Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 11
02-17-2010, 03:35 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarka View Post
You mean if we had an "Eve" style galaxy map and "Eve" style warping that is reminiscent of TNG, DS9 and Voyager episodes?

Probably. If there was a reason to go there. E.g. mining, investigating star clusters to chart anomalies, chasing klingon battle cruisers in to nebulas, etc, etc.

Sector Space is ugly and makes that part of the game look like a giant board game, or a scene from the 1982 film "Tron".
It serves no practical purpose that couldn't be done better in a different format.
Its only noticable benefit is to allow players to "camp" there without having to enter local space. Which is odd considering its supposed to be a representation of a ship constantly travelling at warp speed.
If its original design was intended to give the player the feeling of being in an "MMO" that has a decent sized population, then it fails on that score as well. Especially when the majority of the playerbase is never seen in your particular sector instance

What is the most baffling is that, Eve "borrowed" the warping animation scene idea from the Trek franchise, why wasn't that same concept used in the very game that is supposed to embody that same franchise?
I personaaly wouldn't lke the EVE system, which is just disguised instances with global chat options, I'd like a more WoW like map where you can walk from the top of a continent to the bottom with no loading screens or jumping locations unless you choose to. Obiviously STO would use a Glaxay map rather than a landmass, but still..
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 12
02-17-2010, 03:37 PM
Look at these two images:
http://eve.finkeworld.com/wp-content...an-Warp-01.png
http://media.photobucket.com/image/e...nd/warping.jpg
Now, imagine those scenes in STO where your ship is "travelling" at warp with little dots of light whizzing past to represent stars. Just like in the opening and closing scenes in your favourite star trek episodes of TNG, DS9 and Voyager.

For those who would like to see it in action:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r70siUfEW-E

And now imagine a galaxy map the size of this with each dot representing a system:
http://go-dl1.eve-files.com/media/co...newblocmap.png

StartrekOnline deserves this kind of gameplay. Eve borrowed it from the franchise. Currently a lot of people play Eve because its the closest they get to a "true" space based MMO.
Its time STO challenged EVE to its throne.

Quote:
Originally Posted by siriusds89 View Post
I personaaly wouldn't lke the EVE system, which is just disguised instances with global chat options, I'd like a more WoW like map where you can walk from the top of a continent to the bottom with no loading screens or jumping locations unless you choose to. Obiviously STO would use a Glaxay map rather than a landmass, but still..
Agreed. But you have to create the illusion if its physically not possible to create one big huge universe.
Thus when you finish in one local system, you "go to warp" (cue the eve style warping scene), and then you load into the destinations local space instance.

The local space instances would be exactly the same as they are now. Its only the bit in between that changes. And because only YOUR ship (and the obligatory few dots of light whizzing past to represent stars) is being drawn in your own private "warp" instance, loading times would possibly be down to near zero. This is because it wouldn't have to draw all the other ships around you. Which means a noticable decrease in the server demand (because its all rendered on the client computer and only needs to communicate with the server when entering and leaving that instance).

Having a private "warp" instance for your ship also addresses another player concern:
the sheer amount of instance changing and gameworld loading in the game.

More seamless "going to warp" scenes + Less instance "hopping" + more immersion in the startrek universe + less demand on the servers = happier playerbase
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 13
02-17-2010, 04:18 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Pattern_Jugglers View Post
...the sector maps didn't look like pizza boxes?

What I'm saying is, instead of a finite sector with clearly defined borders and a grid to constantly remind you this is a video game representation of space, what if the unexplored sectors and quadrant (at least) were represented with an open star field, with no apparent borders or limits?

Ultimately, there would have to be borders, but they could be the equivalent of thousands upon thousands of light years out. Loss of directional sense could be alleviated by more steady markers on the map, maybe just generalized directional guides.

My feeling is, if you make the unexplored sectors of the galaxy feel vast, and if you give players a real sense of exploration by forgoing borders and giving as little information as possible, it's more than possible to breath new life into one area of the game that is sorely lacking, yet so integral to the Star Trek franchise.

It would be a great way to convey that "inky blackness between the stars" that some science fiction writers (Reynolds, Banks, etc) are so good at portraying, and if there's some persistence to it, rather than the randomly generated "anomaly systems" of currently "unexplored space," there'd be a lot more motivation to explore.

Any thoughts on this?
I definitely agree with this. I'd like it to be an open, apparantly borderless starfield that occasional your long range sensors detect star systems with possible planets in them (this is where the random system and mission generator takes over). Add in features such as being able to save the location of the star system so that you can revisit it later, and there can even be item stats related content where the better your sensors, the more often you detect star systems.

No grid lines, just vast space with star fields and nebulae in the background. When you are done exploring simply warp back to sector space or transwarp back to earth space dock.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 14
02-17-2010, 04:28 PM
I think I need a better understanding of how these systems work.

Why are planets (in STO an EVE) never to scale? Is it just not doable?

How does WoW create the following landscapes? Is it limited by memory for assets? Is that why houses in villagers are all the same and Castles are the same?

But then wouldn't Planets be the same but just with different textures, hues and scales?

Is it even possible to have a massive map, the size of the galaxy(ish), on any game engine? And if it is, why has no one done it and populatted it with randomly generated content except for a few key locations?

Anyone know... anyone?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 15
02-17-2010, 04:32 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Salexander
...occasional your long range sensors detect star systems with possible planets in them (this is where the random system and mission generator takes over). Add in features such as being able to save the location of the star system so that you can revisit it later,,,
I'm sure I read or heard this somewhere... it may just have been wishful thinking by those STOked guys, but I thought a Dev said it somewhere as well.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 16
02-17-2010, 04:43 PM
Imo, Cryptic picked the one worst way to bring sector travel into the game.

Either make it like it is, a representation of sector space, but controlled from the bridge, or remove all those pointless lines and add some kind of warp tunnel effect.

As it is, it certainly doesn't feel like "something", least of all speed.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 17
02-17-2010, 04:58 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by siriusds89 View Post
I think I need a better understanding of how these systems work.

Why are planets (in STO an EVE) never to scale? Is it just not doable?

How does WoW create the following landscapes? Is it limited by memory for assets? Is that why houses in villagers are all the same and Castles are the same?

But then wouldn't Planets be the same but just with different textures, hues and scales?

Is it even possible to have a massive map, the size of the galaxy(ish), on any game engine? And if it is, why has no one done it and populatted it with randomly generated content except for a few key locations?

Anyone know... anyone?
Only devs and Blizzard can answer those questions with any degree of accuracy. We mere mortals can only speculate.

Like you say WoW re-uses a lot of its models and textures. Perhaps that, coupled with the "less realistic" style graphics, allow for a reduction in the amount of memory that such objects take up (I believe thats referred to as the "polygon count"). Thus a lot more memory resource is free to render the game world "on the fly". There's other tricks too, like delayed rendering of game objects until they are within a certain distance. Which is quite noticable in WoW. But if its kept within an acceptable limit, then it would appear that people are happy to live with it, if it means that the main part of the game world is always visible.

Perhaps the sheer amount of "realistic" looking and relatively unique graphical objects that must be rendered fast enough to keep up with a player moving through it in other MMOs, is just too much for the current level of hardware to deal with. Which is strange when you consider the level of detail viewed in single player games and how quickly and randomly the player can move through it. Granted, in some cases, the game maps are a lot smaller. But in others the game maps are actually quite close to the size of "chunks" you see in some MMOs.

So, obviously there is much more to it than that. Let's not forget about the issues with client/server communication. In a single player game, mostly everything is predetermined both in how it looks and how it acts. Also, single player games don't need to persisnently "poll" a server in order to constantly query the positioning and actions being undertaken around the player in the gameworld environment. On the other hand, in an MMO npcs, players and other movable objects have to be considered random elements. And those random elements still have to be queried from the server and rendered "on the fly".

A lot of this is speculation.. I don't know for sure. I haven't studied games programming that much, yet

However, one simple fact remains. Many MMO's that lean heavily towards "realistic" graphics are often instance-based. And even some games that aren't very realistic are too.

How Blizzard managed to make an MMO that doesn't require loading screens when traversing across huge game areas, is a mystery only they know the answer to.

Cryptic, Funcom, NCSoft, SOE all seem incapable of doing it or even wanting to attempt to make a "seamless" world environment. Although I've got to give SOE kudos for TRYING to do so with SWG. At least each planet in that game is one complete and fairly sizeable zone.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 18
02-17-2010, 05:11 PM
I already explore. I like the random missions, they're fun.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 19
02-17-2010, 05:26 PM
Ok, so I've posted about this before but basically, yes, I agree with the OP:

* Remove all the grid lines and nebula blob from unexplored space. Leave the signposts as markers. Make unexplored space look like wide open, space.

* Remove all the grid lines and "highways" from normal sector space. Redo the art assets of the systems to look slightly more realistic.

* Leave the colored tint for who controls what part of space (blue for Fed, red for Klingon, etc.) but tone it down. Make it very subtle but noticeable. Obviously unexplored space would have no tint at all.

* Leave all signposts to mark sector borders.


Speaking as a professional programmer, these changes shouldn't affect the engine at all, it's just art work that needs to be done. If these changes do require massive changes to the engine well... then I'm sorry Cryptic, but you're doing it wrong

The point is, these changes are relatively easy to make, don't drastically change the existing game play (ie, easy to implement) and I think would make people a LOT happier.

To answer someone's (rhetorical?) question about why we are limited in MMOs: The reason MMOs (and almost any game) try to reuse assets, can't have huge zones easily, etc. is because of what happened during the open beta download: the internet isn't built to handle these sorts of loads and it was nearly impossible to download a client at a reasonable speed because everyone was downloading the clients.

People talk about cloud computing and using the internet for all your apps but let's be reasonable: things work better when they run locally. They are faster, more robust, and more secure. The internet infrastructure was never designed for the sorts of loads we put on it and it's insanely easy to bring servers to their knees.

Sorry for the long post
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