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Long Term Idea: Systems + Jump Corridors

Discussion in 'General' started by Hellothere!, Oct 8, 2015.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. Hellothere! Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    412
    Space Engineers is a great game, but I think that currently it is a bit lacking in organisation. You as the player are simply dumped into the infinite three dimensional expanse made up from empty space, asteroids, a few occasional NPC ships and pirates, and soon planets. This does not really take from the gameplay, but especially in multiplayer it can b a dampener, as two players are very unlikely to meet, unless specifically aiming to do so.
    I did some thinking on how you might fix it and came up with an idea. It's definitely a more of a long term project, but I'd like to hear your thoughts on it.

    Premise:
    Instead of the huge infinite map we have right now we go back to smaller maps with just a few asteroids and 0-3 planets. However, such a map does not represent the entire universe you can explore, but just a single solar system.
    Each such system is connected to other nearby systems through jump corridors. These are zones of bend spacetime between points in two different systems that allow jumpdrives to cover immense distances with comparably little energy consumption. In order to get from system A to system B, you have to get close to A's entry point of the A-B corridor.
    This unlocks a new option for the ship's jumpdrive that takes you out of the map of system A and places you in the map of system B, at the other end of the corridor.
    You might either chose to stay there, or use your conventional engines to fly over to the exit of another jump corridor and continue to a third system.
    As you continue to explore the newly discovered maps form an interlocking net of systems.

    Expansive Ideas
    Things that aren't necessary for the idea to work, but could add depth in later updates

    System Quality
    Due to the randomized generation there will automatically be some valuable systems with interesting planets and resource-rich asteroid belts, while others might be relatively empty with just a few mostly stone- and ice asteroids. This could be expanded upon with other factors.
    For example some systems could be relatively close to a sun-like star, while others might be lit by nothing more than a white dwarf, thus staying rather shadowy and making solar panels an oxygen farms inefficient.
    Instead of being a toggle box in the AI the environmental hazards (asteroid storms) might also be checked on by default in some systems and checked off by default in others.
    Pirate activity might also vary from system to system.

    System Ownership
    In multiplayer a faction can claim ownership of system by building a reasonably large space station and adding a special beacon block on it. After that the system is added to their territory and they can set rules for other players, such as blocking mining and building in the system. Other factions can take the ownership by destroying/ hacking that station.
    Due to the system quality point I mentioned above this can lead to struggles between different factions on a server over who controls the resource richest and least hazardous systems. Due to the way jump corridors work, you also have focal points where you can set up defences and the main battles an take place.

    Workload Splitting /MMO
    One of the huge perks of this idea is that two systems are completely separate from one another except if a ship jumps in-between them. This means that they don't have to be simulated by the same computer and can be split on different servers.
    Imagine two players that have a server each and want to play together. With this concept the game could simply take the so far explored areas of both servers, place them next to each other, create a few jump corridors between the outermost systems and you now have a shared universe.
    Why leave it at two? You could easily connect dozens of servers into a giant server cluster that simulates a giant universe.

    You usually see several people proposing an MMO for Space Engineers on the forum each month, all of them failing at the technical impossibility of accommodating more than 20 players on the same server.
    Using this concept you could easily accommodate hundreds of players by splitting the workload onto different servers. There still could never be more than 20 players in a single solar system, but the number of people to share a universe is only limited by the number of servers you want to set up. If the resources are unevenly split on the different regions, you could even enable trade between factions and players, creating a whole in-game economy.

    Such a thing would of course be very hard to set up and balance, but it's definitely in the realm of technical possibility, and it would propel Space Engineers from being a very good Sandbox game to a something absolutely unique.
     
  2. entspeak Senior Engineer

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    1,744
    You lost me at "go back to smaller maps."
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. grant.ivy Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    185
    For servers, a smaller map is needed, or else you would never run into anyone, have different solar systems, with jump points would solve that issue. The server creator would then create a solar system limit!!!
     
  4. DDP-158 Master Engineer

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    3,748
    It's another version of server connecting with strong flavoring of eve.

    This of course would have to be for vanilla unless you can answer the question of how you handle different universes having different mods.
     
  5. Aracus Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,931
    Old problem with a relatively simple solution. Whenever you have mods active the game generates a checksum based on the mods you have, that checksum is used as a filter when looking for servers. Beyond that, servers will simply have to come to an agreement on a "whitelist" or a modlist.

    I'm personally so-so on this suggestion, it would be cool sure, but I don't think we should enforce mapsize on the servers, some areas, call them asteroid fields, or station areas could certainly be limited in size(voluntarily), but some servers should be able to have infinite or at the very least HUGE mapsizes to allow people to disperse a bit when they want to.
     
  6. Legas Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    51
    Instead of forcefully limiting sectors, I would rather stick with unlimited map, but with "biomes" on it, between these "biomes" there would be great expanses of empty space, best traveled using jump drives.

    Alongside this, each biome could have unique characteristics to it. Such as:

    - different colors for asteroids
    - different composition of ores,
    - different degrees of dangers, some could have meteor showers others not, some could have pirates others not,
    - some could be cold and dark with alot of ice but little light and less power for solar panels
    - some could be hot and bright where solar panels function with 200% efficiency, but you won't find ice anywhere

    And so on to increase immersion and make the player actually feels like each place is different.
    Most games that feature procedural worlds use the "biome" feature to great success, it's already a tried and working system.
     
  7. DDP-158 Master Engineer

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    3,748
    Your list of available servers is going to be really small then due to the nearly infinite variations of mods we can download.
     
  8. Aracus Senior Engineer

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    1,931
    You really only need one good server in the end =/ But if that's a problem, well, there are these wonderful forums that we can use to coordinate networks of servers with similar standardized modsets. Why make a problem out of something that can be solved with communication? Find solutions, don't just stop at problems.
     
  9. tyrsis Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    862
    Give Transcend a try. It already links 4 servers together via gates. There's no variation yet, but there will be soon.
     
  10. Stiletto Apprentice Engineer

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    381
    Hah! EvE inspired ideas. They're so cute!

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Hymirl Trainee Engineer

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    93
    You have to admit all the bigger rocks were interesting looking rocks in the day. The procedural generated ones tend to fall into a pattern of similar styles.
     
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  12. entspeak Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,744
    I have to admit no such thing. I wasn't interested in asteroids for their fashion.
     
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  13. BlackUmbrellas Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    2,818
    This is true; the random asteroids are pretty boring structure-wise.

    I also support the idea of different "solar systems".
     
    • Like Like x 1
Thread Status:
This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.