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Arkantos

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Reply with quote  #31 
Right now, if you have the ordnance display active, Artemis Display will automatically ask each friendly base to report its status so that it can get their current ordnance counts. However, this could certainly be made optional, requiring the player to manually hail each base before the ordnance amounts were displayed.

I've done some work on mission tracking. I've set it up so that it can track the standard "Help us help you" missions, the distress situations (hijackers, stranded friendlies, etc.), and simple energy offers, and I'm just filling in the details of each mission so that Artemis Display can recognize them when they come up. As with the ordnance display, right now I have it set up to automatically hail friendly vessels on start, but I could certainly make that optional.

I was also wondering how I should handle "spoilers." Should the display simply tell you that there's a mission and leave it up to you to look at your COMMs messages to determine what to do, or should it just say exactly what you need to do? Probably could just make that configurable, as well.

The other question is how to display them effectively. There can potentially be a lot of active missions at once, and as passive displays, there isn't an interface to scroll or paginate or anything like that. One possibility is to treat energy offers separately from regular missions, and simply give a list of callsigns of contacts offering energy.

I'm still working through the various available missions, and one that is a little weird is the one where you have to lend someone a DAMCON team member. Once you do, they say, "Thanks for the team, <ship>.  We'll proceed to the station, and drop off your reward when we get there." The ship then heads toward a station, but they skimmed by it and kept moving without any further messages. I tried docking with the station they skimmed past, and that didn't result in any mission-related message, either, so it didn't seem like they actually provided any reward. Is anyone familiar with this mission?
JordanLongstaff

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Reply with quote  #32 
IIRC, the reward the ship drops off at the station is more Nukes.
Arkantos

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Reply with quote  #33 
Ah, cool. There's a similar one where a ship is flying blind, and when you direct it safely to a station, it says, "Enjoy your reward!" which I assume is also more ordnance, but I haven't figured out what it is yet, either.
Arkantos

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Reply with quote  #34 
By the way, I love the terrorists who hijack ships but considerately offer you energy. Oh, and the ships who say they're out of energy, but then say, "We also have energy to spare, if you need some."
Newcommerin

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Reply with quote  #35 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkantos
ArtemisDisplay connects to the server the same way that the regular stock clients do, and therefore can only know that they know.


That was my bad English - I am sorry...

I didn't meant a timer, I just thought of a clock-type counter, which shows how much time has elapsed already. So if you got a massage like "hurry up, you only have moments left" it would give a bit of a pressure.

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Arkantos

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Reply with quote  #36 

An elapsed mission time clock? Yeah, that would be pretty easy.


It occurs to me that the ordnance display has some hiccups. It doesn't currently detect ordnance being transferred from a station to a player ship, nor from an NPC ship to the station as a reward. The former I can probably figure out: if I notice a player ship's ordnance increasing while docked, I can deduce that the ordnance came from the station. A player performing a torpedo/energy conversion while docked will mess it up, though: clients are not directly informed of a conversion. But perhaps that's acceptable: if a player converts energy to torpedoes while docked, the display's gonna be wrong until the base either reports its status or notifies you that it has created a homing torpedo.

There's also the problem that an NPC delivering ordnance to a base as a reward for rescuing it isn't tracked, either. I could theoretically notice the message from the NPC reporting that it's at the base, figure out which base it is closest to, and credit that base. However, I'm not totally clear on which missions award which ordnance, and it seems like sometimes the NPC will go close to the base but never actually stop at it, nor send a message about arriving. Hmm.


On a related note, here's what the side mission display currently tracks; there are still a few things I'm missing. Note that this list contains SPOILERS:

  • Courier missions: A base or NPC asks you to pick up something from another contact, then deliver it to them. Offers a variety of rewards.
  • Damaged engines: An NPC reports that its engines are damaged and asks you to give them a DAMCON team. Once they're back on their feet, they head to base, where they deliver some nukes to reward you.
  • Energy offer: An NPC offers you energy if you rendezvous with them.
  • Energy ransom: A ship is held hostage for a ransom of 900 energy. Once the ship is released, the grateful captain enhances your shield generators.
  • Explosion trap: An NPC acts suspiciously when hailed (in an apparent homage to A New Hope). Explodes if you get close. I'm not aware of any way to prevent the ship's destruction (other than to stay away) or get any sort of reward.
  • Fighter trap: An NPC claims to be broken down, then releases a bunch of fighters if you get close. As with the previous trap, I don't know how to get a reward.
  • Flying blind: An NPC's sensors are down, and they ask you to guide them to a base. Once they arrive, they leave an unknown reward at the base.
  • Hijackers: An NPC is commandeered and the hijackers threaten to blow up the ship if they see you approach. If you get close to them while in a nebula, they will surrender, and the grateful captain enhances your shield generators.
  • Jump start: An NPC is out of energy and asks for 100 energy from you. Once they get it, they head to base, where they leave you an unknown reward.
  • Reboot computer: An NPC's computer has gone haywire. After you hit them with an EMP, they head to base, where they leave you an unknown reward.
  • Shuttle rescue: An NPC asks you to pick up an ambassador/the big boss in a shuttle. Once you do, they give you some probes/nukes.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #37 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkantos

I was also wondering how I should handle "spoilers." Should the display simply tell you that there's a mission and leave it up to you to look at your COMMs messages to determine what to do, or should it just say exactly what you need to do? Probably could just make that configurable, as well.

The other question is how to display them effectively. There can potentially be a lot of active missions at once, and as passive displays, there isn't an interface to scroll or paginate or anything like that. One possibility is to treat energy offers separately from regular missions, and simply give a list of callsigns of contacts offering energy.


Well, for Rescue missions in particular I think Comms should initiate them, since not knowing that the transport you are approaching has been taken over by pirates who have rigged the ship to explode is part of the suspense. However, if you want to give Artemis Display the ability to automate Comms' "initial setup", where they Hail all the ships and ask for their status and if they are in need of any help, it could save time for those Comms Officers that find that tedious.

I'll note also that Side missions (which you call Courier missions) and Rescue missions are separate and could be displayed separately. Again, Rescue missions are initiated by Comms, while Side missions go off every four minutes on schedule and the ship or base initiates the contact. Your display can quickly become crowded by Side missions (I really noticed them when I was implementing them in my Simple Sandbox) while Rescue missions are static and don't change since the number of allied ships in the sector don't change.

In fact, for Side missions you would probably want to remove them from the display once they have been accomplished. This would be helpful for Comms, since they would have a list of all active Side missions in one place without having to go through the text log to find out which ones are ongoing.

Energy reserves are again a third option, they are initiated by Comms, and you can only collect energy from a given ship once. This could be part of the Rescue mission display, or separate.

I'll also add that I think all Side missions are marked with the Side message type, but I can't remember if Rescue missions are. I think they aren't, they just look like standard Ally messages, but I wouldn't swear to it. This might help filter out the messages, though.

As for updating the display, you will probably have to either wait until Comms makes a Hail (you might "dim" a line on the display if a certain amount of time passes, to let Comms know to Hail the ship or base again) or repeat your request for status every five or ten minutes. Again, it depends on if you want to simplify the job for Comms or require them to do it manually.

Quote:

I'm still working through the various available missions, and one that is a little weird is the one where you have to lend someone a DAMCON team member. Once you do, they say, "Thanks for the team, <ship>.  We'll proceed to the station, and drop off your reward when we get there." The ship then heads toward a station, but they skimmed by it and kept moving without any further messages. I tried docking with the station they skimmed past, and that didn't result in any mission-related message, either, so it didn't seem like they actually provided any reward. Is anyone familiar with this mission?


I'm quite sure some missions are bugged, although I've never encountered that one personally. Your observation sounds similar to what I've heard from other players, though.

I actually have no information about what rewards are given by rescue missions. I assume it is the same as side missions, and random, but I don't know if anyone has actually tested that.

ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #38 
BTW, I explain the ships that say "We're out of Energy, can you spare some?" and then "We have Energy for you" by saying that the energy they need is sublight fuel, but what they have is a HiDens Power Cell. The player ship, being a Warp driven ship, is able to convert back and forth freely between Energy and Warp fuel, but it's useless to the NPC ship.

Probably what they should say is, "We have run our Impulse drives out of energy, could you spare 100 units for a jump start?" Then it's not the lack of fuel, it's that their engines are shut down and need to be crash started.

Also check this link for the list of missions. I think you got every one but the two new Pirate missions which are supposed to give a reward if the ship is raided, but don't seem to be working. http://artemiswiki.pbworks.com/w/page/123708741/Side%20and%20Rescue%20Missions


Arkantos

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Reply with quote  #39 
A stab at a missions screen:

missions.png
Missions are organized into four categories:
  • Hostile: The contact will take hostile action if you approach.
  • In Distress: The contact is stranded and requires your help.
  • Offering Energy: The contact will give you energy if you rendezvous with them.
  • Courier: The contact is asking you to pick up something from another contact and bring it to them.
Each mission is displayed as a tile under the corresponding category, showing the contact(s) with which you must interact and, in all categories except "Offering Energy", what the reward will be for completing it. If a category has no missions, it will not appear. Missions will disappear when they are completed or when the contact for an unmet requirement is destroyed. Courier missions will dim the pickup contact's callsign when the cargo/data has been collected.

Also, after some consideration, I realized that you guys are right about it being better to not auto-populate the missions and ordnance screen. COMMs is already a lower-activity console, so we want to avoid taking actions away from them. So the missions display starts out empty and gradually populates as missions come in. The same is true of the ordnance display now: the bases are listed right away, but how much ordnance they have is unknown at the start and gets populated as messages come in:

ordnance.png
In this screenshot, COMMs has hailed DS2 and DS5 and asked for their status. The populated values on DS1, DS3, and DS4 are from updates sent when ordnance finished building. I am thinking of making it so that ordnance counts will dim if they are "stale" so that COMMs knows that they might be outdated. Not sure on that one.

Newcommerin

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Reply with quote  #40 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkantos

An elapsed mission time clock? Yeah, that would be pretty easy.



YES! That is what I meant. Thank you! 😃


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Arkantos

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Reply with quote  #41 
I worked on this some more last night. Here are some updates:

Mission timer:

timer.png 
Nothing fancy here. Starts at 00:00 when the simulation starts, as you'd expect. One wrinkle that I don't really know how to address is that if Artemis Display connects to the simulation after it has already started, the timer will show the time since you connected, not the time since the simulation started, since it really has no way of knowing. But most of the time that shouldn't be a problem.

Alert status:

alert.png 
This screen works pretty much the same as the old Artemis Display. It will show CONDITION RED if you have red alert on. If you don't but the shields are up, it will show CONDITION YELLOW. If you're not at red alert and you don't have shields up, but your ship is held by a base's tractor beam, it shows CONDITION BLUE. Otherwise, it shows CONDITION GREEN. The red condition is animated, and the blue condition is animated while the base is still drawing you in. Once docking is complete and resupply commences, the condition blue screen becomes static.

I haven't shown off Artemis Display's layout capability:

layout.png 
This is a pretty extreme case. The long range scan display isn't particularly helpful at this size, and the bases status display looks rather ridiculous, but you can see what layouts can do.

There are currently two layout systems you can choose from:
  • Absolute: You specify component positions and sizes as a fractions of the window width/height. This allows you to freely position them anywhere in the window.
  • Grid: The window is divided into a grid. You specify how many rows and columns the grid has. For each component, you indicate the row and column of its upper-left corner, and how many rows and columns it spans. In the layout above, I specified 10 rows and 9 columns: The alert status "banner" across the top is 1x8, the timer is 1x1, and all other displays are 3x3.
You can also optionally specify a label for each layout component, as you can see in the screenshot.

There's still some work to be done:
  • I need to sort the objects to be rendered in the LRS and tactical views so that more important objects don't get overlapped by less important ones. For example, player ships should always be rendered on top of everything else so you can clearly see them no matter how crowded the screen gets.
  • LRS should show sector names (A4, D2, etc.).
  • Right now, the tactical view only renders objects whose centers are in the view. This causes large objects, such as nebulae and black holes to "pop" in at the edges, which looks weird. So I need to change that so that I render an object if any part of it will be in view.
  • The player ship and target status screens need to show more information about the object displayed.
  • I need to figure out why you sometimes get a -?- base in the ordnance status screen, like you see above. I have a guess why, but I'll need to confirm it.
  • The alert condition display should probably render differently when it's really wide or really tall, as shown above.
  • The screen should go blank during a jump.
  • I should consider making it possible to render borders between the displays in a layout.

JordanLongstaff

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Reply with quote  #42 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkantos
Missions are organized into four categories:
  • Hostile: The contact will take hostile action if you approach.
  • In Distress: The contact is stranded and requires your help.
  • Offering Energy: The contact will give you energy if you rendezvous with them.
  • Courier: The contact is asking you to pick up something from another contact and bring it to them.
Ships can be "hostile" or "in distress" in different ways. A ship that is "commandeered" will always take hostile action unless approached while in a nebula, whereas a ship that has been taken hostage will prove to be hostile unless given 900 units of energy. Ships that talk casually to you like "How are you?" or "We're totally broken down! Could you come help us?" are fighters or mines in disguise and should never be approached.

Similarly, ally ships can have multiple reasons for being in distress (needs 100 energy, needs a DamCon team member, needs an EMP to reset a malfunctioning computer, needs their ambassador to be rescued, etc.)
Arkantos

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Reply with quote  #43 
I am aware that there are various ways that missons can be "hostile" or "in distress". The problem is that, as an information radiator screen with no controls for scrolling or pagination, space is at a premium, so I'm trying to ensure that everything will fit even if you have a lot of missions. I thought that a good way to do this and keep things interesting for COMMs is to not give mission specifics, but simply categorize them. In determining what the categories should be, I asked myself, "What are the most important questions that people want to know about each mission?" I decided they are:
  1. "Will I get damaged if I approach this ship without taking any precautions?"
  2. "Is this ship stranded without my help?"
  3. "What do I get for doing this mission?"
I designed the screen to answer those questions. I was also looking to avoid spoilers about exactly how to solve missions. (That said, marking the two that act suspiciously when hailed as "Hostile" is probably a bit of a spoiler.)

I'm certainly open to suggestions on how to improve the mission display.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #44 
Yeah, as I said above I agree with displaying and categorizing the Side missions, but Comms should have to go back to their log for the specifics. It is not a "cheat sheet" it is a list of available missions for Comms to go over and prioritize for the Captain. Probably, identifying them by source should be sufficient, although you want enough information to make two missions from the same source identifiable.

I should note that you can look at the ships that tell you that you have extra energy as either missions to be fulfilled, or a record of the places you can still get energy from. You can only get energy from each ship only once.

An idea for a similar display would be a list of all scanned anomalies in the sector, listing their location and what they reward. Again, this would help Science locate energy if the ship is running low.

Arkantos

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Reply with quote  #45 
So I could make the display simply list the ships without categories, if you feel that the categories are too spoilertastic. What do you think?

I like the idea of a display that shows where you can go get energy. Probably will do the initial release of Artemis Display 2.0 before I try to do anything with that.

The display now blanks out while jumping. Yay!
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