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Messages - Thundercraft

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I find it a bit immersion-breaking how Vera Novikova leaves the player's party immediately after "Intersolar Diplomacy" - that is, immediately after confronting Governor Skyrunner in the Martian Colony and asking her the big question.

Why would Vera Novikova run off into the wilderness and go back to the Earth Camp alone and on foot? Wouldn't make more sense for her to accompany the player character back to Earth camp, both because it would be much safer as a group and how it would (presumably) be faster?

I mean, immediately after "Intersolar Diplomacy" starts (after "Ask Ataro"), Vera talks about how she hopes that they avoid the quote, "Monsters" as how they are described sounds scary. Does this sound like someone who is comfortable with trekking all the way back to Earth Camp all by herself and on foot? (Myself, I flew there in an airship. Because, why not? I already built the airship and it has plenty of fuel left.)

Besides, the completion of "Intersolar Diplomacy" starts the "Civil Cooperation" mission, which has the player go back to Earth Camp to talk with Ataro again. The player is heading straight back to Earth Camp anyway. So, why wouldn't Vera want to hitch a ride?

I do appreciate that periodic sleep is a necessity in PE. And I like the way that it is implemented, complete with a "tired" state that causes problems for the player. It adds greater depth of realism and a sense of immersion.

That said, I find it annoying that the player's (and followers') sleep cycle does not come even close to syncing with planet Maria's day/night cycle.

Granted, one should not expect the days on extraterrestrial planets to match Earth's 24 hour (23 hours and 56 minutes) period. Some planets have very long days, while some have short days, and many are in between. For example, planet Venus has an exceptionally long day which is equivalent to 116.75 Earth days. However, some planets have a day which is similar to Earth's. The Martian day is 24 hours, 37 minutes, and 22 seconds, which is only about 40 minutes longer than Earth's.

Assuming that the time indicator in our interface indicates hours and minutes as we know them, the days on Maria are indicated by the passing of 26 hours (from 00:00 to 25:59). This is not too different from Earth time.

As such, one would expect humans to be able to get enough sleep to last through a day on Maria without having to take naps. At least, one should be able to get through a day without having to take long naps.

Well, it turns out the (in-game) reality is not what one would expect. Yes, 8 hours in-game is enough to replenish one's Comfort bar to full. But, in my experience, one's Comfort bar gets drained long, long before the day has run it's course. I could get up around 5:00 or 6:00 with full Comfort and my Comfort Bar would not even last long enough for dusk. It runs out around (15:00 or 16:00). Even with a 2 hour nap, it would run out around 18:00. And when I say my Comfort runs out that fast, I'm talking about days in which my character is not mining or doing anything strenuous.

Please, have our Comfort bar last long enough to get through a Marian day. I get tired of having to spam / repeat Comfort Shots all the time just to get through the day in a manner that matches Martian days, especially since Comfort Shots require Blue Anemone, which is rather rare (darned hard to come by) in Story Mode. (Blue Anemone can be found in certain areas, but only in rather small numbers. And, despite the plant itself being huge, picking it only ever yields 1 (one) unit! :( )

PS: Perhaps the devs do not realize that the minimum amount of sleep required for humans varies by person? Generally speaking, men often require 8 hours to feel fully rested, while women can often get away with 6 or 7 hours to feel fully rested. This is the medical minimum recommendation, anyway. And this does vary from person to person. My point being that even the 8 hour in-game requirement for restoring Comfort to full is a bit excessive. Many people get by with less.

I applaud how boats, aerial vehicles and helicopters all allow a variety of fuel cells, from Fuel Cell Type 01 all the way up to Fuel Cell Type 04. Variety and options are a good thing and it allows us to improve our airship designs as we progress, obtaining better and more materials (and/or better scripts). I also applaud how we are allowed to add up to 32 Fuel Cells to airships.

However, I am disappointed in how restrictive land vehicles are in terms of fuel cells. Ground vehicles in PE come in a variety of sizes, from tiny one-seat, two wheel scooters to monster land behemoths with 16 (or more) wheels. However, regardless of how big we make our ground vehicles, we are still limited to a maximum of eight fuel cells and, at that, are limited exclusively to Fuel Cell Type 01? How does this make sense?

To be fair, airships and helicopters naturally burn fuel faster, as they burn fuel just to stay aloft. And airships, helicopters, and boats in PE tend to be mid to late game and are, generally, heavily laden with lots and lots of heavy weapons, making them burn fuel faster.

However, I've seen plenty of ground vehicles that are bristling with heavy weapons. And while there are some weapons that ground vehicles can not mount (such as Missile Silos and Torpedoes), they can mount most weapons, including Aircraft Machine Guns, Aircraft Laser Guns, and large stuff like Naval Guns and Controlled Turrets. In other words, they can be nearly the energy hog that large gunboats and combat airships can become.

Why? Why can't we mount more than 8 Fuel Cells? And why can't we mount - at the least - Fuel Cell Type 02 or even 03?

Planet Explorers ISOs / Drone/Robot weapon pods? Which does the most damage?
« on: September 20, 2017, 02:06:50 PM »
I am confused on which of the turrets for the Drone/Robot isos does the most damage. Logically, the Laser Turret should do less damage than the Particle Turret, which should do less damage than the Missile Turret. Why? Because of the costs:

Mini Laser Turret costs: 15 Copper, 15 Steel, 1 Chipset (500 MHz)
Mini Laser Turret buying price / selling price: 860 / 229
Mini Particle Turret costs: 20 Copper, 20 Steel, 2 Chipset (500 MHz)
Mini Particle Turret buying price / selling price: 1254 / 333
Mini Missile Turret costs: 35 Copper, 35 Steel, 30 Aluminum Alloy, 2 Chipset (1 GHz)
Mini Missile Turret buying price / selling price: 4528 / 1274

However, the in-game "Attack" rating of drones actually built with different turrets suggests otherwise. One can take the same drone design, built with the same components and materials, only swapping the mini turret and this clearly suggests that the Mini Laser Turret does the most damage.

As an example, here is my Amp-Bot Mk IV. I included 3 different versions, one for each type of turret:

Here are the attack values:

Amp-Bot Mk IV Laser
2 Mini Laser Turrets
Attack "220 /s"

Amp-Bot Mk IV Particle
2 Mini Particle Turrets
Attack "123 /s"

Amp-Bot Mk IV Missile
2 Mini Missile Turrets
Attack "93 /s"

Question: Is the in-game "Attack" value incorrect? Logically, it should be backwards. The version with Mini Missile Turrets should have an attack value of 220 /s, whereas the one with Mini Laser Turrets should have the measly Attack of 93 /s. Considering the resource costs and part values, that would only be fair.

After "Back to Camp" (Return with Ataro's group to Earth Camp), we can finally ask Ataro "Where did Ava and Peter go". This starts "Heading Out West!" And Ataro gives the player a Glider, the Glider Script, a Parachute, and the Parachute Script.

...Doesn't this seem a bit redundant? Why would the player need the script if Ataro gives us the actual item? Is it just in case the player accidentally deletes it and needs to make another?

Ataro had already been very generous to us, giving us so much stuff up to that point. (He gave us 5 VTOL fans, 1 VTOL Type 01, 1 Flight Cockpit, and some other stuff, not to mention scripts to make stuff.) So, I don't understand why he gives us the actual Glider item and the actual Parachute item.

Wouldn't it make more sense for Ataro to only give the player the scripts? I mean, by that point, players should have already gathered plenty of Plant Fiber, Animal Hide, Copper and Aluminum to replicate these ourselves... right?

My suggestions for this side quest are simple:

(A) Make Agnes give the player some tangible reward for helping her out. (Something more than one Light Box and the Light Box Script.)

The quest location is an Andhera nest located very far away from Earth Camp and completely out of the way from the main quest, such as Rol's "Heading Out West!" It is also quite time consuming for a side quest and it does involve quite a bit of danger. In real life, most people would turn Agnes down or refuse to help as soon as they see that it involves three queens (and their brood) - yet, we're expected to grab their eggs and food without killing them. This sounds insane.

(B) Relocate both the eggs and the bones in an isolated corner of the cave, far away from the queens and their males and workers. Preferably, the eggs and bones would be located close the first waypoint, where Agnes instructs the player to dig.

Please, give the player the option to be sneaky. Don't have the eggs and bones guarded so closely. You could make it so the Andhera are alerted as soon as the player takes anything (or takes at least 5 eggs). That would at least give the player the option to safely lay down a bunch of Light Boxes (or erect walls via Build) before they are alerted.

Also: There is only one natural entrance to this cave complex. As such, the Andhera would only expect an intrusion from that direction, placing their food and eggs in the deepest recesses of the cave. Instead - against all logic - I found that going in via the cave entrace makes it both easier and safer to grab the eggs and bones.

Even though the Andhera are animals, they have demonstrated animal cunning. They should have the cave entrance guarded and concentrate on that direction.

By having the cave entrance guarded and placing the eggs and food close to where the player is told to dig, this rewards the player for following Agnes' advice in digging. The excuse she gives is that digging is quote, "easier". But, logically, that makes no sense. Why spend all that time and effort to dig if the player can just walz into the entrance? And why bother to dig if the player must fight with the Andhera (or place down dozens of Light Boxes), regardless of whether they dig down or use the cave entrance?

(C) Also, please consider adding some sort of mineral deposit in this cave complex, preferably something rare and valuable like Diamond. (Mine inside or near an Andhera cave? Am I insane? As the saying goes, "No risk, no reward.") I was disappointed that my scanner did not detect anything to mine. Though, I don't think Story Mode has a scanner upgrade to detect Diamond... Maybe have it as a surface (floor of the cave) deposit near where Agnes tells us to dig?

GAME SAVE: Here is my game save, so you can test my claims:

I've never done Agnes Copperfield's "What Lies Beneath" quest chain before. (According to the wiki, this quest dates back to Beta 0.6. But, somehow, it was new to me.)

Anyway, I was disappointed that this was set up in a way to make the stealth approach difficult to nearly impossible and which requires disturbing the nest in a major way.

The two obvious ways to succeed are to (1) kill the queens and bugs ruthlessly or (2) use followers to help distract them while the player grabs eggs and bones as fast as possible. Option 2 is particularly dangerous as the player character will still take damage as the bugs will not ignore you, even though having followers (or Rol) will help distract them.

This seems to contradict the dialog with Agnes for Part 3:
Agnes: Look at that, fascinating, multiple queens.
Agnes: We need to get some samples from their food and egg.
Player Character: Is this where the fighting starts?
Agnes: Try not to make a scene. Maybe we can make some lights and scare them off? Here, I have some, use them and keep them away from the eggs and food.

Granted, Agnes does give us the Light Box Script and a Light Box, suggesting we use them. And making lots of Light Boxes and laying them down does seem to (mostly) keep them at bay. But this is rather tedious and resource intensive, particularly for an optional side quest that does not reward the player with anything - that is, aside from the satisfaction of having completed it.

Yes, Agnes does give us the Light Box Script and one Light Box. However, more than likely, the player will leave behind multiple Light Boxes for this quest. Moreover, the Light Box Script only costs 90 meat and is only worth 5 meat if we sell it to an NPC. Further, most players will have already purchased the Light Box Script from Lao Lee way back when we first meet him at the Rock Formation. (The Light Box is indispensable in providing enough light to see clearly while mining. The Head Lamp is barely enough and not as useful as laying down a Light Box.)

Considering how Andhera are very light sensitive, I would think leaving behind a bunch of Light Boxes would disturb their nest in a major way. They might be tempted to relocate to a different cave or at least move to a different corner of the cave. Agnes stays behind to study them further, but if the player's actions forces them to relocate...

Also, having followers of any sort, including quest followers like Rol, makes this both easier and more difficult. It makes this quest easier in that the Andhera may attack them instead of the player character, so they are not surrounded and take damage so fast. But it makes things more difficult because they randomly roam around the player character, provoking the Andhera into attacking long before the player gets close enough to steal anything. I had considered doing this quest later, without Rol and after temporarily dismissing my followers. But that involves lots of risk as the Andhera would all be focused on the PC.

The main reason that the stealthy approach is impossible is because both the eggs and the bones were placed smack dab in the middle of the three queens and their brood of males and workers. One can not sneak around and grab them while they are not looking as they will notice you (or Rol or your followers) long before you can grab even one egg or bone.

I appreciate the replies, really. But...

A) In PE versions prior to converting the engine to Unity 5, there was no pausing, regardless of the CPU or hard drive speed. Players did not need excessively expensive or bleeding edge hardware as the game allowed us to fly over empty space - terrain that the game had yet to load or calculate - without issue.

What part of switching to Unity 5 necessitated that the game pause while flying? For ground vehicles or boats this makes sense, as driving over terrain that has not been loaded would cause the player to fall through the ground. But... why aircraft? Even if it was necessary, there's no logical reason why an aircraft should burn fuel while the aircraft is stuck and the game is basically paused.

B) The Voxel Cache is supposed to improve performance in Adventure Mode when flying over terrain that has already been explored... correct? That was my understanding. However, according to everyone posting in the Voxel Cache / drive error Steam discussion, disabling this actually improved performance (or makes very little difference, as in my case).

Does this mean that the Voxel Cache is broken or bugged? If it's not broken, then why gobble up tens or hundreds of gigabytes of the player's HD space for actually worse performance?

I really do appreciate all the hard work in trying to improve PE, especially with bug fixing and adding new content and features. However, it seems like many new patches change certain things in a negative way. In hindsight, wouldn't you say the switch to Unity 5 was a mistake? At this point, I think I'd prefer to play one of the older versions, prior to Unity 5, with all the original voice acting and everything. At least it would run reasonably well even on older hardware.

I forgot to mention the strangeness of how the game seems to try to update the terrain when flying. Specifically:

(1) There seems to be a transition when one lifts up far enough above the ground that small details start to become obscured. By "transition" I mean that the game will even stall out (frozen, burning fuel, as the game loads/caches terrain data) when merely moving vertically. Could this be the game loading additional terrain data because the higher altitude allows seeing the distance further?

(2)The game will stall even when there is nothing but ocean below - no visible land. This seems like such a waste of CPU cycles and disk activity, to load or calculate something which is not even visible to the player! What is the game doing - calculating massive cavern systems below the oceans? It should not even bother to calculate the ocean floor unless it is visible from the player's viewpoint several hundred meters above.

(3) Watching how the game slowly draws the landscape, I noticed that the first thing it does is display WATER underneath every square of terrain... But, why? What's the point? Again, this is something that players will never see unless they are flying over an ocean. There should not be an ocean of water under the land, anyway.

(4) With Voxel Cache left on, it does not seem to help flying over explored terrain. But - for me, anyway - turning it off did not seem to improve or worsen performance, either. (See the Voxel Cache / drive error Steam discussion for details.) Flying back over terrain which I've already explored does not seem to be any faster than exploring new terrain. Indeed, it almost seems like the game is trying to update old explored terrain, leading to the same stalling and lack of performance as flying over new, virgin terrain.
   (4.a) As evidence of my theory (updating old terrain instead of properly using it as cache to speed things up), I've noticed that the game will pause/stall to update terrain even over explored terrain when said terrain is still visible below. It does not look like it needs to be loaded from disk or recalculated, but it stalls anyway. And then, right before the game resumes and I can fly again, I noticed that the terrain visibly changes, but ever so slightly. The fact that it subtly changes implies that the game had to recalculate or reload something already there.
   (4.b) Further evidence that the game is not properly utilizing the Voxel Cache (when on) to speed things up is how it forgets explored terrain. When flying over already explored terrain, I get stalled and I watch as it slowly redraws most of it, as if it is unexplored terrain. Strangely, though, this is patchy. Parts of explored terrain remain behind, while other parts just disappear and have to be reloaded or recalculated.

I've spent the last 2 or 3 days working on some large airships that I created from scratch. And I know for a fact that I created them from scratch. And I know for a fact that I have never released these models anywhere, nor shared them with anyone.

And I tried to upload them to the Workshop. However, I get this:
This file has been uploaded by others
Account cloud disabled

I've tried again and again, but it's the same every time. I've tried all three of my airships (variations of my basic model), but it's the same for each.

Keep in mind: I've never uploaded to the Workshop before. Pondering this situation, I have to wonder if the reason might be because I inserted "Thundercraft" in the Author field when saving the ISO. Could it be that the Author field must be left blank in order to upload to the workshop? Or, if there is a name in the Author field, must it match the name of the character that I'm logged in with? I tried to create a multiplayer character named "Thundercraft"... However, I am prevented from doing so as I get a "Character name already exists" error...

I understand that you've added a 'copy protection' scheme to the Workshop as a way of preventing countless duplicates from appearing. However, I was never a fan of the idea. (I voiced my disapproval at the time.) And it's bad enough that this stupid scheme prevents anyone but the author from uploading a derivative - even a wildly different derivative. However, for some reason, it seems that this scheme is so broken that it prevents me from uploading anything I create from scratch. :(


Okay... I've tried to upload several different ISOs of mine, but they all fail with the stupid "This file has been uploaded by others" false error message. And while I have inserted "Thundercraft" in the Author field for most of them, I did manage to find one without. But, again, it fails to upload.  >:(

Either the system is buggy or broken or the fact that I'm using the Beta v1.1.0 prevents this from working.

To clarify: I'm talking in particular about flying aircraft in Adventure Mode, where game behavior is particularly bad. I haven't flown around much in Story Mode lately, but I can already tell that it is better (not much waiting for terrain to load) than it is in Adventure Mode, where one can only fly for a few seconds at a time.

Also, it may be noteworthy that, originally, I had PE installed on a SSD, but I now have it installed on a (rather high performance) hard drive. I may try to reinstall on a SSD to see if it makes a difference. However, I distinctly remember having to wait for the terrain to load many versions ago when the game was new to me. Though, we were not frozen in time while waiting for the terrain to load, so it was not a big deal back then.

Planet Explorers ISOs / How to open Decal and Material textures
« on: September 13, 2017, 01:04:27 AM »
FYI: If you want to copy and backup, share, or otherwise manipulate the files that Planet Explorer uses for Decals and Materials:



Many versions (several years) ago, the format Planet Explorers used for saving Decals and Materials was such that I was able to open most of them with an ordinary paint program. (I believe it was Paint.Net, as that is what I usually use.) However, the formats must have been changed as this is no longer the case. At least, I am no longer able to open them with either Paint.Net or GIMP.

However, I knew that the image data was still there. And I just assumed that PE inserts it's own game data - such as a material's ore type, specular settings, and specular and emissive colors - in front of the actual image data in .PNG format. It's just that most image editing software won't know how to skip this extra game data to find the image data and won't even try.

I've searched for "image recovery" solutions and I did find several. However, most of those cost money. I tried a supposedly "free" demo online solution. But, while it did seem to successfully recover a decal image from a decal, it covered up 90% of it with a demo watermark (asking to purchase their software) that made it unusable.

Finally, I tried the freeware IrfanView, as it was mentioned on an article reviewing image recovery solutions. It got low marks because, in their tests, it did not succeed at recovering their test image. However, when I tried it to recover PE Decals and Materials, it worked! Actually, it recovered all the Decals in my folder, but it could not recover all the Material textures. Though, it did recover most of them (about 70 to 75%).

Anyway, I wanted to share this for the benefit of other ISO creators as this may help in their endeavors. And if IrfanView can recover all Decals and most Material Textures, I'm sure there are other solutions, likely even some that work better.

Edit: The latest download on the IrfanView site requires Windows 10, meaning that it won't run on anything earlier. However, search the internet and you will find older versions that run on earlier Windows. I found one that works on Windows 8, anyway.

Of course my question is rhetorical. Yet, the spirit of the question is sincere: Flying is no longer fun in PE. Why? Because of how it has changed: Every few seconds, over and over... having one's helicopter or airship suddenly stop in mid-air - as if it hit a brick wall - and waiting 1 or 2 minutes for the terrain to load and cache is not only completely immersion-breaking, it is downright boring. Indeed, I get the impression that I could travel faster by ground vehicle, by boat, or even by foot. At least by ground vehicle or boat I don't have to wait for several kilometers of land to load because one can't see that far on the ground or at sea level.

This mid-air pause while the terrain loads happens so frequently that I had a hard time verifying the maximum speed of airship. It almost never reached 100 KPH because it almost always paused and spooled before it got that high. (Usually, it barely reached 80 KPH.)

I do understand that PE can be a hardware-intensive game. But, come on! It's been over 3 years since I bought PE and I half-expected some optimizations to make the experience a bit better. If nothing else, I expected flying to be about the same as it was. What I did not expect was flight performance to drop so much as to be all but unplayable.

What was wrong with the old system, whereby we could fly faster than the terrain could load? At least flying was smooth and the experience less immersion-breaking. At least we could get from point A to point B much faster than by ground vehicle or by boat.

To add insult to injury though: Our aircraft's FUEL continues to deplete even when it is stuck in midair while the terrain loads! Why should our fuel deplete if we are not moving?

And, for heaven's sake, if you must hold our aircraft in midair like that while continuing to burn fuel, why can't we at least turn to face a different direction?

If nothing else, please give us an option in the Options Menu to disable "Pause while terrain is loading". I BEG YOU! I want flying in PE to be fun again. But that will never happen as long as I have to keep hitting a brick wall while the terrain loads.

To be fair, I realize that the game is still under development. And I do appreciate that flying mechanics is being worked on. I suppose I was mildly annoyed that some of my older aircraft designs no longer fly correctly or very well. But, I understand that things must change to get improved. Seeing continued development and systems like flight mechanics get some love makes it worthwhile... in theory.

Planet Explorers General Discussion / Re: Mining
« on: September 12, 2017, 08:14:58 AM »
Aluminum is just about the highest tier material, so of course it's going to be one of the toughest to mine. The only material higher tier or tougher is Diamond. You would not expect to mine Diamond with a Wood Pickaxe, would you? Being able to mine Aluminum with a Wood Pickaxe would defeat the purpose of having tiered materials or a progression system, as you'd be able to jump from Wood straight to one of the best materials. It would take the fun out of it and remove the satisfaction in getting there. (If I had my way, mining Aluminum or Diamond would be impossible without building some sort of powered mining tool or mining vehicle, like a Jackhammer, Drill, or Bulldozer.)

I don't think that there is much excuse not to upgrade from Wood Pickaxe to something better as soon as possible. Just use your Wood Pickaxe to mine regular rock and you will get small amounts of Iron and Copper a bonus in getting stone. A few minutes of that and you'll have enough for an Iron or Copper Pickaxe.

Is there any reason why players should be prevented from swapping out a hilt? Is there some game balance issue or some fundamental aspect of the Creation system which either makes this impossible or which should not be done?

I ask because this suggestion of allowing us to swap between a Sword and Axe hilt has been suggested before. And, due to the lack of any response and due to the lack of it being implemented, I would assume the idea has been either forgotten or shot down for some reason.

Even though the Axe was added some time ago, there still are not many true Axe ISO's (with an Axe Handle) to download. Actually, there are quite a few ISO's in the shape of an Axe or Halberd, many with "Axe" right in the name. However, almost all of these are technically swords as they have a Copper Sword Hilt instead of an Axe Handle. Many of these Sword "Axes" were released before the Axe Handle was added to the game, but not all. Some are more recent.

I don't blame players for refusing to design Axes with an Axe Handle, because the Axe Handle severely limits the Attack power for some weird reason. Compared to sword ISOs, axe ISOs are very weak and pathetic. Again, this was brought up before. But, again, nobody replied.

Now, we have the Greatsword Hilt and Dagger Hilt. Part of me rejoices at added variety and new features for PE. But, part of my wants to cry. Searching the Workshop, I could only find one or two Greatswords and only a few Daggers. (I could count all the Greatswords and Daggers I found on one hand.)

There is a really obvious solution to provide players with a much wider range of Axes, Greatswords and Daggers: Give us the ability to swap out a Copper Sword Hilt for an Axe Handle or a Greatsword or Dagger Hilt... Bam! Instant selection of "new" Axes, Greatswords and Daggers.

Like axes, there are already many, many ISO's in the shape of Greatswords and Daggers, but which use the Copper Sword Hilt. And I do not blame ISO creators for not having the motivation to painstakingly recreate their Axe, Greatsword or Dagger masterpieces voxel by voxel just because we are not allowed to swap out a part.

I mean... we are allowed to swap out other parts. We can swap out engines, tires, weapons and other parts in vehicles. We can even swap out various muzzles and grips on guns. So, why can't we swap out hilts?

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