Starbase's Top Issues #9: The Death of a Dream - The SSC

Vexus

Master endo
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
276
#1
Hello,

From my experience, this has been the most controversial topic I've tried to bring up. I've alluded to this topic in my other posts and have called out the issue since Alpha access to Starbase. I am unprepared to fully explain the issue right now, but I will give it a shot. Hopefully I can convey the point I want to make where it is obvious to see the problem at hand.

The dream of an open-world single-universe MMO where players would be building their ships and going out into the game world, fighting other players, attacking enemy stations and rebuilding after all the chaos was heavily promoted to players. The first mention of ship design came from this video:


This video shows manual ship construction. Even the first video revealing Starbase showed vast amounts of ship building, ship destruction, ship and station destruction/raiding, and ship and station repair. My mind was blown at the reality that months after a raid, I could perhaps still see the bullet holes in the walls of my station that stand as a reminder of the battle.

All the early ships shown in Starbase videos were made "by hand" in a way - they had visible wiring, open areas to move around the ship, generators and propellant tanks in accessible areas of a ship and so on. They were well designed as if the devs built them by hand, taking into account the physical reality of having to move around the game world to place objects, wiring, and all the details that make a ship a ship. It was beautiful for many reasons, because it did what no one else had done before in making the scope of what was possible to be built based upon the physical limitations of the player - where the player could move, see and reach. As such, ships had accessible pilot chairs, interior designs, interior plating, conveniences for hatch access to certain parts and so much more.

In contrast (which I'll offer a lot of), we now have players accessing a pixel of their pilot chair to teleport into the chair, bottled into tight chambers with exploit-level bug use to eject from the enclosed cockpit. No regard for the accessibility of the ship is regarded. I'll of course get into why here in a bit.

In what I regard to be on of the absolute best Announcement Trailers of all time, Starbase showed off the dream of a physical universe:


The Announcement Trailer shows:
- Ships flying around a mega station, akin to a capital city
- Ships physically desiring to dock/land/stop around the city
- Ships with players opening their doors, welcoming friends
- Physical resources in the game world available for trade
- Purchasing weapons in the game world
- Installing parts and manually upgrading a ship with friends
- Repairing ship damage in the game world
- Modifying ships in the game world to add features to the ship
- Wiring the internals of a ship to "turn on the lights"
- Setting off into the game world with the modified ship and mining with friends
- Transporting physical material back to station
- An Empire vs. Kingdom underlying faction war story going on behind the scenes to drive player engagement
- Assaulting a station, complete with multiple ships, "docked" ships taking off to defend, physical damage per shot to ship parts, ship breaching with first person combat and ship hijacking, station damage, bullet holes in station walls, the chaos of large scale fights followed by the serenity of the aftermath
- Recovering damaged ships by cutting into the ship, rewiring and repairing the ship to a usable state to then bring it back to station (complete with a thruster not even working)
- Players actively repairing their station, then setting out into the game world once again

It's an absolute dream, and when I saw it, I recognized it was real - everything they showed was the current state of the game. No CGI nonsense, just actual gameplay.

I understand what happened in terms of how things veered away from this dream; the scope of the game going from whatever it was to an MMO changed what was possible and what was practical, and many things didn't come across as expected. I get that. But the point of this post is to point out the thing that kind of ruined the game from the start.

The biggest issue in Starbase actually comes down to a single "feature" which is the Space Ship Creator or Ship Designer Workshop - the SSC as we all know it.

On Discord, when I brought this up, people told me that the SSC is the only thing they really enjoy in Starbase. I have tried to point out that the reason the SSC is the only thing they enjoy is because the game itself has been killed off due to the presence of the SSC. Unfortunately, it seems this is an issue many people are unable to see the consequences of, as they are too fond of the ease of creation.

The SSC is itself a separate game from Starbase. It is a 3D Computer Aided Drafting program with limitations. Like I said in the PTU post, limitations make a game - the limitations on each piece in the game of Chess is what makes Chess a game. The SSC has limitations on what you can design, unlike a CAD program used in real-life architecture design which gives you lines and points, the Starbase SSC gives you a limited number of pieces to work with that make it a game. You are forced to use the pieces given to you to create something, and the other rules regarding "what makes a ship" means the game of designing a ship is a fun puzzle to solve.

Unfortunately, when paired with the MMO vision of Starbase, the SSC does immense damage to the game of Starbase by competing with players. As players withdraw out of the game of Starbase into the game of the SSC, they are removed from the game world, with no incentive to work with other players. Instead, they are incentivized to spend hours upon hours of solo-playtime refining a ship that they could not practically create in the game of Starbase without the aid of the game of the SSC's unique ability to work on a ship from any direction, to bolt parts from the back-side, to affix parts in strange positions otherwise made impossible and so on.

In short, the game of the SSC, and the game of Starbase, are wholly incompatible. The ships you can produce in the SSC are impossible to make "by hand" in the game of Starbase. As such, mixing to the two creates many problems for the devs, for players, and again, destroys the playerbase who are trying to play the game of the SSC to improve their success in the game of Starbase, only to find their lack of involvement in the game of Starbase renders the game of Starbase "dead."

The game of Starbase should NOT have the SSC at all, except for devs to use to make their ships which fit the theme of the game as they see fit. They could be the ones producing high-efficiency ships that cause players to buy those ships instead of hand-making their own. The Empire and Kingdom fighter ships for example have unique flavors of behavior, weapons and destruction, where it really fit the theme of the game. They could have thrown players into a Kingdom or Empire fighter ship and set players attacking each other. Instead, players skipped all that (which wasn't available anyway) and instead immediately went into the SSC to produce highly specialized, impossible to make in the live game world ships that disregarded everything the devs had made to that point.

Almost all the "store" ships were avoided because players could easily design something better, having the time and tools to create something better than the devs. Players don't care so much for looks and decals and the design. They mostly want to satisfy efficiency for their time. So, the SSC became the game of choice for players who wanted to succeed in the game of Starbase.

There are so many problems that stemmed from this behavior. I find it almost impossible to know where to begin on all this, because nearly every problem stems from this one feature (the SSC), which should have remained a dev tool.

I'll start with player behavior and their drive towards efficiency. Without the SSC, players would have been facing the live game world of Starbase with their efficient minds. In doing so, they would have had to work with other players, sourcing parts, resources and other means to produce the items they needed to prototype ships build inside the live game world (even in the instances would have been fine; some area to place parts in peace is fine). The need for ship parts means the market would be filled with parts as players would rather buy a part than spend the 10-20 minutes producing them. Players would also face the reality that if they did not acquire resources, someone else would do it first, thus hurting their efficiency in efforts. Meaning, players would be building to a point where it was "good enough" for the current state of the game, to then go out and do something in the game world, to then return, and slowly over time, larger ships would be produced once the resources and time available accumulated to a point to make it worth it. This would have led to a natural progression level of players as they built larger and larger ships over time - one-off ships that could not be easily reproduced, lending them to become popular, maybe even being hired out for specific missions/resource acquisition and so on.

Again, it is hard to convey the thousands of problems that stem from a single critical issue like the SSC. I will try. For now, let's take a quick break and watch some guy in Space Engineers manually create a ship in the game world.


I never played Space Engineers. I am a veteran of online MMO PvP games. I know what makes these games work, and it's a simple formula that seems to be hard for developers to grasp - do not split your playerbase. Facilitate as much player-to-player interaction as possible. Anything that causes players to not interact with one another should be avoided. It's like... opening a restaurant, you want to ensure the doors are open, the host is friendly, the service is quick, the food is good; but then devs come along and put massive concrete walls at their doors and chain their silverware to the tables.

But, the making of this ship in Space Engineers is well balanced - the player has something they want to do, and will make a ship that satisfies getting to that point, but not wanting to go too big too quickly. The player needs a basic ship before they have a bigger ship. The player needs to know how things work, before they can fathom a huge drill that consumes planets. In short, the player needs to learn how to walk, before they learn to run.

In Starbase, with the SSC as a competing game mode, players go from a crawl, straight into a sprint. There is no walking, and no running. You immediately go from recognizing all the store-bought ships are slow and bulky and plated with weird non-functional plates, to opening up the SSC and purposefully crafting a monster; a specialized ship dedicated to the purpose you had in mind. And it took hours, days, weeks even to do - all the while, you were not interacting with friends or other players in any meaningful way.

Instead of the SSC, it would be viable for players to make a ship and then save an in-game Blueprint to a chip as shown in the Moon Mining feature video at ~3:23 here:


Then players would still have to manufacture parts, but would still need to do the manual work of wiring, meaning ships would still need to be made in ways that either allows the blueprint to be filled in partially before doing wiring, then completing more stages of the Blueprint (players would manage this if necessary) or otherwise just build a ship that can be wired after the parts are fit in place. This would also play along with the factory-style production we saw in other feature videos, meaning the production and transportation of parts around a station, allowing companies to commit to their own basic fighter design, for example, and then set up the manufacturing process for that fighter ship so they can mass-produce them for war. This would be a lot of gameplay!

In an MMO, if my friends are working on something, I'm incentivized to go check it out and help. You see this in every related game. In Starbase, however, your friend is off in the SSC, playing not-Starbase, but a CAD program. You cannot help, and even if you join his designer instance, your efforts to help are minimal.

If however, you came home from work and your friend tells you that he's working on a ship design in the game world of Starbase, you would be happy to log in and see what he's got, offer suggestions, bring parts over to him, craft parts for him, and help him accomplish his goals, leading to vast amounts of gameplay and player interaction. Because you spent time helping, you now become invested in the success of the ship, and both incur the feelings of joy when it begins to fully work and accomplish its task (mining for example) and also feel the sorrow of loss when it is wrecked by either combat or collision - or perhaps some oversight, like forgetting to bring extra fuel.

The SSC killed player interaction. Not just killed, but actively kills player interaction to this day. The only time other players are involved in "ship design" today is after a ship has been "perfected" and players want to try out how it works against someone else's ship. There's no reason to not perfect a ship in the game of the SSC before importing it into the game of Starbase, so all interactions are void of depth. It is like a bunch of people on the internet telling each other what fancy sports car they own - it does not compare to the interaction of working mechanically on a sports car as a team and working to optimize such a thing. The gameplay of players interacting on designs, interacting on helping each other complete designs, and helping each other secure and mass produce designs, repair damage, and deal with all the things that come from the live game world of Starbase - all this is lost when the game of the SSC is competing for player fun and attention.

Without the dev tool of the SSC removed from player hands, the game will suffer this fate. Imagine World of Warcraft, where you could leave the game universe to craft your own raid-armor that would drop on bosses, but it takes you 100's of hours to design one piece of raid armor, so you never play the actual game. By putting the end-game gameplay of ship design into a second game - the SSC - Starbase bled out of player interaction.

Keep in mind, Starbase has the MOST meaningful player interaction in a game currently on the market. For example, Minecraft is a game which has meaningful player interaction, but without the MMO aspect. That interaction is why Minecraft has been so successful. The only reason Starbase is not continually rising in player activity is because of the competing modes (SSC, PTU, widespread safe-zones) that took away player interaction. Minecraft loses out on player interaction in a strange way due to anyone having their own servers. By offering a solution for players to exist in the same universe, Starbase offers meaningful player interaction where you see the work of other players in the live game universe - a single universe. That brings it to a whole new level that has not been reached before.

I recommend removing the SSC from players. I recommend a wipe, alongside the big update coming, including all ships and blueprints. I recommend removing "cheat mode" from the PTU. Anyone who complains that it will be a problem or that it will ruin the game - there were 13 people online when I played with my friend this past weekend. My recommendations come from a place of love for the game, not to ruin it, but to constrict the behavior of players where the singular game of Starbase is the shining dream the devs and all the players initially saw. The SSC was revealed to players approximately 6 months after the Announcement Trailer. It should have remained a dev tool. It is hard for devs to know what they should give to players and what they shouldn't; there's not a lot of examples regarding what makes or breaks an MMO. But, there are some basic rules and if Starbase can adhere to them, it can and will grow over time.

- Do not split your playerbase
- Make player actions matter
- Do not prevent your players from interacting with one another
- Establish meaningful things for your players to do which brings them together (another post, perhaps)

There are a few more, but these are the core of it. Starbase has 10/10 "make player actions matter" but suffers in splitting the playerbase across the game of the SSC and the game of "cheat mode" PTU, as well as not having a fully fleshed out "hotspot" idea such as players working together to build warp gates to new moons (such a thing would drive economic interest, PvP, and so much more, as long as it's not shut down by safe-zone mechanics). The great thing is all of this is possible and within a short reach if the game of Starbase can tighten up its approach and really hone in on what it means to be an MMO.

I love Starbase, and therefore I have love for all those who have worked on the game. I don't think Frozenbyte messed up or... did anything wrong, per se. Instead I recognize this is uncharted territory, with new technology that is way ahead of its time. All I discuss comes from a place of love and out of a desire to see the game successful. We've had the 3 split-games, and I welcome the day when the single game, the dream game of Starbase, is given to players so that they may interact, have fun, make lifelong friends, and always remember Starbase as the beautiful game that it is.
 

Vexus

Master endo
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
276
#2
Instead of editing above, I'll add some more details in this separate post.

Another thing the SSC killed off was the player market for making and selling ships. The ability to "print" off ships from the SSC meant players began selling blueprints of ships, but outside of the brief transaction in game (which amounts to an "email" to send credits) there was nothing more to it. The transfer of the ship happened in Discord, not in Starbase. Players never interacted, never saw each other, and never had to build trust with each other in game (which then establishes friendships, and an invested playerbase).

The SSC removed any reason for players to produce multiple ships - which is lots of good gameplay as companies begin to help each other manufacture ships for others. Players couldn't establish their own edge in the marketplace by selling their ships to others. And in the same vein, since players could produce huge purpose-built ships, the limiting factor of playing the actual game of Starbase wasn't ever a consideration.

It would have been much more appropriate for players to showcase their own ships using in-game advertisement, to then have people reach out to them or their company to them acquire a ship from that player or company, to then use that ship and come back for another if they lost or destroyed their original purchase.

"Insurance" then could be easily added as a percentage credit reimbursement when a player abandons their ship, meaning many more "derelict" ships being left out there in the game universe to stumble upon. Instead of printing off a new copy from the SSC, players would seek out to purchase ships from another player. If they could not find their original ship vendor, now perhaps they look around for something else, and so the market can control what becomes popular and successful. Sure this adds some complexity now so fraud cannot be done, such as insuring and then recycling a ship to earn credits/ore/value exceeding the actual cost of the ship, but still, the point is that player interaction and gameplay blossom (perhaps it would be more cost effective to find someone to tow in your damaged ship for repairs instead of taking the insurance on it, for example).

Again, the game of the SSC is a competitor to the game of Starbase. As is the game of the PTU a competitor to the game of Starbase. They are similar, connected worlds with different rules that all compete for fun, where the game of Starbase has the hardest ruleset of the three, where it will be sought after last. The game of Starbase needs to be the gem that is routinely polished and displayed as the shining example, with nothing else competing with it for player attention.

I will also point out that so many sub-issues have come from the presence of the SSC. Balance issues arise as players make "meta" ships that either aren't possible or aren't time-efficient to make in a live game universe with threats around you. "Meta" armor wouldn't be a thing if it takes you 100 hours to put together such a ship, but your enemy makes 1 flimsy fighter ship per hour, sending 100 of their fighters to attack your single 100-hour ship. Natural balance begins to happen without the SSC involved, without the printing of ships, and all of it aligns with the physical universe Starbase promoted and dreams to be. There are many more balance issues here, but none of them really need to be mentioned, since the removal of the SSC solves all of them anyway. But, I'm sure with a little thinking it is possible for anyone to consider the many ways the current level of ship design problems wouldn't be a thing if the SSC wasn't in the picture.

Ship damage and combat balance would be much better off; like I said, a ultra-meta combat fighter that takes a long time to build would be at a disadvantage to a larger number of inferior ships, allowing a natural balance to be achieved through player interaction. Or, perhaps a company establishes themselves well enough to mass-produce their meta ship - great! This drives player interaction either way, and is healthy for the game as a whole.

Another issue with the SSC is "stacking" parts, such as weapon barrels and really anything, because the SSC allowed it. Where such a thing is much less practical to pull off in the live game universe. Honestly I never kept up with how this works but I'm pretty sure it's an SSC thing ;)

Next and finally for now, a personal story. One of my lifelong friends; I met him when playing an MMO. He and I were in the same town, and he called out in chat asking for anyone to help him. Normally, people ignore this - there's lots of chatter in an MMO. But for some reason, I was compelled to reach out to this guy and help him out. Today, he is a very close friend who is one of the people I've known the longest in my life.

In Starbase, there is nothing wrong with having your players come back to a station and asking, "Hey my ship isn't working right, can anyone help?" in Station chat. Then, players interact and make friends - lifelong friends! - from that one question. The presence of the repair mode, which is related to the SSC, eliminates these interactions. Stop killing off player interaction! I hurt when I consider the friendships which could have been formed, but which never were given the opportunity. All these other modes cut off so much interaction and communication. The multiple Origin stations with no theme. The safe zones. The SSC. The PTU. The "refuel" towers. It's too devastating to players, where they don't need each other anymore. And that is the reason for where we are at today. Not a fault of the devs, again as it is hard to tackle this problem for the first time, but instead, something to keep in mind when moving forward, to allow players to ... suffer - in a good way. To make them wait. To make it hard. So in the meantime, they can make friends and become invested in each other and in the game itself.
 
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XenoCow

Master endo
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
566
#3
The game of Starbase should NOT have the SSC at all, except for devs to use to make their ships which fit the theme of the game as they see fit. They could be the ones producing high-efficiency ships that cause players to buy those ships instead of hand-making their own.
While I mostly agree that many problems stem from the gameloop provided by the SSC, I am unsure whether the SSC is the part of that loop that needs to be removed. What I mean is that, as you have pointed out, the SSC has three abilities: design, build, and repair. If the design part was kept as is but only the build and repair parts moved solely out into the realm of "by hand," then I think you would find a good compromise where people could design and iterate ideas, but then still need to put effort into making them manufacturable. Just like real engineers now, they do their design on computers and paper and with scale models before actually making the thing. I think it would be too taxing on player's time to not allow them to design, to think, in a low cost environment.

Keeping the Design side of the SSC would still split the playerbase a little, but far less so since eventually those designers would either have to themselves or hire the help of others to build their ships and repair would also be a job option again.

I will also point out that so many sub-issues have come from the presence of the SSC. Balance issues arise as players make "meta" ships that either aren't possible or aren't time-efficient to make in a live game universe with threats around you. "Meta" armor wouldn't be a thing if it takes you 100 hours to put together such a ship, but your enemy makes 1 flimsy fighter ship per hour, sending 100 of their fighters to attack your single 100-hour ship. Natural balance begins to happen without the SSC involved, without the printing of ships, and all of it aligns with the physical universe Starbase promoted and dreams to be. There are many more balance issues here, but none of them really need to be mentioned, since the removal of the SSC solves all of them anyway. But, I'm sure with a little thinking it is possible for anyone to consider the many ways the current level of ship design problems wouldn't be a thing if the SSC wasn't in the picture.
This part of your discussion reminds me of my business class back in college. There is this shorthand tool for understanding a product or service called either the "Good, cheap, fast triangle" or "Pick any two":
SB_processTriangle.jpg


Players should be able to build a ship that fits on the left triangle. If they make it quickly, then they can only choose to make it cheap or high quality, but it would be very expensive. If they make one high quality, then it can only also be cheap or quick, etc. With build times being instant, there is no time element, besides design time, so players only are able to pick along the right line. Either the ship is good, or it's cheap. Meta ships are at the top of there being very expensive but high quality. Nobody picks low cost because it's always worse than the meta ships and the player numbers can't support swarms yet.
 

Vexus

Master endo
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
276
#4
By the way, thanks for all the replies. It's good to get some conversation on these things.

If the design part was kept
design and iterate ideas
I think it would be too taxing on player's time to not allow them to design, to think, in a low cost environment.
Keeping the Design side of the SSC would still split the playerbase a little
All these are related and yes, the splitting of the playerbase where when you log on, your friend is off in some instanced editor game you have no business being part of, who is there to refine his 100th iteration of his ship design in a low cost environment, is a problem; it means you're going to go play some other game.

The only solution to the main problem is to do away with the thing that splits the playerbase. Anything that disincentivizes playing with others should be avoided.

The fact that designing and iterating ideas would be costly and difficult means:
1. Not many will do it - they'll play the game with the things they have.
2. Those that do it will settle for smaller ships in general - "good enough" ships that serve their purpose.
3. Advanced designs will be highly prized, leading to reputation, poaching of talent, and all sorts of conflict between companies.
4. Mega companies will develop systems for mass production; no dev work required, to be honest.
5. Killing an advanced design fighter will feel good, because you know it meant something and had a time component to its creation, instead of it being one of a thousand potential spawns of your defeated enemy.

There's a lot more but yeah. All that gameplay is lost right now. In a hand-built universe, the words, "I don't know if that will work, let's try it," are real, where currently the gameplay is, "I already tested everything, don't change a thing." Part of the fun would be slapping things that "just work" together and making it happen with friends. Defeating an enemy ship and then bolting their random plate armor onto your own ship to repair your ship, for example, because you can't just fly into an instance and hit a repair button. Or connecting more and more crates in weird places all over your ship because you just want more space but aren't willing to redesign your frame because it takes time (anyone remember when we bolted literal ore blocks to our ships to haul more? that was fun!).

It all comes down to the fact that the SSC and the PTU are completely different games than Starbase, and compete with Starbase in terms of player engagement. If Starbase the game is to succeed, these other games must die - meaning, they need to not be part of the player's access. Only then will players play Starbase, and not play the SSC.
 
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XenoCow

Master endo
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
566
#5
While I agree that the SSC lowers the cost of designing and iterating on ideas, it seems like too valuable of a tool for people to want to give up. For example, even before the closed alpha, people were designing ships with Blender and this player made tool. What's to stop players from creating a designer as, if not more advanced than the SSC, albeit with no blueprint ability, that would completely take them out of the game while designing?

How, in your opinion, is the SSC different than using an external tool or even just paper and pencil to design a ship before building it in game? I could imagine players spending hours with paper and pencils to design a ship if they could not do it in-game. I know you aren't suggesting banning pencils, but I worry that removing any sort of design function from the game outside of the current "hand" building will just push players to design somewhere else.

Maybe something in the middle could be possible where players could design, in either an instance or otherwise, but have to fly around with their endo bodies, meaning that they could not squeeze into tiny holes or no-clip through parts. The ship would then have to be built by hand afterwards, but in the design process, you could have access to all or some subset of parts and one click add/delete. This version of the SSC could promote more player interaction if instead of an empty SSC room, you instead saw many players placing and deleting parts off of their ship designs while at the same time allowing players to design ships without yet having the resources. At least this way there would be an incentive to think about ship design in-game instead of off in a player made program or on paper.... Essentially, EBM but with individual parts and maybe not needing those parts in your inventory to place them.
 

Vexus

Master endo
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
276
#6
it seems like too valuable of a tool for people to want to give up.
I disagree. It kills the game of Starbase; no new player will know it is gone, and everyone else will get used to it. The "pain" of losing the SSC is the pain of losing cheat mode in any game - "it was so easy before, and now I have to play the game!" Not a valid complaint. Few will decide not to play with the reason being they can no longer design and print ships - point them to AutoCAD, and they can design and print ships all they want (on paper!). Note: there's little difference between someone designing a ship in AutoCAD and printing their designs on paper, to what currently is afforded to us with the SSC. The issue is players spend 100 hours designing a ship in the SSC, and then fly their ship away from other players 30 seconds after "printing" it, where vast amounts of player interaction are lost. Too valuable? I think it's too costly a tool to keep around, as no one playing Starbase will avoid sinking 100's of hours into it if the current state of the game is maintained, and as such, the current state of the game will be maintained (few players). (everyone will split into the SSC for 100's of hours if it is an option, player interaction will continue to dwindle, etc)

What's to stop players from creating a designer as, if not more advanced than the SSC, albeit with no blueprint ability, that would completely take them out of the game while designing?
Nothing would stop them outside of technical skill and time. They can and it's not an issue; third party tools are awesome. It's the ability to "print" ships from the SSC that's the problem. If the SSC was a third party tool, but you could never "print" a ship designed inside of it into the game of Starbase, it would slightly help the situation. At that point, players would still be incentivized to hand-build ships considering you cannot easily account for nuances of wiring and bolting access inside the SSC - meaning, it would be "easier" to just do it by hand in the game world instead of using the SSC, if the SSC couldn't "print" ships. The SSC is a dev tool, a cheat mode, a time saver, because it prints ships. If it could not print ships, it could be used as a concept tool, an idea tool, a "maybe" tool, but players would still have to make it happen in-game, and that would incentivize lots of interaction and player activity. Unfortunately, an SSC that couldn't print would still be too efficient for players to use, and they would sink time into it due to that efficiency vs. just playing with what they have - it matches the live game world too closely, where third party tools, no matter how good, are usually only able to produce a very close approximation. Another aspect of the third party tools of other games is... they usually only come out much, much later than the original game, well after the core gameplay is established where it can suffer that loss of player activity.

How, in your opinion, is the SSC different than using an external tool or even just paper and pencil to design a ship before building it in game?
1) Time. It takes time to translate any idea into the live game world. It requires problem solving skills, mechanical skills for keyboard controls/understanding how to manipulate in-game items and so on. You do none of this in the SSC (manipulating items) meaning someone who makes a great ship in the SSC might not be good at the game of Starbase, which may require manipulating items to become "good". Drawing a concept and then introducing it into the game can never be prevented, however it would often be more efficient to do both at the same time - having a large selection of parts to then piece together in game with friends to flesh out a concept, much like having a bin of Lego blocks and then trying to make a castle. Sure, you could draw it out, but when it comes time to place the pieces, you may find it ends up coming together a little different than you imaged or conceptualized. Either way, when it comes time to make the ship, you will be "drawing" your concept with friends in the live game world as you put together a ship idea, whether it is from your imagination or from a paper drawing. Right now the SSC is such an efficient use of time, and allows so many mechanics contrary to what is possible in the live game world (bolting from the back of objects for example),that the time cost is not there, and I reiterate all my other points regarding complexity, error, and the desire/need to play the game countering nearly every player's desire, even if they don't like doing it, to delve into the SSC and never play the game of Starbase.

2) Player interaction. Mind you, in your question, the SSC is both the external tool AND the creation mechanic for ships. It's not just someone who made a "Fortify" game to mimic building (someone made a game called Fortify which allows a player to design Rust bases in a 3rd party tool). Path of Exile has "Path of Building" for conceptualizing builds, for example. But implementing designs is still a player activity which requires player interaction and teamwork. Imagine you could "spawn" a fully fleshed out base in Rust from a Fortify blueprint. The game would die, as everyone would be spending time in Fortify designing their best bases, only to spawn them in completely on any live server they want. Get raided? Abandon that base and print/spawn another. The fact that it takes time and player interaction to build those bases in Rust is part of the fun factor. Starbase is missing that - missing out on your friends bringing you materials or the next part for the next stage of your build. So much player interaction is lost because we are able to fully spawn in completed, perfectly designed "bases." Part of why Rust works is no matter what, those bases are built by hand, and so it matters when you get raided and so on. Your perfectly placed objects in Fortify don't always match what you end up placing in the live game as well; the live game never matches completely with any 3rd party tool. If bases were "printed" in Rust (and when I say Rust I'm lumping together lots of those style games) then the meaning behind engaging with them would... well... be like ships in Starbase. Defeating a base would be "just print another" as defeating a ship in Starbase is "just print another."

There's probably more than 2 reasons but I'll move on ;)

in either an instance
Make anything except the live game universe more efficient, and players will flock there. If the physical blueprint system that was shown in the moon base video were live, and players could hand-build a ship, save a blueprint of it, install it into a device, and then have to make and spit out all the parts to then have the blueprint tool "suck in" all the parts to build the ship, this would make ship production easy, part of the game world, something you'd want friends to help out on in creating the parts, and so on. This would be "the most efficient way" of making ships - prototype something, then slot it for production. It is a nice middle ground, and would still require cabling/wiring/YOLOL to potentially "finish" the build (some player action to get it fully ready to go). But that would lead to players pre-crafting parts, stockpiling those parts, and investing into specific ship designs and playing the game with those ship designs while their "ship designer" is off trying to figure out some new contraption. Being forced to use what you have at hand incentivizes gameplay. If you knew you could wait 20 seconds and your Pawn would turn into a Queen in Chess, you'd never move until all your Pawns turned into Queens; because you have to work with what you have, you play the game of Chess. In the game of the SSC, you're incentivized to turn Pawn ships into Queens, and never make a Pawn ship, or any "piece" in-between; and once you're done, you can print infinite of them with no more effort than already mostly-automated mining.

(Non-buggy) EBM mode for individual ship parts (discarding the entire module system) is probably viable for ease of parts placement. Left-click to place, right-click to remove, as long as welding and bolting had to be done by hand outside of "build mode" to force players to work within the physical limitations of their endos.

I will reiterate that I really enjoy your discussions on all these posts; thanks for taking the time to reply!
 

XenoCow

Master endo
Joined
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Messages
566
#7
I think I did a poor job of explaining what I meant by "design." When I meant design, I meant something more like what you say here:
If it could not print ships, it could be used as a concept tool, an idea tool, a "maybe" tool, but players would still have to make it happen in-game, and that would incentivize lots of interaction and player activity.
Now, you do caveat that with the following statement, but let me talk more concretely about what I mean by the SSC as a "design tool"
Unfortunately, an SSC that couldn't print would still be too efficient for players to use, and they would sink time into it due to that efficiency vs. just playing with what they have - it matches the live game world too closely, where third party tools, no matter how good, are usually only able to produce a very close approximation.
What I mean is that the SSC could be used as a way to create blueprints, those blueprints could then allow players to physically build their ships to some kind of plan instead of free-form out in the world. That could take the form of the blueprint filler that currently has some work done on it, something more like how blueprints now allow you to repair your ship, or maybe something different. Personally, I would like the blueprints to only allow parts to easily snap together, so that players would have to place/weld, bolt, all the parts, but there would be visible instructions on where to do so.

Essentially, EBM but with individual parts and maybe not needing those parts in your inventory to place them.
And by this, I didn't mean that players could build their ships like this, this too would be design only. After which, the ship would then still need to be built with real parts and bolted together. This would just be a limit on designing of ships that a player could not physically build if he or she was doing so entirely in-universe. It would also promote interaction by allowing players to design together.

I've enjoyed our discussion too. No problem!
 

Vexus

Master endo
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
276
#8
What I mean is that the SSC could be used as a way to create blueprints, those blueprints could then allow players to physically build their ships to some kind of plan instead of free-form out in the world.
The issue is both the way the SSC takes players out of the game universe, and the way it allows building of ships far beyond what is reasonably feasible in the live game world.

This would be fine, but why not just let a hand-built ship be brought over to the "Blueprint Filler" device, and then press a button to "Save Blueprint" - you then have your prototype ship, and the ability to have the blueprint filler make copies while you spam out the parts necessary. Now friends are involved, crafting parts for the ship, making spreadsheets for the numbers of each part needed, so on and so forth, making the system efficient for their company. It's a lot of gameplay!

It also means ships that were made in-game, using the tools and, most importantly, *limitations*,available to every player (no back-face bolting like we see in a lot of ships now) - this means they can be replicated in-game and having a device that helps replicate them in-game (blueprint filler) makes sense and is not a problem (especially since it consumes electricity based on the size of the blueprint, right!? :) ).

Current gameplay: Sit in SSC for 100's of hours until you have a perfect ship, then print it off unlimited times instantly (if you have the resources) and go from zero-to-hero instantly.

Proposed gameplay: Hand-build and test a viable ship, being incentivized to use the ship in gameplay to see how it works and interacts with the game universe, working on the design with friends and only with the limits of the physical game universe which apply to all players. Bring "good enough" ship to Blueprint Device and create an imprint which exists for that device and only that device (you can make more if you want). Activate Blueprint Filler mode and drop parts in the game world and see the ship come together. Perform necessary wiring and other tasks to get the ship 100% how you want it, and then fly it off, ready to make another one (a good deal of time involved here, meaning players are incentivized to play the game, not just sit in an editor where afterwards they can print endless ships instantly).

In short, we use the reality that players will want to play other aspects of the game (or not! as some people might really enjoy being their company's builder/engineer!) to offset the need to sit in an offline designer which eliminates tons of player interaction. Even your company builder/engineer is going to appreciate some company member hanging out for a little while producing parts for him. That is where friendships are made and strengthened and players become more invested in the game, their hard work, their company, their friends and everything else.

"EBM"
EBM just needs to be removed completely. Hands-down the worst thing they added. I took a friend through the tutorial and when we got to that part, I was like "OMG how do I explain this situation... ugh..." it would have been much better to show him how to build a simple crate and bolt an extra crate onto the ship, instead of modules and how they connect and man... it was brutal to just walk a gamer friend through the thing. All the steps that developers take for granted, like where to stand to be able to craft (next to the bench), to why that even exists, to finding the module in the station inventory, not your own inventory like everything else, to having to drag the module onto your hotbar, to how to rotate these parts in another way not the same as the way I've been trying to help him learn how to rotate objects in the game world, to left-click to place and right-click to remove, to "damn I hope you placing that module in the wrong spot didn't just break your ship", and so much more...

Any talk of EBM should just be "remove it" until it's gone. Even the "ease" of placing parts. Let's just focus back to a) craft part b) place part into game world c) place part on ship d) bolt/weld part to ship.

It reminds me of how well Worlds Adrift did this. You placed an object, and from that object, spawned parts which then spawned into the game world which could then be placed on a ship. No inventory needed. It was a 3-step process. 1) place object-spawner 2) select part to spawn and spawn it 3) place part on ship. Simple is good. I'd love to see Starbase do that, making ship parts "spawn" from an object instead of appearing automagically in my inventory, or station inventory, arbitrarily. So much goodness can come from that kind of thing. Starbase could do well to reduce the steps from 4 to 3 by using a "part-crafting device" which again, should require electricity to run and perhaps a connection to resource containers which have the necessary resources in them.
 
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#9
I've built plenty of ships in the past that could theoretically be assembled by hand in the game world and I meticulously crafted all the parts for them before printing them from the SSC. I can say right now that I would have quit the game if I had to actually build those ships outside of the SSC, as it would take several times as long as putting them together in the SSC. I can't get friends to help for most parts, as I'd have to explain ahead of time exactly how I want things and I wouldn't end up saving much time.
Removing the SSC just adds a lot of extra tedium.
 

Vexus

Master endo
Joined
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Messages
276
#10
I can say right now that I would have quit the game if I had to actually build those ships outside of the SSC, as it would take several times as long as putting them together in the SSC.
Welcome to the discussion. Thanks for joining in.

I would contend that you would not have made such a ship, had you been forced to create it inside the game of Starbase instead of the game of the SSC. You would have settled for something sub-optimal to what you currently made, because of the limitations of the game of Starbase and the desire to play the game, not make a perfect ship. Your incentive was to make a perfect ship in the SSC, so you are thinking that you would have spent as much or even more time doing it in the game of Starbase "by hand" when I believe you would have simply made something "good enough" and then, played the game with friends.

I can't get friends to help for most parts, as I'd have to explain ahead of time exactly how I want things and I wouldn't end up saving much time.
Yeah, gaming isn't about efficiency or time saving, but the opposite - wasting time in a constrained rules environment with friends. So even though it would have been more time spent, you'd probably just settle with playing with friends, who would be more responsive to you playing the game with them, then waiting for you to finish your ship in the SSC for hours before getting a chance to spend time with you in the game.

Finally, had the SSC simply never been part of the equation (if it didn't exist for players) - being a dev tool first and foremost - then the complaint of quitting when having to build by hand wouldn't even exist. You wouldn't be saying, "We need a 3D CAD program where I can perfectly design ships to then inject into the game world!" It would be unreasonable to suggest such a thing, had the SSC never been a thing players could use.
 
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#11
If you've ever looked at any of the ships that I make, you'd see that they're far from perfect ships. Some of the ships that I design in the SSC that I wouldn't build by hand are simply very large. I have a 720 crate miner that can be built completely by hand, but it would take way too long to do so.

Gaming is "wasting" time from a certain point of view, but the point is to have fun. Building ships by hand is not fun for me, and I'd argue that it's the same for most people that would otherwise like Starbase. I've also chatted with friends while working in the SSC, so it's not like I'm completely isolated. As I said, friends can't help with building by hand most of the time, so they'd be sitting around doing nothing or going off on their own adventures anyways.
 

XenoCow

Master endo
Joined
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Messages
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#12
I have a 720 crate miner that can be built completely by hand, but it would take way too long to do so.
I know you said several times as long, but I am curious about a rough estimate in hours (days?). How long do you think it would take to build by hand if you didn't design it? As in, if you were to just build it by hand, maybe with the help of a hot-bar enabled placing mechanism like we have with stations, maybe minus the actual welding. Do you think that the design time was that much quicker than if you just put it all together as you designed?

Additionally, perhaps if you decided to use some kind of standardized modules (imagine someone who sold 4x8 crate beam blocks or you built a small factory to build out some section of the ship that was repeated) that you could install together to make the ship instead of having to place each piece of your own planning, then that time would be reduced.

I think that the point @Vexus is trying to make is that you, and other players, wouldn't even attempt a ship that large, unless you had lots of help from others since it would take so long. Or that if you were to make a ship that large by yourself, that it would be extra special, not just another mining behemoth, but a clear show of dedication either perseverance or skill at factory/design for manufacture.

Gaming is "wasting" time from a certain point of view, but the point is to have fun.
I agree. I think that "wasting time" is lacks the nuance of the actual reality. We only have one shot here and I don't think that doing anything but things that are actively negative for you or others is a waste of time. Eating a sandwich isn't a waste of time because there are more nutrient dense foods and because you will be hungry later. It tastes good and makes life better. So, I do think there needs to be a balance of how much time is spent doing "work" for a game, but that the point of the removal of the SSC argument isn't to increase the amount of work per se, but to disincentivize working too much and to incentivize group play.

It is because of the SSC that making huge ships is possible easily. No matter how much work it is, players will find their limit, as you have with how long you like to spend on designing your ships.
 
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#13
Apologies for the delay. I haven't worked on the design in over a year because I haven't really played the game in about that long. That being said, I remember the time spent was about 10 hours. By hand, I'd say that it would be at least 20 hours if I extensively planned it out in my head, and longer if I did not. This includes placing items from my hotbar and instant welding.

If we can design standardized modules, why not just design whole ships? It seems like an odd in-between step.

Yes, I wouldn't design a ship that large if I did it by hand. I probably also wouldn't play this game if I had to build everything by hand, as building by hand is extremely tedious, and only having small ships would severely cramp the game considering how big distances are.

My ship is special because I built it, not because I spent time painfully manipulating parts by hand. Value is in the eye of the beholder.

Removing the SSC wouldn't incentivize group play because groups can't build ships together. You can't parallelize the process of designing the ship and determining where parts go unless you're *very* good at communicating, and most people aren't that good.
 

Vexus

Master endo
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Messages
276
#14
Yes, I wouldn't design a ship that large if I did it by hand. I probably also wouldn't play this game if I had to build everything by hand, as building by hand is extremely tedious, and only having small ships would severely cramp the game considering how big distances are.
I would simply contend that, had the SSC not been an option, we wouldn't even have this conversation, and you would still play the game and enjoy it. Except you would build more limited ships based on available resources - time being the most critical one.

Removing the SSC wouldn't incentivize group play because groups can't build ships together. You can't parallelize the process of designing the ship and determining where parts go unless you're *very* good at communicating, and most people aren't that good.
I disagree, in that although a general design would be be formed, because time becomes the more important element, you'd have people slapping together a "good enough" ship to get the job done. You could always refine things later on, but getting something going would be prioritized over dozens of hours in an offline editor.

It is also important to have that physical presence in the game world. Just being in the game world with your friend is enough to solidify both of you as citizens of the game - many people just "hang out in town" in an MMO and jump around and chat with their friend, and then once in a while go off and do something once that natural urge occurs. When you have someone in the game of the SSC, that person's mind is stuck on playing the game of the SSC and they do not want to leave this fun game of the SSC - I know from experience how this is. You're disincentivized from playing with friends, even if it is just hanging out.

It's nice to have someone presenting these arguments, because they are arguments that don't exist if the SSC wasn't even a thing, if the EBM wasn't a thing, and they just let players put parts in the game world and connect them to ships. We'd have all manner of random ships flying about, built every which way just to get them to work, with thrusters wherever because it fit.

Lastly I'll comment on this:

Yes, I wouldn't design a ship that large if I did it by hand. I probably also wouldn't play this game if I had to build everything by hand, as building by hand is extremely tedious, and only having small ships would severely cramp the game considering how big distances are.
I think this is a good example of why the SSC is the biggest problem. You didn't mean to make the argument: "Only having small ships would severely cramp the game considering how big distances are" - yes, people would stay closer to one another, and go far-distances in limited fashions to obtain just enough resources to then return and have an active economy with those rare resources. When you can come back from anywhere with tens of thousands of stacks of any rare ore, the game is dead. If we instead limit behaviors, we have a game.

What you're kind of dealing with is this weird thing - because the distances are so big, you "must" create a 1000 crate hauler/miner to go those distances because it is available to do so using the SSC. It is more efficient to do so, instead of just taking your meager 50-crate hauler/miner and doing it, because that's all you've got! Even if you cannot afford a 1000 crate plasma-thruster hauler, you're still incentivized to design one for when you can afford it, versus just playing with what you've got! You even get to test that 1000 crate plasma-thruster hauler to perfection, flying it around, enjoying all the gameplay of it for dozens of hours before you actually ever use it in the game of Starbase - so when you do finally create it... it's kind of boring. So what. You've already flown it for days.

Because people would be dealing with what they have in front of them instead of the fantasy world of the game of the SSC, the game of Starbase would be "cramped" and flourish with people interacting on limited game rules. If someone showed up with a huge ship, it's very likely their ship would be tracked the next time they left station. You making that large ship would probably know this, and want to have friends escort you whenever you leave station, or hire a security company to do just that for some distance out of the safe zone. These are gameplay things that are not necessary because all the incentive is gutted from the entire game of Starbase through the SSC and the printing of ships, and all the downsides that come with that such as the ability to mass-gather resources and so on.

Again, because the distances are so vast, you're incentivized to make the best ship-tool for the job before you even try, where without the SSC, you'd just go with what was good enough to get the job done, and build up to something better over time. Again, a brand new player can dip into the SSC and be a pro at the game of the SSC without having anything more than their starter 1000 credits on them. They can play vast amounts of gameplay sitting in an offline editor, not interacting with anyone else. Compounding that problem, they can jump into the PTU and spawn infinite resources and obtain all the "pseudo-live" gameplay they want without any risk or interacting with anyone else.

There are so many problems that spin off from the SSC where it is hard to argue points that are 10 steps removed from the situation, when removing the SSC resolves all problems in-between. "I wouldn't play the game if it didn't have the SSC" isn't an issue for any new player who never even knew it existed - and since the current population is exceptionally small, it is worth losing anyone who wouldn't play Starbase without the attached side game of the game of the SSC, in order to keep those new players who would be happy to just play the game of Starbase.
 
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XenoCow

Master endo
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
566
#15
No worry about the delay. We have plenty of time. :) And thank you for sticking with this conversation, even though you are kind of the odd one out. I am not intending to argue with you, but more with your arguments to better understand my own arguments. Thank you for helping with that.

If we can design standardized modules, why not just design whole ships? It seems like an odd in-between step.
Removing the SSC wouldn't incentivize group play because groups can't build ships together. You can't parallelize the process of designing the ship and determining where parts go unless you're *very* good at communicating, and most people aren't that good.
I think for the sake of this conversation there should be a clearer distinction between "design" and "build." With the current implementation of the SSC, those words are synonymous because once you have the blueprint, you can build the ship with a click provided you have the resources. However, there might be the case in this hypothetical SSC-less or modified SSC game where those two are more separate. I think I will make a suggestion thread to better lay out what I think could be a good replacement, but the point still stands. "Design" is the process of creating a blueprint from either nothing or from an existing ship. "Build" is to place parts, pipes, and bolt/weld them together.

With those definitions in mind, the modules I'm talking about would be for speeding up the build process, and incentivizing building of factories to manufacture ships in part or in whole. If as you say the modules could be used in the design process, then it would be kind of odd since you could just design many modules and use those like a copy/paste tool.

And for the group play, I agree that designing ships collaboratively would be very difficult on anything more than an abstract level, building could be very group based. If there is a blueprint that all players can see and interact with, you could have a team of guys placing parts, welding, and doing the wiring and programming of without a single word being said. I could imagine a medium sized ship being built by a team of ~5 guys in a matter of a hand full of hours at the most if the design allows good access to all the wiring needs and they have a plan on how to organize themselves.


I probably also wouldn't play this game if I had to build everything by hand, as building by hand is extremely tedious
I am curious, did you hear about and intend on playing Starbase before the announcement of the SSC? If I remember correctly, it wasn't until some time after the first trailer that we first were shown the SSC. I think this relates to @Vexus' response. However, I would be hesitant to dismiss players who would not play Starbase without an SSC. Those players still have something to offer the game, so maybe there is something alternative to the "game of the SSC" that could be offered to them. Maybe they would enjoy the factory part instead, I could imagine those players being the type to enjoy games like Factario or Minecraft Tekkit. We'll need factories just as much as new ship designs.


and only having small ships would severely cramp the game considering how big distances are.
We do still have capital ships, flawed as they are, that could help to bridge those large distances. If you don't personally own one, there could be players that ferry other ships around, I think this has already happened for a few of the in-game events to help get players around. But this also opens up the larger discussion of distance and speed. I think about how cars have enabled people to work hours from home, so they do. But, before cars people either moved to where they worked or only worked locally since commuting miles and miles would have taken too long. I think no matter how fast or efficently you can travel, the playable game size will remain the same.


My ship is special because I built it, not because I spent time painfully manipulating parts by hand. Value is in the eye of the beholder.
Oh, totally. I see a lot of value in that. I've only bought one ship in my entire time playing Starbase, the Hypevan. Even in the closed alpha days, my first ship was one I designed instead of buying that little, "Hauler" I think it was called, ship that most players did. It did take me more time to get resources that way, but I want all my ships to be of my own design too. I think that's what makes them special, not the time spent.

What I meant is that, I'm sure you've made some ships that you quickly slap together and maybe don't even bother to plate, but others where you carefully program YOLOL to do cool things with the doors and place plates in every little crack for a seamless look. That ship took a lot of time to design, but it also is special because of how much care you put into it. I think we mostly agree about this idea.
 
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#16
To respond to both of these comments at once, I think that there's this sort of straw man of SSC players that's being argued against. When I design a ship in the SSC, I don't test it for dozens of hours, and I don't think most people do. In fact, I'd go so far as to argue that the SSC allows for people to spend MORE time playing together. When you're designing in the SSC and building a ship, you're doing it by yourself and are limited to communicating with other people. However, because you're designing a ship in the SSC much faster than you can build it by hand, you're going to be back to interacting with people much faster via the SSC than building by hand.

I first heard about Starbase in the July 2019 area, and knew almost nothing about the game when I bought it shortly after the Early Access release in 2021. I tried to figure out how to build a ship in EBM, couldn't quite make it, and then started looking for tutorials on YouTube. I found a pretty good one about how to use the SSC, and I was set up until now.

Would I be trying to make the same ship as now if the SSC and EBM never existed? No. But, I probably would have stopped playing, because I've been frustrated in the past by the long travel times of either dodging asteroids while flying in a straight line with cruise control, or doing nothing while my ship dodges asteroids while flying in a straight line with cruise control. If you combined long travel times with much smaller hauls, it's just not worth it.

The arguments about resource shortage from small ships and long distance don't really matter, because capital ships break all that anyways. I'm just saying that big ships have their place in the game, and just removing them all would be highly detrimental.

Lastly, what happens after the SSC ship is designed is something that should change from the current "one click and done" setup, but that's something I plan to develop in my next news article for ANC.
 

XenoCow

Master endo
Joined
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Messages
566
#17
To respond to both of these comments at once, I think that there's this sort of straw man of SSC players that's being argued against. When I design a ship in the SSC, I don't test it for dozens of hours, and I don't think most people do. In fact, I'd go so far as to argue that the SSC allows for people to spend MORE time playing together. When you're designing in the SSC and building a ship, you're doing it by yourself and are limited to communicating with other people. However, because you're designing a ship in the SSC much faster than you can build it by hand, you're going to be back to interacting with people much faster via the SSC than building by hand.
Your point is well taken about the player interaction during the design time. I am beginning to question that line of argument myself.

I'm just saying that big ships have their place in the game, and just removing them all would be highly detrimental.
I agree that large ships do have a place. But I wonder how it is possible to have the kind of combat that was advertised if only ships that are as large as possible are viable combat options. I do like the idea of large haulers/miners and multi-crew ships.

in my next news article for ANC.
What is ANC?
 
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#18
I've worked with extremely PvP oriented companies in the past that design their own ships, and "as large as possible" fighters are not what's in widespread use. The Borg Cubes grab all the attention for their sheer size, but what's in widespread use is a fraction of that size. Small fighters are also quite potent in skilled hands due to the sheer difficulty of hitting them.

ANC is Aries News Corps, which is a news organization that I operate for Starbase. We have a Discord server that you can find in the community ads channel of the Starbase Discord.
 

XenoCow

Master endo
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#19
Small fighters are also quite potent in skilled hands due to the sheer difficulty of hitting them.
OK. That's good to hear. I was under the impression that nothing but cubes of ablative armor were viable options now. I'm glad that there is still room to beat an otherwise tougher opponent with piloting skill.

ANC is Aries News Corps, which is a news organization that I operate for Starbase. We have a Discord server that you can find in the community ads channel of the Starbase Discord.
Checking it out now!
 

Vexus

Master endo
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
276
#20
If there is a blueprint that all players can see and interact with, you could have a team of guys placing parts, welding, and doing the wiring and programming of without a single word being said. I could imagine a medium sized ship being built by a team of ~5 guys in a matter of a hand full of hours at the most if the design allows good access to all the wiring needs and they have a plan on how to organize themselves.
Simply reading that is pretty exciting due to the amount of gameplay involved.

In Atlas, my ~10 (autistic, self included) person crew built an insanely large "garage" to help keep enemies away from our ships which were otherwise open to damage at any point. It took days and days to build. We had so much fun doing it and fighting off attackers during and after it. And afterwards, one of the largest Chinese clans brought in actual hackers who were openly hacking so they could finally bring the entire structure down over a huge 2 day raid. We laughed about it considering it was just a garage and all our stuff was safe elsewhere. Lots of fun from working together building something.

My point is that this behavior is not abnormal, and is seen in all these kinds of games, Rust/Ark/etc, where players work together for a goal. This is not complex, to ask players to build ships with friends in the open game world, and it means realistic corridors and wiring as we saw in all the feature videos leading up to release. This is the standard for gameplay - the SSC is the strange abomination that has given cheat-mode to gamers, akin to giving drugs to a crack-addict. It will be hard to pry their hands away from the drug of choice - the cheat of choice - the SSC. However, since it only affects ~100 people, it should be done for the good of the game at large.

Those players still have something to offer the game
We'll need factories just as much as new ship designs.
I disagree that a person who will quit due to the removal of the SSC has something to offer the game. Imagine a person playing for a few minutes and saying, "Oh, I don't have a custom-instanced 3D CAD editor program to create unlimited ship designs using all the in-game assets to my heart's abandon and even test-pilot these designs endlessly with no impact on the larger game world, so I will quit the game."

They don't exist. All that exists now are people addicted to the one fun thing about the "game" and that is the fact that Starbase is your medium for interacting with your drug of choice - the cheat-mode feel-good-chemical-producing game of the SSC. If the SSC existed as a separate program, you wouldn't even load up the game of Starbase, and I think that fact explains my point perfectly and I shall not harp on it any longer.

I don't test it for dozens of hours, and I don't think most people do.
Part of the design phase is lots of testing, and yes, the best ships in the game have dozens to hundreds of hours in testing, as I showed in my post regarding the PTU with this image:



This is hundreds, not dozens, of hours spent refining multiple versions of ships; from what I can perceive, maybe 3 total players have different designs here (one guy, Comando, is mostly responsible. And he has spent 100's of hours testing. Thankfully, too. His ships work well!). If you have not spent dozens of hours testing, your ship is unlikely to be competitive with other ships for its task. I have seen HappyTrigger make a ship and publish it without much testing, but that comes after spending again, hundreds of hours testing and getting to know the game of the SSC intimately, resolving all those problems in an editor so no fun gameplay ever exists around those "issues."

The arguments about resource shortage from small ships and long distance don't really matter, because capital ships break all that anyways.
Agreed, even though I still argue the point. Much of the "problem" Starbase has are interwoven, poorly thought out systems that break many other things. Capital ships having station storage was super short-sighted and broke the economy. Seeing resources from other moons on the auction house for 50k a stack, I just bought 10 since I'll never burn through 10, and it only took me 15 minutes to make the 500k I spent vs. the insane hours it took the seller to get. This is just one example of how things are messed up with caps.

With that said, I'll point out that the most efficient way to get from Eos to any moon is a straight line, and it would be viable for pirates to intercept players moving there or back with hauls of resources. Unfortunately, there is no risk warping your perfectly safe station anywhere in the game world and safely transport unlimited resources back to Eos using the same capital ship. As such, ideas such as resource shortages from smaller ships trying to make a buck don't exist anymore (they did in early launch days, which was fun). But it could exist, if they fix the issue at hand - removing caps or at least their ability to have station storage and their ability to "store" 1000-crate storage ships for free. I.E. just remove the bad gameplay mechanic = many problems solved.
 
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