Author Topic: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It  (Read 16635 times)

Guswut

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on: February 25, 2017, 11:17:30 PM
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.

That is a good counter, and one that (when we are discussing the possible change from the perspective of optimizing the game's player base) is one I certainly cannot refute, and thus concede.

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.

I may have been overthinking it, but I am certainly not looking ways to "punish" uncreative/utilitarian players as I am both of those (or at least, I am not creative in a way that works to make spaceships that look like conventional fictional spaceships).

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.

I certainly agree with that in part, and I'd suggest you take a look at SageThe13th's Suggestion topic about it (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,1066.msg4805.html#msg4805).



DivineEvil

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on: February 25, 2017, 11:18:37 PM
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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.
Then the term of "cube meta" does not apply. Cube-meta is a particular case with games like Space Engineers and Starmade, where use of slopes and wedges reduces the efficiency of armor coverage or prevents an efficient placement of internal components such as weapons and power subsystems, and where the dimensions of a ship directly influence its turning rate.

This is not the case in Avorion. Any given rectangular ratio will work better, than a cube - even a flat-face ship will still have a narrow side and top/bottom profiles, allowing to orbit the enemy while rolling to always present another armored side and firing at the enemy with IT-turrets. At that point, designing a complex and sleek design of your liking simply redistributes the profiles and makes some parts of it harder to hit than others. Finally, a ship, that has full IFG coverage, has 10 times less ship HP, than all the blocks which it is made from, and majority of that HP is given by Armor, so for the most part trying to find weak spots is a waste of time.

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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.
These situations merely reduce the advantage. Cube-shaped ships will perform equally awful in either scenarios, providing broad surfaces to hit from all angles possible with worst possible maneuverability factor. This problem will be vastly amplified in long-range engagements, where peripheral fire is minimum, and every meter of target's forward profile counts towards the number of shots you will actually land.

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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.
I know. I suppose threads as such are more directed towards PvP perspective of the game, but it still only remains a perspective, because Avorion is not optimized for any serious competitive multiplayer yet. Nevertheless these threads occur: People say, that large ships are OP - I have to point out that they're not. People say, that shields are OP - I have to point out, that Armor gives more protection for the resources spent. People say, that Cube shaped ships are OP, yet the only cube-ship screenshot I've ever saw belong to the author, while they keep writing colossal text-walls about situations, that do not exist outside of their imagination. This drives me bananas. :o

Cube-shaped ship are only good because they're easy to build, and even that is completely irrelevant, since you can build pre-designed ships on the spot from the save file with one click. It only good for lazy or uncreative people.
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, 11:38:32 PM
Then the term of "cube meta" does not apply. Cube-meta is a particular case with games like Space Engineers and Starmade, where use of slopes and wedges reduces the efficiency of armor coverage or prevents an efficient placement of internal components such as weapons and power subsystems, and where the dimensions of a ship directly influence its turning rate.

That's a good point, and one I hadn't considered as I took this thread at face-value as opposed to considering the general usage of "cube-meta".

This is not the case in Avorion. Any given rectangular ratio will work better, than a cube - even a flat-face ship will still have a narrow side and top/bottom profiles, allowing to orbit the enemy while rolling to always present another armored side and firing at the enemy with IT-turrets. At that point, designing a complex and sleek design of your liking simply redistributes the profiles and makes some parts of it harder to hit than others. Finally, a ship, that has full IFG coverage, has 10 times less ship HP, than all the blocks which it is made from, and majority of that HP is given by Armor, so for the most part trying to find weak spots is a waste of time.

Agreed (disregarding the currently bugged railguns) regarding the simple fact that a ship's integrity field generator system negates pretty much all needs to design hard-to-hit areas (and we aren't even discussing shielding, which unless you specifically obtain shield penetrating weapons, is another "layer" beyond making that a problem).

These situations merely reduce the advantage. Cube-shaped ships will perform equally awful in either scenarios, providing broad surfaces to hit from all angles possible with worst possible maneuverability factor. This problem will be vastly amplified in long-range engagements, where peripheral fire is minimum, and every meter of target's forward profile counts towards the number of shots you will actually land.

Very true, although if we're accounting for larger profile we then have to account for a larger amount of armor in that one section. But given shielding and integrity field generators, this really is only important when dealing with the bugged railguns (although technically unbugged railguns would still be the biggest issue here) being able to pierce weaker armor plates. A larger armor plate on the front would forgo the railgun's ability to do that. But, again, this is pretty much a non-issue as we have shields, and integrity field generators.

I know. I suppose threads as such are more directed towards PvP perspective of the game, but it still only remains a perspective, because Avorion is not optimized for any serious competitive multiplayer yet. Nevertheless these threads occur: People say, that large ships are OP - I have to point out that they're not. People say, that shields are OP - I have to point out, that Armor gives more protection for the resources spent. People say, that Cube shaped ships are OP, yet the only cube-ship screenshot I've ever saw belong to the author, while they keep writing colossal text-walls about situations, that do not exist outside of their imagination. This drives me bananas. :o

I certainly haven't seen anywhere near the same level of "doomcube" ship issues that have appeared to cause the spew of vitriol regarding these rectangular monstrosities, and looking through the Creations forum appears doesn't appear to show it either, so maybe it's all just a backlash from previous games having issues because of their mechanics?

Edit: I just found https://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,2175.0.html which is as close as I could find to something that was a "cube", and that is an awesome build! Maybe I should start a "For The Love Of The Cube" thread in there or something? Or not.

To be fair, though, it's likely a basic rule that if you have more than one person together, they'll find something to disagree about. Maybe more than zero people if you get the right person who talks to themselves. Disagreements are certainly not a "bad" thing, and one that drives us to think differently.

Cube-shaped ship are only good because they're easy to build, and even that is completely irrelevant, since you can build pre-designed ships on the spot from the save file with one click. It only good for lazy or uncreative people.

I don't agree with your argument that easy-to-build is irrelevant because you can load a save file as that's a different thing from building your own ship. Yes, you could also go to the in-game shipyard and have them make a ship for you. Although given that I've never done it (I looked at the interface, nodded twice, and closed it never to open it again (unless I ever get around to making my own stations)) it might be that it only makes horrible ships, I don't think that is a proper way to counter it being difficult to make something that looks good.

That said, those people are either lazy (assume this to be connotation neutral, as normally being called "lazy" is a "bad" thing, whereas I don't think that is the case as this is a specific type of required opposite-of-being-lazy-ness for this part of the game) or uncreative (again, connotation neutral as we're dealing with a very specific form of creativity here) is a decent way to describe the reason that cubic builds are attractive.

I, personally, don't really like making spaceships look like fictionally-accurate spaceships as they don't look anywhere near as realistic for the situation. And I also don't really have the creativity to come up with something that wouldn't either be an rough copy of an existing ship, or wouldn't just be a collection of functional elements with some sloped blocks to try and make it not-a-cubic-design. I fully embrace the fact that I'm a utilitarian, and that I'm playing Avorion not to make beautiful ships, but to make ships the way I want to make them and then use them.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2017, 11:43:26 PM by Guswut »



SageThe13th

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on: February 25, 2017, 11:48:34 PM
Okay, as these things do the discussion is starting to veer off goal a little bit.  As there was a lot said before so I'm going to talk generally and not reply to any posts.

First and foremost this is not discussion about eliminating the cube meta.  My goal is to provide alternatives to a cube meta.  Choosing to use a cube, cuboid, cubic shape, box, or whatever else you want call it is a smart choice and shouldn't be done away with by using arbitrary game mechanics.

My second point is that design should matter.  The thruster system is good example of this.  It provides a lot options and there's really no one right answer just different ways to get different results.  I don't want local area damage to go away either.  But, I do have problems with the system since the best armor design is just a box.  Also, again, my points are aimed largely at people who want weak shields because they think it will make the game more interesting.  But, don't realize it may actually make the game less interesting by causing a dominate cube meta.

Getting into some more game design theory stuff.  You can break these building game communities down into three kinds of people.  You have aesthetic builders, who will spend hours making ships look good.  You have power gamers who want to win as hard as possible.  And, you have casual players who want to have fun as easily as possible.  Now, it's common to think that casual players are lazy as these tend to be the kind of people who want things to be easy.  But, bare in mind that they may not have a lot of time to play games so they are interested in things that are quick and easy.  Also, keep in mind that most people are a mix of all three.  When I have the time I'm all about the aesthetics.  When I don't have a lot time I switch into more of a casual mode.  And, at all times I like winning so there's a need to min max my design as much as I can while sticking to my aesthetics which is my primary concern.

As people have pointed out the cube meta is something that will largely effect only PvP.  In PvE whether it be in single player or online play you can always just out build the NPCs and win that way.  However, PvP shouldn't be ignored because PvP will grow as time goes on.  People will get get bored of fighting the dumb AI and become more interested in fight other human beings.  When that happens I want them to have a good time.

If a power gamer builds an optimized cube ship they aren't doing anything wrong.  They are playing smart.  What I don't like is the noob cubes.  Cookie cutter battle box designs that casual players are more or less forced to use on competitive servers.

Edit: Yes, we don't have the cube, or box meta if you prefer, right now.  But, I'm starting to see the early signs of it and it's easiest to fix future problems in the present.

Edit 2: Fixed some spelling and grammar errors.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 12:19:02 AM by SageThe13th »



Xira

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on: February 26, 2017, 12:33:35 AM

This is not the case in Avorion. Any given rectangular ratio will work better, than a cube - even a flat-face ship will still have a narrow side and top/bottom profiles, allowing to orbit the enemy while rolling to always present another armored side and firing at the enemy with IT-on the

Then you haven't solved the cube meta, you've just turned it into a stick meta, or a cross meta, or a sphere meta. They all look ugly and will drive artistic players away. All the 'watch this awesome ship battle between 50 players!' youtube videos will be of sticks trying to get hits on each other and missing a lot. That's not something people are going to be enthusiastic about and then want to buy your game.

The best way to make pretty ships viable is to make shape not matter. Then people can fly whatever they want, and they'll tend to fly pretty things, even if they only downloaded it from the workshop.

Mind you, sticks will still have a small advantage. Missed shots don't count toward IF-hull damage. But since everyone is likely to use hit-scan weapons *anyway* it won't matter that much.



DivineEvil

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on: February 26, 2017, 01:19:11 AM
To Guswut:
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Agreed (disregarding the currently bugged railguns) regarding the simple fact that a ship's integrity field generator system negates pretty much all needs to design hard-to-hit areas (and we aren't even discussing shielding, which unless you specifically obtain shield penetrating weapons, is another "layer" beyond making that a problem).
By "hard-to-hit areas" I meant something like a protruding Thruster arrays, that are offset from the general longitude of the ship as to provide higher impact on maneuverability. What I was referring to, is that while a power-gamer might consider trying to break off that component from your ship using the limited attachment volume, he might in fact waste shots trying to hit the mast, while it might be easier just to try and find a location that can be hit reliably and simply exhaust the ship's general integrity instead.

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Very true, although if we're accounting for larger profile we then have to account for a larger amount of armor in that one section. But given shielding and integrity field generators, this really is only important when dealing with the bugged railguns (although technically unbugged railguns would still be the biggest issue here) being able to pierce weaker armor plates. A larger armor plate on the front would forgo the railgun's ability to do that. But, again, this is pretty much a non-issue as we have shields, and integrity field generators.
Indeed, but then it rounds up to a simple dependency - if you have a larger profile, it has more armor, and if you have a smaller profile, its harder to hit reliably. What is the worst possible case with that situation? The perfect balance of the two - a doomcube.

Railguns case is a whole different issue, as you understand of course. Even so, a sleek design might outplay the penetration mechanic by providing too few blocks to penetrate trough, making a railgun's round to effectively "come out from the other end", reducing the overall damage. Good luck doing that with a doom-cube.

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I don't agree with your argument that easy-to-build is irrelevant because you can load a save file as that's a different thing from building your own ship. Yes, you could also go to the in-game shipyard and have them make a ship for you. Although given that I've never done it (I looked at the interface, nodded twice, and closed it never to open it again (unless I ever get around to making my own stations)) it might be that it only makes horrible ships, I don't think that is a proper way to counter it being difficult to make something that looks good.
Yeah, but its just a counter-argument for the cases with other games, where you cannot easily mass-produce a design, therefore cubeships are more than preferable. That's like the only issue, that would lead me to make them, although I expect that Space Engineers already worked that problem out.

Shipyards do create pretty efficient designs in a way, that they're basically sticks built in several directions - hitting these things reliably is a pain. They're pretty awfully balanced though, so manual adjustments are almost obligatory. Also no IFGs until you add them yourself.
You can design your own stations too. Just add a Single Cube flag to the Station Founder one and then edit the ship. Don't mind removing the "production extensions" when you've found the station either - they have no effect on station's performance.

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That said, those people are either lazy (assume this to be connotation neutral, as normally being called "lazy" is a "bad" thing, whereas I don't think that is the case as this is a specific type of required opposite-of-being-lazy-ness for this part of the game) or uncreative (again, connotation neutral as we're dealing with a very specific form of creativity here) is a decent way to describe the reason that cubic builds are attractive.
Yeah, both terms are neutral shortcuts. Lazy means simply having no time or temper to spend additional time on design without introducing any actual advantages. Uncreative means having not acquired personal skills for pre-planning the layout and envisioning the steps to achieve the desired result. I just want to publically express my opinion, that being either of those does not justify the claim, that cubes are in any way practically superior to any complex design - they might in fact be inferior. This is a feature of Avorion, possibly unique one, that should be recognized.

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I, personally, don't really like making spaceships look like fictionally-accurate spaceships as they don't look anywhere near as realistic for the situation. And I also don't really have the creativity to come up with something that wouldn't either be an rough copy of an existing ship, or wouldn't just be a collection of functional elements with some sloped blocks to try and make it not-a-cubic-design. I fully embrace the fact that I'm a utilitarian, and that I'm playing Avorion not to make beautiful ships, but to make ships the way I want to make them and then use them.
There's nothing wrong with being utilitarian. In fact, designing an original and aesthetically integral design usually requires external pre-production, starting from making sketches and ending with designing a whole algorithm of building phases. I'm lazy myself to many extents, but I'm also creative. I find it important for myself to develop and propagate my personal style whenever possible and no matter how long it takes before actual designs are finished.
A good balance between aesthetics and utility would be something like cylindrical-segmented method: https://www.fracturedspace.com/ship/colossus/
Axial Core, functional blocks around in required ratios, easy-to setup armor coverage.

To SageThe13th
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First and foremost this is not discussion about eliminating the cube meta.  My goal is to provide alternatives to a cube meta.  Choosing to use a cube, cuboid, cubic shape, box, or whatever else you want call it is a smart choice and shouldn't be done away with by using arbitrary mechanics.
There's no need to eliminate something, that is not there. Yet.

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My second point is that design should matter.  The thruster system is good example of this.  It provides a lot options and there's really no one right answer just different ways to get different results.  I don't want local area damage to go away either.  But, I do have problems with the system since the best armor design is just a box.  Also my points are aimed largely at people who want weak shields because they think it will make the game more interesting.  But, don't realize it may actually make the game less interesting by causing a dominate cube meta.
Design does matter. You might get a benefit of particular armor plates being durable, but for that you make your profile universally awful and your Thrusters working at mediocre efficiency due to low offset from the CoM. Funny enough, Koonschi listening to the masses and introducing Reaction Arrays, will directly promote the doomcube designs by allowing improved turning regardless of placement, and I still shocked over it. The problem is not that there's a doomcube meta in place, that is not adressed. The problem is that there isn't such a meta, yet people want it to be here.

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Getting into some more game design theory stuff.  You can break these building game communities down into three kinds of people.  You have aesthetic builders, who will spend hours making ships look good.  You have power gamers who want to win as hard as possible.  And, you have casual players who want to have fun as easily as possible.  Now, it's common to think that casual players are lazy as these tend to be the kind of people who want things to be easy.  But, bare in mind that they may not have a lot of time to play games so they are interested in things that are quick and easy.  Also keep in mind that most people are a mix of all three.  When I have the time I'm all about the aesthetics.  When I don't have a lot time I switch into more of a casual mode.  And at all times I like winning so there's a need to min max my design as much as I can while sticking to my aesthetics which is my primary concern.
Its all cool and stuff, but I just don't see the reason for the concern. When Reaction Arrays are introduced, then yes, there will be a very good reason.

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As people have pointed out the cube meta is something that will largely effect only PvP.  In PvE whether it be in single player or online play you can always just out build the NPCs and win that way.  However, PvP shouldn't be ignored because PvP will grow as time goes on.  People will get get bored of fighting the dumb AI and become interested in fight other human being.  When that happens I want them to have a good time.

If a power gamer builds an optimized cube ship their aren't doing anything wrong.  They are playing smart.  What I don't look is the noob cubes.  Cookie cutter battle box designs that casual players are more or less forced to use on competitive servers.
Nobody is forced to use anything. Doomcubes in Avorion are suboptimal methodology, that has enough shortcomings of their own.

To Xira
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Then you haven't solved the cube meta, you've just turned it into a stick meta, or a cross meta, or a sphere meta. They all look ugly and will drive artistic players away. All the 'watch this awesome ship battle between 50 players!' youtube videos will be of sticks trying to get hits on each other and missing a lot. That's not something people are going to be enthusiastic about and then want to buy your game.
You are really dense, friend. You cannot force anyone to be artistic. If a player is lazy or uncreative, then there's nothing a developer can do to change their mindset - they will build sticks or crosses or whatever, not because its super-effective, but because it doesn't require effort to build. Shape is already 95% irrelevant. If you'd care to read my replies and not take them out of context, you would realize that.

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The best way to make pretty ships viable is to make shape not matter. Then people can fly whatever they want, and they'll tend to fly pretty things, even if they only downloaded it from the workshop.

Mind you, sticks will still have a small advantage. Missed shots don't count toward IF-hull damage. But since everyone is likely to use hit-scan weapons *anyway* it won't matter that much.
Small advantage... right. I'm shocked. So now with IFGs a ship can have 10 times less its own total HPs compared to total HP of blocks it is build from, and its somehow a broken system, that promotes some imaginary metas, but if we're going to make blocks fucking invulnerable, this will solve the issue and turn an undesirable meta into a "small advantage". Brilliant.  ;D
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.



Thundercraft

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on: February 26, 2017, 02:14:27 AM
I think appearance is a potential problem...

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...

People say, that Cube shaped ships are OP, yet the only cube-ship screenshot I've ever saw belong to the author, while they keep writing colossal text-walls about situations, that do not exist outside of their imagination.

May I assume, then, that neither of you have read the Does Avorion have an advertisement problem? topic? To quote:

This question fist bother me wen i stated viewing a gameplay series on YouTube, I had a different impression before viewing the gameplay, that the game had only Squares blocks and it would play like other similar games...
1º- People compere Avorion to Space engineers and some times to Starmade, mostly because of its block aspect.

2º- The ships, most of the comment wore about the ships, mostly about the 40k Retribution-class, this will be connected to 2 factor: its complexity in design, and its iconic and popularity.

3º- That people who have seen the videos of gameplay have a total different opinion vs the people that have only seen pictures.

4º- Google search images, the ones that look more official are the one that have only cubic based ships.

To be fair, I was overstating the severity of the issue. In fact, I do not believe Avorion has much of a 'Cube Meta' problem. At least, if this was an issue, it should be mostly solved as of the latest beta.

I thought that I made my opinion about this clear in my post here, where I talked about how wing/nacelle shaped ships are encouraged now thanks to Directional thrusters and changes to Thrusters.

I suppose I was playing "Devil's advocate". However, I was put off by the question, "If a person wants to min-max a design without any consideration for the appearance, is that actually a problem?" If that sort of behavior is very strongly encouraged in a sandbox game like Avorion, then, yes, I believe that is a problem, for the reasons I stated and for reasons others had already stated.

The key word there is "very strongly". I'll concede that an optimal shape or design (or, perhaps two or three optimal shapes) will exist for most such sandbox/engineering type games. That is unavoidable. But to encourage one or two designs to the exclusion of all else - to such an extreme that few players will even consider any other design - that -would- be a major issue, it -would- be a major game design flaw, and it -should- be avoided at all costs.

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.

Again, I want to emphasize Xira's post here where it is explained that a severe case of Cube Meta was the reason for leaving Starmade.

If you like to build cubic ships, fine! You should have a right to build cubic ships and that should not be imposed. :P

I'm not saying that a cube shape should arbitrarily be discouraged, just because. But you have to admit that if a majority of players are more-or-less forced to build cube ships because it is overwhelmingly and clearly the most effective shape, that would kill creativity. And that would be a problem.

I'm not advocating the death of creativity. Quite the opposite. I'm trying to say that, if a Cube Meta issue exists (and I do not believe Avorion has that problem - at least, not anymore), that qualifies as an unintended design constraint that, by it's very existence, hurts creativity and freedom of expression. That - in severe cases - should be discouraged by some new game mechanics. Such would have to either discourage a cubic shape or give more incentive to using other shapes. But it should not stop players from building cubic ships, if that is their thing.

I didn't think we needed statistics to support that, but I'd love to see those statistics as well...
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...

You may have noticed that I just started a two question online poll:
[Poll] Multiplayer or Singleplayer?

I'll post the results in two weeks. There hasn't been much participation, yet. But, already, I can see the results are likely to be surprising.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 08:05:53 AM by Thundercraft »



MrVorgra

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on: February 26, 2017, 02:08:58 PM
The only thing encouraging building cubes is people who are too lazy to do otherwise, Almost ironically, this laziness promotes people to put greater effort in to breaking out of the cube category, consequently the lazy cube designers encourage non-cube ships.



SageThe13th

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on: February 26, 2017, 04:10:54 PM
The only thing encouraging building cubes is people who are too lazy to do otherwise, Almost ironically, this laziness promotes people to put greater effort in to breaking out of the cube category, consequently the lazy cube designers encourage non-cube ships.

I keep rereading this.  But, it still makes no sense to me.



OndeTv

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on: February 26, 2017, 04:34:46 PM
It's funny, i was going to make the argument that the only reason my ship ended up being cube-ish (but not fully), was that you get less material back when deleting blocks than placing them. Suddenly it hit me that i didn't remember where i had this information from, so i quickly loaded up the game to test.

1x1x1 avorion block, 5 avorion used. The block deleted returned 5 avorion.

1x1x1 avorion block, 5 used, exit build mode. Reenter build mode, delete block, 5 avorion returned.

In other words i've played my singleplayer game for just around 100 hours without realizing that i could indeed have rearranged everything on my ship without losing materials, instead of going for a somewhat modular design. Huh, baffling.

I think what promoted this idea is habit. In most games when you destroy something you have built, you get less back than you used to make it. So what should the game have done to make me aware of this 1:1 relationship while building? Well, i think that if build mode had a way to "move and reshape blocks" rather than destroy and rebuild (yes i know you can copy paste), and move them to a "clipboard" area or just move them temporarily unattached to anything, then my ship would have ended up looking quite different.

Sure, now that i'm thinking along these lines i could f ex had made some extrusion to which i would temporarily attach blocks, but one of the main points of argument in this thread has been human nature, and how we like to do everything the easy way when we can which is hard to argument against.

In short, i think (pvp aside) that the solution for not promoting cubic designs really is just a matter of polishing the editor.


Edit: Typos
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 04:38:01 PM by OndeTv »



oreganor

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on: February 26, 2017, 07:57:22 PM
There is no Cube Meta on PvP...

...Remove instant long range weapons (railguns in this case) and anything with a regular shape that can't strafe its smaller length in the time a bullet takes to arrive is dead meat to ships a fraction of its size.

You can store A LOT on that volume if you wish... But can't escape mass, and as your shape is perfectly regular you can't benefit of strafing over a smaller lentgh to avoid enemy incoming fire, your rotation speeds will be mediocre at least, which, in turn, will force you to waste a lot of that precious volume into more thrusters.

...If railguns stay ingame, then PvP will be a simple DPS check and there the Cubes will rule, that's true... But for as long as manual aiming plays a role, the collision section you present to your enemy and how fast you can move it is what matters.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 08:00:44 PM by oreganor »



Guswut

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on: February 26, 2017, 08:48:39 PM
First and foremost this is not discussion about eliminating the cube meta.  My goal is to provide alternatives to a cube meta.  Choosing to use a cube, cuboid, cubic shape, box, or whatever else you want call it is a smart choice and shouldn't be done away with by using arbitrary game mechanics.

Thank you. That's really all that I care about as I LIKE my cube/cuboid/cubic shape/box-filled-with-goodies design. The problem I had was that it appeared that everyone wanted to burn cubes at the stake and "nerf" them to a point of making them unusable.

I agree with the rest of your post, so I won't directly reply to it as there isn't much else to say.


~~~


By "hard-to-hit areas" I meant something like a protruding Thruster arrays, that are offset from the general longitude of the ship as to provide higher impact on maneuverability. What I was referring to, is that while a power-gamer might consider trying to break off that component from your ship using the limited attachment volume, he might in fact waste shots trying to hit the mast, while it might be easier just to try and find a location that can be hit reliably and simply exhaust the ship's general integrity instead.

Ah, understood. For a while I tried to go about carefully aiming my laser death array at my enemies' weapons, shields, and whatnot before I gave up trying to fight against the overflowing damage numbers and finicky aiming cursors and just aim for the center of mass.

Indeed, but then it rounds up to a simple dependency - if you have a larger profile, it has more armor, and if you have a smaller profile, its harder to hit reliably. What is the worst possible case with that situation? The perfect balance of the two - a doomcube.

I don't think I understand how there is a worst possible case as they're directly trading off. It'd be a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none-cube, which wouldn't be hard enough to hit to make a difference, but also not large enough to pack on enough armor to make a difference.

You could make a case for the perfect balance being an even more massive cube that is also even more manuverable than a small cube while being just as armored or even more armored compared to a large cube, but I'm not even sure that is possible. I'd assume that there are diminishing returns in place that help to keep this in check, but if that isn't the case then that surely should be something to resolve.

Railguns case is a whole different issue, as you understand of course. Even so, a sleek design might outplay the penetration mechanic by providing too few blocks to penetrate trough, making a railgun's round to effectively "come out from the other end", reducing the overall damage. Good luck doing that with a doom-cube.

I'll keep this in mind in my future designs, thank you!

Yeah, but its just a counter-argument for the cases with other games, where you cannot easily mass-produce a design, therefore cubeships are more than preferable. That's like the only issue, that would lead me to make them, although I expect that Space Engineers already worked that problem out.

Ah, that makes sense! Yeah, if I recall correctly you can import ships in Space Engineers fairly easily (via the Steam game workshop if nothing else).

Shipyards do create pretty efficient designs in a way, that they're basically sticks built in several directions - hitting these things reliably is a pain. They're pretty awfully balanced though, so manual adjustments are almost obligatory. Also no IFGs until you add them yourself.
You can design your own stations too. Just add a Single Cube flag to the Station Founder one and then edit the ship. Don't mind removing the "production extensions" when you've found the station either - they have no effect on station's performance.

I actually had to build my first station last night as laser heads were something that my galaxy had evidently forgotten how to produce (or in other words I spent around four hours jumping around like a crazed cube searching for a trade station, factory, or smuggler's den of evil that stocked them). Of course, right after I built my laser head factory, I found a trade station I must have missed that had a hundred of the buggers!

The process was fairly simple, and I did pretty much that (smallest design with a station founding addition, etc). It would certainly be interesting trying to play the game using only shipyard-crafted ships which you then edit minimally.

Yeah, both terms are neutral shortcuts. Lazy means simply having no time or temper to spend additional time on design without introducing any actual advantages. Uncreative means having not acquired personal skills for pre-planning the layout and envisioning the steps to achieve the desired result. I just want to publically express my opinion, that being either of those does not justify the claim, that cubes are in any way practically superior to any complex design - they might in fact be inferior. This is a feature of Avorion, possibly unique one, that should be recognized.

Understood.

There's nothing wrong with being utilitarian. In fact, designing an original and aesthetically integral design usually requires external pre-production, starting from making sketches and ending with designing a whole algorithm of building phases. I'm lazy myself to many extents, but I'm also creative. I find it important for myself to develop and propagate my personal style whenever possible and no matter how long it takes before actual designs are finished.

Understood. In my case I find I spend far too much time trying to design something, and then re-designing it when I find flaws with my design (such as finding I that my turning speed isn't as high as I'd like after I've added armor) or when the universe changes to make my design no longer effective (such as when you get the ability to use shields).

I am certainly far lazy enough to not spend the hours needed to optimize a design that I can bolt together into a cube and call it a day. To each their own!

A good balance between aesthetics and utility would be something like cylindrical-segmented method: https://www.fracturedspace.com/ship/colossus/
Axial Core, functional blocks around in required ratios, easy-to setup armor coverage.

I've looked it over and it certainly looks like an interesting design. When I have some further free time and feel creative enough to consider it I'll look up some videos on it and see how it functions and if it is something I can adapt to fit my needs.

~~~



May I assume, then, that neither of you have read the Does Avorion have an advertisement problem? topic?

To be fair, I was overstating the severity of the issue. In fact, I do not believe Avorion has much of a 'Cube Meta' problem. At least, if this was an issue, it should be mostly solved as of the latest beta.

I had not read that topic, but all of the examples given show an extremely limited and early range of images.

Avorion.net and Avorion's steam page both have a wealth of non-cube shaped ships (as well as some cube shaped ones, especially stations) in both pictures and video.

I doubt it was ever actually an issue, but more likely it was just that the game's early days had some cubic ships made by koonschi and/or designed by the game's algorithm (which certainly ends up not being as nice looking as what most players make).

If you like to build cubic ships, fine! You should have a right to build cubic ships and that should not be imposed. :P

I'm not saying that a cube shape should arbitrarily be discouraged, just because. But you have to admit that if a majority of players are more-or-less forced to build cube ships because it is overwhelmingly and clearly the most effective shape, that would kill creativity. And that would be a problem.

While I completely disagree with your usage of "forced" given that the game allows you to completely control the difficulty (both during creation and during your movement through the galaxy) as well as never made cubic shapes more than only somewhat better in the early game (after which shields make it fairly much a non-issue), I just want to make it clear that cube ships are something that shouldn't be forcefully made unplayable (as it seemed to be the way people were suggesting).

It makes sense if there was a pre-existing "cube-meta" issue with other games that has helped breed such hatred (to note, when I've played Space Engineers I found it fairly difficult to make cube ships that would also be highly functional, so I believe it may be a bit overblown there as well. I've never played Starmade (or if I have I don't recall anything about it)) and makes sense why people want to try and avoid it in Avorion.

You may have noticed that I just started a two question online poll:
[Poll] Multiplayer or Singleplayer?

I'll post the results in two weeks. There hasn't been much participation, yet. But, already, I can see the results are likely to be surprising.

Good to know! I've submitted my reply and I'll be interested to see how the results turn out. Make sure to also keep in mind the amount of people that are actively playing the game (http://steamcharts.com/search/?q=Avorion is a good enough resource for that) as well as the total number of owners of the game (https://steamspy.com/search.php?s=Avorion is a good enough resource for that).

Your data will have to account for your sample size (which will likely be well under a single percent of the Avorion userbase) as well as additionally account for the difference between users that use the forums and don't use the forums. But it'll be better than nothing, that is for sure!

~~~


The only thing encouraging building cubes is people who are too lazy to do otherwise, Almost ironically, this laziness promotes people to put greater effort in to breaking out of the cube category, consequently the lazy cube designers encourage non-cube ships.

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cy414

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on: February 26, 2017, 08:57:46 PM
sorry if this has already been posted, but there is a lot of text in this thread.

wouldnt something similar to world of tanks armour angling mechanics wreck the "cube meta"? since a cube could never position it self 'edge on' to incoming fire the way a flat ship could.

also, assuming equal mass/volume of blocks, a cube would lack the pitch/rotation ability of a flat ship due to thrusters being close to centre of mass.



SageThe13th

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on: February 26, 2017, 10:27:23 PM
Had xanion repulsive dashwoods Avorion suspicioN sincerity but advantage nOw him railgun. Remark easily garret nor nay. Civil those mrs enjoy shy fat merry. You greatest xanion jointure saw horrible. He private he on be imagine suppose. Fertile beloved evident through no service railguns elderly is Avorion. Blind there if every no so at. I own xanion neglecteD you preferrEd way sincerity delivered his attempted. To of message railgun cottage windows do besides against Avorion uncivil.

How promotion Avorion excellent curiosity yet attempted happiness. Way prosperous impression had conviction. For every delay xanion deatH railgun ask style. Me Avorion mean able my by in They. Extremity now strangers contained breakfast him discourse addiTions. Sincerity Avorion collected Hat xanion contented leAd now perpetual extremely forfeiTed.

An country demesne Avorion message it. Mr bachelor domestic extended doubtful as concerns at. Morning prudent removal an letters by. On could my in order never it xanion. Or Excited certain sixteen it to Avorion parties colonel. Depending conveying xanion direction has led railguns immediate Nozzle. Law gate her well bed life feet seen rent. On nature or no Avorion except it Sussex.

I agree with everything you just said here.

sorry if this has already been posted, but there is a lot of text in this thread.

wouldnt something similar to world of tanks armour angling mechanics wreck the "cube meta"? since a cube could never position it self 'edge on' to incoming fire the way a flat ship could.

also, assuming equal mass/volume of blocks, a cube would lack the pitch/rotation ability of a flat ship due to thrusters being close to centre of mass.

That's an interesting mechanic.  Though, a lot of weapon types don't depend on ballistics.



Thundercraft

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on: February 27, 2017, 03:23:54 AM
I'm not saying that a cube shape should arbitrarily be discouraged, just because. But you have to admit that if a majority of players are more-or-less forced to build cube ships because it is overwhelmingly and clearly the most effective shape, that would kill creativity.

While I completely disagree with your usage of "forced" given that the game allows you to completely control the difficulty...

Key word being "if"... Again, I was playing Devil's advocate or speaking of a hypothetical. As I said, I do not believe Avorion has much of a Cube Meta (aside from how Cargo Bays work).

I was mostly thinking in terms of multiplayer and PvP. You do have a point about being able to control game difficulty. Yes, even if there was a Cube Meta (in terms of combat), in singleplayer, a player could just turn the diffulty down until it is no longer relevant.

Cube-meta is a particular case with games like Space Engineers and Starmade, where use of slopes and wedges reduces the efficiency of armor coverage or prevents an efficient placement of internal components such as weapons and power subsystems, and where the dimensions of a ship directly influence its turning rate.

A game's tendency toward a Cube Meta can be far more complicated than how dimensions influence turn rate. It is an important factor. But it's not the only one. Further, I do believe that Avorion shares some of the same issues as games like Starmade in regard to efficiency of armor coverage and the effeciency of internal components. (That is, similar issues, but not nearly to the same degree.)

First, consider how Cargo Bays scale in Avorion. As mentioned here and elsewhere, it scales weirdly. Despite being the same in volume, building a single 10x10x10 Cargo Bay is 685% more efficient than building 1000 1x1x1 Cargo Bays. (I'm not exaggerating. :()

As such, cargo bay game mechanics very strongly supports the Cube Meta. It's strong enough that I design all my freighters around this mechanic. And they all end up with only one or two large cargo bays (usually just one). My latest freighter is a single, huge, cube-shaped Cargo Bay with a cubic ship literally built around it:



If I'm not mistaken, 8100 cargo space is pretty good for a 7 module ship with excellent speed, maneuverability, lots of excess power and energy storage, yet made mostly of Iron.

To a far less severe degree, better efficiency of large, single blocks can be extended to most types of blocks. This includes Thrusters, Directional Thrusters, Engines, Generators, Energy Containers, Crew Quarters, IFGs, and more. One large Generator produces slightly more energy than several smaller generators of equal total volume. Likewise, one large Crew Quarters is a bit more energy efficient than several smaller ones. Etc, etc. Fortunately, in most cases, the difference is almost insignificant. But it does exist.

Next to Cargo Bays, I'd say the most significant efficiency gains from large blocks can be had through thrusters, engines, and armor. Thrusters and Engines, because koonschi added restrictions so thin slices are no longer very effective. Armor, because of the 10 times HP boost of IFGs. Multiplying the HP of a tiny piece of armor by 10 times may not be enough to make it effective. A single shot (or two) may still vaporize such. But, multiplying a large piece of armor by 10 times will make it virtually invulnerable.

IFGs are a special case. A single large IFG is more energy efficient. And it can protect a much larger range of blocks. But, I usually opt to place some smaller IFGs, instead. By placing several small IFGs spread around the ship, I usually end up saving a lot of energy. It's also an effective way to add redundancy to a design. Even if an enemy manages to take out an IFG or two, my ship has several others to keep it intact.

This is not the case in Avorion. Any given rectangular ratio will work better, than a cube - even a flat-face ship will still have a narrow side and top/bottom profiles, allowing to orbit the enemy while rolling to always present another armored side and firing at the enemy with IT-turrets. At that point, designing a complex and sleek design of your liking simply redistributes the profiles and makes some parts of it harder to hit than others.

Some good arguments here. However, I believe that you are overstating the value of a low profile and not seeing the whole picture. As I explained here, recent changes to thrusters encourages stereotypical ship shapes, particularly winged. But, if it wasn't for that, (combat related) Cube Meta would be encouraged to a small degree.

Long and sleek ships can present a small profile when dogfighting. Yes, if said ships are agile enough, they can keep that profile small by continuously facing the enemy. And they can orbit the enemy, or roll (or rotate) to avoid exposing a damaged side.

However, this only holds true if said ship is agile enough to do so. Recent thruster changes have changed the equation. Now, long and sleek ships are often not as agile as similarly-built short, chubby ships with 'wings' (thruster arms).

Also, the player must be skilled enough to do this. I find it harder to pull those orbits off with a mouse than with a joystick. Also, unlike other space sims, Avorion lacks an aiming reticle to show where to lead our guns to actually hit. This makes it rather difficult to hit when trying to orbit an enemy at high speed.

And this only holds true if the enemy has traditional weapons. Missile use denies that strategy. Rockets can hit things from 50 km away. Also, rockets have the same speed as your ship when you fire them. How much is a small profile and lots of agility going to help against homing missiles, particularly at a distance that you can't return fire and at a speed that is impossible to outrun?

Finally, a ship, that has full IFG coverage, has 10 times less ship HP, than all the blocks which it is made from, and majority of that HP is given by Armor, so for the most part trying to find weak spots is a waste of time.

Err... nope. ::) The way you state this suggests that installing IFGs will make a ship weaker. The mere act of adding IFGs does not subtract HP from a ship's hull. Rather, IFGs help to protect individual blocks by distributing the damage to the entire ship. And only up to 10 times the block's actual HP. That's not a bad thing. At all.

Actually, how IFGs protect a ship only reinforces the Cube Meta. Typically, small blocks only have a few HP. Even boosted by an integrity field, they are very vulnerable as compared to huge, single blocks with a lot of HP to begin with.

Speaking purely in terms of potential loss of armor (and the consequences of such), complex ship designs will always be inferior to simple designs. And (in Avorion) one can't get more simple than a cube. A cube has only 6 sides. If each side is a single slab of armor that is reinforced with an integrity field - if it is thick enough - the armor (on each side) would be impregnable without doing enough damage to blow the whole ship. As such, armor thickness can be much less for a cube than for other shapes.

Further: Short, simple shapes like the cube have less surface area. That means less ship volume has to be spent on armor to protect the inside. Less armor for the same protection means a savings in terms of total mass. And, potentially, less mass for the same volume translates to less Engines and less Thrusters.

The same can not be said of complex, aesthetically-pleasing designs with lots of tiny pieces and tiny slabs (or edges) of armor. Even boosted to 10 times by IFGs, focused fire on small bits of armor will destroy them long before the whole ship blows. And once the armor is peeled back, important ship innards like IFGs and Generators are next.

However, I will admit that this is more of a concern for PvP. Fighters and NPC enemies are not going to be targeting key areas of your ship like thrusters, engines, turrets, and where armor looks weak. They are not going to concentrate their fire on one side, either. PvP can be a different story (if the player is skilled enough).

And good shields negate most of this.

...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.

Good point. Though, to be fair, this is a mid to short range thing. At long range, a small profile will help even versus a group of enemies.

These situations merely reduce the advantage. Cube-shaped ships will perform equally awful in either scenarios, providing broad surfaces to hit from all angles possible with worst possible maneuverability factor.

At close range, fighting multiple enemies will not only eliminate the benefits of a reduced profile shape - it will likely turn into a real handicap.

As long as you can keep the nose of your low profile ship aimed at a single enemy, said enemy is less likely to hit you (versus a short, blocky design). But, against multiple enemies or a swarm of fighters, that is impossible.

This argument boils down to geometry and math. Only simple symmetrical shapes like the sphere or cube have an efficient volume to surface area ratio. And only such shapes have a small profile from all angles.

Long, sleek shapes like a pencil or elongated arrowhead do have a much smaller profile than a cube of the same volume - but only when viewed from roughly the front or back. Believe it or not: When viewed from the side - any side - a cube of the same volume actually has a smaller profile.

This goes double for the arrowhead, elongated wedge, or flat plane shapes when viewed from the top. At that angle, such ships are just huge targets.

As for the maneuverability of a cube-shaped ship: Yeah, the Yaw and Pitch would be less than a long, sleek ship. But only if the thrusters are placed in the back and/or front. Long ships allow thrusters to be further from the center of mass and so have more leverage with the same force.

However, the more mass a long, sleek ship has in the front and/or back, the less effective the thrusters are going to be. Placing lots of decorative wedges and edges on the front and/or back is going to make them less maneuverable.

Also, you should keep in mind that short shapes like the cube require less force to apply Yaw and Pitch than a long shape. This balances out such that long ships still have the thruster advantage.

But, if a player were to build a cube ship and if they distributed Regular thrusters evenly in each of the cube's eight corners, the maneuverability shouldn't be too bad. (Directional thrusters are more efficient. But they should not be placed at the corners of a cube. Rather, they must be nearly perpendicular to the center of mass for the sake of efficiency.)

Further, unless a long, sleek ship has wings or other protrusions with thrusters. A cube should be more efficient in terms of Roll. (Again, distance from the center of mass is key. And, at least with Directional thrusters, they must be nearly perpendicular to the Z axis to gain Roll.)

Beyond that, as I pointed out, Directional thrusters on leverage arms will give far more maneuverability than even using a long shape like a pencil. If you put (Directional) thruster arms on a cube or short ship, you'll easily get far more brake thrust and maneuverability than a long, sleek ship and for a fraction of the Engineer requirement.

Some of you may point out that putting thrusters on leverage arms adds a weak point that can be exploited. It depends on how you design it. For combat ships, my leverage arms consist of no more than four blocks - two if I can manage. Because they consist of only a few blocks, each block has considerable HP. With IFGs, an enemy would have to do more than half of the whole ship's HP to sheer one off. And that's just to get one of them. It's simply not worth the effort, especially as maneuverable as I design my ships.

This problem will be vastly amplified in long-range engagements, where peripheral fire is minimum, and every meter of target's forward profile counts towards the number of shots you will actually land.

This is true - sort of. Long-range engagments would tend to favor ship designs with a narrow cross section, such as long and sleek ships. There are some conditions and flaws, though:
  • If both you and the enemy accelerate toward each other, the time between first entering their firing range and reaching close range is likely very short. We're talking seconds. This depends on weapon range and engine speed. Players usually have faster ships and they use afterburners, so this is less effective in PvP.
  • Common weapons have a short or medium range. Again, having a small profile would make little difference if the time between entering their firing range and reaching close range is short.
  • Missiles is one weapon type that can reach as far as 50 km. Having a low profile as you approach a missile-equipped enemy should help, considering that it will take you a long time to approach. Though, if those missiles are homing, all bets are off. And if this is PvP, if they have missiles, you'd better believe they're going to be homing.

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.

Very true! Combined with the thruster stuff I talked about, having adequate shields negates the Cube Meta for Avorion. (That is, with the exception of Cargo Bay mechanics.) And it negates much of the points I just made.

Even so, I've heard that ships outfitted with high level railguns can rip heavily shielded ships rather effectively.

I know. I suppose threads as such are more directed towards PvP perspective of the game, but it still only remains a perspective, because Avorion is not optimized for any serious competitive multiplayer yet.

But that is going to change. In this interview, koonschi said the final release is due "~Q3 2017". And he has been devoting a lot of recent development to multiplayer. So far, my poll is showing that multiplayer is, more often than not, an important factor in the decision to get Avorion. Oh, and my list of servers has grown to about 39 active servers. And the list of servers on Steam is so large that I got bored scrolling through them all.

Cube-shaped ship are only good because they're easy to build...
[snip]...It only good for lazy or uncreative people.

I've been spending far too much time on the forums and building ships, so I won't rise to this challenge right now. But, I expect that someone will eventually build and compare cube ships - out of curiosity, if nothing else. And then we'll see. Let us hope we never see the...



If not, I'll probably get around to min-maxing some cube ships, eventually.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 03:27:27 AM by Thundercraft »