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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Everything Must Have a Price

I am back from my short vacation. As you can tell, I didn't blog. I also didn't log on. When you are having boat loads of fun with other like minded people, you need to stay in the moment. So I did.

But speaking of boats, I'd like to show you a few.

That was not a touch of vacation induced weirdness. This is what happens when one ship bumps another. The result is as bad for the bumper as the bumped. You see, ships are not billiard balls. They should not be considered such by players - and CCP needs to address that misconception.

I'm not advocating the elimination of ship bumping. That would not be in keeping with the spirit of Eve Online. But such bumping should come with risk. Eve Online is a game of risk and reward. If risk must precede reward, a price must be paid to bump.

What is that price? The pictures above illustrate it far better than I could describe. Ships are generally not made to collide with other ships. However, such ships have been used since ancient times. Ramming ships were specially designed for the role. There was still a large risk of damage to one's own ship so designers attempted to lower the overall risk through various methods. However, this did not eliminate all risk. And for certain, one simply does not grab just any ship of the line and ram another ship. That could sink you as well as your enemy and what good would that be?

So ramming ships were specially engineered, yet they could still suffer damage themselves.  How would this manifest itself in Eve Online? I foresee a robust and redundant system. Shields would be the primary shock absorber like the head of a bow ram. When a collision occurs, shield strength would drop precipitously trying to absorb momentum and kinetic energy - just as they are designed to do. All shield modifications would affect this. If a player wanted for instance an uber-ramming Catalyst, he would have to shield fit it, the more active the better, to give it a larger chance of a successful.

Of course, speed and mass would matter in the equation, but the ship with the stronger shields would generally have the advantage. The risk would come if shield strength dropped below a threshold, say 50%. Note: this could happen to BOTH ships in a bump situation because of the speed and mass parameters in the collision equations. If shield strength dropped too low, damage to external ship modules, like guns and launchers, would occur. If shield strength went even lower, there could also be internal damage as ship systems over stress. Bulkheads might warp and even buckle under the extra strain.

Armor would mitigate this internal damage like the reinforced hulls of old. It would protect fragile inner parts. Thus, a Caldari ship would have a shield advantage but a Gallente ship would suffer less internal damage. Now, back to our Catalyst pilot in his uber-bumper. He might want to shield and armor tank his ship. Failure to fit his ship properly for bumping could result in crippling consequences.

And just to keep things interesting, there should always be a chance of critical system damage that causes one ship or the other to explode spectacularly - even after only one bump. This chance of critical failure could be almost completely eliminated by player choice though. But to do so would mean our already shield and armor tanked Catalyst would also have to be hull tanked. Hull tanking would be how you stop the critical failure of a vital system. It's the extra bushings on the engine mounts and the double rivet line on every seem. That may be a lot to ask a player to do just to bump - but no more so than asking carebears to put up with it. So go ahead and cry me some tears in the comments if you don't like this. I'll relish them all - I promise.

To recap, I certainly do not feel like CCP should stop ship bumping. Their decision on it was the correct one. I think the option should be open to any pilot. But if you are in a smaller, cheaper and less protected craft, you may want to think twice before bumping another ship; especially a large and massive ORE ship. And if you want to make a living at bumping, you're going to have to engineer a vessel for it which can take the pounding. It may take more skill and cost more, but that's what they did historically. That's what capsuleers should have to do in New Eden.

Fly Careful


  1. You've failed to address a few of the common issues that come up in this discussion. In your system of bumping damage which you have proposed, is damaging someone else's ship via bumping considered a criminal act by Concord?

    If no, then bumping because the new method of ganking miners/freighters in hisec, much superior because even a 50% chance for the ganker to die is much superior than the old 100% chance, and the gankers should be able to fit according and get a lower chance.

    If yes, then havoc ensues. Situation A: Observe the undock of Jita or any other busy undock, players ram each other accidentally, everyone dies, carnage. Situation B: player's alt in cheap frigate positions himself in front of unagile freighter, freighter is concordokken, loot pinata ftw. Situation C: Same situation, in front of a mining barge. Or, player in bump cruiser bumps mining barge in a crowded area into other barges, like a break shot in pool, they all get concordokken.

    while the current system of bumping is quite unrealistic, I've never seen a suggestion of how bump damage could work that solves the above dilemma.

  2. The opportunities to grief with bumping would be awesome. Space billiards outside Jita. Going rogue when as your fleet is all clustered around the titan nose.

    Shield would obviously be chomped off both participants in the bump. Presumably you won't get flagged for bumping. Being flagged for bumping would give rise to even more griefing. That frighter (on autopilot) bumped my brutix! Attack!

    If bumping chomps shields/armour and possibly causes explosions, all without flagging, then a dedicated bumping fleet could bump someone to death without anyone being flagged. God help the miners!

  3. Thank you for the post, I couldnt agree more. Additional item of interest would be the law of tonnage ... where a small ship can and would move a much larger ship but only with a significant increase to velocity, thus the shield might have to be reduced to fit an MWD such that the catalyst can actually bump an orca with anything other than a brightly lit sparkle and a pop.


    1. I agree, there should be a law of tonnage. In fact, I believe there already is one: E = 1/2 mv^2. More to follow.

    2. It's been a while since I took physics, but when two bodies collide, you have to deal with conservation of momentum, where momentum is given by P = mv. Then you have to deal with energy of the collision, given by E = 1/2 m v^2 (where what really matters is the change in v suffered by each body from pre-impact to post-impact). the reason why being in a heavier vehicle is so beneficial in a collision of automobiles is that when working on the momentum conservation, the lighter vehicle ends up undergoing a much greater velocity change, and therefore the energy is released upon the lighter vehicle disproportionately.

      I.e., if you have a compact car 3000 lbs going 50 mph, hitting an SUV that weighs 6000 lb head on which is going only 40 mph, the end result .25 seconds after the crash is the SUV slowing from 40 to 7 mph, and the compact car going from 50 mph in one direction to a new velocity of 16 mph backwards, the other way. (rough estimates depending on how much energy is absorbed at the moment of impact which we don't know therefore I didn't actually do the kinetic energy calculation, just guesstimated and made the momentum conserve) Therefore, the velocity change of the SUV is 33 mph, the velocity change of the car is 66 mph, exactly twice as much, meaning that the energetic release upon the car per kg is 4 times as much. Knowing that you can calculate the potential for injury, which depends on the instantaneous g-forces in a very complex way which I don't remember.

      Annnyway, so in real world physics, freighters would come off better, but also in real-world physics, A. these collisions would utterly destroy everything and B. Eve physics is highly unrealistic. Mabrick's original formulation had shields/armor/hull values as very important, if we go that way then we'll have combat ships taking out freighters easily.

    3. Ignoring relativistic effects. Which is reasonable in this case.

  4. One thing we should think about are the other uses of bumping in Eve pvp. It's a huge part of null warfare where corps are infiltrated then ships bumped out of POSes. There would be many less supercap and cap kills if people couldn't do this. It's also a skill thing. I have a few times tried to escape a frigate that is stopping my Deep Space Transport from warping by knocking me out of alignment. That's a very fun exciting gameplay of can I get warping or can he keep me unaligned. Bumping is also a significant counter to people burning back to gate when they jump into gate camps.

  5. Couldn't this be used offensively? In other words, if you have enough uber-tanked ships bumping a mining vessel (which can't escape because it's being bumped), then wouldn't that be a way to kill a barge without CONCORD intervention?

  6. I'd love bump damage. An army of MWD noobships could take down mining ships at no/little cost. Or, for the solo guys out there, the 100mn MWD stabber could solo an exhumer. CCP - make it so!

  7. No tears here! I like this idea.

    CCP probably can't implement it though because of some obscure connection in the code to the AI for the rats that they used to control the POS guns...

  8. I think that bumping ought to start an engagement as well as cause damage. There would have to be a timer of some sorts around gates and undocks, but in general when a ship contacts another ship in space the bumpee should be allowed to defend themselves from further damage.

    1. I disagree on the timer. Bumping happens all the time accidentally as ships leave station - especially at Jita. I'm also not saying bumping should become a criminal act. It's annoying, but not in and of itself criminal. And as stated above, bumping can be a very good tactic in certain situations. No, I don't want to see it curtailed. I just want it treated like anything else in the game. With a risk to go along with the reward.

    2. I like the general idea, but EVE would have to change quite a bit before it was viable, and the changes would reverberate through the game in complex ways.

      Undocks are the obvious example, but the rather generous collision spheres around ships and objects are also a problem: it's currently possible to collide with a particularly large asteroid or LCO when your eye tells you you're still 500m or more from the actual rendered object. Between those issues and the soupy, laggy control that people have over their ships, this would probably introduce a slapstick element to EVE that I'm not sure CCP wants.

      I suppose you could fudge the undock issue by not enforcing bump physics for the first 30-odd seconds after undock. Any other solution would come with complexities of its own.

    3. However a bump could be agreed to be accidental (only an amendment of the dueling logic?) therefore negating a flag requirement. Let us be clear a deliberate bump is an act of aggression (and therefore criminal) and should trigger the option for retaliation at the bump point (this includes being able to call on appropriate friendly assistance). Should you be able to identify bumps that are obviously beneficial, the 'amended dueling' agreement would kick in.

  9. Implementing it this way sounds a lot like ship combat. How would you reconcile that with both Concord (in high-sec) and the flagging system/criminal actions button?

  10. In your rush to apply "real life" to eve you forgot a couple of things - 1) eve doesn't follow our laws of nature, e.g. ships slowing down when acceleration is discontinued, etc. . .; 2) eve ships have collision control computers that automatically activate to maneuver the ships to prevent damage; and 3) eve ships have some form of futuristic energy shield that prevents all damage from ship collisions (damage from projectile weapons happen because they move much faster then ships can relatively speaking and phased to avoid the shields to an extent).

    In short, HTFU.

    1. "In short, HTFU."

      Make me.


    2. You got it right, Mabrick. My favorite blog, even better than "How to.." use a stealth bomber in WH space, with pictures.

      You are right. Something needs to change. Eve is real? Nope. Not as long we play in a magical world where ship collisions do no damage. Would be pretty fun if the same possible collision damage applied to mining roids & ice. Would make mining a little more risky and set up a whole new type of ganking and ways to avoid it.

  11. I can just imagine the chaos and careful choreograph when a large fleet warps to a staging area.

    Also, you really can't have it both ways. An unintended bump vs a combat bump. There is no RL distinction between the two. An intentional bump might inflict more damage just because of the intentionally higher angle of incidence and higher speeds.

    BUT, a mechanic like this would force pilots to be a lot more careful and pay a lot more attention to manual piloting skills. I hope CCP is listening.

  12. I always thought it was bullshit that a frigate could bump a titan and move it substantially

  13. My main concern about bumping is not the lack of effects to the ships; in a science fiction environment it is easy to conceive some reason to justify that. What really concerns me is the lack of in-game consequences. In EvE almost anything has a consequence, but bumping does not. More over, the "victim" of the bumping can do nothing against the bumper (other than warping out and GTFO) unless the bumping is happening during an already started conflict.

    So here is my proposal. The traffic regulating authorities of the four empires, following some breakthru research in inter-ship data links and in warp drive mechanics, have decreed that ALL the ships following in the cluster have to use a new gizmo, which I will call TCAS for Traffic Collision Avoidance System (and, yes, I know there is a real life device with the same name). This will NOT be a new module, but something built in the hulls, like the warp drive and the d-scan sensors. Here is how it is intended to work:

    The TCAS system works in a cooperative way. When two ships are in collision route, both TCAS interchange information so the on-board computers can "flash" the warp drives for a few instants, so both ships can "fly" thru the other one just like they fly thru planets when they are in warp. The effect is there is no bumping. No physical effects, no change of momentum.

    BUT for this to work BOTH TCAS have to be online. A pilot will be able to put its TCAS offline. In that case, there will be a colisin, just as happens now, BUT the pilot with the disabled TCAS will get a suspect flag, unless he can legally attack the bumped ship.

    This way:

    - Bumping will be still viable as a combat tactic, since the bumper will already be in a engagement with the target.

    - Bumping will still be posible as a "griefing" tactic, but the bumped one will get the chance to fire back... and to some extent to prevent the bumping (for instance, having an armed guard around his mining fleet, ready to shoot on any bumper... this opens the door to "bumper baiting" to trigger a response which would allow a counter-response and so on... but I think this is fine).

    - "Accidental" bumping will be removed. A collateral consequence of this is it will be posible to insta-undock from places like Jita 4-4, but again I think this is fine.

    To avod adding a new control to the ships, perhaps the TCAS could be linked to the safety control, so it will automatically go offline if the safety is in yellow or red.


Be civil, be responsible and most of all be kind. I will not tolerate poor form. There will be no James Hooks here. We are all better than that.