Vehicles that are actually useful.

Discussion in 'Vehicles and Mounts' started by Xylia, Jul 31, 2016.

  1. Xylia

    Xylia Tiy's Beard

    So... let's talk about the rideable vehicles mechanic in Starbound.

    AFAIK, the Boat no longer exists. If it did, it would be the one single only vehicle that is actually useful in SB. Don't get me wrong, the hovercars/bikes are a cool idea, but sadly they are rendered useless by their actual mechanics, and the mechanics of the game.

    Problem #1: The Terrain. A hovercar/bike only hovers 2 blocks above the ground. You can jump another 3-ish blocks and that's it. The problem is, is that they decided that every planet should have huge mountains 50, 100+ blocks tall and you get maybe 3-5 seconds of riding your sweet ride until you have to stop, get out, pack up, scale the mountain, go down the other side, and pull your ride back out... only to run into another mountain 5 seconds after that.

    Problem #2: The Hitbox. The vehicles currently in-game are just too darn big. They are a whopping, what is that again, 7-8 blocks long and (including hover height) at least 5 blocks high? Where are you going to fit this thing while moving around in the world? You need gigantic doors or anything to ever take it inside of a building, or a gigantic cave opening if you ever wanted to take it anywhere other than the planet surface, but then again, Problem #1 rears its nasty head again.

    Problem #3: No Weapons!? Every planet in Vanilla SB has aggressive enemies. A LOT of aggressive enemies. These vehicles have absolutely no weapons on them, making you defenseless while you drive them. I don't know about you, but I've seen lots of movies where someone driving a car can easily pull out a pistol and shoot. Why can't we do that in SB? Or, if that wouldn't work too kindly with game mechanics, why not equip a simple gun on the car? If I can make a turret and put it on a building, why can't I attach a turret to a hovering car? This leads me to...

    Problem #4: The Damage Mechanic. This design decision baffles me. You give us hovercars, then you decide to make every planet so ridiculously mountainous, and then you go and make it so that every time we ram the car into a block, it takes damage. Oh, and monsters attacking you will damage your car too. If it blows up, you lose your really expensive car. If you can pack it up before it blows up, well, it's just going to take lots of Auto Chips to repair it (do those still exist? I haven't found one since 1.0's release). Either way, the car ends up being just plain useless.

    So what do we do about this?

    Well, let's make some tweaks to these vehicles. We'll start by making NEW vehicles (Don't worry, I have an idea the old ones). Said vehicles should fly like helicopters (getting rid of the mountain problem and half of the mob/damage problem) and they should have guns mounted on them (their guns should use a static % of the player's max energy so that the energy usage is the same no matter what kind of armor you wear, because you aren't using the player's energy but rather the vehicle's). The guns should also do a fixed amount of damage, enough to actually be useful on Fiery Star planets but perhaps not ridiculously OP.

    The vehicles should have a decent forward speed, but maybe not quite as fast as the hoverbikes. They would, however, fly like helicopters (able to hover in place at any altitude, and be able to stop and change direction in mid-flight, etc).

    They should also be a bit smaller than the hovercars if possible, if you can come up with a design that does such, or at least shorter in length.

    Now, about that idea I mentioned earlier with the old bikes?

    Since the bikes pretty much require a flat world, maybe we could make a simple mission where they can be used for enjoyment purposes, perhaps there would be a racing enthusiast at the outpost who gives you a "mission" (or a teleport location) to visit a planet where they have a racetrack set up so that you can have some joy rides.
     
    OzonSF, AngelusNox and Jappards like this.
  2. Fibriel Solaer

    Fibriel Solaer Space Kumquat

    I would presume that any planet you've just started to colonize that has one or no villages on it would indeed not be suitable for any but the most novel vehicles. Unless you're driving La Princesse I don't think you should expect the world to be very friendly to your transportation.

    Continuing from that point, I've always presumed the idea was for you to terraform the world at least enough that you could travel it quickly using your hover bike. Especially once the MM is sufficiently upgraded, digging tunnels through mountains and under cities all around a small to medium planet shouldn't be a problem.
     
  3. STCW262

    STCW262 Giant Laser Beams

    Not to self-advertise (By which I mean I want to self-advertise), but I also made a suggestion about vehicles. The suggestion even proposed new specific vehicles and making Hoverbikes work differently.
     
  4. LaughingAlex

    LaughingAlex Pangalactic Porcupine

    I think vehicles are meant to be something of a specialized item designed to help you move across easier terrain, and not meant for combat. See the trouble with vehicles in games, when they can be damaging, they can often become TO powerful, to a point that there is literally no reason not to use a vehicle. It becomes a game of vehicles. Granted when I speak of vehicular imbalance in some games, they were made with that first. But when they aren't and they become OP, then it's not necessarily the same game anymore. This happened with the unreal tournament franchise, which yes, I am aware is different genre, but vehicles litterally, whenever they were involved, became the be-all-end-all. You had no chance of destroying a goliath on foot, even if it was weakened, as there wasn't any weapons really suited to dealing with it. Even the Avril had a hard time due to it's slow and clunky mechanics exposing you to vehicle fire since it had to be "balanced". The best you could do on foot was ambush a weakened vehicle in hopes it doesn't get to fire on you, and a player had far better vision in a vehicle and thus it was even harder to sneak up on them.

    So it was all about vehicles wherever they were involved in that game.

    It seems to me starbound isn't meant to be a vehicles game, besides they control kind of poorly atm, which I understand to be a problem. But I wouldn't arm them with weapons, and certainly not weapons good enough for tier 6. Because it's not hard to acquire enough cash before tier 4 even to purchase a vehicle. Just make a huge ocean farm and colonize planets. You'll have the cash in no time.
     
  5. Xylia

    Xylia Tiy's Beard

    When I said "be useful on t6" I didn't mean for them to be as good as weapons you'd find on t6, I meant have them be strong enough that they COULD be used on t6 planets (though whipping out your own gun would be better).

    And besides, I was also posting under the assumption that the vehicle's damage would be reliant upon your equipped armor, which would mean that using a vehicle on a t4 planet would be roughly about the same as using an average assault rifle.

    But, by the time you get to t6, the vehicle's gun is meh. Good enough to fend off something that's bugging you, but yet not something you want to use solely for the gun.
     
  6. STCW262

    STCW262 Giant Laser Beams

    Well, IRL it IS difficult to take vehicles out with only infantry. A possibility would be to add weapons which are effective against them.
     
  7. LaughingAlex

    LaughingAlex Pangalactic Porcupine

    Actually in real life there are a lot of anti-vehicle weapons to :).

    I was mostly focused on the overall lack of balance caused by vehicles in those games.

    It's mostly a grey area with them. Make them to powerful weapon wise and on the surface there is no reason to fight on foot. Honestly I think they should excel at getting you across terrain reasonably well. In fact I think hover bikes should be capable of hovering over lava. Let boats survive on poison/water and let hover bikes sink into those two. But lava is such an annoyance on volcanic areas imo(mostly serving as a means to get the player to take a lot of time to stop and pick it up or cut out a wall to drain it).
     
  8. STCW262

    STCW262 Giant Laser Beams

    A way to balance them out would be to make them vulnerable to terrain and/or large targets. Another possibility is to make it impossible (As it already is) to manipulate terrain while in a vehicle, so taking them out on foot (Depending on the vehicle) involves either:
    1 Bring a rocket launcher.
    2 Bring another vehicle.
    3 Use your Matter Manipulator to force it into a disadvantageous position.
    4 Chip at it with another weapon.
     
  9. Corraidhín

    Corraidhín Supernova

    I feel vehicles just were never meant to be made. But were promised so they added them somehow, even if they re cumbersome, inefficient and mostly not useful for exploration. Perhaps if somebody conditioned a biome for racing, I dont see much use for them otherwise.
     
  10. STCW262

    STCW262 Giant Laser Beams

    Actually, they feel like the devs didn't consider how their own game generates the landscape, which is often mountainous enough to render Hoverbikes impractical in the way they currently behave. It is likely that, if Hoverbikes could just hover higher, they would be useful as long as there's no large mountains.
     
  11. Corraidhín

    Corraidhín Supernova

    Actually they did, however I am unsure if they managed to workout the whole "hover" in the hoverbikes, since they just keep crashing onto the land. I dont know if you were there during the old Dev Blogs, but they were usually showing pictures of how the terrain was generated, and the changes they made for X thing to add C thing, such as mini dungeons, mini biomes, more variety and so on. That included surface terrain, which used to be much flatter and easy to explore.
     
  12. LaughingAlex

    LaughingAlex Pangalactic Porcupine

    On the bright side, I found hoverbikes are very good in oceans, except for magma of course. Even toxic....just use antidotes.
     
  13. stealthXG

    stealthXG Pangalactic Porcupine

    I actually find hoverbikes quite useful, I usually have enough pixels to get one after the Floran mission. Hoverbikes can actually drive up mountains (like skyrim horses) so you really don't have to get out of them to climb the mountain, not to mention they can drive off mountains and only take a merely 10 damage from the fall. The only time I had to get out the hoverbike was when I get stuck or take too much damage from mobs....
     
    krylo likes this.
  14. STCW262

    STCW262 Giant Laser Beams

    Yes, I saw the dev post which showed when Hoverbikes were added, and it was already possible to see that they were affected too much by terrain.
     
  15. Corraidhín

    Corraidhín Supernova

    Yep, I like to think their implementation could be improved, but also we have to think whether or not we are giving them the best use as it is. Its a building game after all, who says you have to explore with it?
     
  16. STCW262

    STCW262 Giant Laser Beams

    That Rails are better at travelling through player-built structures.
     
  17. Corraidhín

    Corraidhín Supernova

    Oh yeah, I keep forgetting those exist. I loved those back during koala builds, specially with the Sit anywhere mod.
     
  18. Yusuke Urameshi

    Yusuke Urameshi Cosmic Narwhal

    If it could just hover a little higher off the ground, or at least not get stuck in a cliff-side so much..that would be great. Then they would actually become practical to use.
     
    Jappards likes this.
  19. SoopaDerpcat

    SoopaDerpcat Pangalactic Porcupine

    I have a few ideas for vehicles myself.

    First of all, rename the current Hoverbike to "Hoverjeep," since it is in no way at all a bike. Instead of the completely useless horn function, have alt-fire generate an energy shield in front of the jeep when held down. The energy shield drains energy passively while active, and when it hits a monster, it instantly loses 10 energy, does a bit of damage, and launches the monster up, backwards, and over the jeep. Hitting a wall at vehicle-damaging speed with the shield up will completely drain the shield, but will protect the jeep itself from damage.

    Then, make actual hoverbikes. They'd be about the size of a fairly large real-life motorcycle and a bit slower than the hoverjeep, but could also jump much higher, much faster, and land much more quickly; in general, they would control better and have a smaller hitbox.

    Next, a little vehicle that I call the Scuttlebuggy. Rather than being a hover vehicle, the scuttlebuggy is a clingy quadroped that runs along the ground, faster than the player but slower than a hover vehicle. The scuttlebuggy can not crash; when it hits a wall, it sticks and starts climbing, and instead of shooting over hills and ramps, it stays firmly on the ground, making it ideal for exploring mountainous regions.

    As for combat vehicles, the XS Mechs mod actually does a very good job at balancing them; the enormous Theta mech, for example, can destroy multiple monsters at a great distance with one blast from its huge railgun, but once a monster gets into attacking range, it becomes very cumbersome to use and the player either needs to exit the mech to deal with the threat or jump away and try to get your bearings on where the attack was and where to shoot before it gets back in range.
     
  20. Steamwolf

    Steamwolf Void-Bound Voyager

    I feel that the devs added the hover bikes with colonised planets in mind. It makes sense that on planets with roads and structures, that there would be cool hover bike tech too, to get from farm to farm quickly using roads and tunnels.
     

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