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Shield Mechanics for Space Engineers

Discussion in 'General' started by SirConnery, Mar 17, 2020.

  1. SirConnery Apprentice Engineer

    All your shield related discussion here.
    • Late Late x 1
  2. ShadedMJ Apprentice Engineer

    Single player : I'm generally against the shield idea because of pirates. It annoys me a little that pirate ships already don't use energy or ammunition or fuel and spawn drones without using resources.
  3. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

    Same here, and I agree. I'd like to add that I'm also annoyed that the pirates don't have wenches. I'm just sayin'...
  4. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    To hell with the pirates. I don't have any wenches! They get wenches after I get wenches.

    Rather than copy and paste all my arguments against shields in Space Engineers, I'll just say that the game was deliberately set in the year 2077, and that means there should be no technology in the game that is currently beyond our understanding. The simple rubric should be that if you can't explain it or it requires technology that is currently theoretical at best, it just doesn't belong in the standard game.

    Shields as a mod are just fine. A modded game is not a standard game, and thus the rules do not apply. If we are talking about a pure vanilla game as delivered by Keen, shields do not belong in it. For the record, neither to gravity generators and jump drives. Any argument that says shields can be in the game because gravity generators and jump drives are in it is an unfair argument. Using it means you can't defend shields otherwise.

    The reason shields are so appealing is because they upset the balance of the vanilla game. People that want shields in the vanilla game are only thinking of what that would do for them without consideration for what it does for everyone else.

    I'm guessing this thread is yet another attempt to figure out how to have shields in the game without pissing anyone off. What will happen now is that there will be an argument over how effective vanilla shields should be. Given the strength of vanilla weapons, a vanilla shield that isn't OP wouldn't be very effective at all, and a vanilla shield that is OP won't be tolerated. Given how weak a shield would then have to be and guessing that they wouldn't be cheap or easy to build, what you get is something that will be popular for a few weeks until everyone learns how pointless they are, and then no one will use them, preferring to use the better modded ones instead, which they should have done in the first place.

    Sort of like safe zones.

    When I play, the goal is not to have stuff that looks cool. The goal is to have a plausible 2077 experience. Shields are only plausible in a 2177+ experience, if at all.

    What I'd like to find out during this discussion is why do so many people feel that this game needs energy shields? Why do so many people believe there will ever be energy shields? Given that there are so many proven technologies that are just as effective and require much less effort to build, deploy and maintain, why do so many people think that we would bother with energy shields in 2077 even if we had them?

    After all these years the only compelling argument for shields is that they look cool. That's not enough, in my opinion, to have to re-balance the entire game for one feature.
  5. KissSh0t Master Engineer

  6. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

    Shields are so yesterday.
  7. ShadedMJ Apprentice Engineer

    Going a little off-topic : Years ago I was playing my solo game and this little ship spawned and moves really fast and this ship showed up all the time. I blueprinted it to see how it worked. It had an o2/h2 generator and hydrogen thrusters but the thrusters could NOT have gotten hydrogen from the generators (two generators with the only ports facing each other). The game just gave the thrusters infinite fuel. No player could make a ship like that work....
  8. captainbladej52 Apprentice Engineer

    I'm not going to repeat everything I've said before either, though I will rehash a few very quickly.

    -First and most well known is the fun factor and being able to recreate certain battles for no other reason than it's fun. Some folks will accept this argument, some won't. It's a matter of personal opinion.

    -Two: Shields are one of the immediate answers to people claiming they want more durable items. They grant extra survival at the cost of extra power. Another plus if weight is a concern is that they don't add any extra weight to the ship.
    -Three: If a person cannot afford a ton of armor just yet but has an adequate power supply, the shields can function as a stop gap measure to get some protection for the object until additional resources for armor are available.
    -Four: Once a person has sufficient armoring, the shields can function as a supplement to the armor and grant an additional defensive tool that was otherwise unavailable.
    -Five: We already possess the ability to create a deflector shield with today's technology and primitive shields can be done with extrapolated 21st century tech. Whether it be the plasma containment method I mentioned in the Combat DLC thread, or the more active use method mentioned by the other guy. Especially with the smaller and more powerful reactors that are being created and have been created. Especially now that portable reactors are in development.
    -Six: they bring with them their own sets of engineering challenges and allow for different types of builds to be utilized.

    If the goal is 100% realism, that ship has long since sailed, and not purely because of the gravity generators or jump drives, but because of power systems in SE along with other issues. The reactors in game under-perform quite a bit compared to the ones we have today. The small grid small reactors are probably the worst offender as they're a 0.5meter or roughly 19 inch cube that can put out enough power to run a modern day house. Technology could surprise us and have reactors that small by then but going off what it takes to create a nuclear reaction, sustain it, and keep it from blowing up in our faces, I have a hard time believing we will have them that tiny with that kind of output. I could see a 3 foot cube but not hardly 19 inches unless something crazy happens between now and then. Things that we considered sci-fi 50 years ago are now reality today. In about 80 years we've gone from computers taking up rooms that are 1800 square feet to being a child's play thing in the form of old cell phones. If folks don't like the idea of shields they would always have the option to turn them off just like any other major feature like that.
  9. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    So, once you have re-created your favorite non-SE battle, is the fun over? Is SE destined to be the Game You Use to Play Out Other Games or Movies? My fear is that Space Engineers gets buried under every other game or gets used like Garry's Mod or something. Am I the only person that plays Space Engineers?

    So, in a survival game, the minute you have a battery or a reactor you can have shields? Will one battery be enough? If not, wouldn't adding a battery add weight? Or is a reactor required for this vanilla shield? Those things are heavy, not to mention they will need uranium. We all know the shield itself weighs nothing. We also know that a penalty will be required for having one. One penalty is usually the power requirement which, usually, is high. The other penalty is usually the weight added by meeting the power requirements. When we get around to discussing shield mechanics, these are two things that will be argued about. Always is.

    This one has me a bit confused. Armor is what constitutes the majority of what most people would call a ship. If you cannot afford armor, what can you afford? If you can afford armor and little else, is finding, mining and refining the doubtless more scarce resources (more scarce than stone, that's for sure) that will be necessary to build a shield generator a good use of time?

    A side note to this is that I observed that when the Safe Zone shield first appeared it seemed that at least for bases the Safe Zone Generator had top priority and a lot of long survival games got longer.

    Can't argue with that. If you have sufficient armor, shields would be an additional defensive tool. That suggests that if you have shields, your armor is, at best, sufficient. I'll have to admit that as a merchant that almost sounds good, as long as the shields work. I'd like to point out, though, that when I shoot a hole in your armor, there's a hole in your armor but the ship is otherwise still protected. When I bring down your shield, your entire ship is now vulnerable. Additional defense? Certainly. Adequate additional defense? Questionable. Also, consider that "sufficient" is subjective, and I'm willing to bet real money that most players, given a vanilla shield, would build ships with what would be considered "insufficient" armor, because they have shields.

    I believe in this thread we are foregoing that there will not be shields of any kind in 2077 and just accepting that they would be in the game. The title of the thread suggests the discussion should be shield mechanics, although the OP does say "all" shield related discussion. Personally, I'm not going to participate in any discussion about if they will exist. I think the more robust and revealing discussion would be about the effort involved in making them vanilla in SE.

    Every single block in the game does that. The only boundary there is your own imagination and creativity. The problem with shields is the balance challenges we don't need, in my opinion. Adding a conveyor hinge to the vanilla game would bring its own set of engineering challenges (and opportunities ;)), but they would not require any balancing. Harder armor would be more disruptive than a conveyor hinge addition, but less so than shields.

    The goal is not 100% realism. In fact, there is no goal at all. The question I ask is that why is it that any game that takes place in space must have shields? In the case of Space Engineers, where the developers have specifically chosen a time period where shields would be unlikely, why make the developer put them in the game? Is it simply impossible to have a space game that doesn't have shields standard? Is having them as mods not enough? Is it fair to have the developer put them in the game because people are apprehensive about downloading a mod, given that most of the reasons to avoid mods have been addressed?

    I don't think shields themselves need to be defended. They do look cool. As a spectator I do, indeed, enjoy them. But playing is different. I have over 9600 hours playing. Yes, a lot of that was building, but I also test what I build in order to find out if I'm wasting my time. I'm not adverse to mods. I have hundreds and I don't even play without a minimum of 200. I have only one problem with having a shield mod, and that's why?

    Plausibility has a lot to do with how I play, but it's not the deciding factor when it comes to having mods in my game. I've always said vanilla is Keen's game, and a mod makes Keen's game my game. My problem with Keen's game is that it's not plausible enough. I use mods to make my game more plausible. The reason shields are not in my game is not because I don't think they will exist in 2077. It's because any shield that would be acceptable to players would also be worthless, and therefore not worth the headache of trying to make them work in the vanilla game. I'm waiting to be convinced otherwise by this thread. In the meantime, other than putting on a light show, shields in SE don't really change anything as far as how long your ship lasts, and they promote implausible combat. You can't say that about gatling guns or missile turrets. Their unrealistic short ranges make people fight at point-blank range and that doesn't leave a lot of room for creative strategies and tactics, but the combat itself is plausible given the circumstances. The only thing shields do in that case is make it worse. You add WeaponCore ranges and keep the shields and you get the same combat. Remove the shields, keep the long ranges, and combat gets different. More plausible. Requires more thinking. Perhaps even, *gasp*, (dare I say it) planning?

    I dunno. Maybe the goal is to make combat prettier?

    And cmon, fun factor? Download the mod and have fun. Why bloat the game's code with them?
  10. captainbladej52 Apprentice Engineer

    This is the fun factor thing that I mentioned previously and is only one aspect of it. For me I'm going to keep playing even after I've done those things because I actually enjoy the game in all its Clang-adocious glory. Why do folks recreate certain Star Wars or Star Trek type ships in game? Sometimes it's for no other reason than to see if they can or because they want to. SE is one of the few games that actually allows them to not only say they've flown the ship, but actually been inside of it etc. The fun factor is simply one aspect that can add replay-ability to the game. Kind of like how Minecraft (yes I said the M word) changes things up from time to time. I've played minecraft off and on since Beta 1.4 and have an obsidian city I've been working on since beta 1.8. Folks are always going to experience a draw to newer games from time to time but if the replay-ability is there, even if they take a break from SE for a time, they will return at some point. For that matter I still play Star Trek Armada II 17 years later, and Mario 64 etc. Some folks will think shields add to that replay factor, some won't. On the fun factor point having a shield would be just one more point in SE's favor for folks that appreciate more sci-fi type stuff.

    2 points on this one. First, I never said folks would be able to get them right away. I have always imagined shields as being an end game, or just shy of end game block that people can get their hands on, and would venture most folks asking for shields think the same. Second, when I said it doesn't add weight I was referring to the protection the block itself adds. I assumed folks would already be taking into account the weight of the block and have sufficient means to power the thing. Perhaps I should have made that more clear but I digress.

    The only possible exception I thought of for an immediately available shield is if Keen were to add a tiered block system beyond what we already have. This hypothetical shield would only really be able to contend with small arms fire from the ground rifles the engineer carries. It would only be good enough to stop someone from simply rifling your stuff to death without committing a fair chunk of bullets to it. This shield would have a hard-coded health cap, cannot be boosted by any other modules or so on, and would only absorb 200 bullets from a ground rifle or so, most likely closer to 150. The thing would be nigh useless against even the small grid turrets, stopping maybe 5 gatling shots or one rocket before failing. Far as large grid weapons it would take 2 gatling shots before failing with a rocket completely draining it on the first shot and doing what rockets do. It would also require at a minimum 1 small grid reactor to power the thing, most likely 2 of them. It would take a full 2 minutes to charge up after being drained and could not stack its durability on top of duplicates of itself. Basically a gag block to say "i have a shield" and something that could potentially be used to cheese a "shooting range" if you will. Otherwise unless someone wants a gag block like that I've always envisioned them being end game or just shy of end game blocks.

    All you need to survive is 1-2 refinaries, 1-2 assemblers, a gyro, power source(s), a chair/cockpit, a way to breath if going to space, and some thrusters. I saw several things on Xoc's stream that made it to space that took very little resources. a couple were what amounted to portable bases. That's just one example. If someone is trying to build a full on base that is not easily mobile, it grants them additional protections until they can fully armor up the base. I doubt most folks are going to build a full on base out of purely light armor and will want something decent for protection. Again we do have economy options now so these rare resources can be traded for with NPC factions, just like the zone chips.

    As for the Safe Zone I don't blame them for going after that first. Make sure that if/when you do log off you can guarantee it would still be there. Also lets people who wanted to do trader things be well, traders. Personally I would love to see new actual NPC characters but we'll see I suppose. There is more than one way to get resources and such. Far as to whether that's the best use of time or not, that's up to them to decide for themselves. As long as there isn't an exploit involved, or it isn't being forced on others, I'm not a fan of dictating to folks on that sort of thing. This point also functions for damaged grids as well as others.

    Agreed on it being subjective to an extent. Though I have to ask how would that be a bad thing if folks start making ships with insufficient armor? It would give an extremely easy way to tell the difference between the experienced builders and the inexperienced. I would also imagine that ships designed for active combat are going to have additional armor in the proper places, otherwise that's their problem not ours. Just makes it easier to disable/destroy them. Adequate is of course subjective but you got the idea.

    Fair enough. I maintain Darkstar and Cython's shield variants are the best 2 out there and either one would make fine additions to the game. The one thing I like about Darkstar's vs that of Cython's is you can place down Darkstar's shield and have symmetry. Can't do that with the large variant of Cython's which is the only thing that ircs me on that department. Those 2 imo are the standards of what a shield should be in game. Although I am more experienced with Cython's version I wouldn't be opposed to Darkstar's either. Do a base setup, then make it a player problem.

    Any time you add any kind of block be it a shield, a turret, or a basic armor block, you will have to balance the thing, so that is unavoidable. Thankfully the balancing bit is easy if balanced around singular block performance. Anything else is just asinine in a game like this. Do singular block balancing then ship it off to the players and any further issues become a player problem. Even the hinge block would need to be balanced to a very basic extent. The transportation of items through the block etc has already been taken care of so they're actually a step ahead in the process if such a block were to exist. With that in mind, whether you go for a heavier armor than what we have now, a shield, or both, it will have to be balanced one way or another. The big question would just be what form the extra durability takes, one or both.

    Things have changed quite a bit since just 2013 when this game was first put into early access. Prime example is the Navy now mounting lasers on one of its destroyers with plans for additional units to be mounted. These lasers can shoot down drones as well as gather intel and such. There are also plans to ramp up the power behind them meaning we would be able to do far more with them. Unlikely does not mean impossible. Visions change over time as do games. You can have space games that don't have a shield, no one is saying otherwise. With that in mind, what sets SE apart from others is that it is a sandbox game, meaning it can be whatever folks want it to be when it comes to that stuff. Folks are going to make requests of game developers from time to time that is simply nature of the beast. Some we will like some we won't. Folks would always have the option to turn something like shields off just like they would with economy and similar features, so they do not have to be standard in that regard. To put it in sandbox terms, just because colored sand is available doesn't mean you have to use that colored sand for your sand castle. Simply because I choose to use that colored sand does not mean you have to use that colored sand. Like I've said elsewhere, I do not want a food/water system to become part of the game as in my book it would detract from the engineering part of the game. Also more often than not those systems become "use this or eat a debuff" and they're all downsides with no upsides. While I would most likely play with such a feature disabled, those who want it could still play with it. Both sides are happy and my choice to go "food off" would have zero impact on their ability to play "food on". Not seeing why the same couldn't or shouldn't be applied to shields.

    If a mod is popular and alot of folks like it, then I fail to see what would be unfair about making the mod vanilla and giving folks additional options. Other games do it and have done it, so SE is far from the first game to do it nor would they be the last. For the record I would also like to see Rotary Airlocks added as well, but that's a different ballgame altogether.

    For me it depends on the mod as to whether I will play with it or not. What does it do, would I find it fun, does it fill a gap I believe is missing in game, or so on. For me the question with shields is why would I not want them? Also sometimes I play with mods, sometimes I don't. The one I play with extensively is my thruster mod I created. For the rest of them it depends on my mood and what I'm wanting to do. For me if I want to play with a shield mod I can. Since you obviously don't think they would be plausible you don't have to, and that's a choice both of us have. This would not change if it were to become vanilla or so on, but I won't rehash that point twice in one post.

    Some stuff is going to have to be done for gameplay reasons and sometimes reality has to give way a bit to the limitations of the game itself. An example being how an Undead Priest in WoW can be a Holy or Discipline priest even though the light would tear them apart according to lore. However gameplay wise its done so as not to cause an imbalance. In this instance for SE we have gravity generators and jump drives. In terms of plausibility a jump drive is far more plausible than the gravity generators based off what we know right now. I've also provided examples of current 21st century tech that will can be extrapolated to create shields. We already have deflector shields today. We already know ways we can make shields, be they the plasma containment method I mentioned or other items brought up by others. I don't like how short ranges are on weapons either in vanilla currently but it is what it is until they change it. Combat in SE is the way it is right now in part due to limitations of the game itself. As for implausible combat, there will always be those who fight like its a fantasy movie or something. You and I both know that while it might look cool, it's not always the best strategy for the fact it does make you an easier target. There are some ships meant to go close quarters and some that aren't.

    No matter what you or I do there will always be folks who use strategy like we do, and those that fly in and try to Leeroy Jenkins the enemy to death. If folks don't want to plan that's their problem not ours, and again only makes our jobs easier. If we really want to talk about plausible, the biggest offender in that book is the small grid small reactor. Thing is about 19 inches on each side and is a small 19 inch or 0.5 meter cube, but can put out enough energy to power an average modern day house. It's a fully self-contained reactor with cooling and everything. Now I can believe we would have the actual reactor cores that small by then, but not a fully self contained unit. The small grid large reactors seem the most probable to me. However again they could surprise us both and be there by then, especially if that portable reactor tech pays off like they're thinking it will. 57 years is a long time when it comes to technology development. We've gone from the first pong video game in the late 50s, to video games today that can be so realistic you would swear you're watching a movie. Or going from computers that took up entire rooms in the 40s to them being basically a child's play thing today. If you told people back in just the 60s we would have phones like we do today where you could see the other person you're talking to, and take that phone with you, they would've laughed saying its sci-fi. Yet today here they are. Point being, what one considers plausible another may not. What one considers to be plausible is largely subjective or relative.

    Lastly, what is considered "bloating the code" is again subjective. I don't consider a shield as bloating the code, but giving people an option to play with, like a different color of Lego. I choose to play with the new color because reasons, where as another person doesn't like it and chooses not to. There is no right or wrong way to play in the sandbox. The only exceptions being of course trying to force others to play your specific way, or with people trying to ruin another person's fun to be a dbag. You choose to trade different kinds of sand and don't like "shield" sand, where as I do. You don't have to deal in that kind of sand if you don't wish to. Where as I choose to use it because I like it.
  11. Sirhan Blixt Apprentice Engineer

    Well, this sure is a thread.
  12. KissSh0t Master Engineer

  13. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    I understand that things sometimes have to be done for gameplay reasons. The gravity generator and jump drive make the game "playable" for most. I get it. Shields simply do not have anywhere the same impact. They have never been standard and the game thrives. Had they not put in gravity generators when they did, the game would have struggled. Same for the jump drive. I don't like them, but I use them. I'm considering using a speed mod and foregoing the jump drive, but I cannot figure out a way to eliminate the gravity generator effect. If I could get my hands on a mod that limits the size of the gravity field to 10 meters each way and no more than .8g I'll be happy.

    It's a proven fact that shields are NOT necessary for gameplay reasons in SE. The notion that you can just turn them off if you don't want them shows how superfluous they are. You can't exclude the gravity generator from the game, or the jump drive. In a single-player game if you don't want to use them you don't have to, but in a multiplayer game not using them could be detrimental because they're available to everyone else. There is a very tiny subsection of the community the believes shields are necessary for gameplay in SE, and that subset does not include the developer.

    The notion that reality may have to give way due to limitations of the game is true. The only limit to shields being in the game has nothing to do with the code. It's been possible since the beginning. The limit is and always has been Keen.

    None of this gets to my question, which is why is it that people insist all space games have to have shields, and given how marginally effective a vanilla shield would be, what's the point? I mean, if I had a shield I would want one that was hard to take down. That kind of shield would not fly in a vanilla game, or any SE session for that matter. So, if it can't do that, what good is it? People say it improves combat. How?

    Here in Alaska the prospects of a natural disaster of some type is real. Earthquakes, volcanoes, extreme cold temperatures. I live in a normal house, which I can power with a 1kw generator.

    Just sayin
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2020
  14. KissSh0t Master Engineer

    Gosh how would they implement earthquakes into the game... that would be kinda crazy
  15. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

    I'm in Western Washington (yeah, what was once the virus epicenter in the U.S.), and all we worry about are volcanoes and mildew (and moss in our lawns). I have a 10kw standby generator, so no worries for me (unless my natural gas supply is disrupted).
  16. captainbladej52 Apprentice Engineer

    The game survived and thrived without corner lights, the fighter cockpit, clear LCDs, hydrogen thrusters, the oxygen system, ladders, supergridding and similar, yet we have them. Supergridding specifically is an exploit, but because people liked it so much, Keen decided to keep it. We did not need hydrogen thrusters or the oxygen system, yet we have them. We did not need corner light, clear LCDs, or the fighter cockpit, yet again we have them. Not every single feature or block needs to be this super amazing "we can't live without it" kind of groundbreaking thing that completely re-invents the game. As for gravity, why not just stick to mag boots and call it a day? Seems like the much simpler solution if you're not wanting to use gravity generators.

    This same standard can be applied to any future block(s) and/or features, including some already existing ones. Again hydrogen thrusters, the different kinds of cockpit, the oxygen system, airtightness itself, supergridding, the economy feature, scripting with the programmable block, wheels. Again it's an option, and simply because you can turn it off doesn't make it superfluous. Just means that it can be turned off or on for folks to better customize the experience they want for the game. In regards to folks being effected by shields I have to ask, why would a "shields off" person be playing on a "shields on" server to start with? Why would someone go to a server using settings they don't like? That's just asinine to me. That would be like me joining a "food on" server when I prefer "food off". The only way it would be detrimental is if someone is intentionally playing on a server that is "shields on" even though they're "shields off", which would be dumb. At that point I would have to ask why people are playing on a server using the opposite settings from what they like. That would make zero sense to me. Secondly, I have yet to see a single person say shields are necessary, I have however seen people saying they want them as an option.

    Not really sure this was in debate but okay.

    I have yet to see any of the mysterious people claiming this all space games must have shields. Seriously, where are these people as I would really like to meet them. With that in mind I have however seen people saying that in a sandbox game like SE they want shields as an option.

    As for shields being marginally effective, against what standard is that? 1 weapon? 2 weapons? or 10 weapons? Again, balance around singular block performance, then ship it off to players and make it a player problem. If folks want to get through the shields faster they will add more weapons. If folks want the shields to last longer they will add more shields. It will then come down to who is the better shot and pilot. Durability of the shields will scale with the amount of shielding available, just as adding extra guns will allow more damage to be dealt to the shields. That's how we do it now with armor essentially. If you don't think your current armor is enough, you add more. If you think your current guns aren't enough you add more. Again not seeing the issue here. As for how shields can be an improvement is again they grant extra durability at the cost of some extra power. Likewise I could say, what good is a gun if it can't easily bring down a shield? There is going to be some give and take there. In this instance the sword of balance is one that cuts both ways. As to how it improves combat, it gives people a supplement to existing armor and gives them the extra durability they claim they want. So if they want extra durability, again I don't see a downside or how they wouldn't improve combat.

    We have electrical generators right now, that much isn't in debate. However I have to ask how big your generator is. Because I'm willing to be it's not some 19 inch self contained nuclear reactor that can put out 500 kw of power. Not saying that to be a douche, but to reiterate just how much power that tiny little reactor puts out.
  17. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    You might try reading one or more of the many shield threads KissSh0t provided.

    You do understand that when I say "everyone" I'm speaking metaphorically. If I have to be precise then so do you.

    Since we are talking the vanilla game here, any weapons. In the vanilla game shields can't be OP. This thread, where the subject in the title is shield mechanics, is where I expect to be convinced that after the mechanics get figured out, having shields in the vanilla game is worth the effort. What I mean by "effort" is figuring out shield mechanics vs making a harder armor block, for example. "Why can't we have both." is not the issue. Harder armor means you can replace your regular armor with it and suffer a weight penalty and maybe an exotic component penalty but the results, meaning how your ship looks and its survivability vs an energy shield, would be the same. The armor may in fact work out better.

    I mean, if the point is durability, why not just have more durable armor? I'm guessing that when the dust settles, in any conversation between armor vs energy shields in SE, armor wins.

    Unless the only criteria is how cool it looks ;)

    Who lives in a house that needs 500 kilowatts? I only need one.

    Hitachi came to Alaska several years ago with a small nuclear reactor they wanted to test out in the bush. It was not much larger than a small grid reactor. Given what the indigenous population has to pay for fuel for diesel generators, Hitachi thought they had a receptive potential market. None of the native villages wanted anything to do with them, so I don't know whatever happened with the reactors. For their size, they were intended to power entire villages, not single homes.
  18. captainbladej52 Apprentice Engineer

    I may have to do that. Folks saying shields are necessary are flat out wrong. However with that said, very little in this game is actually necessary for it to function. With that said these extra things give additional options and variety you otherwise would not have helping to make building and the game not so one dimensional as it otherwise would be.

    Your response didn't answer my question. If you're going to insist shields are/would be marginally effective, again what standard of measure are you basing this assumption on? Are we talking against 1 weapon, 5, 10, 40, a thousand? What standard of measure are you utilizing? If it's 1 baseline shield vs 10 weapons or 50, I would logically expect the shield to be less effective because there are more weapons pelting it with damage vs just getting hit by a singular gun. With each additional gun you add beyond the first, the damage being done will scale exponentially. Likewise the more you dump into shielding the more damage is able to be absorbed exponentially. This bring us again full circle back to what I said previously.

    The only way you will have balance in a game like SE is to balanced around individual block performance and ship it off to the players. How much power should a large reactor produce? How much thrust should a single thruster provide? How much hydrogen should a single tank be allowed to store? How fast should a single refinary or assembler be able to do their thing? How efficient should a single drill be? How many shots from a gatling turret or missile turret should it take to break an armor block or a shield? Once you have established your baseline, if a single reactor is not enough power for what a player needs, they can add additional. If a single hydrogen tank, refinery, assembler, or drill isn't enough they can add more. If they need more thrust they can add more thrusters. If someone thinks they need more damage for stuff they can add additional guns. If they want more durability they can add additional shield or armor.

    If they do anything other than balancing around singular block performance that's when that "death by a thousand qualifications" comes into play that I've seen you mention previously you don't like. If they balance the shields around damage from 10 turrets, you'll have some saying it's too many turrets, some that it's not enough, some saying its perfect. Some folks will say it should be 5 gatlings 5 rockets, some will say it should be 9 gatlings 1 rocket, some 9 rockets 1 gatling, and down the line perpetually. Far as performance and resource investment there are pros and cons to each with no right or wrong answer.

    Armor cons:
    -assuming a heavier armor type it's extremely costly to produce alot of it in terms of steel plates and other potential components.
    -Each time the armor is damaged you're having to potentially replace those components leading to even more cost.
    -Depending on how much armor you slap on a ship you will be potentially adding a ton of extra weight to the ship slowing you down big time.
    -If armor fails you're replacing the entire cost of the block(s).
    -must be repaired manually which is not always possible during a battle
    -amount of protection provided per armor block is static
    Armor pros:
    -protection provided by armor is always there
    -blocks don't have to be powered in order to do their thing
    -can typically be produced quicker
    -resources to create armor typically more abundant
    -If armor in one area fails the rest of the armor still protects the ship/station

    Shield cons:
    -must be powered to provide their protection. if power fails so do the shields
    -resources to produce the shield typically not as abundant
    -can be extremely power hungry depending on configuration
    -if shields fail the entire grid loses their protection (assuming non-STO type shield that doesn't have facings)
    -if shield block destroyed, harder to replace than armor blocks
    -must be manually activated to provide protection
    -can take time to charge up if they weren't already
    Shield pros:
    -less resource investment to produce shield block vs lots of armor
    -less overall weight in shield setup vs a ton of armor
    -shields "repair" themselves automatically in battle
    -shields do not require additional resources to repair themselves unless shield block itself is damaged
    -only needs 1 block to provide full protection to entire grid aka less footprint
    -the more power you have the stronger the shielding (typically)

    These are just some of the examples of each side. There is no right or wrong answer as to which is better save in people's minds. Far as to which one they think is right will depend on their build and what they want to do. What is "right" for one may not be right for another.

    On this point I can just as easily ask: if durability is desired, why not a shield? This particular thing goes both ways. Aside from one's own personal subjective tastes, what makes one valid but not the other? As for which one "wins" that is your opinion. For me both are valid choices.

    The point I was making wasn't the power draw of a house, but to demonstrate even the smallest of generators only put out a couple kilowatts at best. The reactors from Hitachi are indeed alot smaller than normal reactors, however still nowhere near the size of a 19 inch cube that is the small grid small reactor. The smallest reactor ever produced was about 4 inches in diameter, and still required 11 inches of lead shielding that was done by the Israelis. That reactor suffered from issues in that it couldn't utilize standard uranium like the one's in SE do to get its reaction and provide the power. It also had issues with keeping it cool as easily. At best it could only provide a few kilowatts of power for a short time. The design was shelved for being impractical at this time until some issues were ironed out. This was back in the 00s by Dr Yigal Ronen. A few kilowatts (less than 10) is a long way from the 500kw of the small grid smalls available in SE. They could surprise us in that time, but as it sits right now, there are several huge issues that need to be worked out.

    Overall i still maintain something along the lines of what Cython and Darkstar have done should be the standard for a shield in SE.
  19. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    Well, perhaps my response didn't answer your question, but your response did:

    The reason you got into a circle is because no matter what the "baseline" is, the player will just respond with more.

    Are the shields really strong? Bring more weapons. Do they have a lot of weapons? Bring more shields. You know how people do combat in SE. Everyone brings as much as they can. The result is always the two Captains should just exit their ships and have a fistfight. SE space combat is just brawling. If two ships are similarly matched there's rarely a clear winner.

    But, if you want a baseline, I'll give you one. It's the armor block. Since we're talking combat, the heavy armor block. An energy shield would, I'm assuming, be as effective as another layer of heavy armor. The true benefit of such an energy shield is that you get a layer of heavy armor without making your ship (much) heavier or uglier, and you get a light show.

    My problem with that is that it also makes you think less. Let's face it, when you have an invisible shield and you park next to another ship and they open fire, it's a bit comforting to see all that effort stop short of your hull. As long as the shield persists, the "strategy" is to keep shooting until their shields fail or you run out of ammo, then ram. That is all space combat will ever be if shields are vanilla. You say that's fine for people like me but it's not. If I get into a fight I want opponents, not fish in a barrel. I'm thinking when I fight, and I would like my opponent to at least extend the courtesy of doing the same. I don't think the vanilla game should give players excuses to stop thinking. I don't like the idea of being in combat with people that don't want their ships to get scratched. If shields are vanilla, that's all I'll get. If I turn the shields off on my server, far fewer people will play because they won't be able to fathom fighting without energy shields. Vanilla shields just creates a player base that will never engage in true combat. I don't equate that with improving the PvP experience in SE.

    For years I have been watching SE space battles whenever they pop up on Twitch, especially when a new shield mod comes out. Sometime I get to witness how people play before and after they install the mod. Before the mod they park next to the opponent and open fire. After shields they double down on that strategy. I also notice a lot of frequent SE streamers that install the mod soon remove it. There's always some "issue" with it. My guess is after the gloss wears off they realize their game hasn't changed, and the net effect of having shields is adding the ten to fifteen minutes it takes to take down shields to the total combat time. Again, I don't equate that with improving the PvP experience in SE.

    I understand why people want shields in the game. They make combat more... forgiving. Like wearing pads. You can get hit and not get hurt. Fun factor.

    Anyone that has or plays on a server that features shields that has a space combat experience that is different from what I just described needs to stream and post a link so that I can see for myself. I'm not as stubborn as you might think I am. If I see different behavior I will acknowledge it and modify my position. It won't be the first time.

    Other than that, I'm still wondering how you get shields to work in the vanilla game. How strong do they have to be? How much power do they use? How long do they last? What are the generators made from? What needs to happen to have shields in SE?

    I brought up the Hitachi thing because you, captainbladej52, said a reactor the size of an SE small grid reactor that could power a house was unrealistic. My point was that a reactor big enough to power a house wouldn't be as big as an SE small grid reactor. A house does not require a lot of power. Just a steady supply. I actually agree that a reactor that size that could power a solid steel spacecraft like the kind you have to make in SE is unrealistic.
  20. captainbladej52 Apprentice Engineer

    My question was what standard you were using to say shields would be marginally effective in vanilla if they were added. Were we talking about against a single weapon or multiple? What standard were you personally using to make that statement?

    Let's be real here, folks are going to ask for more no matter what you do. You and I both saw examples of it in Xoc's stream where they were debating balance. The situation you've described will be the same no matter what you do, whether it's armor or shields providing the durability. If someone knows their opponent has alot of armor, they will slap on more weapons. If their opponent slaps on more weapons they will slap on more/better armor, and that cycle will continue forever. With that said, I don't see that as a valid reason not to add a more durable armor and/or a shield. People want the option of a stronger/better armor and shield, okay give them the options and make it a player problem from there. At the end of the day it will come down to who has the better build and who is the better pilot.

    On this point, when I said establish a baseline I am speaking in terms of individual block performance. For armor it would be, how many shots from a single gatling or single rocket should it take to break that block? The same goes for a reactor, battery, additional turrets, and so on. How any shots from an opposing gatling or opposing rocket should they be able to take? When you say the heavy armor is the baseline, then say it would be as effective as a heavy armor layer, that suggests to me 2 drastically different scales. Are we talking the combined effectiveness of slapping an extra layer of armor across the whole grid, or less than that? Having less weight would be a benefit to the shield yes, but if that's the only thing people are worried about, they're doing it wrong imo. While a shield yes would mean you could make ships a bit lighter if you wished, you must also make sure the power supply on your ship can handle the extra demand of the generator(s). So while there is a benefit in the fact that there is less weight in terms of armor needed to get the same protection, this is balanced by the extra power draw and maintenance required by the shields. A shield has it's pros and cons just as armor does with several of them being named above in another reply of mine. Some may want it purely for that light show and the lighter weight. I want it because I enjoy the thought of having them, and it's an extra defensive system to work with. Personally I find it a bit one dimensional that the only potential solution to folks wanting more defensive stuff is simply, slap some more armor on it.

    In this instance if people just keep rushing in like you're describing no matter what, that tells me one of two things is going on. One is they're inexperienced and don't realize what they're doing. Two is that they know what they're doing and simply don't care, and are the one trick pony type who refuse to learn and get better. Time will tell which of the two categories the individual person belongs to. Those who want to get better will learn to plan and fight accordingly, those that don't will continue to be one trick ponies making it easier for everyone else. Regardless at the end of the day, you will always have the one trick pony type with you in any game you go to no matter what. Keen could lower the skill bar required all the way to the basement level of Hell itself and there would still be folks who could've fight/pilot their way out of a wet paper bag with 2 razor blades and 3 sets of instructions. You can either let it drive you up the wall, or accept it and move forward with a focus on enjoying the game. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. You or I could give advice all day long on various bits of combat or so on, but at the end of the day we can't make people use their brains. They either will or they won't. If they learn and get better they will give you that challenge you're seeking. If they don't, then you will know their playbook and they will be zero threat to you. In SE you have a distinct advantage you don't have in other games, you have near perfect if not outright perfect control over who you play with and who you don't. In other games sometimes you're stuck with who you get. Deciding not to add shields would not prevent folks from rushing in as they're going to do that regardless. You or I on the other hand won't do that.

    As far as shields on vs shields off, that's a choice you would have to make for your own individual server, and no matter what you do, you would never satisfy everyone. If you leave them on, the "shields off" bunch will not join the server, on the opposite end the "shields on" crew will not join you if you turn them off. So the question would be, would you turn them off and focus on having fun the way you like it, or would you leave a feature on you said you don't care for in SE? For me I don't like the idea of a food/water system in SE for several reasons, with 2 big reasons standing out to me. First of which is that to me it would detract from the engineering aspect of the game and it would essentially make SE into "Farmville in Space." The second reason is that more often than not those food/water systems turn into "use this or eat a debuff" which is all penalty with no upsides. So for me and my server, a food/water system would be turned off, meaning the "food on" crew would not come to my server. Likewise I wouldn't be going to their "food on" server. So the question I'm going to pose is why worry about people who by your own words "will never engage in true combat" and what they do on their server, when you can have folks who WILL engage in "true combat" on your own? Not every server needs to be a carbon copy of each other. i know you're not saying that but I'm making the point. There is more to this game than purely pvp and I don't really care strictly what the pvp types want, I care about the game as a whole. For some adding shields would improve pvp, for some it wouldn't. There's a wide spectrum of pvp types just as there is pve types.

    Motivations for wanting shields are going to vary from person to person. i want them because they're another defensive system in a game that's sorely lacking in terms of offensive/defensive options as a whole, plus the fun factor elements. Where as for others it may legitimately be the fun elements. For those doubling down on the strategy again, that's what I would call a one trick pony. They refuse to change their strategy and do different things, thus the game becomes one dimensional.

    I played Star Trek Bridge Commander for a good while and I'm used to thinking in 3d terms for combat. I'm also used to keeping my distance and can do strafing runs or stay at range if I need to either one. Especially the Kessok ships in that game that required you basically to attack from below the target. get below the target, pop off most of your weapons, cloak and recharge. Or if I was in a Nebula stay at distance, fire phasers, only duck in to drop torps and go from there. The situation you're describing is people that haven't learned how to think 3d and actually use the advantages their builds afford them. which is not the fault of shields, armor or so on. Even then the shields could be turned on or off like most features.

    I would imagine they would add a "shield component" to the game specifically for shield generators similar to how some thrusters have "thruster components". I would also imagine they wouldn't be cheap in terms of power, but wouldn't suck up every available drop of it either. They last until they run out of power or are turned off. Far as strength, I would imagine a single shield generator could stop a moderate amount of damage from a single turret before they fail and are proportionate to the power dumped into them for durability. As to what needs to happen, just say something like they found ancient relics in the Cydonia region of Mars in the old city area or something.

    The point I was making is that the 500kw reactors SE has is not that great. I shouldn't have said strictly house and should have been more specific.
  21. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    In an effort to cut to the chase, I simply state that the net effect of an energy shield most SE players would likely accept would be equivalent to another layer of heavy armor. What that means is in order to damage the hull you would have to hit the shield with the same amount of force you would need to punch a hole through a layer of heavy armor. I'm not a game designer. I don't know how you calculate that. It doesn't matter. The attacker would have to expend approximately the same amount of ammo to damage your ship through a shield as they would have to punch through another layer of heavy armor. Approximately means more or less. I was hoping someone would just state what the strength and endurance level of a vanilla shield would be rather than having me define it.
  22. captainbladej52 Apprentice Engineer

    I pushed you for an answer on definitions because some of what you were saying suggested two different things at once. If you say it should be as strong as an armor block at one point, then say it should be as strong as a layer of armor, that suggests to me 2 different standards. One being as weak as a standard singular heavy armor block, the other being the combined might of the entire layer. For simplicity sake I still maintain the Darkstar or Cython's shield variants would be the standards I would go by. Since we have seen more of Darkstar's variation in action lately on Xoc's stream for weaponscore, I will assume that for our balancing purposes. Darkstar could tell you far more about his shield than I could. Link to the mod here: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1365616918&searchtext=defensive+shield

    If you scroll down to the Config File section you can see that it's quite modular in how folks can change the values. If they think the standard shield is too strong/weak they can alter the values to suit their desires, or stick with the default settings if they think it's fine the way it is. Personally for me with everything I've been seeing on Xoc's streams I think the shields are fine the way they are now and would just port Darkstar's shield variant over along with weaponscore itself. The only thing I would add, which would require a little bit of time on Keen's side would be to add a menu so folks can alter the shield values from within the game. Have the current default values be the baseline and let folks adjust up or down from there. Let the standard settings for Darkstar's shield be the baseline for shields then let folks adjust up or down in the game menu from there, and/or by dumping more power into the shields on the grid itself. We can already adjust refinery and assembler speed speed/efficiency from there so I see no reason why that couldn't work here. Thus you have your baseline levels, and it can be shipped off to the players making it a player problem.
  23. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    So the discussion of shield mechanics in SE is basically use Darkstar's mod.

    Well, this was fun.

    Combat thread died.

    You know what, combat in SE is just fine the way it is. I don't know what everyone is complaining about.
  24. hippybaker Trainee Engineer

    Shields are for pussies. Get good.

    ...Tougher armor is better. It's called Space ENGINEERS. Not Space Pussies
    --- Automerge ---
    Cry about it.
    • Funny Funny x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  25. captainbladej52 Apprentice Engineer

    Propose something else then. You wanted shield mechanics discussion, I gave a proposal.
  26. KissSh0t Master Engineer

    I disagree, the player held weapon needs a reload animation, for years I have been suggesting this over and over... currently the ammunition teleports from the players backpack directly into the weapon, that's some pretty futuristic tech if you ask me.. and there are hardly any interesting weapons... the game also needs AI characters to go along with the empty "npc" ships, if one can even call those npc's in their current form.

    Also, because it's "Space Engineers", it would be nice if there were more ways to build things in more detail, weapon parts, putting different parts together to create different types of weapons... Engine / Thruster Parts, again putting different combinations of things together to create different types of engines.. if that makes sense?

    There are so many things that could be done with this game to improve it.

    How cool would it be to build a reactor in parts and depending on the parts the reactor has different output, and if you go too crazy with it the reactor makes too much heat and explodes.. and then you could have a cooling system to cool the reactor, and if the reactor is even more hot and the cooling system is not enough to cool it, it explodes.

    it's an engineering game, I wish there was more to engineer.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2020
  27. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    I did propose something else. No shields. They don't matter. This guy put it more succinctly:
    Not quite how I would have put it, but my sentiments exactly.
  28. captainbladej52 Apprentice Engineer

    Which again shows you are not interested in debate at all. thanks for proving that once again. Also his post is exactly what's wrong with the community. "Oh you like something I don't. well you need to just get gud scrub." Sentiments like that are a cancer to gaming today and both of you should be better than that.
  29. hippybaker Trainee Engineer

    Ok, I'll be a little more articulate...

    This is a game about engineering. If you wanna fight peopple, you should have to ENGINEER a better ship. Find solutions, MAke gooder armor designs. Hide thrusters and stuff...

    Shields just go ahead and do all the thinking for you.. Where's the engineering in it?
    If I want to have something do all the thinking for me while I watch space ships blow up, I would just watch a movie.

    So yes. When I say get good, I mean for you to engineer better ships, and not rely on magic shields to save you.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  30. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

    Preach it, @hippybaker
    • Agree Agree x 1