Planetfall 2.0 (probably)

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Re: Planetfall 2.0 (maybe)

Post by Thargoid »

Redspear wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 12:29 pm
So I mean no disrespect to Thargoid in saying that planet fall 1.0 was a marvellous proof of concept. It showed it could be done but not necessarily what to do with it.
None taken, as you're entirely correct.

The original of that OXP is me looking at the available events and seeing it was something that could possibly be done, combined with the desire to make in-game planets something other than things to avoid going splat into :mrgreen:

The basic script was very simple, but I actually followed a similar thinking to what is going on in this thread to try and make it a bit more "interesting". Hence the different locations, plus the attempt to allow other OXPs to hook into it. I did write a few of those as demo's, such as PlanetFall Taxi. A few other OXPs did hook into it, but in all cases we were rather limited by what we could do in the game engine back then.

As I said before, now that things have moved on, I'm all for others to go back and do other things with this based on what's available today in the game mechanics and coding. There is certainly a lot which can be brushed up, expanded on or done differently/better (I'm no graphical artist either).

I just found it quite amusing to see where this thread has gone (both in terms of ideas and graphics), remembering my own experiences first time around and some of the discussions we had way back then on other improvements or variations that could be done. I'd love to see something come of this, and to get some more out of the concept. After 8 pages though it's at least in part come around to the same point I did 16 years ago.
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Re: Planetfall 2.0 (maybe)

Post by Cholmondely »

Redspear wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 12:29 pm
I've got nothing here that I haven't tried to say before but then my ramblings aren't always understood it seems so my apologies as I try one more time...

Making something look better is always nice but more important is (usually) what it actually does.

So I mean no disrespect to Thargoid in saying that planet fall 1.0 was a marvellous proof of concept. It showed it could be done but not necessarily what to do with it.

The resultant exploit of other markets was balanced by rather significant maintenance costs. The problem was of course that without the exploit the only motivation was the novelty.

Some mission ideas have been discussed around outposts and so on but if the player can land at any planet at any time then why would they?

The usual motivator for docking is to make or spend credits and if it's the former then you have (at least potentially) a recurring exploit.

Can they instead offer something different? Note that doesn't have to be something new, it just has to be different from what the main station offers.

The reason the station exists in the first place is so that pilots don't have to land on the planet in order to trade, right? So if we're keeping stations then landing on a planet should IMHO offer something that stations cannot. If we were disigning a game from scratch then wouldn't that seem to be a fairly obvious design choice?

Maybe we have the problem of what to do because the inherited design (from elite) was to avoid planetary landing. By keeping stations as they are then we're perpetuating the 'solution' to a problem that this OXP no longer wishes to exist.

Oolite was made without planetary landing but it did add new features when docked (buy ships, contracts, maintenance). Without anywhere else to dock, all of them were added to the stations - there was no where else to put them.

Well, with planet fall enabled there suddenly is somewhere else.

Thus my earlier suggestion of moving a contract type to being available from a planet only. If not that then how about maintenance being planet only? or buying a new ship? or even buying equipment that needs to be installed (maybe not fuel or missiles)? In fact the last one might even make more sense around planet tech levels when GalCop can still maintain an orbital system in even the lowest tech level system.


If we try imagining it the other way round... what does the station offer that landing couldn't?

If the answer were nothing then why is it there?
If the result is an exploit then why do we want it there?

The original, elite answer to that question was a satisfactory landing/docking experience (for 1984).
Thats done, solved, fixed. We don't need another one unless there are some systems without stations.

So if we don't need it then how can we make it so that we want it?

It's easy to imagine missions to moons or outposts but if it's to be a core game (in the sense that it doesn't require additional planets or moons) land on any planet at any time feature then why?

How is a worthy question too but Thargoid answered that years ago. Doesn't mean his answer can't be improved upon but that still won't answer the why.


I've no wish to diminish the efforts thus far. Looping back on ourselves is fine as long as we've learned something.
As usual, you raise some interesting points. But I'm uneasy with a blanket decision such as "no contracts" on the main orbital. In real life, I'd expect the contracts to be there (but maybe more lucrative ones on the planet surface).

So what might one expect on the Main Orbital Station? What might one expect on the planet surface?

Premisses
Space is at a premium on the Main Orbital Station.
Prices there are controlled by GalCop.
The need to ferry goods to/from the planet will engender costs.

"Vanilla" game. Notwithstanding that access to the planet requires the PlanetFall OXP!

Markets: Larger quantities on the planet surface. Cheaper prices for exports, pricier prices for imports.

Ship's outfitting: Cheaper prices. Possibly a wider selection of equipment.

Shipyard: Cheaper prices? Wider selection of ships (but almost all with planetary landing capabilities). Poorly maintained spaceships for sale.

Contracts: Juicier contracts on the planet surface.

OXP'd game.

Diplomancy: extending visas for this solar system within this solar system (requires trip to Governmental Visa Office on planet surface)

Weapon Laws: ability to buy "banned" weapons in a high tech politically safe system (possibly through a black market on planet)

Some equipment (lasers or what have you) only available on planet surface (there needs to be a rationale for each piece of equipment as the orbital station is focused on dealing with space ships with gravity-free shipyards for working on them).

Some New Cargoes or other commodities only available on planet surface.

Sadly there is not all that much in Oolite regarding eg. Politics or NPC interaction which might lead one down to the planet surface. DGill's Feudal States is evolving in this direction, but there seems little else available so far.

Other Ideas
Family on planet. Friends.

But in many cases, one would expect that matters involving spaceship pilots (= players) would be located at the orbital stations. Eg: mission offers.
Comments wanted:
Missing OXPs? What do you think is missing?
Lore: The economics of ship building How many built for Aronar?
Lore: The Space Traders Flight Training Manual: Cowell & MgRath Do you agree with Redspear?
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Re: Planetfall 2.0 (maybe)

Post by Redspear »

Cholmondely wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 8:16 pm
Markets: Larger quantities on the planet surface. Cheaper prices for exports, pricier prices for imports.
Instigate trade loop with main station and you'd then have a risk free trade loop as follows:
Ship 'exports' to main station for profit. Ship 'imports' from station for profit.
That's how easy it is to create unintended exploits.

OK, so if we're not to detract from the main station (even though I'd like to) then what have I got?

Black Markets

Reward: no controlled goods
Risk: chance to get tailed by assassins in next system
Trade-off: cleaner legal status for risk of more attention from assassins

Unlicenced Mechanics

Reward: 'dirty' fuel - greater injector speed
Risk: small chance it will choke injectors leading to their becoming damaged
Trade-off: unstable supply means random prices each system visit (from x5 to x100)

Planetside Info

Reward: knowledge of prices from a nearby system or contact for slightly better price (main planet of target system)
Risk: such info is not meant to be public and so small chance of it being a sting operation
Trade-off: no guarantee it will be info for a system you're interested in

I don't particularly like the last one but that's potentially three things, off the top of my head, that you could do/chase upon landing at any main planet.
The player then could/would:
  • reliably find such opportunities
  • be required to leave the system in order to exploit them
  • be taking at least some small risk in doing so
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Re: Planetfall 2.0 (maybe)

Post by Cholmondely »

Redspear wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 9:19 pm
Cholmondely wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 8:16 pm
Markets: Larger quantities on the planet surface. Cheaper prices for exports, pricier prices for imports.
Instigate trade loop with main station and you'd then have a risk free trade loop as follows:
Ship 'exports' to main station for profit. Ship 'imports' from station for profit.
That's how easy it is to create unintended exploits.

OK, so if we're not to detract from the main station (even though I'd like to) then what have I got?
I've no problems with detracting from the main station - as long as it makes sense to me.

As regards the risk-free trade loop:

1) there are risk-free costs: maintenance and the initial cost of equipment. Plus pilot's time.

2) GalCop is short of dosh - so they will raise it in any way possible, including tariffs on station sales.

Since they control the markets on the station, I would guess that they control the profit on goods imported or exported to the station surface. So if you come from outer space and go straight to the planet surface, you can evade them. But not if you dock at the main orbital - and especially not if you are trading there.

3) And might the disparity be greatest at anarchies where one could get clobbered by pirates/aegis raiders en route to the planet surface? And where GalCop receives no emoluments from the inexistent planet government for the station upkeep. Presumably the majority of the goods sold would have been escorted by the enfeebled GalCop vipers en-route from the anarchic planet surface.
Comments wanted:
Missing OXPs? What do you think is missing?
Lore: The economics of ship building How many built for Aronar?
Lore: The Space Traders Flight Training Manual: Cowell & MgRath Do you agree with Redspear?
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Re: Planetfall 2.0 (maybe)

Post by hiran »

Aren't there companies that operate vehicles just to launch payload into orbit and bring it down again?
SpaceX and the Starship is the first example coming to my mind.

So I think Cholmondely has a point.
Risk-free? What about atmospheric and gravitational conditions, and the wear that an atmosphere has on a ship's hull?
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Re: Planetfall 2.0 (maybe)

Post by Redspear »

Cholmondely wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 11:44 pm
I've no problems with detracting from the main station - as long as it makes sense to me.
Cholmondely wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 11:44 pm
Since they control the markets on the station, I would guess that they control the profit on goods imported or exported to the station surface. So if you come from outer space and go straight to the planet surface, you can evade them. But not if you dock at the main orbital - and especially not if you are trading there.
I think you might be prioritising what makes sense over what would represent good gameplay.
Get the latter right and I think I can come up with three reasons for whatever that outcome might be.

Seriously: try suggesting to me what you think might genuinely be the most fun thing gameplay wise (still within the scope of elite), without worrying about the why, and then see how I can justify it. Maybe I can't but...

Cholmondely wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 11:44 pm
As regards the risk-free trade loop:

1) there are risk-free costs: maintenance and the initial cost of equipment. Plus pilot's time.

2) GalCop is short of dosh - so they will raise it in any way possible, including tariffs on station sales.
I don't see any fun in that. In fact, I don't think I can even see any gameplay...

Pilot's time is usually player's time remember, I want a bit more from that, don't you?
There are electricity costs too, are we counting those?
What makes it worth my real world time?

As for maintenance, don't tell anyone but... it's really just a way to slow player profits (a good addition to oolite as they could really take off in elite).

Cholmondely wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 11:44 pm
where one could get clobbered by pirates/aegis raiders en route to the planet surface?
That's a bit more like it but typically this is the route taken by orbital shuttles, transporters and worms. Maybe there's a reason why the more capable craft don't tend to do the shuttle runs. Again, the issue isn't why, we can get around that, the issue is what would make it fun.

I once started a game in a shuttle (no weapons), doing station to planet runs with planetfall (maintenence costs removed). Idea was that I'd be saving up for an adder as a form of pauper's start. Problem was that it was really, really dull.

It was no harder than starting in an adder, in fact it was easier as with just a few more runs I could afford some equipment upgrades.
Adder start can be fun because of the challenge.

Risk free costs don't present challenge and therefore actually do risk not presenting any fun.
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Re: Planetfall 2.0 (maybe)

Post by Redspear »

hiran wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 12:19 am
Aren't there companies that operate vehicles just to launch payload into orbit and bring it down again?
SpaceX and the Starship is the first example coming to my mind.

So I think Cholmondely has a point.
Again, concerns over realism not fun.

hiran wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 12:19 am
Risk-free? What about atmospheric and gravitational conditions, and the wear that an atmosphere has on a ship's hull?
Got any fun gameplay ideas for it?
I'm not being rude (or at least not trying to be), rather I mean could there be any gamelay associated with it or is it just maintenance costs?

Because if it's just maintenence then what's the differnce between that and reducing the prospective trade profits in the first place?

Maybe some piloting adjustment is necessary for differnt atmospheric conditions? That could be the start of some gameplay, right? A variable skill test perhaps? But at this early stage it sounds like significant work for minimal reward.

Maybe I should just shut up now. If my concerns aren't shared then I don't want to disturb others' fun and this horse I've been flogging is currently exhibiting little in the way of life signs.
Besides, I could always download and then tweak my own copy :D
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Re: Planetfall 2.0 (maybe)

Post by Cholmondely »

I totally agree with you Redspear: ferrying items between the station and the planet surface is not going to be much fun - even if there are good profits - unless there is danger involved (ie doing so in an anarchy).

I suspect that the issue here is that of the limitations of Oolite. There is too much which we just cannot do in the game at the moment. And, accordingly, too much which we cannot yet do on the planet surface.

We don't really have proper NPCs (although we can emulate them to an extent through javascript - see DGill's recent work on royals, lance fournies and inamorata - or Ramirez's Resistance Commander). Our politics is vestigial (eg Commie systems which have their own ships/stations but which don't do anything in the larger scheme of things). Trading and fighting seem to be the main activities - and what we can offer on the planet surface therefore lacks other excitements.

Would it not be super to be able visit Lave and get involved in the GalCop politics on the planet surface in Astoria? Or go to the moon and interact with the Emperor? Or wander around Teorge and see how Holdstock's clones interact with the vanilla game code lobsters? Or try and find out what really lurks under Larais's orange clouds? Or what the humanoids of Ascension are up to in their utopian anarchy?

To explore? Discover? Interact with others without lasers being involved?
Comments wanted:
Missing OXPs? What do you think is missing?
Lore: The economics of ship building How many built for Aronar?
Lore: The Space Traders Flight Training Manual: Cowell & MgRath Do you agree with Redspear?
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Re: Planetfall 2.0 (maybe)

Post by hiran »

Redspear wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 12:44 am
hiran wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 12:19 am
Aren't there companies that operate vehicles just to launch payload into orbit and bring it down again?
SpaceX and the Starship is the first example coming to my mind.

So I think Cholmondely has a point.
Again, concerns over realism not fun.

hiran wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 12:19 am
Risk-free? What about atmospheric and gravitational conditions, and the wear that an atmosphere has on a ship's hull?
Got any fun gameplay ideas for it?
I'm not being rude (or at least not trying to be), rather I mean could there be any gamelay associated with it or is it just maintenance costs?
Ok. You can go the official way of buying/selling from the station market. Prices are higher since there is added value: Someone brought it from the planet for you. Someone paid value added tax. And someone did some quality control.

Quality control? Well if you buy from the producer straight away you need to ensure they deliver the agreed quality according to Galcop standards. Otherwise machine parts may fail, food is rotting away or you just loaded debris and pebbles.

Also you can negociate prices and build up a reputation/friendship.

On the other hand you are bypassing Galcop's strong position to control the market. They may not like you going down directly. What could be the consequences?
Is it possible to store big quantities of fuel on the planet? Where is that produced anyway?

Are there ships too big for planetfall? It would look strange to land s star destroyer. And I remember only one movie where the Enterprise would touch planet surface - it did not go well.
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Re: Planetfall 2.0 (maybe)

Post by Cholmondely »

hiran wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 7:54 am
Are there ships too big for planetfall? It would look strange to land s star destroyer. And I remember only one movie where the Enterprise would touch planet surface - it did not go well.
Yes, definitely. PlanetFall creates an invisible Coriolis-size dock a short distance above the planet surface (thus preventing touching the surface, thus preventing the vanilla-game-code explosion). Ships too big to dock at a Coriolis will not be able to "land" on the planet.
Comments wanted:
Missing OXPs? What do you think is missing?
Lore: The economics of ship building How many built for Aronar?
Lore: The Space Traders Flight Training Manual: Cowell & MgRath Do you agree with Redspear?
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Re: Planetfall 2.0 (maybe)

Post by phkb »

Not sure if that logic will apply in 2.0. I’ll have to check.
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Re: Planetfall 2.0 (maybe)

Post by Redspear »

Re only some ships landing...

I don't think that's what phkb wants and furthermore it reduces the appeal fir anyone who can't land in their favourite ships but...
There could be different landing sites suited for different vehicles.

There's a need to be careful here otherwise we're restricting as much as adding.

Likewise, anything that uses too much randomisation could just be frustrating.

Specifics such as clones on Teorge require specific work for limited returns but there are recurring flavour elements that could be reused: civil wars, deadly disease, killer mountain lobdtoids etc.

Civil war: deliver firearms to the planet for extra profit but face low altitude raiders

Disease: special requirements from other systems - 'reverse contracts' , bring it to us, not ship it to them, a reason for a return visit. Go there first to find out what they need but not something from the main station, instead maybe it's...

Exotic fauna/flora: some antidote for diseased systems or magic ingredient for systems famous for their night life.

Plantations: lots of cheap food (normally a low profit item and so hardly game unbalancing).

Tourists: more passenger contracts available (therefore more choice).

Killer thingies: chance for ship infestation a la trumbles (good prices though).

etc. etc. gotta dash...
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Re: Planetfall 2.0 (maybe)

Post by cbr »

Redspear wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 9:19 pm
  • reliably find such opportunities
  • be required to leave the system in order to exploit them
  • be taking at least some small risk in doing so
yes!

planet -> planet contracts
planet -> return contracts

yes!

https://youtu.be/Koi8zRtcvDs?t=208

Skill landing!
Yes?
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Re: Planetfall 2.0 (maybe)

Post by Nite Owl »

Redspear wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 12:44 am
Besides, I could always download and then tweak my own copy.
My thoughts exactly. A working and good looking v2.0 should be the primary goal at this point.

phkb
Which of the many text to image A.I.'s did you use to get those images? Being also graphically challenged, and thereby totally incapable of creating such works myself, this has lots of value for a few ideas in my workshop. Have tried a few of the text to image A.I.'s out there but none of the results have been of the high quality you posted earlier. Have been avoiding anything that costs or demands a sign-up (except for a Google sign-in) so my curiosity is peaked as to which one you used. Would be willing to sign-up for something if the results are worth it.
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Re: Planetfall 2.0 (maybe)

Post by Stormrider »

I don't really think planetfall needs to do anything other than allow the player to land on planets. Planets offer a great alternative to the main station for OXP authors that want to create content that would not make sense on a police station but are not capable of creating models for their own stations.
I feel that the more that is done to "make planetfall interesting" the less ability OXP authors will have to develop their own interpretation of interesting play.

Authors should easily be able to create their own "landing sites" in order to create missions that take advantage of a docking experience that is not controlled by the galcop or limited to activities that could happen on a space station. I don't know if it is possible but it would be ideal if each landing site could be treated as an independent station with it's own market, allegiance, etc.

Visually I think keeping it simple may be the best in order to allow more variety. The tunnel sequence doesn't seem to make sense. The spaceport image is not bad, although it seems like a spaceport would actually look a lot more like a modern airport only with spacecraft. How many images would be required to give enough variety?

The Feudal States OXP is a great example of how planetfall is more than just a proof of concept but a valuable addition to Oolite with respect to the ability to have more interesting gameplay.
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