"Trade Captain" Plug-In Development Questions

formerly "typical n00b..."

I've never coded anything in my life, but making a plug has captured my interest lately. I don't want to start out making a TC with 10000 ships or anything like that. My goals are more modest.

My goal is to eventually change the game to make trading a more central part of gameplay by increasing the amount of risk & reward involved. Right now the reward is high, especially if you have plenty of cash &.cargo space. But unless you're hauling.contraband,.the risk is pretty low. To me, this makes trading something I almost never do.

My plan is to make all or most tradeable.goods contraband. If you get scanned by any government, you get attacked. Items like.food will buy & sell low and be legal to trade, whereas say "equipment" will buy and sell higher and carries penalties if caught hauling.

Part 2 here is to make missions unavailable until a later stage in the game. I don't know if it's possible to create a license available in the outfitter that will "unlock" typical missions (ferry passengers, etc.) I would make the price high (100,000cr) and if I'm feeling particularly nasty, I'll throw in a,"dud" license that will kindly take your money but not make missions available.

This would call for no new ships, systems, etc... I might edit existing ships to allow for gameplay but we'll see.

Anyway, the big idea is to make trading more exciting... do I at least have a good concept? That is my BIG question here. Can a plug-in make trading more exciting?

This post has been edited by Sklent : 27 September 2013 - 08:31 PM

It most certainly can. Everything you plan to do so far can still be done within the limits of EVN's engine, and I'd welcome some new content to bring me back to playing EVN more instead of the various TCs I have on hand. If you have any questions, ask away and I'll do what I can to answer them.

Ok great, thank you Kev. I think my first task is to haul existing contraband in the game and see how much of a challenge it is. I may beef up the patrol ships depending on how easy it is.

This post has been edited by Sklent : 25 September 2013 - 01:08 PM

So far I've only been caught hauling bio-weapons. Most feds don't seem to care. I was scanned about 10 times and only attacked twice.

I also found that the shuttle is waaay too fast to make this challenging. A stock shuttle.can easily outrun fed vipers & patrol boats. Definitely going to slow it down.

The patrol ships also don't show up enough. And when they do, they scan you last. I may increase the likelihood of patrols and decrease other ships. Otherwise you practically have to beg to be caught.

OK - my first task is to either slow the shuttle down or speed up the patrol ships. Let me ask you please if I have this right:

(using EVNew)

  1. Create a "ship" resource.

  2. Copy all stats from existing shuttle (with significantly slower engines) and set as the same ID.

I think I have this right... but I don't know.any ship IDs. Is there a list of ship IDs somewhere?

You should be able to actually copy the shuttle resource itself and paste it into a plug-in. As for the ID, the stock Sigma shuttle is ID 128. If you can open Nova Data 1, it should contain all the ship resources.

Keep in mind I do things on a Mac, and Mission Computer (the Mac equivalent of EVNEW) has been said to be much more capable. Meaning I'm not sure if EVNEW can copy entire resources or not, but I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be able to.

And, yes, there seems to be a slight bug with Interceptor AIs in that they won't always attack you when scanning you. They seem to attack more often, though, if you have illegal outfits installed than if you have contraband.

If you want a good scale on speed, start up a game in Strict-Mode as, if memory serves, Non-Strict pilots have a 1.5 speed modifier. Be careful when modifying ships to change AI behavior because it may cause undesirable problems when piloting said ships for yourself.

As a matter of fact you can copy resources, and that's probably the easiest way to modify the ship.

I've actually never hauled contraband myself so I can't help you with anything there. But one thing to think about might be changing the trade routes. From a practical/in-game standpoint,having different types of goods several systems apart wouldn't happen, but if you were to eliminate some of the same-system routes that players tend to abuse maliciously, that would make it a bit more difficult, especially if normal travel has a chance of you getting scanned and attacked or fined.

Thanks Terrivel. You make sense but unfortunately I'm ignorant 😄 I can conceive what "copy resources" means but I'm not sure how to go about doing it. Is there a file in EV Nova called "shüttle shïp resource" that I can just import into EVNEW? I would look myself but I'm away from my computer a lot.

I think that the other problem may be that patrol ships do not fly at 100% unless they are hostile. You're probably right about non-strict play getting a 1.5x boost, but according to the Wikia patrol ships aren't that much faster than a typical shuttle.

Shuttles get up to 400, Patrol boats get 450-475. Thats probably IF they are mad. Even if that isn't true, I can generally poke around for about 60 seconds before they catch up and scan me. And that's at half speed.

I definitely agree that missions and trading are waaaay too profitable. It only costs 100 credits per jump. So if you take even the least paying mission, "ferry passengers", and it takes you 5 jumps, it only costs 500 credits. You get paid 5,000 credits, so you double your money 10 times over! So in the future we're price-gouging people 😛

Some trade routes will let you double your money, but I may make it only possible to break even at certain times. Just like real life... just because you have tons of stuff doesn't mean you're going to sell it for a tidy profit every single time.

Anyway... big question: how do I copy the resource of an existing ship? I know how to do this with a plug-in .rez file but I'm unsure of how to do this within the game itself.

Ok sorry Kev - I'm accessing this forum on my phone and your post didn't show (or, more likely, I am blind).

I think I will start editing the shuttle & see if I can get caught. Right now entering hyperspace from the system center only takes a few minutes, so it's gonna be a slooooow shuttle.

My REAL goal, I realized, is to re-create the feelings I had about the game when I was younger. Starting out playing EVC with only 10,000 credits, saving up enough to buy that first upgrade ship was so exciting! You were learning about the game, and it was challenging! After the initial learning curve, however, the shuttle-to-warship phase is just the "pre-game" and I find myself just skipping over it with cheats because it adds nothing to gameplay. Hopefully this will make every step of the game more fun.

This post has been edited by Sklent : 26 September 2013 - 04:33 PM

OK progress so far has been great. I've become more confortable using EV:New. I think that I will leave the shuttle as-is, but cut all cargo capacity. Instead of making cargo contraband, I will make an illegal outfit (more patrols get mad vs. contraband.cargo) that adds 5 tons of cargo and decreases speed. More ideas are coming in, but money management is going to be a required skill.

Are there any aspects of the game you would like to see expanded? (Like JT expanded close-quarters combat in Coloseum)

This post has been edited by Sklent : 27 September 2013 - 11:08 PM

Bleh. Two main issues: computer keeps crashing, and getting hold of Ambrosia to get my license code has been a nightmare. It was registered years ago when I had a different email address, and my computer doesn't have Internet access anymore. 😛

Hopefully by the time I get my issues resolved people will still be around to play my plug. Thanks for all your input, I will be back ASAP to implement your suggestions.

update: Bernard got hold of me and got me my license code. now i just gotta keep my computer from crashing every 5 minutes

This post has been edited by Sklent : 04 October 2013 - 03:52 PM

yaaay, work has finally begun!

I assumed that the probability of a ship appearing in a system involved the dude resource. I set all the probabilities to 99 and nothing happened! (dude 128)

Right now I am just working on Federation space. How do I make more interceptor ships appear?

As I understand it, the düde resource is used to describe a single ship. For example, a mission might assign you four "Federation capital ship" escorts, by calling for four ships of düde id nnn, which has, say, a 75% probability of being a Fed destroyer and a 25% probability of being a Fed carrier. Altering the probabilities within a düde resource will not change the number of ships in any situation, only which ships they might be.

In sÿst resources, there is a field that MissionComputer labels "Average number of ships". That seems likely what you're looking for. And then there are several fields for which düdes will appear with what probabilities. So if you want a bunch more interceptors, but not to change anything else, then you might, say, double the "Average number of ships", halve the probabilities for all düdes that aren't interceptors, and bump up the probability of interceptors so all probabilities add to 1. (I'm not sure exactly what happens if probabilities don't add to 1. I'd guess it all just gets scaled somehow.)

That did the trick, thanks!

editing syst resources: about 2% done 😛
10/9/13: 6% done with adding interceptors to syst resources
10/11/13: 13% done... Federation space done!

10/13/13: decided to eliminate commodities (except junks) from all planets except 2 (Harbor and Houseless). Still fiddling with interceptors

This post has been edited by Sklent : 14 October 2013 - 12:50 AM

OK at some point I need to replace the Barry tutorial string with my own tutorial. The problem is, the first mission's briefing desc ID is #4630... which seems to be nonexistant. Can anyone find this?

Barry's misn IDs #s are in the 750s.

PS DarthKev... remember how not all Feds will scan and become hostile when you're carrying BioWeapons? Apparently there are multiple Federation govt IDs that are identical but do not carry the same ScanMask bits. Simple enough to fix.

This post has been edited by Sklent : 14 October 2013 - 12:57 AM

Hmm, that's a somewhat interesting query... And, my findings:

- The first Barry tutorial mission is mïsn 251. Notice that all the Barry missions have ";Tutorial nnn" after them; then have Mission Computer search for the string "tutorial" to find the others.
- It looks like mïsn 758, whose OfferText is that missing dësc #4630, gets automatically started when you abort any of the immediately previous Barry missions; it's not really supposed to be offered and accepted, hence the missing dësc.
- At any rate, you don't need resource id nnnn to exist in order to create a plug-in that overwrites it. Just create a new resource with that id in your plug-in.

Thanks again scavenger. Working on this plug has, been like learning another,language. Fun, but with much tedium 😛

If I'm not totally burnt out when I finish adding more interceptors to syst resources I may very well add at least a few additional mission strings, if not a whole new storyline. I need a cooler name than "Trade Captain" though, since your main income source will be smuggling.

"The Han Solo Plug" 😄

I did consider "Scruffy Nerf-Herder." 😄

No progress on syst resources as of yet, just working on other aspects to prevent burnout.

Right now I'm replacing "Barry" with a gal named Brenda. Everything has worked so far except when you take off, your misn cargo reads "Barry" still. I haven't found anything in the misn resource or the desc resources to change this. The cargo ID is 73, but I have no idea where to look for that.

How do I give Barry a name change in the cargo readout?

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