Re: Planetary interaction: what does it mean offworld?

I was making the rounds checking on all the blogs I could find that sounded interesting and I ran across this interesting article only tangentially related to planetary interaction. Well, tangentially related if you take ‘planetary interaction’ to mean the primary feature of the upcoming Tyrannis expansion; if you just mean interacting with planets then it’s completely related.

At first I was thinking, “what the hell?” Then I was thinking, “wow.” And by the end I was thinking, “interesting, but too much.”

Note to Igor: seeing that you and your brothers are an argumentative lot, I hope you don’t mind that I’m just as argumentative. I like your ideas — they’re well thought out; I hope you continue your blog even past the contest.

We start talking about immersion (I’ve been doing it) and get caught up in the notion that the EVE universe should behave as we expect it to. But what does that mean? I probably don’t expect it to behave in the same manner another player does. Sometimes ‘realism’ enters the discussion. But, in an area where most of us are not experts (any warp core engineers out there?) how can we really talk about realism?

In the end, we’re all pretty tied to the decisions CCP has made; and I’d argue that most of the time they were right. Fluid dynamics isn’t terribly realistic as a model for space ships, but how interesting is it to play out a scenario where ships accelerate to great speeds to meet each other then decelerate and either blow each other up or sail on by? There’s not a lot of room for an interceptor class there when any ship can achieve an identical speed by virtue of having enough acceleration time and a lack of friction. We wouldn’t be playing this game (or blogging about it) if they got it wrong most of the time.

I love the idea of a ‘home system advantage’ for pirates working in a single system, the lone trader who follows a specific route through space and knows the ’shortcuts’ (Han Solo made the Kessel run in 12 parsecs), or the outnumbered defenders fighting for their null-security home system. These mental images depict the way I’d like EVE to play out. Knowledge of your environment should have more bearing on success or failure.

I’m an engineer myself, so I’m all-in on the fact that to make things better sometimes you need to make a few drastic changes; but this might be a little extreme for a lot of the pilots in EVE.

I don’t think anybody really wants more complexity in EVE — at least as far as controls in the user interface are concerned. But I can’t see this idea working very well without adding this complexity. But, no matter how you look at this there will have to be some new widget to make it happen.

Currently, the time it takes to get into warp is a function of how your ship’s current vector needs to change to bring it to 75% velocity in the direction of warp. Does ‘realistic’ warp require a specific sub-light speed in the direction of warp?  The warp drive engineers can tell us the answer. I don’t know, but if this changes there will be a whole host of balance concerns.

I could buy into a replacement of this system with something like ‘a ship with mass X needs Y time to get into warp’ with Y growing as X grows — it’s essentially the same without taking into account the ship’s agility (maybe ‘processor speed’ would replace that part of the equation) or current vector. It would eliminate bumping from the equation, which I consider to be a silly mechanic anyway. But it would simultaneously eliminate the possibility for a ship to be ‘aligned out’ and bring about a lot of balance concerns. It would also make warping look really funny.

And, then you have to consider that the proposal takes mass of the ship into account when creating and saving calculations; does that mean that when I get a new ship I have to run out and create all of my calculations from scratch again? That certainly doesn’t play into my idea of how home system advantage makes the game fun.

Now that you’re storing a calculation for each ship type per player, where does all that data get stored? That’s a lot of data when you think about how many routes you might want to have in a single system, then multiply that by the number of systems you go to regularly.

I haven’t even brought up the amount of time spent in warp yet.

I’m all for changes to increase immersion as long as it doesn’t increase complexity and reduce fun. Simplicity and enjoyment fuel my suspension of disbelief.

~ by paritybit on 2010/04/08.

3 Responses to “Re: Planetary interaction: what does it mean offworld?”

  1. all very interesting and valid points.

    Your first concern, Newtonian Physics. I agree that this would be too big of a game changer. There are those of us who would call it more ‘realistic’, but I counter to what I posted in my own blog, I don’t think I want it. Who are we to say that the drives used in the game are based on Newtonian physics? In fact, I’d say there’s a pretty strong argument that they aren’t, considering Jump Gates, warp drives and similar technilogies.

    Yes, the engine animations tend to suggest reaction drives, but I digress. I’ll not spectulate on the technology.

    I don’t know if you’ve read the blog since it was posted, but I’ve edited it and made some clarifications. Weight would be considered as part of the ‘saved calculation’, but I hadn’t decided how to implement the saves;
    *global (are available to all ships a pilot has – doesn’t make a lot of sense given the original idea)
    *class based (calculations saved while piloting a stabber are only available to a stabber chassis – good balance of ease of coding and having the calculation be relevant to mass)
    *loadout-based (to have access to the saved calculations, you have to run the same loadout or be within on standard deviation in mass – probably makes the most sense, but most difficult to code)
    *specific to the exact vessel (this would suck if you lost your ship!)

  2. Oh – you also sould be severely limited on how many calculations you could save. This shouldn’t be a ‘shortcut to everywhere you’ve ever been’.

    There should be few enough saves that each one has a real value to the pilot.

    (assuming implementation) The system should be implemented in such a manner that it’s largely transparent to the user unless they choose to use it, much like the bookmark system. That way, those pilots who have no interest in it can go on with their day with no inconvenience. They would simply see something like the following if they needed an intermediate jump:

    “Your chosen route to the station is blocked. Please choose an intermediate jump point from the list:”
    Station I
    Station II
    Panet [something]
    Let me plan my own route (nevermind)

  3. Off topic for a minute: I have to apologize for; apparently they thought you were sapm. I thought I had the comment system as open as it could get, but apparently not. I didn’t even notice the comments because it doesn’t bother to inform me when something is marked as spam — I’ll have to check into that.

    On a very simple note, the options idea would be largely a failure for anybody who ever wanted to escape a gate camp by clicking on the first celestial object they saw and selecting warp to — if they then have to make a decision in the heat of the moment, that’s going to get their ship exploded.

    And to your point about bookmarks — sure, you don’t have to use them if you don’t want to, but if you didn’t go out and make an “instawarp” bookmark as soon as you got to your low-sec station, you probably regretted it. So, it may be optional, but not using the system puts you at a severe disadvantage compared to a pilot who does use the system.

    Anyway, it is an interesting idea.

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