UNION Spaceship Command

Terran Stellar Navy Forums (OOC) The Mess Hall UNION Spaceship Command

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  • #1216
    Faerdan
    Participant

    Hey all,

    I’m sorry I wasn’t able to join you last night, things are very busy at the moment. We will be meeting with a number publishers after Gamescom, to see if they are interested in us and if we are interested in what they have to offer, and we’re busy working on content for that. I do hope to play with you at some stage though.

    The Tactical UI is not yet complete, but I have made a good deal of progress on it. I would love to get your impressions: http://i.imgur.com/CfFiMa4.png

    Have a look at it before the description below, and see if your first impressions line up with that. Thanks!

    Targets (bottom right of the pic):
    Each ship has a set number of target slots, in this case it is three. Each has to button on the bottom right of the screen. Target slots are lettered alphabetically.

    When a slot is empty (a filled slot can be cleared by clicking on the “X” to the left of the button) clicking on it will ask you to select a contact, from the radar or list, to target.

    Once a slot has been filled, clicking on it’s button opens a popup showing whatever information is available on that target. Depending on the scan strength this could range from the type of ship/structure, to the heat and structural integrity of each of it’s systems. If you have information on it’s systems then you can select one of these as a sub-target.

    Turrets (top left of the pic):
    Turrets are split into Firing Groups, these FG can be configured by the tactical officer.

    Clicking on a firing group will allow you to set it’s target (A, B, C etc.) and whether it is in Auto or Manual mode. In Auto mode the Firing Group will fire it’s turrets as soon as one or more of them is “ready”. “Ready” means that the turret is charged and has a the target in sight. In Manual mode the Firing Group will change to a “FIRE” state, clicking on the “FIRE” part of the button will then fire any of it’s “ready” turrets.

    To the left of the firing group is the list of turrets on the ship, grouped by the power nodes they are connected to. Turrets connected to a power node (like “Forward Left Thrusters”) share the power going to that node (in this case “Forward Left Thrusters” has two turrets, so each is getting 50% of the power for charging). Clicking on a turret in the list disables it, stopping it from drawing power and causing the other turrets connected to that node to charge faster (in the pic above, disabling turret “T2” will cause turret “T1” to charge 100% faster).

    Radar (center right of the pic):
    Lastly there is a radar range setting on the bottom of the radar, which allows you to set the radar to a shorter range (effectively zooming in).

    That’s it for now, I would love to hear your feedback.

    Thanks!

    #1217
    Gomric
    Participant

    You’re welcome any Saturday.

    Cpt. Gomric

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 2 months ago by Gomric. Reason: Reply was to an outdated post
    #1219
    Gomric
    Participant

    On the topic of feedback, the descriptions you provide sounds innovative and exciting. To really review them, one must test them however.

    Are you planning on releasing any demos for alpha testing, at this point?

    Cpt. Gomric

    #1220
    Faerdan
    Participant

    Thanks Cpt. Gomric.

    I am genuinely looking forward to playing with you guys.

    Right now I am designing the UIs, they will then need to be built within the game itself. It will be later this year, maybe November, before there is an alpha ready to play.

    #1224
    Solari
    Participant

    Been watching Alien(s) I see.
    Hopefully you get something out before the holidays. That’s pretty much release day for so many games, or the opposite and people are taking minor breaks.

    As Gomric said it’s hard to give feedback when we can’t test out the functionality. But a question or two is now rising up from the description you gave. I’m going to go on my usual tangents though. 😛

    For the turrets status (in the upper left), it looks like there’s a bar underneath the ‘ready’, ‘charging’, ‘firing’ and ‘not in range’ area. Would this be an indicator to help show the charge status of the weapon? Think of the bar slowly filling from left to right, (0 to 100?) to let us know how slow/fast, it’s working. Could also be used to show the ‘torpedos’ loading/unloading indicator, if we are on that tab. (Share the UI resource) Just guessing here though. What is it supposed to do?

    You mention the weapons sharing power nodes with things like thrusters, etc. From the sounds of it, we may be overlapping with Engineering, or you may be going into another Star Trek-like department: Operations. (They do Power allocation to the ships systems actually. Think of them as the nervous system, whereas Engineering just provides the raw power like the heart and physical aspects.) How will a station like Helm and Tactical keep from a tug-of-war with the nodes, by having to turn things on and off at perhaps ill-timed moments.
    Example: The captain has us running straight through a gauntlet of ships. Helm needs more thrust to perform a hard turn at the end or to evade a surprise attack. But tactical is currently firing on both sides to perhaps take down incoming torpedoes or fighters, or hold off the ships.
    Wait, I reckon I just answered my own question. We’d have to just communicate and come up with similar out of game tactics/procedures’ in the TSN. Duh me.
    Although that might not help random pick-up players not in an organised group. I can see heaps of overlapping comms chatter on a voice server, or even people fluttering away with typing in the heat of the moment, attempting to get more recharge, if they’re suddenly needed at a moments notice.

    Having typed all that, I do like the concept of a station powering down/up it’s individual parts to give others more of a boost. It also adds some timing and actual thinking to the game, as you’ll need to prep for not always having everything at the ready. I just hope some of the gamers get the concept, of no ‘instant ability’ buttons.

    That leads me back to Engineering. Need to see what Engineering controls first, before I keep speculating on false-assumptions. Actually, all of the consoles UI mock-ups would be helpful to see on a page or two. If compared, that could help streamline the process of comparisons and utility? Just what I’d do anyways, if I were having these drawn up.

    #1225
    Faerdan
    Participant

    Ah the alpha release will be a closed release, a public beta release would be in early 2016. I’m not sure if we will do Early Access or not, it really depends on our finances (if we really need the money) and the state of the game (if it’s feature complete).

    On each turret the white bar is the current charge. When it is full the turret can fire.

    The problem you are thinking about with nodes, while interesting, does not exist. Engineering sets how much power each node gets. So lets say the “Forward Left Thrusters” power node is getting 3 MW of power per second. If both turrets, T1 and T2, are active they will each get 1.5 MW per second. If however the tactical officer disables T1 then T2 will be getting the full 3 MW per second.

    Here is an older picture of Engineering:http://images.akamai.steamusercontent.com/ugc/630852732951665789/B208443B3277EE930B3F60816EE2B617A1604788/
    In that picture each of the four turret/weapons nodes (the nodes with the three bullets icon) is getting 3 MW per second.

    Science/Comms isn’t ready to show yet, but as soon as it is I will post here.

    I know it’s difficult to give good feedback with just these static images, but what you can give is very helpful to me.

    Thanks!

    #1226
    Fulvus
    Participant

    I think the top left would look more logical if designed like this, I also changed from FORWARD to FRONT to make it less cluttered but that might be a mistake by a non-native English person:

    UNION Top left Tactical

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 2 months ago by Fulvus.
    #1228
    Faerdan
    Participant

    Nice mockup, thanks Fulvus!

    I’m off to bed now but I will implement your change in the morning and see what people think.

    #1315
    Fish Evans
    Moderator

    Very nice! I would say that the status of the various weapons groups/indervidual turrets could stand out more as well the use of some strongly coloured Icons or changing the boarder colour aroundthe groups. It should be fairly easy to find a system that may need attention given to it and I feel the curent layout in that reguard is a bit subtle I feel. the rest of the lay out is looking good I feel.

    #1318
    Faerdan
    Participant

    Excellent point ‘re the status being too subtle, I will play around the the colours and see.

    Thanks!

    #4677
    Faerdan
    Participant

    Hi all,

    I know I’ve been very quiet these past few months, but only because I’ve been neck deep in UNION development.

    I’ve been working on the simulation systems for the game which, in combination with them being fully networked, are rather complex.

    I’ve also implemented a vector-based XML (XAML) UI system, which will allow modders to make significant alterations to the UI. In most cases you could recreate a whole UI from scrath, turning it into something like LCARS.

    Anyway, I’m here today to talk about Engineering and power management. I have huge respect for you guys, and I would love to get your input on it.

    This video shows the working “Power Wheel”, where you drag connections from “reactor nodes” to “equipment nodes” to power them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Qz3DoYp_9Y&feature=youtu.be

    Please note: This is still a work in progress. For example, in the final version you won’t have to drag and drop every time you want to increase/decrease power across a connection, and there are many animations to go in to increase feedback. On a whole though it is fully functional. It is also not the full UI, but just the power wheel portion of it.

    The Power Wheel
    The main element of the power wheel is creating connections from “reactor nodes” to “equipment nodes”, increasing and decreasing power to equipment.

    Each reactor node has a maximum output, on the ship in the video above they all have a max output of 9.

    Each piece of equipment has a section on the power wheel, it’s position on the wheel representing it’s position on the ship.

    Power connections can only be created between reactor and equipment nodes which have line-of-sight. If a line between them intersects another node or the central circle, it is an invalid connection.

    Each piece of equipment has a minimum and maximum “operating power level”. The current operating power level, the amount of power being provided to a piece of equipment, is displayed on the equipment section as a bar of rectangular pips. The first few pips are orange, these represent the power levels below the minimum. Blue pips represent power above minimum. If a piece of equipment is below minimum power, it’s node will change to orange to show that it has not enough power to operate. The equipment node changes to a light yellow when it is at max power.

    Operating Power to Performance Graph
    Increasing the operating power level increases the performance each piece of equipment based on it’s “performance graph”. This allows us to create equipment with it’s own character. In the example pic above, which is for a turret, 17 operation power would get you about 40 damage, whereas just 1 more power would get you 50. We will use this to create things like weapons which have a decent lower power performance, but with no high potential, and weapons which have poor lower power performance, but a large amount of high power damage.

    Increasing the operating power level increases the amount of heat generated when the equipment is in-use/used. This heat goes into the equipment’s heatsink. If the heat goes over the heatsink’s capacity, the integrity (health) of the equipment is damaged. Heat is represented by the equipment’s red bar on the power wheel. Bright red is the current heat, and dark red represents the amount of heat that will be generated on next use. If the dark red section goes over the heatsink capacity it shows up on the green integrity bar, showing how much damage that excess heat would cause. Heat is dispersed from heatsinks at a constant rate.

    Integrity, represented by the green bar, can be damaged by enemy fire or overheating. Damage to equipment reduces the heatsink’s ability to disperse heat, up to 50% when fully damaged.

    When providing power to equipment it is advisable to split the power over multiple connections (from multiple reactor nodes) as this is much more stable. When equipment is hit with enemy fire there is a chance that it will be a “critical hit”, causing an explosion in the equipment. This explosion has a chance of creating an “overload” which travels along power connections to the reactor and potentially out to other equipment, causing temporary loss of function and/or damage. The overload chance is based on the current operating power level of the equipment, but is decreased by providing that power from more than one source (more is better).

    Sensors in UNION are based on “energy signatures”. The higher a ship’s (or station’s) energy signature is, the easier it is to detect and the more accurate weapon locks are. Heat is the primary contributor to a ship’s energy signature, though things like active shields and active long range sensor scans can increase an energy signature dramatically. Heat is generated by the reactor nodes, based on their power output, and when equipment is in-use/used.

    Sensor strength is based on the sensor equipment stats, and the sensor’s operating power level. Sensor strength decreases with distance, so closing on a target is a good way to get a stronger lock. Stronger sensor locks provide not just more accurate weapon accuracy, but also more detailed information on the ship.

    A ship or station below sensor strength will be completely invisible unless within visual range (which is quite close). Ships/stations within visual range but below sensor strength will show up as unknown contacts and cannot be sensor locked.

    I think that’s everything for now, I would love to hear your opinions and suggestions.

    Thanks,

    Mark

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 8 months ago by Faerdan.
    #4746
    Blaze Strife
    Participant

    Tactical http://i.imgur.com/CfFiMa4.png

    Each ship has a set number of target slots, in this case it is three. Each has to button on the bottom right of the screen. Target slots are lettered alphabetically.

    When a slot is empty (a filled slot can be cleared by clicking on the “X” to the left of the button) clicking on it will ask you to select a contact, from the radar or list, to target.

    I recommend switching the position of the slot letters (“A”, “B” ,”C” in example) and the “X” on the right, so the targets can be easily switched by clearing them with multiple X presses. I don’t suppose the slot letters will have a function on their own.
    Also, you might think about switching from slot letters to slot numbers, so that you can click on a target, and hit a number, selecting that target on that slot. Then you could easily change targets by hitting a function key designated for a fire group, followed by a number key designated for a target.

    Once a slot has been filled, clicking on it’s button opens a popup showing whatever information is available on that target.

    I do hope that we can click on the big button with name, not just their slot letter.

    Clicking on a firing group will allow you to set it’s target (A, B, C etc.) and whether it is in Auto or Manual mode.

    Again, I recommend switching the position of the function key position with the fire option. That is, I think it would be better to have the function key Firing Group designation on the right, curved with the radar, and have the commands (“Manual”, “Auto” ,”Fire”) on the right, so that they can be pressed in order, without moving the mouse in an arc.

    Turrets connected to a power node (like “Forward Left Thrusters”) share the power going to that node (in this case “Forward Left Thrusters” has two turrets, so each is getting 50% of the power for charging).

    I suppose you mean “Forward Left Turrets”, not “Thrusters””. I think that’s what caused Solari’s confusion.
    If you disable a turret, does it need to recharge in order to be able to fire?

    Engineering
    Love the look of The Power Wheel! And even though it’s still a work in progress, I’d like to give some feedback, since I do not know what you’re thinking about doing.

    Power connections can only be created between reactor and equipment nodes which have line-of-sight. If a line between them intersects another node or the central circle, it is an invalid connection.

    It might be beneficial to somehow show a player what equipment nodes can be reached by a certain reactor node. For example, when a player clicks and drags the line from the reactor node, have the equipment nodes it can reach have a pulsing border or simply change color to green-ish.
    Also, it could be beneficial to have a number pop out in order to specify how much power to take from the reactor node. The number should respond to the number key or to scrolling up or down and should become valid on the Enter key or on clicking outside of the number or line.
    Will we be able to change where what is on The Power Wheel? It would be great if that would also change the layout of the ship, and that you simply cannot change it too much, since that would require complete rework of the ship.

    Increasing the operating power level increases the performance each piece of equipment based on it’s “performance graph”. This allows us to create equipment with it’s own character.

    Will we be able to see all of the graphs ingame? Will it be possible to affect them with upgrades? This would be great for advanced play. You could make it so that the graph pops out when you click on the equipment node or the image of the equipment behind it, and that you can only see one graph at a time.

    Increasing the operating power level increases the amount of heat generated when the equipment is in-use/used. This heat goes into the equipment’s heatsink. If the heat goes over the heatsink’s capacity, the integrity (health) of the equipment is damaged.

    This is great! The dark red is quite hard to see, though. Perhaps go for orange or yellow for current heat and red for new?

    When equipment is hit with enemy fire there is a chance that it will be a “critical hit”, causing an explosion in the equipment. This explosion has a chance of creating an “overload” which travels along power connections to the reactor and potentially out to other equipment, causing temporary loss of function and/or damage

    Awesome! But be mindful that this needs to be made very clear to new players.

    Love what you wrote about the sensors.

    General
    Will we be able to upgrade a ship? Add new turrets, better thrusters and what-not? What is the general layout of the game? Is it like Artemis where you have a map and predefined ships or like Elite where you buy a ship, upgrade it, buy another ship, upgrade that one, etc. This is connected to my 3rd paragraph in the Engineering part.

    #4762
    Faerdan
    Participant

    Hey Blaze,

    Thanks for the excellent feedback, all of your points are spot on.

    After Engineering I am redesigning a lot of the Tactical screen as I feel like it just became too busy. I will take your points into consideration when doing that.

    Text alone isn’t clickable on the UI, everything clickable is a shape of some sort. I leave enough room between these clickable elements to allow for touch based control.

    You were right, the “Forward Left Turrets” was a typo. Turrets do need to be recharged if you have power them down.

    I’ve already begun work on highlighting valid nodes when you start dragging a connection. There is going to be way more feedback added to the UI over the next week, with animations when things happen, like when equipment is used (it’s icon pulses yellow) or when it takes damage (it’s background pulses red).

    I really like the idea of using the keyboard and scrollwheel to adjust the power while dragging, that is totally in. You will be able to click on already-created connections and adjust their power using arrows (and how using scrollwheel or the keyboard also).

    I currently intend for the position of the reactors and equipment to be fixed, however there will be a number of variants to choose from for each ship, to suit your play style (more/less power available to particular systems etc.).

    Each equipment section on the power wheel is actually an equipment slot. Each slot has a type (turret, engine, sensors, shield etc.) and a class (which designates the power requirement of the equipment).

    Each piece of equipment has it’s own performance graph, and can have different behaviours. Like directed energy vs ballistic turrets.

    In early releases you will have a selection of equipment to install on your ship before a mission, however we have detailed plan for a persistent dynamic campaign, where you will purchase equipment at stations, salvage them from wrecks, and get them from missions. These equipment will be generated procedurally.

    Clicking on equipment will give you a detailed view of it on the top left of the screen, including the graph. The graph picture above is actually a graph from the game (albeit an earlier test version).

    Good call on the operational heat (dark red) being hard to see, I will experiment with the colours.

    On the subject of maps, ours will support a maximum size of just over over 17 billion x 17 billion kilometres (using a chunk system, similar to Minecraft’s).

    Early versions of the game will have single missions, set in it’s own map, which you can load and play. The size of the map will be up to the mission creator.

    As I said above we have plans for a dynamic campaign map, with procedurally generated missions and events, where the gameplay is much more like Elite.

    I hope I have covered everything, and thanks again for the response.

    Mark

    #4764
    Blaze Strife
    Participant

    Thank you for the quick reply!

    Ofcourse, I’ve got plenty of other questions, but I don’t want to overwhelm you with them, and would first like to let the others give their own thoughts on the Engineering screen and video.

    #4767
    Faerdan
    Participant

    My pleasure. We haven’t had a chance to build up a community around UNION yet, so I don’t get to chat about it with others very often.

    We’re starting to work on that now though, our forums should be live later tonight, along with our first video devlog.

    If you’d like to ask any more questions, I’d be happy to answer them.

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