Cargo Teleporter: trading goods without docking

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Wildeblood
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Cargo Teleporter: trading goods without docking

Post by Wildeblood »

I was trying to think of new features to include in Trading Assistant 2.13, and it occurred to me that it would not be difficult to modify the Autotrade script to trade with player.ship.target.market instead of player.ship.dockedStation.market, allowing Star Trek-like trading without docking. :D So I did that.

(Edited to past tense.)
Last edited by Wildeblood on Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Idea: trading goods by teleportation without docking

Post by Diziet Sma »

Damn.. with some additional features included, such a concept might allow ships that are too big to dock to perform all the normally docked-only functions, such as refuelling, buying/selling equipment, servicing, etc.. :D
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Re: Idea: trading goods by teleportation without docking

Post by Lone_Wolf »

wildeblood,
it sounds interesting but make sure to limit that option somehow to avoid abuse.

Star Trek has "Teleporter Range" iirc, if a ship is outside of that range teleporting won't work.

Maybe it would only work if you're within scanner range of the target ?
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Re: Idea: trading goods by teleportation without docking

Post by Potential Debris »

Perhaps, to avoid people screaming "but if there is teleportation in the Ooniverse, why bother with spaceships at all?" and "If I can teleport 80 tones of computers into that dodec, why can't a teleport an armed missile into a pirate's cargo bay?" you could do it like this:

Big Player Ship pulls up outside the station (preferably next to a floating drive-thru window) and requests a trade. After a short wait a big boxy ship, barely smaller than the docking aperture, leaves the station and pulls up alongside you. Then the goods are "teleported" out of / into your hold (to represent an exchange with the other ship) and the other ship returns to the station. This whole process could get tedious, admittedly, but maybe it could be accelerated somehow.

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Re: Idea: trading goods by teleportation without docking

Post by ffutures »

Rather than teleportation, why not use the existing cargo jettison and scoops? Have it as a trade system where you agree to drop off cargo pods in flight, the ship that's buying manoeuvres behind the ship that's selling, then the ship computers synchronize to credit your bank account and jettison the correct pods, as though you were selling at a space station.

Of course you may occasionally get someone using this process to manoeuvre directly behind another ship then fire all weapons, but that's what rear-facing military lasers are for...

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Re: Idea: trading goods by teleportation without docking

Post by ffutures »

A belated thought on this - anyone after contraband would LOVE any way to move cargo between ships without a port. I suspect you'd find ships laden with narcotics and firearms waiting just outside the S zone in law-abiding systems. Transporting contraband doesn't seem to be an offense on its own, it's when you take it away from a port that you become an offender - if you load from another ship the authorities won't know anything about it, presumably.

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Re: Idea: trading goods by teleportation without docking

Post by Knotty »

Like the Idea of the Jettison/scoop trading, seems like something that would exist if this world was real, plus will also give a physical mechanism
Think a probability factor of being ripped off is also in order :-)
So 2 mechanisms (suggest simplifying)?:
Small Ship to Small Ship (i.e. one ship in trade does not have a docking port): trade Agreed, jettison cargo, payment on scoop.
Big Ship to BigShip/Station (i.e both have docking ports). Trade agreed, Cargo shuttle launch from seller, payment on Dock.

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Re: Idea: trading goods by teleportation without docking

Post by ffutures »

Knotty wrote:Like the Idea of the Jettison/scoop trading, seems like something that would exist if this world was real, plus will also give a physical mechanism
Think a probability factor of being ripped off is also in order :-)
So 2 mechanisms (suggest simplifying)?:
Small Ship to Small Ship (i.e. one ship in trade does not have a docking port): trade Agreed, jettison cargo, payment on scoop.
Big Ship to BigShip/Station (i.e both have docking ports). Trade agreed, Cargo shuttle launch from seller, payment on Dock.
Re the ships without docking ports - Maybe half the payment on jettison, the other half on scoop? That would make things a bit fairer if something went wrong e.g. the ship dropping the cargo does so at a speed the receiving ship can't match. This could also apply to cargo shuttle payment, of course.

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Re: Cargo Teleporter: trading goods without docking

Post by Wildeblood »

I made this yesterday (a cargo teleporter using cheatonic technology, not the much preferable jettison/scoop trading system), but the result is too buggy to share.

Here's the problem: in flight, the market screen does not refresh when the station's market is altered by a script. This is different to the behaviour when docked; then - as long as one is careful to do things in the right order - an immediate screen refresh occurs showing the changed quantities. What this means in practice is that if the player is watching the market screen, they hear bells and see messages implying that cargo is moving (because it is), but the screen doesn't change, implying the OXP is broken when it isn't. Once one changes to another screen and back again one sees the updated quantities. I cannot think of any handwavium to explain why the player should not look at the market screen while the teleporter is operating.

Regarding the comments about jettison & scoop trading, if you jettison cargo in front of a station it will immediately launch a scavenger ship to scoop it up. Making this into a deliberate selling procedure needs only a way to track what was jettisoned, and crediting the player's bank balance when it is scooped. Buying goods from a station this way is much more of a challenge - I look forward to congratulating the OXPer who figures it out.

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Re: Idea: trading goods by teleportation without docking

Post by georgeleifner »

Lone_Wolf wrote:wildeblood,
it sounds interesting but make sure to limit that option somehow to avoid abuse.

Star Trek has "Teleporter Range" iirc, if a ship is outside of that range teleporting won't work. It is up to you to discuss that and make sure that it fits your needs. It is one of those cases where you don't know until you try it, and I am not sure if it is an accident because if it was an accident like an uber accident then one of the employees would know about it, other than that, you are the one that drives it so you would know better than me. And it said that it would be fully explained and all that,

Maybe it would only work if you're within scanner range of the target ?
Yeah, this is a great idea but must set limits too. Within scanner range is a good and also to add if you could make the bigger ships have longer range.
Last edited by georgeleifner on Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Cargo Teleporter: trading goods without docking

Post by Wildeblood »

Wildeblood wrote:If the player is watching the market screen, they hear bells and see messages implying that cargo is moving (because it is), but the screen doesn't change, implying the OXP is broken when it isn't. Once one changes to another screen and back again one sees the updated quantities. I cannot think of any handwavium to explain why the player should not look at the market screen while the teleporter is operating.
I'm so dumb. Just displaying a mission screen with a "Teleporting now" graphic for a few seconds would have solved that problem. How does one remove a mission screen after a timed delay without needing the player to press any keys?

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Re: Cargo Teleporter: trading goods without docking

Post by ffutures »

Another suggestion on the teleportation thing; you're talking about transferring a ton of matter from point A to B without going through the intervening space. That should use a hell of a lot of energy. What I would suggest is that each operation reduces energy reserves and shields by say 10-50% depending on range - say 10% per kilometer to a maximum of 5km? That ought to discourage people from dropping into a bad system, finding a quick trade without fighting their way to the station or a rock hermit, and jumping out again.

But I still greatly prefer the scoop version. It's a much better fit to the existing game mechanics.

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Re: Cargo Teleporter: trading goods without docking

Post by Cdr_Somersby »

This sounds like an excellent idea, and I would look forward to owning such an OXP should it be released.

The potential that it could create for other OXPs too is wonderful to consider; imagine carrying out shady cargo transport missions with dubious smugglers to get their illicit cargos onto Galcop stations, or even pirates sitting amongst asteroid belts selling their ill-gotten wares taken from their last victims at discount prices to whatever amoral trader may be passing.

I personally would not have a problem with introducing the concept of a short-range cargo teleportation system, provided the range limits were short on its operation and there was a cost to purchasing a necessary piece of equipment to enable its use. After all, technology marches on in the Oolite world just as much as anywhere else, and there is a plethora of equipment available that was not available in the original build.

It also creates the potential to build uber-massive cargo haulers that do not have to dock at stations and can park outside to do their business; Long-Range Cruisers & Lynx Bulk Carriers from FE2, anyone?
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Re: Cargo Teleporter: trading goods without docking

Post by Norby »

Wildeblood wrote:displaying a mission screen with a "Teleporting now" graphic
If you check guiScreen then you must show the cover ony if market screen is displayed, in other cases a consoleMessage is enough. I think the player must press an enter to clear a missionscreen.
ffutures wrote:I still greatly prefer the scoop version.
If there is a cargo dump port on a station then probably on the center of the backside and look into the opposite direction than the dock. In this way the path of the launched cargo pods is predictable and independent from the rotation of the station. Although a bit more handwavium needed for the "see through" type oxp stations.

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Re: Cargo Teleporter: trading goods without docking

Post by Wildeblood »

ffutures wrote:Another suggestion on the teleportation thing; you're talking about transferring a ton of matter from point A to B without going through the intervening space. That should use a hell of a lot of energy...
Yeah, nah. You don't need to persuade me of the absurdity of teleportation; it's what ruined Star Trek. This OXP is strictly in the realm of proving it can be done. Ars gratia artis.

No, that's not what I meant to write. I meant, "It uses cheatonic field re-balancing to induce dimensional folding - the same technology used in Thargoid's Hypercargo, I believe."

Absurdity objection dismissed. Now, game balance: there's hardly any effect if the player is required to target the station within scanner range. There's no advantage over the single key-press required to insta-dock. The only real use I see for it is buying slaves, guns and drugs from the main station and avoiding the fine. (If it allowed trading against the compass target, anywhere in the system, rather than the scanner target, that would be seriously disruptive.)

Anyway, I found this WIP yesterday; I had thought it might have been deleted, but no, I still have it, so I'm debating whether or not to upload it? Talk me out of disseminating this nonsense, someone; the temptation to cause mischief is strong. :D If anyone wants to have a go at finishing it, speak up.

I think the way around the problem with the screen not refreshing I described above is to activate it with prime-able equipment on the main screen and de-activate it if the player changes to the market screen. Although, why that should happen I dunno. I dislike primed equipment, one reason for my lack of motivation here. I also really dislike the poxy keyboard on my new laptop.

So, for a version 0.1 I'd configure autotrade to only trade in slaves, guns, drugs, gold, pgm & gems; and have a one-button primed equipment that just called _startAutotrade() and would only work if player.ship.target == system.mainStation. Simples.

Then there would be two complaints: I want it to work with any station; and I don't trust autotrade, I want to select specific items to teleport.

Viewing the market of other stations doesn't work in Oolite 1.80, but there's a way around that spara used in Market Inquirer 1.8 (and incorrectly boasted he was the first to think of it :P ). Version 0.2.

Selecting specific commodities to teleport requires a fancy primed equipment script; using B key to cycle through the commodity list, then N key to buy or sell. Boring to write and tedious to use, but version 0.3.

Is anyone still reading? </thinkingOutLoud>
Cdr_Somersby wrote:The potential that it could create for other OXPs too is wonderful to consider; imagine carrying out shady cargo transport missions with dubious smugglers to get their illicit cargos onto Galcop stations, or even pirates sitting amongst asteroid belts selling their ill-gotten wares taken from their last victims at discount prices to whatever amoral trader may be passing.
That comment started me thinking. NPCs don't have a cargo manifest and their specific cargo type is only decided at the moment they dump it. But what is stopping us from setting isCarrier on any old freighter? Then it would have a defined market and scripts would be able to see exactly what it was carrying. As long as other ships were prevented from actually docking with it, what could possibly go wrong? How would a freighter/carrier differ from an NPC freighter with manifest?
Last edited by Wildeblood on Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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