Targeting system changes

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george moromisato
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Targeting system changes

Post by george moromisato » Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:32 pm

In 1.7 Beta 3 I changed the targeting system to only let you target enemy (or angry) ships/stations. My goal was to prevent the player from accidentally firing on friendly targets--e.g., sometimes it is useful to target a freighter you're escorting to see its stats, but if you forget that you're targeting it, you'll hit it with omni/tracking weapons.

Clearly, I went too far, since it's now impossible to target (e.g.,) Ferians or Salvagers.

In 1.7 Beta 5, I've reverted this change and once again allow targeting friendlies and neutrals.

But I'd like to understand the scenarios in which you need to target friendlies. A few questions:

1. Would it be OK if you could target neutrals but not friendlies? [I.e., target Salvagers, etc., but not Commonwealth.]
2. What if you could get something from the Black Market to allow targeting friendlies? [e.g., hacking the targeting system]
3. What if you could manually turn friendly-targeting on and off?
4. What if you couldn't target the ship you're escorting? [But could target any other friendly?]

I've added a new piece of ship equipment that could help test this. You can use this command to enable it:

Code: Select all

(objChangeEquipmentStatus gPlayerShip 'FriendlyFireLock 'install)
When installed, it prevents your ship from targeting friendlies (neutrals can still be targeted). I'm curious to see if it works any better.

As I said, 1.7 Beta 5 reverts the targeting changes, but I'm curious what people think about some of the alternate suggestions above. Thanks!

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Re: Targeting system changes

Post by Xephyr » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:18 am

I feel like players should be allowed to target friendlies. I think locking the player out of it is sort of like a cop-out - The Commonwealth (for example) won't ever make any move against you if you farm its traffic (aside from korolov freighters). Locking the player out of targeting friendlies says "that's not how you're supposed to play the game". Instead I think that the player should be allowed to, and that there should be a response in doing so that fits in the game's universe - even just a rudimentary justice system where guards chase you down would be a lot better for immersion.

That said, I don't think its impossible to handle this. Having a manual trigger for friendly fire is definitely fair, though it shouldn't need to be sought out at the black market; that means a lot of people won't ever find it on their first playthroughs. Toggling it in the ship configuration would be the best, I think.

As far as targeting an escort goes, why not have a special overlay to handle this case? We could point to it with a marker (with the data) when the freighter is off-screen, and show the relevant data right where its relevant otherwise. I think this makes a bit more sense because you're then free to target enemies instead - On Korolov missions, I always seek out the drake/frigate and target that immediately, so this would be a better in my case, at least.
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Re: Targeting system changes

Post by relanat » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:19 am

I usually use an omni weapon as my main weapon so targeting is important to me. I will target the friendly zoanthropes that circle around me and destroy them because the pesky things get in the way of my weapon shots. You need friendly targeting to do this easily. I will also target and destroy friendly NPC ships that are looting a wreck that I want to loot.

And I definitely want to be able to target Salvager Nomads!

The Black Market suggestion sounds good and fits well because targeting friendlies would be typically an illegal thing.
And the manual on/off idea could work too.

Yes, I frequently fire on the ship I'm escorting for a while before I realise that I'm doing it. Possibly a color change to the background of the weapon/targeting display could help (PS: I like the black background to the ship image in the targeting display. Looks good.) A light green shade to the background or the display itself for friendly targets and a faint red tint if you are targeting enemies perhaps.

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Re: Targeting system changes

Post by JohnBWatson » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:29 am

Ditto on just having a keyboard control for toggling the lock. I very much understand what you were trying to do here - integrate gameplay and story by having the targeting system behave as if it had been hard coded to be less useful to pirates and terrorists, in accordance with the lore that exists on privateers. Namely, that the government designates valid targets, and the red dots on the player's HUD are a result of this.

However, this lore is likely irreparably outdated. In the Antarctica storyline, the player can even target Admiral Decker's death squad, killing thousands of Commonwealth military personnel in the process. Indeed, the Antarctica and Black Market showing up as green is also a bit confusing, if the Commonwealth is writing the rules here. Add the threat of the Sung interfering with this system and the fact that any possibility of the Commonwealth managing the target database goes out the window when part II starts, and it's safe to say the targeting system can only really be explained as being under the player's complete control.

The entire concept of regulating the targeting of friendlies just sounds like a non - starter. The "smart gun" legislation in America was utterly non-viable due to logistical issues alone, and that's in a country where the greatest threat you could conceivably face is a few addicts with TEC-9 pistols. Imagine the outcry in a universe where criminals could hack your gun remotely and were driving around metropolitan areas in Abrams tanks!

I think that the best system would be to default to the old setup, but allow the player to lock the targeting system(from friendlies only, there's no reason to add neutrals to the mix) by pressing a certain key. Perhaps a Korolov director could mention this at some point, perhaps by giving the player a ROM that enables this feature when he reaches a certain rank, if one isn't already installed.

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Re: Targeting system changes

Post by PM » Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:36 am

The only improvement for targeting (when you can target) I can think of is if the object is green yet angry, it should be targeted just like a red enemy. Otherwise, if I target anything, I expect weapons to shoot at it, just like in Endless Sky and older versions of Transcendence.

It would be nice if non-hostiles that get angry at you (enough to kill you) changed (blip) color from green to, say, orange or other not-quite red.

If friendlies are supposed to be locked out, then targeting could be tiered. Basic is no targeting, partial targeting targets only red, and complete targeting targets anyone.

However, being able to target friendlies makes them much easier to dock when there is interference from other dockable objects everywhere.

As for Black Market, access is not guaranteed for each game. Access to Black Market should not be relied on to gate QoL game features.

Another improvement is just make targeting builtin like autopilot, or at least have builtin equipment vary by adventure if the creator does not want automatic equipment. If I play EI500, I always start scum for the ROM. For other ships, I strive to get targeting quickly, and may restart if I fail to get it quickly enough. (This is another advantage Endless Sky has - targeting is basic functionality there, not an upgrade like it is here.)
george moromisato wrote: 1. Would it be OK if you could target neutrals but not friendlies? [I.e., target Salvagers, etc., but not Commonwealth.]
2. What if you could get something from the Black Market to allow targeting friendlies? [e.g., hacking the targeting system]
3. What if you could manually turn friendly-targeting on and off?
4. What if you couldn't target the ship you're escorting? [But could target any other friendly?]
1. No, because, sometimes, I feel like being a homicidal maniac, especially if I see a friendly ship nonchalantly dock a wreck before I get a chance to loot it. My typical response to any and every would-be looter is to kill it immediately, regardless of blip color or sovereign. Doubly so if I mod some items in and I want target practice at Starton Eridani. (I blow up Starton and its ships much when I build new weapons.)

2. Black Market should not be the only source for this.

3. You can already do this by not using the 'F' button or whatever targets friendlies.

4. No, because if the escorts are something like converted zoanthropes, and I tire of them, I want to target and kill them!


P.S. Not being able to target friendlies also means player cannot aim Omni/tracking weapons at dropped crates to set off crate bombs and/or remove unwanted items from the game.
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Re: Targeting system changes

Post by gc2 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:47 am

Why were the targeting changes necessary in the first place? I think the system was fine the way it was, and this is definitely a case of "if it's not broken, don't fix it".
IMO "t" for reds and "f" for greens is good enough for all the targeting needs I can think of. When it comes to green dots, "friendly" and "neutral" are not important distinctions for me.

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Re: Targeting system changes

Post by Ferdinand » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:25 am

If I target something, I expect my guns or missiles to go there. If they don't I consider them defective.

So I think the current targetting is defective. Please restore the old behavior.
So I'm totally in line with PM on this issue.

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Re: Targeting system changes

Post by PM » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:32 pm

One more thing about targeting: All AI ships act like they have it. Player not having it makes it look like he has a broken ship (computer), and he needs a ROM to fix it. If player angers something like a Wolfen guarding Starton Eridani, it has no problem launching KM500s at the player from any range. Meanwhile, player without targeting cannot do the same unless the target is a red blip, the nearest, and within range 24 (or 30?).
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Re: Targeting system changes

Post by snafu » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:41 pm

I'm unsure if this has been brought up in previous threads (over the years!), but I'm going to say it anyway:

If you don't have a targeting ROM upon finishing first Korolov mission stage, that should be the first reward! (if you already have it, a random other beneficial ROM of equivalent 'weight' should be selected). This would make sense from Korolov's perspective (a more effective potential escort for their traders, with less friendly-fire incidents) as well as from the player perspective (a much-required but cheap item being given as a reward for service)
Dom 8-)

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Re: Targeting system changes

Post by TheLoneWolf » Fri Jan 06, 2017 12:32 pm

What if we have a trigger that is...err triggered during escort missions that lets us target freighters, but doesn't allow omni-weapons to shoot at them? And then the trigger switches off at [mission completed] or [mission failed]. Note that this function must be valid only for the freighter.

Targeting and shooting at friendlies is important imho. It really bugs the players in <Rescue Katami> and Ferian Farming.

Also, how does the SRS decide the color of ships around us? If its the CW that decides what color every faction receives, then how do the Huari becom green?

Another idea is to asign a violet color to autons, escorted frighters, and wingmen, and design it such that we are able to target them, but not fire (omni weapons, that is) at them.

Yet another idea would be to let the player tag foreign factions as red/green/violet after he meets them. These include non CW and Corporate factions. We can give the default coloring to totally hostile factions at discovery, and let the player tag them afterwards. Thus, players would be able to tag Ferians, Nomads, Huari, etc as they will.

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Re: Targeting system changes

Post by Ferdinand » Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:55 am

Something else that might be worth looking into:
The current targeting system works fine for small ships, there is one person on board. There is one target and all weapons use this target. (except point defense weapons)

If in the future we are going to be flying around in big (capital) ships with crew, it makes sense to be able to target multiple objects at the same time. The player could have control over the primary weapon, while the crew uses secondary weapons to target and shoot at specified other objects.

It could be ordered via a small menu like the Use or Invoke commands creating a list like this
Secondary weapons fire at:
  • Nearby hostile ships
    Incoming missiles
    Hostile Stations
    Any available hostile target
    Primary target
    Hold fire
Any thoughts about this?

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Re: Targeting system changes

Post by PM » Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:45 pm

Linked-fire weapons with fire-arcs automatically fire at enemy targets that are out of range of the primary weapon. Some improvements for that would be one, include angry objects regardless of blip color for automatic targeting (currently, only enemy reds are targeted) and two, maybe extend auto-targeting range from 30 to say, 50, the same as auto-targeting radius for fragmenting MIRVs, if weapon range permits (e.g., do not target distant enemies for a mining laser). This would be a QoL improvement for those with bigger screens. Currently, player needs to be fairly close to multi-target with linked-fire weapons with varying arcs.
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Re: Targeting system changes

Post by JohnBWatson » Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:50 pm

PM wrote:Linked-fire weapons with fire-arcs automatically fire at enemy targets that are out of range of the primary weapon. Some improvements for that would be one, include angry objects regardless of blip color for automatic targeting (currently, only enemy reds are targeted)
Not true in my experience - angry friendlies have also been autotargeted by my omni weapons.

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Re: Targeting system changes

Post by PM » Sat Jan 07, 2017 3:36 pm

That must be part of the targeting changes from 1.7 beta 3, assuming said omni weapon relies on standard targeting.
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Re: Targeting system changes

Post by Watch TV, Do Nothing » Sat Jan 07, 2017 3:43 pm

JBW, this seems fairly new and I like it a lot, e.g. when raiding black market convoys before getting a targeting ROM it makes hitting tiny Zulus much easier. Since the game now pushes players hard to install a Smartcannon before they will typically have targeting it's a good imrpvement.

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