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Author Topic: Hyperspace Revised  (Read 671 times)
SafariJohn
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« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2018, 07:38:15 PM »

I admit it! My primary goal is to rid the game of the tyranny of fuel. Tongue Fuel is cool, it's just too shackling at present.

Ah, gotcha Smiley I think it's a difference of preference, then - I'd like fuel, and running out of it, to be something you're almost always concerned about. Feel-wise, I think that's good for making exploration feel more dangerous. The "tyranny" is a feature, if you will. Not to say it couldn't be tuned in one direction or another, of course; it's entirely possible that it's on the harsh side right now.

Re: Food - why make it a second version of supplies?

I'll have to get back to you on fuel because my line of thought keeps running away from me. In the meantime, I'd like to emphasize that I don't hate constantly burning fuel, but rather I don't think it contributes well to the game. Maybe there's a way to tweak stuff to where it does, but I haven't been able to come up with anything.

Food has a key distinction from supplies: you won't find edible food in a 100 year old wreck, or even a 10 year old wreck. I suspect food doesn't survive an exploding ship very well either. There's also differences in price and where it's produced, but that's less important.

Adding food as another resource kind of makes sense but you could easily abstract and say “you have enough food, the space required is trivial”.

The average person eats about 4 pounds of food per day. 2000 pounds of food / (4 pounds per person * 30 days) = 16.7 people fed per 30 days. Drop that to 15 for ease of use and assume 1 unit = 1 ton (not really true, but a unit is abstract so whatever), then even a Tempest needs to carry 1 unit of food per 6 units of supplies. That is clearly non-trivial.

A skeleton crew Onslaught would need 33 units of food per month to go with its 40 units of supplies. Up that to max crew and it's over 80 units of food per month.

TBH, I was surprised myself at how high the numbers are.


Edit: forgot another point on food: you can reduce your food consumption by dropping extra crew off in cryopods. Having to leave a ship behind because you don't have enough fuel or supplies is much more painful.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 07:42:25 PM by SafariJohn » Logged

Goumindong
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« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2018, 09:51:32 PM »

Why is a unit a ton and why do humans need 4 lbs of food a day in space? Everyone just eats raw nutrients.

Also if 1 unit == 1 Ton then the Atlas is roughly 1/10th the size of the average cargo container ship on the water these days.

Edit:

And that “average” is pretty small. At ~20,000 TEU the largest ships clock in at upwards of 180,000 DWT (total safe cargo weight) and so can likely haul at least 150,000 tones fully loaded. The largest bulk carriers clock in at upwards of 350,000 DWT! This would make our 2,000 tonne atlas mighty small in comparison.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 10:11:52 PM by Goumindong » Logged
xenoargh
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« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2018, 01:29:08 AM »

Actually, 4lbs. person/day is pretty light, compared to the real thing:  "an astronaut on the ISS uses about 1.83 pounds (0.83 kilograms) of food per meal each day"; that works out to roughly 8 pounds a day, with three meals and a snack, more or less.

Also, bear in mind that Supplies isn't just "space food"; it's supposed to be the total logistical support for fleet elements- spares, repair kits, the million-and-one things people carry around IRL on ships to support humans, plus the plausible extras you'd need in space.

I agree that the tonnage / mass stuff for the Atlas seems pretty unrealistic, overall, when we compare with giant civilian cargo ships.

But that's not what gets used by real-world navies, for various reasons (mainly, speed; a giant cargo ship is slow and needs deep water, can't dock at a lot of international ports, etc.).  Look what it takes to supply a fleet carrier group on the move IRL. The numbers are higher than the Atlas, but it's not vastly so.
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Sarissofoi
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« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2018, 03:16:05 AM »

What about making Hyperspace kind like a Arctic?
With Ice melted(clear space) nearby stars(bigger/hotter one have bigger clear radius) and with possibility of Ice-breaking(space clearing) ships that make clear routes through space and this routes are constantly encroaching by ice and only constant ship movement and ice-breaking ships keep them away?
It would add possibility to make new routes and that old ones could get lost to ice.
Ice could have few densities, some could be easily pushed through even with normal ships - other would be hard even for  flotillas with ice-breakers,Storm would be places where ice crush against each other making it dangerous plus also occasional iceberg that you better do not try to crush(and which move around if freed).
It would make exploration actually much harder - needed investments and would be more logical why factions do not expand wildly.
Just a free thought.
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TaLaR
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« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2018, 03:37:34 AM »

@Sarissofoi
I like this Arctic analogy quite a lot. Maybe it doesn't have to be so literal with Icebergs, but dynamic route generation/maintenance by traffic sounds good.
It can reduce so called 'Tyranny of fuel' too. Travel in clear space can be relatively cheap, while going deeper into ice becomes more fuel expensive (and may require specialized ice-breaker ships).
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SafariJohn
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« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2018, 09:09:12 AM »

Why is a unit a ton and why do humans need 4 lbs of food a day in space? Everyone just eats raw nutrients.

Also if 1 unit == 1 Ton then the Atlas is roughly 1/10th the size of the average cargo container ship on the water these days.

Edit:

And that “average” is pretty small. At ~20,000 TEU the largest ships clock in at upwards of 180,000 DWT (total safe cargo weight) and so can likely haul at least 150,000 tones fully loaded. The largest bulk carriers clock in at upwards of 350,000 DWT! This would make our 2,000 tonne atlas mighty small in comparison.

A unit is a ton in this case because it makes it easy to calculate food consumption. As I said, 1 unit isn't really 1 ton.

When was the last time you ate raw nutrients? School cafeterias don't count. Wink

I'm with you on the Atlas point. I ran the numbers before I started this thread and was bothered by it. I'm not sure how much logic there is behind cargo capacities. They feel mostly arbitrary to me, at least. With both supply and food consumption, and the upcoming abstraction of the economy, I think there would be enough footing to rebalance cargo capacities using solid math and logic.

Actually, 4lbs. person/day is pretty light, compared to the real thing:  "an astronaut on the ISS uses about 1.83 pounds (0.83 kilograms) of food per meal each day"; that works out to roughly 8 pounds a day, with three meals and a snack, more or less.

IIRC, low gravity is why they have to eat so much - lots of exercise is required to keep healthy. Not 100% sure on that, but if it's true then Starsector space crew wouldn't need as much due to their ships' artificial gravity.

Assuming 6 pounds of food per day would be handy, since that's about 10 people per ton per month. Much easier to remember and calculate with than 15.
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SafariJohn
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« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2018, 10:08:54 AM »

Sorry for the double post, but I finally caught my line of thought on fuel long enough to get a train of thought through. This may be a bit rough.

I could liken Starsector travel to coal/oil-powered sailing well enough, but I think cars are an even more apt analogy. This seems a bit odd, but bear with me. When you use a car, you first walk around at home (no fuel used). Then you drive somewhere else (using fuel). You walk around the other location (no fuel again). Finally you drive back home (more fuel used). That lines up pretty exactly with Starsector's system/hyperspace dynamic.

Now with cars, there's almost always a gas station nearby if you run low on fuel. But sometimes that's not true. In that case you need to know how far you can go on a tank of gas. Most people know their car's range off-hand, more or less, or they can look it up on the internet. In Starsector, however, you can't memorize your fleet's range.

You can't memorize your fleet's range because it frequently changes. You gain ships, you lose ships, then you add/remove a tanker and any idea you had before gets thrown right out. I think this is likely the crux of the problem with fuel in Starsector. Obviously, "fixing" this aspect of the game would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.


I guess that's the main reason I believe constantly paying fuel to travel should go. It's too complicated to keep track of reliably without frequently checking references (like fuel range on the map), so most people just wing it and hope they don't get unlucky.

The fuel cost to jump to hyperspace escapes this mess because it is a one-time cost that can be easily kept track of.

I'll keep thinking on this and see what else I come up with.
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Alex
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« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2018, 10:24:17 AM »

Food has a key distinction from supplies: you won't find edible food in a 100 year old wreck, or even a 10 year old wreck. I suspect food doesn't survive an exploding ship very well either. There's also differences in price and where it's produced, but that's less important.

Aha, that's a very good point, as far as what makes it different. I'm not sure that's a good thing, though - part of the design is that you can find more stuff to keep you going if your run is at least moderately successful. It's not a hard timer but a reserve you can refill by doing well, so you're not forced to go back until you've gotten a good haul. Or failed miserably, I suppose.

You can't memorize your fleet's range because it frequently changes. You gain ships, you lose ships, then you add/remove a tanker and any idea you had before gets thrown right out. I think this is likely the crux of the problem with fuel in Starsector. Obviously, "fixing" this aspect of the game would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I guess that's the main reason I believe constantly paying fuel to travel should go. It's too complicated to keep track of reliably without frequently checking references (like fuel range on the map), so most people just wing it and hope they don't get unlucky.

Hmm. I do understand what you're saying, but I personally don't see it that way. To me the fuel range indicator does the job - when fuel is a concern, I'll just leave it on and check the map periodically, especially when there are ship changes. Which happens, sure, but picking up a new ship when you're out on the fringes factoring into fuel costs is imo a good thing. Just, more things to worry about, more corners to try to cut if you want to get back with that nice new ship, and so on.

If fuel costs were so fixed that range was always memorized and never messed up, that would almost by definition mean that it wasn't an interesting mechanic. Which I think is what you're getting at with the bathwater etc.

I mean, I could see an argument against that if it was a UI issue, but imo the UI support for it is pretty sound. Add in the fact that running out of fuel can be worked around with distress calls and/or scuttling, and to me it just looks like a set of mechanics working together as I'd like them to.

(I think this is where the car analogy breaks down, btw, and this is kind of the pitfall of analogies in general. They work to get the initial point across, but then there's an element (in this case, a well-known, fixed range) that *doesn't* fit, but the analogy makes one want to make it fit/see it "fitting" as a positive, without necessarily a basis for that.)
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xenoargh
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« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2018, 10:43:51 AM »

If we could leave ships Mothballed in stable orbits, or if Call For Help actually gave us the option to fill up (at ruinous prices) rather than feeling like a token mechanic, Fuel would be less of a catastrophic problem. 

I’ve had situations where Fuel death-spiraled due to Hyperspace shenanigans, and once I had a fleet have to kill whatever got near it to get enough Fuel to return home.  Those poor Independents should’ve just traded with me, lol; it was kill or lose my brand-new-to-me Dominator, lol.

On that note, why can’t we trade with friendly / neutrals we encounter?  They have inventories, after all.
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Dark.Revenant
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« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2018, 10:45:27 AM »

I strongly suspect 1 unit of cargo is actually 100 tons rather than 1 ton of material, for what it's worth.
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Goumindong
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« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2018, 11:40:00 AM »

Why is a unit a ton and why do humans need 4 lbs of food a day in space? Everyone just eats raw nutrients.

Also if 1 unit == 1 Ton then the Atlas is roughly 1/10th the size of the average cargo container ship on the water these days.

Edit:

And that “average” is pretty small. At ~20,000 TEU the largest ships clock in at upwards of 180,000 DWT (total safe cargo weight) and so can likely haul at least 150,000 tones fully loaded. The largest bulk carriers clock in at upwards of 350,000 DWT! This would make our 2,000 tonne atlas mighty small in comparison.

A unit is a ton in this case because it makes it easy to calculate food consumption. As I said, 1 unit isn't really 1 ton.

When was the last time you ate raw nutrients? School cafeterias don't count. Wink

I'm with you on the Atlas point. I ran the numbers before I started this thread and was bothered by it. I'm not sure how much logic there is behind cargo capacities. They feel mostly arbitrary to me, at least. With both supply and food consumption, and the upcoming abstraction of the economy, I think there would be enough footing to rebalance cargo capacities using solid math and logic.

Actually, 4lbs. person/day is pretty light, compared to the real thing:  "an astronaut on the ISS uses about 1.83 pounds (0.83 kilograms) of food per meal each day"; that works out to roughly 8 pounds a day, with three meals and a snack, more or less.

IIRC, low gravity is why they have to eat so much - lots of exercise is required to keep healthy. Not 100% sure on that, but if it's true then Starsector space crew wouldn't need as much due to their ships' artificial gravity.

Assuming 6 pounds of food per day would be handy, since that's about 10 people per ton per month. Much easier to remember and calculate with than 15.

I don’t care. The point is not the numbers; the point is that the space required can be made arbitrarily small so as we don’t have to deal with it. When was the last time I ate raw nutrients? When was the last time I was on a space ship eating superfuture magic food traveling around star systems in hyperspace?

Fuel and supplies are all we need we don’t need a third resource to keep track of
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SafariJohn
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« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2018, 12:29:20 PM »

Food has a key distinction from supplies: you won't find edible food in a 100 year old wreck, or even a 10 year old wreck. I suspect food doesn't survive an exploding ship very well either. There's also differences in price and where it's produced, but that's less important.

Aha, that's a very good point, as far as what makes it different. I'm not sure that's a good thing, though - part of the design is that you can find more stuff to keep you going if your run is at least moderately successful. It's not a hard timer but a reserve you can refill by doing well, so you're not forced to go back until you've gotten a good haul. Or failed miserably, I suppose.

Whoops! I didn't mean to imply you can't find any food while salvaging. Just not enough to keep going perpetually, except maybe for the smallest fleets. Scuttling should probably turn up a little bit of food, too, (looted from the crew's quarters Wink) just to be safe.

I'd like fuel, and running out of it, to be something you're almost always concerned about.

I think my point of view is that being concerned about running out of fuel is fun, but being almost always concerned about fuel is not.


picking up a new ship when you're out on the fringes factoring into fuel costs is imo a good thing. Just, more things to worry about, more corners to try to cut if you want to get back with that nice new ship, and so on.

I feel this suggestion gives the player almost exactly the same concerns, except the game is up-front about it instead of "Ha! So close to getting back. Enjoy the wait!"

If fuel costs were so fixed that range was always memorized and never messed up, that would almost by definition mean that it wasn't an interesting mechanic. Which I think is what you're getting at with the bathwater etc.

You are correct, I definitely don't want easy perfect play. In fact, "perfect" play being impossible is a-ok by me. I don't think I'd even mind some hyperspace terrains eating fuel when most don't so long as they were (generally) an optional risk-reward type thing.

in this case, a well-known, fixed range

The entire point of the analogy was that, in regards to the player's memory, the range is not fixed and is not well-known. If you stopped me randomly while I was playing and asked me how far I could fly in hyper from my current spot — I couldn't tell you. I would have to consult the fuel range UI. If you asked me how much adding or removing some random ship would change my range, I couldn't tell you without sitting down and running the numbers.

Got a bit ranty there, sorry. Maybe we should do a poll on how frequently people use the fuel range indicator.


Suggestion: Remove the color fill on the fuel range UI because it hurts a bit to look at. I think the two circles are good enough.

Another Suggestion: Explicitly call out in-game how far across the squares are on the map. I think that would help with off-hand estimation of fuel use and travel time.


My end goal is to convince one of us the other's argument is right regarding fuel. I don't know whether that will be you or me! Tongue


If we could leave ships Mothballed in stable orbits

I did not realize that wasn't possible when I started this thread. I had assumed it could be done because it seemed like one of those no-brainer things once the game got derelicts and cargo pods.

I strongly suspect 1 unit of cargo is actually 100 tons rather than 1 ton of material, for what it's worth.

That sounds much more accurate. I'd say units are also a measure of volume, though that's probably not enough to properly justify 1 unit of food = 1 ton of food. Might be enough to *** it, though, if needed.


Fuel and supplies are all we need we don’t need a third resource to keep track of

Then please just say that next time instead of dancing around the issue. Personally, I don't think it would be a big deal because food goes down slowly and the consumption rate never spikes like it can for supplies.
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Alex
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« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2018, 06:12:16 PM »

Whoops! I didn't mean to imply you can't find any food while salvaging. Just not enough to keep going perpetually, except maybe for the smallest fleets. Scuttling should probably turn up a little bit of food, too, (looted from the crew's quarters Wink) just to be safe.

But then it's back to not being different enough from supplies to really warrant the extra hassle Smiley Remember, a new campaign-level resource means UI indicators for it in possibly lots of places, and it's an extra thing for the player to keep track of, too.

I think my point of view is that being concerned about running out of fuel is fun, but being almost always concerned about fuel is not.

Hmm. I think it could be alleviated by, say, increasing fuel drops or reducing fuel consumption. Or by making fuel prices more stable and making fuel more available for purchase in the core, which is very much will be in the next release.

However, I do feel that being always concerned about fuel is in "feature" rather than "side effect" territory (though the degree to which one is concerned, there's some range of options there). See point re: feeling of scale etc a few paragraphs down.


in this case, a well-known, fixed range

The entire point of the analogy was that, in regards to the player's memory, the range is not fixed and is not well-known.

What I was saying is the known, fixed range is part of the car analogy, and that leads one to assume this is a desired quality of what the analogy trying to represent, i.e. the game's fuel use. My point being that this assumption is not really warranted and is just driven by the choice of analogy.


My end goal is to convince one of us the other's argument is right regarding fuel. I don't know whether that will be you or me! Tongue

Fair enough, but removing fuel costs for moving through hyperspace is really a non-starter for me. It's a huge part of whatever sense of scale you feel; the Sector is really not *that* big, and if you could fly around it with only a long timer in the form of food/supplies, that'd really feel very differently. I think it's essential that movement through hyperspace have a direct cost. The sense of something being far is in large part how difficult it is to reach.

It also keeps hyperspace from ever feeling too comfortable, and that's another point of feel that I think is pivotal. Star systems feel like a bit of a safe haven; a sense of relief that you're not burning fuel anymore and can relax about that aspect of it. I think this contrast - the tension about it when you're in hyper, and the relief when you go in-system and now have some time to go about your business - is ... I hate to keep saying pivotal, but, well, pivotal.


If we could leave ships Mothballed in stable orbits

I did not realize that wasn't possible when I started this thread. I had assumed it could be done because it seemed like one of those no-brainer things once the game got derelicts and cargo pods.

(Yeah, I probably ought to add that in at some point.)
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intrinsic_parity
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« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2018, 07:01:54 PM »

I use the fuel range UI in the map all the time (the circle overlay), and it's great for planning expeditions and knowing how far you can make it. I don't unintentionally get into fuel trouble since I got a sense of how that works. If I get into fuel trouble, I knew full well before leaving that what I was doing was risky and accepted that risk. I never get a sense of having no idea how far my current fuel will take me, although I also wouldn't say I know exactly how far it will take me. I just make sure to bring a little extra fuel to ensure I make it home safely.

I also think the fuel cost associated with salvaging ships is very justified if not necessary, given how easy it is to acquire ships via salvage. I actually would like to see random derelicts distributed so that larger ships appear more frequently further from the core (since it is much harder to get them back so perhaps fleets are more likely to leave them out there). This would add another reason to explore since soon planetary surveys will not be directly lucrative.
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SafariJohn
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« Reply #29 on: April 18, 2018, 03:51:01 PM »

I think I'll concede this round of "fuel vs. no fuel" because the true purpose of this thread is to make hyperspace more enjoyable and all-around better for the game. I'll cross out the fuel and food stuff in the OP while I'm at it.

Please please note: all the terrains I proposed work perfectly well with fuel as it is.

the Sector is really not *that* big, and if you could fly around it with only a long timer in the form of food/supplies, that'd really feel very differently. I think it's essential that movement through hyperspace have a direct cost. The sense of something being far is in large part how difficult it is to reach.

This is very important indeed. Sadly Starsector can't pull rendering shenanigans like Skyrim does to make a 5 minute run feel like it covered many miles.

I can think of a couple things Starsector can do, however.

A quick and easy one would be to add a sound effect when a new week starts. I think once a day might be too often and once a month is too long. Sid Meier's Pirates rang a bell at the beginning of each month, which was sometimes less than 40 seconds apart (just timed it Roll Eyes).

A more ambitious endeavor would be to add a soft edge to the Sector. At the moment the only logic for why you can't sail to farther and farther systems (as long as you have the fuel for it) is that the game generates them only so far. A terrain or combination of terrains that makes it harder and harder to get close to the map border would provide the logic for why this part of hyperspace is colonized and not some other part. I'd say the farthest systems should be a little ways inside this border region to reinforce the difficulty of travelling in it.

Yes, a border area would sort of shrink the Sector, but I believe it would help players suspend their disbelief. "This is why the Sector is the size it is. This is why the game doesn't generate stars farther out." Then they turn back instead of dwelling on the fact they reached the edge of the map. In other words, disguise the limits of the engine as a feature.
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