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Author Topic: Survey economy of scale encourages uninteresting long survey runs  (Read 307 times)

goduranus

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Survey economy of scale encourages uninteresting long survey runs
« on: September 13, 2019, 08:22:32 PM »

Every time I setup a fleet to go on a survey, I end up spending 3-4 hours doing nothing but surveying all the planets in one corner of the map without stopping.

The economy of the surveying tend to encourage extending survey runs to as long as possible, because just getting to and from the star systems that needed surveying would burn several hundred fuel and supplies, so I rarely want to end the expedition early, even though I usually would have gotten bored from surveying way before fuel and supplies run low enough for me to start heading back.

Don't know if anything can be done about this. Maybe make star clusters further apart so it's less practical to survey several star clusters at once? Not too sure.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2019, 08:30:43 PM by goduranus »
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Sundog

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Re: Survey economy of scale encourages uninteresting long survey runs
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2019, 08:42:30 PM »

I think the solution to this is the same as the solution to so many other things; hyperspace travel should be more eventful and dangerous.

Alex

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Re: Survey economy of scale encourages uninteresting long survey runs
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2019, 08:48:26 PM »

Hmm. My question here is, why are you doing a dedicated surveying run? My assumption has always been that it'd be a late-early-game-to-midgame thing (which generally gets paired with other activity) and that when you colonize, it loses importance and you'd only do it when there's a good opportunity, i.e. you're already there for another reason.

It seems like as a means of making credits, there are things you can do more quickly that are also more fun, no? And you could combine it with other things, which seems like it'd be more effective. I'm not sure I've got a handle on why you'd specialize into "doing a survey run" if it's not fun, since it doesn't seem like it'd be that profitable, either. Feels like I'm missing something here.

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Sundog

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Re: Survey economy of scale encourages uninteresting long survey runs
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2019, 08:59:46 PM »

I think it's more about finding ideal colony locations than making money. I've gone on long survey trips for this purpose before, and they were pretty boring, unfortunately. But then, I usually just do a relatively quick circuit around the core worlds. For someone who wants to be thorough when it comes to laying a foundation for their dream empire, I can see how it could get tedious.

goduranus

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Re: Survey economy of scale encourages uninteresting long survey runs
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2019, 09:04:58 PM »

I was looking for ruins to get blueprints. I set up a dedicated run because surveying more planets means finding more ruins. Once I got a Survey Equipment fleet together, keep going was cheaper than heading back, so I kept going, thinking  that there‚Äôs be more ruins further ahead.
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Alex

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Re: Survey economy of scale encourages uninteresting long survey runs
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2019, 09:48:02 PM »

Ah, thank you both for elaborating.

(Sounds like something that "pressure" (per that other thread) would help a lot with... more danger might, as well, that seems like a more fraught solution, since it'd have to  be juuuust right, danger-wise, to work at all. And given the range of power player fleets can have, that seems unlikely. Having alternate ways to get some blueprints could help, as well.)
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Sundog

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Re: Survey economy of scale encourages uninteresting long survey runs
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2019, 10:10:56 PM »

Yeah, pressure and alternative blueprint sources could help with this for sure.

more danger might, as well, that seems like a more fraught solution, since it'd have to  be juuuust right, danger-wise, to work at all. And given the range of power player fleets can have, that seems unlikely.
Well, if the danger takes the form of hostile fleets, then there are already solid mechanics in place to address that. Burn level, sensor range, and detection range all level the playing field (however roughly) by making evasion easier for weaker fleets.

Also, danger doesn't necessarily need to take the form of something people should try to avoid. It can take the form of dangerous opportunities as well.

Soren

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Re: Survey economy of scale encourages uninteresting long survey runs
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2019, 10:14:14 PM »

Some non-hostile spawned stations - trading posts and tech-mining expeditions - would both help the world feel more 'alive' and offer the player places to trade for blueprints and other exploration rewards.

(Having dangers that a player could 'awaken', like dormant Remnants now, would also be cool. No danger until you poke the sleeping bear, and then, well, it's a bear.)
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Amoebka

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Re: Survey economy of scale encourages uninteresting long survey runs
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2019, 01:10:29 AM »

I think a big part of the issue is the prohibitive survey costs. When you see a cool planet, you can't really just survey it. You need a specialized fleet with surveying equipment everywhere. And since such a fleet isn't good for combat, you can't take it with you all the time. And busting out this fleet for just one planet is very supply inefficient. Therefore, you are doing long uninterrupted survey runs with your survey fleet and long combat runs with your warfleet, instead of a mixture of both.
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sotanaht

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Re: Survey economy of scale encourages uninteresting long survey runs
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2019, 01:43:11 AM »

Hmm. My question here is, why are you doing a dedicated surveying run? My assumption has always been that it'd be a late-early-game-to-midgame thing (which generally gets paired with other activity) and that when you colonize, it loses importance and you'd only do it when there's a good opportunity, i.e. you're already there for another reason.

It seems like as a means of making credits, there are things you can do more quickly that are also more fun, no? And you could combine it with other things, which seems like it'd be more effective. I'm not sure I've got a handle on why you'd specialize into "doing a survey run" if it's not fun, since it doesn't seem like it'd be that profitable, either. Feels like I'm missing something here.
I typically do survey runs because I want to map the sector.  Gotta know where everything is before I know where is a good place to set up colonies.  Technically with the way colonies are now you could just set up anywhere and it would work, but I think most people would prefer to optimize.

While I'm at it, the survey run doubles as probe/station etc duty.  Running through every planet in every system in one corner of the map is pretty much the only way to be sure to find most of the good stuff.  Again, you could set up perfectly fine without the nanoforges and syncrotrons, and get the blueprints from spamming raids, but all of that is sub-optimal.

There are plenty of features to direct you to those sorts of things piecemeal, but you end up going 100 times the distance back and forth visiting systems seemingly at random.


In order to eliminate long survey runs, you would need to make the following changes:
Individual planet surveys are always extremely expensive (supplies/machinery etc), so you cannot run more than one or two systems at most even with a full fleet of freighters
In return, individual planet surveys are usually extremely profitable, making surveying worthwhile, while still making it impossible to survey every planet at once.
All interesting things can be discovered without the need to meticulously check every system.  Nothing is missed by flying over boring systems or not visiting remote corners

That last one can be helped by massively buffing the preliminary survey skill.  Imagine you press the button in hyperspace, and you are immediately told the types and number of planets in every system in your current constellation, the types and numbers of domain probes, mining/research stations etc, even the number of fixed locations in each of those systems, and the location of all nearby warning beacons, maybe even the types but not quality of resources on each planet.  Basically all the information you would need to know if a system was worth visiting for any conceivable reason.  Note that this doesn't replace visiting the system if it's good, you still need to survey planets manually and you still wouldn't know where the domain probes etc are inside the system.

The current system where domain probes give you data on "interesting" planets is worthless.  You don't know what other planets are in that system (a good colony requires multiple per system), and no matter how many probes you find you don't know if you've missed something, so you have to check all the unexplored systems regardless.

Additionally, replacing the supplies/machinery cost of surveying with some specific resource that's only used for surveying and maybe colonizing, therefor requiring you to plan specifically for how many planets you need to survey, rather than taking as many supplies as you can hold and going until they run out, would be a good idea.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2019, 02:08:47 AM by sotanaht »
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SCC

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Re: Survey economy of scale encourages uninteresting long survey runs
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2019, 02:31:53 AM »

If I go on exploring sprees, they typically only get bigger as time progresses and now that I'm good at avoiding unwanted attention, they are pretty safe and boring. I don't typically do multiple things when I'm playing. If I explore, I have an exploration fleet that's not suited well to bounty hunting. If I go after bounties, I bring a warfleet that will be too expensive to explore with. I don't do trading, so I don't know if exploration fleet would be any good there. Piracy fleet is somewhere in between of exploration and bounty hunting, but typically smaller than either, until I wage war on major factions. Remnant hunting fleet is for when I stop caring about logistics, so it's not really important how efficient it is.
The reason to explore over the half of the sector (or more) before doing anything serious is because it gives you items (important for colonies), blueprints (important for colonies), intel on planets (also important for colonies) and, finally, there's no time pressure on the player to do it fast, but there's raid/expedition pressure to prepare well before doing anything.

mvp7

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Re: Survey economy of scale encourages uninteresting long survey runs
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2019, 05:26:52 AM »

I did pretty long exploration runs but they never felt boring or too long. There was usually plenty to do and after a constellation or two I would be running low on supplies and out of room for cargo so I would head back. I imagine it could get boring if I played the game like an excel sheet and did the exploration (and established colony) in the most optimized way possible but I don't think that would be the game's fault. :)
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Igncom1

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Re: Survey economy of scale encourages uninteresting long survey runs
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2019, 09:26:52 AM »

I do long surveying missions as otherwise you end up spending a lot of time and resources dodging nothing but storms.

So I could do them in quick trips, but why bother? Save the fuel and supplies to tag more planets and salvaging opportunities now as there is basically no reason to ever go to 90% of systems after they have been explored. Nor is there too much of a reward for most of them anyway, just empty dead rocks with nothing on them.

That and surveying/salvaging fleets are usually only good for that purpose anyway. I could wait for a mission in that area but they always spawn on the other side of the map from the player so are literally just a fuel sink. Might as well get a quadrant of the map explored now so that I can never visit it ever again when I want to do the actually enjoyable stuff.
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Plantissue

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Re: Survey economy of scale encourages uninteresting long survey runs
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2019, 10:00:02 AM »

I think a big part of the issue is the prohibitive survey costs. When you see a cool planet, you can't really just survey it. You need a specialized fleet with surveying equipment everywhere. And since such a fleet isn't good for combat, you can't take it with you all the time. And busting out this fleet for just one planet is very supply inefficient. Therefore, you are doing long uninterrupted survey runs with your survey fleet and long combat runs with your warfleet, instead of a mixture of both.
You can just stick Surveying Equipment Hullmod on all your logistical ships. You don't need that much reduction in supplies to make it worthwhile. Even for big gas planets you would rarely need more than 140 supply. Apogee isn't always available but is a good combat ship as well.
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mvp7

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Re: Survey economy of scale encourages uninteresting long survey runs
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2019, 10:22:08 AM »

I have a few Apogees in my fleet and I also put surveying equipment on my Tarsus class freighters (my favorite freighter because it has high OP and low maintenance), which means only gas giants ever require more than 5 supply to survey. I also have good enough warships to deal with any bounties or enemies I come across in my exploration. It's not the best possible fleet for any single purpose but it can do pretty much anything.

I mainly build my fleet for convenience and flexibility. It's optimized to make the game more enjoyable and isn't that the main purpose of playing a game. If min-maxing is making the game less enjoyable for you then why go out of your way to min-max everything?
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