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jaychant
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Doable, or crazy?
« on: December 08, 2008, 04:02:38 am »

One of the first things I would like to do with C is create a mod of UQM. I would like to know what you think about the changes I would like to make; Am I thinking realistically, or am I crazy?

Changes:

1. Replace the current Melee arena with an infinite sized arena

2. Make full fleets fight each other

3. Change the way ships are damaged: Each ship has two more stats, Hull and Shield. First, Shield is hit. If no shield is present, Hull is hit and there is a chance that some crew will be lost. Less crew means less performance of the ship; No crew means the ship is completely inoperative (just drifts).

4. Split-screen instead of just one camera. One main reason is to make the Ilwrath Avenger more useful. Also, a radar would be added to each screen's bottom-right corner.

5. Add a Tertiary weapon to the ships, allowing for more dynamic ships

6. Many ship changes

7. Add shield; Shield would deplete itself over time and have to be recharged (usually by pressing a key). Takes the hit instead of the hull. Not all ships are equipped with this.

8. The player assigns for the Vindicator which weapons are primary, which are secondary, and which are tertiary.

9. Most parts from acquired ship designs can be used on the Vindicator (with some exceptions).

10. Alien races have numbers that can be depleted by fighting them. Notably, this would allow you to defeat the Kohr-Ah and forcefully take the Shofixti maidens from ZEX.

11. Dynamic storyline. For example, if you defeat the Kohr-Ah, you have to fight the Ur-Quan head on. If you save the Thraddash from the Ilwrath, they claim victory and offer you something special. If you save the Pkunk they reward you. If you help the Yehat rebels you get their help sooner. (You get it, I think)

12. More directions, hopefully 64.

13. Better A.I.

14. Possibility to secretly trade with the Druuge

15. Talking to commander about current events


So what do you think? Possible or crazy?
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Alvarin
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Re: Doable, or crazy?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2008, 04:52:47 am »

I am not a coder , so my reply is a guestimate .
1 - possible , but there HAS to be something to prevent ships just running away constantly .
2 - who will control the ships other than the one you are piloting ?
3 - a nice idea on its own , but it will take the game too far away from SC style .
4 - more than the Avenger reason , it's a must in huge sized arena .
5 - depends on what those functions are and the balance might get impacted .
6 - I don't really like this point .
7 - no . Maybe like tertiary in some ships , but don't like it
8 - don't see the point of this change , unless it's specified for paragraph 9 .
9 - really like this one , it's weird that ships can be built on starbase , but modules cannot be utilized elsewhere .
10 - No real added value , unless someone is willing to spend couple of month fighting , as the numbers should be really big .
11 - possible , but it's no longer a mod , it will be huge amount of work .
12 - go for it
13 - good luck .
14 - rumors still be present - your crew knows where you've been .
15 - something like a hint book ?
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Re: Doable, or crazy?
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2008, 05:02:51 am »

Quote
2 - who will control the ships other than the one you are piloting ?

A.I.

Quote
8 - don't see the point of this change , unless it's specified for paragraph 9 .

What I meant was, for example, assign the front weapons for primary and back weapons for secondary. Not each different type of module, each individual module.

Quote
14 - rumors still be present - your crew knows where you've been .

I mean, perhaps you could sell all of your crew, then you would just talk to the Commander about why you have no crew left. (Err... I was attacked, and it just killed all our crew and ran off.) No rumors would spread Wink

As a whole, you sure commented on how that would change UQM a lot... I was actually looking for how hard this would be. But thanks anyways.
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Re: Doable, or crazy?
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2008, 06:09:33 am »

As a whole, you sure commented on how that would change UQM a lot... I was actually looking for how hard this would be. But thanks anyways.

While you might have meant "Is this doable or crazy code-wise" you didn't ask that. Your question was open ended enough to lend itself to the interpretation "Is this doable or crazy - how will the gameplay look after this". And a lot of the changes you suggest aren't just troublesome to code, they're potentially gamebreaking and would need loads of playtesting.

If we take into account how much Nicholai managed to create during quite a long time span I'd say you're being pretty ambitious. If I recall correctly he was an amateur coder too. While he managed to mod the program enough to get a new storyline and main ship running, it took him time, blood, sweat and tears. You're not proposing that though, you want to overhaul the entire melee engine, and mod the game significantly.

 The second part is doable, at least if we take Nicholai as an example (unless I'm wrong and he was an expert coder). The first part will demand a lot more to code, and even then it's potentially pretty gamebreaking. Once you have the code sorted out you'll need to run a lot of trials to balance all your new ships in your new engine. That's a pretty hefty order. Especially since you'll need testers and feedback, and lots of it.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2008, 06:12:36 am by Lukipela » Logged

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Re: Doable, or crazy?
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2008, 07:54:16 am »

First of all, if you refer to plain C...I think this is a waste of time to start with. Now, people will probably bash at my head for that call, but I think if you are learning to code, why don't you go to something more modern. I may be wrong but I think C# or C++ will be more important to master than C. I am strictly talking about career wise or value wise here.

Second, before even begin to code. you got to come with something ROCK SOLID, a plan give us MEAT. I want to do this this and that....interesting.....but rather empty. 
EXAMPLE:   2. Make full fleets fight each other

How much ship?
How will friendly fire be managed
how will tracking weapon react
will there be a target selector? something similar

also if you plan to do a remake story or a spin off...Nail the story fist and do NOT ask opinion about is this good. The reason is quite simple...you will never end it. Do what you think is a good idea...THEN ask them for help and opinion on other stuff...not the story.

You got to sold something to us. For that matter you need a solid briefcase! I don't know where you are heading career wise, but let me tell you that you got to fight hard sometimes and come up with more than just idea
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Re: Doable, or crazy?
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2008, 10:21:02 am »

One of the first things I would like to do with C is create a mod of UQM. I would like to know what you think about the changes I would like to make; Am I thinking realistically, or am I crazy?
UQM is quite a big and complex program; trying to make sense of it is not for the novice. That said, with a little guidance as to which part does what, simple changes should be possible.

Quote
1. Replace the current Melee arena with an infinite sized arena
Making the arena much bigger would require changes to the data types used to store positions. Also, the view positioning would have to be rewritten. Not too hard, but tricky enough to require some time and skill to get it right.

Quote
2. Make full fleets fight each other
This is going to be a lot of work; it may even be easier to start from scratch.

Quote
3. Change the way ships are damaged: Each ship has two more stats, Hull and Shield. First, Shield is hit. If no shield is present, Hull is hit and there is a chance that some crew will be lost. Less crew means less performance of the ship; No crew means the ship is completely inoperative (just drifts).
7. Add shield; Shield would deplete itself over time and have to be recharged (usually by pressing a key). Takes the hit instead of the hull. Not all ships are equipped with this.
If you're prepared to read through all the different types of weapon and change their behaviour, it should not be too hard.

Quote
4. Split-screen instead of just one camera. One main reason is to make the Ilwrath Avenger more useful. Also, a radar would be added to each screen's bottom-right corner.
Again, view positioning code needs a rewrite, and some of the high-level graphics code; possibly lots of it.

Quote
5. Add a Tertiary weapon to the ships, allowing for more dynamic ships
Requires some changes to the controls, but nothing too hard. Adding more weapons could be time-consuming, though.

Quote
6. Many ship changes
Quantitative changes are easy, qualitative hard. Adding new types of weapons or entirely new movement styles is going to be hard, for example, but making projectiles hit harder is easy.

Quote
8. The player assigns for the Vindicator which weapons are primary, which are secondary, and which are tertiary.
9. Most parts from acquired ship designs can be used on the Vindicator (with some exceptions).
The code for modifying the Vindicator already exists, you just need more modules. Adapting other weapons to the Vindicator will probably need some work, though.

Quote
10. Alien races have numbers that can be depleted by fighting them. Notably, this would allow you to defeat the Kohr-Ah and forcefully take the Shofixti maidens from ZEX.
Relatively easy (I hope) for the ZEX case; just give him a finite amount of ships. For the Kohr-Ah, you'd need some Thraddash-style triggers to react to ships being destroyed, which shouldn't be too hard.

Quote
11. Dynamic storyline. For example, if you defeat the Kohr-Ah, you have to fight the Ur-Quan head on. If you save the Thraddash from the Ilwrath, they claim victory and offer you something special. If you save the Pkunk they reward you. If you help the Yehat rebels you get their help sooner. (You get it, I think)
Adding extra dialogue (see 14-15) isn't too hard, and changing some plot details isn't hard. Note that you're likely to break save game compatibility while doing this, but since the game is different this is only reasonable.

Quote
12. More directions, hopefully 64.
I don't think that would be much of an improvement. Wink

Quote
13. Better A.I.
Small, specific, improvements could be easy; writing a much better AI would be hard.

Quote
14. Possibility to secretly trade with the Druuge
15. Talking to commander about current events
Additional dialogue; not too hard. You can use the existing code as a basis. Additional voice work could be a problem.

Quote
So what do you think? Possible or crazy?
I suggest you start out small; minor plot and dialogue changes are much easier than changing how the game works.
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Re: Doable, or crazy?
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2008, 11:05:12 am »

Quote
12. More directions, hopefully 64.

If you add extra facing angles, you're going to need to increase UQM's frames per second to match that. A Pkunk can spin around one and a half times in one second. 64 facing angles * 1.5 = 96 facing angles covered during a second of spinning in one direction. You won't be able to show a ship shifting between 96 facings if melee only occurs at 24 frames per second and I don't think it's possible to get melee running at 96 frames per second. If someone more familiar with programming than myself would like to confirm/deny whether this is the case, please do.
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Re: Doable, or crazy?
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2008, 12:25:45 pm »

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2. Make full fleets fight each other
This is going to be a lot of work; it may even be easier to start from scratch.

FYI, I already have a version of UQM with unlimited numbers of ships on both sides.

The hardest ones for me would be split-screen and better AI. Most of them require a bunch of changes in various different areas of the code, but it would be relatively straightforward for me to track down the required changes given my level of knowledge of the code.

EDIT: Shiver's pretty much right about the facing angles. One possibility to get around it is to make turning non-linear.
He's not right about melee not running at 96 frames per second. Just get rid of the delay in battle.c and see. Cool
« Last Edit: December 08, 2008, 12:31:32 pm by Elvish Pillager » Logged

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Re: Doable, or crazy?
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2008, 09:49:17 pm »

Some of those ideas sound very interesting. Could anyone teach an idiot how to use the GPL to make modifications? Not anything in specific, I know a little C++, but just how to get a compiler and actually look at the code?
As for the ideas themselves,
1. Why? that could be disastrous/annoying

3. This seems really confusing and not an improvement on the old way

4. Split screen could be cool. I don't agree with the radar idea. Defeats the purpose of an illwrath and is otherwise useless.

6. Like?...not that I don't agree though

7. Again, don't agree. I like this power on the Yehat, but putting it on every ship would be overkill and not enjoyable.

9. Completely agree

10. That would be very cool, but to make it properly fit into the game, in my opinion it would have to be way more complicated than simply "you kill this many Kohr-Ah, the sphere goes down". Although this would be very cumbersome to code, my suggestion would be to have alien outposts in the game, which if destroyed would decrease the sphere of influence. But on the other hand, this would probably add more dialogue and reasons for the outposts being there...oh well.

15.  I like the idea of having the option of talking with all creatures about current events. Although this somewhat already happens.
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Re: Doable, or crazy?
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2008, 12:38:02 am »

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15.  I like the idea of having the option of talking with all creatures about current events. Although this somewhat already happens.

Actually, what I meant was: When the commander tells you something, you can respond. For example, he asks what the slave trading rumors are about. You can either lie to him or tell him you didn't know and the Druuge said it wasn't slave trading, or you can tell him it was necessary for some reason.

Quote
1. Why? that could be disastrous/annoying

I was thinking it would be worse to fight with 28 different ships in that small arena. With infinite size, this wouldn't be a problem.

Quote
I don't agree with the radar idea. Defeats the purpose of an illwrath and is otherwise useless.

I was thinking it wouldn't see a cloaked Ilwrath.

IN GENERAL:

jsyk, I only want to mod the game to get a little experience before I make my own games. I myself am more into making platformers than space games.

Yeah, alot of those changes will likely break the gameplay.
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Re: Doable, or crazy?
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2008, 03:38:11 am »

As a whole, you sure commented on how that would change UQM a lot... I was actually looking for how hard this would be. But thanks anyways.

While you might have meant "Is this doable or crazy code-wise" you didn't ask that. Your question was open ended enough to lend itself to the interpretation "Is this doable or crazy - how will the gameplay look after this". And a lot of the changes you suggest aren't just troublesome to code, they're potentially gamebreaking and would need loads of playtesting.

If we take into account how much Nicholai managed to create during quite a long time span I'd say you're being pretty ambitious. If I recall correctly he was an amateur coder too. While he managed to mod the program enough to get a new storyline and main ship running, it took him time, blood, sweat and tears. You're not proposing that though, you want to overhaul the entire melee engine, and mod the game significantly.

 The second part is doable, at least if we take Nicholai as an example (unless I'm wrong and he was an expert coder). The first part will demand a lot more to code, and even then it's potentially pretty gamebreaking. Once you have the code sorted out you'll need to run a lot of trials to balance all your new ships in your new engine. That's a pretty hefty order. Especially since you'll need testers and feedback, and lots of it.
who is nicholai and what did he do?
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Re: Doable, or crazy?
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2008, 01:44:18 pm »

who is nicholai and what did he do?

He made a SC mod. Look up his name in the members list to find out more.
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