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Starsector 0.95a is out! (03/26/21); Blog post: Skill Changes, Part 2 (07/15/21)

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Author Topic: Streamline the salvaging/scavenging mechanic by front-loading it  (Read 970 times)

Gothars

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For the most part Starsector has great gameflow, but salvaging is one of the major hiccups, I think.  You usually want to scavenge large debris fields two times, which over time really ads up to a lot of player inputs required.

In more detail:
Spoiler
1. (Explore->) consider ship recovery ->select ship->recover->2. pick trough wreckage -> click to reveal loot instantly -> take all -> dump metals etc. -> confirm and continue

3. Scavenge- > Asses -> consider ship recovery ->select ship->recover-> Begin salvage operations -> click to reveal loot instantly ->take all -> dumb metals -> confirm and continue

4. Scavenge again -> Asses -> Begin salvage operations -> click to reveal loot instantly ->take all -> dumb metals -> confirm and continue


That's often over 20 player inputs required for (thorough) post battle salvage or for extracting all resources from abandoned stations/probes, floating hulls or any other exploration encounter. And since you're doing this hundreds of times during a play-though, it really ads up.
[close]

I'd propose that in the after battle/exploration encounter dialog, you get two salvage options:


1. Thoroughly search the wreckage. This discovers all ship hulls and as many of the loot as scavenging a debris field twice would discover. However, your fleet is immobilized for a day or so, like after using the active sensor burst. This option does not leave a debris field.

2. Give the wrecks a cursory inspection. This recovers only as much loot as the current post battle salvaging does, maybe even minus enemy hulls. It exist mostly for the situations where you have to get away immediately after a battle and is the default option for AI fleet. That it so they leave debris field behind that the player may salvage.

The thorough search option would easily cut the inputs required in half. Are there any major downsides I am missing?


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ubuntufreakdragon

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Re: Streamline the salvaging/scavenging mechanic by front-loading it
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2020, 05:48:19 AM »

Merging the access of overlapping debris is more important immo.
If you are inside multiple fields you could loot all at the same time, instead of only an arbitrary one.
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Megas

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Re: Streamline the salvaging/scavenging mechanic by front-loading it
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2020, 06:47:30 AM »

1. Thoroughly search the wreckage. This discovers all ship hulls and as many of the loot as scavenging a debris field twice would discover. However, your fleet is immobilized for a day or so, like after using the active sensor burst. This option does not leave a debris field.

2. Give the wrecks a cursory inspection. This recovers only as much loot as the current post battle salvaging does, maybe even minus enemy hulls. It exist mostly for the situations where you have to get away immediately after a battle and is the default option for AI fleet. That it so they leave debris field behind that the player may salvage.

The thorough search option would easily cut the inputs required in half. Are there any major downsides I am missing?
If in-game time to do 2 is less than 1, I would still spam 2 and ignore 1.  Time is always of the essence, with whack-a-mole pirates dominating gameplay.

I rather have looting be instantaneous when it is safe.

In any case, debris fields should disappear after they are fully looted.

Merging the access of overlapping debris is more important immo.
If you are inside multiple fields you could loot all at the same time, instead of only an arbitrary one.
This would be less important if fields disappear after being fully looted, instead of remaining in place getting in the way or slowing down the game if too much other junk is in the system.
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Gothars

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Re: Streamline the salvaging/scavenging mechanic by front-loading it
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2020, 07:40:07 AM »

Merging the access of overlapping debris is more important immo.
If you are inside multiple fields you could loot all at the same time, instead of only an arbitrary one.

In any case, debris fields should disappear after they are fully looted.

Both these problems would be mitigated if player actions would (usually) not result in a debris field, as per the suggestion.
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Alex

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Re: Streamline the salvaging/scavenging mechanic by front-loading it
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2020, 08:14:47 AM »

Related changes in the next release: debris fields can only be scavenged once, and if you're in multiple debris fields, one that hasn't been scavenged is prioritized for scavenging. Whether a debris field has been explored or not is now shown in its map tooltip, as well as the tooltip for the scavenge ability (which is disabled when you're over such a field).

So: not quite the same, but in the same general direction.
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pairedeciseaux

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Re: Streamline the salvaging/scavenging mechanic by front-loading it
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2020, 11:29:06 AM »

Looking in that direction, the following would further streamline the debris field scavenging part:

- If multiple debris fields are nearby, scavenge all of them at once. From a naive player perspective, this is the expected behaviour IMO. Benefit: less player input.

- Scavenged debris fields should quickly be removed both visually and as objects in the game world. Two or maybe three seconds after the scavenge operation. Benefits: player can see that work is finished here and move on, also less clutter in memory and in save files.

Though I agree with Gothars: streamlining the salvaging part would lead to much less scavenging of debris fields. Think of all the salvaging a player may do in 1 hour of gameplay: post battle, Research Stations, Mining Stations, ruins, floating debris, Domain thingies, and so on.
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Serenitis

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Re: Streamline the salvaging/scavenging mechanic by front-loading it
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2020, 12:58:40 PM »

Whether a debris field has been explored or not is now shown in its map tooltip, as well as the tooltip for the scavenge ability (which is disabled when you're over such a field).
Would you consider changing the behaviour of the 'stable' debris fields slighty if you're not going to outright remove them when they're empty?
Once the player 'empties' a stable field, it could become unstable and dissapear eventually after being disturbed in the same manner as a combat generated field (or cargo pods) would. But if left untouched would remain indefinitely as they do now.
This might go some way to easing the system resource impact some players have noticed with regards to inhabiting places with lots of debris.

Although I might note; if the player is not permitted to salvage from a debris field which has been 'emptied' and marked as such, why does that field still need to be a visible element the player can interact with?
Would it not be better to just fade out an empty debris field so it's not slowing the player's game down, and the game is no longer maintaining data for something which is essentially window dressing?
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SafariJohn

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Re: Streamline the salvaging/scavenging mechanic by front-loading it
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2020, 05:26:54 PM »

You can hide in debris fields, btw. They reduce your profile like asteroid fields and ring systems do.
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Arcagnello

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Re: Streamline the salvaging/scavenging mechanic by front-loading it
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2020, 05:46:54 PM »

You can also use nebulas to hide, but they're usually relegated to hyperspace and only rarely are in solar systems.

As for the idea in the OP, it's great. I've often had to spam click the scavenge button to try and salvage the debris field I want instead of the already depleted one too many times to remember.

On a side note, I actually have so many scavenging vessels (my modded and modified game raised by my and the enemy ship limit to 50, the enemy can also field double the officers I have for extended masochism) that I keep salvaging until both colored texts flash red, as in when it says I will get a low yield with a high risk chance.

The cost of lost machinery and crew is almost always worth it anyway, the more time you spend going back to refuel/resupply in many times worse than salvaging scrub pirate ships half a dozen times every time to make sure you get all that weed and booty.
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Alex

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Re: Streamline the salvaging/scavenging mechanic by front-loading it
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2020, 06:16:09 PM »

You can hide in debris fields, btw. They reduce your profile like asteroid fields and ring systems do.

This, yeah. Also, performance impact from debris fields isn't really a concern, no more so than it is for any number of other things you might see in the campaign. As you noted, the combat-related ones fade out (since potentially their number could get very high otherwise), but ones that were placed - either by hand or in a generated way - hang around since presumably there was some intent there for these to be part of the feel of the place.
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Histidine

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Re: Streamline the salvaging/scavenging mechanic by front-loading it
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2020, 07:59:57 PM »

Idle question: Will the new scavenge-once generate the same amount of loot as we currently would by scavenging the field multiple times, or only as much as the current first scavenge?
(i.e. are we sucking up more of the field at once, or is it the same as current except we're blocked from scavenging multiple times?)

Also, a thought: It would be a nice bit of QoL if aborting the scavenge (or having it blocked due to nearby enemies) reset the ability cooldown, so you don't have to wait to try again.
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Retry

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Re: Streamline the salvaging/scavenging mechanic by front-loading it
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2020, 08:39:09 PM »

Idle question: Will the new scavenge-once generate the same amount of loot as we currently would by scavenging the field multiple times, or only as much as the current first scavenge?
(i.e. are we sucking up more of the field at once, or is it the same as current except we're blocked from scavenging multiple times?)
I'm pretty interested in that question.  I get quite a good chunk of my blueprints from research stations after the second or third scavenging attempt.
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SaberCherry

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Re: Streamline the salvaging/scavenging mechanic by front-loading it
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2020, 12:18:58 AM »

It would be nice if the player could tell the difference between a looted and pristine debris fields (on the map, at least).  I like having them stick around, but it's less fun to waste time traveling to one you already explored.  Presumably, one of your staff keeps track of that sort of thing.

The changes already implemented sound great though; overlapping debris fields are currently painful enough that it's prudent to avoid creating them.  IMO, they should just merge.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2020, 12:22:54 AM by SaberCherry »
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Gothars

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Re: Streamline the salvaging/scavenging mechanic by front-loading it
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2020, 04:25:38 AM »

Related changes in the next release: debris fields can only be scavenged once, and if you're in multiple debris fields, one that hasn't been scavenged is prioritized for scavenging. Whether a debris field has been explored or not is now shown in its map tooltip, as well as the tooltip for the scavenge ability (which is disabled when you're over such a field).

So: not quite the same, but in the same general direction.

Nice. After all, another issue is the the "risk-reward" calculation you were supposed to do before consecutive scavengings - it is quickly replaced with routine behavior. That will not be a thing anymore, I guess. Although it is a bit of a shame that you now wont be able to "press the issue" if you are really low on supplies/fuel while away from civilization.

You can hide in debris fields, btw. They reduce your profile like asteroid fields and ring systems do.

Cool, I didn't know!


It would be nice if the player could tell the difference between a looted and pristine debris fields (on the map, at least).

That's the case with the update.
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Megas

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Re: Streamline the salvaging/scavenging mechanic by front-loading it
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2020, 05:33:42 AM »

As Gothars wrote, salvaging is routine.

For unstable debris fields spawned by destroyed fleets?  Two or three times.  After that, I do not get enough vendor trash to offset lost machinery.

Unstable debris fields spawned by research stations?  As many as it takes until nothing is salvaged, which is after about seven or so times.  I had rare items salvaged on the final attempt before.  As such, possible rare item is more valuable than machinery and crew, and sucking the debris field completely dry is a no-brainer.  It is also very annoying, just give us the items in one go!

There is never a time I do not salvage unstable debris at least twice.

I do not bother with stable debris fields (aside from tutorial).  I leave them alone as a emergency stash for the future, since NPCs do not loot proc-gen stuff you can loot.
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