First experiences / difficulties

General discussion for players of Oolite.

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Fritz
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Re: First experiences / difficulties

Post by Fritz »

I don't look at the contracts at every station but I've never seen one paying more than a low four digit number. It seems there are technically three kinds of contracts:

1) low fees, needing no reputation, visible without reputation (yellow)
2) medium fees, needing reputation, visible without reputation (grey)
3) high fees, visible only with reputation

An OXP to show the reputation is probably a good idea. And I assume it is bad for your reputation if you 'burn' a contract and sell the cargo for a better price, as I suggested...
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Re: First experiences / difficulties

Post by SteveKing »

Fritz wrote:I don't look at the contracts at every station but I've never seen one paying more than a low four digit number... And I assume it is bad for your reputation if you 'burn' a contract
One of my commanders, Hennessey, likes to think he's a gun courier, mainly in the mid-high 4 figures and sees the occasional low 5 figure contract. He fails to meet the odd contract (because he gets distracted with short side trips every now and then and doesn't consider the time penalty very well :roll: ), so has not yet seen the highly lucrative >20 000cr jobs, because his rep keeps getting a hit... He has heard rumours though, chatting to the occasional barman :D
Fritz wrote:I didn't find any manual or documentation
I think the lack of documentation is not a bad thing.

You embark of a career as a courier as a bit of a sideline - "I'm going in this direction, so I'll just take this parcel on the way", based on an offer from someone at the space bar just looking at getting a few sports holos off to a memorabilia collector (space ebay :D ). You become your best advertisement as you chat to others at various space bars/food halls on the way, that you're delivering a package for some dude for a few credits and someone says, "Hey, I know someone who knows someone who wants some legal documents couriered." You take the job as it's 'on the way', and for some inexplicable reason you get picked on in some backspace anarchy you've passed through 3 or 4 times without any trouble previously and you curse yourself for all the bad luck, but take out the protagonist and then offload your woes to someone in the next space bar..." Word gets around, you get more offers and then you start seeing a pattern between taking 'Process Designs' or 'Legal Records' or 'Weapon Prototype Plans' and the amount of times you hear the inevitable "There he is, lets get him before anyone else turns up" over the comm. The upside is that the offers are more lucrative and you think "What harm could delivering 'Recipies for Wolf Burgers' be, its on the way", and a couple of jumps away you get accosted by some space greeny group against the culling of endangered Tree Wolves from some planet you don't even remember visiting at some point.

Definitely an interesting carreer when you get going. Be careful about toting 'Wolf Burger Recipies' half way accross the chart for 5-6000cr, because if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is :mrgreen:
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Re: First experiences / difficulties

Post by Cody »

<chortles> Yeah, that's about right! I often get distracted between contracts, so my rep falls a little - you gotta keep going!

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Re: First experiences / difficulties

Post by Diziet Sma »

Just a note to add that the above applies to the other contract types too.. sure, you won't make much money to begin with (or even lose money), but once your reputation maxes out, some hugely profitable jobs will start coming your way. (Just like parcels, however, high-rolling passengers can bring their own problems.. there's a good reason they're offering a fortune for the trip!)
Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied

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Re: First experiences / difficulties

Post by Alex »

Fritz wrote:Hi Everyone,

I'm new to Oolite - I installed it some days ago - and of course I'm new to this forum. I'm from Germany so please excuse spelling and grammar mistakes!
Hi Fritz
A very warm welcome to the best game ever. And friendliest bullitin board for that matter.
Like yourself I started too many years ago with Elite and was so hooked I played many a weekend non stop, young enough not to require sleep.

My first suggestion would have been to down load one of the previous builds.
A few years ago my younger brother sent me the link for build 1.65 with the proviso "Don't loose your head in this as you did with Elite!"
2 hours after downloading 1.65 was a week later. Hooked again.
It was very close to Elite but with solid ships.
The next really good build in my opinion was 1.72 Much harder than 1.65 but still close enough to Elite for a beginner.

Obviously too late for that suggestion. Unless you want to try them for the fun of it and let you see just how fast Oolite has been developing.
Anyway, having read your posts on the subject, Your picking it up at a really fast rate.
Or.. Have you not slept in a week or so? :D
LOOK OUT!!!
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If you do not see "Press Space" more often than you want.. Your not trying!

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Re: First experiences / difficulties

Post by Fritz »

SteveKing wrote:
Fritz wrote:I didn't find any manual or documentation
I think the lack of documentation is not a bad thing.
That's what I tell my customers too! :lol:

But meanwhile I found a little documentation in the JavaScript reference on the wiki (http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/Oolite ... ce:_Player). There are three independent reputations for cargo, parcels and passengers, each having a value between -7 and 7, where 0 is neutral. The mentioned OXP shows 0 as "Nobody has ever heard of you carrying a parcel". My reputation is 0 although I've carried three parcels, this is because the reputation "decays" over time. So if I take contracts only occasionally, I'll never get a higher reputation. There is no information about how fast the reputation will go up and down, but I fear that the decaying ruins the contract part of the game for me since I prefer fighting, so I usually travel through unsafe systems looking for trouble.
Diziet Sma wrote:Just a note to add that the above applies to the other contract types too.. sure, you won't make much money to begin with (or even lose money), but once your reputation maxes out, some hugely profitable jobs will start coming your way. (Just like parcels, however, high-rolling passengers can bring their own problems.. there's a good reason they're offering a fortune for the trip!)
I must admit that I have some difficulties keeping apart Elite reality and Elite fiction. On the 8-bit Elite many things were obviously fiction, for example the generation ships and also the descriptions of the planets (e.g. "dull place"). The latter seems to be the same with Oolite. Even more, I do have the impression that safe and unsafe systems differ less on Oolite than on Elite! The wiki is full of fiction about safe routes and parts of galaxies that are dangerous to reach or leave, but in practice, an anarchy system on the route isn't a big obstacle even if you prefer fuelling up at the station over sun skimming.

The story was interesting and funny to read, but much of it sounds like fiction. I have never seen anybody attacking me around a station, even in anarchies. And I've been a lot in anarchies! Apart from this, the Griff Boa is an OXP, so could something like this happen to me? Probably not. My question here is: Is it really more dangerous to carry a passenger or a critical parcel? Do passengers really communicate with the pilot and set new goals? Will I really get attacked by NPC ships that don't want me to finish my job? Or is there just an increased probability of running into trouble by making the safe systems a little less safe and the unsafe systems even more unsafe?
Alex wrote:Like yourself I started too many years ago with Elite and was so hooked I played many a weekend non stop, young enough not to require sleep.
I did spend many hours with Elite (I was around 18-20 at the time) and some other games, but luckily I almost never forgot to eat and sleep while playing. I remember only one occasion where I looked out of the window and was surprised that the sun was already rising. But this was not with Elite, it was many years later (I think it was Warcraft II or Starcraft). With Elite you can save the game often, so it's easy to take a break.
Anyway, having read your posts on the subject, Your picking it up at a really fast rate.
Or.. Have you not slept in a week or so? :D
No, I need my sleep! :) I've even been away more than 2 weeks for holiday since I started playing Oolite, and I spent many hours playing around with OXPs! As I said, I still own a C 64 (even more than one!) and I did play Elite from time to time over the past decades. So I didn't have the usual starting problems with understanding the game, controlling the ship or getting used to the 3D radar display. My only problems were that you need to aim more precisely and that the Oolite NPC ships are much stronger than those on Elite. This got better when I could afford shield boosters and military lasers. On the other hand, it is simpler to trade with unsafe systems and make money quickly because you can avoid the standard route between witchspace entry point and planet.

I did about 300 trips until today. I'm not sure about the average time each one took, but if I calculate with 15 minutes and add some trips I didn't save, I spent around 80 hours with playing Oolite since I started on 2015-07-11. Considering I was on holiday for 15 days that would be around 40 days, giving an average of 2 hours per day. That could actually be the case. :roll:

I save after each docking and kept all save files with a name including planet name, new equipment and the number of my kills, so I can accurately tell you how I developed:

I spent most of the first hours of playing with trading between the planets Diso and Leesti (mostly computers, radioactives and food) to make money as fast as possible. I bought my cargo bay extension after the 7th trip, the first beam laser after the 18th trip and the first military laser after the 56th trip. With this very useful piece of equipment I mostly made trips to Riedquat instead of Diso. I still had 0 (zero!) kills and tried to avoid trouble, but with the experience and strategies I have today I could have shot down some pirates already. After I bought a rear military laser after trip #71, I started to get more aggressive, and on trip #84 I became "mostly harmless".

All of this happened during one long weekend (3 days). The short and peaceful trips often only took about 5 to 10 minutes (I made 7 saves/trips in the first 2 hours of playing Oolite!), and docking, refuelling, selling and buying cargo, saving the game and relaunching was a matter of less than a minute. But I probably played 15 to 20 hours during these first 3 days...

Equipped with 2 military lasers I still tried to make money and avoided too much trouble, but since about trip #100 I rarely made a trip through an unsafe system without scoring some kills. On trip #165 I reached an average of one kill per trip, and today I rarely make a trip without at least some kills and some scooped cargo. On trip #208 I finished the Constrictor mission (I never did this on the original Elite). But being equipped with shield boosters and military lasers it was no big deal. I even killed it twice, because after the first time I was careless and perhaps a bit too motivated and failed to deal with a really big pack of pirates before reaching the safety of a station. :oops:
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Re: First experiences / difficulties

Post by Cody »

Fritz wrote:My question here is: Is it really more dangerous to carry a passenger or a critical parcel? Will I really get attacked by NPC ships that don't want me to finish my job?
Short answer: yes!

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Re: First experiences / difficulties

Post by Diziet Sma »

Fritz wrote:There is no information about how fast the reputation will go up and down, but I fear that the decaying ruins the contract part of the game for me since I prefer fighting, so I usually travel through unsafe systems looking for trouble.
There's a random element to this.. Every jump you make there's a small chance your reputation will drop slightly. Personally, I think the chance is set a little high, and I'd like to see it reduced.
Fritz wrote:I do have the impression that safe and unsafe systems differ less on Oolite than on Elite!
In that regard, you'd be wrong. Since 1.80, the differences between safe and unsafe systems has actually been increased. The political type of the neighbouring systems also has an influence. Perhaps you've just been lucky so far. :wink:
Fritz wrote:The story was interesting and funny to read, but much of it sounds like fiction. I have never seen anybody attacking me around a station, even in anarchies. And I've been a lot in anarchies! Apart from this, the Griff Boa is an OXP, so could something like this happen to me? Probably not. My question here is: Is it really more dangerous to carry a passenger or a critical parcel? Do passengers really communicate with the pilot and set new goals? Will I really get attacked by NPC ships that don't want me to finish my job? Or is there just an increased probability of running into trouble by making the safe systems a little less safe and the unsafe systems even more unsafe?
The story is based entirely on an experience that actually happened to me. Very little embellishment was involved, merely a little fleshing out and creative interpretation of the event. I linked to it as an example of the kind of thing that really can happen to a player. The emergent behaviour that Oolite's AI can occasionally generate really has to be experienced to be believed. Even us "old hands" get surprised at times by how sophisticated it can appear to be.

In my case, the attack was precipitated by the [EliteWiki] Furball OXP, or possibly (albeit unlikely) [EliteWiki] Factions OXP, not the presence of the passenger on board. The Griff Boa was pure happen-stance. The sudden demand of my passenger to dock immediately is core game behaviour. Even if you arrive well ahead of schedule, once you arrive in the Station Aegis of the destination system, you have a limited amount of time (10 minutes, IIRC) to dock, or the passenger will get impatient at the last-minute delay and refuse to pay the balance of the fee. However, the passenger doesn't actually inform you of this (something else I'd like to see changed), and you'll only discover this fact if you happen to check the F5-F5 screen. I was unaware of this at the time, and only just happened to check it when only 2 minutes remained.

At the time of writing (v1.76.1), passengers and parcels did not actually attract assassins. However, that behaviour was subsequently introduced to the core game, so yes, if you carry documents or passengers that certain criminal types in the Ooniverse object to (if the fee seems too good to be true, there's often a reason for it), then you can expect opposition. Do too many of such jobs, and those same criminals will take a personal dislike to you, as well. Dedicated couriers such as Cody tend to encounter such "welcoming committees" on a regular basis.
Fritz wrote:Equipped with 2 military lasers I still tried to make money and avoided too much trouble, but since about trip #100 I rarely made a trip through an unsafe system without scoring some kills. On trip #165 I reached an average of one kill per trip, and today I rarely make a trip without at least some kills and some scooped cargo. On trip #208 I finished the Constrictor mission (I never did this on the original Elite). But being equipped with shield boosters and military lasers it was no big deal. I even killed it twice, because after the first time I was careless and perhaps a bit too motivated and failed to deal with a really big pack of pirates before reaching the safety of a station. :oops:
It sounds as if the NPCs are beginning to not be much of a challenge for you. If you'd like to change that, there are a number of OXPs which will give you a run for your money. :twisted:

Firstly, those that directly improve the quality of the NPCs you'll face.

ShipVersion. NPCs get extra equipment and bonuses scaled with the version.
Skilled NPCs. Makes many of the pilots much smarter.
ToughGuys. Increases NPC equipment and pilot skill - a re-balancing upgrade for experienced Commanders.


Then there are those that just make everyday life more challenging.

Breakable Life Support System. Adds a new breakable equipment to the player's ship.
Breakable 'Standard' Equipment. Can make standard equipment like Shields, HUD, Engines etc damageable in combat.
Green Gecko. Features the Green Knights of Lago in their awesome twin-laser Geckos.
Pirate Ambushes. Adds pirates that ambush the player upon exit from witchspace.
Pirate Coves. Adds rock hermits that have been taken over by pirates in more dangerous systems.
Realistic Damage. Gives a chance that equipment damage will destroy it.
Renegade Pirates. Adds rare, very well-armed, high bounty pirate versions of Classic Elite ships.
Start Choices. Gives you start up ship choices ranging from easy to very challenging.


A few from that lot should make life much more "interesting" for you... :lol:
Last edited by Diziet Sma on Sat Sep 05, 2015 8:09 am, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: First experiences / difficulties

Post by cim »

Diziet Sma wrote:However, the passenger doesn't actually inform you of this (something else I'd like to see changed)
I'm fairly sure this will have been an OXP feature rather than a core one, though I've no idea which OXP.

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Re: First experiences / difficulties

Post by Diziet Sma »

cim wrote:
Diziet Sma wrote:However, the passenger doesn't actually inform you of this (something else I'd like to see changed)
I'm fairly sure this will have been an OXP feature rather than a core one, though I've no idea which OXP.
I hadn't heard of that.. hopefully, someone here will know of it.
Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied

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Re: First experiences / difficulties

Post by Fritz »

Thank you for the additional information, Diziet Sma!
It sounds as if the NPCs are beginning to not be much of a challenge for you.
No, this isn't the case yet! Compared to Elite, fighting pirates still can get very exciting, and it still happens on a regular basis that one or both shields are down and that I loose cargo and/or equipment. And then there are these nasty surprises, like harmless looking Adders that seem to have military lasers, or groups of ships engaged in fighting each other and suddenly turning on me while I scoop up the debris...

Until now I've installed two OXPs with new ships: The first was the "Cylon Raider" (http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/Cylon_Raider_Mark_1). I like the design since I first saw it on TV around 1980 and always preferred it over the Colonial Viper. The Raiders can appear after whitchspace jumps and can make the game more difficult because a last-second jump during a battle into supposed safety can lead directly into disaster. I've tinkered with this OXP to make a random number of Raiders appear instead of always 4, and during testing I've gained much experience while fighting these small and very agile ships!

I'd like to have the Galactica. As a player ship of course! :mrgreen:

The OXP "Aliens" (http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/Aliens) doesn't really make the game more difficult because these ships appear very rarely. So far, I've had only two encounters - one of them was fatal.

I do miss the Thargoids a little: Compared to the original Elite they seem to appear quite rarely. I've made more than 300 trips, and so far I've met them only twice, once during a mis-jump and once inside a system. One day I'll force mis-jumps, this was the only real challenge on the original Elite.
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Re: First experiences / difficulties

Post by Norby »

Fritz wrote:I do miss the Thargoids a little
Then check these:
[wiki]Thargoid Wars[/wiki]
[wiki]Thargorn Threat[/wiki]
[wiki]To Catch a Thargoid[/wiki]

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Re: First experiences / difficulties

Post by Thargoid »

Additionally try:

[EliteWiki] Second Wave
[EliteWiki] Swarm
[EliteWiki] Lazarus

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Re: First experiences / difficulties

Post by Fritz »

I don't think I have to make the Thargoids more difficult! I made some training misjumps today and although I was able to destroy one or even two Thargoid warships before fleeing or being killed, I noticed that their number doesn't go down: You start with two (if you're lucky), after you've destroyed one there are still two remaining, and after you've destroyed the second one there are three remaining. It's like fighting Hydra!

The first time this happened I thought that I didn't count correctly or mixed up Thargons with warships, but after the second time I could actually verify in the log file that there is a spawning of new Thargoid warships during battle!

On the C64 Elite you could actually win a battle against Thargoids and scoop up the inactive Thargons as "alien items" in peace and quiet while your lasers cooled down and your shields and energy banks came back to life. With Oolite you can only destroy as much Thargoid warships as you can and flee into witch space with what remains of your ship. I wonder why this was changed, or if it is some kind of bug (possibly caused by the Aliens OXP which seems to interact with the Thargoids-in-witch-space part?).
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Re: First experiences / difficulties

Post by Cody »

Fritz wrote:I could actually verify in the log file that there is a spawning of new Thargoid warships during battle!
That is expected behaviour!

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