Asteriods

Forum For Privateer Remake

Postby micheal_andreas_stahl » Tue May 08, 2007 5:27 am

Spiffy once did something like that but it was reverse IIRC.
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Postby micheal_andreas_stahl » Wed May 09, 2007 6:27 am

Could we please get from talking to walking, as my best friend once said. If the cloud will take to long to do then just, please, make the 'roids keep still.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Wed May 09, 2007 7:22 am

I support this motion :D

Asteroids moving about at high "relative" speeds is inconsistent with science (they would mutually anihilate in no time, not to speak of the fact that there's no gravity to hold them in tight orbits, unless they are orbiting a small black hole); they are inconsistent with WC and Privateer AF's; and they do nothing for gameplay (they make travel more difficult, but in an "unfair" to the player kind of way).

I'll get to work on "better AF's" at some point in the next couple of months, but, for the time being, just stopping them is the way to go, IMO. If someone knows how to do it, that is...
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Postby micheal_andreas_stahl » Thu May 10, 2007 1:22 am

Weelllll, Spaceman Spiff claimed to have done it, but he has dissappeared (anyone know which alian race is abducting them?)...... I might just go ask some one from VS.
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Postby Dilloh » Thu May 10, 2007 4:09 am

Isn't the movement speed located in the .system files directly? There's a setting called .difficulty=0.22 for any field, so it's either the density or the movement speed - try to modificiate this one?
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Postby Melonhead » Fri May 11, 2007 4:45 pm

I changed difficulty to 0.02 from 0.22 in Pender's Star. The density decreases dramatically; because of that, it's hard to tell if the speed decreases, but I don't think it does.

The speed doesn't matter much, though, because at 0.02, the asteroid field looks nice visually, but you can afterburn right through it without maneuvering. So, the difficulty setting really should be based on what the purpose of the field is. I always thought Privateer used asteroid fields to make it hard to get to certain places, but it seemed a little silly that mining bases wouldn't clear a safe path for incoming ships. It also seemed silly that there was no simple way through Pender's Star, but I figured that was to cut off the two sides of Gemini.

On the other hand, pirate bases probably would LIKE being surrounded by a thick asteroid field that would pound any Confed capship to pieces. They might even steer small asteroids into clumps to protect themselves--like a minefield. :twisted:

Moderately thick asteroid fields would also be useful at the entrance to dead-end systems, as a way of discouraging the player from going there.

So, this is for the crowd to decide--which asteroid fields should have their difficulties reduced, and to what level? I'd recommend folks play test various settings, and then just post the systems they think should be changed, and why. The "why" makes sure we don't affect balance without some discussion.

I'll start--change Pender's Star to 0.12. I always thought it was too hard for beginning players, although I understood the idea was to teach you how to fly through an asteroid field. I pick 0.12 because 0.02 is too easy, and I want to eventually add a fixer who adds a new Nav 3 to your nav map. This new Nav point allows you to bypass the asteroid field entirely.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Fri May 11, 2007 9:47 pm

Good stuff. I like very much the concept of AF densities being variable. Absolutely right on!
It would still be nice to find where the damned motion of the asteroids is and bring it down to next to nothing, tho. But I've no idea where it might be. I'll poke around a bit, see if I can find it.
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Postby Dilloh » Sat May 12, 2007 4:49 am

I also agree with the new densities.

The movement speed, couldn't that be in units.csv as a gov setting? Like ships have a movement. The speed doesn't seem to be generated randomly, I rather have the feeling that all asteroids have the same speed, maybe according to their size - at least I have never seen a single asteroid standing still.
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Postby micheal_andreas_stahl » Sun May 13, 2007 12:47 am

So i have a less dense field which still moves just as fast?
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Postby Shissui » Sun May 13, 2007 4:58 am

micheal_andreas_stahl wrote:So i have a less dense field which still moves just as fast?
This is his proposal. However, with lower densities (even by just a little) it also makes it appreciably harder to mix up a dralthi-on-the-rocks.
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Postby micheal_andreas_stahl » Sun May 13, 2007 5:10 am

Hmmm, i was hoping por higher densities, but have them not mov at all so i can do some serious mining.
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Postby Shissui » Sun May 13, 2007 8:26 am

For mining I, too, would appreciate a higher density. Object speed doesn't matter to me, as I will be following the rocks around at their own speed. However, a high density field makes it much easier to splatter the pirate ships that compete for MY loot.

(I love the way that driving a pirate onto an asteroid does not make my relations with them any worse. I don't get any credit for the kill either -- but why would I need more kills on the record?)

If you want to mine stationary rocks -- look at the rotation of the field & go to one of the "poles" of that asteroid field.
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Postby Dilloh » Sun May 13, 2007 11:08 am

Since Melonhead is currently working on that, I'd initially propose to stop asteroids around mining bases from moving, that means as soon as we know how.

Apart from that it makes mining easier, it makes sense that mining bases are built in asteroid fields with no danger of rocks hitting bases. Moving asteroids around planets seem for reasons of gravity okay for me, though I'd like to see them rather in a belt, but to use them for the sake of tactical advantage, the planets are just too small.

For pirate bases, I'd suggest very low densities. If I understood the concept correctly, pirate bases are nothing else then abandoned mining bases (obviously abandoned for there are no more minerals to get). Therefor, most asteroids have been mined and the interest for the system is lost.

Talking about the AF in Pender's Star, I think the high density makes sense for the system being a "Pirate Blockade Point system" - no one would ever seriously dare to start mining out there.

Always remember we have two types of asteroids in the game, the minable and the unminable (for example seen in Rikel system). Those can be used for tactical points, too - at least I see no problem in changing the asteroid typos while we already have our fingers on them.

I like the concept of higher densities and lower movement very much, for I also see chances to dodge enemies there without even shooting at them.
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Postby Melonhead » Sun May 13, 2007 8:53 pm

For pirate bases, I'd suggest very low densities. If I understood the concept correctly, pirate bases are nothing else then abandoned mining bases (obviously abandoned for there are no more minerals to get). Therefor, most asteroids have been mined and the interest for the system is lost.

Hmm... I was thinking just the opposite. Pirate bases are abandoned mining bases, but there are still plenty of rocks and ice out there, without any value, that would still be drifting around.

Mining bases would want to keep clear approach lanes for their ore ships, but I was thinking pirate bases would want to have a lot of asteroids around them, so it would be harder for Confed/Militia to attack them. Pirates would just stop clearing the space around their bases, and presto! --a natural minefield. I think it would be safe to assume that mining/pirate bases are on large asteroids, so they would eventually develop an entourage. They don't look too large in Privateer because everything is small-scale.

Hadn't thought about Pender's Star being the equivalent of a blockade point, since Troy is peaceful. That would actually make a fixer even more valuable, since a nav point around the asteroid field would also avoid most pirate trouble. I still haven't figured out how the nav computer works, though. I know how to add a nav point in the *.system file, but doing it that way would basically hack the nav point in for any saved game.
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Postby blackangel2008 » Sun Aug 19, 2007 3:23 pm

I don't see the big deal with asteroids, with small ships I have no problems with zooming through them like a bat out of hell to outrun big fights that I love to start... and with bigger less mobile ships I just go "north" straight up and out of the fields; I fly over them..

You should be able to also, you can fly under, over, to the left, and to the right of the fields...

It's a bit of an inconvenience, but if you don't think you can take the quicker route through the fields then stay out of them...

Now I agree with fog and particles, for they would make combat in the fields a lot funner, albeit more dangerous, b/c of visibility problems...lol
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Postby OnyxPaladin » Sun Aug 19, 2007 8:10 pm

If i remember correctly there is more than one jump point that is in the middle of an asteroid field. So if you happen to pick the wrong cargo mission and pop out in an asteroid field while cruising in your paradigm, navigating around the field is not an option.
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Postby blackangel2008 » Sun Aug 19, 2007 8:26 pm

That is true, I didn't quite think of that, but it adds to the dangers of the universe...
Just another obstacle to overcome, stuff happens, respawn and don't go that way again..

Another thing you can do is go very slow and zoom the camera out so you have a 360 view of your ship...

It helps me in those situations...
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Mon Aug 20, 2007 8:12 am

blackangel2008 wrote:That is true, I didn't quite think of that, but it adds to the dangers of the universe...
Just another obstacle to overcome, stuff happens, respawn and don't go that way again..

Another obstacle yes; but an unfair obstacle, in gameplay terms --i.e.: more a matter of luck than skill.
But more importantly, asteroids would never move around with such high relative velocities. It makes no bloody sense: They'd turn into dust from mutual collisions. Besides, unless there's a small black hole at the center of these asteroid fields, there's nothing to keep the roids "circling". Mutual gravitational attraction would be so feeble they'd take many years to orbit one another. Maybe someone who has absolutely no clue about physics and space won't be bothered by such glaring inconsistencies, but there's many of us who find such things offensive.
Wherever there's a choice on how to add difficulty to the game, and one choice is more realistic and intuitive than another, it should be preferred. AF's could be made more difficult by making them denser and reducing visibility, which are more realistic and convincing and fair attributes than having rocks jumping around like popcorn.

Another thing you can do is go very slow and zoom the camera out so you have a 360 view of your ship...
Doesn't help; you can't judge the relative distances, which is another issue yet: How big are the asteroids? No clues, visual or otherwise. I'd like to see asteroid sizes that vary in a range spanning orders of magnitude, and that you can tell their size by looking at them. Like something that looks round and shows a lot of crater impacts is probably some huge, moon-sized asteroid; but some shapeless piece of rock visibly growing in size in front of you is probably a good reason to pull on the stick.

Finally, what kind of "difficulty" is good in games? Good difficulty is difficulty that fills you with fear but doesn't often kill you, and which allows you to do something about it. Dying in a game and having to reload is something that kills immersiveness. It's one of the primary aspects that separate good games from cheap arcades. Visibility reduction in AF's would add dread factor without increasing the kill-the-player factor, and this is "good" difficulty. It also allows you to do something about it: Go more slowly; whereas moving roids you can do "more nothing" about them, the faster they move... And did I mention they offend?
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Postby OnyxPaladin » Mon Aug 20, 2007 7:58 pm

chuck_starchaser wrote: but there's many of us who find such things offensive.


Not sure if i find it offensive, But i certainly find it stupid and bloody annoying.

Finally, what kind of "difficulty" is good in games? Good difficulty is difficulty that fills you with fear but doesn't often kill you, and which allows you to do something about it.


The System Shock and Thief series are good examples, nothing at all to do with PR though.
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Postby Dilloh » Tue Aug 21, 2007 12:00 am

blackangel2008 wrote:I don't see the big deal with asteroids
The main problem is the AI. Human players know when it's time to slow done and carefully approach a nav point in a AF, but AI ships tend to afterburn around as if nothing could kill them. I once escorted a Demon through five systems when it finally reached Macabee. It started afterburning towards the base and BOOM - it hit and asteroid, mission failed.
You should be able to also, you can fly under, over, to the left, and to the right of the fields...
This is a thing that shouldn't be possible, as chuck stated. AFs of that size shouldn't be able to form bulbs as we see them in-game, that's unrealistic, as it should be evading an asteroid field so easy. Asteroid fields can only occur if trapped in any form of gravitational effect, otherwised they would just be floating asteroids. Despite of that, we're not working on removing them. All we want is that they look more realistic, from a certain perspective, and this can be achieved py smooth densities as well as no movement.
chuck wrote:Another obstacle yes; but an unfair obstacle, in gameplay terms --i.e.: more a matter of luck than skill.
Well, despite of me agreeing, I must also state that nothing in life, nor in space, will ever be 100% fair and space is simply hazardous and there are things which can kill you just for you being in the wrong coordinates at the wrong time.
there's many of us who find such things offensive.
Personally, I don't take asteroid fields as an offense against my physical knowledge. It's rather a "feature" of nearly every spacesim which got implemented. Like shields, warp engines, or just flyby-sounds in space.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Tue Aug 21, 2007 12:51 am

Dilloh wrote:
there's many of us who find such things offensive.
Personally, I don't take asteroid fields as an offense against my physical knowledge. It's rather a "feature" of nearly every spacesim which got implemented. Like shields, warp engines, or just flyby-sounds in space.

Make that "a feature of many space ARCADES", rather than "sims". Priv/WC is neither sim nor arcade, in this regard; something inbetween. But at the end of the day, for me it boils down to my canon principles: If a departure from canon will a) Improve gameplay AND b) Make things mor realistic, believable or sensible, AND c) can be accomodated, explained in-game, so that it doesn't negate the original experience, then it's a no-brainer to adopt it. Otherwise, it's better to stay canonical. In this case, the asteroids in the original Privateer didn't move; or if they did it was pretty slow motion. And the PR departure of them jumping around like popcorn is LESS realistic, LESS believable, LESS sensical, and WORSENS gameplay. Furthermore, we have the intro movie, which shows a denser field of stationary asteroids of varying sizes, which we are at liberty to adopt as OUR canon reference. :)

As for space sounds, Privateer didn't have fly-by sounds, or did it?. What it did have for sure was sounds when your bolts hit enemy ships. BUT, those sounds sound so synthetic and artificial we can assume they are in fact synthetic, and make that particular sound sound like it's coming from a small speaker on the dashboard. And if it did have flyby sounds we can do the same to those sounds and make it obvious they are synthetically produced by your nav computer for your benefit.
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Postby Dilloh » Tue Aug 21, 2007 5:01 am

In this case, the asteroids in the original Privateer didn't move; or if they did it was pretty slow motion.
They moved around their own axis. Despite of that, they indeed didn't move.
As for space sounds, Privateer didn't have fly-by sounds, or did it?
Of course it had. Also in the original, you could hear ships passing by yours, or the weapons fire of other ships.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Tue Aug 21, 2007 7:13 am

I must have blocked it out...
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Postby zeo1234 » Tue Aug 21, 2007 3:25 pm

The original was made in the days of DOS so much of the drivers, etc were loaded in high memory, which if it wasn't properly optimized wouldn't load certain things like the sound drivers.

Not to mention your sound card had to be compatible with the one they designed the game for.

I remember I had to make my own optimized memory boot disk just to run the game with all the bells and whistles enabled.

But depending on the sound card I was using it either worked or the sound was either mutilated or static. Or there would be music but no dialog.

I found it much easier to run other games like Bio-Forge, etc, which had fewer memory and system requirements.
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Postby zeo1234 » Tue Aug 21, 2007 3:25 pm

The asteroids though, I remember did have a collision algorithm.

So if using boosters for max speed in the AF, all you had to do was randomly change directions to avoid hitting anything.
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