Multiplayer text chat system
I think (and hope) it is being currently worked on, but I'm posting this because it was asked about many times during 'multiplayer overhaul' stream, but not answered and discussed few times on steam forums.
Current implementation of chat in multiplayer is cumbersome and awkward.
Idea is to rework chat system to make it more comfortable and versatile in use.
How it looks now works well in small co-op scenarios where all players are on same 'side' and pretty much always nearby. In situation where players are scattered around game world and divided in factions it becames simply hard to use.
Most of communication happens between people nearby, not everyone on server. For example: 2 opposing factions, each containing few players. Some people of faction A doing mining, and others building ships. They all need to communicate quickly, efficiently, without interrupting eachother and without letting know everything faction B. Current quick comms is GLOBAL, Everything adressed to particular group or single person has to be sent from menu hidden somewhere in tabs. Also there is no way to write to all people near you.
What we need is Local (50m? 100m?) area/Antenna range chat of quick access. There are three ways I see it working.
1. Change global chat to Local/Antenna, Keep faction, global and personal messages in comms tab and give bindable key for quick access to comms tab. Also keep text always 'on top' - visible clearly even when in terminal.
2. Move comms tab out of terminal straight to HUD with selectable tabs for local/global/faction chats and introduce whispers/private messages "/w <playername><text>". Each tab should have own font color and 'bigger range' tab should show text of smaller one (global showing text of all tabs>faction shows itself local and private messages>local - itself and pm's). Very well working solution known from many MMO games.
3. Keep comms tab mostly for history and add bindable keys for instant access to Local/Faction/Global chats.
Simply adding chat commands (like /L /F /G /w <name>) would work too, but it looks definitely less professional.
Many times I've been told 'why don't you just use microphone? why no teamspeak or discord?' Not everyone can talk while playing. There are spoken language barriers. With text chat I can try to translate languages I don't understand. Also that still does not give me ability to easily point recipents.