A Noob's *Very* Long Rant About Combat

General discussion for players of Oolite.

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A Noob's *Very* Long Rant About Combat

Post by my ammo crate »

TL; DR: I find Oolite’s combat too hard. Is there anything that makes the AI dumber? Or lowers difficulty in general?

Note: I never actually had the chance to play the original Elite when it first came out (in fact, I doubt my parents had even met at the time). Because of this, my observations and comments are going to compare Oolite to Elite TNK, not the original Elite. Also, I apologize for this extremely long first post.

I’ve only started showing interest in the space-sim genre recently, and I picked up Elite – The New Kind a week ago and really enjoyed it. But without any previous experience with Elite, I wasn’t sure how everything worked and so I had to resort to the internet for help. That’s when I stumbled onto this forum and Oolite (is it ‘ooh-lite’? ‘Oh-leet’? Ooh-leet?) got my attention. A modern, open-source reimagining of Elite? I downloaded it and tried it out straight away.

First impressions were spectacular. Oolite has so much going for it: the graphics are pretty, the UI is neat, the controls are familiar and improved, it has mods (MODS! :D), the community is active, and new versions are still being rolled out, and as I keep looking I find more reasons to like it.

Immediately on my first flight, I noticed some differences. The controls were super smooth, and I was surprised it ran at around 60 fps on my poor-mid range laptop. The travel routes felt more populated with convoys, police patrols and it truly felt like a living world. Best of all, docking is sooo much easier thanks to the slower spin, camera angles and yawing. Arriving at the first station, I immediately knew I wouldn’t need a docking computer until I had credits to burn.

Like I said, the more I find out about Oolite, the more reasons I have to like it. So it’s a real shame that the combat gets in the way and ruins everything.

During my first flight, I watched in awe as two groups of ships engaged in an epic skirmish some ways off the main route. There wasn’t any police involved so it wasn’t a battle between cops and outlaws. I had no idea who they were or why they were fighting – but I thought to myself, maybe someday I’ll know who and why they fight – maybe I’ll be the one in there, fighting with my allies for some greater purpose. Perhaps someday.

About an hour later I’d made zero progress because I kept dying, and my thoughts turned bitter. Whenever I was mass-locked by something, I groaned and I’d wish for passerby to just go away. Why? One word: (goddamn) pirates.

As a new player, a pirate encounter is a death sentence. It’s faster to just quit the game and try the journey again. The AI is way too accurate, and there’s too many to deal with. It’s always an encounter of 4+ ships who can snipe with the beam laser from the edge of my radar. The two options are fight or flight, and I know newbies are supposed to run away, but neither choice has ever worked in a satisfying way.

Flight: I’ve got no fuel injectors so I can’t boost away. A witchspace jump could get me out of the battle but it usually just leads to another pirate group in the next system. I tried (admittedly only once) giving them what they wanted. They asked for 2 units, I dropped 2 units. Still, they decided to blast lasers into my ass. My only option is to do a left/right and up/down roll combination for about 20 minutes (I didn’t time how long it takes but it definitely feels like it) until I approach the Coriolis station and they go away. I did it once successfully, but damn, was it ever dull. Maybe it’s just me, but staring at a rotating field of stars for 20 minutes doesn’t fill me with excitement. Usually I lose patience and just try and dogfight the pirates.

Fight: The starting laser is utter crap. Slow cooldown and fast moving ships make it hard to use. It also doesn’t help that they have amazing vision, and I’m already drowning in laser before I can see them. I could use my missiles to thin out their numbers, but it seems every other ship is equipped with an ECM. I was able to get close with the same left/right - up/down combo I used to get away, but when I got close enough, then they all start circling around like vultures. They take turns to shoot at me, so I need to keep turning too to avoid getting hit, but then it becomes impossible to track targets and just turns into a confusing mess. These – I hesitate to say – battles can go on and on and it gets boring fast, though not as fast as running away. We exchange laser fire, I can land a few hits, but none of them ever go down.

I want to point out that I’m not a totally shitty pilot. I only started playing these types of games for about a week, and I’ve spent more time in Oolite than Elite-TNK. But still, I played TNK first and only after a couple hours I was able to bump my rating up to poor WITHOUT buying any equipment.

A common reply I’ve seen is to remove all the OXZs and learn the base game first, but that’s what I’ve been doing. I have a couple installed, but they’re all cosmetic stuff: UI fonts, random ship names, selectable crosshairs, just to name a few – nothing that changes the foundations. Hell, if anything, I downloaded stuff that makes it easier. I cheated, I’ll admit that.
I downloaded a combat balance mod which supposedly makes the AI slightly worse. (The mod didn’t work on its own for some reason, so I manually edited the correct files to mirror the mod’s effects.) I also got vapour trails to help track my targets. Finally, a cheat menu, and with it, I disabled hostile ECMs, disabled AI use of missiles and activated ‘enhanced recharge rate’ (not entirely sure what this does, but I know it’s a positive effect). I gave myself tons of credits to buy anything that would give me an edge in combat: shield boosters, fuel injectors, extra energy unit, an ECM, and 2 beam lasers, front and back. I left trying to get myself into a fight for once, and quickly ran into a group of pirates.

I used my entire arsenal and I still lost. (Okay, maybe I am a shitty pilot.)

After all this ranting, my point is that the game is just too hard for beginners (Boy, I sound like a wuss). The combat is just really hard to get into and it completely overshadows everything else. I tried doing my own digging but couldn’t find an add-on that makes it easier. If anyone could point me to one that would be great, and if not, then here are some suggestions for an OXZ (I have no idea how to mod so I can’t make one or judge if what I ask is possible) or, at a stretch, a difficulty setting in an update. (If it’s a new OXZ you can name it something degrading.)

*This is all based on Elite – TNK’s combat. I think after the changes, the AI should be as stupid, terrible and stubborn as I :P*

The AI – less accurate at a distance, shoots slower. Starts attacking target when are within half the radius of the radar. Does not spawn in groups greater than 4 (4 ships should be rare) and there is never more than one group at a time. When circling around targets in dogfights, extend turn radius, lower turn speed.
Weapons – missiles move slowly, travel in straight line towards target. Enlarge model and hitbox. Colour model to contrast against dark background (example: red tip, light grey body). Lasers have an inaccuracy, does not always shoot in center of crosshairs (starting laser still crap, but in Elite it was twin-barrelled. Not sure if damage was actually doubled but still felt better to use.) Option to mount two fore cannons?

Idea: Low-level pirates will always harass you but as rating goes up, more attention is gained and a special kind of attacker spawns, the frequency depends on rating. Higher rating means higher spawn frequency. Attackers are after you specifically, for fame or something earned by defeating a high rating pilot. Could be a random balance of skill and quantity (for example, can spawn 1 highly skilled ship, a large group of low skill or average sized group of average skill)

I realize that after these adjustments (and maybe even more), the AI will be severely handicapped, but it mimics the AI from the original Elite, and I had fun playing that. Getting hounded by 10 pirates after I warp into a system, not so fun. (An extreme example, I know, but it actually happened. I got two demands for cargo not 30 seconds apart.) Difficulty is one of those things that can be a selling point, but I’d rather lose myself in the experience of playing, and just know I’m going to have fun when I load it up. For me, difficulty was never a factor in Oolite/Elite’s appeal, instead it was the open-endedness that got my attention. Being able to escape from reality and forge an epic tale in virtual space was what I wanted. I’m already using real-life time to try and progress, but it just feels like a waste when I haven’t gotten anywhere because I keep getting blown to bits. This isn’t so much falling at the first hurdle than having the hurdle getting up and repeatedly body-slamming me before I’ve even heard the word ‘go.’

I read in another post that this frustration of losing again and again is supposed to make that first victory all the sweeter, and that it’s supposed to fuel your determination to keep playing. Well, after playing Oolite for some time, I finally did get my first victory (it was against 4 pirates, before I started cheating) and every time I lined up my shot and destroyed a ship, I had to spend the next 5 minutes dodging and rolling so my shields could recharge. It didn’t feel satisfying or fulfilling. I believe my thoughts at the time were ‘dammit, finally.’ Though it must’ve been a stroke of luck, because on the next journey a group of 3 tore me apart. As for fueling my determination, getting killed over and over again was really draining my will to play.

Maybe I’ve just got the wrong mindset for this sort of game. The way Elite was pitched to me was that it wasn’t a game you dedicate some time towards. It wasn’t something you do on its own, though you could. You input your destination, listen to a podcast, read a book, type up an assignment, whatever, and alt-tab over when you heard laser fire whittling down your shields. I guess Oolite needs a more active attitude and a dedication that I’m just not willing to give. But in my eyes, isn’t this a role for mods to fill? To be able to tweak the experience however you want, and pleasing a broader audience in the process. Everyone’s game is different, and it’ll be a tall order to find two Ooniverses that are exactly the same. Or, maybe the problem I have doesn’t lie in a game crafted by capable individuals who are true fans of the space-sim genre, and kept alive by a community for over a decade. Maybe, it’s simply that Oolite and I just don’t mix.

But I want to like Oolite, I really do. It's just the combat keeps pushing me back, and I never feel like I’m enjoying the time spent when I play. Anything that remedies this will be the game’s saving grace.
Well, if all else fails, I guess it’s back to Elite – The New Kind.


(At the very least try to change the starting weapon’s sound, preferably something with more bass. It sounds so feeble. I already know it is, I don't need to be reminded every time I fire. :wink: )

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Re: A Noob's *Very* Long Rant About Combat

Post by Cody »

Welcome aboard. It's late here, and I'm far too tired to reply to any of your points, so I'll just leave this here:

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.

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Re: A Noob's *Very* Long Rant About Combat

Post by Devium »

:lol: Yeah I rage quit sooooo many times before I got a cheap controller... (I am a horrible horrible hooooorrible keyboard pilot :? ) Also took me a bit to pick up the run and gun method, you will want reverse control which you can find in manager. A sort of training wheel I used as well was SniperLock http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/SniperLock which helps keep you on a target lock. But if you have a controller or joystick you can toggle sensitivity and make aiming much easier at a distance. As far as my usual starting route Lave > Zaonce > Isinor > Tionisla then milk the Tionisla > Isinor route as it leaves you with more fuel till you can afford some more kit and do the better paying Ensoreus > Isinor route.

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Re: A Noob's *Very* Long Rant About Combat

Post by my ammo crate »

@Cody
Cody wrote: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.
I remember reading that when I was looking around for mods to make the game easier. I had a chuckle when I first saw it, but ultimately it's true.
In this age of gaming where nearly every title almost plays itself, I do respect Oolite for actually needing skill to succeed.

@Devium
Thanks for the tips. Especially SniperLock. That looks like a crutch I'll gladly abuse :twisted: .
Just to make sure I'm on the right track, stuff is cheaper in 'rich' systems and expensive in 'poor' systems?
Last edited by my ammo crate on Sat Oct 17, 2015 3:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Noob's *Very* Long Rant About Combat

Post by Anonymissimus »

From all of my addons [wiki]Variable_Masslock[/wiki] is the one that makes it easier the most, since most of the time you can get out of the pirates' scanner range before they decide to attack you then. Perhaps with jumpdrive even.
Don't go the straight route to the station...90° out into open space for a few seconds on jumpdrive speed previously. You should almost never encounter pirates until you decide you want to, basically.
Most of the addons make the game easier in one way or another. Surely you should avoid Deep Space Pirates and Skilled NPCs.
Then of course fuel injectors is the first thing to get. Often the pirates don't have fast enough ships in their group to be able to keep up with a cobra 3 on injector speed. Make jumps as short as possible to have max fuel left.
Do not take parcel or passenger contracts until you have an iron ass, these make assassins attack you, which are MUCH tougher than pirates and cannot be bought off. (This is some advice that is missing in the usual guides I think, parcels look too much like an easy way to get a little money.)
Dropping sufficiently enough cargo should work. Maybe they were assassins instead ?
Just continue trading furs<->computers between somthing like Laenin<->Xexedi, run whenever pirates attack you (on that route you will have enough to go on fuel injectors all the way to the station), and you soon can afford a shield booster and beam lasers.
In combat, NPCs generally have long range vision and sniping way beyond superhuman, especially vs a cobra 3. So corkscrew your trajectory into close range combat and then take on those first that are largest, slowest and especially without injectors. Such as Kraits and Cobra 3s.
EDIT
Any thargoid-related addon tends to enhance thargoids and therefore makes the game harder too. Same for ship OXPs as they usually can appear as pirates and are usually more powerful than ordinary pirates. Most equipment OXPs make things easier, as NPCs often don't get them, e.g [wiki]IronHide_OXP[/wiki], [wiki]Military_Fuel_Injectors_OXP[/wiki], [wiki]Police_IFF_Scanner_Upgrade[/wiki], [wiki]Target_Autolock_OXP[/wiki], Auto-ECM, [wiki]Auto_eject_OXP[/wiki] are all relatively cheap and greatly enhance your chances in combat. As some of them are fitted as standard to all NPCs (Auto-ECM, Auto eject) it's not even any kind of cheating, it just puts the core game, which is itself strongly opposed to the player, more into balance.
Last edited by Anonymissimus on Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Noob's *Very* Long Rant About Combat

Post by Wildeblood »

my ammo crate wrote:Thanks for the tips. Especially SniperLock. That looks like a crutch I'll gladly abuse :twisted: .
Yeah, I think I know what you need, and created it several years ago, but never made it public. See if you can persuade one of the currently active OXPers to take pity on you. Someone who knows their javascript and doesn't hate me. Point 'em toward me. I'll describe to 'em how to recreate my lost Autotrack OXP. Everyone will love it and thank you for it.

Curse windows 7 and windows update.

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Re: A Noob's *Very* Long Rant About Combat

Post by Diziet Sma »

G'day, my ammo crate, and welcome aboard! I do hope you stick around and persevere with Oolite. It's a very rewarding game, if you give it a chance. A very long (and well-considered!) post deserves an equally long and well-considered reply.. so here we go..
my ammo crate wrote:TL; DR: I find Oolite’s combat too hard. Is there anything that makes the AI dumber? Or lowers difficulty in general?
I see you already tried the Combat Balance OXZ.. so no, that's about it, really. Perhaps there's call to revisit that OXZ and tweak things some more.
my ammo crate wrote:Note: I never actually had the chance to play the original Elite when it first came out (in fact, I doubt my parents had even met at the time). Because of this, my observations and comments are going to compare Oolite to Elite TNK, not the original Elite. Also, I apologize for this extremely long first post.
Ahh.. so you're of a different generation from some of us old-school types. (Don't worry, there's plenty here your age and younger.) Not that it's relevant, but you may be interested to know that it was due to David Braben's insistence that Elite TNK be withdrawn from distribution, that Oolite first got started.
my ammo crate wrote:I’ve only started showing interest in the space-sim genre recently, and I picked up Elite – The New Kind a week ago and really enjoyed it. But without any previous experience with Elite, I wasn’t sure how everything worked and so I had to resort to the internet for help. That’s when I stumbled onto this forum and Oolite (is it ‘ooh-lite’? ‘Oh-leet’? Ooh-leet?) got my attention. A modern, open-source reimagining of Elite? I downloaded it and tried it out straight away.
Out of curiosity, what was it that got you interested in space-sims? As for pronunciation, the most common usage is oo-leet, but some prefer alternatives. The creator of Oolite, Giles Williams, aka aegidian, originally pronounced it as oo-light, but concedes that oo-leet is probably the best pronunciation.
my ammo crate wrote:First impressions were spectacular. Oolite has so much going for it: the graphics are pretty, the UI is neat, the controls are familiar and improved, it has mods (MODS! :D), the community is active, and new versions are still being rolled out, and as I keep looking I find more reasons to like it.

Immediately on my first flight, I noticed some differences. The controls were super smooth, and I was surprised it ran at around 60 fps on my poor-mid range laptop. The travel routes felt more populated with convoys, police patrols and it truly felt like a living world. Best of all, docking is sooo much easier thanks to the slower spin, camera angles and yawing. Arriving at the first station, I immediately knew I wouldn’t need a docking computer until I had credits to burn.

Like I said, the more I find out about Oolite, the more reasons I have to like it.
Thanks! We quite like it too! 8)
my ammo crate wrote:So it’s a real shame that the combat gets in the way and ruins everything.
Yes, it still is kind of tough.. but be glad you missed version 1.80, where the combat difficulty inadvertently got overly ramped up. In fact, that's the reason the Combat Balance OXZ was released. And possibly why you felt it had little effect in 1.82, which is, in part, a re-balanced 1.80. Don't worry though, I'll do my best to give you some help and tips on early game-play.
my ammo crate wrote:During my first flight, I watched in awe as two groups of ships engaged in an epic skirmish some ways off the main route. There wasn’t any police involved so it wasn’t a battle between cops and outlaws. I had no idea who they were or why they were fighting – but I thought to myself, maybe someday I’ll know who and why they fight – maybe I’ll be the one in there, fighting with my allies for some greater purpose. Perhaps someday.
As you noted above, Oolite does its' best to simulate a living world, and it largely succeeds. My guess would be you came across an encounter between traders (quite likely with escorts), and pirates, or it may have been a group of bounty-hunters vs pirates. And yes, you can join in, on either side, if you so choose.
my ammo crate wrote:About an hour later I’d made zero progress because I kept dying, and my thoughts turned bitter. Whenever I was mass-locked by something, I groaned and I’d wish for passerby to just go away. Why? One word: (goddamn) pirates.

As a new player, a pirate encounter is a death sentence. It’s faster to just quit the game and try the journey again. The AI is way too accurate, and there’s too many to deal with. It’s always an encounter of 4+ ships who can snipe with the beam laser from the edge of my radar. The two options are fight or flight, and I know newbies are supposed to run away, but neither choice has ever worked in a satisfying way.

Flight: I’ve got no fuel injectors so I can’t boost away. A witchspace jump could get me out of the battle but it usually just leads to another pirate group in the next system. I tried (admittedly only once) giving them what they wanted. They asked for 2 units, I dropped 2 units. Still, they decided to blast lasers into my ass. My only option is to do a left/right and up/down roll combination for about 20 minutes (I didn’t time how long it takes but it definitely feels like it) until I approach the Coriolis station and they go away. I did it once successfully, but damn, was it ever dull. Maybe it’s just me, but staring at a rotating field of stars for 20 minutes doesn’t fill me with excitement. Usually I lose patience and just try and dogfight the pirates.
Several points come to mind here...

So far as the fiendishly accurate enemy fire goes, the skill level/accuracy of pirates is to some extent a result of random chance. And we've noticed that every now and then a new player gets a run of really bad luck from the random number generator. Seems like this may have happened to you.. we can only commiserate, but we've all been there at times. Just like in real life, sometimes the bad luck seems to come in runs.

You seem to have similarly lucked out when dumping cargo. That usually will work. A couple of tips: if you drop cargo (around here we call it pirate-kibble, and usually keep a few TC of food -being the cheapest item- around for such occasions) you should drop it fairly promptly. Having things pre-set, ready to go helps here. Also, don't dump cargo whilst flying towards the station, otherwise the kibble will continue moving along your course, and you'll never get far from the pirates as they chase the cargo. Angle off to the side or even in the opposite direction before you dump. That way, they'll be forced to head away from you to catch it. Also, if you dump cargo, don't shoot at the pirates afterwards. That tends to annoy them, and they're likely to press the attack again. In fact, if you plan on using kibble as a tactic, it's probably best to try, so far as possible, to not shoot at them, at all.
my ammo crate wrote:Fight: The starting laser is utter crap. Slow cooldown and fast moving ships make it hard to use.
Yes, as Mr Gimlet says, in his Advice For New Commanders, "A Pulse Laser’s one step up from a penlight, kiddo. Oh, it’s a better defence than just harsh language, and there’s always a chance you might be attacked by a really nervous pirate – but seriously: if you ever want to shift that “Harmless” tag you better beef up your armaments, and soon!". (Your Oolite installation includes a PDF of Mr Gimlet's wisdom also. Highly recommended reading. His tips have been updated specifically for the 1.80/1.82 releases. Take them seriously.)
my ammo crate wrote:It also doesn’t help that they have amazing vision, and I’m already drowning in laser before I can see them. I could use my missiles to thin out their numbers, but it seems every other ship is equipped with an ECM. I was able to get close with the same left/right - up/down combo I used to get away, but when I got close enough, then they all start circling around like vultures. They take turns to shoot at me, so I need to keep turning too to avoid getting hit, but then it becomes impossible to track targets and just turns into a confusing mess. These – I hesitate to say – battles can go on and on and it gets boring fast, though not as fast as running away. We exchange laser fire, I can land a few hits, but none of them ever go down.
In amongst this litany of woes, it seems you've already discovered something that will serve you well down the track. It's something that real-life fighter pilots know too.. Never be predictable. If you fly straight for more than a few seconds, someone will get a bead on you. Jink, twist, roll, dive, climb, and change speeds constantly. Also, not that it's a big help until your ship is more combat capable, the closer you are to your enemy, the harder it is for them to hit you. On the other hand, once you have a laser with the range, there's a lot to be said for thinning out their numbers before they get close.
my ammo crate wrote:I want to point out that I’m not a totally shitty pilot. I only started playing these types of games for about a week, and I’ve spent more time in Oolite than Elite-TNK. But still, I played TNK first and only after a couple hours I was able to bump my rating up to poor WITHOUT buying any equipment.
Yes, but keep in mind that Elite TNK is, for the most part, largely a recreation of the original (fairly basic) Elite, not a complete re-imagining and modernising, like Oolite.
my ammo crate wrote:A common reply I’ve seen is to remove all the OXZs and learn the base game first, but that’s what I’ve been doing. I have a couple installed, but they’re all cosmetic stuff: UI fonts, random ship names, selectable crosshairs, just to name a few – nothing that changes the foundations. Hell, if anything, I downloaded stuff that makes it easier. I cheated, I’ll admit that.
It's nice to see someone actually taking that advice.. so kudos for that. And no, you didn't "cheat". The whole point of Oolite is that you can tune it in whatever way you want your game to be. What anyone else thinks of your preferences is irrelevant. As you spend more time with the game, you'll find your preferences shifting and maturing. None of us here play exactly the same way as anyone else.. that's one of Oolite's strengths.
my ammo crate wrote:I downloaded a combat balance mod which supposedly makes the AI slightly worse. (The mod didn’t work on its own for some reason, so I manually edited the correct files to mirror the mod’s effects.)
Well done.. you've already taken your first steps towards the Dark Side (which is what we call creating mods here). Be careful, as once you start down that path, you may well end up spending more time modding than playing! Which is why we call it that name. :mrgreen:
my ammo crate wrote:I also got vapour trails to help track my targets. Finally, a cheat menu, and with it, I disabled hostile ECMs, disabled AI use of missiles and activated ‘enhanced recharge rate’ (not entirely sure what this does, but I know it’s a positive effect). I gave myself tons of credits to buy anything that would give me an edge in combat: shield boosters, fuel injectors, extra energy unit, an ECM, and 2 beam lasers, front and back. I left trying to get myself into a fight for once, and quickly ran into a group of pirates.

I used my entire arsenal and I still lost. (Okay, maybe I am a shitty pilot.)
Ok.. no judgement from me, here. Ultimately, the only person you're "cheating" is yourself, and you're the only one who can decide what you're willing to live with. All I'd suggest is, once you have more of a feel for the game, you'll probably find you can get by without such aids. Some of the tips yet to come will hopefully help in that regard.

The fact that you got your arse handed to you, despite all the hardware you bought, is simply a reflection of real life. Life isn't fair, and sometimes the odds are overwhelmingly against you. It can happen that no matter what you do, you're screwed. Unlike some games, Oolite doesn't try to protect players from that possiblity. Also, you've yet to hone your combat skills, so what are overwhelming odds now, you will probably develop tactics to cope with, later. But even the best of us regularly get beaten by Oolite (in fact, many of us have things set up to make the game even harder, and down the track, you may well do the same, believe it or not). But it just makes those times when we pull through by the skin of our teeth, so much sweeter.
my ammo crate wrote:After all this ranting, my point is that the game is just too hard for beginners
We're aware of this.. some efforts have already been made to correct things, and it's possible that more thought will have to be given to the matter. But there are some guiding principles that I've yet to cover, which can help here. Possibly, we need to put more emphasis and explanation on those principles, as it seems most newcomers don't yet take them seriously enough.
my ammo crate wrote:The combat is just really hard to get into and it completely overshadows everything else. I tried doing my own digging but couldn’t find an add-on that makes it easier. If anyone could point me to one that would be great, and if not, then here are some suggestions for an OXZ (I have no idea how to mod so I can’t make one or judge if what I ask is possible) or, at a stretch, a difficulty setting in an update. (If it’s a new OXZ you can name it something degrading.)
It sounds like there really would be a market for another (or updated) Combat Balance OXZ. Hopefully, someone will decide to create it.
my ammo crate wrote:When circling around targets in dogfights, extend turn radius, lower turn speed.
When you're in close in a dogfight, slowing down will give you a tighter turning radius. With practice, you can sit inside a NPCs turn and just keep plinking away at them. Not recommended if you're heavily outnumbered, of course, but even then it can work, if you can keep the others occupied with hardheads (ECM-resistant missiles). Hardheads are the only core missiles that are worth a damn.
my ammo crate wrote:Colour model to contrast against dark background (example: red tip, light grey body).
Tweaking the Gamma setting (in F2 Game Options) up a notch or two helps a lot with being able to see ships against the background.
my ammo crate wrote:Lasers have an inaccuracy, does not always shoot in center of crosshairs
That's called parallax. It's real, and it's in Oolite. Your viewpoint is, (in the Cobra at least) set some distance higher than your laser barrel, and the closer you are to your target, the more you're affected by parallax. Certain OXP ships actually have the viewpoint set so you're looking out through the laser barrel, for maximum accuracy. In other ships, such as the OXP ship Falcon (Millenium Falcon from Star Wars), due to the side-mounted pilot's cupola, the parallax effect is quite extreme.

There is an item of OXP equipment available, called [EliteWiki] Target Reticle, which will turn the targeting reticle red when you are on-target. Some HUDs have this feature enabled as standard.
my ammo crate wrote:The way Elite was pitched to me was that it wasn’t a game you dedicate some time towards. It wasn’t something you do on its own, though you could. You input your destination, listen to a podcast, read a book, type up an assignment, whatever, and alt-tab over when you heard laser fire whittling down your shields.
Well, it's very possible to play Oolite this way.. quite a few here do just that. But when things do get hectic.. well, it's hectic.
my ammo crate wrote:I want to like Oolite, I really do. It's just the combat keeps pushing me back, and I never feel like I’m enjoying the time spent when I play. Anything that remedies this will be the game’s saving grace.
I'm about to wrap this long reply up, with the long-promised final tips that can hopefully do that for you.. just one tiny last point before that..
my ammo crate wrote:(At the very least try to change the starting weapon’s sound, preferably something with more bass. It sounds so feeble. I already know it is, I don't need to be reminded every time I fire. :wink: )
As it happens, there are several OXPs that, among other things, do just that.

[EliteWiki] Custom Sounds, [EliteWiki] BGS (BackGroundSet), [EliteWiki] Hawksound, [EliteWiki] Halsis, [EliteWiki] OosoundsCombined, [EliteWiki] Amiga Replacement Sounds, [EliteWiki] MildAudio, and [EliteWiki] Murgh's Replacement Sounds all have alternative weapons sounds, as well as other replacement sound effects. Speaking personally, I use BGS in combination with Halsis.


Ok.. now on to the number one tip for survival as a newcomer to Oolite:

You know all those different types of political systems in use on various planets? In order, from "safest" to most "dangerous", they are: Corporate, Democratic, Confederate, Communist, Dictatorship, Multi-Government, Feudal, and Anarchy. Well, the differences between them are MUCH more important than you might have realised. Certainly in comparison to Elite and Elite TNK.

Game lore has always had it that Systems of certain political types were more dangerous than others, but in-game, there was not much to distinguish between them, with the possible exception of Anarchies.

Oolite 1.80 changed all that.

Not only does a system's political climate make more of a difference than it used to (in general, "safe" systems are that way because they can afford more police), but the neighbouring systems also have an effect, as one would expect. A Corporate world that happens to have several Anarchies for neighbours will experience regular pirate raids from those systems, making it somewhat more dangerous than one whose neighbours are Corporate and Democratic worlds. They'll have plenty of cops, of course, so the raids will be chased off fairly quickly, but if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time.. well.. The raids are also likely to employ large numbers of ships, because they'll expect opposition.

As the What's New page at Oolite.org said of 1.80:
One of the things we wanted to do with this release was use the variety already in the galaxy maps a bit more. Previously, one Corporate State was much like another - economy had a small effect, but only a small one - but there's so much more potential in the maps. On the ClymAngus maps of chart 5, Xevera, a Tech 15 Rich Industrial Corporate State, is surrounded by five Anarchy systems in jump range, and the label on the chart just says "The Siege Worlds". You can easily see why it got that name.
Image

Previously, though, if you've actually visited Xevera, there's not been anything in-system to distinguish it from any of the other Tech 15 Rich Industrial Corporate States. In 1.80, that's changed - it gets regular raids from the nearby anarchies, and has extremely well-armed Viper Interceptor patrols paid for by the wealthy system government who try to intercept the pirates as soon as they jump in. It's also a favoured base for bounty hunters wanting to turn the tables and carry out strikes on the anarchies, because they can buy lots of equipment, get good repairs, and not have to worry too much about pirates on the way home.

Compare this with Ceesxe in chart 1 - same government, economy and tech level, but rather than being an outpost of Cooperative-friendly stability in a dense pirate hub, it's a border system with only three relatively stable neighbours. Very safe, with maybe the occasional pirate raid from nearby Veis, and not particularly popular with bounty hunters because there's hardly anything to hunt.
For a fresh new Commander (a 'Jameson', as we call them) Corporate and Democratic worlds are the only (relatively) safe systems to be in. As Mr Gimlet points out, "you’d best stick to the cop-end worlds: Democracies and Corporates, Confederacies maybe if you’re feeling lucky, you hear me?"

Now, when you start a new game in Oolite, what are the systems you can reach on your first jump? There are two Corporate worlds, one Democracy, one Dictatorship, one Feudal world, and one Anarchy. And the system you start in, Lave, is a Dictatorship. That's right.. it's not really safe for you to return to the starting system until you've beefed your ship up some. Lave is the starting point because it's the traditional start in the original Elite. It's been suggested that since the changes to 1.80, a new starting system may actually make more sense. Probably someone will OXZ an alternate start at some point. But for now, you're stuck with it.

After your initial jump, you are in close proximity to yet more Communist, Dictatorship, Multi-Government, Feudal, and Anarchy worlds. All of them are bad news for an under-equipped Jameson, and some of them will at times raid their more affluent neighbours.

In short, until you can handle yourself, you need to pick your destinations carefully.

Also, it pays to keep in mind that the time-period Oolite is set in is not idyllic, by any means. GALCOP, the Galactic Co-operative, is in a state of slow collapse. The good times are long gone. As it says on the home page of the Oolite website:
The two thousand star systems of the Cooperative once enjoyed a golden age of peace and prosperity, and perhaps the wealthiest of them can still pretend to. The trade ships that once safely travelled between planets now have to be well armed and escorted to fend off pirate attacks, from small-time criminals desperate for their next meal, to powerful robber barons extracting tithes from everyone who passes through their space.

The Cooperative's police force, concentrated near a few influential planets, can no longer maintain order. The mercenaries they hire for a few credits a kill are too few, too unreliable to do so either. And in the darkness between the stars, an old enemy lurks, fearless, perhaps waiting for order to collapse entirely.

Good luck, Commander.
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my ammo crate wrote:In this age of gaming where nearly every title almost plays itself, I do respect Oolite for actually needing skill to succeed.
Thanks.. it's nice that someone appreciates that..
my ammo crate wrote:Just to make sure I'm on the right track, stuff is cheaper in 'rich' systems and expensive in 'poor' systems?
Not exactly. That has an effect, but you have to also keep basic economics in mind. Industrial and Agricultural systems produce different things. Items that are cheap to produce on an Agricultural world will be more costly on Industrial worlds, and vice versa. The maximum profit differentials (in both directions) can be found between a poor Agricultural and a rich Industrial system. But, as I've hammered in above, particularly when starting out, you will also need to take the system politics and local neighbourhood into account.


Good luck, Commander!
Last edited by Diziet Sma on Sat Oct 17, 2015 6:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
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: A Noob's *Very* Long Rant About Combat

Post by Diziet Sma »

Devium wrote:if you have a controller or joystick you can toggle sensitivity and make aiming much easier at a distance.
Even better is if you edit your controller's Response Curves correctly. It's easily possible to achieve even better fine-control than the precision mode toggle can provide. Also, with a keyboard, holding down Ctrl along with the manoeuvring keys, enables keyboard precision mode.
Devium wrote:As far as my usual starting route Lave > Zaonce > Isinor > Tionisla then milk the Tionisla > Isinor route as it leaves you with more fuel till you can afford some more kit and do the better paying Ensoreus > Isinor route.
@ my ammo crate, note carefully the political types and neighbours of the route Devium describes. It mostly sticks to safe systems.. Isinor is not especially safe, but at least there are no Anarchies nearby.. unlike over by Lave.
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: A Noob's *Very* Long Rant About Combat

Post by Amah »

Don't worry. Also playing with keyboard, currently play a trader role and I suck at dogfighting too.

How does the saying go... In a knife battle don't forget your knife or something better. Never forget as a green commander your cobbie 3 is nothing much more than a tin crate with a laserpointer. So avoid trouble. Unstable systems and the space lanes, where pirates lurk and mass lock you. Make some money and get your ship equipped.

One of the first equipment all my new comanders gets (even before docking computers) is fuel injectors to be capable to run away in a tight conflict. And I try to hitch a ride as much as possible to have enough fuel to run away when I'm in it.

Amah

Ps. It's not helping you in your game but maybe morally encouraging... I always help fellow traders in distress in my game. ;-)
Amah

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Re: A Noob's *Very* Long Rant About Combat

Post by Venator Dha »

Welcome my ammo crate,

One other OXZ that you might find useful is [wiki]Start Choices[/wiki]. Whilst most will make the start harder :o :shock: :roll: there's the Fast-track start to give you a bit of a head start :)
Fast-track
Easy start for the impatient. Skip the slow start and jump right into the action with a Cobra Mk III, fuel scoops, witchspace fuel injectors, tank full of fuel, pulse laser, 3 missile and 100 credits. With fuel scoops you can go straight to mining or scavenging and fuel injectors help you escape the pirates and clear the mass locks.
Who knows in a few months time you could be choosing the Hard or Harder start :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: A Noob's *Very* Long Rant About Combat

Post by my ammo crate »

Thanks everyone for the replies so far. I knew this forum was active, but I'm still surprised how quickly I got responses. I've downloaded quite a number of the recommended addons but I haven't gotten to try them out yet.
I already exercised some of my 'Dark Side' powers and lowered the tech level and prices for them (tee-hee). I just want to accelerate the process and practice a bit with the extra equipment.
Diziet Sma wrote:...it was due to David Braben's insistence that Elite TNK be withdrawn from distribution, that Oolite first got started.
Yeah, when I was first reading up on Oolite and I found out TNK was pulled, I thought:Oh hey, that's kind of cool.......... Uh, wait, did I just do something illegal? I forget where I saw this, but later I read that Braben Pinder was allowed to put it back up, so I guess I'm okay.
Diziet Sma wrote:Out of curiosity, what was it that got you interested in space-sims?
It was a couple things, recently there was some buzz surrounding Elite: Dangerous. 'E:D is getting a new update! E:D for XOne is getting an update! E:D is in development for PS4! There's a new expansion coming soon, get your wallets ready!'
I knew about it when it first came out, but really wasn't too interested. There are a couple people who changed my mind. A YouTuber by the name of XboxAhoy was a major influence(he's a relatively small YouTuber, but the quality of his videos are amazing (I think he's part of the 'old-school' generation)). Elite just kept popping up in his videos recently, both the new and original versions. The game wasn't the focus of his videos, but just the way he talked about it sounded like he was fond of them, and got me interested.
Another internet figure was Yahtzee from Zero Punctuation (game critic. He's rude, harsh, and quite funny at times. He tries to dump on every game, no matter how good it actually is). I stumbled onto his review of Elite: Dangerous when procrastinating, and he was fairly neutral about it, perhaps even a bit positive. I wondered how similar the original was to E:D, because if it was very, then it was definitely worth checking out, especially if Yahtzee thought it was alright.
Lastly, with the purchase of a new laptop, I was looking for some games I could play on it. Something light, not technically demanding, yet still had depth (as a gamer on a budget, it had to be free, too :lol: ). Elite/Oolite filled that niche.
Diziet Sma wrote:you missed version 1.80, where the combat difficulty inadvertently got overly ramped up
Believe me, I am glad. I can't even begin to imagine how much harder it was when I'm still trying to cope with the 'easier' version.
Diziet Sma wrote:My guess would be you came across an encounter between traders (quite likely with escorts), and pirates, or it may have been a group of bounty-hunters vs pirates.
Huh. I thought it was a battle between two opposing factions, hinting at something I could learn more about the more I played (there's probably an OXZ for that). Still, it's neat, and I'll gladly jump into the fray when I'm able.

You've got a lot of useful tips here. The cargo one especially, I knew to load up on food as bait, but in hindsight, I should've expected it would drift in the same direction.
Diziet Sma wrote:And no, you didn't "cheat".
I'm relived that you didn't think I cheated... I just thought that, in a community where most of the addons make the game harder, I'd catch some flak for that.
Diziet Sma wrote:Well done.. you've already taken your first steps towards the Dark Side (which is what we call creating mods here). Be careful, as once you start down that path, you may well end up spending more time modding than playing!
I know, I already got a taste from my time with Battlefield 2. Completely readjusted the weapons, drastically lowered time to kill. I can't really make stuff from scratch, but I can tweak what's there.
Diziet Sma wrote:Hardheads are the only core missiles that are worth a damn.
Yeah, but at 350 Cr each (I think, working from memory) it's not always an option for a Jameson trader.
Diziet Sma wrote:Tweaking the Gamma setting (in F2 Game Options) up a notch or two helps a lot with being able to see ships against the background.
It seems to up the brightness of the whole screen, not just the Oolite window. Not too big of a problem, but does become a power issue when I'm on the go.
Diziet Sma wrote:That's called parallax.It's real, and it's in Oolite.
Wow, pretty cool that's in here. But is it a big effect? Because to me, it looks like I always fire dead-centre of the reticule. Like in Elite, there was a noticeable inaccuracy by default. When I fly straight and fire, the shots go slightly up/down and left/right.
Diziet Sma wrote: In order, from "safest" to most "dangerous", they are: Corporate, Democratic, Confederate, Communist, Dictatorship, Multi-Government, Feudal, and Anarchy.
This. Thank you. (Surprised Multi-Gov is as high up as it is. Doesn't sound so nasty.)
Diziet Sma wrote:A Corporate world that happens to have several Anarchies for neighbours will experience regular pirate raids from those systems, making it somewhat more dangerous than one whose neighbours are Corporate and Democratic worlds.
That is cool. Really enhances that feel of an active world. Also explains why pirates keep showing up around Diso and Leesti. I should probably pay more attention when I plan my routes. And get away from that Lave-Riequedat-Oreve triangle of chaos.
Last edited by my ammo crate on Sun Oct 18, 2015 6:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: A Noob's *Very* Long Rant About Combat

Post by my ammo crate »

@Amah
Yep, fuel injectors are at the top of my priority list. Grinding for Cr up to that point is pretty tough though.
If only I could get you into my game, then I'd never have to worry about pirates. :mrgreen:

@Venator Dha
Start Choices was one of the first addons I got that lowered the difficulty, and I'm glad I did. Having injectors right off the bat is a godsend. I don't really want to rely on it, but it's useful for now.

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Re: A Noob's *Very* Long Rant About Combat

Post by Venator Dha »

my ammo crate wrote:
Diziet Sma wrote:Hardheads are the only core missiles that are worth a damn.
Yeah, but at 350 Cr each (I think, working from memory) it's not always an option for a Jameson trader.
:lol: They tend to fall into the class: "If you can afford to use them, you are good enough to not need them."
my ammo crate wrote:
Diziet Sma wrote: In order, from "safest" to most "dangerous", they are: Corporate, Democratic, Confederate, Communist, Dictatorship, Multi-Government, Feudal, and Anarchy.
This. Thank you. (Surprised Multi-Gov is as high up as it is. Doesn't sound so nasty.)
Really :shock: our Multi-Government world can be a bit scary at times. :mrgreen:
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Re: A Noob's *Very* Long Rant About Combat

Post by Smivs »

Hi my ammo crate, and welcome.
Sorry to hear about your issues - first impressions are important and I'm glad you are sticking with this despite your concerns. You are getting lots of good advice and your approach is sensible so I'm pretty confident that you will soon be on top of things.
Also, the more you learn the way the Ooniverse works the more able you will be to avoid trouble early on. Some systems are far more dangerous than others and can be avoided, and even a safe-looking system (say a TL14 Corporate) can be dangerous if it is near an Anarchy or Feudal World, as raiders may be present. Understanding these factors will help to plan routes to avoid trouble (or look for it later on when you want a challenge :) ).
The only point I would add is that Oolite (and Elite) is often described as a 'Space Trading and Combat Game'. Trading and combat. One option that some just don't consider is to focus on the former. Yes we all have to trade to buy the kit we need for combat, but my point is that Oolite is so flexible, the combat can take a back seat and the game is still enormous fun.
Some of us are miners, some are couriers, some bulk traders. One of my Commanders is mostly an explorer, and he actively avoids combat. Combat skills come with time and even one of these more peaceful professions will give you enough combat opportunities to hone your skills over time just in the general course of flying around.
So yes, combat is fun (one of my other Commanders is both a ruthless dogfighter and a lethal sniper for example) but it is not he only fun to be had here.
Getting killed is not always good although even that can be fun! But spending a couple of hours playing 'real time' just lugging a load of computers a few systems is also good. Enjoy the views and sights.
Commander Smivs, the friendliest Gourd this side of Riedquat.

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Re: A Noob's *Very* Long Rant About Combat

Post by Amah »

what smivs says... (ninja'd btw) :-D

There's ways to make some money at first... Cargo runs and socalled milk runs. The first is trickier because routes might lead you through unsafe systems, and they don't pay much at first but eventually profits will build up. For the latter - Find a high tl coprorate and fairly safe agri and ship Computer/Luxuries <-> Booze and Furs to and fro. Oh, and learn what's cheap and expensive, so you can trade for opportunities...

As a hint Gold, Platinum and Gems are normally stored in your ship's save, so even with a full hold you are to buy them...

If you care to install expansions, you could start with some insystem trading, you need stations for extra planets and market inquirer. Smugglers oxp is quite nice too, but makes the game much more unpredictable even for a peaceful trader or bulk hauler, but the possibilities to make some extra credits are... oh, I sound like a Frerenghi, with a lousy elite rating.

Hmmh, haven't tested it but what sounds very interesting is mining contracts oxp and miner start from start choices oxp. (And you can shoot on things from the very beginning ;-))
Amah

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