[RELEASE] Resistance Commander

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

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Ramirez
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[RELEASE] Resistance Commander

Post by Ramirez »

While the BB was down I had a flash of inspiration for a potential OXP. Now, we've seen random mission generation done in various ways, we've seen the player join in battles with different factions, and we can also buy armed escorts to see us safely through the spaceways. But what other experiences are there to offer?

I was having a break from Oolite, leading my squad of Paras through the dusty streets of Zargabad in ARMA2 when I suddenly had a thought: wouldn't it be interesting to command a small group of NPCs in combat?

Quickly I tried some tinkering and have managed to come up with a fairly simple command system. No prizes for guessing the method - it's the old pylon-mounted weapon trick - but it works reasonably well. I then started to have a think about scenarios and have started sketching out some details. Clearly I'd need to do quite a bit of work, not least on tweaking some AI here and there, but before I go much further I thought I'd see what the community view was.

So, who'd be interested in commanding a group of ships in a range of death-defying missions?
Last edited by Ramirez on Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Squadron Leader

Post by Okti »

I mentioned I would wait for your next OXP in my latest post. Please go Ahead.

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Re: Squadron Leader

Post by TGHC »

Sounds excellent, these would be testosterone filled and coordinated escorts then. Yeeeehaaaa
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Re: Squadron Leader

Post by curtsibling »

Sounds really good! With an elegantly designed series of commands, it could give the player a nice experience.

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Re: Squadron Leader

Post by Zireael »

I second the idea. But the commands would probably be a tricky thing to do. You could try using parts of Escorts OXP for their AIs, though.

Offtop: /I hope I have some time to get back into Oolite before the 2nd semester starts.../

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Ramirez
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Re: Squadron Leader

Post by Ramirez »

So far I've got some simple commands for the units that include engage (i.e. attack a designated target), regroup, hold and advance. These can be applied to units individually or as a group. Also I might need some management functions like a comms/status check and also a 'prepare to hyperspace' call to check that everyone's in range and ready to go. I need to keep things manageable but shout out if you think of some interesting commands that might be worth looking into. At some point I'll probably want to make use of specialist weapons so that might need its own generic function.

I still need to try this out in more detail in-game but there's some potential there. Already it's quite fun to split up your formation and assign them with different targets.
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Re: Squadron Leader

Post by Zireael »

How big would a squadron feasibly be? Four ships? Six? Eight?

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Re: Squadron Leader

Post by Ganelon »

I've done some tinkering with the code to the "Hired Guns" OXP to get a sort of a small "fleet". It was research for some fiction. I didn't take it so far as to allow for much command (my coding skills aren't up that good), it just goes after anything that goes red to your main ship.

I found that the point of diminishing returns was about 6 or 7, since above that the collisions and picking fights with each other take out as many of "your guys" as enemies do. LOL

But it's kinda fun, so long as one plays the game a bit differently. I've found it to give some memorable "big battle" moments. But when you choose to fly with some "fleet", you have to set your sights a bit higher when picking fights and go after things like renegade rock hermits or my personal fave, Sentinel stations. :twisted:
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Re: Squadron Leader

Post by Thargoid »

Which was why I kept the HG themselves to a pair of wingmen...

You may also like to look at the scripting for the guardian system in Aquatics, which also do something similar.

Oh, and the new menu key thingiedoodah in 1.75 might also be worth waiting a little bit for, in terms of being able to issue commands etc perhaps?

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Ramirez
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Re: Squadron Leader

Post by Ramirez »

The basic follow-the-leader AI would be based on that used for Hired Guns, though maybe removing the bit whey they automatically attack hostile targets. You'd only want them to go after targets on your direct order or in self defence.

What menu key things are likely to crop up in 1.75? At the moment I'm just using a simple control panel in place of the missile selector, e.g.:

Image

Of course this means the player's own missiles are out of action, but that's all part of the fiction where your squadron is meant to be doing the bulk of the fighting while you take command of the situation.
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Re: Squadron Leader

Post by Eric Walch »

Ramirez wrote:What menu key things are likely to crop up in 1.75?
Some basic info you can already find at the bottom of the [wiki]Equipment.plist[/wiki] page. Using trunk you can already experiment with it. I think a must for your idea. May not be optimal for your idea but certainly better than using missiles for commands.

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Re: Squadron Leader

Post by Ganelon »

How is the squad acquired in your OXP, Ramirez? Are they sort of bought like equipment and always present or hired on occasion like in Hired Guns?
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Re: Squadron Leader

Post by Ramirez »

The concept I have in mind is based heavily on an ARMA2 mod called Guerilla War. In it you lead a small group of fighters in missions against a more powerful enemy. In my interpretation, your squad would be assigned to you by a regional commander, and you'd only have them with you while you're carrying out a mission. In between jobs you're free to do what you like.
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Re: Squadron Leader

Post by Ramirez »

So I've done a bit more thinking/scripting and here's the setup so far:

Personnel

As mentioned above, your initial squad of volunteers will be assigned at random by a Personnel Officer. Each one has its own name and race, so you could end up commanding a bunch of yellow horned lizards as well as the more usual human colonials. You can review your unit roster to see how your squad is doing - here I'll record the kills/score achieved by each unit plus any other bits of info that may be relevant.

In the event that a unit is lost in action, the Personnel Officer will assign a replacement. Clearly, having to replace squad members too often will have an impact on morale and could put the whole campaign at risk.

Potentially, squad members could be promoted based on their score; this would need to be matched with some improvement in their stats, maybe an energy boost or a slightly more effective AI.

Ships

The organisation you're working for has limited resources and it can only afford small, inexpensive combat ships like Kraits, Mambas, etc. None of these have a hyperspace capability and so it's been difficult to take the fight to the enemy.

However, your superiors have recently got hold of some ex-pirate Pythons that have been refitted for the command and control role. Filled with fuel and supplies, the Pythons will lead small attack squadrons against enemy assets. (Ideally I'd like to force the player to fly a particular ship for the duration of the mission - this will probably involve creating a special TL0 shipyard somewhere.)

Crucially, this means that you're responsible for getting your squad back safely. If you hyperspace out of a danger zone while any members of your squad are out of range, they'll be lost in action.

Loadout

Taking further inspiration from ARMA2, it might be interesting to choose which ships your squad will be using for a given mission. The resistance organisation has a small range of models available; I haven't decided on exactly which ones to use but the basic roles include fighter, bomber, gunship and interceptor. They'll be chosen from the lower end of market, e.g. kraits, mambas, geckos, etc. Before each mission you can visit the Quartermaster and assign an appropriate ship to each of your units before setting out.

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Of course the mechanisms described so far can be used in a range of scenarios, including being a pirate captain or commanding a navy or GalCop squadron. However I think the guerilla/resistance angle offers the best of both worlds as the mission types can cover both conventional and unconventional warfare - after all you wouldn't expect the navy to get involved in things like sabotage, and pirates aren't going to launch attacks on something unless there's booty involved. There's always scope to revisit other scenarios later on - assuming I can get this one to work!
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Re: Squadron Leader

Post by TGHC »

I like it.

You could take a group of mercenaries to defend a system against invasion, or to capture/kill a guerilla leader, or to rescue a man down.
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