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Dunbal

The concept of Entropy

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Nothing lasts forever. Metal fatigues and rusts. Complex systems break down. Machines have to be maintained. I wish/hope there would be some approximation of entropy in the game as an overall balancing/leveling force. It should not be possible to create highly complex systems and hope that they will work perfectly and last forever - especially if they are exposed to harsh conditions - g-forces, combat, multiple atmospheric re-entry, etc. While a stone pillar can last 1000 years with no problem other than a little erosion, an F-16 cannot fly more than a few dozen hours without extensive maintenance.

 

If there is some way of tracking the complexity of a construct and the materials it is made of, this should be fed into some sort of algorithm that degrades effectiveness over time or increases the probability of a functional/structural failure. Better still if forces, loads and stresses are tracked - then this usually should be the point of failure - where the stress is highest.

 

This would also force people to build redundancy into their constructs. You wouldn't want your vital systems to fail in the middle of combat, for example...

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Whilst i agree, that modules/ships and equipment should wear over time, your brief summary is too general, and by no means am i an expert on the subject of entropy, but just because something is complex does not mean it will degrade faster then something of lesser complexity.

 

items/things in general can be designed to last. your example of the stone pillar surviving one thousand years and an F-16 only a few dozen hours, whilst possibly true, excludes many factors. ignoring the aspects of the pillar, and examining the F-16,we know it is a military aircraft, as such emphasis is placed  on combat ability above all else, components can be designed to withstand stresses, but would detract from combat ability. from the design point, a real world example is combustion engines, in consumer vehicles such as cars an engine may only last a maximum of 800,000 Kilometers, which many would never reach before getting a new vehicle, in commercial vehicles an engine can easily pass 1,000,000 Kilometers, and do so potentially twice over.

 

I would add that modules/ships and equipment wear based on their design and quality, rather then a simple 'higher equals more'

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I was intentionally general because without having any insight into the actual design process of the virtual world itself it's hard to be any more specific.

 

In general terms, it would work something like this - every in game item would need to have a few variables that include Age, Resistance and Complexity.

 

Age obviously is a way to calculate the time elapsed since the item was manufactured (it would be difficult to apply entropy to planets/raw materials themselves in a meaningful way). The older something is, the more likely it is to suffer changes in molecular alignment, imperfections, etc and deviate from the original manufacture. This would eventually affect or limit how it could achieve peak or optimal performance. Of course this also is related to the next variable, resistance.

 

Resistance is a way to measure the innate property of a material to degradation through entropy. For example a piece of raw meat will degrade much faster than a steel pole, which in turn will rust and degrade much faster than a diamond. Some materials also age better than others. A 500 year old wooden beam will not have the same strengths and properties as a newly seasoned one, but a 500 year old steel beam should still be fairly close to the original provided it hasn't undergone dramatic changes in loading, stress, magnetic fields, heating/cooling, etc.

 

And complexity tracks how far away an object is from the original materials that created it. A lump of titanium is not very complex, but a spaceship engine made of titanium is quite complex. Therefore you shouldn't expect a lump of titanium to either fail or require maintenance, but the spaceship engine must be kept in top shape quite often in order to remain fully functional.

 

Now - depending on the time-scale of Dual Universe, it's highly unlikely that we are going to be concerned with the degradation of simpler things that would normally take thousands or tens of thousands of years to start showing any form of degradation. This would limit us to three basic scenarios in the time scale of a game (even a game that spans a few decades of real time):

 

Artificial stress and loading: Anything that is made to undergo rapid/sudden changes in acceleration should suffer increased degradation rates. Wings of airplanes, turbines and fan blades of engines, hulls of space-ships, etc. They cannot be expected to last forever with zero maintenance/repairs. Repairs should cost materials and energy - as well as time, but I can imagine a future where trivial, time consuming tasks are automated.

 

Environmental damage: Anything that is exposed to hostile environments (thermal, chemical, ionizing radiation, etc) must suffer accelerated degradation. This includes anything destroyed by weapons, for example - heck this could even be a way of implementing damage say from energy weapons.. And it must also include the weapons themselves. The gun barrels on large artillery pieces and WW2 battleships for example had to be re-lined after 100 shots or so. Nothing lasts forever and usage = maintenance. This would also include production facilities/machinery - except for the magical "root" machines that allow players to start building the world. You cannot create a fabricator for example and expect it to produce forever without additional inputs for maintenance and repair and "downtime" to carry out said repairs.

 

Complexity damage: while complexity itself should not be a cause of damage if the engineering is well done, this basically assumes that engineers are human and not perfect, therefore their creations are not perfect. Bugs in software. Zinc fingers on circuit boards. Bearings wearing out on moving parts. Shorts in electric motors. Magnetization of things not supposed to be magnetic, etc. The more complex a system, the more maintenance it requires to prevent a sudden catastrophic (ie - it stops working) failure. This is a boolean condition. If adequate maintenance is provided (including preventative maintenance), the system will work flawlessly - forever. But if maintenance is neglected, the system stops working AND suffers damage.

 

But exactly HOW to go on implementing something like this is quite, quite daunting. It could make for a game all by itself :) THAT's why I was vague...

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i Think the blueprint of any construction is the solution.

 

since blueprint saved the construction as its factory status. any dammages caused on a ship could be compared to the blueprint to evaluate the dammages status %.

 

i m not sure about atmospheric dammages, but for sure would work very well for physical dammages.

 

if you got shot, bump into an asteroid, do a bad landing... some voxels could be removed from the construction to simulate the dammages. and using an element, comparing the original state from the blueprint with the actual dammaged state, allowing some maintnance and fixing.

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i Think the blueprint of any construction is the solution.

 

since blueprint saved the construction as its factory status. any dammages caused on a ship could be compared to the blueprint to evaluate the dammages status %.

 

i m not sure about atmospheric dammages, but for sure would work very well for physical dammages.

 

if you got shot, bump into an asteroid, do a bad landing... some voxels could be removed from the construction to simulate the dammages. and using an element, comparing the original state from the blueprint with the actual dammaged state, allowing some maintnance and fixing.

 

i think repairing physical voxel damage by hand is ridiculous because that precision is non-achievable...

what should exist is a repair dock to repair damage according to the cores blueprint, and will replace defective components, and possibly send the damaged ones to some bay where you can recycle/repair them. 

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This would certainly add another reason why high quality materials would be even more desired; they last longer. However I feel that components breaking down mid flight, mid battle, or mid anything, just when you're enjoying yourself, would get pretty irritating and annoying. Perhaps if the penalty for letting something break down wasn't very detrimental, but still something worth fixing, it would be less annoying and yet still present.

 

As for ship voxels getting damaged, I really don't know as we don't yet know how the damage system will work in the game. But if there was some way to detect the integrity of all parts of your ship, to forewarn you if anything was wearing down, then I don't think it would be so bad. Just so long as it takes a while.

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 I feel that components breaking down mid flight, mid battle, or mid anything, just when you're enjoying yourself, would get pretty irritating and annoying.

 

Not necessarily. Simply things would have to be built more realistically - with redundant systems. If you go for a cheap design and no redundancy, well IF your construct fails mid battle - you only have yourself to blame... If you invest a little more in the design phase and minimize the consequences of failure, you reap the benefits.

 

I'm not proposing that inherent failure of a system or material be a determining cause of success, however it should not be completely non-existent. Just like airliners rarely fall out of the sky due to mechanical failure - but also a lot of regulation, maintenance, spare parts, materials, processes, etc have to be invested to keep the fleets flying in a safe manner. And very occasionally disaster does strike.

 

I'm not talking of a sort of "health bar" for materials that eventually winds down and the system fails - but I would love to see PREVENTATIVE maintenance having to be performed on complex materials and components. Such prevention would be costly in terms of energy and materials, and such prevention would essentially "reset" the chance of failure to minimum. It should be non-zero, but very small even under optimal conditions. And it should increase gradually but exponentially over time and under use, if preventative measures are not regularly undertaken.

 

A sword blade has to be kept sharp, a bowstring has to be kept dry, a fuel tank has to be kept free of water from atmospheric condensation, airplane wings have to be checked for hairline cracks and metal fatigue, bearings wear out, etc etc.

 

>But if there was some way to detect the integrity of all parts of your ship, to forewarn you if anything was wearing down, then I don't think it would be so bad.

 

These means and methods could be things, processes, machines, made by other players and sold by other players too. Heck you could have entire industries specialized in maintenance...for example.

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i agree unavailability of damaged components is too harsh because it can happen all the time. Maybe do a system in eve, where you can increase power in exchange of damage, or add repair modules that use resources to maintain broken components in a running state, so using broken components uses a lot of materials, and then if you don't have anymore, they stop running, this can give you the time to get out of battle or replace them manually.

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i think repairing physical voxel damage by hand is ridiculous because that precision is non-achievable...

what should exist is a repair dock to repair damage according to the cores blueprint, and will replace defective components, and possibly send the damaged ones to some bay where you can recycle/repair them.

yup thats a good idea

 

but i never meant repairing by hand. in that way u arent sure repairing same as blueprint

 

an automatic repair, with a special tool, a garage... sucking your material from inventory, if u have enough, is more appropriate

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Bleh I'm not keen on the repairing gameplay in any game, it's usually more of a chore than something to get into. 

 

This sounds more interesting though.

 

What sort of time scale are you looking at spending on repairing stuff?  Some constructs will be huge, will the automated repairs be instant, minutes,  hours, days?  I mean you may end up needing more than one of the same ship so you can cycle them during repairs.  Auto repairs while offline maybe, at a repair point?

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Bleh I'm not keen on the repairing gameplay in any game, it's usually more of a chore than something to get into. 

 

This sounds more interesting though.

 

What sort of time scale are you looking at spending on repairing stuff?  Some constructs will be huge, will the automated repairs be instant, minutes,  hours, days?  I mean you may end up needing more than one of the same ship so you can cycle them during repairs.  Auto repairs while offline maybe, at a repair point?

 

My vision is having much of the maintenance/repair automated/automatable as would be expected in a highly technological society - but players would have to build the robots/machines to automate it of course, otherwise it would be impossible for really advanced stuff, by hand and fairly time consuming for complicated stuff, straightforward for simple stuff,

 

This would bring a whole logistical level to say, a military/pirate faction. It's ok to have ships to zoom around and blow stuff up, but those ships, weapons, ammunition, etc require support - which doesn't necessarily have to be done by the same faction but rather by other specialized players... players who would need to be paid or protected, and who could switch allegiance or even engage in some sabotage.....

 

My idea is not to bring "more grind" to any universe but rather to encourage even more forms of emergent gameplay while increasing realism.

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Since we are already in a advanced civilization scenario with nano technology and such, I don't think "general" degradation of stuff would be acceptable.

Even now most new premium cars use already self-healing paint jobs which are capable of repairing small scratches just by sitting in the sun.

 

However I don't mind to maintain heavy used machinery, those little nanobots wouldn't be able to keep up with such constant stressed conditions.

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Since we are already in a advanced civilization scenario with nano technology and such, I don't think "general" degradation of stuff would be acceptable.

Even now most new premium cars use already self-healing paint jobs which are capable of repairing small scratches just by sitting in the sun.

 

However I don't mind to maintain heavy used machinery, those little nanobots wouldn't be able to keep up with such constant stressed conditions.

 

Yeah I like stated I'm not advocating more grind - people having to maintain mundane stuff, etc. For example how many years will it take your hammer to rust, honestly? You won't see it in your lifetime. BUT for more complex systems... your computer... SUPERcomputers used by gov/military, etc... the amount of maintenance work (preventative) and repair work HAS to go up. If you never clean the gunk out of your keyboard and computer fan, expect to have to buy a new keyboard/fan. Etc. So I'd like to see some "complexity" value assigned to items and the more complex they are - the more work they require to keep them running at optimal and the more expensive to fix if/when they do break down. And the more complex they are, the more likely they are to fail under extreme conditions - temperature, g-force, etc - ESPECIALLY if they haven't been maintained properly. Your hammer will work just fine at 50g, or at 500 degrees temperature. Your computer or jet engine, probably not.

 

So if you have this game that has building blocks and components like cockpits, etc - well I'm guessing the building blocks are going to be pretty solid and not prone to failing all that often - but your spaceship cockpit - you'd better maintain that after every X hours of operation if you want it to keep working well and fewer hours if you're jigging it around in high g combat maneuvers all the time. When you do the maintenance (which probably requires specialized skills/equipment/tools) you'll find maybe some components have to be replaced not to keep it working but to keep it working at OPTIMUM. If you don't replace, it will still work, but total failure rate gradually increases, sensors/dials become fractionally less accurate, etc.

 

I'd just hate to see a world where all constructs work perfectly well 100% of the time forever and ever. The universe is not like that. "Random" failure is horrible too, the real world is not subject to a random number generator. Ahh but slow, steady erosion and gradually increasing chance of failure which can be countered by periodic work (maintenance) - that we're familiar with. It's the real world model. Check and change the oil in your car once in a while. Check your tyres. Clean the dust out of your computer. Wash your clothes. Bathe. Brush your teeth. It's all around us.

 

Again the idea is not to add something tedious - but imagine that if properly implemented, you could have people and machines that specialize in maintenance and repair, keeping the highly technical part of world operating in tip top condition. It's really easy to implement this badly, but it would be amazing if implemented properly. My widgets are better than your widgets not only through design and tech but because you don't look after your widgets, I do. So I can get that extra 1%...

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To implement something like this properly, I would suggest to have this maintance stuff increasing with the components-techlevel so it dont annoy beginners and advanced players have to care about  advanced maintance. In the long term repeating and annoing excersizes can get player-confortable via speacial skills.  Different element quality, so as an example: A beginner can choose between a larger cheap low qualitiy engine with high thrust and lots of maintance requierement or a smaller high quality engine with munch less thrust and very very low maintance requierement for an equal amount of money. So you avoid maintance by paing a higher price at the beginning, but if you get more andvanced componnets, you need munch more skills/perks to keep the maintance effort low.

 

components should have need only maintance if they are used, damaged or extreme natur forces( if you park your ship to close to the sun or similar) so your stuff is save in your garage.

 

 

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While this is a bit of a nercopost, the whole thread brings up good points.

A lot of people don't want it to be a chore, so how about maintenance raises the stats of the element temporarily instead?

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mmh, but what if you can let your robot pet (which you can assign to your construct and is only activ if the player is near his construct) do the chore stuff, but if you do it yourself, you get that temporarily stats bonus. Both need certain skills and for balance reasons I would suggest that 1 player can use only 1 maintance pet, so the pet can work like a LUA scriptable passiv skill. Meanwhile the pet need maintance/(atleast some attention) itself by the player.

 

Another thought is that maintance could get a "new" job/specialastion and it would make players take more care about there constructs so they would have less contructs, which need more attention, which should increase perfomance in a way. 

I remember a discussion about spacescrap/debris despawning in a certain amount if time. Perhaps this mechanic would embelish it.

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Degradation of materials and constructs seems like it would be necessary in order to sustain a player-built economy IMO.  Otherwise, scarcity would continue to be forced downward, as would prices.  Entropy is a fantastic sink, and I really like the idea, especially allowing for wide variation across materials/components/etc.  Don't want to grind on repairs?  Pay someone a fee to cover the market price for mats and overhead of repair systems.  Or keep spares.  Don't have a trusted mechanic?  Buy your own mats, bots, and equipment and cut out the middleman.  Don't have the money but lots of time?  Hack together your own manual repairs and patches (or have your pet do it) - just enough to keep the lights on.   Or, live dangerously as some have suggested and do absolutely nothing - your cheap ship may blow up but you can always buy or build another one.   As long as the methods are economically balanced this should be fine and should suit lots of playstyles.  Entropy could also (eventually) make for some VERY interesting planetary mechanics for example the need to build ships differently for use on different planets - corrosive atmospheres, extreme heat/gravity, etc.  My #1 concern would still be the player economy though - in order for this game to work at all the economy needs to be *real*, for all intents and purposes.

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