Author Topic: Players role in the ship  (Read 6776 times)

Neonivek

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #30 on: May 01, 2012, 02:59:46 am »
Part of the large reason for having a sizable crew is just so the ships come alive. There is a population a living crew inside that ship and they are all doing their duty to make sure that ship runs smoothly.

The crew is in many ways part of the personality of the very ship.

At least that is my view... but then again I came into blockade runner from a very simulation point of view. Where my goals are to experience living ship that can be damaged and I can feel the effect.

Yolan

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #31 on: May 01, 2012, 10:22:16 am »
To a large extent I see crew as almost a kind of restriction, if you will, or at least a factor, which is necessary to have in the game to make ship design and use more dynamic and engaging. In this sense it is similar to a ship needing power, fuel or air. The requirement of these things means that thought needs to be put into design as to how to accommodate them, and extra variables as brought into play when/if things go wrong.

As a captain, I assume that on any decent sized ship your commands will be routed though AI. For example, you order for the ship to move to a grid point, or simply ahead at a certain speed, or to attack a certain target, etc. etc. Any particular order would relate to a command center which must be manned by crew. If crew are absent (perhaps because they have been killed) then this will interfere with ship operations.

Said crew need to be provided in sufficient numbers to allow for rest and shifts, and then given places to sleep, eat, relax, etc. Having to work these structures into your design would add a lot to the challenge of ship building. This is all pretty much guaranteed as far as I understand the devs and their sources of inspiration and past statements.
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Me2005

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #32 on: May 01, 2012, 10:37:35 am »
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...

This is true, but the problem I'm concerned with is that those crew will be moving around on other, larger, moving objects (the ships); which will be more complicated in some cases than many high-poly character models.

It'd be like trying to render 100 Halo-marines driving a single, enormous Warthog and all being able to move and operate independently, while on a moving independent platform. I'm worried that that can't work, especially since I can't think of many games that allow independent movement on a moving platform at the scale we're talking about or that have that many NPCs rendered at any one time.

... 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....
Part of the large reason for having a sizable crew is just so the ships come alive. There is a population a living crew inside that ship and they are all doing their duty to make sure that ship runs smoothly.

You are both missing the point - crew would be fun and make the ship "seem" like a ship. But the fact is that the computer you are typing at has to render the crew and render their actions, so they are (or must be), from an outside perspective, unnecessary. You must, as the captain/player/whatever, be able to command them to do everything the ship can do from your pilot seat, otherwise you'll be running from place to place just trying to fly and that'll be frustrating. Requiring NPCs to enable things like multiple-target-picking or ship repairs, or as Yolan says below, makes sense, but the computer has to be able to do that; NPC's cannot make important decisions on their own based on anything other than your input or some baseline program that says "Go toward nearest planet" or "Shoot nearest bad guy".

To a large extent I see crew as almost a kind of restriction, if you will, or at least a factor, which is necessary to have in the game to make ship design and use more dynamic and engaging. In this sense it is similar to a ship needing power, fuel or air. The requirement of these things means that thought needs to be put into design as to how to accommodate them, and extra variables as brought into play when/if things go wrong.

As a captain, I assume that on any decent sized ship your commands will be routed though AI. For example, you order for the ship to move to a grid point, or simply ahead at a certain speed, or to attack a certain target, etc. etc.

This is fine; but for this, when you're piloting the ship the crew can be de-rendered and kept as a stat.
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.

SnowDragon

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #33 on: May 01, 2012, 10:43:21 am »
Did anyone ever play Battlestations Midway or Pacific? I feel like this is the best way to control a ship in combat. I'm the captain, and I sit in the bridge (helm block) chair in my Operations Centre. I can sit in the bridge and make my orders from the cameras when there isn't anything going on. But when I say Red Alert! (or what have, Alert Stage Five in my case :P) it switches to the combat view, which is external for simplicity. From there, you fly the ship yourself, but in fact you're just giving orders to the helmsman and gunnery officers and what have you.

Now, operating the ship from inside the bridge simply looking at the screens from your chair and ordering the crew about can be done, and done well (Look at Bridge Commander for Star Trek, that was fun) but it wasn't fun for some people. And admittedly, I can see why. You're not really doing anything but staring at a screen waiting for things to happen and you had very little direct control, unless you took it (Which brought us to the outside view anyway).

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Vininator

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #34 on: May 01, 2012, 04:19:52 pm »
Im all for SnowDragon's idea. That would be ideal in my eyes. ;D

Yolan

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #35 on: May 02, 2012, 05:41:57 am »
I think the Silent Hunter series of sub sims is also a good model. You give the commands to control the ship, but it is still a different kind of feeling than say driving a car.

@Me2005

I agree entirely with your point about keeping them as a stat.

Also, I personally just don't feel that burning need to see ships in this game that are a kilometer or more long! Not that I am against it per sey, I just don't think such accommodation should be a development priority. The original enterprise comes in at a bit less than 300 meters, which after having tooled around in the editor, feels extremely large! A couple of hundred crew would be more than enough to make for an interesting environment with a lot of emergent game play. For that matter, a hundred meter long ship with a few dozen crew would also be just fine for me. The real question is not how large we can get the engine to handle a single ship, but many ships we can get on screen at once. Yes, I'm sure we would all like to re-enact favorite scenes from Star Wars etc with their insane scales, but   I think the devs are best to first aim for getting something on a more Star Trek scale working nicely.

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Vininator

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #36 on: May 02, 2012, 06:37:26 am »
300m may be fine for the star trek fans, but an imperial star destroyer is 1600m long. A Super Star Destroyer is 19km long! As for eve, almost every ship worth having is over 1km long, and most are well over 4km long. And dont get me started on 40k and Battlefleet Gothic.

Also keep in mind that the Enterprise is not, per se, a warship. Shes an exploration and recon vessel first and formost, and doesnt carry any ground forces or support craft.

I think this game should support ships at least 5km long at max. Even if we're just talking cargo ships or colony craft for terraforming (witch is confirmed).

Anyway back to topic!

SnowDragon

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #37 on: May 02, 2012, 06:49:13 am »
I see multiplayer actions at most on a 24 player server (Which I see as the normal) Being nine ship fleets. Two dreadnought flagships (1 km or more), or a battleship and a carrier. These two command elements would be backed by two heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, three destroyers for anti aircraft defence and multi-role support and a frigate for scouting/communications relaying/ electronic warfare. That's just your combat ships, you'd probably also have a tanker or two to refuel the fleet, but they could be NPCs)

That's 18 players for a full fleet action combat. Length wise, you're talking 6.1 kilometres in ship length per side, not counting the support ships and their width/height. Add to that weapons fire, crew and damage, and you have a lot of things going on. It's completely infesible to assume that 40k foolships will ever be able to particpate in multiple ship fleet actions.

kaptnkrunch

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #38 on: May 02, 2012, 07:16:23 am »
40k ships vary in length depending on what fluff you read, this is my preferred reference chart:

http://the-first-magelord.deviantart.com/art/Battlefleet-Gothic-Scale-Chart-82219217

The crews also vary depending on fluff. My prefferred fluff is the set of BFG books by gordon rennie (actually decent reads for 40k), but typically you're talking 10 - 80 thousand for a cruiser of 3-8 km in length depending on your preferred fluff/background.

In some ways I think the technology isn't there yet to make this game as everyone might imagine, we're probably 5-10 years off in terms of computing power to have the 100 ships fully crewed fleet battles some people might be invisaging.

I think it's one of those things we'll discover as the MP is released with game sizes being dependant on server power and code efficiency.
But I think it's clear we're not going to see large numbers of very large ships with large autonomous AI crews. The lag would be indescribable.

Large multiplayer battles will probably only be doable with heavily automated (small-crew) ships similar to eve ships.

Vininator

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #39 on: May 02, 2012, 07:49:57 am »
Well according to EVE lore, the ships are actually crewed by "common" people. It's just that you never get to see them because they're not considered important enough. The Capsuleers (players) are basically seen as Gods, above the normal scum of the universe. That's why most of the common folk don't really like them. They spend lives like loose change. Every ship that is destroyed in EVE costs hundreds, thousands of lives, yet the Capsuleers never have to answer for it. Part of what makes the backstory so engaging... Pity they never touch on it in the actual game :( CCP sucks at immersion.

kaptnkrunch

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #40 on: May 02, 2012, 08:03:17 am »
Lol, I actually played eve for a few months and had no idea that was the backstory.

That is much more interesting!

Matz05

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #41 on: May 09, 2012, 08:56:11 pm »
I think that something between 1 and 50 people is enough for any ship that is reasonable for use in multiplayer.
Maybe somewhat more on bases. As for robots, I can see a fair few being used. A bonus for robots is that they can idle in alcoves/crates without looking strange.

Really, the benefit of having human NPCs is that they can do tasks AS NEEDED.
A robot engineer can fix the holes, but is much less effective when handed a draft notice and a rifle.
A robot bodyguard can point guns at people, but it would take particularly versatile design to make it able to fly the ship when you jump off the helm without warning.
An autopilot can do nothing about damage to its fighter, except maybe open/close a few valves.

A redshirt can be expected to at least be able to attempt each of those.
Your engineers can pull a pistol on boarders--if they are brave/foolhardy enough.
Your security can stop a runaway ship... sometimes.
Your pilot can grab a fire extinguisher if the bridge ignites.
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Posted By Alaric on 28 Jun 2011 04:54 PM
...it doesn't matter, I making space ships!

Imaus

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #42 on: May 09, 2012, 10:04:46 pm »
I think that something between 1 and 50 people is enough for any ship that is reasonable for use in multiplayer.
Maybe somewhat more on bases. As for robots, I can see a fair few being used. A bonus for robots is that they can idle in alcoves/crates without looking strange.

Really, the benefit of having human NPCs is that they can do tasks AS NEEDED.
A robot engineer can fix the holes, but is much less effective when handed a draft notice and a rifle.
A robot bodyguard can point guns at people, but it would take particularly versatile design to make it able to fly the ship when you jump off the helm without warning.
An autopilot can do nothing about damage to its fighter, except maybe open/close a few valves.

A redshirt can be expected to at least be able to attempt each of those.
Your engineers can pull a pistol on boarders--if they are brave/foolhardy enough.
Your security can stop a runaway ship... sometimes.
Your pilot can grab a fire extinguisher if the bridge ignites.

This what i hope its like, robots are good at one thing, but one thing only, while humans can do many different things but not as good as a robot would on a specific task.
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Matz05

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #43 on: May 09, 2012, 10:35:41 pm »
Well... you could probably make a robot do two things... but it would cost twice as much and be half as effective at each...
A redshirt can specialize, but they will still have some basic competence in other fields.
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Posted By Alaric on 28 Jun 2011 04:54 PM
...it doesn't matter, I making space ships!

Me2005

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Re: Players role in the ship
« Reply #44 on: May 10, 2012, 12:21:27 pm »
I think that something between 1 and 50 people is enough for any ship that is reasonable for use in multiplayer.
Maybe somewhat more on bases. As for robots, I can see a fair few being used. A bonus for robots is that they can idle in alcoves/crates without looking strange.
...

Wait, you guys are getting into something we've discussed in circles before - NPC's are computer-presences in-game, player-characters are players (usually "people"), robots and redshirts are types of NPC. Though reading your statement, I could interpret it to say "1-50 players (people) per ship..." and "I can see a fair few NPC's (bots) being used....," which probably isn't reasonable.

What different types of NPC do is entirely up to how complex the dev's want to make the NPC-AI scheme. Most games just give every single character a set of very basic commands; if that's the case robots and redshirts would only be cosmetically different (including their possibly different requirements). In MC (at least initially), for example, all mobs wander around randomly, and when bad-mobs see the player they do different things - Creepers jump toward you, zombies walk toward you, skeletons strafe, etc.

The issue here is how many NPC's/players any ship should have; I think your 50 (NPC's) is probably pretty reasonable. Maybe more if NPC's can be stored 'in-reserve' ala Battlefront 1/2, and are used for player lives; not for wondering around the ship actually doing anything.
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.