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vylqun

Realistic incentives for City building

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To have a somewhat imersive experience in Dual Universe we definitely need to see cities. But why exactly would people create cities in DU if just use a vast amount of resources without any real benefit except for showing off?

 

Normally city planning depends on  a lot of different factors, like the environment, available resources, especially food, the condition of the ground, expected industries etc. Those are mostly things that wont work in DU. On the other hand, building cities in DU has quite a lot of disadvantages, like being target for raiders, warmongers or just griefplayers. So without any real benefit or need to create cities we will at most have very few large organization building and maintaining a city as HQ and maybe one or two trading hubs. Mostly we'll see well hidden factories and bases which are statistically placed across the planets with nearly no clustering.

 

There are two possible ways to facilitate cities. One is giving artificial benefits like production bonus or similar things, i wont advocate that as it is unrealistic and just shows a lack of creativity in the game design. The second way is giving realistic incentives. The only incentives that work on larger scales in a mmorpg are economic or security benefits or needs. Social or educational facilities can be mostly ignored (there could be University-Type elements that increase the speed of accumulating xp for the first 20% or something of the skilltree, with which organizations can cater to new players, but that wont be a real incentive for creating a city).

 

In my mind there are three mechanics which would directly create the need for clustering buildings on a small area:

 

1. Powergrid

The first suggestion is, that all functional elements (Doors, electronics etc.) require electricity. Standard, small sized elements would need a marginal amount of power so, that a small generator that can easily be installed in every ship/building is sufficient to support them. More advanced facilities like factories, Elements with strong supporting effects (something like the University for example, or greenhouses), military elements (planetary turrets, shields, sensor units ...) however should have an exponential increase of the power required. Factory units for example should require enough power, that no stacking of small generators can support them.

To support those power hungry elements players can build power plant elements which are extremely large on scale, like 64³m³. They would support buildings within a certain radius with a set amount of power and to increase that radius you could create power-relay stations. What does this do for city building? If players want to run a factory or other facilities they need to create a power plant. If a single power plant generates enough electricity to support several factories, then the economic way of action would be creating enough factories within the vicinity of a power plant to  effectively use the generated power. A large cluster of factories in turn needs military protection as it is a nice target for raiders, thus we have some kind of city growth. At the same time owners of those power plants could rent space in the effective radius for players which can afford to create a factory, but not the required power plant.

 

This can be extended to every kind of large scale element which would be nice to have in a city, for example if we want a space port in the city. The simplest way would be to just create some flat areas for ships to land on. But what about quality of life services like refuelling or rearing constructs? Those actions can take ages. If we had large scale elements like a repair Dock, which repairs damaged ships in the vicinity if activated or refuelling stations, those can save a lot of time to players. Elements like that would also require a lot of power, thus the need for a power plant in the vicinity.

 

In short, if every advanced element has a big size and a large power requirement, coupled with the need of power plants, we would by default see clusters of buildings which can be called cities.

 

2. Resources

We can see in some videos how the ground is removed with a tool, its fast, efficient and effortless. if we can mine resources in this way, then DU players will be like a big locust swarm, run across the surface of a planet, scanning and within hours mining all interesting resources. But a big influence on city-building is the need to create a permanent structure in specific places, thus mining resources should definitely not be near-instant. Optimally mining out a big underground ore vein should take years if done by hand or several months when done with elements for mining. If we have long term mining then locations get a certain economic and strategic importance. If an organization finds a large vein of a rare metal it can't just mine it and go away, it has to defend this place against other players. Thus they need to create defensive structures, which again need power plants. If you have defensive structures and power plants on a mining base and some power surplus due to it then its economic to just continue and create the needed refinery elements etc. too, which in turn leads to clusters of buildings again.

 

3. Dependencies

Similar as all functional elements require electricity there can be other dependencies which make it necessary to create several constructs at the same place. In the new content update we learn about market Bots, where resources can be sold for quanta and elements can be bought (probably very limited after crafting is implemented, but maybe some of the most basic elements can still be bought). Those Quanta and elements aren't created from void and the sold resources can't spontaneously vanish. So if someone wants to place market bots in his base, it would make sense to require a trading hub element in the vicinity. There are quite some heavy industries which are dependent on water as coolant, so some refinery elements could actually need water purification plants in the area, the same plants could be used to support greenhouses or other buildings with water. If several buildings depend on each other there is a huge potential to incline people to gather together and create cities. Especially as everyone has a limited amount of cores available.

 

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I really think that those three points are absolutely necessary for a good experience in DU and will lead to some pretty interesting results.

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Had me worried for a minute that you were going to advocate for artificial benefits. 

 

I quite like this idea. Especially that power generation should not be a trivial manner. However, I think that the largest ships should be able to carry a factory unit or two. 

 

1 hour ago, vylqun said:

In the new content update we learn about market Bots, where resources can be sold for quanta and elements can be bought (probably very limited after crafting is implemented, but maybe some of the most basic elements can still be bought). Those Quanta and elements aren't created from void and the sold resources can't spontaneously vanish. So if someone wants to place market bots in his base, it would make sense to require a trading hub element in the vicinity.

You are confusing Market Bots with Trading Units. Market Bots do exactly that and make things appear/vanish out of thin air. They are NQ's economic regulation mechanism. 

 

Trading Units just allow you to automatically buy or sell things. 

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2 minutes ago, AzureSkye said:

You are confusing Market Bots with Trading Units. Market Bots do exactly that and make things appear/vanish out of thin air. They are NQ's economic regulation mechanism. 

No i do not, and yes, as it stands now they magically make them vanish and appear, that's why i said they should only work if you there is a space-port or trading hub specific element somewhere in the vicinity, maybe an element that helps transferring big amounts of resources from specially marked containers. Because then you could argue that there are transport ships which arrive and bring/take all the stuff the market bots buy/sell (ofc. no one ever sees them). Just makes it a bit more reasonable than magic tricks and adds to the city building, especially if it has other, useful functions as fast loading/unloading player owned ships.

 

Quote

However, I think that the largest ships should be able to carry a factory unit or two. 

maybe there could be mobile versions of factory units with much smaller production rates and less energy consumption.

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I'd imagine that power needs (i.e. electricity supply) can quite effectively be used to organically create settlements and eventually cities.

 

If a large power generator is much more efficient to run than a small one, the economic benefit will naturally draw people together.

 

Money talks...

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But isnt NQ have confirm about energy like electric. ? They have say it have been consider and likely will appear in game, but we dont know when yet :).

About building city, first we need to know why city appear in the first place. Like in real life, it is very tiresome to take resource from a far to your main facility or go to each place to gather then transport to your main base, so the city will appear to solve that. If the need raise there will be someone response to it.

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In the ingame AMA they talked about electricity and that it will be a huge part of the game (with solar panels and all). So i guess that's the most likely incentive for ppl to build a city

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2 hours ago, ShioriStein said:

About building city, first we need to know why city appear in the first place. Like in real life, it is very tiresome to take resource from a far to your main facility or go to each place to gather then transport to your main base, so the city will appear to solve that. If the need raise there will be someone response to it.

but just if it is nessecary, DU isn't the real world^^ and just not having to transport resources is far from being enough of a reason.

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2 minutes ago, vylqun said:

DU isn't the real world

it function like a real world, just some minor thing will different but the big picture will very likely same with real world. Small outpost >> small town >> small city >> big city all depend on the need.

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correct, it depends on the need, creating such a need in a game is vastly different from reality tho. But i dont want to repeat myself, just read my first post, my thoughts are clearly stated there :)

 

and as much as we might want it to, du will never even be remotely like the real world. Real life has to many social and biological "mechanics" that can't be properly replicated in games like du.

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We can always try to incorporate many. Just not the need to go to the bathroom and stuff, not looking for a Sims in space ;)

 

But social interaction is possibly a good thing to start, add a pub or club to the city where they really sell food and drinks and that can act as social platform, maybe linked to a discord channel so the people in that bar are all on the same discord channel, stuff like that will help to make the game more fun. I hope crafting involves cosmetics/clothes then there is a possibility too to make a sort of shop for those, and so on. The more is added as craftable, the more will be in a city, An ikea kinda shop for decorative/usable design items. A media shop for electronics, A construct shop for materials and craft components, stuff like that. privat hover shop, privat flyer shop, etc. Why not

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2 hours ago, Aaron Cain said:

We can always try to incorporate many. Just not the need to go to the bathroom and stuff, not looking for a Sims in space ;)

 

But social interaction is possibly a good thing to start, add a pub or club to the city where they really sell food and drinks and that can act as social platform, maybe linked to a discord channel so the people in that bar are all on the same discord channel, stuff like that will help to make the game more fun. I hope crafting involves cosmetics/clothes then there is a possibility too to make a sort of shop for those, and so on. The more is added as craftable, the more will be in a city, An ikea kinda shop for decorative/usable design items. A media shop for electronics, A construct shop for materials and craft components, stuff like that. privat hover shop, privat flyer shop, etc. Why not

Yeah, that's the usual response: "The game must be very "realistic", except it mustn't have the boring parts of RL that make up 90% of our daily lives" :D

 

Cities in RL exist for reasons that cannot be duplicated in an MMO. In RL, people live in cities because it's the most likely place to find work (within a reasonable travel distance) and/or a mate. Neither of those needs exist in an MMO. The need to socialise in an MMO is easily met by a voice chat channel, there's no need for physical proximity to other players. Global chat takes the place of going to a bar and chatting to strangers.

 

In RL, industry clusters around cities mainly because it's the best way to gain access to a big pool of labour, and because there's some economic benefit in being closer to the dozens of other industries that supply them with things they need. None of those reasons apply in MMO's.

 

That's why MMO's have to provide specific (usually artificial) incentives to encourage players to concentrate together in the game world. Players are usually highly mobile, and they're playing because they want fun action, not because they want to RP an office cleaner on nightshift.

 

In MMO's, players don't need to commute to work every day, or sleep 6 hours every night, or worry about freezing to death if they can't pay the heating bills in winter. In MMO's, players don't go home every night and watch some TV after a hard days questing... ;)

 

In MMO's, cities are mostly the equivalent of RL shopping malls, players go there briefly when they need to buy stuff. Then they leave.

 

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2 minutes ago, NanoDot said:

The need to socialise in an MMO is easily met by a voice chat channel, there's no need for physical proximity to other players. Global chat takes the place of going to a bar and chatting to strangers.

This, i do not agree with. Any MMO i have played, even with voice chat has a need for social intereaction, people want to show their skins and emotes, and some more things in that field. Simply because being alone on the chat without seeing another avatar can get boring, feels more lonely then when you goof around between more players, and thats where the social factor will be present in any MMO. Build it And they will come. Why else is there already a few topics of people that want to be able to wave in game ;)

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2 minutes ago, Aaron Cain said:

This, i do not agree with. Any MMO i have played, even with voice chat has a need for social intereaction, people want to show their skins and emotes, and some more things in that field. Simply because being alone on the chat without seeing another avatar can get boring, feels more lonely then when you goof around between more players, and thats where the social factor will be present in any MMO. Build it And they will come. Why else is there already a few topics of people that want to be able to wave in game ;)

You're talking about things that are "nice to have", but not remotely essential.

 

The only time I've ever seen players gather together in one building in an MMO to "socialise" was when the handful of RP'ers in that game got together.

 

In SWG, the early game mechanics forced players together in cantina's because they had to go there to heal a specific damage type. Eventually that mechanism was removed, and the cantina's were largely deserted after that, until a new mechanism was implemented (Entertainer buffs), which again provided a reason for most players to go there.

 

EVE has existed quite successfully for 15 years with no emotes and no player avatars...

 

You will see the other members of your org around you in DU whenever you visit the org HQ or go on combat or mining ops. But cities are irrelevant to that personal interaction.

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Hmm, good job OP for starting this "conversation starter"! And some awesome replies so far by everyone.

 

I'd try to begin from first principles (hehe and drive everyone spare by doing so... hehe)...

 

City in RL: As above the economic reasons (and mate selection also as Nanodot points out: "Sexy Cities" for young people defo a big incentive, that energy probably channels most of the economic model of many societies; whoa anyway side-tracking again, where were we?)

 

City in DU: It's going to be a BASE OF OPERATIONS I think first and foremost: A Spacebase, let's think about that:-

 

1. Location for resources

2. Defensible location on planet or elsewhere

3. Node in orgs trade routes and market hubs

4. Density of these becomes an attractor in itself

 

So that's what it is mostly is. What would it look like?

 

1. Places for ships to land and dump cargo and fill up with stuff.

2. Places for others to make ships and other stuff.

3. Builders want to build buildings no doubt perhaps fortifications and rooms for various functions.

4. Maybe a long-term plan to attract new players flashy stuff just for showing off a nice ambience/atmosphere?

5. Some functional fun stuff: death race tracks and themeparky stuff that might be fun to bet on...

6. Markets and "bars" purely for novelty and maybe ingame music and such like?

7. Some second life weird stuff like architectural challenges people seem to dig... "here's my condo on lake Ta-Ho of Alioth".

8. Tutorial centres for newbies?

 

Personally I love sci-fi military novels so just see large centres as military bases with the required logistics and economic supplies, but no doubt others will see many other things especially if there's lots of interactive stuff to mess with?

 

How much of the above will be under some protective bubble or Spectre Style Hidden Bases underground?

 

There will definitely be a demand by in-game players to "stand and stare" and soak up all the creativity possible from building and designing "in space". "So come to Dual Universe, for the memory of a lifetime!"

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1 hour ago, NanoDot said:

Yeah, that's the usual response: "The game must be very "realistic", except it mustn't [...]

exactly that, good summary. with no real gameplay benefits only rp-players or big guilds will build cities, we most likely see wont those randomly grown cities that would make a sandbox rpg immersive and entertaining, and thats why this topic is very important to du.

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1 hour ago, NanoDot said:

You will see the other members of your org around you in DU whenever you visit the org HQ or go on combat or mining ops. But cities are irrelevant to that personal interaction.

Sorry to say, But in this internet time, Cities in real life are also Not needed for social interaction, or shopping. Thats also why somany shops are going down right now, well in the netherlands that is, smaller towns already have dead centers and the larger ones follow. So there is no reason for alot of people to build and live in a city in DU or in Real life. Maybe the only reason is: I have to live somewhere And this feels safe? That would mean that in the end safety is the best incentive. But the other points you name are good points! I just was looking how to add more things that a city might hold if it was done properly.

With us saying No we dont need this or that anyone that is thinking about making a city will be discouraged. Lets try to avoid that.

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1 hour ago, MookMcMook said:

Personally I love sci-fi military novels so just see large centres as military bases with the required logistics and economic supplies, but no doubt others will see many other things especially if there's lots of interactive stuff to mess with?

I think your dream will be fulfilled ! ;)

 

I expect DU's civilization will mirror the medieval period in Earth's history, with "walled city-states" being the predominant feature. In DU the walls will just be defence domes. I doubt it will ever progress beyond that point, but anything is possible, however unlikely it may be...

 

The primary driver of economic activity in DU will be military applications, i.e. weapons and defenses.

 

The users and producers of military materiel will be offering the highest prices for everything, because that's where competition for resources will be the hottest. Those that want to build pretty (but functionally useless) buildings will have to compete on the market against the military, who need those resources for their very survival.

 

Orgs will prioritise resources for military use, because unless a "city" is well-defended, its pretty buildings will be reduced to slag in no time.

 

I'd even go as far as predicting that at least 75% of the playerbase in DU will be here for the PVP, with the rest for "other reasons". And the "other reasons" group will most likely shrink steadily as the realities of FFA-PVP sink in...

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What is clear from last weekends city build is that there are people playing the game that enjoy the social aspect that cities provide. It is also clear that cities need planning, a government, law enforcement, garbage collection, entertainment, among a host of other things. All those "things" give players something to do. Some of it is sims in space, but some people like that kind of thing. If DU can get those kinds of people playing the same game as the space marines and quanta miners... it'd be the holy grail.

 

DU doesn't need reasons to build cities because people want to build cities. What DU needs are mechanics that cater to those people. It was touched on earlier, but in-game communications, yes I know discord, but in-game chat, especially localized, gets people closer together, it's social. Emotes, completely unnecessary, but again social. Trading, bartering, buying, selling, directly between in-game avatars, with goods and services that can't be magically obtained from terminals or email. There are players wanting to engage in those activities, just as there are players wanting to fly around and blow things up. I think there is room in the universe for both.

 

 

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Except for orgs living in safezones though - those cities might only need electricity/power supply for the industry and production while all other mined resources can (and will?) be used for "pretty" buildings. No need for a military or defensive buildings (except maybe for the looks).

 

Orgs living in UA will definitely need more resources and may be also dictating the price, depending on how the population is distributed (UA <-> ASA/MSA). So builders and architects may face high prices (especially for rare material - naturally)

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3 minutes ago, Lethys said:

Except for orgs living in safezones though - those cities might only need electricity/power supply for the industry and production while all other mined resources can (and will?) be used for "pretty" buildings. No need for a military or defensive buildings (except maybe for the looks).

 

Orgs living in UA will definitely need more resources and may be also dictating the price, depending on how the population is distributed (UA <-> ASA/MSA). So builders and architects may face high prices (especially for rare material - naturally)

Very good points. Socialites are likely to congregate in the safe zones to avoid PvP shenanigans, but they will need resources that (hopefully) can only be obtained from elsewhere. Safe cities will need outside supplies. Supply shipments will need protection from a military contingent. While safe cities won't be subject to PvP annihilation, controlling the surrounding areas will be key to keep the city alive.

Citizens of safe cities will certainly be at an economic disadvantage as they will rely on outsiders for resources, but their cities will provide social services and a refuge from the chaos. Big orgs might want control over safe cities, for prestige sure, but also to serve as a trade hub or a place to conduct business. Providing builders, architects, and socialites, with resources on the cheap, will likely attract more members and more citizens. It just might be a wise investment for large orgs.

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42 minutes ago, Captain Jack said:

Some of it is sims in space, but some people like that kind of thing. If DU can get those kinds of people playing the same game as the space marines and quanta miners... it'd be the holy grail.

sadly both kind of players need completely different game mechanics, and while Sims players, with clothes food etc. can play together with warmongers as long as they are save, to many survival mechanics will drive pvp players away. The discussion about having a food system or not was quite big in the past and served to prove that. PvP players want to have clos eto zero survival/upkeep mechanics, while its the bread and butter for rpg/sims/whatever players.

 

Quote

It is also clear that cities need planning, a government, law enforcement, garbage collection, entertainment, among a host of other things. 

thats one of the problems here, cities need a lot of work without ingame gain, which is why only few players will create one without incentive.  And honestly, who, if not hardcore rp players, would work as garbage collection or similar tedious work in a game if it doesn't pay well? that's why we need gameplay benefits for those things. We can't hope that rp-players have sufficient drive to deal with that.

I'm all in for social/educational/recreational elements for buildings which could gather players there. Be it an physical therapist center that helps removing penalties due to being reincarnated, Foodstuff/entertainment modules that slightly increase xp gain or whatever, but we can't rely on players without giving benefits. If you want a garbage collector we better have a salvaging mechanic that can be used as personal skill or incorporated in garbage refineries to make their time worthwhile.

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1 hour ago, NanoDot said:

I'd even go as far as predicting that at least 75% of the playerbase in DU will be here for the PVP, with the rest for "other reasons". And the "other reasons" group will most likely shrink steadily as the realities of FFA-PVP sink in..

I'm surprised at this bold prediction, although it does not matter to me if the above happens and makes the game MORE sci-fi-military thematic via player behaviour: That is my preference afterall: I like a believable world working within it's own logic.

 

The reason I'm surprised, is that the voxel manipulation is highly interactive world-interaction tool for players: Players will find simple reward via simple messing with the world in this way: Even digging a small pit is strangely rewarding ala minecraft. Let alone creating some sort of condo or barge-house-on-the-riverbank, or so on: Gothic Cathedral Post or Pre-Romanesque (!) with a little JS Bach Toccata & Fugue in D Minor LUA scripted in perhaps etc.

 

If this is apparent I could see NQ changing their design around including this sort of play behaviour via enlarged safe zones (for the time-being or else some other variant implementation perhaps taxes or so on..). I find it difficult to guess further, as this whole building side of gameplay is not MY main interest at all, but I try to consider what other preferences different people seem to like and take pleasure from enjoying: And this building Landmark / second life sort of /sims type of thing does seem v popular, strange to me as it seems?

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6 minutes ago, vylqun said:

sadly both kind of players need completely different game mechanics,

Adding clothes for example, doesn't require a complete redo of flight mechanics or anything. If PvP players don't care about that kind of thing, so what? My guess is PvP officers want to look the part, as do space pirates. To get that shiny new suit, a shop in the city seems like a great place to get it. Food can exist without tying it to a survival mechanic, but they could tie it to minor stat buffs, which are likely a mechanic that's already planned for other things.

 

12 minutes ago, MookMcMook said:

this whole building side of gameplay is not MY main interest at all,

Bingo. Join an org, peruse the ship showrooms in the city and pick out a ship. Off you go soldier.

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1 minute ago, Captain Jack said:

Adding clothes for example, doesn't require a complete redo of flight mechanics or anything. If PvP players don't care about that kind of thing, so what? My guess is PvP officers want to look the part, as do space pirates. To get that shiny new suit, a shop in the city seems like a great place to get it. Food can exist without tying it to a survival mechanic, but they could tie it to minor stat buffs, which are likely a mechanic that's already planned for other things.

Letting people design space suits? i dont think so, else those backer-only designs wouldn't make any sense. Remember, this is not a space second life, and while it might be fund to have mechanics and possibilities for nearly every part of life, its just not possible for a company of NQ's scale to code something like that. They know what kind of game they want, and they will have chosen their priorities accordingly. Mechanics that have only a small impact on the gameplay wont make it into the game anytime soon, maybe after the first few big after-release updates. DU is a bit to ambitious for that.

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