Vortex OXP (plus the Maelstrom)

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

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Vortex OXP (plus the Maelstrom)

Post by Thargoid » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:02 pm

The testing period is over - time to release the Vortex onto the open market ;)
ImageImage

The Aquarian Shipbuilding Corporation's Vortex is a rare but fearsome beast. Originally designed as a military blockade runner, it combines an excellent cargo carrying capacity with the speed and muscle to cope with most trouble it may encounter. With the cooling of the sector wars some of these ships have been demobilised and made available to the private market (with a few of their more lethal features removed, but many desirable ones still in place).

Having a military heritage, they won't feature in any glossy ship brochures or magazines of beautiful craft, but they have a heart of titanium and an ass of finest iron. They are all about function over form, and they combine a powerful punch, a heavy hauling ability and many advanced features which cannot be found in any other ship available on the civilian market.

Notable Features
  • AI control - integral to each Vortex is its Military AI Construct, or MAC for short. This is the vessels co-pilot, supervisor and assistant. It oversees the automated systems, plus deals with running the general ship systems.
  • Multibay cargo system - specifically designed for this ship (and the forerunner of the recent civilian Hyper Cargo system), the multibay essentially gives the ship five distinct cargo bays of 30t each. Whilst only one is "physically" present at a time, they can be switched both in-flight and whilst docked allowing their content to be accessed and items loaded or unloaded. Due to the specialised nature of their workings, neither the civilian Hyper Cargo system nor passenger berths are compatible with the system.
  • Missile bays - the Vortex features five distinct missile bays, each with five pylons. These are switchable both in-flight and whilst docked, and the current one will be auto-switched to the next equipped bay by the MAC should all items in the current bay be expended.
  • Regeneration - making use of the military grade version of the well-known ASC repair nanobots, under the supervision of the MAC the Vortex can regenerate most damage that may result from combat.
  • Defense systems - from its military history, the Vortex features a missile defense screen in the form of a hull-mounted microwave cannon. Due to the difficulty in targetting and aiming this (especially whilst in combat), it is entirely controlled by the MAC. The system will also auto-link to the ships ECM systems if fitted, as a further line of defense.
  • Reflective plating - designed as a counter-measure for target-locking systems, this can cause attacking vessels problems by disrupting their target lock onto the vessel.
  • Regenerative fuel injection - the fuel injection systems are designed to capture any unburned fuel and return it to the ships tanks. As a result the ship can run under injection for much longer than similar craft.
  • Emergency micro-jumping - if energy is drained to a critical level during combat (without destroying the ship completely) and if there is even a little fuel available, the MAC will attempt an in-system witchspace micro-jump to remove the ship from the immediate danger area.
Availability
These craft were not produced in large numbers, and many of those are either still in military service or have been lost to combat. But they do appear in civilian hands (as traders, bounty hunters or combinations of the two), plus they are sometimes used by Galcop security forces. It is also not unknown for privateers to use these formidable vessels when they can lay their hands on them.

Their normal price tag is around 2 million credits, and they usually only appear in the most high-tech (level 12+) systems. But then only extremely rarely...

Controls
The bay switching screen is accessed by going from the manifest screen to the marketplace screen (F5-F8 whilst docked, F5-F5-F8 whilst in flight). When docked the cargo bay screen is displayed by default, whilst in-flight the missile bay screen is instead (they can be reached from one another). To aid usability the time acceleration factor is used to flow things down whilst the screen is open in-flight.

The missile bays can also be cycled through by using the "select next missile bay" item on the equipment screen (to aid in rapidly equipping the bays). And if the final pylon is used whilst in-flight, the MAC will automatically select the next bay with equipment in it so leave the pilot to concentrate on combat and flying.

All other items are automatically handled by the MAC, and do not require any intervention from the Commander.

Compatibility Notes
This OXP is not compatible with HyperCargo or the system part of Repair Bots.

It also slightly redefines the trunk passenger berth equipment to allow them to be blocked-out from fitting to the ship. This should not cause an issue, but is included here for information and reference.

- - = = Download Vortex OXP here = = - -

With thanks to the Commanders who test-pilotted her during the trials. If you could now delete the test package, and if you wish replace it with the release version above.

An example save game is included in the OXP for those who want to try before they start saving 8)
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Last edited by Thargoid on Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:30 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Post by Smivs » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:17 pm

Well done, and the best of luck. :D
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Post by Killer Wolf » Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:25 pm

technically superb those features sound, i can't help thinking it puts a whole new shine of the concept of "uber".
nice looker tho, like a bulky steroided Cobra.

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Post by another_commander » Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:41 pm

Very impressive scripting Thargoid, well done.

By the way, I have just added warp-around menus on mission screens, too. You may want to verify that all is still good with tomorrow's nightly.

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Post by Thargoid » Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:11 pm

Thanks. It'll be a job for next weekend as I'm travelling at the moment. But I don't see any reason why it shouldn't work fine.

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Post by DaddyHoggy » Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:23 pm

another_commander wrote: I have just added warp-around menus
Did you... "make it so"? :wink:
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Post by Darkbee » Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:33 am

He was otherwise engaged... Number 1. :roll:
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Vortex

Post by Okti » Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:09 pm

Great Work It is my favorite ship since I started to play Oolite 4 months ago, I used to play Elite on IBM XT in 1990's. Than I discovered oolite :)

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Re: Vortex

Post by Smivs » Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:13 pm

Okti wrote:Than I discovered oolite :)
Hi Okti, and welcome to the Board, reputedly the friendliest this side of Riedquat!
Hope you've got nothing to do for the next few days, months, years. Oolite gets you like that...most of us here seem to spend far too much time doing Oolite-ey things. It really is that addictive :D
Enjoy!
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Post by No Star Gazer » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:56 pm

Nice looking ship!! Can't help think that was how the Constrictor should have looked - that sort of nasty mean "Don't mess with me or I will stamp on your face" look!

P.S. Before anyone starts welcoming me to this delightful forum, I was 'Star Gazer' until my registration decided to implode!

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Post by CheeseRedux » Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:15 pm

I think I may have stumbled across a bug.

[unnecessary background story]
After upgrading to 1.74, I'm experiencing seemingly random occurrences of the game dropping to 4 FPS. This is almost certainly due to one or more OXPs, but I've yet to track down the culprit(s). Strangely enough I never had any such problems on 1.73, and none of the OXPs I've added lately seem to have any effect on this.
While testing, I've been using the Vortex, simply because I then don't have to worry much about being shot to pieces at inopportune moments. And I figured that as long as I'm using the thing, I might as well earn some cash and equip the thing. It's nice to have a well equipped combat monster for those days when you just feel like taking something awesome out for a spin.
[/unnecessary background story]

Doing a little trading on the side, I've several times experienced cargo simply disappearing for no good reason. Since this hasn't been my primary concern, I haven't been paying too much attention, so I figured that I must've overlooked a message of cargo destroyed, or that the warp bubble or whatever got destroyed, taking the entire contents of one bay with it.
But it was nagging me enough that I decided to start from scratch.
Loaded up the fresh Vortex save game, bought 14 furs, 1 booze and 2 food and jumped to Zaonce. Avoided all attempts at picking a fight, and docked at the station. Sold the cargo, bought some scanner equipment, and spent the remaining cash on Computers. At least I think I did. I'm 95% sure. Quit Oolite, did other stuff, went to bed, etc etc.
Restart Oolite, load save game. Cargo hold empty. I'm beginning to think I'm hallucinating. Time to test thoroughly.
So, same procedure. Start from scratch, buy furs, booze and food, jump to Zaonce, sell cargo. Then I bought 1 ton of food, and saved the game.
Quit Oolite. Restart Oolite. Load commander. Hold now contains 14 furs, 1 booze and 2 food. Credit balance still contains the profit from selling those very items: 112.8 on top of the starting 1000.
Save game available if you want it.
"Actually this is a common misconception... I do *not* in fact have a lot of time on my hands at all! I just have a very very very very bad sense of priorities."
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Post by another_commander » Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:27 pm

CheeseRedux wrote:I think I may have stumbled across a bug.

[unnecessary background story]
After upgrading to 1.74, I'm experiencing seemingly random occurrences of the game dropping to 4 FPS. This is almost certainly due to one or more OXPs, but I've yet to track down the culprit(s). Strangely enough I never had any such problems on 1.73, and none of the OXPs I've added lately seem to have any effect on this.
While testing, I've been using the Vortex, simply because I then don't have to worry much about being shot to pieces at inopportune moments. And I figured that as long as I'm using the thing, I might as well earn some cash and equip the thing. It's nice to have a well equipped combat monster for those days when you just feel like taking something awesome out for a spin.
[/unnecessary background story]
This problem, combined with the other one you mentioned in a different thread about funny textures on the Kirin Sport, indicate a graphics driver issue to me. Are you running the latest drivers for your gfx card?

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Post by CheeseRedux » Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:44 pm

another_commander wrote:This problem, combined with the other one you mentioned in a different thread about funny textures on the Kirin Sport, indicate a graphics driver issue to me. Are you running the latest drivers for your gfx card?
A while back I switched from the standard ATI drivers to the Omega drivers, as the ATI drivers did not support shaders. But the funny thing is that there were no problems with textures or frame rate on 1.73. In addition, without having checked every single OXP ship, my texture issues seem to be limited to ships from one source: So far I've only seen the issue on the Kirin family and the Xarik. Also, the frame rate is - as far as I've been able to determine - unrelated to what I have my shaders set to. (But this is maybe best addressed in a separate thread - the poor Vortex already got hijacked once...)


Edit: Well, the problem appears to be solved. But I'm more confused than ever.
The story, in chronological order: When I first came across Oolite, I had no clue about shaders, I'd never even heard of them. (I'm still fairly ignorant of the technical bits, but I've learnt they make good looking things look even better.) Not until I read posts about decals did I realize that I actually didn't have shaders on my system. So I went looking for a cure. Automatic update? No help. ATI website? No help. Dell? No help. So after trying all the "official" sources, I gave the Omega drivers a go. Lo and behold! Shaders! Damn this shit looks good!
Then I install 1.74 and some new OXPs, and suddenly encounter missing textures and dropping frame rates. In a clear cut case of post hoc ergo propter hoc I blamed one of the two, but testing gave no answers.
Inspired by a_c's suggestion of driver issues I went back to scratch. Automatic update. Run Oolite. What's this? Shaders? And textures appears fixed too. Quick test of frame rate reveals no problems, so it looks like the problem is solved.
Now here's the kicker: Checking the date on the driver, it says 23rd of May, 2006. Bizarre.

Anyway, on to the cargo problem...
"Actually this is a common misconception... I do *not* in fact have a lot of time on my hands at all! I just have a very very very very bad sense of priorities."
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Post by Commander McLane » Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:02 pm

Could be a bug on the scripting side of the Vortex' sophisticated cargo hold of holding.

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Post by Thargoid » Sun Oct 31, 2010 2:47 pm

From memory (and don't take this as gospel, as I flew in from the USA this morning and so have interesting jetlag effects) I don't think I coded the failure chance into the Vortex (it's only in HyperCargo). So if cargo is vanishing then it would be a specific bug in the scripting somewhere.

In all the testing done by me and the test pilot crew nothing along those lines did turn up, but it could be possible.

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