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Xander77
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Predicting planet lander position?
« on: December 12, 2004, 11:25:27 pm »

Is there a way to know where and how much will a planet lander stray from where you told it to go? Because it seems that it can stray in totally different directions an distances on the same planet...
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Re: Predicting planet lander position?
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2004, 12:53:03 am »

The "jitter" (that's the term they use in the source) is a a pair of random values between -63 and 64 (one for the x-axis and one for the y-axis), and it's reinitialized every time you view the planet (e.g., every time the lander comes back, the jitter value is re-calculated)

So, from an academic standpoint, you can probably predict the jitter, since in theory all pseudo-random number generators can be predicted, but in practice, probably not.  You do always have the option of commenting out the jitter calculation in the sources and recompiling without it.
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Xander77
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Re: Predicting planet lander position?
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2004, 03:30:43 am »

Huh.

And I was so certain that it had something to do with which way the planet was turning on the display, and the exact map position...
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Zeep-Eeep
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Re: Predicting planet lander position?
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2004, 06:28:11 am »

The moral of the story is, don't land on planets that will likely
kill you if you mis-calculate.
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Re: Predicting planet lander position?
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2004, 06:42:33 am »

And that would be? Not any place in UQM.....
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Re: Predicting planet lander position?
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2004, 06:56:09 am »

Actually, quite a few places if you don't have any upgrades...
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Re: Predicting planet lander position?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2004, 08:37:14 am »

But what I am saying is - a few inches wont matter if the planet is covered with hostile things/earthquakes/hotspots/lightning. You can't see them in the scan - only how many there are.
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Re: Predicting planet lander position?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2004, 01:20:34 am »

Thinking of post-1.0:

I think it is quite arguable that the jitter should not be wholly random, on relatively calm worlds (e.g., Pluto) you should be able to plant your lander right where you set the reticule.  The question becomes, which attributes should affect the jitter?

We have these to choose from:
  • Gravity
  • Atmospheric density
  • Surface Temperature
  • Weather
  • Tectonics
Discuss.
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Re: Predicting planet lander position?
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2004, 01:55:57 am »

Tectonics? How so? That does not seem plausible to me. I mean, once a earthquake affects a lander = it has to be on the ground first.
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Re: Predicting planet lander position?
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2004, 02:19:48 am »

The idea I had was similar in spirit to what happened during the Apollo 11 moon landing, where upon approach, the LM crew determined that the selected site was not a suitable landing site, and ended up 6km from where they were originally supposed to land.  I figured that a tectonically unstable planet could make for the same kinds of "last minute course corrections", but I agree it probably shouldn't affect the jitter very much.
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Re: Predicting planet lander position?
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2004, 02:15:37 pm »

Weather should affect the jitter significantly. If you're flying through a lightning storm, my guess is that landing prescisely is going to be the least of your concerns.
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Re: Predicting planet lander position?
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2004, 09:32:54 pm »

I always htought that the lander's position was calculated based off
these factors anyway. One more of those .. "oh, you mean it was just random?" things.

So, yes, I think weather, techtonics and such should effect lander position.
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Death 999
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Re: Predicting planet lander position?
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2004, 11:09:38 pm »

Tectonics?

Ideas for modded versions....
I would go for a lander drift based on weather... and a Melnorme upgrade so you get to control the lander's landing. It is moving forward, and you can turn it as it approaches... but you can't stop until it lands.

A variant with storm systems and regions of day (for hotspots) would be nifty. So you could be safer if you were willing to wait a while for the convenient conditions to move around... but then you'd be wasting time (hopefully game-time too).

Also, we could have a harder version in which the tectonic warning tremors were omitted. Then earthquakes and weather would basically have switched roles.
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Re: Predicting planet lander position?
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2004, 06:12:37 am »

Although noone asked, here are my opinions on such things:

Gravity - this already takes a bite out of your fuel tanks, and I would figure that any decent 22nd-century flight computer would be able to compensate for higher/lower gravity when planning a landing.  I propose this have no impact on jitter.

Atmospheric density - On it's own, I don't think thicker air would impact one's ability to land, but it could be used as a multiplier for other attributes related to atmospheric conditions to affect how much jitter one gets on a given planet.  Examples below.

Surface Temperature - Thermal updrafts are known to cause trouble with modern aircraft, and I'd figure that a) future aircraft/spacecraft won't be much different in this regard, and b) a "hot" planet would have plenty of them.  Of course, no atmosphere means no updrafts, so I'd propose that this value be used with atmospheric density as a multiplier to affect jitter.

Weather - High winds would have a profound impact on aircraft, and this is as good a signifier as any that they are present.  Of course, a thicker atmosphere would result in more air molecules to push against the aircraft, and a thinner atmosphere would mean less.  So like temperature, this could be multiplied against atmospheric density to affect jitter.

Tectonics - See the above story about Apollo 11; I'd propose that tectonic activity have a small impact on the amount of jitter applied, but not as profound as the others.

My $0.02 USD. (which is only worth about 0.015 Euros...  Wink )
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Re: Predicting planet lander position?
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2004, 03:22:41 am »

Don't know if this has been said:

I assume that all SC planets are of the same diameter? The diameter would affect the meter per pixel scale and thus the landing displacement. It would also affect the speed of the ship, density of the loot, weather, etc. Everything would have to be scaled.

I think it's a good thing to either keep it simple (as it is), or go all the way. The inbetween solutions are often inconsistant and leaves you wishing for more, or questioning. Simple solutions have the advantage of 'suspension of disbelief'.


How about a hexagonal map that loops on all edges? Grin
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