Author Topic: Suggestion for Improvement  (Read 8741 times)

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crazyivan532

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Suggestion for Improvement
« on: October 08, 2015, 01:05:15 PM »
Im enjoying the game so far, one slight improvement came to mind after doing some geology and gathering some minerals, please could you implement a sell all for different minerals and allow it to take them from the tote boxes too please.

rditto48801

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Re: Suggestion for Improvement
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2015, 03:24:04 PM »
I second that.
Not just for Minerals, but also for food items, fertilizer, algae, etc.

It might also be nice for an interaction to directly transfer a user selected amount of something directly from a storage unit to a tote held by the player.
Selling 40+ iron... that takes a lot of clicking and dragging...
Boldly going forward, 'cause I can't find reverse.

Doctor Watson; Proving that being wrong means being one step closer to being right.

Hyper

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Re: Suggestion for Improvement
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2015, 03:49:34 PM »
Will look into doing that soon as some of the major issues get addressed. Last couple weeks were set aside for that and the story mode downloads but 100 issues have hammered me all at once.
Thanks for the input and I promise to make things work better.....

Hyper

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Re: Suggestion for Improvement
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2016, 10:33:57 AM »
Move here from private message

Understand your strategy. think u hav done good job with balance. like the game a lot!  hav played 20 hours or so on one AI competition game.  no crashes so far.  no game threatening bugs.

Some Shorter-Term Thoughts:

1. It's a struggle though sometimes to figure out how to do things -- e.g. buying mining equip.  perhaps this is by intent -- otherwise, an expanded (and more consistent) f1 help section would be useful.  Am willing to help write it  -- when I get little more experience -- if you like.
I can add this to help file

2. Some of hubs get a little congested to navigate, given the large and multiple units that are in the center of them, and the open doors -- again perhaps by intent.
Was supposed to be arranged different, you can delete the doors

3. Don't like the large status panel that sits in bottom center of screen -- obscures vision etc -- perhaps I have just not figured out how to move or remove it or make it smaller. 
Toggle can do
On the other hand, it would be nice to have toggle-able option of another (purchasable) panel that would give detailed summary status (in one panel or scrollable list) of all the units:  Power; Life support; water & fertilizer & growth status of all the farm 'fields', fish, algae, mushroom, worms tanks, etc.  This would save a lot of unnecessary running and checking.
Running and checking was left in to give the player something to do. Easy buttons made the game too slow.
4. Would be nice to have some sort of a temporary Pause button (my grandkids are always interrupting me).  Hard to pause a real time engine. If other players are in game they get paused as well. We considered an "Away" button that would bypass most of the systems for the player, may implement that. Issue there was player logs in fires up bio, farm etc set pause, go watch tv come back and harvest, dont have to play the game at all to get rich.

Also would be good to be able to save a started game, go on to another game, then come back to earlier one(s). Massive database issue, it has been considered but the Steam version once the install is done I can't mod the data directory so I have to have 10 blank databases pre loaded and If I do that they will want 12

5. In real world Mars, solar panels would need to be dusted off periodically.  Do current panels have any activation process, and any output monitor?
Not yet but good point, that can be added.

6. Well within the "balance" consideration you mentioned, but doubt that wind would howl on Mars and not too sure about lightning.  Dust storms and dust devils are of course very real.
As I understand there can be lightning discharges, the howling wind was added for effect. Sound does not travel well on Mars.

7. How you treat radiation is of more concern (in giving people the wrong idea).  There are two kinds of radiation:  a) Solar storms (i.e. from our sun) and b) the very high energy (but lower intensity and not variable) cosmic radiation that comes from elsewhere in our galaxy.  In transit to Mars or in Mars orbit, periodic solar storms are very real danger, but the (albeit thin) Mars atmosphere is enuf to protect settlers on the surface!  As far as the more steady, lower intensity but high energy (that is harder to shield from) cosmic radiation, earth's atmosphere is thick enuf to give protection from it, but Mar's is not -- although the planet itself cuts out half the cosmic radiation that settlers would see while in transit or orbit.  From a game standpoint, I suppose bases could be built (a possible game variable) to shield most of cosmic radiation, while rovers would provide less protection, etc.  Lava tubes would probably provide the best.

Some Longer-Term Thoughts:

1. Real Mars has (or is thought to have) features that would make spectacular expansion locations:  Polar caps with water ice in summer and thick additional layers of dry ice (CO2) in winter that builds up then sublimes away in spring;  do I need to mention Valles Marineris?;  Also the outflow plains region east of Valles Marineris -- which by the way should be rich in minerals and salts;  Lava Tubes!;  multiple volcanic mountains including Mnt Olympus (where most of the lava tubes are probably located), and lastly, some of the larger meteor crators.

2. I get awfully lonesome in my sleeping quarters just listening to the jukebox all by myself.  It would be awfully nice to have someone else to share the base with -- and to share the work with! This could take the form of a spouse/companion (some kind of partnership?) or perhaps just hired help that one would need to pay a salary, and of course would need to train to do specific and/or multiple jobs

3. Related to above (purchase, train, do work, companionship<?>), would be some type of upgradable AI robot.

4. Windmills and possibly geothermal could be energy sources on Mars.
Air pressure is so low on Mars that wind power would be almost impossible

5. Start to terraform Mars to make it more earthlike????
This is always a subject of interest to many. Mars core / magnetic field is so low the solar winds would blow the atmosphere away before it could form. Life that could survive in Antarctica may have a chance to survive but I wouldn't count on any atmosphere that would contain enough oxygen to sustain it.
OK, that's (more than) enuf for now.  I have a son who is into such programming and he rolls his eyes at some of my suggestions : >)

cheers,  Andy
« Last Edit: January 04, 2016, 12:53:42 PM by Hyper »

Mars_In_Ten

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Re: Suggestion for Improvement
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2016, 12:47:43 PM »
Thanks Hyper for posting my private mssg -- & for reply. 
(2) being able to delete doors solves congestion problem in hubs.
(5) re dust on solar panels, on several occasions, the dust devils blew accumulated dust off of Spirit and Opportunity, one of the main reasons they functioned so long.  Dust devils randomly cleaning solar panels would be a neat game addition.
(7) I should have said that the planet Mars would shield settlers on the surface from half the high energy radiation that they would experience in transit to Mars and in other deep space environments.  Even in Mars orbit, the bulk of the planet would provide some reduction.
(7) Higher radiation levels seem to be tied to the dust storms (?). If so, separating them would be closer to reality.
Mars is bombarded with radiation all the time. The dust particles would carry that radiation around making it higher in the dust. Engineering assumption

General Comment:  5000 credits to start game (allowing rover and 9 base modules to start) makes it too easy -- and too unrealistic.  May want to have option of starting with less, thus having to work your way up more slowly.  Some anyway will prefer this approach.
And some say 5000 was not enough. Tried to strike a balance but could be an option.

Comment/Question: In the competitive AI mode, apparently when you goof up (or the software goofs up for you) and you presumedly die, I was surprised to see you were "revived" back on main base. Was this an intended game feature?  Does such a revival have any effect on player's status?  After one such revival, I took the taxi back to my base, but was dropped off inside the enclosed square of my base modules, with no means of escape -- as my O2 slowly depleted: Either a bug or a programmer trying to add a bit of ironic humor.  After this I will be dropped off by my Rover.
I will change this, good point

A few possible bugs:  a) Parked rover with Porta Light and other stuff on board.  When drove away later, ' Light was left hanging in mid air still in garage.  Seems it occurred  elsewhere as well.
b) Little pressure/temp panel read 0/0 when returned from EVA, despite properly functioning LifeSupport and Power modules which indicated normal environ levels.  Had to leave suit on, and could not plant new crop etc.  Quitting and restarting fixed issue.
c) Would not allow suit storage when returning from another EVA -- & various other commands then unresponsive as well.  Once I found one that was responsive (e.g. taking food from refrig), <or perhaps it was just after a time delay> all commands worked again.
d) Just in general, after playing game for a while -- or perhaps it is just in later stages of game -- the movement keys tend to repeatedly temporarily lock up.  Sometimes quitting and restarting helps. Sometimes going on EVA helps.  Perhaps it is just a quirk of my system or how I have memory allotments etc set.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2016, 12:58:13 PM by Hyper »

LostMartian

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Re: Suggestion for Improvement
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2016, 07:29:45 PM »
I haven't got around to playing Frontier yet (I've played plenty of challenger though), but I have some thoughts based upon what I've read.

Since the game doesn't do thing in terms of phases like its predecessor, players will probably be looking at the help section for information of how to produce specific goods, not general multi-purpose sections. Instead of looking for the biology section because they are on the biology phase, they might be looking for "How to grow fish", "How to grow algae", or "How to mine", etc. For instance, fish needs the fish processing and fish tanks modules, so you would need a subsection showing what base modules you need and why. Optional base modules like the kitchen (for storing and cooking of food) could also be listed. You also need items like fish eggs and fish food, so some mention of how to produce more and how to get more (if you run out) would also be handy. Then maybe do a subsection on what you need to do until you get a product. For instance, fish need to get placed in the fish tanks, given food, kept above freezing temperature, and then harvested when they come of age. Plants need a decent atmosphere, above freezing temperatures, planted in planters, and need to be fertilized and watered every so often, and then harvested and processed.

It might even be tempting to treat finding ores and mining ores as 2 different sections. You can't just put down an auger anywhere and just start mining. There is a whole process of finding ores before you can even mine. You not only have to do work to find the x and y coordinates to put the drill down, but you also have to figure out the depth too. Plus you can get credits for finding ores, so that is practically an end goal in of itself. You don't need augers and other stuff for that. You might save some confusion in the mining section, if the first thing you can say you need to find an ore deposit (see finding ores) before you can even start mining.

Quote
5. Start to terraform Mars to make it more earthlike?

That might be beyond the scope of the game. Maybe in a later in the series. From what I understand, there have been different games and prototypes for different stages of the series. One prototype (Explorer) starts you off with a rocket ship that just landed and you have to look for water as you're starting up the first base on Mars. Basically make a starting point where you can start the colonization process of mars and welcome people as they show up. Surveyor was unreleased but was about finding good sites for building new bases. Challenger involved making a base somewhere far from other bases, but with regular shipments of hardware and with most of the hard stuff figured out. You just had to build the base according to the blueprints (with some of it built between phases). Frontier is about what comes later once the shipments from Earth stop when Earth suffers from severe problems, forcing the Mars habitats to figure out how to survive without outside support.

You can look here for more info http://hyperkat.com/scratchbox/index.php?topic=895.0

Quote
General Comment:  5000 credits to start game (allowing rover and 9 base modules to start) makes it too easy -- and too unrealistic.  May want to have option of starting with less, thus having to work your way up more slowly.  Some anyway will prefer this approach.

Maybe. Or maybe its enough to prevent boredom. I find that even in Challenger that there are times when I had to sit in the base and do nothing for some reason or another. Maybe my radiation levels are too high and need to cool off before I start taking damage, or I'm still waiting for my plants to grow, or wait for anything worth doing. This is even with a fully functional base.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2016, 07:33:25 PM by LostMartian »

Mars_In_Ten

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Re: Suggestion for Improvement
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2016, 09:51:54 AM »
Hi Lost,  I agree Help sections needs attention in spots (partly along lines you suggest), but on other hand I've never liked it when everything was spelled out in specific detail. Part of fun on a new game is figuring out the details.

Phases of Game:  It would be great if at some point, aspects of those earlier Phases (Explorer, Surveyor, Challenger) could be integrated into the Frontier game as start options.  For actual Mars settlement enthusiasts (and there are many of us!), these earlier phases add considerable interest -- not necessarily in competitive multiplayer mode, but as a long term civilization-building game.

Initial Credit: Your point well taken.  I was only suggesting lower amounts as game-start OPTIONS.    Cheers, Andy

Mars_In_Ten

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Re: Suggestion for Improvement
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2016, 10:00:53 AM »
Games Sales Table at Mars Society Conference:  I'll be happy to set up a publicity/sales table for Mars Colony at this year's Mars Society conference, held this year in Washington DC, Sept 22-25, Catholic University campus.

LostMartian

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Re: Suggestion for Improvement
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2016, 09:32:21 PM »
Quote
Hi Lost,  I agree Help sections needs attention in spots (partly along lines you suggest), but on other hand I've never liked it when everything was spelled out in specific detail. Part of fun on a new game is figuring out the details.

I've watched some let's plays where some players really showed that they didn't know how to play these games. Some have thought that the separator was just for drinking water or that the sabatier was for making oxygen for the base. They didn't do well... Maybe watching those videos will make anyone think that all new players will need special help... Perhaps it is a coincidence that people who had trouble were the same ones making let's play videos.

Realistically, I think that competent workers and good help guides are important for any mission to Mars. The costs of sending a small team to mars will cost 10s of billions to 100s of billions of dollars. This number varies depending on the hardware used, what you intend to do, and how you intend to do a return trip (if that option is even on the table). With that much money involved, it pays to have people who know what they are doing and have the guides that the crew needs. Without, it would make the people in charge of the project look dumb. I think it would be more realistic if it wasn't hard for the players to get started as the people they are playing as should know this stuff. It is hard to make a good excuse for not hand picking the best. Maybe there should be stuff like a popup warning or reminder for players when they try to do something they should know better than do, such as trying to buy an auger before any ore deposits have been found. For instance, "You should try to find ore deposits before using an auger. See the help section for more details.", or something like that.

Edit: I don't mean to sound heavy handed, but I think it hurts immersion if characters don't seem trained for the job.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2016, 11:58:40 PM by LostMartian »

Hyper

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Re: Suggestion for Improvement
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2016, 03:21:47 PM »
Adding web based help files now
http://www.hyperkat.com/marsfrontier.html hit the "Tech" button

LostMartian

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Re: Suggestion for Improvement
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2016, 06:55:13 PM »
I see more content has been added since yesterday. Do you want feedback now, or later? I have a few comments now based upon a quick glance.

Is there any good material for getting nickel? I find that the only source of it is Olivine, but it is an ore that has nickel as a secondary material so you don't get a whole lot per batch. A bit of a pain back in Challenger as I had needed to make several trips just to get a few units of nickel.

I see that stuff like magnesium has a use now. They appear to be used in player made parts. They didn't have a use in Challenger.

Do repair kits do anything this time around? The NPK fertilizer sounded like something you could throw into the fertilizer bin in the farming module to get more NPK fertilizer, but that didn't work back in Challenger.

Hyper

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Re: Suggestion for Improvement
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2016, 10:54:46 AM »
The help files ( also available in game for those who know how to press the F1 key) will be an on going thing for a while. Half want to know move by move how to play the game and half want to enjoy the discovery.

Hunting for the materials is part of the fun but you can take the easy way out and just buy what you need from the NPC by the orestocks.

You need a repair kit to build upgraded parts.
Upgraded (player built) parts will make things run better, produce more and break less.

Hyper

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Re: Suggestion for Improvement
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2016, 01:52:18 PM »
Ok now I will take comments on what to add to the help files. Please post in the Game Help area

http://www.hyperkat.com/FrontierGame/mcfinfo.html

Mars_In_Ten

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Re: Suggestion for Improvement
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2016, 12:50:18 PM »
OK, been playing a lot of MCFrontier, trying for a deeper understanding of game details, so will resume "Suggestions..." chain.  First, to  further follow up on my Reply #3 above with numbered items, and your reply in red there, and in your Reply #4:

Shorter Term Thoughts:

Item 3: I can't find a way of toggling the personal status info panel that is in CENTER at bottom of screen.  Not quite so critical, now that I hav found way to look up and look down --duh!  Second part of your #3 reply: On further thought, I agree, running is good even if tiring. I spent time at Mars Society's Utah desert research station and also the one on Devon Island in the far arctic, trying to do Mars analog research.  Much of our time was spent repairing frozen pipes, balky generators, broken com links, etc, etc,  It will be a big part of life on Mars.

Item 7 (radiation):  I still have my concerns here.  Dr Robert Zubrin in his 1996 (2nd edition 2011), "The Case for Mars, The Plan To Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must", does a good job of explaining radiation hazards  -- and putting them in proper perspective.  If you don't have one, might be a good add to you resource library on this and many other about-Mars issues.  Amazon has cheap used copies.  I see MC as an educational/awareness tool -- and a damn good one too.  NASA ia all too fast at coming up with excuses of why not to go to Mars, and with finding ways to keep their subcontractors happy doing non-critical-path research and development.  Radiation concerns is one of their big ones that they exaggerate (and the press/public buy it).  OK, no more on-the-stump talk.

To your points, while cell-damaging radiation is higher on Mars, Earth too has a radiation problem -- that humans have evolved to counter by repair.  As I said before, albeit thin, the Mars atmosphere does remove most of solar radiation, and the planet's bulk removes half the cosmic radiation.  The remaining health problem is not acute like exhibited in MC, but will likely increase chronic long term risks of cancer.
Perhaps some type of point or other penalty could be assessed for each hour spent outside.

As to dust carrying radiation, both types of incoming radiation can break chemical bonds (think atomic electrons), but neither come close to having enuf energy to make a non-radioactive material (like regolith) become radioactive -- that is of altering the atomic nucleous.  From a game standpoint, fouling of equipment (say Rover) might well be an exploitable hazard from getting caught in a dust storm.

Mars_In_Ten

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Re: Suggestion for Improvement
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2016, 02:05:16 PM »
Further followup on Longer-term thoughts from Reply #3 and #4 above:

Item 4 (windmills for power):  You're probably right, it is a stretch, but not totally out of consideration.  The force of air movement (i.e the momentum of its molecules) increases with the square of its velocity, so IF a wind speed on Mars was ten times that of Earth, it would have roughly the same force as that of the lower speed Earth wind -- even though Mars atmosphere is only about 1% of Earth's. Now at ground level, say 100 mph Mars winds might not be common, but maybe with a tall enuf windmill ....   and at 0.4g, taller would be easier to build, and perhaps too, turbines could be engineered to operate at lower force.

Item 5 (terraforming): Yes, Mars likely lost much of its atmosphere to space because of its lower mass and perhaps magnetic field properties, but that happened over hundreds of millions of years.  Scientists are finally getting better understanding of why this happened.  But, IF a way could be found of releasing a significant portion of the CO2 at the poles (and some think they know how), and to vaporize some of the water, a run-away (by Earth standards) greenhouse effect might be triggered. Even a few degrees centigrade and a 10 to 15 percent Earth pressure, might be enuf to allow some O2-producing  plants/bacteria/algae to grown ...  well, it MIGHT be POSSIBLE anyway ... eventually.  And everything we know, or think we known, says that atmosphere could persist for a long time (hundreds of thousands of years?) before it too would be blown to space.  But hey, we would have taken a likely dead, or mostly dead (but once perhaps very much alive), planet and brought it back to life.

From a game standpoint, what might be interesting would be to add a field (think rover) mission to research the possibility of terraforming.  For example, determine depth and extent of polar CO2 deposits (sort of like we monitor polar ice extent and thickness on a seasonal basis), check for CO2 and/or water permafrost changes, solar energy absorption/reflection etc.

In fact, various kind of research missions might add something interesting.  One of major reasons people will settle Mars is to explore and research it (of course searching for ores is along these lines, but mostly just for monetary or use purposes).  More general scientific research missions would add interest to game -- and entities on Mars and Earth might well be willing to pay for it.  Also would allow gamers to ride around more in rovers -- one of my favorite things.  Somebody on one of the other chains suggested having artifacts scattered around that players could stumble upon as a way of adding interest.  I agree (in fact parts from some of the old rovers might actually have uses).  But from a game viewpoint, having hidden things or features, could be integral to such research missions.  Some of hidden artifacts/things/features could add also be used to create sense of mystery.