Author Topic: Exploration Discussion  (Read 2958 times)

Azalrion

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Exploration Discussion
« on: August 19, 2012, 02:53:16 PM »
Hi folks,

At the moment exploration is simply a case of fly a scout and you have all the details about planets in a system. We want ideas on how you would expand the system to make it a more involved process.
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Ardryn

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2012, 06:58:21 PM »
You could borrow a page from Distant Worlds, and require the scouts to approach a planet before you can view their statistics and traits.  As long you guys can automate the process, it might make exploration a little more involved and slow expansion.
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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2012, 09:39:15 PM »
Tie it to the sensor research and create new subsystems that 'scan' planets for stuff.

In other words, if possible, you have to scan planets before you can colonize them.


crys

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2012, 02:22:02 AM »
---1---
i would suggest a survey system too.

i would hide the planet slots, planet specials, ore and he3.
a ship without a survey module would only provide the planet typ and its "size" like a small gaia planet or a small(5-7) gaia planet.

small has then something like 5-7 slots - depending how many size classes you want to create.


when you colonize a planet you get all the info sure, or you can send a ship with a survey module, which can scan the planet then.


an additional option would be an survey point system. the needed points could be provided by the planet typ, size(slots), moons, planet specials, ore.

for the survey module
in technical progression it could improve in scan range, and the number of points it provides, both connected to the size of the survey module at ship design. maybe a minimum size of this system would make the initial exploration more expensive and slower.

---2---
when you start a new game now, you see only the suns of unexplored systems.
maybe it would be an option to hide thouse suns and therefor you wouldn't be able to send ships there.
the idea is now, to add a "sight range" to you're empire. something like 40 Au(or what ever), as soon as a sun comes into this range it is flagged as visible and you can see it, like it is in now, and send ships there.

this would result in a more progressive exploration, instead of the complate exploration fromthe beginning like it is now.

this "sight range" should have nothing to do with enemy ships, it is just about finding new solar systems.

Azalrion

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2012, 12:19:09 PM »
Interesting guys, just remember it doesn't have t be a ship sitting in orbit there are other options still starts from a ship but doesn't sit there not that we've prototyped anything. I can do a hell of a lot in scripts so no need to suggest things that try to keep in the current mechanics if we can't do it ill let you know.

As for point 2 crys never going to happen don't have the ability to do that.
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seronis

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2012, 12:37:14 PM »
... an option to hide thouse suns and therefor you wouldn't be able to send ships there....
Limitations aside even if this was possible I wouldnt like it because it just makes no sense. Why would a civilization that has reached a level of technology capable of traversing between stars have WORSE ability to see stars than we have today on earth?
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crys

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2012, 01:04:58 PM »
about 2
in other games range is limited with some fuel/support argument/function, this does not fit here. - maybe it could be a communication line in this game?
the idea here was more to slow down exploration - now you just build as many scouts as there are stars -> one order, everything explored, exploration finished for this game. in addition its a very cheap way.

---

maybe we should search for ways to slow down exploration, that you cant finish it, in just one order in the first 5 mins of the game.
i would suggest to make scouts more expensive, maybe add a control requirement to ramjets - this would make it a little more expensive and maybe time limited. still don't think it will do much.

PrawnWonton

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2012, 05:04:15 PM »
I can do a hell of a lot in scripts so no need to suggest things that try to keep in the current mechanics if we can't do it ill let you know.

Before I start, I would like to ask what your design decisions are in regards to exploration?  What kind of experience do you want it to be?  Without that basic framework, it is impossible to know what ideas would even work at all.  That being said, here are some ideas off the top of my head, however I will refrain from going into any detail until I have some idea of your underlying goal.

I'd say take a couple pages from EVE's book:
Wormhole space
Exploration sites and anomalies

Also:
Minor neutral factions
Traders
Mercenaries
Repairable/Salvageable/Analyzable goodies
Strategic Resources
Special units (hero/champion'esque) you can hire
Mini-missions
Discoverable artifacts (ala Sins)

I think a lot of the special systems described in a previous thread would also fit the bill here.  But again, it is really hard to flesh anything out in a meaningful way until there is a goal and framework to go on.

Azalrion

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2012, 01:24:52 AM »
In this context its based around what I mentioned in the first post, the discovery of information on planets and events that might happen while finding that information. So planetary based at this point, we haven't yet started discussing introducing more things into the galaxy for exploration in that regard.
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crys

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2012, 04:15:06 AM »
something again from master of orion
some systems could have a defender - like the dragons/space crystals/amoebas/reproducing swarm/queen?
ok this is alot like the remnants - but maybe some of the remnants could be replaced? - would make the galaxy more rich/alive

another idea could be something like a lost civilization - like a full level 10-15 balanced planet with something like 2 shields and a few defencive buildings as "robot" defence - maybe it could be triggered with that survey we spoke before, if its up from the beginning its ok too. (they don't build ships, they are inactive)

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2012, 04:23:49 AM »
I always had a strong love/hate relationship with one particular feature of the Sins of a Solar Empire mod Distant Stars.

It was both horribly devastating and incredibly cool at the same time when one of your planetary explorations ended with this message: "A deadly secret has been found"

Kapow! and suddenly one of your best colonies has been wiped out, the planet rendered uncolonizable. Still gives me the creeps when I think about it.

Jyin

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2012, 09:15:43 AM »
How about deep space telemetry array?
If the system is big enough, you can get info from near by system.
Build bigger/better/more to extend the range.

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2012, 05:14:23 PM »
I always had a strong love/hate relationship with one particular feature of the Sins of a Solar Empire mod Distant Stars.

It was both horribly devastating and incredibly cool at the same time when one of your planetary explorations ended with this message: "A deadly secret has been found"

Kapow! and suddenly one of your best colonies has been wiped out, the planet rendered uncolonizable. Still gives me the creeps when I think about it.

 ;D Boy I sure love to hear that from people!

PrawnWonton

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2012, 08:01:51 PM »
In this context its based around what I mentioned in the first post, the discovery of information on planets and events that might happen while finding that information. So planetary based at this point, we haven't yet started discussing introducing more things into the galaxy for exploration in that regard.

Discovering things on planets.  That doesn't help a whole lot.  I mean, do you want to keep exploration fast and simple the way it is now, just make scouts and send them out?  Or are you looking to slow down the pace?  Introduce new mechanics, or keep everything the same?

If you want exploration to become its own thing, where players have to take their time and make choices, the system as is will have to fundamentally change.  If the fast paced and simple exploration is kept, no amount of planetary goodies are going to make much of a difference.  You are still going to select every system, right click, and hit auto-colonize, because, why not?

What you say "... the discovery of information on planets and events that might happen while finding that information", will that information be discovered by any ship, the way it is now?  Do you want to wait for colonization?  Will there be specific buildings or ship modules required to find the information?  If the current system is used, what then decides when events will trigger?  Do you have any specific examples in mind of what you are looking for?

I dunno, I can't flesh out an idea in any detail if I don't know what I'm working with, or what the goal is.  The hard part is not coming up with ideas.  The hard part is molding an idea to fit into the system, and help achieve the goals of design.

seronis

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2012, 09:03:54 PM »
I think the whole point of a discussion thread is to ask WHAT YOU are looking for.  Not for you to come up with ideas tailored to someone elses goal
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PrawnWonton

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2012, 11:44:41 PM »
I think the whole point of a discussion thread is to ask WHAT YOU are looking for.  Not for you to come up with ideas tailored to someone elses goal

Really?  I could spout off pages and pages of ideas that fundamentally would not work at all.  How is that helpful in any way?

What I want is totally irrelevant if it does not align with what design decisions the mod team has made.  Example:  I love crafting.  Therefore, wouldn't it be spiffy if in League of Legends I could gather and craft my own equipment?  No.  LOL is not that type of game.  Period.  That is not what Riot wants out of their game.

I look at Star Ruler, and I see a game that excels at custom ship design, and blowing shit up with massive fleets.  Does it even need an in depth exploration system?  What would that add to the game?  When you ask for exploration ideas, I'm left to wonder: are they adding a new exploration component, or using the existing system?  Do they want new mechanics, or just different takes on existing ones? 

Bottom line:  I don't have a clue WTF you want.  I cannot read minds.  I would love to help, but I need some parameters to work with here.  If you honestly don't know what your goals are for the game, then I suggest thinking about it, and making some.  Otherwise all these suggestion threads are a waste of space.

Azalrion

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2012, 12:36:30 AM »
Its helpful because while ultimately its our mod what players would like introduce has impact on what we do, also at the moment there are just 4 of us and XT and I are almost evil clones in the ideas we come up with so its interesting to see a wider base of ideas on what people would like introduced.

The reason I have my standard disclaimer of we'll read all but promise nothing is yes I have my own design goals and yes I have written a prototype for that which is working in the developer build but ideas our users have on what features they'd like (requirements capture and all that) might mean I make some changes to that prototype and design goal as a way to make sure that GA stays strong and popular and keeps people interested in SR. Its like the suggestion page for vanilla, half the ideas are slightly crazy yet there are some gems in there which have made it into base game.
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halfabandaid

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2012, 02:00:27 PM »
Make a probe control unit subsystem. Only ships with this will reveal the information within a system. This would in turn require sensors to get anything more than "Hey, thats a planet!"

In addition, add Uncolonizable planets and in return reduce the number of asteroids.

The sensor itself requires a substantial amount of power, as well as some base metal usage drain (the probes) that draws from the inboard storage. This rounds everything up nicely as now its not pemnant sight so long as they don't go hostile, eventually it will run out of materials and as such it cannot process anymore, mandating a new ship for information. The tricksy part will be making it hide the information and show the information ONLY at appropriate times.

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2012, 05:23:37 PM »
eventually it will run out of materials and as such it cannot process anymore, mandating a new ship for information...
Or an absolutely minimal scale import dock ...
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halfabandaid

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2012, 11:41:50 AM »
Which would in turn require a more direct approach, because you would A need research to it, B, it would constantly drain. You could even make it so that the probe item itself is actually a hull, which is in turn in compatible with import docks.

Castun

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2012, 10:33:37 AM »
I think my idea would be to keep the scout ships, but limit their speed / fuel / range, and also change their ability (as well as other ships that don't have some kind of survey subsystem) so they can only get the basic size of planets when they enter the system.

Then there could be a survey subsystem (which would be under the sensors technology category) that either has to spend a certain amount of time scanning each planet from a closer range, or can launch a probe into the atmosphere (which could borrow from the colonization module launcher the colony ships use.)  This could also have a timer so you don't get results immediately, and would also require time to recharge / reload a new probe.

Advancements in the sensor technology branch could then reduce this time further, as well as unlock an advanced module at some point, perhaps required to discover the modifying characteristics of said planet.

I also like the idea of some kind of survey space station that could survey other systems within a limited range, possibly even with the ability to launch it's own long distance probes.

With the way SR currently handles exploration, I think it's severely lacking as it's far too fast and easy, and doesn't give quite the same satisfaction as exploration in other 4X games.

Extell

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2012, 03:27:12 PM »
Here is an idea for ya...
Sensor Networks: A sensor can view systems/planets/ships up to a specific range of AU from the sensor. Planets will have sensors built into their framework. I understand that the base game itself is a show or hide of an entire system at a time only, so a sensor will let you see inside systems within the sensor's range.

Sensors have to be in range of another sensor to add to your network. If a sensor is deployed beyond your established network, you get no data from it.

With this, an enemy can build a sensor network through space up to your doorstep and observe your systems and what your doing there.

On the flip side, you can build sensor jammers that will limit the range of enemy sensors. It then becomes a technology war of who can establish the better grid of sensor/jammer. Or keep ships scouting for the enemy sensor network and destroy it.

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2012, 07:31:05 AM »
If I was to go off and improve on what is in game now I would like to see scouts basically stay the same. Make it so they only see the planets with no info and all ships and orbitals. Next make a survey system that requires at least size 5-10 ship to mount. Maybe tie it to light hull. Make it require alot of power to cast. Maaybe so we can actually make use of capacitors. Also the module costs alot of control. This would basically tie this ship to a science role as most space would be for these systems with little armor. Would be cool if it could be linked with a science module for further uses like studying anomolies or nebula. These modules would cost heavy amounts of advanced parts and electronics making these ships less disposable. Could make it in the menu when you right click on a system to survay system and the ship goes to each planet and casts the survey. It takes maybe 30 sec to complete. Along with science module this could grant the chance for discoveries granting a random amount of science to your empire for a certian amount of time. Additionally while your ship is studying the discovery it cannot use the survey mod till is complete. Would create the need to make multiple science and exploration ships.

Morkonan

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2012, 05:23:51 AM »
I assume the goal is to draw a contrast between the abilities of early game scouts vs late game scouts. (That'd make the most sense, since the design really never has to change from the early game to the late, you still get the same abilities.)

1) Early game scouts can only detect the presence of intelligent civilizations and the planet sizes/bonuses. No ships are displayed nor are any population details or orbital installations for inhabited worlds. This is so early game scouts still serve their purpose and the lack of information doesn't stall the expansion in the early game.

2) Mid-Early game scouts are buffed when Analyzer's are discovered, making a System Scanner module available. System scanners installed on Scouts enable them to reveal ships in a system, the population statistics of inhabited planets and reveals any orbital installations. (ie: As it normally is in vanilla play.)

3) Late game scouts can be equipped with a Stealth Scanner which will allow the Scout to place a hidden System Scanner in the current system. (Made available with a suitable level  in Stealth technology. Use the same mechanics as the "View" treaty agreement to allow a limited time constant view to exist in that system, even if the scout is destroyed.) The Stealth Scanner  will remain in operation for as long as its power supply lasts. (The duration can be improved by research levels in Energy tech.)

4) If possible, you may wish to make an anti-Stealth module available to Late Game scout builds, only. This large module (To prevent it being stacked on mainstream combat vessels.) contains a great many sensor installations and counteracts the bonuses for Stealth hulls and modules on enemy ships in the same system, but only by small increments. (Multiple scout vessels so equipped will improve the results, up to a certain cap.) It also reduces the amount of time an enemy's own Stealth System Scanner can function within that system. (If such a thing can be scripted. It may also not matter much if the AI doesn't know how to use System Scanners or can't be handicapped in such a way due to hardcoding of map information. But, it might be useful in PvP play.)

This doesn't give any new abilities to the scout until the late game, but makes each iteration of improved ability meaningful and useful, allowing for desirable research and gameplay strategies that make effective use of scouts.

Azalrion

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2012, 03:05:37 AM »
Quote
I assume the goal is to draw a contrast between the abilities of early game scouts vs late game scouts. (That'd make the most sense, since the design really never has to change from the early game to the late, you still get the same abilities.)

In a sense yes, but with our tech tree changes the pace will change slightly.

Unfortunately while your ideas are good its not possible to do them, well at least the first one. I have no way to limit what is visible while a ship is in system.

I've pretty much got the method of exploration finalized I'll put up a post on it soon, like all crazy schemes nothing anyone has suggest comes close yet but considering what were adding its not surprising.
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sparky65

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #25 on: October 27, 2012, 11:51:59 AM »
I am in favor of the sensor range limitation for Stars and the probe subsystem for surveying planets.

crys

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2012, 08:55:40 AM »
1: because there is no option to limit the range of ships, maybe it would be an option to reduce ship speed.
put a cap on max speed and or a diminishing returns for acceleration, both connected with youre engine and or construction tech.

this way the galaxy would get larger at the beginning of the game, and it is less effective to send "slow" early scouts out, even more if thouse arent robot ships.
distances between stars could be increased a little too.

2: another option, which would work good in connection with this, would be to put a life-time on ships. not on stations.
if the ship does not get upgraded after that time passed it just gets destroyed.
the time for this could be connected with research too. lets say at the beginning of the game - time 0:00 you can build ships which have a life-time of 30 minutes, with higher tech it can go up to an hour or two.
maybe a ship component could increase this life-time a little.


this would affect mostly old ships and scouts. the old ships are more or less worthless for combat anyways and would reduce the number of useless objects. in addition it would prevent scouts too stay alife forever

Azalrion

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2012, 11:31:11 AM »
Not to let out hints on our master plan, but already got plans for the first. Second probably not would be an AI nightmare.
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MindsEye

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2012, 05:40:33 AM »
I think that is wonderful news. I have always hated the way ships move. Poor thrust with no top speed is just annoying. Its like ships have no maneuvering power. Hopefully you guys can create a proper warp drive too. Also if I may take a jab at ya, youe mentioned a new update a few weeks ago?  :)

Azalrion

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Re: Exploration Discussion
« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2012, 05:43:41 AM »
I think that is wonderful news. I have always hated the way ships move. Poor thrust with no top speed is just annoying. Its like ships have no maneuvering power.

Probably won't have a top speed for standard movement in systems, everything will just be slower the idea behind it is to make ftl techs a necessity to expand beyond your nearby systems.

Quote
Hopefully you guys can create a proper warp drive too.

We'll see, haven't decided what ftl techs we want to put into it yet.

Quote
Also if I may take a jab at ya, youe mentioned a new update a few weeks ago?  :)

In the process of writing a dev blog around our exploration system at the moment.
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