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"This is Space ENGINEERS not Space [X]" - Discussing suggestions in a more meaningful way

Discussion in 'General' started by DLTyrus, May 3, 2014.

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

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    124
    This is a topic about discussing suggestions, but is not a suggestion about the game itself so I did not put it in the suggestions forum. If that is wrong, please move it. :)

    So I wanted to make a discussion point about this particular topic because it is by far the most common criticism/complaint that I see when people make suggestions about various features that could be added to the game.

    I really really hate seeing this particular way of criticizing because it is completely unhelpful and often times, very short sighted.

    First let me clear up a few weird misconceptions that people seem to have about this game:

    1. Space Engineers is not a simulator:
    • Whenever people talk about adding something that's a bit more sci-fi (the most common example would be some kind of beam weaponry) people start saying that this game is a simulator as a reason why don't want sci-fi features to be added. But this game is not and never has been a simulator.
    • This game is a sandbox which basically means it gives us a bunch of tools and allows us to use them as we please. The game has never been described as a simulator, and the closest thing to that you'll find is on the steam page: "Space Engineers is inspired by reality and by how things work. Think about modern-day NASA technology extrapolated 60 years into the future. Space Engineers strives to follow the laws of physics and doesn't use technologies that wouldn't be feasible in the near future."
    • Its worth noting that the last part: "doesn't use technologies that wouldn't be feasible in the near future", has already been broken a few times. :p
    2. Space Engineers IS science fiction
    • Following on from my last point, this game is absolutely a science fiction game. This does not mean that the game has to have aliens, galactic federations, or jedi mind powers.
    • At its core, science fiction simply means based in science with elements of fiction. Space Engineers is based in science with reactors powered by uranium, thrusters providing the propulsion for ships, and various missile and gattling-gun weaponry. However, it introduces elements of fiction when you start adding gravity generators and artificial mass blocks.
    • There is nothing wrong with this, just the interaction between mass blocks and gravity gens alone have lead to awesome inventions: gravity driven torpedos, gravity cannons, gravity acceleration drives, etc.
    • If the devs want to avoid typical sci-fi tropes like aliens and rogue-AIs that is fine, but "thats too sci-fi" should not be a reason alone not to support an idea that is being suggested. The consideration should not be whether or not the game is becoming too sci-fi or unrealistic, but whether or not new blocks/systems/mechanics allow for interesting creations and interactions with other things, and new and more varied gameplay. Because creativity not realism is the core of engineering.
    3. Just because the game is called "Space Engineers" does not mean that anything not directly related to engineering is detrimental to the game.
    • The inclusion of planets, the ability to grow food, the possibility to create pressurized and oxygenated environments (just a few examples) are all things that do not directly relate to engineering. However, they do add more possibilities to the engineering side of things.
    • Creating hydroponics labs that grow food would be an engineering challenge of its own, depending on their requirements (need for sunlight? space requirements? ways to harvest? etc.)
    • The possibility to create oxygenated environments allows for the challenge of creating working bases that have airlocks and can withstand damage without de-pressurizing. (Note that I'm not necessarily talking about oxygen being NEEDED to survive - but you could oxygenate an area if you wanted to.)
    • Planets (or moons) allow for a whole host of new creations, planetary defence systems, trams or trains for transport around the surface, surface exploration vehicles etc.
    • Note that I am not necessarily saying any of these features SHOULD be included, but I am trying to point out why thinking beyond simply "its not engineering so I dont like it" is important.
    • Consider the addition of asteroids, ore, and mining equipment. Before this was added you could theoretically say "this game is about engineering not mining." But consider that the inclusion of mining lead to the engineering creations of mining ships, mining platforms, and various storage and hauler-type vehicles to transport all the materials.
    So, whenever I see the argument "this is Space Engineers not Space Farmers" or "This is Space Engineers not Space Researchers" or something like that it irritates me. It doesn't help the discussion, it doesn't look at the merits or problems with a certain suggestion, it only allows for a very short-sighted and narrow point of view; the idea that this sandbox game should be very strict in what it allows to be a part of the game and anything that isn't directly related to engineering should not be a part of the game.

    It's also important to remember that just because elements are added does not mean they become the focus of the game - it depends how they are implemented, and from what I have seen so far I have faith in the devs that they wouldn't implement things in such a way to detract from the engineering side of the game.
    The game would only become "Space farmers" if you added food, only if food requirements were so extreme, and the effort required to grow food were so extensive, that you never had time to do anything else.
    The game would only become "Planet Engineers" if planets were added, if there was never a reason to leave the planets.
    None of these things would happen though, because that would require some pretty big mistakes on the devs part that I don't believe they would make (or very quickly fix if they did.)

    When discussing suggestions it is far more useful to consider what the idea would add, or detract, from the game when deciding if it would be good. It shouldn't be about what your general feeling of the game would be, e.g. "the game wouldnt feel like a space game if planets existed", but more along the lines of "If I can get all the resources I need from planets, and they are more defensible, easier to build on, etc., then I wouldn't see a need to ever leave the planet. Then the game might lose some of the space-exploration feel."

    The difference here is that one criticism completely dismisses a whole idea based on a vague feeling, whereas the other discusses the potential problems around the way an idea might be implemented, and rather than just saying "Nope", opens the door for discussing a way that it could be implemented that would add to the game and not detract from it.
    Then, if after discussion the feature does not seem to add very much to the game but takes away a lot, then is the time to decide that the feature should not be included at all.

    As a side note, there are some other considerations as well, especially with large-scale additions like planets, such as whether the game engine can handle it etc. Clearly in its current state the game engine would likely not be able to handle planets for example, but in general this discussion point is probably more something that the devs would take into consideration since they know the limits of their engine far more than we do.

    So I'm hoping that people can consider suggestions in a bit more depth because I am seeing so many interesting ideas dismissed by a lot of people simply by saying "This is Space Engineers not Space [X]" and it would be a shame if a game with so much potential ended up being stuck to a very 2-dimensional "Build spaceship, fly spaceship" gameplay because people seem to think that other features take away from that.

    Sorry that this post got so long. Being concise is not one of my strong points. :D
     
  2. perezmcg Apprentice Engineer

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    I agree with you
     
  3. Hatchie Apprentice Engineer

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    +1... Basicaly anything that adds possibilities into game will enchance the engineering on it's own - because poeple will fins was to utilize it to make something easier, faster, better, etc...
     
  4. Dreokor Senior Engineer

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    1,606
    This is why people disagree with it:

    Also you have to take into account the limitations. Some features are more complicated than others, the code is very delicate and adding or removing stuff will break other things.

    I'm not aganist atmospheres and I would love to see planets added but you have to understand that not everything is possible. The game is also in a very early stage, so the game can change.

    Just because people say "NO" to features like those does not mean they will not be added. The forum community is always the smallest part of a game's. Stuff like this might be added, but I dont think it will be soon, as it is complex stuff and requires lots of testing before even being released.

    Have patience. Only time will tell.
     
  5. Spets Master Engineer

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    3,214
    I would like to see some kind of research tree, upgrades, more mechanics blocks like pistons, etc, food, water, micromanagement, pressurized rooms, air, oxygen, gas, liquid, an so on. all of that is part of engineering too. planets, moving asteroids, exploration. But not aliens and monsters and stupid things like that.
     
  6. SaturaxCZ Senior Engineer

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    1,718
    Basicly you did say we have to discuce all ideas and at same time say NO space engineers is not simulator.... for your personal opinion.
    Becose game is sandbox, it can not be simulator is your logic 100% corect ? I say NO.

    I think developers can give simulator part in game description with clear conscience, all game physics work just fine, like other simulators and i play flight/space simulatros a lot.
    ( just move machin guns to shoot in one place in corect distance and you have all... )

    For rest: some ideas will never work with game engine, but normal players dont know it and another will request change half/all game but fell free discuse it. I think dev. team have good idea how game is supose to look complete and will not let some ideas in game ( will not tell witch one, so we will not get on our favorite topics with +30pages in one topic )
     
  7. The_Director Junior Engineer

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    756
    Guys i think he is simply saying to watch what you say/suggest.

    Space Engineers is about building a ship, with certain near-real-life-physics. He isn't suggesting we have planets, or we should/not have a certain mod, he isn't suggesting anything.

    Remember this is rule #1 for all gaming:

    "If you dont like it, dont play it!"
    T_D

    So arguing over which mods to have, or if having plants, planets, air and more is considered SE grade is truly pointless. Go and make it, then play it, dont like, dont play.


    T_D, CEO of SP
     
  8. Marneus Apprentice Engineer

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    382
    Agree completely with the OP.

    Never thought I would see Talbian engineers.
     
  9. DLTyrus Apprentice Engineer

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    Yeah I quoted the one of those in my post, but I think people misunderstand that to some degree. Being inspired by something typically doesn't mean you follow it to the letter, its just a starting point. If it said "Space Engineers strives to strictly follow reality and how things work" it would be different, but the way it is worded now doesn't suggest to me that it can never step slightly outside the boundaries of what is possible.

    Regarding "engineering, construction and maintenance of space works", I can sort of see that as being a reason to being against planets, but I hope that the devs reconsider the idea of it only ever being in space (and since they've said they're having internal talks about planets, that seems likely)

    I agree about the limitations thing though, I mention in my post that I do believe people should talk about that kind of stuff when considering a suggestion, but that its probably most likely that if we just decided we wanted a feature, the devs could tell us whether its physically possible or not, since we can only guess at best.
    And you're right, the forums aren't everyone that is playing the game for sure, although I don't think I've seen any other ways to communicate with the devs if you have ideas. Maybe I'm wrong though.

    I'll clarify a few things here. I'm not saying a sandbox game can NEVER be a simulator (look at Kerbal Space Program for example), I'm just saying that this game isn't one of them.
    Look at the differences between this game and KSP though - KSP has an entire galaxy to explore and to do it, you have to follow a realistic (if simplified) representation of how that idea works in real life. You build rockets with enough propulsion to escape an atmosphere, you separate parts of your ship once in space, you provide temporary burns to change trajectory etc.
    This game is a sandbox because it focuses on the building and freedom - you can build ships of any size and shape with blocks, and it doesn't apply huge limitation on what would realistically be space-worthy. The implementation of physics is very basic - thrusters apply thrust linearly in the direction they are facing, two colliding ships will slow each other down a bit and cause damage - but it is by no means a highly realistic implementation.
    And that's not a criticism either, the physics in this game are very good and work well for the game, and simulating them any more complexly than this would not only slow the game down even more, it would be unnecessary.

    I'm not saying all ideas are good ideas either, I'm just saying that if your only reason to disagree with a suggestion is "no the title is engineers", then its not really a valid reason.

    I'm not exactly saying to watch what you suggest, I'm just trying to inspire people to maybe be a bit more in-depth when agreeing or disagreeing with an idea, and why they agree or disagree. In general, I don't want the fact that the word "engineers" is in the title of the game to completely turn people off of some ideas. A lot of these ideas can add to the engineering aspect of the game, not take away from it.
     
  10. kymlaar Trainee Engineer

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    28
    In general I agree with the OP. The dismissive one-liner of "this is X, not Y" is generally not conducive to discussion and refinement of an idea. Now, an idea may not be feasible at all, but that doesn't mean that we, as the non-devs, would be wasting our time by discussing it.

    In the case of Space Engineers, the "this is Space Engineers, not Space Y" especially doesn't work because of the word engineers. Almost everything involves an engineering project in some way. If there's a hydroponics bay, then that bay has to be designed, the arrangement of the harvesting apparatus, conveyor network, and algae buffet bar (just making that one silly for fun) all have to be planned out and then applied in the world. When it comes to atmosphere it adds to it even further, and may even encourage leaving dead space inside a ship to create backup bladders for the interior or exterior to fail into without causing decompression.

    I look forward to seeing what the devs have planned, as based on their interviews they have some items which, in the long run, would be challenging to include in a design, but rewarding as well.
     
  11. StellaVagus Apprentice Engineer

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    162
    Just making sure that you guys know that if this is going to be set in the same universe as Miner Wars 2081, then all celestial bodies will be destroyed right?
     
  12. kymlaar Trainee Engineer

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    Maybe that was the intention at one point, but based off of a recent Dev Q&A I don't believe that we have to worry about that story-specific element. One never knows what may change in their minds though. :)
    Source: http://forums.keenswh.com/post/developer-ask-me-anything-questions-and-answers-6828194?pid=1282579158#post1282579158
     
  13. StellaVagus Apprentice Engineer

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    Ah. Must have missed that one. I stand corrected.
     
  14. Dwarf-Lord Pangolin Senior Engineer

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    This has so much win that it would require exponential notation to describe the number of danishes it is due. It's something that has bugged me literally since the first thread I looked at when I first got onto this forum.
     
  15. DLTyrus Apprentice Engineer

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    Haha thank you, it has bugged me to no end as well. After the last comment like that I saw I was inspired to make this thread, because I love the game and would love to see some better discussion of ideas for it too.
     
  16. Lancar Senior Engineer

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    2,227
    The OP has a very good point, and I completely agree. In my opinion, a suggestion that makes the game more fun and/or engaging to play is always something worth considering. Gameplay always trumps realism, and only the devs decide what type of game this should be. Frankly, I believe they might not even want to classify it, so as to not construct too many expectations to have to conform to. It's just plain easier that way.
     
  17. MotherbrainJr Apprentice Engineer

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    307
    And why did you just poke a hornets nest?
     
  18. wilkins1952 Trainee Engineer

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    It is never a question of why, rather a question of why not?
     
  19. MotherbrainJr Apprentice Engineer

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  20. woosher Trainee Engineer

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    Ah, those totalitarians from Planet Talbia! :0)
     
  21. Skeloton Master Engineer

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    And I thought Solaria pirates were bad.
     
  22. woosher Trainee Engineer

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    Why not?

    If someone came up to me in the street and whacked me in the schnozzle, without me having provided any obvious provocation, I think I would most likely go down the "Why?" route. I would also, of course, be sorely tempted to go down the "why, you little %$@&" route, followed by the the "revenge is a dish probably best served with a dash of AK47 route"... :0)
     
  23. woosher Trainee Engineer

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    15

    Of course! I saw the film Captain James T Phillips...
     
  24. Vermillion Senior Engineer

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    2,131
    This thread looks a lot like a hate thread disguised as a thinking thread.
    There are plenty of common suggestions that are backed by a lot of people. But those people don't see beyond their nose and couldn't care less about gameplay balance or the work the developers have to do to achieve their "suggestions". I rarely see people making suggestions that even consider balance, efficiency or practicality and THAT is one of the things that Space Engineers is about.
    What do I base my criticisms on? Practicality, Realism, Efficiency, Developer Goals, Workload and Balance. Now "Balance" is up to personal interpretation, which is why so many people make bad suggestions. They consider what their brand of "Balance" adds to their game. They never think about how far one little addition to the game can tip the balance for everyone else or what gets taken away with their feature.
    Let's go with an example:
    You see, when people ask for new or better weapons. They miss the "balance" part of the game, balance that the developers have worked long and hard to implement and maintain. People want nuclear weapons, lasers or particle beams that can destroy 15 layers of heavy armor instantly. Where does that work out for anyone? Ships take hours to build, sometimes days and someone wants big boom to destroy someone else's days of work in an instant with no competition and no risk to themselves. Would YOU play this game if you spent a week on a mining ship and someone came along and hit you with a single nuke and destroyed your ship? Of course not, that kind of game doesn't sell. Which is why missiles and gatlings are the way they are.
    How these people will always defend their suggestions and think they're awesome because they ALWAYS see themselves as the destroyer, that they'll have some kind of advantage because it's their idea. They never consider how far something like that will go and even when told what would happen to the game with weapons like that, they dispute the point and rage like little kids because someone wants to spoil their idea of fun.

    You've quoted it already but the Developers are aiming for realism as close as possible, and Marek has said on multiple occasions and repeatedly and even apologized, that Gravity Generators were unavoidable for gameplay reasons. They were absolutely essential and there's no other alternative. Using the GravGen as justification for Energy Shields, Warp Drives, Teleporters and Jedi Mindpowers is just sad and pathetic. None, absolutely NONE of those are essential, necessary or realistic within the 2077 timeframe. Not only that, they harm the game more than they add, but ignorant people continue to press the dev team for them in the same way that others want superweapons.

    Everything added so far comes together where Realism and Gameplay meet. Only the Gravity Generator sits less on the realism side and more on the gameplay side and for very good reasons (That's not to say that the Gravity Generator cannot be explained with physics. It could be a Simulated Gravity Generator using magnetic fields to pull things in a single direction). The closer an idea sits on the realism side, while still having multiple gameplay applications the more likely it's to be recieved by the Developers (e.g. Solar Panels). Atmosphere is a good example and has been covered by Marek himself. Atmosphere for the sake of atmosphere isn't worth the work involved; What it needs is infrastructure, a modular build-up and a minimum amount of work to achieve the best results without dropping too much realism. I've said this before, but the only way for that to happen is to add a dependency on Oxygen to the player; Giving the engineer a time limit that he can operate in space. This acts as both maximum Realism mixed with maximum Gameplay: The player is now distance-bound to a large ship or station and air restrictions reduces the problem of the engineer outperforming a ship.
    Accompanying that is a source of oxygen. People continue to press for Algae and Plants, but while those are indeed realistic for a complex spacestation intended with a replenishing life-support system, it's not realistic, efficient or practical for a lone engineer in a beat-up yellow ship with no access to soil, seeds or algae stock. It requires more work from the developers in modelling and texturing than any other feature and requires a complete rework of every default ship, including the yellow ship. Not to mention that plants require an existing atmosphere to produce oxygen and both plants and algae produce only a tiny amount of oxygen at that and take a bare minimum of weeks to grow. More realism would needed to be dumped to make plants a feasible feature and recieve no gain for doing so.
    The alternative for oxygen production is simple, realistic, practical and all mechanical: Ice. We all know it's out there in real-life and for us old-timers it did in fact used to be in the game. The Generation code, texturing and models are all still there in the files. Ice: A source of Water for coolant, a source of liquid oxygen as a fuel, a source of hydrogen as an explosive component or propellant and a source of gaseous Oxygen for atmosphere. Maximum Realism, Maximum Gameplay applications, No abusable mechanics, very little work.
    But still people who cannot see beyond their nose push for plants, now on the basis of food. Once again ignoring the time requirement and the fact that people don't play more than a couple of hours a day in a 1:1 timescale situation where you'd only need to eat once every 8 hours of game time. To make it even possible, it would require the helmet be removable, extensive remodelling of the player's face, making the head/face interchangeable and require cooking facilities and eating animations. This is where Realism overwhelms gameplay to the point of ridiculousness. Not only does this not require engineering in slightest, it's time-consuming and adds no gain to gameplay whatsoever.

    Research-based improvements fit into the gameplay-overwhelming-realism category. Research takes months or even years to produce any results and in most cases hit a dead-end after all that time. Every military and industrial cargo ship uses the same turrets as the player. They were designed by a professional engineer/scientist to be the cheapest, most efficient, most effective space-based turret design possible, or else all the ships would be using different turrets. There's been a point raised about discovering better materials to make armor blocks from, but material use, strength and alloying is taught in basic engineering classes that your Space Engineer will have already learned and determined the most efficient and practical means of making armor blocks. These aren't new elements and metals, they're old, common ones that we've already explored all the possible applications. There's really no room for improvement to be made by a field engineer without compromising on safety, regulations, ethicality, cost and practicality.

    tl;dr
    Where realism and gameplay meet and are equally balanced is where ideas get accepted.
    Immersion doesn't come into it at the cost of gameplay. Which is why welding and grinding requires us to just point and click instead of loading wire into the welder and spending an hour welding each block.
    Balance of any suggestion should be weighed against any and every existing feature of the game. If it takes away any part of the game with it's addition, it's not a suitable suggestion. (e.g. Nerfing player movement in space where you spend 95% of your time to justify adding pressurized interiors where you spend 5% of your time.)
     
  25. Legend Trainee Engineer

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    Vermillion- Bla bla bla, I've nothing better to do. LOL
     
  26. Vermillion Senior Engineer

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    Such a useful post from a troll.
     
  27. Dwarf-Lord Pangolin Senior Engineer

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    That made me laugh so very hard.

    @Vermillion: I think you're getting the hate-vibe from this thread because you've misunderstood its purpose a bit (either that or I have massively misunderstood it). Here's what I mean: in your response, you address food as an example of a proposed game element. You explain why its inclusion would be unrealistic, and you also explain why it provides nothing beneficial to gameplay. Whether your arguments are valid or not isn't the point here; the point is that you actually gave real reasons.

    The OP is addressing people that don't.

    For example, one of if not the most common argument that I saw employed in the big ol' Shipyard Thread was, "this game's not about that." And it drove me up the frellin' wall, for a variety of reasons, but mostly because it was rarely if ever accompanied by real reasons.

    Basically, here's what I mean:

    So in other words -- using your food discussion as an example -- if you had simply said, "this game isn't about that," you would have been guilty of what the OP is addressing. Instead, you discussed the potential problems with it -- at considerable length, too. You didn't dismiss it out of hand and just say "nope," you sat down and went through the concept in depth and explained why you thought it was a bad idea.

    Assuming I've correctly understood the OP, he (and I, for that matter) just want folks to give actual reasons for their views.

    This thread isn't about what you do or don't want in the game; it's about how you go about making your case.
     
  28. Vermillion Senior Engineer

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    It's not a coincidence that this thread, title and purpose were posted shortly after I said "This is Space ENGINEERS, not Space Researchers or Space Scientists" in a research suggestion thread. Accompanied with the aforementioned reasons above. So the reasons were given but this thread was still made in reference regardless.
     
  29. watacoso Apprentice Engineer

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    I fully agree with the OP. I would also empathize the fact that at times we should avoid to go too much in depth with the rejection based on the technical feasibility of a feature. That is a work that is best done by the developers, and what they need from us is a pitch on what the community would like to see on the game.

    Vermillion, while i agree that aspiring for realism should remain a focal point when making a suggestion, i find it more like a constraint that encourages creativity, by shaping suggested features to a certain theme and style.

    In no way i find them mandatory, and i surely don't feel like the devs, or anybody for that matter, should feel sorry or ashamed when things like gravity generators or artificial mass blocks are implemented purely for gameplay or other reasons.

    And here is a misconception that is crucial to understand:
    I think it's the right step to criticize ideas and suggestions based on your points. But, if it's with the intent of dismissing that idea completely, it's just a big disservice to everybody.

    You lose the chance to instead evolve the suggestion in something even more interesting.

    I'll take your example of lasers. You argue that peoples want them to instantly cut ships to pieces, and thus they would be imbalanced. while i feel arguable that this is what the majority would want from lasers, that's not the point. You guys assume that the idea can't be worked out to make it more balanced in respect to the game, more interesting for the players, even more realistic to the lore of SE.

    This is why i feel irritated when i see dismissive campaigns on suggestion pages, because they don't look at the idea as something that can evolve in something better, given some proper discussion, and instead they derail the thread and the peoples in it in the usual realism drama. And mind you, here i am talking of the community in general.
     
  30. DLTyrus Apprentice Engineer

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    You're right, that was probably the most recent example of that kind of criticism being given to an idea before I posted this thread. It was far from the only one though, and when making this thread I did not remember a single particular user and there was absolutely no anger or hate in this thread. I simply wanted to promote more meaningful discussion. Sorry if you took it personally, it wasn't intended that way at all.

    I'll address the points in your post a little later on. Its 7am here and I haven't slept yet :p
     
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