Welcome to Keen Software House Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the KSH community.
  1. You are currently browsing our forum as a guest. Create your own forum account to access all forum functionality.

redo on cargo ships

Discussion in 'General' started by CatPile, Dec 6, 2017.

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

    Messages:
    2
    all the cargo ships (military, mining, commercial) that are in the game all need an update as they need conveyors, oxygen, air-tightness and other features i cant think of.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. odizzido Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    674
    There is no crew so they only need conveyors I think. Not that I've looked at the design. Maybe they don't even need conveyors.
     
  3. Syncaidius Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    824
    I agree with the OP. They feel archaic when boarding them, yet have interiors, so why not oxygen too?

    But, IMO it would be better if they redid the cargo ship/encounter system entirely.

    If the game was able to modify blueprints/prefabs before spawning them, it could then:
    • Randomize the loot in cargo containers for encounters
    • Randomize/replace/remove existing weapons and turrets
    • Randomize oxygen/hydrogen amounts
    • Randomize power/fuel state
    • Randomize damage
    And with that, you have a pretty nice encounter and wreck system, where you'll see a lot of variation in ships even if they're actually the same blueprint. Unfortunately it all relies on the game being able to modify blueprints and prefabs before they're spawn. I'm unsure if it's now capable of doing it, but either way, it needs to be done.

    As an added bonus, allowing the Mod API to manipulate blueprints/prefabs before they spawn would be nice too. It's pretty easy to imagine what modders can do with that amount of control. Procedurally generated stuff being the biggest gain. :)

    Please make it happen devs (if it isn't already)! @Xocliw @flexx
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Roxette Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,463
    Most of them are a crock of shit, e.g. designed in creative mode with empty reactors that have no conveyor access, old designs with gyros attached to the side of small conveyor tubes that are no longer attachable, so explode when any change is made to the ship, severely asymmetric thrust from the days when dampeners were many times normal thrust, and generally totally impractical. Kill them with fire.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
  5. FlakMagnet Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,551
    Boarding them....I hardly bother. If I go after them it's with a small warp capable craft that has a mass of gatlings to knock out guns, then clamp on to the biggest bit left and warp home. The reactors are usually easy to grind. When I get them back I chop them up for parts.

    Lets face it....they are hardly worth the bother.

    The only challenge they present is trying to dock with a fast moving ship.

    BUT....before they go to the trouble of making the ship models all over again, they need to look at how the things react to players. i.e. THEY SHOULD. They should also have escorts, warp out if they are able, and if you damage them...potentially surrender, or ditch cargo. Something other than fly in a straight line at a steady speed.

    What I think Keen needs, though, is to have an 'approved' category in Steam, and pull cargo ship encounters from there. That way they can use recent ship designs that they feel fit the brief for their encounter ships. Use community efforts, and get a decent pool of ships that can be regularly updated and expanded with minimal effort from the developers. They an check the design integrity, ensure no mods are used, and that the esign is original and in keeping with the game overall look.

    Having recently played with Equinox's Procedural World mod, I think the game needs MORE procedural stuff. He made procedural stations from prefab parts. Why not do the same for cargo ships ?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Syncaidius Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    824
    And that's exactly why they need remaking.

    They've already tried this once with exploration encounters, so I'm not sure that's a good idea. We ended up with crappy creative-built ships with 50+ gyros, 100 batteries, 30 assemblers and so on. Not great for survival when everything is handed to you on a plate. And to top that off, they were so massive that they lagged in MP, so they end up disabled most of the time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. FlakMagnet Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,551
    True....which is why I think there needs to be Keen editorial control over what is allowed in, and it must be balanced and in keeping with the overall theme. Aragath used to build ships with minimal systems that were great to look at but something you could actually build in survival....rather than a 500 mile long mega gunship with wall to wall gatling guns and a million gyros. Surely Keen could control which designs were used and not just blanket select stuff from the workshop. Maybe they can't though . Which makes it...a VERY bad idea.

    In which case....they should just approach the ship builder, and include them directly. Who wouldn't want one of their designs in game?
     
  8. Malware Master Engineer

    Messages:
    9,721
    There was always Keen editorial control. That doesn't help much if they don't deliberate much over what they add...
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. Dax23333 Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    657
    I'm really hoping that they havn't done this for ages because somewhere down the line there is going to be an awesome update where they redo the AI (for want of a better word) ships including the cargo ships, pirates and encounters.

    Currently all 3 feel like entirely different systems (to be fair they are) but it would be a lot better with a bit of fuzz. Say, some cargo ships that are spawned heavily damaged and with no power. Or an encounter ship that is an AI pirate cruiser that fakes power down until you get fairly close to it, at which point it springs to life. Cargo ships actually reacting to being attacked in some way...
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Leadfootslim Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,300
    Encounter ships in general are really difficult to set up as an actual threat, much less an actual chance of happening. The fact that they're so infrequent and that it's so hard to make combat happen is a large part of why Survival feels so weak right now. If you can't lose, how do you know when you're winning?
     
  11. Killtech Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    25
    but what would be the point? considering how the economy is currently set up in survival there is simply nothing these ships can offer that a little mining won't give you faster.

    well, that is unless these ships might start to take interest in other large ships and approach them. that would certainly spice things up and make planets more interesting as they would simply be safer then space where all those encounters spawn.

    robbing hostile civilian ships could be changed to make sense by adding the possibility to steal enemy faction "faction signature codes" that would mask your own ships for some time.
     
  12. FoolishOwl Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    522
    One of the weird things about the "exploration mode" derelicts is that apparently, Keen didn't communicate with the authors of the designs they included. If you look at the Workshop pages for the original designs, you see a lot of the authors only found out when someone told them they found one of the designs in the game, and a few of them complain that Keen used older designs they considered obsolete. The designs chosen are an odd mix in terms of quality, and in several cases, Keen included ships that were designed to work with other ships that aren't included. For instance, the Duchessa was designed to carry a particular set of drones, but those particular drones aren't among the derelicts.

    I'm not sure of the dates involved, but it seems like at some point in 2015, jump drives, programmable blocks, and oxygen were introduced. Ships produced after that point generally feel "modern" to me and usually work as-is or with minor adjustments; ships produced earlier in 2015 feel "obsolete" and are difficult to retrofit. Most of the "cargo ships" and "derelicts" seem to be from before that critical point, with the exceptions of the IMDC Cerberus Destroyer, the Raiding Outpost, Raiding Station, and Argentavis. (I guess the latter three are Aragath designs.)

    Somewhat similarly, the prefab ships that appear in the "Easy Start" scenarios are mostly fairly old designs -- you can see many of them in concept art from very early -- though most of them have been updated a few times. But, they're not as polished as you'd expect, as you can see just looking through the terminal window and seeing the inconsistencies in the naming. A few of the prefabs have design flaws: in particular, last I checked the Dropship and Scuttler have gaps in their conveyor systems.

    As things stand, there seems to be astonishingly little consideration for the experience of new users. The introductory scenario barely shows tool use and says nothing about design and building principles; the prefab ships are bad examples, and the cargo ships and derelicts are worse.

    The really weird thing is, the most obvious thing to do in Space Engineers is design and build space ships. So if there's anything you'd expect Keen to be able to do well, it's designing space ships in Space Engineers. So the fact that most of the ship designs included in the game are several years old and obsolete is surprising.

    At a minimum, what I'd like to see, with prefabs and "cargo ships", are a few simple but good designs, with some consistency in style. These would serve as models for novice SE users, and be useful for survival mode gameplay, but would not be so elaborate that novice SE users would feel intimidated by them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
    • Agree Agree x 3
  13. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

    Messages:
    4,890
    I've touched on this in other posts. I've explored creating my own cargo ships, drones, and encounter ships. Here's what I know... though it may be outdated.

    Cargo ships can have randomized cargo controlled via XML in the spawn engine. You have to define the cargo block name and then what pieces of cargo will be randomized within it.
    However, drones and encounter ships cannot have randomized cargo.

    Alternate prefabs can be generated and set to the same weighting as the source ship. With that you wouldn't have randomized damage but a palette of ships that can serve the purpose.
    However, with cargo ships, you can't fully turn OFF the vanilla default ships. You can weigh them so that they have a very low probability of showing up. But there's still the chance they could pop up.

    Ships that are spawned in can be very finicky if they have sub-grids, it's always a good idea to place the BODY of the ship first in the .sbc code and then the sub-grids. Sometimes the game writes the sub-grids in the .sbc first... this can lead to ships blowing up on spawn.

    As far as the entire system of spawning ships (respawn ships, drones, cargo ships, encounter ships) the entire system needs to be reworked so that they all follow the same structure. Elements in the prefab .sbc like the LOCATION of the ship should be moved to the spawn group .sbc file. The system for spawning respawn ships is just... horrible and poorly documented. There are constants that are still examined and used even when features are turned off (like ship location).

    In fact, even the procedural asteroid system should be REBUILT.

    The spawn system isn't as sexy as physics. But they are an integral part of GAME play. Game play has taken a major backseat to everything else. But if this is to be a GAME rather than a space simulation, this stuff NEEDS to be reworked.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Informative Informative x 1
  14. Malware Master Engineer

    Messages:
    9,721
    @FoolishOwl it's very simple. Time. It takes time to build the ships, especially "good" ships, so it's tasks that must be prioritized like everything else. I don't expect to see changes before much closer to release, when all blocks have been added. We do know they're planning to add a few more at least.


    As for "winning"... This is a sandbox. There's nothing to "win" but what you set for yourself. I honestly doubt that will change at this point... Although I hope I'm wrong.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Arcturus Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,649
    FYI for new players:

    "Cargo Ships" menu option: Powered, usually hostile ships that spawn nearby, move in a straight line at a medium speed, and despawn after a time (unless you capture it). They are among the oldest KSH created ships, and were fun to raid in the pre-planets days. Also includes the Argentavis, which will move to attack you instead of doing the above.

    "Random Encounters" menu option: A mix of older encounter ships from the community workshop, of varying quality, usually unpowered and stationary. Also includes powered hostile Space Pirate outposts and stations.

    "Drones" menu option: Allows enemy antennas on the above ships/stations to spawn attack drones, depending on the antenna name/range/status. The drones will usually move to attack the nearest player (i.e. you).


    also
    "Unknown Signals" menu option: aka container drops or loot crates, spawns nearby players. Has a button to possibly get a skin. Despite all of the above having (different) working despawn systems, the programmers decided to be jerks and turn on automatic trash collection to get rid of these. The trash collection will also steal/delete your stuff on occasion due to aggressive settings, such as lone unpowered cargo containers that you keep valuables in or small ships that you turn off to save battery life. Blame @rexxar for the trash settings which were admitted to be selected for MP where it might make sense (but not SP IMO):
    EDIT: how to disable the automatic {MEDIA} forum thing?:
    Code:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/spaceengineers/comments/72rg6d/recommended_trash_removal_settings/
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  16. FoolishOwl Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    522
    It's always possible they're secretly working on a massive content update that will remedy or obviate this problem. They've surprised us several times before.

    Meanwhile, assuming they're not doing that already, it looks like there are a few relatively straightforward approaches Keen could take: update the existing prefab designs; or, as @Ronin1973 suggested, rationalize the spawn system, so it's easier for modders to work with; or, ideally, do both.
     
  17. Chaosrex Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    188
    Someone pointed out that they would hardly poses a threat or achieve anything.

    The Modular Encounters Collection mod is a good exemple of why its a neccesity and that it can work.

    Not convinced? look at the Weekly Coop Streams of Captain Shack from XPgamers and W4stedspace( both run a series with people) and the Drones and ships controlled by the AI from the MEC, as given them a run for their money and in the case of XPgamers even ended in them been chased a few times from where they were settling because the drones were actually dangerous and vicious.

    Its all a matter of how its coded and set up.

    So yes, the problem comes when, players that plays for a long time, ends up with ships so large and so well armed that even the IA "big" ships like the Argentavis and the Military transporter doesn't really pose much of a probleme.

    And you can't have the IA have too large ships because when you're not at a point whne you have a large ship, its gonna be problematic.

    The work around i can think off, is to have the Ai "scan" the player grids, if the player biggest grid is under a certain amount of blocks, then it will send drones and small scale ships or moderate sized ships to have some real threat once in a while.

    If the grid's size is over a certain amount ( this could be divised into Tiers), then the AI either send in more ships, like squadrons or LArger ships, and the top tier would be a small fleet with one Large 2 moderates and a few small drones/fighters, (think RDz's fleet controle style).

    For now and all the poeple i know off agrees, SE is a nice building game, but beyond that there is hardly anything else, outside mods and PVP.
     
  18. Malware Master Engineer

    Messages:
    9,721
    That's because... unfortunately... that's what it's supposed to be. A building game, a sandbox. Digital lego. No need for what you build outside the needs you create for yourself. I wish this wasn't true, but it is. While I do expect some improvement to the exploration, some finalization as the game nears completion (no point in redoing them until all mechanics are done so they know what they have to work with) I'm not expecting too much. If Aragath is behind them though, which is extremely likely, I'm expecting some very good builds. But even he's limited by many things beyond his control. They can't be too hard, or beginners will have trouble. They can't provide too much resources, or you reach that infamous post-scarcity state too fast.

    Unless they find some way to "measure" your progress and spawn encounters based on that (this would be rather cool), that puts rather big restraints on what they can provide.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. Arcturus Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,649
    Like leaving KSH back in June? Wasn't there a farewell stream and everything?
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  20. Malware Master Engineer

    Messages:
    9,721
    He just left the office. He didn't leave Keen. They repeated that multiple times in that stream :)
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  21. FlakMagnet Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,551
    The problem also comes when you know how to deal with the ships too well. The Argentavis is a case in point. When they first got release, they were nasty. A little bit scary, and hard to handle. Then you work out the pieces that spawn drones....and shoot them off.

    Then you get to know exactly where in the centre of the ship the reactor is placed, and can snipe clean through the thin armour and kill the power. Then you tow the wreck home, and strip it for parts and the huge haul of ammo. When you know it well enough, you can kill one without it firing a shot. Variety is the key here.....as any 'threat' is a threat only until you work out how to beat it....or just ignore it and head the other way.

    Things like the Enhanced Exploration Mod and some of the other pirate booster mods ensure you can't do that by summoning more help to keep you busy, which helps make things interesting.
     
  22. FoolishOwl Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    522
    Hmm. I'd forgotten the "mysterious signal" pods. If I recall correctly, the pods were designed by Aragath. They're a nice bit of work: they work either in space or on planets, they're simple but varied, and chase-the-pod is a decent mini-game.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  23. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

    Messages:
    4,890
    In the Sandbox files, there is information about every single engineer who has logged on to the server. A lot of data is kept on that player. Adding one or two more strings to that information would be easily possible. The game can also keep track of how many blocks a player owns.

    From this example, we could derive some enemy spawn weighting. There are other criteria that could be used. But I give this example as a way Keen could scale encounters and cargo ships based on the player.

    If this weighting was accessible via the game's CFG files, even better. It's not that it's impossible to add in weighting to the game... it's just that no one at Keen is thinking of GAMEPLAY at this point.
     
  24. FoolishOwl Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    522
    It's really hard to tell what they're thinking about.
     
  25. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

    Messages:
    4,890
    Well right now it all seems to be about game performance (optimizations, physics, etc.). But after all of that work is finished (or just stops) people will be left PLAYING a game. Personally, I spend more time designing ships than playing. Why? The game gets pretty boring after about an hour. There are no incremental challenges. There's nothing in the game that makes you wake up and use your wits.
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  26. FoolishOwl Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    522
    I just don't think of it as a game. What game elements there are, are "minimum viable product". Mostly I think of "survival" mode as somewhere to try out what I've designed in creative.

    Honestly, I doubt Keen has any intention of changing that. Gameplay has to be central to development from the beginning. And it clearly hasn't been.

    Marek Rosa said, before they released the planets expansion, that he thought Space Engineers was substantially finished. For all the complaints coming from some quarters about the planets expansion, I don't think they'd still be developing SE at all if it wasn't for that. They'd have announced a final release sometime in 2015, and would just be doing maintenance.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
  27. Malware Master Engineer

    Messages:
    9,721
    Thats not entirely true. You can't make any gameplay without the base / heavy features in place, and most gameplay - only features are relatively small things put on top. That is, at least what one could reasonably expect to see in SE.

    It does not do to make assumptions about these things.

    I am expecting to see some improvement in the survival update, but I'm not expecting anything truly world changing.

    As for "survival mode" it's only called that because the community insisted on it. It was originally going to be called "manual mode".
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  28. Arcturus Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,649
    I recently managed to regain some fun from the game by starting a new "star system" map without the lander, and only relying on the parachute containers for initial building supplies. I read somewhere (Reddit?) someone else doing this "challenge", so I thought I would give it a try. I have power but no production equipment yet.
     
  29. FoolishOwl Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    522
    I probably should have said "gameplay elements", because there were some gameplay elements present, apparently, from the start. But I'm going by what I've seen in the development of games I've seen: the core gameplay is usually there from the early stages. By "early stages", I mean, before the earliest alpha releases, and usually in the concept art. It's not that SE can't be extended in various ways, but I keep seeing people talk as if what's going on is that Keen's just got to nail down a few bugs with the game engine, and then they can start on the real work of building the hybrid CRPG/4X game that they've secretly been planning all along.

    There's always the possibility of some small surprises, but I'm guessing when they announce SE is complete, it'll look pretty much like it does now.
     
  30. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

    Messages:
    4,890
    Yep. Any changes would have to be shoe-horned in. But there are smaller changes that can be made that would lead up to giving scenario/MP map makers having hooks to create interesting gameplay. Take for instance procedural asteroid distribution and ore content. Being able to discriminate where asteroids will procedurally appear and the ore content in those areas doesn't change anything in the core game. However, as far as GAMEPLAY, you can create several different conditions that will affect how players conduct themselves on the server/in the scenario.

    There are methods that only NPCs can obtain that players can't via the programmable block... such as the location of the nearest player. There are several strings regarding each player in the game that are saved within that scenario/MP server: time on the server, number and types of blocks owned, etc. There's no reason why NPCs couldn't be whitelisted to access more player information: GetNearestPlayer is whitelisted. What if we could get the nearest player's ID and with that get how long the player has played for on the server and how many blocks owned? With that, the NPC can be programmed via the programmable block to change its behavior when near different players. If you have this information, for example, you could set up a dynamic pirate antenna. For very low level players, the antenna would be off. For higher level players, the name of the antenna could be changed to summon different sets of pirate drones... all via the programmable block controlled by the NPC.

    These are all well within the Keen's abilities without making huge changes to the game; basically whitelisting the GET portion of a few variables for the NPC factions and making procedural asteroid spawning exist as multiple objects rather than just one big monolithic area.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
Thread Status:
This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.