Unrealistic/pipe-dream RFE: weapon-design physics mini-game

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namer4
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I was recently playing Eternity Port and thinking about what kinds of changes would make the game more fun for me. I have a weakness for sandbox games, crafting, and player decisions that have complex or difficult-to-anticipate outcomes, which led me to the idea below. I suspect it's completely impractical in terms of benefit versus how long it'd take to implement, but I thought I'd share it with the thought that it might nonetheless spark an interesting discussion or give George food for thought.

Description: A tinker mini-game for constructing novel and unique weapons from found components, modeled after physics/fluid-dynamics sandbox games.

Detail: Suppose that tinkers or teratons, in addition to having a fixed set of recipes/random items, provided a free-form crafting option. Essentially, the player would start with a cavity or chamber with an aperture, and place (found or paid-for) components in it. These components would include emitters, e.g., slug/shell-loaders, laser diodes, or particle emitters. The final characteristics of the weapon -- spread, rate of fire, velocity, and damage -- would be determined by the number and characteristics of these emitted particles as they pass through the aperture.

As an example, one could start with a rectangular workspace with a "this end toward target" opening at the top. The player could select and place a "ferromagnetic slug loader" in the center, followed by a guide or barrel encompassing loaded slugs and continuing to the opening. Finally, the player could pick out a coil -- an attractor that works only when it's on -- and set a it to "pulse" at a frequency matched to the slug loader's loading rate. Having placed these components -- where the loader and coil would each draw power -- the player would run a simulation, which would measure how often slugs travel through the opening along with their velocity and mass, determining rof, velocity, damage, and WMD.

From this starting place, it could get increasingly elaborate. One could imagine multi-coil setups, magnetic guides rather than barrels, and so on. If one were so inclined, different physics could be applied to lasers and charged particles. The components could be harvested from broken weapons, or might involve existing items that are limited-use or purely economic in the current game.

Clearly, this seems impractical -- it would require implementing a physics model (akin to "The Powder Game" at dan-ball.jp) for a mini-game -- but I hope it's at least amusing or thought-provoking.
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namer4 wrote:I was recently playing Eternity Port and thinking about what kinds of changes would make the game more fun for me. I have a weakness for sandbox games, crafting, and player decisions that have complex or difficult-to-anticipate outcomes, which led me to the idea below. I suspect it's completely impractical in terms of benefit versus how long it'd take to implement, but I thought I'd share it with the thought that it might nonetheless spark an interesting discussion or give George food for thought.

Description: A tinker mini-game for constructing novel and unique weapons from found components, modeled after physics/fluid-dynamics sandbox games.

Detail: Suppose that tinkers or teratons, in addition to having a fixed set of recipes/random items, provided a free-form crafting option. Essentially, the player would start with a cavity or chamber with an aperture, and place (found or paid-for) components in it. These components would include emitters, e.g., slug/shell-loaders, laser diodes, or particle emitters. The final characteristics of the weapon -- spread, rate of fire, velocity, and damage -- would be determined by the number and characteristics of these emitted particles as they pass through the aperture.

As an example, one could start with a rectangular workspace with a "this end toward target" opening at the top. The player could select and place a "ferromagnetic slug loader" in the center, followed by a guide or barrel encompassing loaded slugs and continuing to the opening. Finally, the player could pick out a coil -- an attractor that works only when it's on -- and set a it to "pulse" at a frequency matched to the slug loader's loading rate. Having placed these components -- where the loader and coil would each draw power -- the player would run a simulation, which would measure how often slugs travel through the opening along with their velocity and mass, determining rof, velocity, damage, and WMD.

From this starting place, it could get increasingly elaborate. One could imagine multi-coil setups, magnetic guides rather than barrels, and so on. If one were so inclined, different physics could be applied to lasers and charged particles. The components could be harvested from broken weapons, or might involve existing items that are limited-use or purely economic in the current game.

Clearly, this seems impractical -- it would require implementing a physics model (akin to "The Powder Game" at dan-ball.jp) for a mini-game -- but I hope it's at least amusing or thought-provoking.
This is really a wonderful idea. I don't think it's impractical either, as the only barrier is effort (I am procrastinating right now :( ). If you have an interest in implementing such a physics based mini-game for Transcendence, you could work towards it! Or, we could work together towards it!

The first step will be understanding how the game code is setup/works, and then the next step would be writing your own additions. After all, Transcendence source code is open to play with! I am working on learning how the code base works right now. Do you have an hour a day to spend? If yes, you can join me if you'd like.
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That likely wouldn't work with the current system for creating weapons. However, it would be nice for tinkers to be a bit more 'interesting' to work with. Perhaps recipes could be non - uniform, with some stations having a different set of items. In addition, the possibility of a buff being randomly applied to the product(perhaps if you have an item in your cargo hold) might make them more worthwhile.

The current setup should be changed in some way, be it decreasing the ingredients/cost in the recipes or buffing their products. As is, I haven't ever made use of them. They're simply to expensive to justify their benefits.
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JohnBWatson wrote:That likely wouldn't work with the current system for creating weapons.
Why not?
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Song
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JohnBWatson wrote:That likely wouldn't work with the current system for creating weapons. However, it would be nice for tinkers to be a bit more 'interesting' to work with. Perhaps recipes could be non - uniform, with some stations having a different set of items. In addition, the possibility of a buff being randomly applied to the product(perhaps if you have an item in your cargo hold) might make them more worthwhile.

The current setup should be changed in some way, be it decreasing the ingredients/cost in the recipes or buffing their products. As is, I haven't ever made use of them. They're simply to expensive to justify their benefits.
My good fellow, allow me to introduce you to the dual Mk.III howitzer. AKA: the most overpowered gun in the game, until it becomes rapidly obsolete in the face of blast-immune armors. Seriously, that thing is awesome. Slap a high speed loader and stack the very-easy-to-get hexagene boosters to get it fully upgraded and it's unbelievably good....until the xenophobes turn up. It's not efficient in terms of price, but it's by far the funnest weapon in the game.

The omnidirectional X-ray laser might be decent as well, but I've never seen a tinker *and* an X-ray laser in the same game.....so crafting one has been impossible. The dual Mk.III is comparatively easy to make.

The rest of the recipes are rubbish though. Definitely agreed on that.

My personal approach would be to give them some more customised gear, and swap their scrap-dealing over to "buy damaged stuff, slowly repair them (with a % loss rate), then sell componants (eg. erbium rods) and repaired gear"...and make all their gear fun to use, even if it's not actually that good.
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namer4
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I agree that it could be a very fun project for someone with time and the right skills, but sadly I have no real knowledge of C/C++ and I've been triaging my spare-time projects as it is.

Can't comment on JohnBWatson's remark really, other than that I'd think auxiliary data structures to store these weapons would be one potentially-tricky issue of many.

I second Shrike's suggestion of having Tinkers repair some weapons and convert others into economic items.
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I remembered reading about a mod that allowed you to craft weapons. Here it is: Weapon Labs

It looks like it hasn't been updated for a recent version of the game, but you could get an older version here. I haven't tried it and some comments suggest it's unbalanced, but it might be fun.

Also, the omni x-ray is quite nice. Obviously, it's not much use against hard targets, but it crushes gunships up until the Ares show up, making random encounters much less tedious. With enhancers and/or laser collimator, you can often kill enemies with a single shot, three times per second. It's even effective against Luminous drones. The x-ray shows up most often at Bushido dealers. Failing that, you can order one from a Corporate Trading Post.
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namer4 wrote:I agree that it could be a very fun project for someone with time and the right skills, but sadly I have no real knowledge of C/C++ and I've been triaging my spare-time projects as it is.
You wouldn't need any C++ knowledge. Everything described in the OP can be achieved with TLisp scripting and a generous supply of patience.
You could even create a graphical representation of what you are building by using the <canvas> element and the various draw methods.

Also, weapon labs may have been included in the previous succession game? if so, there should be an update version in the mod pack.

Cheers,
Pixelfck
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It's a great idea, but I think making an entire physics system for it would be too much.
Just let the component's stats, and maybe their arrangement, influence the product's stats would be much easier, and work quicker.

You can see Weapon Labs for an example on making custom weapons based on components, but it is really unbalanced. I used to make, like, five-barrel multi-target Plasma Archcannon or something like that. Sometimes with Shatter attribute.
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namer4
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pixelfck wrote:
namer4 wrote:I agree that it could be a very fun project for someone with time and the right skills, but sadly I have no real knowledge of C/C++ and I've been triaging my spare-time projects as it is.
You wouldn't need any C++ knowledge. Everything described in the OP can be achieved with TLisp scripting and a generous supply of patience.
You could even create a graphical representation of what you are building by using the <canvas> element and the various draw methods.

Also, weapon labs may have been included in the previous succession game? if so, there should be an update version in the mod pack.

Cheers,
Pixelfck
That's impressive! I didn't realize TLisp supported drawing. I do enjoy functional languages, but don't foresee having enough surplus time/patience to do anything useful.

sun1404 wrote:It's a great idea, but I think making an entire physics system for it would be too much.
Just let the component's stats, and maybe their arrangement, influence the product's stats would be much easier, and work quicker.

You can see Weapon Labs for an example on making custom weapons based on components, but it is really unbalanced. I used to make, like, five-barrel multi-target Plasma Archcannon or something like that. Sometimes with Shatter attribute.
Yeah, I agree -- a minimal/discrete-location approach could yield good results without requiring unreasonable amounts of time/effort. I think balance is very important, and see the main value of such a feature being added diversity and novelty. For me, overpowered loot can make games less fun and immersive, and would be happiest if this kind of feature very rarely produced gear better than most similar-level pre-fab items, requiring a detailed understanding of the mechanics, hard-to-find components, and perhaps some dumb luck.
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pixelfck
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namer4 wrote:That's impressive! I didn't realize TLisp supported drawing. I do enjoy functional languages, but don't foresee having enough surplus time/patience to do anything useful.
I don't think anyone up to this point has ever used c++ to create mods. You can do an enormous amount of work using scripting 'only'. This doesn't mean that it would not be useful to go source diving in the engine's source code, but I it would hardly be worth the effort to learn c++ just for that purpose (however, learning cpp has its own merits of course).

The scripting engine is more powerful than most people at first realise. The entire game and all its logic has been scripted in TLisp: there is no hard coded magic*. I'm not saying the engine doesn't have its limits, but you can implement quite complex algorithms in it and add a whole lot of functionality. Just make sure you don't try O(n^2) algorithms (or keep the number of iterations low) and brush up on your integer arithmetic.

Cheers,
Pixelfck

*) Ok, there are some hard-coded effects and AI-scripts, but you will need to go look for them to find them and they are being faced out and replaced by userland implementations.
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Here is that updated version of Weapon Labs used during the 7th Succession: https://infotomb.com/lyzvk.zip

For the record, this was mentioned to sdw via PM, but an error prevents the reply from opening on Xelerus. Will probably ask again some day.

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Fixed two bugs in Useful Items Dockscreen and Beyond the Mainline, the CtD when using something twice on the same item, and the hang when calculating the price of fresh fruit outside St.K. The fixed versions were included in the modpack.
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bzm3r
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Where can I find the full set of updated mods used for things like the succession game?
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