Nuanced Thruster System Through Simpler Mechanics (All Ships Can Go Max Speed)

XenoCow

Master endo
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
395
#1
Preface
Following the discussino in @kiiyo 's thread about adding medium, long thrusters, I came up with this idea to help add room for creativity when it comes to thrusters. Also, I'd like to note that this change could work better in conjunction with another suggestion I made, see addendum.


Basics of Idea
I suggest that all ships can travel at the max speed (currently 150m/s). In this version of the thrust model, thrusters, would impart force on the ship, rather than speed, so as long as that force is greater than the space jelly, the ship will accelerate forwards up to the maximum speed. Ships with very few thrusters would take a long time to get to max speed and ships with many thrusters would get to max speed quickly.


Effect Considerations
Combat:
For combat ships, they would likely want many thrusters to be able to quickly change direction, but with fewer, could still catch up to or run away from any adversaries. Large crewed ships would be able to keep pace with their lighter fighter escorts without being made completely of thrusters, leaving more room for armor and weapon systems.

Cargo Hauling / Mining:
Those that have large loads to carry would benefit from this change as they could save weight and upfront resources on the fewer number of thrusters needed to get to max speed. Asteroids may become a larger worry as slow acceleration could lead to crashes (this isn't necessarily bad since asteroids are one of the only threats out in the belt).

Piracy
Piracy would become more difficult since even a tiny ship or a fully laden hauler could keep up max speed and could not be caught from behind. Long range scanners or weapons (emp missiles?) would be necessary to intercept or slow the victims down. In the interim, mining would be very safe since pirates could be outrun. In some ways, this would make piracy more like lions against gazelles, rather than hawks against rabbits. The long range scanners are in the works, so this problem may not be a problem soon.

Devices
This new thruster model would allow for devices like solar sails and ion drives. Both are very low thrust, low fuel consumtion (0 fuel in case of sail) that benefit from long duration flights. Haulers between the moons and stations could become much more efficient with the fuel savings of these kinds of propulsion devices that could maintain max speed for a long time after the long acceleration to those speeds.

Acceleration Forces
This suggestion would not fix the "thruster wall" problem that Kiiyo (and others) would like to fix. However, if it is mixed with my idea for acceleration based frame stress, see addendum, then it may have a shot. Thruster walls wouldn't go away complexly, but would be more like drag racers as they would only be viable on huge bulky ships that can't have much armor or else have too much inertia, or tiny ships that are small enough as to not be very much of a threat in combat due to the limited load they could carry.


Addendum
Perhaps instead of reducing the acceleration possibility, add inertia to ships. So, if a player wants to be able to turn on a dime, their ship will have to have a strong frame and light materials otherwise it'll tear itself to pieces if it changes direction too quickly. The damage doesn't have to be immediate, it could be a slow stress, a reduction in armor value so that players could pull out all the stops for a short while but prolonged abuse will be costly.

Essentially, if you want to protect your ship, the max thrust on levers would have to be toned down or the lever acceleration reduced. I could also imagine a button that would then take off all the limitations for an awesome last ditch effort.

This could then warrant a new sensor, and accelerometer so pilots can be warned if they're pushing their ships too hard.

Additionally, this would help to make the distinction between large and small ships more useful. Small fighters that want to be agile will be forced to use light armor, thus making them easier to destroy if hit. The big ships could then use their large frames and slow acceleration to pack on durable armor that maneuverable ships could not.

P.S.
I think that Kiiyo's idea for medium thrusters is still a good idea and could fit into this model nicely to further give players more choice.
 

CalenLoki

Master endo
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
644
#2
I'm against the idea.
Here's why:

1. It takes top speed out of design choice, as it's constant for all ships. While current strongly encourage going top speed, it still allows room for not doing so. So it limits creativity.

2. Current thrusters already impart force, not speed. Top speed is just state where thruster force equals drag. So you're suggesting constant drag (drag=mass*x) instead of current almost linear drag (drag=mass*velocity^1.1*x). It's even further from real world aerodynamic drag (=mass*velocity^2*x) which just feels natural to play with.

3. It doesn't affect combat ship thruster spam, as it's acceleration that matters the most in dogfight, not top speed.

4. It makes long distance travel extremely cheap. Just cut off all the thrusters except minimum after reaching top speed, and you travel for almost free. It not only encourage people to spread wider around the belt (longer travel times), but also reduce the importance of resource management. Both when designing ship and assembling the fleet supply lines.

5. Piracy should be fought against, not run away or hidden from. It's MMO without pve, so pvp encounters should be encouraged, not prevented by game features.


On positive side I like separation of acceleration and top speed. But it can be done with still leaving top speed choice to the ship designer. I.e. by adding thrusters that get their thrust increased or lowered based on current velocity. So you could build fast ships that accelerate slowly, or slow ships that jump to their max in seconds. Equivalent to ramjet and turboprop engines IRL.

Acceleration stress is already a thing. Acceleration happens only when you fire up your thrusters, and those create stress.
What you're asking for is basically flat nerf to beam structural integrity + damage over time when beams get close to the breaking threshold.
While making sturdy frame feels too easy ATM, I'm worried that such change would mostly hurt inexperienced shipbuilders, without affecting meta-chasing veterans much.
 

Cavilier210

Master endo
Joined
Nov 12, 2019
Messages
287
#3
No. Its not even remotely true that everyone maxes speed, nor is it true that most competitive anything strive for it. I don't think any of Okim's designs hit 150 m/s for example.

Also, there is no way to acceptably solve this complaint with only one game mechanic. It'll require interlocking systems, as well as approaching mechanic designs to reflect the speed/protection/firepower balance that real world ship design need to deal with.

Spamming also makes peoples ships larger targets, and with the power changes, ships will be getting larger.
 

XenoCow

Master endo
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
395
#4
Firstly, thanks for your considered response.

3. It doesn't affect combat ship thruster spam, as it's acceleration that matters the most in dogfight, not top speed.
This is what I was trying to address with the acceleration stress system, but not to your satisfaction it seems. 😅


2. Current thrusters already impart force, not speed. Top speed is just state where thruster force equals drag. So you're suggesting constant drag (drag=mass*x) instead of current almost linear drag (drag=mass*velocity^1.1*x). It's even further from real world aerodynamic drag (=mass*velocity^2*x) which just feels natural to play with.
. It makes long distance travel extremely cheap. Just cut off all the thrusters except minimum after reaching top speed, and you travel for almost free. It not only encourage people to spread wider around the belt (longer travel times), but also reduce the importance of resource management. Both when designing ship and assembling the fleet supply lines.
On positive side I like separation of acceleration and top speed. But it can be done with still leaving top speed choice to the ship designer. I.e. by adding thrusters that get their thrust increased or lowered based on current velocity. So you could build fast ships that accelerate slowly, or slow ships that jump to their max in seconds. Equivalent to ramjet and turboprop engines IRL.
I seem to have done a poor job at describing the situation I was suggesting. I think all of these points are directly related to that lack of clarity in my post. I'd like thrusters to need to be engaged the whole time, but, as you suggest, provide diminishing returns as the velocity increases (presumably as the drag increases). The only change is that the drag curve is shifted in a way that... I think I'm tying my brain in knots over this. I think I'll leave this stuff to the developers. Or maybe it's too late to be thinking about such things.

What you're asking for is basically flat nerf to beam structural integrity + damage over time when beams get close to the breaking threshold.
Currently can you fly a weak ship up to full speed if you accelerate slow enough to that velocity? With this idea I'm trying to create a situation where high speeds need to be slowly accelerated to or ships be light enough that all your mass can be moved safely. It was more anti-huge fighters than directly tackling the thruster spam.
 

kiiyo

Well-known endo
Joined
Jul 11, 2020
Messages
76
#5
No. Its not even remotely true that everyone maxes speed, nor is it true that most competitive anything strive for it. I don't think any of Okim's designs hit 150 m/s for example.
>competitive
>okim's ships

I nearly choked on my sandwich. Thanks for the laugh.
 

Cavilier210

Master endo
Joined
Nov 12, 2019
Messages
287
#6
No one is flying through the belt at max speed. Miners don't need to be speed demons.

I'm not sure how you define a competitive miner, but Okim's are the ones I prefer for the task, because they aren't about a single minded pursuit of wasteful resource expenditure.
 

CalenLoki

Master endo
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
644
#7
Math is the best language for describing stuff like that.

"All ships can travel 150m/s" means that megahauler with a single manoeuvring thruster can go max speed if it either spend a lot of time accelerating or use short time boosters (then continue for almost free).
Pseudo code for that would be:
[if thrusters>0 then drag=0]
Aka no drag for active ships.

Other drag equation that would allows ships with weak thrust to slowly accelerate to top speed is constant drag, independent of velocity. That would require some minimal thrust to drag ratio to move
[Drag=mass]

Another way would be treating spece jelly as non-newtonian fluid. So increase drag based on recent velocity changes. Something like [drag=mass*velocity^2*(1+magnitude(current velocity vector-velocity vector second ago))]
That formula is for "realistic-like" exponential drag, but would work with others too

Either of those would allow ships with weak thrust to reach high speed over time.

Here are various alternative formulas.
1617453931899.png

IMO the way to go is exponential ^3 (or at least ^2), so you need 3.5 times more thrust:mass to reach 150m/s than to reach 100m/s.
It would be high enough that hardly anyone would try reaching it, leading to wider spectrum.

I'd also buff big ships by making them less affected by drag. [drag=mass^(2/3)*speed^3]
So i.e. 8 times heavier ship requires only 4x more thrust to reach the same speed. So is 2x more efficient.
It would be also kind of realistic as well, as it'd use "surface" rather than "volume" of ship for drag equation.
1617455914023.png
 

kiiyo

Well-known endo
Joined
Jul 11, 2020
Messages
76
#8
No one is flying through the belt at max speed. Miners don't need to be speed demons.

I'm not sure how you define a competitive miner, but Okim's are the ones I prefer for the task, because they aren't about a single minded pursuit of wasteful resource expenditure.
A competitive miner goes max speed. There is no reason to not go max speed, no reason not to minimize the amount of time you spend making and eating sandwiches.
 

Kenetor

Veteran endo
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
199
#9
all ships travelling max speed is BORING and bad for gameplay, without variety in speed, there is no need for better designs, there would be no chasing anyone as once at max speed you would never gain ground on them.
Also picturing the centurio going around like a fighter is just broken in my opinion.
Why don't we leave the game balance to the people who make games for a living ya?
 

CalenLoki

Master endo
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
644
#10
Why don't we leave the game balance to the people who make games for a living ya?
Because people who make games for a living are not omniscient superhuman beings, and can get new, good ideas from players.
That's the entire purpose of "Game suggestions" section.

Centurio wouldn't "go around like a fighter". It would go in straight line like a fighter, but would took 10 times more to turn around and accelerate the other way. Big ships going fast is realistic. I.e WW2 era battleships were often faster than frigates/corvettes.

But I agree on all ships going the same speed is boring.
 

Cavilier210

Master endo
Joined
Nov 12, 2019
Messages
287
#11
A competitive miner goes max speed. There is no reason to not go max speed, no reason not to minimize the amount of time you spend making and eating sandwiches.

If you're flying inside the belt at max speed, you're just asking to waste a lot of money on repairs and ship replacements. That is not an equation for competitiveness.

WW2 era battleships were often faster than frigates/corvettes.
That's misleading. Their combat speeds were faster. Their cruising speeds were not faster than frigates or corvettes. Which the entire issue is that people want their cruising speed to be max speed.

However, I think looking at this with just thrusters as they are will ultimately lead to silliness, and new mechanics need to be looked at.

Instead of asking what players want, which is an "I win" button, and to be untouchable, we should be looking at what we know of the devs vision, which is WW2-esque ship combat. That means large ships are slow in general compared to fighters/bombers/torpedo boats. That each general size of ship needs a use and job.

They want piracy to be a viable option, that means that max speed will not be easily or consistently attainable by large ships and miners (especially miners).

I get the feeling that distance is part of their idea of defensive measures. Meaning the entire belt is not meant to traversed easily by anyone, and that this distance and travel time investment means slower strategic combat (war). Can I say the game has all necessary mechanics to achieve this vision, or that I fully agree with it? No, of course not. However, if anything, the devs should go more the way of Calenloki's proposal on speed than Xenocow's, because if anything, piracy as a viable gameplay option demands it.
 
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