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Why we need static mining blocks/drills

Discussion in 'Survival' started by Sagi, Jul 12, 2016.

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

    Messages:
    202
    NPC factions tend to be more interesting than player factions because they come with well written lore, a strong aesthetic and clearly stated goals and values, while player created factions tend to just be a group of people that either fights everyone else or nobody else because the people in it either think fighting others is the point of the game or they think building stuff is the point of the game. Also players don't make good enemies if you want the conflict to have a meaningful conclusion, because you can't serve a total defeat to a player without driving them away, which isn't good for the server / game.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. Krougal Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,012
    There, fixed it for you :p
     
  3. Regulus Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    9
    I have been very hesitant to post a similar topic or in topics that bring up the issue of trade, resources, and the MP survival situation all together. However, I feel that I cannot remain silent on the issue, as I too have seen my interest in this game wane over time.

    I am certainly pro-player interaction, and I too feel that in this current build there is little to no incentive as it stands for players (who are strangers to each other, not friend list buddies) to interact with each other in a way that doesn't involve griefing. Without writing a 30 page dissertation, I will go over what I think are at heart the main causes of this "problem" of in terms of the survival mode as it currently stands, and perhaps suggest some solutions. In all honesty no solution will please everyone no matter how cast iron it might be. I want to emphasize that these "problems" are subjective to what our expectations of the experience are (which in this case, is meaningful player interaction.)

    Perhaps I have my own personal visions of grandeur for this game that will never be realized if not mostly because of limitations in the engine itself, but I feel that strong, well considered sweeping changes to the foundations of the game could improve gameplay for everyone in my personal opinion regardless of play style in survival mode. I will try to be as objective as possible and list the pros and cons about certain changes suggested and highlight why the system itself is impeding meaningful player interaction.

    I am also under no grand illusion that I am going to make an observation that already hasn't been made. But I have yet to see a coherent catalogue of issues and discussed solutions in a post, so hopefully my contribution may be in this area. Also note that I am specifically addressing planetary survival, and space starts are another problem for another post.

    That being said, I believe there is a glaring problem that needs to be discussed: It is too easy to acquire all the resources required for you to advance from terrestrial gathering to full fledged space exploration.

    This is perhaps the most controversial change to even dare to bring up because it has been the foundations of the game from day one. The simplified resource gathering and refinement system is a major inhibitor of trade like behavior, as anyone with a minimum amount of effort can acquire all of the resource types with ease. Anyone with a minimum amount of effort and a set amount of starting resources can basically build anything in the game without exploring a large amount of area. All resource nodes are very close together, and aside from a short distance to a centralized location that can be managed by building a simple transport, there isn't much inhibiting a player in a time/output relationship from being an industrial powerhouse in their own right with minimal effort.

    A real world example of a time/output relationship can be illustrated in the refinement of ferrous oxides into wrought iron. On a small scale, a blacksmith may be able to produce his own charcoal from wood, mine his own iron ores, and master the concept of creating a suitable bloom to be useful in creating wrought iron with the end result of making something useful out of said wrought iron. A smith must divide their workday or workweek between these tasks in some way and thus we can garner a time/output relationship. An economy of scale with one person creating the charcoal, one mining ore, and one working the iron can increase efficiency in a huge way, and requires cooperation for survival if they are to make a living. However, the best time/output relationship was achieved when a region or group was dedicated to the sole production of a segment of that industry, coming together in a centralized location and distributing that finished product with trade.

    The time it takes to make each segment of the process that would have one person dividing their time between different operations is instead divided among several people who can all work at the same time and produce an output far larger than the same ratio of one's time and output. However, one must consider that distance also impacts the time/output relationship, and thus it becomes more and more profitable transport these segments of a process in larger quantities in relation to the distance between it and the "hub" of production.

    To me, this is where Space Engineers has created an issue in terms of trade relationships with other players and create an environment more indicative of hostile player interaction than not. Raw resources are simple to acquire and because of proximity to other resources, there is no incentive to collaborate in transporting mass quantities of one resource from one location to the other to create a more efficient time/output solution. The only real viable expansion in efficiency is to build an assembler dedicated to the production of each and every component, which is easily done by the player. The entire process is far too simplified to foster any kind of trade incentives and almost assuredly creates an environment that defaults to violence because of lack of anything else to do. Why should players build bigger ships? Why should players build vast trade networks? Nothing in the mechanics of the game fosters any incentive to create a better time/output solution because the maximum output required to do anything is achieved very quickly.

    The OP's original suggestion is a simple extension of the time/output formula. A resource block that gathers resources while they spend time focusing on things they actually enjoy about the game. Not everyone likes mining, and granted, there is heavy emphasis on mining. Ablock that does these things may hinder interaction more than in helps, however, I can certainly see the OP's point of view in reducing time spent doing one thing over another and in my mind, the time/output formula applies. You spend time up front building this device that delivers a small output over a long period of time, not to dissimilar to a savings bond. Under the solutions below, I can see where a block like this can fit in. I will elaborate on this more below.

    Possible routes of solution: (and additional issues)


    An obvious solution to this problem is increasing the distance between resources, but this causes a host of other problems in relation to current "survival pod landing" gameplay. A player has to have almost assured access to resources in order to "progress." Increasing the distance between resources is great if the player is willing to spend several half hour walkabouts to an hour or more of trekking along the ground just to build their first rover or flying ship. A reordering of how basic progression is done would have to be expanded upon and finely tweaked to land somewhere between "grind fest" and the "easymode" we have now. The surface rocks are an excellent foundation to this system. Resources in rocks are varied, require travel to access, and have a very minimal investment cost (read: none) to exploit. A player with a drill can gather resources from them with low risk, but gamble somewhat on what is in them.

    The problem arises when they are compared to underground deposits. With some slightly increased investment the player can simply find and detect them and start exploiting them and gain access to a source of a specific ore and simply wander between these deposits. There are very few roadbumps in place to progress from mining surface rocks to mining underground deposits, and I think a focus on this element of gameplay could lend itself to creating a long term solution to the player interaction issue. Simply put, the rewards of mining underground deposits versus the "risks" (investments in time/output solutions) is skewed heavily in favor of simply exploiting underground resources as they are both easy to find and easy to exploit. Changing how you gain access to these underground resources (like requiring a block drill to dig through to underground deposits) is a simple speedbump that could lend to trade behavior in certain situations, but it is not a guarantee that it will foster player interaction that fosters trade more so than combat but it is a huge start, as players may need to trade among each other for resources they find above ground in order to exploit specific ores locked underground.

    In relation to OP's post, I see very little difference in these rocks and the idea of a drilling platform that perhaps gives the player a random resource from refining waste elements like stone. A similar block that just refines stone from the player using power as a resource is also very good early game resource but care must be taken to ensure that it does not overshadow a staged progression system and eliminates the incentive to find richer deposits. A restriction on where they can be placed should also perhaps be considered, such as very close to where these rocks originally were, indicating some sort of pesudo deposit that perhaps yields a richer resource from waste material ratio than just on dirt.

    A second solution (or an amendment to the solution above) requires a more drastic set of changes is increasing intermediary "resources" that are required to produce something. I don't mean to say that a system of over complexity should be created, but the simple resource in, resource out system that we have does not foster any kind of illusion to create a more efficient time.output solution and would almost never foster any benefit of trading with players and coming together to form a hub for trade.

    For example, in the refinement of iron ore all one has to do is take an assembler, apply power to it (a resource in its own right,) add in the iron ore, and viola, steel. I am not here to argue the realism aspect of the game, but a simple introduction of another resource (such as carbon or oxygen) to create steel would be simple to implement, and added layers of complexity add to the available materials to "trade" among players. A player harvesting trees and a player harvesting ore could split their bounties between them from the arc furnace and benefit far more than simply taking the resource from another player. There is an incentive to interaction that goes beyond a simple time investment. The output is increased as well far and above what a lone player could manage. A progression system of simple blocks that do simple things like an electric fire based generator, a primitive arc type furnace, a rolling mill for creating various shapes would be the first tier of progression that doesn't create an over complex system of resource refinement but does provide a progression system that is available to everyone. However the jump to computers and solar panels requires access to more complex resources and devices to refine them.

    If resources are going to remain close together, an increase in resource complexity as material tiers increase (that is blocks requiring iron are one "tier" while blocks requiring silicon are blocked into another "tier") can smooth the progression gradient and create a staggered advancement. Advance materials require advance sub-materials to create, and not all start areas should be created equal in this regard. So it would be easy to create simple shelters, rovers, etc, no matter where the player starts (stone is much overlooked here in the shelter department) but the player must travel some distance to acquire resources needed to progress to atmosphere vtol type ships and even more resources are required to finally access space travel. It would almost certainly require at least a semblance of working with others if anyone is to progress quickly and in safety of raiders, but it still doesn't foster a guaranteed trade relationship between players. Again, I cannot emphasize how much needs to change in order for this to become a reality, and it may not be a viable solution outside of mods in the long run. It would almost certainly require the introduction of more resource types. It is a very common theme in 2d survival games (Starbound being an obvious example) and could work perfectly in a 3d one, but the resources need to be expanded and the entire game would have to be added onto. In this system of progression, a player can easily access rovers, simple tools, etc, but must acquire more complex resources somehow. It can be through trade, through raiding, and through simple nomading if they are so inclined, but staying put in a relatively small radius to their initial spawnpoint would not be an option any longer, and there is almost immediate gains to be made by setting up networks of hubs and trade systems to improve time/output ratios. Combat would become more about controlling known resource points, and exploration can lead to huge gains for players when a resource of increased rarity is found and exploited.

    A third and less complex solution (or again, a tie in with the solutions above) would be to create factions that players can join that are controlled by NPCs. This solution takes away from the whole idea of a lone wolf survivor, but if pirates can organize, then why couldn't others in a world? Working for these factions gives players access to certain things like access to certain blocks in the base or some other incentive. Joining a faction automatically flags others in your faction as friendly, and you are then faced with the choice of griefing a "team mate" versus working with them under a penalty imposed by a DM for misbehaving. However, this still requires a certain redesign as in my mind, the only reason to work for a faction is for some sort of gain. If the gain is access to complex facilities such as assembly bays for vehicles or weapons that allow you to eliminate the rival team, the game slowly becomes some sort of death match, and the idea of trading gets further and further away. However, if some sort of reward system is in place, it may foster player cooperation for gain, but only in adversity is there really any boom in resource consumption.

    For example, a mining consolidation facility and production facility is spawned on the map. The NPC faction wants a player to assist in harvesting resources, move resources from the facility to the production facility, and perhaps assemble things in the base via building off of a blueprint and projector. It doesn't care where these resources come from, but all it does is essentially tasks the players in doing things for it, and rewards the player in some way. If it is money (in tangible form or in some sort of reputation system a la MMOs,) this could be used for better tools or produced goods that allow players to save time in the long run by spending their time in a way that gives them access to resources that they wouldn't have access to normally (another angle of the time/output formula.) This does have the potential to foster player relations that benefit both parties, such as a miner and hauler team, but what kind of framework would be needed to implement such things may again be impossible without heavily modification. This solution is also very heavy handed in creating forced interactions, which isn't necessarily bad, but many would argue that this is against the "spirit" of the game. Because the game lacks the fundamental human conflict (survival by nourishment) a conflict must be fostered in some way on the server, and it almost must be a rival faction with PCs. This also lends itself to issues like that which are found in games like planetside 2, where if everyone were to have a collective eurikea and join team A there would be no conflict. With no conflict, the question then arises "Why should players build bigger ships? Why should players build vast trade networks?"

    I understand there are many that are satisfied with playing in a sandbox and creating things that will not go beyond the equivalent of a shelf-display in a game world, but I also feel that there are many of us that want to have meaningful interaction that isn't forced upon us by rules from mods or "because I said so" type of rulings. A game's trade incentive should be inherently valuable and when it is players will participate in these things without being told to do so more often than not, and will collectively punish players for not participating in the social interaction. I love my capital ship and my mining vehicles that I have made. I would love for a meaningful reason to use them other than playing with tonka trucks in the sand.

    Sorry. No TL;DR.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
  4. ViroMan Senior Engineer

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    1,123
    ohh hell... wall of text just got a new master.

    anyways... set all your settings to realistic and then tell me its too easy.
    If you want more self punishment (perhaps you are feeling extra masochistic), there is also a mod out there thats called "Universe With Poor Ores", that makes finding anything other then iron, ice, and rock impossible. You have to convert rock into gravel and then tons of it into trace elements of everything else. Takes hours and hours to refine enough to do anything when using realistic.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
    • Funny Funny x 1
  5. Regulus Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    9
    Changing times to a realistic setting on a server does nothing but dilate the values in a time/output equation. If everyone is adhering to the same dilated times of certain mechanics than nothing has changed at all. It just takes an hour to get a resource near your base versus several minutes, and nothing else has changed. There is nothing to gain still from player interaction in any meaningful way because the time side of the time/output equation is the same for all players. Distance has a more tangible effect on the time/output formula if everyone is on equal footing otherwise. The only way to decrease the distance factor is to increase your speed, which is really just a decrease in the time it takes to take resources to the output side of the time/output ratio. However, if you are trading with someone for a resource you own versus a resource they own, you have a analogous relationship in relation to the time/output ratio. You spend time collecting a resource a short distance away, and they spend time collecting a short distance away, and you trade with them for that resource with your resource at a point of reasonable distance, you both will have made a gain in the time/output ratio for that particular resource since the net time required to obtain resources is less than moving a larger distance yourself to an unclaimed resource.

    "easymode" was in quotations for a reason. I didn't wish to imply the game was easy in and of itself, but it is certainly more easy relative to what the term "grind fest" implies that used in the same sentence in that paragraph as an explanation for what a reasonable progression system should be. Not too tedious, not too simplified.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
  6. Sagi Apprentice Engineer

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    265
    I agree with regulus.
    Changing the speed won't increase the possibilities and neither would it do anything to increase player interaction...
    But it got me thinking.
    Another way of getting this is having much less diffrent ore fields but much larger ones spread out over a larger area.
    This would require that an antenna could be used with an ore detector and look for very large distances to the nearest specifck targeted ore.

    Then you can have a monopoly over a resoure in a large area and start trading. and set up multiple bases so you would have the need for a transport ship to transport much larger quantaties of ore.
    ps2 the resource spawning in rocks as we know it now would be nice to balance this so you could always get very small quantities of every resource to build some components. however they should never enough to build anything decent.
    (ps the inventory multiplier should be seperated from personal and ships, everyone want to hold quite a bit to build ships but the ships cargo's are going rediculisly high with that.)
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  7. GrindyGears Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,787
    Trying to build multiple large full mining bases is a huge pain in the ass for a player who either:

    A) wants to be alone, or is on a PVP type server, no matter what you say, theres going to be some point where no one from your faction is online and your shits going to get smashed.
    B) someone playing survival single player.

    While i do agree that larger ore deposits would offer more of an incentive to hunker down in a mining base, ultimately the speed of which a deposit can be depleted is staggering. You could realistically (not irl realistic) remove a mountain in an afternoon with two or three people, and as soon as you actually have the ore, you no longer have much of a reason to stay there. mining is an inherently visible process, assuming you don't dig a tiny little rabbit hole and then make a giant hollow sphere underground, the enormous open pit is going to be quite visible. As soon as players know where you are (especially when you have a static base) your game is basically over, people will pillage your base immediately after you log off. No amount of turrets, or defenses will deter people from trying to take your stuff.

    This issue is actually compounded by your want for larger ore veins, monopolies on resources often create conflict. if you have control of the only nickle deposit in a 50km radius, its easier to try and steal, than to find and mine yourself.

    TLDR: not all player interaction is positive for a game, particularly when gameplay mechanics encourage griefing
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Sagi Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    265
    Well in that case you built a larger transporter carrying a smaller mining ship and you get the hell away when you are going to log off.
    But at least there would be a point in having the game in multiplayer style (do not confuse with co-up).

    p.s. i also agree that you must be better able to defend yourself when you are offline.
    on of those examples would be that the personal grindr would not just cut anything just like that from another player but just like everything esle it gets turned away in this cave of haters.
    perhaps homing missiles would be something nice, then the missiles as we know now could also be a bit cheaper.
    OW dear i said something comon tear it down!
     
  9. Helaton Apprentice Engineer

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    208


    There's a start.

    The rest relies on mods depending on what you want to do. For example to encourage trading, you'd have to have a mod that disables certain resources. Let's say Uranium is disabled in the world. With server-side resource points, you can exchange credits for uranium.

    You'd have to develop the mods yourself for what you're looking for though.
     
  10. Sagi Apprentice Engineer

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    265
    Nice tought but allas i'm not really looking for a currency and neither trading in particular.
    This game just needs more player interaction with each other.
    trading trough a terminal is not gonna make that happen.
     
  11. odizzido Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    681
    If you look at EVE online they have done a very good job with the economy/combat. People trade and fight constantly. I think a big part of this is having effective defenses. If it's very difficult to profit off of piracy it's more likely that people will trade instead. I haven't read all five pages so perhaps someone has already said all of this, but just off the top of my head trade would require three things.

    1) Make immobile stations able to have defenses that mobile ships cannot to allow you to effectively defend a position. Maybe this is by shields that only work on stations or station only long range powerful weapons. It must be automated and effective.

    2) Have some form of trade terminal you can dock and interact with. The player who sets it up would be able to set their own trade values like iron:silver at 10:1 or whatever.

    3) I don't know if this is how it is already, but defenses must have a setting to allow people to fly around as long as they don't shoot the station.


    Also as someone has mentioned already there must be a reason to trade as well. My thoughts are that not all resources could be available on all planets. Perhaps the alien world has no uranium for example, while mars would have no nickle. Obviously component resource requirements would need to change to allow people to get off world with what is available. This could also mean adding some items to the game such as thrusters that work well on each planet. So if you wanted to build mars tech but only had earth bases you would either need to start mining the unique mars minerals or trade with someone from mars(who lacks the earth minerals). There could be a final tech level which requires resources from all planets as well. Perhaps unique asteroid minerals as well.
     
  12. Sagi Apprentice Engineer

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    265
    1) this could be made easily with something more realistic like guiding missiles instead of dumb fired ones.

    2) completly agreed

    3) agreed as well.

    The problem is with space engineers that for most thintgs you want to build you will need every raw resource there is or lack some serieus key elements in your ship.

    Perhaps there could be more diffrence between types of weapons armor and thrusters. A basic ship could be built with perhaps only 3 raw resources but more advanced stuff would require the more rare resources that would actually be made rare.
     
  13. GrindyGears Senior Engineer

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    1,787
    You're still screwing the single player or wanting to be alone/small group engineer(s)

    Block tiers or advanced things really don't do much aside marginally slow down progress, we're talking about a game where hundreds of thousands of kg of ore is common place, without making a super grindfest it really doesn't serve much to add anything to the game.

    You're also straying from the topic into gameplay mechanics that have to change to kinda make an idea work.
     
  14. ViroMan Senior Engineer

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    1,123
    EVE IS a super grind fest. I played it for 2 years as miner/combat build. I KNOW how it is.

    If you want an economy to work, yes there needs to be a reason to trade. As you said... something would need to be made harder to obtain. There are multiple ways to go about this...
    • Make finding resources harder or more grindy(longer to get out or with lower yield). As was said make certain planets abundant in some types of ores and have next to nothing in others. Asteroids ATM are way to abundant in everything. Higher "class" ores need to be more rare.
    • Creating things takes a LOT more time. Assembler gets a few wrenches tossed in the gears... Your welders now take X times longer then current "realistic" settings. This makes people want to buy/steal/trade pre-made equipment or components rather then blow them up.
    • Research you can start out making basic equipment but, you need a research computer that can research BPs for more advanced parts. You can buy BPs/advanced parts from other people.
    • Doing things gives you or your equipment skills or gaining efficiency in doing those things. Example: building a basic steal block may take 75 steel plates at first but, as you keep building blocks you gain efficiency and understanding the ways to do it without botching up the job so badly and eventually get it down to 25 per block. People looking for the shortcut or not interested in the work to get lower numbers may be enticed to buy/trade/steal.
    Also, yes, there needs to be station only weapons that are ultra a§§ kicking in some way. Make sure that they become useless when converting to ship or you can't convert as long as they are on the grid or even attached via remote grid.
     
  15. McTraveller Apprentice Engineer

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    118
    This thread suggests to me that people just can't wrap their heads around what is essentially a post-scarcity economy.

    I guess I never realized it was so uncomfortable that so many people want ways to add that scarcity back!
     
  16. ViroMan Senior Engineer

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    1,123
    I always assumed that the reason we can find so much of everything is that it makes it easier to build things and thus test the game, since it is still in ALPHA. Once out of alpha I expected things to be harder to do.
     
  17. Soup Toaster Apprentice Engineer

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    212
    A solution to many of these issues is to have combat and non-combat areas. For example the Earth-like planet and the space around it out to say 200km from the planets center point could be non-combat. You cannot damage, destroy, or access other players blocks, and you can't build a station within say 500 meters of another players station. Perhaps Mars would be the same. But then the Alien world is a free-combat space where anything goes. Ore is more plentiful there and you can find more kinds of it, you just have to be ready to fight for it. On the other hand if you don't want to fight for it you don't have to, you can just stay out of the combat zone of the solar system.
     
  18. odizzido Junior Engineer

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    681
    Something that just popped into my head is that you could have a static mining spot if you were to tap a lava flow tube or something similar. That might possibly make sense and it would give a reason to build on planets. I don't think it's possible with how things are set up ATM though.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Sagi Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    265
    That's actually a great idea! however i don't see them making moving voxels anytime soon altough they must have gotten alot of demands for water and lakes so if the should create one liquid then others can easily follow.
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  20. ViroMan Senior Engineer

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    1,123
    Why does it have to be voxels? They don't want to do large volumes of liquids for damn sure at the moment but, slow moving lava? That is easy as shit to compute and should take hardly any power to do. Nothing needs to swim through it... anything touches it should take damage.

    Now side thought... can we take some grav gens and make balls of lava to throw at people? Yes please.
     
    • Like Like x 1
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