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Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #76 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ron77
So, as it turns out, for a mod I'm working on we're going to have to downgrade to Artemis 2.6.


This is a shame because 2.7.1 seems to be a lot more stable for all-day running than 2.6 was. Is it possible for you to run the stock game instead of a mod?

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ron77

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Reply with quote  #77 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny
Finally, I believe that drones and torpedoes travel at the same speed and have the same warhead strength, though drones have unlimited range.

Not quite. In the vesselData.xml, drone_ports have a strength variable that can be changed in the file. 
<drone_port x="0" y="-10" z="0" damage="30.0" cycletime="30.0" range="5000"/>

So, while in 2.7.0 player torpedoes deal 20 points of damage, drones_ports are usually set to 30 damage. (I haven't checked if the value for drones remained unchanged for 2.7.1 but I believe it did.) Furthermore, while drones might be able to follow a target across the sector map once launched, they will not be launched unless the target is within range of 5000 to the AI ship about to fire.

I'm not sure what range drone_port damage can be set to; maybe you could find out from Thom what the maximum amount is, if it's an easy question to answer?

Also, is it possible to adjust drone flight speed like you could adjust torpedo speed in 2.6? I can't find anything of this sort in artemis.ini or vesselData.xml and I think that would be a really neat feature to have. So, if it's not an option now, could you bring it up with Thom?
ron77

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Reply with quote  #78 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny
This is a shame because 2.7.1 seems to be a lot more stable for all-day running than 2.6 was. Is it possible for you to run the stock game instead of a mod?

Truth be told, in recent years we've tried to stay up-to-date as far as Artemis versions are concerned. Thom just had impeccable timing and usually launched a new version a week or two before the convention, so we usually stuck with the tried and proven version we had installed.

That said, the mod I'm talking about is the Honorverse mod, which is coming along nicely. I can totally see why Mark Bell is so busy with mods, and I don't envy him. [wink]
We're hoping to launch the mod in time for the convention (6/08 - 6/10) and showcase it there, along with Artemis stock. I'm just not happy that there will be changes when we switch from one to the other, like monsters, nebulae, weapons loadout, and the Comms screen. From experience I can say this is going to be noticeable to most if not all players and the majority is going to comment on it, usually not favorably.
Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #79 
Ah yes, the Honorverse Mod won't be especially compatible. Are you using scripted missions? That would definitely help control the monsters. The nebula colors don't have much effect except in mission scripts. The new weapons loadout is here to stay. Your best option is (obviously) to make vesseldata.xml for you mod that zeroes out the capacity for the torpedo types you don't want.

Next year the Artemis release will probably include cargo handling so your ships can buy, sell, and trade various minerals and cargoes. If cargo doesn't work in the Honorverse then you might be stuck using Artemis 2.6. But I think the RMN Bureau of Planning, Bureau of Medicine, Bureau of Ships, etc. probably does include some objects and medicines that will be valuable to your RMN crews.

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ron77

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Reply with quote  #80 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny
Ah yes, the Honorverse Mod won't be especially compatible. Are you using scripted missions? That would definitely help control the monsters. The nebula colors don't have much effect except in mission scripts.

As a matter of fact, we're not. At least not really. The convention is largely tabletop roleplaying with some genre-related cosplaying, readings, etc. All in all, Artemis is a relatively small part of it. Despite its size, Artemis has become a feature that gets a lot of traffic. Which is why we've opted to run a short scripted warm-up mission to get the hang of how the game works and which buttons will melt your console, followed by a multi-ship scenario in which the different crews need to cooperate to get through relatively unscathed.
As for monsters, for the mod we are probably just going to turn them off in the scenario options.

That said, we currently run 4 bridges; mostly due to size. Think 4 classrooms with one bridge each. I might post some pictures after the convention, if I remember taking any. [Edit:] Furthermore, we're running Artemis as 2-hour slots, back-to-back. In total, we get about 13 slots in; multiply that by 4 bridges and 6 players per bridge and we entertain a whopping total of 312 players for the weekend (out of 6000+ antendees).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny
The new weapons loadout is here to stay. Your best option is (obviously) to make vesseldata.xml for you mod that zeroes out the capacity for the torpedo types you don't want.

That's basically what I'm doing. I'm revamping the vesselData.xml in terms of beam_ports and whatnot, which is a ton of work. [Edit:] One of the more time consuming issues is trying to compensate for the lack of torpedo tubes compared to Honorverse ships' missile loadout and balancing that with beam_ports quantity, damage, and cycletime. Regardless, I'm happy with where it is headed right now. [biggrin]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny
Next year the Artemis release will probably include cargo handling so your ships can buy, sell, and trade various minerals and cargoes. If cargo doesn't work in the Honorverse then you might be stuck using Artemis 2.6. But I think the RMN Bureau of Planning, Bureau of Medicine, Bureau of Ships, etc. probably does include some objects and medicines that will be valuable to your RMN crews.

Truth be told, I'm not the Honorverse canon guru in our group; it's other people's jobs to pull me onto the right track if I venture too far from canon. [crazy] That said, I'm okay with using cargo even in an Honorverse mod. I like the idea of expanding on the side quests and allowing for "data transfer" to be more than just "just be in range and the data will automatically jump ship", if that's where this is headed.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #81 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ron77

Also, is it possible to adjust drone flight speed like you could adjust torpedo speed in 2.6? I can't find anything of this sort in artemis.ini or vesselData.xml and I think that would be a really neat feature to have. So, if it's not an option now, could you bring it up with Thom?


IIRC, drone speed can only be adjusted as a side effect of range, and vice versa for torps. In other words, increasing torpedo speed increases their range beyond 5000, and decreasing their speed causes them to self-destruct before reaching the edge of the screen. So a drone with range of only 2500 would move half as fast as a normal drone. (And take the same amount of time to reach the point at which it self-destructs)

Also keep in mind that you can't change the speed or damage of Skaraan (or any race with specials) drones.

ron77

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Reply with quote  #82 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryleyra
IIRC, drone speed can only be adjusted as a side effect of range, and vice versa for torps. In other words, increasing torpedo speed increases their range beyond 5000, and decreasing their speed causes them to self-destruct before reaching the edge of the screen. So a drone with range of only 2500 would move half as fast as a normal drone. (And take the same amount of time to reach the point at which it self-destructs)

Are you sure this is correct? Because I believe the range works similar to range for beam_ports or target selection for the weapons console; a target within range of 5000 can be fired upon, but if this target leaves the range of 5000 the drone will still follow. At least that's what happened when I ran with a missile cruiser because I had no beams to shoot down the drone, the darned drone followed me half-way across the map. (This was back in 2.4, though.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryleyra
Also keep in mind that you can't change the speed or damage of Skaraan (or any race with specials) drones.

Well, if drone damage (and speed) were editable in the artemis.ini files rather than the vesselData.xml file, then you could.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #83 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ron77

Are you sure this is correct? Because I believe the range works similar to range for beam_ports or target selection for the weapons console; a target within range of 5000 can be fired upon, but if this target leaves the range of 5000 the drone will still follow. At least that's what happened when I ran with a missile cruiser because I had no beams to shoot down the drone, the darned drone followed me half-way across the map. (This was back in 2.4, though.)


This is just my impression, but I'll have to do some testing. I haven't actually verified the speed of drones and compared them to how fast a torpedo moves. It's possible drones don't self-destruct like torps do.

That makes it kind of funny, though. You set the speed of a torp to set its range, and you set the range of a drone to set its speed. If you're right, the value you set on a drone doesn't even effect its range.

Quote:

Well, if drone damage (and speed) were editable in the artemis.ini files rather than the vesselData.xml file, then you could.


That's what I mean. Torgoth drone damage (or drone_port damage, to be precise) is configurable in vesselData.xml. However the damage Skaraans do with their Drone special cannot be set in vesselData. If you add a drone port to a Skaraan it will have fire one drone all of the time, and if it has the Drone special it will be able to fire TWO drones.

I would actually recommend Thom add a torpDamage value to artemis.ini, along with a torpSpeed so you can set the speed of all torpedoes. Then torpDamage can set the damage of homing torps, and he can add droneDamage and droneSpeed to set those values for the Skaraan special.

ron77

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Reply with quote  #84 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryleyra
I would actually recommend Thom add a torpDamage value to artemis.ini, along with a torpSpeed so you can set the speed of all torpedoes. Then torpDamage can set the damage of homing torps, and he can add droneDamage and droneSpeed to set those values for the Skaraan special.

Well, this was the case in Artemis 2.6, where you were able to set both torpedo damage and speed. I believe it was individual for every type of torpedo. From what I hear from Mike, plans are this feature will return.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #85 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ron77

Well, this was the case in Artemis 2.6, where you were able to set both torpedo damage and speed. I believe it was individual for every type of torpedo. From what I hear from Mike, plans are this feature will return.


Yes. You don't really need damage for every type of torpedo, and in fact damage is useless for Probes, Beacons and Tags. Which is probably why Thom dropped the value. He converted lowStationStartTorp and highStationStartTorp over to use the name of the torp (or three letters) instead of a number suffix, and removed the rest.

We lost the ability to modify how fast bases build torps as well.

ron77

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Reply with quote  #86 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryleyra
Yes. You don't really need damage for every type of torpedo, and in fact damage is useless for Probes, Beacons and Tags. Which is probably why Thom dropped the value. He converted lowStationStartTorp and highStationStartTorp over to use the name of the torp (or three letters) instead of a number suffix, and removed the rest.

I always loved being able to tweak the damage for torpedoes. I would have loved adjustable damage ranges for mines, EMPs and nukes, but in all honesty that might be pushing it. [wink]

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryleyra
We lost the ability to modify how fast bases build torps as well.

One of the ways, yes. You can no longer adjust the production times of every type of torpedo, but you can adjust the production times of bases in general (in artemis.ini) and types of bases specifically (in vesselData.xml). Which I feel is less freedom than we had before, but at least there are ways to get around what we lost.
Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #87 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ron77
Truth be told, I'm not the Honorverse canon guru in our group; it's other people's jobs to pull me onto the right track if I venture too far from canon. [crazy] That said, I'm okay with using cargo even in an Honorverse mod. I like the idea of expanding on the side quests and allowing for "data transfer" to be more than just "just be in range and the data will automatically jump ship", if that's where this is headed.


While the details have not been worked out, the idea is to build a standard inventory system similar to those found in other games. Every player ship will have some amount of cargo space and crews will have some procedures for gathering, expending, trading, and offloading items from that inventory. This will help to add some persistence for longer term campaign games. It will also make pirating a lot more fun.

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LawsonThompson

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Reply with quote  #88 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny


While the details have not been worked out, the idea is to build a standard inventory system similar to those found in other games. Every player ship will have some amount of cargo space and crews will have some procedures for gathering, expending, trading, and offloading items from that inventory. This will help to add some persistence for longer term campaign games. It will also make pirating a lot more fun.


Wait--persistence? As in, saving the state of a mission script between runs? 

Now that would be sweet! How about a simple XML dump of all script variables into a file which could be read/written at launch? Given that each mission script directory and script XML file have predictable names, a game state file could default to ScriptName_State.XML but permit renaming as needed.

<game_state action="load|save|init" path="<filename>">

action is one of the following:
  • init: creates a state XML file containing the names of all script variables and timers, all set to empty values. More useful for debugging than anything else.
  • load: reads a state XML file for use in the script.
  • save: writes all script variables and their current values into an XML file.
path: optional. Defaults to the current mission script directory, and named with the mission script name with _State.XML appended.

The file format could even be just a series of commands pulled into the script, like this:

<set_variable name="varname" value="nnn" integer="yes|no"> 

In theory, other applications running on the server could write a state file at any time and the script could get those new values. Kinda old-school to use a file instead of a socket/UDP/etc, so I'm showing my age here. To reduce file contention, you'd have the mission script save to one file, and the external application write its results into another. 

Caveat: <game_state> commands will tend to be file system I/O heavy, so scripters need to be careful to avoid executing them on every script pass!


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ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #89 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny
This will help to add some persistence for longer term campaign games.


Persistence as within a single, long duration game? Or will these variables be accessible in scripts? Will it be possible to save the ship's "state" as a file in the game, allowing true, albeit limited persistence? I can see having a file that defines a ship's name and stores, so if you select that ship again, it has the cargo it has gained from playing up to this point...

Presumably, Upgrades would be able to be transferred in and out of inventory (or they would just be picked up in inventory and the transfer to use them would be one-way) and trades to stations for other resources or cash. I'm looking forward to it.
Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #90 

I know that Thom mentioned "Persistence" and "Inventory" were two of the challenges he intended to explore after Armada IV. I do not know the specifics of his plans, but it is obvious that the two concepts do compliment each other nicely.

It seems to me that crews who play scripted missions only comprise a tiny fraction of the Artemis community, so a persistence system that only worked with scripted missions would not be useful to most players. But I might be wrong - it wouldn't be the first time.

The last tidbit I heard from Thom was that he was working on building a brand new game engine from scratch which might support Artemis and many of his other game projects. I speculate that this new engine might bring more modern technological compatibility to Artemis players, and probably facilitate some of the excellent suggestions in this discussion. If you have suggestions about persistence, inventory, and other concepts please continue to post them to this forum. I love reading and discussing them with you! Just understand that I won't be able to answer questions about Thom's plans in much detail.


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