Author Topic: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It  (Read 16636 times)

Fidtz

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on: February 25, 2017, 02:33:22 AM
Ok, so hedgehogs aren't appreciated   :D

In that case, how about the effectiveness of  blocks decreases with their centre's distance from an exterior surface. This effect could  make a "swiss cheese" type ship the best option but if the minimum X,Y or Z of an individual block were important too, that would be mitigated since a "swiss cheese" construction would have small blocks in at least one direction.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2017, 02:36:13 AM by Fidtz »



Xira

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on: February 25, 2017, 04:25:31 AM
This. So much this. I left Starmade because of the 'cube meta'. Big boring borg blocks blowing each other to bits. I spend 20 hours building a ship, it was even pretty compact, and so pretty. Blown out of space by a boring borg block half it's size.

I agree with the OP's assessment of the integrity field generator. The most straight-forward way to allow pretty ships is to provide some way to turn them into bars of HP so their exposed surface area and under-exposed interiors that still need armor do not make them less effective.

You can fiddle around with a lot of other things to alter the optimal ship shape but in the end it's still going to be ugly unless you make shape not matter. So, make shape not mater and revert the IF change.



Thundercraft

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on: February 25, 2017, 04:51:26 AM
I get what is being said about the efficiency of the cube, less surface area, less armor required to protect the ship, etc. I really do. And I agree with the sentiment that the importance of shields should help mitigate this.

But, there is one aspect the "And this ship" design has that gives it preference over a cube or any other shape. Depending on how they're constructed and placed, those wing/nacelle combinations can be quite effective locations to put thrusters.

I say "depending" because the effectiveness boils down to three things:
  • Distance from the center of mass
  • Directional thrusters vs. regular Thrusters
  • If Directional thrusters are used, how perpendicular they are to the center of mass
The benefit of the distance from the center of mass is obvious and I think most players are aware of this and at least try to keep this in mind when designing.

What is not obvious is how the directional approach of Directional thrusters works differently from regular Thrusters. Directional thrusters achieve maximal efficiency when pointed forward (to increase both Brake Thrust and either Yaw or Pitch) on long leverage arms that are perpendicular to the center of mass. But if the same Directional thrusters on the same leverage arms are located at the back or front of the ship, then a lot of that force is directed the wrong way and, thus, wasted. Brake Thrust remains the same, regardless of whether leverage arms are located in the back, the middle, or the front. Roll also remains the same. But Yaw and Pitch only achieve max efficiency when they're located in the middle.

Don't believe me? Try relocating (copy-pasting) Directional thruster (forward-aimed) arms around the front, then remove and try the middle, and then the back. You will definitely see a difference. Since thrusters are described as being more effective the further away from the center of mass, one may assume that thruster arms located at the front or back would be more effective. But that's not the case with Directional thruster arms.

This difference is due to how Directional thrusters can only be aimed along one of the three axis at a perfect 90 degrees. To achieve the same (or better, even) efficiency with thruster arms at the front or back, we'd have to be able to aim Directional thrusters at odd angles, like 30 or 45 degrees or some such. Doing so would be at the expense of less Brake Thrust, since they would no longer be facing forward. However, Directional thrusters produce so much excess Brake Thrust that losing 50% (or even more) of that would hardly be missed by such designs.

Regular Thrusters apply thrust in all directions. In my testing, their effectiveness is not impacted nearly as much by the location (front/middle/back) of thruster arms. Unfortunately, regular Thrusters do not lend themselves to thruster arms because they are far, far less efficient than Directional Thrusters for such designs. (Actually, they're far inferior in every respect.)

My point?
Rather than encourage cube shapes or any creative shapes players can come up with, I believe that the beta changes to thrusters will encourage winged shapes. We'll probably be seeing more ships along the lines of the Babylon 5 Starfury and X-Wing or Y-Wing fighters. Maybe not at first. But as players design more maneuverable ships with far less cost of credits and materials and less crew, they'll probably start to replace other designs. Survival of the fittest, I guess.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2017, 05:13:30 AM by Thundercraft »



Guswut

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on: February 25, 2017, 05:46:08 AM
So, before I get into this I have to say a few things.  One is that if you support the cube meta I want to hear from you.  The whole crux of my argument is that people always seem to be complaining about the cube meta.  And really, I've never seen anyone step up to defend it.  It might be interesting to hear what they have to say.

Certainly:

I support the base (unmodded) game having no artificial elements designed to encourage "ascetically-pleasing-to-the-general-concept-of-what-spaceships-should-be-based-upon-fiction" (because, as you stated, the system in both Avorion and the offline world both make the utilitarian design the go-to design for spaceships) system of thought. You should be able to have a roughly-optimal general design which, for the reasons you described, ends up being a cube for purely engineering reasons. If a person wants to min-max a design without any consideration for the appearance, is that actually a problem? Especially given that the majority of players are playing in single player environments, where the look of their ship matters only to themselves.

I rather enjoy making a ship in a perfect cube, and then adding layers to it slowly like some sort of reverse-onion. The construction of a cubic ship can often have many more layers than you'd get with anything that people would find nicer looking, and often times it'll often be more easily expanded and adapted. I'd hate if I had to find a way to stick in some more crew quarters in something more fictional-spaceship-looking without having to tear it halfway apart twice, and completely apart once, just to make it look even mildly acceptable. Instead, I toss on another cube of crew quarters, and armor it up.

My creativity is pretty limited, and lacking even more-so when it comes to making spaceships that look like the fantastical representation of what spaceships "should" look like. There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting to make an awesome looking spaceship, but it shouldn't be an element of the game forced onto the players. It should be rewarded in a fitting manner (such as weekly spaceship contents on the forums, multiplayer server praise, perfect chances to make excellent desktop backgrounds, and the like). Simply because it is "easy" shouldn't mean that you need to make it harder, but instead make it rewarding to do it in other ways as well.

I really don't have any problem with your proposal (and in fact I've replied to it in support) as it doesn't hurt my ability to make cubic ships, and it would be a great addition to the game as it gives a reason to upgrade your integrity field generator blocks (even for us cube builders, as it'd help deal with collision damage).

Also, as you read this you might get the idea that I dislike engineering games since I'm going to be speaking against a lot of engineering game mechanics.  This is not true.  I love engineering games.  I love From the Depths, one of the most detailed vehicle design games ever made.  It's just that if you want an engineering game you have lots of options.  This is just my opinion, but I would like to see Avorion go in a different direction.

There is no reason that Avorion shouldn't be another engineering game, and it's actually one of the things that I truly enjoy about this game. If it wasn't an engineering game I certainly wouldn't have purchased it until the modding community "fixed" that, at least. But that aside I believe that Avorion's potential isn't so limited that it cannot be both an engineering game and creativity game. We should both be able to be satisfied with the base game, and the modding community will surely be able to further indulge our different play styles.



Thundercraft

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on: February 25, 2017, 06:15:32 AM
You should be able to have a roughly-optimal general design which, for the reasons you described, ends up being a cube for purely engineering reasons. If a person wants to min-max a design without any consideration for the appearance, is that actually a problem?...

Do you honestly envision Earth's space agencies launching spacecraft that closely resemble Borg cubes? Granted, space does not have the restrictions we have on a planet like air friction or gravity. But, IRL, there's more to the practicality of spacecraft designs than surface area. Even if it was, we should be seeing spheres as that has far less surface area.

I think appearance is a potential problem because it has the potential to turn away a lot of potential players. That is, not just existing players like Xira who quote, "left Starmade because of the 'cube meta'", but also discourage or repulse potential customers who would otherwise buy Avorion. Less customers means less profits, which means less incentive to continue development or, later, release some DLC like landable planets. Less players might even mean the death knoll of the multiplayer community, if too few players are interested in the game.

Also, while you may not agree with me, it's a symptom of flawed game design. Forcing everyone to use the same basic shape (and you can't get much more basic than a cube) strongly suggests that the devs were unable to balance things better. It also kills creativity fast, which is one of the main draws of a game having a sandbox feature.

...Especially given that the majority of players are playing in single player environments, where the look of their ship matters only to themselves.

I'd like to see some statistics about the Avorion playerbase before anyone jumps to conclusions about whether more players are in a single-player vs. multiplayer environment. Regardless, koonschi has been concentrating on making multiplayer more reliable and easier to use and manage. And now we can initiate multiplayer through Steam. Multiplayer use seems to be growing and I predict that it will grow even faster. Multiplayer has to be one of the big features that attracts new players.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2017, 06:29:48 AM by Thundercraft »



Guswut

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on: February 25, 2017, 07:09:39 AM
You should be able to have a roughly-optimal general design which, for the reasons you described, ends up being a cube for purely engineering reasons. If a person wants to min-max a design without any consideration for the appearance, is that actually a problem?...

Do you honestly envision Earth's space agencies launching spacecraft that closely resemble Borg cubes? Granted, space does not have the restrictions we have on a planet like air friction or gravity.

The relationship between practice designs in Avorion are not the exact same as the ones in the offline world, which makes "Borg" cubes a suboptimal design choice. Avorion is not even a somewhat accurate model of the offline world's requirements in that regard, but given that how many spaceships can you name that we've ever launched that were designed to be aesthetically pleasing instead of designed to be functional with aesthetics being a secondary (if even that) concern?

You have to remember that space is expensive (even more so given the gravity well that we're dealing with) so making something that isn't designed to be as efficient as possible is not something you can do. Although there could be an argument made that, because until recently all space agencies were publicly funded, they had to make them at least partially appeal to the general mass's desire. That, though, is just another factor that Avorion doesn't model, shouldn't model, and honestly cannot model given the complexity of the problem.

But, IRL, there's more to the practicality of spacecraft designs than surface area. Even if it was, we should be seeing spheres as that has far less surface area.

To note, Avorion has no way (that I've found at least) to make spheres, so I'm not entirely sure how that relates to the discussion. Personally, I'd love to have a spherical ship, and I'd certainly design it in the same way I design my cubic ships. Giant flying balls of layers of balls, constantly adding new layers for new functionality, etc. That'd be glorious!

I think appearance is a potential problem because it has the potential to turn away a lot of potential players. That is, not just existing players like Xira who quote, "left Starmade because of the 'cube meta'", but also discourage or repulse potential customers who would otherwise buy Avorion. Less customers means less profits, which means less incentive to continue development or, later, release some DLC like landable planets. Less players might even mean the death knoll of the multiplayer community, if too few players are interested in the game.

I must be grossly misunderstanding the severity of this issue, but I honestly don't see how "cubes are a great design" interferes with your ability to create aesthetically pleasing designs. How, exactly, is it going to "turn away" potential players? Simply put, it is unlikely that any of the popular media sources that'll give people their first-impression about Avorion are going to have only, or even a majority, or cubic ships. Youtubers are going to make ships that look awesome because that is what the majority of their fans will want, the Steam page is certainly going to have awesome looking ships, and it is unlikely anyone on these forums will start a weekly thread for "most cubic design" or whatnot.

Please, if there is something obvious that I'm missing, enlighten me! Show me why it is better to force people to have to follow completely arbitrary design constrains that better fit what you (and likely the majority of players) feel are aesthetically pleasing versus leaving that level of creativity up to the player as they see fit.

Also, while you may not agree with me, it's a symptom of flawed game design. Forcing everyone to use the same basic shape (and you can't get much more basic than a cube) strongly suggests that the devs were unable to balance things better. It also kills creativity fast, which is one of the main draws of a game having a sandbox feature.

No one is forcing you to assimilate with the Borg. You have the choice to use a design that is less-than optimal, and in doing so you'll have to deal with the issues that entails. If you want to take away a person's choice in that matter, you are taking away the very element of the sandbox genre that you stated that you wanted (creativity)! Given that the types of shapes we have in Avorion is already limited to cubes, and a few different types of corner/edge/slope blocks, the diversity that I've seen in ships from Youtubers and on the forum is excellent.

And that aside, I don't rightly think there is a possible way to make a forced-creativity-ship-design focused game that wouldn't have the same problem. How do you design it so that cubic ships are bad but ALL other ship designs are good? No matter what, a system needs rules, and those rules are going to have an optimal state. The more complex the system becomes, with more rules and more complicated rules, the more fuzzy that optimal state becomes, but there is still going to be good designs and bad designs.

...Especially given that the majority of players are playing in single player environments, where the look of their ship matters only to themselves.

I'd like to see some statistics about the Avorion playerbase before anyone jumps to conclusions about whether more players are in a single-player vs. multiplayer environment.

I didn't think we needed statistics to support that, but I'd love to see those statistics as well. An hour-by-hour breakdown of how many people are playing in single player, multiplayer but with only one person on the server, and multiplayer but with more than one person on the server.

I simply cannot imagine a situation where Avorion has even a tenth of the hours of people playing multiplayer in a server that is actually used for multiplayer (as opposed to someone using the multiplayer option but always playing by themselves, such as I used to do back when I played Diablo 2). But I don't have anyway to back up that statement, so I guess there is nothing more on this end.

Regardless, koonschi has been concentrating on making multiplayer more reliable and easier to use and manage. And now we can initiate multiplayer through Steam. Multiplayer use seems to be growing and I predict that it will grow even faster. Multiplayer has to be one of the big features that attracts new players.

And while multiplayer is a massively attractive element to games like this (I certainly consider it one of the key elements to why I've bought the game, as someday I'll play with a friend when we get around to playing it together), I still completely doubt that there will ever be even a tenth of the multiplayer hours-of-play that there are single-player-hours-of-play. But, as I said about, there is no way that either of us can prove this, so there is nothing else to state here.



SageThe13th

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on: February 25, 2017, 07:28:14 AM
I'm too tried for a serious answer.  But, I wanted to say that I've read what you are saying and this the kind of discussion I wanted to generate.

Also, here's a video of Robbaz launching a giant cube into space in KSP.



Guswut

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on: February 25, 2017, 07:39:07 PM
[...]
Also, here's a video of Robbaz launching a giant cube into space in KSP.[...]

Hot damn, that is a BIG CUBE! I don't think it'd be possible to launch something like that in the stock game, especially not into a low Kerbal orbit given the engines used were likely something using an unbalanced (for the stock game) efficiency level.

And with a bit more digging, it looks like they're from the B9 mod pack which is overflowing with interesting (and not in my cube-loving way, specifically, but in general it's considered a beautiful part pack) parts. Specifically, it's a hard of the HX series, which are as close as you'll get to a "cube" part pack in KSP (Kerbal Space Program (http://store.steampowered.com/app/220200/ is the Steam page for anyone that hasn't heard of it before)).

Taking a look at KerbalX (a website designed to allow people to share craft files) with a search looking for ships that specifically state they require the B9 HX part pack (https://kerbalx.com/mods/b9aerospacehx), we get a listing of rather awesome looking ships and nothing that looks too offensive to an anti-cubist (although I could be mistaken/not be harsh enough on some of the designs).

Kerbal Space Program is a good game to show the "other side" of the "engineering game" coin. In KSP, because you're dealing with mildly realistic (especially if you play with mods that make things more realistic) variables, you are forced to make ships that are as efficient as you can get them. Inefficiency can mean that making a small mistake can force you to scrub a launch, or be stranded on the Mün (which is likely how the very first Münar landing went for most of us). But even given those requirements, people still find ways to be creative with their designs (even disregarding people playing in sandbox mode, and especially people that use infinite resource cheats/etc).

There does not need to be a hard line between creativity games and engineering games, as a great game can span both genres (as I'd say Avorion is doing, or is in the process of doing).



DivineEvil

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on: February 25, 2017, 09:02:30 PM
I do not see any "cube meta" in action.
I also do not see how cubes are that much superior. Nothing in the mechanics suggest that to me.
Avorion is the first game of this genre, that actually doesn't seem to has much problem with doomcubes.
Starmade has that problem and for several specific reasons.
If you're lazy, sure, build all the cubes you like. I don't think it will be anyhow better, than a sleek broadsword design with low forward profile.
Your subconscious brain is currently busy identifying these words and their underlying meaning by the standards of the language. Your consciousness has no role in that process, just as it does not in anything you do. Frankly speaking, what you consider to be yourself is but a passive observer.



Ranakastrasz

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on: February 25, 2017, 09:15:33 PM
Hmm.
The main issue is that the simulation encourages Cube-shaped ships. Surface area is not important, because no blocks care about being on the surface, not even solar panels or thrusters. Volume cost never changes given blocks, but reducing, not surface area for armor, profile, and increasing interconnectivity to reduce damage taken, all point towards cubes.

In real life, cubes alone aren't common We don't drive around cube-shaped cars. They could be seen as loosely cube shaped, but are streamlined because of air resistance. Blocky shapes reduce your speed and increase cost of operation. They have Wheels on the bottom for movement(Can't put them in the middle or on top).They have Windows and Doors. (Door on top might be good for emergencies on buses, and tanks certainly use them, but generally doors on the sides work best). They are bottom heavy, so they don't flip, so you also end up with a bit of a larger shape on the bottom, along with a lot of the components.

As a result, these pressures tend to make cars that are car shaped. Admittedly, once someone tries to make a real car with dimples like the Mythbusters tried, their appearance might change significantly. After all, that would be performance over appearance, and obviously some people would want that.

Airplanes need wings in specific locations to get lift, and of a certain shape (or set of shapes) for lift. Engines need to be balanced and be spread out to adjust or handle damage. It has ports and windows, and engines and fuel tanks. Ports/doors and windows are surface area based. Fuel tanks are internal, and volume based. Engines are both surface area and volume based, being large but also outside the plane, using up surface area under the wings.

What we need is pressures to encourage non-cube designs. Waste heat is probably the simpliest method, where performance suffers if you don't have enough surface area. (Vents on the surface with lots of volume beneath for larger ships as well) Or just force thrusters and engines to be on the surface, along with some other things. Maybe shield generators? Ha, so if your generator can't see the shield bubble, it won't contribute. Gotta build the shield on the surface, and make sure you don't just have one giant generator, but several, spread around the surface area of your ship.




Overall, I don't really know how effective this is, but I do know that if you get better performance out of a cube, then people are going to build cubes a lot of the time.
Given that I can't currently play the game, I have no idea why I am putting so much effort into the wiki.



DivineEvil

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on: February 25, 2017, 09:30:35 PM
Quote
The main issue is that the simulation encourages Cube-shaped ships.
It doesn't. In fact, it promotes prolonged ship design. Elongated ships has lower forward profile, and maneuvering is not as uniform as in Starmade, for example. More to that, Thrusters that are placed further from the center-of-mass produce much more efficient turning and rolling, so even if you manage to face the broader side of a long ship, it takes mere seconds to roll it and face you with a narrow, heavily armored broadside. Good luck turning your brick all the way and trying to do it again. A cube-shaped ship will always have an easy-target profile no matter where you approach it from, even for Tesla weapons, and the worst possible maneuverability.
Your subconscious brain is currently busy identifying these words and their underlying meaning by the standards of the language. Your consciousness has no role in that process, just as it does not in anything you do. Frankly speaking, what you consider to be yourself is but a passive observer.



Guswut

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on: February 25, 2017, 10:02:36 PM
[...]In real life, cubes alone aren't common[...]

In the offline world we have, as you stated (and I trimmed) many more factors that denote our lowest energy state designs. The reason that there is a "car shape" is because that is the shape that works the best (also given the consideration of economic resources being a large factor (take a look at the shape of high performance high cost vehicles as an example) in the shape used) for the given requirements. Airplanes have an "airplane shape" because that is what works. Our spacecraft have a roughly "spacecraft shape", our boats have "boat shapes", and so on and so forth.

The key point to see, though, is that even with some extremely hard and rough rules that fit all of the above systems, we still see a massive diversity of shapes within the "X shape" range. This is partially because of the overall complexity of the system (the offline world) which means that there is no simple answer to what is the best "shape". But furthermore it is also an aspect of creativity, as not everyone enjoys the same shape so we get different shapes.

[...]What we need is pressures to encourage non-cube designs.[...]

Why do "we" need to encourage non-cubic designs? From what I can see the entire argument boils down to "Because I don't like that cubic ships are more efficient than non-cubic ships" which transmutes down to "I don't like cubic ships".

Is there a reason to make non-cubic designs a good design (if not one of the better choices) that isn't an argumentum ad populum (an argument based upon using popular opinion as the basis)?

[...]Waste heat is probably the simpliest method, where performance suffers if you don't have enough surface area. (Vents on the surface with lots of volume beneath for larger ships as well)[...]

A heating mechanic would certainly be interesting (although perhaps a bit to hard-scifi for Avorion, given that the direction of the game is not really aiming that way as a whole), although I don't think your implementation of it would be very balanced. You could easily have a cubic design with a heat sink section that was designed to amplify the surface area through a lot of small cubes arrayed out. You could even have it be in a hollow section, connected to the surface (and thus technically in "space" and as a part of the surface area) by a thermal exhaust port (ideally protected against lucky/force-full shots of passing enemy fighters).

Instead, I think a heat mechanic would be better modeled as a block-by-block system, and with the inclusion of three new blocks to handle heat dissipation. The first would be passive coolers which would be designed to maximize the amount of black body radiation for their space-facing surface area. The second would be active coolers which would provide cooling similar to passive coolers except at a greater efficiency by size but with a far higher energy cost (and ideally with a material cost as well as the lore would tossing out material after heating it using waste heat).

But at any rate, that'd be better served as a Suggestion thread.

[...]Or just force thrusters and engines to be on the surface, along with some other things.[...]

Koonschi has stated (see below) that this is an intended function (and that Avorion isn't hard scifi here: http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,547.msg2598.html#msg2598 which is unrelated to covering thrusters but something to consider when suggesting hard scifi changes) at least for now.

[...]Although I still want to allow thrusters to be obstructed by other blocks and still work, for the sake of simplicity.[...]

Maybe shield generators? Ha, so if your generator can't see the shield bubble, it won't contribute. Gotta build the shield on the surface, and make sure you don't just have one giant generator, but several, spread around the surface area of your ship.

Similar to the heat dissipation mechanic, this could be sorted by building a ship with a hollow part. I also don't think forcing shields to be on the outside of the ship fits with the concept of being able to armor your ship, but it would certainly make for an interesting design problem to try and resolve.

Overall, I don't really know how effective this is, but I do know that if you get better performance out of a cube, then people are going to build cubes a lot of the time.

Again, is there anything wrong with people building cubes? If, as a thought experiment, you were to make it so that people got the best performance out of building ships that looked like what you envision as an ideal space ship, would you have the same problem with that as you appear to have with people making cubes? Because it's the exact same problem (there is a simple ideal design) with the exact same results (people make their ships to fit this ideal design).

~~~

Quote
The main issue is that the simulation encourages Cube-shaped ships.
It doesn't. In fact, it promotes prolonged ship design. Elongated ships has lower forward profile, and maneuvering is not as uniform as in Starmade, for example. More to that, Thrusters that are placed further from the center-of-mass produce much more efficient turning and rolling, so even if you manage to face the broader side of a long ship, it takes mere seconds to roll it and face you with a narrow, heavily armored broadside. Good luck turning your brick all the way and trying to do it again. A cube-shaped ship will always have an easy-target profile no matter where you approach it from, even for Tesla weapons, and the worst possible maneuverability.


I believe that when people say "cube" they are using it informally to mean "rectangular", or at least that is how I'm using it. Although if we take cubic literally, you are correct: A completely cubic design (equal on all six sides) wouldn't be as effective as an equally-volumed ship which was more elongated thus allowing you to minimize your profile to incoming enemy fire.


Of course, that is assuming an ideal engagement where you are approaching a single enemy and not a group of enemies, aren't dealing with enemy fighters, and whatever other factors might go into making your decreased visible surface area no longer an advantage. Currently Avorion doesn't really have factors that make this as much of an issue as when you get shielding you rarely have to deal with losing bits of your ship, and handling your shield is pretty simply done through either overbuilding your shielding or by hit-and-run tactics.[/quote]



Ranakastrasz

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on: February 25, 2017, 10:31:53 PM
Quote
Why do "we" need to encourage non-cubic designs? From what I can see the entire argument boils down to "Because I don't like that cubic ships are more efficient than non-cubic ships" which transmutes down to "I don't like cubic ships".
I am arguing against cube ships because A, I personally find them ugly and boring, and B, because this thread is about "The Cube Meta". My personal opinion is against cube shapes. I am not a good enough scientist to be able to analyze the situation and determine whether or not I should argue for cube shapes as being the most effective setup (or even if they are currently). As a result, I chose a side based on my personal opinion, came up with some reasons to that supported my position and attacked the other side, and posted it.

Quote
In the offline world we have, as you stated (and I trimmed) many more factors that denote our lowest energy state designs. The reason that there is a "car shape" is because that is the shape that works the best (also given the consideration of economic resources being a large factor (take a look at the shape of high performance high cost vehicles as an example) in the shape used) for the given requirements. Airplanes have an "airplane shape" because that is what works. Our spacecraft have a roughly "spacecraft shape", our boats have "boat shapes", and so on and so forth.

The key point to see, though, is that even with some extremely hard and rough rules that fit all of the above systems, we still see a massive diversity of shapes within the "X shape" range. This is partially because of the overall complexity of the system (the offline world) which means that there is no simple answer to what is the best "shape". But furthermore it is also an aspect of creativity, as not everyone enjoys the same shape so we get different shapes.

While asthetic considerations occur, most cars follow a pretty simple model, which is to a large extent optimized for speed, efficiency, cost, and other factors for it's functionality under the rules of physics.
They vary in some aspects, but follow roughly the same model. Asthetics change, but you don't usually see a large range of extra or missing physical structures. Except for Vans, or trucks, which actually do have different shapes, but still keep streamlineing and effeciency in mind.

If the current laws of physics in the game simulation of Avorium makes it so that cube shaped spaceships are more effective in general given other considerations, then more cube-like spaceships will likely be used. If the decision-maker (Game developer) wants to counter this, and encourage "More creatively shaped" or "Scifi Movie/Book inspired ship shapes" or "Car shaped Ships" or pretty much anything, then a change in the game mechanics to make shapes in that direction to be more effective. If it is fine for the current cube shape (or whatever the optimal shape, both in price, effectiveness, and ease of building is) to be used by most players instead of taking advantage of this being a spaceship building game, then that is fine too. I just prefer the alternative, and if it helps my goals, I will argue for it and try to convince people and the developer to do something about it.

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Again, is there anything wrong with people building cubes? If, as a thought experiment, you were to make it so that people got the best performance out of building ships that looked like what you envision as an ideal space ship, would you have the same problem with that as you appear to have with people making cubes? Because it's the exact same problem (there is a simple ideal design) with the exact same results (people make their ships to fit this ideal design).



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I believe that when people say "cube" they are using it informally to mean "rectangular", or at least that is how I'm using it. Although if we take cubic literally, you are correct: A completely cubic design (equal on all six sides) wouldn't be as effective as an equally-volumed ship which was more elongated thus allowing you to minimize your profile to incoming enemy fire.
Same. Given that I get annoyed when people use Sentient and Sapient interchangeably, I should probably be more careful to use the right words.

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Of course, that is assuming an ideal engagement where you are approaching a single enemy and not a group of enemies, aren't dealing with enemy fighters, and whatever other factors might go into making your decreased visible surface area no longer an advantage. Currently Avorion doesn't really have factors that make this as much of an issue as when you get shielding you rarely have to deal with losing bits of your ship, and handling your shield is pretty simply done through either overbuilding your shielding or by hit-and-run tactics.
True enough. Flanking, and shields like, say, starsector (which totally wouldn't work here) would certainly have an effect, but as it is, I don't think it has a huge impact.


God, I hate self-analysis.
Given that I can't currently play the game, I have no idea why I am putting so much effort into the wiki.



Guswut

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on: February 25, 2017, 10:57:01 PM
I am arguing against cube ships because A, I personally find them ugly and boring, and B, because this thread is about "The Cube Meta". My personal opinion is against cube shapes. I am not a good enough scientist to be able to analyze the situation and determine whether or not I should argue for cube shapes as being the most effective setup (or even if they are currently). As a result, I chose a side based on my personal opinion, came up with some reasons to that supported my position and attacked the other side, and posted it.

I'm sorry, I was not clear with what I meant. What I meant was a more general question of "Why do we need to try and argue for a specific type of design?" as opposed to why you specifically argued against cubes.

I can understand how point A makes you, personally, not want to build them but does it go so far as to mean that you don't want other people to be able to build them/use them as they want?

There is no need for the discussion to detail the mechanics that make a specific style of ship optimal (especially as, unlike with the offline world, those mechanics can be changed with ease).

I think it more becomes an argument to try and limit a style of playing Avorion based upon a person's personal aesthetics.

A similar situation could be attributed to MineCraft's "cobblestone house" hatred. Often times people will build simple structures out of cobblestone, one of the most easily-accessible materials in the game, and they'll receive a great deal of vitriol for doing it.

In the instances I can think of, this is normally when a person is playing on a server and the house in question is in "town" or the like. Conversely, I cannot remember a time when it was ever suggested to remove the ability to use cobblestone to make "ugly" houses. In fact, just typing that down sounds absurd enough that I'm not even sure if the parallel is close enough to matter, but it is worth considering.

While asthetic considerations occur, most cars follow a pretty simple model, which is to a large extent optimized for speed, efficiency, cost, and other factors for it's functionality under the rules of physics.
They vary in some aspects, but follow roughly the same model. Asthetics change, but you don't usually see a large range of extra or missing physical structures. Except for Vans, or trucks, which actually do have different shapes, but still keep streamlineing and effeciency in mind.

If the current laws of physics in the game simulation of Avorium makes it so that cube shaped spaceships are more effective in general given other considerations, then more cube-like spaceships will likely be used. If the decision-maker (Game developer) wants to counter this, and encourage "More creatively shaped" or "Scifi Movie/Book inspired ship shapes" or "Car shaped Ships" or pretty much anything, then a change in the game mechanics to make shapes in that direction to be more effective. If it is fine for the current cube shape (or whatever the optimal shape, both in price, effectiveness, and ease of building is) to be used by most players instead of taking advantage of this being a spaceship building game, then that is fine too. I just prefer the alternative, and if it helps my goals, I will argue for it and try to convince people and the developer to do something about it.

Simply put, it sounds more like you want the game (and koonschi ) to treat Avorion less like a game centered around making a spaceship, flying around with it, blowing up pirates, mining stuff, and the like; and more like a game centered around making an awesome looking spaceship. I don't see a specific conflict so long as it is understood that making awesome looking spaceships shouldn't be directly supported by the actual gameplay itself. As in, you should have to take into considerations the game's mechanics to build something that will be as functional as you can make it so you can optimally kill those pirates, mine those asteroids, and whatnot.

Conversely, when you want to build awesome spaceships for the sake of building awesome spaceships, you'd move over into creative mode (which I have yet to use, but I should give it a try at some point to try and make the most cubey cubic cube I can possibly cube) to design things to your heart's content. That removes the limitations of having to make it a functional craft, and gives you the ability to optimize your design form however you see fit.

There, of course, is the middle ground of making a functional ship that also looks nice, which appears to be what most players do. I'm not sure why that these three options aren't acceptable enough.

Same. Given that I get annoyed when people use Sentient and Sapient interchangeably, I should probably be more careful to use the right words.

And I keep accidentally typing ascetic in place of aesthetic, which really change the entire timber of something. It could even be said that I design my ships to conform to my ascetic requirements, whereas others design them to conform to their aesthetic requirements. A bit tongue-in-cheek, but so it goes.



Xira

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on: February 25, 2017, 11:01:43 PM
[...]In real life, cubes alone aren't common[...]
Is there a reason to make non-cubic designs a good design (if not one of the better choices) that isn't an argumentum ad populum (an argument based upon using popular opinion as the basis)?

A heating mechanic would certainly be interesting
But at any rate, that'd be better served as a Suggestion thread.

Again, is there anything wrong with people building cubes? If, as a thought experiment, you were to make it so that people got the best performance out of building ships that looked like what you envision as an ideal space ship, would you have the same problem with that as you appear to have with people making cubes? Because it's the exact same problem (there is a simple ideal design) with the exact same results (people make their ships to fit this ideal design).

1) The game is designed to sell copies of the game, to provide the author with a profit and an adoring fanbase. Thus argumentum ad popularum is perfectly valid because a more popular game sells more copies.

2) You're overthinking this. Humans like to build gardens, absent other constraints. When we build something other than a garden it's (usually) because other factors are more important, such as the wheels needing to touch the road and cost of materials. You are brainstorming methods by which non-block shapes could be mandated or incentivized, which is wholly unlessCary unless your objective is to punish people who aren't creative/are utilitarian.

You don't have to overthink this. If you make shape not matter then people will build and use awasome looking ships. There will be some optimal 'ratio' or set of optimal solution 'ratio's but any ship that uses those ratios will be just as effective in any size. So if you want to make a block do it, if you want to make a spirally thing with a happy face you can do that too.

So make shape not matter. Revert the integrity field change.