Immersion and Why Elite FEELS so...Gamey

Let me preface this by saying (for the haters) that I keep coming here because I LOVE Elite's core game play. Flying the ships. Combat. Buzzing bad guys in asteroid fields and rings. Its visceral and real and heady, and I cannot get enough of small ship combat in tight quarters, with obstacles and a sense of scale. Its possibly the most immersive, and one of the most enjoyable, experiences I have ever been privy to in gaming. And that is why I WANT badly to see this game succeed.

But I feel that many supporting mechanics - that is, non game play related stuff - drag the game down. Not only do they fail to increase the fun factor. They actively detract therefrom. Engineers are a big one. What should have been a simple credits and sliders tweaking system available at any station once unlocked (the better to allow us to get back to PLAYING the game as quickly as possible) instead turned into a multi tier, time gated, RNG grind that actively DETRACTS from the simple yet immersive fun of actually playing our way. That's a net negative, and thats a TON of dev time to spend on a net negative.

That said, I want to talk about why, to me - and I humbly suspect, many others - Elite feels so...gamey...for lack of a better term. And I want to start, by defining what I mean when I use that term, "gamey" so we can all get on the same page right from the get go. Gamey is a term I use to define aspects of a game that feel blatantly fake. Like they would never exist within the universe in which a game is based, and instead only exist BECAUSE its a game, and not for any other (better) reason.

Why are Gamey mechanics bad? They constantly remind players that they are playing a game. They yank us out of the fiction, kill our suspension of disbelief and detract from the enjoyment we derive from the experience of playing a game. Thus they are, in short, usually bad. Usually.

So which mechanics in Elite are overly gamey? You guessed it: Almost everything not directly related to flying and fighting. Flying in normal space, including turning, and maneuvering thrust, F/A off...even the sound model that accompanies these things, are top notch. A new bar was set with Elite's core mechanics, and I mean that wholeheartedly.

But even among these otherwise excellent - indeed, bar setting - mechanics, we see something unusually gamey. Something that utterly kills any sense of immersion. The Boost mechanic really feels...awkward. That it is limited to pre-determined lengths of time just feels gamey. Boost should engage when I set throttle to afterburner, should burn fuel almost constantly, dependent on Engine grade and ship mass, and then toggle off when I turn it off. That's how Afterburners work. Except in Elite, because..."balance" (whatever that claims to mean in the aftermath of the Engineers that destroyed any hope of it). That is, by definition, an overly gamey, immersion shattering mechanic, and as such, it actively detracts from the quality of the experience that is a Sim like Elite, by shattering suspension of disbelief.

And Boost is hardly alone.

Looking outside the combat system, we see multiple systems that are overly gamey and feel false. Engineers are one such. Basically a copy pasta fantasy MMO crafting system, (badly) inserted into a universe where such a system makes little to no sense. In this universe, Engineers would accept credits, materials would be market items many people would buy and sell (after all, most of them are pretty common and station markets would be more than happy to make money from the trade they bring). And people would know where to find these so called recluses...even if for a price. Lastly, these recluses would hardly need you to gather materials for them, as without those materials, they could not ply their trade, and would thus not be any good at it. Nothing about the Engineering system makes sense in a logical, science driven universe...reminding us that, hey, this is just a game and yanking the rug from under the suspension of disbelief many gamers prize.

And it does not stop there. Market data not trackable from our ship? This is the sort of data an Access or SQL Database could store and query now. In the 21st century. Third party websites PROVE this point. And yet, our magnificent, 19th century space ship tech (more on that in a bit) is utterly incapable of doing so.

Likewise, the things we need most in the game - ships and modules - are also overly gamey. Where are the competing sales? where are the stations hosting these sales to drive traffic to a system? The Galnet ads pushing these sales? Where are the plethora of manufacturers, and DEALERS/SELLERS, that are MORE than happy to tell us exactly where to find their ships SO WE CAN GIVE THEM OUR MONEY? That finding such key things in the game is such a hassle not only makes playing the game as inconvenient as possible, and a chore - an actual, unpleasant CHORE - for new players. It also makes no sense within the context of the Elite universe.

I can buy a car right now. On the internet. To spec. And have it delivered to a local dealer. All without even TALKING TO anyone. More less traveling anywhere. And yet, according to Elite: Dangerous, 1000 years in the future, in a universe with FTL flight AND communication...i have to wander all over the galaxy, HOPING to find the ships, and modules, I want to purchase. And when I DO find them, I have to pay the same price for a ship EVERYWHERE I go.

Sorry, no. NO corporation is going to ALLOW that to happen. They're going to TELL you where to find the merchandise you want to buy. Host sales. Take out ads. Do everything they can to sell you their product. And you arent going to have any trouble finding it, either. Not with the convenience of in-ship, FTL Internet style communications. Finding the things you need in this universe should be a cinch. It is now, so, why would it NOT be in 1000 years?

And the modules to fit those ships? A, B, C, D and E? REALLY? What is this? Diablo in space? Those modules should be made by different companies. Performance Parts Inc should make A rated modules. For the discerning customer concerned with getting the most, out of their ship.

The B Rated items would be made by a second company, offering near top notch performance, for a heck of a lot less price...and with more durability to boot.

Our C items would come from a company pushing the idea that theirs is the perfect mix of affordability and cost, with perhaps a perk thrown in for C Rated items, to match the Durability of B and lighter weight of D.

Modules formerly rated as D would become products of, say, Pathfinders Parts, Inc. Parts for the Explorer in all of us. When getting there quickly is more important than putting on a show once you show, buy from Pathfiner, fitting you for all of you Exploration based needs.

Finally, E rated parts would be Economy Class Customs, LLC. For when you just need it to work, without working over your wallet.

This is how a REAL, living universe would work. Competing companies. Different perks or benefits for buying various goods. Ads and sales to get you buying those goods. Galnet addresses to help you FIND the goods, services, ships, modules and commodities you WANT to exchange your hard earned credits for. Information would flow like wine in a universe like Elite...because if it didnt THE inhabited portion of that universe LITERALLY COULD NOT EXIST.

And yet...we get...this...instead. A universe wherein the entire 20th century...seemingly never happened. Its as if technology reached the point of, perhaps, the early biplane and magnifying scope combo...and then stopped. For nearly a century. Before mysteriously leaping to interstellar flight.

Where are the radars that control aerial conflicts for a 500 mile radius? The missiles that can fire on targets over the horizon, with minimal risk to pilots? The stealth ships, with light, carbon fiber frames and nearly no radar signature, to combat the above? Where are the ECM jammers, logistics ships, space-equivalent aircraft carriers to project military power? The Super Tankers that would be absolute REQUIREMENT to keep the economics of the Elite universe functioning?

Where are the light speed internet communications tools? The web browsers in ships? Why are scanners still 1 ton computers, as opposed to apps we install on the ENORMOUS hard drive space our ships contain in tiny sections of the dashboard? Why, in short, did technology in the Elite universe backslide for NEARLY A CENTURY...and then leap ahead to what we have, this curious mix of star trek level travel, and 19th century nearly everything else?

Because its a game. That's the reason. That's the ONLY reason. No justifiable, in universe reason even begins to make logical sense. And I humbly submit that this fact - coupled with the suggestions above - are things the devs should consider as they overhaul in game mechanics as part of their ongoing Beyond upgrades.

Thanks for reading.
 
Oh look, another one of these.

Elite was not built to be the definitive, Newtonian-based, space-combat-trade-exploration simulator that drives you to build a replica of your cockpit around your PC to live in.
Sorry you were under that illusion in the first place.

Elite is a game, not a 3304 Starship Pilot Trainer. You won't make it to 3304 anyways, so stop worrying about it.

A,B,C,D,E Rated is good enough for modules for me, and the ratings already do exactly what you think they should, they just don't have a manufacturer's label on them, which tells me Performance Parts, Inc. isn't the only manufacturer of high-end, high-performance parts. And if I happen to like parts from Superluminal Parts, LLC., I can have options.

But too many options isn't exactly fun either. Do I buy the Marberg Plasma Annihilator or the Electrodyne Plasma Disintegrator? Is the difference purely cosmetic, or does one offer a feature or advantage over the other? Will I have to spend hours comparing stats? Now I don't feel like I'm playing a game, or immersing myself in a simulation, I feel like an accountant, and I don't want to feel like an accountant. Sometimes less is more.

And nearly none of this has anything at all to do with the state of your deep mental involvement.

It's possible to be just as deeply, mentally involved in something as simple as tic-tac-toe as it is Elite.

Deep Mental Involvement, aka Focus, aka Take the Adderol, you need it, aka "Immersion".
 
You had me as Immersion....
He nearly lost me at "haters", but I had a speed-read through the rest. As with many similar "this future makes no sense" threads that have surfaced semi-regularly since 2014, I think it boils down to this:

[...] Elite was an early 1980s vision of the future, filtered through the influences of classic 1960s and 1970s SF movies, art and literature. ED is a more polished version of that, so you have to be more accepting if some of the concepts and technology come across as a little retro-futuristic.
I'll leave the more in-depth analysis for others, but that's always been my take. Technologically, in terms of the simulated galaxy and the A/V, ED is a 21st century space game. But conceptually much of it is straight out of the late 1970s.

For a more detailed discussion, Bounder will no doubt be along in a minute to explain how the physics should really work. ;)
 
Boost mechanic - Agree with you on this, although I am happy with how things are, the thing is our ships don't consume fuel based on thrust output (SRV's do) Afterburner would have to drain the ENG capacitor rather than the fuel Onboard.

Engineers makes sense, it is a game, the point is to get people out of their comfort zone and try different things during the unlock phase.

Market data - We will have more access when 3.O hits, anyway this is 2018, web based apps are standard for games like these.

went through the rest of the post, some ideas for another game, or maybe waay down the line.


The stealth ships, with light, carbon fiber frames and nearly no radar signature, to combat the above? Where are the ECM jammers, logistics ships, space-equivalent aircraft carriers to project military power? The Super Tankers

All of the above is already in the game.
 
Whoa! :eek: I'm starting to think that all these Credits I've been 'earning' towards my retirement maybe aren't real????
You think that's bad? I checked my payslips from work earlier and they've been giving me something called 'pounds' for as far back as I can check. I've sent a strongly-worded e-mail to our payroll people today asking them just what kind of stunt they think they're trying to pull.
 
You think that's bad? I checked my payslips from work earlier and they've been giving me something called 'pounds' for as far back as I can check. I've sent a strongly-worded e-mail to our payroll people today asking them just what kind of stunt they think they're trying to pull.
Surely as a government employee it should say pence not pounds :D
 
The fact that the universe is built in a way that makes no sense, is just one leg in the tripod of core problems this game has.

The other two being:

1- General unbalance that permeates all aspects of the game (example: spend hours bounty hunting to earn pretty much nothing, vs earn billions quickly with whatever new trend there is)

2- Lack of compelling motivations to do anything other than improving your own ship. A proper grand scale PvP mode in which player actions affected the outcome, and I mean player actions like winning a pvp battle, not a soulless grind contribution to fill a bar like in current CGs. Something like that could provide a reason for people to get engaged in the game once they realize that everything else that there is in this game is looking at a loading screen and shooting fish in a barrel for no other reason than becoming more efficient at killing the fish.

Why am I wasting my time writing this, devs are not looking / its not gonna change anyway.
 
And the modules to fit those ships? A, B, C, D and E? REALLY? What is this? Diablo in space? Those modules should be made by different companies. Performance Parts Inc should make A rated modules. For the discerning customer concerned with getting the most, out of their ship.

The B Rated items would be made by a second company, offering near top notch performance, for a heck of a lot less price...and with more durability to boot.

Our C items would come from a company pushing the idea that theirs is the perfect mix of affordability and cost, with perhaps a perk thrown in for C Rated items, to match the Durability of B and lighter weight of D.

Modules formerly rated as D would become products of, say, Pathfinders Parts, Inc. Parts for the Explorer in all of us. When getting there quickly is more important than putting on a show once you show, buy from Pathfiner, fitting you for all of you Exploration based needs.

Finally, E rated parts would be Economy Class Customs, LLC. For when you just need it to work, without working over your wallet.

This is how a REAL, living universe would work. Competing companies. Different perks or benefits for buying various goods. Ads and sales to get you buying those goods. Galnet addresses to help you FIND the goods, services, ships, modules and commodities you WANT to exchange your hard earned credits for. Information would flow like wine in a universe like Elite...because if it didnt THE inhabited portion of that universe LITERALLY COULD NOT EXIST.
This is actually the one that has always baffled me the most.
To fix it is literally some text changes.
To leave it as generic A-B-C-D-E modules seems so lazy.

Remember when they added station audio and (earlier) the billboard vids outside the station. The simple touches made everything better.
You could add more billboards and fake in game advertising from the various companies on on the station boards. Decals and skins could be sold for real world $ from the Frontier store.

Personally I think some of the engineering variations should be moved to speciality manufacturers. They could be behind grinding unlocks (similar to how you need to unlock Sirius) and/or be faction aligned.
 
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Wait a minute! Are you telling me that I won't be able to port my soul into this when my body runs out of fuel???
Seriously though, some of those ideas are quite good.. but I think pointless until we have a functioning 'real time ' market dynamic.
Not the ability to buy from one another, but to flood markets, find those that are short for a killing etc
 
Let me preface this by saying (for the haters) that I keep coming here because I LOVE Elite's core game play. Flying the ships. Combat. Buzzing bad guys in asteroid fields and rings. Its visceral and real and heady, and I cannot get enough of small ship combat in tight quarters, with obstacles and a sense of scale. Its possibly the most immersive, and one of the most enjoyable, experiences I have ever been privy to in gaming. And that is why I WANT badly to see this game succeed.

But I feel that many supporting mechanics - that is, non game play related stuff - drag the game down. Not only do they fail to increase the fun factor. They actively detract therefrom. Engineers are a big one. What should have been a simple credits and sliders tweaking system available at any station once unlocked (the better to allow us to get back to PLAYING the game as quickly as possible) instead turned into a multi tier, time gated, RNG grind that actively DETRACTS from the simple yet immersive fun of actually playing our way. That's a net negative, and thats a TON of dev time to spend on a net negative.
A lot of core mechanics are being improved with Beyond this year. There will always be gamey elements, because at its core Elite Dangerous is a video game.

ED already succeeded, because close to 3 million copies have been sold, it has an active fanbase and leads the space sim genre. It hasn't yet fulfilled all the roadmap promises such as space legs (EVA) and atmospheric landings.

This is how a REAL, living universe would work. Competing companies. Different perks or benefits for buying various goods. Ads and sales to get you buying those goods. Galnet addresses to help you FIND the goods, services, ships, modules and commodities you WANT to exchange your hard earned credits for. Information would flow like wine in a universe like Elite...because if it didnt THE inhabited portion of that universe LITERALLY COULD NOT EXIST.

And yet...we get...this...instead. A universe wherein the entire 20th century...seemingly never happened. Its as if technology reached the point of, perhaps, the early biplane and magnifying scope combo...and then stopped. For nearly a century. Before mysteriously leaping to interstellar flight.
GalNet should provide more in-game information about goods, sales, ships and where to find it.

Where are the radars that control aerial conflicts for a 500 mile radius? The missiles that can fire on targets over the horizon, with minimal risk to pilots? The stealth ships, with light, carbon fiber frames and nearly no radar signature, to combat the above? Where are the ECM jammers, logistics ships, space-equivalent aircraft carriers to project military power?
Fleet combat isn't yet worked out as a feature. I agree that it needs dedicated ships such as ECM jammers, logistical support, dedicated stealth ships. Add customization options for existing ships.

The Super Tankers that would be absolute REQUIREMENT to keep the economics of the Elite universe functioning?
Well there are Megaships with bulk cargo.

Where are the light speed internet communications tools? The web browsers in ships? Why are scanners still 1 ton computers, as opposed to apps we install on the ENORMOUS hard drive space our ships contain in tiny sections of the dashboard? Why, in short, did technology in the Elite universe backslide for NEARLY A CENTURY...and then leap ahead to what we have, this curious mix of star trek level travel, and 19th century nearly everything else?
GalNet uses a galactic network. So GalNet could be enhanced with more features. The tech in the Elite universe is a bit odd due to World War 3 which screwed up technological development. Also the game designers made it this way.

Because its a game. That's the reason. That's the ONLY reason. No justifiable, in universe reason even begins to make logical sense. And I humbly submit that this fact - coupled with the suggestions above - are things the devs should consider as they overhaul in game mechanics as part of their ongoing Beyond upgrades.
Yes its first and foremost a game, space sims are a game genre. To simulate a believable galaxy some improvements should be made as mentioned earlier.
 
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The idea of pilots being traveling merchants is absurd anyway.

If it took weeks for space travel it would make sense, but since no system is farther than 10 minutes away from any market that sells common goods, the idea falls flat.

Realistically, the arrangements would happen between stations and companies and the guys who transport those goods would be paid a salary for doing their job, but not treated as merchants themselves, just as delivery boys.

The work of a traveling merchant would only makes sense for rare items over long distances, or for selling to black markets in outlaw space.
 
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And your point is what? Reviewing your past posts it seems well over 50% are negative towards ED even though your profess to like it. So the age old question is .... why do you play it? You must suspect by now that Frontier is not going to change the game JUST for you. So why bother?

Your certainly entitled to your view and as long as the forum are open to you. But ...

Chief
 
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