Jump to content

A Case Against Elements


BonemanJones
 Share

Recommended Posts

After completing several ship builds over the past few months and really digging into the voxel editor, I've found that the biggest limiting factor to my creativity has been the checklist of elements that are required for any ship to function.

The Problem:
I'll use engines as an example.
All basic atmospheric engine L's are the exact same size. They all output the same thrust. Same fuel consumption, etc. There is a distinct number of them that I will need on my ship if I want to lift a Container L. But what if I want my ship designed with only one massively powerful engine instead of twelve relatively smaller engines? With the current system of elements that isn't possible.

Elements as they currently exist occupy the role of function while honeycombs occupy the role of aesthetics/armor. For a pure pve ship, using anything but elements is an active detriment to it's functional performance. For a pvp ship, the meta dictates the optimal style/aesthetic (currently a flying cube). This creates a situation where you aren't really designing a ship so much as designing a socket for each necessary component. Effectively a box with a seat in it strapped to some engines. Actual ship design would necessitate many internal components, not just all-in-one elements to be bolted to the hull.

Currently ship design (for any type of hauler) requires the entire back end of the vessel to be a wall of engines to maximize thrust.

The Solution:
I am suggesting a merging of elements and voxels so that you are able to define the size and shape of your elements. Engines would exist in the form of a voxel, and function as such.

The same can be done for containers, fuel tanks, doors, windows, ailerons, brakes, etc.

How would voxel based elements work?
Another game with this build system is Avorion, which fits into the space simulation builder genre (you can look up speed builds on YouTube to get a good idea for how the builder works). You can define an area to function as your engines. With this system you could have the exact same engine footprint. The same weight, thrust, fuel consumption, etc. However, you are now free to style the back end of the ship around one engine instead of many because it's shape and orientation are different. Using my masterful skills of paint I've illustrated a comparison of how things are now versus what I'm suggesting.
9mTSBjh.jpg
These two ships would have identical weight, thrust, fuel consumption etc. because they have the same volume of engines, just spread differently.
Voxel based elements would be manufactured just like elements are currently, but instead of outputting a singular object, it would output a volume of voxels, much like the honeycomb refinery does. One voxel of engine would have a set amount of thrust. A voxel of container, a set capacity etc. The larger the element, the more capacity/thrust/fuel/weight...

What exactly is gained from this?
Most of the benefit of this is aesthetic, but there is some importance to that. Have you guys seen the Facebook ads and YouTube trailers for DU? Most of them are featuring interesting looking ships to showcase what can be done in the game. The reality is that the markets are littered with ships that are nothing more than engines strapped to a container with a stack of wings. There is a distinct "sameness" to most of the ships I see and it's because I'm staring at the exact same engines and wings and hovers on every one of them. I believe this damages the atmosphere of the game, especially for new players looking to see all sorts of cool ships, or build them, and then end up having to meet the same "checklist" of parts and being restricted.

Additionally though, you would be able to make better use of space within a ship. Containers could be long and thin for a specific type of ship or more square to fit where they need to. Most of an engine could be internal so it is longer instead of wider. Larger drive cores could offer reduced cooldowns.

I'd like to hear some of your feedback. Bad idea, good? Waste of time? Let me know!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the idea, but I'm not sure it would fit into DU.

 

I would be concerned that one could, for example, make an engine that looked like landing gear or a door, i.e., be deceptive about functionality. I would want the texturing on a block of engine voxels to look like an engine... and I suspect that's a massive art/design/programming problem.

 

This may also have combat balance implications. If cross section determines hit chance, will the meta be a single stack of voxels for each engine? There's something to be said for a rule that if you want 4 L atmo engines, you have to increase your frontal cross section by 64 m^2 to make room for them. (Once they remove the engine stacking exploit of course).

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
On 12/6/2020 at 11:44 AM, Daphne Jones said:

I like the idea, but I'm not sure it would fit into DU.

 

I would be concerned that one could, for example, make an engine that looked like landing gear or a door, i.e., be deceptive about functionality. I would want the texturing on a block of engine voxels to look like an engine... and I suspect that's a massive art/design/programming problem.

 

This may also have combat balance implications. If cross section determines hit chance, will the meta be a single stack of voxels for each engine? There's something to be said for a rule that if you want 4 L atmo engines, you have to increase your frontal cross section by 64 m^2 to make room for them. (Once they remove the engine stacking exploit of course).

 

Replying to this late, but I believe this system would work perfectly in these scenarios. Engine voxels would definitely have their own texture, and one end would be different for the exhaust. If you made an engine look like a door it would be horrendously underpowered and for all intents and purposes, useless. I'm not sure I understand why someone would do that, so could you explain that further?

As for pvp, a single stack of voxels as an engine would have very low thrust. On an M core, if someone had a 1x1x128 size engine, their thrust would be 128 arbitrary units, and all it would take is one voxel in that engine to be damaged to cripple it. Someone making an engine at 8x8x20 would have 10 times the thrust force, be far more durable, and be using space much more economically.

In fact, I would wager that this would be better for pvp because it rewards intelligent ship design. Make your engines long and slender for an interceptor style ship that is intended to face either directly at or away from an enemy. This allows a small frontal cross-section, but a large side or top cross section. The meta would effectively be whatever ship works best for the role it is meant to occupy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think this is a great idea. I would like to see something like the profession of a shipwright. If you are rebuilding your socitie they would have several different professions. This was one of the best things baout SWG. As you progressed through the Traders Pofession. In this you moved forward crafting basic items for sale, you had a basic mining to make  your items to gain the exp you needed to keep moving up the prgression ladder. As you did more items became avalible to you to build. This was part of grind to becoming an Shipwright. 

 

With the Trader Profession you can build simple houses and speeders and such for use and sale. One the things I would do is make 10 simple speeder and 10 simple houses. New players needed these to have a place to store items and resources and then the speeder helped them get around. Sold them for 1,000 creds per for each item. 

 

Resources where mined by Harvestors your create or bought at the local market or private vendors. 

 

i look forward to see how this all works in the end in this game. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Issue with engines is obvious, I do have some possible solution to minimize current poor state with minimal changes. Simply add engine generators as separate element which can be linked to engine and you would gain extra 95% of power with same fuel consumption. So basically you could place generator inside ship, connect it to engine, lose some small amount of total power but have 1 less engine. Expanding on that. This could be exponential, like connect one generator and gain 95% power, connect second generator to same engine and gain 90% of power from that and so on. So you could have one engine with 10 generators behind, but that would only result in power equal to like 8 engines while consuming fuel for 11. This would allow for people to decide if they want less engines and better looking ships or have more engine units and save some fuel. Generators itself should weight slightly less than actual engine, so it would be more attractive to go with them while still using more fuel at the end.

Well, it would not resolve issue with terrible looking ships... For that we need actual voxel editor and I'm not talking about option to edit single cube, but to create actual shapes and then it could be converted into regular voxels, as who would want to adjust 1million voxels for a m type ship... 

Another thing, ship elements need to be placed on or on side of a honeycomb which by itself should be connected to core unit. This would resolve floating part issue. 

And last thing... Aerodynamics... Ships top speed should depend on ships actual shape which could be calculated once after edit and forgotten until next time player edits something about ship, as calculations like that would take allot of CPU power. But without system like this we will have borg cubes flying around, because yo cant create anything better looking in this gave without diving into voxelmancy and spending weeks building decent looking ship. 

 

If all this is done we can have small sleek ships with good aerodynamics in place and all parts would be connected with some amount of honeycomb. But one can only dream...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...