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My Time at Portia enters Early Access on Jan 23rd 2018!

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Topics - Thundercraft

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I wanted to modify the texture for default iron in an image editor, then use the modded texture on a custom material on a sword. However, as much has I've looked, I can't seem to find the files PE uses for textures for the default materials.

Is there some place to find these? Is there a way to export the texture in-game?

NOTE: I did discover than one can open the decals in a paint program. Decals are located here:


Just find the decal you want (identify in-game by the UID), copy to a safe location, and rename the file with a .png extension. I've used this trick to make variations of a couple default decals in different colors.

Sentry Type 01 turrets are too resource intensive to be practical. Sure, bullets need to cost resources. But it's too much. And Sentry-type turrets go through bullets too fast. They are just too resource prohibitive to make it worth using them with Monster Beacon I. (Haven't tried Beacon II, yet. But I expect the same.)

One of the aspects of bullets that make them so expensive is the amount of animal fat for charcoal. And that's 12 meat per 1 animal fat! It means nearly 1/2 meat per bullet.

Since I was using them with a Monster Beacon, I figured that I could recoup that cost through the meat (and fat) gained. But, after the Monster Beacons, I tried to make more bullets and ran into some issues.

Less than 1/2 meat per bullet doesn't sound too bad. But, as I said, Sentry-type turrets are inefficient. They go through bullets rapidly. And, apparently, one can not gain much meat through the use of Monster Beacon I.

To be fair, I couldn't run fast enough to grab all the drops before the bodies faded. However, my followers did help in grabbing them. And I figure that even if I could grab all drops, the gain in meat would not be worth the time, effort, and other resources...


I built a wall around Camp Carter and set up 10 Sentry Type 01 turrets. That means I built 8 more turrets, aside from the 2 Chen gave me. (Yes, that was overkill. ;D 8))

Before the Camp Defense mission, I wanted to test my defenses. And I can always use more meat. So, I built two Monster Beacon 01. In total, that required 60 copper, 40 animal fat, 200 meat, and 20 torches. (That's 680 total meat, in terms of both meat and fat.)

I was surprised to discover that Monster Beacons are reusable. And so I activated one or both them at least 3 times, maybe 4. (With the new Monster Beacon interface, I can't be sure if I activated just 1 beacon or both. I'm thinking the game now only recognizes 1 at a time.) After the 1st or 2nd use, I had to reload my turrets mid-battle. That took a while. I was confused when I found that I can't just click [Reload]. Also, it just takes longer.

From the math, it doesn't look like bullets cost that much:

 * 1 animal fat + 1 wood = 4 charcoal (or 0.25 animal fat per charcoal)
 * 2 charcoal + 1 sulfur = 2 gunpowder (or 0.25 animal fat per gunpowder)
 * 1 copper + 1 gunpowder = 7 bullets (or 0.143 x 0.25 = 0.0357 fat per bullet)
 * 0.0357 animal fat x 12 meat per fat = 0.429 meat per bullet

Before I started, I had about 2859 meat, 512 bullets, no gunpowder, no charcoal, and 3 animal fat. After, I ended up with 2318 meat, 860 bullets, 146 gunpowder, 82 charcoal, and 26 animal fat. The difference in bullets is 348, which is roughly 12 animal fat and translates to about 149 meat. The difference in gunpowder and charcoal translates to 57 animal fat, or 684 meat.

To calculate my total meat gains from using Monster Beacon I and Camp Defense:

 * I ended with 2318 meat.
 * Two Monster Beacon I required 680 total meat (meat + fat).
 * 800 bullets x 0.357 animal fat = 28.57 animal fat (roughly 29)
 * 28.57 animal fat x 12 meat per fat = 342.86 meat (roughly 343)
 * The 348 extra bullets cost 149 meat for the animal fat used.
 * The extra gunpowder and charcoal translates to 684 meat used.

Adding all these figures up gives me:

    2318 + 680 + 343 + 149 + 684 = 4174 total meat (meat + meat-based products)

After subtracting the 2859 meat I started with, one can see it is clearly a gain. (However, my followers and I had killed several animals before I started. So it is actually a bit less than this.) Even so, just considering the meat gain, I don't consider it worth the time and effort. It's not that impressive.

And then, when I consider how I used up my copper and sulfur, it's definitely not worth it! That sucked...

Planet Explorers General Discussion / My Feedback on a0.941[marked]
« on: March 29, 2016, 02:49:41 PM »
I haven't played PE since last year, the last version I tried being a0.87. This means that all of the recent changes, beginning with the a0.88 branch, are new to me. Anyway, I wanted to share a bit of feedback on some of my initial impressions, while it's fresh in my mind.

I can seen several things which have been improved.

 - I am liking the ability to have several "pages" of item and equipment shortcuts on the Quick Bar.
 - I am liking how followers automatically help gather resources for you. It's not a lot of resources, but every bit helps. They'll even try to grab drops from animals before they disappear.
 - I think the graphics is a bit better.
 - Performance seems a bit better.
 - And while I haven't played very long yet, this version seems more stable than what I'm used to. (No crashes, yet... [crosses fingers])

As I said, I'm new to the changes. So there may be a few things which I find annoying right now because it's different and will take some getting used to. However, there are also a few things which I'm rather certain that I will always find annoying or at least a letdown.

 * Loss of "e" to take/gather: My biggest gripe is how tedious and time consuming it now is to gather resources. Granted, complaints about resource gathering are nothing new. But my complaint is not about the actual quantity of resources one can gather for a given unit of time or given number of trees, plants, or animals.

The problem is the constant mouse interaction which is now required. Namely, the loss of the [e] key to "interact" with things. That is, Talk/Cut/Gather/Take. Again, other players have already complained about this change. But now that I've experienced it I can definitely see where they're coming from! After doing this a while, one will get mouse-click cramps.

Pressing the [e] key was so incredibly handy! We already use the WSAD keys to control movement. And "E" is right there next to "W". We used to be able to harvest resources with just one hand! Now it's more like a chore, especially with such close pick proximity.

To be fair, I am loving the little bag (or axe) icon which pops up to show that we're close enough to pick (or cut a tree). But, IMO, it doesn't make up for the loss of [e] and how very, very close we have to be to pick or cut down.

 * Hotkey Customization: Related to the above, I badly wanted to assign a key to Talk/Cut/Gather/Take so I wouldn't have to rely on the mouse. I was happy to hear that we were getting Hotkey customization. However, it looks like you've locked roughly half of the keys, making it impossible for players to change them! :( Worse, it seems the keys that are locked are most likely the keys that players would desire to change.

I get that there could be issues. Assigning multiple functions to the same key or mouse button would cause some weird behavior or perhaps even generate an error. But potential errors can be tested for and trapped. And you already have a [Default] button to easily allow the player to revert their changes.

I mean, what is the point of giving the player a menu to customize keys if you turn around and lock the most important ones, preventing them from customizing? If you feel that you must discourage players from changing certain keys, you could leave them locked by default, but still give the player the option to unlock and change them.

If nothing else, you could warn them with a pop-up window that changing locked keys may cause unpredictable behavior. But it should be an option! >:(

 * Tree Harvesting Quirk: I'm not new to PE. But it took me a bit to figure out how to cut down trees in the new version. One has to press the left button to whip the axe out before one can press the right button to start cutting. Apparently, when the axe is put away, the game doesn't know what to do with a Talk/Cut/Gather/Take command. This seems needlessly complicated and adds to tediousness. Why can't the right button just start chopping, like it used to?

 * Thumbnails for ISOs: The thumbnails on old ISOs are clearer. That is, it's noticeably easier to distinguish what they are. I think there may be a tendency for thumbnails created now to be slightly more blurry. But what I really miss is how the object or vehicle was given a thin black outline, as if it was cell-shaded or traced in ink.


A Menu vs. an Interface Filled with Buttons: I think you guys may be obsessing over simplifying the interfaces and you went overboard. I preferred the old game interface buttons in the lower-right corner. They were handy. Now, all we get is another menu? We have to click the tiny menu button and then choose from a list of options? That's not nearly as handy.

Is there even a chat button, hidden somewhere? I can't even find 'Chat' in the menu. I guess we either must be in Multiplayer mode to find it or we are left with a keyboard hotkey.

Follower [Call] Button:

Where is the [Call] button to get a follower to come to your location? It was super important for when a follower gets stuck in the terrain or behind an object (such as a tent). It looks like the Followers window got "simplified".

What did he say? The volume for NPC dialog was already too low in previous versions. I had to turn the music and sound effects way, way down just to hear them clearly, no matter how close I stood next to them.

In this version, the dialog volume is even worse. Even with Music and Sound FX turned way, way down and even standing next to an NPC, I can barely hear anything. It's not loud enough for me to understand what they're saying. Actually, unlike in earlier versions, the distance from the NPC doesn't seem to make any difference. The volume seems equally low, regardless.

Similarly, the sound fx from being in the proximity of the ocean is often overwhelmingly loud. And like dialog, one's distance from the ocean doesn't seem to impact the sound volume. (Again, I have Sound FX turned way, way down and dialog left at maximum!)

Disappearing Wood Bed? I think I found my first glitch (aside from those in the in-game Steam Workshop). After noticing that the NPCs at Camp Carter were sleeping on the ground and after obtaining a 2nd Wood Bed from the nearby Chest, I placed the bed inside the tent. Mostly, I did it for roleplaying reasons. But I thought I would test to see if sleeping actually restores stamina, now.

I left it and gathered up some resources. Then I finished the Gerdy quest line by telling Carter about her and escorting them both to camp. I checked the tent to see if one of my followers was sleeping and... the bed was gone! I checked the inventory for my followers and the bed had not been picked up. It just... disappeared. This must be new behavior, because I left Wood Beds out all the time in previous versions.

Big Animals Destroying Trees? Some may find it a bit cool. But I find it rather distressing to see big animals like the Greenback Rhino pushing over large trees, like those huge ring-shaped resin trees. There are only so many of those resin trees and I use a lot of resin. And when they push down those trees, it doesn't even leave something for us to pick up.

Ingredients for Smoked Sausage & Roasted Meat: It's a very minor issue and I think it's been around a while. But, I find it odd that replicating Smoked Sausage requires more ingredients than Roasted Meat, considering that Roasted Meat is clearly a superior food. Smoked sausage regains hunger by 60 and gives 3 muscles, where Roasted Meat regains 80 hunger and gives 4 muscles. Yet, Smoked Sausage requires an additional fat. (Hey! Fat is hard to come by! I usually have to render lots of meat to get enough fat for scripts.) I think those two recipes should be the other way around...

Obtaining Followers' Stuff: There is the [Take All] button to take all their inventory. But there does not seem to be a way to obtain just one item at a time. Dragging inventory doesn't work to give or take items. I can give items by having their inventory open and then right clicking the item I want to give from my inventory. But right clicking their stuff doesn't seem to work.

Chop, Chop, Chop! It is kind of neat how an NPC will assist you when chopping trees (if they have an axe equipped). However, if the NPC deals the finishing blow (whether to a tree or an animal), then they get all the stuff. It's a hassle to keep taking all their inventory all the time, esp. if you've given them arrows for their bow. (You have to remember to always give those arrows back...)

What I find worse, though, is the unnecessary delay before they actually start chopping. They will run up to the tree you're chopping, but then they seem to run in place for a few seconds before they start. By the time they swing for the first chop, I'm often done or down to the last chop. Since they often deal the last blow, they often grab the resources.

Planet Explorers ISOs / Loud Noise "303" (sword) by Corsiy
« on: March 28, 2016, 08:37:05 AM »
I recently discovered how to download ISOs from the Steam Workshop. (Finally!) And I downloaded several things. But there was one sword that I wanted that failed to download properly.

The download stops at 99%, at which point it gives an error message! It said something about an illegal character in the name or filename. I think the game could not handle the quotation marks in the name: Loud Noise "303". I tried restarting PE and, after finding it again, tried again to download. But it always gives this error and fails. Searching for "Loud" or "Noise" won't work, either, as the Workshop will only show an "Unknown".

Anyway, the sword looks nice. You can find it on page 18 of the Swords category. (Kudos to Corsiy for the design.) And it does a respectable 303.7 attack damage. Is there a chance someone here has it and can upload it? I would imagine that if one were to re-upload it to the Workshop, one would first need to rename it to get rid of those problematic quotation marks. Either that, or one could upload to some place like planet-explorers-isos.

Thanks in advance.  ;)

I haven't played PE since last year. I stopped playing due to some virus or HD failure. But, recently, I decided to give it a spin again, since I haven't even tried any of the changes post a0.87+. I was looking forward to it. The download taking over 24 hours raised my anticipation.

Finally! Looking at the game launcher window, I clicked on 'Options' and...
The lowest game resolution allowed is now 1280 x 720...? Really?

This is a change in requirements as I was always able to play in 1024 x 768 in earlier versions. Yes, I realize this is pathetic. But, for various reasons, I delayed upgrading my monitor.

Must I get a new monitor now before I can play?   :(

Planet Explorers Suggestions / Moar Meats![marked]
« on: December 08, 2015, 12:25:03 AM »
I was grocery shopping today and I considered: Beef, Chicken, or Fish...
And, for some reason, I began to think of PE...

As I understood it, the plan is to shift currency away from meat to something else. So, I was wondering: After that shift is made, perhaps you would consider differentiating the meat drops more?

Yes, already, there are a couple other types of meat. There's Rabbit Legs (or whatever), for one. But compared to the enormous volume of plain "Meat" that drops, it's almost insignificant.

I do seem to recall that some fish drop "Sushi" or "Sashimi" or something. (Though, I can't find a mention of "Sushi" or "Sashimi" on the official wiki, nor does it seem to mention what each animal drops... Man, the wiki needs a lot of work!) But, I also seem to recall that a lot of fish drop plain "Meat", which I think would be wrong.

My suggestion? After you have a proper currency, why not split most meat drops into three categories: 1) "Meat", which is what most land animals would drop (equivalent to beef or pork), 2) "Avian Meat" or "Poultry", which is what most flying animals would drop (equivalent to chicken or turkey), and 3) "Seafood", which is what most marine animals would drop?

IRL, there's a lot of difference between those three categories. Aside from contamination and cooking issues, it tastes different and has a different texture. The USDA treats it as a separate category from quote, "red meats." And seafood is even more different from either red meats or poultry. The difference in taste, texture, and fat content is like night and day (and, again, differences in contamination and cooking issues).

In game terms, all that would be needed are recipes that require a certain kind of meat. Different consumables already have different traits. I just think it's weird that we can make Smoked Sausage or Roasted Meat out of fish creatures and flying animals. (Or am I mistaken and fish never drop Meat?)

Am I mistaken in thinking that the beta branch now has a working World Editor? And that this has been available for some time now? I even seem to recall seeing screenshots of some amazing custom maps.

But then, where are these custom map files? Does nobody want to share them? Keeping them all to ourselves, are we?

I looked on Planet Explorers ISOs and I still don't see a separate category for "Custom Maps" (or custom "Armor" ISOs, for that matter). So it's understandable why one can't yet find them there. But I don't see any of them shared in this Planet Explorers ISOs forum area, either.

Granted, as I talked about in the Custom Maps: Size Issues? Compressed Format? thread, custom map files are absolutely enormous when uncompressed. But they compress very well with .Zip or 7zip.

I'm at a point in Story Mode where I must build a colony. And I find it to be a difficult decision because I'm picky. I want a location with a fantastic view, but I also want it to be very defensible.

Mostly, I want a defensible position so it won't be high maintenance from attacks by ground creatures. Also, so I can use monster beacons by my base. But, there are roleplaying reasons for designing a defensible colony.

They've crash-landed on an alien planet with large numbers of very dangerous predators. (Maria has a 3 to 1 prey to predator ratio, according Agnes, compared to Earth's 10 to 1.) There are only a handful of human survivors on the continent. And they could be kidnapped or killed by two factions of hostile aliens. Oh, and there are tensions between Mars and Earth nationals.

Also, after Camp Defense I'd be paranoid of Maria's critters. They must've been driven mad by human tech. That, or driven by some alien transmission to exterminate the human invaders. They were after our blood, even the herbivores like the cute little stags!

There were some locations in Forest, Rainforest, and Canyon that I found tempting - by being near an existing camp or because I find the glowing vegetation in Canyon and Rainforest to be breathtaking. But they're not defensible, especially from a roleplaying perspective.

A colony in a forest or rainforest biome is not easily defended because of trees and thick vegetation. Without much line-of-sight, enemies or creatures can approach without anyone noticing. This would be true even with very hilly terrain like canyon and desert, unless you chose the highest point to build. But one can usually see for miles and miles on grassland.

Furthermore, placed blocks can be rather easily destroyed by creatures, while dirt and rock can not. As such, it makes more sense to very carefully excavate into dirt and rock to make a home, leaving impenetrable walls for protection. Building entirely with blocks means having to rebuild or fix walls and such after a major attack.

I spent quite a bit of time searching for good locations, both through reading the forum and flying around. Here is a list that I compiled for my own use. But I thought I'd share and/or discuss. (Note: Click the link on each thumbnail to get a larger view.)

Here's a map. They're in no particular order except the route I took to take the screenshots.

(C) 9819, 7115: Located south of Adesa Camp is a place I like to call "Cape Adesa" and I consider it obligatory in any discussion of potential colony locations. From what I read, it sounds like this is a popular choice. And for good reasons. As a peninsula, is it surrounded by water on all but one side. It's even located at the mouth of two rivers. So it's quite defensible and a boat is useful. (Still, I'd feel better after digging a moat around the north side.) Also, I find the ocean/beach biome music and the gentle lapping of waves to be quite soothing. The scenery is nice, too. I really dig this location.

Note the Firebear Nest, lifeboat, and land bridge in the upper-left corner. The ideal colony location, IMO, would be near the lower-right corner, between my VTOL flier and the corner.

(I) 12549, 6899: Medium Rock Shelf, located northeast of Carter Camp, at the end of a cliff overlooking the beach. An interesting rock outcropping or shelf that juts out towards the beach, with a small mushroom rock right next to it. I found it tempting, at first. I was going to dig into the shelf and put windows facing the ocean and then put a watchtower or communications tower on top of the mushroom rock. Though, I wouldn't be satisfied unless I dug out the entire west slope to make the entire thing an artificial mushroom rock, and that would require an enormous amount of digging. The big draw for me was easy access to the ocean, leaving me plenty of room to build boat docks. But the terrain is hilly and rounded. And I'm afraid the defensible surface area would be somewhat small, like the Large Doline.

Note: The ideal spot for the Assembly Core, I think, would be about the center of this image. But as you can see, it'd be a lot of digging to isolate it with a ditch.

(H) 12531, 6299: Large Rock Shelf, located southeast of Carter Camp. Another tempting location. Similar to the outcropping above in that it is a shelf of rock facing the ocean, except this one is huge. Again, I could dig into the side and put in windows. Though, again, it would require an enormous amount of digging on one side to turn it into an artificial mushroom rock. Still, this rock shelf is the top of the cliff. so there's a nice view of Carter Camp and the grasslands. Access to the ocean is not as good as with the smaller rock shelf as this is higher and a bit further from the shore. But I could still dig a trench or tunnel to the ocean. (Edit: The top is a bit hilly, which required a lot of digging and placed dirt/stone for me to get flat.)

Left is a view of Carter Camp from the coordinates, and right is a view of the rock outcropping from atop a spire of rock off the beach:

Left is a view from the air, and right is same after I spent many, many hours digging the rough terrain flat and filling low spots to prepare for a colony:

(J) 11481, 7788: A location I named "Sly Bay" on my map, for David Sly. It's at the end of a small bay that connects to the mouth of the river by the Giant Tree. I thought it ideal because I want easy access to the ocean or main river artery so I can build a boat dock. Lots of mostly flat terrain, too. Also, the scenery is fantastic and I can dig into the side of the cliff for a good defensive position. And then I can dig a moat around my colony for extra protection. (A lot of digging, to be sure.)

Note: The white circle is about where I'd build a colony, digging a deep trench just past the edge of the static shield (after upgrading it to Level 3).

(A) 8091, 6142: Medium-Sized Peninsula/Island, which Pat pointed out (in post below). I've seen this island before. Granted, being surrounded by water makes it very defensible. And it is more area than the Large Doline. But I discounted it as being too small for my tastes. It may "just fit" in the bubble, but that must be the basic static field. If upgraded to Level 3, it would swallow this whole area:

Note: You can see the "land bridge" in the lower-right corner and one can estimate the scale by noting the size of the palm trees and vegetation.

I'd love a Large Island. I've looked and looked, but I can't find one in Story Mode. There are a few islands. But they're either too small (for me), nothing but rock with a crappy view, or they aren't accessible. I've seen screenshots of someone building a nice colony on a beautiful, large island. But where was that? Adventure Mode?

(B) 8216, 7295: Large Doline. This is another popular choice for a colony location. And I certainly understand the appeal. Defensively speaking, it's hard to beat, what with sheer cliffs on all sides. The view is fantastic, too. My problem with the location is that the rock in the middle is way too small for my taste and needs. It's almost impossible to build a colony there and still have room to plant a small garden. Also, since it's so small, one may have to build some rooms underground. And NPC pathfinding is such that they don't like to path underground. (Not much in the way of elevators in PE, either.)

(G) 11964, 6622: This is the location of a natural opening to the caverns west-northwest of Carter Camp. On my map I call the location "Carter Caverns." Actually, any caverns or dug-out location would do about as well. (Though, Carter Caverns is loaded with zinc, coal, and petroleum that is easy to mine.) The point is: Some players choose to build their colony underground. Granted, this makes it trivial to defend your colony. (That is, until later updates when they introduce more underground critters.) And if they place their Assembly Core just so, they can have the static field surround some of the surface to allow them to plant a farm. Though, they'd have to give NPCs easy access to the surface or I doubt they'd tend to it. And, again, because of pathfinding and other quirks, NPCs often don't work right underground. Personally, I'll wait until a0.9 or later to see if the pathfinding issues are solved before moving underground.

Note: Left is the natural opening and right is the view from inside. (See the surface coal?)

(F) 11872, 6715: A very large, highly elevated mushroom rock, located smack dab between Carter Camp and the Meteorite Crater. The scenery is excellent and this could be the largest mushroom rock I've found. The top has a lot of flat terrain. No slopes at all, either. If it wasn't for the lack of access to the ocean or a river, I'd be very tempted to use the location.

(E) 10878, 7022: Located southeast of "Rock Formation." An odd mushroom rock since it is a double formation, with a smaller twin as a shelf on the southeast side of the much larger one. Not much flat terrain as it's mostly rounded. Still, it is big, high off the ground, and there are no slopes connecting it to the ground. (Personally, I'd dig a bit to isolate the smaller one as monsters can spawn on it.)

Note: You can barely make out "Rock Formation" near the upper-left corner.

(M) 11224, 8722: Large and rather highly elevated mushroom rock, located just west of the Natives' Relic. There is one very small slope on the west side that monsters could climb. But it wouldn't take much digging at all to get rid of it. I see quite a bit of flat terrain.

Note: White line indicates where the slope is (and where I'd dig a ditch).

(L) 11400, 8388: Large to medium elevated mushroom rock, located south-southwest of the Natives' Relic. There is a small slope on the northwest side. But it would not take a lot of digging to get rid of it. Do note that a Red Korona frequently spawns near here. And there's not much flat terrain as it's mostly rounded on top. I had considered digging an underground canal to connect the base of this mushroom rock to the river for boat access and a dock. But it wouldn't have the same aesthetic and the distance is just too far.

Note: White circle indicates the edge of the river. Natives' Relic can be seen near top.

(K) 10842, 7987: Rather large elevated mushroom rock, located almost due south of the Bird Head landmark. There is a small to medium slope on the northwest side that gives monsters easy access. So it would have to be dug out.

Note: Red circle indicates the Bird Head landmark. White line is slope that I would dig out.

(N) 11019, 9592: Large mushroom rock, located north of a Pujan Camp (the one north of the Natives' Relic). I believe this was the location used by Trent for his colony (as shown in the Show Off Your Base thread). However, there is a very large slope on the south side. And just south of you is a Pujan Camp so close that it would make me very nervous. (I'd imagine it'd make the natives nervous, too.) But I do like the fact that it is close to a river.

Note: You can see the Pujan Camp near the upper-right corner. As I said, it's close. And about a third of the circumference is a slope which should be dug out (mostly right of my VTOL flyer).

(O) 11679, 9887: Large mushroom rock, located close to the Pujan Great Wall, south of a Pujan Camp and across the river from the Natives' Relic. This one is not so close to the Pujans to make me too nervous. But then, there are Pujans to the north and west. I've tested this location with an Assembly Core to see how the static shield fits. It is quite large and even with the shield upgraded to Level 3 it barely surrounds it. (Place it a bit south of the large cactus tree for the center.) Unfortunately, this one is not very high and there's a large slope which should be dug out; i.e., lots of digging. Though, one can see quite a bit of flat terrain.

Note: As you can see, it's nestled right up against the wall. I have to wonder if Pujans could attack or throw stuff from atop their wall. And the left side of the image is mostly slope. That's a lot of ditch digging!

(D) 10465, 7348: Located northwest of "Rock Formation." This would be a large mushroom rock, if it wasn't for how big the slope is (on the northeast side). It would take quite a bit of digging to isolate it. And it's not as highly elevated as most mushroom rocks. But one can see quite a bit of perfectly flat terrain:

And one must admit that it's hard to beat the fantastic view from here:

Planet Explorers ISOs / ReUpload Policy? Down ISO sites?[marked]
« on: August 22, 2015, 03:44:14 AM »
Just about everyone knows that used to be the place to share ISOs. Sure, has been around for a while, too. And it is another good site. But it didn't seem to really catch on until after went down.

There are a lot - and I do me a lot - of ISOs that were on and are still not available anywhere else. Perhaps the author hasn't bothered to reupload. Maybe they're preoccupied with other games or life. Or maybe they're waiting for a0.9 or later. But there is also a good chance that they will never get reuploaded by the author. And as time goes by, some will inevitably get lost forever.

I recently noticed that some ISOs are being reuploaded to by 3rd parties. And the subject was discussed in this thread. Apparently, reuploading has been ongoing for some time on the Steam Workshop.

After searching, I could not find their policy on intellectual property or creative ownership. So one might assume this is okay with them.

Question: What is or should be the policy of reuploading by 3rd parties? Is it okay, as long as they don't try to pass it off as their own creation? Should this be discouraged or encouraged?

Keep in mind: PE ISOs have a field for author which becomes encrypted into the file and impossible to change. Though, to be fair, many ISOs don't take advantage of this. (Was that a recently-added feature?) Some authors either put their name in the description or they don't even list it.

Also, I have experience with mods for other games, like Starbound, Freedom Force, the X-series, Morrowind, etc. And I was frequently upset when the downloads for the mods I most wanted were either broken and the site forbid reuploads - or they were too obsolete to work with the latest version and site policy forbid altering some else's work. (All that work, freely shared, which others could enjoy - but blocked by shortsighted rules... A real shame.)

Then there's the fact that PE is multiplayer. I can see the appeal of sharing ISOs with friends on the same server. Multiplayer is cited as the reason so many ISOs have been shared and reshared over and over on the Steam Workshop.

Planet Explorers Suggestions / Custom Armor: A Suggestion[marked]
« on: August 21, 2015, 07:10:51 PM »
I just saw the preview for custom armor here. While I do realize that this is an early preview, I must say that it looks rather like I expected: Tending more towards bulky and home-made and less visually appealing than current armors.

I also realize that there are a number of players that are really looking forward to the custom armor system. And I will admit that the ability we have to make custom vehicles, buildings, objects, weapons, and even shields is quite awesome and most custom ISOs look fantastic.

My suggestion?

Consider giving players an alternative way to craft armor:

1) Have armor "templates" to choose from. These could be 3D models acting as components, like the prefab parts in the Creation System such as sword handle, rifle grip, or wheels. These could include chest plates, knee pads, shin guards, bracers, shoulder pads, etc. Alternatively, one could have templates based on fixed armor designs, such as those already in the game, along with a few new designs.

2) Allow the player to design their armor by mixing and matching various template 'parts' or maybe merely choosing the design for the helmet, torso, legs, etc. And then the player chooses the material to make it out of. Everything from wood or even sand to gold or diamond.

3) If the template system consists of prefab parts like shin guards, bracers and shoulder pads, then those could be treated like the plates of half plate armor:

Reddit > DnD > What exactly does half-plate armour consist of/look like?
It is Full Plate but stuff like the back of the thighs and a few other places are left open (usually with chainmail though) so you have some more mobility.
DDO Wiki > Half Plate
This armor is a combination of chainmail and metal plates, which cover the vital areas.

Another words, the player would also get to choose the design of the "chainmail" or flexible, almost skin-tight component which shows underneath. Rather that just chain, though, it could be made from other materials. Perhaps leather, chain, and more exotic stuff like teflon, kevlar, carbon nanotubes, artificial silk, and/or nanofibers?

4) Allow the player to customize the look. But rather than the spray paint system (which I find clumsy and difficult to use), this could be done by choosing material colors/tint and by editing texture file(s). Loading and applying texture file(s) could be treated similar to how decals are linked with ISOs. But in appearance it would look like the texture files used with conventional 3D models. Templates could be provided so we could paint them in an actual paint program.

Granted, it probably would be difficult to code and implement such a system. It would be rather different than other item creation. And it probably does not sound appealing at this stage when you already have a custom armor system in the works and nearly finished.

However, while PE's voxel creation system is rather good at allowing players to create sophisticated weapons, vehicles and the like with blocks, wedges, spheres, cylinders and other simple shapes - it does not seem well suited to the task of designing armor. Body armor should fit the contours of the body. And the human body is not at all blocky and does not even conform well to simple shapes like spheres and cylinders. It is complex and curved. So such designs will always look rather uncanny on a person.

I do feel my suggestion would look far more visually appealing. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who would prefer such a system.

Aside from when you want to recruit an NPC follower, the main reason for fulfilling quests is to earn a reward. Usually, this reward is either a script or an item we can (or will eventually be able to) replicate, like armor or a flare gun. Though, sometimes it's consumables like food or stuff like seeds.

Thing is, most quest rewards are stuff that you can purchase from the NPC giving the quest. And therein lies a problem. When you first meet an NPC it is tempting to immediately purchase all the scripts you don't already have. Scripts for improved armor and weapons could be useful right away. And if you wait until later, you may forget. I've had to backtrack to a certain camp just to get some scripts I forgot.

But if you purchase all their scripts, then when you do their quests you will probably end up getting some scripts you've already purchased. In such cases, you're basically doing their quests without a reward. To compound this, it can take a long while to finish all the quests for a given NPC. It may even be in stages, where you do one quest for NPC (a) and then have to do quests for NPC (b) and/or (c) before you can come back to do more for (a).

Is there a list of the quest rewards for each NPC? Because that could help eliminate the headache of buying the scripts you'd otherwise get for free.

I do like the idea of giving scripts as quest rewards. But I think the game should make it impossible to purchase quest reward scripts until after you've done their quests. Or maybe it should mark them red or a certain color as a warning.

I'm really tempted at this point to give the Opt-In branch a test drive. Indeed, I'm updating as I write this.

However, on second thought, I think I would like to test drive the Opt-In and still be able to play the latest stable release after I've tired of the Opt-In.

Is this possible? If so, how would I set that up?

With some games, like Starbound, they have both the Stable and Unstable builds available to customers as separate items (listed as separate games in the Steam interface), so players can install both.

When I first started playing PE, I had a heck of a time finding enough of certain herbal ingredients for remedies and such. Specifically, the Lotus Flower and, to a lesser extent, Shade Weed. Often, they seemed so small and hard to see among the thick grass. Granted, the size of plants are randomized somewhat. Sometimes Shade Weed buds and Lotus Flowers are tiny (and green as grass) and sometimes they're almost as large as Tulips. And sometimes the Shade Weed is bloomed out a bright purple and sometimes it's still an unremarkable-looking bud.

In contrast, larger plants like the Tulips, Maria Sunflower, Blue Anemone, and Peach Flower are easy to spot.

It got frustrating enough that, eventually, I went into options and turned the grass off. It made a HUGE difference as I could then easily spot the Lotus Flower and Shade Weed at a distance. Also, it seemed to improve my FPS and game performance.

Similarly, there were some Forest biome plants I have a hard time spotting: Red Mushrooms and Mini Corn. The Red Mushrooms are especially small and hard to spot, even without any grass.

I'll have to see how the grass looks in the new version. But unless the Lotus Flower and Shade Weed has been scaled larger (or changed to a brighter color), I suspect I'll eventually turn the grass off again.

In the Share your ISOs here thread, gp2exe wrote:
...Custom Maps are a lot bigger than a single ISO. The two map folders I saved have a size of around 300MB each, apparently due to having the data of all the voxels in the terrain (probably similar to the voxelCache folder becoming several GBs big while playing adventure or multiplayer if enabled). Obviously that becomes a bit of an issue when it comes to sharing them, but when zipped they go down to 4.71MB (zipped through Windows) / 2.55MB (with 7zip).

I don't know what storage space others have. But considering how P.E. itself takes several GB and how it balloons in size by multiple GB if we play in Multiplayer Mode, I would imagine some players start to have some storage concerns after a while.

And custom maps take up about 300 MB each, uncompressed? Wow! :o That -is- a lot more than the weapons, vehicles, and building ISO's we've been sharing! (By a factor of about 1,000, actually.) Indeed, I don't know many file hosts that allows us to upload files that big - at least, not free ones.

The solution, of course, is to compress the custom map files. But while that works for those of us sharing our custom maps with each other, it still means that these files take up hundreds of MB (or even several GB, with multiple maps or multiple game saves) when being used in our game folders.

How about an alternative?

Anyone familiar with Sketchup, the 3D modeling software? How about the old .KMZ Google Warehouse format? To save in the .KMZ format, Sketchup merely creates a Collada .DAE 3D model file, packages them with the associated textures in the texture folder, and compresses them in a standard .ZIP archive, naming the file with a .KMZ extension. That, and it adds a small text file with a bit of file structure data. It was convenient and saves a lot of storage space over having an uncompressed Collada file and texture files.

My point?

Why not have a compressed, single file format for custom maps? When saving a custom map, you could have Planet Explorers automatically compress the data into a standard .ZIP format and give it a special file extension name, such as .pecm (Planet Explorers Custom Map) or similar?

This method would not only drastically save hard drive space, it would make it more convenient for players to share them. Also, while I haven't tried Multiplayer yet, I suspect it could really cut down on the wait time in Multplayer when a new player connects to the server and the map data has to be synced.

Planet Explorers ISOs / Importing and/or Exporting Models?[marked]
« on: April 15, 2015, 12:22:04 PM »
I know it's been asked before, but:

Are players ever going to be able to import a 3D model?

If there are not any plans for this, I think it's understandable. The point of the PE creation system is to build with voxels. And I suspect cluttering a world with complex imported 3D models would be detrimental to performance. Not to mention the problems it would create in Multiplayer, such as when everyone else doesn't have your models.

But what about this suggestion?
No model import, but how about this?

It would be awesome to allow players to import images into the Create system purely for reference. As mentioned, it would allow us to sketch a design and then scan the sketch for reference.

Alternatively, or in addition, how about some way to instantly "voxelize" a 3D model into a rough voxel equivalent? Some gamers already do this for other games. For example, this online Voxelizer program allows anyone to turn a 3D model into a "voxel representation" so one can build it in Minecraft with cubes. Specifically, it "rasterizes" a model into a 3D voxel grid and creates a voxel file. (BTW: There are other, similar programs.)

Finally, I think it would be very cool if there was some way to export stuff. That is, import our .vciso creations into a 3D modeling program. Granted, such a method should block/refrain from importing actual game 3D assets like the Sword Hilt, Shield Handle, Rifle Grip, Helicopter Blades, etc. But what's the harm in allowing us to import the pure voxel forms we create in-game?

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