Avorion Forum

General => Gameplay Discussion => Topic started by: SageThe13th on February 24, 2017, 04:34:11 AM

Title: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: SageThe13th on February 24, 2017, 04:34:11 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.  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.

Well, lets talk about the cube meta then.  I'm going to say(write) this point blank.  You can't avoid the cube meta.  To understand this you have understand what causes the cube meta in the first place.  It has to do with human nature and geometry.  In a general sense people, the player base, like it when things are easy.  This isn't everybody mind you, but the average player wants to achieve as much power as possible as easily as possible.  If this weren't the case the answer to every game imbalance would be to tell the player not to do things that make the game boring.  But players can't help themselves.  If there's an easy way to win most of them are going to use it.  Thus, the cube meta is a result of this behavior and the fact that cubes and rectangular cuboids are very powerful easy to build shapes.  If you don't know what I mean by a powerful shape the rest of my talking points should make this more clear.  But basically, this means there will always be a cube meta.

However, the cube meta has some drawbacks.  The biggest one seems to be that people don't like the way these flying battle boxes look.  So the best way to counter the cube meta is to design systems that promote aesthetic building or at the very least don't punish aesthetic designs.

Point 1: The need to win causes the cube meta

Players like to win and players like to look cool.  Preferably, while winning.  Though given a choice of one or the other more players will choose to win rather than choosing to look cool.  As I stated before the average player likes it easy.  Building a cube ship is easy.  But, so is downloading a ship from the forums and using it.  However, the ease of using someone else's design doesn't counter the ease of building a battle box if the downloaded ship is quantifiably weaker than a cube ship the player could make in fifteen minutes.  So what makes aesthetic ships worse than cube ships?  Well, lots of things.

Point 2: Real world design principals enforce the cube meta

Real world design principals promote utilitarian designs and the most utilitarian design for a spaceship is a cuboid, a spheroid, or a pyramid.  You get the cube meta because cuboids are the easiest to build.  Taking it a step further Avorion has mechanics that make cubes even more desirable.

Cubes, spheres, and pyramids are good because they have a lot of internal volume for their surface area.  Since more internal volume means bigger components and bigger components = more power these shapes have a good power to surface area ratio making them powerful shapes.  Ships with bad volume to surface area ratios are weaker because the extra surface area forces you to thin out your defenses.  In Avorion large singular armor plates are better than a bunch of little ones and it's easiest to build a cube out of large armor plates so...

This cube is better...
(http://i593.photobucket.com/albums/tt18/SageThe13th/Cube_1_zpserrlp9sw.jpg) (http://s593.photobucket.com/user/SageThe13th/media/Cube_1_zpserrlp9sw.jpg.html)

Than this sphere...
(http://i593.photobucket.com/albums/tt18/SageThe13th/Sphere_1_zpsptpbrtyf.jpg) (http://s593.photobucket.com/user/SageThe13th/media/Sphere_1_zpsptpbrtyf.jpg.html)

This pyramid...
(http://i593.photobucket.com/albums/tt18/SageThe13th/Pyramid_1_zpstr866m09.jpg) (http://s593.photobucket.com/user/SageThe13th/media/Pyramid_1_zpstr866m09.jpg.html)

And this ship.
(http://i593.photobucket.com/albums/tt18/SageThe13th/Ship_1_zps4uobpr5m.jpg) (http://s593.photobucket.com/user/SageThe13th/media/Ship_1_zps4uobpr5m.jpg.html)

Point 3: Ship Hp, shields, and integrity fields counter the cube meta

Local damage promotes a cube meta.  Look at the blue parts of my ship picture.  Those blue armor blocks weight the ship down the same as the red armor blocks.  Yet, they are less likely to get hit by enemy fire and so they aren't as useful as the red armor blocks.  The cube doesn't have these inefficiencies and is thus more desirable.  Also the more complex the shape of a ship the more complex it's local damage model becomes.  Rather than worrying about where the armor should made thicker and where it should be made thinner a player can avoid all that hassle by making a cube.  Then the local damage model is reduced to simply being front, back, top, bottom, right side, and left side armor and those armor plates are going to hold up better than more complex shapes make out of smaller blocks.

Ship Hp, shields, and IFGs make the local damage model of a ship matter less.  If we could turn a ship into just an Hp bar the way we used to with the old IFGs then aesthetic ships would be on nearly even footing with cube ships.  Now, I'm not saying all ships should work like this by default.  My proposed solution, which you can read in more detail here (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,1066.msg6725.html#msg6725), was to have it so that the old IFG block or some other block that worked like the old IFGs would be unlocked at a high material tier.

So there you have it.  The typical engineering mechanics you find in a lot of these games leads to the cube meta.  Is this a bad thing?  No.  It's just human nature and geometry at work.  However, I feel Avorion can find a different niche.  One that promotes aesthetics.  If the devs decide to ease up on some of the ship design aspects.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Duncan Idaho on February 24, 2017, 05:26:33 AM
If I understand correctly, integrity field blocks used to promote aesthetics by tying the block HP to the ship's total HP, thus making it so that only the total HP is important irrespective of geometry. The new approach, while less OP, does seem to promote building boring borg cubes (can't spell boring without borg!). Perhaps there is some change to the integrity field that could strike a compromise between the two?
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Reggiereggie on February 24, 2017, 07:48:18 AM
If I understand correctly, integrity field blocks used to promote aesthetics by tying the block HP to the ship's total HP, thus making it so that only the total HP is important irrespective

even with integrity field, after receiving continous enemy fire my ship lose a few blocks
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: SageThe13th on February 24, 2017, 08:25:36 AM
If I understand correctly, integrity field blocks used to promote aesthetics by tying the block HP to the ship's total HP, thus making it so that only the total HP is important irrespective

even with integrity field, after receiving continous enemy fire my ship lose a few blocks

They used to work that way.  They don't currently.  They just provide a flat 10 times bonus to block Hp.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: icyplace on February 24, 2017, 12:35:05 PM
Cube meta?

I believe that is why shield appears in this game. Basically I rush to get shield materials unlock right away. Because after I get shield, I don't need to worry about too much about shape. However the collision damage to rocks or other ships are still very high.
But I don't do PVP. So it is another story.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Michigo on February 24, 2017, 02:49:55 PM
This only comes into play in PvP, and PvP isn't the focus of Avorion anyways.

How does the op intent to stop players from feeling the need to win in PvP?
It's normal to use everything that can provide you an advantage in PVP, some asshats even cheat or use exploits just to win even harder.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Fidtz on February 24, 2017, 03:05:54 PM
The current successful system for designing PvP games it to continuously change and re-balance them and trying to attain a good "current meta" that the players from pro to wood league all like. PvP sucks resources out of a game. This happens IRL too, most major sports have seasonal rule changes, responding to changes in technology and tactics by players and teams.

I would hope that PvP will remain a sideline in Avorion as all the above is a huge development sink.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: SageThe13th on February 24, 2017, 04:58:43 PM
Cube meta?

I believe that is why shield appears in this game. Basically I rush to get shield materials unlock right away. Because after I get shield, I don't need to worry about too much about shape. However the collision damage to rocks or other ships are still very high.
But I don't do PVP. So it is another story.

Shields are not a perfect defense.  But, you're right the majority of the time your ship is safe behind it's shields.  My argument is aimed more at people who want weaker shields, no IFGs, and for local damage to matter more because it adds depth in their opinion.  I just feel like these people are making their suggestions without realizing that it causes the cube meta that most people also claim to be boring an uninteresting.

This only comes into play in PvP, and PvP isn't the focus of Avorion anyways.

How does the op intent to stop players from feeling the need to win in PvP?
It's normal to use everything that can provide you an advantage in PVP, some asshats even cheat or use exploits just to win even harder.

You can't stop them from wanting to win.  That's why I said there will always be a cube meta.  Cubes will also always have some advantages and will always be a viable option.  However, you can still avoid the dominance of a cube meta if other viable alternatives are presented.  I'll use Starmade as an example.  In Starmade cube ships are good.  And not just good, supremely powerful.  I built a ship that looked like a jet once.  Then, I built a cube ship that had roughly the same block count and roughly the same mass.  The cube ship turned faster, had double the shields, and three times the firepower as the jet ship.  That's a solid cube meta.

Also, if someone is using cheat or exploits the devs attempt to fix them.  You can fix the cube meta the same way.  Avorion doesn't really have this problem.  Yet.  These kind of build games always seem to trend towards making ship design more and more a focus of the game.  This in turn leads to the cube meta.  I'm just warning people about it now.

The current successful system for designing PvP games it to continuously change and re-balance them and trying to attain a good "current meta" that the players from pro to wood league all like. PvP sucks resources out of a game. This happens IRL too, most major sports have seasonal rule changes, responding to changes in technology and tactics by players and teams.

I would hope that PvP will remain a sideline in Avorion as all the above is a huge development sink.

PvP shouldn't be a focus of the game.  Though, it shouldn't be ignored either.  And if the solutions to balancing PvP help everyone then that's a win win.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Fidtz on February 24, 2017, 05:12:58 PM
From a development point of view, I think it would be relatively "easy" to destroy a cube meta by making shield strength (and some reflective component of armour if necessary) depend on exposed surface area, making the efficiency of a cube or sphere work against itself.

Leaving propulsion and energy dependent on volume makes a trade off and heads off the opposite "thin stick" meta  :D
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Duncan Idaho on February 24, 2017, 05:33:09 PM
From a development point of view, I think it would be relatively "easy" to destroy a cube meta by making shield strength (and some reflective component of armour if necessary) depend on exposed surface area, making the efficiency of a cube or sphere work against itself.

Leaving propulsion and energy dependent on volume makes a trade off and heads off the opposite "thin stick" meta  :D

So people would just build cubes with loads of spikes on them? Fractal borg cubes are just as boring IMO.

I guess the devs have to decide if they want the game to be focused on engineering, where the practical design of the ship is king, or instead to focus on a simplified model that gives players freedom to build cool-looking ships without having to worry too much about the laws of physics.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Michigo on February 24, 2017, 11:22:37 PM
So people would just build cubes with loads of spikes on them? Fractal borg cubes are just as boring IMO.

*imagines a hedgehog-like Cube*

*buahahhaha*


Yeah, that's pretty much what would happen.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: icyplace on February 25, 2017, 01:21:11 AM
So people would just build cubes with loads of spikes on them? Fractal borg cubes are just as boring IMO.

I guess the devs have to decide if they want the game to be focused on engineering, where the practical design of the ship is king, or instead to focus on a simplified model that gives players freedom to build cool-looking ships without having to worry too much about the laws of physics.

Totally agree to this.

 If the game focus on building practical, everything will look like a ball or a cube. There are no need for all other difference shapes of cubes. In fact no need to build anymore. It all comes down to who has a bigger cube wins.

I have been playing another game that get across the same argument. The developer try to cater both styles, practical and freedom builds. Updates after updates, the gaming environment getting worse and worse.

Lucky Avorion does not have this problem and hope this problem will not arise in future.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: LordMaddog on February 25, 2017, 02:05:07 AM

I have been playing another game that get across the same argument. The developer try to cater both styles, practical and freedom builds. Updates after updates, the gaming environment getting worse and worse.

Lucky Avorion does not have this problem and hope this problem will not arise in future.

Ya it dose already in the beta forums this argument is  quite prevalent and the dev seems to agree with both sides.

Personally I HATE CUBS it really feels like a sign of laziness and ineptitude on the players side but it is without a doubt the best way to go.

Whats worse I also love complexity. My fav idea for IFG is for them to stop collision damage(according to there size) and make it so parts that are broken off can be repaired by your mechanics. This however would just compound the Cube making meta as well.

There are a few ways I can see slightly fixing this tho.

1 make it so NPC stations sell designs that the player can buy in game.

2 make a model converter that lets players import .obj and have them converted into blocks. (this one would take a lot a lota work and many new block shape types)

3 An aesthetically pleasing crew moral boost that make's all systems 25% more effective. I know if I worked on a wicked looking ship that just bespoke awesomeness I be like HECK YA we can cream that lame block of a ship over there!
This however gives rise to the question of how do you determine what is good looking.

4 make all components peaceable in all block shapes.
 
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Ranakastrasz on February 25, 2017, 02:17:57 AM
This is why I wanted integrity fields to be local shield generators. Let you cover fragile details, but still let local damage occur. A compromise. Without throwing out all aspects of a physics simulation, Anything but a cube is going to be less effective without some advantage to counter it.



On this subject, my thoughts on surface area based scaling, but requring LOS seems like it might contribute to a solution. Essentially I wanted solar panels and thrusters to have only surfaces with LOS out of the ship to be effective. This was to make stacking less effective, while still using surface area for calculations.
However, making more surface area better might counter this meta. After all, if you need more surface area for faster movement (or manuverability), or can use it for cheap power (as in, more power per mass and price, if not exactly volume) then suddenly, the death-cube would lose out to ships with higher surface area.


Still, that would optimize towards relatively flat planes or circles (flattened cylinders) so I am not sure. Still, if you are already stuck in the middle of two extremes, where something between solid shapes and flat shapes, you might end up with a solid body with your volume-based components and large relatively flat wings or antenna or other details which provide surface-area based effects.

Just make sure that both sides compete with each other, or you will go to far the other way.

Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: LordMaddog on February 25, 2017, 02:28:20 AM
you might end up with a solid body with your volume-based components and large relatively flat wings or antenna or other details which provide surface-area based effects.

Just make sure that both sides compete with each other, or you will go to far the other way.

Naw you will just end up with boxes that have long flat UGLY wings. And the end result would be players would have even less design choices dramatically increasing the number of Cube ships. 
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Fidtz 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Xira 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Thundercraft 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:
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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Guswut 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 (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,1066.msg12393.html#msg12393)) 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Thundercraft 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 (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,2342.msg12260.html#msg12260). 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Guswut 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 (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,2342.msg12260.html#msg12260). 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: SageThe13th 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Guswut 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).
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: DivineEvil 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Ranakastrasz 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: DivineEvil 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Guswut 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 (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]
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Ranakastrasz 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.

Quote

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
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.

Quote
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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Guswut 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Xira 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Guswut 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).
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: DivineEvil on February 25, 2017, 11:18:37 PM
Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Guswut 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: SageThe13th 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Xira 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: DivineEvil on February 26, 2017, 01:19:11 AM
To Guswut:
Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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
Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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
Quote
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.

Quote
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
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Thundercraft 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? (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,1956.0.html) 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 (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,2332.msg12391.html#msg12391), 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 (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,2332.msg12386.html#msg12386) 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? (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,2363.0.html)

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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: MrVorgra 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: SageThe13th 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: OndeTv 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
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: oreganor 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Guswut 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? (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,1956.0.html) 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? (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,2363.0.html)

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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Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: cy414 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: SageThe13th on February 26, 2017, 10:27:23 PM
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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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Thundercraft 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 (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,802.msg3654.html#msg3654) 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:

(https://s23.postimg.org/44sr77lkn/20170223040642_1.jpg) (https://postimg.org/image/44sr77lkn/)

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 (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,2332.msg12391.html#msg12391), 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 (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,1050.msg4717.html#msg4717) 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 (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,2332.msg12391.html#msg12391), 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:

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 (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,2342.msg12260.html#msg12260), 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 (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,2363.msg12411.html#msg12411) is showing that multiplayer is, more often than not, an important factor in the decision to get Avorion. Oh, and my list of servers (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,1540.0.html) 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...

(https://s7.postimg.org/s1j34xzmz/rise_of_the_cubes.png)

If not, I'll probably get around to min-maxing some cube ships, eventually.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: oreganor on February 27, 2017, 10:25:15 AM
Quote
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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: SageThe13th 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: SageThe13th 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 (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,2523.0.html)
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: SinBad 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  :)
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Alpha393 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Splutty 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!

 ::)
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: LordMaddog 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 :) 
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: SinBad on March 22, 2017, 01:58:22 AM
the only argument i have seen against cubes is how they look.
so:

(https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/81469096691155633/4FEEFA7D4456CC315FB0BE8D9BA156AB38825DE3/)
we are only bound by our creativity. hologram blocks ftw.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Alpha393 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: SinBad 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: SinBad on March 23, 2017, 04:24:36 AM
ok, almost 1/4 of one face done...
Spoiler: show
(https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/81469096695549151/EA390DF55F61979D0459634554B7AF318D46D912/)

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
(https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/81468256382662888/5DE936FB6617CE56C3577DFD78CD5459F61180FA/)
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Sable Phoenix 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Splutty 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 :)
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: SageThe13th 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Kamo 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 (http://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,4308.msg22973.html#msg22973) 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.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: rakenan on July 18, 2018, 03:42:35 PM
If we actually want to discourage cube ships, there are plenty of options.

1. Make local damage not respect block size. A 1 meter thick armor plate that's 100 square kilometers in area is just as easy to penetrate as a 1 meter thick armor plate that's 10 square meters in area. Let blocks be partially disabled by concentrated fire.

2. Require (or at least strongly reward) some blocks to be distant from the center of mass of the ship. Thrusters are too effective when close to center of mass if we don't want cube ships.  If a cube ship, even with all of its outer layers composed entirely of thrusters, had rotten turn radius, and instead required long pylons to give the thrusters leverage to turn its massive bulk, that would discourage tightly compacted ships, especially cubes.

3. Have components generate heat, and have to radiate it out to space. Yes, you'd end up with cubes covered with spikes, until local damage shoots off enough of the spikes to let the ship's waste heat cook its crew.

I don't know that any of these options are good ones, but they all would have some effect to reduce the relative power of cubes vs. everything else. As long as compact structure, small surface area, and large solid blocks are favored, cubes will dominate.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Riftmaster on July 30, 2018, 01:56:47 AM
Give server owners/moderators the power to grant additional armor effectiveness, shielding, and/or other bonuses to player ships that look nice and non-cube?

Granted, for that to work it would require good server moderators, but...

Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Warrax on October 11, 2018, 04:37:31 AM

1.  Make it so NPC stations sell designs that the player can buy in game.


I love this idea.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: wander on December 10, 2018, 10:58:43 AM
I've always built my ships in a cube shape, for one simple reason.

Cube-shaped ships are easier to edit, in particular, easier to upgrade.

If I want to attach, say, a hangar to one of the ships I see on the steam workshop, I might as well scrap the ship and use a different one.

But with a cube-shaped ship, its perfectly doable. Cube-shaped ships are modular, you can easily swap out bits, upgrade things, etc.

That is THE reason I use cube ships.

Not any of this stuff about surface-area-to-volume ratio, or armor plat HP, or similar.

Simple ease of editing.

If you want to discourage cube-shaped ships, then you need to make it easier to edit/refit/upgrade ships.

Start out by giving us better control of the editing camera. Editing something inside my ship should not be so hard.

Alternatively, forget about the idea of making ships pretty. Avorion is a primarily single-player game. Even in multiplayer, the universe is vast, and I will never see most other players' ship.

How ships look doesn't really matter. Practical concerns are vastly more important. We're building warships here, not luxury liners.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: DivineEvil on December 11, 2018, 07:07:30 AM
I've always built my ships in a cube shape, for one simple reason.

Cube-shaped ships are easier to edit, in particular, easier to upgrade.

If I want to attach, say, a hangar to one of the ships I see on the steam workshop, I might as well scrap the ship and use a different one.

But with a cube-shaped ship, its perfectly doable. Cube-shaped ships are modular, you can easily swap out bits, upgrade things, etc.

That is THE reason I use cube ships.
Not any of this stuff about surface-area-to-volume ratio, or armor plat HP, or similar.

Simple ease of editing.
That's a reason to use ships with low block count. Shape of the ship has no bearing on that really.
Besides, even if the ship exterior is extremely complex, if it is built in few blocks on the inside, it is still possible to easily modify it.

Quote
If you want to discourage cube-shaped ships, then you need to make it easier to edit/refit/upgrade ships.

Start out by giving us better control of the editing camera. Editing something inside my ship should not be so hard.
You're always welcome to give specific suggestion on how that process can be made more convenient. From where I see it, its something the ship designers might consider themselves, and not something one should shove to the developers, who already made good building tools with very few apparent problems.

Quote
Alternatively, forget about the idea of making ships pretty. Avorion is a primarily single-player game. Even in multiplayer, the universe is vast, and I will never see most other players' ship. How ships look doesn't really matter. Practical concerns are vastly more important. We're building warships here, not luxury liners.
Tell that to the people, who spend weeks building absolutely amazing designs. These are warships also, but people build them for other people, who can't spare that time or have no aptitude to build them, but want to use pretty ships still. These people answer accordingly, which is why beautiful ships get the top ratings across the board.

Whether another player will ever see your or someone's else beautiful ship is largely irrelevant, because that's what you want to look at. Everyone has the ability to make modular designs, where internal components can be replaced block-by-block to fit the expectations of the player using the ship etc, but even then it has little to do with meta-game.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: wander on December 11, 2018, 08:15:41 AM
I appreciate the work people put into beautiful ship designs on the workshop. When getting my friend into the game, they really helped him enormously.

I've just found workshop ships really hard to edit, let alone upgrade. My friend largely gave up trying to edit his ship, he just made it bigger and strapped extra things to the outside. Most steam workshop designs aren't modular at all. They're not designed to be something you can upgrade, or even edit really. Replacing internal components is tough, chiefly due to the difficulty of getting the camera to do what you want. For example, try selecting a block deep inside a ship. Its hard. You have to find some angle and zoom where you can get close enough through the ship to select it. Forget simply moving your camera freely - that, as far as I am aware, doesn't exist, and it should.

In some of my avorion play sessions, the camera has given me more trouble than groups of enemy ships.

If the game simply let us move the camera however we wanted, ship design would be much easier.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: DivineEvil on December 11, 2018, 11:37:35 AM
I appreciate the work people put into beautiful ship designs on the workshop. When getting my friend into the game, they really helped him enormously.

I've just found workshop ships really hard to edit, let alone upgrade. My friend largely gave up trying to edit his ship, he just made it bigger and strapped extra things to the outside. Most steam workshop designs aren't modular at all. They're not designed to be something you can upgrade, or even edit really. Replacing internal components is tough, chiefly due to the difficulty of getting the camera to do what you want. For example, try selecting a block deep inside a ship. Its hard. You have to find some angle and zoom where you can get close enough through the ship to select it. Forget simply moving your camera freely - that, as far as I am aware, doesn't exist, and it should. In some of my avorion play sessions, the camera has given me more trouble than groups of enemy ships.

If the game simply let us move the camera however we wanted, ship design would be much easier.
That is true. For the most parts people just use way too many blocks to outline every detail - that's what bugs me the most. When a ship features thousands of blocks, where it could look nearly as good if made by few hundreds, given some deliberate limits to resolution (few or no blocks less than 1 in any dimension is a good start), it makes it hard to to make any mods. The relatively recent function of hiding blocks (which shows only specific blocks) on its own allows to work on internal components without messing with ship's hull. Focused-based camera is really not that bad. However, I've also noticed many ships has severely fragmented systems too, which cannot be worked around.

So for me the problem is mostly with that most players do not pre-plan their builds, and therefore have to add extra system blocks multiple times to achieve balance. The only reason I'm not uploading my own designs to Steam is because I want to release some of them together with the Google Spreadsheet toolkit for pre-planning and pre-balancing the design... and finishing it is tough, because mining the values manually is pretty tiring. There's of course some of them on wiki, but they are insufficient or even outdated:(http://www.imageup.ru/img208/thumb/sintetdesignassistant3234700.jpg) (http://www.imageup.ru/img208/3234700/sintetdesignassistant.png.html)
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: Speed on February 14, 2019, 07:54:54 AM

Quote
If you want to discourage cube-shaped ships, then you need to make it easier to edit/refit/upgrade ships.

Start out by giving us better control of the editing camera. Editing something inside my ship should not be so hard.
You're always welcome to give specific suggestion on how that process can be made more convenient. From where I see it, its something the ship designers might consider themselves, and not something one should shove to the developers, who already made good building tools with very few apparent problems.
It's quite simple, actually.  We need a "hide specific block" option.  When you use the hide specific block option, all blocks you presently have selected get hidden.  This way, you can bore down to the center of your ship and edit exactly what you need to.

Also, the problem with the hide block options right now is that when you hide a blocks, you can't place blocks on the other side of the blocks you have hidden.  Hidden blocks should not block your ability to place of new blocks!!! I'm NOT talking about removing the restriction that two blocks cannot occupy the same space.  I'm talking about the fact that you can't actually place a block where it would fit and there's nothing in the way, simply because there's a hidden block between where your camera is and the place you are trying to put the block.   
 That's BS.  If I delete a block in the center of my ship, I shouldn't be forced to zoom my camera all the way in to the void I created in order to place the replacement blocks!!!  AND NO, converting the block to a new block is not good enough.  Sometimes you need to delete a large block and replace to with multiple smaller ones.

We need to be able to  hide specific blocks, not just specific block types.
And hidden blocks between your camera and where you want to place new blocks should not prevent you from placing the new blocks.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: DivineEvil on February 19, 2019, 01:58:33 PM
It's quite simple, actually.  We need a "hide specific block" option.  When you use the hide specific block option, all blocks you presently have selected get hidden.  This way, you can bore down to the center of your ship and edit exactly what you need to.
Well, I usually just hide all blocks aside from one I'm interested in and replace it, or I remove it and highlight another block nearby to use it to place new blocks on.

Also, the problem with the hide block options right now is that when you hide a blocks, you can't place blocks on the other side of the blocks you have hidden.  Hidden blocks should not block your ability to place of new blocks!!! I'm NOT talking about removing the restriction that two blocks cannot occupy the same space.
That is incorrect. You can place the blocks trough the hidden ones easily. You just cannot clearly see where you're placing them, because the placement ghost is overridden by the hidden blocks still, but it uses the same placement logic as usual. Its a matter of figuring out what blocks are adjacent to the ones needed to be replaced and using their faces to place new blocks.
Title: Re: The Cube Meta and How You're Helping To Enforce It
Post by: MetalLaires on February 22, 2019, 09:41:49 AM
Yes I have cube-like ships. I really love my simple designs.
Star wars destroyers are just enlarged mouse-pointers, they are simple too!

With the possibility of cloaking coming to this game (and before torpedos and productions were added) I wanted to be able to upgrade my ships with ease in the future. So I have very simple ways to update my ships as you can see in this post I made. Explaining how to do it. https://www.avorion.net/forum/index.php/topic,4089.msg29025.html#new

-Just select the "view blocks only" button
-Select the type of material and blocktype I mention for each ship. (or see in the picture)
-Change the blocks into what you want for your ship!
-Easy isnt it?

The bigger problem is that my ships are all ogonite based so you cant really use them  in early game, but yes they can be upgraded with ease.