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TheRealBeowulf

Collision damage - workaround suggestions

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Hello everyone!

 

Collision damage has already been discussed at some points in other posts, but I didn’t find a post especially on this topic, so I’m starting a new one.

 

In the latest AMA Video, https://youtu.be/efu_129hI9o JC Baillie talks about how the weapon and damage system (note: construct vs construct battles are still a stretch goal) may work, and that precise collision damage will most likely not make it in the game for several reasons.

The main reasons he mentioned are:

 

- Very high server load for precise collision damage calculations, that could kill the game performance especially in large ship battles

- Unwanted playstyle of some players, who could mostly rely on ramming ships in battle and / or build kinetic torpedoes as weapons, increasing the server load even further

After the AMA video, Novaquark was asked about this topic again in the kickstarter comments, and their answer was the following:

 

“…Collision damage is one of the most costly feature (calculation-wise) that can be imagined in a voxel-made environment. It is (at least for the moment), not compatible with a massively multiplayer, seamless environment. There are a few games where realistic collision damage system has been implemented. By making this choice, they sacrificed the possibility to have a massively multiplayer feature running smoothly. It was a tough choice, and on our side we opted for the other solution. We know it's not the best for game immersion, and we remain open to all suggestions that could be used as a workaround.”

 

This brought up a few questions to me, especially these:

 

- What does the community think about collision damage? Is it a feature that a lot of players would like to have (if it's stable and balanced of course), or do you think, that this would not benefit the gameplay?

- What possible workarounds could be there?

I’m looking forward to your opinions and suggestions!

 

Greetings

 

TheRealBeowulf

 

Edit: Please note that this topic is not about realistic collision damage models, because they are already confirmed not to be in the game - It's about possible workaround ideas!

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Collision damage – thoughts on gameplay:

 

So, as I’m really curious about this specific topic, I’ll just start with my thoughts on this.

Note: some things might be subject to change, and maybe I have got some things wrong, so please feel free to correct me

(quote / link to the correct info would be nice  :)  )

 

Caution: this is going to be a somewhat longer post…  ;)

 

I definitely agree with NQ, that people ramming other ships could negatively influence the gameplay experience, but I think that this may not be such a huge problem in DU, because:

-          Specialized ramming ships would require very heavy armored parts to keep damage minimal for themselves – this would make them very costly (resources) and also very heavy

-          Players won’t be able to just “spawn” creations in DU, gathering the necessary resources will take quite some effort (you could also build more lighter ships, instead of one heavy).

-          Heavy ships will most likely not be very nimble, unless you use lots of and / or very powerful engines -> the ship would become even more costly.

-          Energy / fuel is said to be a mayor limiting factor, so people will most likely have to choose between engines and weapons

-          the lack of weapons and / or the limited maneuverability would make them easy prey for lighter ships with better weaponry, or ships specialized in boarding

-          For the most other ships, I think that people would want to avoid damaging their ships, so they’ll try to avoid ramming (repair costs).

So I would expect that this kind of ship might rather be an exception than the first choice for battles.

 

Torpedoes - I can’t actually say that I wouldn’t like to see those, but I think that they wouldn’t be so common because I’d expect them to be somewhat difficult to handle:

-          In the video about server technology, JC Baillie says, that far away objects are less frequently updated – which makes targeting moving constructs with unguided torpedoes difficult if not impossible over distances

-          Torpedoes need for example propulsion and a firing mechanism to launch them from a ship (maybe also a guidance system) – this is often quite tricky and doesn’t handle very well, unless you put a lot of effort in building and scripting those – which would make them rather rare and their production almost exclusive to more experienced builders / scripters.

 

Last but not least, the main reason for me to still hope for collision damage as a feature is the immersion and the engineering aspect of ship building:

-          No collision damage would also mean no fall damage for constructs. This could also lead to a very carefree piloting style, which is also not very immersive.

-          dropships (or drop pods and other single-use landing devices) could in theory just be simple “boxes” without engines, and would still fulfill their purpose. This would, in my opinion lead to some disadvantages for people who are more into proper built constructs with proper systems.

 

(Note: suggestions like: “…just try to think of the ships as they are so advanced, that they completely avoid collisions.” Just don’t seem to work for me when it comes to boxes without power sources or engines – no offense ;)  )

 

Greetings

 

TheRealBeowulf

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Collision damage workaround idea – recycling code that already exists / is planned:

 

Caution! Another long post  ;)

 

As NQ said, collision damage might still make it into the game, if a less-costly (in terms of calculation power) workaround is found.

My idea on this topic is: why not try use features that already exist / are planned for the game?

 

The following suggestion is not about an accurate simulation, but hopefully it’s easy to do.

As always: please correct me if something is wrong or has been changed!

 

First, what do we need:

 

-          The game engine does collision checks anyways, enabling core gameplay features like walking on / landing constructs on the ground or other constructs (touching==collision) this has already been showed in multiple gameplay videos. -> So I’d suggest that collision points are basically already there  :)

-          The damage system JC talked about is relatively accurate for weapons, (specific points of constructs can be targeted). Also different values like material, shields, angle and player/weapon stats will be used to calculate the amount of damage, which will be applied by something like a “damage sphere” (radius might also depend on the said values). – also already planned  :)

-          Next thing: ship movement (direction, speed) - probably no problem to calculate

-          Last but not least: the mass of the colliding constructs. As the mass is said to be used for flying-physics, I would suggest this is also something the game already “knows”

 

So, we should have the point of collision, the code for damage sphere calculation, relative construct speed and construct mass.

 

I suggest that the damage spheres are not only affecting one construct, but everything in their range (JC mentioned that players inside the damage bubble would also take damage).

If it’s like that, I would suggest using the mass of the smaller construct for the calculation (otherwise, for example the collision with a planet would always cause mass destruction  J ).

 

So, you could basically use the relative speed and mass of the constructs to calculate a damage sphere, which is generated at the collision point – and that’s basically all.

 

This idea isn’t about a realistic simulation and doesn’t include realistic movement after collision, e.g. two ships drifting apart after impact.

Also, turning speed / movement wouldn’t really matter (-> a cruiser turning on point without moving in any direction could possibly wipe a nearby smaller ship away, causing no damage because V==0).

 

Additional Limitations

In addition to the above, I would suggest that setting some limits could be useful:

-          Lower speed limit: collision damage might not be a thing below a specific speed (e.g. 10m/s), so that small collisions and docking maneuvers don’t do harm (reducing server load)

-          Maximum damage limit: limits the size of the damage sphere / damage amount to a limit that the game can handle (collision of a death star and a planet would otherwise cause a lot of server load)

-          Minimum mass: this could be used to prevent small projectiles / debris from doing any damage, so they won’t be an issue (-> should be below the minimal mass of a complete small ship to avoid unfair advantages)

         

Greetings

 

TheRealBeowulf

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Collision damage workaround idea – recycling code that already exists / is planned:

 

Caution! Another long post  ;)

 

As NQ said, collision damage might still make it into the game, if a less-costly (in terms of calculation power) workaround is found.

My idea on this topic is: why not try use features that already exist / are planned for the game?

 

The following suggestion is not about an accurate simulation, but hopefully it’s easy to do.

As always: please correct me if something is wrong or has been changed!

 

First, what do we need:

 

-          The game engine does collision checks anyways, enabling core gameplay features like walking on / landing constructs on the ground or other constructs (touching==collision) this has already been showed in multiple gameplay videos. -> So I’d suggest that collision points are basically already there  :)

-          The damage system JC talked about is relatively accurate for weapons, (specific points of constructs can be targeted). Also different values like material, shields, angle and player/weapon stats will be used to calculate the amount of damage, which will be applied by something like a “damage sphere” (radius might also depend on the said values). – also already planned  :)

-          Next thing: ship movement (direction, speed) - probably no problem to calculate

-          Last but not least: the mass of the colliding constructs. As the mass is said to be used for flying-physics, I would suggest this is also something the game already “knows”

 

So, we should have the point of collision, the code for damage sphere calculation, relative construct speed and construct mass.

 

I suggest that the damage spheres are not only affecting one construct, but everything in their range (JC mentioned that players inside the damage bubble would also take damage).

If it’s like that, I would suggest using the mass of the smaller construct for the calculation (otherwise, for example the collision with a planet would always cause mass destruction  J ).

 

So, you could basically use the relative speed and mass of the constructs to calculate a damage sphere, which is generated at the collision point – and that’s basically all.

 

This idea isn’t about a realistic simulation and doesn’t include realistic movement after collision, e.g. two ships drifting apart after impact.

Also, turning speed / movement wouldn’t really matter (-> a cruiser turning on point without moving in any direction could possibly wipe a nearby smaller ship away, causing no damage because V==0).

 

Additional Limitations

In addition to the above, I would suggest that setting some limits could be useful:

-          Lower speed limit: collision damage might not be a thing below a specific speed (e.g. 10m/s), so that small collisions and docking maneuvers don’t do harm (reducing server load)

-          Maximum damage limit: limits the size of the damage sphere / damage amount to a limit that the game can handle (collision of a death star and a planet would otherwise cause a lot of server load)

-          Minimum mass: this could be used to prevent small projectiles / debris from doing any damage, so they won’t be an issue (-> should be below the minimal mass of a complete small ship to avoid unfair advantages)

         

Greetings

 

TheRealBeowulf

 

 

Ok I've got a good compelling reason not to have collision damage.

 

Have you played Space Engineers?

 

Almost every performance issue, every major crash bug, every time a player mysteriously loses a ship, every time something sponatneously explodes, and every time wheels/pistons/rotors/landing gears causes the WHOLE WORLD TO EXPLODE in that game costing you hours or DAYS of play time, it is because that game has collision damage.

 

The devs are gamers. They played that game and they noped right outta there. It JUST isn't going to happen for a whole lotta reasons. Its lossy, its intensive, its hard to code, it requires the server to CONSTANTLY check the speed, mass, and shape of objects, there are big balance problems with ramming ships, ramming WILL be a tactic, and ramming and crashes create serious lag. It doesn't jive with the kind of gameplay that they want, and to be frank it'll be better for it.

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Ok I've got a good compelling reason not to have collision damage.

 

Have you played Space Engineers?

 

Almost every performance issue, every major crash bug, every time a player mysteriously loses a ship, every time something sponatneously explodes, and every time wheels/pistons/rotors/landing gears causes the WHOLE WORLD TO EXPLODE in that game costing you hours or DAYS of play time, it is because that game has collision damage.

 

The devs are gamers. They played that game and they noped right outta there. It JUST isn't going to happen for a whole lotta reasons. Its lossy, its intensive, its hard to code, it requires the server to CONSTANTLY check the speed, mass, and shape of objects, there are big balance problems with ramming ships, ramming WILL be a tactic, and ramming and crashes create serious lag. It doesn't jive with the kind of gameplay that they want, and to be frank it'll be better for it.

 

Agreed on all points. Collision damage would just be too costly to implement vs the reward for having it. The game will be fine with out it. And not having it will greatly increase performance even when there are large battles. I do not want to have to deal with time dilation in this game!

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Like JC said, it's just too costly to implement. Sacrifices have to be made. I think a lot of players would be willing, including myself, to give up collision damage for the sake of better overall performance. And I don't think there really is a good workaround, JC and his team are very smart and intelligent people. You can bet that if there was a better alternative, they would have brought it up.

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I must have missed it and should read the blog and whatnot again.

 

But there will be collision though, right? I don't talk about collision damage now, just collision. We are not going to fly through ships right?

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Thanks for your your replies!

 

Maybe you got me wrong on some things, because JC already said that realistic collision damage isn't going to be in the game - so that wasn't my point.

What I'd like to know is, if it is not a performance issue (-> maybe if a simple and fair workaround is found), would you like to have it in the gameplay?

 

Also, my suggestion is about a workaround that uses the damage system they want to implement for the weapons in the first place, so it's quite different.

This is also not about realistic movement of debris and things like that, it's just that at least something would happen if a ship crashes, instead of just bouncing off (which would feel a bit weird in my opinion).

The idea was, that maybe they could use features that are already in / planned for the game, so they don't really add something to the load.

 

@wizardoftrash:

Yes, I've played Space Engineers, actually quite some hours... :)

But that is somewhat different, because they are aiming for realistic damage physics which won't be in DU anyway.

Also, afaik, the main problem of space engineers is the grid system, not the physics in the first place.

 

I don't think that checking speed an mass is an increase for server load, as they have to do that for flight physics and keeping track of the constructs anyway. Like I said, collision checks also are in the game, otherwise you couldn't land a ship or even walk on a planet's surface. The devs mentioned at some point, that they are using the collision system of unigine, I'll try to find the link and post it here.

I don't know if they keep track of that on the server side or just client side.

 

The damage system they want to use for for the weapons is meant to handle battles with hundreds of ships constantly hammering each other with their turrets - if it can handle that, it would most likely not increase the server load that much just because of a few collisions.

 

Ramming will surely be the tactic of some people, but as I said in my original post, I don't think it would be a very common thing, as it is costly.

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Thanks for your your replies!

 

Maybe you got me wrong on some things, because JC already said that realistic collision damage isn't going to be in the game - so that wasn't my point.

What I'd like to know is, if it is not a performance issue (-> maybe if a simple and fair workaround is found), would you like to have it in the gameplay?

 

Also, my suggestion is about a workaround that uses the damage system they want to implement for the weapons in the first place, so it's quite different.

This is also not about realistic movement of debris and things like that, it's just that at least something would happen if a ship crashes, instead of just bouncing off (which would feel a bit weird in my opinion).

The idea was, that maybe they could use features that are already in / planned for the game, so they don't really add something to the load.

 

@wizardoftrash:

Yes, I've played Space Engineers, actually quite some hours... :)

But that is somewhat different, because they are aiming for realistic damage physics which won't be in DU anyway.

Also, afaik, the main problem of space engineers is the grid system, not the physics in the first place.

 

I don't think that checking speed an mass is an increase for server load, as they have to do that for flight physics and keeping track of the constructs anyway. Like I said, collision checks also are in the game, otherwise you couldn't land a ship or even walk on a planet's surface. The devs mentioned at some point, that they are using the collision system of unigine, I'll try to find the link and post it here.

I don't know if they keep track of that on the server side or just client side.

 

The damage system they want to use for for the weapons is meant to handle battles with hundreds of ships constantly hammering each other with their turrets - if it can handle that, it would most likely not increase the server load that much just because of a few collisions.

 

Ramming will surely be the tactic of some people, but as I said in my original post, I don't think it would be a very common thing, as it is costly.

 

uhm....a few collisions? A battle with hundreds of ships (consisting of VOXELS), every player issuing commands every 0,5seconds, different flying vectors,....

 

this is already enough for a server to handle

 

now you want collisions too - great:

 

if just ramming a ship and bouncing off doesn't seem right to you, then a ship colliding into another one and just splitting it in half (plain, no momentum, rotation and no torque) would also not feel right, right? The server has to calculate where it is hit, which voxels are hit, how big both parts are, players on either side, damage taken,..

even in a very, very simple model.

 

And I think it's a bad, bad, bad idea to implement such a thing because:

 

I (and many others) would abuse it to hell.

Losing that battle?

"50 crap-cheap ship pilots ram those battleships!"

server crash / lag

get- out

profit

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@lethys:

 

I get your point :)

I still feel that we are talking past each other.

 

I'm not talking about some kind of realistic damage model, or a lot of additional calculations, just about using the checks that the engine has to run anyway - with or without collision damage.

 

I would assume that speed, mass, vectors and collisions are things that the game already needs to check very frequently - or how should the game know how fast you can accelerate, where you are right now, if you can land on that platform (or even on another ship) and not just fall through?

How should the engine know if your ship is already touching the platform, if it doesn't check collision points anyway?

Also, touching the platform / ground will usually slow you down to zero - so it does interact with the ships speed.

And if the engine is able to handle the weapon damage of large battles (let's say about 50 shots and also 50 hits / damage locations per battleship every second), it should easily be able to handle one or two collision-damage locations per two ships / second.

 

I don't think that the game would crash because of that, if it does, it could potentially crash at almost any time, even if there's not much going on.

 

So, ramming tactics would be an absolute valid thing, you just would have to take into account that you would most likely lose a lot of ships - so maybe retreat would be the better idea.

 

Maybe I should ask a mod to change the topic's title to "collision damage - workaround suggestions".

Again, this topic originally wasn't meant to be about high end, super realistic, calculation heavy damage models - just about possible ways to handle it in an easy way, so it doesn't have to be completely abandoned.

In the original post, I mentioned the AMA video and the KS post of Novaquark first, which already make it clear that realistic collision damage won't make it into the game, but maybe some kind of workaround.

 

And my question was: If it is implemented in a stable way that doesn't cause lags and crashes, would you like to have this feature?

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Collision damage, if balanced and without bugs/glitches, would be indeed a cool mechanic. Right now, would not be easy to make it work and it would take time, that hey don't have. So the question is, is it worth to add such a mechanic now? No. 

 

 

I must have missed it and should read the blog and whatnot again.

But there will be collision though, right? I don't talk about collision damage now, just collision. We are not going to fly through ships right?

There's a video where JC land with a small ship on the space station, and since both are constructs, there's collision.

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@beowulf:

 

The server needs to calculate and receive information about ALL things which happen. It's not only those 50 shots. It's EVERY keystroke, mouse gesture, click ALL players do per second.

 

Moreover: 'Collision' in order to touch something != Collision to split/destroy something. there are WAY more actions to take with such a model

 

Ofc it would be neat to have such things: ramming ships, crash sites on planets and so on. But I doubt it we will see it soon (or ever)

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@lethys:

I absolutely agree that the server already would have to keep track of a lot if things, although some things like keystrokes, scripts, damage and movement-physics calculation will most likely run client side (if I remember it correctly, NQ said something like that, I but can't find it right now). So I assume that the server would "only" have to take the values provided by the client.

 

It's just that I don't see how using collision points and the damage model(which will both already be in the game), plus two values (speed & mass), possibly from the clients, would cause so much more server load, at least compared to the features that are already planned.

 

I would assume that if it is done like that, the server itself would just have to calculate the collision point, while speed, mass and damage calculations could be run client side.

 

Maybe someone from NQ could give us some input on that topic, so we don't have to completely rely on our own theories.

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Then look at Eve online.

 

The server gets reinforced by other nodes to handle the load. ONLY because there are 1000 People hitting keys and clicking. There is a thing called TiDi (Time Dilation) where the server slows down time in order to handle that load. In a warzone that is. At weekends you even encounter TiDi in Jita, only because lots of people are there and trade, no shots fired. It's no easy task to build something as big as DU with the least possible lag, so a collision would only add to the load, but is not the most important thing

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I don't think that EVE is comparable to DU in terms of server technology. EVE has static zones that are basically handled by standard servers - of if there are hundreds of people in one zone, the load on the respective server would increase until dilations are inevitable.

Dual Universe uses cloud server technology instead and doesn't have fixed zones or shards. The system is able to dedicate more and more server power to more crowded regions, so I would assume that it's a completely different thing.

 

The workaround solution I have in mind is not comparable to more realistic solutions for collision damage, it basically would use the exact same method to calculate collision damage as for weapon damage - so a single collision wouldn't actually add more load than a single shot fired.

The only difference is, that instead of weapon stats and player skills, construct speed and mass would be used to define the amount of damage.

 

Of course things like realistic after-impact movement, rotation speed and torque would not be taken into account in this method, but it would for example enable crash damage when falling to the ground, or a fighter crashing into a cruisers hull while trying to avoid AA-gunfire.

 

Maybe it's just me, but I really do think that having a basic collision damage model would add some nice and immersive features to the gameplay.

And keeping on discussing about it might actually lead to a solution - I am aware that this feature might not be a high priority, but it would be nice to have it at some point.

 

Novaquark said that they remain open to workaround suggestions, so maybe someone comes up with a good idea.

But that will most likely not happen if we just say its not possible.

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Novaquark said that they remain open to workaround suggestions, so maybe someone comes up with a good idea.

But that will most likely not happen if we just say its not possible.

That is very true.

There might be some work around.

But then the devs need to agree on it adding more meaning to the game.

Personally I dont like the idea of ship torpedoes though I can understand why other people would like it.

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All true what you said BUT as I said: the more players are in a system in EVE, the more nodes will reinforce - same with dual (more complex and another topic - but in general) - and even then eve needs Tidi

 

I perfectly understand your intentions, in a way it would be nice to have for me too, but the problem with ideas like that one is: we don't know yet how the servers will behave and how much load they get.

Plus, and thats the crucial part: it has to be balanced well.

 

Let's assume the server handles it with ease and we look at your sample idea: fighter crashes into larger ship.

Worst cases would be, the impact is too hard - no fun to play when everyone can just make a huge torpedo - and when it's moderate then big orgs would just build heavy, fast, cheap ships to suicide kill bigger ones.

If you make that collision too light - why add it in the first place if it has less to none impact on gameplay? Why waste resources (money fo develop + server resources)? Only because it's "better" than just bumping?

 

I don't see any positive aspects (gameplay wise) about adding a simple collision: your ship touches there too hard - you are damaged. Only whiney people who can't fly properly and get killed because they crash into every obstacle.

 

I would love to have a well balanced collision model to tear ships apart, crash them on the ground, set them off spinning and so on.... but it won't happen

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@lethys:

 

Balancing will definitely be a thing, although I don't think it would be too hard to do it in a good way.

Also: most things will have to be properly balanced, weapons for example could also cause a lot of complaints, if there are balancing issues.

 

About ramming and torpedoes: I don't think that this would be such a huge problem (explanation on that can be found in my second post).

 

Let's just say that I see things a bit different, and at this point we won't be able to find out who is actually right unless the feature get's implemented (if it ever does) :)

 

To sum it up: If I got you right you would say, that if it's implemented in a stable, well balanced way you would like to have collision damage?

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Ramming is dead easy in ship combat. Just add a ram weapon that you add to a ship that does a huge amount of damage, adjusted for velocity, but has a 1 or 2 metre range. You automatically tab target any ship in range.  

 

The real problem is the gameplay effects it makes big dumb ram ships too easy and kills all other ship combat options. 

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@wesbruce:

 

I didn't think of ramming weapons until now :)

 

I would say that the gameplay effects would depend on the balancing. This is one reason why I would prefer collision damage to be a general mechanic instead of a special weapon type, so the ramming ship would also get damaged.

 

In my second post I described why I think that ramming ships would most likely not be some kind of super weapon. If it's properly balanced, would expect dedicated ramming ships to be an exception, rather than a common thing. The main reason for this assumption is the point, that resources for ship building and fuel will be rare, so a most likely heavy ramming ship would have some serious disadvantages.

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@wesbruce:

 

I didn't think of ramming weapons until now :)

 

I would say that the gameplay effects would depend on the balancing. This is one reason why I would prefer collision damage to be a general mechanic instead of a special weapon type, so the ramming ship would also get damaged.

 

In my second post I described why I think that ramming ships would most likely not be some kind of super weapon. If it's properly balanced, would expect dedicated ramming ships to be an exception, rather than a common thing. The main reason for this assumption is the point, that resources for ship building and fuel will be rare, so a most likely heavy ramming ship would have some serious disadvantages.

One way to reduce server load is that a ship can only lose 1/100 of its voxels from being rammed/ramming. Let's say your ship has 100k voxels. It can take out 1k voxels, still ramming, but not as much strain on the server.

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One way to reduce server load is that a ship can only lose 1/100 of its voxels from being rammed/ramming. Let's say your ship has 100k voxels. It can take out 1k voxels, still ramming, but not as much strain on the server.

But what would be the point?

If ramming is not a viable attack strategy then why include it at all?

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@wizardoftrash:

No need to be so negative about that :)

 

There are still 2 years to go until release, and at the moment there's no damage model at all, so maybe it'll become a possibility once this is done.

 

At the moment NQ most likely has a lot of other priorities, maybe they'll find time for something like that when the Kickstarter goal is (hopefully) reached.

If people are right about the usual huge gain at the end of the campaign, they may even get enough for the construct vs construct battle model, which could be a starting point for features like collision damage.

 

@kuritho:

I like the idea of limiting the maximum damage to keep load off the server (or client?).

I would maybe rather go for a maximum total value instead of a percentage, because in this way it would be possible to completely destroy smaller ships in a crash - which would be a bit more realistic in my opinion.

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