Oolite Bulletins

[WIP] GalCop Missions
Page 8 of 13

Author:  Cody [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [WIP] GalCop Missions

Being as timing is everything - are you saying that you need to pull the nose of your ship hard up a second before entering the witchspace portal or a second before the ship your tagging along with creates the portal?
The former - judging the moment can be tricky.

Apologies to phkb for the slight derail - normal service is now resumed.

Author:  phkb [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [WIP] GalCop Missions

are you saying that you need to pull the nose of your ship hard up a second before entering the witchspace portal
Just for reference, you can start pulling up at any time, you just have to be at full deflection when you enter witchspace. I quite often start at around the 4-5 second mark.

Author:  Damocles Edge [ Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [WIP] GalCop Missions

Many thanks to all for filling in the gaps in my knowledge - I'll keep the cement mixer running :wink:

Author:  herodotus [ Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [WIP] GalCop Missions


Just tried one of these missions for the first time. It was a Comm Relay recovery mission. I immediately jumped to the correct system, picked up the comm relay on the space compass, and Torussed towards it. Fought off a couple of hostiles quickly, and continued towards the Comm Relay... which promptly disappeared. Tried the Ranger Finder to see if I could pick it up that way, but no dice. Still had plenty of time left on the mission... a bit confused. Am I missing something - was I suppose to continue hunting manually, or did I do something wrong? Ended up having to terminate the mission and pay a penalty...

Author:  phkb [ Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [WIP] GalCop Missions

Hi Herodotus, thanks for playing!
The Comm Relay only broadcasts it's beacon location for a short amount of time, the in-game story being that, if the beacon operates for too long, the wrong people will find it, so that's the explanation. However, I might need to re-think this theory if it makes the mission impossible to complete if you have to deviate from your course after the beacon stops. The options (at the moment) are (a) give the player a way-point, instead of using a beacon, so that only the player will be able to find the spot (complying with the in-game story), the downside being this makes it very easy to complete the mission, or (b) have the beacon turn itself off and then back on periodically.

Based on where I've set the difficulty level (20% chance of mission being available, low score requirement and low chance of assassins), I'm leaning towards the waypoint option, although I suppose I could include both types (one with a waypoint, one with a disappearing beacon, but the disappearing beacon could be set with a higher difficulty rating and a lower chance of appearing).

In any case, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

(Hint: There is an in-game solution you could employ to overcome the disappearing beacon, although it does require using the "Waypoint Here" OXP to put two waypoints along the line-of-flight to the beacon while it's transmitting.)

Author:  herodotus [ Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [WIP] GalCop Missions

In any case, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
Hmm, so here's my poorly considered stream of thought:
  • I have the DeepSpacePirates OXP installed so I'm pretty much guaranteed to get attacked on a long run outside of the spacelanes irrespective of whatever baddies might be set up by the GalcopMissions OXP itself. I don't think you can assume that the player will be able to fly in a straight line to the beacon, and the distance is big enough that getting interrupted is going to make finding it really quite challenging
  • If the beacon is going to disappear, it probably needs to be clearer that it's still there after it disappears from the space compass. I read the bit about it only transmitting for a short time but I took this to mean that the mission had a timelimit and I needed to get to it before then. I also thought that the beacon might have been destroyed, as I'm sure I've played similar missions from other OXPs where this can happen. Spelling out what's likely to happen would have made it more likely that I would have persevered
  • Will the beacon show up on the RangeFinder even after it stops transmitting? I tried this but it didn't show up (I have the extended range option) but I guess it's possible I was still too far away.It doesn't help that it's not easy to convert OU into KM so ranges aren't actually that clear (is there a linear conversion?)
  • Perhaps a better alternative would be either for it to transmit intermittently for short periods - this would require some sort of notification so that the player knew to reset the space compass; or have the beacon stop transmitting when the player is within a certain distance (less than the Range Finder range?)
  • I agree that having a fixed waypoint is pretty dull unless there's an additional challenge - someone else trying to collect/destroy it or assassins trying to prevent you getting to it

Author:  Astrobe [ Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [WIP] GalCop Missions

Maybe the space compass reference could be very inaccurate at first and then become more and more accurate as the player gets closer?

Author:  phkb [ Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [WIP] GalCop Missions

I've had another suggestion given to me by a player who can't currently post on the board (Hi, Spalthy867!). The suggestion is to have a piece of primable equipment that, when activated, will turn on the comms relay beacon for a short period of time (perhaps 15-30 seconds). The downsides for use could be (a) it has a limited number of uses (eg 3 times), (b) it will attract unwanted attention, (c) it will increase the penalty amount, or decrease the payment amount for the mission. Or even a combination of them. I'm liking this idea as it puts the player in control without making it too easy, and it handles (very deftly, I feel) more of the complex scenarios that can occur due to other OXP's coming into play. Let me know what you think.

(PS: Not that I didn't like any of the other ideas, Herodotus and Astrobe. I did! Thanks for sharing them!)

Author:  Astrobe [ Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [WIP] GalCop Missions

That's a good suggestion. Perhaps a way to combine a and c would be to give the equipment a maximum lifespan; while it is active the player can see the beacon. When the player "consumes" all of the lifespan the equipment, it breaks and has to be repaired (however it would mean that a way to proactively replace it should be provided, so that the player doesn't have to go on mission with a few seconds of lifespan left).

I think it gives incentives not to use it too often in order to minimize cash loss, and also to do little things like re-align to the rough direction of the beacon (if you have noticed it is e.g. the opposite direction of the sun) before activating it again after a fight, in order to spare a few seconds of the equipment's lifespan. The equipment could also attract attention while it is active, but given that we are there because the player was "distracted" by a fight, I think it is probably unnecessary.

Author:  herodotus [ Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [WIP] GalCop Missions


I like Astrobe's take on your suggestion - I think a piece of equipment that is consumed through usage - a bit like the Glare Filter OXP - and costs to replace/repair would be a good idea. Perhaps you could remove the Comm Relays from the Range Finder and add an extra piece of equipment instead that does this?

In the meantime I've hit two other snags with different missions (not having much luck!).
  • I was doing a cargo recovery mission, and after a little messing around I found the relevant asteroid field and the 6 TC of Platinum that it contained. As I scooped them I checked the mission status screen and noted that the number of remaining TC to recover was reducing, so I'm pretty confident I was in the right place. Once I'd got the cargo, I flew to a station in the same system, sold some other cargo that I was transporting, took off again, jumped to the original system where I got the mission, and docked. But when I went into the Galcop missions screen, my active mission was listed as 0% progress, with 0 TC recovered. I checked and I still had the full 20kg of Platinum in the hold. What happened? Possible theories: a) because it was Platinum and it gets lumped together as total kg once scooped, the original TC are no longer present so they can't be detected by the mission code b) I have Smugglers Galactic Underworld installed + I have a smuggling compartment. I didn't place the platinum in the smuggling compartment but my other cargo that I sold was in there (ssh!). Perhaps there's some interaction with the way STGU deals with the cargo hold that overwrote information about the galcop mission cargo c) Pods OXP - I have this installed, not sure if it breaks the way scooping workings for this mission
  • I undertook a mission to deliver some questionable cargo to an equally questionable contact out in space. I found my target, and dumped out my TCs of Narcotics, and my contact starting scooping them up. Unfortunately he wasn't the world's greatest pilot and he took quite a while to scoop up the cargo, by which time several of the TCs had drifted almost out of scanner range. I took it upon myself to give him a hand, so I went and scooped the rogue TCs up again, and brought them back in range. Just as I was about to dump the last two again, he scooped up the last of the ones still floating, and realised that he was short and told me so over comms. I dumped the remaining TCs and then used Broadcast Comms to tell him that I'd made a mistake, but from that point he just sat there doing nothing. I tried scooping and re-dropping the cargo, and taunting him over Comms, but to no avail. I guess there's some particularly path here that isn't covered in the AI/script.
Sorry, I seem to be good at breaking things!

Author:  herodotus [ Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [WIP] GalCop Missions

Ok, update on this. Just tried another cargo recovery mission, and I've had exactly the same problem, but this time with Luxuries, so I guess it's not the Platinum/Gold/Gems thing causing the problem. I flew out, scooped the cargo, saw the number of remaining canisters drop to zero in my mission status screen, jumped immediately back to the source system, docked, and it says I haven't scooped anything and have made 0% progress. Going to dive into the code to see if I can work out what gives - currently my theory is that the mission variable for the cargo monitor isn't being set up for some reason :-/

Author:  herodotus [ Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [WIP] GalCop Missions

Erk, my brain hurts now. I hadn't realised how big this OXP was! I've not had much luck debugging it because I now can't get it to offer me a cargo recovery mission. Reading the code, I note that it's supposed to be displaying messages every time I scoop some mission-related cargo... and that's not happening at all. What's weird is that the manifest text *is* being updated - the quantity remaining to be scooped goes down each time I collect a container. I guess the only real way to be sure is to put a load of logging in and I can't remember how you do that... and am not hugely motivated to get into heavy debugging right now! Hopefully something will jump out at you that isn't right based on what I've already said, and it's not some horrifically complicated interaction between lots of OXPs....

Author:  phkb [ Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [WIP] GalCop Missions

Erk, my brain hurts now. I hadn't realised how big this OXP was!
Yeah... it's big. Probably too big in the end - I should break it into smaller modules that can be added in individually. Anyway...

Yes, I just tested and yes, the cargo collection mission is bugged. It looks like I broke it while fixing the Thargoid alloys mission. The manifest text is going down because the monitoring process is checking the number of cargo containers still in the system against the number the mission is expecting. For some reason I haven't identified yet, the collected quantity of the mission is not being updated, which means the monitoring process misinterprets the situation and assumes the cargo was destroyed, not collected. Thus, the number of cargo containers to collect goes down.

Anyway, I'm on to it. Thanks for all your testing so far!

Update: I found the bug. It was a conflict with another part of the OXP, which was deleting a rather important element from the ship script when it shouldn't have. I should have a release ready in the next day or so. Thanks again for your help with this.

Author:  herodotus [ Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [WIP] GalCop Missions

Cool, thanks for the fixes. Various things work much better now!

I'm still having some issues with the Special Delivery missions. If I complete the mission without any losses then everything works as expected - although the NPC scooping AI occasionally gets rather stuck circling around a collection of cargo pods and needs help - but if the contact finishes scooping and finds himself short I still can't get the comms messages to trigger any sensible response - he just sits there dumbly after I reply saying "sorry, that's it".

Also, the last special delivery mission I did, my contact wasn't within scanner range of the meeting point. I had to fly around with the Range Finder hunting for him! Maybe a distance value got borked somewhere?

Author:  phkb [ Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [WIP] GalCop Missions

Thanks for all your testing on this. It’s helping a lot! I should be able to get a new release out later today.

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