The Feudal States

Discussion and information relevant to creating special missions, new ships, skins etc.

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Ramirez
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Post by Ramirez » Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:25 pm

Thanks to Kaks I now have the escorts working - quite a relief as this is an important part of the OXP. On the other hand, Wings3d has started to crash on me a lot recently so modelling is going rather slowly.

I'm all for using different nationalities to give a bit of depth. At the moment I have a set of ranks based on the the English system, with titles and gender variations to match. Now I could just add some foreign variations into the random selection (e.g. Comte for an Earl, Herzog for a Duke, etc), but I'd need to make sure the text all works together properly, using the right form for 'of' (e.g. von, de, etc). Having said that as I'm focusing on only 12 or 13 houses I could chose a nationality for each and then use the script to pick out the correct titles, styles and text. So, for example, you could get things like 'Itenou Sostun, Comte d'Onusorle', 'Eta'aber Jonling, Graf von Eresdice', or 'Beaterra Iglese, Marquesa de Tibecea'. This would help to give each house a distinct feel. I'll have to experiment to see which styles work best.

I've focused on European titles because that's what I know most about but I can open it out, so long as it's reasonably clear to the player what kind of rank an opponent has. I can at least include the nations represented by members of the bulletin board, so let me know if there are any requests!
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Post by Screet » Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:39 pm

Ramirez wrote:I've focused on European titles because that's what I know most about but I can open it out, so long as it's reasonably clear to the player what kind of rank an opponent has. I can at least include the nations represented by members of the bulletin board, so let me know if there are any requests!
This sounds really nice! About the players being able to understand the title: If you do add a translation list in the readme, I guess that any language could be used. The player then would learn a bit if he didn't know before and I bet the amount of titles can easily be handled after a few flights?

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Post by Ramirez » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:24 pm

Success! I've modified my various name generators so that a suitable combo of name, rank, gender and title is produced based on the feudal house. So far I've covered English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Swedish, each of which has a collection of male and female first names, family names and of course the various ranks. It only needed a couple of extra steps in the script and it seems to be working fairly efficiently. Now I'll start looking at some of the more unusual languages.

Wings3D is being a bit crashy with me at the moment so I haven't done much more modelling. In any case it's the script that's really important and with luck I should be able to post a WIP teaser soon using placeholder models.
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Post by Thargoid » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:26 pm

How about some Japanese, for samurai and ronin clans? Or is that getting a little too off-target?

I see you've said you're focussing on European, but could make some nice counterpoints.

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Post by Kaks » Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:18 am

Thargoid wrote:How about some Japanese, for samurai and ronin clans? Or is that getting a little too off-target?

I see you've said you're focussing on European, but could make some nice counterpoints.
Of course, that could come in version 2! ;)

Adding non-medieval stuff would definitely mean extra models, & if wings3D is not working properly, that's precisely what Ramirez can't quite do atm...

Personally, I'm a bit of a medieval freak, ( only ask me about Crusader Kings / Deus Vult if you really want to be bored to death ) and can't wait to see what's going to happen in Feudal States v1! :D
Hey, free OXPs: farsun v1.05 & tty v0.5! :0)

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Post by Ramirez » Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:01 pm

It might not be that difficult to have a couple of Far Eastern cultures thrown in. They would use the same ship models - the idea being that all the Feudal Houses are actually rather poor and use the same supplier - but with different textures and names. A quick look on the web suggests that there are ranks that are loosely equivalent those in Europe. Potentially the only new models I might need are some round shields instead of European-style ones, which which will work better with the heraldic designs posted earlier on in the thread. So long as I can handle them dynamically and not start resorting to hard coded exceptions it should be OK.

Incidentally I discovered that special characters are supported by the Oolite font so I can use the right accents etc to give even more flavour. I can look to use the more exotic characters (Japanese, etc) in the textures.

The clincher to all this are the decal shaders, as I'm relying on them to avoid having to create loads (potentially hundreds) of different models. Based on what I've read I've assumed that they'll do the job but I'll soon have to look into this properly.
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Post by Ramirez » Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:53 pm

So what's happening with this OXP? Well I have week off work now so hopefully I should have a WIP teaser up at some point that shows off some of the missions. I've been rewriting the random generation code so that it's more efficient and works better with all the different elements of the OXP and is easily expandable. In particular, to cover the role playing element I wanted to be able to give the player a feudal rank that's appropriate to their chosen house and gender - so that's quite a few combinations to set up.

I'm undecided at the moment how random to make some of the mission elements themselves, such as the exact location of various targets. I think there's a simple way creating some variation here without doing too much hard coding.

I've been having a look at the challenges side of things, and the new name generator seems to be working OK with it. You'll be able to drop into a station and challenge any visiting nobles and make some cash from the resident bookmakers based on your comparative ranks. I still need to write some of the AI for this bit though.

Wings has stopped crashing quite so much, so I've been able to tweak the models a bit. Mainly I've been adding little cutaways and indents but I've also improved the gun ports.

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Post by DaddyHoggy » Sun Mar 15, 2009 8:14 pm

Nice looking ships. Looking forward to this OXP very much!
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Post by Lestradae » Sun Mar 15, 2009 8:26 pm

Very curious about the nature of the missions that will be offered by this oxp.

Let me offer a suggestion I'd love to see somewhere in the game: Photography missions. I.e., spying on another house for example, have to get close to a heavily guarded space station / surface facility and "make a photograph" (need the equipment item for that).

Don't know if such ideas are still relevant to you, anyways looking forwards to what you are going to come up with :)

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Re: ...

Post by pleb87 » Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:02 pm

Lestradae wrote:Let me offer a suggestion I'd love to see somewhere in the game: Photography missions. I.e., spying on another house for example, have to get close to a heavily guarded space station / surface facility and "make a photograph" (need the equipment item for that).
This is a great idea, although some people might complain that it is similar to the photo-spying missions from Frontier. However I like this idea for a mission...

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Post by Ramirez » Thu Mar 19, 2009 3:39 pm

Photo-recon missions would a good activity for a fairly low-ranking commander but with more risk and reward than simple deliveries or convoy raids. It should be relatively easy to script as well, so I'l consider it.

Right, I've packaged up what I have so far to make a WIP OXP. It's missing all the eye candy but it gives an impression of how the things work. For those who've been interested in progress, have a play around and see what you think.

Feudal States WIP

I'll see if I can get the challenges sorted because that's quite an interesting bit and is where most of the work with names and titles comes into play.
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Post by Screet » Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:34 pm

Ramirez wrote:Right, I've packaged up what I have so far to make a WIP OXP. It's missing all the eye candy but it gives an impression of how the things work. For those who've been interested in progress, have a play around and see what you think.
I got a mission to deliver some precious metals to another feudal system. I did expect some other groups to attack me on my way. Strangely, I do encounter pretty many feudal knights and such on this way in non-feudal systems, but they are all clean and friendly, is that intentional?

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Post by Ramirez » Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:46 pm

I've sent you a PM, Screet, but to clarify, that was a bit of hyperspace exit test code that I forgot to remove. The first few missions are meant to be fairly straightforward and I haven't coded in any attacks on the player - yet!

While people have been looking at that (and thanks for the comments and suggestions) I've been working on the challenges part. The idea is that the player can make some cash by betting on themselves, and so I've created a simple bookmaking system that calculates some odds against which a player can place a stake, anything from 100Cr to 100,000.

At the moment I've given each challenger a kill rating and have compared this against the player's score to come up with a figure. So, if you're a new pilot you'll get good odds against a knight or a lord, whereas if you're already dangerous or deadly you won't get much of a return unless you're challenging a very senior noble. Trouble is, that leaves quite a large skill range to cater for. Looking at one of the polls on this board from earlier in the year, Oolite players either have a couple of hundred kills, or they're already well into the thousands, with little in between. I need a system that works for both ends of the skill range.

To get over this, I'm planning to look at the player's ship stats in addition to their kills. This should give me a more meaningful figure for comparison.
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Post by Screet » Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:16 pm

Ramirez wrote:I've sent you a PM, Screet, but to clarify, that was a bit of hyperspace exit test code that I forgot to remove. The first few missions are meant to be fairly straightforward and I haven't coded in any attacks on the player - yet!
Huh? Just re-checked my inbox and couldn't find one?!? But thanks for that clarification!
Ramirez wrote:To get over this, I'm planning to look at the player's ship stats in addition to their kills. This should give me a more meaningful figure for comparison.
The counter-equipment for the MASC could do quite some job there! That way I found out that AMS really is too costly for my liking and that I prefer to use the cloak instead ;) A player feeling safe and suddenly experiencing a missile salvo...that's always an interesting surprise ;)

For players who do use MASC or it's counter, the ships could also be using the MASC themselves...that changes the way the scanner reports that ship...and maybe the player could then be more confused by adding something similar looking to that area :twisted:

About the cloak I'm not too sure: maybe it should be disabled like Assassins does....or the NPC could also have one. However, the energy drain can be horrible and make that ship an easier target to shoot. NPCs with cloak really need an extraordinary recharge rate...

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Post by Ramirez » Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:55 pm

Apologies Screet, got you mixed up with Svengali, who identified the same issue.

Just been having a play about, and it looks like I can only use some of the shipdata info within javascript, namely speed, energy and cargo capacity. I did work out a nifty algorithm that made use of pitch, roll and thrust, but really it's energy and speed that are most significant for challenges and I was going to give them the biggest weighting anyway.

Don't know much about the MASC, but my current take is that missiles and other energy weapons will not be permitted, and using a missile or an energy bomb to destroy an opponent will forfeit the challenge. This avoids the need to worry about most equipment, but I may need to do a temporary disable of a player's cloaking device for the duration of the challenge.
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