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My list of various Quality of Life features that would be vital to have


Mjrlun
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Now, before I start, I made a mention of this at the end of my post called "Quality of Life and beyond", however, to NQ directly: If able, I highly recommend employing 1 or more (coding) developers to permanently play test the game, and to fix any various bugs, and/or quality of life features thought up, because that would allow for better polish within the game for everyone, while also taking the least amount of time from the base development team. Additionally, just having some sort of board to post various small quality of life features internally from devs to devs, in case anyone has suggestions on such features and bug fixes, would also be highly productive.

 

UI changes

 

In build mode, the game doesn't really tell the player much about what elements are destroyed. It just says either "there are no elements damaged", or "there is at least 1 element damaged". The funny part about this, is there's literally LUA scripting that can detect damaged elements, and those specific elements (and their names) can be put on a screen, to tell the player what needs repairing. Of course, while this is great for LUA scripting, it is important to realize that the game cannot rely primarily on community made tools (unless you think Elite Dangerous is a perfectly designed game), and such, my suggestion is as follows:
 

Under the construct tab in the build helper, put a list of all damaged elements (if there is any). When they are double-clicked, highlight them (through everything) with a unique color that is distinct from the repairing tool's highlights (such as orange). This would persist when you get out of build mode, and would time out after a minute. Should the player start to repair the element damaged, it will persist till the element is fully repaired.

 

 

Another reference to my Quality of Life and beyond post, but better layout, and more dense information for item descriptions is sorely needed. Of course, you can find that post here. To build this, as well as upon other ideas under "Better Item/element descriptions", having better ways to judge element sizes without actually having to buy that element would be a great addition, for blueprinting, and visualizing ship builds. This of course can use pre-existing assets, with not too much effort (I hope?).

This feature would require its own tool most likely, named the "blueprint tool". Similar to the "element" tool, it allows players to place elements, but in this case, very differently. On the right side, where the selection for elements for placement occurs, a button above all of the elements in the list (named the "selection menu"), when opened will create an inventory-like menu which will house any and all elements that exist within the game (assuming polish exists), excludes elements that the player cannot access naturally. It would have a search function similar to a container menu, as well as filtering functions, and so on. The list would be alphabetical, to make it easier to find elements manually as well. Lastly, the right-click function would not work on any of the elements inside the menu, as well as any form of moving the elements around. All of their information (just like a container window) will appear on the right side of the inventory panel.

 

When it comes to actually using these items, it functions very similarly to the element placement tool. Firstly, you select elements the same way you select them with the element tool, however, of course only using the "element selection", menu, or (hypothetically), dragging elements into the bar as well from the player's inventory. When placing the element (with the same criteria as normal), instead of the actual element placing, a hologram-highlight would appear, in either light blue, or yellow. This hologram would only appear in build mode, and the player cannot collide with it either. Lastly, it of course would not be right clickable, and would be ignored with right-click. Lastly, alt-clicking the element with either the element tool, OR, the blueprint tool in hand would remove the hologram.

 

In markets, simple changes such as improvements to how linked containers interact with the market container UI, as well as simple changes such as removing the "instant buy" and "instant sell" buttons when there is no stock, as well as creating more search filters, such as "has stock at X market", or "tier X", etc. would also be great. Additionally, improvements to how items can be selected and moved (select multiple, and drag), as well as being able to select multiple items, and then click "move to inventory" and have all items move, instead of just that slot.

 

Finally, for the search function itself in all uses and forms, a better algorithm to include the sub-strings that match, not only just the search input string, would be greatly appreciated to find items that you don't know the precise name of, especially considering just how inconsistent the naming scheme is. In this, also having tags associated with item types, such as "Thruster" for all engines, or "alloy" to search for all alloys, etc. would make searching a lot easier and quicker.

 

Ship piloting improvements

 

Moving on to the default UI (and controlling) for construct controllers (cockpits, really), major improvements to both the UI, and functionality, would be a great idea. Of course, DU prides itself on community-made tools, and scripts, however, a development team should not sacrifice good quality of life for that "quirk". Additionally, a feature change would also allow the developers to clean up the LUA functions themselves, which is also a good thing.

 

 

To the first suggestion, major changes to the way that omni-directional thrust works would be a great idea for ships that use this feature. At the moment, the movement is very lack-luster, with literally just hover function included to make the ship float against gravity, and literally the rest is the same compared to normal throttle-design. There is no auto-dampening, such as many other games, and there is no "tap w to move forward slightly", like games such as Empyrion, and Space Engineers, which, while having more basic flight models, can be credited for it being very intuitive and smooth. The current version of this is nothing like this, and has a mish-mash of that feature, in every direction but forward and backward, but for those directions, uses throttle for acceleration. This of course ruins the primary perk of omni-directional thrust, which is the fine tuned aspect of piloting. Additionally, smaller features like having keybinds for specific throttle amounts would also be great to see.

 

To change both of these issues, I suggest the following. First, for auto-dampeners, have a button that auto-toggles between 3 different modes (identical to Empyrion, btw). No dampening, gravity-dampening, and full dampening. These different modes are self explanatory, just observe the mechanics in those games.

For the actual movement changes, to counteract the issue of not having a throttle slider, having a key bind once again that locks the current state of acceleration from the thrusters would be the solution here. To clarify acceleration, I mean what the thrusters are currently doing/outputting. changing any movement manually would cancel this, as well as pressing the button again. 

 

If you wanted to get more fancy with these two features, to make them not clash, having a distinction between what the dampeners are doing, compared to what the player has inputted would be my solution to this. The auto-dampeners would work separately to the thruster-lock, and in this would allow the ship to still stay airborne without constant adjustment.

 

 

Moving onto the UI itself (assuming that the features above have indicators within the UI), decluttering the different UI boxes to be more clean, and take up less of the screen would be preferable. Currently, when attaching a weapon of some form to a flight seat, the amount of UI that it introduces clutters the screen so bad, that in my experience makes it nearly unusable for piloting. I do not have a suggestion really to fix this, however, the issue is still persistent, and bugs me greatly. 

Secondly, there is literally a scroll bar for a cockpit that uses mouse wheel for the throttle. Due to this, the information hidden by this is lost due to this issue. 

image.png.c8c4271dee68756d7a3f9d54596c2a18.png

 

Additionally, some tiny improvements to fuel tanks within the piloting UI, adding a number to indicate the fraction of fuel compared to the total would be helpful for fuel usage calculations on the fly. An example as simple as this would suffice in my opinion.

image.png.3b2652dbb362f6c2f49ee4380e8fa7d7.png

 

Tank relays/Tank hubs

I'm sure this feature has been suggested basically everywhere, but the amount of flexibility this feature would provide for ship designs makes it a great suggestion for this post. My take on this is as follows. Similar to a container hub, it connects tanks. While this is cool and all, there are 3 different types of tanks in the game, of which are not compatible. In this, my suggestion to solve this is to color code a tank hub (change its coloration of the texture itself) when it connects to a type of tank. Light-blue for Nitron, yellow for Kergon, and white for Xeron. While a type is active, when attempting to connect a tank of different type to it, an error message will appear, stating that different tank types cannot connect to a tank hub at once. Lastly, when there are no connections to the tank hub, it reverts to the original state (and texture).

 

Gameplay Balance

 

While at this rate you could probably claim I'm sponsored by Empyrion Galactic Survival or something, I just really like the game. In this, a lot of survival-oriented features in that game I find quite compatible and important for this game to exhibit in some manner as well. Starting with the biggest issue in my opinion, ore distribution and the tech tree.

 

Currently, limestone and malachite are only present on the same body on Alioth, where they are used to craft tier 2 components. This issue with this is the following: You cannot craft tier 2 components without a static core, and therefore by extension a territory unit, which that territory unit requires tier 2 components. Due to this, it is physically IMPOSSIBLE to start from scratch on any celestial body in the star system in almost any manner, therefore breaking a core gameplay pillar (in my opinion) of any progression-based game, something Empyrion (for example) does incredibly well. In that game, you can get to the end game in almost any situation from scratch (no matter if it's extremely difficult), due to the nature of the progression. 

 

To fix this major issue, excluding of course the need for Malachite and Limestone to exist on all celestial bodies (in my opinion), allowing territory units to be crafted using tier 1 components, AND in a nanocrafter I see as a necessity for this game. Of course, it would have to be highly expensive in that regard, and additionally take a long time to craft (example being 6-12 hours).

 

 

Switching to a similar topic, brought up in the previous feature mention, a change of ore distribution and planet revamp is sorely in need. While of course a planet revamp is not a quality of life feature that is simple to answer (and solve), the ore distribution, which of course requires a planet revamp, is highly important to the current progression of the game. Without good level design, a game will most likely suffer for that issue. I do plan on making a post about the planet revamp though, so ill link it here when it happens. Anyways.

Take this situation: Currently, you can get stranded on a moon. These moons do not exhibit atmosphere, and a lot of them do not contain tier 2 ore either. Due to this issue, it is physically impossible to progress without a market, and to even move a ship starting with no fuel. Because of this chicken and egg issue, the player physically cannot get off of a celestial body without any tier 2's, due to space engines (and technically rocket engines) being impossible to fuel without them, and being required to move in space properly.

 

Funnily enough, the player can craft space engines (and tanks) in their nanocrafter, but of course cannot fuel them, making that feature quite questionable.

 

 

Lastly, any major changes to progression can be linked here. This post is about player movement, as well as ship diversity, engineering, and piloting.

 

 

This post will be updated over time, and in that, any major changes will have a call-back post which will link back to this page. Thanks for reading!

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Can do a write-up on talent UI improvement and talent tree queue  management.

 

Collision and damage needs to be fix too or improved, i have crashed way too many times and it socks when you hit the front of your ship but then something in the back of your ship also gets damaged too.

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