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[Public Test] Progression Do-Over, Please!

Geneticus0 shared this feedback 19 months ago
Completed

Unlocks should be based on technology types instead of blocks.

Research Cost for a technology = Power x Time. The Research Cost's time can be reduced by Reverse Engineering Salvaged Components or adding additional grid Power up to the max for each Research Block.

A new Block, the Research Block runs a timer down on a selected Technology based on how

much power is being supplied, up to a max for the block.

Multiple Blocks can be added , but only allow multiple lines of different research. Not combined to research 1 line faster. Multipole blocks will research slower because speed is based on Grid Power.

Example: Magnetic Field Manipulation - takes 80 hours to research with the full power output of 2 small LG reactors.

The research block accepts Salvaged Components. (not normal ones)

Salvaged Components drop from NPC enemies, cargo ships, and from grinding down unlearned tech. If the tech is learned/unlocked no scrap is generated.

The Salvage Components are a tweak of "scrap" (a separate "scrap" for every component).

Example: adding 10 Salvaged Motors will unlock Magnetic Field Manipulation by reducing the Timer to a hard minimum of 20 in game minutes in the Research Block.

When that Magnetic Field Manipulation is achieved/unlocked, you are able to build Motors in the assembler.

Some components such as Gravity Components may require more than 1 tech to be able to make them in an assembler. (Magnetic Field Manipulation, Superconductivity, Gravitational Manipulation, and Quantum Projection)

Some Components cannot be made by players at all and only come from pirate/cargo drops such as Jump Drive Targeting Components.

Blocks will be visible in the G-Menu when you have unlocked all of the required technologies.

Blocks that require Dropped Components but otherwise require no technology research by the player to build, will also be shown in the G-Menu.

There can also be unbuildable components and unlearnable tech for enemy only or Blocks that have special Functionality when used with a Visual Scripting Scenario, such as a block transferred to a player that must survive and be delivered to a destination.

Comments (8)

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I like this. It's very interesting, however, it does not fit SE current Core Loop. But that doesn't mean that shouldn't be SE's loop. "Loop" here does not mean main rendering loop, it means what are the activities the players engage in repeatedly to complete the goals of the game. (ie "enter room, kill enemies, loot, goto 0")


In Space Engineers, right now the loop is: collect stuff, build bigger thing. It's not a very interesting loop and the current tech tree doesn't support that.


The main game loop should help feed the research tree. If you look at research trees in other games, this is exactly how it works. Factorio is a game about automating logistics, and the higher science costs require bigger and better automation to be doable. RTSs like StarCraft tend to be building economy and burning that to fight, and the tech trees in those typically involve building things unlock other things. (this is basically what SE has and it doesn't quite fit)


I think the best option here is for SE to offer a good modding framework for a tech tree and let modders decide what kind of server they want to run. If it's a server about fighting pirates, then defeating pirates should give you the stuff you need to unlock tech.

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Current Loop: Mine> wait for Refinery> queue Assemblers> Build stuff> repeat.

Loop size based on how fast you can mine.


Proposed Loop: Queue Research. Mine AND/OR Fight NPCs > wait for Refinery & Research> queue Assemblers> Build limited amount of stuff> repeat.

Loop size based on how fast you can mine and how much investment you put into your base, how much you salvage, find, or loot. Loop can have several sub loops running or not.

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There's a similar idea to this about a better tech tree. It also involves researching blueprints. To add an item to the tech tree for research, you must first find an example of that tech. And from that example you only get a fragment. Especially if it's damaged. The more damaged/incomplete the example is. The greater the time penalty for research. All of the advanced blueprints would be held on a "mainframe". If the mainframe gets damaged, over heats or loses power suddenly. Your blueprints start getting corrupted at random and suddenly you might not be able to build wheels or thrusters any more. You would also need to maintain a radio link to your mainframe to make use of advanced blueprints. And the projector block would be slaved to the mainframe.

However progression in the form of a tech tree is done in SE. I think it needs to bring with it the danger of losing that progression. Otherwise that game mechanic doesn't have much shelf life in SE.

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Kevin, I did see that and the reason I went with this version specifically is because it uses as few overall changes to existing underlying systems as possible. I believe this is the superior solution because of the following:

  • Definitions for getting ore/ingot already exist, and can be used to generate salvage. e.g. getting scrap from batteries.
  • Definitions for generating drop items for NPCs and Cargo containers.
  • 1:1 component definitions (Each Salvaged Component has a correlation to it's technology). Making a generic catch all would just get grindy.
  • Losing knowledge isn't fun for any reason isn't a good mechanic, especially since it hurts casual or time limited players more. Data corruption on power loss is due to outdated tech (mechanical drives with slow write speeds) it has no place in a future based on our present.
  • The only "New" code needed is the Power Draw/Timer mechanic, converting items in a block inventory into a debit against the timer and minor adjustments to unlock assembler components rather than just blocks.
  • Only 1 new block is needed with associated timer logic and all other additional art assets are small low poly components making the demands on the art team relatively minor.
  • Other unlock type systems can be added to this such as a grind to learn of simple blocks (in the new landers) to get your initial technologies.
  • Unlock timers could be bypassed in the Visual Scripting Tool to allow quest objectives to reward tech instead (an option for mods)
  • Blueprints are on my internal list as a possible add if there is ever an in game economy as an alternate method of acquiring tech, or trading/selling to another player such as a faction member. They would be something craftable by the player as a physical item. They could also be used to allow a player to build X #'s of a block without knowing the actual tech, but wouldn't provide any further unlocks. (assembling a flat pack Ikea bookcase, doesn't give you the ability to manufacture the bookcase starting from trees.
  • Mainframe style systems (a'la' Star Trek TNG's main computer) are the opposite direction from where all of our computing technology is headed. distributed scalable redundant on-demand systems are the present as well as the future of information technology. Another argument against that type of system is that people learn technology, not computers; computers are just a tool for modeling and documenting technology. The knowledge should be stored in the head of the person. Individual records of this information (e.g. blueprints as I laid out) are different and only serve to transfer and duplicate this knowledge to other people.

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I agree with the Zoidberg poster, the current loop could use a new step or two. BUT "waiting" for research is not gameplay nor is it fun.

Look at how the survival game Rust does research. There are certain special components you cannot manufacture yourself, but must obtain through exploration. I think this could be incorporated into SE in the following way.


1. Do not lock block blueprints, lock component blueprints in the assembler. This can easily be incorporated into your current tiered assembler changes. Late game, when you have T3 assembler, have unique component blueprints be unlocked by attached "Add-on Modules" that you build plugged into the side of the assembler.


2. For certain key blocks like tiered refineries/assemblers and their "Add-on Modules", require a single unique component you cannot initially fabricate. This would require you to explore and find that unique component per block, and once you have built the "Assembler" or a specific "Add-on Module" than you unlock the unique component for fabrication.


3. You can trade off an NPC cargo ship, find a wreck and salvage, or raid an enemy base/cargo ship to steal these components. You could also require a certain tier of Grinder to return the component, and not just scrap metal. Similar to how battery packs work.

4. Part (3.) further stratifies the tech tree and creates emergent missions. Because before you can manufacture a Jump Drive, you need the "Jump Drive Add-on Module" for your assembler, but the module requires a unique "Jump Drive Component" you cannot fabricate yourself. You will have to raid a Dreadnought or Shipyard to acquire one. But to salvage the component from the block, you need a T3 Grinder or else you'll just receive "Scrap Metal" because you botched the removal with your low quality tool. Which means you'll need the minerals, and corresponding "T3 Tools Add-on Module" for your assembler to craft the Grinder (or buy or loot a grinder). But the Dreadnought and Shipyard are not going to just let you steal this component, and they have defenses. Therefor you will need to build an attack craft or find some other engineering solution to bypass said defenses. But be careful not to hit the Jump Drive or "Jump Drive tech add-on module" you're trying to salvage, because you might destroy the very unique uncraftable component which was the entire reason for ambushing this capital ship in the first place!

5. Creating these tiers also stratifies the games economy. More "loot items" with different rarities and values, that you cannot simply just fabricate straight away from raw ore, and require an investment of combat/exploration/materials will create "specialization" between different factions and engineers. This "specialization" will incentivize teamwork, trading, raiding, exploration and looting. (This necessarily requires exploration encounters to be well thought out, designed, and placed in correct locations to facilitate advancement from any starting spawn).


6. Place these encounters and unique components where they will be needed. If you start in space, than have encounters with an orbiter/lander that has an "atmospheric thruster fabrication component", just outside the atmosphere so the engineer can loot it, make the add-on for his assembler, build atmo thrusters, and land on the planet. Then on the planet you can have an encounter with the component that unlocks large hydrogen thrusters, so they can find it, build them, and go back into space. Are you in space and need Large ion thrusters, well search the asteroids for a mining station, or trade ship crossing the void. Need the Jump drive to reach the next planet? Well, the Dreadnought that has the component you'll need to fabricate them lies beyond the moon, just far enough to reach with ion thrusters, but close enough to make it economical to still build the Drive to planet hop.


7. This further increases the fear of loss and survival aspect by requiring you to protect your vulnerable add-on modules or blueprints. If they get destroyed, then you have to explore/trade/combat to acquire another one. This opens up the possibility of LOSING progress, which fits well in a survival setting. It also incentivizes having a base, whether a station or capital ship, where you hoard and reinforce the defenses, of your valuable production capabilities. And since the unique components that give you the ability to fabricate high end components, only affect a single assembler, your production output is directly tied into the exploration, trading, combat gameplay loop. If you want a giant factory of 100 assemblers all pumping out Jump Drive parts, you're going to have to raid 100 Dreadnoughts or trade for 100 "Jump Drive Assembler add-on module components" or w/e you end up calling them. This will give a very rewarding sense of progression and increase in power over time.

8. Increase the # and variety of raw materials, and their locations. I would include Carbons (wood, oil), Gases ( Nitrogen, a Noble gas, Helium), Biological (proteins, amino acids, algae), and more Minerals. And these resources have specific locations. Incorporate them into the new and existing tech tree/blocks/components.

9. I would turn the current Ores, which are just pure minerals, into different ACTUAL ores which are mixtures of different concentrations of minerals. Much like the Better Stone mod does (https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=406244471). I would add further gameplay via Metallurgy by making more of the Refinery add-on modules to specifically target certain mineral groups in an ore, like a centrifuge for the more massive minerals (uranium), ferro-magnetic separation, for the magnetic minerals (iron), electro-phoresis add-on for materials with a charge, acidic washing, etc. Actually put some science, engineering, and most importantly, choice into the gameplay.

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My only complaint about the "research" is that it needs to be faction wide. If a player joins a faction, they should be able to help weld and build with their faction right away. If a player is alone or in their own faction, they should need to progress in technologies as they do now.


That said, I like the idea of a more exploratory focus in space engineers. I love building but I need incentive to go out and fight. I usually have too many resources, so salvaging of any kind is a mute point as there is nothing to gain (game-progression-wise). I like the idea of needing components that cant be made in an assembler and must be found (ie warp drive comp.). However, I disagree that you should need research to know how motors and basic components work. This would stagger the early game to a halt if a player cant find NPCs to salvage. Additionally, how could a player explore easily if they can't build a scout ship/rover to find said NPCs.


You need to start with a basic blocks in order to be able to play the game. For this you should start knowing how to build a rover and some wind power: cockpit (preferably a small grid flight seat), small battery, wheels, light armor blocks and survival kit.


TLDR: There should be an incentive to explore and find components you cant make yourself in the early game

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Sean,

as I replied to Kevin above, I held back some pieces. Mostly for things that Marek alluded to in his Dev Blog such as future economy and "game" elements. With additional game mechanics in place later, adding a blueprinting system to this for transferring knowledge to another player directly would be possible. Outside of that:

  • Working as a faction is already a huge boost to unlock speeds. With the current public test system, a new faction member in an existing faction can unlock all blocks in under 5 minutes.
  • With a brand new faction it is still several magnitudes faster than a solo player.
  • Under the proposed system, with all players in a new faction working together to maximize the power grid with windmills/solar, then dividing into teams (Mining, Combat, and Construction) unlocks would still be much faster than solo play.
  • Any system needs to ensure a large faction can't start on a server and essentially insta-unlock everything and overwhelm smaller factions or solo players. The current system is too close to being able to do this after a short delay.

"This would stagger the early game to a halt if a player cant find NPCs to salvage. Additionally, how could a player explore easily if they can't build a scout ship/rover to find said NPCs."

Not really. In my playtests I have found I would spend about the same time required to unlock a block at the beginning of a survival start, just mining and refining enough ore to complete the "Steel" components needed to finish a block. Usually I found myself running out of nickel and having to mine more before I could complete a block unlock. The time for unlocks can be adjusted and balanced on a per block basis. The example I used above was because the math was easier to digest in multiples of 10 minutes. By no means should it take 2-3 hours for a block unlock at the survival start.

As to the second part, The first NPC "ships" a player is likely to encounter are skin drop containers. They have a randomized inventory and could have salvaged components in them or be specially flagged to drop them from grinding (flagging needed because they are not "enemy" grids. It would also be trivial to drop similar types of small craft ("Hostile Probes" ) that can summon drones on a planet for players to fight.

I hope this provides some clarification.

Cheers!

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I like your idea, except for the "Salvaged Components" part with the scrap. If I shoot down an enemy, I have earned the right to reuse its components :-)

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Easily solved. Want salvaged components? Actually blow up your enemy. Want it's components? Grind it down.

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Id argue that anything you haven't unlocked you will break in the process of taking it apart. If you had a manual (MP style sharing of unlocked tech?) you would know how to disassemble a block. But try opening a laptop for the first time w/o a guide of some sort. You will break lots of stuff on it.

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A couple points of clarification:

I should mention that the "Salvaged Components" would only drop from grinding if the block was an enemy AND the technology needed to build a component was unknown by the player actively grinding . Otherwise you would get the components as you do now.

I would also see the restriction removed from being able to place the frame or load components into the block regardless of the unlock state of technologies. (A block level lock however is a different story as it could be part of a campaign mission, or a mod block, etc.)

To consolidate some of my replies to questions brought in discord and here:

The numbers used are not my suggested times for unlocking. They are just used to facilitate easier math to help understand the timer mechanic and how power and salvaged components interact. e.g. 2 reactors with well known outputs and a 20 minute timer should illustrate that doubling the power output halves the time required. With a complete set of salvaged tech dividing that further, perhaps by a factor of 5, brings the unlock timer down to 2 minutes, which could also be hard capped at 3, 5, 10, or more minutes, depending on the technology being researched. Even at 10 minutes, a single mining trip in a ship can take more than 10 minutes and that timer is counting down the whole time.

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Hi, Engineers!


Based on your feedback, we implemented some improvements to the Progression Tree. We also implemented a new user interface.


Please let us know what you think about these improvements during the next public test.


Thanks!


The Space Engineers Team

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Is this to appear in a future public test since it is marked Completed and the "improvements" in the current test are not what this suggestion is about?

I'm just trying to clarify what the Completed status means since this comment isn't representative of the mechanics in the suggestion at all.

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the new progression tree is only GRINDING, to slow down player progress significantly, with no actual reward to it. if I was going to continue to play this game, I would never use this option, to me its worthless and this is not survival mode, my engineer still does not require food, water, or rest and they are stuck in an EVA suit, even when on a Terran class world?! that's retarded. all they did was add a few new fancy blocks, and lock blocks in a strange way, and make starting on planets , or even being on a planet problematic because no uranium, so any ship you currently have that needs uranium, guess what, wont work on a planet now unless you mining in the asteroid belt, by the way, we mine uranium, here, on earth, keen!!!

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I couldn't find improvements about this in the testplay. The tree seems good looking, but not working.

"Cost" is important for this. It makes the game as game = DECISIONS. The cost makes players to choose which research first. Players may choose different research. This makes different strategies, unique builds, and scenes. The tree will visualize choices for this, not for only grinding some bit.

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@Geneticus0 On this board, 'completed' means, "We did a thing vaguely related to the title of your post and didn't actually read it." since you were wondering :) They did the same thing to the 'small hydrogen tank' topic, in that case 'completed' meant they increased the hydrogen capacity of the engine. Of course, the possibility exists that it's one of the surprises. However, I highly doubt they implemented such a radical departure from their original idea of progression.

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Still didn't see anything related to the actual content or methodology listed here in the last Public Test.

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@Zachary Hutchison I am not a fan of Keen Surprises. They tend to bring us things like exploding dogs, broken API interfaces, etc. :-D

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My problem with this concept is, that it has nothing to do with Space Engineering. The game is about engineering solutions to problems, not grinding resources.

Mining starts with a hand drill and small quantities. After the update, it even starts with stone. Then it can go small ship drill and later multiple large drills. You design your solution.

Same with Power, Combat etc.


Having to loot stuff and put in a research machine doesn't present me with any challenges to solve through engineering.

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You've missed the point. Its not a "have to do anything" system. Its a mechanism to give choice as to how you want to go about progressing through it. You can't engineer without problems. This game barely even scratches the surface of engineering. There is more Engineering left out of the game than is in it. Survival is a game mode that should present you with challenges to overcome with limited resources and limited time. there are no problems to overcome without adding in things that put time, and resource restrictions in place.

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This tech I think is for a new Space engeneers. KSH said that maybe will be SE2 and I think that this improvements is for another game because now it change totally the game purpose. By this I'm not saying that I don't like it.

I really hope this will be improved somehow in the future of SE

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+1 the current progression system seems lacking.

also leaving a link here as i believe the ideas are very similar. hope its ok.


https://support.keenswh.com/spaceengineers/publictest/topic/se-public-test-23-progression-survival

the full description is in an attached pdf.