either on manual activation or after a set time upon death
      • detonation power: small 1x / large 3x
    • armored backpack
      • high damage resistance against attacks from behind
    • active scanner
      • allows the user to identify other astronauts on their HUD even when their broadcast is disabled
      • detection range is based on the "quality" aswell as the suits size
    • adaptive camouflage
      • automatically change the camouflage effect of the frames tissue coating based the on surrounding voxels

    How to build and equipt
    As these suits are a very deep change, they will change some game mechanics.

    For one, the respawn needs to define a basic suit. One that is given "free" so to speak much like tools.
    It would be good to have a suit selection upon spawn to jump into prepared suits in case the "free suit" is no suit at all and thus a bare astronaut without any HUD or survival equiptment.

    Bulding new suits could be done through the normal assembler function. A specialized assembler could be thinkable too but i personally see little use for such an application.
    Thus frames and modules are items that can be transfered through conveyors.
    The build progress however is a generally rather slow to negate the low material requirement for most components.
    As example i would suggest the following speeds under realistic settings: 3min for a small frame, 7min for a medium frame, 10min for a large frame, 2min for small and 4min for large jetpacks etc. (They still are sillily fast but should go along with with how fast other components are generated ingame).

    The modules however should require either a new type of block (suit workbench) or a new interface in either the medic back (any "medic bay" that allows changing the current astronaut models) or a new tab within the K menu.

    Equipting a suit can be done through "medic bays" that currently allow changing astronaut models as long as the suit is within the accessible conveyor network.

    Damage Model
    Ideally each component could be damaged through attacks as they got physical positions if extended with collision models.
    As a result of that, parts had to be repaired or completely replaced. Shooting at vital suit systems would also be a viable tactic in infantry combat. That however requires the collision detection to work properly (solving the bullet-through-paper issue).

    Astronauts death and suit retrieval
    Upon death the suit shall remain within the astronauts corpse. This encourages careful gameplay with more expensive suits.
    Retrieving the whole suit would only be possible through "collecting" the corspe with a collector block.
    Manually salvaging certain components could be possible through accessing a corspes suit. However SEs inventory interface is rather limited right now and such a function would either require a new UI tab (drag the suit item into a box to access the suit alteration in that new tab) or the implementation of right-click menu elements like drop-down-menus to split items and thus also salvage a module from a suit in inventory.

    Suit Examples
    Now as we got a large set of modules for various frames, lets look what could be done.

    Scout/Stealth Suit (atmosphere, solo)
    This suit is meant to be highly independent, hard to spot, fast and easy to gather and transfer vital informations.
    • Frame: light frame
    • Armor: camouflage tissue
    • Backpack: adaptive camouflage
    • Misc: small reactor module + antenna amplifier
    • Servos: little enough power consumption to stay selfsufficient with 1 reactor, the rest goes toward max sprint speed
    • Feet: best noise reduction
    • Hands: wrist computer

    Stronghold Suit (space, groupfighter)
    This suit is designed for taking large amounts of damage. However agility highly suffers. This suit also relies on recharge backpacks from support players as their own power and oxygen supply.
    • Frame: large
    • Armor: heavy plating - highest resistance (thus high mass)
    • Backpack: active scanner
    • Misc: 1 large reactor module + 1 large cargo storage module + 1 small CO2 scrubber module
    • Servo: high carry weight, low velocity
    • Hands: dedicated minigun

    Medic Support Suit (atmosphere, groupsupport)
    • Frame: large
    • Armor: light plating, mass reduced
    • Backpack: mobile medic station
    • Misc: 1 large + 2 small reactor modules
    • Servo: high sprint speed
    Mining Suit (atmosphere, solo)
    This suit goes all for storage with a dedicated drill equipted to the hands as that is all it really does.
    Same can be done to Construction Suit (welding) and Salvage Suit (grinding).
    • Frame: large
    • Hand: dedicated drill
    • Storage: 3x cargo storage
    • Misc: large storage module
    • Servos: max carry weight
    • Armor: none
    • Helmet: the optional night vision or even build in ore detection? (balance consideration)

    Gameplay/Balance Challenges
    As this is a large suggestion with deep impacts there also exist various challenges involving the balance and gameplay. This shall sum those up that have been identified to astimate a roadmap for design decisions.
    • The general suit performance should be weaker than the current suit to encourage specializing suits in order to reach current suits capabilities or slighly exceed them in certain areas.
    • All modules for each category have to be equally viable within their "level group" (in case the current linear progression seen in the tools/machinegun shall be continued) and thus reactor modules shall not be better in general than batteries, fast sprint servos shall not have better average movement speed per wattage than fast walking servos,
    • Each of the modules that offer bonuses like present blocks (i.e. mounted turret, mobile medic bay) have to be considerably less feasible than any ship mounted block in order not to discourage ship building and management aspects of the game.

    • The storage volumes are what would make sense in realistic terms. However as even the "realistic" inventory setting offers 400L storage (average human volume ~70L -> 1 astronaut can carry 4 astronauts in his inventory) the size of the storage modules might has to be adjusted by the factor 10 for the sake of "gameplay".
    • Individually coloring parts like leg armor, jetpack and helmet would be a very nice feature but imo one that has no large value as of right now. That would replace the current "color whole suit" function.
    • Sockets are physically defined per frame. They contain a position in relation to a frames bone (i.e. left arm, right leg, chest) aswell as orientation. That allows each modder to define the style and layout of their frame and extended modules. As consequence modules have to define rather strict size and shape limitations (i.e. small storage module: box with max dimension 20cm x 10cm x 10cm -> 2L).
    • Modules like batteries, jetpacks, reactors etc shall have a feasible horizontal variation so that there are working sets for: high burst outputs with high consumptions, low and steady outputs at low consumptions aswell as mixed sets. As general rule: the higher the output, the less the efficiency as time is an important variable too.
    Any suggestions, additions, critizism is of course welcomned.

    I would also greatly appreciate any artists skills in drawing a few sketches to visualize the frames, example modules, suit specializations etc.

    - added: ore detection overlay to helmet modules
    - added: gameplay/balance challenges
    - added: astronauts death and suit retrieval
    - added: adapter misc sockets and misc sockets
    - extend: how to build and equipt
    - initial release
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2016
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. CheeseJedi

    CheeseJedi Apprentice Engineer

    I have to commend you on an extremely well fleshed out idea. I had considered similar ideas in the past however you have developed this considerably further.

    One of the key gripes I'd have with any idea like this is the danger that the space suit becomes the most powerful 'ship' in the game. This was the case, certainly until the release of Hydrogen - plenty of stories of people capturing cargo ships in their suits, using near-limitless inventory size to build entire ships 'by hand' etc. With all the multipliers turned up (inventory size et al.) why would you ever want to 'waste time' build welding/grinding ships, especially now we have 'elite' tools and the like?

    In order for this to not become "Space Suit Engineers" it would need to be suitably balanced against, for example, ship tools, inventory and movement etc. Adding further abilities to the player/players suit along the direction of Crysis etc. could be fine for certain types of game play, but does have the potential to rather detract from the engineering aspect.

    The recent tiered hand tools took away engineering opportunities, because you could simply upgrade to a 'faster' welder or grinder rather than building a solution. I didn't like the idea of them being part of the base game; it would, however, have been great as a mod, as it would have been something that those who wanted to use it could add, rather than being foisted upon us as an ill-conceived alternative to actually building something for ourselves.

    So I'll have to continue sitting on the fence on this idea for now. ???
  3. Krutchen

    Krutchen Apprentice Engineer

    I'd love to see this idea have work put into it, and actually made as either vanilla or a mod, because in my opinion expanding on equipment through a tree of Sidegrades is a really cool alternative to straight upgrades.
    A lot of these little modules would be really cool to see in the game, and I believe they would be offset by the fragility of an engineer, especially if the modules are more or less lost with death (But stay on the body for retrieval or salvage)

    You would really have to judge how survivable one person is and if it is worth the risk to carry an expensive piece of equipment like a reinforcement, medbay, or generation pack. I'm a bit iffy on the turret pack module though, I feel as though that would make infantry defense a bit too easy and drastically lesson an engineer's risk on the ground. Also, requiring a conveyored medic bay to equip a suit (Or one you just carry the suit to), would really increase the usefulness of ready rooms before airlocks, as you see in a few large ships. Storing weapons and armour would actually become a useful thing to do.

    I was actually just thinking about how the tool tiering could have been much cooler if it was instead tool assembly, with different quality parts. You'd get the base grinder, and would install different tier motors, power converters (For power efficiency), and grinding wheels, to really get the type of tool you want. I really do hope keen looks into some of these "Modular equipment" types of suggestions though and looks into making them part of the game. Between modular suit parts, modular tool parts, and properly modular weapon parts, I think all or any of the three would add in quite a bit more uniqueness to each engineer & faction's way of operation, and vastly increase their enjoyment of the game. Keen has already taken the first step by throwing together different suit types in the latest update.
  4. Sinbad

    Sinbad Senior Engineer

    I like this idea.
    I'm not sure on the volumes for backpacks you had in mind, but assuming large=3xsmall, what about an adaptor backpack? Fills a large backpack socket and converts it to 2 small sockets (one small used for the adapter frame, cause no free lunch rule) that would allow us to slightly boost 2 functions rather than heavily boost one, energy and storage for a welding suit for example.

    I would like to see some examples of what you imagine a mineing or contruction suit would consist of.

    Also: maybe a "changing room" block as an upgrade module to the med bay?

    This one is far left field, (edit: too far left field, no longer a serious suggestion) but what about a micro refinery/assembler backpack? Nothing awesome, maybe a 5litre total capacity split across both functions so one or the other operating at a time, snail like rates and only capable of refining/assembling the materials and components needed to build a proper refinery and assembler. Maybe with fragile deployable solar 'wings' that are not quite enough to continuosly power it so you need to manage your suit energy? (yes I actually like incredibly slow bootstrap starts)

    Another thought is to expand the forarm slots in number, then implement a modular tool/weapon system for filling them. Like a 'primary' module that sets the tool type (grnder welder drill gun etc) then a couple of modifier slots that change how the primary functions.

    Sorry I got carried away there, I'm just excited about the potential of your idea.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2016
  5. plaYer2k

    plaYer2k Master Engineer

    Yeah i completely agree here and i find that the current suits are stupidly overpowered. Especially carrying 400L as astronaut while the astronauts volume might be ~80L (average human as about 70L volume) and thus turn them into ant-like workers.
    Sure the gameplay shouldnt be crippled and thus there had to be tools that help negating the low volume. Though there it gets tricky imo. Thus i would willingly boost the cargo volume to "silly amounts" in order to not turn the gameplay into a brick.

    Especially the vertical progression of those tools sure are a shame indeed and they should indeed have been a mod like you mentioned as they dont offer "freedom" but enforce silly linear progression.

    I personally played a lot of Insurgency (you are essentially dead after 1-4 hits) and am loving the dynamic combat. Interstellar Marines is another example for great combat even though aiming is extremely hard there due to the intense recoil.
    Thus my ideal astronaut combat for SE would make then even more fragile than they currently are (mind you i dont talk about bugs like breaking your ankle of death when walking over a slope) to encourage tactics and ships even more.

    I tried to refer to that with the following lines in the OP
    and i hope it reflects that tought accurately to make it obvious.

    Yeah that was my intention but i didnt note it in the OP. I however fixed that now and it is a point with: "Astronauts death and suit retrieval".

    Heh yeah i am a huge fan of customization and proper crafting. I loved the old crafting in Star Wars Galaxies the most and thus i always aim for a broad and indepth crafting whenever i think about such things.
    I would hugely love to have a really deep crafting system in SE for any item like weapons/tools/armor components etc but i think that SE would too much turn into a borderlands-like fps than the current games focus it has on building ships/stations.

    The suggestion here was to encourage different astronaut roles to have a more tactical approach to invading bases, ships etc. and i hope that it would properly work if/when implemented. As result of that the astronaut defense had to be more versatile aswell and thus offer new design challenges block-structures.

    Yeah that is a nice idea i had but didnt think it would be good to add. I however added an adapter to the misc modules aswell as to the backpacks: "adapter socket" and "adapter misc socket".

    Well that is up to everyone themself and how they like to specialize but i gave a simple example in the OP: "Mining Suit (atmosphere, solo)".
    It is essentially a heavy suit with dedicated drill and all for cargo storage. However some people may find it more important to go for a medium frame and higher speed in order to escape much faster in a hostile pvp-environment, with lots of hostile AIs around or for whatever reason. Even "stealth" approaches to mining could be feasible depending on the situation.

    Well that is one of the functions i kinda see exceed the purpose already. It sure doesnt make large grid refineries and assembler obsolete but it also had to be so utterly slow and weak that they had no practical use anymore imo. Imagine how slow refining and assembling already is for these very large blocks. Now imagine that functionality being scaled down proportionally to the size of an astronauts backpack. The result would be over 300 times slower assembling (based on 40cm x 40cm x 60cm backpack assembler vs 2.5m x 2.5m x 5m large grid assembler) or even worse numbers for refineries with over 7000 times slower refining (based on 40cm x 40cm x 60cm backpack refinery vs 7.5m x 7.5m x 12.5m large grid refinery).
    Thus if these backpacks shall be any balanced to the large blocks, their function would be absolutely neglectable if not completely useless.

    I hope i didnt skip any important question there as i saw several overlaping questions. If youse still think there is one that didnt get answered, dont hesitate to ask again and clarify a bit.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Sad_Brother

    Sad_Brother Apprentice Engineer

    I think you should scale usefulness, not productivity per volume. Balance it by some restrictions. For example need for stability (player not move/no gravity changes/no acceleration), impulse work mode(load and wait for completion), lowed efficiency (less output from the same resource). Can be made to work only deployed on surface(space). Assembler module can be made for hands slot. Allow assembling needed component directly to building block. Slow. Limited component list but able to build static assembler version.
    Game contains enough arcadeness to allow such things.
    Also you forgot ore detector. But Drill has this function now.
  7. Sinbad

    Sinbad Senior Engineer

    @plaYer2k point taken on the assember/refinery idea.
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  8. Grit Breather

    Grit Breather Junior Engineer

    If we're thinking of more modular suits with greater flexibility, maybe we can finally solve the long standing issue where a player can't start with nothing and can't recover from a complete base loss.

    In Minecraft I'd just go punch a tree if I lost everything. In SE I have no options whatsoever. If I lost my power, refinery, or assembler, I'm basically dead.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Sad_Brother

    Sad_Brother Apprentice Engineer

    I once crash starting ship on landing. Refinery was broken. I was able to grind other parts of ship to remake refinery.
  10. Grit Breather

    Grit Breather Junior Engineer

    Yes, examples of people surviving exist but my point still stands, if you lose everything you can not start again.
  11. plaYer2k

    plaYer2k Master Engineer

    The point is though that some functions are limited to large blocks for a reason. Small ships dont have refineries and assembler because they arent intended for the purpose of small block ships.
    Based on that i didnt try to enforce stuffing these functionality into astronauts making the solo astronaut even more powerful than they already are.
    After all it is a game about engineering and thus the limitations and dependencies to selfmade systems (imo).

    Sure i could add some rules like "dont move", "no gravity change" etc to make an utterly overpowered - for its size - refinery/assembler work, but in the end it would imo go down to "have your character idle somewhere to let the stuff process veeeeerrryyy slowly and poorly" over simply accepting that you have to use the proper equiptent and thus the blocks from large grids to achieve these goals.

    I mean, i can fully understand the desire for people to have fully selfsufficient and OP gear like some of these silly thrusters and batteries several mods offer but after all those are mods.
    Thus my original suggestion doesnt contain these functionalities but i ultimately agree that the possibility for modded modules should be present.

    So yeah it should be possible, though i have a very had time justifying their use with balanced stats or their "OPness" when having "useful stats".

    True, kinda. I implied it for the drill modules and dedicated drills (hand module) but i didnt add such a functionality to a possible head module with ore detection, if you meant that. I added it now.

    Gameplaywise i think that is more the field of respawn ships you can pick from so you never start with nothing unless the gamerules dictate that.
    As for astronaut gameplay i really love the "permadeath" or "decaying items" concept behind the approach that items are ultimately lost if you dont take care of them.
    However the suggestion contains the "default suit" that should be configureable per world/server or even as "suit selection" like the "respawn ship" when respawning after death and thus there should be a good starting point for everyone so that they dont have to start from zero if the world/server allows it.
    Once again, configuration and customizability of game worlds is key, luckily.

    So i really like the concept of "you screwed up bad and everything is ruined" so you simply have to start new like in all permadeath games. In order for this not to happen, you have to build a good redundant and secure base/ship.

    Note: I might have to flesh the "default/respawn suit" out a bit.
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