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Long-Term Resource Availability and New Player Conundrums

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So here's a question that has been on my mind recently. Do we have any information on how resource needs will play out in the long run? In other resource-gathering games (Minecraft, Factorio, Space Engineers), resources (iron, for example) are permanently gone when mined. Makes sense. In DU, we can leave permanent changes in worlds, so it only follows that resources will be permanently harvested as well.

 

This is well and good for singleplayer/small server games because there's virtually no chance that the area will be mined out to the point of excessive travel to find resources. The only real possible problem is if a new player joins and there's nothing for miles to harvest. Which rolls nicely into my real point.

 

I have to guess that as resources are depleted and spent, assuming resources don't respawn, the player activity bubble will expand as a hollow shell. Players will mine out a planet until the scraps left are not worth retrieving, and then expand the bubble of human influence as they jump to the next system. Past the ”skin” of the bubble where most of human interaction is, will be the dead and barren discarded planets, possibly dotted with the HQs of corporations that decide against periodically moving and rebuilding their main base on the frontlines. And somewhere in the center of the resource wasteland is the starting planet. So what will new players log into, a year down the road? Will it be an early game devoid of much if the playerbase; a newbie island of sorts? Will there be anything worth mining, to help them get on their feet? Perhaps periodically-spawning asteroids? And what of their trip to the bubble's edge, that would presumably hold most players, especially with destroyable warp gates?

 

Perhaps, if "Safe Zone" planets are peppered in throughout the galaxy, the game could just choose such a planet near other players as the current newbie spawn zone. This could ensure that new players are spawned where everyone else is. But a returning player could face the same issues, if they had last played months ago and the bubble has expanded without them. Returning players might have enough stock to keep going, and players on board their corporation vessel would be dragged along to the frontlines even while logged out, but neither of these can be assumed.

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This is an excellent question, one asked a few times but never answered sufficiently from NQ. 

 

They do not intend to respawn resources. Periodic asteroid impacts was a suggestion, but how would you choose where it hits in a populated planet. 

 

It has not been confirmed, but it is speculated that new ark ships will come into play somehow here. 

 

Also, the resources could be so extensive, that it takes an enormous amount of time to deplete them, kinda like earth. It is suspected players will be on the starting planet for a year before any real expansion begins. Of course if there are richer areas elsewhere, the better equipped groups would want to move there immediately. Leaving the extensive, but low quality ore patches for noobs. 

 

Ofcourse this doesnt really answer much, but it is a good question. 

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I've proposed in past threads on this topic that the basic resources are renewable -- so a farm and/or hydroponics produces plant matter which is process into hydrocarbons (fuel) and can be processed further into basic construction material (plastics). This solves the spawn area resource problems. Because construction seems like a major focus of the game it also makes sense to have the basics be self sufficient for those far away colonies and ships.

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This is a good question. Resource management will be up to the community, I also believe that the major organizations are not going to just abandon the starting planet. It will be a major recruitment hub and a good place to show people how to get the most out of the game.

 

Like DevisDevine says it could take an enormous amount of time to deplete the resources.

 

I feel like the areas close to the starting zone will likely be mined and then turned into headquarter areas for the major organizations. Most organizations though are going to focus on getting out into space, and exploring other planets. It's possible that we may never use all the resources on the starting planet.

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From what NQ has said it seems resources are not going to regenerate, which is good for the economy long term. They have also said they want all players to spawn on the same planet, but this might change down the line, but at launch I expect there will only be one spawn point.

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i really hope NQ decides to make resources come in big bunches but are hard to find, this makes it worth while to install a mining post, but also decreases the need for resource regeneration as you would need a certain period of time to fully mine a vein. If there is one way to handle mining i have never seen a better system that Terrafirmacraft created. 

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This is an excellent question, one asked a few times but never answered sufficiently from NQ.

 

They do not intend to respawn resources. Periodic asteroid impacts was a suggestion, but how would you choose where it hits in a populated planet.

 

To be honest, asteroid impacts sounds like it would be neat to build around. Similar to Space Engineers, if turrets could be set up to target asteroids then you could set up defenses. Perhaps even a city that taxes people in return for a protected build area?

 

Also, the resources could be so extensive, that it takes an enormous amount of time to deplete them, kinda like earth. It is suspected players will be on the starting planet for a year before any real expansion begins. Of course if there are richer areas elsewhere, the better equipped groups would want to move there immediately. Leaving the extensive, but low quality ore patches for noobs.

 

I feel like with enough of a playerbase, it'll go surprisingly fast. Especially since it was mentioned that resource scanning will be a thing, which will remove a lot of simple blind stripmining.

 

I've proposed in past threads on this topic that the basic resources are renewable -- so a farm and/or hydroponics produces plant matter which is process into hydrocarbons (fuel) and can be processed further into basic construction material (plastics). This solves the spawn area resource problems. Because construction seems like a major focus of the game it also makes sense to have the basics be self sufficient for those far away colonies and ships.

I'm not sure I like this idea for two reasons. The first is that I feel it would take away a lot of the need to expand. Without the constant need to gather material and fuel, I'm certain a lot of players would be content to just sit on a solar farm and never explore.

The other reason is that a solar farm and everything else needed to setup a such a self-sustaining system would cost materials in the first place. So it wouldn't really help new players get started. At best, new players would get these materials from other players' setups for free. Being outright given mid-game or end-game equipment is never fun in Minecraft or Terraria, and I'd expect the same for DU.

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From what NQ has said it seems resources are not going to regenerate, which is good for the economy long term. They have also said they want all players to spawn on the same planet, but this might change down the line, but at launch I expect there will only be one spawn point.

It is not a hard problem to solve. Just add a new player terminal in world that calls a player vehicle to do a simple delivery mission. Your not paid by the terminal if the noob dies in the first few seconds of the drop off. This will give you a dozen player made new player zones while giving the new player the same wilderness start.

 

Also the cryopods in the ark are move-able, it's done in the back story, A contract to ship 6 to somewhere would not break game lore or play so an option to spawn at the ark or spawn at a 'backup' wilderness site may be added to the game to be activated if the Noveark zone becomes a problem. The ark is a really big case of putting all your eggs in the one basket. Hence the term backup. 

 

The server architecture prevents crowding lag but not psychological crowding or being over whelmed.  

 

Many heavily built minecraft servers have all kinds if mechanism to get new players to the wilderness fast.   They are generically called noob cannons or noob gates.

So does Active Worlds the first sandbox, Second Life, Planet Entropia, even some fantasy games.  

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Resources does not regenerate. Players will mine a planet, a solar system and move looking for more resources. The idea is that rare resources will finish and force players to explore and move, while common resources will be available in large quantities, so that new player will still able to mine them and craft most stuff, even after the first planet gets abandoned. Still, that planet may never be abandoned, since it's where new players spawn, and where corporations will recruit people.

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This is an interesting question, one that has been brought to the dev's attention on many accounts. I'm not sure what the conclusion was, but just know the Devs have it under their radar.

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1) Pre-made machinery to extract materials from the ground over a longer time but with less or slower yield (compared to manual mining where it's gone after mining, but with faster results and yields)

2) Roaming asteroids that can spawn in space and remain in space after a while, serving as new "income"

 

There has to be some sort of mechanic that prolongs resource harvesting or makes it a resource that regenerates indirectly (new asteroids with up to moderate, rarely larger yields).

 

Otherwise you'll eventually, after years with no reset and persistence, see some kind of Dead Space scenario (minus the markers) where people roam space in planet crackers, desperate for resources. This would in turn also make it rather hard for new players after a prolonged time if a lot was indeed gone. Indirect resource regenerating (asteroids) or really providing giant amounts per area or planet would be required somehow from what I can tell so far.

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the mechanic is that the planets are near life sized ... even with 1000 players all mining it 27/4 since game launch .. it would take years to extract the minerals from 1 planet ... not to mention your in a proceduraly generated universe that is almost infinite .. they want to encourage us to explore and this is one of the ways they are doing it.

 

2) No, natural resources won't regenerate over time, to incitate players to explore other planets, but the planets are meant to be huge and will be designed so it could take decades for hundreds of thousand people to mine a single planet to a core. There will be rare ore deposits, but essential basic ores will be available in very large quantities.

 

fom NQ

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the mechanic is that the planets are near life sized ... even with 1000 players all mining it 27/4 since game launch .. it would take years to extract the minerals from 1 planet ... not to mention your in a proceduraly generated universe that is almost infinite .. they want to encourage us to explore and this is one of the ways they are doing it.

 

2) No, natural resources won't regenerate over time, to incitate players to explore other planets, but the planets are meant to be huge and will be designed so it could take decades for hundreds of thousand people to mine a single planet to a core. There will be rare ore deposits, but essential basic ores will be available in very large quantities.

 

fom NQ

 

 

While I have to take a look at various interviews and blog entries (by NQ) again, I remain a bit sceptical until I actually see it ingame at work, where just one planet is almost life-sized (like, literally almost life-sized or at least large enough to accommodate thousands of players over a longer time) and of course then filled to the brim with resources, thus making any new resource input demand in that space area almost obsolete.

 

As for 2) again, I see a difference between "natural resource regeneration" in terms of planetary ones and simply random asteroids that can roam space. If you mine some ore vein on a planet it's obviously gone and regeneration wouldn't be a thing, but asteroids could always appear and contain ores, of course. No matter how NQ decides to treat that specific option and what others think about it, it would be believable to have I like to think, given how large space is and what "flies" around in it.

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The way I would like mining to work on planets is that common ores (iron.aluminium etc) are very common in small quantities at the surface and rarer but in much larger quantities deep down.

 

When players are new, they can get all the resources they need to advanced from collecting on the surface and cave diving however larger orgs will need to use team work and deep core scanning to locate large deposits deep down that will be more profitable. Typical once locating it will take many hours to dig to the depth of a deposit but once there you are there you have rich seams that you can mine for weeks.

 

Brings in some interesting dynamics with people breaking into other peoples mines to get a free ride, people might want to prevent non-org people from entering the mine.

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the mechanic is that the planets are near life sized ... even with 1000 players all mining it 27/4 since game launch .. it would take years to extract the minerals from 1 planet ... not to mention your in a proceduraly generated universe that is almost infinite .. they want to encourage us to explore and this is one of the ways they are doing it.

 

2) No, natural resources won't regenerate over time, to incitate players to explore other planets, but the planets are meant to be huge and will be designed so it could take decades for hundreds of thousand people to mine a single planet to a core. There will be rare ore deposits, but essential basic ores will be available in very large quantities.

 

fom NQ

Planets in Dual Universe are nowhere near life-sized. They are, however, bigger then Space Engineers's planets.  

In comparison, they are smaller then our moon.

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One possible idea would be to have tiers of resources. The starting planet would only have Tier-1, getting to a moon would get you Tier-2, getting to another planet would get you Tier-3, and so on. The more powerful blueprints would require higher tier materials, and there might be structural limitations on what could be built with lower tier materials (good luck building your skyscraper out of wood). This would organically drive players away from the starter planet.

 

However, the fundamental problem for new players is that the convenient (ie: close to the arkship) materials will all have been mined out.

 

A possible solution to this is that new players are assigned a plot of virgin territory ("40 acres") somewhere on the planet, and given a method of transport between it and the Arkship (a "M.U.L.E.", acryonym TBD). This would give each player resources to exploit at an equal "distance" from the ship. And if you want to build something close to the ship, you'd have to pay rent...

 

Finally, the concept of humanity as a plague of locusts inexorably devouring planet after planet is not a pleasant one (however accurate it might be given our current level of maturity as a species).

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I like the idea of tiers, perhaps you need to mine He3 from the moon for fusion powered space travel which would be a huge step up from chemical engines.

 

Next step would be the gas giants and the outer rim of asteroids

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Tiers...
That's good thinking. ("We need Fe3 (Fe is Iron on the periodic table) to create this core. However, to reach the moon this resource resides on, we need Fe2 to build the engines, and Fe to develop the tools required to gather both")

This makes a lot of sense. I hope the developers consider it. Props to you, @MadOverlord.

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I would concurr on half. each ore has a different random chemical composition. after that you can extract all different materials in pure form and then synthesize the molecules to generate the materials you need to build the ships. this would not only be quite a depthening experience, but could also tech people about chemistry and even help researchers discover new molecules if the system takes in account actual physics. (like eve did with the cell thing, but in a useful in game way.)

 

But we can go further, instead of requiring one precise molecule, you could need a family of molecules that have different stats depending on the variations, and thus let you the ability to min max it to make the best products you can, imagine a game where there is actual scientific-ish research involved as a game mechanic!

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<snip>

I'm not sure I like this idea for two reasons. The first is that I feel it would take away a lot of the need to expand. Without the constant need to gather material and fuel, I'm certain a lot of players would be content to just sit on a solar farm and never explore.

The other reason is that a solar farm and everything else needed to setup a such a self-sustaining system would cost materials in the first place. So it wouldn't really help new players get started. At best, new players would get these materials from other players' setups for free. Being outright given mid-game or end-game equipment is never fun in Minecraft or Terraria, and I'd expect the same for DU.

 

I apologies that I wasn't clear, but that isn't what I posted. The tl;dr is that very basic, simple things is renewable/self sufficient. This is to get new players started quickly, a pathway for players who lost everything to restart, and reduce the chance of getting totally 100% stranded.

 

I thought I was explicit with a BASIC construction material -- the voxel cube stuff for building constructs. With a good first player experience/tutorial a new player can have a structure built within 30 minutes. This construct will have no elements, because OTHER materials are needed to build functional elements. This will require the player to explore to obtain the other resources themselves or buy from a market. I would expect that a player could sit around on their farm if they wish because of the market, they are just indirectly paying others for it.

 

The other issue you didn't consider is rate. The basic resource production chain is relatively slow. So if the player wishes to build or power more things faster, they will also need to gather/buy resources.

 

I would expect that the arcship zone has non-renewable resources that will deplete over time. But as infrastructure and markets develop those materials will be available for purchase.

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I'd do a combination of fortresscraft-esque resource deposits, limited resource regeneration and continous material upkeep for everything.

 

Ores would occur in big veins which hold large amounts of resources.

One can destroy the vein blocks for a quick/instant resource gain which is an one-time gain with low-ish (heck maybe none) total output but high output for the time investment.

Or one can [technibabble] extract minerals from the vein without destroying the blocks with lots of total available resources but low extraction rate.

 

Vein blocks which are not full/(near-)empty slowly regenerate to a certain degree.

This regeneration could be low to begin with (for simpler behaviour) or with the regeneration rate slowly decreasing to some hard minimum rate.

So the vein never runs completely out, but looses ever more usefulness.

 

In addition with some continous material upkeep for constructs theres some break-even point for every resource site which gets worse for bigger groups (with more overhead).

So a resource deposit never completely loses its usefulness if managed properly, usefulness decreases stronger for big corps than for small players, and thus gets abandoned by corps and gets used by small groups or newbs, and can supply some base resource supply that regions never get completely abandoned by people because the resources are exhausted.

 

 

The regenerating property could be limited to some deposits, maybe randomly, maybe have some special "core deposits" which are extra deep under the surface or some other special case.

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lack of ressources in the nearest planets around the ark, disabling the possibility for new players to quite the starting zone, will probably make the ark, THE recruitment plateform, and organizations will fight there to hire newbies and ship them back?

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This makes a lot of sense. I hope the developers consider it. Props to you, @MadOverlord.

 

Thanks, but I am sure it has already occurred them.

 

I would expect that the arcship zone has non-renewable resources that will deplete over time. But as infrastructure and markets develop those materials will be available for purchase.

 

I would not be surprised if resource extraction was not permitted in safe zones -- only construction. Otherwise they'll quickly become cratered wastelands, which is hardly the initial impression you want to give new players.

 

The problem of people doing obnoxious things like building walls around the arcship to keep "immigrants" penned up, or disassembling your nice townhouse overnight, also needs to be considered. The fundamental problem in a citizen-policed anarchy is that bad actors can do damage much faster than good actors can build and repair, and if there is no legal system to resort to (or an equivalent set of rules enforced by the game engine), the only way to enforce contracts (business or social) is violence (ie: every mafia, ever).

 

And of course, in a MMO with semi-immortal characters and multiple accounts, violence is not a credible method of social control.

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lack of ressources in the nearest planets around the ark, disabling the possibility for new players to quite the starting zone, will probably make the ark, THE recruitment plateform, and organizations will fight there to hire newbies and ship them back?

 

You say that as if the Ark isn't already gonna be THE recruiting platform  :P

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Thanks, but I am sure it has already occurred them.

 The problem of people doing obnoxious things like building walls around the arcship to keep "immigrants" penned up, or disassembling your nice townhouse overnight, also needs to be considered. The fundamental problem in a citizen-policed anarchy is that bad actors can do damage much faster than good actors can build and repair, and if there is no legal system to resort to (or an equivalent set of rules enforced by the game engine), the only way to enforce contracts (business or social) is violence (ie: every mafia, ever).

 

And of course, in a MMO with semi-immortal characters and multiple accounts, violence is not a credible method of social control.

Considering the size of the Syndicate so far relative to every other organisation, and the fact that their largest competitor so far, BOO, are a purposeful group of pirates that want to establish their own lawless world, I will not be surprised if Emberstone becomes immediately established around the Arkship and after its initial construction mining and construction of the zone banned (via the RDMS). Establishing Alioth as a mostly peaceful recruiting planet shouldn't be especially difficult, but having NQ force the Arkship zones to be mine-free is overly restrictive. I say if people want to strip mine it into a canyon, let them do so.

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