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Re: Making mining fun

#61
Gazz wrote:Shoot big rocks until everything is small rocks?
"Manual" mining should let the player influence how the big rocks breaks up.

Say, you run a mineral scan and get some hints on where the heavy metal veins or diamonds are.
Then you blast away all the ice and silicates until you have "extracted" the platinum vein.
It would involve the player, let him influence the outcome.

Sure, you can still just auto fire and scoop everything into the cargo bays of your Galaxy class mining ship. In doing so you probably burn most of the valuables. Or you're flying a small Prospector class and surgically cut out the the quality stuff.

Mining would be more interesting because the player could make a difference.
I like it a lot!

One thing though, manual mining should be possible from the first second of the game play and should not be X3 kind of hard ;) Please document how its done so you do not have to google it or something. It took me hours to get it right in X3 :oops: and that is not fun.
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Re: Making mining fun

#64
I was thinking about this mining business. Reading through this and the "Resource gathering" thread I see that there's been plenty of discussion around the mining methods, but only cursory touches on a part of the game that I think could be made extremely interesting: prospecting.

I think it's useful to perform a thought experiment to consider how this may work. Let's say you've arrived in a new sector and want to do some prospecting. There are several different ways this could be handled.

First of all there's the question of whether prospecting is something that anyone should be able to do in a given area. Perhaps purchasing a license is required? The laws governing this could be system-specific. Some areas are the wild west with little in the way of authority oversight and you can prospect to your heart's content for free. The quid pro quo here is probably that the region is dangerous. Other areas require you to purchase a license, but the quid pro quo is that you can see up front where unprospected areas are and the authorities provide a measure of security.

Secondly there's the question of how exactly should prospecting be done when you've reached your target area? In my view there are two end-member cases: the Freelancer route and the "realistic" route.

The Freelancer way is where the map indicates where there are things worth shooting at to gather materials. This is the arcade version of prospecting, and doesn't sound like the kind of thing Josh is going for. If nothing else there would be no way to make any money out of information since it appears to be freely provided.

The "realistic" way, on the other hand, is much more interesting. It is a bottomless well of potential complexity from which gameplay elements could be honed during testing to find out what runs provide the most fun for the most players. For instance, you could base the gameplay on exploration for oil. This would have several key stages:

- Review of the geology - in other words, acquiring scattershot samples to see what comes up. This could be the shooty-shooty part of the game whereby you acquire fragments of asteroids. Once you've acquired a stack of samples from a region of space, you need to get them anaylsed. When you're poor analysis would have to happen at a space station or planet. When you're rich an on-board lab may be feasible. The results of the analysis would be the first type of data that could be sold.

- Seismic survey - aka a sensor sweep. There are countless ways this process could be made interesting. Firstly there's equipment to buy: sensors can have the usual trade-offs of radius of investigation, sensitivity and ability to find multiple minerals against power requirements and cost. Second there's the mechanic of a sensor sweep. The game could by force you to be stationary throughout a sweep's duration. The exact period of time that you must stay stationary for will depend on how deep into space you wish to penetrate, how accurate you want the sweep and how many different minerals you want to scan for. Clearly the power you wish to expend on the sweep will also be a factor. So you can do a deep and thorough sweep much more quickly if you are a sitting duck. It's also possible that you may not cover an entire area with just one sweep. This would potentially make sensor sweeps of a large area a travelling salesman-type problem for which planning computers can be purchased. The more expensive the computer the more efficient the sweep. The result of a properly performed sensor sweep would be the second type of information that could be sold and would be worth considerably more than type 1 from the sample analysis.

- Exploration drilling - this is the confirmation stage and would require a probe of some variety. Of course you may decide to skip stage 2 and jump straight to this stage; which would mean you're the space-going equivalent of a wildcatter. This stage may only really be required for large-scale mining ops, but the result would be type 3 information that could be worth a fortune.

I'll leave it there since it's already too long a post. But I am interested to hear the Limit Theory community thoughts.
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Re: Making mining fun

#67
Gazz wrote:You are proposing Dwarf Fortress in Space.
Clearly no intention to make something that isn't fun, or is too intimidating for the majority of players. But Josh has mentioned many times that information will be a commodity. This means that there has to be some work involved in acquiring data about the whereabouts of commercial minerals, or prospecting may be too powerful a money-maker.

My three different information levels could simply take the form of maps with differing levels of detail. Purchasing a fully appraised asteroid (or gas) field map that has been created off the back of the completion of all three stages would guarantee that you know where to find mineral X and in quantity X. Purchasing a map made from an earlier stage would guarantee neither, requiring much more hunting and without a guaranteed outcome.

Of course, if you want to mine but don't want to prospect then you can just purchase the info (at a markup), or perhaps hire an NPC to do it for you.
Last edited by mcsven on Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Making mining fun

#68
I very much agree with this - this would provide real depth for those who want it, and it fits in well with the idea of limited and marketable information.

The LT audience seems to be divided into two general camps - those who want fast-paced fun, and those who want a more detailed realism. This would certainly satisfy the latter, and I think the aforementioned idea of small blastable rocks would satisfy the former.

For any slow sweep, I'd also suggest the idea of dropping off probes that can take their time to scan a region, and pick them up later. The survey data can be uploaded to your mapping computer, and that way you can survey large regions of asteroid over time even while you're busy elsewhere. As your number of ships grows you could even do all this remotely, steadily mapping out an entire field. The survey probes could be sufficiently encrypted so they're of no use to anyone else who comes upon them. Once you have the information, you can use it or pass it on (for a price, presumably). However, I'd suggest that such scanning should be limited in range, thus requiring repeated probe drop-offs to map out a whole region. It should not be trivial.

IMO such scans should give indications, not concrete results, and finding actual deposits should require dropping a survey team on an asteroid to analyse it. Core samples and all that. Maybe there could be a distinction between droid teams and human ones, with the latter being slower and more expensive but getting better results. In terms of visuals, it could take the form of a vehicle which travels across the asteroid's surface, occasionally putting up a drill rig, until 100% surveyed. Again, such information is marketable. It means that there's a potential niche for those who want to make money by surveying, as well as those who wish to mine themselves.
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Re: Making mining fun

#69
Gazz wrote:You are proposing Dwarf Fortress in Space.

Strike the earth!
...You make that sound as if it's a bad thing.

However, it doesn't make it seem as tedious as DF is at the beginning. It adds depth. But as I said before, I'd rather try to influence the player to go the automation route to combat tedium.
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Early Spring - 1055: Well, I made it to Boatmurdered, and my initial impressions can be set forth in three words: What. The. F*ck.
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Re: Making mining fun

#70
If you've limited finances, you'd need to carry out the whole operation yourself, so the mechanics should be challenging and not boring. However, this would almost certainly be limited to a small number of asteroids, so there should be no micromanagement tedium.

Once you're rich and have remote ships to carry out surveys, you could also automate the installation of extractors, and the shipping of ore to wherever it should go. Maybe you own a whole chain of surveyors / extractors / freighters / refineries / factories / retailers, which once set up, all ticks over with minimal intervention by you. Indeed, your main task may be providing enough security to safeguard the whole operation, trying to spot and deal with threats as they appear.
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Re: Making mining fun

#72
JabbleWok wrote:For any slow sweep, I'd also suggest the idea of dropping off probes that can take their time to scan a region, and pick them up later. The survey data can be uploaded to your mapping computer, and that way you can survey large regions of asteroid over time even while you're busy elsewhere. As your number of ships grows you could even do all this remotely, steadily mapping out an entire field. The survey probes could be sufficiently encrypted so they're of no use to anyone else who comes upon them. Once you have the information, you can use it or pass it on (for a price, presumably). However, I'd suggest that such scanning should be limited in range, thus requiring repeated probe drop-offs to map out a whole region. It should not be trivial.
This is the kind of thing that I was thinking. Another interesting concept maybe that you can stake a claim to some regions by dropping off beacons that indicate to others in the locality that you have performed a survey and intend to return. Your reputation in the game could then be tied directly to whether people observe these beacons or not. If you're known to have an itchy trigger finger and you fly a serious ship then when you return everyone is as it should be. If you're Joe Schmoe on the other hand...
JabbleWok wrote:IMO such scans should give indications, not concrete results, and finding actual deposits should require dropping a survey team on an asteroid to analyse it. Core samples and all that. Maybe there could be a distinction between droid teams and human ones, with the latter being slower and more expensive but getting better results. In terms of visuals, it could take the form of a vehicle which travels across the asteroid's surface, occasionally putting up a drill rig, until 100% surveyed. Again, such information is marketable. It means that there's a potential niche for those who want to make money by surveying, as well as those who wish to mine themselves.
I agree, but think that you should be able to sell information that is not 100% complete at a discount (or, vice-versa, for a mark-up). So if you jump into a really dodgy system and sneak around avoiding pirates or other nasties doing some surveying but get caught before you can complete, you could still cash in.

There's something that appeals to me about being some sort of fighting surveyor, flying a heavily-armoured mineral lab.
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Re: Making mining fun

#73
mcsven wrote:Another interesting concept maybe that you can stake a claim to some regions by dropping off beacons that indicate to others in the locality that you have performed a survey and intend to return. Your reputation in the game could then be tied directly to whether people observe these beacons or not. If you're known to have an itchy trigger finger and you fly a serious ship then when you return everyone is as it should be. If you're Joe Schmoe on the other hand...
I like that! If it's a sanctioned frontier push by a corporation, then it could be well policed with rules imposed. Claims are registered and respected, and any information must be independently verified. On the other hand if it's a lawless frontier there could be all sorts of shenanigans, such as claim jumping and hornswaggling (I always wanted to use that word! :D ). If you buy information, it's at your own risk.
I agree, but think that you should be able to sell information that is not 100% complete at a discount (or, vice-versa, for a mark-up). So if you jump into a really dodgy system and sneak around avoiding pirates or other nasties doing some surveying but get caught before you can complete, you could still cash in.
Fair enough. Probably it should not be linear, maybe square the percentage so that, say, 50% complete is worth 25% of the value of 100% complete.
There's something that appeals to me about being some sort of fighting surveyor, flying a heavily-armoured mineral lab.
I bet you throw a mean rock hammer!

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