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  #1  
Old October 21st, 2014, 03:17 PM

ibol ibol is offline
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Default General Discussion

I'm going to start this off with a place for general questions, statements, exclamations, etc. Feel free to post whatever here for now. New threads will open up in the future.
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Old October 25th, 2014, 10:24 PM

Dubious Dubious is offline
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Question Trading

I've just been noodling around in the demo and noticed in the Commodities Exchange that alternate lines are different colors: primarily amber and white. Initially I thought these were just to make it easier to keep the lines separated. And then sometimes a third color appears: red. So, is there a significance to the line color?

Also, sometimes when I go back to an earlier (lower numbered warp space) the "best buy/sell" information goes back to a "?". Are these reset after a specific amount of time or randomly? (Going to make trading a pain.)

-Dubious-
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  #3  
Old October 25th, 2014, 10:41 PM

ibol ibol is offline
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Default Re: General Discussion

Hi Dubious,
Good observations Thanks for playing.
the amber/white is for ease of reading across the columns.

red text in the com. ex. means "shortage" ; that commodity will be very profitable to sell there, and impossible to buy.

blue text means 'surplus', and you can buy it for cheap.

Prices change over time, and if the prices go to "?", it means that your information is out of date, and prices on that commodity have changed.

The rate at which prices change is (hopefully) balanced between "being able to find an exploitable route" and "not being able to do it forever".

Trading was never intended to be a primary early-game tactic, but it seems players have embraced it. Always accepting feedback,
Bob
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Old October 26th, 2014, 05:59 AM

Dubious Dubious is offline
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Default Re: General Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by ibol View Post
...

Trading was never intended to be a primary early-game tactic, but it seems players have embraced it. Always accepting feedback,
Bob
Feedback, eh?

Well initially I played some 6k turns on "Easy, no Perma-death" with the Light Explorer just to get a feel for how things work. Ship got crushed by a gang of Gruffs in sector 5. A single weapon with shorter range can't even escape from them. The loot was okay, but sparse making it tough to upgrade. I thought I was supposed to be less aggressive and trade more. Your comment shoots that theory in the head.

Now I am playing "Medium, with Perma-death" in an Assault Scout so I have two weapons. Things are much better all around. More loot, and better. I have equal weapon range in the first 4 sectors on Gruffs, and am doing better on the planetary explorations. It's feeling a lot more like I expected on "Easy".

Just got a Cloak device, and was dismayed to find it replaced my shield. The long cooldown and apparently short duration makes it appear only useful for running away when outnumbered. I expect to get a better feel for it from the manual, but without one (and no apparent ability to swap back the shield it replaced) I can't go pirate hunting any more. Without a shield, you have to hope to survive the first ambush hit, which still means expensive repairs. Makes much more sense on traders and lightly armed vessels.

It would help greatly if the "ship devices" slots had an icon by type that matched the type icon for the devices for sale, so we would know what is going to be replaced or is empty and available. As it is, we can't tell how many device slots a ship has.

Just unlocked my first new ship design (Stealth Raider), but a long way short on funds. Don't expect to be able to buy it in the Demo anyway.

Once you have explored a sector and found all the "goodies" (not that hard to do if you can survive the pirates and Gruffs), trade is the only way you have to try to build up credits to tackle the expected increased opposition in the next sectors. It's apparently the only renewable resource, albeit slow. Otherwise your only option appears to be to pump everything into the "Pay it Forward" so you can get better gear (when it becomes available) on the next ship and expect to die in sector 6 or 7.

On a small ship, having the landing party options like "Traverse Mountain Gear" and "Oxygen Replenisher" take up cargo space is a major pain. Something worn by individuals shouldn't take up that same amount of space as "Heavy Equipment". I can see that getting modded early on.

Played around with the Crafting as well, by salvaging everything replaced by upgrades. That appears to be the only way to obtain components for testing in the lab. Rather easily got a "Warp Buster" schematic on "Easy", but am just burning out components in the lab on "Medium". Without any idea of what goes with what, trial and error is a very frustrating process. Hope the manual has some basic approach outlined.

On the positive side, the achievements giving you "pay it forward" bonuses is a very nice touch. I would suggest you enable them in "Easy" mode, but reduce the size of the bonuses just to give people the idea of how it works.

I would have to say right now most of my issues have to deal with lack of information I expect to find in the manual. So far it's kept my attention sufficient to make me miss two meal times.

-Dubious-
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Last edited by Dubious; October 26th, 2014 at 06:14 AM.. Reason: Typos, clarification
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  #5  
Old October 26th, 2014, 09:54 AM

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Default Re: General Discussion

missing meals? again, not the plan, but a good sign!

And yes, the manual will be quite informative. I also believe that we will build up a repository of information right here.

ok, addressing points:

- you can replace the cloak with a shield, as long as you have one (didn't sell or drop it). The cloak's duration is up to your actions: it will last until you 'interact' with something (like shooting, landing, taking damage, etc.) it is a strategic device.

- please also note that now the 'stealth runner' is available for you to start games with (not just to buy at shipyards).

- crafting is not effected by difficulty. The 'lab' is hit or miss, and best attempted after you've collected a lot of parts.

- ship devices do all have matching icons, except for the cloaking device, which is significantly different from a shield, yet goes in the same slot. You can use the pictures to tell what goes where.

- I will consider making "landing party devices" be "size one" instead of 2. it is a fair suggestion. but no guarantees.

Glad you seem to be enjoying it, and like I said, the manual "knows all, tells all!"

Bob
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Old October 27th, 2014, 01:08 AM

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Post Re: General Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by ibol View Post
...

- you can replace the cloak with a shield, as long as you have one (didn't sell or drop it). The cloak's duration is up to your actions: it will last until you 'interact' with something (like shooting, landing, taking damage, etc.) it is a strategic device.
Indeed, I see that now. So it is much more useful for evasion than combat. Can you swap (install) the cloak in/out during combat? Can you warp while cloaked and appear in the next sector still cloaked, or is that an "interaction"? Assuming better versions become available later on with faster cool down, it brings up the related questions to the next points (except crafting):

Quote:
- please also note that now the 'stealth runner' is available for you to start games with (not just to buy at shipyards).
Good to know. Makes sense if it is tied to an achievement. Is there a way to tell before buying how many "ship devices" a given ship has available, or are they all the same in that regard?

Quote:
- ship devices do all have matching icons, except for the cloaking device, which is significantly different from a shield, yet goes in the same slot. You can use the pictures to tell what goes where.
Are there specific slots available on specific designs, or can anything go into an available slot? It appears to be the former, so I was thinking more along the lines of the attached image, with the last slot being an "anything" slot.

Quote:
- crafting is not effected by difficulty. The 'lab' is hit or miss, and best attempted after you've collected a lot of parts.
So in the lab, when you have successfully determined a part works together with SOME other parts in a given pattern, they appear in green letters, and if still selected the "test results" show a "green check". The failed components are listed on the left with gray letters. Selected components in the "Pattern Sequence" have a "green light" radio button in the left-hand list. But if you don't have a "selected component" in your pattern of parts to be tested available, the only way you can tell is by it's absence from the list of parts down the left side? Works I guess, but wouldn't a different background color for the part icon in the "Pattern Sequence" be more obvious (ignoring memory and file size considerations)? (Just an observation; it's nothing major.)

Thanks for the answers. I've gotten through all 7 sectors, and explored all but the "toxic/radiated" planets I can't survive with my existing equipment. Though now some of the planet "critters" have me out-ranged as well, so it appears all I can do at the moment is "trading" to make some money. That brings up it's own challenges, so hopefully it will keep me occupied until release.

As I mentioned earlier, this is all about upgrading equipment, which means it's about economics. Given the sectors don't appear to "regenerate" the "goodie piles" (at least in the Demo), trading becomes essential as a means to produce the revenue to buy supplies and replacements. Until you can afford a warp drive with a range beyond one, that means long expensive (in terms of burning supplies) waits for the warp engine to cool down to jump to the next sector. That is not appearing viable with a limited cargo space ship at the moment but I'll see. Does time pass while docked at a station? If not, then it appears the only option is to "wait" while hiding out in a nebula.

-Dubious-
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  #7  
Old October 28th, 2014, 10:55 PM

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Default Re: General Discussion

Overall, it seems like I hit my target with the demo:
A balance between enough to show it off, but not enough to spoil it

a few quick replies:

- you generally can't install anything during combat. you need to be safe to do that.

- there are better versions of *everything*. CD 25 cloak, warp drive range 10, weapon damage 500, sensors range 7, etc.

- there are a lot of mechanics in place to (gently?) drive the player deeper into space: two of the major ones are "1 quest per sector" and "loot doesn't re-spawn". But I bet the dedicated player could last quite a while by trading in the demo...

- each kind of component goes into a specific slot (engines, shields, small weapons, large weapons, etc.) "devices" (things that have lots of different effects) all go into generic 'device' slots. But the total # of devices (and weapons) you can equip is determined by your reactor.

- time does not pass at stations. you must act!

Hint: if you kill all the monsters on a given planet, new ones will respawn the next time you visit, giving you something to do (and XP for your officers if you assign them to the away team!)
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Old October 31st, 2014, 02:26 AM

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Post Re: General Discussion

Found what appears to be a bug (which may only be in the demo):

Same date (41.46.06), reloading save game in sector 6, while still at the station (undocked but no movement):
Commodity: Transuranium.
Before saving:
Buy $478 Sector 4; Sell $432 Sector 1
After reloading:
Buy $1434 Sector 4; Sell $1298 Sector 6 (red text).

Is there a "debug mode" that would provide more meaningful data?

If this is "working as designed" (WAD), it's going to cause a lot of consternation. Prices shouldn't change merely by undocking/docking again, even though the docking fee changes each time. They don't appear to normally.

I did notice that if you "close the game window" instead of going through the "save and quit" menu, you re-enter in the same sector but at a different location. IIRC, it looks like perhaps at the warp entry point? So, apparently you can't exit without some sort of saving occurring, but if you don't use the menu it's somewhat incomplete. Experience with other games suggests this has the potential to create corrupt saves down the road.

Other observations and questions:

The "media\Text" subfolder has the "HelpFile.txt" which appears in the DEMO, and also a "HelpFileNEW.txt" which has even more information.

Achievements only earn "pay it forward" bonuses. They have "break points" at different levels for different events: 10, 30, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, etc; with multiple levels per event.

"Best" does not equal "profitable". At least one instance where the "best buy" was still higher than the "best sell" price.
Suggestion: Commodities screen needs the last known price in the "Best" sectors for both Buy and Sell. Date or Time elapsed since prices were updated would also be helpful in judging accuracy/risk.

But even that is no substitute for tracking the prices at each location, so some way to save/export the screen data (CSV file with headers) in each sector would be a major help to the player.
Is the duration of pricing before it is outdated fixed or variable?

Observation: Initially trading with a small (13 available cargo) ship seemed unsustainable. I got lucky with a Red commodity in one sector, and expect to take a bath when I arrive to find it back to normal (or worse) when I arrive with a full hold of a single good on my second "double sector jump" trip. Don't figure to risk it on a third trip, but will track it. Hoping to get a RNG 2 drive before that happens.

So far, tracking through 8 trades has shown a "pure trading" gross profit of $5569 (after my first "red" delivery). That does not take into account Docking and resupply expenses because I initially wasn't tracking them. But those expenses across 4 trades total $4701, so while my credit balance is up (at the moment), I'm only barely keeping ahead of expenses. (And there are probably flaws in my spreadsheet as it's evolving over time.) But this is with the starting ship (Assault Scout) which is not really designed for trading. Time will tell.

Docking fees vary each time you dock, even without movement or time elapse. Cost per "50 Supplies" varies per visit, but as I have been buying as soon as I dock, I can't tell if they vary per docking as well. In the three instances where I tracked resupply costs across the same 3 sectors, the "completely restock" cost varied by direction. That is: two instances from sector 6 to 4: 33 units of 50. One instance from sector 4 to 6: 46 units of 50. (Determined by dividing the complete resupply price by the "per 50" price.)

(Wait One Turn) = Consumes 7 ticks (days?) on clock, Supplies Used = Reactor SU, Cooldown = -1.
Clock appears to roll over at 100 ticks.
Ship Move 1 "tile" = Consumes 7 ticks on clock, Supplies = Reactor + Engine SU, Cooldown = -1.
Warp 1 sector = Consumes 0 ticks on clock, SU = varies (distance?). Drive = Cooldown.

Warp SU based upon /tied to what? Is it supposed to vary?
Warp sector 6 to 5: 250SU. 41.47.96.
Warp sector 6 to 5: 404SU. 41.66.28.
I tracked three other instances in both directions which consumed 250 SU each time. Observations were taken at the warp point immediately before and after jumping without movement.

Cloak apparently remains active through warp. (Shading of the ship appears the only way to tell it is active while cooling down, and this can vary based on tile contents.) However, about this time the Gruffs and Pirates got Friendly with me and stopped attacking, so it's not confirmed.

Time does not pass while docked to a station, but does when you undock and then redock (for another docking fee).

Pay attention to hailing messages. Attitudes change over time.
Tentaculon are scientists. Friendlier the more data you sell and don't interfere their ships.
Gruff and Pirates get friendlier when you defeat enough (14 for me) of them (?and then evade them with Cloak?). Circumstance are not clear, but a welcome (and less expensive) situation.

Speed: Apparently Positive is faster, negative is slower.
Zero is "normal", equals 1 "tile" movement in 7 clock ticks? (Need to confirm on planets.)
Do "+/-" speed adjustments affect clock ticks consumed?
Is OXY(suits)/SU(ships) consumption based on elapsed time or tiles moved? (Is there a difference?)
How do we compare it with alien ships/creatures SPD?

EVA Suits:
Is a suit's DR "per turn"? (Assuming yes, but not confirmed.)
What reduces a suit's HP? Just environmental effects (i.e. radiation/toxic), or creature damage, or both? (Assuming both, but not confirmed.)
Is suit VIS the number of surrounding spaces visible (without obstructions)? (Assuming yes, but not confirmed.)

Looking forward to the game's release.

-Dubious-
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Last edited by Dubious; October 31st, 2014 at 02:54 AM.. Reason: Clarifications
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  #9  
Old November 3rd, 2014, 10:01 PM

ibol ibol is offline
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Default Re: General Discussion

Hi, again, Dubious,
Sorry for the delay but I didn't want to answer until I could really address that whole "commodities pricing" issue. It' true, there are a lot of discrepancies with the existing commod price system.

I have struggled with balancing predictability vs. randomness, and prices increasing meaningfully over time and over space, etc.

But I think I now have a mathematical model that will fill the need nicely... I just have to try it out...

You mentioned "tracking the prices at each location". In general, I have shied away from this , because it would take out all the gues work and tension involved with decisions like "do I risk making another run between x and y, or has my luck run out". It would skew the game very much toward being strictly trade-centric.

with my new method, I may be able to provide hints or glimpses of prices...
"raw ore hits an all-time low in sector 33" , etc.

Docking Fees are based on your current total $$, but are capped per sector.

"Clock": all actions take one turn. (except docking at a station might take more). there is no real significance to the star date, other than providing a spacey way of obfuscating your moves counter

"Cloak": you actually pointed something out to me: it was indeed possible to cloak, and then remove the cloak, thereby giving yourself a shield. That was not intended, and is now fixed. You remain cloaked as long as you take no significant action. shading is the only way to tell, but you do get a sound and a message about events that decloak you.

"speed" (of your ship/equipment/landing party/etc.) do not effect clock ticks. BUT every entity has a "speed" counter, and if you are fast, you will get more turns than they do (they will appear to stand still). A turn is a turn. (so in fact, it should technically effect how much time passes, but that is a minor cosmetic issue, and I don't intend to change it) (but now you've got me thinking on how to do it)

"Spacesuit DR (damage reduction)" : damage reduction refers to environmental damage, ie the damage caused by just being on a certain kind of planet (corrosive, molten, etc.) . it is considered to be intrinsic in combat calculations, but it will never reduce damage to zero.

"Warping" is instantaneous (consumes no time , or possibly one turn)

OK, thanks,
and will keep you updated on the pricing thing.
Bob
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Old November 5th, 2014, 03:28 AM

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Smile Re: General Discussion

Re: Commodities. Thanks for looking into this. Trying to simulate a "supply-and-demand" economy is never "fun", and in my experience not easy to pull off. Looking forward to seeing the result. Tracking prices is indeed tedious, but "trading as a business" is about finding the profit and not about speculation. And for small cargo space ships, you have to look for maximum profit at low risk, or you end up stranded and out of funds in a heartbeat. Only larger ships can afford to carry "speculation loads".

My suggestion would be to leave hooks in place for enthusiasts to mod it (possibly even to the extent of replacing your formula). Different folks get interested in different aspects of any game, and modders are an inventive lot. How to implement "the economy" could be a topic in it's own right.

Re: Cloak. I did have one instance where a Gruff did spot me while cloaked. At the time I was sitting in a nebula near the warp point waiting for the engine to cooldown. I suspect he "bumped" into me, and assumed that as WAD. I haven't had it happen since I started to sit on the warp point while cloaked. (And now my relations have improved enough with both the Gruffs and Pirates I don't bother to cloak at all.)

Re: Speed and the clock. If I've sparked any ideas to improve the game, then I consider that "a good thing". Thanks for being open to suggestions (even implied ones) at this late date.

Re: Warp. So far one sector jumps have taken zero elapsed time. It makes sense this might not hold for longer jumps, depending upon the engine. And working out those limits should be another challenge for the players, if they feel it significant.

-Dubious-
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