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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:24 am 
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(...)
Of course, this sort of reduction would make almost all OXP ships very overpriced, so would be impractical to do in the core game.
This thread is dangerously close to merging with the Oolite 2.0 thread... I'm currently testing the easy start and I'll request a thread split as soon as I have feedback - unless someone beats me at it.

EDIT: there's already some feedback in the Trunk thread, so I will put it there too.


Last edited by Astrobe on Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:43 am 
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First of all it has nothing to do with being "elitist." We are all here (well most of us probably) because we loved the original. A volunteer project has absolutely no need to "win over beginners" in order to survive, it is not a commercial enterprise.

And I think "easy start" is actually doing new users a disservice rather than a favor: it's robbing them of the early game build-up experiences. Yes I found broke adder start great fun, and the "tedious" part of it was part of the fun. I was killed countless times by puny pirates in the asteroid belt of Lave right out of the bat (oh by BTW I never before visited this asteroid belt, it's quite interesting, part of the hard opening is that you really explore the opening systems in great detail, also part of the fun instead of whooshing off to a Ensoreus/Isinor milk run), and when I *finally* survived and went on to build an "iron assed adder" and finally moving up to a MkIII, I went back to that asteroid belt and blew those pirates into space dust. It was extremely satisfying.

So new users die at Diso. They learn that Diso should be avoided. Earning that knowledge is part of the game. Some games you just have to die a lot to build up the encyclopedia of "don't do that" knowledge. Games like that (and similar ones like rogue-a-likes) reward knowledge earned through deaths, and there will be many, many deaths. The fun part is the journey, not the destination. It makes "making it big" all the more sweet when you finally achieve it.


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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:57 am 
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Merged the relevant posts from Why is Diso So Dangerous to this topic.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 1:05 pm 
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First of all it has nothing to do with being "elitist." We are all here (well most of us probably) because we loved the original. A volunteer project has absolutely no need to "win over beginners" in order to survive, it is not a commercial enterprise.
But a free open source game lives thanks to its contributors. You mentioned trade depots earlier: contributed. Shiny Cobra: contributed. New atmospheres: contributed. Your favourite HUD: contributed.
I think it's not common for people to contribute to projects they don't use, so that means that you recruit your contributors among your users/players.
Quote:
I was killed countless times by puny pirates in the asteroid belt of Lave right out of the bat (...) Games like that (and similar ones like rogue-a-likes) reward knowledge earned through deaths, and there will be many, many deaths. The fun part is the journey, not the destination. It makes "making it big" all the more sweet when you finally achieve it.
So you see Oolite like a roguelike, but apparently you don't apply the signature rule of the genre - permadeath (the equivalent "IronMan" mode here). Why is that?

It happens that I like this rule, because dying has consequences. "save-scumming" (I use the expression only as a shorthand, no criticism here) kills the idea of risk and the concept of risk/reward, and makes your elite rank mostly meaningless.
Escape pods exist in Oolite just to support "IronMan" mode. So instead of a game over, you just lose lots of money, which would be the equivalent of losing a few levels on your character in a roguelike.

But did you actually test the easy start? If you don't wish to install 1.85, you can grab this file from the project and copy it in your saves folder. You can then load it like a save file (it displays as "Jameson"). Bonus points if you play it like a newcomer probably would, that is without addons.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 2:45 pm 
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First of all it has nothing to do with being "elitist." We are all here (well most of us probably) because we loved the original. A volunteer project has absolutely no need to "win over beginners" in order to survive, it is not a commercial enterprise.

And I think "easy start" is actually doing new users a disservice rather than a favor: it's robbing them of the early game build-up experiences.
You see that does sound rather elitist to me: 'It's mostly for the veterans and if you aren't one then you should play like one or it won't be as good'.

Quote:
Yes I found broke adder start great fun, and the "tedious" part of it was part of the fun.
I enjoyed it too but it was fun despite the tedious parts. I don't think I could say that the tedious parts contributed to the fun. Either that or you and I use that word very differently.

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So new users die at Diso. They learn that Diso should be avoided. Earning that knowledge is part of the game. Some games you just have to die a lot to build up the encyclopedia of "don't do that" knowledge. Games like that (and similar ones like rogue-a-likes) reward knowledge earned through deaths, and there will be many, many deaths.
That may be true of your experience of the game (and I suspect of many others too) but wasn't a large part of the appeal of oolite the freedom it promised? Freedom in career choice (explicitly stated in the advertising IIRC), freedom in movement and freedom of playing style. Again IIRC the elite manual contained a picture of the status page for an extremely wealthy player who was still rated harmless, "exceptional business acumen" I think it was explained as. Such a feat is near impossible in oolite without leaving the space lane (which many regard as an exploit).

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The fun part is the journey, not the destination. It makes "making it big" all the more sweet when you finally achieve it.
You've described one of your journeys and it sounded like fun, why should the journey of others be the same in order to be of equal value?

EDIT:

And here's something else to consider - Oolite is actually considerably harder than Elite was (at least on the versions I played).

  • More encounters
  • Larger pirate packs
  • When you try to escape via hyperspace you can be followed
  • You have to pay maintenence costs for your ship
  • The energy bomb is no longer available
  • More ships seem to have ECM

To be fair, the last one might make sense given that hardheads are available but they are likely much too expensive for the starting commander.

Maybe us veterans had it easy...

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:54 pm 
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To be fair, [more ships having ECM] might make sense given that hardheads are available but they are likely much too expensive for the starting commander.
Indeed, every time I launch a missile I know it will be ECM'ed. Conversely, I laugh at NPCs missiles (except when they launch them at point blank).

Cim mentioned earlier that he sees problems with missiles. I'm not sure if it is what he is thinking about, but standard missiles being almost useless for both sides (player and NPC) bugs me.
I believe buffing the ECM resistance (something like +25% chances to resist an ECM) for both of types could bring them back into the game. Both types because you can get rid of hardheads with two or three ECMs, which is often not a big deal.

I'd like to test that tweak. I've found missileAI.plist and hardmissileAI.plist, but also oolite-missileAI.js. shipdata.plist positions _ecmProofMissileResponse but hardMissileAI.plist also defines a response to ECM, and oolite-missileAI.js doesn't seem to use the script_info keys, so I'm confused. Which one works?


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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:38 am 
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Quote:
And here's something else to consider - Oolite is actually considerably harder than Elite was (at least on the versions I played).
This is such an important point to my mind that I thought I'd better test it out...

So, one hours play time of Spectrum Elite (via an emulator), 'iron-man' with no saves, starting from the begining and milking the Leesti-Diso trade route whilst staying 'clean'.

One hour later (plus 10 seconds or so to finish docking):
  • 1,401.8 credits
  • Mostly Harmless rating
  • 4.6 LY fuel left
  • 3 Missiles remaining

It was, frankly, easy.

I shot down the following:
  • 1 Python
  • 3 Asps
  • 2 Cobras
  • 6(!) Missiles (thank you 8-bit pixel sizes!)

All with just a pulse laser and 1 missile (I fired it at the first asp expecting it to be tougher - it didn't have ECM).
I was never attacked by more than one pirate at once and the pulse laser was a pretty decent weapon (it twice cut down an asp before the pirate could finish his first attack run).
By no means am I capable of such feats in oolite.

I was never killed, never even got to energy low, and it was all rather fast paced by comparison to oolite. Besides achieving such profits in an hour (see if you can do it in oolite sans oxps or the off-lane exploit - and 'iron-man' to boot!) there was the sheer joy of sub-minute mass-locks :D Space stations actually looked at a reasonable scale in relation to the planets and safe systems really were quite safe. And perhaps the biggest surprise was the sheer speed at which the energy banks and shields recharged :shock:

Do I prefer Oolite? Yes I do but the idea that we risk pandering to shorter attention spans than elite did in the 1980s... Frankly, unless the Spectrum version was very different to the others, elite was suited to far, far shorter attention spans than any version of oolite that I've ever played.

I'd encourage anyone to try this for themselves.
Were other versions of elite any different?

Veterans have the advantage of knowing what's to come (making the slower pace much more tolerable) beginners however do not.
Perhaps we should cut them some slack.

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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:43 am 
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To be a fair comparison vs. original elite you would have to erase all of your accumulated knowledge of strategy, flight/dogfighting skills and tactics, docking, trade, etc., everything you've learned about the game over the years/decades. But I'd tend to agree that oolite is harder.

I never said oolite was exactly like a rogue-a-like or should be played the same way, but that it shares the trait that survival and progress comes only with hard-earned experience. Indeed, I played the broke adder as iron man until I traded up to a MkIII. And yes I do say that at least parts of the tedium is part of the overall fun: it's immersive in the fact that you're in a super slow ship. You misconstrued my comments: by many deaths I meant many deaths AND RESTARTS. So no incongruity there, pal.

I'm all for flexibility and for every player playing the game the way you want. But I maintain that neutering the start-of-game difficulty will not bring in hoards of new players and contributors.

Everyone seems stuck on the "elitist" topic but that's not the way of it at all. It's pragmatic: people come to oolite from history with elite, I would venture a guess that the vast majority of them do so. It is a trip down memory lane. Oolite will appeal to those to whom elite appealed: open game play, huge universe, and yes, difficulty. If it weren't difficult it wouldn't be fun, or it would become boring soon. Why else are there so many OXPs that create harder opponents?


Last edited by Bogatyr on Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:56 am 
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And consider this: OK let's say there's a start mode with 10,000 Cr, injectors, fore and aft beam laser, shield boosters, etc. Beginners will still die in droves at first. Why? Because it takes effort to learn this game: it rewards the player who delves into the details and sticks to it and keeps coming back again and again despite the adversity. How will they even know how or where to use the injectors? The torus drive? The ECM?

About the only thing I could think of that would make the game a lot easier would be to drastically tone down NPC laser damage, eliminate NPC missiles, drastically tone down collision damage, and severely reduce pirate pack size.

There are so many easy ways to die: accidentally firing on a station or a police viper (lesson learned: fly with weapons off unless you're in a dogfight and be sure of your target in a furball), collisions in dogfights (lesson learned: keep your distance), docking of course, earning fugitive status (scooped contraband and forgot to sell before launching). Is the "beginner start" doing to deal with *all* of these? Even assuming that one could wave a magical wand and make all of these conditions somehow less fatal, I will continue to argue that what you'd be left with would not be a game worth playing and the beginners (with no elite history) many seem to want to court would leave from boredom.


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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:18 am 
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To be a fair comparison vs. original elite you would have to erase all of your accumulated knowledge of strategy, flight/dogfighting skills and tactics, docking, trade, etc., everything you've learned about the game over the years/decades.
I have all of those benefits when I start a new commander in oolite and yet the game is much harder. It was hardly a scientific test but the results were pretty striking and I'm extremely confident that were I to try again they would be very similar.

Quote:
But I'd tend to agree that oolite is harder.
It's not just harder, it's slower. If you failed your first docking attempt in elite (as I did all those years ago) then you could be back at the station attempting the same within two or three minutes, that usually takes considerably longer in oolite.

Also if I get jumped by 8 pirates as a new commander then all of my experience can't help me. Don't go to Diso? Ok but it still won't help me much when I get jumped by half as many in Zaonce. I can't ever remember bring jumped by 8 in elite (maybe thargoids in witchspace) 3 or 4 seemed to be the limit and in my little play test it was 1.

Maybe you should try it for yourself?

Quote:
I'm all for flexibility and for every player playing the game the way you want. But I maintain that neutering the start-of-game difficulty will not bring in hoards of new players and contributors.
I don't think anyone's expecting hoards to arrive but these boards do appear to show that new players (new to elite as well as oolite) do occasionally show up and sometimes find the game frustratingly difficult to the point of quitting - not because they don't like this kind of game but because they don't see any real progress from their efforts. Getting lucky dodging pirates only for them to show up later, seemingly randomly, to outnumber and outgun you in a 'safe' system is brutal.

As for neutering, it would be an easy option, not a diktat to every player. Maybe some like to play it a bit easier.

Quote:
Everyone seems stuck on the "elitist" topic but that's not the way of it at all. It's pragmatic: people come to oolite from history with elite, I would venture a guess that the vast majority of them do so. It is a trip down memory lane. Oolite will appeal to those to whom elite appealed: open game play, huge universe, and yes, difficulty. If it weren't difficult it wouldn't be fun, or it would become boring soon. Why else are there so many OXPs that create harder opponents?
It's only a trip down memory lane if you played elite in the first place. Open game play? Once you get some credits under your belt yes (elite was similar). Huge Universe? Not so much these days but close enough. Difficulty? It's in a entirely different class from what I can tell.

Yes there are OXPs to make things harder but there are also plenty that make it easier too.

Quote:
How will they even know how or where to use the injectors? The torus drive? The ECM?
I don't think it's too much to ask that they scan the one or two pages (I forget) of controls. If they didn't when they started then once the first missile hits then I think they likely would.

Missiles are also much faster in Oolite BTW.

Quote:
There are so many easy ways to die: accidentally firing on a station or a police viper (lesson learned: fly with weapons off unless you're in a dogfight and be sure of your target in a furball), collisions in dogfights (lesson learned: keep your distance), docking of course, earning fugitive status (scooped contraband and forgot to sell before launching). Is the "beginner start" doing to deal with *all* of these? Even assuming that one could wave a magical wand and make all of these conditions somehow less fatal, I will continue to argue that what you'd be left with would not be a game worth playing and the beginners (with no elite history) many seem to want to court would leave from boredom
Yes some of those things are mistakes you'll only make a few times but attacked by 8 pirates in a democracy with no obvious in game indicator of why? Try elsewhere and still get jumped by 4? Lesson learned? I'm not sure it is unless the lesson is that extremely hard opponents can find you anywhere.

Oolite is brutal and many like it that way - that choice is not under threat, just its status as the only choice.

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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:55 am 
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Quote:
It's not just harder, it's slower. If you failed your first docking attempt in elite (as I did all those years ago) then you could be back at the station attempting the same within two or three minutes, that usually takes considerably longer in oolite.
There is the Lave Academy and combat simulator (haven't tried the latter yet) to address this. You can practice docking without ever leaving a system so your next attempt can come in 30 seconds or less.
Quote:
Maybe you should try it for yourself?
I start new Jamesons's fairly frequently. It is rare for me to die on the first jump. Almost all my standard starts survive and thrive. But I know where (not) to go. I did try the beat-up python start once and did die on the first jump from pirates -- you just can't dodge in a python. I just shrugged and hit space, commander.

As long as the easy option remains an option, that's fine.


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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:09 am 
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There is the Lave Academy and combat simulator (haven't tried the latter yet) to address this. You can practice docking without ever leaving a system so your next attempt can come in 30 seconds or less.
True and even if they are oxp you could always just practice re-docking at Lave.
Gameplay still requires considerably more patience than elite however.

Quote:
Quote:
Maybe you should try it for yourself?
I start new Jamesons's fairly frequently.
I meant in elite rather than oolite. From what I can tell, the former is far more forgiving.

Quote:
As long as the easy option remains an option, that's fine.
Sounds reasonable to me :)

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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:36 am 
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I cannot see the point of making the game start easier. Because the whole experience is about the changing and evolving play. You start relatively fragile and need to play accordingly even if you are an experience pilot the basic cobra simply isnt up to too much. As you progress you get the kit needed for survivability and move away from trading (because money is no object after a bit) and into fighting.

If you take all that away then there is no progression, nothing to aim for, just flying around in a frankly not very good flightsim slowly chipping away at what is quite frankyl a ludicrous number of kills needed to "win" the game by becoming elite. Better to play Oolite as elite was intended and enjoy the expereince which is the core of the game.

Not that I want to stop people playing however they want, but I really do think that trying to change the general structure of the game to starting with good kit is a huge mistake.


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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:57 am 
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I really do think that trying to change the general structure of the game to starting with good kit is a huge mistake.
Yes, I agree. This is why I favour the paddling-pool approach, to let players learn the basics before they start getting more adventurous. I also think that - in a putative Oolite 2.0 - this should be combined with starting out in an Adder, to greatly extend the progression ladder. But then we're into the whole masslock problem, of how the game works when the player is in a slow ship.

I wonder if there's any mileage in having a torus drive that can be reactivated under masslock, but which takes a 15-second countdown with the player remaining either motionless or barely moving - perhaps with the shields deactivated, too? This would prevent players using it to escape, as 15 seconds should be long enough for an NPC to dish out fatal damage to a motionless and unshielded player … there would need to be some way of recording which NPCs had masslocked the player, though, so those ships can be excluded from the next masslock check.

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 Post subject: Re: Oolite 2.0 or II
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 3:51 pm 
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OK I have tested the easy start and I think its a great addition.to the game. I thought I'd comment on it here.
Before I go on I'd like to mention that I never played Elite or any of its derivatives except Oolite which I started playing around V 1,76. I installed it because it was advertised as a highly modifiable game with many player created mods available for it. I had passing thoughts of learning to create stuff even though I had never used 3D modeling software, never used an image editor for more than cropping or resizing photos, and hadn't written any code since using logo a little in 1984.

I've tried to play like a new player might although I did my best to survive combat, I am a bit rusty though. and I haven't simulated crashes while docking. Playing with no oxps I am very impressed with the graphics in space, the ships look great and the overall effects are pretty nice.

On my first start I got attacked by two pirates after wandering around on the wrong side of the planet looking for the station. I took out one but got too close to the planet while chasing the other. My next start turned out better I did much better making nearly a dozen runs with no deaths but making some kills . One encounter, with 4 pirates lasted at least 15 minutes I managed to take them all out. I did get them pretty strung out so I almost reengaged one at a time until the last two. This may be a tactic used by more experienced players but it happened naturally, I was trying to get away from them but one caught up to me so I turned and attacked. My injectors had been damaged in a previous encounter. I haven't deviated from the Toinisla-Isinor route except making a few runs to Zaonce.

You might think that this is too easy but I don't think so, not for an easy start. I don't think a fresh player might have survives the encounter with 4 pirates but may very well have survived the encounters with two. I think this would be very encouraging to a new player. I don't think there is anything wrong with allowing the player to get some survivable combat experience right away. Limiting the small packs of dumbed down pirates to the start area makes game progression viable. I think overall this well done.
Quote:
Yes, I agree. This is why I favour the paddling-pool approach
Seems like this is part of the approach taken.

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