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Long Range Sprite Viewing

Discussion in 'Modding' started by Concave, Nov 10, 2019 at 03:13.

  1. Concave Trainee Engineer

    Distance is a relevant parameter to consider for the aspiring Space Engineer operating in interstellar space. VRage caps view distances in the tens of kilometers, and I opt to keep it set at minimum in order to eventually allow for larger amounts of local player interaction. Would there be a way to render computationally inexpensive specks or sprites consisting of only a few pixels of a bright color in order to represent long distance activity?

    The idea here is that a fast traveling craft gives off a light signature that could be seen hundreds of kilometers away. This would be difficult to spot to a player that is not using a telescope to scan, but this would allow players to pull agro if they choose to travel somewhere fast.

    Automated craft traffic high in density would render a visible "line" of these bright pixels and allow a distant player to see active hubs of industry and navigate without GPS.

    I'd like to eventually implement a sector police on random patrol patterns that could quickly respond to illegal PvP (think EvE online high sec space). This would mean that as soon as there is PvP in advertised secured space, these sprites would begin fast travelling to that point of activity, which would allow remote players to see many distant ships traveling to a single point, and this would give incentive and direction if they wanted to also travel to this point with intention to participate, salvage, or chase a bounty. A good metaphor to use is earning "wanted level stars" in the GTA series. This would determine the types of craft that respond to player triggered events. These types of craft could be identified by the color of their thruster plume and distant pixel color, and this would give clues as to their difficulty rating.

    Think of Luke Skywalker looking out of the window in the room with the Emperor watching the space battle of Endor unfold - he is seeing mostly small flashes which indicates combat. The distance of this scene is much shorter than the proposed light visible at tens of thousands of kilometers, since capital ships are clearly visible from Luke's point of view.

    Combat and fast travel could be the source of these sprite flashes for the observing, prospective player. This agro mechanic would promote intersections of interaction around points of interest that we could create using rare ore locations that attract non-player entities (which will create distant visibly noticeable activity, which attracts player investigation).
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019 at 04:23
  2. mojomann71 Senior Engineer

    I think it would bring down your sim speed to unplayable. Not hating the idea, just don't think Keen cam pull this one off.
  3. Concave Trainee Engineer

    The grid location and vector would be all that's necessary for a cheap collection of pixels to be rendered to represent this. The idea is that it would not need to render an entire grid until the player decides to fast travel to the location. We can define a fast travel sequence as uninterruptible "jumping" where a player can only choose the direction of a linear path. Once initiated, the travel time would be known and could thus coordinate with the server and give plenty of time to pre-render whatever grid(s) there are at the point of interest during the known travel time.

    I think it would be cool to have meaningful distant flickering as a prompt to explore the vast emptiness that is ultimately a safety barrier between potentially rival player operations. Fighting and moving fast is what can cue interaction between players.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019 at 05:17