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Forky
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Working on a fork of UQM
« on: December 20, 2006, 12:48:46 pm »

  I've been fiddling with the source code in bits of free time I get. Based on the 0.5 release, here's what I have been up to, and what I'm considering. I'm trying to setup a project to offer downloads so that others can offer suggestions and feedback, if they choose.

======================================
Temporary change: every loaded game ship gets a special module in the second to last position, replacing what's there, and looking like a bomb module. That module has "sample" modifications to a large number of systems.

# of ships remaining to fight in upper left hand corner of screen

Bogus "cloaking" using the c key to toggle - in combat, all it really does is make your main ship invisible (and leave you "cloaked" when you leave combat). In a stellar system, it makes all enemy ships go back about their business. In hyperspace, besides a graphical glitch I haven't bothered to fix yet, it prevents encounters. I haven't decided on the final implementation, and whether to try to make a real cloak as well as an "encounter avoidance" cloak.

"Smart" Lander mineral storage - picks up superior minerals when the main ship's cargo bay is full, then dumps the inferior minerals from cargo.

point defense doesn't target asteroids (pluses and minuses to this approach)

Instant recrew (or decrew) at starbase with left (decrew) / right (full crew)
(still to do: graphical crew display update)

Future "modifiables", currently fixed examples:
point defense range and strength and cost adjustable
energy generation delay / rate adjustable
weapon cost, range, strength, and more adjustable
Damage absorption shields with energy costs
Planetary damage avoidance for main ship (and separately, for friendly fleet)
Hospital addition: potential chance to save crew member lives (also serves as "extra" crew storage)
Modifiable crew, fuel, mineral storage
Hyperspace fuel cost modifiable
Hyperspace, in system, combat speed and thrust modifiable
Lander fuel cost modifiable
Lander shields
Lander weapon modifiable
Lander safe shot - mineral deposit safe
Hyperspace encounter identifier (currently only marking via a single letter in Radar) - currently always on, will possibly be associated with a fuel cost, may not display unknown races



Statistics tracking (but not yet reporting, and only some implemented) -
  number of each ship type you destroy
  number of each ship type you lose in battle
(still to do, haven't decided on pkunk handling)
  number of times fled
  number of crew lost (in battle, on planet, sold, hospitalized, saved, died in ICU)
  number of systems visited
  number of planets & moons scanned
  number of mineral deposits and total value gathered
  ditto for bio
  rainbow worlds visited
  fuel purchased
  (other suggestions?)

====================================
Not yet implemented:
====================================
True load / save support for custom modifications
Instant refuel
in-system or long-range mineral and bio scanning and / or history tracking
autonavigation to planet or moon in list
Proper starbase displays for custom modules
Customizable module system that would allow a combination of features (and drawbacks), as well as a fancier tech tree (and possibly tech sources outside the Melnorme)
Mute key
keep hyperspace momentum after battles?
keep in-system momentum?
indicator of # of minerals / life forms to get (mostly for hard to see minerals)
faster escape pod
indicate planet position on combat screen
names for saved games
quick save/load


possibly a device to allow selection of ship each combat
possibly fleet enhancements
possibly planetary danger and value evaluations
possibly fuel regeneration / harvesting from gas giants (with time cost)
possibly different weapon types? scatter shot (I made that once)
possibly special starmap displays - visited, resource amount, bio amount
possibly display longer encounter names on main hyperspace screen
possibly Instant Hyperspace travel
possibly Arilou style momentumless drive
possibly Arilou teleporter for combat with main ship (tired of bad positioning!)
possibly optional pause before combat with a single ship
possibly eliminate red alert pause


====================================
very low probability enhancements:
====================================
large fleets - each ship space would be a ship type and a #, instead of per ship
per ship type crew requirements / supply
ship damage instead of crew loss as primary combat determination
hyperspace "gun" to shutdown encounters
Black Spathi guest shot
"Real time" planetary visits - can't just raid every planet and ignore the ships in system bearing down on you
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Forky
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Re: Working on a fork of UQM
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2006, 12:54:41 pm »

Oops. I hadn't updated that list of changes.
I added:
Instant refuel with left (empty tank) / right (full tank) keys (to max of resources)
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kwamp
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Re: Working on a fork of UQM
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2006, 04:57:39 pm »

As I'd suggested having stats in the game a bit ago, I'm pleasantly surprised to see that as a portion of the work you're doing.

I'm not sure if I speak for everyone else, but I'd love to see new options in the game, to bring me back into it more and more.  One of my oldie but goodie games, Heroes of Might and Magic 3, did this, implementing new creatures/items and allowing for custom user content.  Made playing the game brand new again.

Some of the bits you suggest (e.g. auto refuel by hitting left arrow) seem perfect, even for someone who doesn't want new gadgets.  Others (the cloaking device for sure) may imbalance the game, but time will tell.

I have to dive back into the code, but if I get some free time and some knowledge, I'd be happy to assist ya.

-kwamp
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Re: Working on a fork of UQM
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2006, 05:40:39 pm »

  Thanks for the nice reply. I may well have seen your request for statistics, and decided to add it.

  As for the imbalance possibility, that's definitely allowable. I intend to let anyone decide how easy it is to make a super ship, in terms of cost to learn the tech, and cost to build it, and just how powerful the tech will be. The primary reasoning for the "cloak" for example, was mostly based on avoiding the hundred hyperspace encounters when you're tired of fighting them. That's when you want to get on with the storyline and are tired of endless battles. Right now, the AI doesn't seem to recognize my hastily-developed cloak in actual battle, which is something I need to revisit. If I got it working, though, it could be combined in a module that gave drawbacks as well. Once I get the generic modifications system working I might consider new ways to modify them.

  I actually have an "alpha" exe (on Windows) for people to play with, but I'm waiting on a place to put it. It's stable, as far as I know, but relies on a hardcoded module I create whenever the game is loaded.

  The next thing I wanted to work on was creating a minidisplay on the main screen to list all the planets and moons, complete with visited status, resource / bio / danger status, and ultimately a way to travel to that body with a click or selection. The code for getting active resource nodes looks like it's going to require me to think too much however.  Tongue
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Zeep-Eeep
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Re: Working on a fork of UQM
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2006, 07:46:49 pm »

I don't think cloaking when not already in combat will gain the player much advantage. Sure, it can cut down on
being swamed by dozens of fleets, which is good. But, since the flagship can out-run everything anyway, I
don't think this will greatly unbalance the game.

I see some pretty interesting ideas in here. Especially the stats. We may get some messages now
saying "Blow up 50173 Ur-quan for me, Captain!"
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