Nanoframes, structures and building

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by Average, Apr 28, 2020.

  1. Average

    Average Commander

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    There are many suggestions to replace the current factory system, usually with some kind of factory block which you place on your base. Vermillion has suggested you would link constructors to the factory, producing the materials for the factory block to output a ship through the factory block. You ask the constructors to prepare for a BP to be produced, and some/all of you constructors start making the blocks for it.

    However the factory block is problematic, for two reasons.
    • There's no obvious way to build a BA (base) using a factory block
    • A factory block creates the need to check if space is available to output the ship, complicated by the fact that the available space may be filled during the build
    Nanoframes

    A cooler and easier way to do this would be to replace a factory block with a nanoframe system. Instead of outputting completed ships, the factory UI outputs nanoframes - basically a empty shell of the ship or base in question. That shell would be deployed in the same way as current spawns, except that instead of its normal textures it would have a single nanoframe texture all over. If possible, when deployed it would be fade into view over 5 seconds but remain transparent.

    An extra mode on multitools would then be used to (gradually) move blocks from inventory or cargo into the nanoframe. Basically you point the multitool/turret at the nanoframe to build it. When all the necessary blocks are moved into the nanoframe, there's a flash of light and then it changes into the completed ship/base.

    [​IMG]

    I picture the total build times using a hand-multitool being around between 1% and 5% of the current factory build times, so a starter HV might take around 20 secs if you have all the blocks ready. A ship mounted multturret would build it considerably faster. A base mounted multiturret that fired automatically at any nanoframe in range would be even faster, effectively allowing a "shipyard" that builds large ship in reasonable time frames from the base inventory. The main time constraint would be in building the blocks themselves (you'd still use Vermillion's idea above). In multiplay users could be limited to 1 frame at a time, and/or 1 frame every 2 mins.

    You could use the salvage feature to reverse the process on unfinished nanoframes and recover resources (also available to enemies in PvP). You should also be able to destroy a nanoframe, with their HP being based on how close to completion they are. If destroyed, some/all of the resources drop to the ground.

    Advantages:

    • The UI and the space/size check for nanoframes is already implemented - just use the current factory system
    • A nanoframe uses the BP as graphics with a single texture - no graphics implementation required
    • Bases can be built using this system, unlike the factory block alternative. You just need a multitool or multiturret ship handy on the build site
    • Players can work together building something to create more social tasks
    • You can no longer insta-spawn huge towers into PvP zones. They must be protected and built over several minutes, which is more immersive and interesting
    • It looks cool and relatively immersive, unlike a factory block instantly spawning stuff
     
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    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
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  2. Foofaspoon

    Foofaspoon Commander

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    I really like this idea - seems to me to be the best way of implementing system in general. Means factory ships / HVs would become a thing as well. Specialised factory bases potentially, especially if multiple building tools can be put on and work simultaneously.
     
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  3. Average

    Average Commander

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  4. Foofaspoon

    Foofaspoon Commander

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    Early on you could, rather than or in addition to the mutltool, have simple constructor device that you power up and put resources in, and then that can build simple (T1 lvl 5 and under) SV / HV's - holding left down on the multitool for 5 minutes might get a little dull :D

    If you wanted to limit people spamming BPs everywhere you could require them to be placed within a certain distance of the construction tool - or I guess have a separate item a little bit like the SE projector that enabled BP to be spawned in within a certain radius (the early tool would act as both combined in this case)
     
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  5. Khazul

    Khazul Rear Admiral

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    Sounds like you are trying to describe the projector based construction system in space engineers and associated welding tools.
     
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  6. Average

    Average Commander

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  7. Khazul

    Khazul Rear Admiral

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    Ever used the 'nanite build and repair system' mod in SE?
     
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  8. Average

    Average Commander

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  9. Foofaspoon

    Foofaspoon Commander

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    I've not played space engineers though watched various lets plays etc - I agree I wouldn't want the complexity of the base projector system of that in Empyrion. I like Average's idea in that it seems a simplified version of that - get the wireframe / projection and point a tool (and/or a turret auto 'shoots') at it which then draws from inventory / containers and hopefully ties into a auto-build system (i.e. orders the assembly of the needed blocks from linked factories when needed). You then get the gameplay benefit of having to build / maintain / defend the factory structures (including time taken to build) without the fiddlyness.
     
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  10. Khazul

    Khazul Rear Admiral

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    The base projector system is only complex because they made the orientation of it non obvious and the origin point can be messaged up. Take away that problem and it is very easy to use, especially if combined with nanite build and repair system mod.

    The massive advantage you get in SE in that you can just stick a projector on an existing structure and project and build an extension to the existing structure - think a blueprint for a base in part to represent each upgrade stage, or even entirely extend a building etc.

    It is massively superior to what we have here in most ways (simpler to just build in spawn in this, but that is so restrictive). Another massive advantage with a projection is when you project a bunker base into the terrain - you can see to dig out the hold before you build. Even better you could build your bunker base in segments.

    Keen made it overly complex in SE because of their orientation and pivot system being too confusing for noobs when it didn't have to be.
     
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  11. Average

    Average Commander

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    You're right that extending an existing structure is a fairly big advantage. I think the main downside is that most Empyrion players wouldn't want to weld each block, especially for some of the massive builds, and the engine doesn't support pistons or rotors so 3d printing is unlikely to be an option.

    An Empyrion-style system might be to use joiner blocks to add modular sections to a structure. So you place the extension down as a nanoframe, the nanoframe attaches to your base in exactly the right place, and you use your multitool/turret to build it. Then when complete, either treat them as two separate structures that remain joined (potentially with separate owners, or select a user-level option to merge the two structures into one. Here's my modular building proposal that describes this, and which I think would compliment the nanoframe system very nicely:
    https://empyriononline.com/threads/modular-blueprint-building.92930/
     
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  12. Khazul

    Khazul Rear Admiral

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    Hence why I include the equivalent of the nanite build and repair system - manually welding each block is a pain in the ass, but the nanites build it all for you directly from your base or ship inventories. It is a really easy build system, MUCH less messing around than even the factory in this as you don't even have to move it all through your personal inventory.

    You can even set it up so that a bunch of nanite machines are scrapping a ship you have captured into your ship/base inventories while other are using the salvage materials to build something new. I would often build ships this way for eg from scrap of captured/trashed ships.

    We used to even have a way point in space directly above a scrap yard 40km below on the planet surface so that we could capture a wreck in space, drag it to the way point (using another ship), attach some parachutes (that automatically open at a set altitude to arrest the free fall), then push it down into the gravity well through the atmosphere to the scrap yard below where it would automatically get recycled (assuming it fell into the range of the nanite recycling machines).

    As for joining stuff (different structures), SE has a 'merge block' which joins structure together into a single structure (this can make two ships act as a single ship as well, sharing thrusters, gyros etc). There are also connectors that temporality join ships wit bases for eg - ie docking, so they can access each others devices and inventories.
     
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  13. Average

    Average Commander

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    I've had a look a the mod you're talking about now. I agree it looks great (even more if they could improve the particle effects). I think there's a couple of advantages to the nanoframe approach though.

    Firstly it would require much less implementation work, for example it wouldn't need a projector to be developed, nor the nanite building turret things, nor would the UI need to change much at all. This would also make it quite easy to switch on/off per server if that was desired. Secondly I think a nanoframe means someone can't fly into the build area after the build commences, and so is less open to griefing or to accidents from team mates. Thirdly, the nanoframe system is very distinct from other games in this genre.

    So I'd favour the (nanoframe+join blocks) method rather than the (nanites + merge block) method, although I have no criticisms of the nanite mod you mention - it looks like a cool system.
     
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  14. Khazul

    Khazul Rear Admiral

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    Yes - ignore the specifics, I just wanted you to see and understand the concept. Don't hung up by SEs other failings in how the projector works specifically in SE - its the core concept and the freedom and help it gives that matters for discussion.

    The projector is just an alternate transparent preview rendering. Not hard to do and not really any more so than the existing spawn preview.

    Having the projector is HUGELY useful for pre-digging out bases before you build them and it serves as a digging guide, for eg to drive your digging HVs along. The projector is what big underground prefab bases very easy and practical in space engineers. In this they are a nightmare of hours of hand digging without it.

    Also merge blocks are only required to join EXISTING structures - in EGS that could only really apply to ships (SE works differently as bases and ships are different modes of the same thing), so probably doesn't have a place. In order to extend a structure with a blueprint, you use a projector on the existing structure.
     
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  15. Pear78

    Pear78 Captain

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    although I like the idea.. Im not too keen on the idea of pointing my multitool at a sizeclass 20 T4 CV for hours on time. We already have mining and taking apart POIs, I think we are pointing our laserbeams enough already ;)
    Not sure how to put it in gameplay.. but holding my left mouse button for long periods of time.. I think we have enough of that already in the game. making it kinda instant would feel lame, it taking a while would make big builds take forever to multitool in?
     
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  16. ravien_ff

    ravien_ff Rear Admiral

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    It should be an automated process, I agree.
     
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  17. sulferon

    sulferon Lieutenant

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    Most ideas and mods in SE only work because they have a pipeline system. If "nanite build and repair system" required you to put every spare part manually in its container, you would throw it out in the cold. There are other accessories to this mod , such as automatic production of the required number of spare parts for the template. In Empyrion, you are partially saved by the fact that it only requires ingots. In fact, Eleon has already implemented a conveyor system, much smarter than in SE: it is the player himself with heavy manual labor shifting everything from container to container every day:)
     
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  18. Average

    Average Commander

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    Although I described build times as being a lot shorter than currently, I agree this a fair point. How would you feel about a multiturret for BAs and HVs that automatically target any nanoframe in range and 'fired' at it, so you could park one or more construction vehicles next to your giant ship and pull up a deck chair to watch it getting built?
     
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  19. Pear78

    Pear78 Captain

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    I like the idea, but I think in practise it would be too much hassle still. what if a build is too wide for the beam to reach all of it from the outside? I think the factory system is not too bad as it is, it just needs a physical location, so we don't have the magic infinite storage space available to us at all times

    there have been a few factory suggestion threads in the past, back than Ive suggested to use a drone like we already have on us, to use for the factory. it would build up row for row. but if it would be a device.. I also would like a repair bay-ish device, but it just slowly adds blocks.

    just needs to be hassle free; start production and come back to it when it's ready. some builds take forever, like 24hrs, would be annoying if you needed to micromanage that.. with the big universe now, you might be light years away.. needing to come back to put a multi turret somewhere else.. doesnt sounds like fun :)
     
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  20. Average

    Average Commander

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    I imagine the idea being that you can point at any part of the nanoframe to build it, so this wouldn't be a problem.

    I think it has significant drawbacks. "Spawning" a completed ship isn't very immersive, and introduces a number of borderline exploit tactics, such as insta-spawning PvP towers or escape ships.

    Infinite storage is definitely another problem of the factory system. But if you make the factory into a BA block as the physical location, you have the problem of there being no reasonable immersive way to build BAs. You also still have to reserve the space where the ship or base is being built so that another ship isn't parked there in the meantime. The obvious way to reserve the space is with something like a nanoframe. At this point adding a drone builder would be great visually, but I think it adds significant implementation complexity without functional benefit.

    I think the simplest way to do this to make multiturrets autofire build-beams at friendly nanoframes in the same way a turret fires at enemies in range, essentially automating building. I don't understand what you mean by hassle.

    I also would want an option on a MP server to allow or disallow automation for balance reasons. Nanoframes would make this easy. It also allows cooperation to aid in building. It also allows CPU and building capacity to be linked if desired. Imagine a fleet of builder CVs constructing a flagship or field-base.

    With any solution that exists in a playfield, the issue of continuing building when the playfield isn't loaded becomes an implementation issue. I think keeping the building process simple would be useful for that, hence I went for a solution that didn't bother with individual blocks. I think the drone system you suggest would work too, but be much harder to implement because it's dealing with individual blocks.
     
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