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(Yet Another) Survival Mode Feedback

Discussion in 'Survival' started by Kiithnaras, Mar 19, 2014.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. Kiithnaras

    Kiithnaras Trainee Engineer

    I'll just say right off the top that I like the overall concept and idea of the survival mode. Solo, things can get a little tedious, but the Realistic x10 mode helps a lot in that respect. Things still take a considerable time to weld, however, and some better, advanced tools that would require construction would be a great boon to players.

    Update: The following section is largely redacted. I've left it in for the event that someone wishes to adjust their own values. I have instead discovered the configuration files within the game directory that allows me to tweak these very things on my server (Thank you, Devs!). The only thing that is mildly annoying to deal with in this regard to multiplayer is sharing my configuration files with other clients so that they are perfectly synced with the server. For instance, if I adjust a Heavy Armor block to use 100 total plates instead of 150, other players without the files will not see them fully complete, nor will they experience reduced inventory consumption of most components in their personal inventory.

    To remedy this, I simply ask that joining a server should prioritize its configuration files within said folder over the client's.

    Possibly my most headache-inducing section. Ores themselves are abundant enough, particularly with the Extreme asteroid set, and have a tolerable volume. This section will deal strictly with the ungodly long refine times for most ores, though. This area of Survival is in severe need of balance. Based on the times I have been seeing, I'd like to post my own feeling on a good starting point for how quickly the specific ores should refine. In general, the speed should be proportional to the density of the ores, with Uranium and Platinum being the slowest, and Magnesium, Nickel, Iron, and Cobalt being the fastest:

    Uranium: 1.9s/kg
    Platinum: 2.1s/kg
    Gold: 1.9s/kg
    Silver: 1.0s/kg
    Cobalt: 0.9s/kg
    Nickel: 0.9s/kg
    Iron: 0.8s/kg
    Magnesium: 0.15s/kg
    Silicon: 0.25s/kg (I didn't forget that one, shush!)
    Stone: 0.2s/kg

    Stone, being ground into gravel whose only purpose is reactor components, from what I can tell, can stand to keep a very fast refine time. Most of the rest need to be reduced significantly, while Iron and Gold can easily get a speed nerf.

    Not too many gripes here. The ability to queue blocks worth of materials at a time is a great asset, and melting components back into processed materials is a lovely idea. Great job here! The only major complaint I can come up with is the unusually long processing time on Construction Components due to their high demand in larger structures, lights, and internal structures. This, however, brings me to my next section.

    Overall, the mechanic is sound, but it suffers badly from balance issues. Small ships seem to have the right of it. Overall, most components, save cockpits and reactors, have decently low material costs and quick weld times, and this fits. Several components, however, have absurdly large volumes themselves (I'm lookin' at you, Reactor Components and Internal Plating). Additionally, the lighter-mass Internal Walls require more iron than light armor plating does. Wat? Overall, numbers and details need balancing here, but the basis is good. Bug: I did notice a glitch where joining two separate stations together causes the joining piece to automatically be constructed fully at no apparent cost, so there's that.

    Potential Features/Improvements:
    Good gravy, where to begin. Ah, yes.
    Conveyors: These lovely-sounding things have so much potential, but they don't do a whole lot right now that I can tell. Their ideal operation would be a remote connection. Devil's in the details, but essentially they would let Mining Drills use any attached Cargo Containers as a primary storage, as well as be an expanded input and overflow output for attached Refineries and Assemblers. An alternate, simpler method of operation would allow them to be more simple storage connectors, allowing two connected storages of any type act as one for all purposes, even accessing (in other words, access cargo container and being able to pull things out of the drills that it's attached to).

    EDIT: Subsidiary of Conveyors: Docking Clamps, aka Docking Transfer Systems. These would work in a similar manner to landing gear, but with serveral exceptions, and come in both Large and Small flavors. While landing gear could attach to any surface, a DTS would only be able to attach to another, identical DTS. One special Caveat is that Small Station/Large-Ship DTS would see a Large Small-Ship DTS as identical. While attached, the ships inventories would be added to the attached conveyor network, automatically drawing out ore at a specified rate if there are refineries present on said network. Additionally, any non-ore inventory could be manually moved from the source DTS and attached Cargo storage to the DTS or Cargo storage of the docked ship/station. Now, a DTS docking mechanism would not be nearly as robust as a landing gear in terms of its attachment strength. In other words, using them to transfer cargo and hold the two ships together is fine, but they should both be stationary, or at least not accelerating, or else Bad Things might happen. Landing Gear should still be the dedicated robust attachment system. /Edit

    Advanced Tools: These hand-held tools would either have to be researched (a mechanic possibly added later) or have their materials gathered and assembled, featuring much faster operation for the grinder and welder, and broader harvest area and faster operation for an advanced mining drill. I foresee two variations if this is pursued: A high-efficiency model that operates slower, but uses considerably less energy, and a high-output model that operates faster and uses considerably more energy.

    And yes, I have to say it - "Infinite" universe. It is entirely feasible within the current system, from what I can gather. The way I see it, each "Sector" within the universe would be a cube of a certain size with its own assets, separate from each adjacent sector, each generated procedurally. Some could be completely empty sectors, others could be packed with asteroids. Some could feature -massive- asteroids, derelect bases, ice fields, and any number of other interesting locations. While in a given sector, players' clients would only load that sector and any sector's border within 5km, leaving a maximum of four loaded sectors at any given moment. With a maximum of 100m/s, that would leave ample time for loading sector assets and distribute process load. Beacons and Players in other sectors would be entirely invisible unless the ship or station they are on are equipped with Radio antennae, each antenna expanding the radius of detection by one sector. Radio antennae would additionally draw a respectable amount of power while on in order to perform this function, roughly equal to 4-5 Spotlights of their respective size class.

    While I like the Passages that replaced the exceptionally buggy Ladders, having a compact vertical ascent mechanism that doesn't involve using a jetpack (especially on a fast-moving big ship) is highly desirable. Some sort of reworked ladder or mechanical lift would be excellent.

    That's all that I really care to write about for now. Let the flaming commence!
  2. BlankWarningsign

    BlankWarningsign Apprentice Engineer

    I can dig it!

    The time required for all of this stuff is way too long... it's really mind numbing at times.
  3. radam

    radam Senior Engineer

    All been suggested afaik. If its going slow, play on x10.
  4. McHendrik

    McHendrik Apprentice Engineer

    After another day of trying the other starting conditions in Realistic x1 I have come to the decision that the long refine times and long build times for components that go into the large ship and station are OK. I know the "consensus" is building that these need "balance" but I disagree. It should take a lot longer using one or two refineries to make a large ship or station than it does to make a small ship. Just looking at the sheer scale of these things, the extra resources involved, the extra time scales up reasonably, IMO.

    Just like any "realistic" world (like the one we live in) if you need to refine large quantities of a resource that takes a long time, you need to build a lot of refineries. I don't see people here commenting on how many of them you can feed off one small reactor on a station or large ship. The key isn't changing the speeds of the refines, it's getting into the mindset that if you want to build a really big ship or another station, you're going to need a lot of refining throughput, which means a lot of refineries.

    They aren't that hard to build. Fe is plentiful and the grinders on the small ships do a great job.

    The only gripe I have is that once you try to get up to large scales, the drag/drop through the backpack at 400L is just killing me.
  5. Kiithnaras

    Kiithnaras Trainee Engineer

    That's why the overall differences in refine times weren't -super- fast. Most ores refine around 4s/kg, the exceptions being Iron at 0.045s/kg (Ludicrous Speed), Stone at 0.1s/kg, and Gold and Magnesium at 1s/kg. With two refineries cooking, it's taken an exceptional amount of time just processing raw materials.

    And yeah, I didn't get into specifics about construction for that reason; The volume that components take as well as certain blocks' construction materials costs were wildly varying from Too Easy to Absurd. It wasn't the time involved in welding, but the capacity constraints involved many components, as well as the component requirements for certain structures.

    Interior Walls are a glaring point with me. A large Light Armor Block takes 30 steel plates, which equates to about 185ish kgs of Iron and takes 90L of space. Reasonable. A large (the only kind) Interior Wall, which is lighter when finished building, takes 220ish kgs of Iron and takes well over 900L of space. Some things that require a large volume of materials, like Large Reactors and Beacons, are okay because you don't need hundreds of them for a large structure or ship. Conversely, Interior Walls are the staple of internally-structured rooms to help keep the mass of large ships down and keep construction costs of stations low. However, presently, they only serve as more expensive construction variety.
  6. radam

    radam Senior Engineer

    Interlan walls are heavier than light armor, afaik.
  7. Kiithnaras

    Kiithnaras Trainee Engineer

    Tested and confirmed: Interior Walls are in fact the -same- mass as light armor. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
  8. CaptainJaRs

    CaptainJaRs Trainee Engineer

    Nerf the interior walls cost and weight! thats the point of this thread right?
  9. DrLucky

    DrLucky Trainee Engineer

    I was going to make a "Survival Experience" thread, but you seem to have struck the tone I'm going for, so I'll just drop in here.

    Some background on my play:

    I experiment in Creative, but I'm primarily here for Survival (Co-op). I like building big things in survival, whatever the game (7 Days to Die, Minecraft, Starbound, Terraria, etc)

    Since Survival mode dropped, I've played about 60 hours of SE, overwhelmingly in Survival.

    Some Background on Me:

    I'm a senior designer and developer at a small indie mobile game company. The largest game I run is MMO and has seen over a million players at one time or another. I breathe games. I really really like sandbox survival type stuff.

    My Experience, so Far:

    Far and away, the biggest problem is inventory management. It's getting in the way of the game. If I got only one fix, that's it. I understand conveyors are on the way (and that's what I voted for in the poll), but they won't cover it.

    The increased granularity of realism mode helps (I now play on x10 inventory and x1 other stuff), but I still seem to spend a lot of time packing and unpacking.

    I like the idea that a realistic inventory is 400L. I wish we could keep that and reduce the pain. But When my 4:woot:rill ship comes back from a mining run, I've got ~54kL of ore to unload; at x10 that's 14 inventories - no fun. At x1, it's 140. Ugh. And I don't see that as a big job - I should need dozens or hundreds of such loads to build something big. Driving the miner is kind of interesting - it takes skill. Unloading it is awful.

    Conveyors internal to a ship will not help this at all. Docking ports plus conveyors would, I guess.

    My suggestion, at least in the short term, would be to have the inventory screen allow access to all inventories within a short distance. If I park my ship right next to a refinery and storage container, please allow me to swap stuff around quickly and painlessly. Even a few metres range would suffice.

    Treading farther from the necessary, I'd like to see what I think of as cargo bags: Give the player "langing gear" on her arms so she can grapple objects if she's not using tools, and then let her push blobs of cargo around. That's the workaround for keeping realistic inventory sizes while still permitting large packages to be moved. Think of them as the rocks / ore piles / component stacks you can drop now, just hetrogenous. Then charge more energy to accelerate a more massive heap.

    I can live with the existing processing speeds if moving stuff around becomes less painful, though obviously balancing would be appreciated.

    Same goes for block component costs. The most egregious example being Interior Wall vs. Light Armour. I'm sure those will get tweaked.

    Finally, attention needs to be paid to the gamification of progress. You should be able to expend resources and time to get better at spending resources and time. See any of the successful core Minecraft mods for examples (IC2, Thermal Expansion, Buildcraft, etc.) Building the first assembler or refinery is exciting! Building your first runabout / miner is cool! Building number twelve is meh. The devs have bandied about the idea of a '3D printer' - to which my response is yes. Hell yes. What could be a better goal than a huge industrial station with enormous drydocks assembling capital ships from blueprints? Or huge construction ships doing the reverse? Amazing.

    But before that happens, having a range of assemblers, a range of refineries (or, alternatively, upgrade to the standard ones) is important to how long the game stays exciting. Enabling upgrades to blocks in general is going to be super important. ie: make super-heavy armour by just welding 150 more plate to your heavy armour. Etc.

    All in all, I'm super excited to see where this is going.

  10. Ice Forge

    Ice Forge Apprentice Engineer

    Brilliant post DrLucky, really put out a lot of issues and good responce to how to quickly solve them and be able to move on to other things.

    My addition to this would be in particular the point of crossing over inventories when in vicinity of two storage units would be to utilize a storage container for construction in general.

    F.ex - You are building a room that is 5x5 ( yes a tad on the small side but stay with me typing this after a 18 hr work shift ^^ ) and you have a mobile vessel with a container on it and by having it
    in the vicinity of a certain specific proximity you would be able to utilize all objects/components that are in that crate for the construction/welding you are performing.

    Which would result in another way to reduce inventory management to more practical engineering solution for it.

    got a whole box of ideas i have been spawning on ill update it later after some sleep.
  11. DrLucky

    DrLucky Trainee Engineer

    I debated about posting at all: Since I'm normally wearing the hat of the overworked dev, I'm painfully aware of how that goes. Keen clearly has their stuff together or they wouldn't have got this far. Which means they've already discussed, planned, rejected 98% of the ideas on this forum, and many others besides.

    There are hidden reasons (scalability, net code, future plans) that any or all of our suggestions won't work the way we imagine they will. If they spent every waking hour explaining these facts to us, they would still be getting the same old suggestions and be getting nothing done. Part of the genius of making a truly moddable game is that they can focus on the core and let us get on with the business of making variations to our tastes.

    The three shining things that the forums can provide, in my opinion are:

    1) That other 2% of ideas. Every so often on my games' forums, someone does come up with a "why didn't we think of that" thing. It's worth the other 98%.

    2) Player pain points. Part of being a dev is that you don't get to play the game as much, or the same way as, your most hardcore players. So feedback on what's making the game unfun is super-necessary.

    3) Positive feedback. It's very human to want appreciation. And it does help.

    So, with a view towards #3: Great job, guys. This game is already super fun. I think I can see the shape of where you're going with it, and I'm very, very excited to go along for the ride. Hang in there!
  12. Kiithnaras

    Kiithnaras Trainee Engineer

    DrLucky, I do love your feedback and I think that they are some fantastic ideas. Regarding moving inventory around with a small space - "Hand-held Local Gravity Field Manipulator" - moderate size constraints, on the order of the Mining Drill (100-120L), and draws power while in use, but lets you pick up and move large packages, and potentially launch them with moderate force. Totally not a Gravity Gun, though *twiddles thumbs innocently*

    And large assembly drydocks? So very much yes. Even something simple enough as an automated welder that draws power and materials from attached storage to assemble nearby placed block frames would be a great first step. Upgrading blocks is a very lovely idea, too. I have several blocks on my carrier that I would love to see upgraded just from light to heavy by welding on more plates or whatever. Fantastic.

    In the meantime, the ability to area-place, possibly even with symmetry, block frames would be a wonderful intermediary, though you'd still need the materials to place the frames themselves and attempting to over-place would cancel the action

    Also, Magboots should be a thing, though low priority. Basically, if you're within a meter of a metal structure (station/large-ship), toggle your boots on, and it latches you to that surface as if it had gravity and, in fact, ignores local gravity if it is less than a certain, configurable amount (Default maybe 0.6g). When you toggle your boots on, your jetpack gets switched off and vice versa. One caveat is that magboots could only handle 45-degree surface transitions at a time, and movement speed is markedly reduced. However, if you're really on about saving suit-energy, these are your friend for working against or without gravity on your favorite large ship or station.

    This brings me to the idea of suit upgrades. They weigh you down and reduce mobility, but enhance your ability to Do Stuff. Cargo Bags for increasing inventory. Capacitor for increasing suit energy. Armor for increasing health/damage reduction. Enhanced jetpacks for flying faster, and so on. Neat idea i've been pondering.

    Overall, I do still agree, though. I have spent now nearly an entire week of my spare time just playing with Survival Space Engineers. Fantastic game, Devs. You have my support thus far and have made a great product. I think I've gotten a dozen friends to get involved in it on my own. For all my gripes and complaints and suggestions, it just means that I care about the future of the game and want to see it as successful as you do (though that doesn't mean my vision matches yours, necessarily).
  13. nalandial

    nalandial Trainee Engineer

    This is probably better for small drill ships only but I found it worked well.

    I ended up doing this by connecting drill outputs via connector tubes along the ship to a conveyor block, then connecting that via tubes to a storage container so that the inputs to it are facing up and down (this is technically optional and could be replaced with a conveyor block, but this gives me more storage for ore). Then I put a connector at the bottom and disabled it. My station has a collector connected to a conveyor connected to the refinery via conveyor tubes. When I want to deposit ore, I simply place my ship so that the connector is above the collector, then I turn it on. All the ore is then dumped out into the collector. Then just turn it off when it's done.
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