I would like to have more/better interaction with other ships. See more evidence that they notice what I do and have opinions about me.
The thought started when I was messing with convoys, and they hardly responded at all. (This has been discussed before, but that was in 2009, so I thought I'd risk it. http://aegidian.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6975
Then I thought some more about ways to interact/communicate with other ships in general. Right now it is a bit cold. Other ships either want to kill me or don't care about me at all. It would be nice to have a broader spectrum of feelings. I have no idea how smart the ship AI are, so I will work off of the assumption that they're extremely smart and practically sentient. Also, these are just 'thinking out loud' ideas. (So sorry for the rambling that is probably ahead..)
I want to have more apparent influence on the behaviour of other ships around me. So I need ways to relay meaning/intent to them. I don't want to be typing text that an AI has to interpret, as the functionality/clunkiness ratio would be too low. (Although I don't mind that other ships use text towards me.) A menu driven thing would also kill the immersion.
I'd like to do it in a way that is natural to the environment.
So what do I have at my disposal that others can notice?
* Lasers obviously - Can be seen from halfway across the solar system but only when you're looking in the right direction.
Other ships do respond to it, but only to being hit (or very near miss? or seeing someone else get hit?), not to merely seeing someone fire, and therefor only in a negative way.
Lasers may prove tricky to use for sending a non aggressive message.
* ECM - Can be 'seen/heard' only from within radar range but is omnidirectional.
I don't think other ships respond to it.
* Proximity - Only works at close range
Other ships only respond just enough to avoid collision.
Now this is weird to me. If another ship comes within 5~10 km from me, I pay attention.
Especially escorts should not like this and let me know. Getting too close to a convoy and getting warned off by the escorts could even be an offence, and vipers could respond when they witness it.
But not just convoys/escorts. All ships should be annoyed if I come too close, and either get away from me or convince me to get away from them. (After all, even if I don't fire, my ship is a pretty good kinetic weapon in skilled hands.)
Other ships can turn red on my radar (it also makes a *ding* sound), i.e. turn aggressive, without hitting me or even firing.
Now for me targeting another ship does not seem to be quite the same thing, nor should it be, as missile lock by player is used for other things than firing missiles. But ID lock and missile lock are still things that might be used, possibly in combination with the other things.
* Other things? - You tell me..
I don't want to have complex conversations, just simple things that the AI could easily decide on:
* Help me.
ECM could be considered a distress call.
Other ships, depending on their role, could decide to respond and target my target.
Distress calls are already a thing for other ships.
* What's up?
It would be nice if I could ask other ships what's up.
they could respond according to their role:
Trader: "We're shipping cargo to the main station."
Viper: "Please move along"
Hunter: "Keeping the lanes clean for profit." "I'm hunting wabbit!"
Pirate: *Ding* "What you got for us?"
When under attack: "Not now!" "Are you blind?"
Maybe ECM while not under attack, or proximity but not too close.
* Come with me, follow me.
I can't come up with a way to relay this sentiment, and it might also be tricky as it would need to AI to 'change plans' if they were to comply.
* Get away from me, leave me alone.
Lasers would seem suitable.
But a direct hit would be an act of aggression and an offence.
It would be nice if ships respond to a shot in their general direction or in front of them.
If they're not in the fighting mood it could make them change course away from me,
or it might just push them into the fighting mood.
This is also something that others might do to me: shoot in my direction but not at/near me. Especially (again) escorts when I get too close.
I guess it boils down to two things:
1 - Assign (more) meaning to things I do that others can see/hear/feel/sense. (Rambled on this above.)
2 - Have the AI respond to these meanings. (Have no clue.)
So I will have some shots in the dark on #2, the AI..
Right now, others have 2 possible feelings towards me: "want to kill" and "don't care".
Other possible useful feelings might be:
* "Want to get away from" (even when not under attack)
A trader when it sees me kill another trader, any ship when I fire in its direction, .. when I'm fugitive, etc..
I think there is already 'flee mode', but this would be less strong and not necessarily combat related.
* "Like to have/be around" (or just generally "positive")
A trader when they see me kill a pirate, etc.. Other ships, including vipers, already compliment me on good shots when I take their side in combat.
* "Want to protect / prevent from being harmed"
Someone who feels positive about me sees me get shot.
..but not at all cost. Escorts will help me if it doesn't get them too far off course and doesn't endanger their mother.
If all/some/much of this is OXPable, I have never seriously looked into creating OXPs but I might.
So I wasn't kidding about the rambling... if you made it this far, thank you.
PS: A while ago I started flying escort missions and RRS missions. Being with one or more other ships adds a lot of depth for me. I can tell that they know I'm one of them. They tell me stuff and they somewhat respond to my actions (but especially lack thereof). They care about me in another way than wanting to kill me. Altho my influence on the outcome of the mission is probably limited, it doesn't feel that way, which is what counts. So even this limited interaction adds a lot for me; it would be nice if I can have some of that in the general ooniverse, outside missions.