EV3 Engine Suggestions

This thread is to suggest improvements, modifications, and features for the EV3 engine. This does NOT mean posting drivel like, "more missions", "better ships", etc. as their extent is determined by the abilities of the engine. They are a result of the engine, NOT the engine itself. Got it?

and no multiplayer or EV3D stuff. The latter is beating a dead horse, and the former is readily handled by kberg πŸ˜‰

That being said, feel free to respond and add your own ideas. I know this has been done before but, if you feel like it, dig through the other posts and maybe we can all just collect everything here in a single thread, okay? Okay then --

  • All weapons should have a location on the ship specified in standard X,Y coordinates. If you want to have port and starboard laser canons, you should be able to have port and starboard laser cannons.

  • Turrets should have a rate of turn. If you want your standard turrets, just set it to 360/sec or something. That's standard behavior. If you want a massive, main battery set it to something lower, like 10/sec to allow for the realistic pause while the weapon rotates to retarget.

  • defense grid flag for all weapons, allowing the autotargeting of ships below n-tons. In other words, weapons which autotarget fighters. if there were no hostile fighters present, the defense grid would follow your main targetting. It would probably be wise to automatically stop firing when the hostile target (fighter, capital ship, etc.) is disabled to allow for boarding. (Kestrel and Lighting money trick). Actually, what would likely be best is to add a flag to the ship resource which would designate the ship as a target for the defense grid. Other, non-flagged ships would only take n% of the defense grids normal damage.

  • More default weapon slots to "OEM" ships. We hve four now. This is not good. Let's see at least 16; 32 would be better. If X,Y positioning of weapons is allowed, it would make sense to, say, position a laser cannon on the port and starboard. To get the coordinates right, each cannon would need to be listed separately as a weapon type. If one starts doing this on a large, capital ship (cruiser, carrier, etc.) the available number of slots becomes limited rather quickly.

  • It would be neat (neato keen) to allow the use of a captains launch for larger ships. Logic dictates that not all spobs would have the facilities to handle, say, a UE Cruiser. The ship is just too big to dock at smaller stations, land on planets ("you're going to put that where?"), etc. There should be a captain's launch of which the player assumes control and lands as they would otherwise. Add a flag to spobs which sets the largest ship the spob can handle (for planets, moons, etc. it should be length not girth. For stations, girth not length. Why? Pressuming it'd be difficult to land a 1000 meter ship on a planet, but the mass wouldn't really matter. Docking a 1000 meter ship to a space station wouldn't matter, but it's mass could seriously disrupt the station's orbit.)

While the player has control of the launch, the mother ship would automatically protect the launch with covering fire if need be. The launch could be any standard ship type, with the restriction that it must be n-tonnes and n-meters smaller than the mothership.

  • New outfit type of "Fighter Bay Expansion" allowing the player to convert n-tons to extra launching and storage facility for fighters.

  • Increase the maximum number of ships on screen. I know, I know--this will be murder on 640x480 screens as well as slower machines. But I'd wager that most people who will be playing EV3 are going to have at least 800x600 and mid-range PPCs. Lots of iMac'ers as well, I presume. Throwing more sprites on screen won't hurt these machines.

  • and on that note, a preference to downsample the graphics to 256-bit with a 1-bit mask. Runs faster on older machines.

  • We have the tribbles flag to increase the supply of a commodity over time. A spoil flag would be good as well. Commodity spoils at a rate of n-tons per day, where n is a plugin developer set number. Commodity is converted into a 'waste' commodity which has value in and of itself at some spobs---think waste reclamation and recycling, biomass, etc.---but can be jettisoned. Add a flag to the govt resource to determine the penalty for jettisoning waste in one of that govt's systerms.

  • And on that note, allow player to jettison carge by amount and type. Jettison 5 tons of food, in other words, instead of everything except mission related cargo.

  • A persistent universe. If a player jettisons some cargo, that cargo should still be floatin' around if they land and return to the game, jump out of the system and jump back in, etc. Cargo would spread around the system, but could be recoverable if it exposure to space wouldn't spoil it (i.e., food would be useless, but equipment would be okay).

  • Add a set of sprites for each ship that could be used as ship wreckage. Tied in with the persistance, this could be used in a very interesting way. Systems which are favorite hunting grounds of pirates would have the burnt-out hulks of past prey floating around. Systems in which a great battle recently took place would have wreckage floating about.

  • Add a new type of ship, a salvage hulk, which could collect wrecks and reclaim their contingent parts. weapons, engines, etc. just make each a generic cargo type.

  • More cargo types. This is a definite must if the game is to continue in its trading aspect.

  • More available ship resources. This is a sore point with many developers, and it needs to be fixed. Badly. 1024 usable resources sounds good, and should keep everyone happy for a few months. πŸ˜‰

  • Inception and decomissioning dates. Ship type foo is first available on n-days since start of game, and is no longer available after n1-days from start of game. This allows the obsleting of ships. After a ship type's decommision date, their appearance would slowly start to disappear from the game.

  • Two kinds of ship resources, base and subtype If a developer only specified the base model, the game would run as it does now. but the developer could also add a subtype of the same ship. Specify a base fighter configuration spec, and then add subtypes with special configurations that would appear randomly in place of the base configuration. Yes, this can be done with multiple ship resources and person resources, but doing it this way would be far simpler and more powerful. Coupled with the prior suggestion, this would allow the creation of a series of ships under the same nameplate. Turncaot Mk I., Mk II, Mk III, Mk IV, etc.

Okay... I think that's it for now. πŸ™‚

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(sorry about the multi quotes)

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(*)It would be neat (neato keen) to allow the use of a captains launch for larger ships. ... ("you're going to put that where?")

well, yes, but no... heh, for that matter, they did land SpaceBall 1 on the "tatooine" planet πŸ˜‰

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(*)We have the tribbles flag to increase the supply of a commodity over time. A spoil flag would be good as well.

yes...

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(*)And on that note, allow player to jettison carge by amount and type. Jettison 5 tons of food, in other words, instead of everything except mission related cargo.

have like a jettison dialog box, like plundering in reverse...

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(*)A persistent universe. If a player jettisons some cargo, that cargo should still be floatin' around if they land and return to the game, jump out of the system and jump back in, etc. Cargo would spread around the system, but could be recoverable if it exposure to space wouldn't spoil it (i.e., food would be useless, but equipment would be okay).

uhh, "persistant universe"... sounds like terminus to me πŸ™‚ get a ram scope & slow down to under 1K, maybe 500m... πŸ˜‰

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(*)Add a set of sprites for each ship that could be used as ship wreckage.

delericts. can be done via dude rsrc's for the system... or fleets for a mass junkyard type effect.

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(*)Add a new type of ship, a salvage hulk, which could collect wrecks and reclaim their contingent parts. weapons, engines, etc. just make each a generic cargo type.

again, delericts.

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(*)Inception and decomissioning dates.

mission flags. hell, his burchiness added so many flags to 1.0.2 that you could purchase some new technology (outfit item) & that'd trigger a mission bit so it appears that time's passing...

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(*)Two kinds of ship resources, base and subtype

same as above πŸ˜‰

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"the bathroom ain't preety, let's keep it that way." - Adam Corrola

(url="http://"http://calcwire.calc.org/tiev.shtml")Calcwire: Ti-EV(/url) (still dead)
~ Robin ( (url="http://"mailto:funky_cheeze@usa.net")mailto:funky_cheeze@usa.net(/url)funky_cheeze@usa.net

How about ships drop their cargo when exploding. And you could only pick it up if you had a salvage bay

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"How can I make it go faster?" -Me-

MUST HAVE*** Being able to trade ships at any time with your CAPTURED escorts, and you could switch back and kepp all you outfits.

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"...Cotton Mouse... to say that the plug is royally messed up is an understatement. I'm taking a look at it with Plug Checker, and some of these errors I have just never seen before..."-Obormot, debugger

ERA for EV:
www.geocities.com/rhysmctharin/erahome.html

(still in alpha stages)

Some time ago I posted some suggestions, too. They were in two groups. The first added some features that would probably be fairly easy to implement. The second group would take the determinism out of the game by implementing some GAs to allow systems to evolve over time. Similar to your decomission date idea.
(url="http://"http://www.AmbrosiaSW.com/webboard/Forum9/HTML/000674.html")http://www.AmbrosiaS...TML/000674.html(/url)

Anyway, I really like the idea of being able to pick up cargo, salvage wreckage, etc. They'd be a fun features. I especially like the idea of pirates launching cargo and wreckage ships from their holds to clean up a system so as not to scare away any potential prey.

The ability to add room to your fighter bay is nice as well. It'd also be nifty to have a general fighter bay that would allow you to have just about any ship dock. Given, you'd need a very large ship to carry a capital ship or two, but it would open up the possibility of having what would essentially be mobile stations or heavilly armored bases (I hate to say it, but think "Death Star").

Defining weapon locations I could do without. What might be nice would be an outfit allowing you to add more turrented weapons. Could make it so that you get more weapons, but your armor strength decreases (because you're chopping holes in your hull.

-STH

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Originally posted by seant:
**
Defining weapon locations I could do without. What might be nice would be an outfit allowing you to add more turrented weapons. Could make it so that you get more weapons, but your armor strength decreases (because you're chopping holes in your hull.
**

Good idea on the extra turrets, but I still think we need an x,y system for reality. Imagine if I had a ship that was a big 100px disc. If, in my 3d program, I place turrets at the very port and starboard tips, the game will show their fire originating off the center line. On narrow ships whose main section is a cylinder (like every capital ship in EV), this isn't too much a realism problem. But on wider ships, it's an obvious goof. Also remember that the extra dispersion of the turrets makes for a more interesting spread of fire.

ANYWAY, and addendum to the cargo idea: Excuse my physics if I'm wrong, but shouldn't a ship's performance be affected by the load its carrying beyond its own weight? In other words, a freighter should lose acceleration, turning rate, etc. when its fully loaded. In a firefight, one could jettison cargo to increase ship performance. The AI could also follow suit, with wimpy traders jettisoning their cargo if their shields drop below 25%. Brave traders would hold-on until 5% or something. Of course, allow the plugin developer to set those.

On the wreckage: Yea, I know it can already be done. But You can't do it in real game time. Imagine if you blew away a turncoat, and chunks of turncoat are left behind. The wreckage would stick around for a given time, depending on what's in the system. Open space, with no plaets or asteroids, and it would basically be there forever. In a system with a large planet and, thus, a planet with a higher gravity, the chunks would disappear in a few months. Tie this in with salvage ships (junk collectors guild, if you want to start creating corporations), and you open an entirely new path in the game.

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My suggestions have more to do with plot options available to plug writers. One of them would not be terribly difficult to implement: more venues on a spΓΆb. As it stands, all we have now is the standard spaceport bar. Though you can write around this to an extent ("After meeting Emperor Ming at the Levo Bar & Grill, the two of you head for his throneroom..."), it gets old for both writer and playerΒ—greater variety would be welcome. And not every option (say: spaceport tavern, port authority, loading zone, space traffic control) would need to be visible all the time. The plug writer could make use of whatever venues the plot calls for, and the others might be grayed out or even invisible.

My second suggestion is probably harder, but here goes: more ports per planetary spΓΆb. The player would have a choice of as many as (fill in the blank: two? four?) ports at which to land. The missions available to the player might vary, depending on the choice of ports. This would certainly be complicated, but it could make for varied play.

Apart from that, all I might suggest is a wilier AI against which to battle. Other players here (better pilots) probably have more specific ideas on that score. πŸ™‚

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PlanetPhil

if you lived here, you'd be home by now

I LOVE it when people post well thought out, feasible suggestions that would clearly add to the playability of the game. Good job, Foo.

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"Apple does not recommend allowing an elephant to operate a Mac in any environment."

combine the ares engine with the EV engine, and you get: a good engine!

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All these suggestions have to do with missions. A may already have been brought up.

Two time limits per mission
Let's say you have to extract a secret agent from a world. It is really important that you get him out of there as soon as possible, because he's blown his cover and is in hiding, but his reports aren't critical, so you can take your time in returning him.
The first time limit is for getting to travelstell (or destroying/boarding/etc the special ship), and the second time limit is for getting to returnstell.

Return stell: any world of this govt
Not sure when this'd be useful, but it bugs me that it doesn't exist.

Mission type: patroll
Player flies through a series of systems and fights any enemies of the govt that he encounters. These are not "special ships", but just normally created dudes. (Yeah, I know this is hell to code but I can still dream).

A bounty on special ships
In addition to the standard reward for a mission the player also gets x credits for every special ship that he personally destroys.

CargoQty: as much as the cargo bay can hold
Player plunders a pirate treasury, smuggles brandy or whatever. He gets x credits for every ton he takes, so naturally it's in his interest to load as much cargo as possible.
CargoQty 20030 (example) would be interpretted as: as much as the player can load, but no more than 30 tons.

Well, I'm sure I'll come up with more.

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Pontus Ilbring

"Fire bad! Fire BAD!"

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Originally posted by Chrestomanci:
**I LOVE it when people post well thought out, feasible suggestions that would clearly add to the playability of the game. Good job, Foo.

**

Thanks man πŸ™‚

and there's more:

  • Support for jumpgates if the plugin developer so wishes. Certain systems could be marked as having jumpgates and others as not. Ships would be flagged as jump capable or not. Jump capable ships can jump from any system regardless of the presence of a jumpgate. (If there is a jump gate in the system, give the jump capable ships a, say, 50% decrease in jump time between systems). Add a simple set of graphics to server as a "jump vortex"--with the alpha matting in EV3, this would look awesome.

  • Escape pods should behave as any normal ship. Players should be able to destroy and board escape pods. Destroying escape pods would, obviously, be a very nasty thing to do and most governments would consider it such. On boarding an escape pod, present options to rescue the occupants in a nice, friendly way, or make them pay an extortion fee for their salvation. Of course the latter would have some nasty penalties.

  • Crew experience modifier. Over time, the ship's crew would gain experience. Gunners would get a bit more accurate with each fire fight, navigators could shave a bit more fuel off jump requirements, cargo handlers could maybe find you an extra tonne or two of storage, technicians improve your computer systems (i.e., radar, ECM, etc.), engineers give you a bit more thrust and turning capability, etc. If your ship is destroyed, the crew that escapes would randomly appear throughout the universe on ships that you purchase and other ships that happen to fly around. e.g., you buy a new ship and, after purchase, you get a dialog box saying "n-crewmembers on your new ship, the Foo, served under you on the Old Foo" and then do the experience breakdown and what not.

  • In game support for wormholes. You can do this already by linking systems cross-map (there's a pixel limit on the distance, though), but it'd be nice to just declare an object within a system a wormhole, and link it to another wormhole elsewhere.

  • Make the AI better at handling ships with odd specifications. e.g., a very high speed, but low acceleration ship confuses the AI terribly, yet handles as it's supposed to in human hands. (stupid thing to do to a ship? nope. i have plans.)

  • Mentioned before, but spobs need to have a defense grid. Planetary guns, torpedoes on space stations, etc. If you start screwing with people in a system, the system should have the capacity to fight back. Just add an outfit section to the spob resource. Make developers happy.

  • An Ares-like starfield. Please! πŸ™‚ And also, add minimal support for z-buffering in the game. If I want a nebula to appear in the background of a system, I should be able to drop in an pict with its alpha mask and layer it in the background.

  • Also, blending modes for transparent graphics would be good. It's already been mentioned that weapons in EV3 can "glow" and cast light on other sprites. Blending modes seems the obvious way of doing this, so we might actually see it.

More to come...

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Great suggestions so far! Things like crew morale or experience or food on board would be a bit too much to manage. I think it would decrease the "fun value" of EV and make it a bit to much like a sim than an EV-like game. Even defense grids and the like would get a bit too complex.

More default weapons and outfits: must!

More turret spots: must! (try making a huge warship...you'd theoretically be able to sit with a fighter between turret spots!)

Have all turrets point at the target, not parallel!

Have the AI be able to use outfits.

Have transport-type ships, that land on the planet (think Ares)! (would really be good for storyline development)

Have timed, or relative-to-mission-timed events. Like, if you evacuate a planet, the evil government might later colonize it or leave it alone, so the evacuees would later re-colonize it.

MORE BEAM TYPES. I've already said this...but there's only so much you can do with projectiles and there's only 1 type of beam, visually. Ideas would be moving beams (extends foreward from your ship, beam is produced while the fire key is depressed, and cuts off when you release with the end trailing foreward), different-looking beams (t-space bolt rod in Ares?), sprite-beams (make a repeating section of a beam as a graphic and use it to form your beams), etc.

Combining weapon types. Turreted heavy rockets? Turreted GUIDED rockets? Accelerating guided rockets? Swivel beams? It'd add variety. New weapon types could be neat, like a side-ejecting rocket launcher: it pops out of the side of your ship and accelerates foreward.

Oh, and see what you can do to make smoke trails better with the new alpha mask support.

The idea of base-and-varient ships would be good. My current project could use that. Even better, though, for some things like EV would be having the base ship being what you buy, and varients what you fight. That'd solve the "Do you really think that pirate would leave his Kestrel a STOCK MODEL?" problem.

Multiple shield types would be interesting.

Those are my several cents.

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Originally posted by Weepul 884:
**Great suggestions so far! Things like crew morale or experience or food on board would be a bit too much to manage. I think it would decrease the "fun value" of EV and make it a bit to much like a sim than an EV-like game. Even defense grids and the like would get a bit too complex.
**

I disagree. I think that the trick to making EV a more fun game is to expand it's horizons. Right now, it is mostly doing missions, taking over planets, that's about it, despite the saying that you can make a living at trading.EV3 should TRULY have everything from world managing to fighting. The best of it all. That means:

An expanded trading system, with supply and demand, investments, and the like. People get addicted to trading the stock market. If you could include that in EV, I would play it just for the trading part.

A mission based scripting language. For the mercenary pilot, that side of the game should become increasingly engaging and complex.

Management of conquered worlds/creation of a "Player" government. For the megalomaniac, they truly can take over the galaxy, instead of just dealing with tributes.

Unfortunately, this ultimate EV would be huge, combining MOO2, the stock market, and EV+Ares all in one game. So I ask for small steps in each direction, adding a little of each. The game SHOULD be more like a sim, but it should be more like a space shooter at the same time, for those who want to do it. That is EV's strong point - variability, and EV3 should expand on that.

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"Apple does not recommend allowing an elephant to operate a Mac in any environment."

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Originally posted by Chrestomanci:
**I disagree. I think that the trick to making EV a more fun game is to expand it's horizons. Right now, it is mostly doing missions, taking over planets, that's about it, despite the saying that you can make a living at trading.EV3 should TRULY have everything from world managing to fighting. The best of it all.
**

Exactly... I do hope Ambrosia takes this tack and,if so, I'd like to throw out a suggestion. If Ambrosia starts tacking on these huge features to EV3, a lot of people are going to kvetch as it's very likely that the game will operate "oddly" without their use in the plugin. It'd be nice to have a single resource where developers can disable entire features of the game to prevent distraction. If you want to make some sort of all-out bloodbath plugin for EV3, let us turnoff the economic engine, instead only getting credits by disabling and boarding ships. that's just one avenue and one specific instance, but something needs to be done to save us from information overload.

something CAN be said for the beauty of simplicity πŸ˜‰

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Does anyone else think it's alittle late to be giving any major suggestions now, the chances of them being implemented are not great IMHO.

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(url="http://"http://celticstarbase.tsx.org")http://celticstarbase.tsx.org(/url)
(url="http://"mailto:celticstarbase@esatclear.ie")mailto:celticstarbase@esatclear.ie(/url)celticstarbase@esatclear.ie

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Originally posted by CelticStarbase:
**Does anyone else think it's alittle late to be giving any major suggestions now, the chances of them being implemented are not great IMHO.

**

It dpeends on how far along development actually is. If nothing else, it's providing mental stimulation for matt b. and the rest of the ambrosia crew, come the time for EV4 πŸ˜‰

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Originally posted by Chrestomanci:
**Management of conquered worlds/creation of a "Player" government. For the megalomaniac, they truly can take over the galaxy, instead of just dealing with tributes.
**

The player govt concept is worth a $25 registration fee all by its lonesome. Very good.

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PlanetPhil

if you lived here, you'd be home by now

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Originally posted by PlanetPhil:
**The player govt concept is worth a $25 registration fee all by its lonesome. Very good.

**

I'm not denying I thought that up on my own, but just like the MP maneuver, I wasn't the first.

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"Apple does not recommend allowing an elephant to operate a Mac in any environment."

EV3 should not be a lot more complicated. It would turn out like Ares, you ca't do everything you need to do because there are too many things to do.

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You're unique, just like everybody else.

Those things, those things! They're all around, they hide in the corners until they see light...

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Originally posted by Troopa:
**EV3 should not be a lot more complicated. It would turn out like Ares, you ca't do everything you need to do because there are too many things to do.

**

Most of what I've suggested is completely behind the scenes improvements for plugin developers. You're talking gameplay issues.

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My signature is short and unobtrusive. I don't have a long sig to overcompansate for "ego" problems.