Here be Dragons

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

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Here be Dragons

Post by stranger » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:25 am

Here be Dragons

Current OXZ - Version 1.0.2
Uploaded 30 January 2019

Despite being open world Oolite inherited from Elite idea of already known map. You have ALL crucial information about EVERY system on map from beginning. Well, you have no idea how next map looking before entering it, but after entering you instantly have ALL info. World with puzzles but without secrets.
Is it possible to convert all-map-already-known game onto game-exploration of dark ocean of unknown? Up to Oolite 1.82 answer was “no way”. But new system parameter “concealment” introduced in dev version Oolite 1.83 allows to prohibit system info F7 or hide systems on map completely. This is however technical problem in concealment implementation: mission generation in many OXPs (and maybe in vanilla game too) is based on assumption that ALL systems on map are visible. “Transparent” value of concealment (system is invisible on map for player but visible for mission generation scripts) would be nice, but let’s deal with what we have.

ZeroMap (author Smax) was the first released expansion pack exploiting concealment parameter. For clarity – Here be Dragons is not mod of ZeroMap in any way. It is completely independent project. I was addicted with explorable Ooniverse idea since 2013, but all I was able in early version – to prohibit display of F7 info for unvisited systems beyond 7 LY information horizon. It was working fine up to Oolite 1.82. Zoomed maps ruined idea. You can obtain ALL useful info on unvisited systems deeply beyond 7 LY horizon on zoomable map – just press I to display system pictograms. Implementation of concealment parameter in Oolite 1.84 gives me chance to reincarnate old project and bring it to new level.

Why separate project with similar functionality?
Here be Dragons is not stand-alone expansion pack. It is plugin for popular Explorer’s Club (authors Capt. Murphy & Wildeblood), expanding it’s functionality. No any writing in oolite-save. Here be Dragons uses Explorer’s Club data set. Safe to use: install it, try it and deinstall it if you don’t like it, no garbage remains in save. Simple as possible. Maybe you find it fun addition if you like Explorer’s Club.

How to explain collision between local “fog of uncertainty” for player and global concept of colonized and densely populated Ooniversum with unified economic and legal space (and with Galcop as global political institution)? It is possible without speculation about patent trolling or corporate conspiracy. Just logic.
Are local governments really interested to provide private trader crucial info about systems in 7 LY range? Absolutely, if they take private trading as important part of system economy. Providing crucial info about neighbours is essential if you want local traders to establish trade routs with them.
Are local governments really interested to provide private trader crucial info about systems beyond 7 LY range? Possibly no. There are no direct trade lanes connecting these systems with local one. Why give trader information, possibly stimulating him/her to seek more profitable routs?
You got idea. Information about unvisited systems beyond 7 LY horizon is not secret nor patented. It just not presented for public access. But you have all rights to collect and maintain your personal database.

How it looks in game.
In docked state you have access to Galcop terminal with navigation map based on astronomical data. You have all 256 systems plotted on map, but for unexplored systems beyond 7 LY range you have only positions. No names, no F7 info, no pictograms. You can see however systems of mission destination marked as usual. You can plan your long range voyages as usual besides fact that you have no info for systems en route.
In flight you have access only to your personal navigation database. It displays local system, all systems in 7 LY range and all systems beyond 7 LY horizon marked by Explorer’s Club database as already visited. You have full info on these systems. That’s all. Rest of the map is covered with fog of unknown. It is natural way to display progress of your exploration.
There is the third map mode used during hyperjump countdown: all systems visible, full info only for local system and system of destination. It is forced solution of technical problem with New Cargoes (author cim). Seems script CargoTypeExtension-Dynamic.js needs all systems to be visible to work correctly and has no bypass way, causing hanging of hyprjump.

Here be Dragons has some oddities.
If you already have oolite-save with Explorer’s Club written data, Here be Dragons will import it and show map as intended. But if you create new pilot there are no any Explorer’s Club data in memory and Here be Dragons will display all systems with full info. Just save and load to fix it.
Another minor issue – Here be Dragons synchronizes with Explorer’s Club data only after restarting from oolite-save. You may visit several systems en route and Explorer’s Club will mark these systems as visited, but Here be Dragons will treat these systems as unvisited yet and hide such systems beyond 7 LY horizon. The same solution: save and load. Or take it easy. It is not bug, it is feature. Synchronization of your private navigation database with Galcop database possibly requires restart of your ship software.

Compatibility issues

Here be Dragons is incompatible with ZeroMap (author SMax) due to similar functionality.
Hiding unvisited systems may cause problems with taking long range missions in flight. In-system missions such as In-System Taxi (author spara) seems to be safe – you always have local system unaffected by concealment parameter.
I hope mission generation in docked state will work fine. Any feedback will be welcomed.
This is some conflict between Here be Dragons and GalCop Galactic Registry (автор phkb) on the level of general concept. I think however it is not obligatory to declare GalCop Galactic Registry as incompatible with Here be Dragons. Personally I am using both OXPs. GalCop Galactic Registry is well organized database. I like it. I have adequate skill of doublethink for this special case :D

Due to potential influence onto mechanism of long mission generation I prefer to declare Here be Dragons in cathegory Mechanics, not in Activities as Explorer's Club.

Credits

Capt. Murphy & Wildeblood – fantastic Explorer's Club OXP
commander vasig – idea of this OXP and stimulus for its reincarnation
Last edited by stranger on Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:49 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Here be Dragons

Post by phkb » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:33 am

I might have to enhance GGR with reference to this (and Zero Map as well).

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Re: Here be Dragons

Post by stranger » Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:05 am

phkb wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:33 am
I might have to enhance GGR with reference to this (and Zero Map as well).
Technically I have no any problems with launching GGR screens if Here be Dragons installed. Think gamer can use both expansion packs.
Hopes Display Current Course will not interfere with Here be Dragons too. I have no saves with long range missions now to test compatibility issues.

Oops... I forget to declare Explorer's Club as requires_oxps in manifest.plist. Going to edit manifest.plist. :oops:

UPD

Done. Link refreshed.

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Re: Here be Dragons

Post by private_lock » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:19 am

@stranger
But you have all rights to collect and maintain your personal database.
On one hand I'm a fan of not saving redundant data. But I see a little conflict here: EC does not distinguish between totally unknown systems and those, where I've visited the vicinity. So if I take out pencil and paper, I suppose, I can map the whole chart of 256 systems by only passing through maybe one forth ... about 64 systems. If I resort to sun-skimming, I could do this without landing too often, leaving my EC history mostly blank.

I see three groups:
A) Systems, I have visited
B) Systems, I have seen in 7 ly distance
C) Systems, completely unknown to me

So HbD does not provide me with the information, I would have, if I scribbled it myself. Now, how to mitigate this? What is needed, is two distinct layers of uncertainty:
1. for system names, the transitive hull - that is, all the systems in explorers club (group A) plus all systems in 7 light-years distance of those (group B). This leaves behind really unknown systems (group C), that you have no clue, where they are, if they appear in a mission screen.
2. for pictograms, you could cut even further down and only display systems you really visited (group A). But if you allow pictograms to be revealed in 7 ly vicinity, then you have to show them for whole group B.

The beauty of 1. is, group B can be derived from group A by computation, without introducing further data into the save-games. Moreover the benefit of 2. would be, to allow for a free hack to visualize your exploration status, by toggling to pictograms back and forth, as long as you cannot color-code visited versus unvisited, can you?

Of course 2. has the drawback of making trading profit considerably harder. It will only occasionally lead a trader to explore the unknown and better stick to known systems, although there is Market Cooldown to drive traders out into the void.

In the beginning everything is easy, you just go wherever your nose points and visit a fresh system every jump. But in the end EC and HbD interact badly in preventing me from exploring the last few white holes on the map. I'm pretty sure, I've been in the vicinity of each of those systems (they ought to belong to group B), but I cannot search for them and don't remember, where I've seen them. So instead of hunting up and down the map indefinitely, I check EC for the remaining names and look their location up on an external map to just magically route my course passing through there (yeah, this is cheating ... shame on me!).

Talking of routing: It would be really great to get some assistance in exploring systematically. So I need to layout a course, that lets me effectively visit multiple unknown systems in one go ... actually kind of multi-targeting. Also it would help to get a notification on arrival, that I haven't docked at main-station / landed on the main planet in this system (perhaps also a valuable addition to EC itself as an independent oxz).

The final dot on the I would of course be, to have e.g. a multiverse-galactic-hyperdrive, that does not loop the eight, but throws me onto a freshly generated map each use in a parallel universe, where everything is almost the same, but also a bit different ... this would thwart any try to cheat by looking up the well documented maps on the internet.

Kind regards
private_lock

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Re: Here be Dragons

Post by stranger » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:11 am

@private_lock

Thank you for feedback. I need some time to comprehend your considerations.

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Re: Here be Dragons

Post by stranger » Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:05 am

@private_lock

You are right, there are three groups of systems.

A. Already visited and recorded in Explorers’s Club database.
B. Transient systems in 7 LY vicinity
C. Yet unknown systems beyond 7 LY horizon.

There are also two chart mods.

Docked mod – you have all systems plotted on chart, but without any additional info for unrecorded systems beyond 7 LY horizon.
Flight mod – with plotted all systems in 7 LY vicinity and only recorded systems beyond 7 LY.

So we have some issues OR challenges in obtaining system info - depends on point of view.

Discrimination between visited/unvisited systems in 7 LY vicinity.
You need all info available for systems in 7 LY vicinity because you need info for trading and planning your next system of destination. Period. So the only way to discriminate visited/unvisited systems is checking system info page on F7 screen. Explorer’s Club without Here be Dragons behaves in similar way, no any visual cues.

Searching unvisited systems beyond 7 LY horizon.
Really, with HbD you can’t find system on chart typing its name. Try to take it as part of game. How you can know name of unexplored system? We have no massive lore in Ooniversum with regional guides like in Elder Scrolls games. OK. We have excellent Galcop Galactic Registry, but now it displays only unconcealed systems, belonging to groups A and B in your terms. Galactic Registry is well integrated with HbD now (nice work, phkb!) and it is your task to explore Ooniverse, making GR database expanding too.
Well, but how to locate few remaining unrecorded systems on map, if you have no more option to enter names based on checking EC list of unvisited systems? Not so frustrating task as it seems. F6 local map is scrollable by mouse, so you can just scroll map and find systems without names OR pictograms. Works in docked state only, but it is part of lore too – advanced planning being docked, not en route.
You can also switch EC to mark all unvisited systems, but it is not recommended due to possible erasing of mission markers.

Missions onto unexplored systems and long range route planning IMHO can be the only potentially issues with HbD. I have info about amnesty offer from Galactic Navy on F5-F5 page but all I know is distance to system, not any marks on chart. Finding the right system will be sort of “cold or hot” game, it is not option for time limited missions. I didn’t test long run passenger / cargo / parcel contracts with HbD, so all feedback – positive OR negative – will be welcomed.

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