Author Topic: Players role in the ship  (Read 8712 times)

Imaus

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Players role in the ship
« on: April 26, 2012, 11:00:20 pm »
Semi wall of text.


Anyways, this has been on my mind for some time now, what will the player do in the ship. We probley will be the captian , which is fine but are "We the ship" or is the crew and you the ship? I have been thinking about this for some time and i was wondering how we would fly, shoot, and feed the ship. The first worry is the helmpad ATM  (prone to change) is "the ship" without it its nothing. Now this will change but i fear something similar to this will show up. What i mean is that the captain isnt the captian he is the gunner, helmsman, navigator, which isnt how it works. This also makes bridges sound usless, because if one thing has power of the the entire ship who needs a dozen CPUs maning usless desktops. This segways into my next worry, No need for more then one or two Consoles on the ship. If the player does everything on the ship that is navigation or flight related, who needs 1/5 the crew maning the consoles around the ship. To fix this in my mind, we will need to add many blocks (or Consoles can be given a job when made) that houses different purposes to move and map the ship. While a bridge in our current day ships sometime  only have one person, in a battle they can have many more. That was a little off topic but anyway back to the players role. The player should also be able to sit there in a lazy manner and give orders without actually using any consoles. It would be something like the captain sits in the chair in the bridge with some Tvs that show some basic info on the ship (hull breaches, air, power, known crew deaths) and other things. So you are the captain, not some godlike mutitasker :P. sure he can go fix hull breachs or fight off invaders, but he doesnt have to he has people to do it for him.


Thats my 2 cents. :)

Edit: grammer
« Last Edit: April 26, 2012, 11:06:19 pm by Imaus »
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MrVorgra

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2012, 11:10:35 pm »
I expect the player will only be able to use navigating etc if a cpu is located a the navigation console, etc....
Real Men drive vehicles without knowing how fast they are moving or how much fuel remains in the tank.

Imaus

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2012, 11:20:45 pm »
I expect the player will only be able to use navigating etc if a cpu is located a the navigation console, etc....
So your saying that as along as a red shirt is a the navigation console you can navigate....not bad.
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MrVorgra

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2012, 12:04:27 am »
exactly, so if that redshirt walks off there goes your navigation
Real Men drive vehicles without knowing how fast they are moving or how much fuel remains in the tank.

blackether

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2012, 09:22:03 am »
The one, singular, lonely, player needs to be able to pilot a (small) ship by himself. Why wouldn't this scale up to large ships?

If an NPC can handle the job, then an AI can handle the job. It doesn't make a difference code wise. It would actually be less intensive to NOT have NPCs running around and simply have the actions emulated through the ship's computer...

The only reason ships in the 1700s had so many crew members was that there was absolutely no automation. Until computers came along, ships required a man or machine with an operator to fulfill every function. As soon as you add computers into the mix, you no longer require the vast majority of the crew and many tasks become much less demanding.

Just look at the difference between a modern ship CIC and one from post WWII.

It just seems silly to be so attached to the way things work in the 'Golden Age' of naval combat. There really isn't any reason to need so many people to do things when you have 1 very interfaced person and powerful computers to assist them. Thus, when 1 person is able to adeptly control a small ship (think fighter jet), why can't they control a large ship?

Vininator

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2012, 09:29:42 am »
The one, singular, lonely, player needs to be able to pilot a (small) ship by himself. Why wouldn't this scale up to large ships?

If an NPC can handle the job, then an AI can handle the job. It doesn't make a difference code wise. It would actually be less intensive to NOT have NPCs running around and simply have the actions emulated through the ship's computer...

The only reason ships in the 1700s had so many crew members was that there was absolutely no automation. Until computers came along, ships required a man or machine with an operator to fulfill every function. As soon as you add computers into the mix, you no longer require the vast majority of the crew and many tasks become much less demanding.

Just look at the difference between a modern ship CIC and one from post WWII.

It just seems silly to be so attached to the way things work in the 'Golden Age' of naval combat. There really isn't any reason to need so many people to do things when you have 1 very interfaced person and powerful computers to assist them. Thus, when 1 person is able to adeptly control a small ship (think fighter jet), why can't they control a large ship?

because on a large ship there are many more systems to watch over, and many more things that could go wrong. I agree that a 200m shouldnt need 1000 people to run it, but a crew of about 100 should be minimum. after all, if you get hit and there's damage to the reactor, are you going to run back there to fix it while you're maneuvering through an asteroid field? are you going to be able to fix a power coupling that's been cut in 7 places all by yourself before the ship catches fire?

blackether

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2012, 10:56:47 am »
because on a large ship there are many more systems to watch over, and many more things that could go wrong. I agree that a 200m shouldnt need 1000 people to run it, but a crew of about 100 should be minimum. after all, if you get hit and there's damage to the reactor, are you going to run back there to fix it while you're maneuvering through an asteroid field? are you going to be able to fix a power coupling that's been cut in 7 places all by yourself before the ship catches fire?

Autonomous nanite repair bots. Why waste system resources trying to simulate NPC AI when you can use those resources to simulate computer-based AI that can do a much more efficient job? I feel like having a 'large' crew is going to weigh me down with their maintenance, as opposed to plain old ship maintenance. I guess I really just don't know how 100 'people' are actually going to help in the vast majority of situations. I see most of them as a waste of CPU cycles and of in-game resources, not of fully capable 'human' crew members.

Vininator

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2012, 10:59:12 am »
What if someone hits you with an EMP bomb? And for that matter, if the ship has such complex AI capability then why are YOU there?

blackether

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2012, 11:06:24 am »
You don't have to be there...

How are enemy ships going to operate without a human captain?

There needs to be a balance between things that operate for the sake of the computers efficiency, and things that operate for the sake of gameplay and strategy. I am simply suggesting that our 'crews' may be much smaller (even on very large ships) than what we might have been expecting, especially if we based our previous assumptions around various sci-fi universes or even 'modern' naval ships.

Vininator

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2012, 11:07:56 am »
You don't have to be there...

How are enemy ships going to operate without a human captain?

There needs to be a balance between things that operate for the sake of the computers efficiency, and things that operate for the sake of gameplay and strategy. I am simply suggesting that our 'crews' may be much smaller (even on very large ships) than what we might have been expecting, especially if we based our previous assumptions around various sci-fi universes or even 'modern' naval ships.

Even if the required crew is relatively small, it's still advantageous to have more people than the ship actually needs in case of casualties or to repel boarders.

blackether

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2012, 11:25:10 am »
But every 'person' has to be independently simulated by your computer, regardless (unless they are actually a human player). I don't know of any FPSs that allow for multiple-hundreds of persons combat on fully destructible platforms moving in 6DOF, all while simultaneously allowing for potentially dozens of player characters to be interacting...

Likewise, except in combat situations what can the simulated crewmembers do exactly? We know that crewmembers will require a constant supply of food/water (from a previous Zanmgt thread), and that they will be able to be given 'orders' of some sort, but how versatile are they actually going to be?

The Player Character will have many capabilities, but so far we don't know much about how the crew will interact with the player beyond the fact that they will exist and draw resources for existing. Some evidence points to players being able to manage crewmember activity as per Evil Genius, but will this be done through a virtual 3rd person interface in a console, or via 1st person with 'commands' issued face to face (or more indirectly, anyway)? I think that a 3rd person interface could be very interesting and open up a huge array of options for strategy (with crewmembers being much more like independent units in an rts than typical FPS bots), but implementation of this kind of design could be challenging. Provided that it can be even done, combat situations may become a very precise balance of giving general ship orders, maneuvering combat teams aboard your (and the enemy) ship, and developing a sort of attack chain for you ship to execute to bring the enemy ship to a more favorable strategic position. On top of all of that, you would be able to set the ship to 'autopilot,' jump out of the Captain's chair, and head off into battle in a last stand against the enemy onslaught.

Me2005

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2012, 12:08:40 pm »
This is a topic I've been harping on for a long time - in theory, your player-character should be able to completely man a ship by himself, since all the NPC's will just be eye-candy when it comes down to actually flying the ship as far as gameplay is concerned. If you, the player, are sitting in the captain's chair and you can then see the whole battlefield around you and fire all your weapons in a satisfying way at targets and fly your ship, you don't need the NPC's, which means you don't need any additional "people" on the ship for it to fly.

...And for that matter, if the ship has such complex AI capability then why are YOU there?

The ship isn't deciding what to do, you are. NPC ships wouldn't be nearly as interesting as player ships; they would nessecarily be governed by pre-set rules: "Attack ships nearby of X size," "Fly to nearest planet and land," "Follow player and shoot him if he shoots anybody." NPC's (and AI's; since an AI in-game is just another type of NPC) cannot make interesting choices on their own, players must make them.

In order for a player to control their in-game ship they need an interface, and that interface is usually the keyboard and mouse. If you have to type or talk your orders to your NPC crew to get them to do anything, as you would expect IRL with real crew and you playing a real captain, the interface will be terrible - mis-type and an order won't go through (Yay for 80's technology!), and speech hasn't been implemented in this way before and I would find it slow and clumsy for a game when I'm used to being able to press "W" and my character goes forward or "S" and I go backward. So, if the game uses the very traditional and expected keyboard-mouse interface, I'm expecting that moving the mouse while in control of the ship will make it move or let me issue targets or something simliar, and pressing the keys on the keyboard will let me accelerate/decelerate/roll/pitch/yaw/fire weapons/etc. If that's the case, NPC's are totally meaningless - except if they are necessary for certain ship components to work properly, and then emulating them at all times is a waste of CPU. If my ship gets hit and some of them die, then my missiles stopping firing or whatever is fine, but then a hit to my missile bay might disable it without killing the crew, so that's still possible without emulated NPC-crew.

So at most I would envision that NPC's are used as a kind of limit to how you can build your ship - you need an NPC manning the warp core, and the missile-launcher, and the laser turret; but they don't actually do anything, they just enable that system to work and without them it won't run. I'd go so far as to, when in flight, just estimate what they're doing and their losses (the NPC's are kept as a stat, and a hit to a turret that damages/destroys it has a 50% chance of killing off one of your crew, for example), and some systems might stop working if the NPC stat gets too low. Then I'd actually render them when you're walking around or when you're engaging in boarding actions, though I've expressed how I feel those are overrated for how often they'd probably happen - you'd need to first shoot out an opponent's reactor, weapons, or engines so they can't fight you and can't run, without venting the whole ship into space or leaving it little more than a smoking hulk.
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MrVorgra

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2012, 12:22:41 pm »
Me2005 exactly what I was saying, and yeah boarding isn't going to happen that often to be honest (if the its of similar difficulty as in the X3universe) and on top of that (not being a dick) but to be honest I would even bother capping the large majority of the current player made ships, I would only bother with the few good ones.
Real Men drive vehicles without knowing how fast they are moving or how much fuel remains in the tank.

Imaus

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2012, 06:21:06 pm »
Well ater reading this all i can see everyones point but i think Me2005 idea would work the best just due the the fact that if a ship had 1000 crew the game probley couldnt render all that or even compute it.
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SnowDragon

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2012, 06:38:43 pm »
What if someone hits you with an EMP bomb? And for that matter, if the ship has such complex AI capability then why are YOU there?

Well, remember, some of us have complex AI's in our backstories, they're part of the canon if you like. A computer can do things many thousands of times faster than any person, so they replace a lot of crew for a lot of tasks. But, you still need crew on board to maintain the ship, and a captain would still be needed on board to fly the ship.