Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

General discussion for players of Oolite.

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by ClymAngus » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:11 pm

Yeah, that's about right. Sometimes I feel the nostalgia factor and that half the game is the forum, protects us from the misery of "bang bang" online gaming.

The immature tire quickly of this seasoned way of gaming. Wandering off to find shallower victories that require less thought and creative flair. Sure, there is a place for mindless fun at another man's expense who lives thousands of miles away. But it would be horror untold to make that the ONLY way ANYONE can experience the joy of games.

Your reputation here is built on what you can MAKE, not how many people you can beat, piss off or the colourful vocabulary used to frame your dubiously destructive actions.

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by SandJ » Sat Oct 08, 2011 6:16 pm

commanderxairon wrote:
Cmdr James wrote:Honestly, this is a dead subject, it is not going to happen.
this way of tought is why some countryes are tilt of being in the 3rd world when there is just one .... some day when i have the money to hire programmers ill make this happen... and people that are just tooo lazy to make things happen will eat the dirt of my shoes
When you have sufficient money to hire the programmers to develop the game you want, you go for it, Squire. But to be able to specify the expected deliverables and terms in their contracts, you need to do some research first.

The quickest and most cost-effective way of doing this is to dabble with some open-source development yourself and see what is involved. You will then be better able to appreciate the pay rates, quality expectations and timescales involved in the development.

Once you have written some functional, tested, community-accepted code yourself, you will be ideally placed to set up a games development house to create your visions.

A good starting point might be to see if you can create an .OXP for Oolite.

You would also benefit from realising why syntax, punctuation, capitalisation and other language components are important in directing the behaviour of a machine, and also people.
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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by DaddyHoggy » Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:41 pm

You put that rather eloquently SandJ - bravo.
Selezen wrote:Apparently I was having a DaddyHoggy moment.
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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by ClymAngus » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:30 am

commanderxairon wrote:Cmdr Jameson said: "Honestly, this is a dead subject, it is not going to happen" .this way of tought is why some countryes are tilt of being in the 3rd world when there is just one .... some day when i have the money to hire programmers ill make this happen... and people that are just tooo lazy to make things happen will eat the dirt of my shoes
I say old chap, steady on. Get angry if you must, use that anger to spur you on to greater things (a worthy use of a generally dangerous emotion), It is a touch unfair (and to others may seem ungrateful) to chastise any man or woman on the use of their fleeting free time.

We our all chasing our own small dreams here, that said one thing that will never work (in this instance) is co-opting through insult. That only works when you have a system that encourages and rewards competition. This social system is too diverse in it's end goals to support that. It's like trying to use a hammer to tighten a screw, useful tool but only in the right situation.

but....

In the interests of defusing (again): Well those are sure bold words there pilgrim, words that require backing up with more than a touch of graft. Look up unity 3D if your serious about doing this.
Last edited by DaddyHoggy on Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Clarified that Cmdr Jameson made the initial statement to which Xairon made a rather disenchanting response.

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by Cmdr James » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:29 pm

This is not simply a matter of laziness. The game was never intended to be multi player, there are many many things that need to be worked around, and there are no members of the development team who think it is a good idea. In fact it is quite clear to everyone who has ever looked into the code that this is a job of truly staggering dimensions which has no guarantee of ever delivering anything decent. And I for one would rather have the game as is, with fixes, features and improvements, rather than throw the whole thing into a black hole never to see it reemerge.

If anyone is serious about hiring a development team to build a multi player oolite, then they should engage with the people who already have experience of the code. The general opinion seems to be that while oolite has some great ideas, and no doubt lots of stuff that could be copied, it would be easier to start again than to retro-fit multi player.

I speak from some level of experience, I have worked in software development for over a decade, and am well experienced in the costs (time as well as dollar) of significant design changes. I know from personal experience that it is often best to start again, and stop lashing bodge after bodge onto code that simply does not do what you want. It was no coincidence that Frontier and FFE were completely new games -- "upgrading" elite to add the new features would be a fools errand, much worse that simply starting again. As it is with the mythical MMOolite, this is simply not a sensible thing to do.

If anyone wishes to fork oolite and add multi player, either through their own efforts or financing it in some kind of commercial way (within the constraints of the license) then the source is there and they are more than welcome. I, and I believe other people associated with oolite think that it is an utter waste of time and money, but that doesnt stop anyone from trying. I will even offer as much time and support as I reasonably can.

I dont mind people calling me lazy, that is a label well earned. But please do not waste all of our time with this silliness.

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by Siberian » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:09 pm

As everybody here is discussing Oolite's multiplayer possibilities (or rather impossibilities), here's my two cents.

I'm completely happy with the way how Oolite space combat system is built. Many thanks to the developers for that. It looks great, especially when I'm playing it on my large screen TV. And personally me, I don't feel any need to have multiplayer functionality in this part.
What I miss, however, is more realistic and dynamic trading/economy part of the game. In some other discussions on this board I read a point (which I partially agree), that single player influence on economy of the whole planet is too small to introduce anything like demand-driven economy into the game. But there's another point missing in that explanation - it is indeed only one player, but there are possibly thousands of NPC who also do some purchasing and selling of goods or equipment. I guess their impact is noticeably larger and could be implemented in the game logic. In reality, I anticipate a lot of work from game developers such change would require, so I doubt that it will be implemented some day.

Alternatively, instead of creating trading AI system and/or thousands of trading scenarios for NPCs, maybe it would be much easier to create multiplayer system only for trading part. Still, of course, that would need a central server (can it be rented for free from Amazon cloud or something similar?), which will run each planet's economy simulation (according to planet parameters), but that server's network bandwidth requirements would be minimal compared to multiplayer combats. The only communication required is to send goods/equipment stock info to each player, who is trying to access these lists, and update economy state when players are selling or purchasing something. Together with out-of-game players interaction (no need to implement it inside as somebody noticed somewhere else) this could make trading part much more interesting than it is today.
Could this be implemented without rewriting the whole game?

Somehow this idea resembles ideas from tentacle's post, so I think there would be other players beside me who will find the game even more interesting when such improvement appears there.
What others think about it?

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by SandJ » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:19 pm

Siberian wrote:instead of creating trading AI system and/or thousands of trading scenarios for NPCs, maybe it would be much easier to create multiplayer system only for trading part. Still, of course, that would need a central server, which will run each planet's economy simulation
That would be easily 'gamed', i.e. abused.

I would just create a script that generates 100 login ids, buy up all the stock from a planet before I get there, thereby forcing up the prices, so that when I sell I make a fortune. Then I get my fake ids to sell their stock making the price crash, and fill my boots with dirt cheap cargo.
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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by cim » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:05 pm

Siberian wrote:What I miss, however, is more realistic and dynamic trading/economy part of the game. In some other discussions on this board I read a point (which I partially agree), that single player influence on economy of the whole planet is too small to introduce anything like demand-driven economy into the game. But there's another point missing in that explanation - it is indeed only one player, but there are possibly thousands of NPC who also do some purchasing and selling of goods or equipment. I guess their impact is noticeably larger and could be implemented in the game logic. In reality, I anticipate a lot of work from game developers such change would require, so I doubt that it will be implemented some day.
I'm working on some additional supply/demand - including market crashes, short-term opportunities, goods which are plentiful in one sector and rare in another, etc. - with my New Cargoes OXP. It's still at the testing stage, but if you're interested in a bigger and more varied economy then I'd welcome your comments.

The [wiki]BlOomberg_Markets[/wiki] OXP by Ramirez introduces some temporary significant variations to basic commodity prices, too.
Siberian wrote:maybe it would be much easier to create multiplayer system only for trading part.
Problem is you've still got the well documented relative-time factors to deal with even thought the players never meet up in Oolite space. Take Lave, Diso and Riedquat for example. Player 1 and Player 2 both simultaneously start new Jamesons at Lave station. Player 1 launches immediately, and jumps to Riedquat. Player 2 waits an hour of real time -leaves the game running while they go for lunch, or something - and then launches and jumps to Diso.

(By this time, in the real world, Player 1 has docked at Riedquat station, sold their cargo, and left for Orerve)

Player 2 trades some cargo at Diso station, refuels, and jumps to Riedquat. Because of the nature of witchspace, they will arrive at Riedquat, in Oolite time, about 22 hours before Player 1 does. They go to the station, and sell their cargo.

It makes no sense for Player 1's cargo sales to affect Player 2; Player 2 is trading before Player 1 actually reached Riedquat. But clearly Player 2's cargo sales can't affect Player 1 either, because we don't know that they're going to be made at the real-time point that Player 1 is trading.
Siberian wrote:it is indeed only one player, but there are possibly thousands of NPC who also do some purchasing and selling of goods or equipment. I guess their impact is noticeably larger and could be implemented in the game logic.
Right, but their impact isn't necessarily co-ordinated. Start off in Lave, jump to Diso, then jump back to Lave. That takes about 20 hours of Oolite time. In safe-ish systems, you'll probably get a trader docking at the main station every five minutes or so, so while you were away, there were over 200 traders docked. ... Can you tell the difference between simulating supply and demand across the 256 systems over that 20 hour period - which might make an interesting project outside of Oolite for an economics-inclined programmer - and the existing random variation that's already applied to the commodity prices?

(You might feel that the random variation of commodity prices isn't high enough. You can adjust commodities.plist with an OXP, in that case, to increase it)

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by SandJ » Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:37 pm

cim wrote:You might feel that the random variation of commodity prices isn't high enough. You can adjust commodities.plist with an OXP, in that case, to increase it
That's what they call 'gearing' in the commodities and financials markets. It's great when you have plenty of capital and can afford the risk, but when you can't afford to waste cash on fuel looking for a market, and only 20 tonnes of cargo space, it greatly increases the chance of bankruptcy too.

The existing ratios of prices are safe and slow and appropriate for a newbie Jameson. They have a slow slog learning to fly, run, dock, aim and managing a budget.

(It would be a nice thing to do in, say, Galaxy 8, but I can't see how to do that by tweaking commodities.plist.)

But a "Greater_Fluctuation_In_Prices.OXP" that increases the opportunities for gain and loss might make trading more interesting for the pilot with a bigger cargo hold and some Credits to spare.

Code: Select all

Existing price range for a commodity:
      X-----X              System with low prices
          X-----X          System with high prices

Fiddling the commodities.plist just to make profits easier:
X-----------X              System with low prices
          X------------X   System with high prices

Increasing the gearing:
    X-----------X          System with low prices
       X-----------X       System with high prices
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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by cim » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:14 am

SandJ wrote:The existing ratios of prices are safe and slow and appropriate for a newbie Jameson. They have a slow slog learning to fly, run, dock, aim and managing a budget.
Oh, indeed, definitely OXP material for an advanced player rather than something for base Oolite. Having to stick to relatively safe systems limits a Jameson's trading profits enough as it is.
SandJ wrote:(It would be a nice thing to do in, say, Galaxy 8, but I can't see how to do that by tweaking commodities.plist.)
Set up a new entry with increased gearing in the OXP's commodities.plist, and then use planetinfo.plist to apply it to the galaxy 8 systems, would I think be the easiest way

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by Siberian » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:16 am

I don't expect this to be very simple task. But from my point of view it can be implemented (you only have to think about how to make things real rather than finding reasons why this can't be done. I even have some ideas how some of the issues you raised can be solved) :). But anyway, will it be implemented or not, and if yes, then how soon, was not the main question (maybe it's just my poor English, or maybe it's your biased perception :)). As a start, I only wanted to know your opinions. If you'd already have this in the game, would you find it more interesting than single-player mode. Or, if there would be two versions of the game - with and w/o multi-player economy, then which version would you prefer (considered that feature is properly implemented)?

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by SandJ » Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:13 am

Siberian wrote:from my point of view it can be implemented (you only have to think about how to make things real rather than finding reasons why this can't be done.
The reasons raised in the past for not making Oolite multiplayer have not been why it can't be done, but why there is no point.

For example:
When flying from witchpoint to station, how much in-game time does it take? When jumping between systems, how much in-game time does that take? Compare the two. The implication of the difference is that you will never meet another human player.
Solution: Change the witchspace travel time model.
Problem caused: that has broken the maintenance cycle model and the trade contract deadlines model.

There are a number of instances of these kind of issues and the end result is that to make the game multi-player, you have to write a different kind of game, with different physics, different time rules, different scales, different trading models, different combat effects, different life expectancy, different success factors ... which means it is no longer Oolite. it would be a completely different game.

Basically, you cannot have a multiplayer Oolite.
Siberian wrote:if there would be two versions of the game - with and w/o multi-player economy, then which version would you prefer (considered that feature is properly implemented)?
Describe "feature is properly implemented". How would it work? Don't worry about the technical bits of servers and storage, that's easy to fix. Instead, describe how the economic model would work. For example, if I buy 5 tonnes of Food at planet Morrisons in Galaxy 5, what effect does that have in other systems? And for how long? And in what way would this improve the playing experience? When you can answer those questions, then you are on the way to describing the functionality you want and until you can do that, no solution is possible.
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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by Disembodied » Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:07 am

Siberian wrote:As a start, I only wanted to know your opinions. If you'd already have this in the game, would you find it more interesting than single-player mode. Or, if there would be two versions of the game - with and w/o multi-player economy, then which version would you prefer (considered that feature is properly implemented)?
A better and more involving trading model is definitely on lots of people's wish-lists, myself included – but I think this would be done better, and more effectively, within the single-player game. The main reason for this is simply scale.

There are 2048 planets in the Oolite universe. To have a setup where players can expect to see price fluctuations caused by other online players would require a very large number of players. Even without problems caused by those who might try to cheat the system (a situation that becomes more and more likely when you start getting more and more players), you'd have terrible problems with bunching. Everyone starts in the same place, at Lave in Galaxy 1. Players in and around the bottom left-hand corner of Galaxy 1 might find a lot of price fluctuations caused by online players; but without truly vast numbers online to offset the inevitable early dropouts, a player in Galaxy 8 would hardly ever see any price differences at all.

Even assuming these problems could be fixed (thousands of players, spread evenly throughout the 8 charts, and nobody cheating), unless you're actually experiencing interaction – meeting up with other players, bargaining with them, bartering cargoes and the like – then all the true benefits of multiplayer are lost. If the only thing that a multiplayer setup is providing is a bit of price fluctuation, which could be simulated in single-player via an OXP, then why go down the multiplayer route?

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by Siberian » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:32 pm

The reasons raised in the past for not making Oolite multiplayer have not been why it can't be done, but why there is no point.
I though that the main point of bringing in changes into the game is to make that game more interesting to players (or perhaps I'm too idealistic?). This is what I wanted to know at first place - will such changes make gameplay more interesting or not (from other players perspective).
...Solution: Change the witchspace travel time model.
Problem caused: that has broken the maintenance cycle model and the trade contract deadlines model.
"Broken"? Why not to use word "changed"?
... which means it is no longer Oolite. it would be a completely different game.
Perhaps "Oolite Online"? :)
Describe "feature is properly implemented". How would it work?...
Disclaimer: I don't insist that the only way to implement features I described is by introducing multiplayer option into the game. Maybe it can be easier done with a standalone version, or even in the form of OXP. I don't know. That's why I'm asking.

Thing which I currently miss in a game is more realistic or consistent economic model. Small example: as I see it's not natural to constantly have big differences in prices on two neighbor systems. It is just boring to make a fortune by transferring Computers from Leesti to Diso and bringing Liqueur/Wines back. From another side, it should be possible that such difference appears from time to time, but it should eventually level off (as other traders - players or NPCs discover that "easy money" possibility). Level-off period could depend on distance between these systems and for example a level of piracy in that region. The model should be more complex, but this is enough for a start.
Considering your specific question - buying 5 tonnes of Food by a single player should not have any effect on any system (as in real economy) - these are just very small quantities to take them into account. And basically, there shouldn't be any impact at all from buying or selling things on the market. Main influence should come from contract system where quantities are much larger.
Imagine that one system, which is technologically advanced can produce large number of computers. And on another system some disaster happened so they urgently need computing equipment there. Of course market price for computers will go high there, so on first system there will appear contracts for delivering computers to that second system. As soon as second system has enough computers delivered (by player(s) or NPC) or locally produced the price for computers will fall and it won't be so profitable anymore to sell these goods there. Speed of producing goods, their prime cost, maximum available quantities, demand etc. will depend on system parameters and some random factors, like disaster events. So this is just some thoughts on the ideal economic model I dream to have as part of the game.
I can share more ideas how to build more detailed economic model if there would be any interest to that.

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by Disembodied » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:58 pm

Siberian wrote:Disclaimer: I don't insist that the only way to implement features I described is by introducing multiplayer option into the game. Maybe it can be easier done with a standalone version, or even in the form of OXP. I don't know. That's why I'm asking.
I think the consensus is that it's easier, and better, to do this in the single-player game – indeed some steps have already been taken in that direction: see cim's post:
cim wrote:I'm working on some additional supply/demand - including market crashes, short-term opportunities, goods which are plentiful in one sector and rare in another, etc. - with my New Cargoes OXP. It's still at the testing stage, but if you're interested in a bigger and more varied economy then I'd welcome your comments.

The [wiki]BlOomberg_Markets[/wiki] OXP by Ramirez introduces some temporary significant variations to basic commodity prices, too.
There are of course historical precedents for stable (or relatively stable, economically speaking at least) trade routes, e.g. the Triangle Trade, but I take your point that guaranteed profit is a bit dull. Game-wise, any all-but-guaranteed profit should be small. Safe trades, with only a small chance of making a loss, should only produce small profits too. This is one reason for doing this as an OXP, though, because new players often want to get money quick so they can start enjoying the real meat-and-potatoes part of the game, i.e. dogfighting. The amount of effort required to rebalance the game with a new economic model so it works for new pilots is vast: better to make it an OXP that players can plug in and enjoy once they've got a decent set of equipment under them.

I'd also like to see other forms of buying and selling: barter, maybe, in some systems, and various types of auction could make trading more entertaining, and less certain.

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