Monthly Archives: June 2012

Towards iter 12

Added “hit pings” (when a weapon hits an object) to tactical and re-did the tactical explosion “pings” (when an object gets destroyed). Quite the improvement, but now I’m on the fence about the “projectile” tracers that appear in tactical when a weapon gets fired. The goal is to show the player that an object is firing on another object – but not portray the exact direction and position of the weapon, so this gets a bit lost I think, I’ll probably leave it in for iter 12, but may remove it in later iterations.

Regarding the “hit pings” they are a neat effect, but because I want to differenciate tactical from ship modes – I don’t want every hit to appear in tactical – while I do want every hit to appear in ship mode. Tactical is the “information/strategy” mode so the point is to show the player that an object is getting hit, but again not portray the exact quantity and points of hit, so what happens is that the pings are limited to one every n number of seconds (currently I believe it is every 0.8 seconds). This is moddable as are the explosion and hit pings.

Some balancing issues: I split the Correa Frigate into two variants – the G and the T – the G variant has the 4 turrets, while the T has 2 turrets and the torpedo tubes. Before the ship had 4 turrets and the 6 tubes, kind of an overkill and the role was a bit muddled. The two “new” ships got a new point defense turret to add some more fun/use to them. Overall this is a neat change – the goal is that the G is the more direct ship, but the T is the more firepower though at a overall longer time and risk – because torpedos take time to reach their target and can be shot down. This will be a bit of a challenge to balance out.

Speaking of balance – right now it is pretty bad – this is because (all of the) frigate ships do too much damage too fast. I am going to tweak the projectiles that the frigate turrets to have a slower velocity – but overall the same range. Hopefully this will allow for many improvements – including making fighters more useful since they are nearly always hit by offensive frigate turrets – which are intended to be used versus large craft and not fighters. Because the projectiles travel so fast they are able to hit fighters with ease. Gotta fix that. Lots of issues remain, but that is the name of the game.

Polishing up

Mostly doing some polish, lots of little things – bug fixes, AI tweaks, visuals, gui, etc. Have mostly ran out of things I want to do for iter 12 so going to hold off on some larger things for the next iteration.

Speaking of the next iteration – the rought plan is to polish up ship switching (instead of blindly toggling ships you’ll get a little menu sorted by class of ship and distance to current position). Then work on AI and then allow for traveling to different “sectors” via the rock gates.

The AI work is probably the most interesting basically I want to work on “ship postures” – right now they are defensive and aggressive, and this setting determins at what range the ship will engage enemies, but I am planning on changing this to engage and pursue. Engage means engage nearby (without using gravity drive), pursue means ok to pursue far away (ok to use gravity drive). Ships will by default be engage, this will hopefuly eliminate some issues where player ships may fly off to far away places and promply get slaughtered by the defenders. Basically the goal is to make the AI more predictable.

More happenings

Been working on visual feedback in tactical mode – so now you’ll see “pings” that represent objects being destroyed while in tactical mode. You’ll also see little streaks representing weapons fire. Both are placeholder particles and are in a bad need of re-work, but for now I’ll ignore them.

Also I’ve added “nav points” – basically you can create a sort of a virtual navigation beacon – and you can move this nav point and issue a go to commands to ship by selecting ships and then right clicking on the nav point. Via this you can organize your ships a bit better. If you move the nav point ships that were going to it will be updated as well – giving you a sort of a real time command over ships, I think its pretty neat :)

Because you can also select and focus the camera on these nav points – you can quickly zoom around the map to points of interest. For example maybe nav point 1 is your home base, and nav point 2 is an enemy base you want to keep an eye out. Press Alt 2 to select the 2nd nav point then press Alt 2 and your camera will move to look at it automatically.

I’m mostly running out of ideas for neat control features in Tactical mode, I think they are fairly solid now, so after this weekend I’ll probably focus on more visual feedback, then tweak some AI stuff, polish some and we’ll have iteration 12 to play with.