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Topic Title: Upcoming Feature: Ship Scanner (Sticky Topic)

Topic starter: Iiridayn Donator

Topic started: 17:15:19 3rd May 2024

Posts: 19 Last post: 04:37:04 27th May 2024 by Iiridayn Donator

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Iiridayn Donator Posted: 17:15:19 3rd May 2024

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Many years ago Professor and I made a change to the code to decrease the importance of "homeworld" planets. Previously, all ships were tied to a planet home base, and when that base was lost, all ships tied to that planet were immediately scuttled, no matter where they were. On the one hand, this behavior was quite confusing for many players, and caused a lot of frustration. On the other, it provided strong reasons to keep at least one extremely well defended planet, so you could hold on to your transports and trained assaults.

One we made this change, Bert warned us that a natural outcome would be that players would choose to keep resources in ships in space instead of somewhere other players could hypothetically reach, an outcome I label "cans in space". Indeed, cans in space have become a problem as Bert warned us.

As we have shifted the game balance a bit too far in one direction, it is necessary to bring it back. Restoring the old "ships randomly blow up" code is not a good direction, so instead we'll aim to increase the risk of cans in space until their overall risks and costs are similar to keeping resources on well-defended homeworlds. Our plan is to implement some kind of "ship probe" or ship scanner.

We welcome suggestions and discussion regarding the balancing this feature.




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Iiridayn Donator Posted: 17:42:48 3rd May 2024

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Current considerations:

The ship scanner itself needs some risk and counterplay opportunities. One option is to announce in the news the coordinates of the scanning ship and leave it there immobile until the scan time completes. A tradeoff could be provided between range and scan time, with longer scan times providing exponentially greater range, to a point. The ship could require fuel (possibly S since nobody likes S), allowing an easy method to limit the maximum scanning range via ship volume and fuel available. Under this model the ship could be reusable, allowing the primary cost for scanning to be balanced by fuel use - and increasing the cost in the case of ship destruction.

I am not sure how to balance this yet. At the current maximum probe range of 400 (w/the upgrade) this would only take 27000 probes to find every assault, transport, etc w/in the circle of planets; possibly too cheap for the risk. On the other hand, it would still take around 4.4 million probes to scan every random coordinate, which would likely make cans in space outside the planet radius too safe. This might be inherently balanced by the ease of destroying probe ships trying to use a large range while near the galactic core.

Other thoughts:
- We need art for this new ship; we might just use the unused ship art.
- Cajin pointed out that this will be an early gold rush, then there won't be targets once everything is cleaned out, so value should take both cases into account.
- Probably make empty ships harder to find/undetectable, so randomly parked ships aren't at risk or at less risk than cans in space. This would also incidentally allow multiple players to park and overlap scanning ship fields.
- Ships w/in some range (~4-5) of a star or planet should probably be undetectable, to avoid using this to replace probes.
- Vulnerable timeframes could feasibly be days to weeks, particularly to scan particularly large volumes.
- Some sort of passive detection mode which doesn't light it up, and can detect ships iflighting through its passive detection range. This would give a direction of flight, but wouldn't necessarily reveal the destination of such ships. However, it could provide opportunities to pirate and/or destroy ships in iflight.




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Iiridayn Donator Posted: 14:18:06 5th May 2024

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Another thought, which could be tied to this or another solution to the same problem. Instead of deleting ships when their homebase is captured, provide the attacker with their names and coordinates once at the time of capture. However, ships could avoid having a homebase in exchange for some form of upkeep.




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FORTRANshadow Posted: 09:58:54 6th May 2024

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I think this would be a huge change in the game mechanics and would affect many players who have been building up resources for years. Yes, like me.

I think the only way this makes sense is to offer the services of Skylords Bank & Trust as an alternative. So, for a standard fee of 2% per month, you can safely bank your resources at SB&T. There should be no real upper limit to how much could be stored, as SB&T is "too big to fail".

And, yeah, if that were to come to fruition, the ship recycler building needs to be created. Recycling probably only has about a 70% recovery rate...


FORTRANshadow Posted: 10:05:49 6th May 2024

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Sorry for the multis. There was some kind of stutter in the connection, and Send "didn't work".

Edit: mod removed the extra posts.


MadMax1967 Posted: 19:56:25 6th May 2024

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I agree with Fort. The vets have numerous bank ships around the galaxy and all this would do is hurt those that have been loyal to the game for years. I like the bank idea as there isn't enough hws to hold all the resources some of us have acquired.




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MadMax1967 Posted: 19:57:36 6th May 2024

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and why can't I edit my post now?




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EL Posted: 16:39:41 7th May 2024

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I like the idea as adds an incentives activity for attackers and defenders.

https://imgur.com/a/l0O6TdN - Listed fatelords features..

"Scanner Jammer to fake enemy spaceship scan results" - Suppose something like this could help balance the proposed new ship


Iiridayn Donator Posted: 01:46:56 8th May 2024

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Re editing posts, please let me know details. I was recently working on related code, so I may have broken something. Discord or email are best to contact me, as I have too many PMs in SkyLords to read new ones. (Edit: ah, Cajin helped figure it out - should be fixed now).

Re FORTRANshadow and MadMax1967 I agree that this is a significant disruption, specifically to the "cans in space" meta that Bert warned us all about. Bert's point was that being able to hit other people with no skin in the game was highly desirable, and eventually nobody would have anything to hit. By increasing the risk of storing resources on transports from effectively 0, this should increase the value of defending resources on planets.

MadMax, you warn that there isn't enough homeworlds to hold all the resources some have acquired - but even a player with 57 can ships each with at least 500k resources would be able to fit all their resources on just 3 heavily defended planets - 2 if not for having an excess of one resource. Excluding an outlier (you probably know who you are), all of the can ship resources combined in space from all players could fit on around 50 planets. That is more than an order of magnitude smaller than the number of current homeworlds with more than 50 m defense. So please forgive me if I must respectfully disagree with any claims of impossibility.

On that note, should we make the numbers of pirateable resources in space public like the planet count? It could help to support a pirate playstyle, and would make it easier for players to verify these numbers.

FORTRANshadow, a ship recycler is not a bad idea, and is one we can put on the short list for community co-design and feedback. I've spent a lot of time in the building code the last couple of weeks, and the interface for the stable warp shows a UI pattern that could be used to select a ship to recycle, so most of the hard work for that is functionally completed already.




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Iiridayn Donator Posted: 01:59:22 8th May 2024

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Ah, also re FORTRANshadow, a banking system with a percentage monthly upkeep is also an appealing idea, though it would have to be carefully balanced to avoid the same problem Bert mentioned (too cheap) while being useful enough to justify development time (too expensive).

Additionally, I have a strong personal preference to keep resources in the game universe as much as possible, so it might be backed via NPC cans in space subject to piracy, perhaps with a dynamic upkeep determined by how much piracy occurs in practice. Your resources would remain guaranteed by the bank (barring a run on the bank or total loss), but they'd have to charge more upkeep if their operating costs rise.




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Cajin Von Sian V Posted: 08:52:15 8th May 2024

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Topics: 9

Location: Angola



With the current systems of attack/piracy there should be no concern for an active player regarding the ship scanners, other than the active assaults that are traveling around to capture planets. There are simple enough ways to protect yourself, especially for longstanding vets.




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