weapons, systems, radar, API, speed limit, multiplayer: MASSIVE space enginieers overhaul!
hi, and welcome to this huge improvement thread suggestion.
as the title implies, it is mostly aimed at space engineers multiplayer game play, but it does extend to positively affect solo play. so, let’s get started by the first topic: weapons
we have Gatling’s, we have rockets... and that’s all. not like it wasn't good for the game at the time they were introduced, but for a game with such a powerful damage engine, isn't it a bit wasteful to only have small yield weapons? not only that, but the only way to better arm a bigger ship is to put more of the same stuff on it. it works, but it is terribly inefficient performance wise.
to keep with the game balance, I will not advocate for energy weapons. you could take inspiration of the various weapons pack on the workshop, but what we need is slower firing harder hitting bigger guns, simply because a battleship shouldn’t have to be covered by missile turrets to be useful. more diversity, more engineering, more fun, LESS LAG!
while we are on the topic of combat (which is, while not the only part of this game, definitely one where most people gravitate), ships desperately need new systems to diversify the already good amount of variety found in ship designs. the problem is that every combat ship is different nuances of "shoot things". And while the player base has done wonder expanding this to new lengths with scripts, I will not count them into the equation. there is also another problem, players cannot reliably fight or even hunt with jump drives as they are. its impossible to catch a jump drive equipped ship, it simply isn’t. it will just keep doing 5km jumps till the end of time. this has to go. players should be able to use warp disruption generators (see: https://feedback.keenswh.com/idea/jumpdrives-and-api-balancing-the-space-time-bender-59c2356005a53 for more details about the solution).
but the cold hard truth is that ships usually never meet, like at all. same goes for the random encounters. the reason? space is big, VERY big, even planets are. it is mathematically impossible to find someone even in a 100km square if they hide their ship into a rock, there is simply too much. it crushes any player interaction, as no one can or will be found if they don’t explicitly want to (by publishing their coordinates in the chat for example) even putting a beacon will not make people see you unless they are extremely lucky.
to remedy to this problem, only one thing can ever work: RADAR.
now hold up, I am not advocating for the way to 100% track players across the entire map, but people creating massive stations or ships should not be invincible. for balance and functionality, I recommend cheetah's radar mod (http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=907384096&searchtext=radar) as a good example, as it is both very handy for scripts and well balanced overall, with a lot of depth and counter play. in other terms, THIS THING IS NEEDED IN VANILLA!
once the problem of finding and disabling a player jump drive is done, there is one last thing that utterly ruin player interactions: speed limit.
and before anyone goes running around screaming "but high speed is buggy". I KNOW, this is not what it is about. the speed the game can handle max is around 180ms, but upping the speed cap to that would only take the problem, just 80ms further. no, the speed cap need to no longer be absolute, it needs to be relative.
this is not about realism, as "space drag" would send anyone with half a brain launch tables across the room. but it is the only gameplay solution I see. basically, the speed would work like it does right now for anything that flies bellow or at 100ms, no drag, constant speed for everything. but the 100ms limit becomes breach able through force. when you apply force to a ship moving at 100ms, it will be able to "break" the speed limit, and go above it. but in return, the ship will get an increasing drag exerted on it, growing stronger as the ship approaches 180ms, the absolute maximum speed, which cannot be reached. the drag is calculated by a combination of the weight of the ship and its current speed, meaning that any vessel can breach the speed limit, but large vessels without special thrust would only go 2 or 3 ms above the limit if they push hard. on the other hand, small, light grids would be able to pierce the limit easily and travel at around 170ms. this is good news, because that means not everyone is uncatchable. now, if you want to run away, you better have a good thrust system, or vent your excess weight to be faster. and if you want to chase somebody, better have a couple of light vessels with a shitload of thrust to catch up the fleeing target. of course, warp drives remain an option to push a heavy vessel faster, but thanks to the radar gravity detection, cruising with a warp drive on will also reveal you to long range scanners. it encourages fast ships to carry chase weapons, like Gatling or missiles, to be able to profit of their increased speed, while slower ships will find their comfort in heavier weapons with more range to try and apply damage to any similar sized ships or maybe smaller warships trying to get away from them (insert Star Wars flashbacks).
so this is about it, feel free to drop a vote my way if any of the ideas above interest you!