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Let's talk Gravity Drives....

Discussion in 'Balancing' started by Rdav, Jan 23, 2018.

Thread Status:
This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. Rdav Apprentice Engineer

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    117
    Okay, so I'll start this off by saying I know there are other threads with a similar title around but for for starters I would not like to Necro a dead one, also this is a different approach to the issue.

    At this point it is a known fact that 'Gravity Drives' are here to stay in the game, primarily because of a ridiculous amount of player backlash and bad PR that would result in removing them at this point.

    However after seeing yet another server die at the hands of people using ridiculously overpowered behemoths, accelerating ships at 100m/s-2 with a 50m^3 volume of artificial mass blocks, causing framerate, simspeed and general fun drops it raises the importance of this issue.
    (to put it in perspective, sim-drop went from 1.0- 0.5 after this ship was turned on, on a server with 5-8 regular players all with decent sized bases and ships)

    So the issue is not 'whether they should go or stay' but rather an issue of dealing with balancing them, seeing as they are now a gameplay 'feature', and also dealing with a way of dealing with the lag they induce.


    For this I suggest three potential methods:

    1- Power balancing

    It's shown a proportional power balancing of components helps over-use of overpowered features, such an example could be increase power usage of gravity generators cubically with the amount of generators, the diminishing returns would ultimately make players less susceptible to abusing the feature, and thus increase balance while still providing the capability for those that wish to use it.​

    2- Hardcoded limits

    Possibly the most performance friendly implementation, simply limits the amount of blocks that a ship actually calculates for, i.e only the first five 5 per-ship, this ultimately means putting more will not add any more power, while also not increasing lag as calculations will not be run on the n+1th gravity generator.
    This could be explained in game 'lore' by the 'science' that allows gravity generation, to be unstable if there are a certain amount of generators run off the same power supply due to phase misalignment etc.​

    3- Effectiveness Limiting,

    This makes the gravity blocks less powerful the more you have on a ship by clamping the gravity values of gravity and mass, again by using diminishing returns, again this could be governed by a squared or quadratic relationship, so if I had 1 generator I could get 1g, if I had 10 I could get 7g, if I had 20 I could get 12g etc.
    These are just some suggestions, feel free to add more, so what are peoples thoughts on balancing this mechanic?
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  2. Bumber Senior Engineer

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    1,018
    I think the real reason it hasn't been fixed is the amount of work and low priority. Backlash didn't stop them from nerfing dampeners.

    Of course people will just switch to merge block clang drives if they do fix it.
     
  3. odizzido Junior Engineer

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    670
    I think it would be super cool if gravity generators experienced equal force in the opposite direction. Then they can fix clang drives. Then add an option for realistic thruster forces and gyroscopes.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. Malware Master Engineer

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    9,601
    Are you talking about the linearizing of dampers? Because that was a highly requested change by the community... There wasn't all that much backlash on that. Some, obviously, because you can't please everyone, but it kept getting requested again and again so they did it... It didn't make it worse the fact that it was necessary so you couldn't "cheat" your way off a planet by riding the superdampers out into space...

    I seem to remember polls made about this, where linearity won out...
     
  5. Bumber Senior Engineer

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    1,018
    @Malware
    IDK what you mean by "linearizing", but if that refers to preventing the output from going above 100%, then yes.

    I'm curious as to how many people are actually in favor of keeping gravity drives versus not.
     
  6. Malware Master Engineer

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    9,601
    ... You don't know what I mean because I was being an idiot. Symmetric. Symmetric is the word, not linear... :p
     
  7. odizzido Junior Engineer

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    670
    @Bumber I would be in favour of keeping them if thrusters stay the way they currently are. If thrusters end up having torque(I think that's the word?) then I would want to get rid of the gravity drive.

    edit------
    Just to clarify, what I want most is to have some thought as to where I place my engines. Gravity drive is my least favourite way of doing this but it's currently the only option so it wins by default.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. ViroMan Senior Engineer

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    1,123
    I wouldn't mind gravity drives if there was a commensurate drawback like not giving instant results and not costing next to nothing in power. If the directional thrust ramped up instead of being instantly applied, this could be useful.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Bumber Senior Engineer

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    1,018
    What does thruster torque have to do with gravity drives? Isn't it more of a replacement for gyroscopes?
     
  10. CaD Apprentice Engineer

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    113
    I think a couple thousand gyros on a capital ship causes more lag than the gravity drive driving it.
    Anyway there are ways around all your ideas so its pointless realy its just an evil you have to live with. Just make them an ilegal method of propulsion on whatever servers. If you are found using one then KICK and BAN just like cheating in any other game on many servers.
    The Threat of being banned will stop 99% of people using them which is what you want eh!
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
  11. ViroMan Senior Engineer

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    1,123
    If the threat of being banned would stop aim/movement hackers in other games why are they still a HUGE problem? That 1% is like the so called "minorities" in America.
     
  12. Rdav Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    117
    My ideas are relatively half baked, and more concepts rather than fully fledged ideas, so I can see them being worked to not be cheatable, Although I feel you've missed the point, a matter of balancing (hence this thread is in the balancing discussion) gravity drives in their current state are overly powerful leading to abuse of them, hence we need a way of balancing them, not merely avoiding or banning them.

    Reading your gyro comment, that's simply not true, gyros are basically counted and then applied as a torque value for the whole ship, gravity drives have to have individual calculations for each one, which given the way the engine calculates it is poorly optimised and very recourse intensive,
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. noobymcnoobcake Apprentice Engineer

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    128
    Gravity drive cannot be balanced in any meaningful way.

    • They scale with volume, all other thrusters scale with surface area.
    • They scale expodentially, all other thrusters scale linerarly
    • They cost multiple orders of magnitude less components than standard ion thrusters for large ships
    • They do not need to be exposed and are very easy to armour

    All these features together break the PVP game with them enabled.

    Add a equal and opposite reaction force to the gravity generator blocks.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  14. Kira Apprentice Engineer

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    172
    Why nerf them? If you dont like them dont use them.
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  15. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

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    3,073
    First, I'm going to link the Grav-Walk mod so that you will know what I'm referring to.

    So, problem was people wanted to walk around on ships and stations in space. It doesn't work that way in reality. You can't or couldn't walk around on any spacecraft built to date. I should also note that as far as I know no astronaut that ever actually went to space ever expressed a desire to walk around inside the spacecraft. None. Why would you when you can float? Seriously.

    But, every play, movie, TV show written until recently has had Artificial Gravity. Why? because actors have to work in gravity and it is very complicated and expensive to simulate zero gravity. So, TO SAVE MONEY AND FOR NO OTHER REASON, film and television producers get around that expense by invoking Artificial Gravity. Therefore, every form of fiction that involves real actors that you have seen has some sort of machine making fake gravity, and people are walking around in spacecraft. So now we all think that's how it's supposed to be. I'll just state right here that it will probably never happen because the more time we actually spend in space, the less likely anyone going there will see gravity as a feature.

    Anyways, back to SE where the walking around thing was going to be solved by magnetic boots, which are actually much more likely to be a thing by 2077. Unfortunately there are some problems with mag boots in SE, mostly that you walk on everything and character is always perpendicular to whatever feet are attached to. This can be annoying sometimes, and Keen staff probably thought players would find it unacceptable. Plan B was Artificial Gravity, generated by a machine, that somehow only affected characters and nothing else. We don't know how it works or why it needs so little power to create as much gravity as the Earth itself. We can walk around in our ships now, and that's all that matters. At the time, we also needed our stuff to stay on the ground in space as well, so Keen gave us the Artificial Mass block, cause Artificial Gravity ignores your real mass. An Artificial Mass block will "fall" inside an Artificial Gravity field. If there is a block or grid attached to the Artificial Mass, the block/grid will "fall" with the Artificial Mass. If a grid is attached to an Artificial Mass, and the Gravity Generator is attached to that same grid, the Artificial Mass will "fall" and take the grid, including the Generator itself, with it. This is called a Troll Drive because it shouldn't work at all to begin with and it gives you something for nothing. However, Keen is scared that if they remove Artificial Gravity no one will buy the game and everyone that already has it will stop playing. It's that simple. @Rdav is correct in that we're stuck with it because Keen does not have the backbone to remove it. But, can they be "balanced?" I don't think so in a game like SE where if something is nerfed the simple answer is more. Make them half as strong and I'll just use two. Make them 1/10 as strong and I'll just use ten. I don't think you can make it "expensive" enough to deter it. So, is there anything that can be done?

    First, lose the Artificial Mass block. Unless I'm missing something, that should put an end to Troll Drives.

    Second, stop calling it a Gravity Generator, especially in a game that attempts to mimic reality. By 2077 we will know a lot more about gravity and still be nowhere near able to create it, much less run it with a power source that isn't also the size of a planet.

    Third, change the block model to resemble a floor plate, much like the aforementioned Grav-Walk

    Fourth, keep the Artificial Gravity dynamic (the code that makes it all work) but call it an Electostatic Field. Not to be confused with an electroMAGNETIC field, an electroSTATIC field is what is generated when you rub a balloon on your wool sweater and now it sticks to you. Or the wall. It does that to fabric, wood, glass, concrete... just about any material, ferrous or non-ferrous, including YOU. Electrostatic fields are not some mysterious phenomenon that we might figure out some day. Machines that can create and control electrostatic fields are CURRENT TECHNOLOGY already in use. This is not hocus-pocus handwavery that needs to hide behind techno-babble. Any high school science teacher should be able to explain it to you.

    Fifth, restrict the field of influence to maybe a meter or two beyond the length/width of the plate, and the height should not exceed character height. It's only going to effect characters anyway. the current 150 meter cubed field is just excessive. Place the plates where you "need" to walk or stand and you can move about as you would expect to, and if you move out of the field the mag boots automatically take over as they do now.

    Troll Drive gone. "Balance" restored. Game credibility enhanced.



    Now, about that "Jump Drive"...
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Elfi Wolfe Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    498
    My fix was to make the gravDrive large, bulky, user has to hand balance the ship/drive core, and dangerous.

    Rotational GravDrive with fields. if there is any debris in the engine room and the drive is under power, it will break stuff.

    but it does not stop people from making the normal gravDrives.


    [​IMG]

     
  17. Forcedminer Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    2,225

    well...imagine a multiplayer server for example.

    a planet sized death star ship warps next to you...and uses a gravity drive to boost up to max speed and smash into you before your thrusters can even react.
     
  18. Burstar Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    459
    I don't mess with grav drives as I personally just don't like how they work. That said in a mp setting, you could 'fix' grav drives via:

    - Per user/faction/ grid/subgrid block limits on grav gens, artificial mass and spaceballs - ie: max 1 per grid or whatever makes sense (already enforceable on servers)
    - Increasing the power consumption of artificial mass blocks etc to at least match (but preferably much greater than) what the acceleration:mass would physically require.
    - cap the max stack-able acceleration of gravity fields to a reasonable value (1-2g?)
    - Have some sort of vulnerability inherent to the gens or mass blocks: ie any damage can cause detonation or some sort of overload/gravity anomaly.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
  19. Sinbad Senior Engineer

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    2,788
    grid collapses into a singularity then explodes...
    that could be fun.
     
  20. Calaban Junior Engineer

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    907
    Or a grid moves beyond reasonable acceleration= engineer jelly all over the walls. Even if strapped into a flight seat- Engineer jelly with seatbelt masking marks on the walls.

    Just as we have to endure Deceleration Trauma (commonly known as impact), we should also endure Acceleration Trauma from irresponsible ship designs. Because- you know.. all forces equivalent.
     
  21. Burstar Apprentice Engineer

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    459
    So we have an idea of what 'reasonable' acceleration is: current g-suits allow survival of >9-10 g acceleration, and I think withstanding 6g unassisted for like 15seconds is basic fighter pilot admission requirement. You're talking 100m/s within 1-2 seconds based on IRL.

    Although blacking/redding out would be a nice improvement in realism...
     
  22. Forcedminer Senior Engineer

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    2,225
    players would weaponize that so fast. :woot:
    PMW singularity torpedo
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  23. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

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    3,073
    Exactly. Any attempt to "balance" the GG just introduces a new "feature". Especially if you try to discourage use by making it more dangerous.

    A GG cannot move anything without Artificial Mass. Remove that and Troll Drive goes with it (heh). What we're really talking about here is the insane mobility the Troll Drive provides for an insignificant amount of power. Without the Artificial Mass the Gravity Generator is just a device that lets you walk around on your ship.

    I'm not familiar with the inner workings of servers, but if the admin could ban the AM then the gravity drive becomes impossible, thus no balancing needed.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  24. Burstar Apprentice Engineer

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    459
    To clarify, when I said anomaly I meant something like the gens field inverts, and/or becomes spherical and/or it's strength starts increasing/decreasing at random. Not making black holes :p

    I would say "some", not "any" as already mentioned there are ways to balance GG's without adding anything new.
     
  25. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

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    3,073
    And I would say that removing the artificial mass makes it unnecessary to modify the gravity generator. The thread is about gravity drive. Remove the artificial mass and you can't make one. Can't get more "balanced" than that.

    Unless you actually want the gravity drive to remain in the standard game, which I believe it should not.

    Modded game, fine. Standard game, no.
     
  26. Elfi Wolfe Apprentice Engineer

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    498
    There is one good thing about gravDrives. Lowest energy cost per Newton of thrust. almost needed for mid sized solar powered satellites orbiting planets.
     
  27. Burstar Apprentice Engineer

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    459
    Balance: a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.

    Removing altogether is not balancing, it's removing.
     
  28. TenshouYoku Apprentice Engineer

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    100
    Actually, just simply add something like an "if" clause check, such as an artificial mass block is unaffected by a gravity generator that is on the same grid and/or any connected subgrids, or a gravity generator cannot apply a force on an artificial mass block/space ball that is connected to the same grid and/or any connected subgrids. This will solve all this gravity drive problem without killing other things else such as a grav gen railgun.
    Sure, if somebody wanted to go that far they can make a pull/push dipole which involves two ships with one being pushed around by the ship behind it, and the said ship is pulled by the ship in front of it (like a donkey trying to chase the carrot in front of it, only there isn't a stick but magnets between them), but that complicates things for a large margin as a result of requiring some planning in the push/pull setup, and involves much more uncertainties such as one of the dipoles got wrecked by something.
    They also could go for the trick used before space balls were a thing, aka have a piece of rock being used to push the whole damn thing around, but the space required to accommodate such a giant object would be incredibly inefficient, people might just as well exploit thruster damage range and chain-mounting thrusters. The grav drive will also just smash the ship into pieces or explode violently if the gravity used is too strong or the mass is too big and destructive.
    This has been done by modders and worked perfectly, and I fail to understand why Keen just doesn't make it an official part of the game or just write something similar as even as a person with horrible programming skills, this shouldn't be extremely difficult as all it does is simply add an if clause checks.
    Without grav drives people will resort to something like a clang drive, but just like what it says on the tin users have to risk clang, isn't as reliable and as easy to set up and cannot be projector printed in a survival game.

    Removing the A-mass is a poor idea, at least not necessary. It can allow things such as a gravity accelerated tubes for small ships from launch and the aforementioned railgun, with the former being very limited in uses and the latter being unstable and inaccurate, even if it is devastatingly powerful if it does work.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  29. Forcedminer Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    2,225

    problem is that would then remove the ability to make more innocent harmless machines. impacting creativity in a game about building.

    one time instead of flooding an entire facility with artificial gravity I just gave the rovers artificial gravity and artificial mass so they could move about the areas without gravity.

    the plan was to make remote controllable repair rovers that could manufacture steel plating and other basic parts without me need to exit the station. the gravity drive enabled it to stick to the surface of the station without depending on thrust.
    depended on a bunch of mods adding smaller and small ship blocks to keep it as compact as possiable.
    like smaller wielders, grinder, .compact battery,gravity gens and tiny assembler. in true robot style i give it a warhead so it could self destruct.
     
  30. Malware Master Engineer

    Messages:
    9,601
    @Forcedminer That's the point though. It doesn't matter how "innocent" or "harmless" it is, or how much it "impacts creativity". It's still a utilization of an exploit. To be honest the "impacts creativity" argument is meaningless, because it can be used to allow for anything. All game balance rules "impacts creativity".

    On purpose.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
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