1-8-2011 IRC day with George !

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jimj316
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Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:01 am

To make up for my bot going crazy and trying to kill everyone yesterday, here is a transcript of most of the things George said last night.
Text in [square brackets] is mine (me, jimj316) to help explain things.

Questions on story:
Q: Will there be an option to side with Oracus, and obtain some sort of Oracus powers?
A: In Part II there will not really be an option to side with Oracus, at least not in the first release. But I like the idea.
Q: Are we expecting a large variety of aliens in part II? Or are the Iocrym the only non-human race we are going to meet?
A: Yes, lots of aliens in Part II.
Q: Will the races be a planet of behaviorial hats? [Will every individual act exactly the same, is what he's saying]
A: I haven't gotten that far. The risk of having internal differences is that you then blur the lines between each race. From a narrative/game perspective, that might not work. Though I can imagine, of course, cases where a schism within a race gives us the opportunity for missions!
Q: Are there any naturally existing ones? [space creatures]
A: Yes, there are naturally existing creatures. But given that intelligent life (aliens) have been mucking around the galaxy for billions of years, almost all have been tinkered with.

Questions on gameplay:
Q: I was wondering if you considered adding more manueverability to ships? strafing and reverse thrusters perhaps?
A: Great question. I haven't thought too deeply about it. I think that's the kind of thing that might go first in a mod before I put it in vanilla. Maybe we need a ticket to add maneuverability enhancements.
Q: Do we have the ability currently to have something like a shuttle that is attached to our ship, switch to the shuttle, and do something in it, then re-dock with the ship and go on our merry way?
A: Good question. The change ships function would, I think do it, but in a hacked way. Maybe a change-POV-function would be better.
Q: Is there going to be some kind of usable Neuros Personal Media Player.
A: I always liked the idea of a Personal Media Player. It's in Trac somewhere...
Q: Would a multiplayer ever come to mind then?
A: multiplayer comes up a lot (for good reasons). Unfortunately, I don't think the engine is structured for it. Gameplay is definitely not designed for multiplayer.
Q: will there be mouse support?
A: Yes, but probably not until 1.1 (I want to add it for some adventures, but haven't had a chance yet)
Q: I would like to see more encounters type missions, like defending the agricultural station, something that the player cannot choose directly
A: Yeah, I like those kinds of missions too.
Q: What are your thoughts on the tutorial systems? What type of things would you like to see in them?
A: On a tutorial system, I like the idea. But I haven't thought deeply about it (it would take a lot of testing to make sure we got it right)
Q: I would like to know if we are going to be getting exotic weapons rather than the same old weapons with new damage types.
A: I would like there to be exotic weapons (but it depends on how creative I get). However, my goal is to enhance the engine to get some different weapons.

Questions on mods:
Q: I know a lot of people here are *nix users, and do you have any plans to let another developer have a hand at a port and keeping everything synched between the two games?
A: No plans yet for ports, though I'm always hoping that Gambit will have some free time...
Q: Will transcendence ever be open sourced or partially open sourced?
A: Anything is possible. But for now, I don't have any plans.
Q: [about Domina powers] can we make our own powers like the "I" button with some other kind of button?
A: You can't switch buttons (other than in Settings.xml). We need a design that allows for mods to take over keys. There was some discussion about it, but I don't think a ticket got written up.
Q: Should we be adding some sort of AI to player ships so that when we change ships, they can defend themselves and take orders?
A: By "we" do you mean modders? Yes, I think you should add AI to have the player ship be controlled.
Q: what's objRayCast?
A: If I understand correctly, objRayCast is a function that returns the set of objects along a line from point A in a given direction.
Q: What are all the possible Options for linkedFire?
A: Right now, the only option is "always" but I will eventually support "enemyInRange" (which means, only fire if an enemy is in range) and "targetInRange" (only fire if target obj is in range)
Q: there is a mission framework here done by GiantCabbage:(I really liked the way he moved missions into their own misisontype, however, it's really just a cosmetic thing- they're still just virtual stations as of yet) http://neurohack.com/transcendence/foru ... 264#p39264
A: I really like that mission framework, and I think it is worth moving that to the engine.
Q: Okay, I have another question that has a bearing on the Sandbox mod: now that we have access to the parallax layers, we've been discussing doing planets as systems with a planetary surface background, and space that wraps (so the background, and the stations, which would look like cities and resources) loop by continuously.
A: Not sure what the question is. But it sounds like a good idea.
Q: did i use this code wrong? (shpOrder theShip "orbit" gPlayerShip) the ship doesnt actually circle around the playership, it just seems to stay in close proximity
A: You're right--I think it only works if the ship is relatively fast (and has to constantly adjust its position). Feel free to add a ticket, because it is something that would be useful
Q: GeorgeMoromisato: could you spill the beans on how you rendered the exhaust images? My set will need a few new ones and they seem tricky
A: Hand done in Photoshop, I'm afraid. Even I can't replicate them. [thx d1gdug! :D]

Questions on technical matters:
Q: Oh yes, screen resolution GeorgeMoromisato! PLEASE
A: I'm torn on screen resolution. The engine can certainly handle it, but it is a balance issue. It seems unfair that people with expensive screen can see further. Unless you just want to scale up all the content.
Q: Yes that's our idea, scale up everything, maybe make the screen size dependant on the mod being used?
A: Yeah, that could work. Perhaps a screen size parameter in an adventure descriptor
Q: The biggest problem I have with the larger screen is that its so empty, but that is livable, on small screens the game is completely unplayable (e.g. netbooks) and interesting things happen to UI elements
A: Yeah, for small screen, that is a problem. I could scale things down, though I think it will look pretty ugly.
Q: ALSO PNG SUPPORT PLEASE :(
A: PNG support in scheduled for 1.1 (though don't ask me when that will be)
Q: And with PNG support, will that include Alpha Channel, so we don't need masks for everything?
A: Yes, current plan is to support PNG alphas
Q: What is the different between svg support and png support?
A: Uh...not sure. I'm going to use some standard library for PNG (smaller the better). I don't think the PNG library has SVG support.
Q: SVG might be good for dock screen graphics.
A: Maybe. Would be worth it to add a ticket.
Q: What database format is Transcendence.tdb?
A: Teraton: A home-built database (And I use the term "database" loosely)
Q: If they aren't already, is the radiation and emp effect in the .xmls? Or are they hardcoded into the game?
A: Unfortunately, both effects are hard-coded
Q: i found "Transcendence: The March of the Heretic" in Trans 1.06.tdb. It's not in 1.06a.tdb now. does that have anything to do with the story?
A: "March of the Heretic" is, I think, an old name for the adventure (D&O)
Q: But, perhaps we should has George if the engine does somethng to adjust for that.
A: I'm planning a fix for the misalignment of the exhaust effects


Questions on everything else:
Q: Hows the balance between work and Trans development?
A: The balance has been hard, to be honest. Some months are better than others. Thankfully this is a good month for Transcendence work.
Q: Alright, really I think the most important feature should be an IRC client for live game help. ^.^ (joking completely)
A: Built-in IRC? That sounds cool...
Q: How about the Japanese unofficial wiki? What should we do about that?
A: I like that they have stuff for missions. I think we should learn from them, but I don't know if we can do anything about the content. [Open to suggestions, though]
Q: Is there a chance we can have another trac/wiki admin to activate users?
A: I think so. Nominate a user and we can do that.
Q: also why do the corporate stations have their reactors hanging on those prongs below them? Isn't that a bit of bad design? ;)
A: There are lots of examples of bad design in the model (if you think too much about it). I'd like to try to thread a line between realism, fun, and not-too-hard-for-my-poor-brain-to-model :)
Q: just out of curiosity. What was the very first 3d model you did for transcendence? The sisters of domina station? :P
A: First 3D model was probably either the Sapphire or the Zulu gunship.
Q: Where did the Transcendence March come from?
A: Transcendence March is an original composition (by my brother, actually. I keep trying to convince him to do more).
Q: Space whales?
A: Space whales? Why not?

Information on schedule:
As you can imagine, Part II is big. It's going to take a while to put it all together.
I've divided it into four "acts". Very similar to how Part I is cleanly divided into pre-St.Kats, Sung Space, and Ares Space. I would like to work on each act sequentially, so that you will see acts one at a time even before the whole thing is done.
I'm hoping that I can get act I done by the end of the year (but that might be optimistic).

Information on technology:
As you know, right now there are only 25 tech levels.
I think that will be enough at least until Part II. Maybe for Part III we will need more levels, but for now I don't envision adding any more damage types or levels.
For example, Part I uses levels 1-10 with some items at levels 11, 12, and 13. In Part II, most of the tech will be levels 11-20, with some stuff at levels 21-25.
Right now, damage increases at 30% per level. That is, a level 6 weapon does, on average, 30% more damage than a level 5 weapon (not counting damage type adjustments). That will continue all the way up until level 25. [Level 25 will be 705.64% more powerful than level 1]

Information on topology:
Part II currently has more than 200 systems.
Unfortunately, that is probably not going to work very well, so I don't know if that will remain.
All those systems are in a randomly generated topology, so they are all random (none are yet hard-coded, like Eridani).
I'm still working on a system to control encounters. Obviously, there will be some fixed systems, but I haven't done all the work yet.

Information on aliens:
There is still a lot to work out on aliens, But here is what I have worked out (and some of this I will publish by the end of the year).
There are three broad classes of entities: galactic creatures (like pteravores); Ancient Races (like Iocrym); and more advanced entities (like hierodules).

Galactic creatures are essentially space-faring, non-civilized creatures (though some have close to human intelligence).
Galactic creatures are almost always neutral (they ignore you until you attack) or hostile (they think you are prey).
Many galactic creatures could have been genetically engineered/created by the Ancient Races, or at least descended from creatures that were created.

There are many different Ancient Races, some that are friendly to the player and some that are not. Humans are on the low end, but learning fast. Also, Ancient Races have a compact among themselves. Some of the races have agreed to limit their technology and reproduction (so they don't overflow the carrying capacity of the galaxy).

These are known as the "cultured" races. They agree not to reproduce beyond certain points and agree not to consume more than a certain amount of energy (meaning that their tech is limited to level 20-21 and some even lower than that.)
The races that did not agree to the compact are the "savage" races, which do not agree to a limit.

While the "cultured" races are protected by higher powers. The "savage" races are not. They are free game: anyone can attack them if they want.
Someone has to enforce the agreement, so certain individuals were granted higher powers (they are essentially exempt from the agreement). They intervene if someone tries to violate the agreement. For instance, if a race tries to secretly acquire higher powers.

I don't think it is a spoiler to say that there are human outside the QZ (I believe I mentioned that in some post on the forums). (Though not a lot of humans) I think human factions outside the QZ would work fine.
Last edited by jimj316 on Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

onyhow
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Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:12 pm

The problem with in-game IRC is that since the game is real time, will the game be paused when you're typing or something? ToME 4 chat works because the game's turn-based, not so sure about Trans...

What are the tech level of post-QZ humans? Also, why didn't the Iocrym deported them back into the QZ? Their plan and all...

Also...200 systems??? I'm not sure if the players will have enough endurance and patience to slog through all of that...except if they're branching style...(George did say something about non-linear topology...)

Also...why are some races friendly? And, considering the Iocrym Archive spoiler, what side will these races be on?

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Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:19 pm

That's a great post! Thanks for getting this up. Someone should link this from the wiki (I got to go though)
(shpOrder gPlayership 'barrelRoll)
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alterecco
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Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:28 pm

George was on IRC? While I was away on holiday?!?! Awwww! XD Great post though, thanks!
Last edited by alterecco on Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ttech
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Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:58 pm

I will be posting transcripts from IRC day online soon as well.
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Ttech
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Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:00 am

onyhow wrote:The problem with in-game IRC is that since the game is real time, will the game be paused when you're typing or something? ToME 4 chat works because the game's turn-based, not so sure about Trans...

What are the tech level of post-QZ humans? Also, why didn't the Iocrym deported them back into the QZ? Their plan and all...

Also...200 systems??? I'm not sure if the players will have enough endurance and patience to slog through all of that...except if they're branching style...(George did say something about non-linear topology...)

Also...why are some races friendly? And, considering the Iocrym Archive spoiler, what side will these races be on?
What does not come across with the IRC thing is that it was for in game help - to get out of a fix, or an in game "chat" with the characters in the game - which is really real people. :D Basic Interaction.
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sdw195
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Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:35 pm

alterecco wrote:George was on IRC? While I was away on holiday?!?! Awwww! XD Great post though, thanks!
same with me alterecco D: but i managed to say hi to him :D
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shanejfilomena
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Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:36 pm

.....edit: ok, I should have known it was a bad idea....
it was something I thought up....should have known :)
Last edited by shanejfilomena on Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:15 pm

Extra question that was lost in the transcription (I don't see it there)
Q: GeorgeMoromisato: could you spill the beans on how you rendered the exhaust images? My set will need a few new ones and they seem tricky :)
A: Hand done in Photoshop, I'm afraid. Even I can't replicate them.

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Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:46 am

Thanks again everyone for grouping this together. :)
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