Discussion Open Letter to Frontier Developments

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I am really glad that I logged in and found this thread before I spent any money on the Horizons expansion.

I am an extremely casual player with less than 4 million credits and a moderately well built Asp. I have been playing the game since Beta and almost quit because trading was so frustrating. I was keeping Excel spreadsheets with data from every system and station I visited. Like I said, I almost quit but then I found TCE.

TCE made the game playable. I could care less about finding the most profitable routes or scratching out those extra 5% on my trades. For me, it was enough to have a log of the systems that I visited so that when I found a mission asking for Commodity X, I could go find Commodity X. The icing on the cake was knowing what to fill up on so that I could make a couple thousand worth of profit at the station that I had to buy commodity X from.

I just downloaded the game again after a good four to five months off, and now TCE is broken because EliteOCR is broken. It looks like Frontier intentionally obfuscated the graphics to make OCR extremely unreliable, and now they are refusing to support any sort of alternate methods to get the data.

I realize that I am just a single player, but I will not be buying Horizons because of this. I already spent close to $200 on an X55 setup for this game. I donated a fair amount of money to the developer of TCE because he built a good add-in. (Frontier, I would have purchased TCE through a Frontier store if you guys had your act together enough to offer such a product.) I paid for Beta access at a considerable markup over what the game eventually retailed for. There is no way I am going to continue supporting a developer who is tone deaf to the NEEDS of the community.

3rd party add-ons are not simple wants of a spoiled player base. They are the only thing that make a large portion of your open world viable. Either fix your galaxy interface so that players can buy trade data and get reliable reports about which station has the commodity that they need, or continue to support 3rd party trade add-ons until you do fix your game. Because right now, it is broken. I think I speak for a lot of the community when I say that we have been willing to put up with your broken game because we believed in you guys, and were able to, as a community, come up with work arounds.

I do not see any reason to continue supporting your company. In this twisted world that we live in, I am sure that there is someone in accounting who learns of players with attitudes like mine and thinks, "Great. We won't have to spend so much on EC2 instances when all of those players leave."
Totally agree! These things should be in game. +1
 
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Nonsense. BH has been more profitable for months. Trading has been very medium level income as it is safest profession. What you want is printing money button. Not gonna happen.

People do not ask for iWin buttons or automatic money at login, they want
game tradetools that make sense, andi am tired of that knee jerk reaction "Traders want easy money"
No we want fun money, as much as like bounty hunters and HiRes fighters.

Right now trading is dull and 3rd party tools help a little with that, but i have seen here no one writing that they would not prefer Frontier adding functionalitie that replaces 3rd party tools ingame in ways that make sense (Market data and equipment data is no state secret and should be obtainable for an price for stations close by like 50 Lj radius and so on), tradecomputer collecting prices from markets visited and allowing queries and so on.

All stuff that very much goes in line with game play and does nothing much beside keeping computer desks free from mountains of paper.

And fixing trade data on ingame map would be nice too..... right now it is an disaster zone.
 
... but i have seen here no one writing that they would not prefer Frontier adding functionalitie that replaces 3rd party tools ingame in ways that make sense (Market data and equipment data is no state secret and should be obtainable for an price for stations close by like 50 Lj radius and so on), tradecomputer collecting prices from markets visited and allowing queries and so on.
NOTE: I'm not sure if I'm just repeating what you said in another way. If I am, I apologise.

I don't want to see in-game functionality completely replacing 3rd party tools. The variety of tools that are already available, and will become available (hey, I'm working on one too), allow for different ways of doing things depending on the preference of the player. I don't think that would ever go away. But I don't see a this-must-be-done-in-game solution as the answer.

That being said, I really don't understand the current in-game trade data implementation. It's not really "data" at all. There's no current price, deltas, rates, etc. It's just a list of destinations where a particular commodity has been sold to. From my understanding, it doesn't even need to be a trade that made a profit!

So, while I don't want a complete 3rd party tool replacement, there needs to be something better than there is currently. I am also for FD providing a more robust and supported means (e.g. API) of obtaining certain information.

My comments here are not a complaint about the current state of the game. Just observations. I love ED. I love Horizons. In fact, Horizons has proven to be somewhat of a setback to my development in ways. Too much time playing ;). It has given me some great ideas for additional tool functionality, though.
 
My main point is that we should have tools that make sense ingame.
One of them adding a new line of trade, that of data trade, you sell trade data you collected to stations (or should they allow money transfer to other players).
We need out navigation computer to store trade data and make it possible to queryy it in a way that makes sense too.

All that would make sense, data has some sort of best before date this way, it all would add to immersion and make many ways of trading possible, even player interaction would be aided.

3rd party tools will never go away i think, with or without Api (I am pro Api for several reasons)

If not for the reason that there should be a player made data bank that collects ingame info, that alone would add to the game a lot.

The ingame trade data is an joke, i think everyone who ever used it agrees, and my personal opinion is that trading could be much more basing on skill and be much more interesting witht he right tools and the BGS done the right way.

Right now it is a sodden mess only 3rd party tools someway make bearable.

With horizons that does not add to my gameplay, i wait until they sorted out some sort of manual for the dune buggy, i always have to explode mine to return to ship because i did not manage to reenter ship yet witht he infos i have, infos Frontier should have put to gether into an manual that makes some sort of sense.
 
People do not ask for iWin buttons or automatic money at login, they want
game tradetools that make sense, andi am tired of that knee jerk reaction "Traders want easy money"
No we want fun money, as much as like bounty hunters and HiRes fighters.
However, a third party tool doesn't fundamentally change the fact that you still have to haul the goods from point A to point B (of course). The fact that you don't necessearily know *exactly* what price you'll get when you get there, it's just a trader risk (maybe an NPC just dumped a load of your commodity on the market, dropping the price). HiRes fighters have similar risks in "accidental fire" on authority vessels, that gets in the way of how they make money too? We see the same kind of complaints from them of how it shouldn't happen. Chances are though, an Agri Economy will want computers, an Industrial one wants food and drink. That's 99% good enough, a profit = probably.

One of them adding a new line of trade, that of data trade, you sell trade data you collected to stations (or should they allow money transfer to other players).
We need out navigation computer to store trade data and make it possible to queryy it in a way that makes sense too.
There's a data sharing issue (on the servers) as potentially that's a "large" volume of data.
So also for in-galaxy realism, you'd have to be talking about a specific Data Request;

Say you're at a nav beacon, 200Ls from the station (very not far right?). That's 200 light seconds for the station to recieve your request for market prices (request travels, speed of light essentially, radio). Another 200 seconds for the reply to get back to you, totalling 400 secs (6 minutes 40s). You're already almost better off going to the station? For another station, 1000Ls out (still not all that far) two way data transfer time is 33 (point three) minutes, you can probably be docked in less than five.

Not saying this request shouldn't be a thing (I'd like it; send request, go exploring until you get reply + immersive, or call from outside the station without docking, though don't forget real life server issue, renamed "security check" or something for the game) but not necessarily a massive massive trading advantage and I think rightly, FD brought planet landings instead for their first major expansion, as a question of general gameplay development, priority.
 
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wolverine2710

Tutorial & Guide Writer
I am really glad that I logged in and found this thread before I spent any money on the Horizons expansion.

I am an extremely casual player with less than 4 million credits and a moderately well built Asp. I have been playing the game since Beta and almost quit because trading was so frustrating. I was keeping Excel spreadsheets with data from every system and station I visited. Like I said, I almost quit but then I found TCE.

TCE made the game playable. I could care less about finding the most profitable routes or scratching out those extra 5% on my trades. For me, it was enough to have a log of the systems that I visited so that when I found a mission asking for Commodity X, I could go find Commodity X. The icing on the cake was knowing what to fill up on so that I could make a couple thousand worth of profit at the station that I had to buy commodity X from.

I just downloaded the game again after a good four to five months off, and now TCE is broken because EliteOCR is broken. It looks like Frontier intentionally obfuscated the graphics to make OCR extremely unreliable, and now they are refusing to support any sort of alternate methods to get the data.

I realize that I am just a single player, but I will not be buying Horizons because of this. I already spent close to $200 on an X55 setup for this game. I donated a fair amount of money to the developer of TCE because he built a good add-in. (Frontier, I would have purchased TCE through a Frontier store if you guys had your act together enough to offer such a product.) I paid for Beta access at a considerable markup over what the game eventually retailed for. There is no way I am going to continue supporting a developer who is tone deaf to the NEEDS of the community.

3rd party add-ons are not simple wants of a spoiled player base. They are the only thing that make a large portion of your open world viable. Either fix your galaxy interface so that players can buy trade data and get reliable reports about which station has the commodity that they need, or continue to support 3rd party trade add-ons until you do fix your game. Because right now, it is broken. I think I speak for a lot of the community when I say that we have been willing to put up with your broken game because we believed in you guys, and were able to, as a community, come up with work arounds.

I do not see any reason to continue supporting your company. In this twisted world that we live in, I am sure that there is someone in accounting who learns of players with attitudes like mine and thinks, "Great. We won't have to spend so much on EC2 instances when all of those players leave."
Currently there are three tools out there (EDMC,EDAPI and EDCE - which started it all) which use the iPhone companion api, they are also called OEF tools (OCR Error Free). Most if not all tools have output in the form, of an EOCR compatible .csv file. ED Market Connector (EDMC) is very frequently updated and DOES have .eocr output. You can use it to feed TCE with market data. All tools have an entry in EDCodex.

Update: I know for a fact that there more OEF tools out there but those authors have kept it private.
 
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<<snipped some>>
There's a data sharing issue (on the servers) as potentially that's a "large" volume of data.
So also for in-galaxy realism, you'd have to be talking about a specific Data Request;

Say you're at a nav beacon, 200Ls from the station (very not far right?). That's 200 light seconds for the station to recieve your request for market prices (request travels, speed of light essentially, radio). Another 200 seconds for the reply to get back to you, totalling 400 secs (6 minutes 40s). You're already almost better off going to the station? For another station, 1000Ls out (still not all that far) two way data transfer time is 33 (point three) minutes, you can probably be docked in less than five.

Not saying this request shouldn't be a thing (I'd like it; send request, go exploring until you get reply + immersive, or call from outside the station without docking, though don't forget real life server issue, renamed "security check" or something for the game) but not necessarily a massive massive trading advantage and I think rightly, FD brought planet landings instead for their first major expansion, as a question of general gameplay development, priority.
We have p2p and hard disks, very little of that trade data stuff needs to actually go over Frontier servers, trade data you collect self goes direct nto your hard disc, no real issue there, only some commands regard " buy that data" and such has to go over Frontier servers, so basically a few hundred bits at most.

Regarding communication times, we have FTL communication ingame (Galactic news anyone) but i would be already quite ok with sending an request for trade data while in 10km radius of a station.

My optimum in tradeing would be like
-your nav computer collects stations data you visit (modules ships commodities+Prices
-you can search and query that data (all offcourse data at the time you collected it) for routes (show me high low price of that commodity and where to buy sell) that would be very much an realistic thing, you can do the same with pen and paper but hey, we are in 3300 we use computers to write stuff down and then search trhough that data)
-There is still some risk (prices change in meantime so one should always refresh that data ...

-If we could trade with other players you could even sell data, age of it would determine an higher or lower price, it could even be you only sell copies and get less money per deal or make it an special one where the data you sell is erased from your "ships computer". If Frontier absolute does nto want players trading with each other you sell to the station as 3rd party dealer of data packets.

All that would i think for many people make 3rd party tools obsolete and add a lot to immersion and fun of gameplay.


It is not somethign very hard to code i think, you cache some data on the players hard disk and allo some search functions over the ships UI, nothing that was not done a few million times in a lot of computer code.

BGS needs an overhaul, I serious tried to use only ingame tools for trading and way to often things became very magical regarding demand and prices.

Then, 3rd party tools are not an iWin button, you stil need to use your brain, they are convient though (I do not drown in paper/need no second computer/tab all the time for and back to read prices and note them in exxel or so)

Fact is trading in Elite involves so much data that pen and paper becomes rather complicated and computer aid in analysing it rather mandatory.
 

AnthorNet

Volunteer Moderator
Hey guys,

Now that the holidays are gone, just a quick reminder that our letter should reach the right people at Frontier and we are now waiting for a reply.

Fly safe.
 
...now TCE is broken because EliteOCR is broken. It looks like Frontier intentionally obfuscated the graphics to make OCR extremely unreliable...

...3rd party add-ons are not simple wants of a spoiled player base. They are the only thing that make a large portion of your open world viable. Either fix your galaxy interface so that players can buy trade data and get reliable reports about which station has the commodity that they need, or continue to support 3rd party trade add-ons until you do fix your game. Because right now, it is broken. I think I speak for a lot of the community when I say that we have been willing to put up with your broken game because we believed in you guys, and were able to, as a community, come up with work arounds...
Yup, agreed, and with other such comments.

So much of what these 'addons' provide should be in game, and should have been there from day-1.

Overall, and on many fronts, I sometimes feel that FDev resent people enjoying their game 'too much', and that if it isn't a 'pita' then it's not hard enough. C'mon peeps, most of your players have only a few hours per week to devote to gameplay, and I am struggling to understand why (e.g.) the CR curve is so flat.

The most fun I had in ED was when there was a 'bug' in some long range missions some while back - where I could actually make good money for my limited hours play - needless to say FDev seemed to be able to sort out that bug very quickly... :rolleyes:

I hate to moan, as Horizons really is excellent, but there is much that is in need of attention that seems to be being willfully ignored, or even worse, 'by design'.
 
Love those 3rd party tools.

They do make the life easier (while you still have to work things out) and the game more enjoyable.

And yes, this all should be ingame, but so far those website are the best thing we have, thanks to the people making it possible by the way..

Anyway... +1 OP, hope you guys get the consideration you deserve ;)
 
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Trading without these tools would be a nightmare, prices are fluctuating all the time and one person one their own could never keep up with the markets, imo there should be a trading computer in game and a commodity search, technology now can do this now so why not in the 33rd century?
 
I appreciate your sarcasm but ... that's just like going to some game megazine and reading the solution cause you can't figure out how to play the game and explore, make money, all they should need to add is an ingame notepad where players write down stuff, like discoveries and prices, no need to use websites to find profitable stuff to do, however that's a choice, I honestly don't like having to use a website to find stuff to advantage me, the only one type of website I like are wiki explaining game mechanics and ships' features, maybe how to craft a particular object, other than that, I prefer discovering stuff myself
So essentially, what you're saying is that as long as you approve of the information everyone else can access, it's not cheating. You're fine "cheating" by reading the wiki and finding shortcuts on how to make things (but I thought you said it was fun finding out) but somehow you're now arbiter of what everyone can read and how they access information?

Galnet is a news network, there could be ships getting the news to every system, CQC is just another game mode, you don't get to fight in your ASP, it's just like a simulator like Arena commander in Star Citizen, chat and other stuff is part of the game.
There could be ships flying to every system, all 400 billion of them but you're not fooling anyone here with that nonsense I'm afraid. How is it you ignored people telling you Galnet reaches to Sag A? How do you explain the instantaneous transmission of news articles but then turn around and say that for some reason, when it comes to text in the form of prices, that cannot be transmitted from one station to another? I think you'll find you can communicate with your friends across the galaxy too.

As the technology exists to be able to communicate, there's absolutely no reason trade prices wouldn't be advertised and in fact, a station that didn't advertise would do worse in trading than one that did. It would be in their best interest to put their station on a huge, universal network. This could be called the "Outernet" and they could have things called "Websites". Much like today I can go to any country on the planet and check prices using the internet but for you, you'd want everyone to be sailing frigates and communicating via carrier pigeon whilst using a scroll and quiver to scribble down prices.

Even without an instantaneous communication system to think that there wouldn't be a service to cater for this huge hole in the trading market is a little odd. Given that traveling in space is a) so easy and b) so quick, you would think that some bright spark would have thought that they could sell this data to other stations and thus have a fleet of couriers traveling around, dropping into systems to transmit the data before jumping to the next system.
 

wolverine2710

Tutorial & Guide Writer
As a follow up to the PM from last Wednesday I did sent to Zac. He stated that the ppl like Michael Brookes and co (my words the decision makers) where on holiday and would be back next year - this week I assume. I just sent him a new PM and asked him if perhaps some new information has become available - been able to contact MB etc, decision made, meeting(s) scheduled etc... Fingers crossed. I will keep you updated.
 
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To all that are whining saying this is cheating give me a break. Did we somehow invent spaceships but lose basic computer/internet functionality between 2016 and 3302. I can go on google and compare prices on items from across the world now, did we somehow lose this technology when we went into space? Put the API's back, people can choose to use them if they like.
 

wolverine2710

Tutorial & Guide Writer
Commanders. We are all passionate about ED, otherwise we would not play the game and be here in the forums. We all have a right to voice our opinion - pro or against the open letter. A plea to you all. Can we please act in a civil manner and discuss the open letter in such a way that this thread is meaningful. The tone makes the music. The OP requested the same, lets try to abide/honour his wishes.
 

Zac Antonaci

Head of Communications
Frontier
Hey guys,

As promised we've discussed the topic for you all, sorry for the delay in replys but today was the first available opportunity to review the thread.

People are free to continue use of the existing companion app API, though please be aware this is something we hope to expand and improve on the future. Since we don’t yet have a date for that, use of the existing one is fine, but we ask that you do so in a careful and considered manner – for example not polling it continuously. We will bring in guidelines and an approval process over time too, but for now please be aware that we will stop apps that are not well behaved.

We are passionate about the development of community created content and very much see the value in the tools that are being created which is why we are happy for this API to be continued. As we have mentioned before, we would like to create a new API which allows tool developers support to create their own tools but this will not be a short term implementation and is instead something we are considering for future development.

Thanks for your patience, we will keep you informed as and when we have more information to share.
 
Hey guys,

As promised we've discussed the topic for you all, sorry for the delay in replys but today was the first available opportunity to review the thread.

People are free to continue use of the existing companion app API, though please be aware this is something we hope to expand and improve on the future. Since we don’t yet have a date for that, use of the existing one is fine, but we ask that you do so in a careful and considered manner – for example not polling it continuously. We will bring in guidelines and an approval process over time too, but for now please be aware that we will stop apps that are not well behaved.

We are passionate about the development of community created content and very much see the value in the tools that are being created which is why we are happy for this API to be continued. As we have mentioned before, we would like to create a new API which allows tool developers support to create their own tools but this will not be a short term implementation and is instead something we are considering for future development.

Thanks for your patience, we will keep you informed as and when we have more information to share.
There you go, you can continue using what you've been using, they'll get around to making it better at some future point but until then, keep on using it, but do so responsibly, no constant polling, etc.
 
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