(1) As soon as you have an encounter, the overall chance for any other encounter in that system lessens. This will mean a general decreasing of the chance to have an encounter the longer you're in a system. The purpose being to avoid player's building up expectations of when their next encounter will happen.
I agree on the purpose but not on the solution, because this solution will let the player know that, say, after 4 encounters there are 4 times less chances to have an encounter. Worst case is someone who reads the code or this thread, but it would certainly be deduced from experience as well. I was sort of bitten by "hidden mechanisms" recently with my lucky charm, so I'd prefer to avoid that. A somewhat weaker argument is that there's no "natural" reason for the decrease.
I see two possible ways to break patterns:
- I can introduce a couple of "empty" encounters scenarios. Space Crowds would "trigger" but nothing would happen, which could "break" a bit the distribution of the encounters over time which is probably some sort of bell curve.
- Currently I do not take into consideration the safety/population/... of the system. I can introduce this parameter in the encounter scenarios, and this could also lead to "empty" encounters.
(2) As soon as you have a particular type of encounter, it should be extremely unlikely to have the same one again in that system. So, if I stumble on a group of pirates beating up some traders, then inject around them and continue on my way, I shouldn't then run into another pack of pirates picking on another group of traders. Otherwise things start to get repetitive very quickly.
I can make it so that an encounter that just happened is inactive for the next round, but it introduces a rather strong predictability. Introducing counters and weighing probabilities with them is the kind of complication I wanted to avoid, and has the same problem but less noticeable though.
I was hoping to fight this issue with just more encounter scenarios. The problem is that the choices are pretty limited, unless you go for somewhat extraordinary encounters which are currently in the "rare" category (thargoids mainly but I also have a stellar serpent encounter as a demo extension in my bag). There's also the problem that not too many of them can be "just boring masslocks" (some players are quite short-tempered with masslocks
I can imagine (or dream about) normal encounters scenario like a pirate ambush in an asteroid field (which would indirectly increase the value of the "just boulders" encounter) , but that would require masslocking boulders (as a general
rule) and a special AI (which would appear as rocks on the scanner as long as it doesn't move). Or some sort of encounter with ships neither hostile nor neutral that would require some sort of negotiation to pass safely. There's probably more nice ideas that have been implemented in other OXPs (I'm thinking about one OXP that introduce exclusion zones) and could be stolen - I mean reused.
Right now I can add "a couple of cargo canisters or metal fragments" as an encounter. They should be uncommon - somewhere between normal and rare - so I can implement it as as common encounter with an extra dice roll (would help with point 1 too)
I should just release the OXZ so that more people can install it easily from the manager and get more feedback and encounter ideas.
(3) Avoid pointing anything directly into the player's path. Kind of devastating if that something is a boulder! But also, it starts to look contrived if everything is appearing in a 5k radius of the player's current direction. I'd suggest expanding the default radius out to 22E3 to avoid this.
You're totally right on this. The small spawn radius is a residual of the first version in which ships had the tendency to ignore each other because they were not spawned in groups (I believe). I was also probably influenced by the fact that I play with Shaky Drive which require me to constantly correct the trajectory (should update that one too - the constant stirring in a certain direction is unnecessary and should be used as a damaged thrusters effect instead) and sort of moves the spawned ships slightly out of my way, so I didn't notice that they were spawned right ahead with no randomization.
For the boulders it was deliberate though, I see them as a natural danger in space to be avoided. I'm fine with moving them to a more cosmetic role (though they are there also for miner-players), knowing that the randomization make them still a threat (only less "right in your face, ha!").
Thanks for the feedback and suggestions.