Let's argue about cargo holds!

Post ideas & suggestions you have pertaining to the game here.
Plant
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Thu May 18, 2017 4:15 pm

As the new player in question, I decided to quickly play a new game as a Wolfen, replicating the similar conditions by not taking Korolov missions and replicating a similar playing style. Yep similar problem. In the first playthrough I was hoarding damaged weapons and armour, limiting cargo space to the extent that I made lesser money from selling loot as fuel costs was prohibitive, combined with the urge to try to kill everything. I didn't suffer the same money problems, but the 10MW reactor is just painful. A new player isn't neccessarily going to understand how to conserve the rather unintuitive energy usage, nor play in an energy efficient manner, or even know how to refuel or that they must have a large stock of fuel rods ready. I had to refuel during an extremely long fight.

To be fair I think most of you aren't approaching this as a new player who doesn't understand the various key game mechanics, nor being put against unfortunate circumstances, but rather from the position of someone who has grown comfortable with mods and multiple playthroughs. In any case there is something unintutive about cargo holds. It doesn't make any sense that there is the normal cargo hold which increases cargo space for no real disbenefit other than taking up an expansion slot, nor that miners hold and black market holds increases cargo capacity, rather than just simply providing additional abilities. It doesn't make for good game mechanics, nor is it internally consistent with the game itself. It doesn't help that the increase is drastically massive for each of the holds. It would surely make more sense to simply allow maximum space from the beginning and only retain the black market and miners hold as upgrades, as it is like with the freighter. The current game mechanic is not immersive, nor is it fun. I can't think of a reason why it exists except as a sop to a previous game or was inspired by another game.

Derakon
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Thu May 18, 2017 4:43 pm

I strongly encourage everyone to try to put themselves into the shoes of a new player, who is not familiar with the intricacies of the systems in play here. They aren't likely to notice subtle effects or effects that aren't explicitly spelled out. They are going to notice if they aren't having fun, though. And if they aren't having fun, then that's the game's fault, not the player's fault. You cannot expect players in this day and age to commit to playing an un-fun game until they understand it enough to discover the fun lying within it. Those days are long over.

And besides, Transcendence isn't really a game about discovering how the inner game mechanics work. Most things are spelled out for you. Most choices are pretty stark. The obscure choices that newbie players don't realize they're making? Those choices need to be spelled out and made explicit, to bring them in-line with the rest of the game.

So if you're serious about retaining the tradeoffs between cargo capacity and performance (whether this is a good idea is a separate conversation entirely), then at bare minimum you need to make that be an explicit choice the player can make. That means a) telling them that cargo holds exist, b) giving them a guaranteed opportunity to equip one, and c) telling them what impact equipping one would have. Right now there is zero indication that carrying around a bunch of junk will negatively impact your performance. And, truth be told, the impact isn't all that noticeable anyway. I've done playthroughs with both Manticore and Wolfen where I've kept a full (expanded) hold much of the time and the ships still fly about like they would with an emptier hold.

PM
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Thu May 18, 2017 8:05 pm

Derakon wrote:Transcendence isn't really a game about discovering how the inner game mechanics work.
I am not sure about this, given how old Transcendence is. We identify items much like a roguelike, and stuff like fabricators had even fewer hints than today. We still have annoying legacy features like solvent eating your items when you can completely avoid it by dropping everything before opening a crate. Not saying we should keep the bad stuff, but I do not see them or other outdated designs getting changed anytime soon due to low enough priority.
Derakon wrote:I've done playthroughs with both Manticore and Wolfen where I've kept a full (expanded) hold much of the time and the ships still fly about like they would with an emptier hold.
That would not have been true years ago. Wolfen and Sapphire would have been slowed to be like EI500, while EI500 would be mostly the same. Corporate Command was not out back then.
When I was new, I had fuel problems, and buying limits burned me hard. Basically, my ship starved to death in my first game. Next game, I sought solar items immediately, and I hoarded everything until I can sell enough to defeat buying limits. I never used fuel as fuel for my ship, only as a commodity to be sold or traded.

10 MW hurts. Wolfen needs an upgrade as soon as possible.

Attempts to conserve fuel has resulted in armor damage, because back then, there was no ringing sound to alert you of incoming enemies while on autopilot. React too slow, and you are in a fight with no shields, and ship takes damage. Money I saved by not using shields got spent on fixing armor that would not have taken damage had shields been up. I keep shields on even when there are no enemies in sight, in case I get ambush by some later.
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Derakon
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Thu May 18, 2017 10:23 pm

PM wrote:
Thu May 18, 2017 8:05 pm
I am not sure about this, given how old Transcendence is. We identify items much like a roguelike, and stuff like fabricators had even fewer hints than today. We still have annoying legacy features like solvent eating your items when you can completely avoid it by dropping everything before opening a crate. Not saying we should keep the bad stuff, but I do not see them or other outdated designs getting changed anytime soon due to low enough priority.
This is another thing. :) Many roguelikes have done away with the "identification minigame" altogether, and good riddance in my opinion. I hate having to try to remember what level a lithium booster or howitzer speed-loader is so I can choose which un-ID'd devices to buy. Let alone stuff like radioactive waste or degenerating nanos. Given the setting, IMO the only places where identification makes sense are when dealing with alien, illegal, or exceptionally rare items. Everything else you can just look up on your setting equivalent of Wikipedia.

With respect to solvent, in general anything that has a tedious-but-successful strategy for handling it should be changed to require actual decisions from the player, or removed. I don't really see what solvent in its current form adds to the game. Illegal items have a similar issue in that you can jettison them before docking at Commonwealth stations, but there at least the fix could be for the station guards to clean up your jettisoned items for you.

The fabricators...well, that's crafting systems for you. They're rarely done well. I don't have good suggestions for that.

But in general it sounds like you're saying "if you want to see this fixed, make a mod and agitate for it to be incorporated into the main game." Is that about accurate?

PM
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Fri May 19, 2017 12:28 am

Derakon wrote:
Thu May 18, 2017 10:23 pm
But in general it sounds like you're saying "if you want to see this fixed, make a mod and agitate for it to be incorporated into the main game." Is that about accurate?
I have not thought of that when I posted.
Download and Play in 1.7 Beta...
Playership Drones v7 (Beta): Acquire and command almost any ship in Stars of the Pilgrim or Eternity Port.
Drake Technologies (Alpha): More hardware for combat in parts 1 and 2!
Star Castle Arcade: Relive classic arcade gaming in a new Transcendence adventure!
Godmode v3 (WIP): Dev/cheat tool compatible with D&O parts 1 or 2.

NMS
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Fri May 19, 2017 1:49 am

Derakon wrote:
Thu May 18, 2017 4:43 pm
So if you're serious about retaining the tradeoffs between cargo capacity and performance (whether this is a good idea is a separate conversation entirely), then at bare minimum you need to make that be an explicit choice the player can make. That means a) telling them that cargo holds exist, b) giving them a guaranteed opportunity to equip one, and c) telling them what impact equipping one would have. Right now there is zero indication that carrying around a bunch of junk will negatively impact your performance. And, truth be told, the impact isn't all that noticeable anyway. I've done playthroughs with both Manticore and Wolfen where I've kept a full (expanded) hold much of the time and the ships still fly about like they would with an emptier hold.
There are plenty of ways to find out about the existence of cargo holds: the ship selection screen mentions that cargo space can be expanded, dock services show a cargo hold slot even if there isn't currently one for sale, and they appear in the devices & armor tab of commodities exchanges when available. I support making information available, but you don't have to hold the player's hand every step of the way. ("Press left trigger to kill the final boss", thanks Halo 4.)

The effect of cargo mass on rotation and acceleration may be subtle now for gradual changes (it used to have huge breakpoints), but the difference between empty and fully loaded with a cargo hold is very obvious for most, if not all, ship types, unless you have a high level drive. However, I would like to be able to see stats for this. For instance, the ship stats screen could show current, minimum, and maximum values, taking into account the mass of installed equipment.
Derakon wrote:
Thu May 18, 2017 10:23 pm
This is another thing. :) Many roguelikes have done away with the "identification minigame" altogether, and good riddance in my opinion. I hate having to try to remember what level a lithium booster or howitzer speed-loader is so I can choose which un-ID'd devices to buy. Let alone stuff like radioactive waste or degenerating nanos. Given the setting, IMO the only places where identification makes sense are when dealing with alien, illegal, or exceptionally rare items. Everything else you can just look up on your setting equivalent of Wikipedia.
Agreed.

Derakon wrote:
Thu May 18, 2017 10:23 pm
With respect to solvent, in general anything that has a tedious-but-successful strategy for handling it should be changed to require actual decisions from the player, or removed. I don't really see what solvent in its current form adds to the game. Illegal items have a similar issue in that you can jettison them before docking at Commonwealth stations, but there at least the fix could be for the station guards to clean up your jettisoned items for you.
Agreed, but I'm not sure what the right solution is for customs. Not confiscating items, but just not allowing them to be sold or installed would be mostly the same mechanically, except for the risk of losing them. But if they search the stuff coming off your ship, you would logically need a different mechanism to smuggle them to the nightclub. I think there's a mod that automatically jettisons them for you when you dock, but it would still be a bit inconvenient to recover them, so maybe that could be automatic too?

Derakon
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Fri May 19, 2017 5:17 pm

NMS wrote:
Fri May 19, 2017 1:49 am
There are plenty of ways to find out about the existence of cargo holds: the ship selection screen mentions that cargo space can be expanded, dock services show a cargo hold slot even if there isn't currently one for sale, and they appear in the devices & armor tab of commodities exchanges when available. I support making information available, but you don't have to hold the player's hand every step of the way. ("Press left trigger to kill the final boss", thanks Halo 4.)
I'm inclined to say that this isn't quite enough, given my sample size of 2 (myself and Plant) who managed to make it through the entire game without realizing that cargo holds were available. The most glaring issue is that they're just not present on the vast majority of stations. Standard cargo holds are probably the rarest low-level equipment in the game; the games where I see one for sale are greatly outnumbered by the games where I don't. And mining/smuggler holds are only available on the correct stations. If you're like me you ignored the mining stations because you didn't want to do asteroid mining, and you never figured out how to be allowed onto the black market stations.

(Fun fact: the first time I ever got a black market ID chip was by looting it from an outlaw freighter)

I find the rarity of standard cargo holds to be kind of baffling, frankly, which is why I'd be perfectly happy to solve this issue by just making one guaranteed at Starton Eridani and adding a mention of it in the Benedict tutorial missions.
The effect of cargo mass on rotation and acceleration may be subtle now for gradual changes (it used to have huge breakpoints), but the difference between empty and fully loaded with a cargo hold is very obvious for most, if not all, ship types, unless you have a high level drive. However, I would like to be able to see stats for this. For instance, the ship stats screen could show current, minimum, and maximum values, taking into account the mass of installed equipment.
I'd be quite happy to see the ship's current thrust:mass ratio displayed on the equipment and inventory screens.

Agreed, but I'm not sure what the right solution is for customs. Not confiscating items, but just not allowing them to be sold or installed would be mostly the same mechanically, except for the risk of losing them. But if they search the stuff coming off your ship, you would logically need a different mechanism to smuggle them to the nightclub. I think there's a mod that automatically jettisons them for you when you dock, but it would still be a bit inconvenient to recover them, so maybe that could be automatic too?
To be frank, the illegal goods trade on Commonwealth stations is kind of nonsensical already, given that you go to a dance club to sell everything from psychoactive drugs to illegal medicine to bomb cores. I don't have a good answer for this issue, but I think the solution will probably involve a substantial revamp of the entire illegal-goods system.

NMS
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Sat May 20, 2017 5:05 am

I rarely fail to find a cargo hold in the first few systems, but I wouldn't object to it being more reliable. Maybe shipyards should carry other non-combat equipment, like cargo holds and drives?

Ferdinand
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Tue May 23, 2017 7:30 am

NMS wrote:
Sat May 20, 2017 5:05 am
I rarely fail to find a cargo hold in the first few systems, but I wouldn't object to it being more reliable. Maybe shipyards should carry other non-combat equipment, like cargo holds and drives?
Yes I thought of that too, a shipyard and Korolov would be the most likely place to buy and install a standard cargo hold. At the very least, the standard cargo hold expansion should be a more common item in the game that can be found at most of the bigger stations.

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JohnBWatson
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Wed May 24, 2017 2:59 pm

Ferdinand wrote:
Tue May 23, 2017 7:30 am
NMS wrote:
Sat May 20, 2017 5:05 am
I rarely fail to find a cargo hold in the first few systems, but I wouldn't object to it being more reliable. Maybe shipyards should carry other non-combat equipment, like cargo holds and drives?
Yes I thought of that too, a shipyard and Korolov would be the most likely place to buy and install a standard cargo hold. At the very least, the standard cargo hold expansion should be a more common item in the game that can be found at most of the bigger stations.
I always get the smuggler's bay at the guaranteed Syndikat station in Rigel. It's pretty much objectively the best hold in the game, given that smuggling is much faster, somewhat more reliable, and typically more profitable than mining.

I agree with the general consensus that standard holds are common enough, and I believe the main issue is that new players may not know how they work/that they exist at all. A quick 'tutorial adventure' that integrates some of the more grating parts of the current tutorial with a thorough explanation of the equipment screen and is selected as the default adventure for new accounts/installs could be useful in fixing that.

PM
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Wed May 24, 2017 5:20 pm

I would get Smuggler's Hold if it gave more capacity. Wolfen gets max capacity with miner's but not smuggler's. I usually want regular cargo hold for Sapphire. For EI500, I do not bother unless I want to mine; much rather save the slot for extra patcher arms or jumpdrives.
Download and Play in 1.7 Beta...
Playership Drones v7 (Beta): Acquire and command almost any ship in Stars of the Pilgrim or Eternity Port.
Drake Technologies (Alpha): More hardware for combat in parts 1 and 2!
Star Castle Arcade: Relive classic arcade gaming in a new Transcendence adventure!
Godmode v3 (WIP): Dev/cheat tool compatible with D&O parts 1 or 2.

Plant
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Thu May 25, 2017 1:25 pm

I actually did get a black market cargo hold shortly after St. Katherines Star. I never did find a normal cargo hold, but I didn't exactly look for one either, not knowing that they existed. In any case I don't really understand why, from a gameplay point of view, to have such reduced cargo space, to have to pay and use up a slot to increase it to a comfortable level. From a world building sense, it doesn't make much sense either. Issues with fuel store and usage is probably another topic entirely though.

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digdug
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Sat May 27, 2017 4:16 pm

Transcendence is coming from roguelike tradition. Ships are character classes, they have different carry capacity and the cargo hold can be seen as the traditional "bag of holding".

Currently, to survive better and/or for an optimal gameplay, you need a cargo hold. Loot is the player primary mean of income, at least for early game. (later, there are a few ways to exploit to get rich that don't require too much cargo)

Now, I don't think that cargo holds should change. I like the game mechanic, and I would like to see improvements to it. For example, what if cargo is measured both in volume and weight instead of simply the tonnage ? It might make the system more complicated but it might allow the player to manage loot in a completely new way. (and yes, I'm more interested in limiting loot that allowing players to carry more stuff)

However, this does not mean that I don't want the game to evolve. During the years there has been a lot of discussion. In short, I agree that the player must have other ways of income, such as fighting, mining, doing missions that pay much more. The most highly asked type of missions are passenger transport, more black market missions, new type of missions.

Plant also mentioned the problem of refuelling. I never had in recent times any problem refuelling in early game or late game. I used to struggle sometimes in midgame due to unlucky series of hostile systems with no friendly stations.
However, this is not set in stone, what if the militia and the Korolov offer free refuelling after a number of missions ? (just like the CSC) This won't be gamebreaking, because as the player upgrades the reactor, he might lose the free 3He refuel and will need to progress. It will also push the player to do those missions for the good reward.

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