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Video Presentation - How Keen can Fix Space Engineers' Stale Endgame and Retain More Players

Discussion in 'General' started by .Luca, Sep 2, 2019.

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

    Been thinking about this for a while, I think an incentive to risk your big ships for something in an activity everyone can join in would be a great way to fix SE's rather stale endgame, what do you guys think?

    This is not just me, I have many friends who also play SE who think the same, and I think I've read some forum posters mentioning they got bored of survival after they've built stuff too

  2. Bullet_Force Apprentice Engineer

    Well they can start by not vaporizing the PVP gameplay by adding poorly thought out and completely unbalanced features ie the shield system. That surely is not going to make people stick with the game or encourage people to return to it.

    BTW the premise if your video is wrong. You state that once you have built your ship there is nothing left to do. Well how about actually using it, take it to war, and slaughter your enemies. Use that knowledge gained to find out its strengths and weaknesses and then refine the design.
  3. .Luca Trainee Engineer

    The safe zone is pretty balanced imo because you need tons of power and zone chips to run them.

    Nah it's not "wrong", the survival element of the game by design doesn't have many built-in options or incentive for people to do things once they've built everything, it's something a lot of players agree with - that the game needs more built-in incentive and options for people to do after they've reached endgame, and that includes go and do combat with their ships. I do use it whenever combat is possible, but most people don't want to attack other players for no reason including myself. And what enemies? There's only very little NPC ships and even with the added escort contracts they're just mostly drones. Even if there are player ships in a faction that's hostile with me, most of them would just hide their main ships.

    I don't theorize out of thin air, I have 1500~ hrs in SE and it's a concern many players I know also share

    Edit: added details
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
  4. Forcedminer Senior Engineer

    I've an awful idea i remember thinking about ages back,
    perhaps it could be integrated into faction missions?
    We have a big ship all full of awesome materials, hydrogen tanks full, batteries and jump drives full.
    now how about a mission that requests you to go to X place and build Y base?
    perhaps its not the best idea but i enjoy the missions that would request large exploration and then construction.
    like you'd get there and it'd have a tiny station of a battery solar panel and projector to project a base they want or a base of requirements. medical bay + oxygen farm + sealed environment with airlocks.
    the main grind is finding ores then making what you can then getting more ores and making a large ship and then the..what now question appears? :)
    with the mission system that question has a great answer for a long time.
    [its wishing thinking heh]
  5. Calaban Junior Engineer

    I like the recommendation, but it focuses on combat as being the sole thing to do in the endgame. Below is a way to add the other aspects.

    Granted, combat is about the only way to remove pcu maxed ships and encourage players to rebuild- to recycle their PCU anew over and over without being frustrated.

    I see a little glimmer of potential with the faction reputation system that getting +rep for faction coalition A causes -Rep for faction coalition B and C, but it seems pretty random at the current state. It could be tweaked and refined a bit to add some fantastic EndGame Content: Planetary Warfare.

    If the "friendly with" coalitions were tweaked to be Earth, Mars and Alien regionalisms, the "getting good" with Earth factions would make you enemies of Mars and Alien. Similarly, players friendly with other worlds would be red-hostile to Earth players, and then there we go: Sanctioned Factional PVP.

    Endgame potential mission, if planetary factions was set up:
    "Leave Mars and establish a Martian presence on the Earth. Build a base, defend it. Must have beacon 50km transmitting the martian flag. Store and Contracts established. Safe Zone emitters recommended. If destroyed rebuild. The presence of Martian flag is key"
    (keep in mind they wont be able to buy any zone chits/ammo/fuel locally, every local station would be red)

    ^^ ground zero for PVP Endgame content. The base would be setup and the locals will respond. War. It never changes :)

    And not even combat only content. Supply runs, Smuggling, Blockades and Blockade running, espionage, construction/sabotage, Orbital ascent/descent dogfights, the whole deal.
    Martian miners trying to get local resources would risk work outside the safe zone, Earth players may setup ambushes and raid the mining efforts.
    A reason for various Martians to cooperate in the "big effort" when they normally wouldnt during their buildup stage.

    (this always what I envisioned space engineers to be contracted to do, in a real world sense)
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

    Don't forget space babes or, if you're a Space Pirate, space wenches.
  7. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    I thought the answer to this dilemma was the Economy Update. It wouldn't have been my first choice, but it's not the worst idea out there. It does give players that otherwise can't figure anything else out "something to do." Is it not good enough?
  8. .Luca Trainee Engineer

    Well they certainly help but after a while the few contracts available get repetitive and the money earned is hardly of any use, since PCU is maxed out already. If what I'm suggesting became a reality, I can imagine a scenario where players who don't want to risk their main ship buying smaller combat ships to use in the retrieval contract, for example. Or people whose things got destroyed buying other ships to kickstart their progress all over again
  9. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    First off, I believe your idea has merit, so don't take what I write next as trashing your idea. I'm just curious about something.

    I'm a bit confused about the concept of "endgame" in a sandbox. I don't understand why people call "game over" once the big ship gets built, especially since it's a building game. Keen provides "survival" features (which should probably be referred to as "gameplay" features) so that there isn't absolutely nothing to do, but I don't think it's a good idea to depend on Keen for what comes "next". What you will get, as has already been demonstrated, is NPC driven content which, over time, always gets old and predictable.

    It does seem to me that when someone else builds a big ship, it's usually a warship. If that's the case then the only thing you can do is go looking for a fight. If no one else in the game wants to risk their ship, then there's a problem. I suppose at that point, the game IS over. The only solution I can think of is an enemy that can't be defeated, specifically designed to whittle down your PCU count when you get too close to the limit. That way your game would never end.

    Your idea is good. So is @Calaban 's. They should both be considered. I just wonder where we all should draw the line when it comes to content provided by Keen? I think they've done plenty already.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  10. .Luca Trainee Engineer

    Yeah I'll admit it might not necessarily be the best solution to the stale endgame problem, but in my opinion it's 1 that can be easily implemented because the economy and contract framework is already there.

    SE is for the most part a sandbox, but there are already gameplay elements and objectives the moment survival was introduced. "endgame" doesn't necessarily mean a phase, scenario, gameplay element or narrative provided or put together by the developers - in SE's case, it's a "state", and for many players I know it's a state where they're stuck in this limbo of already having everything that serve no practical purpose and they can't build more things, which for many players resulting in them leaving the game for a period of time.

    Yeah they've done plenty alright, but there are always more things they can add that improve upon SE and players experience without compromising the core essence of what SE is, and I think this is one of them. I think as long as there are ways for them to do that, they should.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    I think I "get it" now. It's a building game, so you build and you build and then you hit the PCU limit and you can't build any more so, now what?

    Forgive me. I play with limits turned off. I didn't see the issue.

    So, according to Keen's own description of their game: "Space Engineers is a sandbox game about engineering, construction, exploration and survival in space and on planets. Players build space ships, space stations, planetary outposts of various sizes and uses, pilot ships and travel through space to explore planets and gather resources to survive."

    The game IS a bit weak on the "exploration" side, and the AI could use some work. It does seem like they are looking for some... inspiration. Problem seems to be that cool ideas often run into some sort of technical stumbling block. Their track record so far seems to be that if something can be done, they'll do it ;)
  12. mojomann71 Senior Engineer

    I think the economy update will fuel the need of nothing to do for a little while when it dies out I am sure Keen will have the next "latest and greatest" addition.
  13. KissSh0t Master Engineer

    For starters the game needs NPC characters.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  14. captainbladej52 Apprentice Engineer

    This, one billion times this. While the random drones can be fun, I would love to see actual NPCs running around doing stuff that I could interact with. They could be friendly NPCs interested in trading and traveling traders now that we have the economy system. They could be raiding parties that want to jack our stuff. To me it would be fun to be doing stuff in your station and then all of a sudden you see a couple of NPC ships drop out of warp near your station. Or you be flying along minding your own business in a small scout fighter on planet. While you're out looking for resources next thing you know you're rounding a hill and you're in the middle of a massive pirate city and have to start evasive maneuvers. Could be fun imo and something new and just something to make the world seem more lively. idk how practical it would all be but one can hope.
  15. Calaban Junior Engineer

    What the Official servers lack is the Endgame I can envision is already here. Unfortunately, these options are disabled in multiplayer.

    The progression as I see it- using all features currently had:
    - land on Erf (not really Earth)
    - progress on build-up, progression.
    - prospect and mark up all resource sources
    - deal with wolves
    - While prospecting visit nearest station
    - Advance base production/assembly tech
    - build battery powered miner/constructor craft
    - start making space credits on station contracts
    - See what resources station sells, and more importantly- is buying
    - setup local base to provide those stations' needs for profit
    - Develop orbiter craft to search for uranium/platinum
    - Go nuclear
    - Nuclear powered miner/constructor ships
    - Expand bases to other stations (hope for a shipyard)
    - Setup base in space- build it up
    - Travel to Mun in newly built space ship- shop the stations there
    - Develop Jump Drive
    - Visit every world/moon, catalog stations there
    - be horrified by alien spiders
    - strike off to deep space, prepared and kitted to deal with the many mayday distress signals Out There. (encounters)
    - tackle pirate bases
    - raid/recover salvage stations, using shipyard bought Coursers/Bombers
    - convert derelict hulks to bases/more ships
    - by this point allied to some factions, hostile to rest (reputation system)
    - now have "enemy NPC factions" to raid/attack, typically on other worlds
    - by this point enough space credits to buy an Ambassador or a Big Red.
    - ambassador for exploring signals, Big Red for war.

    That seems like a pretty full game experience to me.

    One thing I like to do when single player world is getting stale is have a "Hangover the movie incident", where i wake up in a lander pod, and all my stuff is set to owner nobody.. and I dont know what the heck happened... and I have to start over... or reclaim my stuff.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Bullet_Force Apprentice Engineer

    More weapons would help make the endgame more interesting. It would help spice up the end game content and allow for more varying designs.
  17. Kattla Trainee Engineer

    The news inside the game says they are hiring more ppl. New game on the horizon?
  18. mojomann71 Senior Engineer

    @Kattla yup, Cardboard Engineers.... :woot:
    • Funny Funny x 2
  19. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    So how "smart" can AI be in a video game? For instance, the current "space pirates" are actually "space vandals." They don't take your stuff, they destroy it. But, can Keen make NPC pirates that disable your ship, board it, remove anything not nailed down, and round up the crew to either be held for ransom, turned into slaves, or sent to Davy Jone's locker (cause dead men tell no tales)? Meanwhile, the game is also supposed to provide NPC's to haggle with and populate our colonies?

    Personally, I said the AI could be better. By that I meant "levels" of hostile AI. Low level hostiles cut and run if you turn and face them. Higher levels work in groups. Higher still levels employ a range of responses to what you do. Highest levels "learn" from your responses and can "coordinate" lesser groups. I don't know how much of this is within the realm of a sandbox game or how much of this a multiplayer session could handle.

    It does seem, though, that when Keen concentrated on the single player game we hounded them about multiplayer. Now that they're concentrating on the multiplayer game...
    • Like Like x 1
  20. KissSh0t Master Engineer

    AI is as smart as it's behaviors programmed into it, without behaviors it does nothing, look at Saberoids for example, The way I see it, Saberoid AI is basically the same as Turret AI, The Saberoid "spawns" into the game world within a certain proximity to the player, appearing out of the ground then walk in a strait line towards the player and "Attacks", that's it.

    A lot could be done with the Saberoids by giving the AI different behaviors and this would make going to the alien planet interesting and challenging and, well, dangerous.

    What are some things that could make Saberoids interesting?

    Perhaps pointing a player held weapon at a Saberoid would make it try to jump sideways or strafe to not get shot by the player.... same with automated turrets, trying to get out of the way.

    Maybe Saberoids want something the player has? maybe Batteries? Something along the lines of Saberoids trying to attack batteries to get power cell's from them.

    Maybe Saberoids could "infect" player bases and ships with eggs? kind of like the Alien movies, the Saberoids would try to get close to large nuclear reactors for warmth then lay eggs around the reactors, these "eggs" would have a timer set on them to "hatch" spawning little scary Saberoids that infect ships and bases further, this would then lead to a player having to "clean" a ship of any and all infection.

    Give Saberoids the ability to walk up walls, upside down on ceilings, ability to stay on players large ships even when going to space, ability to move from a players large ship in space to another base already in space.

    Ability to find abandoned stations or ships in space infected with Saberoids.


    What could be behaviors for "Space Engineer" NPC's? or Pirates? or even Military NPC's

    I really like the idea of Pirate NPC's trying to steal items from the player, "not just destroying", actually trying to "hack" players storage containers to gain access to it's contents then making off with it, this would mean the player would have to safeguard resources in a singleplayer game world, and this would add another layer to multiplayer game world.

    Or even stealing players ships.... imagine that in singleplayer, just seeing your ship leaving by itself and going like wtf where is my ship going? and then going after it and seeing someone sitting in the seat, then they get out of the seat and try to shoot you...
    • Like Like x 2
  21. zachusaman Trainee Engineer

    I think with this economy and contract update, we need to give the community and Keen time to flesh it out more with pushing the limits on what contracts/economical additions can be made.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  22. Dax23333 Junior Engineer

    Sometimes can be pretty smart. But often, that isn't the right question. How how smart should an AI be in a video game?

    Why bother making a super smart super clever learning AI when a simple state machine kind of AI would do? If all you need something to do is react to a player in combat then this can be a very good way to do it. Do various behaviors depending on player position, ammo, ship status etc. The pirate drones are pretty good for this sorta thing with thier script control. Sabroids and wolves, not so much.
  23. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

    Thing is, simple state machine AI is predictable. Not at first, but eventually we learn to anticipate their moves, then we post them on YouTube so that everyone knows. We used to be scared of space pirates. Now we're bored with them. They should be better than that. They should do more than just react to what I do. A simple state machine kind of AI will not do. Not for long.
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