Shields should (usually) be visible on ships.

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Since many features are receiving graphical upgrades, it would be nice if ships displayed a faint outline, similar to radiation, as long as shields are operational. Beyond that, other little touches include shields glowing brightly briefly after getting shot, getting fainter, getting thinner, or changing color as shields get weaker, and the outline disappears after shields collapse (or deactivated). Also, instead of the old beehive barrier sprite after a hit, there could be sparks or ripples that animate but do not extend past the outline.
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Hmm. This could be problematic, depending on how it's done.....if it's using images, those need to be rescaled (or selected on the fly from a set of images of different sizes) to match the size of the ship itself. If it's using procedural effects, then it uses up a little bit of space that other effects cannot...and it needs to avoid visually cluttering the screen or looking too weird..that being said, if done carefully this would be really nice. Certainly we could use better (and more flexible) shield hit effects....and updating the graphics would be a good part of this.

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I could see shields having a series of effects. Low tier shields should typically not have omnipresent visibility, for performance reasons as well as aesthetic ones. That said, advanced and unconventional shields having a radiation like appearance could be interesting, as would temporary visibility after a hit on some shields. Done well, it could make the alien shields fell more alien, and the powerful ones more powerful.
Shrike wrote: And a new sound. Definitely a new sound.
Seconded. A new impact effect(or a series of them for different shields) would also be great.
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The shield auras should be done procedurally. Images for all ships would likely not be feasible. I just tried to make a test mod with a Wolfen with visible shields, done via images and overlay, but encountered difficulty.
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Pretty sure radiation is a procedural overlay.
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RPC wrote:Pretty sure radiation is a procedural overlay.
I think it is. Could be a good base for this.

Perhaps a good starting point would be to give Iocrym shields a transparent blue radiation - style effect?
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RPC wrote:Pretty sure radiation is a procedural overlay.
If it is an overlay, it is hard coded. I checked an there is no such type in the xml as far as I could see (nor is it an effect).

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1.5 added the EMP/disrupt effects to be usable (but the release notes do not say how to use them).

It would be nice to have the radiation effects expanded and usable, as with other previously hardcoded effects. Radiation would make a good base for visible shields (and prettier ore scanning/detection effects).
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I agree that a modified version of the radiation effect seems like the simplest way to add these shield effects.

For the actual mechanics, I think that shields should be invisible when at full health but become more opaque as they take damage. At the point before they collapse/The instant they restart after collapsing, the shield effect should be about half as opaque as the radiation effect. When a ship gets hit by weapons fire it would momentarily become twice as opaque. Maybe adding a fancy explosion or lightning effect when they collapse. It would also be useful for new players if the default color of shields was based somewhat on their primary resistances.
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I think most shields (at least the conventional ones) should look like a sphere around the ship, not radiation-like aura. This would be more consistent with the current hit effect, current shield level HUD graphic, and should be easier to do. Some shields, perhaps advanced ones like the alien shields, Nephren X1, and maybe the hull plate ionizer, can use aura.

Also, shields with less-than-perfect absorption rate, like the Trenton, should have flickering effect.

Also, how about making shields graphic dependent on its resistance?
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I'm still dubious that this is gonna look decent. Much better to only show shield effects when things are hit. That way the domina power shields remain visually distinct.
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Shrike wrote:I'm still dubious that this is gonna look decent. Much better to only show shield effects when things are hit. That way the domina power shields remain visually distinct.
I'd ultimately like a system where shields' visibility is a procedural border effect similar to radiation that is customizable in the code, and adjusted for each shield's effects.

For example, it would be possible to set a shield as always visible or visible only upon impact, to alter the rate at which appearance returns to normal after a hit, to determine its color, width, and opacity, to determine how these things vary with its remaining health, and other such things.

The hull plate ionizer could provide a thin, transparent white border around the ship whenever active. The Class A/I/II/III generators could be a medium length, mostly transparent grey effect that becomes slightly opaque upon taking a hit. Quasi - armor could be pale blue and opaque, flickering slightly when hit. The Lazarus could be a thick moderately transparent gold border that varies greatly with remaining health, and the Iocrym shields could be thick, transparent blue borders that are only visible after a hit is taken.
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One problem with shields being thick is that they will need collision detection. Else projectiles will visibly shoot through shields, hit your ship, then damage the shield.
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Song
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sun1404 wrote:One problem with shields being thick is that they will need collision detection. Else projectiles will visibly shoot through shields, hit your ship, then damage the shield.
Which in turn also makes things universally easier to hit (at least, while the shield is active).
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I don't understand why shields should be visible on ships.
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