Hazards of Space Travel and Exploration

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Re: Hazards of Space Travel and Exploration

Postby Talvi » Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:31 pm

A server difficulty setting seems like it might be a good idea... Casual > Hardcore > Realistic > Insane? That would be pretty easy to implement if we planned ahead. I suppose it would probably need to be completely server-side to keep people from cheating and lowering the difficulty setting on their own, but really, that shouldn't be too difficult to manage. This could extend to a lot of other areas of the game besides just space exploration, and might solve most of the issues we're having with deciding just how realistic we want Trillek to be. Plus, if we wanted to have it a little more detailed than just a few standardized difficulty settings, you could allow different elements to be custom-set when the server was created.
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Re: Hazards of Space Travel and Exploration

Postby mrout » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:18 am

ShaneDalton wrote:I think that we should think about this from two perspectives, a reality concept and a game concept. Now, I believe we should try to stick to a high definition of reality. But at the same time, fun is still a constant that I'd like to keep.


Fun it definitely important. No doubt about it. But "fun" is difficult to define and extraordinarily subjective. What I find fun you might find boring. What you find fun I might find boring.

It's impossible to say "this mechanic is fun" or "this mechanic is more fun than this other mechanic". That's impossible. It's useless to even talk about whether or not some potential mechanic is fun. The only way you can tell if something is fun is to play it. Even then, I might find it fun and you might think it's too realistic or too unrealistic, too fast or too slow, too shallow or too complex.

It's also not on a universal scale. Finding a balance often means it being unfun for everyone. It's not like it's a bell curve and we can simply position ourselves in the most-appealing-to-everyone basket.

ShaneDalton wrote:I am NOT however saying lets streamline everything down and make it simple. No, no, no. I'm saying that we should streamline everything to oblivion.


You're not saying we should streamline everything down, you're just saying we should streamline everything down? I'm not saying that I don't understand your post. But I don't understand your post. :P
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Re: Hazards of Space Travel and Exploration

Postby amberkilloran » Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:00 pm

mrout wrote:
ShaneDalton wrote:I am NOT however saying lets streamline everything down and make it simple. No, no, no. I'm saying that we should streamline everything to oblivion.

You're not saying we should streamline everything down, you're just saying we should streamline everything down? I'm not saying that I don't understand your post. But I don't understand your post. :P

o.O Yes... I was wondering about that...

mrout wrote:
ShaneDalton wrote:I think that we should think about this from two perspectives, a reality concept and a game concept. Now, I believe we should try to stick to a high definition of reality. But at the same time, fun is still a constant that I'd like to keep.

Fun it definitely important. No doubt about it. But "fun" is difficult to define and extraordinarily subjective. What I find fun you might find boring. What you find fun I might find boring.

"Fun" may be something difficult to quantify, though I don't think that it is impossible to do so (it does have some qualities); however, that is offtopic in my mind and I think we might be able to look at mechanics from another perspective rather than solely "is it fun or not?". It may be better to look at mechanics and ask what activity we intend it to promote and if that activity is conductive to a desired type of gameplay. How do I mean? Well... let me throw a first shot at it to test the waters:

Mechanic: Background Universal Radiation & Dangerous Material Radiation

Core Mechanics: The universe has a universal background radiation level, some/most of which may be blocked by ship materials or spacesuits. Susceptible actors and objects that are exposed to radiation over a long period begin to suffer negative effects (health, queasiness, blackouts, bit flipping?). Spacesuits are not typically designed with long term protection. Ship armor is typically designed with this background radiation in mind.
Side Mechanics: Some areas may experience higher levels of radiation (detectable from long ranges) and others may be more prone to bursts of radiation (ex. gamma ray bursts; also detectable). This radiation, while affected by normal shielding, is far more potent and will have a greater effect over a short period of time.

Promoted Gameplay - Core: Ships must be built with a minimum layer of shielding in all parts of the ship to combat the effects of background radiation. Materials to do this in lower radiation levels are plentiful and should not be a major issue. However, longer spacewalks in spacesuits will be very dangerous and deincentivise maintaining long engagements, engagements where a player might take a lot of damage, and encourages retreating while still able to if in a poor position. May incentivise players to maintain a larger selection of spacesuits and choose a more resistant one for spacewalks when required to be outside a ship for several minutes.
Promoted Gameplay - Side: Players will need to maintain systems to detect bursts of radiation and design a "safe room" to weather these effects or maneuver out of the system before it hits. Players looking to operate within an area with more radiation will need to either do so quickly or to design a (more expensive) ship with hull components designed for higher levels of radiation.

In terms of whether or not I think that the promoted gameplay is good or not, I come down on the side of thinking that it would be good for the most part. The bursts of radiation might be the most annoying component of it, but offering players several options to combat it feels like a reasonable compromise (I suppose you can think of it as a traveling "danger zone" of radiation that moves from system to system in a line). The base construction of the ship would not be greatly affected if the basic armor protects against background levels of radiation, though having more dangerous sectors could offer some gameplay for players (incentivising more dangerous sectors by having them have valuable materials in greater abundance might make this worthwhile).
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Re: Hazards of Space Travel and Exploration

Postby jOKe » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:41 pm

Personally I think certain areas of space should be more hazardous than others. Such areas could be just pockets randomly spread throughout the universe or maybe the further away from "spawn" you go the more radiation there is. (This could be explained by a black hole or the like creating a bubble of charged particles around the center of it's mass (much like the Sun's Heliosphere) thus protecting everything inside.) These areas will of course be more profitable due to high concentrations of rarer minerals or radioactive isotopes that could be used for nuclear-powered engines. However these areas must come at a risk. Whether that risk be injury to the player, damage to their ship, hardware malfunctioning (which could create interesting PvP scenarios due to navigation/ scanning devices failing) or as people have suggested the DCPU "flipping bits". A nice example of the latter can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrKyc6omR1c .

Saying this, I don't think space should be entirely unsafe and/or unpredictable. It should be (in my opinion) the pilots choice if they wish to risk their ship and they lives by going into dangerous areas, starting areas should be relatively safe (from environmental factors anyway).
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Re: Hazards of Space Travel and Exploration

Postby DarkSpartan » Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:18 am

I'll take that into advisement, but randomly killing people dead may not be the best way. That, and simulating radiation sickness would be a huge bear. The question becomes then: how much do we want to simulate, and how much do we even have to?
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Re: Hazards of Space Travel and Exploration

Postby amberkilloran » Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:36 am

DarkSpartan wrote:I'll take that into advisement, but randomly killing people dead may not be the best way. That, and simulating radiation sickness would be a huge bear. The question becomes then: how much do we want to simulate, and how much do we even have to?

Really depends on how far you'd want to take it. The easiest implementation I can think of off the top of my head is having a level of radiation within an area. Ex. In normal space and X distance away from a star? Radiation level 1. Basic ship armor provides protection against radiation level 1? You're fine. Radiation level 3 and ship protects 1? Effective radiation level 2 - 2 "ticks" of radiation a minute. Same situation as above but you have a sealed location that protects up to 3? Effective radiation 2 in other areas of the ship, and 0 within that area.

In terms of effects, I don't think it would need to be exhaustively in depth. Could be that above certain radiation levels you begin to slowly take a small amount of damage (On a scale of 1000, damage per 1min tick might be... "(R - 100)/100 = Damage per minute"; That would allow for 100 minutes in a effective radiation level 1 area without any ill effects). *shrug* I dunno, though.
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Re: Hazards of Space Travel and Exploration

Postby Eximius » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:03 am

amberkilloran wrote:
DarkSpartan wrote:I'll take that into advisement, but randomly killing people dead may not be the best way. That, and simulating radiation sickness would be a huge bear. The question becomes then: how much do we want to simulate, and how much do we even have to?

Really depends on how far you'd want to take it. The easiest implementation I can think of off the top of my head is having a level of radiation within an area. Ex. In normal space and X distance away from a star? Radiation level 1. Basic ship armor provides protection against radiation level 1? You're fine. Radiation level 3 and ship protects 1? Effective radiation level 2 - 2 "ticks" of radiation a minute. Same situation as above but you have a sealed location that protects up to 3? Effective radiation 2 in other areas of the ship, and 0 within that area.

In terms of effects, I don't think it would need to be exhaustively in depth. Could be that above certain radiation levels you begin to slowly take a small amount of damage (On a scale of 1000, damage per 1min tick might be... "(R - 100)/100 = Damage per minute"; That would allow for 100 minutes in a effective radiation level 1 area without any ill effects). *shrug* I dunno, though.


I really, really like this.

I think your radiation effects are too low, however. I think maybe your example should be 100 minutes until you die. It's a bit more realistic if we consider that we're playing a game and so game time does not necessarily reflect our time. And, if you think about it, 100 minutes represents (for a lot of people) the entire time you might be playing a game one night. If you're spending hours at a time wandering a radioactive zone you have to be smart or face the consequences. That means protect yourself (radiation shielding/armor or limiting the time exposes) or die.

Of course, changing the numbers to my suggestion brings up a lot of questions too. But I do think that we can safely shift the damage to a more deadly level from your initial example and still have great play.
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Re: Hazards of Space Travel and Exploration

Postby amberkilloran » Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:06 pm

Eximius wrote:I think your radiation effects are too low, however. I think maybe your example should be 100 minutes until you die. It's a bit more realistic if we consider that we're playing a game and so game time does not necessarily reflect our time. And, if you think about it, 100 minutes represents (for a lot of people) the entire time you might be playing a game one night. If you're spending hours at a time wandering a radioactive zone you have to be smart or face the consequences. That means protect yourself (radiation shielding/armor or limiting the time exposes) or die.

The numbers I was using were simply to present the idea and how it might possibly work on implementation and numbers can always be tuned. I was essentially trying to just get it on the field in another workable way.

That said, I never really considered the aspect of time in the game. Perhaps that could be a mini-discussion by itself, however having some amount of real time translate to a greater amount of game time makes sense, given the scope (there is some precedence for this, too). I strongly believe that the effects of radiation should be gradual, allowing players to gauge their situation and push risks if they have to cut corners. It should, though, be a serious consideration if you go a long period of time without sufficient protection (depending on the region, of course; 20 minutes might be good for an area covered in heavy radiation but is not appropriate for the general operating situation).
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Re: Hazards of Space Travel and Exploration

Postby Eximius » Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:17 pm

amberkilloran wrote:The numbers I was using were simply to present the idea and how it might possibly work on implementation and numbers can always be tuned. I was essentially trying to just get it on the field in another workable way.


Ditto! :D

amberkilloran wrote:That said, I never really considered the aspect of time in the game. Perhaps that could be a mini-discussion by itself, however having some amount of real time translate to a greater amount of game time makes sense, given the scope (there is some precedence for this, too). I strongly believe that the effects of radiation should be gradual, allowing players to gauge their situation and push risks if they have to cut corners. It should, though, be a serious consideration if you go a long period of time without sufficient protection (depending on the region, of course; 20 minutes might be good for an area covered in heavy radiation but is not appropriate for the general operating situation).


Perhaps. By the way, I didn't mean to imply any fixed Real-life to game-time ratio idea. Rather, people just don't have time to play a game for an entire day. Instead, we play in smaller bursts when we can find the time. These lengths of time could be anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours, though I would bet that a good average would be somewhere in the 1-hour to hour and a half range. Given that, we need to make long-term effects target that amount of time. They need to take some drastic penalty before whatever that time is or they can just gleefully fly through a irradiated zone for an hour, then fly out and log off when they're done. That's obviously unacceptable.
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Re: Hazards of Space Travel and Exploration

Postby kibbles » Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:00 am

I think the problem with that approach is that there's no unknowns. If you're in % level of radiation, you know exactly what kind of danger you're in at the moment, and you can only care so much if if it's not 100%. My point is we shouldn't outright kill the player in some bullshit random way, but the player doesn't find it interesting if there's no impact until 100%. Maybe the solution is somewhere in between, like pockets of radiation?
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