Update 2017-03-14 Trade Between Systems

Details about updates to Shores of Hazeron

Update 2017-03-14 Trade Between Systems

Postby Haxus » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:12 pm

Wormhole Polarity Rollover Bug
Helm switch to adjust wormhole drive polarity was rolling over sensibly in one direction but not the other. That is now fixed.

Arena Won't Start
Arena never starts when you configure it with no officers, so you can shoot at drone targets. That is fixed.

New Designs in Arena
New ship designs really can be loaded into the arena in this update. I've seen it happen.

Arena Ends Without a Word
Opponent NPC officer no longer scuttles his ship if it is defenseless.

City Facilities
Cities list on Governance window now shows the facilities at each city. This is exactly the table you see on the city report that shows the buildings, their range of tech levels, and the number of completed levels.

Broker Shipments
Brokers can now be configured to send shipments to cities in other solar systems. You will find the controls for this on the city window when you are at a broker.
  • You schedule a shipment of a certain commodity to a specific city. Minimum Q and TL can be applied.
  • The shipment may be filled a specified number of times or it may be a continuously recurring shipment.
  • A broker can process a number of shipments equal to the number of building levels.
  • Shipments are filled on the same six minute interval that brokers import stuff to the city.
  • When a shipment is full, it begins waiting for shipment.
  • Shipments awaiting transport are sent out hourly, if the broker can track more shipments. This interval is roughly one game-universe day.
  • Shipments are en route until they arrive at their destination, speed based on direct travel at 2X lightspeed.
  • A broker can track en route shipments up to the number of building levels. Once full, shipments awaiting transport will continue waiting until something gets delivered, thus stalling the order filling process.
  • When a shipment arrives at the destination, as much as possible is added to the city's stockpile. Excess is lost. Better stuff replaces worse stuff like when stuff is manufactured.
Players are intended to be able to pick up shipments awaiting transport but that part is not finished yet. This would enable you to move the materials more quickly and it lets the city fill the orders more frequently. As of this update, automated delivery is in place but you cannot help them.

Spacecraft encounters can be generated to coincide with these shipments. This will enable players to notice those trade activities more than they do now. It's very rare to cross paths with a trade ship. This aspect is also not finished; until then you will not see any visible spacecraft as a result of broker shipments.

Officer Nerf
Officer nerf is not implemented, just contemplated here. This probably should have been in the arena of ideas thread. It is not going to happen as soon as the text suggests. Certain roles that officers fill now need to have suitable replacements before proceeding.
I don't usually announce future changes but this one may require some preparations. Officers' command ability is going to be nerfed in the near future, probably the next update. This is what is going to happen to them.
  • Officers on non-stations will not take the con, unless the ship has a human officer/capt on the roster.
  • Officers on non-stations will not sequence to the next order even if they have the con, unless a human officer is aboard and on line.
  • When no human officer is aboard and on line, someone will have to tell them to sequence each order using the comm. This way you could at least walk them through going to get materials from another system when building a city, something I have done many times.
  • Officers on stations will be able to act as a two-level broker, for sending shipments. This is to facilitate harvester stations. It's not done yet.
  • Officers will no longer get homesick, though they will still commit suicide if their home world is lost.
  • Demi avatars are subject to the same rules as officers when they are AI controlled.
  • I am probably overlooking some important detail. I value your input here.
As to why, the short answer is server load. For the long answer, read on.

Every starship traveling around the universe adds to the overall load. That load is no less if the ship is being commanded by an NPC.

At present there are many hundreds of spacecraft flying from system to system, performing sensor scans, piloting to avoid obstacles, navigating from place to place, all with minimal contact by human players. They get to have all the fun, while slowing the servers down for the rest of us. Human players should be the Pikes, Kirks and Piccards of this universe. That's who it's here for.

Through the use of officers, a relatively small group of players is able to create a disproportionate load on the server grid. I am speaking in general terms, not at all pointing fingers at any particular group of players. It's just the way it is. The game enables it. It wouldn't take very many ambitious fleet commanders to overwhelm the servers.

By taking the command ability away from officers, the notion of huge fleets of ships should go out the window. Whew! I cringe every time someone says they want to have a fleet of hundreds of ships. There is no conceivable way the servers could handle that, not at the level of detail the ships are simulated. It would be possible if they were mere tokens, like a game of Starcraft, but they are much more complex, which translates into more server load.

My vision for this game was to have it play out much more intimately, like an episode of Star Trek. I imagined players occupying a ship they called their own, perhaps upgrading it over time, as they pursue science fiction adventures. Like Star Trek, an encounter with three(!) enemy ships would be a big confrontation. Dozens of ships? Please no!

This will be a significant change, felt most by old timers; I apologize to you the most. New players won't notice that things were ever different.
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Re: Update 2017-03-14 Trade Between Systems

Postby Phenoix12 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:42 pm

Haxus wrote:Broker Shipments
...
Spacecraft encounters can be generated to coincide with these shipments. This will enable players to notice those trade activities more than they do now. It's very rare to cross paths with a trade ship. This aspect is also not finished; until then you will not see any visible spacecraft as a result of broker shipments.


I think this is an awesome thing. I hope we can set the design of these cargo ships though...

Are the ships when implemented going to just like regular ships you can board and take control of or a special kind of ship with no interior that when destroyed just drop a box with all the stuff they were carrying in it. (that would probably be the easiest way.) Personally I wouldn't mind that.

But if they're going to be just like regular ships then perhaps when it gets put in instead of always being 2x light speed then the speed of the cargo would correlate to the speed of the design being use. Also makes it so you can factor in the cost of actually building the cargo ships to send stuff... Building them would just sort of add to an invisible ship pool of cargo-ships stationed at the city.

...also possibly opening up the options to setting escort crafts/fighters to protect them.

Sorry for rambling I just love this idea.
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Re: Update 2017-03-14 Trade Between Systems

Postby Haxus » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:46 pm

You do not specify anything about the cargo ship. You simply tell the broker what you want to have sent where. The broker handles the details.
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Re: Update 2017-03-14 Trade Between Systems

Postby Staines » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:50 pm

Interesting that you're shaking up the core mechanics now.

We'd need a method to build/maintain harvester stations, so that a city on one side of a system can maintain/rebuild/trade with a station around a gas giant somewhere else in the system.

As for Brokers/Intersystem trade - it's a good change, because it was always a barrier for entry to new players - you should be able to select design of trade ship used by each broker, for encounters. Personally, I think I would have preferred a system where instead of setting up specific routes for the brokers, you could instead have them act as a Customs office that allows/disallows the imports of certain goods in certain quantities/qualities/tech, for example, Import maximum 100,000 Metal per day TL30-32 or Import Any Quantity of metal, as long as it keeps between 20,000 and 30,000 in stock etc. Maybe only send in Consignments of Tiny (100 units), Small (1000 units) Medium (10,000 units) Large (25,000 units) etc.

But yes, it's a good change.

___________________________________________

In order to reduce the number of ships orbiting/sitting around... you should think about simplifying the Hanger system, and allow people to Hanger ships with Crew/Officers on them. You should be able to fly to a Station or Land and Request Docking Permission. If it accepts, it should give you a count down of perhaps 3 minutes or so, that should be cancelled if the ship takes damage (to prevent people from using it to escape fights).

Anyone in the chain of command should be able to evict a ship, with timer of several days (Your ship will be evicted from the hanger in 3 days by order of the city mayor). Obviously, you should be able to toggle docking permission to Neutrals, Friendlies etc and even specific empires.

Ships that are docked in a city that is Occupied should be inaccessible to the conqueror until the Occupation timer runs down. If a hanger is destroyed while a ship is inside it, the ship should simply by inaccessible until the hanger is repaired and it is freed from the rubble... This should keep them reasonably safe, which should minimise the number of ships clogging up the server.
Last edited by Staines on Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Update 2017-03-14 Trade Between Systems

Postby Haxus » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:52 pm

I think you can hangar ships with crew and officer.

Interesting that you're shaking up the core mechanics now.

It wasn't exactly planned. Sometimes I have to go with the tide.

I'd like to dig back into the new spacecraft designs.
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Re: Update 2017-03-14 Trade Between Systems

Postby Staines » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:00 pm

With Officers on them as well? For quite a while, you couldn't, but it was years ago since my last experience with Hangering ships...

Giving cities a collective hanger space might be one way forward, where each building/level placed adds hanger storage in the same way that it adds inventory storage, with hangers adding to it in the same way warehouses do. Perhaps also allow the Capitol building at each city to allocate the % of Private/Government parking volume.

The more convenient and safer you make it to hanger ships and remove them from the scene, the better. When I played it was a pain in the arse to hanger/unhanger ships so we rarely did it, we just left them clogging up space.

They need to be safe.
It needs to be easy. (Being able to order a ship to "Dock at City", for example.)
It needs to be the NORMAL stance you put ships in when you have finished using them.


As an addition, if you make easy, collective, volume based docking/undocking for ships/cities, you could do the same thing for ships/ships so that you could dock smaller vessels into larger ones.
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Re: Update 2017-03-14 Trade Between Systems

Postby Edward Teach » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:01 pm

The Broker changes are great and the officer changes seem to be a necessary sacrifice towards play-ability. I think the Broker changes are a fantastic example for future updates. Making a background mechanism to save on server load rather than relying on crew AI will make the game more accessible to more players. I notice only a minority of players ever achieve TL32 ship production and this could help level the playing field as far as that goes.

The area I see this being a hindrance is exploration. I would usually queue up a ship to survey a few sectors at once after having my ship visit each system while I am sleeping. Maybe cities could slowly collect nearby survey scans similarly to how city emissions work.

Another area of concern is anti-pirate patrols. I never really used warship patrols but I'm sure others do. Though, my main issue with pirates is them intercepting my trade ships around shipyards and with the latest changes that may not be an issue anymore. Automated ships are pretty terrible for PVP so I don't think the changes have a big impact on that.

Also, I didn't see anything regarding ships warping in to the sun. Maybe this was Haxus's way of quietly wiping automated ships before the officer nerf, lol.

Staines wrote:The more convenient and safer you make it to hanger ships and remove them from the scene, the better. When I played it was a pain in the arse to hanger/unhanger ships so we rarely did it, we just left them clogging up space.
Maybe in this system freshly manufactured ships would auto-dock by default.
Last edited by Edward Teach on Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Update 2017-03-14 Trade Between Systems

Postby Celarious » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:02 pm

Staines wrote:With Officers on them as well? For quite a while, you couldn't, but it was years ago since my last experience with Hangering ships...

Giving cities a collective hanger space might be one way forward, where each building/level placed adds hanger storage in the same way that it adds inventory storage, with hangers adding to it in the same way warehouses do. Perhaps also allow the Capitol building at each city to allocate the % of Private/Government parking volume.

The more convenient and safer you make it to hanger ships and remove them from the scene, the better. When I played it was a pain in the arse to hanger/unhanger ships so we rarely did it, we just left them clogging up space.

They need to be safe.
It needs to be easy. (Being able to order a ship to "Dock at City", for example.)
It needs to be the NORMAL stance you put ships in when you have finished using them.


As an addition, if you make easy, collective, volume based docking/undocking for ships/cities, you could do the same thing for ships/ships so that you could dock smaller vessels into larger ones.


An order to dock a ship into a city would be amazing! Although, for now, this update is awesome too
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Re: Update 2017-03-14 Trade Between Systems

Postby Haxus » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:27 pm

I forgot to mention a couple of things.

Broker shipments cannot be controlled at a capitol building yet. The UI is not done yet. So many details.

Tool tips on orders awaiting shipment show the estimated en route time of the shipment, based on 2x lightspeed. It also shows the delivery fee. That is the fee that would be collected by an avatar controlled ship if they delivered the shipment on time, at the 2x lightspeed estimated delivery time. A bonus is calculated which is multiplied by the delivery fee. The bonus calculation is (seconds estimated en route/seconds actual en route), so getting the shipment there in 1/2 the time results in 2x the delivery fee. I plan to pay the delivery fee from the citizens account; they spend their money on little enough else. No delivery fee is collected or paid if the shipment is transported by the broker.

Tool tips on en route shipments show the date/time the shipment will be delivered.

Orders being filled and awaiting shipment can be deleted. Any accumulated materials are lost if you do that; they don't get put back into the city's stockpile.

Orders being filled, awaiting shipment, and en route are lost if the broker building is deleted.

A new permission check box was added to authorize management of trade. That applies to these broker shipments. If you don't have that authority, you cannot even view the list of shipments. That might give away secret information since the list shows the destination of each shipment.

Destination cities can be cities in your empire, cities in friend empires, and cities in neutral empires if you have a city in the same system as the neutral city.

Cities ship their filled shipments hourly, but not on the hour. Each city has it's own time for shipments. It coincides with one of their broker import intervals, which are six minutes. They also do not start on the hour, so all cities do not do this work at the same time.
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Re: Update 2017-03-14 Trade Between Systems

Postby the Lana » Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:35 pm

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:cry: :cry: So...so no more snazzy harvester ships? I guess I can incorporate those features into a station...
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