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Lurkily

Factory built parts turn into debris when rebuilt

Suggestion

I suggest that factories no longer be able to build infinite flocks of drones.  Producing a new output should scrap anything previously built - turn it to debris.

Right now, factories are the cure-all.  Right now retrieval missions are about the only thing that factory swarms cannot solve by just bumbling across the upper atmosphere and tossing rockets downward.  I think their utility is bonkers.  If their ability to build multiple subdrone clones must exist, it should at least be earned through progression, and limited in some way by mass or part count, with previous constructions falling inert as the limit is exceeded.

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I think we will need a solution that tackles several other ways the factory is powerful. while infinite drones is very strong in it's own right, I was using it to build cannons last night, and ZOMG. I'm sitting on a drone that can one shot missions and literally annihilate planets in one shot. This thing didn't have or need to have multiple clones out, it simply daisy chained. It's taking advantage of the fact that any drone can carry 1k+ parts in a single factory and deploy it all at once. Cooldown and performance issues can be bypassed by carrying more than one and sequencing deployment. 

I've been kicking around a rather controversial fix; part costs. If we needed to collect resources to build some of our parts, the cost of factory spam would become a limiting factor. Also, there would be some actual risk to exploring. Getting a ship blown up would matter.  Dangle some awesome resource that only spawns in high risk areas, like in the middle of a giant snake den, and you might have some excitement. 

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I think that's something that progression mechanics will take care of.  I assume that limiting the expanse of a drone build will also limit the expanse of those parts beyond a factory, even if they start unbuilt.

Eventually, I'm expecting we'll have to unlock access to parts, buy each additional part we want to equip, and have either a part or mass limit that we'll have to pay to expand.  I have a series of three "progression mechanics" posts each touching on different aspects of progression that I think would be a good idea to implement, and more opinions on them are always welcome.

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What if the factory cool down was first doubled, but also increased exponentially with part count. So a single piece of TNT would have a 2 second cool down, but a 1k+ part ship would be closer to an hour or more.

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The worst offenders are the swarms of micro-drones, so I don't know how much that would help.  You can make a feeble little orbiting bomber for less than ten parts.

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7 minutes ago, Lurkily said:

The worst offenders are the swarms of micro-drones, so I don't know how much that would help.  You can make a feeble little orbiting bomber for less than ten parts.

True. Maybe there’s a minimum cooldown? That would get in the way of factories that only print one part as railgun ammunition, though. Maybe drones greater than 3 parts have a minimum cooldown?

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1 minute ago, Garheardt the Black said:

Should it prevent this?

That’s a tricky question. Fun “bugs” like this are fun to have in a game, but it wouldn’t be in any way balanced. This is something that you are unlikely to discover without trying to, so it wouldn’t be the worst thing to keep in the game. But if somebody was using it just to easily progress in the campaign, then that would be bad. But if it just prints a lot of parts all at once, then part limit progression mechanics would solve that, in which case it could be left in, for use only in sandbox mode.

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What COULD prevent that is something I wondered about before, perhaps having factories build a part at a time, from parents down to children, with a delay based on part mass or HP or something.  (Edit: Or at least, mitigate its usefulness.)

Turning previous printings into debris definitely wouldn't prevent that.

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17 hours ago, ManTheMister said:

But if somebody was using it just to easily progress in the campaign, then that would be bad.

I do not think so. However people want to play, it is their choice. I for example could not be bothered with finding planets on which to collect ore for my attractor laser upgrade, so I magically gave myself tons of ore instead. It is more fun to me that way than having to grind for it, if only because I could forget my brilliant ideas in the meantime.

I suppose that, as long as everyone finds a way to enjoy the game, then there is no problem with having exploits or cheats available. Some might be there only to build mega-crafts, not to hopefully grind their way to this possibility and give up partway through.

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1 hour ago, Ookami-sama said:

I do not think so. However people want to play, it is their choice. I for example could not be bothered with finding planets on which to collect ore for my attractor laser upgrade, so I magically gave myself tons of ore instead. It is more fun to me that way than having to grind for it, if only because I could forget my brilliant ideas in the meantime.

I suppose that, as long as everyone finds a way to enjoy the game, then there is no problem with having exploits or cheats available. Some might be there only to build mega-crafts, not to hopefully grind their way to this possibility and give up partway through.

I think when progression mechanics are implemented, we'll want to keep that steady stream of effort and reward going to keep a player hooked, otherwise rapid farming and rapid progression will leave a player with all the endgame content, but no prospect of reward or accomplishment, and they may get bored very quickly.

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A default way to play is fine. However, and for those who suffered from the monstrous grinding that some Korean MMORPGs feature and said « no more », or for any other reason can hardly stand such, hm, progression system, I believe we should keep some solutions around to ease the pain. Not necessarily a button called « cheat » in the campaign screen, mind you: something like what is currently possible is fine, because no one will find it who are not looking for it.

I am so disgusted by it now that I have left a few games within an hour of installing them, as I deemed some features only there to waste time and keep players, well, « hooked », as you say. I can stand progression if it lets me learn about the game one step at a time, not if I feel it is made to leave me wanting for more: I am addicted to a number of things already and I for sure do not need to add one to the pile.

It is fine if it is an exploit. A mod. Three invisible, one pixel wide buttons that you have to click within a second. A secret keyboard combination (the first few lines of Le Bateau Ivre perhaps?). Really, anything as long as it is possible to skip or ease the grind by looking hard enough.

As for factories discarding previous creations upon printing, it sounds like a sensible idea.

Edited by Ookami-sama
Why the everburning hell would I put a circumflex on this « a »?

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This isn't here to block the player.  This is to make sure that we can reward them more, and more, and more.  This isn't a crappy cell-phone game trying to suck the life out of your wallet with microtransactions. 

Those games are digital cancer, if cancer was also contagious, and made you defecate from your ears.

They deliberately use frustration as a mechanic to open your wallet, and target children with gambling mechanics that are known to stimulate addictive behavior.  Please don't compare anything I suggest to that blight upon the gaming industry.  I swear to god that should be illegal.

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These were no mobile games, and there were nary a gamble included. Except in rewards obtained from completing dungeons, but that seems to be part of the, hmm, fun, as well. From what I understand, a lot of recent games have trouble drawing the line between « rewarding » and « frustrating », or perhaps the majority of the audience likes games to last for ages, even if it is bland. Kind of how some feature achievements such as « Play 500 hours ».

In any case, I would prefer a safeguard be implemented (or the current one untouched) just in case. I do not enjoy grinding any more, and if the game does not give me some things because most players would not know what to do of them at this point, but I want to use them, then it will be frustrating.

As for lootboxes, as they are called by today's standards, well. Shareholders need to earn enough to make a sumptuous living and buy another boat, you know?

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Oh, it doesn't have to be mobile to be cancer.  It's a cash grab around microtransactions, usually; the game is fun and rewarding if you keep paying.  They guide or force you into your first purchase to set the hook, provide initial fast rewards, then they kill the pacing so you're left with frustration, and the memory of spending money as a way to recapture that sweet reward of progress.

But as I've said of many things, I do not want to make this a grindfest.  Progress can be juggled and metered so it doesn't kill the pacing.  The real goal here isn't to choke the player's advancement; it's to make everything he now gets by default into a rewarding accomplishment.  I know a balance needs to be struck for that to work, but I'm suggesting we try to strike that balance.

To the subject at hand though; factories are kind of tacked-on right now.  You can tell that there isn't much consideration to balance and function by the things they break.  The crosstalk between subdrones with no way to both control them and isolate them, the utter unstoppability of a core, a few thrusters, and a factory set to mass-produce ten-part orbiters until the planet is wrecked.

I don't think there's any effective way to balance a factory with no build limit.  I don't see any way to make that possible.

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My favorite suggestion by far is the "Parts are built one at a time down the tree". Have them phase in one per second, provide each with a small repel magnet effect to that existing obstacles are pushed away, not spawned on top of, and have the whole lot of them totally inoperable and fragile until the factory finishes the whole print job. This also makes it so that factories cannot "bank" a replacement sub-assembly because the factory red juice can't start refilling until the previous print job is disconnected. 

This doesn't stop an infinite horde, and I don't want it to. This would greatly slow their speed though. 

As a further nerf, I would like to see the factory be powered by some source, rather than being free. I would have it take quite a bit of power and/or fuel, and I would have it so that printed fuel and power modules start empty. (And don't start filling until the print job is done, perhaps even requiring that they be full in order to consider the print job complete) 

This last addition would make it mush harder/slower to print factories that print factories that print factories, as each would require (~2-3 power/fuel blocks) in order to start working - slowing down the child build time, and increasing the amount of time it would take for a child to start reproducing in it's own right. 

Together, these all nerf the factory while keeping it's function and role in the game the same as it is now, which I kinda like.

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All good suggestions; with, or without limiting the capacity for infinite hordes.  I feel like those are all things whose inclusion really doesn't bear on whether a horde should be possible.  Those are all good balancing mechanics, but we're talking more about how we want the player to be challenged, or not challenged.  

Because hordes are functionally infinite, there  there is no balance mechanic that can balance them. Any benefit one drone can provide is an infinite benefit, no matter how mitigated they are.

The problem is that with a decent plan and half-decent engineering, a factory is an 'I win' button.  With the exception of collection missions, they can make mission wins trivial and boring.  In my opinion, infinite hordes should be endgame content, if permitted at all.

EDIT: I should add, I don't think hordes need to be eliminated, necessarily, but, except perhaps as endgame content, (and I've just been playing Just Cause, so I see the fun of utterly ridiculous gameplay,) they should not at all be unlimited, and relying on player hardware to be the limiting factor is not a plan.

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4 hours ago, Sruggs said:

What if the factories instead used resources to build stuff?

It's been suggested, but I can't find the post right now.  I think the common consensus is that if there were any upgrades left to buy with ore, people just wouldn't use factories.  Ore is essentially the experience points that you buy new capabilities with, and nobody seems to be willing to spend it on non-progress parts. (Unless, perhaps, there were an ore type used only for factories.)

Another suggestion was to let the vacuum parts suck up dirt, too, and let the factory consume that to make new drones - limited, but not tightly limited, and not limited by a more precious resource.  Other suggestions involved using energy, fuel, or both.

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