Author Topic: Players role in the ship  (Read 6996 times)

blackether

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2012, 08:02:05 pm »
@Me2005
Pretty much to the letter.

NPCs need to 'exist' but their specific role in gameplay is very ill-defined at the moment. It is simply another case of 'we won't know until we know.'

At any rate, the player is going to have a lot of responsibility when it comes to managing things, as well as actually doing a lot of the things there are to do. Individual crew members will probably have either very specific responsibilities to fulfill (crewman abc123 is the radar operator and that is all he does), or will be very general purpose red shirts that can take over for one another at a moments notice (where each crewmember will be designated a tree of responsibilities to fulfill, and can accomplish any of them will close to the same capacity as anyone else).

Supposing option 2 occurs, we could attempt to discuss just how roles will be defined and how necessary it is for each role to be filled by a simulated NPC versus an automated system.

Neonivek

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2012, 07:10:20 pm »
You are forgetting about the possibility of multiple players inside the same ship.

There needs to be something for Non-captain PCs to do in the mean time. (though I assume they just man the turrets)

Woodledude

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2012, 07:58:40 pm »
On the topic of boarding: Completely destroying a ship is much easier than boarding, of course, and it's difficult to make a ship "boardable" without sucking out the air through a vacuum or making it explode. Here's the reason why it should be prominent: Back in the old days of sea-faring vessels, the goal when firing upon an enemy was NOT to sink him, because if you did that, then all the valuable cargo onboard would be lost. It's the same thing here: If you completely destroy a ship, you can't take prisoners to interrogate, you'll probably lose most of, if not all of the valuable cargo, and there will be much less to salvage in general. If you successfully board it, however, you can salvage the ship, take prisoners, and retrieve anything valuable onboard.

On the topic of the role of NPC's: Firstly, you cannot assume that all ship systems will be able to be controlled by a single person. When you have a 1km+ ship with thousands of turrets per side, and you're being swarmed by hundreds of enemy fighters, you can't possibly hope to aim all of those guns by yourself. Hence, NPC gunners, or at least a very complicated A.I. Also, repair nanites are great, but what if you can't affor them? Maybe they're a lot more expensive, and you have a relatively small ship that's still big enough that you can't repair it yourself. maybe in some cases, like this one, a small team of NPC's  is less expensive than repair nanites. Of course, the cutting-edge, fancy, expensive vessels probably have fully automated systems, with repair nanites and self-aiming turrets, or even a mass turret-control interface, but what if you have a VERY fancy ship that can split itself into a bunch of smaller ships, or even just a big ol' honker that depends on fighters for versatile offense? Who's going to be piloting everything you aren't going to be? If you don't have one of those fancy mass ship-control systems, you'd better hope you have enough pilots for all that. What about ground offense? Don't you want a few squads to send onto a planet to go scouting, or go kill people? How about the boarding party? Maybe you're a fighter pilot. Who's controlling your rear turret? Surely you can't focus on all those flips and rolls AND shooting the main cannons, and aim your rear turret too? Sure, you could just have an A.I. do it, but what if you (or your captain) can't afford it? You'll prolly want a gunner, right? Exactly. And even if all that's automated, who's in charge of the medical bay? Who's looking over hydroponics? Who's maintaining the reactor levels, repairing the fighters, serving food, researching new technology, interrogating the prisoners, guarding the prisoners, executing the prisoners, being the prisoners, or even swabbing the deck? And if all that is automated, then good luck staying sane, Mr. My-ship-is-entirely-automated McLonelypants.
Tell me what you think, and thank you for your time.

Neonivek

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2012, 08:42:55 pm »
I actually like to assume that with a HUUUGE ship if something happens and you don't have a full crew and you do not go to repopulate them... That your ship will start to slowly go into disrepair and lose a lot of effectiveness or even break down.

blackether

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2012, 08:45:26 pm »
I think you might be missing my point.

(Talking Single Player here as well. We'll get to discussing multiplayer when we have a gameplay sample to compare it to.)

All of the functions you described will have to be performed either manually by a human player or carried out 'automatically' by the computer on your desk. Even if you have crew, their functionality is moot. They are a cpu-wasting, graphics intensive emulation of what the ship can possibly do. My concern is that until we have the capability to actually even render a km+ ship and not slow down to single-digit FPS, we shouldn't be attempting to have very significant NPC crew. They don't do anything except make the game run slower. They don't add functionality, and adding an extra step of mapping that funcionality onto an entity is going to cost precious system resources. It isn't as though a crewmember is actually adding computing capacity to the game. They are, in fact, going to cause an exponentially increasing use of the resources that we are already struggling to realize.

Neonivek

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2012, 09:13:23 pm »
I figure the crew mostly doesn't do anything functional the game just keeps track that they exist.

Woodledude

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2012, 06:06:13 am »
The entire point of considering adding crew to the game is to make it more fun, to add life and realism to the game. Arguing that NPC's are a waste of FPS and RAM or what have you is like arguing that humanity IRL is a waste of food, water and general energy/mass. They don't really ADD anything, they're just there. But they ARE there, and that's what matters. Otherwise, what's the point?
Tell me what you think, and thank you for your time.

blackether

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2012, 10:09:37 am »
I don't deny that crew are supposed to add fun to the game, but I worry about how intensive it will be to represent a crew of several dozen/hundred/thousand/hundred thousand... At what point to ships stop being able to scale? Theoretically, we should be able to have ships of any size, however, we know that that can not possibly be true due to limits in hardware and software. But if we are required to have a significant number of crew members to 'operate' functions of the ship, that maximum limit will decrease (and probably a significant amount).

This said, it is unrealistic to think that we will be able to have km+ ships that actually operate. Presently, km+ ships can hardly fully render on high-end machines let alone even begin to fly and have working internals. Although it is not unreasonable to hope that the code can be optimized to the point of making working km+ ships possible, I simply don't see how it is going to be accomplished.

When combining these two problems, it only makes matters worse. Requiring a crew similar in size to a scaled-up WWII naval vessel in space is not realistic. Requiring a particular number of crew members to operate particular functions of the ship will make 'large' ships very very impractical except for people with very high-end machines.

I only attempt to provide a reason in the mythos and in real life as to why a crew should not be so large and overbearing. It isn't necessary, and it doesn't make sense from either standpoint.

Vininator

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2012, 10:13:43 am »
I don't deny that crew are supposed to add fun to the game, but I worry about how intensive it will be to represent a crew of several dozen/hundred/thousand/hundred thousand... At what point to ships stop being able to scale? Theoretically, we should be able to have ships of any size, however, we know that that can not possibly be true due to limits in hardware and software. But if we are required to have a significant number of crew members to 'operate' functions of the ship, that maximum limit will decrease (and probably a significant amount).

This said, it is unrealistic to think that we will be able to have km+ ships that actually operate. Presently, km+ ships can hardly fully render on high-end machines let alone even begin to fly and have working internals. Although it is not unreasonable to hope that the code can be optimized to the point of making working km+ ships possible, I simply don't see how it is going to be accomplished.

When combining these two problems, it only makes matters worse. Requiring a crew similar in size to a scaled-up WWII naval vessel in space is not realistic. Requiring a particular number of crew members to operate particular functions of the ship will make 'large' ships very very impractical except for people with very high-end machines.

I only attempt to provide a reason in the mythos and in real life as to why a crew should not be so large and overbearing. It isn't necessary, and it doesn't make sense from either standpoint.

ZanMgt have said that there are a lot of things they can do to optimize the engine. I'm sure ships over 1km long will be very possible.
Also, Crew won't be very intensive if the engine only renders the ones actually near you. If you have a 200m ship and all the players are on the bridge, the game can ust track the rest of the crew as stats and only render them if a player goes to an area where he could see them.

Me2005

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2012, 10:52:29 am »
You are forgetting about the possibility of multiple players inside the same ship.

There needs to be something for Non-captain PCs to do in the mean time. (though I assume they just man the turrets)

No, I'm not; I just personally don't think there can be much for other on-ship players to do when you must have ships that must be capable of being controlled by a single player. They can man turrets in battle, or fight off boarders when that happens, or man a fighter (manning fighters probably being the best task for them), but otherwise they'll sit around doing nothing.

Also, Crew won't be very intensive if the engine only renders the ones actually near you. If you have a 200m ship and all the players are on the bridge, the game can ust track the rest of the crew as stats and only render them if a player goes to an area where he could see them.

When you're flying, crew could be completely de-rendered; but what if the crew are flying the ship?
But you were dead a thousand times. Hopeless encounters successfully won. A man long dead, grafted to machines your builders did not understand. You follow the path, fitting into an infinite pattern. Yours to manipulate, to create and rebuild.

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Vininator

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2012, 01:07:09 pm »

When you're flying, crew could be completely de-rendered; but what if the crew are flying the ship?

Like I said, It'll only render crew you can see. Assuming that you're in, say, a fighter, then the main ship would be completely empty. When you land your fighter, it will render the crew in the landing bay. As you walk around, it will render crew in the corridors, and when you get to the bridge to take command the crew there will also be rendered.

Gudis

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2012, 01:22:59 pm »
Who else here played Independence War? I think an interface like that would work really well.

Me2005

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2012, 02:17:51 pm »
Like I said, It'll only render crew you can see. Assuming that you're in, say, a fighter, then the main ship would be completely empty. When you land your fighter, it will render the crew in the landing bay. As you walk around, it will render crew in the corridors, and when you get to the bridge to take command the crew there will also be rendered.

That isn't the problem, the problem is that you are still moving a huge amount of data- another player looking at your ship will see it moving, and you will see your crew moving; can that work? Because then the computer doing the rendering will need to render both your movement within your moving ship within a larger system filled with other ships and other  crew. That'd work fine in SP, where you could just teleport your ship to different locations or move the scenery around you, but how would it work in MP?
But you were dead a thousand times. Hopeless encounters successfully won. A man long dead, grafted to machines your builders did not understand. You follow the path, fitting into an infinite pattern. Yours to manipulate, to create and rebuild.

I know who you are.

You are destiny.

Woodledude

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2012, 11:19:48 pm »
To bring up a valid point: ZanMgt have shown us the base player models they plan to be going off of, and have declared that they will have a similar number of polygons to those characters. They're talking about N64-era characters, with poly counts at or below, oh, I don't know, 40-50. Those aren't hard to render, by any stretch, and rendering hundreds shouldn't be hard by any means. Okay, thousands would probably be a bit intensive, maybe, but as has been stated before, many systems will be automated. I can imagine a crew of several hundred operating a 1km+ ship with no problems. I don't think rendering crew in multiplayer should be too difficult from there.
Tell me what you think, and thank you for your time.

Imaus

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #29 on: April 30, 2012, 11:54:06 pm »
To bring up a valid point: ZanMgt have shown us the base player models they plan to be going off of, and have declared that they will have a similar number of polygons to those characters. They're talking about N64-era characters, with poly counts at or below, oh, I don't know, 40-50. Those aren't hard to render, by any stretch, and rendering hundreds shouldn't be hard by any means. Okay, thousands would probably be a bit intensive, maybe, but as has been stated before, many systems will be automated. I can imagine a crew of several hundred operating a 1km+ ship with no problems. I don't think rendering crew in multiplayer should be too difficult from there.

This is true N-64 poly count on the crew would make the blocks look more HD then the crew :P
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