Topic: Gamma revamp testing
The test server has been running for a while already but I never got around to post a proper how-to for the testing, so here we go.
Just to remind you, the main goals of this revamp are:
1. to limit building spam and consequently to make networks more manageable.
2. to limit terraforming so you can't make extremely steep walls (and wall off teleports, among other things).
Below I'll list the things we have done so far, and the things that we still plan to do.
■ = out on the test server
■ = still in development
New gamma features and changes:
General colony and building management
■ All buildings received a bandwidth parameter. Terminals provide the bandwidth for the network, and all buildings connected to the network use a certain amount. Works pretty much like CPU vs modules in the case of robots.
■ Buildings go offline if they get disconnected from a network.
■ Turrets and command relays got an emergency mode too, this means all buildings have it now.
■ Turrets, repair nodes, and booster nodes go offline when in emergency mode.
■ Buildings can only be deployed within a 1km radius of a terminal. Exceptions: mining outpost, energy well, command relay, highway node.
■ Terminals cannot be deployed within 3km of another terminal.
■ Only 3 terminals per island. This feature is completed, but it's turned off on the test server.
■ Turret balance / damage reduction.
■ Effect emitters have a new parameter called "Effect emission radius" which tells you how far their effect will work. (Previously this was the same as their connection radius.) Also, this radius has been reduced to 5km for aura emitters and 1.5km for maskers.
■ Offline (grey) and disconnected (yellow) building statuses are now also visible via their tactical icons on the terrain, the landmarks list, and the radar.
■ Buildings can be now set online and offline also from the selected building panel in the colony management interface.
■ Building construction status will be now hidden if it's fully constructed.
■ Terminal and network area visibility (the colored blob on the map) can be now set separately. Both have a three-way setting of hidden/corporation/public. Public means it's visible for everyone, corporation means everyone in your corporation, and hidden means noone can see it except for those corporation members who have at least limited colony management access.
■ If a friendly attacks a building, all the turrets in the same network need to turn on him.
■ Reactors do not generate energy on their own anymore. Instead, we will introduce a new underground resource (energy fields), which can only be exploited by a new building called "Energy well", but it does this passively over time. The exploited energy is directly sent through the network into the reactor's (or reactors') accumulator. (Note: a lot of times you will need to deploy energy wells far away from your terminal, so this connection doesn't have to be an energy connection, a simple control connection will also do.) We have considerably increased the accumulator size of the reactors, so if you lose all your energy wells in the network, reactors will still provide energy for some time. (Depending on the energy usage of your network this could even mean several days.) Energy wells do not need any external energy to run, they feed on the energy they exploit.
■ There are around 20 energy fields on every gamma zone (respawning like other minerals), and one field is supposed to hold enough energy to let one energy well feed off of it for a few days.
■ The information panel of reactors (on the colony management interface) shows how much energy the connected energy wells have provided in the last network update period (30 secs). There is also a charge status indicator which can have 3 states: idle (no energy in or out), discharging (with a time estimate of how long until the reactor depletes), charging/stable (which means the reactor is receiving more energy than the network consumes). Energy wells stop exploiting energy if all the reactors in the network are full, in order to not waste it.
■ Changed the mechanic of building energy management. First of all we have removed the energy charging threshold setting that tried to keep a specific charge level for the building. All buildings have now a "kickstart threshold" and they will only start working after their accumulator level reaches this threshold. This is called a "warmup period", the building's accumulator bar will flash to indicate this or there is a flashing icon when zoomed out. After this, they will keep working even if the charge level falls under the kickstart threshold. However, when the charge level falls down close to 0, they will stop working and a new warmup period begins. Once their accumulator level is able to reach the kickstart threshold again, they will start working again. (Of course this only happens if the network can't provide enough energy to keep them active.) The kickstart threshold is currently around 80-90% accumulator level for all buildings but this will be probably reduced and made consistent. On the colony management UI it is shown by the red marker on the accumulator bar.
■ We are now limiting building deployment to the vicinity of a terminal, which includes energy transmitters too, so we needed to change the way mining outposts work. Since minerals can spawn anywhere, they need to work all around the island without a connected reactor. So now you need to manually put energy storage cells (or any commodity with energy content) into them, exactly the same way as in the case of reactors. They probably need some balancing still, but the goal is that they should work for several hours with a fully loaded accumulator. Note that you still need to connect them to your network via command relays at least.
■ Terraforming has now a limit of how steep slopes you can build. The limit is currently set between the slope capability of assaults and mechs.
■ Terraformed landscape will slowly degrade to the original terrain with time, but this only affects areas that are outside of a certain radius of buildings (ie. unclaimed land). Suggested radius: 300m
■ Terraforming is now limited by manually painted no-terraform areas along the shoreline of islands, making sure that no teleport can be cut off from the others. (Should we decide to put fixed teleports in the inner parts of an island, then appropriate no-terraform routes will lead to it.) - Chalydor on the test server now has this. The no-terraform/no-build area is shown with a red overlay on the map/radar, and with red stripes in the last mode of the terrain slope display.
■ Make single-tile terraforming more user-friendly. Height display for tiles for comparison purposes to allow for precise structures. This has now its own topic.
Gamma islands setup
■ Every gamma island will have at least 4 external teleports, with the goal to make it harder to "camp" them.
■ Because of the terraform limitations we need to modify mineral spawning, since there will be locations that you won't be able to reach in any way. Currently the idea is to make minerals despawn after a set time and let them respawn according to the current rules.
■ More variation in the topology of gamma islands: archipelago type zones, less symmetrical layout, etc.
■ Walls (and consequently, plants) can be directly targeted and destroyed by normal weapons.
■ Wall damage is now propagated along the wall to multiple neighboring wall tiles. This makes it harder to just simply cut a hole into a wall. Since walls are internally plants, this also affects normal plants, which will now damage neighboring plants if you shoot them (affects only plants, not robots). Of course these two changes affect beta islands too.
■ Wall deployment rules on gamma: can't be deployed on protected red tiles, can't be closer than 5 tiles to any building, can't be further than 1500m from a terminal or command relay that you own.
■ Gates on the wall. These are 3x3 tile objects, deployable from your cargo. No need for construction, so they are big in volume. Doubleclick on its icon to open/close it (red=closed, green=open). Currently they can be operated by all members of the owner corporation, and every member in a corporation with good or friendly relation.
■ No degradation of concrete and wall tiles within areas claimed by buildings. They still take damage as normally.
Known issues / Bug fixes
■ Insuring robots in a gamma terminal sometimes didn't work.
■ Lots of visibility/update issues connected to gamma terminals. (Remote storage listing, spark teleport targets, market orders, etc.)
■ Plasma bomb damage is "bleeding" into emergency shields. - We can't stop the bleeding, but the patient won't die during an emergency phase even if it reaches 0 HP.
■ Terraforming currently doesn't stop your modules when you can't terraform any further or you're terraforming a non-terraformable tile. - Unfortunately this can't be solved, but at least they don't work anymore on tiles where terraforming is not allowed at all.
■ Old terraforming and colony plans will deleted during the patch.
■ Turret AI is still work in progress. - Not anymore, please test.
Things that we did exclusively on the test server to make testing faster:
■ There is a mobile teleport right beside TMA terminal that brings you directly to the gamma island, and teleports that bring you back from there.
■ Developer construction and deconstruction ammo is available on the TMA market, which will allow you to bring up buildings much faster.
■ All items are available on gamma terminal markets too.
Feedback is welcome in this topic, or feel free to make new ones if you want to discuss a larger issue separately.
Important: nothing written above is set in stone. If you want a change, post it, preferably with arguments backing your suggestion.
Last update: 2014-08-21 22:35