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Thread: “I see dead people” – Dying in Elite: Dangerous

  1. Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. #1
    Lead Designer- Elite: Dangerous Frontier Employee

    “I see dead people” – Dying in Elite: Dangerous

    It’s going to happen.

    Sooner or later, your ship’s going to end up as so much glittering space dust, with you mixed in with it. The big question is: what happens next?

    Bearing in mind Elite: Dangerous is being constructed from the ground up to support online play we think that dying needs to be handled in a fair and logical manner for victor and victim.

    We want to encourage cooperative and competitive player interaction that might legitimately result in player death, whilst protecting against malicious griefing (which we loosely define as actions whose only purpose, outcome and gain is to punish and frustrate other players).

    We want to get the balance right so that death is a meaningful threat that really does get the adrenaline pumping, without it being so punitive that it pushes away more casual players.

    Current Plan:

    To get the ball rolling, here are our current thoughts on shuffling off the mortal coil in the game.

    When you die:

    • You restart the game from the location at which your ship was last docked (docking records the details of your ship, equipment and cargo)
    • All carried cargo is lost (either destroyed or floating where you died)
    • If your death was reported as a criminal act, the perpetrator(s) gain a criminal status, bounty and temporary forced inclusion into the “all” player group
    • If your death was reported as a criminal act, surviving cargo is flagged as stolen goods for an amount of time
    • Your ship suffers some damage to components (that can obviously be repaired at a cost)
    • Some missions/events will be flagged as failed
    • Your current ratings could be negatively affected (for example, your combat rating)
    • We’re also investigating opt-in insurance policies that could cover ship damage and cargo loss. Whilst cargo is never recovered, you could at least get some form of payout in compensation. Of course, this could potentially lead to increased premiums for a while.

    Issues:

    One of the issues we need to grapple with is how to deal with potential death and network loss. Should your ship attempt to hyperspace out when the host of your session loses your connection, or does your ship simply take punishment from enemies until you re-establish contact or until it is destroyed?

    When it comes to ship destruction, another area that we haven’t a solid foundation for yet is how escape pods should work (automatic or manually operated?) and what their benefits are. Should escape pods be required to protect your commander avatar, or is this persona simply too important to ever truly die?

    We’d like to hear what you think.

    Are we on the right track, or flogging a dead space-horse? Can you see terrible flaws in our proposal? Are there corner cases we aren’t addressing? Perhaps you have a death penalty system in mind that’s simply way cooler.

    Thinking caps at the ready!

  2. #2
    I think. Therefore I am!

    There is a main forum (long) thread on this one (there's a surprise). I think that headers should include links to such threads, and we should be strongly encouraged to read them.

    FWIW, I LIKE the idea of forced temporary inclusion in the all group for naughty boys. That's one we did not see coming on the main forum. Ditto the forced damage on recovery.

    You need to state where we stand on saved games, and restarting characters. Last I read was some very vague blurb from DB about save games. Personally, I don;t think you should be able to go back to some arbitrary save point befoe problems happened. So I think a save should be a server-side thing, done to give you the data to do a resurrection, not a player determined thing.

    As for restarting characters - your proposals as they stand are a non starter for new players. Some reasonably high proportion of new players will die on their first flight. If they get hit with an insurance fee they cannot afford, PLUS damage to their ship, they will be in a mess. You may need to give some leeway early on in the career of a commander OR allow players to just start again if that puts them in a better position (or both).

    Escape pods depend on how resurrection is done. It seems to me that to fly off in an escape pod should be 'better' than getting killed. So the penalty should not be so severe. If that is not the case, then escape pods are redundant. However, if escape pods are in play, then we need to decide what happens about a PC being scooped or, worse still, shot.

    Lost connections seem to me to be best handled by the ship being taken over by a simple AI for a period of time - say 10-20 seconds. A simple AI would do things like avoiding a collision, but very little else. At the end of that time the ship should disappear - perhaps with a hyperspace cloud that reads as a bad jump if anyone investigates. If the ship has been killed before then, then treat as if the ship was killed when the pilot was aboard. That should deal with deliberate connection loss when about to be killed.

  3. #3
    Hello Sandro,

    based on your comment "All carried cargo is lost (either destroyed or floating where you died)" I see a problem in case you have a lost your mission objective item and its still floating at the place where you died.

    Example: nest of pirates and you lost your cargo there, how should you get back your important cargo? I suggest that there is a well defined save point (like undocking space port or station) and you need to pay the repairs but you stay with your cargo.

    Just my 2 cents

    Cheers,
    MichaelT

  4. #4
    I like all the When you die: suggestions in the OP.
    Ship emergency hyper-spacing out sounds like a good idea for a d/c. Maybe the reliability of it depends on how repaired / expensive the emergency hyperspace device is but I like the concept from a practical gaming point of view and maintaining immersion point of view.

  5. #5
    One major point that I think needs to be covered is whether it is possible to re-join a battle you have died in.

    Also, how do you regroup with your friends?

  6. #6
    Originally Posted by Sandro Sammarco View Post (Source)
    Issues:

    One of the issues we need to grapple with is how to deal with potential death and network loss. Should your ship attempt to hyperspace out when the host of your session loses your connection, or does your ship simply take punishment from enemies until you re-establish contact or until it is destroyed?

    When it comes to ship destruction, another area that we haven’t a solid foundation for yet is how escape pods should work (automatic or manually operated?) and what their benefits are. Should escape pods be required to protect your commander avatar, or is this persona simply too important to ever truly die?

    We’d like to hear what you think.

    Are we on the right track, or flogging a dead space-horse? Can you see terrible flaws in our proposal? Are there corner cases we aren’t addressing? Perhaps you have a death penalty system in mind that’s simply way cooler.

    Thinking caps at the ready!
    Hmm. The d/c issue is a tricky one. I don't think there's going to be a right answer. What seems commonplace in other games I've played is for the avatar to continue to exist for a say 30s and then despawn if reconnection hasn't been made. I like the idea of d/c = hyperspace out, but what if you d/c in a mass locked area?

    What about ghosting the player? So upon d/c, they become non-interactive and stationary? Follow that up with the 30s despawn perhaps?

    As for escape pods, I really like to think they'd be automatic. I don't know if they player would react fast enough to save themselves from death, considering how fast a smaller ship would die if hit with a plasma accelerator...

    "Your current ratings could be negatively affected (for example, your combat rating)" - I assume this means the Elite rating? I wouldn't want a system that discourages combat, because people would be afraid to lose their current Elite rating if they die and start playing safe to preserve it.

  7. #7
    I think there should be significant risk involved in losing your connection while in combat, simply to prevent "pulling the plug" as a strategy to escape. But this depends on you using a central server without direct communication between clients (prevents someone from knowing the ip of an opponent and launching a network attack to win)

    One issue with using last docked position is it will harm explorers a lot more than any other profession. Would it work giving the player a choice between last dock and previous visited system (leaving some fuel, but other cargo still lost)

    And last: I think that the victim and the killer should be kept from being in the same instance for a little while after the kill. Both to prevent griefing by being killed over and over, and to prevent breaking realism by having a newly resurrected commander showing up.

  8. #8
    Originally Posted by Slawkenbergius View Post (Source)
    One major point that I think needs to be covered is whether it is possible to re-join a battle you have died in.

    Also, how do you regroup with your friends?
    As I said in my earlier thread, here, I am in favour of removing the victim from their current group/instance (I don't know the exact terminology). This would mean that they cannot rejoin the battle, but also means that they cannot be repeatedly griefed.

    As for escape pods, maybe they would allow you to get a replacement ship with no equipment degredation? Otherwise their only purpose seems to be to transport you safely to the station in current system. I get the impression that escape pods are most useful when the alternative is true death, which would mean a reload from the last save in offline mode; I don't know if this could be implemented in online mode though.

    EDIT: Bladesteel must have posted while I was composing this, and covered some of the same ground. As for explorers, I agree that multiple autosaves would be a good idea.

  9. #9
    For your suggestions
    • You restart the game from the location at which your ship was last docked (docking records the details of your ship, equipment and cargo)

    I would defiantly say that if your ship is destroyed you lose whatever cargo you were carrying at the time. And any progress you made since your last save at a station is also lost.

    • All carried cargo is lost (either destroyed or floating where you died)

    I think at least 25% of your cargo should remain at the location.

    • If your death was reported as a criminal act, the perpetrator(s) gain a criminal status, bounty and temporary forced inclusion into the “all” player group

    What do you mean by “forced inclusion into the “all” player group”

    • If your death was reported as a criminal act, surviving cargo is flagged as stolen goods for an amount of time

    I assume you mean that if a good Samaritan finds the floating cargo and takes your cargo he is then open to being attacked by the police and bounty hunters for dealing in stolen property.

    • Your ship suffers some damage to components (that can obviously be repaired at a cost)

    No, i think that once you have been destroyed you should pretty much revert to a previous save status,

    • Some missions/events will be flagged as failed

    Yes if you are dead then I would say Some missions/events will be flagged as failed

    • Your current ratings could be negatively affected (for example, your combat rating)

    I would say that any rating change would only reflect what progress you made since your last save. But im open for discussion on that

    • We’re also investigating opt-in insurance policies that could cover ship damage and cargo loss. Whilst cargo is never recovered, you could at least get some form of payout in compensation. Of course, this could potentially lead to increased premiums for a while.

    I think this needs to be discussed a little more.

  10. #10
    Originally Posted by Bladesteel View Post (Source)
    I think there should be significant risk involved in losing your connection while in combat, simply to prevent "pulling the plug" as a strategy to escape. But this depends on you using a central server without direct communication between clients (prevents someone from knowing the ip of an opponent and launching a network attack to win)
    Agreed, but maybe P2P players need the option of a direct P2Pconnection at least to render it a practical part of the way the network works.

    Originally Posted by Bladesteel View Post (Source)
    One issue with using last docked position is it will harm explorers a lot more than any other profession. Would it work giving the player a choice between last dock and previous visited system (leaving some fuel, but other cargo still lost)
    This solution would take all the excitement out of exploring for me. Might as well stay near populated space if death has the same loss risk.

    Originally Posted by Bladesteel View Post (Source)
    And last: I think that the victim and the killer should be kept from being in the same instance for a little while after the kill. Both to prevent griefing by being killed over and over, and to prevent breaking realism by having a newly resurrected commander showing up.
    Real problems, not sure about the solution, would maintain immersion for the non-dead but would need a good-in-game mechanic for the recently died. Hmmmm. *thinks*

  11. #11
    Originally Posted by Dr Wookie View Post (Source)
    As I said in my earlier thread, here, I am in favour of removing the victim from their current group/instance (I don't know the exact terminology). This would mean that they cannot rejoin the battle, but also means that they cannot be repeatedly griefed.
    I imagine combat will be good fun. If someone kills me, I'd like the chance to rejoin the battle and have a go at getting them back.

    If the escape pod takes you to your last saved position, then the battle might have finished by the time you return anyway.

    If the victim doesn't want to fight in that same battle again, he could leave it a few minutes before jumping back into the system where the battle was taking place, or jump to a different system entirely avoiding the battle that might still be on.

    I wouldn't worry about griefing in combat. Griefers will be people getting in your way on purpose when trying to dock or leave a station, that sort of thing (but griefing is probably going to be a different topic).

  12. #12
    Originally Posted by deMangler View Post (Source)
    This solution would take all the excitement out of exploring for me. Might as well stay near populated space if death has the same loss risk.
    There would still be risk, but you'd be given a choice between being sent back to explored space, or risk continuing your journey in your now damaged cargoless explorer.

  13. #13
    Originally Posted by Dr Wookie View Post (Source)
    As I said in my earlier thread, here, I am in favour of removing the victim from their current group/instance (I don't know the exact terminology). This would mean that they cannot rejoin the battle, but also means that they cannot be repeatedly griefed.
    The idea of the same two players respawning and fighting again and again would destroy any immersion. I lean towards dead-is-dead for a group mission thing.

  14. #14
    Originally Posted by Sandro Sammarco View Post (Source)
    We want to get the balance right so that death is a meaningful threat that really does get the adrenaline pumping, without it being so punitive that it pushes away more casual players.
    For me, this is exactly the thing I'm looking for in a MP game. I've tried Planetside 2 recently, and found the die-respawn-die cycle repetitive and quite boring. I really don't care a single bit when I die in that game.

    If your death was reported as a criminal act, the perpetrator(s) gain a criminal status, bounty and temporary forced inclusion into the “all” player group
    I think we need a few more details here. What exactly are you trying to achieve by doing this? How temporary is temporary? An hour, a day?

    One of the issues we need to grapple with is how to deal with potential death and network loss. Should your ship attempt to hyperspace out when the host of your session loses your connection, or does your ship simply take punishment from enemies until you re-establish contact or until it is destroyed?
    My preference is that the computer AI would take over and defend itself, while trying to hyperspace away. But the AI should be not be good enough to make a forced disconnect any advantage.

    When it comes to ship destruction, another area that we haven’t a solid foundation for yet is how escape pods should work (automatic or manually operated?) and what their benefits are. Should escape pods be required to protect your commander avatar, or is this persona simply too important to ever truly die?
    I think automatic, so that your avatar truly never dies. If there was a manual option, would people consider someone bailing out of a fight a form of passive griefing? It would get frustrating if half the PvPs never reached a satisfying conclusion, because the other player essentially suicided.

  15. #15
    There has been considerable discussion about how to prevent players from cheating through ruses like dumping your cargo before your mate deliberately kills you, etc., etc. The penalty in terms of loss of stuff needs to be thought through with that in mind, but we also need to unsderstand whether you intend to have a mechanism for players to pass credits back and forth, as that makes cheating easier. Personally, I do not have a major problem with losing cargo, but I understand that the console generation may want death to be a minor inconvenience. If cargo (etc - I think the etc may be important) is not lost, you may need to make sure that you respawn to the worst case on everything (credits, cargo, equipment, kills, etc., etc.).

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