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sayblekitten

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 
Hey folks. First post here, so please excuse my ignorance. Apologies if this topic has already been covered.

Is there a way to have the fighter station look like an actual cockpit? I'm from a space sim background, like Elite Dangerous or No Man's Sky, so it feels weird that the fighter stations are just a shot of the sky with a little shield bar on the side. I feel having a cockpit overlay on the scene would be really awesome.

A long while back I had an artist render some planets in 3d, then make 2d images out of them. I saw a few posts about creating planets in the game, but there's no official guide or help on how to do that, and I feel planets are a major importance for a space game. Certainly in any scripted encounter, I'd want to include a few planets in a system.

If I donated these images, could they be included in the game in some official way? I understand that the BSG mod had some planets with cloud layers...?
ryleyra

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Posts: 2,915
Reply with quote  #2 
Unfortunately, no, there is no way to make a fighter station look like an actual cockpit. The closest you could come is to set up a big screen display and then build an actual fighter cockpit in front of it. You would need to wire the controls into the keyboard input into the program, but that's an easy enough thing to do. You could probably just use a fighter-style joystick.

If you really wanted to go all out, you could create a really wide but short resolution display (like 4096x768) and wrap it around the front of the cockpit. The HUD would be overlaid over the "outside" view, but you could pretend it's a projection by the computer or something.

It would be nice if you could overlay a cockpit over the screen, but in a sense that would break the immersion, since your fighter is "inside" the screen instead of all around you. It times it can get annoying that this game is geared so much for LBE immersive setups. (i.e. custom bridges) 😃

As for planets, I have said in the past that I think planets are not in the game because Thom doesn't want to settle on a scale. Ships, base stations and asteroids can all exist in close to the same scale, but a planet would clearly have to be based on a different scale than human-sized objects. Either the planets would have to be a "placeholder" to show their location but not their actual size, or the entire sector would have to be dominated by a massive planet that takes up most of the screen.

The former is easy enough, all you need is a ball-shaped mesh (the old asteroid mesh works fine) and a texture for the planet. You would then create a script with a generic mesh that scales the planet appropriately. That's how the BSG mod does it, although they actually nest a mesh for the planet inside a bigger mesh for the atmosphere, which lets you fly into it. The BSG mod uses pretty big planets and even stars, but they're still small enough for you to fly between multiple planets.

For the latter, a sector that is the size of a planet, not the size of a solar system, I think there are two approaches. One is to simply put the image of a planet on the skybox. There are at least a couple of skyboxes that already have a planet on them. You would never reach the planet, but it would dominate the sector and always be a known presence. You would probably use a base, set close to the edge of the map, to allow you to interact with the planet.

Another alternative is to have a huge generic mesh either below the sector at a Y coordinate like -1000, or above the sector at 1000. If the mesh is big enough, it can look like it is looming over the sector and you are flying over it. (Or under it) But since you can never get any higher than 500 or lower than -500 you can never actually reach it.

The biggest problem (with the first and third solution, not the second) is that large meshes "pop" into existence when you get within 7500 of them. Prior to that, they are invisible. Small meshes on the usual scale just start out tiny and grow until you can make them out, but it's jarring to have a planet pop out of nowhere.

For this reason, I recommend using a custom mesh, and making a single planet out of multiple "slices" like slices out of an orange. The TSN Sandbox uses this technique to good effect. You can even use the half-dome of the shield mesh if you don't want to make your own. Basically, this makes the planet appear when you get within 7500 of the SURFACE of the planet instead of the CENTER of the planet.

One trick I have never seen anyone try, but which I have made successfully work, is to take the "orange slice" mesh and then offset it (in your mesh editor) so the origin point is 7500 beyond the surface. That would make it appear even sooner, and you could make your planet even bigger. It could even "grow" into view from a tiny model instead of "popping" into existence. Amusingly, if you flew inside the planet it would disappear, since you're too far away from the origin, but you could nest a small mesh at the center of the planet and set its pushradius to keep you from entering it. (Assuming you didn't just put the planet at the edge of the sector to prevent anyone from getting close to it)

Such a mesh and some textures might be a fun thing to create as an add-on for scripts. I've even been thinking of doing it myself, but I never got around to it.

PS: this was way more wordy than I was originally thinking it would be. 😃
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