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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:37 am 
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The standard Oolite docking computer works, but not very fast.

I can dock faster manually way faster than the docking computer!! But note not talking about instant-dock here though! ;)

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£4,500 though! :shock: <Faints>
Cheers,
Drew.
Maybe you could start a Kickstarter Campaign to found your £4500 pledge. 8)
Thanks to Gimi, I got an eBook in my inbox tonight (31st May 2014 - Release of Elite Reclamation)!


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:54 am 
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I don't think this will be done any time soon. The player's docking computer is using the exact same AI as the NPCs'. Changing that means a rewrite of a good chunk of the docking AI's internals, which cannot be done by means of an OXP and which doesn't seem to be in anyone's plans for now.

The request itself is very valid, I agree it takes long to dock, but it's one of the things that will have to be considered after MNSR, if we are to ever drop the M from the acronym.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:32 pm 
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The docking AI is slightly odd and often corrects itself far more than necessary, even with "easy" docking targets like seedy space bars.

That said, does it have to be much faster? Surely the trade off between manual docking and the fully automated process is one of speed?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:31 pm 
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Yes it takes a while, I simply see it as an opportunity to get a something to drink or do a quick chore (brush my teeth or something). If I want fast I use the instant one. If you are docking with something that doesn't allow instant dock, it's the price of admission.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:47 pm 
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Yes it takes a while, I simply see it as an opportunity to get a something to drink or do a quick chore (brush my teeth or something).
When you have enabled docking clearance and you have lost your docking computer in combat, you even have time to prepare a full meal. (Or you must pay the 5000 credits penalty for unauthorised docking) :twisted: Specially when there are already 10 other docking ships or more in the queue.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:29 pm 
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I have been able to get surprisingly quick docks by racing up to the station, doing a quick alignment and heading full speed for the opening, pressing C at the last moment. The ol' docking computer has only enough time to match the spin before the docking is complete, and no time for its other shennanigans :lol:

Of course, this only works around 10 percent of the time. :wink:

I remember in the original game I'd gotten quite adept at shooting the dock manually, correcting an oblique angle, nulling the spin, and pulling back speed to a non-lethal rate all within a few hectic seconds. Had I had "trumbles" on-board I'm sure they would have died of fright! Ah well, I've only been playing Oolite for a couple of days; give me some time... :)

The lengthy docking does give one a chance to multi-task. Engage, put in windowed mode, and let the AI do the work. I have had one death with this method; not sure what happened since it was off-screen but there were no hostile ship alarms or sounds of lasers or missles. I'm guessing the docking computer just made a mistake?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:31 pm 
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I remember in the original game I'd gotten quite adept at shooting the dock manually, correcting an oblique angle, nulling the spin, and pulling back speed to a non-lethal rate all within a few hectic seconds.
Maybe not very realistic, but oolite allows to dock with injectors enabled ;) With Oolite it's really the way that flying not too slow makes things easier as it reduces the amount of time during which a mismatched rotation could destroy a ship.

Hmmm...and I remember that I once played some of the later "Elite" versions and had at some point tried a freighter. I did add so many shield units to it that I simply could fly into a station but not suffer any damage as the shields were recharging faster than the damage was done to my ship :)
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The lengthy docking does give one a chance to multi-task. Engage, put in windowed mode, and let the AI do the work. I have had one death with this method; not sure what happened since it was off-screen but there were no hostile ship alarms or sounds of lasers or missles. I'm guessing the docking computer just made a mistake?
Maybe a ship launched while you were on final approach? However, yes, I've rarely seen mistakes by the DC - but those usually included the attempt to dock on a carrier.

Screet


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:40 am 
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I've now found a workaround to speed things up. Use the Stardreamer time control!

ie pause, press right arrow a couple of times, unpause. In final approach, restore normal speed by pausing again, pressing left arrow a couple of times, and unpausing.

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£4,500 though! :shock: <Faints>
Cheers,
Drew.
Maybe you could start a Kickstarter Campaign to found your £4500 pledge. 8)
Thanks to Gimi, I got an eBook in my inbox tonight (31st May 2014 - Release of Elite Reclamation)!


Last edited by JazHaz on Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:42 am 
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Or shift D for instant docking.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:44 am 
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Or shift D for instant docking.
Which doesn't work for most OXP stations! Which is the point! :roll:

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£4,500 though! :shock: <Faints>
Cheers,
Drew.
Maybe you could start a Kickstarter Campaign to found your £4500 pledge. 8)
Thanks to Gimi, I got an eBook in my inbox tonight (31st May 2014 - Release of Elite Reclamation)!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:47 am 
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I never use the docking computer except shift D, for 2 reasons. Its hugely slow, and it sometimes gets me killed, so I do it manually. This is even more imporant if you fly a large ship that only just fits the slot as the docking computer doesnt know about the siye and shape of the ship.

EDIT: I guess that still leaves the question about having a better docking computer. I dont think anyone is likely to modify it any time soon, but if you have any ideas for how to make it better I might have a bash.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:33 pm 
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I do tend to use the docking computer, because I'm a scurrilous multitasker. Nevertheless I'm thoroughly dismayed at the poor performance of the current automated docking procedure. For instance:

At Xexedi Main Station I arrived with 14 ships ahead of me near the station. There are about 10 Cops about as well, but not evidently waiting to dock. Two or three previous times there, with similar queues, I've seen ships fly in from the side right across the dock, turning, and flying right across the dock again, etc. never actually docking, that I noticed. They get waved off after two minutes, I suppose, and a next ship does the same. After 15 minutes waiting those times, I used the SHIFT to dock, but this time, I wanted to check how the docking computer actually worked or not.

I could at not a single moment deduce any logic to the followed procedure. My ship kept flying about with stops and starts: every time waiting a while in a spot, pointing in no logical direction, start up and fly slowly or at top speed for a while to a new spot, wait awhile, and so on. These new spots were not necessarily in the direction I'd been waiting previously, so that was not the reason for pointing that way.
And then from time to time, for no reason again, it looked like I was shifted to the back of the queue again. All in all it took over half an hour before I got docked, which means, if I would have been in queue position 15 on arrival, the average docking time is higher than the allowed two minutes per ship, in other words, highly inefficient. If a computer can't dock faster than a human, what's the point? I do manual docking only for variety, and to hear from Traffic Control what is happening, because the Docking Computer OXZ does not relay the normal Traffic Control feedback a human gets. :cry:

Here is what, based on my extremely limited knowledge of the game, I would do:
Line up ships in 6 lines around the 10 km beacon, whether there is a beacon or not, queue position 1 to be 2 km "above" the beacon in the plane perpendicular to the line beacon-dock. Queue position 2 would be 2 km (counter-)clockwise and 2 km from the beacon, same plane, and so forth until you have 6 ships waiting in a hexagon around the beacon. Position 7 is 2 km behind position 1, and again we go in the same direction filling a second hexagon, positions 13-18 2 km behind that, 19-24 behind that, etc.

Now when a ship 1 is allowed to dock, it does that, and position 2 becomes position 1. etc. The ship in (former) position 7 moves up 2 km to the new position 6, and those behind him follow suit.

A docking ship speeds up to, say, 200, pointing to 1 km nearer the nearest obstruction in the approach (ideally the beacon), and when at .5 km from that point, to the next point 1 km further in, and so on. At 3 km (or nearer) it slows down to 80 or so for rotational alignment, (I use speed 60-80 when manually docking, but I use 280-300 to get to 3 km.) and once that is achieved, it proceeds remaining at that speed or faster, while maintaining rotational alignment, like now, but without stopping and starting.

In case of a priority dock or some launches, the queue simply gets put on hold for a bit, with no need or rejockeying for position.

Needs only extra tweaking for obstructions quite near the station, but there should be something for that already. I imagine the station would send out a Cop to blast it away, unless it's a derelict, in which case they send out the tug.

This procedure should be fairly fail-safe and fair, and keep those queues from building up, so long as nobody gets booted out of docking sequence to the back of the queue, but I can't imagine that would be a game feature.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:19 pm 
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Quite Grand Sub-Admiral
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If a computer can't dock faster than a human, what's the point?
Given that an experienced pilot can dock at full speed from an off-angle approach, and some forum members like to do the same on full injectors, the computer is intentionally designed more for reliability than speed. The docking computer taking ages to dock is mildly irritating; the docking computer slamming you into the station wall is considerably more of a problem.

Within that, it mostly already works as you describe, with a few minor changes...
  • The waiting positions are less tightly specified.
  • There's a docking heap rather than a docking queue. Ships in the heap (which includes the player using a docking computer) request docking every few seconds and get added to the much smaller close approach queue if they happen to be the first to make the request after a ship docks. This means that the length of time it takes a particular ship to get an approach slot is non-deterministic, but in most cases this isn't noticeable and usually means the player gets to dock quicker than they might expect ... but in particularly busy docks it can make the process much longer.
  • The lining up with the docking axis takes place about 5km from the station, rather than 10km.
...and one big difference:
Quote:
but without stopping and starting.
This is very tricky to get right. The stops are used to verify that the approach is still correct - failing to stop or break off on an incorrect approach risks a collision. It would certainly be good to get this working - it would speed up final approach to about half its current duration, or perhaps better - but it's probably the most complicated bit of the whole process.


It sounds like there's two possibly related problems here:
1) Ships are for some reason failing to run through the approach pattern correctly (possibly because 2 increases the need for collision avoidance in the holding areas)
2) Ships are arriving at least as fast, if not faster, than they are able to dock (possibly because 1 slows things down)

Xexedi is probably a particularly bad case for this - and not a system I've visited for a while - if there are 10 cops, and they're hanging around, probably at least 9 of them are waiting to dock.

(Incidentally, the two minute limit doesn't apply to the docking computer as it automatically requests extensions - you can do the same on a manual approach by pressing shift-L again when you get the "hurry up" notification: though it should normally be able to dock a ship a fair bit quicker than that)

So ... things to check: (I'll go to Xexedi for some testing myself, too)
- when you're at Xexedi station, what's the frame rate? (press shift-F while paused to show it)
- which OXPs do you have installed? (if you start Oolite, then immediately quit, your Latest.log file will be short enough to post up here and contain all the relevant information)
- do you get this problem at other stations with less traffic?

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:37 pm 
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Can someone make a better docking computer?
[wiki]ILS[/wiki] is made exactly to be able to dock using injectors right from when the station is arrived into scanner range to lock it, up to the last seconds where you should roll if your ship is wider than the height of the dock. But if you already replaced your Cobra3 to almost any narrower ship or you are experienced in fast rolling in the last stage then you can rush into the station at injector speed without touching the pitch/yaw controls.
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the Docking Computer OXZ does not relay the normal Traffic Control feedback a human gets. :cry:
If you mean [wiki]ILS[/wiki] then yes, this is not follow the order from the Traffic Control to go to the buoy but give you a much shorter path which still facing to the dock in the final stage regardless of your starting point. You only need to control your speed and roll at the end. But using injectors and some fuel you can arrive into the dock within 15 seconds instead of the mentioned 15 minutes.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 11:41 pm 
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Can someone make a better docking computer?
[wiki]ILS[/wiki] is made exactly to be able to dock using injectors right from when the station is arrived into scanner range to lock it, up to the last seconds where you should roll if your ship is wider than the height of the dock. But if you already replaced your Cobra3 to almost any narrower ship or you are experienced in fast rolling in the last stage then you can rush into the station at injector speed without touching the pitch/yaw controls.
Nah, I play a lot but I also do a lot of research into various game and OXP features, as well as trundling through the bulletin boards. But my Cobra is narrow enough for me, and today I entered a fuel station at speed 100, having made a close-in 90° turn at that speed. Fully manual.
Not sure how many tens of thousands I've made so far, but it's mostly gone in the smaller additions to my Cobra. Only now starting to either turn it into a hard ship, or, alternatively, saving up to make the jump to a (slightly) bigger and faster ship, with greater range. (7 ly is just too short for some routes for Standard Cobra armour.weapons. Only got an aft Ingram beam, auto-arming rockets and auto-ECM at this stage. Mostly relying on my Injector for pirate trouble.)
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the Docking Computer OXZ does not relay the normal Traffic Control feedback a human gets. :cry:
If you mean [wiki]ILS[/wiki] then yes, this is not follow the order from the Traffic Control to go to the buoy but give you a much shorter path which still facing to the dock in the final stage regardless of your starting point. You only need to control your speed and roll at the end. But using injectors and some fuel you can arrive into the dock within 15 seconds instead of the mentioned 15 minutes.
Even without ILS (which I also have, as I've a feature fetish), manually docking, you get regular updates about your queue position, the queue getting held up for launches or a priority dock, and so on, while with the Docking Computer, the spectating pilot doesn't get any feedback about what is going on, what any hold-ups are, or where he is in the queue, and so has no idea whether it'll take the time to take a bathroom break or whether he should start and finish War and Peace. Or even start and raise a family. :lol: I'd be much less frustrated at the delay if Traffic Control messages would be accompanied by their human equivalent, like when the Computer is not the one docking.

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