Better docking

A quieter space for design discussion of long-term projects
eloquentmess
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Re: Better docking

Post by eloquentmess »

Leave auto-pilot as an option! If the player doesn't want it, they can sell it, but personally, I couldn't navigate without it. Maybe it's a crutch. I'm okay with that.

That being said, I do look forward to seeing what kind of newer, better systems can be engineered!
FluffyFreak
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Re: Better docking

Post by FluffyFreak »

Auto-pilot isn't going to go away :)
That's what the name changing was about, how to keep it but to allow players to manually land too.

Anyway that's a future update I've not even finished this first update yet!
FluffyFreak
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Re: Better docking

Post by FluffyFreak »

Part 1 of this is now done and defining the locations of docking bays should be much simpler for space stations & a little simpler for ground stations.

I'll start on Part 2 when I've recovered from shepherding this first monster through!
FluffyFreak
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Re: Better docking

Post by FluffyFreak »

Docking Part 2:
This is what I've made a note of in my own issue list:
Painful it may be but lets face facts the current docking code is some pretty ad hoc shit.

Problems:
  • Doesn't handle queuing for docking just rejects ships,
  • Lets you request a bay from across the system,
  • Holds a requested bay for you for an insane length of time whilst you cross an entire star system,
  • Doesn't wait until a ship has vacated docking process before granting next ships request - sometimes causes collisions,
  • Doesn't timeout ships that fail to dock - it might do but it's a really long timeout,
  • Require carefully placed, oriented, named and numbered docking markers per-bay,
  • Moves ships by config file defined time steps rather than at a constant speed over the distance,
  • Orientation of docking ships seems screwed up for ground stations,
  • Only stations can have things docked which means docking isn't a part of a station but an integral thing, so ships can't reuse the system for ship-within-ship docking,
  • ...?
There's probably more but they're the immediate issues I can think of from the top of my head.
Semi-procedural stations:
All of our space/ground-stations are custom modelled, each bay is deliberately placed, and everything is specifically textured, coloured, AO'd, and designed by an artist.

This means that we lack variety in the stations we can encounter, planets with huge populations have exactly the same stations as one's with a handful on people.

I had an idea for the space stations, at least the rotating kind and it's sort of like this:
Break the station into sections:
  • 1st part is the docking entrance and bays,
  • next we can attach more sections to the "end" of the docking module that we pick from a list of blocks,
  • we can repeat this as many times as we like so we can have short of longer station bodies built up,
  • next we can attach things to locators on the surface for lights, radar, turrets, solar panels etc,
Each part will have to be modelled, textured, and perhaps animated but it means that we might be able to generate some variety in the looks of the stations throughout space.
nozmajner
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Re: Better docking

Post by nozmajner »

This will need quite an amount of assets, and a good deal of planning. I think I'm up for it, but it will take a lot of time (see 3D cockpit progress as a baseline I guess).

I've made the current stations to be somewhat modular on the modeling side, but it was quite a bit of work to to adapt it to the smaller one I did for it this summer (it was in the summer, was it?). So it might be better to leave theose stations as is for now, and start a new one from scratch. But one nice thing about it I guess that if the whole thing is done right, it should be expandable along the way, like it can start with a couple of docks and a habitat ring, and I, or anybody could add new modules (ignoring the question whether all textures should be in one big image, or each module or bunch of modules could have their in separate images).

In the winter break, I've started doodling a bit for a smaller station line, and did it with modularity in mind, that might be a good starting point. But this station is quite a bit smaller than the current ones. The smallest ring of the current is about nine times bigger than the largest one here:
Image
That small elongated tubular habitat section on the left is almost exactly the size of the entrance of the current orbitals.
The planar stuff on the right side of the image are the three standard docking bay sizes I've used in the current orbitals (exact square though).
clausimu
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Re: Better docking

Post by clausimu »

Does this mean there is a faint glimmer of hope for ship-to-ship docking somewhere down the road? :)
impaktor
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Re: Better docking

Post by impaktor »

Ah, how I love to dream. :)

For some reason I lay wake this night thinking about how ships should behave while in "waiting" mode: Circle the station in ever tighter radius and lower altitude the further it moves up in the queue. Approaching a busy station will have ships circling looking like a funnel. And for obital station they would just line up somewhere. Not necessarily in anorderly manner.

Those station parts look interesting. Poor noz will have a backlog of many years. As for new stations, I don't think it's anything urgent as current stations look pretty damned amazing.
clausimu
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Re: Better docking

Post by clausimu »

For some reason I lay wake this night thinking about how ships should behave while in "waiting" mode: Circle the station in ever tighter radius and lower altitude the further it moves up in the queue. Approaching a busy station will have ships circling looking like a funnel. And for obital station they would just line up somewhere. Not necessarily in an orderly manner.
I feel a little hesitant to say anything here - since I can't contribute any code to this. But setting up docking procedures with a queue for landing and launching would be big. My first "contribution" to Pioneer (never made it to a point where I would submit it to you guys) was actually a local trade ships script that would significantly increase traffic. In the end I had to give up on it because of ships crashing into each other when landing/launching. I'm definitely a fan of increased traffic and waiting lines at stations... :)
FluffyFreak
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Re: Better docking

Post by FluffyFreak »

clausimu wrote:Does this mean there is a faint glimmer of hope for ship-to-ship docking somewhere down the road? :)
No promises but it would be nice to make docking more generic, I prefer to start small with a single simple goal though. Massive rewriting projects tend to die on their arse.
impaktor wrote:Those station parts look interesting. Poor noz will have a backlog of many years. As for new stations, I don't think it's anything urgent as current stations look pretty damned amazing.
If anything I'd hope that a modular system might save Noz from as much work by building pieces of stations that can be combined in many ways and allow others to contribute modules.
clausimu wrote:I feel a little hesitant to say anything here - since I can't contribute any code to this. But setting up docking procedures with a queue for landing and launching would be big.
Yes docking queues/orbits would be good to have and hopefully wouldn't be too big a job.
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