[Discussion] Planetside Shuttles, Pilots

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Anewbe
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Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:42 pm

This topic has come up in Staff Discussion, and we think it's something the community should at least be asked about. We'll take your suggestions into consideration, as long as they're well thought out and physically possible to accomplish, but as always I make no promises that any given idea will be used.
Staffside Discussion wrote: Many folks are currently not pleased with the current transit and travel times of the shuttles.

Any way we could resolve this or ease the annoyance that many experience trying to use the shuttles? Or is this considered a non-issue?
Our easiest idea is making the drone shuttles move a tad faster, but our concern is that also makes Pilots even less interesting.

If any of you have other ideas, for anything related to either Pilots or Shuttles, please post them here, so we can sort through them.

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DasIrrlicht
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Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:45 pm

I prefer it staying a IC issue, since It allows for people to happen to share a shuttleride and being annoyed over the timing is nice RP-wise.

But if they stop breaking, that would be nice.

ChrisCa
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Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:49 pm

It's fine the way it is, like 2-3 mins, you can wait sheesh
crazy wah wahs

atermonera
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Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:05 am

This is particularly in relation to the time explorers would have to spend to make a trip to the station, which is currently one of the largest obstacles to them actually doing so on a regular basis, to provide a bit more context.

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ZekeSulastin
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Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:07 am

It's more like 10 minutes if you have bad timing.

What might be nice would be if two autopiloted shuttles would be exactly opposite each other (one landed on the planet, one docked in the hangar; they start that way iirc?), and for shuttles put back on autopilot to try and get back to that rhythm. Also, a shuttle automatically going on autopilot if it hasn't been manually controlled in a sufficient amount of time (like, 30 minutes +-?) if adding a stationside console is too much.

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DasIrrlicht
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Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:00 am

Aprox. 4 minutes jumping, heating engines pre-jumping and docking/undocking.
2 minutes in hanger/on pad.
4 minutes back.
Half the time because there are two shuttles and they do fly in the specific rhythm, if nobody does go out of their way messing or no pilot sits somewhere SSD.

So you get, per hour, 12 trys to reach the outpost or station. Inconvinient, yes, but reasonable.
Since it needs a Pilot-ID now to even try and disrupt the pattern, a working system.

Borgs, AIs and Heads can, if in need, activate the teleporters should the shuttle-waittime be unacceptable, like in cases of medical emergencys. (Not that they would get the idea themself, if not one of the borgs who causally teleport anyways.)

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ZekeSulastin
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Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:09 am

I guess we'll just have to disagree on what's reasonable. Given the specific concern mentioned by Atermonera, I'm probably not alone?

I think that shuttles and pilots need to be actually interesting are to be more than "time sink" and "reduce time sink" respectively; thankfully, Neerti is actually working on that long term if I remember Discord posts properly.

atermonera
Posts: 193
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Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:26 am

And especially in regards to explorers, it's really quite a bit more than that, because they then have to go back out to wherever they were exploring in most cases. So you spend 5-10 minutes hiking back to the outpost, 5-10 minutes taking a shuttle, however much time you need to spend on station, another 5-10 taking a shuttle back down, and then another 5-10 minutes getting back to where you were. Which generally amounts to a half hour or more, which gives you exactly 1 trip per hour unless you immediately turn around and head back to the station again.

It's turning out to be really difficult reinforcing the notion that "the wilderness is remote" with the desire for "explorers [to], please come back to the station to rp with other people"

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DasIrrlicht
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Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:52 am

atermonera wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:26 am
It's turning out to be really difficult reinforcing the notion that "the wilderness is remote" with the desire for "explorers [to], please come back to the station to rp with other people"
Yes, that is probably summing up the issue best. Without a pilot or S&R, a timely extraction from the Wilderness is basically impossible...
ZekeSulastin wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:09 am
I think that shuttles and pilots need to be actually interesting are to be more than "time sink" and "reduce time sink" respectively; thankfully, Neerti is actually working on that long term if I remember Discord posts properly.
Well, since Pilots should, longterm, fill an position comparable to Telescience in the way awaymissons act, longterm, lets instead examine the problem closer.

There are three, non-pilot, groups that have to rely on the shuttle, since Xenobio moved stationside (for simelar reasons the bar got dismantled, I am sure). This is Miners, Explorers and Medical for the first two groups. Everyone else can probably comfrotably take their time, since they have no pressing dutys down there.

- From the groups, Miners are the least issue, since their job is isolationist Timesink personified, for when you want to play the minecraft-Playlist in the background and then listen to factorio waiting for a quater hour while materials refine, the shuttle is your least problem.

- Explorers, on the other hand, have the least insentive on using the shuttle. Outside of a bar filled with friendly faces, there is nothing on station where they can turn in their finds for better rewards, or anything of a compensation at all. As result, I feel like explorers tend to overextend their wildness-visits since the hassle for going back does not weight up the reward for doing so.

- Medical has the same problems as on station, reaching who needs help in time, extravagant-ed. Since they only need the shuttle when S&R is missing, be it because there never was one or because they literally did go missing, it is less a shuttle-problem in its own, but more a problem with the reach of medical in such cases, or explorers thinking of themself as more robust then they are while knowing that nobody on ground can come help them. Given, crossing the mines and extracting out of the wilderness is rarely attempted for obvious reasons (That is not the danger you have contractly agreed on to risk.) And extractions from mines happen frequently with little issue, even if it is usually dead-extractions, where the explorers dragged themself away just to die of toxins or bleeding.


A miner will allways have materials on hand compleatly useless to them, but also knows that cargo can buy nice things when selling your metric ton of phoron and R&D has always nice toys. And while the mech from robotic is near useless for actual work, it is a mech, you want it anyways!
Miners know they are the first stop in a productionchain, and they act accordingly. They sometimes complain about the shuttle, but they have no sense of urgency with their materials and litte problem with waiting a few minutes. Afterall, once up and materials are delivered, Robotics and R&D take their time, and you can hit the bar, waiting o´for the next step before turning back to Sif and digging deeper.

Medical, when using the shuttles, already expect a dead explorer or is keeping talking with them. They actually do not want to be on Sif, but circumstances forced their hand, and now they sit in Hanger Two, waiting for the shuttle arriving any minute now.
They have a clear intend on why they wait and every reason to be upset about it, afterall, there are lives on the line.
But that they have to wait for the shuttle is not the problem, but a symptom of an other problem, the lack of S&R or an Pilot, in this case. Both jobs would fullfill the job of aiding a quick rescue of the Explorer, the S&R by cutting out a flight down from medical out of the picture and a pilot by reducing the time medical would need, offering additional manpower in the progress and keeping the actual medicals to keep doing their work while ensuring nobody to be left back.

And the one that has the most problems with the shuttle, the Explorers. If you read the things before, I am trying to show a pattern that I belive is the root of the issue. Explorers only got one reason to move up to station during a normal shift: RP.
There is no real reward to get from moving up to the station for them. Everything they could ever want is in the wilderness, being bigger guns and better armor, the only things that actually help their job.
They also are not part of any chain, like any other department. Miners are obvious, and medical is a responceunit to help when other departments have issues resulting in harm. The civil-roles play each other and Securitys duty to the station is well understood, Engineering is the first step to a functioning station, cargo is one of the most usefull parts to any other department and Research is a resourcesink, as well as a supplypoint for other departments like medical, civil, security... the list where their parts and gips are helpfull is endless.

But to drive the point home, the issue I think we are not seeing, but feeling symtoms of is that the Explorers got no strong-IC reason to make the trek home, RP being mainly an OOC reason the player longs for and no issue to the lone explorer-character.
So my belive is that the explorers should get more reward from returning to the cross. Let R&D make them nice tools via breaking down explorer-junk they would not have access to if they get no specifical explorer-junk, like personal energy shields, gloves that reduce balistic-knockback, boots that stop spiders from pushing you over. Things you can not find in the wilderness, unlike guns, but require things from the wilderness to be made!
You could also give them a wider arrange of things to order from cargo, and make explorer-junk usefull to cargo. Maybe let them find less guns, but more crates of materials, rare items for Science and Medical or a fridge full of Godka to send up to the bar?


And lastly, since the other symtom that is feelable from the shuttles is a lack of S&R, I suggest, on a note unrelated to all of the aboth, to give S&R Phasepistols. Less usefull then Phasecarabines or anything the explorers find, but reasonable enoth for them to have the bit of security they need outside. Might as well make that position more appealing. And while Pilots are not expected to go out by regulations, handing them a flarepistol (as in, a proper one and not a .45 with special ammo) would be reasonable, but more on that in another issue.


Yes, the shuttles are not perfect, but the problems you experience are, to my understanding, inflated by the deeper problem of Explorers and S&R, and would otherwise be a minor nuisance. Any bigger issues with the shuttle is the autopilots being to good for pilots having a point! What I mean, making the Autopilots faster would only make the regular Pilots less useful then they already are, turning them into glorified greysuits until the Shuttle-Update arrives.


TL:DR:
- Explorers got no IC or Mechanical reason to return to station.
- Medical hates shuttles because there is no S&R to do that job.
- S&R is unappealing, give them a sidearm so they can be more reasonable expected to join and help the explorers.
- Better automated Shuttles would make pilots compleatly pointless, wait for changes to the system as part of the Shuttle-Update, still in planing.
- Mining is fine and does not really care, anyways.

Suggested Quickfix awaiting balancing:
- Add more resource-crates and Destructive Analiser Junk to the stuff spawning for explorers. Make them think: If I go back now, I could have [an Advanced Energygun/a better Suit/X].
- Give S&R Phasepistols, because they have to go our rescue explorers, not the station-medical
- Wait for feedback. (I expect more Explorers turning back after a good haul to do station things and more S&R to join taking pressure from medical)

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ZekeSulastin
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Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:14 pm

Xenoarch is still planetside. Big part of why I never visit it as RD unless specifically asked. At least xenobio and a good part of xenobotany got moved to the station semi-recently. Also, from the research perspective, anything that helps miners get back to the station more often is a good thing because there are maybe two miners that will actually try to make a delivery at a reasonable point in the round ...

Oh well. I made my points; I'm out.

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