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[Sticky] !! Pioneer Question Time !! - Ask them here

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Zordey
(@zordey)
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@Bio I haven't read back more than a handful of posts so I'm not sure what your question actually was but:

 

  • In Frontier / FFE, enemy ships did 'cheat' to intercept you. As TheBob stated above a slower (or even slightly faster ship) stands next to no chance to catch up to your ship (and attain a similar relative velocity) if you are accelerating / decelerating (it would be possible if you were coasting [no thrusters for a long period]). Frontier cheated when you engaged the stardreamer by ignoring the pirates deceleration phase and just spawning the pirate ship within a few hundred km from your position at a similar relative velocity, thus allowing it to catch you.  
  • Yes in Frontier, pirates were randomly spawned when you entered a system (I often saw a pirate Imperial Courier after jumping into an archaic system and just went back to a save point and tried again)
  • The coloured dots on the system map are not implemented in Pioneer (correctly anyway as far as I know)
  • The Frontier / FFE manuals may contain plenty of factual elements, but they are a work of fiction designed to immerse the player in the Frontier universe, not describe how the behind the scenes game mechanics actually work.

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TheBob
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What i say is in frontier i can select a ship (dots in the map) and intercept it with AUTOPILOT.

 

That's hyperspace clouds. They're static, they don't move. I know the Frontier manual mentioned the possibility to target and intercept far off ships, but that was never implemented. Be aware that Frontier was released unfinished by a panicking publisher. Many of the features mentioned in the manual are not in the game, and frankly I am a bit surprised that you never noticed that, loving the game so much as you profess.

 

 

And some people disagree with this, but what they say has not convinced me

 

 

 

Do I really have to show you the math to convince you?

 

 

Without Autopilot (Manual Flight) i think the bad guys don+t cheat.

 

 

 

 

It doesn't have any effect on the AI whether or not you are using the autopilot. For what it's worth, the Autopilot also cheats for you. I was a pretty solid manual flyer back in the day, but the Autopilot managed to beat me every time. And that was although I was turning my ship around and using main thrusters both parts of the way, while the Autopilot for some weird reason insisted on using the Retros for deceleration. By all logic, I should have been a lot faster.

 

But there's theory and physics, and then there's the technical limitations of a 286 processor... Here's how it works: A computer cannot do two things at a time (well, multicores can, but those weren't in fashion back in the day). What they can do is do things so rapidly one after another that you think it's doing it all at the same time. But between every frame there's time that passes. This is called a timestep. When a program runs in realtime, this timestep is usually long enough to do everything you need, including moving a dozen of planets and ships around.  But if you crank up time acceleration, an unfortunate thing happens: at 10'000x time acceleration, a program suddenly has to calculate what happens within 10'000 times the time that has passed for the processor. That's 10'000 times as much calculations. 

This is a serious problem even on todays machines. Depending on time acceleration and complexity of the program, this leads to loss of FPS. The image on the screen starts to become a slideshow, because the computer has to calculate too much and needs too long to calculate it, so that the next image only appears on the screen after significant fractions of a second. 

What do you do to prevent this? You drop precision. Instead of calculating what happened say every 0.1 seconds of the time that passed, you take larger timesteps. a second. a minute. In case of Frontiers' technology, probably an hour or more. 

This leads to extreme imprecisions, which would make you crash into planets, or (as was quite frequently the case in Frontier if you happened to have a planet in your way) through it, because at one timestep you were in front of the planet, and in the next timestep you were already past it, the intermiediate space lost to the unrelenting limits of your hardware . It can be smoothed with interpolation, but again a 286 doesn't provide the necessary horsepower to do that in a reasonable time (operations can become quite a bit complex when interpolating, and Frontier needed most of its cycles for the 3-d engine anyways. 3-dimensional trigonometry is such a draw on a processor that people developed a seperate peace of hardware to make it work fast enough). So what do you do? you cheat, because it's the only thing you can do. "So, the whole thing is too inprecise at 10'000x time acceleration to reliably establish position and velocity? well, screw that, we'll just run it until the player is close enough, and then we'll magically beam him into the right spot for the landing, slow down TimeAccel, and let the autopilot land. Noone's really going to notice it anyways, everything's happening too fast". 

 

And this is how they made Frontier work on their hopelessly inadequate hardware. They cheated, because there was no other way to make it work. And so, the autopilot in Frontier (and FFE) are cheaters, because they couldn't function otherwise. It's not a shame, or a bad thing, or something that needs to be shushed. They had a vision, a vision too big for their hardware, and they found a way to make it happen, and we're all glad for it.

The Autopilot is still cheating, though. Get used to it.


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Zordey
(@zordey)
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250 posts in 43 days... thats gotta be some sort of record?


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TheBob
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he almost beat the autopilot by 6 minutes, using main thrusters and he fail, his words.

maybe he can beat the autopilot!?

 

 

In Frontier, it's impossible because the autopilot cheats (the shorter the distance and the higher the time acceleration, the more it matters. It is possible to get the upper hand on reeeeeally long flights. A few kilometers will be crossed by the Autopilot at max timeaccel in... 0.0 seconds. Try it!).

In Pioneer, it's really difficult because the Autopilot is pretty good. You might be able to get the upper hand manually by selecting a better planet and base aproach, but that's about it.


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fluffyfreak
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Can I ask that instead of arguing about it, some details of which is well know fact as a result of disassembling the original code, that you start a new thread rather than keep filling this one with off-topic discussion?

 

If you want to discuss what the original auto-pilot did then I recommend you go to Tom Mortons website, grab the GLFrontier version and source code and take a look for yourselves, maybe even record a video if you want.

 

This stopped being a question long ago and has become an argument.


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TheBob
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Sorry, you're right.


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fluffyfreak
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No, Pioneer != Frontier.

 

We don't use any of the source code from Frontier, or the same algorithms, they are implemented completely independently.

So seeing what Frontier does tells you nothing about what Pioneer does. We've reached similar goals by travelling different routes and where Frontier had to make simplifcations and approximations we're often able to do it fully.


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Pinback
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As Fluffyfreak has stated "Do try to stay on topic".

 

If you feel the need to discuss Frontier then they are other area of the forum for it.


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fluffyfreak
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Technically is important though because they're arguing about how the games work, and Pioneer does not, and never has, worked the same as Frontier.

 

How it looks is superfically like Frontier in many places, and yet it is very different in many other areas too.

 

If you're after something more like Frontier then you want Genesia.

 

Pioneer was never trying to be Frontier although many would have liked that, even Tom Morton has commented and said that using the Frontier ships was a bad decision, Pioneer is trying to be what we think Frontier would have liked to be if the technology had been available when it was released.

 

These are two very different goals, and they're something I've talked about in many threads and comments extensively in the past.

 

I'm not trying to say it shouldn't be discussed, I'm saying that it shouldn't be discussed in this HELP thread.

So if you guys do want to discuss it, just create a new thread and discuss it in there.

However, please do be aware that whilst there are superficial (on the surface, skin deep, graphical) similarities that doesn't mean you can assume that the games work the same intnernally. Frontier had to run on very limited hardware, Pioneer would NOT be able to run on that same hardware because it does a lot of things that Frontier could not afford to do because of the technology available.

 

Now, any more posts in this thread on the topic of Frontier VS Pioneer and I will be asking a moderator to move them to this thread I've created for you to discuss these things.

 

This thread is where people come to post questions where they need HELP, not for arguing or general discussion.

 

Stay on topic.


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Pinback
(@pinback)
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Right Rocketeer    I have moved one of your post to the Frontier v Pioneer thread as it is "OFF TOPIC" .

 

And if I continue to get any more of it in this thread I will just delete the posts if you or anyone else feel the need to whinge about it then use the Frontier v Pioneer thread.


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XenonS
(@xenons)
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Just want to ask this about Pirate encounters:

Which alpha version of Pioneer, without any mods, do produce pirate encounters in Sol or closer systems? In the latest A33 I start almost to believe that there is no combat at all (without mods).

Thanks,

 

XenonS


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XenonS
(@xenons)
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You can generate a "bad guy" with Ctrl+F12. for combat purposes.

 

Thanks, I forgot that one. I was dealing too much with Frontier lately 🙂

 

XenonS


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XenonS
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I guess that a newcommer in the Pioneer forum will assume that the latest verison of a software will be the most complete one. Personally I know that this is not true for alpha software, but anyhow: it would be good to stick a post for the alpha versions where most combat features are included, still presumably that these versions actually exist and are doing more than the latest version.

Otherwise, any posts or guides for combat (or any other aspect of the Pioneer game) will be futile because unnoticed.

 

Also I have the feeling that the Quickguide.txt must be updated. I would have already done it, but then I must have precise information which are hard to gather through this forum.

 

XenonS


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fluffyfreak
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They're usually called "Plugins", where you can add extra code that gets run which someone else has written.

 

I think that for Pioneer it might take a lot of work to add that kind of functionality. That might be a worthwhile idea and/or goal but everyone is currently pretty busy just trying to get the engine and features to what we'd consider a "version 1.0", or at least something we could call that so I don't personally think that it would be worth diverting our time to doing it yet.

 

Maybe one day, or if someone did the work themselves, it might be worth it.

 

--off topic--

Oh and please don't double or cross-post, I see you posted this in the "How to get involved" thread too. It would have been better as it's own thread but lets just keep it here for now.


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XenonS
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Hey, Fluffy, you are too quick to respond. I don't double post, I deleted this one.

My idea on the other thread should be considered more in detail, it cannot harm Pioneer but get people involved in a much more helpful fashion - for you the devs.

With the current organisation, Pioneer will never move ahead from alpha state, I hope you realize that.

 

XenonS


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fluffyfreak
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Well that's the thing it doesn't seem to change anything, people are still going to have to grab the code, create the module, write the code, compile it, build it as a plugin, then make a mod of it so people can try it.

That's more work than: grabbing the code, write the feature, compile Pioneer.

 

So, how does it help? I don't see what benefit it brings to Pioneer, or to other projects using Pioneer as an engine?


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fluffyfreak
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Wait I think I see what you're getting at perhaps, separating Pioneer from the Engine. So that Pioneer would become a sort of "mod" of the engine?


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XenonS
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So, how does it help? I don't see what benefit it brings to Pioneer, or to other projects using Pioneer as an engine?

My friend, I do infinitely respect your work, but I'm not knowing you well enough to elaborate here.

Please just consider that if you don't involve people other than just developers, once all your work is finished, it will be OUTDATED and probably goes unnoticed. Not a good prospective, isn't it?

 

Xenon$


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fluffyfreak
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My friend, I do infinitely respect your work, but I'm not knowing you well enough to elaborate here.

Please just consider that if you don't involve people other than just developers, once all your work is finished, it will be OUTDATED and probably goes unnoticed. Not a good prospective, isn't it?

 

Xenon$

 

Xenon what I can't understand is why what you're suggesting would help with getting people involved?

 

Anyone who contributes is a developer, I'm a developer even though I'm NOT on the Core Team.

 

There is nothing stopping people from developing Pioneer, nothing at all, that's why Genesia, Scout+ and Paragon all exist based on it.

The source code is available, it's moddable, many things are written in Lua to make it easier for people to get involved.

 

I'm just trying to understand what is it that you want, because your explanation isn't very clear to me.

Then to understand how it will help, because at the moment I can't understand that either.

 

Could you try explaining it again please?


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XenonS
(@xenons)
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Ok, I try to keep it the most generic as possible.

I came in your Pioneer forum 1 year ago. So what is Pioneer? A game to play? Not really, there is not much in it. A game to open-develop? yes, but for what purpose? Still today I don't know.

Should it at some point be a finished product? I guess yes, but I don't even know that for sure. If so, then Pioneer will be used by players, not developers. Or if it's not designed to be a game: It will be used by end-users, not developers. So, Im expecting involvment from gamers or end-users.

If you have a purpose at all, it would be silly to hide it, or then: make anyone go away with a big, sticky thread, to avoid him losing his time or better build-up an Intranet.

Coding work is  a professional activity, you don't play a Mozart piano concert as an amateur. In the industry, a building site is not publicly accessible. You don't walk freely in IBM offices to see what's going on. Or you have to fix that.

This open access to Pioneer is all not clear to me (and to most other people, I think)

 

So, my valid question to you is:  what are you doing here precisely? What is Pioneer?

 

Something is running wrong one way or the other. Or there is really lack of information.

If other people should also be involved, the whole thing must be organized differently, and my thread on the section How To Get Involved is just an idea with possible practical consequences, a good or a bad one. This is a space sim site. You will read such threads once in awhile and people asking what's up to.

 

Thanks to answer my question above.

 

XenonS


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fluffyfreak
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Otherwise you must accept that people get involved WITHOUT writing codes or being a software developer. If you don't want that, then again, make a big sticky thread that can not be overseen.

 

Just one question to start with; We're always asking for more artwork, audio, scripter & coders.

 

So how else do you want people to help if they're not actually making anything?

 

I mean, take my own case; I have a list of things to do for Pioneer that if I did one of them every month would take me more than 2 years to get through.

However, I frequently write code for Pioneer which are things that are suggested by other people, players, Paragon developers and I also do bug fixes from the issues list.

So realistically I have well over 4 years worth of things that I could be doing without doing any more of other people suggestions.

 

The only way people can help with Pioneer, is to actually do some Artwork, Scripting, Audio or Programming.

 

How else are they supposed to "develop" Pioneer without actually... developing for it?


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XenonS
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Fluffyfreak,

sorry, I highly appreciate your quick response, but I had to edit my post above. What you were quoting is gone I'm afraid.

What do you think about "walking free in IBM offices" or playing Mozart symphonies as an amateur? Please give me a convincing answer, and I will understand Pioneer.

 

XenonS


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XenonS
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So how else do you want people to help if they're not actually making anything?

 

You will have to convince me and then...

... you will also have to pay me 🙂

Do you recall my mention to Mozart symphonies?

 

XenonS


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fluffyfreak
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Ok, well for a plan the team has been working on the roadmap for a while.

Basically how to get the engine working to the point where more gameplay can be added without doing things like breaking the saved games everyday.

 

The team has always been open to suggestions for visual style (concept art, mood boards) which define the way the game could look.

Perhaps a list of ships that we need, both player and NPC (like the old Long-Range-Carrier or Lynx) so that we have something to aim for - you could also do things like get SolCommand's free ships into Pioneer as a "mod" to show us what you think of each ship for a particular role.

Some features we already know we need and there have been some work done, like turrets, but they just take a long time to get finished - that means there is stuff in the pipeline... but see my comment about about the time that it takes to get things done 🙁

 

As for the "programming is for professionals", some Yes and some No.

You could probably be taught the basics of C/C++ in a few weeks.

I'd have you hacking away at Pioneer doing pieces of UI and hunting bugs to learn debugging within a couple of months.

If you've got experience of any other programming then possibly faster. I taught a couple of people to code at Uni' and whilst it's not easy the hardest part is getting over the idea that you can't do it 🙂

 

Also, no-one is getting paid, and I don't believe there's any plan to monetise Pioneer at any point... but if you have a suggestion on how to do so then I'm all ears!!! 😀


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XenonS
(@xenons)
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I know all about that, I've gone through your GitHub's, the dev sections, the wiki, your Homepage. It's all nice, I highly appreciate your efforts, BUT:

 

My question was (see my post above):

 

"So, my valid question to you is:  what are you doing here precisely? What is Pioneer?"

What's the project's purpose?

 

Thanks,

XenonS


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