In-flight communication

An area for discussing new ideas and additions to Oolite.

Moderators: another_commander, winston

Post Reply
User avatar
Commander McLane
Intergalactic Spam Assassin
Intergalactic Spam Assassin
Posts: 9520
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 9:08 am
Location: a Hacker Outpost in a moderately remote area
Contact:

In-flight communication

Post by Commander McLane »

I don't know if anybody else has yet had this wish. I mentioned it in one of the threads in the general discussion, but there was no response to it:

It would be very cool and give a lot of opportunities for scripting missions, if the in-flight-communication in Oolite could be enhanced. Right now the player can receive incoming messages from other ships, like distress messages or specific messages scripted in an OXP, but he can't react to them or send messages himself.

Why do I suggest this? Because right now the only way of passing information to a player is the mission screen, which is only accessible when docked. But imagine the rich possibilities of interaction we would get if a mission ship could approach the player right at the witchpoint beacon (or anywhere else) and send a message to his ship; and the player could react right there, accepting or declining an offer, reacting to or ignoring a call for help, thereby setting mission variables that influence the scenario from that point onwards. A single pirate could demand surrender and if the player refuses other pirates could pop up out of nowhere (with the "invisible escorts"-trick, mentioned in another thread).

It doesn't stop there. The player himself could send a message to the ship he is targeting, asking for help or for an information, demanding surrender and the ejection of cargo, and the receiving ship could react in one way or the other. If attacked the player could send a distress call to other ships, these would--based on a chances-calculation in their AI--come for help or not. If trapped in witchspace the player could ask another present ship for help, this would approach him and transfer the amount of fuel needed to reach the closest planet into his tanks--for a hefty payment, of course (AI-methods for transferring fuel to the player and collecting money from him are already there!). This one would also be nice the other way round: The player accepting the distress-call of a NPC-ship and selling fuel to it--but be careful that there is enough fuel left in your tanks!

How could it be done? There could be a comms screen in in-flight-modus (like the one that now stores your received messages), that pops up every time the player receives or wants to send (via a key) a message. It might be worth considering to pause the game while the screen is visible, but it could also (perhaps better) be integrated in the HUD. Then the player probably wouldn't answer his calls while busy in fight, which is quite realistic. The player would answer incoming messages analogous to the setMissionChoices-method.

Sending messages could work similarly, by giving a predefined set of choices: Hail Ship / Ask for Help / Exit Comms Screen. The first one would just be an exchange of greetings, in which the NPC-ship could send back to the player a randomly generated information from planetinfo; something along the line of "Greetings Commander! Have you visited Lave and its famous tree grub?" or "Don't forget to visit [techlevel 14-planet]. You will get a lot of upgrades for your ship there." or "If you ever come to [random-planet], pass my greetings to my mother." Things like that, adding more flavour to the game. The "Ask for Help"-option would be understood by the engine as "help in fight" while being attacked, and answered accordingly by the addressed ship. It would be understood as "sell me fuel" when being short of fuel in interstellar space, and answered accordingly. And it would be answered by something like "You are in no trouble, Commander." when in none of the above mentioned states. When targeting the attacker during fight the coices would be slightly different: Hail Ship / Beg for Mercy / Exit Comms Screen. The first one being answered by an curse (or not at all), the second one answered by the demand of paying a ransom to the attacker and/or eject cargo. If the player would meet the demand (another choice) the attacker would cancel the attack, if not he would continue more furiously. For the next "Beg for Mercy"-message he would of course raise the ransom. Of course OXPs could script another set of choices when contacting a specific mission ship.

I should mention that none of this really has been born in my own mind. I took it from the games of the Escape Velocity-series that I played a lot before discovering Oolite. But, hey, if you have to steal somebody's ideas you should steal the good ideas. And IMHO this is a good idea, and it would add a lot to the Ooniverse.

So, everybody: What say you?

User avatar
TGHC
Intergalactic Spam Assassin
Intergalactic Spam Assassin
Posts: 2157
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 4:16 pm
Location: Berkshire, UK

Post by TGHC »

Again an excellent idea, more interaction, would definitely enhance the game. If it's a doable, then, your right either include it in the HUD or have it as a pop up screen. I'd really like to send an interactive coms message to boyracers, police, thargoids, pirates etc.
The Grey Haired Commander has spoken!
OK so I'm a PC user - "you know whats scary? Out of billions of sperm I was the fastest"

User avatar
DaddyHoggy
Intergalactic Spam Assassin
Intergalactic Spam Assassin
Posts: 8501
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 9:43 pm
Location: Newbury, UK
Contact:

Post by DaddyHoggy »

Gets my vote! Like you say the options that would become available to the player in a mission to affect the state of play would really bring the game up a peg or two!

If you think its do-able then I say go for it.
Selezen wrote:Apparently I was having a DaddyHoggy moment.
Oolite Life is now revealed here

User avatar
reills
Deadly
Deadly
Posts: 244
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2006 4:41 pm
Location: Pawling, NY U.S.A.

Post by reills »

I am picturing something very similar to the "Air Traffic Control" in MS Flight Simulator. Sounds like a great idea.

User avatar
TGHC
Intergalactic Spam Assassin
Intergalactic Spam Assassin
Posts: 2157
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 4:16 pm
Location: Berkshire, UK

Post by TGHC »

Erm....

How can you picture something that sounds a good idea?

Your confusing the old codger!
The Grey Haired Commander has spoken!
OK so I'm a PC user - "you know whats scary? Out of billions of sperm I was the fastest"

User avatar
reills
Deadly
Deadly
Posts: 244
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2006 4:41 pm
Location: Pawling, NY U.S.A.

Post by reills »

I' a confusing old codfish? :shock: :wink:

Okay, Looks good to me!

User avatar
jonnycuba
Deadly
Deadly
Posts: 233
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 1:04 pm
Location: Witchspace

Post by jonnycuba »

Ah! I'm glad this has resurfaced, I seem to recall Giles talking about a simple return message i.e. 3 choices (scrolled through)? Like:
1 Help!
2 Give up the Goods.
3 Is the Edible Poet any good in this system?

I feel this would add immeasurable depth to the game considering the nimble coding of certain OXP'ers & as pointed out, make missions even more believeable.
Team Zorg are Go!

User avatar
jonnycuba
Deadly
Deadly
Posts: 233
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 1:04 pm
Location: Witchspace

Post by jonnycuba »

Team Zorg are Go!

User avatar
gogz69
Deadly
Deadly
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:35 pm
Location: Hunting around the red line stars. (G2)

In-flight communication

Post by gogz69 »

A very good idea indeed, i think it would also be a useful game support tool for new players (like myself) to receive gameplay hints & tips, what to do & what not to do, unwritten rules & so forth from the game veterans .
This could be used for tech support too.
I am very likely not the only one to have thought along these lines already though.

User avatar
drew
---- E L I T E ----
---- E L I T E ----
Posts: 2186
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 9:29 am
Location: In front of a laptop writing a book.
Contact:

Post by drew »

reills wrote:I am picturing something very similar to the "Air Traffic Control" in MS Flight Simulator. Sounds like a great idea.
Yes - that is very good - makes the game nice and atmospheric, and if you don't like it, you just ignore it.

Cheers,

Drew.
Author of the Oolite Saga, the officially licensed Elite: Reclamation and Elite Dangerous: Premonition
WebsiteFacebookTwitter

another_commander
Quite Grand Sub-Admiral
Quite Grand Sub-Admiral
Posts: 5602
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 7:54 am

Post by another_commander »

reills wrote:I am picturing something very similar to the "Air Traffic Control" in MS Flight Simulator. Sounds like a great idea.
Well, at least we already have GalCop Station Traffic Control in 1.72, so let's just say that a first step has been made in the right direction ;-)

User avatar
Commander McLane
Intergalactic Spam Assassin
Intergalactic Spam Assassin
Posts: 9520
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 9:08 am
Location: a Hacker Outpost in a moderately remote area
Contact:

Post by Commander McLane »

Wow! I'm intrigued that people revive this (quite old) thread. :D

But--sorry, a_c :wink: --I disagree a little about the first step, because I think a real in-flight communication would have to go in a completely different direction than the traffic control.

Why that? Because I think simple screen messages are not the way to go. First, they have been an annoyance for quite some players in the first place. Second, the amount of information that can be displayed safely via a screen message is very limited. Third, screen messages from various sources at the same time would only do one thing: kick each other off the screen, flooding it completely and make everything invisible for the player. And forth, the basic feature of 'communication'--its two-way-ness--isn't even addressed; we are not a quantum closer to it.

I (still) think what we would really need for in-flight communication is some sort of a pop-up screen which (a) automatically pauses the game while on display and (b) is handled in a similar way to a mission screen, with choosable options for the player.

And if you think the whole idea is heavily inspired by the games of the Escape Velocity-series, well, you're right! :wink:

User avatar
pagroove
---- E L I T E ----
---- E L I T E ----
Posts: 3035
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2007 11:52 pm
Location: On a famous planet

Post by pagroove »

Why didn''t I read this before? Anyway. I 100% agree with this idea. It nicely fits in with my previous suggestion of auto-join-escort group.

Hope this can be implemented.
For P.A. Groove's music check
https://soundcloud.com/p-a-groove
Famous Planets v 2.7. (for Povray)
Image
http://aegidian.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=13709

User avatar
Ensa
Competent
Competent
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 5:00 pm

Post by Ensa »

Great idea for it to be possible, however I would have to speak in favour of a system that did not pause the game in-flight.
That sort of thing really spoils the immersion for me, as soon as the universe stops just so I can read and respond to a message.
I would like to be able to respond to messages recieved in-flight but in a way that was natural to the in-game experience.
IE, if it was a short range com link type thing between me and the ship/station then I can respond if they are in range and listening.
If it is a galactic-e-mail type thing then I can reply as long as I can connect to a node of the network, perhaps a station or navbouy or something.
Doing all this in-flight is the point and if there is going to be a pause then it might as well just happen in the station.

User avatar
ZygoUgo
---- E L I T E ----
---- E L I T E ----
Posts: 406
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:15 pm
Location: Blighty

Post by ZygoUgo »

Hows about a light on the dash that blinks when you receive communication, then press a button to veiw it.
Perhaps also the possibility of buying an upgrade that helps you track down any vessels that have gone out of range due to you being up to your neck in it?
It could be quite fun to have an option of listening to your messages, maybe a standard voice of the good old Universal Translater (Ah the ever reliable plot device.. :D), provided by the Occlusion Galnet Generics company of course.

Post Reply