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Unfixed hardpoints

#1
  • JoshParnell wrote:I rewrote the hardpoint system to incorporate the notion of "fixed" hardpoints, i.e., things that are factory-installed and cannot be replaced or removed. These fixed hardpoints will include a hull, thrusters, a basic sensor, and a basic power grid. This means that when you buy a ship, you can rest assured that you'll be able to move, you'll be able to take a bit of fire, you'll be able to pick up objects on your nav computer, and you'll be able to route power between your subsystems. These are all extremely basic functions, and it doesn't seem like any ship should come without them.
  • JoshParnell wrote:IMO, it's just no fun to think about having to acquire these items just to get a workable ship (which is how it used to be). Given this, I've changed the "expansion" hardpoint slots to the following categories: generator, structure, and weapon. Generators can be used for shields, extra power supplies, cloaking fields, propulsion boosters, scanners, sensor boosters, and so one. Structure is used for armor, perhaps cargo expansion, perhaps damage mitigation systems, etc. And, of course, you know what weapons are I think this layout works reasonably well for now, and I'm already enjoying the lower complexity of this system than the previous. As usual, lambaste me with your criticisms in the suggestion forum, as I'm sure this line of reasoning raises many questions and potential holes in gameplay ;| Let's hear them!!
In the March 28 Dev blog Josh made fixed hardpoints as described above.

I have a problem with the idea of fixed hardpoints.
  • 1. The player is unable to upgrade or remove the default factory parts. This removes a choice from the player and keeping this restriction would be unnessary as it feels punishing.
The other part of fixed hardpoints i agree with buying a ship you didnt design yourself should be usable with all the factory parts.
Ships the player has designed and is trying to build and if there are no custom factory required parts present a extra fee should be charged then the player would have to place the factory parts.


Now for the Expansion hardpoints.

I'm enjoying how you are simplifying into categories and i agree with that completely.

What concerns me about this dev blog is how you are taking choices by simplifying and restricting players i just think this oversight is just due to being tired.
I am bias in the need to customize as i am obsessive for example about perfecting a character in rpg, and building ships in Kerbal Space Program. In my bias i stand for anything you can give players to customize along with an array of tools to manipulate with i'm all in about.

The other side of the story player who want to simply play the game and not have to fuss too much about gathering parts to build their first ship and want to have the ability to rapidly prototype their ship designs in real space flight. The goal is to make both player happy for this problem it is possible you can do it in a few ways.
  • 1. Make every inch of the ship customizable but have a factory required parts check and a fee if none present as i said above.
    2. Have a advanced mode and standard mode available in the standard mode the factory parts are always placed with the hull and in advanced mode you are able to edit that hull or make your own. these mode would need to be obvious to the player.
    3. Have a simulation mode where the player can fly their ship from blueprints or available ships in the local market into a scenario of their choosing free from real consequences but limited to the scenario so no Infinite Scenario Limit theory its a mini game after all.
    3a. In the the blueprint creator mode within the ship builder it would be nice to have the ability to place any known systems to the player placeable onto the ship. These placed parts and the ship would only be usable if 1. the player has the items to build. or 2. the player uses the ship within the simulation.

    (to define known systems anything that has been a. scanned by the player, b. available on the market c. any system the player has in their inventory, d. any system the player has created.)

    I prefer the 1st, 3, and 3a idea myself.
In closing i would like to say Limit Theory is your vision and you need stay with your original design document and to think about both or many sides of gameplay weighing them by how people have responded to your chance.The best thing you can do is listen to the players and make your choice.

As a future player in LT i'm responding well to many of your ideas and respect how you are in touch with the community by listening, replying.
Last edited by Actzoltan on Sat Mar 30, 2013 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
Post

Re: Unfixed hardpoints

#2
When thinking about this fixed hardpoints issue, in my mind the image comes up of a car vendor. If you buy a car you get to choose certain parts, such as the engine - size and power - type of body, electronic equipment, stuff like that. It would be cool to have that for the player who just wants to have a little customization and therefore pays more to the vendor. Then there are tuners that offer packages of - I'll call it stuff - that increases power, looks and other features of your ride. That's for an intermediate player. And then there is the possibility of tuning it all by yourself, which quite a few people enjoy doing, too - by far not everyone however. Still, there should be room for that too, if someone is into that.

I personally do not have a problem with fixed hardpoints, as long as there is the possibility to upgrade the modules in place in some way or another. I do understand though, that something like Limit Theory provides an incredible chance to provide configurability in ways little to no other game has. That's one of the main treats players are looking for, imho.
You cannot not communicate.
Paul Watzlawick - 1st Axiom
Post

Re: Unfixed hardpoints

#3
JoshParnell wrote:To that end, I rewrote the hardpoint system to incorporate the notion of "fixed" hardpoints, i.e., things that are factory-installed and cannot be replaced or removed. These fixed hardpoints will include a hull, thrusters, a basic sensor, and a basic power grid.
Like Actzoltan I'm a little concerned about the coloured part. You certainly should be able to improve your thrusters, sensors, and hull.

Whether the suggested boosters will suffice for this remains to be seen:
JoshParnell wrote:Given this, I've changed the "expansion" hardpoint slots to the following categories: generator, structure, and weapon. Generators can be used for shields, extra power supplies, cloaking fields, propulsion boosters, scanners, sensor boosters, and so one. Structure is used for armor, perhaps cargo expansion, perhaps damage mitigation systems, etc.
My worry is that if you start with a ship that has very poor basic thrusters, sensors, and power grid, you'll have to sacrifice (too) many of your hardpoints for boosting the basic capabilities. You may instead want to rip out your ship's engine and replace it completely, once you've found a better one.

The alternative to this is of course to replace your whole ship, once you've found one with better basic specs. It's just a little more complicated than being able to exchange components one by one.
Post

Re: Unfixed hardpoints

#4
The way I understand this is that you can still customize and buy different engines, It's just that they are called something else and instead installed as an upgrade on top of your default factory installed engine.

So we keep all the flexibility and choice, but don't have to worry about the logistics of getting engines and sensors to the same place we can buy a ship before we buy it. :D
Post

Re: Unfixed hardpoints

#5
What about self-designed ships built in the ship designer?

I'd like to decide what kind of basic engine (and how many of them) goes in there, before we even get into the upgrade business. A slow freighter might have hard points for relatively small engines, to free up more room for cargo. A warship might get bigger engines for more speed.

At least for self-designed ships, I think I like Josh's original concept better ;)
Post

Re: Unfixed hardpoints

#6
@Rabitator

in this i suggested maybe not clearly written out for ships that were built in the ship builder blueprint creator three things can happen you can
1. Place engines of your own such as ones you own or know about.
2. You place the default "Factory parts" as Josh has created.
3. You neglect to place the factory parts onto the blueprint if those parts are not present when you are going to build your ship you will be prompted to place them and charged the fee as if you placed the factory parts within the blueprint editor in the first place.


In retrospect thinking about having a restriction on what parts have to be placed such as "factory standard parts" a classification of ship would need to be selected within the blueprint editor within the ship builder to build a ship of non-factory standards such as a ship with no engine. Why would anyone want a ship with no engine?
i have 2 quick ideas:
1. Sensor bouys
2. Smart mine control nexus.
Post

Re: Unfixed hardpoints

#7
Thanks for the thread, would like to get some discussion going on surrounding this.

I do not at all intend to skimp on customizeability, or to remove freedom from the player in any way! I will quote someone who seems to be thinking about it in the same way as I am...
Ixos wrote:The way I understand this is that you can still customize and buy different engines, It's just that they are called something else and instead installed as an upgrade on top of your default factory installed engine.

So we keep all the flexibility and choice, but don't have to worry about the logistics of getting engines and sensors to the same place we can buy a ship before we buy it. :D
This is basically exactly how I was imagining it. Consider the two scenarios:

1. You buy a fighter, it has 6 generator hardpoints (among other things), but comes with no equipment. You spend time searching for the correct level of sensor, power grid, and thrusters to fit to the ship. These take up 4 out of the 6 hardpoints (assuming you get 2 thrusters). Later, when you want to upgrade, you swap out the basic parts for more advanced ones.

2. You buy a fighter, it has 4 generator hardpoints, but comes with factory-installed sensor, power grid, and thrusters. It works out-of-the-box. Later, when you want to upgrade, you simply purchase an auxiliary power generator, propulsion boosters, sensor enhancers, etc, and use the hardpoints for those.

My question is, is there really any difference in freedom afforded by the schemes? I claim that the first is only more tedious, not more flexible. What's the difference between allowing you to swap out base equipment, and providing extra hardpoints so you can enhance the base equipment? IMO, the second option is easier to think about, less tedious, but equally customizable. So we'll just provide a few extra expansion slots to make up for the fact that you can't swap out the base equipment. In the end, doesn't this allow the same level of customization, while removing quite a bit of the complexity?

For me at least, the interesting part of ship customization is how you choose to augment your ship, not finding the parts to make it functional. The system I am proposing is just trying to shift all attention to the former.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
Post

Re: Unfixed hardpoints

#8
I personally like to customize every little thing on the ship. Changing out those few key systems can really change game play instead of just making them better. Being able to swap out engines will allow far more customization. Say you want a efficient engine that can take quite a few hits with a good top speed but a poor turning radius. To find the right engine modifier to bring your engines up to those specs could be very irritating when it is dependent on a base engine that you have no say over.

In my opinion everything should be up to the player concerning what is on a ship.
Post

Re: Unfixed hardpoints

#9
Napalm222 wrote:In my opinion everything should be up to the player concerning what is on a ship.
But Josh is writing a game for people, not for grognards who plan their ship for 2 hours before building/buying any parts.
Players expect a spaceship to be able to do spaceship stuff like being able to fly from A to B.

If you could buy a ship without engines period, someone would be pissed at this "design flaw". And tell all his friends how much this game sucks.
Do not want.
A "blank" ship may not be perfect but it will be a ship.

You may still be able to completely replace the engine with one you found on the other side of the galaxy but it will have a no-frills engine.
You just wont be able to remove the last / only engine from a ship because that would suck.
There is no "I" in Tea. That would be gross.
Post

Re: Unfixed hardpoints

#10
Maybe there could be two levels of customization?

The simplified, new one for pre-designed ships you buy from a shipyard. Like a new car in real life, those would come with a minimum level of equipment.

And for the grognards, who like to plan their new ship for 2 hours before building, a ship designer where everything goes ;) .

Edit:
To make sure your new ship is at least marginally functional, there could be some rules like
  • The design must have at least one engine
  • Each shipyard can also manufacture a no-frills engine, and will install that unless you specified something better (and provided the parts if necessary)
That would technically take away a bit of player freedom, but I think very few players would consider it a loss. Who wants a ship that cannot move at all?[/color]
Last edited by Rabiator on Fri Mar 29, 2013 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Post

Re: Unfixed hardpoints

#11
There is no dichotomy in that. (look it up, it's a cool word to know - I heard it first in Diablo 2)

When buying a stock hull, it would have to be operable. No ifs or buts.
When designing a new ship from scratch, the ship designer would let you save the current project but simply not let you create this ship if the basic functions are not present.
There is no "I" in Tea. That would be gross.
Post

Re: Unfixed hardpoints

#12
I'd be happy with something like the Distant Worlds ship editor, for custom ships. Gives you total flexibility, yet makes sure ships follow "sane" rules (has engine, has hyperspace drive, has life support, etc). Even things like shields or armor are optional on DW ships.

See the 'warnings' section:
http://i.imgur.com/bmOkx.jpg

(That's not to say that rules can't be bent in some cases ... the original game used to support mounting superweapons to ordinary passenger ships, as long as the weapon count limit of 1 was obeyed. That was, obviously, nerfed in the expansions. But there are some nasty things you can do with resupply ships.)
Post

Re: Unfixed hardpoints

#13
Gazz wrote: You may still be able to completely replace the engine with one you found on the other side of the galaxy but it will have a no-frills engine.
You just wont be able to remove the last / only engine from a ship because that would suck.
I agree with not taking off the engine. I just want to be able to change my engine to any engine I find instead of sticking with the engine that comes with the ship and modifying it with separate parts.
Post

Re: Unfixed hardpoints

#14
JoshParnell wrote: Consider the two scenarios:

1. You buy a fighter, it has 6 generator hardpoints (among other things), but comes with no equipment. You spend time searching for the correct level of sensor, power grid, and thrusters to fit to the ship. These take up 4 out of the 6 hardpoints (assuming you get 2 thrusters). Later, when you want to upgrade, you swap out the basic parts for more advanced ones.

2. You buy a fighter, it has 4 generator hardpoints, but comes with factory-installed sensor, power grid, and thrusters. It works out-of-the-box. Later, when you want to upgrade, you simply purchase an auxiliary power generator, propulsion boosters, sensor enhancers, etc, and use the hardpoints for those.

My question is, is there really any difference in freedom afforded by the schemes? I claim that the first is only more tedious, not more flexible. What's the difference between allowing you to swap out base equipment, and providing extra hardpoints so you can enhance the base equipment? IMO, the second option is easier to think about, less tedious, but equally customizable. So we'll just provide a few extra expansion slots to make up for the fact that you can't swap out the base equipment. In the end, doesn't this allow the same level of customization, while removing quite a bit of the complexity?

For me at least, the interesting part of ship customization is how you choose to augment your ship, not finding the parts to make it functional. The system I am proposing is just trying to shift all attention to the former.
I would like to add a third and fourth scenario
  • 3. You buy a fighter, it has 8 generator hardpoints, but comes with factory installed sensor, power grid, and thrusters. these take up 4 out of the 8 hardpoint spots assuming the factory-installed equipment is installed with 2 thrusters by default. the player now has 8 generator hardpoints to use as they please with 4 free hardpoint spaces.

    4. You build a fighter, it has 8 generator hardpoints, but you dont have any of the factory required parts in your inventory or ships blueprint, the player is now prompted if they would like to purchase factory standard equipment and where they would be placed. The player chose to equip his fighter with 3 thrusters, 1 power grid, 1 sensor. Now at 3 hard points to place anything this player wishes and 5 hardpoints to upgrade or replace.

    (why did i add 2 more hardpoints? assuming Josh's factory settings had 2 thrusters, 1 sensor, and 1 power grid and gave 4 effective hardpoint slots. i just wanted to even things up.)
JoshParnell wrote:is there really any difference in freedom afforded by the schemes?
Yes the differences are:
1. In The First Scenario the player has the freedom to upgrade or replace the engines with anything they desire
1a. The Second Scenario provides 2 extra hardpoints at the cost of limiting the players ability to swap out the "factory standard equipment" only add onto them.
2. in reality The Second Scenario only has 4 effective hardpoints which allow upgrades and replacements if you ever want to upgrade passed the bottleneck provided by the default "factory standard equipment" you need to find a better ship.
2a. While The First Scenario provides 6 effective hardpoints which you can upgrade and replace which has a plateau on how well the ship can be upgraded which is limited to the ships design and size.
3. The First Scenario also provides aesthetic freedom for the player as that player may not enjoy the look of the "default factory equipment".
3a. The Second Scenario has limited aesthetic freedom within the 4 effective hardpoints.
JoshParnell wrote:What's the difference between allowing you to swap out base equipment, and providing extra hardpoints so you can enhance the base equipment?
1.There is a bottle neck in how far you can upgrade the fighter ship with 4 locked out "default factory equipment" hardpoints those 4 slots make it impossible to reach the full potential within the ships design as you can not replace or upgrade them. While if you have 6 or 8 hardpoint slots to upgrade or replace the ship can reach the plateau fully realising that ships potential.
2. Spending a extra hardpoint slot to supplement a engine, sensor, or power grid which has been locked out from being replaced or upgraded means one less damage mitigation system or shield array.
3. With locked out hardpoints you may have 8 hardpoints but only 4 of the hardpoints are effective enough to reach the full potential the ship was designed for while the 4 locked out hardpoints will always be the same.
JoshParnell wrote:So we'll just provide a few extra expansion slots to make up for the fact that you can't swap out the base equipment. In the end, doesn't this allow the same level of customization, while removing quite a bit of the complexity?
No there is no equality in customization and the complexity has increased.
For Customization:
1. As long as the # of locked hardpoints is 1 or greater the ship will have a bottleneck within its design that cant be overcome without replacements.
2. The # of extra expansion slots could cause and imbalance between a factory standard ship which has locked parts vs a customizable ship with full replacements.
2a. If The Factory Standard ship with locked parts has 8 hardpoints while 4 are effective expansions the rest are locked out and The Customizable Ship with full replacements has 6 effective hardpoints The Customizable Ship fully upgraded will always win a power battle.
2b. If The Factory Standard ship with locked parts has 10 hardpoints while 6 are effective expansions the rest are locked out and The Customizable Ship with full replacements has 6 effective hardpoints the Factory Standard ship fully upgraded will always win a power battle.

For Complexity:
1. The complexity of all customizable hardpoints is where can i find the parts to make this ship i bought fly? The player then flys around the galaxy to collect parts from quests or merchants which could take hours.
1a. The complexity within The Factory Standard parts which are locked from being replaced is: I got my ship great it can fly! I'm finding my ship is too slow lets add another thruster. Great 3 more hardpoints to go! I need some defense lets add a damage mitigation system. Great 2 more hardpoints! I hate being ambushed lets add another sensor array as i cant upgrade my existing one. Great 1 more hardpoint! Im being pounded by these carriers i need some more defense lets add a shield array. :( i wish i could upgrade my engines and sensors then i could become stronger to kill those pirates who keep ambushing me. So the player needs to buy a new ship which could take awhile to earn the credits to build or purchase one.
2. Being forced to think about which hardpoint expansion slot should i sacrifice to defeat these pirates when the player knows if only he could upgrade the engines then he wouldn't have to devote a precious hardpoint expansion slot he needs for another system. This player will think about min maxing their loadout out of situation and necessity more often which can lead to frustration as this player searches the galaxy for ultra rare equipment to make their ship more powerful.
2a. The Customizable Ship will need to invest a starting amount of time to get their ship flying around space but with more effective hardpoints the player can upgrade as they travel allowing a smoother difficulty curve and less frustration in min maxing their ships equipment.


In Closing:
I am all for having standard factory equipment what i am against is locking out that standard factory equipment from being replaced or upgraded.
Post

Re: Unfixed hardpoints

#15
I would be completely fine with having a buy and fly kind of ship, but to make the hard points unremovable would really restrict some creativity. For instance if I turn a tiny little fighter into a much larger ship over time then I don't want some guns in awkward positions that are impossible to remove. Instead you could make the hard points with more freedom by allowing the player to decide what they want to do with the hard points after they have bought the ship. So basically you could give the ship a fixed power supply point on the ship but trying to get away with anymore than that would start to influence the player's capability of creating the ship that they want.
Forgive me if I ask a stupid question, I do that a lot.

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