Friday, 3 August 2012

Industry & The CSM (the CSM Summit Minutes post)

A long post in which Mara comments on portions of the CSM Summit minutes/transcript which impact parts of the game that Mara is most involved with.


p58, “Trebor said that what you needed in the simple case was a good view into the materials requirement pipeline (for example, in 36 hours you will be blocked because you are out of some material) and suggested that then there could be prioritization applied if there are multiple jobs” — this would be good for a real life UI where you want the computer pointing out the optimisations for the humans. In the game, you want this kind of attention to detail to be the competitive advantage of the spreadsheet wrangler over the “just dump this stuff in the station and see what happens” style industrialist.

You don't want the UI stepping into the zone of explicit instruction (as pointed out by Elise on p83).

I like the idea of being able to use assembly lines in a station or POS the same way as processors in PI. Now you just need to have NPCs raise their prices as demand for their assembly lines increases: all lines full for two weeks? Double the per-hour costs. POS industry needs to be used more, and this can be achieved by reducing NPC supply, raising the cost of NPC supply, and lowering the click-intensive nature of POS assembly lines before altering the UI of NPC assembly lines. POS assembly lines already have their own "bins", so converting POS assembly lines to PI-style factories with links should be relatively simple. Just allow assembly to be set as a process rather than a project, and allow assembly lines to fetch/dump their output in a different POS structure such as another assembly array or a corporate hangar array. These changes would be most welcome if they can be squeezed into current POSes.

Fix POS refineries please? While you're at it, nerf NPC refineries please?

On p60, “Two Step suggested it should cost less to build farther from Jita by adjusting NPC build costs”. I heartily agree: but I would do this by having NPC assembly line costs rise with demand. Any economist or capitalist will tell you that this is the way things should work. You don't have to fiddle things manually this way.

Oh, and place a limit on the number of market orders that can be sustained by any one station. An Assembly Plant shouldn't have as many available market slots as a Logistics Support station, for example. An administration office shoudln't have anywhere near as much market support or hangar space as a Logistics Support station. Build NPC stations the same way as player stations. If I want to set up a POS in nullsec with a market hangar, that should allow me to compete for business with local NPC stations.


Modular starbases FTW!

I would love CCP to start releasing modular starbases as soon as a minimum viable product is available: that is, the basic anchoring module, a power supply, a supercomputer, an ME research lab. Ideally this could be dynamically scalable: want more ME labs? Add another power supply and super computer to support a few more labs. Not using your labs? Turn them off and power down a couple of power supplies and computers.

This is enough to get hisec industrialists to use the star base. ME research can be done using blueprints that are stored in a NPC station in the same solar system. In incremental releases you can push out PE labs and offensive/defensive batteries, followed by storage & invention labs. Other modules that require storage can follow: assembly arrays, corporate hangars, silos, reactors.

The minimum viable product will mean you have something in use as quickly as possible: the minimal amount of art required to get this product into Tranquility would be some bland grey boxes to concretely illustrate the grid-based design principle. I'm sure industrialists will forgive you for boring grey boxes that work, if you promise some art time to revisit the boxes and make them interesting later. Sure, add some really basic texture to make the boring grey box look like a Gallente research lab versus an Amarr research lab (the difference being a trade off in CPU usage for research multiplier time), or a Caldari lab (which reduces research time to trade for shield capacity) or a Minmatar lab (which uses more CPU, less PG, has less EHP, but a faster research time), but don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

POSes and modular starbases run by appropriately skilled characters played by appropriately skilled players should be more efficient than NPC provided services.

Factional Warfare & Industry

I am dead set against giving FW specific bonuses in terms of faster jobs times in NPC stations (Two Step, bottom of p59).

A better option would be a job-time multiplier that is impacted by IHUB upgrades. This translates better for sov nullsec (and the FW occupation mechanic could also extend to NPC nullsec). This puts industry into destructible POSes. You want the gains from Faction Warfare? You have to face the personal risk.

i.e.: Farms & Fields. Do not allow "industry by shooting stuff"

High Meta Industry

p61: I thoroughly support the idea of allowing miners & explorers to discover "unicorn manure" and "space whale oil" (and perhaps PvPers could discover "carebear tears", and PVEers could discover "dutch courage") to contribute to the manufacture of high-meta items. I'll also note that there are no (or very few) high-meta variants of T1 ships. Imagine a meta-4 Merlin that gets a 6% bonus instead of a 5% bonus, for example. OR the ability for industrialists to invent a T1 meta-4 item such as 1400mm 'Scout' Artillery I.


CCP Arrow stated that the task to mine could stay the same but the visual elements could change to make the tasks more fun. For example when selecting an asteroid you could scan it to see more details about what was in it in terms of different types of ores in a single asteroid. The asteroid may even be displayed in a 3D manner showing the ore distribution.

CCP Soundwave indicated that ship of different sizes could be used but larger ships might be faster or better.

Note that in my suggestions on mining (anonymous mixed-ore asteroids with random composition), there is plenty of scope for people in mining frigates or lower-yield barges to extract ore from rocks not suited for the high-yield, long-cycle, crystal-using specialist miners. Thus the mining equivalent of "tackle frigate" would be the "cleaner fish†" who pick up the stuff that the big fish consider waste, because that's what they're most efficient at due to having low volume per cycle, indiscriminate mining lasers.

This will reward the clever thinkers, and provide incentives to include rookies/low-skilled miners in mining operations.

And all the while, none of this punishes people who like mining because it's a relaxing activity for individuals or corporations to participate in while chewing fat, shooting the breeze, or downing a celebratory vodka or three. The "zen miners" can continue hoovering up entire belts because that's the limit of their critical thinking after a long day at work. And there is no need to make the mechanic of mining more interesting to people who don't mine.

Ah … and these modifications require no alterations to existing art resources.

Planetary Interaction

Having a beanstalk on the planet would be a great way to allow players to trade things: rather than charging for export to the customs office, someone installs a beanstalk which has two customs offices: one in space, the other on the ground. The two offices would have different tax rates, with CONCORD owned ones having about half the tax rate on the surface. Other players would see the ground-based customs office as a facility that they can connect to, with some amount of room similar to a command centre/launchpad. Transfers between characters could happen by contract, but this would require contracts being modified to allow orbital and surface customs offices to be targets for pickup/dropoff.

DUST 514

Everyone who has access to a Playstation 3 should go try it out!

Fantasy Fitting

I would prefer to see CCP providing just enough functionality ingame to be useful, leaving scope for third party developers to provide niche products like EVEmon, EFT and the ilk.

User Interface

The guys who work with fleets all the time had some very good feedback to provide about fleet UI. Funny that :)

For role management: "Based at" is actually used, especially in corps with multiple POSes. The corp might have one POS for "juniors" who are based in one system: they get access to hangars there. There's another POS for "seniors" who are based in a different system, and a POS for "rich bastards" who are researching high-value BPOs, in a different system again.

The current system is most usable if administrators use roles to collect privileges, then assign roles to members. Assigning rights to individuals gets complicated very quickly. The difficulties are things like "factory manager" which is a role you need in order to manage your own jobs, but also allows you to manage other people's jobs. It's not enough to have "rent slot" since that doesn't allow you to cancel your own jobs. If "rent slot" allowed you to cancel your own jobs, the current system would be vastly improved.

Mac users would like a launcher that is as functional as the current Windows launcher: we don't have server status yet, much less up-to-date news and adverts.

A launcher that allows the user to define a bunch of "prepared clients" and launch a bunch of them simultaneously would be nice. Thus for example I could have "Full detail single client" along with "low detail 1" through "low detail N". Give me checkboxes a have the launcher launch all the checked clients when I click "Play". Along with detail levels, screen resolutions and fullscreen/window mode these configs could store which server that client will connect to. Then the launcher just needs to have two installations to launch from, combined with a swathe of configurations to launch that installation with.

Off Grid Boosters

OGB cannot be removed from the game fast enough.

† yes I know there are better analogies, but I love cleaner fish, okay?

1 comment:

  1. About industry and POS-es, what you said: Yes please! Those are good ideas. Make everything dynamic, up the prices on NPC stations for manufacturing, research, and refining, even based on sec status of the system, sec status of the player, standings with the corp whose station you are doing business on.
    And that idea of Faction specific modules/ships should be built with a bonus in their own faction's space should be used too. Or penalize building them in other factions' space, to give space some diversity.

    The Market restrictions is a brilliant idea! This could deal with the big market hubs, and give more incentives to use POS-es if they are done correctly.

    And after the dynamic changes, CCP can think of what bonuses should they give to industry for FW tier levels (if they should give any) in the FW systems.
    I think FW should affect somewhat the Factions with station prices in high sec too. But only the bureuraticly connected corps and their stations.

    I like your proposed mining changes too.

    Planetary Interaction needs saveable templates for positioning things on the planet, and filters for the factories' buildable list depending on the planet and/or end product you want to make on the planet.

    How about offgrid boosting with a POS module only, and maybe max +5% bonus given by it? With lowered ship boosting efficiency, wich can be applied only on grid.