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Alliance Space Guard (a 3D spacesim with orbits and ship avionics!)  

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Gaius Konstantine
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July 20, 2020 11:13  
Posted by: @d-c-elington

And so maybe the extortion business would more likely occur at some remote places along the routes between the main inhabited systems. In effect the path used by most ships at one given time can be predicted (it is dictated by the orbital configurations of the celestial bodies along the way), and it would likely be too expensive to have defenses everywhere. Space travel companies could also be the victims for these "safe passage tolls" then.

Forgive me for playing devil's advocate, but would extortion really be more plausible than outright piracy? Here a rather large investment (the miscreant ship), would be risked in a racket where after a time, the authorities would be able to bring the hammer down more effectively as the ship's area of operations would be more narrowly defined than actual piracy.

In essence you need a "menace", yet at the same time it must make sense within the game-world.  While you can certainly take liberties, (it is a game after all), this is an area where a small investment of your time in examining believable menaces could pay disproportionate benefits in the long run.


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D.C.Elington
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July 20, 2020 14:29  
Posted by: @gaius-konstantine

Forgive me for playing devil's advocate

Isn't that the point with debating ideas?! 😊 

I do agree that extortion and piracy are very similar. But there's a difference that is greatly amplified by the underlying orbital mechanics: piracy requires to intercept and rendez-vous with the target (or close to) and then physically recover the stolen cargo. That is quite some maneuvering and very difficult with a "non-cooperative" target. On the other hand extortion only supposes a sufficient threat level (that can be set up at large distances) and simple exchanges over the comms.

Also provided the offenders don't have to face top-of-the-line opposition they could use refurbished vessels with low-tech weaponry. That would be enough to scare unarmed passenger ships and would remain quite cheap.

And so this leads to another specific aspect from the game's physics: a typical journey between two systems usually takes more than one month, up to three in the most remote places. So IMO the situation is quite similar to strategic naval warfare in the 16th century: "let's go take down that corsair that was spotted operating in the Caribbeans two months ago...". That would leave plenty of time for safe hit and run tactics. And there's even worse: the routes have "tides" with varying DeltaV requirements to complete them. That is a clever criminal would operate in areas and at times that would make them safe from incoming reinforcements... but that would be forgetting about the extraordinary capabilities of the player's ship of course! 🙂 (especially after some significant upgrading).

Anyway I'm also playing devil's advocate here because generally speaking I'm expecting the ship's weapons to be used only as a last resort. So waves of pirate ships charging at the player's are completely out of the question for sure! 

This post was modified 3 months ago by D.C.Elington

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Cody
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July 20, 2020 16:28  
Posted by: @d-c-elington

So waves of pirate ships charging at the player's are completely out of the question for sure! 

Music to my ears! Talking of music...

Give me five, I'm still alive
Ain't no luck, I learned to duck


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Gaius Konstantine
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July 21, 2020 03:07  
Posted by: @d-c-elington

Isn't that the point with debating ideas?!

Yes it is. Yet at the same time I am conscious of the fact that I've only been here a short time, I would hate to offend anyone unintentionally... hence that little disclaimer. 😀 

The additional information you provided in your post clarifies the matter well and does indeed make the "menace" plausible. Nicely done D.C.

This post was modified 3 months ago by Gaius Konstantine

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D.C.Elington
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July 21, 2020 12:23  

@gaius-konstantine all comments are welcome really. Even if we can agree on the matter eventually, the very question itself indicates a point that needs at least some clarification. And if not that's an issue that needs fixing! 🙂

It's still very early in the game-world building process but that's also when I might make big mistakes if closing too many doors. For instance I was thinking that the NPC ships should be made persistent and provided with a detailed history (ownership, port logs etc). Of course that will make the coding more complicated and I may fail to implement the feature or put it to good use. But on the other hand spawning ships on-demand would really limit the possibilities I think so that's worth a try.

This post was modified 3 months ago 2 times by D.C.Elington

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Gaius Konstantine
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July 21, 2020 13:37  
Posted by: @d-c-elington

For instance I was thinking that the NPC ships should be made persistent and provided with a detailed history (ownership, port logs etc)

I would like this. In my opinion it would do wonders for immersion. 


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Cody
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July 21, 2020 14:29  
Posted by: @d-c-elington

I was thinking that the NPC ships should be made persistent and provided with a detailed history

Damn, it's that ship again! Who are those guys?

Give me five, I'm still alive
Ain't no luck, I learned to duck


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D.C.Elington
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August 1, 2020 04:56  

Hi all,

Last update on the simulator side before diving into the NPC traffic 🙂

The ship does not know exactly where it is anymore and derives its location from 3 sources:
- Proximity Positioning System: high-precision (3 cm) radio navaid around stations for approach and docking phases,
- Space Positioning System: = GPS! The model includes "dilution of precision" effects i.e. how the relative position of the satellites as seen from the receiver degrades the intrinsic accuracy ~30cm
- X-Ray Pulsar Receivers: a natural GPS system graciously offered by the universe 🙂 (precision around 200 m but after several hours of integration time)

On top of that star trackers provide the orientation information and inertial systems supplement the system by continuously integrating the laws of motion based on laser gyroscopes and accelerometers (nominal drift 35m/h after calibration).

From the gameplay standpoint:
- high-precision flying requires to setup the comms units,
- the ship feels less "on rails" that it used to (in the locations without GPS service),
- there are choices to make when configuring the jump-drive, with a trade-off between the equipment's wear and a risk of jump failure.

This post was modified 3 months ago by D.C.Elington

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Pinback
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August 2, 2020 11:24  

Nice one DC 😎 looks like you going to have to write one big manual when you get finished.


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D.C.Elington
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August 2, 2020 12:39  
Posted by: @pinback

Nice one DC 😎 looks like you going to have to write one big manual when you get finished.

🤣 I must admit that the "departure checklist" might start to sound a bit like "are you really really sure you want to undock?".
But on the other hand that also makes it nice when finally safely docking back to a station at the end of the mission 🙂

 


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D.C.Elington
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October 2, 2020 10:50  

Hi SSC, at last the "CSN Type 9 Frigate" now has a skin 🙂

csnf9 1
csnf9 0

(about the scale she's about 120 m long for 220 metric tons with full tanks. The dark scheme is to figure a highly-reflective anti-laser armor)

Everything is procedurally generated so the same routines will be used to generate the NPC ships.


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Pinback
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October 3, 2020 07:53  

Nice 😎 D.C , think I mentioned this before but it reminds me of the Excalibur from the Babylon 5 spin off series Crusade. 


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karacho
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October 3, 2020 08:50  

For me it looks like a gigantic viper from Battlestar Galactica (old version)


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D.C.Elington
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October 3, 2020 12:27  

Ah yes the 3 wings are very characteristic! 🙂 
Unless I'm mistaken here's what they would look like at maximum reactor power when they reach about 2000 K

csnf9 4

 


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Pinback
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October 3, 2020 13:53  

Now you mentioned it, it does look like a Viper.


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Cody
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October 3, 2020 14:28  
Posted by: @d-c-elington

Unless I'm mistaken here's what they would look like at maximum reactor power when they reach about 2000 K

Fade away and radiate! Good band, Blondie!

 

Posted by: @pinback

Now you mentioned it, it does look like a Viper.

What? A Colonial Viper?

Give me five, I'm still alive
Ain't no luck, I learned to duck


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DarkOne
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October 5, 2020 10:48  

Good job on the skinning work @d-c-elington, you mentioned you are going to use procedural generation to create random NPC ships. So will that use some sort of template to work off of or can we expect some crazy combinations? 🙂


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CaptainKal
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October 5, 2020 12:17  

@d-c-elington

Hall Effect Ion drives, with solar powered (wings) powerplant? Or the wings are used as radiators? 


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D.C.Elington
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October 5, 2020 12:19  
Posted by: @sscadmin

procedural generation to create random NPC ships

I was precisely wondering about this too! 👍 
But working on the mesh generator quickly revealed that ships would be much less random than the stations, if not at all. Also for some time I was thinking about a routine to process a set of operational specifications (main role, endurance, acceleration, payload etc) into actual shapes but that would prove too complex I'm afraid. So basically what I have is a tool that draws ships from a list of variables, and I will proceed in the good old fashion and design the models myself. Also I think that makes more sense in the context, like with real airplanes that are all instances of a limited set of models. And I'll add the custom designs the same way (typically the not too legal ones!).
So "procedural"... but not "random" 🙂 

This post was modified 2 weeks ago 2 times by D.C.Elington

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D.C.Elington
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October 5, 2020 12:38  
Posted by: @captainkal

Hall Effect Ion drives, with solar powered (wings) powerplant? Or the wings are used as radiators? 

It's a torchship so the wings are huge radiators and there are three main sections: fusion reactor, liquid hydrogen tanks (= propellant mass) and finally crew quarters at the front (supposedly far enough and behind enough shielding!).
About performance at full tanks the 50 GW of the power plant can accelerate its 230 tons at a bit more than 2 m/s² (0.2 G). (It's possible to increase the thrust but at the expense of the overall endurance)

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by D.C.Elington

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CaptainKal
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D.C.Elington
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October 6, 2020 02:40  

@captainKal Thanks! It is certainly confusing but actually I worked on the ship's systems and simulation way before giving it a skin! So indeed there were a lot of maths, reading, and feverish online research involved! 🤓🙂

Here's a view of her engineering station with an animated 3D schematic of the powerplant (and that used to serve as makeshift external view up to now)

image
This post was modified 2 weeks ago by D.C.Elington

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Pinback
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October 6, 2020 12:10  
Posted by: @cody

What? A Colonial Viper?

That's the one not the Elite one, and as Karacho said a giant one.

 

With theses panels generating so much heat radiation would they not be a target for any near by missiles. 


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D.C.Elington
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October 6, 2020 13:08  
Posted by: @pinback

With theses panels generating so much heat radiation would they not be a target for any near by missiles.

Indeed, but missiles have a limited DeltaV budget too, probably around 15 km/s. As a relative velocity and given the engagement distances that's comparatively quite slow and if they activate from too far away a ship will have plenty of time to destroy them with its main laser (or any long range weapon) or even possibly out-maneuver them. So a tactic could be to deploy missiles on intercepting orbits well in advance so that they can ballistically and stealthily approach the target: they don't have a reactor and will be much more difficult to detect when not maneuvering. Then if getting close enough they'll rush at high acceleration for the kill. That would make them more like "moving mines" as we discussed a while ago.

For defense the ship will have coil-guns, but also its main engine: if the reactor has been spooled-up in time the plasma plume will be able to vaporize anything within a few tens of kms. That's a "torchship" after all!


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Cody
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October 6, 2020 16:00  
Posted by: @d-c-elington

the plasma plume will be able to vaporize anything within a few tens of kms. That's a "torchship" after all!

Yep! A quick sweep across an enemy ship's hull and all its sensors are fried - it's blind.

Give me five, I'm still alive
Ain't no luck, I learned to duck


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