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Topics - Cort

Pages: [1] 2
General / Privateer: AsciiĀ² Sector
« on: April 01, 2010, 12:25:39 PM »

Quest Development / Open-sourcing quests
« on: August 04, 2009, 12:27:04 AM »
Christian, I think there should be more incentive to open source final quests. Although you can then look into the source for hints and spoilers, I think it would also encourage more people to develop their own quests and help others who are afraid of the technical challenge.
Of course it is up to the quest writers whether they want that, I think many would, in particular while quest writing is still new. Another advantage would be that others could review the quests and give the quest writer some tips or even submit change suggestions (patches, basically).

Therefore, I'd suggest
  • ... to allow submission of the source on the quest submission form, adding a note that it's optional but will be made public if you choose to submit it.
  • ... to add a third link on the quest listing page, to download the source.
-- Cort

I originally wanted to post this in the food idea thread, but decided that I probably shouldn't derail that as this is quite general.

To everyone making suggestions: please remember that adding random ideas just because they sound cool doesn't improve a game if they don't fit into the central theme of the game. Gotta be careful with that.

AS is still a ground/space combat and earning money game at heart. Yes, there are very minor RPG aspects for tracking your ground combat performance over time. I don't even count sleeping here, as it's really just an excuse for the time-lapse function and has no effect whatsoever.

So all ideas coming from an RPG standpoint are always questionable imho. For clarification, my opinion would be different if AS was mainly an RPG. That's not what I see it as, but if that's the direction we're aiming at, then I think then it still has a long way to go.

By adding too many non-crucial ideas, you're just watering down the core gameplay which hurts the game in the long run. Not to mention the time spent on developing that could be invested elsewhere.

I'm all for not just blindly consuming (playing) a game but also to think about what could be improved. Don't stop thinking of enhancements and also new ideas, but please think them through before posting.

My checklist would be:
1. Can my idea be implemented in a reasonable time?
2. Does my idea actually improve the game -- or is it just something I always thought was cool, but doesn't actually belong into Ascii Sector?
3. Does my idea fit into the central theme of the game? (I'm talking about gameplay here, not whether it makes sense in the game universe -- you can always easily make up some excuse to fit a good gameplay idea into the universe, particularly in a space-themed game.)
4. Is it worth the development time? Is my idea so much better than others which could be implemented instead during that time?

Just my very own personal opinion on this topic and might not be Christian's approach at all. I'm also not trying to shut anyone up, just asking to think before posting.

-- Cort

Bugs / Site: Avatar upload
« on: November 28, 2008, 12:46:20 PM »
Not really important, but I had problems with the avatar upload to the forum.

The real upload didn't work for me at all (FF 3.0.4), and 'uploading' from a URL only worked with GIF, not PNG, although the error message said that ".gif, .jpg or .png" are allowed.

-- Cort

Development Discussion and Suggestions / Notes on 0.4.4
« on: November 24, 2008, 05:41:28 PM »
Before you release a 0.5, time for me to purge my list of thoughts on the 0.4.x series. As usual, it's just my personal opinion, I'm curious what you think of these.


1. Best new feature are imho the gradually thinning out asteroid fields. They are awesome, even though they probably weren't even that difficult to implement. But they feel so much more realistic now. I love it!

2. Closely followed by the cargo convoy mission fixes. They are sooo much fun now. I still fail them occasionally, but there's a fair chance of succeeding. Telling your wing to dock at the target base while trying to fight off five pirates attacking them is so much fun.
It might have been a coincidence in this case, but I think it would generally add a lot of tension if there was often a wing of pirates (maybe even with reinforcements, only stopping when the mission is complete) attacking during the final phase. It doesn't even have to make the mission harder in general, as you'll probably have some militia/confed support.
This particular situation reminded me a lot of the "hold your base for X minutes" missions of some RTS games, where the opposition will always throw everything in they have at the last minute. (I don't play that genre a lot, but I think I remember them from C&C:RA or Starcraft 1.)

3. When did you add the asteroid mining feature? You must have sneaked that in without me noticing, I didn't see it in the release notes. :) At first I thought it was a bug, but only resource-type cargo is dropped, so...


4. I noticed that when you accept a "transport from A to B" mission, fly to the base to pick up the cargo from, buy some of the cargo, then launch and redock, the base will have the amount to transport available again (+2). I'm not sure how yet, but it sounds like this could be abused, to get pretty much unlimited amounts of an otherwise rare cargo. (I noticed this by chance because I had to launch to jettison some contraband I couldn't sell -- maybe there should be a way to just 'dump' it while on a planet.)

5. Unlike humans on this planet, the people living in the Ascii Sector have their heart in the middle of the chest, right? ;)

6. The target ship should have the cargo you delivered after a delivery mission. That's currently not the case, is it? Yes, this makes deliver&kill scams possible, but that should be dealt with by the reputation system, not by making the cargo mysteriously disappear.

Game design:

7. Shouldn't the reputation with the groups (merchants, mercenaries, fixers and wingmen) go down over time, so there's an incentive to fly a mission for them every once a while and prove you're still 'worthy'?

8. Is it really a good idea to generate only cargo missions for the maximum cargo capacity? It pretty much encourages players not to fly them in a trading ship. I'm currently trying to raise my Merchants Guild reputation, and I kinda regret that I haven't done it in my Centurion (Galaxy now). Yes, I would have earned less, but they don't make you rich either way, and I could have finished many more cargo hauling missions in the same time with the Centurion.
Generating missions all over the place would even motivate people to get bigger ships, because they see: oh, if I had a Drayman, I could take that mission with a 50k reward now! The danger on the other hand is that less available missions will make the Merchants Guild even less (interesting) than it is already, compared to the variety and rewards of the Mercenaries Guild and the fixer missions.

9. While there's a big outcry if *I* shoot someone, nobody ever complains about someone else shooting *me*. (Of course I started it, but nobody saw that, so...) I don't really have a suggestion how to deal with it, but feels kinda wrong.


10. Couldn't you pay wingmen by time instead of by launch? Ascii Sector has all the time system in place for that already, wingmen are pretty much the only aspect of the game I can think of where landing/launching still matters. It also keeps me from hiring one often, because I know I'll have to land at the next base anyway, even though it's just to pick up some cargo.

11. Although there isn't really much free space on the screen, I think the trading screen has to show the remaining free cargo space. It's really where you need that number the most.

12. Could there be some simple visual effect when the ECM 'hits' and affects a missile?

13. I'd like to see ships in cargo convoys (and raid wings) be named ships/pilots. That would make ordering them around so much easier.

14. The different ships already have different mass, right? But right now, it only affects their acceleration, doesn't it? I'd like to see the effect of the mass on inertia be more prominent. It could very well be a distinguishing feature, there could be a ship that you can rotate quickly, but it will take seconds until that actually affects the direction of your movement. Hell, you could then probably even make the cargo status affect that. An empty Centurion would follow the movements immediately, but with a full one you can almost do 'fly-bys', shooting in one direction while still floating in another.

15. Status bar messages should be queued and shown after their respective timeouts (e.g. when picking up multiple cargos right now, only the first one is displayed).

Repair droid:

16. I think the working speed of the repair droid should be reduced dramatically. Damaged ship systems should be a feature that makes fighting more interesting, and not just an "annoying side effect that can be turned off by buying a repair droid". Right now, no matter how much damage your ship has, autopiloting for 100k (i.e. from any nav point to any other nav point) will usually fix everything.
If I barely survived, I really think it should take a travel through maybe two to four sectors to fix everything. One option would also be to make some scratches be fixed quickly, but the more severe a damage is, the longer it takes to repair it. That would give some extra 'rewards' to the player who only takes slight damages.
However, that leads us to...

17. I'd like to see a very simple way to change the current repair droid task. I know that WC has always been more on the 'arcade' side of realism (compared with the energy management of X-Wing for example), but I think an optional way to instruct the repair droid wouldn't hurt.
My idea would be to show a '>' left of the ship system the droid is currently (auto-)working on. There would be one key to iterate over all the damaged parts manually. When a part has been fixed, the droid resumes with the automatic algorithm (the '>' jumps to the part the droid would choose right now). It would be completely optional, if you don't know about the key, it would work exactly as before, except that you can then see what the droid does.


18. Occasionally, the window title shows "SDL_app" for me in the task bar, although it still shows "Ascii Sector" in task manager (alt-tab) then! I couldn't figure out when yet, something with switching between windowed and fullscreen probably. I'll keep watching it.

19. I'd like to see keys for toggling sound&music on/off during the game in the next version. (Nothing special, just a Ctrl-hotkey and maybe a note in the status bar showing the new state.

-- Cort

PS: My categories are a bit weird this time, but I'm too lazy to change it now... :)

Development Discussion and Suggestions / Future of the map
« on: November 20, 2008, 05:47:43 PM »
I wonder what your plans for the future of the map are. Specifically, I'd like to know/suggest:

a) Whether there will be added some *really* hard (depending on your faction alliances, obviously) systems. Right now, I feel like I can really win every fight in my shield1/energy1 Galaxy with a Meson blaster. Two Gothris is pretty much the only point where it gets hairy. (And maybe some confeds/militia, I guess I should ally with the pirates eventually.)
I'd like to see some specific Kilrathi/Retro/Pirate systems, and places where you see more capital ships. Of course, that has to come with a reward for going there. Good prices? Missions involving attacks on Kilrathi capital ships? Something like that.

In summary: make it *a lot* harder please, I'd like to see systems that are impossible to survive without a ship you invested more than 1m+ credits in. Basically systems that are deadly unless you're allied to all factions active in that region (e.g. Confeds and Kilrathi) or have a 3+ shield.

b) Any plans for adding Kilrathi bases? I always felt like Privateer missed the point in that respect. You had all those Kilrathi flying around in the upper right systems, but not a single base. Where were they coming from?
You obviously would have to be allied with the Kilrathi to land at those bases.

c) I was thinking about another 'capital' style base that works like a central marketplace. It would basically sell everything, but at very high prices.

-- Cort

Bugs / [v0.4.4] Various bugs
« on: October 13, 2008, 03:47:27 PM »
I've got a list of more or less simple feature requests too, but I'm bit short on time right now, so they will come later. I just thought I should push these bugs out more quickly.


1. Is the new ordering of missions really as intended? It was confusing to me that the last accepted missions come first. Shouldn't it be the other way around? I think it would generally be more useful if they were ordered by expiration time, not acceptance time, but maybe that's just me. (And I have a feature suggestion coming soon that might solve the problem as well, in a way. ;))

2. Although I imagine it would look very funny, I don't think you should be able to "hit with hand grenade". That probably also applies to a few more weapons that don't really make sense to be used as a hitting weapon. (Guns and rifles are fine, imho. I guess nobody really uses them to hit someone, but we're used to it from Hollywood. ;))
3. Can you do something about the 'skipping' of the first pixels after launching a missile? I assume that it's because of their speed, but it's quite confusing. At first, I thought it was only the proton torpedoes and I'd have to live with it for misusing them. :) But I've lately been experimenting with dumbfires, and they have the same effect. You basically can't hit someone with a missile who is less than four pixels away from you.

4. The rightmost fixer on Daedalus can't be talked to if there are fixers on the upper and the lower seat (they are blocking the way and you can't 's' through them -- which shouldn't be changed imho, just remove the rightmost spot).

5. There's a weird effect where the jump animation 'hangs' for maybe 30s (it animates, but doesn't end, you suck up stars over stars :)), I think it's caused when the jump drive is destroyed during a jump, but that's pretty hard to test for me. :)

6. My wingman died off-screen and spawned seven pods. The radar showed different names for all of them, but after picking them up it was always my wingman's name. Video shows it best: wmclone.asc (43 KiB). No idea what happened to him, I just saw the pods after finishing my own fight some screens away from him.

7. Having an NPC almost stunned (6/7 with the stunrod) seems to not affect his fighting abilities. Is that intended? Is there no consequence until the point where you are completely stunned? Intuitively, I would have expected him to get less 'movement points', i.e. fight less often compared to me.

8. A militia pilot followed me over a whole sector, almost like a wingman in formation. The comm messages were the regular militia ones. Video: miltiawm.asc (85 KiB). What might have caused this was: I jumped into a sector with contraband in cargo. I saw a militia and jumped back, saw a Confed there and jumped back in. So he might have been stuck in the 'scanning' state when I first ripped out of the target sector.

9. Another demostration of the friendly fire problem, I think it's pretty obvious here how they are almost not shooting at all as long as the player is surrounded. Video: ffagain.asc (210 KiB)


10. A 'rogue kilrathi' from a bounty hunt mission spawns a 'rogue kilrathi' pod which can be sold as a slave. (Mentioned in another thread already.)
11. During a cargo convoy mission, I had a Galaxy getting stuck and not docking at the target base. Telling it do dock had no effect. I was close to giving up and trying to 'push' it into the base which would have surely ended in my death, but then it suddenly decided to dock after all. :) Video: cnvystck.asc (32 KiB)

12. In a cargo convoy mission, is there anything wrong with delivering the cargo first and then escorting the convoy? Because right now, that doesn't count.

13. I was asked to do a cargo run in Primeval 1 from Nav 6 to Sisyphus. The problem is, there is no Nav 6 in Primeval 1! Video: nav6myst.asc (11 KiB). I had the same effect with Nav 8 in Primeval 1, too.

System damage:

14. When the generator is destroyed, you can still use the afterburner. Where does the energy come from however?

15. When the maneuvering jets are destroyed, your autopilot can still turn you around, i.e. you can still select a base in the same sector and make the autopilot take you there, even if it's not in the only direction you can still fly to.

16. Damage level 'red' apparently doesn't mean they are unusable, at least not for generators and afterburners.

17. With a destroyed jump drive, you can still jump.

18. ... but then the animation really freezes for 30s ('looks like a bug' kind of freeze!).

Some general notes on the system damage: I would prefer a system where 'grey' means destroyed (it can't be repaired, I have to re-buy it after docking) and 'red' means inoperable (I can't use it anymore but I can repair it for a high price).
However, some systems can't be re-bought by design, e.g. the maneuvering jets. In this case, I think it shouldn't be possible to get them to the 'grey' state. Right now, 'grey' on the maneuvering jets just means "a lot of damage that can be repaired", which isn't really in line with what 'grey' means for the other systems.

Alternatively, you could take a more player-friendly approach. That is, no critical system can be completely destroyed (maneuvering jets, thrusters). Either you die, or they never go above 'red'. That also means that as long as you have a repair droid, you will never get stuck. Either you die -- or you survive, can fly home and replace the completely destroyed non-criticial systems (afterburner, generator, jump drive, scoop, shields, radar). Getting stuck but not being destroyed is much more frustrating than just dying, because it looks like you survived, but then again you didn't. And using the autopilot works right but really feels like cheating.
Also, I think system damage is completely missing in the manual.

-- Cort

Development Discussion and Suggestions / Ideas on the radar
« on: October 04, 2008, 02:21:23 PM »
I would like to talk a bit about the radar. There are some things that have been bugging me for a while now.

1. Let's start with something easy. Am I right that the radar always shows your wingman? No matter how far he is away? Does that also apply to escort targets? Cargo convoys? Raid wings?

2. Is the radar scale logarithmic or something of that nature? It seems like for the B&S Omni, there's just "far away in some direction" and "on your screen", which I hardly need the radar for. Shouldn't every 'ring' on the B&S Omni represent about 10k? I think targets on my screen should never be outside the innermost ring (the inner 2x2 'pixels').
I'd really like to use the radar for knowing what's going on around me.

3. Probably related, it also feels like the direction is a little off. It's kinda hard to explain. I see a target on the outer ring of my radar (let's say to the right) and head for that direction. Suddenly it's jumping to another position on the outer ring (e.g. north of me). If it's far enough away to be on the outer ring, shouldn't it gradually move over to the new relative position? Somehow that's not happening.

4. Lastly, I'd like to make a suggestion which probably isn't trivial to implement, but which would imho improve the radar immensely. A big problem I see with the radar is that the 'resolution' is just too low. There will always be ships close to other ships and therefore not showing up on the radar. The best idea I could come up with to solve this problem is to mark 'overlays' on the radar and add a button to temporarily separate them while the button is held. Subsequent presses should show the other 'collapsed' icons.
Could look like this:

So I could actually see on the radar (left image) that there's a planet about 20k lower left of me, a merchant 10k to the right and multiple ships 40k to my left. By holding that special key (right image), I could see that those are actually two mercenaries fighting a pirate and a kilrathi to my left. It could look a bit like the speech and action balloons currently used during planetary fights.

-- Cort

Bugs / Meta: Posts just disappeared?
« on: October 03, 2008, 10:48:57 AM »
Is it just me, or did the posts from the last 24-36h just disappear?

I noticed for example that my response to this thread and (tuxdelux'?) thread on running Ascii Sector on a 64-bit Linux are missing.

-- Cort

Development Discussion and Suggestions / Skill gains
« on: September 29, 2008, 01:51:50 PM »
(Split from this thread.)

Quote from: "Christian Knudsen"
Quote from: "Cort"
3. Out of pure egoism, could you please check whether the skill raising code for the armed/unarmed fighting works? :D[...]

It does work, but the problem right now is that your skill will increase with a value equal to the damage dealt. So if you don't hit, you don't gain in skill. I'll change this for the next version and also try to implement gaining skill faster in the beginning. I agree that the slow skill gains are rather demotivating.

My experience with roleplaying games is pretty much restricted to some months of Ultima Online, but I think UO's system is simple yet effective (and motivatiing):
Each time you perform a certain action the corresponding skill improves. If you perform the action successful, you get a bonus on the skill gain. (I don't know the exact numbers, but I'd say when you fail you probably get about 10%-20% of the successful gain.)
The early skill gains are very fast, then it's getting slower and slower. The last step to actually mastering the skill takes the longest.

The main problem here is to make sure it's not actually getting faster over time, because -- while the actual skill gains are getting lower -- you are successful more often and therefore get the bonus most of the time.
I think UO solves this by limiting the skill range in which you can improve by doing a certain subtask. When you get to that point, you have to perform a more difficult subtask which makes you fail more often again. (And similarly, you can't train a skill by failing the whole time on a very difficult task.) However, that might not be applicable to Ascii Sector.

Or is it? Kicking somebody on the knee is easy but could only take you to 50% experience. Kicking somebody on the head is harder, you fail more often, but you can raise the unarmed fighting up to 100% with it. There's no point in trying that earlier, because you will just fail 99% of the time and therefore get no reasonable skill gains.

Maybe all that is way too complex, I really haven't figured out how the ground fighting works in Ascii Sector yet. Does it even matter where I hit someone (in terms of whether it's successful), or does it just affect which body parts is injured?

-- Cort

Bugs / [v0.4.4] Hidden compartments, bystanders, unarmed fighting
« on: September 27, 2008, 11:13:25 AM »
Some quick remarks, caused by the latest version 0.4.4:

1. I had a fight on Munroe and the 'innocent bystanders' running away also included the fixers in the bar. When following them, I couldn't get anyone to give me a mission, although one offered his services as a wingman.
Bug or feature?
Do they ever calm down and return to their tables to offer missions again?

2. While the ship dealer at Munroe offers hidden compartments, the one on Bounty does not (in v0.4.3). Intentional? The manual says: "You can only buy and sell hidden compartments on pirate bases."
Also, when you trade in your ship, don't you get payed for the hidden compartments on other stations as well?

3. Out of pure egoism, could you please check whether the skill raising code for the armed/unarmed fighting works? :D
No seriously, does it just take very long to train it? Do only successful hits improve your skill or do you get partial credit just for trying as well?
I still think improving the skill quickly at the beginning and then making it harder and harder to raise it (while for example having the same total amount of attempts required to maximise the skill), is the best way to go about it. Right now, it's rather frustrating to train it, because you miss like 9 out of 10 times.

-- Cort

Development Discussion and Suggestions / 'Join Convoy' type missions
« on: September 22, 2008, 10:22:27 PM »
I think the 'join convoy' type missions suffer from similar problems as the 'escort merchant' ones.

First of all, the ships don't drop much of the cargo they are supposed to carry. Has no negative effect on gameplay of course (except for being unable to raid a gem convoy :D), but it's surprising.

The profit margin seems very low. I had a mission with 140 software for a reward of 14k. That would leave me with a profit margin of about 2k (after expenditures of 140*86=12040).

Other than that, my usual complaint about the difficulty of these missions applies. :) I tried about ten times, then I gave up. There were two Draymen (they just can't die) and two Tarsus' or Ulysses'.
Once I got lucky and the first twelve or so pirates always attacked the Draymen, who shot them down quickly. The thirteenth followed one a Tarsus/Ulysses and killed it before I could even get close to it.

A Tarsus flying in a straight line dies from a retro in <5s. I really have no idea how I'm supposed to defend it. Particularly in a merchant-type ship, which can be assumed I have when taking Merchants Guild missions.

-- Cort

Development Discussion and Suggestions / Improving the friendly fire checks
« on: September 06, 2008, 12:56:52 AM »
While I think the addition of the friendly fire check was generally a big improvement and shouldn't be taken back, something needs to be done about it.

The problem is that the attackers are so busy not shooting each other, that they pretty much don't shoot at all.

The following video should demonstrate that pretty clearly. It's a fight against ten pirates, and it's probably easier than a fight against two.
Video 'pirate fight' (340 KiB)

I have no real suggestion, except maybe lowering the threshold. Basically making them tolerate hitting their wingmen a little.
Right now, I think I could take on fifty pirates without even sweating... :(

PS: I took a raid mission and they actually did shoot there. Is something different during the raids or are the retros just not shooting as carefully?

-- Cort

Development Discussion and Suggestions / Notes on 0.3.4-0.4
« on: August 29, 2008, 11:50:05 AM »
Has been a while since my last 'report', so here are some more bugs and suggestions from 0.3.4 - 0.4.

Before I forget... I love the Quine5000. :D One more reason why Ascii Sector >> Privateer.


1. I just had another uncompletable mission. It was a 'defend base' type mission and I had a lot of other missions in the same system, including one 'kill merchant traveling from <that base> to <some nav point>'. Maybe there was a conflict with generating the enemies? Autopiloting to another nav point and back didn't help. I also tried docking at another sector and going back, but then the mission time ran out, so I'm not sure if it would have helped. I have a video of the mission not getting cleared despite the criteria being met, but I think it wouldn't tell you anything new.

2. I'm almost sure I had a cargo container for a cargo retrieval mission shown as "1 grain" on the radar/targeting. Is that possible? In the cargo list ('m'), it appeared as "Cargo for XYZ" after pickup. The mission description was: "Find and pick up jettisoned cargo at a nav point in the Bastille system. Deliver cargo to ..."

3. Is it intentional that torpedoes lock on a target? Even on regular 'fighter'-type ships? Their tracking is actually even quite good...

4. Suggestion: Add visible nav buoys to nav points without bases/jump points. They could be in indestructible and really only be there for the visual feedback, so you don't have to try to navigate to an invisible position via the 'destination' MFD. I'm thinking of X-Wing here, it had these (rare) nav buoys, which had no collision detection at all. I could imagine the character in the fifth to last position of the second to last line on the character map, for example. (Sorry to all Greeks on this forum, after some years of math, I should probably recognise it... but I don't. :D)

5. I'd like to see the "send status report" wingman command from WC2 having a comeback. It could even be implemented the same way, just change the current target to the wingman and activate the targeting MFD.

Nav screen / Quine:

6. Is there any ordering for the missions on the Quines and the nav screen? At first I thought it was by order of acceptance, but I don't think it is. Personally, I'd prefer them ordered by expiry date (even the completed ones, so they don't change places while in flight), and those just awaiting payment collection at the end.

7. The nav screen doesn't state where to collect the payment of a mission. That information is only available in the Quine. I think it would be useful to know while in space as well.

8. The ban time is currently only shown on the sector map and the base list of the Quine5000. I'd like to see it also appearing on the quadrant map, so you don't accidentally plan a route to a base that you can't visit anyway. If there's not really enough to space to show it, you could just show the base name in a different color when hovering over a sector in the quadrant map. That applies to both the in-flight quadrant map and the one of the Quine5000.

9. Although I think the 'random chance to get scanned for contraband' change efTwelve suggested goes in the right direction, I've never been a big fan of too much randomness in games. In this particular case, it's just rather unrealistic. How about, instead of a random chance of the player being scanned for contraband, make the confeds/militia scan the other ships as well. The chance of being scanned would be similar, but more logical. Your radar basically shows you how much time you have to land or get away (by telling you how many other ships there are). The other ships are always there first, so it wouldn't even be surprising that everyone else is scanned before you. Depending on the current implementation, maybe you could just apply the current scanning code (fly in formation, wait 5s, look for the next one) to other ships. Then it would be cool. If it's more work than that, forget about it, not that important.


10. While the escort missions are no longer unreasonably time intensive since the autopilot improvements, I think they are still unreasonably hard -- or not well paying enough. Defending a Galaxy which hardly fights back against two retros and three pirates (yeah, I know, bad luck) while trying not to hit it yourself, feels close to impossible. (Or my latest attempt: defending a Tarsus against three wings of pirates.) It basically comes down to loading save games until the RNG has mercy with you. I just don't see why they are so stubborn about playing sitting duck. :)
My suggestion would be to add two comm messages: "Fight!", and the escortee behaves like on a nav point, trying to fight back when it's being attacked. And "Flee!", which makes it behave as it does in the current version, running straight for the destination, just using the turrets if applicable.
Or the rewards need to be raised...

11. Oh, and could the type of the ship that has to be escorted maybe be mentioned in the mission briefing? Pretty please!? :) That would also help a lot in choosing which mission to accept.

12. What do you think about showing wingmen and escorted ships on the map and then allowing the player to autopilot to them?

Technical / Release:

13. You might want to remove the thumbs.db from the graphics/ directory. I think it's the file Windows uses to store the thumbnails. It doesn't really matter, but there's also no reason to put it into the release archive, I guess.

14. While the executed app now has an icon, the executable file still doesn't (when opening the directory with the Explorer).

-- Cort

Development Discussion and Suggestions / [v0.3.5] Extermination raids
« on: June 26, 2008, 08:43:45 PM »
First of all, I love the raid party missions. I'm not sure if they are new or if I just unlocked them by improving my Mercenary Guild reputation, but they are a great addition.

The Bug?

I just did have an effect I'd consider a bug, however. The mission description on the map says:    
Code: [Select]
Join a raid party of 2 Hunters at Nav 1 in the Baranda system.

Go to Baranda, Nav 4
Go to Baranda, Nav 5

Destroy all Retros encountered at these nav points.

The following happened: I entered Baranda through Nav 4 and killed the Retros there. Now I went to Nav 1 to join the hunters. I told them to get going, but I was in a hurry, so I didn't autopilot with them (they were heading to Nav 5). Instead, I went to Nav 2 to complete another short mission there (base defence). I didn't dock, but proceeded to Nav 5 now. The hunters hadn't arrived yet, so I cleared the jump point with the help of my wingman. The nav screen now showed both mission steps as complete, but the mission itself still as open. I boosted to the hunter wing in the middle of the sector and autopiloted with them to Nav 5. Still no effect. They started to just fly around the jump point, unlike those in a raid party mission I had completed previously, who returned to their starting point. I visited all three nav points again, but that didn't help either.
Any idea where that might come from? Any immediate suggestion on what I could try, or do I have to give the mission failed and incur the wrath of the Mercenaries Guild? :)

It does look like there's already some code in place to detect nav points I have cleared myself. In the previous run, we didn't go again to the one I entered the sector through.

If it helps, I uploaded a movie of the situation (460KiB) after the raid had 'finished' (also shows the nav screen).


In the light of that, I'd like to make some suggestions on how I think the raid party missions could be improved even more:

1. It's hard to tell where the wing is going. Either they should follow the jump points as given in the mission description. Or (that's the solution I'd prefer), they follow their own path, but you can ask them where they are going via the comm.

2. In general, I'd like to see the regular comm messages disappear and be replaced with more appropriate ones while on a run. Apart from stuff like "where are you going" maybe simple commands like "Attack my target" (which they might even ignore, I'm not their wingleader after all). But really only if it's damn easy to implement by reusing code from the wingmen. If it's not that simple, you could just fill it with dummy messages (like those you can send to merchants, etc.). I just think it would add to the immersion if there was a different set of comm messages while on a mission.

3. I'd also like to see them send more comm messages. Like "let's proceed to jump point X" when one is cleared. And "let's head home" when the last one was cleared.

4. They should send a message when the mission is completed. Right now, it looks like they are just returning to the nav point they spawned at and fly around 'casually' there.

5. I'm unsure whether only returning home (that is, to where you met them at) with them should trigger the mission as completed.

So in summary, here's how I think an exemplary run could look like:
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The mission is to clear 1, 2, 3, they are waiting at 4. There are five mission parts: Meet them at 4, clear 1, clear 2, clear 3, return to 4
You enter the system via 1 and clear it. It's flagged as cleared on the nav screen.
You join them at 4, send the message. They reply "You bet! Let's go score some kills at nav 2!" (They noticed 1 is already cleared.)
You fly to nav 2 on autopilot. You kill all pirates/kilrathi/retros there. They head for the nav point.
As soon as either you or one of them reaches the nav point, they tell you: "We're done here, let's proceed to nav 3!" and the step is flagged as completed on the nav screen.
Same for nav 3, but now they respond: "Great run, let's go home!" and head for nav 4.
As soon as they reach nav 4, they jump out and the last one tells you "Great job, we'll transfer the money to your account." before he jumps. (Like at the end of an escort mission.) Now the last mission step is completed, something like "return to starting point", and the whole mission is flagged as complete.

Open questions

One problem is that it then matters whether they survive, however. I don't know if that's the case right now. I'm also not sure if it *should* be a requirement, but I'd quite like it. If they all die, you don't get money. Who should be able to pay you after all?
Another possibility would be that they pay you less if not everyone survives, but I'm not as much in favour of that idea. Basically makes it an escort run, just a more dangerous one. :( One to survive should be sufficient for succeeding the mission.

I'm also not sure what (if anything) currently prevents you from just telling them to go and head another way, hoping they can finish it on their own. (The runs I've seen should have been able to.)
A similar problem is what happens if you clear all the points yourself and only then talk to the group.

So yeah, still lots of unanswered questions. Maybe others can chime in and add some ideas?

-- Cort

PS: Did you see the hunter Drayman in the video!? First time I saw a Drayman being Hunter aligned! :)

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