SOTL Exploration v0.4 [WIP, 1.83 required]

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

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SOTL Exploration v0.4 [WIP, 1.83 required]

Post by cim » Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:20 pm

One of the things you can't really do in Oolite is exploration. All the systems are known and heavily populated, with their own stations. You can fly around and see things, but that's about it.

So, with the new scenario support, I'm working on an exploration-based OXP, and a playable prototype is now ready.

To try it you will need:
- An Oolite 1.83 nightly build (there are a couple of core bug fixes and similar since 1.82 which are essential to this)
- The Exploration OXZ (0.4)
- The Loader OXZ (1.1)
(because of how scenarios work in Oolite, scenarios which partially override the core game rather than adding to it need a separate loader OXP)

I won't be putting these in the manager yet, so you'll have to download them manually if you want them. One major reason for this is that until 1.0 (which might be a while away yet) the shape of the galaxy will change as more things get added and this affects the generation algorithm, so you'll often need to start again after a new release.

Let me know what you think.

Features

There are currently various things you can do:
- you can fit exploration equipment to your ship
- you can hyperspace jump to new systems
- you can discover planets by flying near them
- you can use gravitational sensors to measure masses
- you can use spectroscopic sensors to scan stars, planets and asteroids for various things. Scanning asteroids requires a prospecting laser to be fitted
- you can use a sampling laser to break bits off asteroids and a collection bay to bring them back

There's more planned, as well as more reasons to discover the various system objects in the first place.

Documentation
Documentation of all the equipment and gameplay changes is now on the [wiki]SOTL Exploration[/wiki] wiki page.

Changelog
0.1: unreleased, hyperspace changes only
0.2: first public release, added gravity scanner, stars, planets
0.3: added spectroscopic scanner, asteroids, prospecting laser
0.4: added sampling laser, sample collection bay



Bonus feature

As a bonus feature, you can also get Altmap, which is a collection - not necessarily a particularly coherent one - of various pieces of code written to test 1.82's new features while they were being developed, as well as a few other bits of prototype feature. Again, the Loader OXP is needed to start a game in it. Includes:
- 2048 long-form planetary descriptions
- complex ship customisation
- NPC torus drive
- alternative economy and trade good set
- various other proof-of-concept and prototypes code
Last edited by cim on Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:46 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: SOTL Exploration v0.2 [WIP, 1.83 required]

Post by Cody » Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:26 pm

Crikey!

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Re: SOTL Exploration v0.2 [WIP, 1.83 required]

Post by Disembodied » Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:28 pm

<emits sounds audible only to bats>

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Re: SOTL Exploration v0.2 [WIP, 1.83 required]

Post by Layne » Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:47 pm

Remarkable idea! This kind of thing can add an entire new game within a game to Oolite!

I'll be watching this!

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Re: SOTL Exploration v0.2 [WIP, 1.83 required]

Post by Cody » Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:05 pm

Song of the Labyrinth, eh? <chortles> Downloaded and installed - muchas gracias!

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Re: SOTL Exploration v0.2 [WIP, 1.83 required]

Post by Smivs » Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:37 pm

:shock:
What more can I say?
Well :D seems like a good place to start. Sounds awesome.
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Re: SOTL Exploration v0.2 [WIP, 1.83 required]

Post by Norby » Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:18 pm

Good idea!

Worth to create a Scenarios category in manifest to stimulate the creation of new games.
cim wrote:You can fit ten modules to it.
Very good rule, like in this ship:

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I think later the player will be able to buy larger ships with more module slots.

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Re: SOTL Exploration v0.2 [WIP, 1.83 required]

Post by Cody » Thu Jul 16, 2015 7:57 pm

It's rather strange, having the scanner up in the top left-hand corner!

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Re: SOTL Exploration v0.2 [WIP, 1.83 required]

Post by another_commander » Thu Jul 16, 2015 8:02 pm

Whoah!

Speechless...

That... is... <faints>

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Re: SOTL Exploration v0.2 [WIP, 1.83 required]

Post by spara » Thu Jul 16, 2015 8:17 pm

Awesome, just awesome. Something like an unexplored ninth chart. Would be awesome at some point to be able to enter the uncharted chart by jumping out of the known charts.

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Re: SOTL Exploration v0.2 [WIP, 1.83 required]

Post by another_commander » Thu Jul 16, 2015 8:46 pm

OK, now that I got my breath back I need to say it: This is "one of those moments" in the history of the game. I think this OXP qualifies as the first ever Total Conversion for Oolite. Just when I thought that nobody would ever make use of the scenario feature, this one comes along...Color me happy. :-)

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Re: SOTL Exploration v0.2 [WIP, 1.83 required]

Post by Geraldine » Fri Jul 17, 2015 5:39 am

I've just found out about this addon! :shock: Very well done cim! 8)
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Re: SOTL Exploration v0.2 [WIP, 1.83 required]

Post by phkb » Fri Jul 17, 2015 5:45 am

Would it be possible to merge/link this type of "upgrade" with the standard game, where you could go out exploring and then come back and scoot around the 8 as usual? Or is this an either/or thing? Not complaining, just want to get my head around it!

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Re: SOTL Exploration v0.2 [WIP, 1.83 required]

Post by Day » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:21 am

:shock: :) :) :)
I'm lacking words. Congratulations!!

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Re: SOTL Exploration v0.2 [WIP, 1.83 required]

Post by cim » Fri Jul 17, 2015 7:56 pm

phkb wrote:Would it be possible to merge/link this type of "upgrade" with the standard game, where you could go out exploring and then come back and scoot around the 8 as usual? Or is this an either/or thing? Not complaining, just want to get my head around it!
At the moment, very much either/or and I don't intend to do anything differently there, but you could theoretically make a scenario that mixed unexplored and explored systems, with the explored ones being (some) of the Oolite galaxies. That I think brings up two different issues, one technical and one atmospheric.

Technical
I've been thinking about how it might be possible to add extra galaxies to Oolite pretty much since I joined the dev team, since it's been a long-standing request. While it's easy enough to add support for extra galaxies to the core, giving OXP's access to that is trickier - if two OXPs both add an extra galaxy, which one is ID 8 and which one is ID 9 will depend on load order (and there'll also be incompatibilities with OXPs expecting the Galdrive to take you from ID 7 straight to ID 0). I've never been able to figure out a sensible way around that which didn't end up creating massive incompatibilities with existing OXPs.

What I have been considering as a potential feature is making a scenario-settings.plist file. Unlike every other plist file, this would be read in forward order, without merging or overriding (which in practical terms means that the one shipped with Oolite always takes effect unless Oolite is told not to even open that one in the first place by a scenario exclusion directive)

This could contain various fundamental constants such as
- number of galaxies
- number of systems per galaxy
- now we have a zoomable scrollable map ... x/y size of a galaxy
- whether galactic hyperspace "next galaxy" is "locked" or "scriptable"
(and equally other fundamental constants not linked to the galaxy creation such as max jump range, player scanner range, etc.)

So in theory you could then make an OXP with multiple galaxies including both the standard Oolite ones and unexplored regions. But it might be more interesting, if that level of flexibility existed, to have one large galaxy with both explored and unexplored regions rather than keeping a feature which mainly exists due to 8-bit limitations.

Atmospheric
I think it's quite difficult to make exploration work with a well-established large society for traditional Oolite combat/trading going on as well.

For this one there's a really obvious reason why there's all these nearby undiscovered systems: you're literally the only person with an exploration ship (and you get to make up your own backstory for why you're the person with the most piloting experience in a particular technology research centre).

In a "you're no-one special (at least as spaceship owners go)" world like Oolite anything reasonably reachable from inhabited space is going to have been explored already - or if you use various mechanisms such as the discovery of new "bridging" stars to open up new regions in the time frame the player is playing, the player would still have to get there very quickly to discover anything before the NPCs did.

You can counter that by making systems which are unreasonably reachable - and of course the more distant of the reasonably reachable might only have partial surveys - but the player then needs to put a lot of effort in to even get started. Alternatively you can make the galaxy so big that it's not that implausible that partially or fully unsurveyed systems exist relatively close to the inhabited regions - but then again, how big is big? Our real galaxy has fewer stars by an order of magnitude than the current Oolite systems have inhabitants - a complete systematic survey of everything reachable would still be sufficiently quick that the player would be unlikely to get anywhere first. (And would lead to very big save files to track survey statuses, too)

(Or you can handwave it by saying that all NPCs are inexplicably uninterested in exploration but still stock a wide range of exploration equipment just in case the player comes along)

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