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Starshatter Rearmed Mod

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lightgemini
(@lightgemini)
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Topic starter  

Hi. I would like to create this thread for anyone interested in the mod to post ideas and suggestions. While  Im shaping the mod towards how I personally would like the game to be, Im totally ignorant about how everybody else sees it. Is it good? its horrible? has potential?  Since im trying to implement some ideas about space sims in general that  I have been evolving for many years, It would be very interesting to get some feedback, if theres anybody out there still interested in the game or the mod.

 

I would be happy implementing ideas you may have, but sadly I must say im not a coder so im very limited at what I can  manage to do with the source code. I literally have read a "C++ basic programing" like 3 or 4 times, made a few "hello world" style  tests and then directly jumped into the source code of Homeworld,Freespace, Hexen and others. Starshatter is the first time I actually started  touching the code,not just trying to understand it. I would love to add many things to the game, but its going to be the little ones.

 

 

Please feel free to post any feedback or comments. Thank you


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Guilesset
(@guilesset)
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Hi, I'm new to this game, so my knowledge is next to zero.

 

What are you planning to change with the mod? Vanilla always had a certain realistic modern feel, but it could be improved at.


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lightgemini
(@lightgemini)
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Topic starter  

Im developing mainly 2 things, the mod itself and the source code.

 

The mod changes vanilla to be less modern jetfighter and naval combat and be more classic space sim, while keeping the newtonian aspect. Is like making Freespace or Xwing and adding relaxed newtonian physics. It also tries to scale the ships more properly: fighters are very fast (faster than vanilla)  and capital ships are slow(not that very slow), fighters cant scratch the paint on a capship without proper guns while a medium capship cannon will 1 shot a fighter with low shields, etc. It also tries to be fair for all units, like  stoping capships from being incapable of defending themselves from an anti capship missile barrage from bombers.  All with a re-imagining of the vanilla scenario that explains why weapons work the way they do, a new balance of power between the 2 factions etc.

 

The source code area is to expand the functionality and  hopefully improve things that vanilla fell short at. Although it supports the changes in the mod it can be used with any mod or vanilla.

Many things are being touched, fighters dont ignore other fighters that are not their objective, groups have a max of 6 fighter instead of vanilla 4, capacitor shields (not used in vanilla) have been reworked, fighters try to avoid engaging versus very superior forces, escorts will form around their ward in fixed slots rather than plain randomly ( base for future capship formations) missiles do have an extended track cone etc. And in the next release fighters will RTB on their own when damaged or low on fuel, will call for support on their own, and a basic new Carrier Command AI will be introduced wich will be further  worked on.


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icsDrafe
(@icsdrafe)
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Hi lightgemini!

 

Are you planning to improve the flight ops / carrier / RTS part? I like to play that side of the game too.

Here are some ideas for improvements, maybe you will find some easy to implement and worthy ones for your mod.

 

- select multiple units and command them with keyboard shortcuts (ctrl, alt +click), maybe alt+number to set the target velocity with one click too

- shortcut and command for hold position (brake, velocity zero and wait there)

- the elevation (z axis) handling for the movement commands should be better

- numbered keyboard shortcuts for the waypoint edit menu, something like the one for the radio (key 'r') commands

- select, move, edit multiple waypoints

- a list of all waypoints inside the sector, under a button in the nav (key 'n') screen, like the ones for planets, sectors, ships, fighters

- some more indicators, for the fleet commander, like damged systems and fuel and ammo of the fighters / capships (under nav screen or/and hud)

- improved AI would be a nice thing, currently you can witness some bugs during flight ops (it's a hard one, needs lot more testing)

 

 

I'm also curious about a proper fuel and thrust system based on ship+propellant mass, calculated with the use of the actual gas exhaust velocity and the impulse change. The thrust efficiency decrease at high velocities always anoyed me a bit, but i see how it serves the actual game play. With proper impulse based simulations the only speed limiting thing would be the limited mass of onboard fuel, however it's hard to solve such an optimalization problem with the AI, they would either keep it slow against the human player or would fail to RTB.


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lightgemini
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Topic starter  

Oh, this last post passed under my radar .

 

I would like to improve the RTS part of the game, but it mainly consist of tinkering with the interface wich Im almost ignorant about, yet. Flight ops and carrier command have been getting some love on previous patches, and still is getting some. I have been thinking about expanding the carrier command AI  and found is not that simple ( who would have guessed). Theres some basic code layout done for next patch in that regard, but theres still more to be done/figured out before some more serious stuff can be made. As for next patch, as example, carriers assign escorts to leaders of  destroyer  / cruiser groups, and deploys a fighter group  on standby  wich is sended as reinforcements when a fighter group calls for help, wich they do now when withdrawing against superior forces. I would like to have carriers deploy more groups and direct them around as needed, and even decide when to build up a big assault or defensive force.

 

-This is basic stuff in any RTS and should be in the game. I would like to add it when I get to study how all this keys processing work.

-This could be made with the current "move patrol" order. If theres nothing were you send them they could just hold there instead of resume mission.

-Yes, but right now I dont know why its so clunky.

-I dont know how I would do that yet.

-Could be useful but not a  thing to put high on the list I think.

-Good idea if it displays the navpoints of the selected ship, if it has to show ALL navpoints in the sector it can get out of hand easily when carriers start to throw around lots of groups.

-This is much needed too, and should be easy to do. I think Im going to try and add this relevant stuff in the info box at the nav screen, current info there is rather useless / already found elsewere.

-ALways interested in bugs if I can fix them. As for AI its not that bad already. I like to try and add more things but also I dont want to overdo it. The AI in the code its actually better than AI found in other more modern games, it just isnt fully unleashed. For example  theres a routine that makes fighters stay away of capital ships, checking the range of its weapons and finding a safe distance from it wich is cool and cant recall many modern space games that has something like that.   I would like to try and add better "judgement" in choosing wich behaviour  use. For now Im adding small things that should have been in the game already, like RTB when low on fuel or  if theres no more ammo / guns to keep fighting.

 

Fighters need a speed limit  because theres not big enough sectors. Thrust drop with speed is just a less restrictive way to apply it (and its actually realistic).   The case of this game regarding all this more realistic stuff like mass,thrust and speed is "funny", it plays like a standar scale like X3 sectors or Xwing / homeworld / freespace maps yet it likes to show more  realistic numbers.  You can take an Eagle in the mod and reach 6k m/s wich is  more than half the escape velocity of Earth  and pass near a destroyer as it was an F18 passing near its carrier.  Homeplanet and B5IFH did a good job at doing what you suggest and made for a very fun experience. I consider the game setting as ships that use a very high  specific impulse that yields lesser thrust than current rockets. The ships will not travel from one planet to another in any reasonable amount of time, but doesnt need  impossible amounts of fuel to keep moving  around. They use quantum jumps or farcasters to travel so they dont need rocket engines or any other very high thrust engines with big fuel requirements. Im not sure how turning this into a Homeplanet setting would play, certainly the first thing to do would be to make a refueling ship with code to put it to work,  radio call for it, and teach fighters to get the hell out of combat before calling for more fuel.


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lightgemini
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Topic starter  

BTW, I finished adding more info of selected ship in the info panel at map screen. Was funny to do.


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icsDrafe
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Hi, thank you for the detailed response, and good to hear about your on-going efforts and developments too!

 

Lately, I have managed to compile the source myself too and started to mess with the code. I have tryed out some planetarium like fun with inclinated elliptic orbits in a modded Solar System with many moons (Saturn, Uranus, where inclination and axial tilt plays more role) using a time*1000 phase in the Update() function to make things spectacular for the tests). It won't do big differences in most cases but the possibility is not code or resource intensive and the game engine can handle it without stress. it's also backwards compatible. The only problem is when the skybox hits planetary objects and they became invisible. With the variable distance of the elliptic orbit it's a more common phenomena. A strange side effect about ture inclinations (using the z axis coordinates for the loacation of Orbitals) is that quantum jump destinations are now not in the xy plane but they have a similar z randomness too, which may add some fun to the game play.

 

If you can send me the modified source files (if not too many or complex) I can compile and try out your upgrades about the info panel.

 

Also I have a question about debugging. I can attach to the process and reach breakpoints, but then I can't get back to Visual Studio properly, the game window just stays front of it with a black, unresponsive screen and only blind keyboard shortcuts (F5) are possibel. Have you witnessed such a problem too and do you have any solution? I would like to work a bit about the multiplayer part and debug would be a must.

 

Thx for mentioning Homeplanet, I have heard about it, but yet have to try it out (russian language kept me away, but since it sounds more interesting now, I will go and push it).


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lightgemini
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Funny to hear about your experiences tinkering with solar systems representations and that bug. I never opened that part of the code so I have no thoughs of my own about possible changes /  improvements. One thing I did try some time ago was to mod a ship and give it absolutely ridiculous high thrust on its Z thrusters. The ship could accelerate to insane speeds (wich were properly displayed in the HUD wtb) and then using x4 time compression I could travel from a planet to its moon in a few minutes. Of course there was no way to insert inside the sector of that moon, but got me thinking about tinkering with the code to allow it so we could have StarTrek warp travel in the game lol. Teaching the AI to travel that way might be a war on its own right.

Didnt think about random Z location on jumping, and it sounds great. Anything that breaks the "flatness" of vanilla game is great.

 

The files rely on other files since theres info that dont exist in the vanilla game. I should check exactly what files to send or take out that dependency. Meanwhile theres a small screenshot added for a preview. You can see theres nothing fancy, just simple text as simple as vanilla text there. Im holding any info about weapons / ammo because I want to take a better look at how to implement it. It should involve adding some  "while" loops and I dont want it to be running constantly so I have to make it run once every few seconds. Being an old game theres plenty of room in a modern CPU to run extra crappy code, but theres a limit either way.

 

Looking at the picture you may notice something new in the info. Thats what its taking so long for  releasing  next patch and its almost done and working, at least the first part. Next part should involve adding a new tab on the carriers flight screen for...   you may be guessing what.

 

Im not sure whats going on with the debug. Are you attaching to the game once it is running or just going F5 start debugging? If I read it right the problem is switching to VS ,not trying to go back to the game after a breakpoint is met. If the game crashed sometimes it doesnt pop up on VS and the game stays frozen in place, although in my case I can switch to VS and shutdown the debug.

 

I had the rare luck to find Homeplanet at Medimarkt translated to english. It seems to be a limited release as it seems many people missed it. Sadly I lost the CD long time ago, either after moving or borrowed to someone. I have a copy in russian and the files for english text, but never managed to figure out how to install the translation. It was one of the best space games in the newtonian area and had lots of fun with it.

 


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icsDrafe
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Looks nice!

 

I have found a solution in the Starshatter.cpp sourcefile! The game must be started with the -dbg parameter and it will force it into window mode.

 

I have modified the hud for the weaponview(.cpp +ship.cpp) and now it writes out the name and status of the next and preveous subtargets (next to the current one, to the right and left). During the heat of the battle it's hard to keep cool and cycle to the corect subtarget and this enhanced feedback helps a bit.

 

Right now, I would like to change the fighter AI to aim different subsystem with each missile and see how it changes the ballance. It might make a ship crippled without working weapon systems, leaving a window for incomming torpedoes until repairs are done.

 

With debug in hand, I will see what can I do with the mutiplayer part.

 

It's not about source but I have modded the imperial class cruiser with a flight deck and 2 more grasers (since the 3D model already has those, they were just not used/defined). I can send you the ship.def file if you are interested.


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lightgemini
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Topic starter  

Good to hear you sorted the debug problem, I didnt know about that parameter. The game has always started windowed when using debug for me.

 

Didnt think about that subtarget thing  and it really is good idea, I too found it confusing to focus on selecting the right subtarget and watching the fight. As for the fighter AI I agree it  should target subsystems and I think is one of those things the game should have shipped with, together with AI targeting all the enemy fighters in a group, not just all of them targeting the same one  and ignoring the rest.

 

I though of making the hangar on the Imperial enabled along with the extra lasers, the Vendetta already has its extra lasers working too. I want to make a "subclass" of carrier AI  named light carrier / escort carrier

and it would hold only a single squadron of fighters and only operate escort and patrol missions, with the rare all out assault on a single target. The Wasp carrier is supposed to fill the role and I wanted the Imperial to fill the role for the Marakan so I do am interested as it will save some time.

 

I dont know if you are interested in tinkering with code with the vanilla game in mind or the mod. I have been thinking in making another branch with some of the improvements / changes  applied to vanilla only, as it keeps diffcult to have the mod build to be usable for vanilla. I currently use Github localy  and I could look at making it online so we could  share dev on either branch you may want. 


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icsDrafe
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Obviously I have only touched the source of the vanilla sofar, but yep I'm interested in your online Github idea, however free time is an other thing. Right now I will have to call a tactical retreat from the code ๐Ÿ™‚ and I will signal back when I feel ready to help out constructively under the lid. As for now, I have just finished the 1st campaign, using your mod. It looks great and I like the idea of slower (4-5km/s) projectiles cuppled with the new shields, where you need to overload/drain it before any real damage. It makes the battle longer and more interseting, now fighters and other small ships have time and oportunity to play along in a decisive manner. I have quiet a few remarks here, so I will sum it up in my next post, or posts (what this topic is supposed to be about).

 

 

 

In the meantime, here are the relevant parts for the imperial class (at least the location data might be in some use, that means less time is spent with trial and error):


weapon: {
type: "Gamma Laser",
design: "Beam Weapon",
name: "Gamma Laser 1",
abrv: "Graser-1",
muzzle: (-46, -9, 640),

loc: (-46, -9, 550),
size: 32,
hull_factor: 0.2,
explosion: 7
}

weapon: {
type: "Gamma Laser",
design: "Beam Weapon",
name: "Gamma Laser 2",
abrv: "Graser-2",
muzzle: ( 46, -9, 640),

loc: ( 46, -9, 550),
size: 32,
hull_factor: 0.2,
explosion: 7
}

weapon: {
type: "Gamma Laser",
design: "Beam Weapon",
name: "Gamma Laser 3",
abrv: "Graser-3",
muzzle: (-62, 61, 60),

loc: (-62, 61, -30),
size: 32,
hull_factor: 0.2,
explosion: 7
}

weapon: {
type: "Gamma Laser",
design: "Beam Weapon",
name: "Gamma Laser 4",
abrv: "Graser-4",
muzzle: ( 62, 61, 60),

loc: ( 62, 61, -30),
size: 32,
hull_factor: 0.2,
explosion: 7
}

flightdeck "Deck 1",
abrv: "Deck 1",
design: "Flight Deck",
loc: ( 15, 50, -300),
cam: ( 15, 35, -270),
start: ( 15, 35, -200),
end: ( 15, 35, -1000),

azimuth: 180,

spot: { loc: ( 20, 35, 40), filter: 0x7 },
spot: { loc: ( 15, 35, 40), filter: 0x7 },
spot: { loc: ( 10, 35, 40), filter: 0x8 },

launch: true,
max_ships: 1,
cycle_time: 15,

size: 120,
hull_factor: 0.5,
}

flightdeck "Deck 2",
abrv: "Deck 2",
design: "Flight Deck",
loc: ( -15, 50, -400),
cam: ( -15, 40, -300),
start: ( -15, 40, -1500),
end: ( -15, 40, -300),

approach: (-15, 40, -1600)
approach: (-15, 40, -1700)
approach: (-15, 40, -1800)
approach: (-15, 40, -1900)

spot: ( -15, 40, -300)

recovery: true,
max_ships: 1,
cycle_time: 15,

size: 120,
hull_factor: 0.5,
}

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lightgemini
(@lightgemini)
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Topic starter  

Im surprised you did finish the first campaign, I was predicting some crash or unbalanced situation to promote ragequit instead.    I made it to the Jalah battle but it wasnt a joyride at all, ignoring the planetside part wich is messed up to the point of being almost hilarous at times.

 

Copied and added your changes to the Imperial, many thanks.

 

And theres 2 projects on GitHub now for code dev. I will mirror there from my local repo as progress is made.

 

Starshatter-vanilla-improvement  for vanilla -friendly  things    

 

https://github.com/lightgemini78/Starshatter-Vanilla-Improvement.git

 

 

 

Starshatter-Rearmed  for mod related dev.

 

https://github.com/lightgemini78/Starshatter-Rearmed.git

 

 

Cheers.


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icsDrafe
(@icsdrafe)
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Posts: 20
 

Ok, here is the sketch of my remarks (I'm sorry if it's not so clear and fluid, I might have tryed to compress a bit too much inforomation here, also sry for the typos):

 

Bug

----

1) turn north bug (attached pic), some of my capships (flight ops) turns north and won't use driver, or properly execute commands anymore (Do I need to demonstrate it with video?)

2) similar thing with fighters, they start to scatter and won't accept commands until "cancel order"

3) savegame delete bug (try to delete an entry from the campaign saves)

4) time shift bug: mission selection screen, day04, left the game with alt+tab, came back in ~2 hours, day 42, 20 new events in list...

Might be good to have


01) high res skybox stars like in the mod ss_reborn (I can send a picture how I preceive it on my gear)

02) inverse point of heading hud pointer for deaccelerations

03) maybe torpedoes should have different blast when blocked from hit for better feedback (not important)

04) pilot faces more ti-fighter like, cyborgs (not important at all)

05) right mouse button for ship roll vs. missile fier button (I use mouse+keyboard and a good fine roll control would be handy, currently they collide)

06) ASM missiles should be without side wings, because they look exactly like the medium range ones (I never use medium range, short range x3 are much better)

07) the "Auto" button in the midle of the screen, move or remove it, I hate when I accidentaly press it and that auto nav time shift thing ruins my tactical advance

08) a hold command (or commands) where the AI ship tryes to break (with thrusters only ) or completly stops, or moves like "manual" and only rotates(+fires) towards target (station assault, many ships from distance to add up fire power)

09) something for cpaship formations (like try to keep the distance vector constant and face the target at the same time), or capship+fighters in formation (fighters moving along and deffending a capship from the missiles of enemy raiders)??

10) a key to cycle targets only from the current selection (with the ctrl+mouse rectangel, think about many fighters and you want to target that capship far behind) **

11) stations should have laseres and torpedoes too (they are a bit too weak if the above mentioned movements AI modes are possible)

12) I have only done Aram station sofar (1st mission, ep3) and during the fight I have felt the need for a better targeting and subtargeting system, see my point about selections **

13) a way to select a subtarget (maybe target too) by keyboard shortcuts much like as the thing with radio commands

14) a drop target function (it's needed when you go againts fighters with the main lasers :)) ) (1)

15) fighter capship strike: start to spread right before attack (maybe each fighter should move towards an individual SUBtarget, or evade) and attack different (random) subtargets with each missile (less missile will be blocked that way, ballance can be maintaned by damage factor)

16) a setup (like as the flight modell switch arcade/standard) to turn off/on visually hidden ships

17) better idea! a setup to scale up/down the base coefficient of the radar range

Glitch


1) the rear turrets of the Orion type carrier are placed a bit to high (floating)

2) docking problems, mission won't end (maybe if a threat is still present?)

3) we have slower capships now, but you can use the thruster for a steady ~0.5g acceleration (I won't remove it since it's only affects the player and it's a good tool for testing, just mentioning it)

4) you can hit fighters with the main laser (shield means bigger hitbox) (I like it, it's fun but probably not intended) By the way, can you hit your own torpedoes with your laser? (2)

5) runway controll tower texture glitch (see attached pic)

6) farcaster laser bug (laser aim started to suddenly shift to the farcaster instead of enemy ship, it was so brief, no screenshots sry)

7) big hitbox with shields means more chance for friendly fire and AI with retaliation mode can be anoying
8) planet hit by skybox, it's vanila thing, nothing to do with it, but check the screenshot

Question


1) CAM POD for fighters, seriously WTF is this for, how to use it???

2) Is it possible to have planetary sectors with less (or 0) air drag but with a small gravity drag? (Moon base...)

Tactics


1) it's a good tactic to constantly circle subsystems (it's hard to select the proper ones so just bruteforce it) when a brief shield down occurs to take out multiple systems at once (best with laser)

2) double missile tap, fighter vs. fighter, if things are properly alingned and timed the 1st one hits the shield, 2nd hull, dead (maybe the AI should use this nasty trick too ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Good things


1) better death effects (gas expansion clouds instead of bright aura (I'm comparing with the ss_reborn mod here )

2) no blast dammage on fighters at the capship death (it was somewhat realistic (radiation from exploded reactor? a nuclear torpedo should do such thing), but since AI is stupid, it was also anoying to lose whole squadrons)

3) better fighter AI, they can hunt down missiles and evade capships, it was much needed, great job there!!

4) capships won't crash, it's bit unrealistic but since AI sucks it was more anoying

5) quick land and take off, makes the game more playable, now you can do hit and jump with the carrier

6) slow capships, 2-4km/s with fighters

What do you think about this?


1) fighters have a bit too much acceleration (100-200g?)

2) missiles with fuel/deltaV capability instead of fixed max relative speeds to origo and time of flight

3) This is only an idea, it's more than possible that it won't do any good, but let's just have it in here as well:

***(3) Have you ever tryed to switch the role of lasers and cannons? Turet based lasers with much less damage for intercept roles (bypass shields too?) and almost fixed, forward pointed cannons (or pre accelerated long range torpedoes!) with better stats than the shorter, turet based ones. Also their damage should be based on kinetic energy and the relative speed of the combatans should be used up for the calculation.

3+) More role for rocket based weapons. A reload function, to switch different type of ammoes launched from the same barrel/weapon.


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lightgemini
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Topic starter  

Wohoo, good wall text ahead!

 

Bugs-

1-2  Thats interesting, maybe some more details of what was happening what orders were issued etc. would help. Only time I recall something similar is when capships reach a final waypoint, then turn 90ร‚ยช and slowly brake. Im used to ignore weird things so it doesnt get in the way of inmersion, so I tend to naturally dont pay attention to bugs and later cant remember experiencing them,lol. I blame it to my love to use tons of mods if able till the thing implodes.

 

3- Never tried deleting a savegame, will try it and see what is failing.

4-That one was hilarous. I have no idea what happens to the game when you alt-tab, I have no clue right now what may cause it.  At least you can call it "hyper time advance"  and be happy with it.

 

Wishlist:

1-Funny I used to load Rearmed with Reborn for the backgrounds. Now that I check I only use Rearmed and didnt notice it lol. The backgrounds on Reborn come from Freespace2 I think, should be safe to use(and credit from what mod are coming)

2-That and more indications of speed on X/Y axis so you know what side are you drifting and how fast. Basically the system used in Homeplanet and B5IHFH, it was pretty neat.

3-Would be useful for gameplay, there certainly should be  clues for when you do hit the hull now that it is not as easy. Feed the feeling of achievement and all that. I have wanted to "unlock" some of the other hardcoded FX too and direct it to the def. files.That way each kind of torpedo / missile could have its own explosion instead of sharing the same one as vanilla. It would be the first step to having more unique missile weapons. (BSG Nukes im looking at you).

4-Good news is that the pilot model is banished from the ships models in the next release. You can choose your own model (or the crappy one I made) in the fighters def files, and it will be added to the ship model in-game.

5-Next time Im around the Keys area I will take a look.

6-What if we have a capship able to go down into a planet? Not that there are any currently.  But the ASM shouldnt look like an ordinary missile as I see it. We will see what will happen in the future.

  As for not using medium range missiles, If I had succeeded on remaking  the missile vs decoy system you would be loving them for sure. I have to try a scond time someday.

7-lol, maybe just a bit higher but not as high to shadow the radio messages could do.

8-Certainly I cried for such a thing when playing vanilla on full newtonian. Not sure how it will be made but I do want to do it.

9- Some (crappy) basic foundation for that is already made. It just needs more dev. For now Capships or fighter groups will form around the target they are ordered to defend. From here its just about tweaking behaviours and conditions of what action to choose and when (not easy). Its not in actual release though.

10-Sounds useful. Would it be better if the cycle comes from whats near your aim sight, so you can skip the box selection part?

11-Stations are very outdated, last time I had a pass on them the mod was very different. Certainly "the bigger the platform, the bigger the guns and range" rule should apply as I see it.

12-Mines got too much in the way? ๐Ÿ˜›

13-Not sure, increasing drastically the number of keys to use doesnt sound appealing. Maybe if it narrows down to the most important systems like drives or reactors.

14-Could be useful to avoid firing a missile at your own ships by accident too.

15-Subsystem targetting should be a good thing to have indeed as discussed before.

16-17 Not sure what does it mean. If you are refereing to (some) ships not being seen at the other side of the map as in vanilla, it was made on purpose because it was just silly and destroyed the suspense of not knowing were the enemy is. It actually works by having the last LOD model be the tiny debries model in the def files, so the ship is there but looks like a 1/2 meter black ball.  What exactly is what you want to achieve with turning them back "on" or on scaling the radar system?

 

Glitches

1-Noted. I know for sure there are more out there.

2-This comes from vanilla, and is a fail to register the fighter hitting the dock spot. Usually it ends hitting it but can be tedious for sure. Lot of other times its just the player missing the point entirely, as its not exactly easy to know the exact place you are supposed to reach. Its a thing to look for at sometime.

3-It was needed to avoid having capships drifting away into eternity any time they think about turning. At least its not that fast as to help you avoid fire or even an inminent collision.

4-Capships do crash into each other, just the calculation is quite "relaxed" on deciding wich part is impacting or not.

5- Never did notice lol.

6-Interesting, maybe is something with the code that makes it sweep the target.

7-Yes, its a problem and a big stone in the way to capship formations. Now that I think it could be as easy as to make it check the shield model if it exists before the ship hull, and I mean I saw were the check is done but didnt occur to me. Maybe will be easy to do.

8-Yep, its ugly and naturally happens some places even in vanilla. Not sure why yet.

 

Questions

1-Hehehe. Its actually quite useless indeed. Its supposed to turn a "unknown" or "greyed" target into fully known. Problem is this happens naturally quite easily so theres no point sending a scout mission for it. This is actually a not fully implemented game concept. Information gathering in the form of scout mission or long range radar ships (SWACS) was going to play a big role. The intel section on the briefing screen and other things were going to be more important. It was even planned to have a fully dynamic campaign game (current one was called "story campaign") were AI would move fleets around sectors  and  engage in battle based on the intel gathered about enemy forces. This was never finished sadly, although many leftovers of it are present in the code.

There  were more things dropped from the game. Did you know  Nightfall was not going to be the last campaign? there was going to be 1 more wich focused on open war with the Zolons.

2-Yes but needs a little tweaks. "Density" is used in aerodynamics calculations, yet is always set to 1 as far as I have seen. Letting it get the density from the region properties should let you do that. Or should it be needed, it can be  enforced  easily.

Gravity in each terrain region is calculated directly using the planet (or moon) radius and mass, so it actually changes in  vanilla game. If its actually noticeable or matters in the end is another thing.

 

Tactics

1-lol.   Buuuuut it may change when I get to add armor to turrets.  

2- When engaged by multiple fighters, you do end clusterfud like that too. Lets not get too overkill yet.

 

Good things

Nice to hear of things that work fine for having fun.

 

Ideas

1-On numbers yes, but I "measure" it on the ships  current size and speed of shots. If you manouver  around while in external  camera the acceleration is not that awesome. The scale of things in the game is broken,  ships and objects are many times bigger than it should be to make the ranges and speeds  real. Maybe therewere problems with precission or whatever.

Moreover  acceleration is very important as its the main factor for changing vector and evading. X/Y thrusters are only a small help for navigating, your real means of turning around and evasion is the main drive and its accel., specially suing the afterburner like theres no tomorrow. Having more slower accel may make fighters too "static" and easy to blow up.

2-That I would love to have. The perfect example of real space missiles is at Homeplanet for me. Missiles would accelerate towards target making corrections, and if missed it would turn 180ร‚ยช decelerate and accel. towards target again, and again until hitting or running out of fuel. Made fights very tense and were a real pain in the .  Following this idea, medium and short range missiles would get very specific roles. Short missls would carry lots of fuel and a smaller warhead for chasing its target around over and over. It would have lesser thrust so it doesnt spend ages decelerating when overshooting at very high speed.

The medium missls would carry few fuel and massive warhead. It would accel very fast up to a certain speed were it would shut engine off and drift towards target (no radar contact of the missile would be cool). When at certain range it would come alive again and make final adjustments to hit its target, who would see the missile in the radar just seconds before biiiig impact. Missing would mean certain fail since there should be not enough fuel for a second pass. This sould go hand with hand with the EMCOM system, were playing stealthy would be rewarded.

3-Sounds like Battlecruiser Millenium. Not in the bad aspect. It would make evasion useless for fighters. Sounds like an idea for Zolon weapons phylosophy, would add a different feel to combat for a change.

 Theres that submunitions thingy for missiles that is screaming to have some use, need more ideas for it. (multiple decoy deploy? real flak? Robotech style missile clusterf****?) Switching ammo is something I wished for from long ago, when doing the BSG mod. Havent figured out a good way to make it yet.

 

Oh well, now im tired. Better go eat something before I fall asleep


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icsDrafe
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Hi, sorry if I kept you waiting too long.

I was busy playing and testing your mod (flight ops too) and I have finaly finished the last chapter (the zolon ships were too weak, this must be addressed).

I played a bit with the code too (vanila) and made some funy modifications to have a small moon in the origo with gravity and collision effects. After that, I have had some experiments with those rotation matrixes and glued the grid (F3) to the ship. The result was a bit strange since the pitch rotation of the outer camera must be "hacked" first, to have that real no up/down effect. Now I have a better feeling of how things work unde the lid so I will move towards your github links too. Also, here are my replies to your last post:

Bugs:

1-2 They are vanila things, soon I will make a video about it and try to debug and find some clues.

Wishlist:

6-"remaking  the missile vs decoy system" - Neat!

10-Not good enough. Imagine a capship battle, where there are dozens of fighters* between you and your intended target.

12-*fighters or mines ๐Ÿ™‚

13-It would be only one more key, then a list of subtargets (1-9) pops up in upper corner (0 next page) and you just have to press the right number. They are always in the same order for a certain type of ship (easy to memorize), so no more time is spent with cycling in confusion to the proper subtarget. They can be reached simply with some quick number pressings just like the radio commands. I think I will go and check that in code.

16-17-I don't like that one, however I can accept your reasoning. My idea about visibility leans towards reality, and I'm thinking about visuals like in the program called Celestia (It's opensource, but opengl and not directx based), where illuminated things can be seen as bright spots over long distances. If such "naked eye" method can be built into the sensory system for the AI, by effectively sensing the far and large capships on radar, then things will be different, but ballanced. The sensory subsystem is an important part of the code (active/passive) and such thing might be implemented there. By the way, if we are thinking about stealth, there should be an out of the sun effect too. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think there is no game featuring such thing.

Is it possible to futher increase weapons range and decrease the random vibration of turrets? Range can help to achive the same spreading effect, however it might be hard for the AI to pick up the right aim for such elongated time of flights. You sure must have experimented with this, so waht do you think about it?

Glitch:

2-I think it's just hard to hit the right spot, and the camera switch doesn't help it either. That docking view is listed somewhere in code (like the ones for F1-F4). It might be removed completly.

6-It can be reproduced, but you must drop all targets, be near the farcaster and actually have to hit the fighter with your laser. I will try to do a video and upload it to youtube with the rest.

And here are some new ideas and remarks:

01. How about speed/thrust limit based on distance from origo? It should be combined with better AI rules to chose the proper speed and ETA.

02. The augmenter's shake effect is a bit anoying when you have to keep in formation with your wingmen for a ship attack. There should be an on/off setting in options.

03. How about some new auto pilot modes with the use of the thrusters:

    - manual mode with direction fixed respect to target (keep sight on target, might be interesting in dogfight)

    - velocity fixed (zero) respect to target

    - position fixed respect to target

    - also check out the video on youtube called "Rogue System - Maneuvering Tutorial"

04. Sometimes capships turn sideways for evasion. Instead of that they should keep pointing and firing towards the target, go to manual mode, cut main drive and use the small thrusters for the evasion.

05. The Tiger class is not invisible from far (see former post 16-17)

06. There should be a weapons camera view mode, that cycles (F5) the turrets and follows their direction of view from behind. Maybe missile/torpedo cam?

07. Is it somehow possible to change the player controlled ship during the flight?

08. Some def file or modell is missing at the last mission, one type of the dead hulk ships is "invisible".

09. Do you have some idea how to change the brightness in the code? As you jump farther away from the inner star it should be less and less bright and that aura/lens effect should be scaled down as well. Also the skybox should be black if you are blinded by the direct light of the star. Maybe there is an easy way for me to try this out.


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icsDrafe
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I have just installed Rearmed-B5 . Many good things in change log, can't decide what to test first.


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lightgemini
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Hi and thanks for trying the full campaign with the mod. I certainly wasnt thinking the mod is ready for serious campaign play and havent tried much, so your impressions on it are certainly vauable.

 

Im interested in your "astronomy" tinkering, the game could use a lot more interesting settings regarding solar systems, moon/asteroids ground regions etc. since right now is pretty much shallow.

I tried  to make a land region with no atmosphere and ran into some problems. Setting air density to zero did work but there are some hardcoded aerodynamic behaviours that take effect anyway, as it was clearly not intended to have a land region with no atmo. Corrected some but its going to take work.

 

Wishlist:

6- Maybe you can think if it sounds good:   The idea I had for new missile vs decoys failed due to crappy random function being unable to output decent random numbers.  Vanilla rolls a 50% chance for the decoy to attract the missile, and if it does then it changes its target for the decoy permanently. Problem is that it rolls the dice each frame, like dozens of times, so it always ends up going for the decoy. It was balanced with limited decoys and cooldowns.

 

What I want to do is assign a permanent number for the decoy, call it an "spoof" factor, then assign a number to each missile type (target focus factor) wich is defined on the weapons.def file. Each time you fire a decoy  the spoof  and target focus factors are used to roll a dice, using a similar formula that Civilization games uses for unit combat outcome. Distance and other factors can be used too as modifiers in the formula.

The dice is rolled each frame with a very low chance of spoofing the missile in general so it doesnt end in always failed missile. close range missiles would have low factor, and medium (and possible long too) have a high factor. You would be able to fire decoys with little cooldown and each decoy would roll a dice too so more decoys means better chances of spoofing, so highly focused missiles would require the use of several decoys.

Decoys would be limited in number again so you would have to judge when its worth firing a single decoy and pray till the last moment it will spoof,fire all it takes to spoof,  or dodging all the damage  you can from the missile.

Close range missiles would be very agile, low targeting factor, small warhead, and light weight. Basically a small pain in the *** that follows you around while you are dogfighting, and keeps coming back again and again.

Medium range missiles would be low agility, high targeting factor, very fast speed, big warhead, heavy weight. Basically a "bullet" that flies quick and doesnt forget you easily,with a very big blast area. Dropping decoys early would not work as it will fade before the missile flies past you, so it targets you again. You would have to time when and how many decoys are you going to fire, and do it in a small time margin before it  blows on your face. The remaining missile damage after being blocked by the shields would punch trhough and damage the ship directly, wich with a big warhead would mean almost certain 1 shot kill. This would make medium range missiles a weapon to kill at long range, out of cannons range,  while Short range ones would be a "tool" to support you in dogfights (damage, makes fighters ignore you and enter evasive mode).

Long range missiles. Dont know, maybe an  even nastier medium missile?  a submunitions missile? Maybe being a bit creative here would play better.

 

So how does it sound? I think it adds enough meat without  getting  complex.

 

10-12, Oh well, we may put it in the "give it a try" list then.

13. Ok same as above.

 

16-17. I can see you dont like it much, its not really ideal and the idea comes from a time when source code was not yet released.  Now it may be replaced with a more proper way. Tweaking how the whole radar system works is needed, I gave some tries now and then but didnt end anywhere really.  Unknown contacts should get a more important role, and as you describe it sounds good. The first issue I see is that the play area should need to be expanded. It is already getting small with the faster speeds and longer radar ranges, with a new  range zone of unknown contatcs its going to be insufficient. Havent looked much on expanding, but surely its going to be a lot of  glitches surfacing from altering it so its going to take time to do.

After that it should be great, more proper flight ranges, more room for manouvering,  proper unknown bleeps on the radar that needs investigating, long range weapons for real that dont look silly covering the whole playable area, etc.  even making fuel a resource with mass that affects the ship would add nicely.

 

For changing spread, yes.

Theres not many problems with long range weapons, only the kind of weapon you make. If you want long range and slow speed, prepare for a weapon that cant hit anything that moves etc. Also consider that very long range weps makes disengaging a lot harder or impossible, at least if not using quantum jumps (jump to map position needed here). Shot spreading is intended not mainly as a technology limit. You can put pinpoint accuracy on weapons if you want, vanilla PDBs have it.

The main reason for inaccuracy in the mod is due to 2 reasonings:

 

1-If pinpoint accuracy is used  the player can dodge incoming fire either by lateral thrusters or small flight path adjustements at long to medium range depending on shot speeds. This makes the weapon inefficient because as long as the player is focused on it he will dodge most of the shots. But the AI cant use lateral thrusters and cant make efficient path adjustements so an inbalance between player and AI is made, favoring the player (AKA  "AI sucks"). Before having the source code and before dearing to tinker with it the quick solution is making shots spread. It counters the player dodging tricks as you are dodging a "fire cone" not a "fire line", and allows hits to happen at all ranges making the weapon max range really count.  Proper balance is not having  dodging or spreading  totally rule over the other. You can dodge more hits than if you just stayed going the same path, but some will hit you anyway. This helps the AI survive longer and perform a bit more closer to the player. Of course if the AI is teached to use lateral thrusters and more eficient evasion manouvers then  accuracy can be raised again, wich brings us to the next point.

 

2-If pinpoint accuracy is used and player and AI can nicely evade it, then pinpoint accuracy is useless unless you make shots become almost laser beams. You make shots spread and increase its speed up to a reasonable amount, so the player and the AI can not  evade all of it. Simple.  Real life fighter cannons do spread on purpose, its designed to spread around the area an enemy fighter would occupy  at  a determined distance, and to put  all the bullets possible on the split second the enemy is at the crosshair the cannons use extreme fire rates.  So shot spreading in air/space combat is not a handicap, its a tool. It jus needs to be scaled to fit  the ranges and speeds the shots are going to use.  Make a very long range weapon and the spread will be adjusted depending on the shot speed  so its intended target will have difficult dodging, no problems.

 

Going to leave it here for today, its getting late.  I will post more answers tomorrow. Have a nice weekend.


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icsDrafe
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10-12, I've just found a solution (accidentally), it's shift + left dragging, it was even in the manual (page 52) :). Now the only problem left is that you can't use it on friendly ships. I often use the (r,..,1,3) keys for escort commads, to orient the fleet towards a large scale formation, way before the clash. Sometimes I use a fighter squad as lead to scout ahead while all the capships are assigned to escort them. Only the close ones are avaible for such a target and it's a lasting problem even with this shift+drag selection method, which should be addressed by expanding the scope of selection to ships with friendly IFF.

 

IMHO the most important thing is the proper ETA, to focuse the fire on one ship, in one time (the old "crossing the T" thing from naval fleet tactics). That needs to get more emphasis in the game mechanics from both the sides of AI and GUI controls. There might be even something like a squad of torpedoes flying in formation, probably a very lethal thing (if you check on present military doctrines, they do the same thing with swarm of cheap drones to overload the AA).


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lightgemini
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Interesting, I readed the manual time ago and didnt notice that either lol. Will take a look to see if it can be unlocked to target friendlies too.  Integrating formations and more tactical options with it should be fun, but I havent a plan on what options (GUI buttons, radio/command orders etc) should be there. This needs some though, if you have ideas of the most basic/important things that should be added to the GUI please expose them. I mean concrete things, like having a button to order break formation, or to evrybody hold fire untill all ships can fire at the target then proceed to fire in syncronised salvos, or just let the AI decide it alone etc. Theres only room for many options and the more important ones tactical/gameplay wise should make it.

 

The last post left me thinking about expanding the map area, and I have been tinkering with it. I have a test region of 1920KM radius while vanilla uses 480KM, with the grid scaled to the new size. Just looking at the turtle speed the ships move at the map compared to its size gives nice feelings of openness and freedom lol. I feel  this should be the way forward, I can imagine the better radar ranges and unknown bleeps far in the vast distance  fitting comfortably with the bigger size of the map. I scaled up all weapon ranges and tuned damage/ refire delays to have farther  engagement ranges and somehow it feels good and weird at the same time, im not sure. Phalanx shoots for 120KM ,the R5 (smallest Marakan big cannon family) and the Harpoons shoot for 200KM  while the heaviest Mag18 shoots for 300KM.  Alliance shorter range philosophy made for some tedious combats, were I had to try dodge incoming fire from a cruiser  with a destroyer for the first time or face ruined shields  before actually getting to fire back lol.

It does feel weird after getting used to the vanilla short range, but I do feel it will bring far more good stuff.


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lightgemini
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Have been  tinkering with long range fire and its shaping into something good. Managed to indentify were in the code is the "switch" to keep capships from breaking formation, and now can make them to hold formation while engaging targets at the same time. Battle formations for capships is now a reality!!  now its time to add the "interface" for the player and AI to handle it. Will try to add a new section on the "right-click" tactical menu and radio comms to add commands like hold formation, break and attack etc. then will add some basic rules for the AI to use the new commands too. Capship formations are actually only possible/useful with long range fire and some testing tells its a big difference to engage as a group.  In the first campaign mission (more opened) the alliance destroyer group stayed to deal with the mine fields while the carrier group went directly to Jalah. The Dantari throwed 2 destroyer groups to engage the alliance destroyers. On the first try the Dantari engaged from 2 sides while the alliance was very spread hunting mines, and got totally wiped out. The second try I made the group form up and wiped  out the 2 Dantari groups.  I used expanded groups with lots of corvettes for support, wich made for some epic battles with the longer fire ranges.

 

Really, longer fire ranges  is coming to the mod to stay. Needs more balancing and tweaks but its the way forward. It "forces" the weapons to become more specialized for its job  and less "good for all" like it is now.


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lightgemini
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Adoption of increased engagement ranges is going well. Sorted out some unexpected balance problems, specially damage scaling. The final damage of a bolt weapon is as follows :

(damage * energy charge * life). The first 2 were known long ago, the last not. "Life" is the life in seconds the shot will last and is found in the weapon.def, so a shot with 6 seconds of life will deal (damage * charge) at the last second of its flight, while at the moment of firing its (damage * charge) * 6,  6 times more damage at point blank. That was unknown for me and wasnt documented anywere. For  vanilla game were bolt weapons  have high speeds and short life its not likely noticed, but at extra long ranges with bolts having a life of 20 to 40 seconds the diference in damage output depending on distance was too extreme.  Damage, speed, range, fire rates of almost all weapons have been revised.

 

I remade some of the code for starships looking for its place in the group formation and now works better, almost  like the way fighters do form up. Starship formations go way smoother. I would like to teach ships to use its lateral thrusters to keep formation so some manual flight mode strafe runs can be done by the whole formation but we will see how it goes.

The tactical menu (right click) now has a new section for Battle formations. The player can order starships under  command to form up or break up, and whole group Emcom settings with a single click. The player  can also  order individual ships to form or break. More will come.

 

Some work has been made regarding fighters working together with its bigger brothers. Its too early but I do want to have the little guys get fully involved in the middle of its bigger brothers battles as support. The extended combat ranges give fighters room to manouver around and be useful, while the concentrated fire from big guys groups offer a bigger challenge.


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icsDrafe
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Hi, I have just found your "longrange" demo video!

At 0:09 the flare of the middle thruster might be misaligned.

The mod looks fancy by the way ๐Ÿ™‚

I have also uploaded a few test videos about my early proof of concepts done within the vanila code.

/playlist?list=PLc_1f8C4owHwJYpm3kf0Jz4kBm6Mp7oBL

 

My plan was to upload records from your mod, to help the bug/glitch hunting and talk about other concepts, but now I will wait with those for your next release version. It looks better to explain some things with a demonstration video, where you can reference things with timestamps and such.

Cheers!


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lightgemini
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Hi. I was going to post that video tonight but you got here first! 

That fighter uses a def file literally builded from the Eagle def file. Theres lots of things not in its proper place at all, it needs a serious pass specially the loadout wich is the same as the Eagle but I have been lazy and letting it be.

 

By the way I took a look at your test videos and Im really excited,  so much potential for game changing features waiting to be exploited. I do love the max region size demo, would be so cool to have all that playable space with long range scanners, fleets warping around etc. in a more limitless game world. The little moon with gravity looks pretty fun too, it maybe little useful to have the big planets simulate gravity but for smaller bodys it seems like a fun feature.

 

I dont know when the next release will be ready, but I certainly dont want to let it grow and grow and take ages. As soon as new ranges and formations work in an acceptable way I will release it out, Im having strong impulses to try and do a localized armor model for starships and that sure its going to take a lot of time to figure it out, but the thinking of punching real holes (number simulated) in the armor of a capital ship in order to really damage it  in the likes of "Sword of the Stars 2" has been haunting me for a long time.


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icsDrafe
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Nice little mission for testing friendly fire ๐Ÿ™‚


MISSION

name: "Friendly fire test"
type: "Patrol"
system: "Jarnell"
region: "Adonis"

element: {
name: "A"
design: "Berents"
mission: "Misc"

intel: "Secret"
count: 10
command_ai 1
player: 1
playable: true
region: "Adonis"
loc: (2000, 68000, 0)
}
element: {
name: "B"
design: "Berents"
mission: "Misc"

intel: "Secret"
count: 10
command_ai 2
playable: true
region: "Adonis"
loc: (0, -66000, 0)

loadout: { ship: -1, name: "Clean" }
}
// EOF

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lightgemini
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Work on BattleGroup formations is done, for a start at least. Included many new options in the tactical menu for the player to mess and tune the position of his ships in the formation, and fighters do form up at its own slots so some awesome features are going to come in a future when I do all the new special  attachable fighter guns, like forming a moving shield wall around the capship group shooting at incoming drones etc.

AI do form up too and release formation at close quarters. Lots more of AI decisions can be made with time, but need to identify whats an smart tactic and what isnt first so the AI doesnt become a total retard.

 

A few more weapon tweaks and formation testings and a new update is coming very soon.


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