Purchasing items via dock services and filtering items

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NMS
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Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:27 am

Based on these Ministry items: Hide installable items from commodities exchange and Without military ID, Commonwealth fortresses let you into dock service screen, but offer no services, George is making the dock services screen the default way to purchase ship equipment. In Eternity Port, there are already stations where it's the only way. This has several disadvantages over the old system and other possible systems:
- Purchasing items (other than ammo) through dock services requires them to be installed, even though the player might intend to resell them for a profit, save them for later use, or install them on an auton with the NAMI Auton Bay.
- Buying upgrades only shows items of equal (I think) or higher level than what's currently in the slot. For some types of slots it's possible to work around this by selecting an empty slot, but for others there's only one slot, so it's impossible to see lower level items of that type without uninstalling. Lower level items are not necessarily worse, so the player might want to see these items.
- Browsing the available items through dock services requires a much larger number of actions. The player needs to select each of the 3 categories of dock services that install equipment, then select a slot of each type, then look through the upgrades for that slot, if any.
- Similarly, it isn't obvious whether a station sells items at all without going into the sub-menus of dock services and selecting a slot (or several). By comparison, with the older system, it's obvious from the initial dockscreen, or from the first dock services menu in the case of mining colonies.

The unwieldy length of item lists is a serious issue, but fortunately, there are better solutions. For instance, the View by Item Category mod allows these lists to be filtered by type. Even breaking down item purchasing screens into equipment (perhaps with sub-categories), usable items, and commodities would be significantly more convenient than using dock services.

george moromisato
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Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:58 pm

I would like dock services to be the default way of purchasing upgrades, but not the only way of purchasing stuff. You're right on all your points, which is why there will always be an option to purchase weapons (etc) the old-fashioned way.

I also think we can further improve dock services. For example:

1. We could add better navigation between the sections (weapons, armor, misc) without having to go all the way to the top.
2. We could show a recommended upgrade in each section (to advertise what's available).
3. We could provide a switch to show all available devices (not just that are "better" than the current).
4. We could provide a way to purchase without installing.

And, of course, I agree about adding filtering options to commodities exchange.

NMS
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Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:28 pm

I think I'll still prefer the purchase items system, but improving both of them sounds excellent.

Does that mean you'll add the armory back to Commonwealth Fortresses and add a purchase items option to the stations that don't have it? (Off the top of my head that includes Polyarny Shipyards, CSCs, and the station-like ships for the 4 Earth-based factions.) And will mining equipment be available in the inventories of mining colonies?

NMS
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Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:14 pm

I see showing and hiding dock service items is implemented in the beta. It works fine.

But could equipment dealers retain Buy Items and Sell Items (if applicable) as top-level options? Currently armor and weapon dealers have them combined under Commodities Exchange, which is a bit silly and requires extra keystrokes. (Also, could Buy Items, Sell Items, and Incandescent Exports all be under Commodities Exchange at the St K's Arcology?)

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