Kindly ponder the following missive:
Disembodied & Redspear wrote back to him hoping to help, but he seems to have disappeared into the ether. Redspear specifically addressed the issues of combat with pirates, mass-locking & docking.
hijong park: Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:01 pm
Re: Introduce Yourself.
Post by hijong park » Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:05 pm
Hi, I'm Hijong Park who is having a hard time to enjoy Oolite. I like space and spaceships, so I want to like oolite, but simply can't. everything feels tedious and frustrating...
Mr Park was one of just 26 people who both found this Bulletin Board and announced their existence (or return) within the Introduce Yourself topic since the debut of Oolite 1.88 (27th October 2018). I've not yet investigated all the other 61 people who also joined the bulletin board since then (20 of them never even wrote in).
Of those 26, 5 were announcing their return to Oolite after an absence.
•14 had previously played Elite and had discovered Oolite (this is taken from their posts on this board - or deduced from comments on them). Of those 14, at least 4 confessed to having had major problems with the combat. Some, like your humble servant, may never have played Elite long enough to achieve combat competence there, but some may just have found Oolite combat too tough compared to what they were used to.
•2 were unclassifiable by me (as regards exposure to Elite) but one of those clearly achieved combat competence.
•Of the remaining 5 who had never played Elite, one found the combat too tough, and Hijong Park just threw in the towel without giving much detail.
He may well be the same Hijong Park who has a Youtube account demonstrating impressive prowess in a number of different games. Oolite has a noticeably more professional look than the games shown on that account. But despite his combat competence, in what I saw "Youtube Hijong Park" never grappled with more than 2 or 3 enemies at the same time - and in such cases he would always kill them with a single shot. The tougher enemies only appeared one at a time. These games were always in 2 dimensions, not 3. "Youtube Hijong Park" displayed a perfect command of the American language, so an inability to comprehend the game's instructions would not have been an issue. He has also written a number of games himself. Later edit: He returned in Nov 2020 - see http://www.aegidian.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=20780 for his problems.
Government Health Warning: As previously adumbrated, it was not possible to judge Combat Competence in all cases, and the 26 who wrote into the Introduce Yourself topic were a subset of the 87 in total who joined during that period. Further, the 87 who joined were presumably a subset of those who restarted playing - or who downloaded 1.88 onto their computers.
First Amphiboly of the Architectonic of Oolite
For my analysis - surprise! - I wish to consider Combat and Pirates.
Thesis: Combat with Pirates in Oolite 1.88 is too hard.
In Elite, I used to be able to be able to fight the pirates I encountered as I whizzed around the galaxy. Not only was I able to fight them, but by gum, I even won in the easier cases once I worked out what I was doing! I knew that if I had stuck with it, I would have achieved battle competence. In Oolite - after 2 months of play - I still spend all my time skulking in the corners with my finger poised over the fuel-injectors button in case another space craft appears on the scanner. I assume that "Grindalf" and "Alvinsanfran" utilise similar tactics (or did for some considerable time before developing combat competence). Ditto for "My Ammo Crate" (A Noob's *Very* Long Rant About Combat).
As we are all aware, there have been a number of changes in Oolite from the original Elite. Whilst the 8 galaxy structure is the same etc, the station interface (F4), the use of colour, the ability to handle mouses and joysticks etc are all major improvements.
For those of you who have finely honed your combat competence in hundreds of hours of combat in less demanding versions, the new combat is also clearly an improvement. But for those of us without, it is a major detraction from what is otherwise a superb and absorbing game. I suspect that I would derive much more game enjoyment from Aegidian's 2004 original - even though I would feel aesthetically deprived (I am entranced by the feel of 1.88 - the look of the universe, the detail of the space stations, the richness of the Coluber & Vimana HUDs etc).
Counterthesis: Combat in Oolite is more realistic.
•Pirates have brains and Darwinian Survival of the Fittest would weed out the more hopeless before I would ever get to them! Just as it weeds me out - and all the others who tried Oolite and chucked in the towel.
•Also, existence is demonstrably unfair (non-player-centric), and I should not expect everything to be laid out for me in a simple and manageable manner. Oolite - as it says on the front page of the Website - is set at a time of degeneration, degradation and decadence as the glorious government of Galcop crumbles into anarchy and conflict.
Objection to Counterthesis: How is it more realistic?
•Where are these hordes of pirates coming from?
•How on earth do they get their hands on these vast numbers of horribly expensive spaceships?
Are they wealthy multimillionaires who are already expert in flying and fighting and who just turn to a life of crime on a whim?
Are they seasoned pilots who turn to a life of crime (and who lose money by not trading & possibly lose their lives through their deliberate choice of perpetual confrontation an combat?)
Are they fledgling graduates of Lave Academy with unburnished combat skills who immediately turn to a life of crime?
Are they all disgraced or sacked army pilots (but where did they get their spaceships?).
Are they shipyard staff or others in the space stations who waylay the pilots, steal their keys and make off with their space craft (and are presumably unable to fly them)?
Are they Thargons in mufti?
And: the original pirate/combat system was also non-player centric.
Objection to Counterthesis: It is a damaging deviation from Elite
Ignoring the innumerable copies of copies, Elite sold over 800,000 copies across the various platforms http://wouter.bbcmicro.net/bbc/software ... elite.html. Oolite is free. It would be interesting to know how many downloads of each of the versions of increasing combat difficulty there have been since 2004. But Elite was playable by neophytes. The combat was soon manageable.
Yes, yes, the other games of the day were vastly inferior so Elite stood out. Once one school boy discovered it, he told all his chums. Oolite has none of those advantages. But Elite was very very playable by neophytes such as myself.
But I wonder how many of the current combat competent players would have persevered if they had started with Oolite 1.88 rather than an earlier & easier version - or Elite itself. Some would, definitely. But everybody now involved?
People will persevere and learn skills, but if it is too hard, many will just give up. I cannot but be convinced that that is the case with Oolite 1.88 I suspect that if Elite Dangerous did not charge and thus help ensure commitment to learning their game, that many fewer would persevere. Take a good hard look at Drew Wagar's videos - he is clearly adept at handling Elite and only Elite. He has forgotten the handling of the various Frontiers, he has forgotten the minor differences for Oolite and, crucially, seems bamboozled, bewildered and befuddled by the myriad, mounting and multiplying complexities of ED. He will not be alone.
As human beings, some of us love complexity. The joys of programming, the thrills of legal argumentation and casuistry, the exhilaration of the intricacies of classical rhetoric, the elegance of 11-dimensional string theory etc. Very few of us love it in all areas, and many of us disdain it. Baroque and Byzantine complexity for it's own sake will put many people off (as you yourself can tell in wading through this missive).
To succeed in Elite one could learn all the complexities while enjoying playing the game itself. Why can Oolite not still emulate that?
Counterobjection to the Objection to the Counterthesis: Tutorial & Expansions
These provide an easy way into the complexities of the game for neophytes such as your humble servant. And they are good.
Objection to the Counterobjection to the Objection to the Counterthesis
But the Tutorial in the Basic Game (& cim's combat simulator) insists on you staying within distance of the buoy. I personally find this a major pain in the unmentionables even whilst I understand the reasoning for it. And I'm useless at it. And this is NOT playing the game. It is doing a tutorial. In Elite I learned on the job - much, much more satisfying.
If I am correct in my analysis of the discussion of PHKB's population control expansion, whilst the quantity of pirates is reduced, there is no corresponding lobotimisation of their crania.
I feel that there is a very strong argument - if one wants this game to thrive (and appeal to more than a handful of combat-crazed neophytes) - for ripping out the disimprovements to pirate quantity and quality and returning in those areas to Aegidian's original code from 2004.
Those who desire 'realistic' pirate combat should be able to find it in yet another expansion. It is a complexity - and surely, complexities belong in the Expansion folder.
I am convinced that this change would retain many of those who would otherwise drift away into the void.
•This does not - of course - answer the issues of how one publicises the game to a wider audience. It seems that only a very small proportion discover it.
•At this time I have only been playing Oolite for 2 months, and do not have the deeper knowledge of those who have remained loyal for decades. Also, I have a limited awareness of both the workings of the internet and of competing games.
•Finally, it is not impossible that the Blessed Braben and his Coruscating Cohorts may have insisted on these disimprovements to pirate quality and quantity as a quid-pro-quo for not suing and closing down Oolite. I would not want this and would rather spend the next few months skulking in the corners of the galaxy enjoying the vistas of the Orbital Graveyard, even if I never get to win a fight against the pirates.
Analysis referenced in the Propaedeutic
I distinguish below between battle competence and games competence (ie ability to trade and equip cobra whilst fleeing combat)
Thy humble servant: Poor Elitist. Combat issues exist but unmentioned there (- just wanted to say "hello and thank-you" and not spoil it with a grumble)
Evilblade (non-Elitist; possibly already battle competent)
djzejms (competent enough - got to average in a weekend)
Milo’s return: non-elitist; perfectly capable of speaking for himself
Alyinsanfran (Elitist; avoided combat for 5 days but had the game competence to fully equip his cobra)
Nite Owl’s return: perfectly capable of speaking for himself
Scotty (Elitist; already battle competent)
Colaiuta (Elitist; already battle competent but flustered by the difficulties)
Robbeasys (Elitist; already battle competent)
Peristalsis (Elitist; already battle competent)
Blue Lake (Elitist; already battle competent)
Skyace65 (non-Elitist; he who found Godot; no other information)
iGregory (Elitist; other posts imply battle incompetence - like me)
Hjong Park (non-Elitist “I want to like oolite, but simply can’t. Everything feels tedious and frustrating”)
Phonebook’s return (Elitist, presumably battle competent)
Rese249er/Mike1six’s return (battle competent)
RogerSena (Elitist; sounds battle competent; dark sider)
Nicksta (can’t classify)
Grindalf (non-Elitist? marmalised in ’17 and gave up for 2 years, now just flees)
Sundiver’s return (battle competent)
BenThomWood (Elitist; presumably battle competent)
Chameleon (Elitist; battle competent)
The missing context to really understand what is going on is
1) How many games were downloaded in that period (unknown known) and how many were actually played (unknown unknown).
2) How many of the downloaders gave up because of the combat - and how many gave up because of other reasons (eg: not bothering to read the information, not understanding the information, not finding the information, oolite not being their not their sort of thing and not finding the oxps which would change it for them, being linguistically challenged etc).
Unexamined Concluding Postscript
Post by stranger » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:49 pm
Really interesting message, Milo!
We had similar discussion in the Russian forum. We have a new generation of gamers who never had experience playing old good Elite and this new generation gets its first impressions on Oolite comparing it with modern games such ED or No Man's Sky.
I think Oolite is not just a successful Elite reincarnation with modern graphics. It is a quite mature and very interesting game in space simulators genre per se, and the most interesting aspect of Oolite is high degree of customization (really high comparing with commercial games).
But some aspects of Oolite seem too archaic and too cryptic for new gamers indeed. Text interface from the epoch of 8 bit computers with 48 KB memory is ugly, the lack of reprogrammed hotkeys providing fast access to equipment is terrible. And so on.