Infinite Beacon range and possibility to set Beacon for Jump Drive target

Vanake14 shared this feedback 2 years ago
Under Consideration

Currently beacons feel pretty useless since you can get the same effect with an antenna, plus a working antenna of course.

By allowing infinite (or at least greatly increased) range on Beacons and Jump Drive targeting, we could have things like:

  • Distress beacons
  • Fake distress beacons for sneaky space pirates
  • Advertising public refueling stations or other public areas (especially moving ones)
  • Players could reveal their location to either scare people away or lure them in
  • Make the world seem more populated as currently multiplayer can kinda be like singleplayer with chat
  • Easier to find players
  • Lots and lots of Beacon spam

Jump Drive restrictions would still apply of course.


Possible ways to solve Beacon spam:

  • A way to toggle Beacons like we currently have with all markers
  • More range = more power consumption (too much consumption might defeat the purpose of this, need to be careful)
  • Simply having active server admins
  • Beacon marker grouping like we have on all markers currently would make distant Beacons blend together anyway


I really feel like this could make MP feel more alive.

Comments (17)

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5

Hello Vanake14,

I will ask our team to look at this.

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Concept similar to above:

- In any spot where waypoints can be selected (jump drive, remote control autopilot) allow beacon selection

(choices about if this applies to owned beacons, visible beacons, or if infinite range is possible are left up to others)

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Another option to counter beacon UI clutter is adding a show distance slider specific for beacons(or reusing the existing ones for antennas) in the terminal->info menu.

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This is the best way, I love it, thank you.

It gives the most control to the player and pretty much solves beacon spam.

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6

This would be nice :)

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There used to be infinite ranged beacons, but they got changed down to 50km. I think a better solution is to simply make their max range as high as a laser antenna's range (maybe even higher). That way it doesn't feel too much like magic.

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Laser antennas now have infinite range (praise be to rexxar), just scaled power usage to make them balanced.

Beacons should be able to do the the same thing, and since it's not tied into the antenna system, it shouldn't affect performance.

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Mr. Polgar, while I agree with this idea I would suggest not infinite beacon range but instead 1000 kilometers. The reason for this is because it would make rp events such as planetary attacks be more isolated to the relevant locations in which they take place. I have been trying to bait people by claiming attacks on earth for pvp lately and it would be much better if I had at least 1000 kilometers of beacon range so that the planet and local area around the planet see my signal. I don't think it should be infinite range because then there will be trollish behavior among people who send messages across an entire solar system and then jump before anyone reaches them. For rp and pvp purposes it is much better for it to be set to 1000 kilometers in my opinion.

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Again Mr. Polgar, for the proposed jump to beacon feature, I would suggest not making it so ships jump directly on top of player but have a 2km divide upon jump in. This is because if you have a person baiting for pvp and another jumps directly on them there will be the situation of entanglement fights similar to how real life hawks and eagles fight. That's not ideal in my opinion. I would much rather have 2 kilometer divide for opponents to size each other up and burn in and kite each other.

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I think we should add onto the infinite range of laser antennas, keep the beacons the same but if you are in range of beacon A which is connected via laser antennae to beacon B you can see both A and B no matter the range, just as long as they are connected.

This way you could have mobile bases moving around and know where both were so long as they are connected, and be able to jump between the two.

This also opens the opportunity for way-finder ships, have a smaller ship traveling with the fleet with an laser antenna and beacon. The fleet can see whee the base is and the base can see where the fleet is without 12 different beacon signals (1 for each ship with infinite beacon range) instead it is one signal connected via laser with the one beacon.

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I second making Beacons (Friendly or Neutral) Jump Drive targets, it would give them a use.


In addition to this making their range go up to 500km or 1000km would be great.


Although I do really like the idea of building a network of connected satellites that can monitor your space an allow communications, and jump capabilities to areas where you have launched satellites.


It also creates a PvP objective take out someone's satellite network to cripple their ability to accurately jump to key locations.


The final part of that would be to create a radar block that can detect ships Friendly and Hostile that run with their Beacons and Antennas offline.


This would also require some sort of countermeasure.

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Beacon infinite and 5 second delay per 100 km so 1000kms is position 50 second old. .

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Increasing power cost per range and positional delay (performance overhead notwithstanding) would be the most balanced and realistic approach.

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I opened this thinking it was silly.. but the idea of being able to select a beacon like a gps point, i really like that concept a lot.. it adds some new potential dynamics to the game and encounters system, with minimal actual change to the game code.. good idea.

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Hi guys, thank you for the feedback.

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Very good idea, player interaction is currently pretty poor in SE on multiplayer servers and I feel like this could be great.

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I like this suggestion.

(spitball) If there were ever to be a Space Engineers (2?) where everything in space is actually moving, as it is irl, GPS waypoints would have fairly limited use. You would have to use a physical beacon to keep track of things without advanced sensors. Even then, how can you reliably differentiate between one rock and another rock with radar?

We already don't keep track of objects in game with sensory details. We use a GPS point to mark them. Without our suits magic GPS system we would probably never find the same asteroid twice if we traveled too far, or if our base ran out of power!

(/spitball)

Really, really long range beacons would make more sense (to me) than using magically provided co-ordinate points.

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I agree on everything but infinite range? all i can think of is how performance intense that would be

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Why would they be? They're just points in a 3D space, nothing else. You'd have to have quite a lot of them for it to actually be a problem. They used to be infinite back in the day, even. Performance is a non-issue. HUD-clutter though, that's a different issue.

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correct me if i'm wrong (i probably am cause i'm a small indie self taught programmer) but doesnt the beacon block use the same system as the ore detectors? (i mean like in terms of you detecting beacons that you are in range of) because I've heard that ore detectors work in a performance heavy way of checking every frame (or nearly every frame) for ore

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Nono, not even close. The reason the ore detectors are slow is because they scan voxel storage. No such scanning for beacons.

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aaah that does make sense as scanning for all those triangles is performance heavy, makes loads of sense thanks for enlightening me. well then i can't see a single issue with this. LETS HAVE IT!!! lol

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Yes, indeed. They don't scan the triangles though, but the voxels. A voxel is a 3D pixel. Or; a VOlume piXEL if you will. The actual triangles are just a "skin" generated to cover these voxels. The voxel storage is what makes it possible to easily deform asteroids (and planet segments) as you just regenerate the skin after the voxels themselves have been modified. A simplified explanation for sure, but still :D And your conclusion still stands: It's quite performance heavy.

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Original beacons when added were unlimited range, but they were later range limited, then they added antennas which made gameplay sense to limit, and the beacon became basically a useless antenna you cannot connect to, then they limited antenna range to 50km ... i guess someone figured beacons are really kind of pointless unless they have an advantage over antennas, and so they made them unlimited again.

Make sense?

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Stupid comment system here confusing me with input boxes when I wanted to comment on the mod and not this small thread.... Edited to remove my comment here.

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The benefit of (large grid) beacons over antennas is size. If all you want is to know where your ship is, that's a nice consideration.

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Beacons also use much less power for the same range.

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Infinite Range Beacons would open up the spam possibility, but can be solved by maxing the amount of beacons a specific player is allowed to build, and if that player hasn't logged in for x time or dies and all his stuff is reset, all his beacons shut down 24 hours later, max. Or rather a server configurable setting for how long a beacon can last when owned by a dead player.

Increasing the power cost of running the beacon is a good idea too, but it shouldn't be exponentially high, I mean, could you imagine trying to power a beacon on a planet so that the other planet can see it 6000KM away with exponential power cost? Would take the entire planet's surface being covered in solar arrays or 2000 large reactors with endless fuel being pumped in.

At a certain point in the power scale the power increase needs to slow down. Perhaps if the devs want to try and get a little advanced with it, they can also add a radio wave delay to activations and deactivations. This would be like, flipping the switch, someone standing 10 feet away instantly sees it, but the planet 6000KM away takes 10 minutes to see the signal, the planet 12,000km away takes 20 minutes. You turn it off 5 minutes after turning it on, the planet 6000KM away still sees it for 5 minutes, 10 minutes after you first turned it on. But I doubt the devs will do this, or that the engine can really handle this properly.


For jump drives with unlimited target range, the current system could be fine, calculate energy usage based on mass, all they gotta do is add jump drive capacitors rather than forcing you to build additional jump drives. These capacitors would double the capacity of the jump drive storage without costing an entire jump drive to do it.

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If we could filter GPS automatically by distance spam would not be a big issue.

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>if that player hasn't logged in for x time or dies and all his stuff is reset, all his beacons shut down 24 hours later, max.

Not everybody can play each day, such system is exremely prejusticed (Hellion had a lot of complains bevause of stations deteriorating withing 2 weeks), power is much better limitation because earlier or later beacon is going to run out of power and creator is not the only player who can recharge the thing.

>Infinite Range Beacons would open up the spam possibility, but can be solved by maxing the amount of beacons a specific player is allowed to build

Game is full of artificial limitations as is and there are much better ways to prevent spam. As example, rules can be set as such:

  1. Only becons within 50-100Km (or whatever player sets) are visible by default
  2. Beacons that are not in visible range can be forcefully set to be visible from GPS tab (and ones that are visible, can be forcefully set invisible)
  3. Faction tab can have a button or setting dedicated to beacons to either hide or highlight those. So if faction is 'spamy' you can turn it off all together (sans the ones in range from 1.) or if it is important you can turn it all on.

The biggest issue with these rules will be devs needing to remake whole GPS tab (which needs a remake either way, I always end up with at least one mark for each asteroid in visinity and it is very hard to navigate the tab as a result)

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I said x time, not "not logged in for 24 hours". Say you set the time to 3 days, the beacons will run for 24 more hours after that, for 4 days. Say the admin sets the time at 7 days. Thats an entire week plus 1 day of beacon run time.

Power is not a good limitation. You can power a beacon forever on solar. Thats one of the beacon spam methods of a server, to build a bacon with a battery and solar panel or two.

I like the idea of systems that deteriorate after the player hasn't been around a while. That sounds like a good way to destroy bases after a player has quit. Anything with a computer chip starts to decay 1 component at a time till the computer portions of it are destroyed every day past 1 week that the player hasn't been on or something like that, but thats an idea for another topic sometime.

If a player is being deliberately spammy, they'll not be in a faction. Neutral unfactioned player. What happens when you load up your GPS tab, to find 9000 beacons in it? How will you find the one you want to enable in that huge list? What happens if the list is so big it lags the client opening the GPS tab every time? I think the best way to handle this is to prohibit players from constructing more than a certain amount of beacons, or to make it so that they can only activate a certain number of them at one time.

Perhaps instead, players will be able to see their own beacons at all times regardless of the distance and not be allowed to shut them off, aka a spam player will be stuck with his own spam. Beacons will come with an invisible setting that toggles for everyone who doesn't own that beacon, the oldest beacon shuts off for everyone else, aka its no longer broadcasting because there is too much "noise" on that specific network frequency. Allowing a single player to have up to 10 broadcasting beacons that everyone else can see. If he sets up an 11th, the oldest one turns off for other players. If he turns off one of them, the first one to turn off in the list that have turned off, comes back on. This can be solved by setting your beacons to blink, so that they both conserve power and broadcast their position for a few seconds at a time, using timers.

A tab can also be done for beacons where each player that has a beacon, is listed. Their beacon count is also listed, you can click that player to mute his beacons with specific settings. "All beacons" "All far beacons" "All near beacons".

Factions would be listed in this tab as well with their total number of owned beacons. That would then enable you to mute player beacons or faction beacons.

Both this tab option, and the max number of visible option, can help with beacon spammers. Personally I like the max visible, as it won't limit how many a player can build, but it will limit how many they can display to people outside their faction, and thus make them need to think more critically about how they build their stuff.

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>Power is not a good limitation. You can power a beacon forever on solar. Thats one of the beacon spam methods of a server, to build a bacon with a battery and solar panel or two.

A single solar produces 120KW, assuming that sun is fixed or solars auto-adjust. Beacon requires 10KW at 50Km, 2KW at 10Km, 6000Km will require 1200KW. I don't think 2 solars will be enough to power it at 'infinite' range, more like a dozen at minimum, likely far more. As such I find it to be suffcient limitation.

>I like the idea of systems that deteriorate after the player hasn't been around a while.

Personally I think 'deterioration' is the system that killed Hellion. It might look nice on paper, but in practice it significantly cuts down online-user base simply because it forces player to chose between life and game (and obviously first wins). Because people that work not always can play each day or even each week. There were instances where I had to travel a bit around staying far from home computer for more than a week (and lost a station in hellion to that). I will not join a server that has such limitation because starting from scratch each time is not fun.

Ships that aren't 'active' (don't move, don't process resources) and are far from active players have no reasons to consume PC's resources in first place (power/fuel can be aproximated and accounted for periodically on load/save/join), so there is no reason to delete (or deteriorate) them in first place (if they are consuming PC's resources, than devs need to fix it).

>Neutral unfactioned player. What happens when you load up your GPS tab, to find 9000 beacons in it?

1. Those beacons still belong to single or couple 'spammy' players 2. Beacons will be confined to fixed region in space.

As such it is still possible to filter them out. It is a question of tools and implementation. Each player can have own folder in GPS tab for example. Or grouping can work by coordinates, it is relatively simple filter to make.

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Two entire weeks before deterioration even begins, is too much? If you can't play once every two weeks, you shouldn't be on someone's server dropping infinite range dots all over the place.

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You also forget other power production mods, stuff that increases solar output because cheaters cheat or people like easy mode 5 megawatt solar panels and such, or just the fact that some troll might go ahead and build these 6000KM range beacons with 12-16 solar arrays and a battery and lob them out there into space.

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Here's an interesting scenario for you.

A beacon costs power while active. The beacon structure has 1 battery, 4 solar panels. Can produce up to 480KW.

The beacon is set to 6,000KM range, costing 1.2MW as you said. It has a timer block on it to toggle the beacon at intervals. It runs the beacon for 2.5 seconds. Shuts it down for 10 seconds. Now it costs about 300KW while constantly charging at 480KW. A spare 180KW to handle non-perfect rotations or even a computer with a sun tracking script and a gyro to broadcast filthy messages 2 and a half seconds at a time every 10 seconds.

Could go faster, 1 second broadcasts every 4 seconds.

0.25 second broadcasts every second.

I don't do spam things, but I regularly test and give balance feedback and input on games, and I consider what players might do to ruin the game for everyone else. I know exactly how they can exploit these systems to ruin people's day.

Obviously these can be solved with an active admin, but what you want is something that doesn't need constant management.

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>Two entire weeks before deterioration even begins, is too much? If you can't play once every two weeks, you shouldn't be on someone's server dropping infinite range dots all over the place.

Some can play each day but then have to do a large pause for one reason or another (be that a month business trip, vacation, pc/net dies or hospital). It is common and in such situation real life will win over game. Deterioration is a bad design even for hinting at posibility of making such a choice especially since better methods are avaliable.

Imagine getting home from long business trip, logging into your favorite server where you were improving your station bit by bit only to find it gone due to deterioration? Personally I rarely have such situations (once per year top) but I still have them and I do not apreaciate to be pressed into taking such things into account when I play a game. It is supposed to be 'play when free' relaxation, not 'make sure you play it at least once a week' something.

>You also forget other power production mods, stuff that increases solar output because cheaters cheat or people like easy mode 5 megawatt solar panels and such

I don't see how they are relevant to vanila game. If server owner picks mod that improves power production, onwner will just have to pick mod that either limits range or increases beacon's consumption.

>The beacon is set to 6,000KM range, costing 1.2MW as you said. It has a timer block on it to toggle the beacon at intervals. It runs the beacon for 2.5 seconds. Shuts it down for 10 seconds. Now it costs about 300KW while constantly charging at 480KW.

That's a good point. But I'm fairly sure that blicking beacons should be easy to detect automatically without active admin intervention. And blinking, long linving, infinite range beacon is among things that normal users won't build under normal circumstances, so they can be added to list of things for 'cleaning scripts' to pick up. At least i can't think of a valid scenario where user will want to maintain such beacons short of some server-wide events.

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I really think you guys are over thinking this. Original pre-gps beacons were unlimited, and never really caused an issue since only people wanting to paint a great big target on their face set them unlimited. (in which case other players "decayed" it themself by raiding and stripping it) As such 90% of the time the only beacons set unlimited were ones on the admin supplied starting base, which was usually set to disable damage and provided basic survival or economic facilitys.


As for "decay" not only is this totally unrealistic for space, it would be annoying. (even spacex's tesla will still be more or less intact other than faded color and a layer of dust that will probably eventually turn it into an asteroid in a few thousand years) Although i would live with switching out an old grids color/texture to the worn/rusted/mossy skin after a couple of Idle weeks, that would actually be kind of cool.


Harsh as it is, the main reason I could never get into Medivel engineers was the decay/tax system. At least with protection zone tokens in SE - so long as it is not attacked your space station will still be there in 2 weeks after your zone fails. In medieval engineers, the irritating need to jump on daily to mine or harvest a bunch of junk to stop everything crumbling to dust every week stopped me playing it online. Ever. Considering I would have otherwise used those materials to expand it, it became unrealistic, and unwieldy. Even the fact the tax system didnt provision some sort of global market system annoyed me no end. Adding this mechanic to SE would destroy the entire multiplayer community overnight.


As for decay. SE actually DOES have several "decay" mechanics, which considering they are entirely optional is much better.

  1. Firstly - garbage cleanup has the capability to remove unpowered grids. Ok solar power does mess this up somewhat.
  2. Secondly, under the torch mod and various admin workshop tools was the ability to periodically sweep away random grids that are not named/powered/owner seen recently.
  3. Thirdly Garbage cleanup also has a "delete if owner not seen X number of days" feature - which much to my annoyance has deleted my entire base in the past because a small number of blocks were owned by a player in my faction that didnt log in for a month. So I turned it off.
  4. Fourthly prior to garbage cleanup was "asteroid showers" in an earlier version of SE this effectively removed grids by attrition over time - as it would target players and grids if nobody was online. Ok this was defeated by having gatling turrets or burying bases so deep in asteroids you would get blisters trying to find your way out again but i recall never finding many "encounter ships" because they had been smashed into oblivion by meteors on some of my servers.
  5. Finally - as i suggested in my post further down - a gps you dont set active, removes itself from your point list after a few minutes, a similar behaviour could apply to beacons if they go unpowered/out of range.

Another option that was discussed in the past was adding "derelict" grids to the "unknown signal" rotation, or in the economy system "investigate location" contracts so that bases where the owner is not seen in X days come up as a mission objective.


None of which has anything to do with if beacons should have unlimited range or behave as GPS points so you can target jump drives on them.

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Some can play each day but then have to do a large pause for one reason or another (be that a month business trip, vacation, pc/net dies or hospital). It is common and in such situation real life will win over game. Deterioration is a bad design even for hinting at posibility of making such a choice especially since better methods are avaliable. 

So, because on the rare occasion that someone goes away on a month long business trip, the very very remote rare chances of that long of a trip, and on the semi-rare occasion someone goes on a month long vacation trip, or on the semi-rare occasion that someone is hospitalized or they have hardware issues lasting over 2 weeks, you don't want an autocleanup feature?

I didn't say 2 weeks and instant delete their base. I said deteriorate. 2 weeks, and it starts to deteriorate everything with computers in it. A few percent per day or some such. Taking ultimately a month to fully deteriorate everything into a dead grid with no power. Another few weeks, the grid dies completely. Something like that. I imagine admin cleanup would be more likely to delete those grids far sooner than that.

That's a good point. But I'm fairly sure that blicking beacons should be easy to detect automatically without active admin intervention. And blinking, long linving, infinite range beacon is among things that normal users won't build under normal circumstances, so they can be added to list of things for 'cleaning scripts' to pick up. At least i can't think of a valid scenario where user will want to maintain such beacons short of some server-wide events.
How do you make trash collection auto cleanup blinking beacons? Its got a battery, its powered, it can be moving or stationary.

As I said, I think of methods of abuse, and there are methods that people can use to cause other users issues, such as spamming beacons all around the solar system to cause blips everywhere. Setting them off with different velocities and directions. Solar powered to have unlimited power.

But, whatever. I'm done arguing my point. I know for a fact KeenSWH won't modify the UI to allow us to hide player beacons or anything, they'll just tweak a line or two of code to provide that infinite range for us at the very most.

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I would like to say that there is the solution to the spam/rude high range beacon that isn't useful, and it's called a "grinder". The beacon is literally a locator after all.

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Yea sure, infinite range beacons would make grinders feasible when the beacons are 1AU away. Oh wait.

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If beacons are made GPS targets, then they could simply behave like any other GPS point,
ie you can opt not to display it in the GPS tab. The NEW GPS/Beacon gamelogic would be basically:

  1. (self created GPS points) If you create a gps yourself, it appears enabled by default. But can be deleted or disabled as game currently works (no change)
  2. (3rd party BEACON) If a player lights a beacon, it gets added to GPS points enabled by default - but FADED on screen (like disabled gps points in the gps tab) and colored based on owning faction unless always active is ticked. If it is not ticked then other than being enabled by default it will act like a GPS point in an lcd or chat - ie it will remove itself automatically after a minute or so if the beacon is shut off or removed. This self-delete behaviour could relate to beacon range if set below unlimited. If the GPS point is ticked always active it reverts to normal perminent GPS point behaviour. (ie can be enabled/disabled/always active without deleting itself after a few minutes)
  3. (3rd Party GPS) When someone chats or LCDs a gps point it is automatically added but disabled by default, and will remove itself automatically after a few minutes if "show gps point" or "always active" isnt ticked as it currently already does. (No change)

Up to this point the changes to the game are almost negligable. Having a beacon generate a GPS point is literally 8 minutes work.

I would suggest one or more of following additional beacon functionality however -

  • When you light a beacon - its share settings effect who can see it. (or maybe add tick boxes like turret targeting)
  • Share/Show all means we can all see the beacon as a GPS target
  • No share means only the owner can see the beacon as a GPS target
  • Share Faction/Allies means only the members of owning faction (and maybe allies) see the beacon as GPS target
  • (Optional) have a tickbox that allows you to enable/disable the ability to auto generate GPS points


  • *** This also means the "distress beacon" encounters might be easier to catch as the GPS point will take a minute or so to auto fade - and may need to be tweaked to configure a range limit on them for game balance purposes (although having every player on the server converge on any found distress encounters might actually be a fun idea..)

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I also suggested moving beacons to GPS, howhever GPS tab is extremely uncomfortable to use when it has a lot of GPS markers. In the very least GPS tab will need filters (preferably folders).

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I suppose a filter for source could work, say - chat/lcd | self created | mission targets | beacons

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yeah, the GPS tab has needed an overhaul for a long time anyways.

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