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So what's the future for random encounters?

Discussion in 'General' started by UrbanLegend, Dec 8, 2017.

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

    By "random encounters", I am referring to cargo ships, drop pods, various nuisance pirate ships and drones, wolves and the giant spider thingies, "unknown signals" as well as NPC, animals and any other thing a space engineer might encounter out there.

    So what's the vision for these things? I mean, I'm sure we would love the planets to have entire ecosystems of creatures, along with random encounters with friendly caravans, pirates, villages, populated space colonies with people you can swap stuff with, so on and so forth. Kind of like Rimworld meets Minecraft in space. Not sure that's realistic though.

    And yet some moders have done some interesting things.

    So any thoughts on what the actual plan is?
  2. Leadfootslim Senior Engineer

    The latest thing on the mod scene is planetary cargo/pirate encounters... but it's hard to set up.

    Keen needs to stop leaning on modders and step up their game. Harder-to-find ores, more salvageable station/wreck/pirate encounters, smarter Sabiroids centered around hives, weather/biome hazards, respawn costs, plant cultivation... there's a LOT of room to improve.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. tankmayvin Senior Engineer

    The anemic PVE experience has always been the weakest link in space engineers for me. There is just very little to do in survival once you accumulate enough resource to get off planet and then horde more resource in space.

    Post-scarcity snowballs fast and makes the game very dull unless you start playing around with vanity mega-projects.
  4. Carrion Senior Engineer

    the thought is.


    your asking people to take a wild guess to determine the development plans of a business who have, correctly in my view *see below* never released a dedicated roadmap to intentions and schedules.

    now i can accept and agree that there is vast scope for the improvement of the encounters in SE as they are either a bit mundane, a bit of a waste of time or totally psychotic and never ending.
    it would be nice, in time, to see an AI building a variety of structures instead of them being dumped in ready to rock with unlimited ammo and i am sure that in time these things will be improved considerably.
    now is quite probably not the time for them to do this nor in relation to Someone else's comments on another thread about how the ships are "out of date" in the pirate roaming ships ie no o2, no working conveyors, etc etc etc which is lets be honest a minor complaint over something people were very pleased to have on day 1.

    *this is the below*

    no i feel that they are correct in doing this because of user self entitlement , if they were to say that on the 30 of February they would meld in good AI and create an AI that could build thing sin real time alongside you or against you with set personalities and parameters, when it doesnt come along or comes along late, or they realise actually its not going to work Oh boy does a section of the self entitled go WAY off the rails.

    it removes a time based pressure to ensure that things come out right and working instead of rushed and Seriously buggy which results in even more self entitled moaning.
    or even worse the then demand for things the devs decided arnt going to be in the game but someone who shouts loudly keeps on about.

    So Chill, and things happen when they will happen.
  5. FlakMagnet Senior Engineer

    I have tried the planetary cargo ship mod, but the spawns are few and none of the ships seem to move. Just sit there doing nothing unless attacked. It's a good idea....but not really functional at present. The almost total lack of AI for the NPC objects struggles with gravity and terrain. It is just enough to make wolves and spiders spawn and head directly at a player .... but not to navigate in 3D where obstacles exist. Before planets, it was easy to get drones hung up on asteroids.

    The question .... and it's a big one.... is whether ANY plans exit to expand on the AI options.

    That would be needed for any kind of complex creature behaviour, or for AI control of rovers or ships in atmosphere. Also for more varied pirate ship activity.

    What would I like to see?
    Ditch wolves and Sabiroids if they are not going to be expanded and improved. Sabiroids should have hives, queens, spawners and be a lot more agressive in those areas.
    Wolves should be replaced with alien creatures. More types of creature are needed with differing levels of aggression.If this can't be done....take them out.

    I would like to see ship/drone AI that performs more complex manouvers, and can cope with atmospheric flight. I would like to see spawnable pirate bases and bases that produce a better variety of drones...both wheeled and flying.

    I would like to see spawned wrecks a bit more often, including on planets and moons.

    I would also like to see randomised planets, with terrain variations, gravity variations and randomised ore locations and depths.

    I would also like to see some environmental hazards given a lot more love, like asteroids......

    What do I think we will see?
    None of that. I mean...they might throw in a few randomised elements into the planet xml files, which would potentially allow them to vary ore locations and depths, and maybe vary gravity and the height/slope certain materials are created ... but all I have heard with regards to AI is negative. Same with creature spawners. I think development has moved too far down the line for these things to get looked at.

    Is there hope?
    Not much if you expect the game to alter much. But there are some interesting mods out there which offer some hope that the existing framework can be bent to some extent. Rdavs's fleet movement code may get extended to allow pirate fleet control where NPCs come at you in a bunch. Similarly, the Enhanced Exploration mod changes behaviour of the AI to make them more dangerous by summoning help. There is also a mod that creates procedural solar systems with infinite planets, which can make interesting asteroid clusters and has an infinite stations option where it will bolt together prefab stations to spawn as you go.


    followed by uninstalling the game and playing something else
  6. chrisb Senior Engineer

    Its in Beta now, so unlikely anything very major will appear now. The last 'major' update was neither 'new or major', it was just a fix of something that should have been done before entering beta really. Plus its not that great, the game now falls to bits much earlier than it used to, travel wise. Most of my saves have me further than 120,000km from start, the game just doesn't work out there, not very well at least, further you go the worse it gets.

    So its broken, unlikely to be fixed (they need to employ devs, not modders), its a great shame, but that's the way it seems to me at the moment. They went the BI route, employ from the community, its cheaper and you hope to get someone really good. That is a gamble though, that didn't work at BI and hasn't worked here, so far anyway.

    Any reasonable ai/npc activity that may be put into the game, is highly unlikely at this stage.
  7. Ronin1973 Master Engineer


    I think it would be highly unlikely to see additional AI or spawning improvements if this was a typical development cycle. However, once Keen finishes mucking around with the bug fixing and tweaking, hopefully they'll see how FLAT the GAME is regarding game PLAY. From a technical standpoint they're moving the game to a "functional" status. But as far as content creation and gameplay, it's really lacking.
  8. FoolishOwl Junior Engineer

    Early on, they established it as a principle that they would not discuss future intentions. That strikes me as a mistake, not as correct. But, it's not an accident that they usually don't talk about their plans. On the other hand, Marek Rosa said, well before the release of the planets expansion, that Space Engineers was mostly complete. My guess would be that they did have an original plan, and had mostly finished, before deciding that SE could be extended in a bunch of interesting ways -- but, they've never really settled on a new overall plan.

    I think we need to look at what Keen's demonstrated skill set is, what they can do with their privileged access to the core engine and their greater experience working with it, and not ask them to do things that are specialized tasks in their own right, that we've never seen them attempt, or that they've attempted and not executed particularly well. I think it's more reasonable to ask that Keen make small changes to make it easier for modders to add more sophisticated content, rather than ask Keen to do things that Keen's not in a position to do.

    In particular, with prefab ships and "random encounters": we've got prefab ships that have seen little or no change in years, many of which were sketched out in concept art before Keen even settled on a graphics engine. We've got a lot of "derelicts" that were haphazardly selected from what had been posted on the Steam Workshop. And we've got some newer prefabs and an introductory scenario, mostly done by Aragath, back when planets were introduced, years ago. That's not a lot of production of ship designs from Keen.

    Contrast that with the enormous number of community-produced designs. Just browsing the most popular items in the Steam Workshop, or looking at what's highlighted on Xocliw's live streams, goes to show that the modding community has been producing very sophisticated designs and mods for several years now.

    There are a lot of highly talented modelers and coders in the modding community. And that's not unusual -- there's a long history of games with dedicated modding communities, which drew in students of programming and graphic design, and professionals with some free time; there are quite a lot of professional game developers who got their start in modding, and some mods that became games in their own right.

    "Leave it to the modders" is actually a reasonable approach to improving the quality of random encounters, and there are some specific things that Keen could do to make things easier for modders. From another thread:

    By contrast, one of my great frustrations with Minecraft was that the game was highly dependent upon its modding community for its success, and yet kept screwing over modders. One of my favorite mods was one called Millenaire, that added fairly impressive AI NPCs that you could interact with, that would build their own villages and defend themselves and so forth -- which came out well before Mojang added villagers to Minecraft. Mojang's villagers were, and still are, much more primitive than Millenaire's. Like many other mods for Minecraft, each update to Minecraft would break this mod, and eventually, the developer gave up trying to maintain it.

    Keen clearly has a much better relation to modders than Mojang -- there's clearly a fair amount of communication between Keen developers and modders, especially around the API. So we're in good shape on this front; Keen's likely to respond to reasonable suggestions for improvement.

    That's kind of the conceptual problem I've always had with imagining this as a genuine "survival" game. The whole point of asteroid mining is that, if you actually reach the point where that's viable, you've mostly eliminated the scarcity of non-renewable resources (barring space opera scenarios that far exceed the scale of anything we could conceivably do in SE). At that point, the only scarce resources are renewable resources -- i.e., air and food in the short term, sustainable ecosystems in the (very) long term. As things stand, only air is even considered in SE; it remains controversial whether to introduce a food system. Even if a food system was introduced, though, that would mean that once you'd established food production, there would be nothing left to do but vanity mega-projects. You can only go so far with scarcity as a motivator.

    I imagine they could improve it at least somewhat. But, my understanding is that pathfinding is a major challenge in NPC AI design in most games; it's extraordinarily difficult in SE, given the extreme variability of the environments, so there's only so much they can do. And beyond that, I just don't see Keen hiring the team of writers, editors, and translators that would be necessary to add CRPG-style scenarios with interactive NPCs.
  9. Dax23333 Junior Engineer

    Its even worse that that with Mojang, minecraft has never had a official modding API like Space Engineers. Its all done through Forge, a 3rd party mod which adds an API. So yeah, things get pretty broken with mojang changing stuff every update. For that reason there are a huge number of mods on version 1.7.10 which was released in June 2014.

    Although Mojangs insistance on changing things in thier own command system every other update if not more is just as terrible. Thats the closest equivilent to the Space Engineers tools and over the last few years has had such wonderful things as:
    Completly changing the way the system works, anything made before this is rendered broken or at best obselete. (1.9 update)
    Changing the names of everything very slightly so you have to go around putting underscores in things. (1.11)
    Changing the expected syntax of the not-quite-json things to be more like json (but still not quite). (1.12)
    And then again changing the entire system, breaking everything anyone has ever made up until that date. (1.13)

    Space Engineers is already miles ahead here and its still in early access.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  10. Leadfootslim Senior Engineer

    @FoolishOwl, my main thrust for asking Keen to "step up their game" is in relation to stuff we can't adjust - like Sabiroids spawning arbitrarily and beelining for the player, or resource scarcity adjusted globally rather than on a planet-to-planet (modded) basis. Even setting asteroids to "low" only requires you to find one asteroid to be pretty much set for life, and planets are almost as easy when you find fields of boulders or massive dark spots.

    I keep playing Medieval Engineers and finding the survival elements there to be much more enjoyable - especially with food in the mix!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. UrbanLegend Apprentice Engineer


    Exactly! I want to hear people's wild guesses!

    I agree with you. The other early access game I follow is DayZ. And that community is absolutely livid that after 4 years of development, all they have is basically the same empty zombieless apocalypse with more types of pants and bandanas. All because the original roadmap called for cars and helicopters and base building and hoards of thousands of zombies that don't teleport through walls a year ago.

    I only played a bit of Minecraft. But what I did like was the Dr Robert Neville-esq aspect of working during the day, then barricading yourself in at night to defend against the various swarms of monsters outside. Maybe they should do something similar with wolves and sabroids where they mostly come out at night (...mostly). At least it would be less arbitrary. Or like the film Pitch Black where you have these aliens that are repelled by light..or maybe a different dangerous species that is attracted to light like a moth.
  12. FlakMagnet Senior Engineer

    Pitch Black is a brilliant film.....I love it. Also the idea of hostile creatures that swarm at certain points. Or just hostile creatures that seem to have a purpose. Or an explanation.

    What some people do seem to forget when making what if threads, though, is that this game is no longer in Alpha...it's in Beta.

    This means it has gone past the point of major feature addition, and has moved to bugfixing and polishing what is already here. They might tweak, review or overhaul a given aspect of the game, but anyone thinking the devs will suddenly unveil a stupendous new version of survival with complex AI, NPC engineers, a complex economy and a dynamic universe full of ships flying to and fro on their own business is seriously deluding themselves.

    I don't mean to be offensive...but it ranks right up there with a continued belief in Santa.

    I hope they will improve cargo ships, improve the dull emptiness of the game in single player, but I try to keep my expectations pretty minimal....as I really don;t think the game is going to change a great deal in essence. Pessimistic? yes. But pessimists only get pleasant surprises. Optimists set themselves up for disappointment.
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