System26 Topology Mod (Play Test/Proof of Concept Version)

Post about your finished mods here.
Post Reply
User avatar
Periculi
Fleet Officer
Fleet Officer
Posts: 1259
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 7:48 pm
Location: By the beach

Fri Jun 27, 2008 9:17 am

Well, it's been a long process to get this mod put together thus far.

Here is a version for you to play around with: (link removed)

For more information about this mod, please refer to this thread: System26 Discussions

Recommended System Requirements:
Windows XP or Vista
+500mb RAM


Rather than expose you to any tedious installation procedures, and to make it as easy and simple as possible for everyone to grab a copy and play around with this mod, I packed the full file set in this zip. Read this topic while you wait for the download. :)

Inside you get a heavily modified complete transcendence folder and all the resources, etc. Which means: download the Zip, put it somewhere you like it, it will unzip to a Transcendence folder with sub folders et al. Nothing difficult about that.

Then you simply fire up Transcendence.exe as usual. Then the fun can begin.

First a bit about the file structure:

Inside the main folder you will find a (nice cleaned up) version of System26 that you can play around with. There are changes to many of the files that comprise the transcendence xml data, and several new modules. Most of the heavy workload of this mod is being done in the modules, which you shouldn't really ever need to touch.

Specifically keep your modding hands off the System26data.xml

You will also find an extension folder ready to go that contains several files that are user edit safe- for the most part, once you know what you are looking at. What you are looking at in the extensions is the actual map data. There is a version of the Classic (linear) topology, and some simpler sample maps that may or may not help you to understand the map data format.

There is also a special file called the Map Manager that is used to add new maps to System26. The map and map manager files are packed with comments to help you understand the user map data system.

However, for this release I am mainly looking for some bold and daring play testers to check out the mod and give me some feedback on the experience.

It is by no means a finished product, so there do exist a few loose ends, and potentially broken or non-functional options. For instance, the map randomizer only delivers a spread of single systems. It show that it will build branches and forked structures- but that is a 'coming soon' type of feature. It does deliver some interesting results as it is and that is why I have included it now.

Many of the graphic icons and decorations are missing, but this is not really important at the moment.

So, expect some issues in small doses from some of the areas- but for the most part everything that is included is working and has been tested for bugs and crashes. I am not experiencing crashes from anything at this point, but I haven't added many extensions to the mix yet.

Ok there's some basic 'state of the mod' info- now for a quick user manual:

Each of the original playerships has a navigation system item in the hold at the beginning of the game. This is for ease of testing and to make it simple to find the mapper system in the game.

(if you want to use your favorite ship mod, add the &itQuickMapper item to the ship's items to be able to access the navigation computer!)

When you enter a game you will be on top of the Configuration Station. In an empty system. Dock with it. Otherwise, you are using up your fuel in a system with no services and no gates.

From inside the Config Station you will be able to do many things.

You can immediately Launch a classic map version game, and play the linear style topology. You will have the added benefit of the Navigation Computer to help you on your journey to the Core.

You can Choose a Map to play on from the supplied sample maps. The map chooser will take you to a map launch screen where you can also add random systems before launching or view the map that got built in the map editor lab.

(If you want to randomize the Classic Map, simply choose it from the Choose Map screen instead of direct Launch from Welcome screen)

(Yes, I know that BumbleBee is Not A Node)

You can also check out the powerful Mod Configuration section:

!!!

There are Configuration panels and Mod Labs. Mod Labs are listed as a menu item on the Left, to see the Configurations select the option for Configs on the right menu

I am telling you this because you will want to know where to change the Game View of the Navigation Computer. It is in a Config Panel, where you can change it from GameView to other views. You can only change this in the Config Station currently, which is only accessible at the beginning of the game.
The other view modes allow you to see the entire network (ActiveAll) of potential and active systems to look at the user map data in it's entirety, or just the Current Network Build (CurrentActive) which is all the systems you can get to from a given build. This is the view mode I use to test a map, as it allows me to see the entire network from the Start position.

!!!

The Mod Labs Currently:

Full Topology Labs- this really isn't for players. This is a tool to help map designers make maps (and to help modders debug the data set changes they caused by tinkering around with the core data set...)

Active Topology Lab (Map Editor) - oh, you are going to LOVE this. You can design a network in the game and then go launch it. Minor assembly required.

(You can also Randomize it, but be careful there seems to be a few small problems running the randomizer repeatedly with large numbers of additions)


Ship Lab- Here is a sweet little utility that allows you to custom outfit your ship with any equipment before jumping into a game. This is particularly helpful if you want to test items at higher levels, or if you want to start and play a game at a given level- say level 8, you wouldn't want to jump directly into a level 8 system with nothing but a Class 2 deflector, now would you? Well, check out the custom ship lab- it's pretty straight forward. And doesn't cost you anything other than your gaming ethics.

Randomizer Lab- This is where you can play around with the settings that the Randomizer uses when adding systems to a network. Go ahead, adjust all those numbers and see what happens. If you haven't loaded a map yet (as in gone to the Randomizer Lab from the Welcome Menu before loading a map or building one) the randomizer doesn't do much. Try creating a 2-3 system map in the Active Topology lab first, then randomize that map, it's fun, and you can build large maps quickly that way.


That's about it for the Configuration Station.

So, you successfully found/built and then launched a map.. what now? You will be taken to the start system, where your adventure begins. From in the game you will have access to the Navigation Computer, which can help you to visualize the game network.

The Navigation Computer opens on the current system, displaying the System Info screen- from there you can access the other navigation sections:

Network Overview- this is a simple list of either all the systems you know (Game View Mode) or all the systems (Other View Modes). It isn't particularly helpful for positioning yourself in the network, but it does make it easy to go find a system and bring up the System Info screen for that system. Flagged systems will be shown here if you have any flagged.

Gate Walker- This is the core of the map system. What it does is display the linked systems in the left menu. The system you are currently viewing in the network is shown in the Title bar of the map screen. (In Game View Mode, only Gates that you have found will be shown in the Gate Walker list!)

Once you get used to the Gate Walker you will be able to 'walk' up and down the network and figure out where you need or want to go. And if you want to you will also be able to Flag systems to keep track of them or jog your memory, or you can enter a Star Log note for the system. This is really a handy way to keep your game organized. You'll never lose track of good loot, awesome stations or undestroyed enemies again with the help of the system flags and star logs.

There's probably a lot more I should explain and more features to cover, but you will just have to get the mod and explore it's mysteries to find out what else you can do.
Last edited by Periculi on Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:02 pm, edited 4 times in total.

obsidean
Commonwealth Pilot
Commonwealth Pilot
Posts: 52
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2008 12:36 am

Sun Jun 29, 2008 11:05 pm

I don't know if its just because of my computer's age but it loads fine, but when I select a ship it freezes. Not very helpful I know, but I thought I would tell you anyway.

I just downloaded then unzipped it and ran, no added extensions or anything.

User avatar
Periculi
Fleet Officer
Fleet Officer
Posts: 1259
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 7:48 pm
Location: By the beach

Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:28 am

Check the Debug file to see if there is anything that may shed light on the crash.

"Freezes"? Anything else?

When the ship is selected, the topology is loaded and the first system is built. It may be that the topology is too large for your available memory, but I have no way of knowing for sure unless you give me some more information.

Does it happen every time you try to start or is it intermittent?

Does it happen with every ship?

How much RAM do you actually have? What version operating system? Have you tried shutting down background programs?


Using Windows Task Manager on a Vista machine, I came up with this-

Loading Transcendence vanilla, using the .tdb seemed to desire around 100mb.

Loading System26 seemed to desire around 168mb.

addit-

Some options for exploring the cause of the crash-

Try getting another copy of the Zip, maybe something went wrong on the download.

If you still encounter problems, then-

Open the System26items.xml and you will see the Configuration Station at the top of this file. Go down and find the <Events> tag at the end of the station tag. Inside you will see-

Code: Select all

<OnCreate>
(block Nil
(mapInitializeMassiveArray)
)
</OnCreate>
place a ; at the front of the (mapInitializeMassiveArray) function to comment that part out, like so:

Code: Select all

<OnCreate>
(block Nil
;(mapInitializeMassiveArray)
)
</OnCreate>
Now try running the game again. If it allows you to start a game then we will know that the Topology nodes are NOT the issue, and something else is going on in the process that is causing the crash. This would be good, because then it is likely to be something that I could eventually track down and fix.

If it still crashes then we can rule out the scripts for now, and try to see if it's the topology tag or the system tag causing the crash.

obsidean
Commonwealth Pilot
Commonwealth Pilot
Posts: 52
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2008 12:36 am

Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:02 am

Ok, I tried

Code: Select all

<OnCreate> 
(block Nil 
;(mapInitializeMassiveArray) 
) 
</OnCreate>
And it let me into the game instead of crashing this time. It doesn't seem to be not loading/unable to load things by reading the debug log. I don't know if you can get a lot of information from reading it, but let me know a place to post it and I will. It's a bit too long for here.

I'll be honest and let you know I'm very sad that I can't mess around with this, it looks like it would be great.

User avatar
Periculi
Fleet Officer
Fleet Officer
Posts: 1259
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 7:48 pm
Location: By the beach

Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:39 am

hmm... well, that function starts off a process that uses a bunch of memory and processing just at the beginning- so if we can figure out how to get it done for your RAM budget the rest of the mod will run great.

Have you tried shutting down as many background programs as you can?

Another option may be to alter that OnCreate to allow for a little buffer time before launching into the processing:

Code: Select all

<OnCreate>
(block nil
(sysAddObjTimerEvent 30 gSource "DelayInit")

)
</OnCreate>

<DelayInit>
(block nil
(mapInitializeMassiveArray)
)
</DelayInit>
My thinking on this is that it might be too much going on immediately when the game creates the first system. So, we can try to stall a little to allow your cpu to catch up. That little bit of time might just do the trick. If you do try it, keep in mind that you should wait to enter the mod station until after a second or two have passed in the game. (Once you enter the station a secondary process launches that takes a bit more cpu time. Take it slowly and see how things are going to be acting. It is a good sign that you can load the game with the extra data before the scripts are fired.)

Of course, it could also be that your system is incompatible with some of the scripts. I can't imagine why it would be a problem- it's just a bunch of list making and processing.

User avatar
Betelgeuse
Fleet Officer
Fleet Officer
Posts: 1920
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 6:31 am

Thu Jul 03, 2008 7:14 am

very nice (ignore the more cons than pros, the cons are nitpicks mainly)

pros:
I love the unknown gate system.
Starting in any system you want is also cool.
Varied networks to try out.

cons:
The map walking system is a little awkward, it may help to put in some descriptions of the systems or maybe different icons for different level systems something to make it not just a list of names.
Some crashes with the test ship.
I heard about creating maps but I am not sure how that is done. (non intuitive)
The ship customization is too much temptation. Maybe give them random equipment based on the starting system (stop people from changing networks after they get equipment)
Void stargates. Active stargates often appear out in the middle of no where making them hard to find.
Crying is not a proper retort!

User avatar
Periculi
Fleet Officer
Fleet Officer
Posts: 1259
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 7:48 pm
Location: By the beach

Fri Jul 04, 2008 5:39 am

The ship customization is too much temptation. Maybe give them random equipment based on the starting system (stop people from changing networks after they get equipment)
That is a good idea for standard launches into networks, without visiting the ship lab. The starting system level could be read and an appropriate set of items created on the ship randomly. That way the players need not even visit the Ship Lab to set up for a game map that started at higher levels.

But I really wanted the ship customization for more than just starting equipment. I have done a lot of items, and had to update a modded ship every time. It's easier to use the ship lab.

Perhaps the Ship Lab could be a component that was generally 'locked' but was available to debug or test items still.

Yet, the temptation pales after a while- I, too, went through a greedy phase when I first tested the ship customization, but after a while I found that I was more often just getting something appropriate.
Some crashes with the test ship.
I gave you a special version, Betel. The general release posted above doesn't even have the test ship, and the items that gave you trouble. :)

(Your version is also the only one around that makes use of the basic System Build core that places the star types for the network- your navigation mapper is actually showing a bit more information, the star icons match the stars that show up in the systems, and the type (O, B, A, F, G, K, M) is now show in the description box. Soon I will be adding luminosity and other real astronomical values for stars to the set of data generated, yay!)
I heard about creating maps but I am not sure how that is done. (non intuitive)
It is a little complex in the editor section, and I am so very bad at writing read-mes and helpful posts. But once you get in there and experiment a little I think you will find that the map making process is actually very easy.

If obsidean doesn't mind I will edit one of the above posts with a step by step guide to the various areas in the config station.
Void stargates. Active stargates often appear out in the middle of no where making them hard to find.
Yes, this is a big issue. Bigger than you might realise- let me take a minute to explain my ideas for the placement of gates and other system features-

To begin with, I want to seize control of a lot more when the star system gets built- this is because I want to create some info in the beginning of the game that can be available which reflects what is going on in a system. So, for instance, we could get information on the primary station in every system in a network. Other stations and planets and unique space objects will, when desired, be placed in a system. The gates would then be moved to conform to the expanded set of data that a system was given.

More on this later, as I get the system build controller more complete.

User avatar
Betelgeuse
Fleet Officer
Fleet Officer
Posts: 1920
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 6:31 am

Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:14 pm

Yet, the temptation pales after a while- I, too, went through a greedy phase when I first tested the ship customization, but after a while I found that I was more often just getting something appropriate.
Getting something appropriate will always be your choice in the ship lab. This is not the case when normally playing the game. This isn't so much about getting overpowered weapons (they can always mod those and we can't stop them) as getting the weapons we want every time.
Crying is not a proper retort!

User avatar
Periculi
Fleet Officer
Fleet Officer
Posts: 1259
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 7:48 pm
Location: By the beach

Sat Jul 05, 2008 5:02 am

:lol: I am reminded of the heady days of Diablo character editing.. oh, yes!

addit- I just realized that this mod could qualify as an entry for the Mod Challenge 2.0!

A) You can remove all the gates from every system easily.

B) you can use the navigation system to Jump between systems, picking and choosing systems to build up in until finally taking on the Iocrym (or just outfit yourself in the Ship Lab and go there directly).

Post Reply