Hi folks! We have a lot of plans for what a future universe map could look like. However, to shake things up in the currently running universe, the topic of making changes to the map as it is right now came up quite a few times already. We do have some ideas here as well, but at first I’d like to open it up to your input without any pre-defined assumptions or suggestions.
So, if you could make changes to the current universe map that take effect immediately, what would they be?
Looking forward to your input! Thank you very much!
EDIT to clarify:
Feel free to provide feedback about the map UI too of course, but the new thing we’re considering here is changing the actual map content (sectors, systems, planets etc.) while it’s live.
The sectors should be named as if they were on a grid, EE in the top left, UU in the bottom right. A player should know without checking the map that EE and ED are next to each other, GN and EP are kinda close, while CT and RF are far apart.
Make MU searchable. Have a pulldown with all the sectors listed, and which highlights the sector on the map. (This is if sectors are not renamed).
Don’t reuse sector names, and if a mistake was made, fix it completely. Why would anyone look for OT-580b in the TO sector instead of the OT sector? If you rename sectors, rename the stars and planets as well.
Add warpgates, providing instant travel. The gates should be super expensive to build (100 million?) and expensive to use (50 credits/ton?) to make them endgame exclusive, and unsuitable for bulk transport.
I would suggest a slow remapping of resource concentrations and fertility (and maybe a few more fertile spots). The remapping would slowly increase concentrations further from the core and (potentially) reduce concentrations closer to the core… hopefully this would help encourage growth towards the rim instead of us all clustering near the CXs
Is this question about the map UI, or the actual stars/planets/connections of the universe itself?
As far as changes to the stars and planets of the universe, I would advocate for an improvement of the quality of outer-rim planets. That might look something like… any (uninhabited?) planet more than 8 jumps from a CX gets a boost to the resources and fertility, in proportion to their distance from the CX.
I imagine some sort of fun in-universe description for why these changes took place- “a subspace anomaly has moved through the galaxy and transformed several planets!” etc.
If you’re just targeting unpopulated planets, it wouldn’t even affect anyone’s bases… it just gives more good options and reasons for moving further out. I’d be fine with changes that would force a rework of my bases, but reasonable opinions may vary on that one
Fewer systems with just two jump points. When the maps are projected out (freecluster) you find these long ‘arms’ that end up to be neglected and uninteresting in terms of return. Closer systems with poorer resources are more viable because of the more connections and logistics operations.
If adding new systems, the “knotty” constellations such as OP and LS (west) are more interesting.
Changing the structure of the map changes the way logistics is done to outer systems. The flip is also true - changing the way logistics is done “remaps” the viability of systems further out making some systems able to support an economy.
Having a marshaling yard in a system such as XV-826 or OY-799 may open up options for making systems further out more interesting and viable without needing as extensive structural changes to the jump routes.
ZetaZero made an amazing comment on the discord, I’m posting it here to make sure it won’t get lost!
The planets farther away from CX need to have slightly more output, but not too much. What if permits gave more area further out. One permit in the central core gives 500 area. Make the farthermost sectors give more more, say 750 area per permit. And scale the in-between sectors appropriately
Oh wow that’s a really good idea about the centralization pressures topic. I like this a lot.
As for the topic of the MAP - I’m not sure if there are many changes which can be made that are more important than other things that could be done with those same development resources. I agree with most of the wish-lists posted in this thread - but I think there are more important things which should be done first.
Annihilate everything greater than 2 days jump from a Core CX in a galactic cataclysm.
Then, put a fog of war outside of the remaining area with blind lanes leading to darkness, and make us explore the systems to determine the planets, and planets to determine resources. Ships should have to land on the planet and conduct a 24 hour survey, and perhaps the ships must return to CX to deposit the data, before the map is updated for players. This could be infinite in scope and would create a fun Explorer profession. Planets could be procedurally generated for endless growth.
Then, allow us to build a CX wherever we want, for ludicrously huge amounts of resources that will take a corp months to put together.
The outer rim should have both higher quality planets (e.g. a little more fertile) but higher density of planets with good resources is probably more important. If you have a single planet with super valuable resources, people will still colonize that one planet, but it will be a one-off. All the action will still be closer to the CX’s. Without multiple resources clustered together, you will never really be able to “develop” another region of space because it just won’t be attractive enough.
More hyperspace connections.
The outer rim already pays a high cost in terms of travel time and cost. I have seen several situations where if I could setup travel lines across the outer rim, I could actually do some interesting things. However, because the existing map is a hub and spoke, if you have planets that are on two different spokes, it’s no longer a viable option. Planets that would be a single very short hop or two from each other often have a lot of hops between them because you have to go into the core and back out. This vastly limits synergies you can develop on the outer rim.
The ability to advertise services at non-CX locations
One of the things that can really encourage development of a region is steady availability of basic services. If you had a player advertised “fuel and consumables depot” or “shipping hub” a lot more things could be possible and it might attract more expansion. Basically, imagine a space station (not on the planet) with only a LM + warehouse + some way to advertise regular availability to other players. All sorts of shipping lines, development and similar suddenly become possible.
A grid system that makes sense
It is practically impossible to visually locate a planet. You have to open another command that has the planet linked to find it. This is really annoying.
Player constructed hyperspace corridors
It would be very cool to be able to essentially build “hyperspace corridors”. This is different than jump gates that connect 2 points across the galaxy. This is more constructing a “beacon” or similar in systems on each end of a system. That hyperspace lane now gets a X% boost to travel or recharge time. There could be some maintenance costs or various boost levels, based on building level. Maybe they are taxable or something like that. This essentially would be an alternative to jump gates that lets players build and maintain “fast travel” lanes.
I’d tie permits to plots, and make every permit/plot on a planet equal in size.
Permits are weird because they allow you to build more without consuming more space on the planet. I’m permitted more space to build, but where?
I’d make each permit require a plot to go along with it and grant an equal amount of space. This would make the extra space the permit allows feel like it’s tied to something real in the universe. Any planet that would be over-allocated because of the increased number of plots consumed could have temporary ghost plots.
I don’t expect any of my remaining ideas to be remotely feasible without a reset.
Permits are also weird because you get more by increasing your HQ size. Who is giving me permission to build? My office staff? So next I’d tie permits to the faction. I am in the Insitor Cooperative and the permits I’m issued as a new licensee are for Insitor Cooperative planets. If I want to build on a Neo-Charter Planet, my IC permits are useless. If I want more IC permits, I should work on building my reputation.
Or, I could buy an unused Neo-Charter permit that someone else has put up for sale.
Planets with no faction would not require faction permits. When you leave the core, you buy your permits on the open market as issued by the planetary government. Planets with no government have no one to issue the permits, or to stop you from colonizing it and setting up your own government.
On this basis, I’d start building out taxes on the sale of unused permits and occupied plots, the ability for the faction or planetary government to buy back permits and plots, costs and benefits for a planet to be associated with a faction, planetary voting to join or leave a faction, and benefits and repercussions for doing so.
I’d rather see corporations replaced with player-run planetary, sector, and faction governance.
To properly colonize a region, you want more than just resource taps that get shipped back to the core manufacturing worlds around the CX. You want resource taps plus habitable (no negative environment) planets. But habitable planets are actually pretty rare out there.
For that reason, I think finding even a planet with 2x the ALO of the core worlds won’t really turn into a developed region of space unless there’s a cluster of resources and rocky planets that don’t require 900k-1.8m AIC in TSH, 600k in INS, or 300-600k in HSE to process those resources.
There is a balance question here, and for some resource taps it works out fine. You want F, they almost all require AEF+INS. That’s fine, it adds to the value of F. Similar situations exist for LES. BTS always requires TSH.
Unfortunately, if you are building a Chemistry, Metallurgy, Electronics, Food Production, HYF (agricultural), or construction planet… the only things that matter are: Minimal negative environmental modifiers, and close to your supply chain. INCs next to FRMs and HYFs. HYFs next to H2O, etc.
Right now, for these production planets, it feels like it’s mostly just wrong to build on a planet that requires something more expensive than MCG+SEA. So it’s not much of a gameplay choice. I’m not really sure what the solution is here- reducing costs or amounts of some of these materials, or making more friendly planets in the outer rim to enable clusters of developed planets.
H2O-bearing planets are a bit of an oddity. They are required for just about any chain/cluster of planets (certainly at least the things we are working on). Rich H2O planets that don’t have negative environmental effects are fertile, which is rare and valuable on its own. But an EXT planet that has Mineral H2O or requires HSE or TSH is not really viable.
Check out the H2O planets south of ANT, there’s a bunch in sectors GK, NJ, GM-498a… but they aren’t viable at all due to extreme temperatures, pressures, and Mineral water. Since Mineral or atmospheric water (eg WR-709b) occurs alongside other negative features, it ends up being a double-kick in the nuts.
Agreed! Connectivity issues are a big part of it. I think the in-game map is fairly unreadable for the purpose of understanding the topology. Like others here, I use http://prosperous.freecluster.eu/?i=1 for that. A lot of the outer rim (southern antares is my personal area of focus) is a straight line away from the core CXes, it just doesn’t look that way at first glance in the in-game map. Low connectivity means marginal systems are even more jumps away from each other.
3D star maps are irresistible, and as a dev I understand why. They look cool and are easy to implement. But I don’t think they make the game more playable. Sorry!
A handful of extra connections as you move out could conceivably help, as long as the other incentives are there too.
You start with the galaxy which is the basis of the whole MU
You break down each ‘region’ into super-clusters which have connections from one super cluster to the nearby super-clusters.
Then you break down the super-clusters into clusters which can connect to nearby clusters
Then you break down the clusters into their regional systems which only connect to their cluster ‘hub’. (Or maybe even to each other, to the benefit of inter-cluster trade.)
Granted, this feels like something that you could also turn into a corporation/faction based mega project. Jump gates and what not. But organizing the universe in such a way would help alleviate the 30 jumps from the core to the complete dead end edge of the galaxy.
It also wouldn’t prevent someone from jumping from one super cluster region to another, if their cluster was next to the other region’s cluster. But it might make the lanes a bit to over complicated.
Would also have the added benefit of creating natural regions, though it might be a bit too easy to spread into neighboring regions / core worlds. Which might make it worthwhile to separate the factions out, and have the core be the true ‘outer rim’.
Just food for thought, it’s not very well fleshed out.
I hope terraforming comes someday.
Oh also, one last note? I really dislike how we hide the numbers on daily (assumed 100%) resource extraction on planets. That should be in the MU, as opposed to being something we have to go to third party tools for.
Some disruption to existing players’ setups is ok, but major disruption is not. Removing the FEO deposit from Vallis or making Promitor need TSH is a no-no.
The experience of new players should be preserved, while ideally the experience of old players should be enhanced.
Development work should be minimised; ideally make changes only using existing techniques
Point 3 for me excludes a lot of the things that have been discussed here so far: doing significant work to MU, adding fog-of-war, even renaming systems. But I do think that working out if you can muck around with the stellar connectivity graph would be extremely valuable. If you can, it opens up a lot of interesting options for very little dev work:
Try ‘breaking open the ring’. Cut the connections between LB-599 and LB-428, UB-402 and IA-158, UB-282 and SE-648, LS-231 and KW-602, RC-796 and UV-795, XH-556 and XH-329; add connections between CH-115 and YI-209, IV-583 and GY-135, AM-978 and YK-590. Travel between CXes is suddenly as much or more of a journey as between a CX and its outer space. See what happens to commodity prices between CXes.
Assuming adding a connection is straightforward maintenance, you can jury-rig player-created wormholes very straightforwardly with existing features: create a corporation project “Wormhole Gateway Control Station”, make it cost 300-400M or so (and make it use MTC and RSH!!), and declare that if two corporations named “… Wormhole A” and “… Wormhole B” both complete that project in different systems, you’ll add a short FTL connection between those two systems in the next maintenance window. A bit clunky, sure, but you can test/balance the concept without any of the politics work to establish player consensus about where to build womrholes in-game: players will decide amongst themselves, then set up the corps and build the projects.
In conjunction with wormholes, try tripling (or more) all FTL distances. We have fast ships now, anywhere in the galaxy is accessible within a day. What happens if any FTL travel becomes far more expensive? People will look for interesting compound systems where they can build a shipyard and use STL to move resources between multiple planets. Like the starter systems, but there are relatively few outer-worlds systems where that happens. Where will people choose to restore fast connections, when they have to make an investment in it?
Related to @SomeKnight and @melon164 suggestions, I think it be fun to add redundant connections into the FTL graph. These could cover longer distances like in a skip list. This would play out the different FTL drives better against each other, e.g. the QCR would be better for short distances, but for longer distances an engine with longer charging, but higher top speed would win.
If that’s not possible, it’d still be fun to mess with the distribution of FTL jump lengths. Right now I have the (unsubstantiated) feeling that they are all somewhat same-ish.
Changing the resource distribution around the Hubur and Arclight could be nice to balance them a bit. Hubur e.g. imports most of the O, because the local sources are not worth it.
Oohh, a topic area I have thoughts on. Although I’m not sure how well these fit into the specific question the devs are seeking input on.
My number one thought has already been mentioned, but I want to go back to it. Permits should give you more area in distant systems because they are less desirable / less remote / don’t have faction corps micromanaging bases. My simple model is 500 area in faction space, 750 area in “near faction” space, and 1000 area in remote space.
And this encourages big established players to move to distant systems because mid/late game is about optimizing base area for your permit count.
Thought two — FTL travel is too cheap. From a physics standpoint, FTL should be very expensive relative to STL travel. My specific scenario here is comparing the fuel cost of a direct path from Katoa to Umbra vs a jump out/jump back route between Katoa and Umbra. I can live with double jump being faster, but it should be much much more expensive in credits.
Idea 3 - this has been mentioned, but to amplify and put a spin on it - I would like to see more jump route options. Specifically, I’d like to see certain bridge/reactor combos able to jump longer distances than other combinations. Thus those ships might be able to go from system A to system C on a single jump while other ships have to go through system B.
And finally my big idea — “disasters” in the form of meteor strikes and asteroid strikes on planets. A trade off for people already on the planet…
Negative - all the buildings on a planet take some damage
Positive - New natural resources become available on the planet
Picture an asteroid of gold striking Hephaestus, suddenly creating a mining blitz there.
I have rambled long enough, hopefully these ideas help!