Let's discuss: Who was the target audience for the EBM?

kiiyo

Veteran endo
Joined
Jul 11, 2020
Messages
136
#1
Hello, forums. I'd like to start a discussion with you all today. What are your opinions on the design decisions that went into the EBM's implementation? Who was the target audience, in your opinion? Do you support its existence, or are you a fellow SSC supporter? What do you think could be done to improve the EBM, or what do you think should be implemented into the SSC instead? I'm interested in hearing others' viewpoints on this.

I personally dislike the EBM. It's slow, it's clunky, there's no undo and overall a full editor is much faster. Also, the pieces provided are pretty inefficient in their usage of space and feel like they were made more for looks than function (just like the rest of the dev ship fleet), which is fine - if the ships they produced looked any decent that is. I, as a player and with 0 design knowledge and no insight into the future plans of Starbase, think that it would have been nicer to see more work put into the UX/UI of the SSC and make it more accessible, instead of creating an entirely different building experience in the game.

What do you guys think?
 

ExtraPerry

Active endo
Joined
May 13, 2020
Messages
39
#2
EBM is nice to make quick ships but it needs ways to make custom modules.

Though the SSC is the way to go to make any sort of good ship.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2021
Messages
61
#3
I think it was meant to be a Space Engineers/Minecraft Experience. To give new players something they might be familiar with, at least conceptually.
However, I think it was a mistake to introduce it in this state of the game. Starbase needs content and it needs it direly. Allocating time and resources to something that is not at all essential (and wasn't asked for by anybody) instead of focusing on the core game development was a bad blunder (even worse, they released it with no prior testing).
At the end of the day, (Uneasy) Build Mode is just an inferior version of the SSC. It is not even necessary for small adjustments to your ship since you can do them on the fly anyways. It's like they reinvented the wheel but shaped it like a square...
 

SubaruSama

Veteran endo
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
115
#4
well, honestly not against it
The EBM modules can be a bit of a starting point to figure out what belongs together in some tech regards (like generators) and they show ducts and stuff therefore for absolute beginners who don't want to dive into the SSC right from the beginning but just want to start into the game with some training wheels it's not that bad (if it works properly). Haven't been there since I was around since the start of CA, so I can't speak from personal experience here.
Once you have like 20h or so of experience I guess you will understand the limitations of the EBM fairly easily since looks of the ships, complexity of the systems, the extra materials wasted, etc. are some drawbacks you simply can't ignore. It feels like you get an overall worse ship at the price of extra cost in materials (and therefore mining time) but a discount on time designing it. Overall the time saved on designing something is probably the strongest advantage it has over SSC. Well, at least for beginners, anyone with a bit of SSC experience can make easy ships within a few hours and since you can just rebuy them with a click will save a lot of time in the long run. And for the players who are "scared" of the SSC, which should be the minority in a Sandbox building game, it provides some room for creativity at least I guess.
Also since the blocky system resembles some other games (e.g. Minecraft) I think some new players will probably find that a bit more familiar to handle at first.
On the other hand as someone who has used CAD myself I also wish there would be some love for the SSC as well, like mirror mode as one of the most wished for features. I can kind of understand why it's there, but since I see it as a feature I'm not really using and well, never really have used at all, I honestly can't really say how useful it is and wished they would put some more resources into the SSC. Like fixing those small offsets that happen every now and then...
 

Cavilier210

Master endo
Joined
Nov 12, 2019
Messages
576
#5
Pretty sure the target audience is the people who play SE and the like who are used to playing with blocks.

However, copying others outright frustrates both the effort to be different, and the players who decide to use that system. It's not easy, it's frustrating. No one appears to like it, and it obvious that the game wasn't designed up to that point with that system in mind.

We would have been, and would be, better off without EBM. At least for ships. Since I couldn't stand the system that much that I avoided it everywhere else.
 

kiiyo

Veteran endo
Joined
Jul 11, 2020
Messages
136
#6
You all raise some great points. However, if we wanted to create an easier experience to transition players from the imaginary "civilian" profession (that is, they have not built a ship yet, and instead buy them from others) to a "builder" profession (they design ships for others to buy), wouldn't it make sense to instead implement a better polished module system into the SSC? By improving snapping points and the consistency of the snapping system, the SSC would feel much more polished to work with, and perhaps a toggle for "easy mode" could be introduced that switched between a mode with the full part list and a list of modules, the latter making it less intimidating for those who are used to working with systems similar to Space Engineers and other such games?
 

SubaruSama

Veteran endo
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
115
#7
well, see it that way
if everyone could build a decent ship there would be noone left to buy ships from other players^^
not saying that like it should be too comlicated for 80% of the playerbase to get their head around, but oversimplifying everything isn't something I'm very fond of
 

Askannon

Well-known endo
Joined
Feb 13, 2020
Messages
83
#8
I didn't have that bad of an experience with EBM.
My main peeve was that I could get the crates to rotate, as it used the x,y,z buttons to rotate between two orientations and needed an additional button to go to the other two (was it shift or was it scroll back then?), which I thought was stupidly redundant.
I have not experienced any bugs with EBM, but I also only ever made three or four editing sessions on one ship.

After that I went to the SSC and never looked back (unless I needed to help someone).

In my mind having two build modes is not necessarily the best thing to do, even if it is to help beginners as it just increases the complexity of the entire experience.
In my mind they would be better served with doing a guided "Build a "Hauler"" (or a similar small ship with cargo crates) tutorial of the SSC than trying to get used to EBM.

And if players don't have an interest in making ships that way, let them purchase some (Sunny) Ship Shop ships for credits only so they can progress by doing the jobs, buy a ship with credits only and then get on with mining until they can buy a ship they actually want.
 

Kodey

Veteran endo
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
193
#9
There’s a lot I don’t like about Easy build mode, which I think is obvious, but I might as well weigh in here.

I think Easy build mode, in its current state, does more harm than good for new players. Specifically, I think it's great for getting a new player used to renaming things, but it doesn't really teach cabling, piping, proper bolting, or any kind of useful skill in depth. I'll also say that it's a massive waste of resources, especially compared to the optimization you can do in an SSC - even if you're not a min/maxer. Not only that, we're starting to see certain devices/props are being restricted to only EBM, which is just - why? Furthermore, why is station and cap shipbuilding limited to EBM? What happened to the old SSC system we had from CA? One last thing I'll add is that I'm worried that EBM will scare people away from the SSC, seeing as it's not built into the SSC, and instead has a dedicated building. However, this is just my concern, and I have no proof for it.

So in a quick summary, I think EBM was a bad decision, which was made for a casual audience, and that the SSC isn't the only thing that'll be simplified, ruining the initial draw that I had for starbase.
 

ChaosRifle

Veteran endo
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
213
#10
I think the design decisions for the modules sucked, because they are really inefficient (ie T1 thrusters, poorly placed crates, etc). I think the design decisions for the system as a whole on a mechanic implentation was done poorly in recent (2 axis of rotation?? WTF) times as well as the past (no free cam??? WTF. Casual SSC will fix this though).

The target audiance was space engineers, which is a good target to poach as they have a lot of half baked systems with a lot of unexplored potential, and the only developments to the game in a quarter decade was all done by modders, and poorly implemented into the game (worse than the mods did ffs)

I think a system to get players into the game is nessisary to become truely popular, it is a barrier to entry - like it or not. I think the tradeoffs are worth it for the more advanced SSC, but not everyone is willing to spend the time to see if they like it (they will like it more though once learned, fight me!)

Improving hard-build will require better designed modules and a freecam editor (which they have already announced as "Casual mode" for the SSC.
The whole thing could be repaired by just moving it to the SSC casual mode and allowing users to make/import modules. More modules from FB that are not noob bait would be great too. FB systematically does a REALLY bad job at guiding new players to a better experience with their ship, by providing objectively the worst parts they can in some cases (looking at you T1 thrusters and INSANE numbers of batteries per module
After you factor in less thrust needing more thrusters and adding more propellant to support that for the same duraton, with needing more reactors for the whole system AND adding more mass for that, which needs more thrusters, again, T1 thrusters end up MORE EXPENSIVE THAN T2. They also have higher sustains. WHY IS T1 PUSHED TO NEW PLAYERS?! The new player can buy them on the market pretty much at-cost.
I wouldn't even be so annoyed by this if swapping thrusters was easier, but someone made a really silly choice to make the housing the part thats Tiered, instead of the combustion chamber which would be much easier to swap in universe for noob upgrade paths, that would actually feel good. Don't beleive its a really bad experience? Go upgrade a marmot's thrusters to T2 in universe. Thats what tiered housings get you, instead of a tiered chamber.


The biggest improvement to Hard-Build-Mode I can think of is not butchering the main game with its bad controls via the unification.
A 1D world needs 0 axis of rotation, 2D neads 1 axis, and 3D needs 3axis. Why did you delete an axis? It is faster to fly the part into orientation than use the orientation keys now. Why are the new controls hardcoded to other controls in the .fb3binds file and cant be fixed easilly
good job on the mouse wheel/shift+mouse wheel though, much nicer than xyz. I changed mine to shift/ctrl/null+mousewheel for normal game!


In closing I would like to share a tidbit from my livestreams regarding this - I asked my chat in regards to stations/capitals, if FrozenByte were to say they were deleting by-hand hard-build-mode tomorrow, and instead it would be done via freecam with the exact same modules, and transition from design (ssc) to in universe would be handled like the old lot designer, where you could by hand repair gun the blue blueprint parts in place or have it autofill at one part per second if supplied with the crafted parts(possibly even modules), would anyone care?

The responses 100% said no, they personally would not. A lot of people expressed their dislike for the current system with comments like 'good riddance' or '**** no!'.
One person tried to play devils advocate for the 0% vote of rathering by hand, and their argument of choice was immersion. I counter argued that I don't assemble a house IRL with no plans, and that having a 2m wide cube in my pocket is less immersive to me, but to each their own.

This of course was in regards to stations/capitals, but I think the sentiment would stand if they also had things like undo and copy/clone sets fro mthe SSC for ships.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2022
Messages
10
#11
I'm a semi-new player. When I started playing Starbase I had no idea what to do. But before long I was messing around in the Easy Build Factory. If there had been no EBM, I might have quit the game in the first day or two. But EBM was fun: Adding modules onto my starter ship kept me immersed in the game. Soon I began watching Starbase YouTube Tutorials and became even more interested. Swemoney's "Hack my Laborer" series was particularly good. It taught me a lot. I built a big EBM mining ship and started grinding asteroids. After a while, I got tired of the ships that I was able to build in EBM, and I bought some nicer miner/ freighter ships from the Origin Outlet Stores with my mining money. It was only after this point that I began investigating the SCC build system.

Some new players will go straight to SCC and some will use EBM as an intermediary approach to ship building. I used it, and even with all the bugs, I enjoyed it. When I first started playing, EBM gave me something to do and kept me interested in the game. Before long, I was hooked.
 

ChaosRifle

Veteran endo
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
213
#12
Some new players will go straight to SCC and some will use EBM as an intermediary approach to ship building.
This is what a few guys in my corp did, and for the first week, the speed it offered being a familliar block based system made them the richest in the corp over any other tactic, but only for that first week.
I think it would be better as-is with freecam.
 

ChaosRifle

Veteran endo
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
213
#14
I think you mean the SSC :)

On a serious note though, since I forgot to add it to my original post, adding EBM to SSC would've just been the best option, and thankfully it seems like that's happening.
They have described "casual mode" for the SSC as SSC with prefab modules. I take that to mean instead of asset browser we will have Hard-BM modules, and be EXACTLY that. I hope it will be!
 

kiiyo

Veteran endo
Joined
Jul 11, 2020
Messages
136
#15
They have described "casual mode" for the SSC as SSC with prefab modules. I take that to mean instead of asset browser we will have Hard-BM modules, and be EXACTLY that. I hope it will be!
If they do decide to go for that I sure do hope they put some QA time into snapping. The weird ways in which it rotates stuff sometimes is just... peculiar.

and give us weld cubes already damnit
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2022
Messages
2
#16
Simply, the EBM helps noobs understand the basic components (Gas tanks, generators, thrusters, controls, ore crates etc) and how they work together and helps them put all (most) of the pieces together in their head to see what they need to operate in space. The idea of it is really cool, it's just unfortunate the execution of it was bad...
It sure helped me a lot. Even though it was broken, which I knew about because you know, the internet and all!
 

Daddystu

Active endo
Joined
Sep 9, 2021
Messages
35
#17
I would like a small EBM on my deep space station. So I can knock up small mining ships, rescue ships etc.

Edit: Theres a lot of stuff i'd like on my deep space station though.
 

DivineEvil

Well-known endo
Joined
Nov 9, 2020
Messages
63
#18
EBM is intended for new players unfamiliar with the SSC. That's pretty much obvious. As for my opinions on the feature:

- EBM should've been designed as a mode for SSC from the beginning. I have expressed concerns and assumptions about it since the feature was introduced into the discussion during CA. It made perfect sense to do it that way to make the transition between EBM and SSC more smooth - there was even a statement that players would be able to build a ship in EBM and then switch the ship to SSC for more precise customization. The way EBM was implemented in the end (aside from the fact that it was completely untested despite being extremely important for the good first impression) left me stunned for a bit. Not only there was no interaction between EBM and SSC, but the mode itself also wasn't completely free-play either (reliant on a special zone), which hypothetically could've justified its separation from SSC isolated instancing principle.

So yeah, EBM should have been designed as an alternative mode for the SSC from the start, which would remove the necessity for the dedicated building and prevent the legion of bugs that have turned it into a nightmare it is. If the FrozenByte team is planning to move the modular shipbuilding into a casual SSC space, the EBM as it stands is entirely redundant.

- EBM modules in either implementation should see interior and exterior as two separate element types, rather than constituting a unified shell. Walkable rooms with access to the machinery and devices should be separate from hull plating and the beams supporting it. That would alleviate the majority of inefficiencies of the EBM ships, allow for more indented and encased exterior systems (such as thrusters that do not stick in every direction) and bring them much closer in effectiveness to what a casual SSC user would build with the function-over-form approach, minus all the extra time it would take.

- I don't really see all that many ways to improve SSC itself. It would definitely help if it had the symmetry mode, the ability to snap-to-grid for most components, for example, bolts (making bolting look more orderly and aesthetically plausible), and perhaps the ability to hide/lock more specific categories of elements. I personally can achieve a lot of what I want with my approach to building without any of that and feel like SSC is criticized more than it deserves. MOAR PARTZ is always an option, but that is for FrozenByte's discretion given there are technical reasons to only introduce parts deemed important, and its more of the question of practical necessity (better variety of devices, modular thruster kits) rather than creative freedom (more beam/plate variety).
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2022
Messages
3
#19
- I don't really see all that many ways to improve SSC itself.
Aside from what you mentioned. The most important feature I think is for parts to stay where you put them relative to origin between loads. One of the most valuable tools in the SSC for precision is the transform tool options. The ability to keyboard enter a position ensures that it is in the exact place you'd like it. Unfortunately, its precision is limited to three digits past the decimal and only shows two of those. When you save a ship that is not symmetrical, the SSC re-centers the ship on next load. That means that things like any parts you had off to the side that you were assembling before putting them in shift the whole thing off to the side and keys are unusable. More insidiously, even if you have no parts like that but minor asymmetries within the ship, that will shift the whole thing on load by amounts which you cannot even see in the transform tool(common understanding is it stops at thousandths, but Id be willing to bet imprecision goes down to float decimal precision due to filestructure and similar program architecture). This makes precision significantly more of a drawn out process to achieve involving placing a perfectly aligned part and snapping your whole ship to that point(my computer REALLY doesn't like this on large ships). I get why its a thing, the program is based on hard-surface modelling/leveldesign industry standard inherited from the .FBX filetype, but the industry standard has tools that make this a feature rather than a detriment(namely mirror planes, relative offsets, and measuring tools). Here its simply a hinderance to good clean ships.
 

ChaosRifle

Veteran endo
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
213
#20
- I don't really see all that many ways to improve SSC itself
Parts stay where placed (not autocentering)
Parts snap nicely, and don't have odd gaps randomly
mirroring
transform tools to stop being arbitrarily broken
more hide/lock buttons for individual items
hide/lock for specific part?? no clue how to implement.
group SSC to not disconnect your friends if the build is too large, like it has SINCE LAUNCH making it not actually a working feature, realistically.
ALL parts to be there, like tripods. and alloy furnaces.
mass of selected objects (plural)
heat calcs for selected reactor
 
Top