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Woodsman

Am I alone in thinking that Stargate Probes are a bad idea?

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I know I'm setting myself up for some vitriol here, but I just have to say that I hate the idea of SG Probes being the "preferred" method of interstellar exploration and travel.

 

Hear me out, because I love the idea of Stargate Probes in general, it's just that one little word that gets under my skin.

 

Preferred.

 

Seems benign, I know, but it's actually a pretty significant word that we will come back to shortly.

 

To start with, let's look at what SG Probes are, because they're pretty dang cool.

 

A Stargate Probe is a freaking automated factory attached to a powerful FTL drive that travels through deep space before entering a distant star system and building a giant stargate that will (presumably?) connect back to the stargate that had previously been built in the home system. Some sort of mechanic wherein we build a Stargate somewhere, and then build a probe and launch it, and then wait for the first Stargate to turn on.

 

Which is really cool, no matter how you slice it. Especially when you add in the fact that they're probably going to make us LUA script the whole thing, all on our own. This will be an epic player achievement, make no mistake.

 

...now let's get back to that word, preferred. Especially in the context of a subscription-based sandbox MMO.

 

 

 

The preferred method will probably be to use SG probes, but you could very well travel to the destination directly with your ship or your colony. However, it's likely going to be very hard to get there and survive. Think about energy, fuel, and all these elements that will be difficult to acquire on the way. But it could be a hell of a journey, yes!

 

I have to say that I am disappointed to hear that the developers of a subscription-based sandbox have a "preferred" method of travel for players that includes months-long waiting periods. And, yes, the devs have stated that these probe might take months to reach their destination.

 

I know that it's a bit gauche to bring up something like this, but I've always had a fascination for elephants that are just sitting in the middle of the room, doing nothing in particular.

 

Let's say this game costs $11.99USD per month, for argument's sake. Let's say, also for argument's sake, that you took on the challenge of a crewed interstellar ship. You've done the calculations on fuel and energy, and spent some time building the appropriate ship. You know the journey will take months (2 months=$23.98USD, 4 months=$47.96USD, 8 months=$95.92USD!), but the devs said it was possible, so you had to try. You point your ship at the star you want, and......what?

 

Seriously though, what comes next? Do we just log off, pay our subscription for a few months, and hope we don't get the message that our characters have died and re-spawned back at the Arkship?

 

Why does interstellar travel have to take months? Is it punishment for not playing the way the devs want?

 

Every moment that I'm paying for a subscription to something, I'm asking myself why I'm paying for a subscription to something. And when it comes to subscription-based video games, that answer had better be "It's really fun and entertaining."

 

There is nothing fun and/or entertaining about traveling through deep space for months. 

 

Also, what happens when one of these gates is destroyed? Everyone gets cut off from that star system for the next year of subscription time while new probes are constructed and sent? Talk about a divided player base.

 

If this game was a one-time purchase, I wouldn't feel this way about such a mechanic.

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This seems to be more of a complaint about the game being subscription based than anything. 

 

 

Probes aren't manned by players, they are automated devices that travel for months at a time through deep space before stopping at your Stargate destination.

 

The reason the question was worded that way was because I asked about whether or not, instead of sending unmanned probes, if players could build ships and make the journey manually through space instead of waiting for their probes to get there. Some of us would be happy to live on a ship for several months surviving with very little resources to get there manually, for everyone else there is the option of launching an automated probe. 

 

Taking the journey manually in a ship is a core part of Meruism, the in-game religion I created for Dual Universe. At least it is a requirement for being a "priest" in the religion, but there's no value to doing that for people who follow the religion in game except for RP and perhaps leadership roles. Because undertaking that journey requires dedication and patience, as well as skill because of the aforementioned fuel and resource requirements.

 

For the most part people will send probes and then go back to working on their own planets until they get the notification that their probes have reached their destination. 

 

Why are you assuming there will be absolutely nothing to do for months at a time while you're waiting for a probe to reach its destination? 

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Since the universe is going to be infinitely large a probe COULD well take several months to travel to a distant location, but I highly doubt going to the next system is going to take more than hours, this is a game after all and people have limited time to play. If the travel time is to long that would simply defeat the whole purpose of the game being single shard since it would effectively limit peoples ability to interact with each other in a timely manner.

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Since the universe is going to be infinitely large a probe COULD well take several months to travel to a distant location, but I highly doubt going to the next system is going to take more than hours, this is a game after all and people have limited time to play. If the travel time is to long that would simply defeat the whole purpose of the game being single shard since it would effectively limit peoples ability to interact with each other in a timely manner.

But everybody will come from the same place 

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I presume you are talking about SGU's Stargate Seeder ships and not MALPs. I would think that for Stargates, this type of thing would be the intended idea. It would be entirely automatic, not requiring months of time.

 

Secondly, the systems shouldn't be months apart, but you never know. Hopefully not. If there's a more reasonable amount of time, say one IRL day, then it could be easily managed. You send the ship out on its journey. When it reaches a planet, it plants a stargate. It opens the stargate and contacts you to inform you of its progress. You send it the materials it needs for another stargate and for the next day-long trip to the next system.

 

Perhaps the stargates will be of a sufficient design to allow ships through, too. So as long as you have a stargate in the months-away-by-traditional-FTL system, you can instantly travel to that system and back. If that seems OP, just remember that it did take a real seeder ship months to get there in the first place.

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The problem arises when you have someone owning the stargate and only allowing that orgs ships through, which could well mean that there will be situation where an enemy is attacking you and you have no way of striking back. The way I see it if it really shouldn't take more than 1 hour to travel between systems that are within say 20-30 ly apart, if you have proper ftl drives, and even then that would be monstrously boring. Any game mechanic that just makes you press a button and then you are effectively locked out of interacting with the game for any amount of time longer than say a few minutes is a bad mechanic. I don't want a game that says there is nothing more you can do ingame right now, go do something else!

 

IMO the limiting factor in space travel should be fuel and the size of the craft. If a space A is twice the size (size could be in mass or volume or some mix thereof, doesn't really matter) of spaceship B and spaceship A requires say 4-8 times more fuel to achieve the same FTL speed that could mean that if you are just running around in a small single man ship you might easily be able to travel vast distances in a quick manner, but that for large cargo transports or warships stargates might be much more efficient and practical.

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If a faction should develop stargate technology and use it for a tactical advantage, why would that be bad? They worked to have the right to use it. If an enemy ship were to shoot out all your weapons first, you wouldn't be able to strike back. Does that mean weapons shouldn't be in the game too?

 

The way I see it if it really shouldn't take more than 1 hour to travel between systems that are within say 20-30 ly apart,

 

Regardless of what the ingame distance is, some people will still travel hours/days far out on their own anyway.

 

 

Any game mechanic that just makes you press a button and then you are effectively locked out of interacting with the game for any amount of time longer than say a few minutes is a bad mechanic.

Prevent from interacting with the game? Nobody is suggesting that stargates would do this. I also am unsure of what "locked out of interacting with the game" means. You go in one gate, you come out the other, no lockouts.

 

As far as your point to fuel goes, that all makes sense.

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The problem arises when you have someone owning the stargate and only allowing that orgs ships through, which could well mean that there will be situation where an enemy is attacking you and you have no way of striking back.

I don't really see a problem here just destroy their stargate or hack it or whatever we can do in game (we don't really know) its a VERY heavy tactical advantage to that org and they should be fully able to do so.

 

as for the rest I both agree and disagree and the devs have this down already. Exploration should take time, its space its big and empty and should take time to move around even with FTL. The stargates fix this by allowing near instant travel to far away places. Within a system though I do think the time spent flying to your next location should be a bit shorter though

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@Anfros    

The problem arises when you have someone owning the stargate and only allowing that orgs ships through, which could well mean that there will be situation where an enemy is attacking you and you have no way of striking back.

 

Hell, if I don't want to allow anyone into territory I own, I'll close that stargate in a heartbeat. And sending attacks through one? That's called tactics, mate. Besides, a stargate requires an entry gate and an exit gate; just blow up the exit gate and the enemy can't send as many attacks anymore. Problem solved.

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Hell, if I don't want to allow anyone into territory I own, I'll close that stargate in a heartbeat. And sending attacks through one? That's called tactics, mate. Besides, a stargate requires an entry gate and an exit gate; just blow up the exit gate and the enemy can't send as many attacks anymore. Problem solved.

 

Or, you know...mines. lots and lots of mines.

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Or, you know...mines. lots and lots of mines.

But you'd have to replace the mines eventually, and some ships might avoid them, which means they need to be hunted down. 

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But you'd have to replace the mines eventually, and some ships might avoid them, which means they need to be hunted down. 

Cloaked, self replicating mines.... *evil laugh*

 

But in all seriousness, stargate factory seedships.... make it so!

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But you'd have to replace the mines eventually, and some ships might avoid them, which means they need to be hunted down. 

 

Mind, this is assuming your enemy owns the stargate and you have no easy way of capturing it from him or her

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The way I see it if it really shouldn't take more than 1 hour to travel between systems that are within say 20-30 ly apart,

 

 

If travelling to different systems is too easy, then people will spread out too far and thin too quickly. 

 

By having it take months for probes to reach other systems, it reduces the speed at which players spread out and encourages people to use resources they have locally rather than immediately setting out on day 1 looking for their own planet to control. 

 

If it's going to take weeks to months for the first players in the game to create spacecraft capable of travelling to other planets, why should in turn be easy for new players to hop in and immediately travel to the furthest reaches of space if the first players had to put all of that work and effort into space travel in the first place? 

 

Going to an unexplored planet for the first time should be something players have to work towards, not something that is trivialized into a non-event simply because some players don't want to have to work (or have patience) for their accomplishments. 

 

 

 

The closest analogy I can think of to this is the time it takes to build a Titan in Eve Online. It takes months to complete one, assuming you have all of the resources available to even begin construction of one. You need an assortment of high level skills, you need somewhere secure in space to do the construction, there's all sorts of logistics involved in keeping those shipyards secure too. 

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OK that's fine you can send out a probe and then play the game while you're waiting for it to arrive, but what about exploring by hopping from one nearby star to another using advanced hyper-drive?

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OK that's fine you can send out a probe and then play the game while you're waiting for it to arrive, but what about exploring by hopping from one nearby star to another using advanced hyper-drive?

possable but time consuming if there is not a stargate where you are going and where you are from what we know

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I don't like the idea of stargates period. I hate teleportation in games. I'd rather just have FTL travel and leave it at that. Not everything should just be instantly accessible because stargates.

 

Once a stargate is up just go to your linked one and poof, space magic. For me it's always been a bridge too far in regards to verisimilitude.

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I don't like the idea of stargates period. I hate teleportation in games. I'd rather just have FTL travel and leave it at that. Not everything should just be instantly accessible because stargates.

 

Once a stargate is up just go to your linked one and poof, space magic. For me it's always been a bridge too far in regards to verisimilitude.

You know what's not fun? Wasting peoples' time because a small percentage wants to RP Star Trek during a screensaver animation playing for a mandatory time while travelling from system to system.

 

Fun fact, Stargates or more likely, gravitational weak points in a star system, are the way warp would work in real-life if we had the power to pull it off. Why? Because Warping near a planet Star Trek style, would obliterate the planet's atmosphere due to the spatial withdrawal taking place and basic newtonian laws.

 

So, hakuna your immersed tatas and don't ask for RP things to be at the core of the game please.

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I think stargates should be in the game. But I also think normal FTL travel should be balanced so that if you are traveling in a small craft going between systems using normal ftl is the method of choice. As to if people who enter the game at a later stage should have an easier time reaching the stars, that's how the devs have explicitly told us it's going to be.

 

I find it interesting that whenever I hear the devs talking about the game I really like what I hear, I imagine an upgraded version of eve that fixes many of the problems that game had while adding solid crafting mechanics. But then people keep making threads about tacking on all manner of unfun survival and rp mechanics, that imo would be really bad for the game if they were implemented.

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The way i understood the probe working was, you launch it and wait, when it arrives you jump to it and manually build the star gate. There would be another matter also, the probe should tell you if the system is even worth visiting, after all it took our arkship 10,000 years to find a suitable planet for us.

Imagine gaming, flying to the system of choice because you can, for months, only to arrive and find a dead planet not worth colonizing.

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@GalloInfligo


Materials are materials. And planets don't have to be lush green jungles to be colonised. You may find a planet fulll of uranium or something. Sure, the planet will be dead as dead can be,  but think of how much money you can make if you claim a small patch of land and set a mining gig going.

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@ Cpttwerk

Oh i get ya, but the kind of group that is going to take months of game play to fly manually, are not there to mine and make money, they are there to either explore or colonize, the miner would use the probe so he can keep mining and making money while waiting on the 15 different probes he sent out

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Imagine this... The rp group is spending months building their ship, we build a probe and launch it.....two months later they leave...we jump to our probe two months later and start claiming the planet to mine material and build our personal nukes etc, 7 weeks after ariving we build our stargate, a week later they arrive finally after traveling for months, and out of supplies....and . we already own most of the planet, the stargate, and have a bountiful operation going..... Now which side of that do you guys want to be on?

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I imagine that the probe would be quite difficult to make and may take close to as long building our initial ships, since it would need to have the materials to construct a stargate on board.

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