Boltcrackers Episode 7: Boarding Countermeasures

KaiFB

Frozenbyte Developer
Frozenbyte
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
4
#1
Hey folks!

Boltcrackers #7 is out and available :)

The seventh episode shows Dr.Bolt and Bob creating a number of countermeasures you can use to detect and ward off unwanted visitors from your spaceship.

Check it out here:
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2020
Messages
9
#2
It's a lot of fun, but nevertheless, the turrets of the inner perimeter, as well as the reprogramming blocker, even with the possibility of its failure, would not hurt. Otherwise, there will be a crowd of schoolchildren who will just create Satania for fun, and restore the ships after each trap, this is a pleasure... not will not in this pleasure, on this all the same chegoto think up perhaps.
 

CalenLoki

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
237
#3
A little different approach to "button fires guns rather than opening door".
Trap.png

It allows using the gun for other things than being a trap and doesn't damage ship when activated.
Thruster can be used as well, if it deals enough damage or push with great force.

Buttons are recessed into hull, thus anyone willing to press them have to stand in narrow corridor exactly in front of the gun.

4 buttons. If pressed in right order will open the door. Any mistakes and you're toast.

Door hinges are internal, so can't be directly accessed with universal tool.
 

Vexus

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
161
#4
This was a good Boltcracker video. Love the memes that came out of it.

"Can't be boarded if you have no ship."

unknown.png


With that said, this video showcases a large conflict with some game mechanics; specifically, respawning. It's been bugging me for a while, and I've been trying to recommend against 'craftable' respawn points (spare endos to spawn into) because of how much it kills gameplay to have that mass-produced power in the hands of a superior force.

There's a big conflict here. There is almost no reason to sabotage your ship in the hopes of killing an enemy, if that enemy can then just respawn on their ship immediately nearby and try again - now with a huge hole in the side of your ship and potentially an opening inside with no effort. Sure, there can be other traps, but regardless of how intricate your trap, it is pointless with the enemy respawning 50 meters away into their spare endo.

Imagine a situation where a group of 5 'pirate' players roll up on a group of 2 miners who are mining in the asteroid belt. The pirates attempt to force the 2 miners to hand over their loot, "or else." The 2 miners know they have a trap set - guns behind a door or whatever it may be - and they lure a couple pirates into a trap. Boom - the trap is sprung and 2 of the 5 pirates die, and the 2 miners immediately turn on engines and begin running.

The 2 dead pirates just spawn back on their ship - a fighting ship meant for speed to catch mining ships - and runs down these 2 miners, shoots up and destroys their ship, kills the 2 miners, and proceeds to take the remnants of the loot.

This means there is no reason to have any sabotage, traps, or any such system on your ship, because it is just making your ship slower and heavier with absolutely no pay off with a respawn system where the enemies can just pop back onto their ship with no cost or decision making on their end.

My revival mechanic idea (LINK to forum thread) - not mine per se, but one I think works for Starbase which I posted about a lot (the idea is present in pretty much every battle-royale game and other FPS shooters) - would solve this issue. In the above scenario, the 2 miners killing off 2 pirates with their trap and then going full throttle to try and escape, the 3 remaining pirates have a decision to make - chase the miners down for 10 minutes and lose their 2 friends who are now dead, or take the time to revive their 2 downed friends and then begin to chase the target. If they don't revive their friends, it might mean they kill the miners after a dogfight, but then they might have to travel back for an hour to station to pick up their friends. That decision is a tough one, and leaving your dead friends to die in space doesn't do well for morale.

Since the pirates have 5 people, now 2 downed, maybe they drop 1 person off to revive the 2 downed friends, and the remaining 2 now chase the miners. 2 people on the pirate ship, 2 people on the mining ship running away. Now there's a chance to fight back - maybe one of the miners jumps on top of their ship and begins firing a rifle at the pursuing pirates, and if they manage to down one of those pursuers, there's a good chance the pirates call off the attack to revive. In this moment, the miners might see the opportunity to turn on the last remaining pirate in the ship and attempt to kill him while he tries to revive his friend. What would have been a 100% kill on the miners with a spare-endo-respawn mechanic is now turned on its head due to the choices that were made by the players.

Without this choice, there is no reason to have a trap on your ship, no reason to potentially blow off the back end of your ship, or attempt to do any of these other 'fun' things in the game because if someone falls for your trap, they will just respawn right nearby on their spare-endo and continue fighting. Your one-off trap did nothing. You carrying around that extra weight on your ship, and all the effort you put into designing that perfect trap, is wiped away because now the enemy that fell for the trap comes right back a moment later and now knows how to avoid it from then on. There was no reward for you to make this trap. It was all for a fleeting moment, any real impact done away because of a poor game mechanic of being able to produce respawns (spare endos) and carry them on your ships and have people spawn right away nearby ready to continue fighting you again and you, there now with a disabled ship.

Even in large fights, players will have to make a choice; if a 50-man squad is attacking a station, and some defender makes a great play and downs 20 of those 50 players, the attackers have a choice to make; continue their push or take the time to revive. This makes for meaningful choices. Otherwise, you might as well play Star Wars Battlefront and have people just continue fighting back and forth until they run out of 'respawn tickets' and the overall combat meant absolutely nothing (like combat in those games). That's why that game is mostly dead.

I have to keep pushing this point because one bad game mechanic can ruin a game, and so far Starbase has only shown good game mechanics and good attention to making players feel valued and making players actually valued in the game universe. As soon as things like taxes, craftable respawns, and other 'free' sources of game systems which give no value or reward to anyone outside of it being 'free' (such as respawning into a spare endo is basically 'free' to the person spawning, it doesn't matter to them, there was no hard choice made by anyone, it was just a monotonous task to produce them) begin to seep into gameplay the overall systems begin to crumble as devs must make balance changes over and over again to fix and refix and refix the problems that only arose from the moment they introduced a fundamentally broken system in the first place.

This video is great, but these mechanics will never be seen in game in actual gameplay unless such game mechanics actually matter. There's no reason to use any of this firepower if the game comes down to a Battlefield-style ticket-based respawn game. Your only focus would then be to just produce more respawn tickets.
 
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KaiFB

Frozenbyte Developer
Frozenbyte
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Aug 9, 2019
Messages
4
#5
Yeah I don't know what the plan for respawn mechanics is or if it's even been fully decided. I personally like the idea of other players having the ability to revive the dead, as that would make for some very tense battles with additional decisions to make - as you described. It also gives me very adventurous vibes if I imagine some exploration or mining missions where you get attacked and manage to pull through, and are able to revive your friends :)
 
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
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#6
Hey Vex!
I agree on "respawn spam takes away tactical thinking"
However, "not being able to respawn" is pretty punishing.

I think that there are other ways to preserve the fear of death while keeping people playing
If activating a new endo leaves you crippled (slow, unarmed, "activating", no inventory) for an exponentially increasing time as you die more, "enough to give a serious advantage to the other side", people will care
If endos are very slow to produce and extremely heavy "enough to give a serious speed difference", it will reward people who dont rely on respawns

Reviving might slightly favor larger groups, but its a very interesting option
That said, I would be glad to try your system, why not
 
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
19
#7

It allows using the gun for other things than being a trap and doesn't damage ship when activated.
Thruster can be used as well, if it deals enough damage or push with great force.

Buttons are recessed into hull, thus anyone willing to press them have to stand in narrow corridor exactly in front of the gun.

4 buttons. If pressed in right order will open the door. Any mistakes and you're toast.

Door hinges are internal, so can't be directly accessed with universal tool.
i like your idea and layout on this and made me think of some other things that would be beneficial. In your layout if one could make a pressure plate of some type with an actual button underneath wired to explosives and have it wired to arm once ship is in movement or armed by a button at cockpit would create a very effective counter boarding method. Reinforce the areas around the explosive to the ship to create a directional blast, kinda what we do in real life already. You could possibly make a pressure plate land mine explosive that u can arm and disarm yourself from the helm. With the gun layout you have it work the same, pressure plate wired to fire the gun the moment someone steps on the plate. Once armed these are counter measures that would be pretty effective.
 

Vexus

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
161
#8
Reviving might slightly favor larger groups
Every game mechanic will favor large groups. What favors a large group the most is an untested, unseen-before-in-an-MMO ability to stockpile time in the shape of craftable respawns.

Foxhole - listed on the devs' survey - is probably the only game that has something close. It has respawn tickets for soldiers to respawn at a base. If you run out of respawn tickets, you can no longer spawn there. I think this is what has incentivized Starbase to think of this idea, however this system only specifically works for Foxhole due to how the rest of the entire game is designed. And in Foxhole, killing an enemy is not rewarding, and dying is not punishing, because your individual effort is only a fraction of the overall success of your team. The game has been made intentionally grindy and slow so that no one skilled group of players can just come through and wipe out the enemy completely. It has been tuned so that war is won by slowly, and that all your 'progress' in pushing the war is often pushed back after you go to sleep. It is enjoyable to a degree, but there is no intensity and little meaning in most of the gameplay. It only slightly succeeds because of the sprinkle of fun that comes along with certain strategies that are rarely seen and difficult to execute, that when they do succeed, it feels good for a fleeting moment, and then it is gone. The game is also not too popular, but still alive at least, and again, the respawn ticket system is integrated into the design of every other game system they put in place to make it happen. Even in this case, you're always, always respawning back at your home base, and never respawning on your vehicle behind enemy lines.

Any EVE player will attest that 'dying' in EVE was meaningful. You lost your ship. You had to leave your group and sometimes travel 15m by pod back to your station to get your next ship, and then fly 15m back to rejoin your group, who now might be 30m away. But this incentivized players to build stations closer to enemies, and wars were fought over territory as enemies bumped into each other with their stations and so on. There is only evidence of meaningful deaths - and thus meaningful choices - working for games. CS:GO is the top-played FPS shooter, not because it's some amazing feature-filled superior shooter. It's fairly basic. It is because it has a ranking system where wins and losses matter and you can clearly see your rank and others' rank. Matches are short, so you're rewarded quickly with your win, and punished quickly for your loss. The point behind that is it matters to win/lose. That is the key feature of the popular games throughout history.

My stance is simple - a craftable respawn that allows players to 'stockpile time' before combat leads to players stockpiling time constantly for the entire life of the game for no other reason except that if they run out, they guarantee their loss. A revive mechanic forces players to exist in the now, with no ability to stockpile time - they must utilize their time now to help their friend (or summon their drone/ship to come revive them, there and now) with no stockpiling of time possible for any player, making all players on a equal playing field. Foxhole for example has severe limitations on how many respawns you can craft at a time, where even if some people wanted to do nothing except produce respawns, they are hard-coded time-limited in how much they can make. This is an arbitrary rule that is necessary because the game as a whole is just a jumble of weird game rules to make its unique gameplay even work in the first place. Starbase will not have such arbitrary rules. If I can build 1 factory producing 10 respawns per hour, I can make 10 factories making 100 respawns per hour. I can then make 100 factories producing 1000 respawns per hour. And much of this can be done with YOLOL to automate it over time into Factorio levels of PC-crashing amazingness. Because in a game with craftable respawns, if you run out of respawns and your enemy doesn't, this guarantees your defeat - every player will then be incentivized to have as many respawns as can physically be fielded to ensure that loss condition is never met. Atlas, with its free spawn-on-bed respawn system, is better than a craftable respawn system, and that system is already a mess as it is.

I talk to Eranok on Discord a bit and we were discussing a lot more back and forth about these things... perhaps I will revive that old thread with some of the points we covered. That's also why I'm posting here right now about it; we had a good chat and I'm still hyped up on the point.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Messages
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#9
Every time I think I'm set on a concept (in this case, on-board respawns), someone here opens my eyes and changes my mind. It's exhausting :b Perhaps that respawn thread should be revived (pun intended eyy)
 
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