[WIP] Ship's library OXP

Discussion and information relevant to creating special missions, new ships, skins etc.

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cim
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[WIP] Ship's library OXP

Post by cim » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:37 pm

This is inspired by a sub-conversation in the "difficulty for new players" thread, on the discoverability and complexity of Oolite controls, and also by the number of people who ask questions here which might well be answered on the Wiki or on the Reference Sheet, but don't get as far as finding the hints to look in those places in the first place. Having some documentation available in game where people might stumble across it while looking for other things seemed like a good idea.

So, it's an OXP that adds an in-game ship's manual on F4 in the spirit of the original Elite manual, combining "which key do I press now" with wider descriptions of the setting {1}. The e-reader software included with the manual is never going to be as good as a real e-reader just because the mission screen interface isn't optimised for that, but comments on ways to make it more usable would be welcome.

More importantly, comments and contributions on the structure, contents and style of the manual: this is very much an initial draft to get it down on screen.

Download OXP (0.6)

As of 0.5 it has the capability to support an arbitrary number of books at once. Here, have a book: The format should be fairly straightforward if you want to add your own books: let me know if you want to do that, and I'll document it properly.

{1} This is a tricky bit, of course, because it might be taken as nailing down bits of canon which people think should be left loose (or at least nailed somewhere else), but without any of the flavour it wouldn't be a very interesting read. The rough principles I've used are:
- avoid claims which contradict (or are implausible from) in-game experience
- try to avoid direct conflicts with other OXPs interpretations of canon (implicit or explicit) if possible
- try to give the impression that there's a big world out there
Anyway, I expect some of the things I've written are going to be controversial, so have at 'em...
Last edited by cim on Tue May 14, 2013 8:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: [WIP] Ship's manual OXP

Post by Rorschachhamster » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:16 pm

Nice one with a lot of possibilities! :D

One think that is a little ... ugly? is that some pages have only a few words, that end the last passage of the entry. E.g., both the fuel scoop entry and the Target System Memory Expansion have just price and tech-level on the next page. :roll: Would be better to cut the text a bit, or, if not possible, add the whole last passage onto a new page.

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Re: [WIP] Ship's manual OXP

Post by Cody » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:22 pm

Yeah, that's pretty good stuff, cim - and even as a veteran, seeing it there on F4 adds to the immersion.

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Re: [WIP] Ship's manual OXP

Post by Diziet Sma » Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:06 am

I've read through the PDF version, and found only two typos..

P22) "The major visible benefit of the Cooperative are the Coriolis stations (and more recently the Dodec
and Ico designs) which orbit every primary planet in every Cooperative station."

Station ought to read 'system'.

P29) "the planet remains a peaceful voluntarily collective of subsistence farmers to this day"

Voluntarily ought to read 'voluntary'.
Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied

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Re: [WIP] Ship's manual OXP

Post by cim » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:06 pm

Rorschachhamster wrote:One think that is a little ... ugly? is that some pages have only a few words, that end the last passage of the entry. E.g., both the fuel scoop entry and the Target System Memory Expansion have just price and tech-level on the next page. :roll: Would be better to cut the text a bit, or, if not possible, add the whole last passage onto a new page.
Good point. Possibly what I could do is if the final page would just be one or two lines, put it on to the end of the previous page instead. There's just about enough room to do that, and it seems better than requiring the page text to avoid particular lengths (especially since it'll only cause problems later if I change the width/height of the content box).
Diziet Sma wrote:I've read through the PDF version, and found only two typos..
That's fewer than I expected to be in there - thanks, I'll fix those up.

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Re: [WIP] Ship's manual OXP

Post by pagroove » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:20 pm

WoW ! Really good work. I like the ship identification. Is it possible to show the variants of each ship depending on the shipsets installed?
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Re: [WIP] Ship's manual OXP

Post by cim » Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:13 pm

pagroove wrote:Is it possible to show the variants of each ship depending on the shipsets installed?
Not easily. It currently just uses whatever the 'replacement' shipset's model is.

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Re: [WIP] Ship's manual OXP

Post by Commander McLane » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:12 pm

That's great stuff. I love it! :D

Apart from what was said already, here are some more suggestions:

The tutorials of the different screens (F4-F8) could be over a screenshot of an example of the respective screen. It's a lot of text to ingest, and having a visual representation of what it's talking about may make it clearer and at the same time feel less like a wall of text.

Of course it would be way cool to have short cut scenes for the combat tutorials or the docking tutorial. In case of the latter some screenshots in the background would be useful as well.

On the "Combat flight" screen:
UNTARGET MISSILE: 'u' will disarm the currently selected missile/mine

On the "Capacitators" screen:
check the calculation of energy banks. The screen tells me that I have 9, but my Imperial Courier only has 8.

On the "Witchdrive" screen:
last full stop in the parenthesis is missing ("longer jump.").

On the "Fuel Scoops" screen:
in the first paragraph two different dashes are used. The second one should be long as well.

On the "Legal System" screen:
"when your bounty rises to at least 50cr" should be "above 50cr". With 50 you're still offender.

On the "Combat rating" screen:
here's a problem with the lore. Isn't it the Elite Federation, not the Cooperative, which counts your kills and gives you your rank?
in the last paragraph there's the full stop at the end missing ("not pilot).")

On the "Confederacies" screen:
shouldn't the "Interstellar Council" rather be an "Interplanetary Council"? Although they could also just as easily be overstating themselves. :wink:

On the "Anarchies" screen:
the second planet name changes from Measin to Adien.

On the "Thanks" screen:
"purchasing a Imperial Courier": there should be an "n" inserted, depending on the player ship's name.

All in all that's a really impressive effort! I especially loved the government type descriptions. But everything else as well, really. :D

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Re: [WIP] Ship's manual OXP

Post by Rorschachhamster » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:19 pm

Damn, you, cim! :wink:
This OXP has given me the idea for two OXPs, and I'm still struggling with the vectors for my freighttrain! :roll: ... and I haven't even looked at all that ... interfaceing at all! :lol:

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Re: [WIP] Ship's manual OXP

Post by pagroove » Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:50 pm

Hi Cim :).

A second compliment to the EXCELLENT part on the System Governments. If I make a new version of Famous Planets for Povray may I include these planet descriptions? Also a prefect base for authors searching for starting points for their Oofic.
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Re: [WIP] Ship's manual OXP

Post by cim » Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:23 pm

Commander McLane wrote:The tutorials of the different screens (F4-F8) could be over a screenshot of an example of the respective screen. It's a lot of text to ingest, and having a visual representation of what it's talking about may make it clearer and at the same time feel less like a wall of text.
Probably next to the screenshot would be better, since some of the screens are quite text heavy, and it'd just get unreadable if they overlapped (and I probably need to play around with the positioning of the ships in that section, too). So that suggests I need to make a bit more space somewhere for pictures, either to the side of the text or below it. Yes, lots of screens would benefit from that.

Thanks for the proofreading.
Commander McLane wrote:On the "Combat rating" screen:
here's a problem with the lore. Isn't it the Elite Federation, not the Cooperative, which counts your kills and gives you your rank?
Yes, though it seems to me that it must be operating under some Cooperative treaty to entitle it to all the information it gets. I'll reword it to make it clear that the EF is independent of the Cooperative, though.
Commander McLane wrote:On the "Confederacies" screen:
shouldn't the "Interstellar Council" rather be an "Interplanetary Council"? Although they could also just as easily be overstating themselves. :wink:
That one was intentional - it's a combination of "Council for Interstellar Relations" and wanting an impressive name.
Commander McLane wrote:I especially loved the government type descriptions.
They were probably the part I most enjoyed writing. One of my favourite aspects of the Oolite setting is that there are several intelligent alien species demonstrably as culturally diverse as humanity - none of this lazy "proud warrior race" stuff here - so describing a few of those cultures was good fun.
pagroove wrote:If I make a new version of Famous Planets for Povray may I include these planet descriptions.
They'll probably need a bit of trimming down to fit into the gap on the F7 screen, but sure, go ahead.

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Re: [WIP] Ship's manual OXP

Post by cim » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:00 pm

Commander McLane wrote:The tutorials of the different screens (F4-F8) could be over a screenshot of an example of the respective screen. It's a lot of text to ingest, and having a visual representation of what it's talking about may make it clearer and at the same time feel less like a wall of text.
It's turning out to be very difficult to get a good screenshot of the F5 screen. This is the best I've got so far, and it's not very good.
Image
It's a nice-sized space for pictures of ships in flight, but this is trickier. Maybe I need an option to give entire pages over to pictures, and then fit a proper screenshot in. Any other ideas?

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Re: [WIP] Ship's manual OXP

Post by Rorschachhamster » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:35 pm

Hm. You could highlight somehow the part that's actually referenced and blur and even cut the other parts. Of course, that way, you'll need about a billion different screenshots... :? :wink:

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Re: [WIP] Ship's manual OXP

Post by pagroove » Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:30 pm

Maybe I need an option to give entire pages over to pictures, and then fit a proper screenshot in. Any other ideas?
You can first show a screenshot of the screen that you are explaining and the manual itself. Maybe numbering things in the screenshot?
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Re: [WIP] Ship's manual OXP

Post by cim » Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:38 pm

pagroove wrote:You can first show a screenshot of the screen that you are explaining and the manual itself.
Yes, that definitely works better.

Version 0.2 - all the reported typos fixed, pagination algorithm improved, and a start made on some pictures.

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