Need some design advice for a plugin

Need some help using EVNEW...

I downloaded one of the firefly plugins (actually, I downloaded 3 different versions, all of them use the same graphic though)... and I wasn't really satisfied with the way they designed the ship.

I then went to tweak the ship, and found that I wasn't really satisfied with how I was designing it - so I stopped, stepped back from the game for a bit and tried to think why. And the answer was fairly simple. I would like to play the entire game with this one ship; however in the beginning it would be way too powerful, if I made it strong enough to go through the whole game (or even a significant portion), and if I balanced it as a starting ship, then it would be too weak very quickly.

So I thought, well, I'll just design it as a starting ship, then as I progress keep editing the plugin to make it stronger!

And I started to do that, but then every time I had too much difficulty I would be quitting the game, tweaking the plugin, and coming back just a bit stronger. And this was killing the fun quickly.

So I stepped back again and tried to think of a better solution. And I think I have come up with it... but I don't know exactly how to implement it.

I'd like to create a whole bunch of ships with identical graphics, and names... but with different stats. And I would like to require that you buy them in a progressive order, so you can't get the 'level 3' version until after you bought the 'level 2' version, etc.

I even toyed with the idea of branching development; i.e. you start out with a basic firefly, then you can buy a level 2 version - but there are 2 different level 2 versions; one with extra cargo space and one with extra mass. Then depending on which level 2 version you bought, you could upgrade to one of several level 3 versions; from 2a you could upgrade to 3a or 3b or 3c, and from 2b you could upgrade to 3c or 3d or 3e... and so on. (Yes I used 3c twice, I figure some crossover is a good thing if you want to balance between trading and fighting)...

I just don't know how I would go about doing this. I assume it would be the 'require' bits? Which ones can I use that aren't used by the core storylines? I'd like to make this into something I (or anyone else) could use in any of the 6 major stories... and possibly even with TCs

Coming up with various ship stats and a progression layout will be quite easy for me, I'll base it off of the more commonly used ships in the game, though I won't just be copying over stats from those other ships, but using them as the baseline... I've already started a spreadsheet of comparisons...

The key differences will of course be mass, cargo, armor, shields, gun mounts, turret mounts, speed, acceleration, and maneuverability. The actual loadouts (which weapons and outfits that come with the ship) won't be altered all that much, as the player can still buy and sell these as normal.

I'm not really looking to keep to firefly/serenity canon here - I do love that series and its flavor, but I'm not trying to make a TC... this could just as easily use any other cool ship graphic; I just really like that ship's looks, which is why I am thinking of using it.

So... any advice on this? I know I will have to duplicate a lot of pict and desc resources, I'll have to make all the various ship and shan resources... the main thing for now (I'll probably find something else I need help with later) is how to restrict the progression, at least from 1>2>3>4>5, if not the 1>2a|2b>3a|3b|3c|3d|3e>4a|4b|4c>5a|5b or whatever I end up doing.

Oh, one other thing - how do I ensure that the ship is never available as an escort, or AI? So the player has a single unique ship you'll never see anywhere else in the game?

THANKS IN ADVANCE!

First off, topics about making plug-ins should go in the Dev Corner for future reference. A mod will probably come by and move it soon.

You're on the right track about how to implement it, the Require/Contribute bits were actually designed for similar purposes. Now about which ones are available, I don't have that committed to memory. Let's see here... here we go.

The checked bits are required and/or contributed by EVN's stock resources. Anything not checked is available for use. Now to go about it, I would have Firefly 1 require nothing but contribute 2B and 2C. Firefly 2a would require 2B and Firefly 2b would require 2C. Then continue from there with the other Firefly variants.

To keep it from showing up under AI control at all is quite simple. In the shïp resource, just put a zero in the 'To hire' field, now the player can't hire it as an escort. As for just showing up like any other ship, that can't happen unless you add it to a düde resource, so simply don't do that. Players could still make it an escort by capturing a ship and then switching with the captured ship, but that's impossible to prevent without making all other ships un-capture-able, which would be ridiculous.

This post has been edited by DarthKev : 16 September 2010 - 01:47 AM

Thanks a ton... I was hoping it was that simple, but fearing it wouldn't be. The last time I made a 'real' plugin (and not just tweaking the main or someone else's)... well, I remember I was doing it on my old Mac because there wasn't a windows version out yet... I think it was close to 7 or 8 years ago. And, that was with resedit, not EVNEW or whatever the Mac tool is.

Okay, another question - in EVNEW I get contribute bits 1-64; does this go 1A - 8H, or A1-H8? Big difference!

QUOTE (karossii @ Sep 16 2010, 06:16 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Okay, another question - in EVNEW I get contribute bits 1-64; does this go 1A - 8H, or A1-H8? Big difference!

My guess would be that ‘bit 1’ is 1A, ‘bit 2’ is 1B, and so on. That seems the most logical progression given their actual effect on the two hexadecimal flags, although when EVNEW invents its own method of doing things, it’s hard to tell for sure.

It may help to examine how the bits are set on the resources supplied by the game itself.

I'm really not sure how EVNEW handles the hex bits. I've always just used bit1, bit2, bit3, ect. In the require and contribute bit boxes for the outfit resources and ship resources, there is just the 1-64. Seems to work just fine for me. You can also use whatever bits you want, not just 1-64. If you wanted to make the Firefly available only after a person joins a major storyline, you could put b511 in the require field.

Contribute/require bits, of which there are 64, are a completely different thing from mission bits (NCBs), of which there are 1000. Contribute/require bits are the ones you set with a grid of checkboxes, while mission bits are specified with a number like b511.

Generally speaking, mission bits are used for storyline progressions and contribute/require bits for ship upgrades, though this isn't a fixed rule.

Well, for the moment I am using 2b, 3c, 4d, 5e, 6f, and 7g; as those 6 bits will have the same number whichever way it goes. I'll try perusing the existing resources to see if I can figure out for sure. My gut was the same as David Arthur's - 1A through 8H makes the most sense. But you know what happens when you make an assumption...!

Well, so far I added a government to allow for a custom sidebar, I created a steampunkish version of the sidebar to go with the firefly, and I sorted out 4 ships; the base model (a 'Passenger Transport'), and the line of Light/Medium/Heavy Freighter variants. I plan to have a Light/Medium/Heavy fighter variant, as well as the middle line (I'm thinking of calling them 'Scout', 'Armed Transport' and 'Heavy Armed Transport').

Here's the planned progression;

Passenger (require none, contribute 0000000000000200 {bit 10})

Light Freighter (require 0000000000000200 {bit 10}, contribute 0000000000000C00 {bits 11 & 12})
Light Fighter (require 0000000000000200 {bit 10}, contribute 0000000000001400 {bits 11 & 13})
Scout (require 0000000000000200 {bit 10}, contribute 0000000000001C00 {bits 11, 12, & 13})

Medium Freighter (require 0000000000000800 {bit 12}, contribute 0000000000006000 {bits 14 & 15})
Medium Fighter (require 0000000000001000 {bit 13}, contribute 000000000000A000 {bits 14 & 16})
Armed Transport (require 0000000000000400 {bit 11}, contribute 000000000000E000 {bits 14, 15, & 16})

Heavy Freighter (require 0000000000004000 {bit 15}, contribute 0000000000060000 {bits 18 & 19})
Heavy Fighter (require 0000000000008000 {bit 16}, contribute 00000000000A0000 {bits 18 & 20})
Heavy Armed Transport (require 0000000000002000 {bit 14}, contribute 00000000000E0000 {bits 18, 19 & 20})

And so on, if I add any others...I skipped 17, just in case the bits are going ' down, then across ' instead of ' across, then down '; it might be 1C instead of 3A.

I'm attaching the .rez file; not sure what you have to do to use it on a Mac machine, but Win users should be able to test it out.

Well, nevermind; I can't attach a .rez or a .rar file. How the heck am I supposed to show off a plugin I make?

Either you're attaching it wrong, or the file is too big. Either way you can use Dropbox or a similar service to host the file yourself.

QUOTE (DarthKev @ Sep 16 2010, 11:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Either you're attaching it wrong, or the file is too big. Either way you can use Dropbox or a similar service to host the file yourself.

Yup, I just noticed that the size limit is 100k; I thought it was 1,000k... really? 100k? That's a low quality thumbnail image, or a 3 paragraph text file! Oh well, I put it on a web server; here's a link...

www.rosspubgrp.com/evn/FireFlyMod.rez

I'll not have free time for a day or two; but feel free to look at it and give me feedback in the interim!

All I get is a page of code, not even an error message.

QUOTE (DarthKev @ Sep 17 2010, 05:48 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

All I get is a page of code, not even an error message.

Firefox and Chrome both automatically open a download dialog for me; not sure how Safari or Exploder would handle it, but I figured they would do the same. Anyway, here's the .rar version;

www.rosspubgrp.com/evn/FireFlyMod.rar

QUOTE (karossii @ Sep 17 2010, 05:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Firefox and Chrome both automatically open a download dialog for me; not sure how Safari or Exploder would handle it, but I figured they would do the same. Anyway, here's the .rar version;

www.rosspubgrp.com/evn/FireFlyMod.rar

This may also solve the problem; let me make a clickable link, and you can download or save target file as, instead of clicking through to the link (or copy/pasting the link)...

rar file

rez file

The .rar link worked. May I ask why you simply pasted in the link instead of making it a hyperlink?

** Edit:** Never mind...

This post has been edited by DarthKev : 16 September 2010 - 11:55 PM

QUOTE (DarthKev @ Sep 17 2010, 05:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The .rar link worked. May I ask why you simply pasted in the link instead of making it a hyperlink?

** Edit:** Never mind...

I know you crossed it out and said never mind, but to clear it up, I am new to this board and am used to the lazyman forums which convert an obvious hyperlink into an actual link, not requiring HTML or BBCODE... and I was being lazy expecting that kind of service. Once I noted the lack of service, I went in and typed in the BBCODE tags; and from now on I'll know that here I can't be lazy with my links.

Oh... one more thing... I didn't mention above but I extended the sidebar to 1000 pixels tall. This still leaves a bit of a gap on my 1920x1200 screen, but I figured it looked better than the 700 pixels or so (just guessing, can't remember what it actually was) that the stock bar came to. And it should also still look decent if you only have the smaller screen height; you'll just miss a tiny bit of steam punkish graphics.

Here's a pic of just the sidebar I made...

QUOTE (DarthKev @ Sep 17 2010, 12:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

All I get is a page of code, not even an error message.

If that ever happens, go File>save as or whatever the equivilent is for you. It'll DL as a complete file.

I would have gone with Mission Bits rather than Cont/Reqs, but oh well. It's a good idea.

QUOTE (karossii @ Sep 17 2010, 12:44 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

100k? That's a low quality thumbnail image, or a 3 paragraph text file! Oh well, I put it on a web server; here's a link...

Actually, 100K accommodates more than 20,000 words, and is quite capable of holding a screen-resolution photograph. 🙂 In truth the forum's attachment system is really meant more for sharing small files, such as screenshots or sample images, than for transmitting entire plug-ins.

QUOTE (Templar98921 @ Sep 17 2010, 01:33 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I would have gone with Mission Bits rather than Cont/Reqs, but oh well. It's a good idea.

Mission bits are the more obvious solution, but in fact I think using contribute/require is a good idea, since the progression isn't tied to the progression of a storyline.

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