Author Topic: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It  (Read 23781 times)

oreganor

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on: February 27, 2017, 10:25:15 AM
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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.

I don't know if I'm playing a different game or what but...

...Even the current procedural generator spills once in a while a ship incredibly hard to be hit... and is not a cube...

...I call them "mace" designs (Remind me a lot to the Nebulon-B Frigate in Star Wars). It's a simple principle, concentrate all your volume at the extreme of a long thin axis, add "counterweights" on the farther point of the thin axis so your CoM is into the thin section... voilá. Thanks to the way torque is applied in the game ATM... Good luck hiting that thing while rotating from ANY side... In fact, due to the way current IFGs work, if you let that "mace" get close and the designer is carefull enough to NOT use an IFG on the "counterweight"... It can hit you literally as a mace, ignoring shields and taking advantage of the mad linear speed at the extreme of the thin section at angular speeds close to 1r/s... If you make the mistake of protecting ALL your cube with IFGs... You can die in a single hit.

...The recent change on thrusters is not a nerf to rotation at all... In fact, thanks to the new bidirectional thrusters, designers of oddly shaped ships have the freedom to select which axis a given thruster can modify WITH INDEPENDENCE of were that thruster is placed. Precisely before, when only omnithrusters were available, symetrical ships were the way to go regarding total thruster volume. Selecting your dodging axis and be fast at it, it's trivial thanks to bithrusters now.

In fact your design of that freighter (Which looks very nice, congrats... Very "B-Wingish" :) )... Started as a cube... But you realized how incredibly efficient "cross-shaped" designs have become thanks to thrusters...

...Remains to be seen how good recently added gyros/inertial damperers will become once beta patch ends its tweak cycle... This last 2 are REAL Cube Meta enforcers, as both are strictly volume-to-performance blocks.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 10:37:48 AM by oreganor »



SageThe13th

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on: February 27, 2017, 03:12:06 PM
Yeah I've encountered what I call telephone poles.  Extremely thin cross shaped ships that the RNG splits out quite commonly.  They are quite hard to hit.  They also spin very quickly.  Sometimes they confused and just spin in place becoming quite difficult to last good shots on.  Though, I guess that's why the new rotation caps where added.

I'm testing the IFG mechanics when it comes to ramming.  So far asteroid collisions work as they should.  And I was able confirm the root block, no matter what block type it is, has Hp equal to the ship.  Next ship to ship collisions.  Stay posted.



SageThe13th

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on: February 27, 2017, 04:11:47 PM
My findings were worthy of a bug report!

Read them here: http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,2523.0.html



SinBad

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on: March 21, 2017, 10:16:55 PM
(this was a thread starter, but then i found this thread, so i moved it here)

this is my personal reasons for building cube ships. i realise that there are a lot of folks out there who dislike cube ships because they are perceived as lacking artistic creativity. i agree with that. they are cubes. cubes are cubes and cubes are dull. but you can dress up your cube with funky holographic graffiti to give it some individual flavour. for those who say they exploit the game mechanics and are cheaty: well, its math. math and physics. if you have a game that models physics where mass force and volume are considerations, you get spheres and cubes. the only way around that is to make the the game physics cheaty.

so into the mess of my complicated love affair with an aesthetically boring shape...

first off, the cube:square ratio. this basically means that in a sphere the volume of the shape increases with the cube of its radius, but the surface area increases with the square of its radius.
for example, a sphere with a radius of 10units has
a volume of 4188.79units, and
a surface area of 1256.64

a sphere with a radius of 20units (twice as big) has
a volume of 33510.32units, and
a surface area of 5026.55

in other words, making a sphere with twice the radius increases the volume by 8 times, whereas the surface area only increases 4 times.
that means that by using a sphere you can have more functional blocks, like generators, engines and thrusters protected by the smallest mass of armour possible.

unfortunatly, armour HP is calculated from the blocks volume, not the thickness taken at the angle of hit penetration. which is understandable considering the number of hits that need to be calculated in the average fight. armouring a sphere (or pseudo-sphere) requires the use of lots of small volume blocks which individually have low HP, and so are easily destroyed. so the most advantageous shape for armour is large homogeneous slabs in order to maximise the hp of each block.
cubes lend themselves well to this type of armour as they only require 6 slabs of armour for full coverage.
cubes work out a the same in the cube square ratio though
again, take a side length of ten
which gives a volume of 1000units and
a surface area of 600 units (10*10*6sides)

then double it to 20 units for
a volume of 8000 and
a surface area of 2400.

doubling the side length increases the volume by 8 times, but the surface area only increases 4 times. that means by making a cube twice as big, you can fit 8 times the functional volume behind only 4 times the armour. this tends to why bigger cubes are exponentially more powerful than smaller cubes. less of your volume is taken up by armour, which means your ship not only has less mass, but also has more space for other things inside it.

on to manoeuvrability. this involves three aspects, mass, distance from centre of mass, and the average distance the mass is from the centre of mass.
ill address the last one first: put the heavy stuff in the middle. this helps to reduce the rotational inertia of the cube. think of a gyroscope, its thin in the middle and fat around the rim. this is done to ensure that most of the mass is as far as possible from the centre of mass in order to increase its rotational inertia. this helps them to spin a long long time for very little energy input. it also makes it harder to start them spinning, some can take up to half an hour to get up to rotational speeds. i aim for the opposite effect. by concentrating the densest blocks as close to the centre as possible, it reduces the rotational inertia. this means it takes less force to start and stop a rotation, which means we can use smaller thrusters than if we concentrated the mass on the outside. so if im using a mix of material tiers, ill try to put the heaviest stuff in the middle (inertial dampers and gyros), and have the less dense, lighter material blocks toward the outside like cargo bays and crew quarters.
the next thing is your overall mass. you will have a lot of it, which means big thrusters and big engines. something worth noting is that engines don't need to be at the back of the cube. you can maintain even mass distribution simply by copy pasting each side to the other 5.
lastly is the distance of a thruster from the centre of mass. we all know that the further away from the COM the thruster is, the more effective it is. the corners of a cube are the furthest away you can get. all other mass in closer to COM than the thrusters. and you can make big, big thrusters. that leaves the wide open faces perfect for segmented panels of directional thrusters. its fairly easy to build a cube that can accelerate at 100m/s/s in any direction. having a tiny thruster on a long stick will give you more force, but if you want to keep that stick, you need to armour it, which negates the mass savings of using a smaller thruster.
with all of that, the final layer is a simple slab of armour over each face. i prefer to have the front panel over lap the sides, then each side overlaps the back panel and one other side. then the rear panel fits snugly into the cavity left by the side panels. that way there are no low volume corner or edge blocks with low hp. adjust the thickness of the panels until you get a hp and manoeuvrability you are happy with.

as my cubes have gotten larger, ive found that i can dedicate more and more volume to manoeuvring. making for nimble cubes that can weave through wreckage and asteroids easily.

it should also be noted that a cube is more volumetrically efficient than other shapes because its dimensionally smaller for the same volume. meaning a million tons of cube fits into a smaller box than a million tons of fancy space jet fighter does.

cubes are not a bad thing. they are efficient. space demands efficiency, as does combat. we don't have to worry about systems that require large surface areas or large safety distances in this game like heat sinks, solar arrays, and radiation spewing drive systems. there is no reason to value having large surface area to volume ratios over smaller surface area to volume ratios. in fact, bump proof armouring your vital systems encourages less surface area protecting as much volume as possible. thus the cube.

now, to be clear: im not saying that everyone should stop building fancy fantasy star ships, those are cool and add variety to the game.
im just suggesting that cube ships have a bad rep for no reason other than the fact that so few people try to make them look good.

so, post pics of your holographicaly painted psychedelic cubes of tightly packed performance. (ill get some of mine up in the next few hours)
or if you prefer,  tell me im a boring cheating cube-meta promoting enemy of artistic expression.
either way, discourse moves us forward  :)



Alpha393

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on: March 22, 2017, 12:15:35 AM
Hmm. How to break stupidly thick armored cubes? Perhaps make railguns pass through one layer of blocks after armor before stopping? Make plasma and  chaingunw apply a stacking weakening effect to increase incoming damage to the block they hit for a few seconds? (The logic being that the plasma would melt it a bit and the chain would puncture and/or dent it, either way structural integrity is diminished.)

Thrusters and engines dealing damage to anything in their way. RIP everyone's designs for a bit, before they all melt. Alternatively:

Disable thrusters and engines in any covered directions. RIP everyone's designs.

A bit on the crazy side, but: make shields scale off of exposed surface area (like how hangar bays work but covered shields don't add capacity at all) or add a shield variant that works this way and is stronger across the board by mass, health, and cost.

In general, make things require exposure to work. Solar panels, thrusters, engines, heat sinks if that becomes a thing, possibly shield generators?

I'm just spitballing here.



Splutty

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on: March 22, 2017, 01:47:58 AM
I completely disagree with everything said in this thread.

The real meta in any game where you can build your own things, is of course the penis!

Not the block. Silly idea!

 ::)



LordMaddog

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on: March 22, 2017, 01:50:28 AM
Thrusters and engines dealing damage to anything in their way. RIP everyone's designs for a bit, before they all melt. Alternatively:

Disable thrusters and engines in any covered directions. RIP everyone's designs.

A bit on the crazy side, but: make shields scale off of exposed surface area (like how hangar bays work but covered shields don't add capacity at all) or add a shield variant that works this way and is stronger across the board by mass, health, and cost.

In general, make things require exposure to work. Solar panels, thrusters, engines, heat sinks if that becomes a thing, possibly shield generators?

I'm just spitballing here.

Ya spitballing is right.

EVERY one of those suggestions would mean CUBE is king!

The enter topic is on how to stop the cube meta not enforce it.

while every thing you have said might presumably be necessary in real life it would not make nice gameplay or aesthetic ships.

 I say presumably because if tech goes the way  of frequency and finds the wavelength of gravity every thing changes :) 



SinBad

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on: March 22, 2017, 01:58:22 AM
the only argument i have seen against cubes is how they look.
so:


we are only bound by our creativity. hologram blocks ftw.



Alpha393

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on: March 22, 2017, 02:21:00 AM
I don't know whether to applaud you for your audacity or artistic genius.

9/10 a bit too pink.



SinBad

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on: March 22, 2017, 03:54:28 AM
thanks, i think.

yeah, its hard to find the right colours on the palette when they all end up glowing pastel versions.
im working on a celtic design using 0.1x0.1 blue lines on a 33x33 black cube at the moment. trying not to have more than 0.3 worth of black space around any blue 'pixel'.
it will be fiddly and intricate, but monochrome for ease of painting.
i found some great 400x400 pixel art images that i would like to try out for my next cube, but im not sure where the forum draws the line between art and porn, so i might pick something else. it would be a great distraction in pvp though.



SinBad

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on: March 23, 2017, 04:24:36 AM
ok, almost 1/4 of one face done...
Spoiler: show

problem is, that's over 6k blocks and the game is getting...  unhappy with me.
maybe save this level of detail for small borders or highlights.

but the point stands. cubes are only as ugly as you are willing to let them be.

maybe keep it simple though, like this
Spoiler: show



Sable Phoenix

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on: March 24, 2017, 01:13:00 AM
Something can be pretty and still boring.  I applaud your creativity and dedication to create the intricate designs on your cubes, but the ship can be pleasant to look at while still lacking any real visual interest.

The laws of thermodynamics dictate that we will likely never see sphere or cube shaped spaceships in real life, for two main reasons: delta-v is expensive, and vacuum is a perfect insulator.  Therefore, the spaceships we make now, and any we design in the future (unless we come up with technologies that violate the laws of physics as we currently understand them in order to produce things like reactionless drives or anti-gravity), will need to have their primary thrust applied on a single axis and will need to have a huge surface area in comparison to their total volume to radiate waste heat.

In Avorion, on the other hand, delta-v is free, and heat doesn't exist.  Meaning the most efficient shape is, indeed, a cube, since having a large volume in relation to your surface area is an advantage, not a detriment.  Another big contributor to this efficiency in the game is that, as far as I can tell, all of a ship's thrust is applied directly to the center of mass, not to location on the ship where it's installed.  Mounting thrusters farther away from their axis "increases" their thrust not because of their physical location, but because it applies a multiplier to the force they exert on the COM.

All of this, in addition to the volume-based block mechanics previously discussed, means that cube ships will always remain an ideal design.  They may not be required for an effective design, and I don't think it's detrimental to the game, as long as it's something the dev team's aware of and things don't progress any further towards making them the absolute best combat configuration.



Splutty

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on: March 24, 2017, 02:25:24 PM
One of the biggest issues with spherical ships is that you don't get 'easy' ratios. My base design right now is all spheres, which I can just plug and play together, but the original design took some math work to get right :)

So the rib ratios I'm working with on the different blocks are 1.08, 2, 2.61 and 2.83 :)



SageThe13th

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on: March 22, 2018, 05:11:53 AM
Well, with the number torpedo types that kill, shutdown, or bypass shields.  I think this a topic worth revisiting.



Kamo

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on: March 22, 2018, 02:36:35 PM
Well, it's actually true that cubes are better than any other shape in Avorion, but ships are also the reflection of how fancy or utilitarian they and their crew are. The Borg use cubes because they are the Borg, as drones they try to be as utilitarian as possible, while our time's rocket-like long ships are made for thrust and atmospheric piercing (another utilitary design for another use).
In contrast, fancier and less optimized designs show freedom, individuality or other desires to get away from being drones, showing, in other words, that space is not (yet) an unforgiving and cruel enough place, fit only to the most efficient and rational designs.

Though nowadays the mace designs may have gotten the additional advantage of dodging some torpedoes by spinning, though I've seen torpedoes explode just before colliding. Mace designs also profit from "load-bearing" (when someone fires at a block at the center of a line to destroy it, she needs to deal enough damage to destroy at least half the blocks of the line, negating need for any lateral armouring ! I've seen that in station designs with proeminent load-bearing generators, adding insult to injury by making a traditional weak spot the strongest on the station ::).
The only weak spots would be the edges of the stick: put a slightly bigger armor block (with some microscopic integrity field generators) and the spot isn't weak anymore, as removing the block would need ten times it's health in damage, probably killing the ship way before removing the block.
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