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Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #1 

I became curious about the changes that have been made to ships in the vesselData file and in the game with each version of Artemis, when I learned that topspeed, which I thought applied only to Impulse, applied to Warp as well. I wondered if this was true in version 1.65 of Artemis. Since I have saved many of the old versions for nostalgia's sake, I thought I would go through the vesselData files and the Change Log and see what the changes are.

Although most of this can be found in the Change Log, there is some that isn't, and it may be possible to miss some details in the Change Log when it isn't given a lot of emphasis. So I put together this list of the versions of Artemis and the changes in each:

Artemis 1.3:
     The only ship is the "USPF Artemis". Not called a "Light Cruiser"
     It has 40 shields front and back, and its beams do 7 damage
     Sensors have only three settings, "Weak", "Strong" and "Unlimited"
     Kralien Dreadnought has only two beams, exactly the same as other Kraliens
     Arvonians (named "Argonians") and Torgoth use the same ships as Kraliens
     Argonians have tougher shields, and bigger ships add a long range forward beam
     Torgoth have extremely tough front shields, and add either a forward or rear beam

Back in 1.3, the game was very different. Engineering had Damcon and Power points to assign to systems and no 3D view of the ship. Science used a "scanning cone", and could only directly see the area around the ship, like Helm and Weapons. Comms could control the Main Screen, and had an interface that was overlaid on the view around the ship. Each fleet of attacking ships was divided into Kraliens, Argonians or Torgoth, they were not "support". There were no glowfiles or specularfiles

Artemis 1.4:
     Artemis shields increased to 80
     Sloop and Destroyer added (Destroyer has same shields and beams as Artemis, Sloop is unarmed)
     Scaraans added

Artemis 1.46:
     Artemis's beam damage increased to 12 per shot (raising damage above Destroyer)
     Medium and Very Weak sensor ranges added

Artemis 1.5:
     Scaraans given 100 more forward shield strength
     Scaraan Dreadnought given 100 more rear shield strength (plus the 100 to front)

1.5 introduced the first of the gameplay changes, the Engineering 3D ship display. Taunts and Manual Fire for beams were also added. 1.55 introduced the new Comms interface, with a blank background.

Artemis 1.6:
     Light Cruiser given its classname, and other classes added
     The Scout has a 0.8 beam arc, covering almost 360 degrees with its one beam
     ECMs added - Torpedo stores are put in vesselData
     Sloop renamed "Transport" (note it still looks like current Escort)

In addition to adding the new player ships (with different speeds, as noted above) 1.6 also introduced the new Science interface. Jump Drive was also added. Hull and racekeys were introduced to allow players to modify their vesselData file without breaking the game. The Captain's Map was added in 1.61. Nebulas also slow ships to Warp 1 as of 1.61.

Artemis 1.65: 
     Energy recharge rate doubled
     Sensor range of "Very Weak" sensor range decreased (I don't know by how much)
          (Also, I can no longer find this note in the Change Log - maybe I imagined it?)
     Destroyer's top speed raised from 0.3 to 0.7
     Kralien Dreadnought given Torgoth's rear beam (the manual states it fires forward, which is wrong)
     Argonians renamed to Arvonians, changed to support race with carriers
     Torgoth changed to support race with capital ships and drones

Glowfiles and specularfiles were added in 1.65, improving the appearance of the game. In 1.66, Warp was given inertia, requiring time to accelerate to Warp or stop. This value doesn't appear to be modifiable.

Artemis 1.7:
     USFP renamed "TSN" (Terran Stellar Navy)
     Efficiency added (making Scout use energy slower, and Battleship/Dreadnought use energy faster)
     Arcwidth of Scout's beam reduced from 0.8 to 0.4

Artemis 2.0:
     Sensor range states actual ranges (Unlimited, 33k, 16k, 11k, 8k)
     Taunts added to race description in vesselData
     Long Description added for Bases, Friendly Ships, and Enemies (now used by Science)
     Added Escort (40 shields, turnrate .004 topspeed 0.9) using old Transport model
     Escort has same beams as old Destroyer
     Raised Destroyer shields to 120/100
     Raised Destroyer turnrate to .003 and topspeed to 0.9
     Tripled Destroyer beam fire rate (0.6 to 0.2)
     Transport given new appearance, shields doubled to 80
     Science, Luxury Liner and Bulk Cargo added
     Kralien Battleship/Dreadnought fwd beam fire rate doubled (0.6 to 0.3)
     Arvonian fighter damage doubled
     Biomechs added

Artemis 2.0 also applied the enemy beam damage multipler for difficulty (1x to 5x, maxing at diff 5) to friendly ships. This resulted in a HUGE increase in ally ship damage. (15x, for the Destroyer)

Artemis 2.1:
     Original Base renamed Deep Space Base and beam added
     New Science, Civilian, Command and Industrial base added
     Production coefficient added for bases
     Enemy bases added
     Beams, torps, drones and fighters added to various bases

Artemis 2.2:
     PShock Torps added
     Monsters added, although this post is meant to detail changes to ships (the addition of Whales -  1.65 - and the Space Monster - 1.41 - wasn't listed)

Artemis 2.3: 
     The increase in enemy damage due to difficulty now extends all the way to difficulty 15
     Escort and Destroyer damage was lowered from a base damage of 7 to base damage of 3 (reversing the increase reported in Artemis 2.0) 
     Enemy and friendly ships gained a speed boost from difficulties from 6-15, and a beam range boost at diff 15
     TSN Carrier and player fighters added 
     Monster info and health bar added

In addition to the new Fighter console, which increased the potential number of players per ship to 8 or more, Artemis 2.3 also fixed the Gun Camera (Manual Mode) which had been broken since 2.0.


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Posts: 2,737
Reply with quote  #2 
Interesting read. Thanks for posting.

Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #3 
There's actually a lot less changes than I thought. In 1.65, when the Arvonians and Torgoth were changed, I liked the old Dreadnoughts, so I copied BOTH over to the Kraliens and named to extra one (with the forward firing beam) a "Battlecruiser". In the process, I inadventantly fixed the bug, so I was never aware of it. [biggrin] Since I tweaked the shields a couple of ways to make them fit the old patterns (one equal front and back, one heavy in the front) I erroneously thought there had been more changes to shield strength.

Posts: 1,026
Reply with quote  #4 
I need to look into doing something similar. If you change the enemies on the server does it carry over to all clients?
Captain USN Liberator

"When I lost my rifle, the Army charged me 85 dollars. That is why in the Navy the Captain goes down with the ship."

Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #5 
Actually, I can confirm that no, it doesn't. The clients MUST have exactly the same vesselData file as the server.

In my testing, I have found that if a ship doesn't exist, it is replaced by the TSN Light Cruiser. (for much the same reason that hullID is used if hull and racekeys don't match) If hullIDs are changed, the original hullID shows up on the client, for instance, if you replace the Scout with something else, the Scout will appear on a client with an unmodified vesselData. (That includes the tablet version)

Now for the fun part. [biggrin] You can modify beam placement and arcs all you want on the server, they will act as if the beam has the redefined arc on the client. However, you will SEE the arc defined on your client. You CANNOT change torpedo stores, as the server and client will get out of sync. I'm not sure about topspeed or turnrate, but I think if you set this on an enemy it will perform accordingly on the client. However, if you change a player ship's topspeed or turnrate I think you'll get unpredictable behavior.

This means that if you're clever, you can modify a ship and either have a default visual representation for it on an unmodified client, or at least a TSN Light Cruiser that acts like the enemy you want. In short, anything that doesn't appear visually on the client is probably safe. You can also use a mission to change things globally, like missile stores.

That pretty much killed my personal mods, because it was annoying to copy them over to every client, and when the tablet version came out, I gave up completely. But I think copying enemies from the server to the client would be a good idea. As I note above, you don't really need to transmit everything, just the models and beam arcs and a few other things.

Posts: 1,026
Reply with quote  #6 
Yeah. I was asking because I remember you could download player ships on to the server and run no problem (if I remember correctly) but anything besides that broke it. I wish we could get some more mod support. Would be really cool to mod the game a bit for the Rp without requiring every single player get and RP mod. 
Captain USN Liberator

"When I lost my rifle, the Army charged me 85 dollars. That is why in the Navy the Captain goes down with the ship."

Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #7 
I don't believe you can currently download ships, or modify player ships in the vesselData file and have them copied to the client. There was some talk about this, but no details were released, and it's not currently in the game. (Or if it is, it isn't documented...)

This is more in line with the ship differentiation thread in the Development forum, but my thought is that downloaded ships should be in a separate XML file that is placed in a separate directory. That directory is then searched at server startup and loaded along with vesselData. I don't think vesselData should be modified to install downloaded ships, and I can't think of any way that could be manageably done.

Under this design then, the vesselData could remain the same as current; it must be on all clients and the server, and it must be unmodified. If you want to add a new ship, you add a new file on the server. The server reads the ship definition, creates it, and then copies all necessary information to the client.

This would take a considerable amount of time, so maybe texture and mesh files should be copied over the moment a client connects. That way they'll be available when needed. If the file's already there, it's not needed. Then once the game starts, details like firing arcs can be copied into memory on the client.

Alternately, the XML file can just be copied over, but there will have to be some consideration of how you will keep someone from just turning around and hosting it on a server without paying for it.

Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #8 
I'm bumping this because I have updated it to cover changes through 2.3. The only release I have not listed is 2.1.5, because as far as I know, there were no changes to ship stats, just the addition of the War Server and the Upgrade screen. I'm not mentioning Upgrades, either, because they aren't specific to a ship.
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