New Jameson here, some initial feedback

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by stranger » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:02 am

IMHO the main cause for frustrated experience with Oolite for green Jameson is not lack of must-have equipment nor too hard rules of game world but lack of situation awareness. Observe. Evaluate threats. Plan actions. Act. Green Jameson too often decides to engage combat without any evaluation and planning. Having safe paddling pool for start it will be too hard to develop skills of situation awareness. It will be a bit stupid to engage three well equipped opponents without adequate weapon and without any pre-planning in real reality, right? In game it is a bit stupid too.
I don’t agree with opinion that influence of neighboring systems reduces game fun and makes game rules more confusing. Just opposite, it gives new dimension for procedural generated Ooniverse. Of course, democratic Diso is more dangerous system than democratic Tionisla due to proximity of anarchic Riedquat and Uszaa, but it is still more safe than Riedquat or Uszaa per se. No more strict advice like “take milk run Leesty-Diso for start”, now you can consider Tionisla-Isinor as alternative trade route. Diso is more dangerous of course but having only 2.4 LY between Diso and Leesti you can use hyperdrive H key as panic button to flee onto more safe Leesti in case of emergency. It is part of fun.
And I think also any direct indication of system danger will be breaking of game immersion. It is player work to develop sense of danger having available system info.

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Redspear » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:20 am

Having neighbouring systems influence safety is logical but not useful when it removes the nearby safe trade routes. Admittedly, Zaonce is quite a bit safer than Leesti but the obvious trade destination from there is Isinor which is less so. I believe that if B&B would have used this system they would have used a different map for galaxy 1.

Isn't checking the government type part of the awareness / observation? The problem isn't necessarily a lack of information, rather it's the presence of misinformation. As I said, 8 pirates at Lessti in one pack vs stock mk III (or adder!). Good luck... Maybe I haven't played enough of the latest incarnation of oolite but is it really much different?

Re: ease of use... Imagine if the tech of neighbouring systems influenced the equipment in the shipyard; low tech neighbours = more demand and less support (you might be high tech in one field, less so in another). Now you want to work out where to buy a mining laser, it's just become a PITA.

To be fair, tech isn't available at a glace on the f6 screen (with the 'I' key) like government can be, so you could regard my example as an exaggeration but sometimes that helps make the point.

Re: using hyperspace to escape trouble... That worked in elite (no wormholes) and worked well because it was often a desperate move with consequences (goods might not make a profit here, system may be no safer, back to the 'witchpoint'). In Oolite however, don't you find that they tend to pursue you through the wormhole that you generated?

So why not just escape the regular way then?
1. It's often very time consuming
2. Against sidewinders, asps or anything with injectors the beginner can forget it (you can run to separate them from the pack but to get enough distance we are back to problem 1.
3. Injectors are not uncommon on some ships (e.g. fer de lance)
4. Yes you could run into police but the same is true of pirates - combine that with problem 1 and it really can be a nuisance
5. Scanner covers quite some distance, much more than it did in elite

In elite, no such issues: hyperspace escape works as you suggest; from Lave (agricultural) you have 2 destinations that are corporate industrials, each with a relatively safe agricultural system nearby. Neither of which are the rich industrial - poor agricultural super-route. There is Isinor-Ensoreus nearby but no chance if hyperspace escape because if extreme range. Not bad...
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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by stranger » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:14 am

Redspear wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:20 am
Re: using hyperspace to escape trouble... That worked in elite (no wormholes) and worked well because it was often a desperate move with consequences (goods might not make a profit here, system may be no safer, back to the 'witchpoint'). In Oolite however, don't you find that they tend to pursue you through the wormhole that you generated?
It works in Ooolite too. Using it two or three times in last biography, escaping gangsters in Diso before upgrading with WFI. Of course, these bastards tends to pursue you through wormhole, but if you detect these bad guys in advance, you have some time after emerging from wormhole in system of destination to activate Torus drive. Five seconds or so will be quite enough to leave proximity of wormhole exit. Need some luck of course - you can be mass-locked by other ships, but entry point is most dangerous in Diso and in this case returning to Leesti you'll have less travel from witchpoint beacon to main station and more police presence. Having Cobra Mk I now with WFI, fuel scoop, ASC, PLC etc without any Press Space Commander and without any equipment damage or cargo loss. Just situation awareness. :D

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Redspear » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:35 am

Ah, OK so it CAN work but like you say, you'll need some luck (meanwhile still suffering all the penalties that you would in elite). Just situational awareness or a large dose of luck too?

If I get mass locked by 8 pirates on one of my early jumps then I'm consistently finished. There are ways to escape but they are limited in use. For example there are often (not always) ships at the witch point on arrival at a system - just one and you're in trouble.

Make it clearer which routes are safer and the problems don't go away (a player needs 'problems') but they do become both more observable and more manageable.
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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Disembodied » Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:54 pm

There is a problem inherent in blurring the boundaries between "safe" systems and "dangerous" ones, which is that it becomes increasingly difficult to tell different systems apart. Every system feels like every other system.

Personally, I think that Corporate States, Democracies, and (to an extent) Confederacies should be safe. Pirates should be rare to very rare, regardless of the surrounding systems. Meeting a lone-wolf, desperate pirate in a Corporate State should be something worthy of note: "Did I ever tell you about the time I got ambushed in Onrira? The local cops refused to believe me", etc. Meeting a multi-ship pirate raid in a Corporate State should be the stuff of bar-room legend. A single pirate encounter in a safe system might be expected once every ~20 trips; a pirate pack once every ~50.

The notable feature of visiting Corporate States or Democracies - especially rich ones - should be the civilian traffic (and police patrols - safe systems shouldn't become happy hunting grounds for players who turn pirate). Of course, if the player has e.g. taken a hot parcel delivery, then they might encounter problems wherever they go; but generally, the centre of Copenhagen should feel different to the centre of Mogadishu.

People might feel that this could make the game too easy - that it would enable the player to enjoy safe little milk runs, and never get into a fight. To which the answer is, what's wrong with that? If someone wants to play the game as a delivery boy, why not let them? There are plenty of exciting to downright scary systems out there for those who want a bit of combat.

A "Pirate Presence" indicator on the F6 map and/or F7 screen would be a useful addition: maybe starting with a smiley face for "Safe", to a single bone for "Be Alert", to two crossed bones for "Danger", to full skull-and-crossbones for "Pirate Haven". It's possible, too, that pirate presence could be a bit like the weather: maybe a trouble-spot could brew up, and start to spill out into other nearby systems. This could be linked to particular persistent NPCs, if the game could generate them: local pirate lords causing trouble, which could produce bounty-hunting contracts - or even the possibility for criminal players to join a pirate band …

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Redspear » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:41 pm

Disembodied wrote: There is a problem inherent in blurring the boundaries between "safe" systems and "dangerous" ones, which is that it becomes increasingly difficult to tell different systems apart. Every system feels like every other system.
That relates to distribution and probability of course but when there are equal numbers of each government type, distributed randomly, the result tends toward those which you have described.

In other words, in support of your argument, there is a high chance that any system will have within jump range one of the more dangerous government types (muti-gov to anarchy).

[EliteWiki] Galaxy 1

Is there any system in galaxy 1 that only has within jump range the safer systems (corporate to confederacy)? And if so, does it also have a trade route that meets the same criteria? There may well be one, perhaps even a few, but I would expect them to be either very rare or on the very edge of the galactic map.

There's strength of influence to be considered of course (and I'm unaware of the exact formula used) but the odds of there not being a moderate to very dangerous system as an influencer are not good. For example, let's imagine a system on the edge of the map, only connected to one other system (rare but possible) and that connecting system is only connected to two others - an unusually strong candidate for a 'safe' trade route.

  • 'Safe' system (1 in 3 chance)
  • Solitary neighbour is also safe (1 in 3)
  • Neighbour is only connected to two other systems, both of which are safe (1/3 * 1/3 = 1 in 9)
  • (At least) semi-compatible trade route (1 in 2)
  • Approximate chance = 3 * 3 * 9 * 2 = 1 in 162

[EDIT: Strictly speaking, it's 1 in 2.66 of governments rather than 1 in 3. Recalculated that works about to about 1 in 100 chance of a conferderate or safer trade route; even with the favourable conditions described above. Better odds but I think the summary below still holds true.]

That might not seem too bad in a galaxy with over 250 systems, but how many systems only have one other within range? Within galaxy 1 I'm not sure if there are any. Add just one more connecting system and the odds get much, much worse... It may even be likely that in some galaxies there are no longer any safe trade routes left (at least when using the above criteria).

Disembodied wrote: Personally, I think that Corporate States, Democracies, and (to an extent) Confederacies should be safe. Pirates should be rare to very rare, regardless of the surrounding systems. Meeting a lone-wolf, desperate pirate in a Corporate State should be something worthy of note: "Did I ever tell you about the time I got ambushed in Onrira? The local cops refused to believe me", etc. Meeting a multi-ship pirate raid in a Corporate State should be the stuff of bar-room legend. A single pirate encounter in a safe system might be expected once every ~20 trips; a pirate pack once every ~50.
I think something like that might make a good baseline for corporates but it's good if an increase in government is in some way noticeable over a shorter number of jumps, say three to five for example.

One way might be that max pirates per pack = government * 1.5; while chance of pirate encounter = goverment * 20%
e.g.
  • Corporate (1) = 20% chance of max 1 or 2 pirates
  • Democracy (2) = 40% chance of max 3
  • Confederacy (3) = 60% chance of max 4 or 5
  • Communist (4) = 80% chance of max 6
  • Dictatorship (5) = 100% chance of max 7 or 8
  • Multi-Government (6) = 120% chance of max 9
  • Feudal (7) = 140% chance of max 10 or 11
  • Anarchy (8) = 160% chance of max 12

When test 'fails' or is exhausted, may check again at lower goverment type.

A bit forced perhaps but not bad as a measure of difficulty; and makes the jump from corporate to democracy not too steep. It may appear that I haven't factored policing into the above example but police do influence pirate numbers whether you encounter the police or not. Besides, there are many possible methods with which to achieve similar effect.
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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Disembodied » Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:29 pm

This is all just pie in the sky here, but this idea might help with the "paddling pool", as well as adding a bit more geography to the galaxies …

We tend, I think, to assume that the Co-operative is an overarching organisation, akin to an Empire. What if it isn't? What if it's just a loose set of very basic laws and principles, structured around a single currency, for the purposes of facilitating interstellar trade? And what if its members are not all single, individual planets? Each galaxy might hold anywhere between six and twelve groups - coalitions, alliances, federations, pocket empires - as well as independent star systems.

We've played around before with the idea of regions or territories - the Old Worlds, the Iron Stars, etc. -as illustrated on ClymAngus's [wiki=Oolite_planet_list#Galaxies]Vector maps[/wiki]. These statelets could be established on the F6 map and given individual "piracy ratings", reflecting their different levels of internal security. Lave might be a Dictatorship, but the Old Worlds in general could have a particularly low piracy rating: Lave could be much safer than, say, Biisza, which is a Confederacy, but lies within the chaotic Tortuga Expanse. The Old Worlds would be the paddling pool: even Riedquat would be largely pirate-free.

To avoid creating too many milk runs, a system's piracy rating could also have an effect on its market prices: low piracy means low profits.

There would be other benefits to adding this extra layer of geography, too: the potential for inter-regional rivalries; for reputations in one region not transferring to another (or perhaps even being reversed). It could even affect the legal system: an Offender rating might not carry over the "state line", so to speak.

Obviously, this is a large change (although it might be OXPable). But I think anything which helps differentiate one system/region from another is potentially a good thing; if the player is aware that System X is a different kettle of fish from System Y, it would greatly enhance the feeling that we have actually travelled.

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Redspear » Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:06 pm

Disembodied wrote:This is all just pie in the sky here...
Guilty m'lud :lol:

Disembodied wrote: Lave might be a Dictatorship, but the Old Worlds in general could have a particularly low piracy rating: Lave could be much safer than, say, Biisza, which is a Confederacy, but lies within the chaotic Tortuga Expanse. The Old Worlds would be the paddling pool: even Riedquat would be largely pirate-free.
So you imagine a number of 'pools', the safest of which being the 'old worlds'?

Disembodied wrote: To avoid creating too many milk runs, a system's piracy rating could also have an effect on its market prices: low piracy means low profits.
That follows...

Personally, I'd prefer it if anarchy or confederacy (or whichever) meant something distinctive; I think that has been largely lost and I think it's worth getting back. In an effort to apply the same to your idea, the government type could be a measure of police presence only.

So, Riedquat being an anarchy would have a low police presence, Zaonce (a corporate) on the other hand would have a high police presence. Neither (both beingh 'old worlds') would have a great deal of piracy, you could just expect more help (either directly by intervention or indirectly by thinning the numbers) from police in Zaonce.

The same two systems in a high risk 'pool' however, would reatain their respective policing levels but now suffer from much greater piracy. The 'galaxies' are a bit small for different zones to be anything other than tiny clusters but it could still work.

Is there some category similar to government, tech level, economy etc. that could be used as a suitable indicator without just saying 'Piracy'? Going back to this quote, it sounds like it should be economy or gross productivity...
Disembodied wrote: To avoid creating too many milk runs, a system's piracy rating could also have an effect on its market prices: low piracy means low profits.

How about 'stability', listed just after goverment. A long established and deeply entrenched dictatorship could be far more stable than a fragile democracy. Anarchy, for example, doesn't strictly mean disorder rather it has (crudely) to do with who's in charge (or isn't).

So, a stable anarchy? No strong leadership but no problem.
An unstable anarchy? no strong leaders but big problems.

Deeply simplistic in a real world sense of course but hasn't this game always been?
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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Disembodied » Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:31 pm

Redspear wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:06 pm
So you imagine a number of 'pools', the safest of which being the 'old worlds'?
Yes - that's a good way of describing it!
Redspear wrote:Personally, I'd prefer it if anarchy or confederacy (or whichever) meant something distinctive; I think that has been largely lost and I think it's worth getting back. In an effort to apply the same to your idea, the government type could be a measure of police presence only.
Yes, again - a practical, in-game effect which should be noticeable to the player.
Redspear wrote:How about 'stability', listed just after government. A long established and deeply entrenched dictatorship could be far more stable than a fragile democracy. Anarchy, for example, doesn't strictly mean disorder rather it has (crudely) to do with who's in charge (or isn't).

So, a stable anarchy? No strong leadership but no problem.
An unstable anarchy? no strong leaders but big problems.

Deeply simplistic in a real world sense of course but hasn't this game always been?
Yes - a ranking of governmental strength/stability could be a good way of showing this. A verbal rating would be preferable to a numerical one - maybe something like

1. Strong
2. Stable
3. Unstable
4. Weak

The "geography" aspect would be enhanced if there were visual cues in the game - even basic things like colour/design of stations/navigation buoys.

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Redspear » Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:20 pm

Disembodied wrote: Yes - a ranking of governmental strength/stability could be a good way of showing this. A verbal rating would be preferable to a numerical one - maybe something like

1. Strong
2. Stable
3. Unstable
4. Weak
I prefer 'stability' as it relates more directly to government in my mind and yes, for the same reason I didn't want 'piracy' I'd also prefer a non-numerical rating.

I'd also suggest 5 rather than 4 categories (for a reason I'll explain below) so stick an 'average' or 'relative' in the middle of that list and I'd be happy with it.

Disembodied wrote: The "geography" aspect would be enhanced if there were visual cues in the game - even basic things like colour/design of stations/navigation buoys.
Pools needn't be obviously geographical (and therfore wouldn't be strictly obvious at all). As I said up thread, there used to be little pools dotted about the place without an obvious 'geographical bias'.

Suppose we took the geographical pools you were imagining and then assigned a simple 1 to 3 rating to them: stable; average; unstable. Then apply simply variance so that any system can be permanently plus or minus one from that rating. So a 'stable' pool would range from strong to average, an 'unstable' pool from average to weak.

You would have the pools you imagined just a little more subtle in their implementation and less obvious (but no less useful) in game.
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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Disembodied » Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:08 pm

Redspear wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:20 pm
Disembodied wrote:The "geography" aspect would be enhanced if there were visual cues in the game - even basic things like colour/design of stations/navigation buoys.
Pools needn't be obviously geographical (and therfore wouldn't be strictly obvious at all). As I said up thread, there used to be little pools dotted about the place without an obvious 'geographical bias'.

Suppose we took the geographical pools you were imagining and then assigned a simple 1 to 3 rating to them: stable; average; unstable. Then apply simply variance so that any system can be permanently plus or minus one from that rating. So a 'stable' pool would range from strong to average, an 'unstable' pool from average to weak.

You would have the pools you imagined just a little more subtle in their implementation and less obvious (but no less useful) in game.
That could work … there is an advantage of having a geography, though, in that it helps the player feel that they're actually travelling, as opposed to just jumping from one same-old system to another. Some visual reminders (also - since this is totally hypothetical anyway - cues via e.g. BGS) that *here* is different from *there* would add to this.

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Redspear » Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:31 pm

Disembodied wrote: … there is an advantage of having a geography, though, in that it helps the player feel that they're actually travelling, as opposed to just jumping from one same-old system to another.
True enough but if every system in a pool has identical stability then I think it would look rather odd. The way I'm imagining it, there would still be borders they'd just be a little softer. No stable pool would (or could) contain any unstable systems (and vice versa).

If we imagine using a six sided die to create the variance:
  • 1 = one place more unstable
  • 2-4 = no change
  • 5 = one place more stable
  • 6 = one place more extreme according to nature of pool (average remains average, stable becomes strong, unstable becomes weak)

As long as they can only move by one place then character is maintained throughout the pool without it being a purely cluster rating instead of a system one.

Visual clues can still be added as you suggest but each pool would have a tendency rather than a uniformity.
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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Disembodied » Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:45 pm

Redspear wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:31 pm
As long as they can only move by one place then character is maintained throughout the pool without it being a purely cluster rating instead of a system one.

Visual clues can still be added as you suggest but each pool would have a tendency rather than a uniformity.
Ah yes - tendency rather than uniformity would be a good idea! The pools would need to be hand-curated, I think, but with only 6-12 per galaxy that wouldn't be too onerous. And there would be plenty of independent worlds scattered throughout, too.

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Redspear » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:48 pm

Not sure if by 'hand curated' you mean manually edited or deliberately selected. If the latter, I'd suggest it only need be so for the 'old worlds' / starting pool.

Randomness normally throws up more interesting distributions IMHO. If it doesn't give good results it's normally the method of 'randomisation' that needs tweaking. With low variance (only moving 1 place on a 5 point scale) there would only be a variance among severity rather than character.

The pools themselves are not easily manipulated other than manually, as first they'd need to be established.

In short: randomisation (suitably checked) tends to produce unexpected, and often more interesting, results. As long as the probability and variance of results are balanced then results are neither expected nor outrageous, rather they tend towards the quirky and (I would suggest) fun.
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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Disembodied » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:41 pm

Redspear wrote: Not sure if by 'hand curated' you mean manually edited or deliberately selected. If the latter, I'd suggest it only need be so for the 'old worlds' / starting pool.
I mean, someone would have to draw the borders/select the systems that made up each pool, give them names,* and make the decision that the Old Worlds get the highest stability ranking. Also the stability rankings of other systems would have to be checked to make sure e.g. the rest of Galaxy 1 - or even just all the high-tech systems - weren't all chaotic pirate nests.

* Actually, that's given me another idea: a permanent display somewhere on the HUD that gives the current system name and basic details (government/economy type), using the icons from the F6 screen. This again might help give a cue to the player that they're travelling about – e.g.

Code: Select all

Galaxy 1
Old Worlds: Lave
[Dictatorship icon] [Rich Ag. icon] [Stability icon]

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