Docking: automate it.

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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby klauss » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:48 pm

travists wrote:But you could just as well add in-flight mini-games (chess, solitaire, pong...).


Regarding minigames, I subscribe to Chuck's Logic: if a game requires minigames to not become tedius, the "big" game is trash.

Really, straight flight, for me, is relaxing. The best way to make it insteresting: nice vistas. And, as you say, power management, news, and useful stuff - not minigames.
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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby klauss » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:51 pm

breese wrote:Your ship should not bump into the station while undocking, but there appears to be a problem with the accuracy in one of the underlying navigation scripts (ChangeHeading). As long as this problem is not solved, the autodocking feature will remain experimental.


I believe it's a dataset problem.

The docking port for the inside bays are too large, they don't consider the fact that a ship has to maneuver inside that tight space.

I'd make those docking ports smaller, thus forcing llamas and other "big" vessels to dock on the outside ports.

Also, the autodocker should approach and maneuver slower near the end. IMO, it accelerates too much, making maneuvers in close quarters a bit clumsy.
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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby travists » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:00 am

klauss wrote:
travists wrote:But you could just as well add in-flight mini-games (chess, solitaire, pong...).


Regarding minigames, I subscribe to Chuck's Logic: if a game requires minigames to not become tedius, the "big" game is trash.

Really, straight flight, for me, is relaxing. The best way to make it insteresting: nice vistas. And, as you say, power management, news, and useful stuff - not minigames.

Nice vistas would still be "walk away" stuff. I too like the little involvement of the current system, but there seems to be some that want you glued to the screen 100% of the time not just sitting back and taking care of real world stuff as it comes up. Useful stuff would be great! It just seems that much of what is wanted boils down to filler. Siddis had some great ideas, but things to make you not turn on the autopilot at all and never leave the computer isn't what I'd call "relaxing". Hence adding mini-games, if we add what the pilot might be doing in transit, why not playing a game within the game. I am not saying that a mini-game is a good idea just one that would fit the bill of what some are looking for. Here is the big question of the moment: Continue the discussion here or start/reactivate an "in-flight tasks" thread?
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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby klauss » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:14 am

Ya, discussions about mini games should go in some other thread.
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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby shenle » Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:49 am

Ohplease ohplease ohplease don't turn VS into Facebook! No mini-games, apps etc...

If I want Tetris I will fire up a game of Tetris. If I start VS that means I don't want Tetris. :)
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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby Deus Siddis » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:25 am

travists wrote:I too like the little involvement of the current system, but there seems to be some that want you glued to the screen 100% of the time not just sitting back and taking care of real world stuff as it comes up.


Well I don't think anyone wants a game where you feel the need to do real world stuff while playing it. One way or another it should keep you immersed. But you don't you need something that demands 100% attention at all times either. If there is a minority chance of something important happening without much warning, that's enough to maintain the player's attention. That is, most flights could be uneventful, beautiful relaxing experiences, but that 10-50% of the time when something unexpected happens that requires your attention, holds your interest in the game 100% of the time.

Also, in the game's universe, there can be regions of space that are more safe and others that are more dangerous; leaving it to the player to choose what kind of game experience he wants (more relaxed or more demanding). We just need to rebalance things a bit in this regard so that there are less policing forces and more hostiles in the fringe systems.

</off-topic>
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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby klauss » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:51 am

@Deus: well said.

Now, back to docking? Where were we? ;)

@breese: I was opposed to the autodock, until charlieg proposed making it optional, having less advanced or derelict bases require manual docking - that's a very good idea, and I'll support autodocking under those terms. But it must not crash you ;)
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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby shenle » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:36 am

When we didn't have autodock, I didn't miss it. But now that it's implemented, it's kinda nice to have it as an option. Even though the only place I found where it can be used (fighter barracks) turned out to be a death trap. :)

If eventually it remains confined to a few large military installations, I'm fine with it. If it's expanded to other targets, that's fine also. Docking is a maneuver that I don't think should pose problems to anyone who spends 30-60 minutes with VS. Except of course in those bases where the docking ports are intentionally placed by the master of the place such as to kill you on approach.
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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby klauss » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:15 am

What I like about autodock is that it adds a certain cinematic quality to the process.

If it weren't so rushed (ie, if the autodock maneuvered a bit slower and... safer...), it would work wonders for immersion.

I must concede when I'm proven wrong, and while I thought autodock was bad (because I like the challenge of manual docking), I now think autodocking is the right way for most situations, immersive, cinematic, safe - manual docking should have its place for more advnaced stages of the game, when the skills have been developed already, and where the skills play a part in the game.
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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby travists » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:32 am

I've started a thread for the tangent started in this one here.

The cinimatic nature of an autodock if one of the external cameras could be automaticly switched on during the last ten seconds or so of the docking.
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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby Deus Siddis » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:50 am

klauss wrote:I was opposed to the autodock, until charlieg proposed making it optional, having less advanced or derelict bases require manual docking - that's a very good idea, and I'll support autodocking under those terms.


BTW, what about getting the AI to use the auto-dock flight paths instead of plowing through stations like drunks on roller-skates? Would this be feasible in the near term given the current state of the AI code?
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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby klauss » Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:29 am

I think it should be feasible.

I'll create the issue on the tracker.
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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby breese » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:31 pm

klauss wrote:I believe it's a dataset problem.

You are right. Well spotted!

I will change the docking ports at the Fighter Barracks as soon as I can find sufficient sparetime. I also noticed that some of the inner docking ports could be better placed.

klauss wrote:Also, the autodocker should approach and maneuver slower near the end. IMO, it accelerates too much, making maneuvers in close quarters a bit clumsy.

The navigation scripts do not offer that level of control. I can only control whether or not to use afterburner (and I have turned off.)

The best I can do at the moment is to put a waypoint close to the end, but it means that the ship will stop at the waypoint before moving on to the docking port.
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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby breese » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:47 pm

Deus Siddis wrote:BTW, what about getting the AI to use the auto-dock flight paths instead of plowing through stations like drunks on roller-skates? Would this be feasible in the near term given the current state of the AI code?

There are two obstacles.

First, the AIs can currently dock at any station. If we change to the new autodocking script, then they will only be able to dock at military stations. If we were to extend the autodocker to dock at normal docking ports when used by the AIs, we would have to insert waypoints for them all (which is laborious.)

Second, the autodocker does handle the situation where there are obstacles (including the station itself) between the ship and the first waypoint. I have no good solutions for this problem.
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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby klauss » Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:13 pm

breese wrote:Second, the autodocker does handle the situation where there are obstacles (including the station itself) between the ship and the first waypoint. I have no good solutions for this problem.


The AI script could handle that particular problem, by only triggering the autodocker when inside the shield bubble of the target station.

I believe there's sufficient support for that kind of rule in the AI XML files.
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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby breese » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:35 pm

klauss wrote:The AI script could handle that particular problem, by only triggering the autodocker when inside the shield bubble of the target station.

This will not work if the station is between the AI and the first waypoint.

Btw, the autodocker already requires that you are close to the station (UnitUtil::isCloseEnoughToDock) before it can be engaged.
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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby breese » Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:53 pm

breese wrote:I will change the docking ports at the Fighter Barracks as soon as I can find sufficient sparetime.

Done
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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby travists » Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:50 pm

greenfreedom10 wrote:You have given some good reasons for stations to have or not have autodocking. Is there a way (and is it necessary) to somehow suggest to the player the reason for whether autodocking support exists, along with other in-game traits? There is potential for a richly dynamic universe based on faction traits and other things, but if the user does not know that eg. Rlaan requires lots of red tape (I had no clue), then they won't realize that is why Rlaan stations have few features.


I had a thought on this as I was getting ready for work. Perhaps the manual can have more of a pilots magazine feel to it with write-ups on the major factions. I only heard about the red tape because I try to read all of the posters that flash by on start-up. When you do read about the Rlaan it sounds like they would have an Office of Oversight of Overseeing Burrows in Charge of Monitoring Pink Paper!
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Re: Docking: automate it.

Postby greenfreedom10 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:15 pm

greenfreedom10 wrote:There is potential for a richly dynamic universe based on faction traits and other things, but if the user does not know that eg. Rlaan requires lots of red tape (I had no clue), then they won't realize that is why Rlaan stations have few features.
travists wrote:I only heard about the red tape because I try to read all of the posters that flash by on start-up. When you do read about the Rlaan it sounds like they would have an Office of Oversight of Overseeing Burrows in Charge of Monitoring Pink Paper!
During game loading is a great time to educate the player, but I think it would be better to do it using something other than those static images. Some of those have too much text to read in the given time. Perhaps it would be better to show images in the background and scroll text on top (with adjustable speed) or something…
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