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Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #1 
. . . Oh my!

(in the words of George Takei).

As Thom revealed in his coding livestreams last week, the next version of Artemis will expand fighters into several types of "singleseat" craft. I have been experimenting with these in my scripts for Artemis Aramda III: Aces and Outlaws and I have nothing but good news to report! There will be fighters, bombers, and shuttles in the next release!

WHAT I DO NOT KNOW
I have not actually flown the new bombers or shuttles so I can't comment on their performance, weapons load, durability, etc.. As always I simply trust that Thom's skill as a game developer has given these features a good balance.

WHAT I DO KNOW
Your mission script can control what is available on a carrier. For example, I could make a carrier called Galactica and load it with the following six singleseat craft:
  • Shuttle Boomer
  • Fighter Starbuck
  • Fighter Apollo
  • Fighter Hotdog
  • Bomber Jolly
  • Bomber Greenbean
The process for loading fighters on a capital ship is NOT like the process for loading torpedoes on a capital ship. You must load the fighters into the ship slot BEFORE creating the capital ship. This leads to two important limitations:

  • After a player capital ship is created your mission script cannot add/subtract fighters to/from it.
  • Your mission script cannot exceed the capital ship's fighter/bomber capacity specified in vesseldata.xml. While mission scripts are exempt from torpedo capacity (you can load a dozen nukes if you want to) they are strictly limited by singleseat capacity.
So far this has not limited me in my ability to tell stories with singleseat craft in mission scripts. Hypothetically, you could write a mission script in which a fugitive steals a shuttle to escape from the player's ship. Your script could spawn the NPC shuttle and have it run away, but it could not remove a shuttle from the capital ship's hangar. You'd need to say the fugitive stole an "extra" shuttle.

So far my scripts have been able to place one shuttle aboard any class of capital ship, even if it does not have a fighter bay (I have not tried all capital ship classes yet). This has great potential for storytelling. As far as I know Invasion Mode mini-missions cannot be completed by shuttles (yet), but that doesn't bother me. My mission script has the power to name the shuttle at the start of the mission, so there is no limit to the scripted mini-missions I can write for that shuttle!

Probably the best news is that your mission script has the ability to spawn the singleseat reloads available at friendly bases. You even control the names of the reloads (if you want to). You can spawn these reloads at any time. For example, you could load DS1 with spare fighters and DS2 with spare bombers.

Players can now name their singleseat craft in Invasion Mode missions (e.g. shuttle Galileo). But if your mission script has specified the names of the singleseat craft then the players cannot overwrite the names. This is a big advantage if you are using the singleseat craft's name to trigger an event. For example, if you want the Galileo to operate as a sort of AWACS, your script could extend player sensor range any time Galileo is on the map. Your script could also allow Galileo to pick up energy or other anomalies and return them to the capital ship. Your script could have Galileo transport the Arvonian Ambassador to Outpost Babylon, discover a cache of nukes hidden on an asteroid, drop a squad of TSN Marines at an enemy base, steal an egg from a Space Dragon's lair . . . the sky is the limit!

A note to Game Masters: Because the script loads singleseat craft before the carrier is instantiated, you cannot give GMs a control to change the initial loadout of an existing player ship. If the START block specifies Galactica has 1 shuttle, 3 fighters, and 2 bombers then the GM cannot have a control that changes it to 6 fighters. But you could give the GM controls to spawn different version of the player ship outside the START block. To wit:

  • Click here to spawn Galactica with 1 shuttle, 3 fighters, and 2 bombers
  • Click here to spawn Galactica with 6 fighters
  • Click here to spawn Galactica with 1 shuttle and 5 fighters
Your GM could still add reload fighters to bases on the fly however you like.


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Xavier Wise

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Reply with quote  #2 
Any idea when this will be released? I can't wait to get my hands on some of the new features Thom added for mission scripts. I have a lot of ideas for fighters!
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ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #3 
Yay! I was hoping we'd see more small craft in the near future. I suppose two-seater craft are still to come, but the bomber has been much anticipated.

I will point out that all ships have a fighter bay, whether they have fighters or not. For those ship classes that don't have fighters the fighter bay is simply a waste. I'd like to repeat my suggestion that all ships get at least one or two shuttles added to the vesselData. However, if we can add a shuttle to a ship that doesn't have one in a script, that is just as good. I don't expect shuttles to be useful in anything but scripted missions anyway.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #4 
BTW, will the release of these new features be considered 2.5.2 or 2.6?
notsabbat

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Reply with quote  #5 
*fingers crossed for the bomber to have a mine instead of homing*

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Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #6 
The new software will be released to attendees at Artemis Armada III: Aces and Outlaws on April 7. That's one month from today!

As of today the software is a beta called Artemis 2.5.105 and it is codelocked. That means no more features will be added before April 7, but bugs will be fixed. Our local crews are kicking the beta software around and as we find bugs it is possible that Thom might need to create beta versions 2.5.106 and beyond. When it is released at Artemis Armada III: Aces and Outlaws I believe that Thom intends to call that version Artemis 2.6.

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Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #7 
After studying Thom's latest vesseldata.xml I see that there will be six different classes of singleseat vessels. I don't believe that Thom described all of them on his livestream so I won't spoil it by describing them here.

I have confirmed that Missile Cruisers can carry a shuttle. Stats show that the shuttle is slow and and sluggish compared to a fighter. It has no torpedoes and a very weak beam weapon, but that beam weapon is strong enough to shoot down a drone. IMHO defending the Missile Cruiser against incoming drones makes the shuttle a huge asset!

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ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny

I have confirmed that Missile Cruisers can carry a shuttle. Stats show that the shuttle is slow and and sluggish compared to a fighter. It has no torpedoes and a very weak beam weapon, but that beam weapon is strong enough to shoot down a drone. IMHO defending the Missile Cruiser against incoming drones makes the shuttle a huge asset!


I expected as much. And the beam doesn't have to be very powerful; AFAIK, it only takes a single point of damage to destroy a drone. Since player ships tend to have high damage beams with a great deal of damage, they are pretty much wasted against drones, as cxfAtheus learned with his WSD Mod. Point defense beams should be high recharge, low damage, like shuttle or fighter beams.

Of course, as I've already noted, shooting down a drone on a fighter takes some skill. But this feature gives shuttle pilots a role in the game, and provides drone defense for Missile Cruisers. Win/win! [biggrin]

Xavier Wise

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Reply with quote  #9 
I think Thom set it up so you could have an unlimited number of singleseat craft to choose from (well, at least as many as you could think of!) Six was what he was adding, but left room for more.
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Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #10 
Modders can certainly add more singleseat types to their mods. As with most developments in the stock software, the stock singleseat craft are kept simple to minimize confusion of new players.
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Xavier Wise

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Reply with quote  #11 
Sorry, didn't make that clear! Yes, for modding purposes you can add as many as you want! Definitely something that has awesome potential for mods.
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Wookiemart

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Reply with quote  #12 
So based on your first post this mean's that the ability to have fighters with call signs is hidden behind mission scripting?

If that is the case it sucks big time because scripting missions is essentially a barrier for a lot of players.

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notsabbat

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Reply with quote  #13 
I know from watching Thom's programming that that is not the case.
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Xavier Wise

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Reply with quote  #14 
You can enter a name on the client screen prior to launching the game and your call sign will be set. You can also cycle through the options for which type of singleseat craft is assigned to that callsign.

I think though, if your named fighter is destroyed, it is gone. From what I understand, replenished fighters will have a generic name.

As for the mission script side, a mission script can force fighter name and type to override callsigns and selection available to a ship. This is to allow mission script writer the chance to create scripts which interact with fighters.

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Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wookiemart
So based on your first post this mean's that the ability to have fighters with call signs is hidden behind mission scripting?

If that is the case it sucks big time because scripting missions is essentially a barrier for a lot of players.


I apologize for being unclear. All singleseat pilots can always enter callsigns EXCEPT when a mission script forces a callsign on them. This is optional for the mission script writer; the script can either allow pilots to enter callsigns or it can force callsigns on the singleseats.

My point was that the forced callsigns allow the script to give a singleseat pilot extra things to do. For example:
  • If shuttle Condor comes within range 600 of Arvonian Base then set Ambassador_Aboard_Condor =1.
  • If shuttle Condor comes within range 600 of Artemis while Ambassador_Aboard_Condor =1, then set Ambassador_Aboard_Artemis =1.
In two blocks of code you just created a way for a shuttle to bring the Arvonian Ambassador aboard the players' ship. But to do that your script needed to know the shuttle's callsign, so that callsign needed to be set by the mission script.


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