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Re: Remaking Limit Theory - From the ground up

#91
Bitrage wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:43 pm
FormalMoss wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:42 pm
I would agree.
Josh's reasoning was so we could enjoy the view of space and the AI in the "living" world
And being able to ride on a rail, and view the system et al, is a lovely way to spend some time, whilst figuring out the next chapter in my space opera :)
What if the AI constructed them? Lay out a few on startup, and build out a network as you go. Maybe specialized exploration ships can lay out their own rails or something?
Usually there's a variety of different "types" of ships. You have your explorer, your fighter, your miner, your hauler, etc. Specializing in a single area gives you more than a 1:1 increase relative to being less specialized, thus providing incentives to have ships that specialize in different areas: e.g. a fighter is mostly about firepower, a hauler mostly about cargo room, a scout mostly about getting places fast. But then you have your salvagers, which have some weapons and some cargo space, but isn't really the best at either. You have your miners - a bit of cargo space and a bit of mining power. You have explorers - a bit of extra speed, and some extra weapons to handle unfortunate situations.

What I'm saying is: there's ways to design a system where exploration ships don't need rails to get places at suitable speeds. Cargo ships would utilize the rails more than most others simply because they minmax to have maximum cargo capacity, and rails are a good way of getting around. It's in a company's best interests to make rails in a sector, thus establishing fast trade routes - and it can help their security forces to get where they're needed in a hurry too.
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Re: Remaking Limit Theory - From the ground up

#92
Talvieno wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:57 pm

What I'm saying is: there's ways to design a system where exploration ships don't need rails to get places at suitable speeds. Cargo ships would utilize the rails more than most others simply because they minmax to have maximum cargo capacity, and rails are a good way of getting around. It's in a company's best interests to make rails in a sector, thus establishing fast trade routes - and it can help their security forces to get where they're needed in a hurry too.
.. aand, it can lead to lovely emergent Ai gameplay, where they hang around at certain exit spots, and gank the haulers.. until the security forces arrive, or the bandits win.
YAY PYTHON \o/

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Re: Remaking Limit Theory - From the ground up

#94
I wouldn't consider warp rails a core feature.

By "core" I think of the things that absolutely have to be there for the basic game to work at all. If the consensus is that only a Josh-like engine will do, then "core" is an engine that 1) handles the basic system functions that require speed/efficiency, and 2) the script language processor. Who here is capable of writing that? I'm not.

Then there are what I'd say are the key gameplay features: multiple star systems created procedurally for every new game from a defined seed value; ships flying in 3D space "bubbles" sometimes connected to each other; "stuff" in space for ships to interact with (stars, planets, asteroids, fields); NPC ship AI for spaceflight, pathfinding, individual dogfighting, giving and following orders as part of a squadron/fleet (for "RTS" play), asteroid mining, and commerce; and space stations for repairs, storage, commerce, and missions. Additionally: a stable faucet/drain economic simulation, possibly including the production of ships and gear from asteroid-mined resources; four or so ship classes (hulls) with different numbers of hardpoints and turn rates; a variety of weapons/shields/engines/armor/sensors to buy/sell/install/use; some mechanic for jumping between star systems; a serialized facility to save and reload anytime; a very basic version of factions; a user interface (UI) system that looks good and is easy to both build with (as a developer) and easy to use (as a player); and of course artwork and audio FX/music for all of this that looks and sounds as gorgeous as the procedurally-generated nebulae that Josh created. Implement these features, and you have a game that starts to resemble Limit Theory.

Some other features that would add real value to a Freelancer/LT-like game: Projects as the fundamental basis for organized activity; researching new techs and improvements; planetary colonies; and of course 4X features because you've already got everything else you need for that kind of fun.

Compared to these features, which are already going to take a lot of time and effort to create, warp rails seem to me to have much less value. They add some flavor, but no required functionality. (They also, unless implemented so they bend out of the plane of the ecliptic, prevent planets from orbiting their star, which is a feature I personally want so much that if warp rails show up in my copy of an LT game the first thing I will do is edit them out.)

In summary, I think a project like this already has plenty of no-kidding-must-have features that will be seriously time-consuming to implement. If after all those are done somebody just really needs warp rails, hey, the game supports modding! And of course the same is true for the 4X and planetary-orbital sim stuff I think would be nice-to-have fun.
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Re: Remaking Limit Theory - From the ground up

#95
You're exactly who I thought of when warp rails were mentioned, as I remember how much you disliked the idea. However, likewise, if planets orbit the star instead of staying in fixed positions, editing it out would be the very first thing I did. :P We'll have to agree to disagree on that, because I remember your arguments for moving planets, and I remember my arguments for warp rails, and I remember neither of us were swayed.

(That said, I don't think it's impossible that you could have both. You'd simply model them as something akin to "jetstreams" and code the AI pathfinding to take advantage to it. It would be a bit magic-y and weird, but I mean, we already have space that slows you down by itself, and nobody has few people have complained about that. :P


Regarding 4X... just a bit of personal opinion. :P
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Flatfingers wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:57 pm
and of course 4X features because you've already got everything else you need for that kind of fun.
I do not think Limit Theory was ever intended to be a 4X game. I personally feel that 4X goes even further beyond the RTS Josh was considering adding, and represents a significant deviation from the core of what LT "is" (or was/would have been, rather).

Full disclosure, though: I personally loathe 4X games, to the extent that ever since Stellaris "2.0" decided to shift the game in that direction, I've been unable to stay interested in the game, despite having several hundred hours in it prior to that and multiple full playthroughs. I don't think any of this invalidates my thoughts on 4X being in an LT-like, though. It's simply a different focus. The inverse would be trying to play chess in a multiplayer game with 32 people, where each person controls their own piece. That sounds like a nightmare, and so to to me does 4X LT.

I'll admit stellaris left a bit of a sore spot with me for 4X games. I liked it better when it was a broken sci-fi story generator.
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Re: Remaking Limit Theory - From the ground up

#97
Talvieno wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 12:28 pm
I'll also try to get in touch with Josh again... and Victor too of course. Victor would love to hear about this. (Also I really miss the guy.)
:D Thanks for missing me, Nathan. And yes, I'm loving reading the recent additions to this thread...but I didn't appreciate this particular contribution from Flat:
Flatfingers wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:57 pm
I wouldn't consider warp rails a core feature.
*chuckle*

Nice to see you spiritly defending the concept, Nathan. :thumbup: :angel:
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Re: Remaking Limit Theory - From the ground up

#101
zircher wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:29 am
Or, you place rail hubs at the solar poles, that way the planets can move and the distance is fairly constant for circular orbits.

This sounds like exactly what I proposed in a comment from 2014 (!): warp lanes start at the poles of a planet and curve in arcs above and/or below the plane of the star system's ecliptic. That way planets can orbit their star, and warp lanes will slowly adjust as the planets move through space. At any given moment of time, you'll still be able to see ships flowing back and forth through the lane -- there'll still be a clearly discernable "lane" -- it just won't be fixed in space.

But I emphasize that this is not my primary argument against including warp rails in the list of must-have core features. My comment about planets being able to orbit their star was parenthetical; it's not the most important point. The main argument I'm making is that "core feature" means either:

  1. an infrastructure or basic gameplay capability that must be built for any space sim (the majority of features)
  2. a feature that is specifically required to deliver the "Limit Theory feel" (a very short list of features)

I don't think there's any way that warp rails can be considered part of that first category. And I would say it's not part of the second category, either; there are other gameplay features -- in particular, the "living world" of NPCs against and with which the player can act -- that are much more distinctive and important for delivering the dynamic "feel" of LT. An additional way for ships to travel from one point of interest to another, beyond the basic speed and a fast speed that I assume ships will have as in LT, just doesn't seem to me to have enough value to prioritize it over the other core features I suggested in my previous post. As long as non-combat ship AI includes a "take shortest path between two points of interest" goal, trade lanes will emerge automatically -- they just won't be high-speed, but how could that possibly be considered such a vital thing that it merits development time over other things such as basic 3D spaceflight and ship combat and space stations?

Does the warp rails feature have some flavor value? Sure. I've never said it's worthless or that it doesn't deliver any LT flavor. My argument is that it's just not nearly as important as other things that must be implemented for a game like this to work at all, and particularly so when it's a loose group of people who aren't Josh taking on this project.

By all means, keep warp rails in mind as a late enhancement feature. But I honestly see no way it should get any project time when there are still such fundamental things as "script processing engine" and "NPC AI" yet to be designed and implemented.

Y'all feel free to apply this same argument to any feature that I've suggested is "core." ;)



In fact, let me be blunt: this project has no chance to succeed unless its participants agree to focus exclusively on the no-kidding basic systems that a space sim game absolutely must have. We can knock around nice-to-have ideas elsewhere, but this project won't happen without a focused environment where only the stuff that really has to be done can get done.

It is hard to build all the core features this needs. It's even harder to finish all those core pieces; and harder still to integrate all those pieces into a working product; and yet harder to polish this combination so that it is satisfying; and supremely hard to make this whole thing fun. And that's with a for-profit organization of experienced game developers working on it full-time.

No playable game, much less one that feels like LT, will ever be produced by a group that wants to debate the merits and forms of a very ancillary support feature like warp rails instead of defining and then doing the things that are unquestionably more necessary to building a space sim game that even works at all.

So are y'all serious about making an actual thing or not?
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Re: Remaking Limit Theory - From the ground up

#103
Hey Victor!!! :D So nice to see you here! I planned to write you an email but I was waiting to see if something might actually come of this first, i.e. making sure that it wouldn't collapse before it began. :P


Flatfingers - all very excellently said. You've made your point about core features well. :clap: You're quite right, warp rails do not constitute a core feature... nor are they necessarily "necessary" for the "Limit Theory feel". We'll worry about all that somewhere later on down the line.
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Re: Remaking Limit Theory - From the ground up

#104
Talvieno wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:36 am
Hey Victor!!! So nice to see you here! I planned to write you an email but I was waiting to see if something might actually come of this first, i.e. making sure that it wouldn't collapse before it began.
I'm sure the talented members of this community could make a fair job of producing a decent space game, Nathan, but it won't be LT. :( There's no shortage of space games out there but I'm still more interested in a Freelancer replacement.

And I can't deny that "warp rails" are not a core feature of a community space game, Flat, but without them, It's not a satisfying Freelancer replacement for me. I frequently told Josh that I wasn't happy about the number of Freelancer features he was planning to jettison but I was assured that all would be well.

As I've said before, ad nuseum, all I ever wanted was an updated Freelancer... Freelancer 2.0. :angel:
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Re: Remaking Limit Theory - From the ground up

#105
Flatfingers wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:24 am
*Classic flatfingers in depth discussion here*
Honestly, I think the focus on the core feature being 'warp rails' is misaligned. Intrasystem travel *is* a core feature, as I'm sure everyone can agree. Moving within the system is an integral part of the game. A warp rail system is just the methodology for achieving intrasystem travel. More to the point, the most basic form of warp rails would be programmatically simple to implement compared to many of the other features.

I personally don't see why a basic version of warp rails couldn't be considered a basic feature, to be polished later (as all features should).

Talvieno, I don't quite understand what defines a '4X' for you, to be honest. Would you consider X3, or more aptly X3: Litcube's Universe to be a 4X? What I always envisioned in LT was a diverse choice of gameplay, including up to somewhat of a 4X, just with a more player centric focus.
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