Material Science and Custom Machinery

Joined
May 26, 2023
Messages
3
#1
The following ideas are meant to together form a more nuanced crafting system that adds meaningful depth both to PvP, industry and Politics.
The core idea: Add complex endgame content that doesn't alter casual experience. Try to introduce features that are internally consistent and that adds content to PvP enjoyers and Industrialists alike.

Idea 1.1 - Resource Impurities
  • Asteroid Ores: Every asteroid ore contains traces of other ores.
    • The type and location of the asteroid will determine the presence and quantity of these impurities.
    • Even within the same region, there might be variances in ore purity from one asteroid to another.
    • Direct measurement of exact material distribution in an ore is not possible.
      • To enable Idea 1.2
    • These impurities won't interfere with existing recipes.
    • Some rare ores only exist as impurities within other ores.
      • Some of these are so rare, identifying them even would be an accomplishment.
Idea 1.2 - Advanced Material Sciences
  • Purification Process: Introduce methods to separate elements from a compound.
    • Machines used for this purpose are inaccurate. There's a varying degree of material loss, and the unwanted material removal percentage differs.
    • No two machines, even of the same type, will produce identical results.
  • Homogenization Process: Allows for several alloys to fuse/ recombine
  • Machine Calibration:
    • Machines can be calibrated to achieve desired results. Calibration engineers can set the magnitude and direction of a change, but the result will be random.
    • De-facto, we're manipulating machine states indirectly.
    • Calibration data isn't storable, and relocating a machine resets its settings.
  • Impact on Strategy:
    • Stripping a machine park before a potential attack will require a time-consuming recalibration afterward. This discourages players from removing or de-calibrating equipment before a siege.
    • Over time, a well-maintained factory station gains in value due to the fine-tuning invested in it. You can't just copy paste it due to the uniqueness of each machine in it.
    • The ultra end-game meta wont as easily be composed of copy pasted near perfect solutions.
    • Material science would offer an infinite resource drain. Quantity + Calibration->Quality
  • Alloys and Composition:
    • All alloys are custom-made. Their exact composition can only be deduced indirectly.
    • Components of an alloy are identifiable only if they make up more than 50% of it.
    • To estimate alloy components:
      • Study the performance of products it's used in.
      • Analyze by-products formed during its refinement.
      • Purify an alloy to identify its main elements and inspect the leftover products to determine component ratios.
      • The lesser the impurity, the more of it you need to accumulate to identify it.
      • Density measurements might be possible but could simplify the deduction process too much.
      • Standard materials specializing in material purity might be used/consumed in a process of comparision.
    • A Pure "alloy" of just a single element will rarely be an ideal alloy for any application.
  • Branding: Alloys can be branded, for example, “BIO electroPlus 05” or “ITC plasmaAlloy 3001” during production.
    • Company names or player names requires authorization to be used in brands in order to prevent Auction House Counterfeits.
    • Typically, only the primary material in an alloy is identifiable. For instance, in auctions, you might encounter descriptions like “Nhurgite Alloy - BIO electroPlus 05”, “Ymrium Alloy - ITC plasmaAlloy 3001” “Bastium Alloy - Pegren DurBeam-X0007” or “Lukium Alloy - Unbranded.”
  • On-site Refining: Allow for some of the processes to take place on ships.
    • This incentivizes ore refinement pre-travel in order to save costs per trip.
      • Allows wasteful refinement procedures on-site
    • Refining machines are expensive, heavy, energy hungry and counts as weapons.
      • Losing one, especially if well calibrated, would be significant.
      • Requires a separate mining ship, likely protection as well.
      • Ghidora to Refinery ship ratio in excursions up for debate.
        • More miners per refinery ship -> shorter danger exposure time.
        • Would also be balanced depending on the refinement efficiency.
      • Refining machines are valuable, fragile, slow and have a considerable heat signature.
    • Increasing the value added procedures pre-delivery would make for more valuable targets to pirates.

Idea 1.3 - Custom Machinery ( Weapons, Thrusters, Generators etc.)

  • Manufacturing and Alloys:
    • Custom machines can be crafted using various alloy combinations.
    • The resulting machine can range in efficiency: some might be subpar, others as efficient as existing machinery, and a few could surpass them.
    • When a machine component requires multiple alloys, it's divided into sub-parts. Each sub-part is dedicated to a specific alloy, influencing the final machine attributes. Sub-parts are only relevant from a manufacturing point of view and don't require 3d models.
    • Developers can add more sub-parts or sub-parts of sub-parts as a way of balancing things or deepening the complexity of a late stage industrial ecosystem.
    • The manufacturing machines themselves, along furnaces and material science machines might be subject to optimized production. Perhaps sufficiently refined machines allows for production of parts where more sub-parts are considered.
  • Sub-part Attributes:
    • Each sub-part has a secret, quasi-randomly generated multivariate function, dictating local maximums of different performance parameters. Each maximum corresponds to a specific secret alloy and the function gradient dictates change in performance due alloy compositional deviations.
    • As you refine sub-parts, they demand more specific alloys. For example, an electrical component might maintain up to +50% efficiency with a particular ore. Beyond that, it might become less adaptable to slight variations in alloy composition. After this point, Mining lasers components might need different alloys than laser turret components.
  • Application in Spacecraft:
    • Ships can be customized with highly specific components. "Join BIO, we have the best autocannons"
    • When printing a ship, specific machinery can be specified to be used.
    • Faction conflicts can strategically target specific factories, invalidating fighter designs relying on specific custom parts.
    • Salvaging enemy ships could yield unique machinery, offering parts not available in the general market. Over time, a pilot might accumulate a prestige fighter with BIO guns, ITC thrusters, ORION generators etc. A ship that couldn't just be re-printed if lost.
  • Reverse Engineering:
    • Melting down special weapons or unique alloys could pave the way for reverse engineering, though the mechanics of this remain to be explored further.
  • Politics
    • Having a monopoly on the production of a specific part would be immensely valuable.
      • Perhaps worth crippling the competition for.
    • Outsourcing production to industry leaders would give better gear, but also leave your faction dependent on them.
    • Space Stations would be worth more than the resource investment after Station Blueprints are back. Losing or gaining a highly specialized factory would be big.
    • Black markets for proprietary machinery and materials.
    • Limiting some factories to belts due to gas cloud access would make key factories impossible to hide in the middle of nowhere.
      • Might be good, might be bad. Maybe leave room for factories of lesser potential to be hidden.
    • Hegemonic Corporations could have key strengths targeted.

That's it for now, I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on the ideas presented. Improve or roast the ideas to your delight.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
7
#2
Asteroid Ores: Every asteroid contains traces of varying ores.
  • The type and location of the ore will determine the presence and quantity of these impurities.
  • Even within the same region, there might be variances in ore purity from one asteroid to another.
  • Direct measurement of exact material distribution in an ore is not possible.
  • These impurities won't interfere with existing recipes.
  • Some rare ores only exist as impurities within other ores.
    • Some of these are so rare, identifying them even would be an accomplishment.
Purification Process: Introduce methods to separate elements from a compound.
  • Machines used for this purpose are inaccurate. There's a varying degree of material loss, and the unwanted material removal percentage differs.
  • No two machines, even of the same type, will produce identical results.
Those 2 points don't have sense since we will have ore in refined form which already technically in the game. Later we will get a way to mass production of them and make custom alloys by mixing them. I think it is too late to make changes to already done mechanic.

  • Machine Calibration:
    • Machines can be calibrated to achieve desired results. Calibration engineers can set the magnitude and direction of a change, but the result will be random.
    • De-facto, we're manipulating machine states indirectly.
    • Calibration data isn't storable, and relocating a machine resets its settings.
such calibration will end up like Rust farming, till first perfect alloy. + problem described next

Branding: Alloys can be branded, for example, “BIO electroPlus 05” or “ITC plasmaAlloy 3001” during production.
  • Company names or player names requires authorization to be used in brands in order to prevent Auction House Counterfeits.
  • Typically, only the primary material in an alloy is identifiable. For instance, in auctions, you might encounter descriptions like “Nhurgite Alloy - BIO electroPlus 05”, “Ymrium Alloy - ITC plasmaAlloy 3001” “Bastium Alloy - Pegren DurBeam-X0007” or “Lukium Alloy - Unbranded.”
  • Manufacturing and Alloys:
    • Custom machines can be crafted using various alloy combinations.
    • The resulting machine can range in efficiency: some might be subpar, others as efficient as existing machinery, and a few could surpass them.
    • When a machine component requires multiple alloys, it's divided into sub-parts. Each sub-part is dedicated to a specific alloy, influencing the final machine attributes. Sub-parts are only relevant from a manufacturing point of view and don't require 3d models.
    • Developers can add more sub-parts or sub-parts of sub-parts as a way of balancing things or deepening the complexity of a late stage industrial ecosystem.
    • The manufacturing machines themselves, along furnaces and material science machines might be subject to optimized production. Perhaps sufficiently refined machines allows for production of parts where more sub-parts are considered.
Whole that article don't really fits the mechanics we have now. The items we have now are pretty unique, and those which are not like coordinate chip for capital or custom module, are not really friendly with current market. How do you imagine such be sold on market when every piece is custom (if they have "quality"). The market we have now don't really support uniqueness of the objects it sells. Even if they implement a model like that, the most that you can expect will be "custom module" type that will not be trade-able (on market) since it is not standardized, the name alloy has don't change it's composition, what will prevent me from naming my alloy "Utra-top tire mega alloy" which composition of 99% valkite and 1% bastium, and then selling this as good one. if we go the way that every alloy will have it's own page in market there will be thousands of such custom alloys and then good luck sorting them.
About modules, if the thing you named machines are modules (Generator unit, Mining laser, etc) , using such custom alloys.
1st: To Implement that devs will have to add huge amount of parameters to already existing materials so that would make sense. For example lets look at the common battery, It use Vokarium which is "Ductile and light metal that is commonly used in electronics as a power transfer medium. " and now you want to replace it with your alloy so materials like: Tengium, Ukonium, Arkanium, Xhalium and other should get a parameter that will define why do those "used in electronics" and what better/worst and that is only 1 case of usage.
2nd the same as described earlier is trade problems.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 14, 2021
Messages
11
#3
Well, The Idea is indeed very interesting, since you want to solve the issue that each T2 generator is the same, and no trade is needed, except for some ores, or newbies bying high end items. But there are a few Issues:
- This game is not a 'gear equip to do stuff' game. Ship design and construction will be unnessearily complex, if you don't know, what archetype of items you are going to use, much less, how their performance characteristics are.
- How to make things interchangable with each other? How to set up productions, if 'exutium 301' is not something everyone may produce within tolerances?
 
Joined
Oct 27, 2021
Messages
2
#4
Personally I think that some item variance could work, but only within certain tolerances. Take Albion Online for example; they have various "qualities" for items that can be sold (normal, good, outstanding, excellent, and masterpiece) but the quality only affects the item power of the item (basically more IP = more damage/stats). I think we could maybe make items have quality levels, but it would just have to be like an outstanding thruster takes slightly less fuel or provides a little more thrust. Since we have predefined possibilities for what the item could be they could be sold on the market, you'd just need a column for the quality of the item.

Maybe the purity of the refined ore will affect the quality, with some randomness? Maybe if you refined charodium ore into "good charodium" and that makes up 50% of the item, using "good charodium" and say "normal vokarium" making up the other half, you'd have a 50/50 chance to get a "good" item vs a "normal" item. Or an industrial machine that's well-maintained could add a bonus to the roll as well.
 

pavvvel

Veteran endo
Joined
Aug 31, 2021
Messages
222
#5
Good ideas that require detailed study. It is especially important to pay attention to the protection of the game from cheaters. For example, Elite Dangerous, which is also P2P, where players constantly use cheating, trainers, since the ship is hosted by the player and the player's client, they have the opportunity to use cheating. Therefore, I am afraid that in Starbase, if you make a unique alloy, players will also be able to cheat (Suddenly the player will be able to use the trainer for the alloy being created) and there will be no way to convict them of fraud.

If I read it correctly, it is suggested that the faction leaders could craft more "strong" items. Such an idea is bad. All players should have exactly the same opportunities (I'm sorry if I misread your idea).

A lot of attention is paid here to the influence of corporations. Yes, bringing players together is good. But I am sure that for a good game balance, it is necessary to take into account that single players are not infringed. Too strong a need to be in a team forces players to get incomplete pleasure (to listen to the orders of self-proclaimed kings). When you propose a game change towards corporations, you must immediately propose changes that will help single players as well.

In general, thank you for your idea. You think well. You don't offer nasty things like "personal warp for ordinary ships to evade pvp" or "the disappearance of the ship from the game after the player closed the game (combat logging) ". Thank you for the adequate attitude to the game.
 
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Askannon

Veteran endo
Joined
Feb 13, 2020
Messages
105
#6
Another issue is how parts and materials are coded.
Is the part referencing the properties by a key/ID? If so, introducing custom materials would not work or would inflate the material database with essentially infinite entries.
If parts store the properties instead, there won't be much issue as it would be just editing the existing data, but I really doubt that SB has this, as it is almost illegally stupid to save so much data, just for one object that can be used possibly thousands of times.

Don't get me wrong, I would very much like custom alloys and material mixtures to be in game, but I see the difficulty of introducing it.
 
Joined
May 26, 2023
Messages
3
#7
You're correct with the downsides. Thank you so much for the detailed and thoughtful analysis, Niknik! I'm honored by your engagement.

- How to make things interchangable with each other? How to set up productions, if 'exutium 301' is not something everyone may produce within tolerances?
With this mess of a system suggested, interchangability would be rough, and having uniform deliveries of machine parts would simplify things, although a better machine would still be a better machine, take a t2 thruster vs t1 thruster for instance; a heterogenous supply of them on a ship is still better than pure t1 for some turns, but perhaps not forward drive. As far as the ore tolerances go, the rarity and exclusivity would be the value proposal, assuming that trade would be there.

Maybe the purity of the refined ore will affect the quality, with some randomness? Maybe if you refined charodium ore into "good charodium" and that makes up 50% of the item, using "good charodium" and say "normal vokarium" making up the other half, you'd have a 50/50 chance to get a "good" item vs a "normal" item. Or an industrial machine that's well-maintained could add a bonus to the roll as well.
Cool suggestion!

Good ideas that require detailed study. It is especially important to pay attention to the protection of the game from cheaters. For example, Elite Dangerous, which is also P2P, where players constantly use cheating, trainers, since the ship is hosted by the player and the player's client, they have the opportunity to use cheating. Therefore, I am afraid that in Starbase, if you make a unique alloy, players will also be able to cheat (Suddenly the player will be able to use the trainer for the alloy being created) and there will be no way to convict them of fraud.

If I read it correctly, it is suggested that the faction leaders could craft more "strong" items. Such an idea is bad. All players should have exactly the same opportunities (I'm sorry if I misread your idea).

A lot of attention is paid here to the influence of corporations. Yes, bringing players together is good. But I am sure that for a good game balance, it is necessary to take into account that single players are not infringed. Too strong a need to be in a team forces players to get incomplete pleasure (to listen to the orders of self-proclaimed kings). When you propose a game change towards corporations, you must immediately propose changes that will help single players as well.

In general, thank you for your idea. You think well. You don't offer nasty things like "personal warp for ordinary ships to evade pvp" or "the disappearance of the ship from the game after the player closed the game (combat logging) ". Thank you for the adequate attitude to the game.
Thank you for once again honoring me with your time! I didn't consider the company vs lone wolf dichotomy, that was certainly a mistake that I would not have realised without your feedback. Thank you for making me a better thinker!

Another issue is how parts and materials are coded.
Is the part referencing the properties by a key/ID? If so, introducing custom materials would not work or would inflate the material database with essentially infinite entries.
If parts store the properties instead, there won't be much issue as it would be just editing the existing data, but I really doubt that SB has this, as it is almost illegally stupid to save so much data, just for one object that can be used possibly thousands of times.

Don't get me wrong, I would very much like custom alloys and material mixtures to be in game, but I see the difficulty of introducing it.
Thank you for sharing the feedback, great stuff! I'm not familiar with how the database works, but if the proposal is problematic from that point of view, it no doubt deserves to be culled. I suppose rendering the material information while turning them into parts would be suitably lossless in terms of relevant information. I wonder to what degree you could get around the data muiltiplication issues by using part-by-part functions translating materials to properties. Perhaps the materials themselves shouldn't be too hard to save as vectors containing sub materials? I don't wonder how large a part of the server memory is dedicated to materials now vs after the thought experiment.
 
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