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So the cargo crates...can we make them real?

Discussion in 'General' started by Amerikanovich, Oct 26, 2019.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. Amerikanovich Apprentice Engineer

    The teaser picture for the update got me and my friends all hyped up because we thought the game was finally getting real physical cargo boxes that could be carried around by hand and stacked.
    The DLC reveal was a big letdown in that respect, and I know I'm not the only one (it's cool, don't get me wrong, we all immediately bought it because we've been sinking time into the game since before multiplayer and survival existed and want to support it's continued development).

    So how about it, Keen?
    Cargo boxes in 1-2 sizes, small and double wide, that can be picked up and placed?
    When you interact with the lid, it opens the inventory, same as every cargo, when you interact with the handle it plays a simple custom animation of someone grabbing and holding a box, with a movement speed modifier for the player based on how heavy the box is (maybe while the box is held, the inventory is added to the "grid" of the player? Not necessary but just an idea of how to implement it).
    When the interact button is pushed again, the reverse animation is played of putting the box back down (can't interact with anything else while your hands are full, duh).

    There are 2 ways to make it work, I'm not sure which is easier:
    1. The box is parented to the player's upper body as a static, non-physical object and moves with them until it is put back down.
    2. The box being carried is just an animation, the object itself is "despawned" and it's contents kept in memory until it is put back down again, where it gets spawned back in.

    The box has simple landing gear like functions in the control panel with auto-lock default on when it is put down so it stays where it is placed until picked up again (but that can be turned off), maybe with a couple simple buttons on the face to lock/unlock it.
    The animation really doesn't have to be exact or fancy, just an approximate reaching forward movement with the box more or less being put somewhere in front of the player where it can plop down to the ground so it doesn't fall through the floor.
    There could also be a receptacle/shelf block for large and small grids where a box can be placed into to secure it and connect the inventory to the grid, simply by interacting with it while a box is being carried (in this way it acts then like a normal cargo container but with less capacity for the space it takes up)
    ((if this creates a dilemma with an interaction between both large and small grids by one object, then I would say just count the box as a large grid object and make the receptacle for large ships/stations only, boxes can always just be locked onto small ships to transport them, otherwise it could use the same functionality as a connector block enabling interaction between small and large grids)).

    The times in this game where I wished I could just have a box to put stuff in without having to build a whole small ship to transport goods back and forth short distances is really innumerable, this would add SO MUCH to the game, and I know a lot of people in the community really want it.

    How difficult would this be to implement?
  2. Rulin Apprentice Engineer

    wait, you cannot interact with these cargo boxes? I thought they had at least a small inventory (without conveyor support)
  3. Malware Master Engineer

    Yes you can. OP wants them to be separate, movable entities, not just the decorative blocks they currently are.

    To answer OP, that would require Keen to create a completely new feature since this is not something that is supported by the game at this point. Unfortunately, new features are unlikely to happen now.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. Amerikanovich Apprentice Engineer

    Pff, they've been adding new features since the game was released to early access, it's never too late!
    Besides, I don't think it would take too much reinvention if the animation method was used, would just require a simple new animation and some code tweaking.

    Players can already pick up items which have some kind of content, such as H2/O2 bottles.
    Boxes which are "picked up" could be handled in the same manner, held as an animation and stored in the inventory.
    The only "new" thing would be to save a snapshot of the crate contents while it is in the inventory of the player, so it can be re-instated as the crate's inventory when it is "put back down", since I'm not sure how difficult it would be to have an inventory, inside of an inventory, it would probably be easier to store the information in a list (like the H2/O2 level of the bottles).

    Honestly if I were a coder I would love to try this out just to see if it was possible, it doesn't seem that far-fetched.
  5. Malware Master Engineer

    @Amerikanovich The difficulty is not an issue. Of course they could do it. However, the game isn't in early access anymore, and everything costs money and time to develop. I'm not saying they can't do it. I'm saying they most likely won't want to.

    But if you want to keep hoping, be my guest, I'm not stopping you.

    PS: I am a coder, and something I've learned over the years is that even the things that sounds the easiest thing in the world to do ends up being a serious pain in the backside ;)

    Btw, if you want to make this suggestion in a place that Keen actually might see it - you'll need to post it at https://support.keenswh.com.
  6. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

    Personally, I like the new cargo boxes the way they are. As they're coded, they're no different than an armory or locker or passenger seat; they all store stuff from a fixed location. And they're a nice accent to a ship or station design to make it look a little cluttered.
  7. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    I imagine coders everywhere cringe whenever someone outside of a project they are working on uses words like "just" and "simple."

    The ability to pick things like crates up and move them around has been on the "to do" list of most players since 2014. Seems like whenever we get something we get inspired to want more. When the regular cargo containers got upgraded to include grab handles, I thought it would be great if our character could actually grab a handle. Alas, it was not to be because it's just not simple.

    Keen wants suggestions. They are always asking for out input. I think it's fair to say that players might be more responsible for new features than Keen. It's probably best, though, if we refrained from characterizing our suggestions as something that can be done simply. If we suggest something we think is simple and it doesn't happen, we think Keen is lazy and incompetent. That's just unfair.

    Make your suggestion. Fight for your suggestion. Never let up. Don't, however, ever assume that what you are asking for is simple. Nothing is simple in this business.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Tenzo Apprentice Engineer

    It can't be harder than adding ladders...

    But they probably won't do it for a DLC item alone.
  9. Amerikanovich Apprentice Engineer

    I know coding isn't simple, and yet at the same time it can be laughably so.
    The difference is in whether you have to invent something from scratch without any idea of where to start, or whether you can re-use and recycle old assets.
    A friend of mine is a professional java coder for a living, and said at one point as I was taking a course on it in Uni and asked him for help, that the time comes in every coders life where they realize that the difference between an ok coder and an excellent coder is how quickly they can find what they're looking for on stackoverflow, since everything has already been done somewhere before.
    That being said, my description of simple was meant to emphasize trying out editing old code to give it a new function (such as with the hydrogen bottles), just to see if it works and is possible, not to oversimplify a brand new undertaking.
  10. Ronin1973 Master Engineer


    Well, you're describing coding in a vacuum. The issue is that there are millions of lines of game code that have tons of dependencies. If you create something "new" then it has to play nicely with the rest of the code. Good luck on getting that on the first try. When your new code breaks something, then you have to figure out how to fix it in a manner where the old code still works as expected and so does the new code. What you want to do might be simple. Getting it working... that might be complicated.

    The only object I can think of that the player can put into their inventory that holds any type of inventory are the hydrogen and oxygen bottles. But they don't hold any standard inventory, just a gas. Physical objects holding standard inventory would have to be a new type of object. The object would have mass depending on the inventory as well.

    As far as your container object, how do you get it from despawning if you set it down and auto-clean-up is on? That will have to be rewritten. Should these containers also be linked to the owner and owner faction (meaning controlling access), should you be able to grind it like a block to change ownership?

    How should the mechanic of the container be handled? You stated you'd like to see an animation of the player carrying the container. Currently, only weapons/tools are animated. So the container would have aspects of that coding to deal with. The problem being is the container actually part of the players' inventory? Should you be able to switch between carrying the container and a tool... without dropping the container? Or would you have to drop the container to use a tool?

    I'm just scratching the surface here. But as I said... you have to factor in a ton of dependencies and still have this new code play well with the old code.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  11. shimonu Apprentice Engineer

    Keen would have to add it to game as update or suffer backlash for adding dlc only function.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  12. Concave Apprentice Engineer

    I remember an electrical components mod, where blocks looked small enough to be carried by the character model (they are meant to be placed on a 1x1 surface that functions as a sort of circuit board). Adding large amounts of these smaller grid blocks could put a strain on VRage, but when they are stacked we could make them automatically merge as one larger block and still allow you to micromanage packing and unpacking as you suggest.
  13. Amerikanovich Apprentice Engineer

    So modders manage this kind of stuff all the time, but Keen won't because it's too complicated?
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  14. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    Modders managed to exploit a glitch that was later patched. You don't see that mod today.

    It's pretty safe to say that if a feature is possible Keen will try to shoehorn it in, if they can do it without rewriting the whole game.
  15. Malware Master Engineer

    That's Digi's mod. It's actually a remodeled rotor block, and you're placing small blocks on a small grid, connected to a large grid, exactly as if you were using the rotor trick. It's just done "for" you.

    Which would either make no difference as the block complexity performance wise would be identical to a small grid version (keep in mind, the only difference between a "small grid" and a "large grid" is a scaling factor), or cause the generation of who-knows-how-many dynamically generated blocks, causing untold memory pressure.

    Modders aren't slaves to the performance requirement of customers. They also don't have to balance expenses and income, or worry about how one feature affects another. That's why modders seem to be "able" to do things the professional developers "can't". It's not about can or can't, it's about feasible or nonfeasible, taking all these factors and consequences into account in the big picture before making a decision on what to do.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Roxette Senior Engineer

    Understatement of the decade right there. :D
Thread Status:
This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.