NEWS: 2nd Twitch Live Stream on Sept 27th (20:00 CEST)

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BigBANGtheory
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Post by BigBANGtheory » Thu, 28. Sep 17, 12:05

I found Bernd's discussion on the hostile plot/sector take over very interesting because it adds motivation and reward for players to go do it. In previous X games you've had the option of doing many things but it can feel bland if you start to question why you are doing it or if you should even engage with that gameplay element. Sector ownership (with some material benefits e.g. defense and economics) is a powerful motivator for gameplay imho. I hope it make it into X4 even if it comes later...

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Post by Vandragorax » Thu, 28. Sep 17, 12:25

I just had a couple of queries, I dunno if anyone can answer besides CBJ :P

1) What were the green diamonds on the map mode? Looked like player satellites to uncover fog of war?

2) Will there be limitations in place during station blueprint building so that we do not block L/XL docks? It looked like they are big poles sticking out either side of a docking hub and at some point Bernd built very close to the top one, I'm wondering if that would render the port impossible for AI to close up to?

Overall great presentation though, it really made me excited seeing how things are progressing, and of course we still have a year left so lots will change till then :) And I'm glad to hear Bernd answering one of the questions with "I don't want to commit to that since it's not available in the game yet" (I think it was about whether players could take over and claim sectors). Good on him for realising that it's better to say it's not available yet rather than just saying yes :)

Super excited for the fact that I need to be more tactical with fleet positioning now, i.e. I can actually camp a gate into a sector to ensure that my enemies get blown to bits as soon as they enter. Also as above, really interesting to hear about 'hostile plot placements' where you can build anywhere without a licence but the factions there might try to displace you. I like it!

Finally, I'm LOVING the travel mechanic changes:
- No jumpdrive
- Long highways to get from gate to gate
- No highways navigating around the whole zone
- Gate to cross between clusters

This keeps the best of both worlds, being able to travel around 'fairly' quickly using gates and highways, even with capital ships, but still feeling the enormity of space by having to fly a LONG way in some clusters/zones to get to things or explore/discover stuff.

It finally looks like there is some emphasis on tactics, strategy, and placement, not making the universe feel tiny because you can literally warp to anywhere at any moment and never have to travel, like in X3 or Rebirth. This is the same problem you get in any game with a "fast travel" mechanic, sure it's nice to save time but you can't possibly feel immersed or enjoy the journey.

I can't wait to build my first "military outpost" station right next to a gate forcibly blockading the gate from my enemies so they enter the cluster right into a hundred station guns and a fleet pointing at them :twisted:

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Post by -Dna- » Thu, 28. Sep 17, 13:39

BlackDemon wrote:Finally, I'm LOVING the travel mechanic changes:
- No jumpdrive
- Long highways to get from gate to gate
- No highways navigating around the whole zone
- Gate to cross between clusters
I have an internal conflict on that. On one side, the Jumpdrive is basically what starts the development of the whole games lore (differente from the history, which is more bounded to the discovery of portals) and have it gone is a bit sad. Poor Mr. Brennan and his X-Shuttle :(
From another point of view, however, not having the Jumpdrive brings more strategy in the whole game: where to put stations, where to put ships, how to move them because I can't simply jump there with my Osaka and destroy everything :P

I would prefer some kind of strong limitations, like the capability to use it only in presence of beacons (so you first need to deploy a beacon before you can freely jump to its position), or only in certain sectors (i.e. far from planets), or again only certain very big - and expensive - ships can use it.
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Post by lostProfitssssArrgh » Thu, 28. Sep 17, 13:40

Everything looks great! The full screen map especially, is a huge step forward.

/Faith restored.

Just one unimportant question: will the smoke trails be optional without resorting to modding the game files? (That may have been addressed but I mostly skipped through the footage)

It's time to start saving for a new gpu...

Awesome work and thanks for the update.
-lpa

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Post by lostProfitssssArrgh » Thu, 28. Sep 17, 13:47

-Dna- wrote:
BlackDemon wrote:Finally, I'm LOVING the travel mechanic changes:
- No jumpdrive
- Long highways to get from gate to gate
- No highways navigating around the whole zone
- Gate to cross between clusters
I have an internal conflict on that...
So did I at first, but the lack of a jump-drive will also reduce the tremendous advantage the player had when it comes to trading. That can't be bad, especially if the economy becomes a universe-wide simulation rather than the illusion thereof. And in retrospect, it is true that the JD made the player completely OP overall.

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Post by Falcrack » Thu, 28. Sep 17, 14:09

If have a question, don't know if it has been answered yet. It appears that NPCs will be able to do station building like the player, and that they will be under the same limitations as the player in terms of resource requirements. That is great news. But, will they also have limited credits? Will they be able to potentially run out of money? What about offering missions to the player, will the reward money come from their account, or will the credits just spawn out of nowhere?

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Post by DaMuncha » Thu, 28. Sep 17, 15:00

I'm sure someone will mod in the jump drive so they may as well add it to save us the trouble.

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Post by Killjaeden » Thu, 28. Sep 17, 15:54

DaMuncha wrote:I'm sure someone will mod in the jump drive so they may as well add it to save us the trouble.
Core mechanics like this can be hard to add well to the game, because many things are hardcoded and you have to do sometimes ludicrous workarounds, most often involving "hacks" that break/ neuter the base function to "replace it" with your own. Which can create a rat tail of things you have to replace as well to allow for the initial loss of vanilla functionality.

This "fundamentalist" decision making is bothering me somewhat. Yes If Point 2 Point JD's are on ships, distances get reduced and importance of strategic ground barely existing - yes i agree with Owen there totally.
So it's not what we want - let's throw jump drives out... why? There are so many things that you can do to shape it to your needs. When you can only jump to gates, and when gates are much more uncommon due to the highway system, you are already imposing severe restrictions. You can also remove JD's from ships but create special stations that can "jump"/ teleport ships to another gate or similar station. Furthermore, there can be Inhibitors/Interdiction devices that prevent hostiles or outright everyone from jumping into the system as either fixed installation on stations or on ships - OR intercept jumping ships so instead of coming out at their target destination, they appear in the system where the interdiction device is located. Another possibility is to alter ships JD's so that in order to jump from a system, you have to fly into a gate of this system to 'access the gate network'. You can also increase cost of use. In X3 jumping cost was a joke... replace energy cells with crystals however and things look quite different. Change linear price increase with distance to exponential. So many things are possible...
ES seems to me to be quick to dismiss existing game mechanic in favor of another - instead of exploring it more deeply or merging it together. Jumpdrive has been a staple of the xuniverse. It seems silly to me that it just ceases to exist and gets replaced by some personell teleporter thing (which for some totally arbitrary and unbelievable reason does not work for ships or materials). They did it with SETA, they want to do it with JD's...
Last edited by Killjaeden on Thu, 28. Sep 17, 16:26, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Crimsonraziel » Thu, 28. Sep 17, 16:24

Killjaeden wrote:It seems silly to me that it just ceases to exist and gets replaced by some personell teleporter thing (which for some 'totally arbitrary' reason does not work for ships or materials).
The truth is, you are a Xenon in disguise and the teleporter actually is just a bitstream.

Don't call me conspiracy theorist, but did no one notice the reptillians between all those humans in the first live stream? I know they're up to something and they're hiding it from us!
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Post by ADMNtek » Thu, 28. Sep 17, 16:25

removing the JD is just stupid. in XR every L-XL ship had one and now suddenly they are gone why?

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Post by Ketraar » Thu, 28. Sep 17, 16:25

Killjaeden wrote:ES seems to me to be quick to dismiss existing game mechanic in favor of another - instead of exploring it more deeply or merging it together.
I think you are being unnecessary unfair here. You are make a character judgement based on little information. The appropriate way would be to ASK why the decision was made and on what it was based, rather then assuming they just jumped the gun with no thought about about it. This type of character attack is starting to be rather annoying, we are talking about people that do this for a living, pretty sure they think about the way they want to do it, you can still disagree.

MFG

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Post by Killjaeden » Thu, 28. Sep 17, 16:35

Ketraar wrote:I think you are being unnecessary unfair here.
It is the impression i get based on the information i have. Even if i would ask, you know it is unlikely i would get a more detailed answer - they would refer me to the answer i got from the video.

And i can tell you why i have this particular impression as well-
They have not provided a good answer for example why they did remove SETA in XR initially for example. The explanation they gave us back then in development was extremely simple to challenge. They said something along the lines that SETA was a hack/cheat to reduce travel time, so they replaced it with highways. Except it was not the whole story and extremely easy to challenge this view - because players did use it exclusively for shortening travel but to speed up the game progress in general. And others and myself have mentioned it repeatedly during XR development/presentations.

So this suggests to me that they have not explored it far enough before deciding to remove it.

And to me this seems like a very similar situation. Yes JD beeing overly powerfull in and easy shortcut in X3, but as i wrote - there are many many ways to shape existing mechanics to integrate better from game mechanics standpoint and from lore-integrity way. Yes i make assumptions, but they are not unfounded.

If they would like to provide a more detailed answer to this topic i would be eager to hear it. Maybe i am the one who doesn't see all the things that a JD mechanic makes bad.
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Post by Ketraar » Thu, 28. Sep 17, 17:47

Well Owen did answer it in the video, as they wanted to keep some strategic value. My read is that the switch from being able to warp anywhere was a major issue I had in X3 games, the universe gets small if you can jump anywhere at any time with anything.

looks to me that allowing players to quickly "jump" to action using this new teleportation thingy but not being able to take your uberdestroyer2.0 with you, seem to be like a good balance, as it allows for those that want to get into action but sill add some sense of strategy. This is exactly the right choice to make as it will appeal to the widest audience while still being balanced.

Now you have to THINK where you leave your assets and plan ahead. This is great new, even though I personally would have been much harsher and have a lot more restrictions, but I understand not everyone approaches the game as hardcore as I do.

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Post by Killjaeden » Thu, 28. Sep 17, 17:59

Ketraar wrote:Well Owen did answer it in the video, as they wanted to keep some strategic value. My read is that the switch from being able to warp anywhere was a major issue I had in X3 games, the universe gets small if you can jump anywhere at any time with anything.
Please read my initial post again. Yes i agree this is an issue. But it does not justify axing the jumpdrive, because you can do so much more with jumpdrives (from game design standpoint) that allows you to integrate it well and yet still achieve the same thing they are after -> more important strategic placement and having territory matter.

In addition (assuming you would have interdiction stations or ships) it would mean that in a military conflict, one could try to focus on these stations as targets to allow your reinforcement to jump in quicker (still have to get to battle sight because they spawn at gate). The defender does not have this issue, he can jump in reinforcements right from the start. And again - jumping can be much more limited than what it was in X3 in many different ways to not make it a no-brainer.

Let's take Stellaris for example. There are 3 different FTL methods. And you can choose which method(s) you allow in a specific game. I limited mine to hyperlanes, which is very similar to X3 gate system - except gates dont exist physically. So you are always bound to special travel lanes, and you can't just skip a sector, however the time it takes between entering a 'gate' and arriving at the new sector is extremely short (almost instant). This means strategic placement (like Owen mentioned) is very important.

In the endgame you had the possibility to aquire the rare technology of Jumpdrives (or warp drives) - they allow you to jump anywhere. However, they are very different to hyperlanes. To engage jumpdrive you have to fly very far to the edge of the system (similar to X3 sector). Then it takes a while to wind up. The transit time "in FTL" to the destination is also very long, compared to hyperlanes / X3 inter-sector-travel. And when arriving, you also come in very far from the center of the sector, plus your warpdrive has to cool down - your ship is vulnerable for a while. So in many cases, a fleet using hyperlanes was actually much faster and nible than one with warpdrive. Also - ships could only have one FTL method or the other - not both, so you had to decide what you want to use. I found this dynamic to be extremely interesting. And again - this is only one example how it's possible to integrate both types of travel and make both interesting to use and gives you something to think about when creating your fleet and using it in action.
Last edited by Killjaeden on Thu, 28. Sep 17, 18:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by CBJ » Thu, 28. Sep 17, 18:17

Killjaeden wrote:They have not provided a good answer for example why they did remove SETA in XR initially for example. The explanation they gave us back then in development was extremely simple to challenge.
Unfortunately the reality is that no answer is going to be considered a "good answer" if the reader doesn't happen agree with the decision. Pretty much every design decision comes with a whole range of value judgements; we have to weigh the inputs up against one another, assigning priorities and balancing gameplay upsides against downsides, development costs against benefits, and the opinions of one group of players against those of another. Every such decision can be "challenged" by giving different weights to the various inputs, or indeed simply dismissed as lies or incompetence, as also tends to happen depressingly often even on a relatively civilised forum such as this one. This is one reason why developers tend not to spend much time trying to explain design decisions in public.

However, in this case I will give it a go, and we'll see whether the explanation is considered "good" or just dismissed!

In a game like this, the universe needs to feel "big" otherwise it doesn't feel much like a space game. However, while sitting looking at the universe pass by can be really enjoyable for a while, most players don't actually want to do this indefinitely; they want to get to the action reasonably quickly. Now of course these two fundamental goals are actually contradictory, and they are not the only contradiction. Players want the game to be tactical, with variation in the universe, importance placed on where resources are gathered, and where stations are built and where fleets are stationed, yet they don't want to spend precious gaming time travelling between different parts of their empire. They want there to be dangers, yet they also don't like it being too hard to get to their trading ships quickly to protect them. The list goes on.

Both SETA and jumpdrives are solutions to some of these problems, but both of them are "blunt instruments". We didn't initially implement them in XR because we wanted to see if we could find better, more subtle, ways to achieve the same results. Highways and engine boosters were the main tools for this, but there were mixed reactions to the highways (not helped by some design issues in early versions which made them less enjoyable to use than they should have been). Boosters proved more widely popular, with the possible exceptions of our chosen "cost" for use, namely the shields, but came with the downside that the player would tend to spend more time in empty space, not seeing any other traffic.

However, neither of these solutions addressed one key player scenario, namely the situation where the player really does just want to allow more time to pass, for example to allow production or station-building to complete. We had hoped that players would be too busy doing other things to be too bothered about not being able to accelerate time, but it turned out that that wasn't the case. With no better alternative solutions to that particular problem in sight (and with the functionality to accelerate time already available in the game for development purposes) we decided to restore SETA. That remains the situation with SETA as we work towards X4, and I will leave discussion of SETA at that.

Jumpdrives were popular, but they pretty much completely destroyed both the feeling of size, and the tactical, territory-controlling element of the game. Sure, there are ways to mitigate some of their effect (jump target limitations, range limitations, fuel cost) but none of them remove the fundamental problem that you cannot place an obstacle in the way of an invading fleet in an interesting way. Note that adding another gameplay mechanism to prevent jumpdrives being used doesn't really count as interesting for these purposes; it just stops the jumpdrive from being useful, making it redundant. So, thinking again about which features of a jumpdrive we wanted in the game, and which we didn't, we realised that there were two separate scenarios. One was getting a ship or fleet from A to B, and the other was getting the player from A to B so that they could be "in on the action".

For the first scenario highways have a place, allowing ships in densely-populated areas to move quickly. This not only makes sense logically, in the same way that roads and motorways make sense in busy areas, but it also helps with the perception of how busy such an area is since a player travelling along through the area will see more ships. In less populated ares, ships would still be able to use boost drives, and the player not seeing so many of them would help create the corresponding more empty atmosphere.

That leaves the player case. In particular it leaves the case of the player being frustrated to see their ships being attacked on the far side of the universe, but having no means to get there and apply their skills to try and save the situation. Allowing them to jump in at will with a fleet is too overpowered and takes away any real danger, but allowing them to be there in person and maybe try and fly the ship to safety, or perhaps man a hero escort ship and fend off the enemy single-handed, makes for good, exciting gameplay. That's where teleportation comes in, and I'm sure you can work out numerous other possibilities it brings up.

One final thing for those saying that jumpdrives "can't" be removed because it "doesn't make sense" from a lore perspective: I'm afraid that argument is back to front. The lore needs to be made to fit the gameplay, not the other way around.

Now, I'm sure you will read through this and say "yes, but...." and come up with some counter-argument that you feel supports your view that jumpdrives should stay, and of course you are entitled to your opinion. However, please don't try to claim that we didn't think through the decision, nor that we just "threw away" something that you liked without considering it properly. We have thought about it very carefully, and who knows? Maybe the fact that we came to a different conclusion to the one you would perhaps have come, might even mean that it wasn't us who missed something important. ;)

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