REAL ship deliveries

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REAL ship deliveries

Postby chuck_starchaser » Thu Feb 07, 2008 6:52 pm

At the PU forum we've been discussing the present paradigm of fleet management and deliveries. The current system doesn't make a whole lot of sense. If I own a big Drayman cargo ship, and a fast, cloaking Excalibur, I could load up my Drayman with catnip to the brim, then take off in the Excalibur, fly under cloak into Kilrah, land at the capital, then, for a few bucks, have my Drayman delivered over unscratched. In a few trips like that, I'd make enough money to buy the Confederation.

We were tossing around possible solutions, such as restricting ship deliveries to a few bases; making ship deliveries into mission-like things, where you hire a pilot to pilot your ship, and you fly your other ship, leading the way and providing protection; computing a risk function and have your ship delivered damaged, or in crates. Or getting rid of multiple ship ownership altogether.

Then an idea popped into my mind: How about?... Okay, the engine currently maintaines simulations of flight groups across many systems. Conflicts happen, already. Risk is already there. So how about making ship deliveries be REAL flights, by a cargo ship or carrier that picks up your ship and follows a route to get to where you are. Let the engine take care of whether the delivery meets trouble along the way. This also would give you, the player, a chance to do something about it, such as clean-sweeping the systems before placing the order; and/or, taking off after placing the order and go meet your cargo ship along the route, to help protect it. So the question is, would it be easy to plug a delivery flight group into the existing, multi-system simulations going on?
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Postby Coragem » Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:28 pm

The ship being delivered by an AI pilot is a great idea, just one question what if the player saves the game before the ship arives?

Muilti Ship ownership is one of the great features of VS, so it should stay in game in my opinion.
If Exploit must be solved. in a extreme case i think you could just NOT let someone transport ship to his location. if you want the ship you must fly to it. that alone would be ok.

What would be GREAT tho would let the player to buy Stations, ou some kind of new Hanger like starbase. and have his base, where he would be able to leave the ships there.
Kinda like the hardwar game had.
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Postby Turbo » Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:45 am

Is it possible to calculate the delivery charge based on a flat fee plus a factor for the ship's mass, cargo included, and one for the number of jumps? That would solve two of the 3 problems that make it an exploit.

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Postby javier » Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:44 am

One good solution could be:
- Restrict the switching to ships in the actual location
- Instead, allow the player to load/unload his ships to the cargo bay of the actual ship, as far as they fit, so you can fly with your freighter to another system, and then switch to some fighter you have carried.
Also, I'd like to see something like Privateer II system, say hire a freighter, load it with goods and fly with your fighter protecting it to reach your destination.
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Postby Coragem » Fri Feb 08, 2008 5:43 am

One good solution could be:
- Restrict the switching to ships in the actual location
- Instead, allow the player to load/unload his ships to the cargo bay of the actual ship, as far as they fit, so you can fly with your freighter to another system, and then switch to some fighter you have carried.


That sounds perfect for me. make the two into the game would be nice.
Only change to insystem ships and be able to transport your own ships, into a bigger one as if they were cargo.

Perfect.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Fri Feb 08, 2008 6:45 am

javier wrote:One good solution could be:
- Restrict the switching to ships in the actual location

The problem with that is that is that then, wherever you buy a ship, at least one of your ships will have to be there forever.
- Instead, allow the player to load/unload his ships to the cargo bay of the actual ship, as far as they fit, so you can fly with your freighter to another system, and then switch to some fighter you have carried.

That's one thing I'd like to see; but there's currently another problem that was the subject of an old feature request of mine that never saw the light of day: Vegastrike makes no distinction betwen plain cargo hold space, and launch and recovery facilities; no distinction between a cargo ship and a carrier. Thus, you could buy a Clydesdale and load it with a million derivatives and wipe out the galaxy. If you own a transport and put the fighters you own into this transport, right now, it's so easy to get from A to B it's like a cheat. There needs to be separate columns in units.csv for cargo and launch space.
Also, I'd like to see something like Privateer II system, say hire a freighter, load it with goods and fly with your fighter protecting it to reach your destination.
Amen!
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Postby javier » Fri Feb 08, 2008 6:49 am

Problem with in-system ships is that still could be abused, say fill your freighter in ocean planets, switch to light fighter, go to mining base, switch again.
But what you said could be the only way to do it, because the save file only stores sector/system for the alternative ships, so the restriction to the actual base means changes in the save file, maybe even internal structures to keep track where exactly the ships are, and if I'm not wrong, bases and planets have their own movement, so devs should have to take this into account.
Nevertheless, one thing I like about keeping base location info attached to ships is that it opens the door to things like losing some of your ships if the base where you have them parked is destroyed.
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Postby javier » Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:18 am

Thinking a little more about this, could be as simple as we don't allow switching if your actual ship holds cargo? The only problem I see is that you'd have to sell ships in your freighter cargo to make the switch to another ship.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:20 am

I only today became aware that ships are parked at systems, rather than at bases. I consider this a bug needing to be fixed, though.
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Postby Coragem » Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:32 am

Nevertheless, one thing I like about keeping base location info attached to ships is that it opens the door to things like losing some of your ships if the base where you have them parked is destroyed.

that's what i mean only at the same base, nothing realistic about letting you warp your ships around space. Yep ship location should be tied to the base.
Thus, you could buy a Clydesdale and load it with a million derivatives and wipe out the galaxy.
:shock:
You guys make this sound so simple, at the rate I am winning money in VS ill only be able to buy a Clydesdale maybe in like 6 months...

So:
1 Ship tied to base location.
2 Switch only to ships at the same base.
3 Allow moving ships inside bigger ships.

Vegastrike makes no distinction betwen plain cargo hold space, and launch and recovery facilities; no distinction between a cargo ship and a carrier.
I dont see the need to change that for now, as Volume Cargo Space a ship ocupies should be BIG. isnt that so right now?
A Robin inside a Llamma ou Plowshare dosent fit right.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Fri Feb 08, 2008 9:47 am

Coragem wrote:1 Ship tied to base location.
Yes
2 Switch only to ships at the same base.
I already said this would result in your always having to leave one ship at any location where you bought one. Multiple ship ownership requires the ability to have ships delivered. If you contradict, then do so; but don't make it sound like a consensus summary.
3 Allow moving ships inside bigger ships.
Yes.

Vegastrike makes no distinction betwen plain cargo hold space, and launch and recovery facilities; no distinction between a cargo ship and a carrier.
I dont see the need to change that for now, as Volume Cargo Space a ship ocupies should be BIG. isnt that so right now?
A Robin inside a Llamma ou Plowshare dosent fit right.
[/quote]Well, you don't see the need. I do.
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Postby javier » Fri Feb 08, 2008 10:22 am

How about my other suggestion?
The more I think about it, the more I like it.
After all, the problem with cargo ships should appears at such late stage of the game that there is no way you will not be literally swimming in credits, so doing the cargo trick makes no sense at all. If you're going to look for loopholes at that stage, you better edit credits in the save file directly.
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Postby safemode » Fri Feb 08, 2008 10:27 am

ships should definitely be parked at bases. i'd consider it a bug for it to be any other way as well.

You should be able to hire a pilot to pilot a given vessel to a given base. You can follow it and offer your support or not. The transport of such a ship by the AI should be simulated like any other ai ship moving around. That i would agree with.

multi ship ownership is fun. We definitely need to make sure that mass is a factor. We need to make sure that certain ships cant do things that dont make sense. Like holding a physically larger ship inside itself. Perhaps make certain ships undockable. carriers and super large ships probably shouldn't be dockable. We should have a system of using smaller transports to go between these large ships and bases. If you own such a carrier then you should be able to leave it with a definable AI state command. (remain but defend if fired upon, goto destination, etc) you should get warnings if it's under attack and you're on base. that would be a very intersting and huge change to the game.

This is another good idea to put forth for 0.6 in the way of renovating the whole gameplay aspect as far as how the player interacts with the economy and AI etc.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:51 am

I think the easiest thing to implement was the one I suggested in the first post, namely,
I wrote:... Okay, the engine currently maintaines simulations of flight groups across many systems. Conflicts happen, already. Risk is already there. So how about making ship deliveries be REAL flights, by a cargo ship or carrier that picks up your ship and follows a route to get to where you are. Let the engine take care of whether the delivery meets trouble along the way. This also would give you, the player, a chance to do something about it, such as clean-sweeping the systems before placing the order; and/or, taking off after placing the order and go meet your cargo ship along the route, to help protect it. So the question is, would it be easy to plug a delivery flight group into the existing, multi-system simulations going on?
...as this is merely a modification of the current paradigm. And certainly Turbo's idea is a must: a way of caclulating an appropriate cost for the delivery.
Javier's suggestion is supplementary, IMO: It makes a lot of sense to be able to hire a pilot to fly your ship if the trip is not too long and you'd like to escort it personally. It may even be necessary if the location you're trying to get your other ship sent from is not served by any large transports or carriers on a regular basis. But I still think that the carrier transport service would be the cheapest and safest and the preferred way in most cases.
All that is needed to make this happen is to modify the function so that getting a ship sent to you involves a REAL trip by a real carrier in the real VS universe, as opposed to a startrekkish beam-me-up scotty function.
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Postby Coragem » Fri Feb 08, 2008 12:58 pm

Chuck
Multiple ship ownership requires the ability to have ships delivered. If you contradict, then do so; but don't make it sound like a consensus summary.

Ok, i didnt quite explained it right, Sorry.
I do agree with ship deliver by AI pilots, what i wanted to point was that in case deliveries were not in game, that switching only to ships at the same base should be the only possible way of changing ships.
All that is needed to make this happen is to modify the function so that getting a ship sent to you involves a REAL trip by a real carrier in the real VS universe, as opposed to a startrekkish beam-me-up scotty function.

I agree 100% with that one. Thats exactly the core of the issue.

Safemode
Perhaps make certain ships undockable. carriers and super large ships probably shouldn't be dockable. We should have a system of using smaller transports to go between these large ships and bases.

In my opinion they should not be dockable at Starbases, but be able to dock at planets.
Just a coment: One thing i just noticed... most ships inside bases, appear to have the same size. On the upgrade or Launch Screens.
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Postby safemode » Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:09 pm

I think you should be able to change ships at any place they are docked, including a carrier type ship out in space. You should be able to dock your fighter in your carrier, enter the "bridge" and thus take control of the carrier, allow manual and auto control based on choosing a course. Once that "auto pilot" is enabled the ship will be under ai control and defend if attacked, but carry out your orders otherwise. You could then enter one of your fighters and exit the carrier. Basically like how turrets are interfaced with in the game.


I think sufficiently large ships shouldn't be able to dock anywhere. They are too big. Only shuttles should be used to transfer cargo and personell between the big ship and the base. The big should should just remain in orbit (stationary probably) until it's ready to go.

The shuttle of the carrier should be allowed to transfer cargo from it's parent carrier without paying. Take it to the nearby base, sell it and that money should goto the parent carrier. The funds of the carrier would likewise be available to child shuttles for purchasing cargo and bringing to the carrier. Shuttles would be purchasable and not spawn on a carrier. IF you get yours shot out, you're SOL unless you can purchase more. If you had no internal ships and you're stuck on a carrier, if you had money you should be able to put out a price for purchasing one and an AI player may sell you one. etc etc.
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Postby javier » Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:57 pm

safemode wrote:I think sufficiently large ships shouldn't be able to dock anywhere. They are too big. Only shuttles should be used to transfer cargo and personell between the big ship and the base. The big should should just remain in orbit (stationary probably) until it's ready to go.

The shuttle of the carrier should be allowed to transfer cargo from it's parent carrier without paying. Take it to the nearby base, sell it and that money should goto the parent carrier. The funds of the carrier would likewise be available to child shuttles for purchasing cargo and bringing to the carrier. Shuttles would be purchasable and not spawn on a carrier. IF you get yours shot out, you're SOL unless you can purchase more. If you had no internal ships and you're stuck on a carrier, if you had money you should be able to put out a price for purchasing one and an AI player may sell you one. etc etc.

This is, IMHO, overkill. The (in)famous industrial base bug is indeed a nice abstraction of all of this, and I think it should be extended. You have a docking point somewhere apart of a base, so you can "dock" your big freighter there. It's supposed the base have some shuttles to move the cargo in/out. It could be even better if somehow the engine could show this special docking port only when you're in a capital ship, but it is not a big deal, after all.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:59 pm

@Javier: Sorry for the misunderstanding.

@Safemode: Ships of any size should be able to dock to space-stations. Externally, of course. Just a matter of matching velocities and then throwing some ropes. Also, the choice of orbit is rather irrelevant. Even the largest ships would have the ability to park at LEO as much as at GEO, or on a polar orbit for that matter, as long as they don't dip their toes into the atmosphere.

The issue of how goods are loaded or unloaded needs to be looked at from a point of view of economics. One type of space station sorely missing in Vegastrike, and which IMO should be the *most common* type of space station, is geosynchronous Space Elevator Stations (SES). Transporting goods up and down a planet through kilometers of atmosphere does not make any sense economically speaking. Using space elevators would cost about 1% as much, in terms of energy expenditure. It makes total sense, even for small ships, to dock at Space Elevator Terminals at GEO. Even if you wanted to visit the planet's surface, you'd leave you ship at the SES and ride the elevator down for a couple of hundred bucks, instead of having to pay 200 thousand bucks for a chemical booster to take you and your ship out of the atmosphere from a ground-based space-port.

I hate to go so far off topic, but it seems the topic did so by itself.
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Postby safemode » Fri Feb 08, 2008 8:06 pm

well it still has to do with ship deliveries being accurately portrayed.

I think the topic centers around the idea of being able to tell an AI pilot to take a ship from point A to point B for you.

that's the core of the topic really. The issues involving multiple ships simply stems from that, and thus the idea of controlling where those ships are parked etc.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Fri Feb 08, 2008 8:27 pm

safemode wrote:well it still has to do with ship deliveries being accurately portrayed.
Sure.

I think the topic centers around the idea of being able to tell an AI pilot to take a ship from point A to point B for you.
Well, yes and no; this is one of the solutions or methods. The other is to order delivery of your ship same as you do now, except that instead of the delivery being instantaneous, it would be simulated, and would take time, and entail risks. That's the original solution I proposed. Frankly, I think both solutions should be implemented and that the player should have a choice, --whether to contract delivery to a major carrier, or to privately hire a pilot; and in either case, whether or not to personally escort the delivery. Heck, I was thinking about PU, but in the case of Vegastrike, you might even want to give the player a choice of carrier from what faction to attempt the delivery. You might want to choose a faction that is friendly or neutral to all factions along the delivery route. And you might want to give the player a way to track the delivery as it moves along the route.

In any case, I've yet to get any feedback on my original proposed solution, so I don't know how feasible it is; but I suspect it should be very easy to have a real carrier pick up you ship and fly in real time along the entire route to make the delivery. What we need to do first of all is to get rid of the instant delivery function. I think the simulation elements are all in place already. Right or wrong?
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Postby javier » Sat Feb 09, 2008 4:27 am

Heck, I was thinking about PU, but in the case of Vegastrike, you might even want to give the player a choice of carrier from what faction to attempt the delivery. You might want to choose a faction that is friendly or neutral to all factions along the delivery route. And you might want to give the player a way to track the delivery as it moves along the route.

In any case, I've yet to get any feedback on my original proposed solution, so I don't know how feasible it is; but I suspect it should be very easy to have a real carrier pick up you ship and fly in real time along the entire route to make the delivery. What we need to do first of all is to get rid of the instant delivery function. I think the simulation elements are all in place already. Right or wrong?

You could even have some entries in the news panel saying something like
"Departure of Ox freighter xyz on route to some system, expected in two days, taking three days to arrive to destination point." and let you hire space in it.

The problem is that I see this proposal as a long term solution, but it could take more than a while to get there. Now, and looking only for closing the freighter/fighter switch loophole, my proposal of not letting change ships if the actual one holds cargo, so you have to sell it before, should be enough and I think easier to implement.

Related to the base docking issue, I'd better open another thread to keep this one clean, but my opinion always have been that if we want some kind of realism, the full operation should be station driven. After getting docking permission, you put your ship somewhere the station staff told you to, and from there everything is automatic.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:32 am

javier wrote:Now, and looking only for closing the freighter/fighter switch loophole, my proposal of not letting change ships if the actual one holds cargo, so you have to sell it before, should be enough and I think easier to implement.
That's a good idea. Could be implemented as a company policy. You try to order your ship delivered and get a refusal notice saying
Code: Select all
Sorry, the ship you're asking us to deliver has cargo in its hold. Our company's policy is that no cargo inside ships is allowed. If you wish to go ahead with delivery, you must agree to our dumping its cargo on your behalf.
In any case, our transporting fee for a ship of that size is $2,500 per jump. At 17 jumps, your total cost is 42,500, which will be deducted from your account as soon as you push the I Agree button. Insurance is your responsibility.

[I Agree: Dump my old Cargo and then Deliver]     [Cancel Order]
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Postby loki1950 » Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:52 am

Or state that there customs broker won't clear the cargo.

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Postby chuck_starchaser » Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:54 am

Hahahaha. Good one. Your ship is almost delivered, then sent back at your own expense... Red tape; lovely ;-)
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Postby javier » Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:12 am

chuck_starchaser wrote:
javier wrote:Now, and looking only for closing the freighter/fighter switch loophole, my proposal of not letting change ships if the actual one holds cargo, so you have to sell it before, should be enough and I think easier to implement.
That's a good idea. Could be implemented as a company policy. You try to order your ship delivered and get a refusal notice saying
Code: Select all
Sorry, the ship you're asking us to deliver has cargo in its hold. Our company's policy is that no cargo inside ships is allowed. If you wish to go ahead with delivery, you must agree to our dumping its cargo on your behalf.
In any case, our transporting fee for a ship of that size is $2,500 per jump. At 17 jumps, your total cost is 42,500, which will be deducted from your account as soon as you push the I Agree button. Insurance is your responsibility.

[I Agree: Dump my old Cargo and then Deliver]     [Cancel Order]


Well, I was thinking the other way around. If you have to empty the ship before switching, no alternative ship can hold any cargo after all, and the problem is solved.
Your idea, instead, could be even easier to implement script wise, as you need only a checking hook in the dealer dialog.
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