SPEC

Development directions, tasks, and features being actively implemented or pursued by the development team.

Re: SPEC

Postby Primordial » Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:58 am

There's been a lot of huge ideas bowling back and forth for the past few months. So much so that it almost looks like you'd have to overhaul the entire engine to make it all fit together. Then again I suppose that's part of the problem with like half a decade worth of development and continual advances in technological power - there's far more to work with now.

I'm not entirely sure if this is the right thread, but it seems less board-clutter to put in here as it stems from the ideas anyway:

It'd be really cool to see the simulation get upgraded and spawn missions based on events, rather than the other way around. I suppose that partially falls under the AI overhaul? That's somewhere down the roadmap? I'm thinking about this because, depending on how VS progresses, effects how I write missions and such:

Right now I sort went with the Mission spawns a string of events approach, as we have it now, and with the branching paths, etc. But I don't know how viable that type of thing is if the missions are generated dynamically: You don't necessarily know that X will show up as you approach or find something, because the AI might simply be doing something else.

I suppose it boils down to what informs what:
Missions and occurrence concepts informing AI behaviour? (As in the above proposed dynamically generated missions based on universe simulation) In this case missions dictate possible necessary AI routines - piracy, mining, trading, etc and the way they respond to various situations. Example:
I: If a group of miners are likely to becomes aggressive towards other non-affiliates mining their asteroids.
II: If a scavenger will target mission priority cargo (like escape pods if you're trying to rescue someone, or specific data that someone wants from the wreck of a specific ship, etc)

Or

AI behavior informing mission concepts? (More as we have it now) The mission is sort of pre-set, the AI works within a more standardised routine, will spawn and decide on variables when the mission is accepted.

This also seems to feed into a bunch of other ideas and concepts from other threads probably since the last official release - dynamic economy's and everything that brings with it as a good example.

Where exactly does VS stand right now?
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Re: SPEC

Postby Deus Siddis » Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:01 pm

Primordial wrote:It'd be really cool to see the simulation get upgraded and spawn missions based on events, rather than the other way around. I suppose that partially falls under the AI overhaul? That's somewhere down the roadmap? I'm thinking about this because, depending on how VS progresses, effects how I write missions and such:
...
Where exactly does VS stand right now?


I think the discussion was heading towards "event based" missions before it moved on to other topics. And frankly that is the only decent option because the game already has a dynamic universe running the show. So if we script situations and ships to appear out of thin air, they will literally clash with the dynamic situations and ships already present, as described some pages back.

I do not think you need AI changes for event based missions though; the mission generator can function as a sort of advocate AI for the local units, groups and factions.
For examples...

The "BBS computer" mission generator can look up the faction that controls the local system and then search the list of present vessels by faction to decide the current strength of the local militia versus hostile forces (like pirates). If there are too many hostiles in general, it spawns clean sweep missions. If there is a particularly powerful hostile unit or flight group, it spawns a bounty mission against it. In either or both cases, it will also spawn escort missions for friendly units of special value, like a lone Ox super transport.

For bar missions, it does the same thing, except advocating for foreign factions and offering double the pay.
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Re: SPEC

Postby TBeholder » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:12 pm

IansterGuy wrote: Speaking of interdiction again I like Log0's EMP idea, just not sold as a complete solution to the interdiction issue. I like many older ideas too as a ship upgrades like 'SPEC buster missiles' to inhibit a single ship, 'Electro Magnetic Pulse' to disrupt and damage powered up sensitive equipment, 'SPEC Pulse' to inhibit all ships SPEC relative to time and distance from the source. I like the mines idea too as 'SPEC buster mines' and 'SPEC pulse mines'.
And with cross-interdiction it's done naturally by any drone (or long-range missile) equipped with FTL drive. :)
IansterGuy wrote: I like selectively exploding ships, it makes more sense. Realistically ships would not explode unless the capacitor batteries or fuel cell gasses are ignited in the presence of an oxygen supply such as the atmosphere before it all escapes.
Capacitors don't need the presence of anything else to explode. If something already contains enough of energy to destroy itself and can release it quickly enough, it can explode, as simply as this. Electrostatic capacitors already detonate (as in, suffer "breakdown-shockwave-damage-breakdown" chain reaction, especially in fluid/ceramic banks) without containing artillery grade energy.
Fuel cells on ships with fusion reactors could be needed only as emergency or autonomous tool power sources.
IansterGuy wrote: The fuel itself may not even be explosive without something as naturally reactive as oxygen and simply dissipate if the tanks are ruptured alone.
Reactor fuel or propellant? The latter may be anything convenient for pumping into thrusters - e.g. water - specific composition of plasma doesn't matter too much.
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Re: SPEC

Postby klauss » Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:00 pm

Deus Siddis wrote:I do not think you need AI changes for event based missions though; the mission generator can function as a sort of advocate AI for the local units, groups and factions.


Exactly.

And do you know what the most beautiful thing of it all is? That as you succeed in clean sweep missions, the number of hostiles decrease, and you start getting peace time missions.

It would indeed be the player helping the economy at a believable level.
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Re: SPEC

Postby Deus Siddis » Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:11 pm

klauss wrote:And do you know what the most beautiful thing of it all is? That as you succeed in clean sweep missions, the number of hostiles decrease, and you start getting peace time missions.


What about missions involving a particular vessel or flight group like bounty and escort missions... Would the 'mission guards' build a mission around already existing vessels instead of spawning new ones?

If that is the goal, to make dynamic missions spawn nothing and only create the criteria for the player getting paid plus the amount of said pay based on what is happening in nearby space, then this should be a fantastic improvement.
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Re: SPEC

Postby TBeholder » Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:05 am

Well, yeah. But there's also the matter of a mission's scope. This can be local - usually done via fixers - or across the system or N nearby systems within interested faction or all non-hostile factions.
Also, should all "standing proposal" missions be explicitly given as such? I mean, there can be things picked from news like shortages, etc in Elite:Frontier/First Encounters. Then again, news may effectively extend mission scope without adding checks or anything.
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Re: SPEC

Postby IansterGuy » Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:43 am

TBeholder wrote:And with cross-interdiction it's done naturally by any drone (or long-range missile) equipped with FTL drive. :)
In Iwar2 which sported partial Newtonian physics they had 'Light Speed Drive Interrupter' missiles that moved faster than light to exploded nearby any target to inhibit 'Faster Than Light' travel for 30 seconds. This ensured that the player could not hope to escape a high stakes battles against a well equipped enemy, who would have enough incentive to keep using expensive missiles. This could work, but again I think the interdiction system should work okay by default, without any purchasable items.

One would simply run down the enemy in a faster ship, with the option to turn on targeted 'active interdiction' to allow many slower ships to work together to direct their interdiction toward a single faster ship and take advantage of their advantage. Some buttons like "J" or "Alt+J" to pick target to actively jam communications and interdict, then "Shift+J" or "Shift+Alt+J" to stop actively jamming and interdicting. "Ctrl+J" to order wingmen to jam target. "Ctrl+Shift+J" to tell them to stop jamming.

I have much more to say on a functional and fairly simple SPEC and interdiction system. My thoughts are still building upon what is being and has already been said but basically basic 'passive interdiction' should do the minimum to avoid crashes. It should allow travel in groups going the same direction until 'active interdiction' is activated, and even then it mostly should effect a particular target one is selected.

TBeholder wrote:Capacitors don't need the presence of anything else to explode. If something already contains enough of energy to destroy itself and can release it quickly enough, it can explode, as simply as this. Electrostatic capacitors already detonate (as in, suffer "breakdown-shockwave-damage-breakdown" chain reaction, especially in fluid/ceramic banks) without containing artillery grade energy.
Fuel cells on ships with fusion reactors could be needed only as emergency or autonomous tool power sources.
Your right, I was down playing the explosions of capacitors especially with major output Wattage and Joule capacity required for energy weapons. They may or may not be ship disintegrating explosions, though they could be anything developers want them to be. I was thinking smaller explosions may be the ones that break the ship apart. I was focusing mostly on smaller common Hydrogen oxygen based explosions from battery fumes for some reason, possibly I was being simple.

TBeholder wrote:Reactor fuel or propellant? The latter may be anything convenient for pumping into thrusters - e.g. water - specific composition of plasma doesn't matter too much.
If all the carried fuel is just the fast reacting Lithium-6 reactor fuel, it may not even be explosive when released, just hazardous to health. I'm no chemist. I'm thinking though that thrusters and especially overdrive seems to use the reactor fuel directly according to how capacitors currently work. So with all it's non efficiency, either overdrive propellent is converted to a propellent in a specialized reactor before use, or it can be made to burn behind a rocket, which does sound dangerous.

No comment about improving missions, that is not really my department.
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Re: SPEC

Postby IansterGuy » Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:50 pm

Well since my comment may have killed the room let me make another since it is at least on the "SPEC" title topic of the thread. Here is my mock up example of how SPEC interdiction, interception, and combat in combination with SPEC travel should work. By the way it's long, brutal, full of mumbo jumbo, and I'm no story teller.

I see it working like this, lets say a smuggler ship is travelling through hostile space using SPEC while cloaked. Then suddenly near the destination, popping up on scanners are pirates heading in the opposite direction also cloaked. Since they are moving in opposite directions they quickly fall out of SPEC to a SPEC factor of 1 because in this case they hit dead on.

If the smuggler had not manually decelerated his SPEC drive they would have been nose to nose with pirates. Both are surprised by the other, but neither really had time to prepare, but the smuggler who had slightly better sensors quickly fires some fire and forget SPEC buster misses at the nearest and most threatening of the pirates to inhibit their interdiction capabilities. Without turning off SPEC the smuggler turns around and starts accelerating away. In that time though the pirates are able to scan and discover the extremely valuable cargo that motivates the uninhibited pirates not still fleeing the SPEC busters give chase moments after.

Still cloaked, the smuggler falls off the pirates sensors due to his head start, but they keep moving full speed in the direction they last seen the smuggler. The pirates quickly get back into passive interdiction range despite the smugglers head start which normally would mean successful evasion for ships of the same effective SPEC top speed.

This time though the pirates have turned off their ships cloaking mode which makes them clearly viable on long range scanners but also makes max SPEC speed much faster. Also since the pirates are moving together their fastest ship accelerates the following slower ships because their SPEC fields combine to give the slower ships a SPEC drift bonus.

Due to this phenomena, the majority of even their slower ships in this case are faster than the smuggler while cloaked in SPEC and are able to catch up enough to get into the smugglers drift zone. In this case the smuggler should not have been so greedy to try to use cloak to escape all the pirates since it allowed some slower ships to get into their drift zone.

So despite the smugglers head start and turning a random direction to try to lose the pirates, the pirates catch the tail of the warp bubble and turn to begin piggy backing on the outer warp bubbles. Neither ship is slowed down, but the pirates who are behind speed up like a flock of birds flying behind a wind breaker or a car drifting behind another. The pirates warp drive is able to resonate into their target the smugglers existing warp bubble, better and better at they approach.

Noticing that he is being trailed despite his cloak the smuggler turns off cloak to give him more speed to at least get closer to a populated base in a more tactically favorable region of space before he is caught. The pirates speed is also increase as their warp drifting bonus get bigger proportionally. Despite the dramatic increase in base speed of the smuggler, only a few of the very slowest ships fall out of the smugglers drift zone because the remaining followers drift bonus is so high from being both in the smugglers drift zone, and all of their friendly fellow pirates drift zones they are following.

The pirates could use active interdiction to slow the smugglers earlier while also slowing them self down but the pirates want to get their groups at close at they could before pulling everyone out out SPEC.

The fastest pirate ship being only slight faster than the smugglers the pirates mostly accelerate their gain due to the increasing drift bonus. Considering the pirate ships are supposed the be near the same speed or slower, the pirates accelerate toward the smuggler fairly quickly and gradually faster. Upon the near contact of the pirates and smugglers inner warp bubble, both ships suddenly slow down in SPEC drastically as the turbulence the ship becomes noticeable.

Upon the crossing of the inner warp bubbles which projects not that far, the ships would have a SPEC factor of 1 and they would be able to fire normal weapons. Even if the pirates don't maintain exactly the SPEC factor of 1 during the chase, anything within the distance where both ships are slowed by each other would allow the firing of normal weapons while still in SPEC but at the cost of some SPEC speed which may cause the ship to fall out of range and cause the attack to fail. The weapons need to cross from the sources to the targets inner warp bubble buy a bridging of the warp field that is maintained by the aggressor as the cost of speed, until the weapon crosses the gap.

If the weapon does make it to the targets inner warp bubble they act like any other weapons until they fall out of the space. If they fall out of the warp bubble at the front they get stuck in time in front of the source ship until SPEC is deactivated or the warp bubbles combine at their location to make another warp bridging. If the projectiles falls out the back of the bubble it will drop out of SPEC into normal space. Essentially no weapon can be fired at another ship in SPEC without a warp bridging, because no weapons can move faster than the speed of light. The partial exception is lasers which can still reach a target moving less than the speed of light despite losing focused damage much earlier.

If the pirates keep the smuggler below light speed by staying on his tail they can reliably attack with lasers or fast particle beams if they have to, but the pirates have a better plan than constantly trying to stay in proximity at the risk of another SPEC chase starting. From the beginning of the chase some of the ships so equipped have been charging an EMP like device called a 'SPEC Pulse Generator' that create a pulse that makes an wide area non SPEC-able for a short while. As soon as the smuggler is dropped out of warp the pirates plan to release a pulse to keep the smuggler from SPECing again for 30 seconds or more in which case they may release another pulse if their SPEC pulse devices are capable.

The smuggler though is lucky, they make it almost all the way to a neutral military base before being SPEC pulsed. The battle for their cargo takes place just out range of the fighter barracks. Though most of the fighters are out on patrol currently, they are quickly recalled as the large group of pirates and one smuggler approaches. Though the base is unfriendly to the smuggler, they are even more unfriendly to pirates, so the smuggler puts full power the thrusters to get closer to the base while at the same time avoid the fastest of the pirates tailing them. Turns out the smugglers ship is flat out faster in real space so despite another SPEC pulse by the fastest pursuers the ship nears the edge of the area 100% effected by SPEC pulse where SPEC is partially usable despite the recent SPEC pulse emission.

The pirates though have numbers on their side despite some of them being slower. Some of the pirates avoid the no SPEC zone and find the wide area in between the passive interdiction of the fighter barracks and the active interdiction field of the SPEC pulsed area. This is right in the path of the smugglers. Now with the slower ships caught up, instead of pulsing again from the front, the pirates release one more half effective pulse from the back avoiding their just arriving slower ships forming blocked from the front.

They then try to gain a SPEC advantage by hitting the smugglers ship with SPEC buster technology. The pirates in the blockade lay smart cloaked SPEC buster mines and begin firing both SPEC impact buster missiles and local area effect SPEC inhibition compound clouds. As a skilled pilot in a fast and well defensively equipped ship the smuggler is able to continually get the SPEC buster missiles directly behind them in a chase, where in combination with ECM they releases physical counter measures to absorb the damage.

Though the smuggler avoids all SPEC buster missiles the area effect inhibative plasma is too wide spread to miss. It reduces the maximum warp factor to 50%, but the smugglers decides to use SPEC anyway to get closer to the barracks since it seems no one is coming to save his ship. SPEC is slower but effective enough to get the short distance as long as thrusters can keep those who SPEC around you at a decent distance.

Now out of the SPEC pulse zone and knowing that the smugglers SPEC is operating at 50%, slower pirate ships start moving in at close at they can they start to become a real problem with all the weapon fire coming from all directions so the smuggler ship uses what available for SPEC and make a break to go past the now much thinner blockade since the pirates had since most pirates in their impatience switched to chasing.

Upon crossing the blockade point though the smuggler can't determine any point in the blockade that the smart mine could not have travelled to in the time since deployment, so they decided to just go through at a random spot and assume luck.

As it turns out though the smuggler luck runs out and get to close to a cloaked smart mine which brings them to a SPEC factor of 1.. The pirates don't send out another SPEC pulse to inhibit SPEC because now the smuggler ship is beyond just saturated in SPEC inhibiting plasma forcing no SPEC capabilities. This is bad because now every free nearby pirate ship not interdicted themselves can SPEC as close as they want and the smugglers don't even have passive interdiction so there is no way to keep other ships from SPECi-ing well within easy weapons range.

The situation is bad and the pirates start moving in with force. They seem to be interested in taking the ship in one piece because they they are using disabling weapons. Despite evasive manoeuvres and faster thrusters the pirates keep SPEC-ing in front of the smugglers and the escape routes keep dwindling.

The situation seems hopeless, but suddenly the pirates break off as if on the run. Checking scanners reveals that a fleet allied with the barracks has jumped in just out of the pirates active interdiction range and are hot in pursuit using thrusters to get into range. The barracks may be neutral to the smuggler but the fleet is hostile though the smugglers know that particular fleet hates pirates even more, so simply flies out of the way toward the barracks. With the pirates leaving the fighters from the barracks now are noticed to have helped the smugglers escape at they harass the few pirate ships lagging behind for a few more shots.

The smugglers start to get in range of the barracks interdiction field and now is safe because no ship including the fleet could SPEC in and intercept before the smugglers would be able to dock. Some of the fleets fighters do SPEC behind the smugglers to give chase and are enough to be an annoyance, but nothing a good speed dock and a little counter fire can't solve.

As the pirates move out and wait out of the interdiction zone of their own SPEC pulse, they start powering up their SPEC drives as soon as they can with no regard for the stragglers. Meanwhile the momentum of the fleet was purposely toward the pirates before they exited SPEC. [I know maintaining momentum from SPEC is not really necessary and a no no, but humor me because it would make the idea more complete] They where far enough away from significant objects moving at different relative motion like the barracks and bulk of the pirate ships. So they maintained a significant velocity as they cruised through and around the SPEC inhibition field hitting all of the remaining SPEC buster mines with little care as they where bound to catch a significant portion of the pirates regardless, without SPEC. They cruise along with their huge combined bulky momentum hardly being opposed. Their huge bulk is only significantly slowed by the 'passive relative motion inhibition field' of the pirates ships once they are on their butt.

By now the fleet has interdicted the pirates that had not time to flee when the shooting really got started, it became clear that some of the pirates would not be having a good end to their day. Meanwhile the smuggler has already docked and has decided to observe the events from the barracks station window to allow time to pass for safer passage latter. From the window and monitor, the smugglers see some of the pirates surrendering, others being disabled and many more exploding and breaking apart on their own from the unsafe shady ship modifications they had previously made.

When the battle is over the fleet who have suffered no losses lightly salvage the ships for prisoners and recover loot, then leave the derelicts floating in space. When the fleet leaves the smugglers already have their ship mostly fixed up and head out to quickly preform a their side profession, opportunistic salvage. They will do it while cloaked of course avoiding too much movement so to avoid detection this time. Once done they again try to finish their smuggling run in peace now, a little wiser now of ships in the area.

That's my story I'm sticking to it.
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