Am annoyed about fixed lasers

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hiran
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Am annoyed about fixed lasers

Post by hiran »

I still cannot believe the space ships in Oolite behave like WW1 or WW2 fighters. Those had machine guns fixed to the hull. The pilot would aim the plane's nose at others and then shoot. In Oolite a dogfight works exactly the same way but...

In flight simulators it is possible to quickly react by urgently actioning the stick and pedals to point the nose to something. For a moment that works, the plane does not yet follow the new direction. If that happens, pilots talk about Slip. In Oolite a ship can only move in the direction it is pointing. Depending on the moment of inertia it can take quite some time for a ship to follow a moving target.

Aren't there laser weapons that can aim at a target independently of the ship's orientation? Ok, somewhat limited as the back laser will never get at targets in front of the ship. But within range I'd expect this to happen. I'd even consider this to be more reasonable given that ships have crews of more than just one person. So what is more obvious than separating the gunner from the pilot role and have them both work in parallel?

For Oolite this could mean one player can switch jobs while ignoring the other one, or there might be some AI taking over whatever the player is not looking at, or multiple players in the same ship, ... Oh, I am talking about multiple players again. Or dreaming of an autopilot barrel-rolling towards the station while the player is focusing on the back laser and enemies.
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Re: Am annoyed about fixed lasers

Post by Cholmondely »

Hiran - I'm not sure I quite understand your point. But if I do, have you tried turrets on any of your ships?

Yasen-N Turret

You will need a ship that is big enough.



By the way, that Jeff McAfee autopilot is an inspired discovery. Well done!
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Re: Am annoyed about fixed lasers

Post by Redspear »

I'd been thinking about this a little bit recently...

So currently facing = aim but but if that association were no longer absolute then some interesting possibilities (as well as pitfalls) present themselves.

Sepearating laser facing from pilot facing is one way of describing such an unlock and so how to do that? Firstly, let's remember that it's not ship facing but pilot facing - with their being port, starboard and aft lasers all facing away from the nose of the ship.

Imagine the lasers as subentities (conceptually if not actually), that remain attached to (and travel with) the ship but that don't necessarily point in the same direction as the pilot's view. Even if they remained fixed then would could have multiple lasers that converge at maximum range rather than remain seperated.

If, on the other hand, they were to be partially independant then that begs a few questions
  • what should be their range of movement?
  • are they self-aiming or are they pilot controlled?
  • if the former then what determines their target priority?
The bigger the range of movement the less skill is potentially required by the pilot (and the more obvious it might be if non-player ships weren't doing the same). If, for example, it weren't to stray much further than the extent of the crosshairs then that might be sufficient to both maintain the perception of lasers matching ship facing whilst simulataneously freeing them up significantly.

Self-aiming would clearly make combat easier but one could either go the elite dangerous route of having 'gimbaled' weapons do less damage than their fixed counterparts or perhaps have it be a feature that only activates once the target has been 'locked', meaning that the player is still required to 'zero-in' (at least initially) on a target.

Requiring target-lock would give that feature utility beyond missiles (especially with the various targetting upgrades available and how they might interact) and it would also determine target choice.

So that's the theory but it's more than just emloying an aim-bot, it's splitting such from autopilot. Here's my idea (untested).

Create seperate entities, one for each laser position, tiny enough to be essentially invisible, locked to that location and also indistructible. Give them their own AI/aim-bottery that will (under certain circumstances) turn slightly towards a given target with high accuracy.

The player ship then no longer has it's own lasers as such, rather it activates the lasers on these sub-entities/co-entities whhilst still heating up from their use.

I haven't got time to draw any diagrams but if anyone catches my meaning sufficiently then I think any ship could be adapted to perform this way without core code changes but it would likely require any such model to be updated/adapted.
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Re: Am annoyed about fixed lasers

Post by arquebus »

Is the reason it would be that complicated because the lasers currently are only able to emanate along a normal vector of the ship as a cube? What prevents the laser entities from being angled when they emit without having to create new entities to do it? What is the limitation that requires four new sub-objects to make your suggestion work?
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Re: Am annoyed about fixed lasers

Post by arquebus »

On the broader point, the thing that frustrates me the most about combat in Oolite is the absolutely perfect aim you have to have in order to hit something. I greatly prefer combat in games where the weapon is able to do the kinds of targeting calculations that have been available to militaries since the 1980s. Especially since lasers traverse space instantly at these ranges. You wouldn't even have to account for the target's velocity! A play of even just a couple of degrees off dead center would be a vast improvement.
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Re: Am annoyed about fixed lasers

Post by hiran »

If the question of how to play arises, there is a challenge already if no automation if offered.

Try to control the ship using keyboard/joystick while aiming weapons using the mouse. Any of the 4 views could be used, giving enough of aiming limitation.

I do get the point that NPC ships then would do the same. On Thargoid warships I have not noticed they need to aim anyway.
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Re: Am annoyed about fixed lasers

Post by another_commander »

Cholmondely has already pointed to the closest we have to what you seek: turrets.

You only need to give them a hostile target and they know what to do about the rest. They even know not to shoot at their own ship.
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Re: Am annoyed about fixed lasers

Post by hiran »

another_commander wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 4:48 am
Cholmondely has already pointed to the closest we have to what you seek: turrets.

You only need to give them a hostile target and they know what to do about the rest. They even know not to shoot at their own ship.
Jup. I used them when flying the Imperial Star Destroyer. As well as the fighter fleet. And I remember to have had a battery of four vimanas wherever possible. Still I had to point the whole ship where I wanted to shoot, making the lasers almost obsolete.

The turrets often saved my life as they operate fully autonomously. Maybe a bit too magical.
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Re: Am annoyed about fixed lasers

Post by Wildeblood »

arquebus wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 4:08 am
On the broader point, the thing that frustrates me the most about combat in Oolite is the absolutely perfect aim you have to have in order to hit something. I greatly prefer combat in games where the weapon is able to do the kinds of targeting calculations that have been available to militaries since the 1980s. Especially since lasers traverse space instantly at these ranges. You wouldn't even have to account for the target's velocity! A play of even just a couple of degrees off dead center would be a vast improvement.
Well, I disagree vehemently. In the real world, a miss is as good as a mile, and the logic of, "If I only miss by a little bit, that should count as a hit," completely escapes me. But my personal feelings aside, what you describe should be easy to do in an OXP with a frame callback. So I'm chiming in to say, the fact that it hasn't been done (publicly) suggests there's not much desire for that.

On the other hand, if one did want to do it, one would need to script three things:-

1. Detecting when the player ship is "on target".

2. Detecting when the player fires their laser.

3. If (1) and (2) occur concurrently, damaging the target ship.

I have no knowledge of (3) - Someone Else will need to comment, but regarding the first two parts:-

1. There are numerous examples published of frame callbacks to do this, as far as I know, all based on code originally posted to this forum by Eric Walch. Auto Crosshairs OXP would probably be the best to copy/paste seek inspiration from, since it includes a twiddle-able variable to adjust how close one has to be to count as "on target".

2. Is there a playerFiredLaser javascript event? If not, create it by monitoring the laser temperature. You're running a frame callback anyway, so... easy little addition.

3. Someone Else's concern.
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Re: Am annoyed about fixed lasers

Post by Cholmondely »

hiran wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 6:23 am
Still I had to point the whole ship where I wanted to shoot, making the lasers almost obsolete.
How about adding in CSOTB's Military Targeting System OXP?
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Re: Am annoyed about fixed lasers

Post by Redspear »

There's also cosmetics to consider.

Default laser only fires in a cardinal direction. You can remove it altogether (in which case you need a new method of 'firing') or you can try to hide it (in which case you also need to hide relevant contact effects such as sounds).

If drawing a new laser path then a visual effect might seem simple enough but when it intersects with a target then (unless you want it to carry on straight through) there is more work to be done.

If the laser fired 'towards' the crosshairs by default, intersecting with them at maximum range, then multiple lasers would be more cooperative and perhaps some interesting effects could be achieved if the crosshairs could be moved on the fly.
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Re: Am annoyed about fixed lasers

Post by arquebus »

Wildeblood wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 1:36 pm
arquebus wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 4:08 am
On the broader point, the thing that frustrates me the most about combat in Oolite is the absolutely perfect aim you have to have in order to hit something. I greatly prefer combat in games where the weapon is able to do the kinds of targeting calculations that have been available to militaries since the 1980s. Especially since lasers traverse space instantly at these ranges. You wouldn't even have to account for the target's velocity! A play of even just a couple of degrees off dead center would be a vast improvement.
Well, I disagree vehemently. In the real world, a miss is as good as a mile
That's my whole point: why would you miss? A laser guided by a computer built in the late 1980s wouldn't miss, and this is hundreds of years after that. If the weapon were ballistic in some form, or traveling at sub-light speeds, sure. But that's not what we're talking about here. These are *lasers.*

The "play of a couple of degrees off center" that I'm talking about isn't about hitting when you should miss. It's about giving the weapon the bare minimum amount of traverse necessary to strike a target that is a couple of degrees off the center point of its range.

They solved that problem before the First World War!
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Re: Am annoyed about fixed lasers

Post by Cholmondely »

Aaaah! But are they really computers?
Disembodied wrote: Wed Dec 30, 2020 11:52 am
Reval wrote: Wed Dec 30, 2020 10:37 am
Cody wrote: Wed Dec 30, 2020 10:32 am
I could credit that if limited to a particular culture/planet/race or even species, but pan-galactically? - that's a real stretch.
That's the great thing about fiction: it's very stretchy.
  • Electronics leads to automation.
  • Automation leads to AI.
  • AI leads to strong AI.
  • Strong AI leads to technological singularity.
  • Bad news: technological singularity is NOT the Rapture of the Nerds; it's a pack of hyperadvanced machine intelligences going berserk before collapsing/ascending/subliming/fill in your answer to the unanswerable here …
  • Good news: the machine intelligences do disappear.
  • Bad news: at best, they leave behind a ravaged global economy and a society struggling to rebuild its industries and networks pretty much from scratch. At worst, along with the economic destruction, millions - even billions - of sentient beings have been absorbed by these things, and are left mindless/insane, or have simply vanished.
This process seems to be as inevitable as stellar evolution. Cultures who survive this come out the other end with a strong aversion to automation and to electronics in particular. Our multi-species society, held in loose alliance within the Co-operative, has managed to develop organic computation: it's slower and squishier, but every computer-node has a short and finite lifespan, and is guaranteed not to gallop away over the eschatological horizon.

These organic brainlets are what we call "computers". They are vat-grown on an industrial scale, and all have the exact same properties. Because they are mortal, there's a constant demand for them, and because they're identical there's not a whit of difference between a computer from a TL-15 world and a computer from a TL-5 world. A Rich Industrial planet can grow them in bulk, making them a little cheaper: price is the only difference.
Image
Comments wanted:
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Re: Am annoyed about fixed lasers

Post by Wildeblood »

Cholmondely wrote: Mon May 20, 2024 10:10 pm
Aaaah! But are they really computers?

Image
I still have an original genuine A1000 out in my shed, in its original box. (At least, I assume it's still there.)

I've only ever paid for software twice in my life. The first time was for the Amiga version of Elite. It cost a small fortune in Australian dollars in 1987. It was so buggy, it was unusable. It would crash every few minutes. Actually performing a jump into a system and surviving to reach the station and be able to save the game was unusual. Nothing to do with surviving the pirate attacks - that was easy - just the randomly timed crashes were so frequent. Even when it didn't crash, game-play was lame compared to the C64 version. An absolute rip-off.

It left such a bad taste in my mouth that I swore I would never pay for software again. And it was almost 30 years - 2016 - until I finally did.

True story.

Cholly, I think you might have posted this bit of thread necromancy in the wrong place? What's the connection to the fixed/swivelling lasers question?
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Re: Am annoyed about fixed lasers

Post by Cholmondely »

Wildeblood wrote: Wed May 22, 2024 5:04 pm
Cholmondely wrote: Mon May 20, 2024 10:10 pm
Aaaah! But are they really computers?

Image
I still have an original genuine A1000 out in my shed, in its original box. (At least, I assume it's still there.)

I've only ever paid for software twice in my life. The first time was for the Amiga version of Elite. It cost a small fortune in Australian dollars in 1987. It was so buggy, it was unusable. It would crash every few minutes. Actually performing a jump into a system and surviving to reach the station and be able to save the game was unusual. Nothing to do with surviving the pirate attacks - that was easy - just the randomly timed crashes were so frequent. Even when it didn't crash, game-play was lame compared to the C64 version. An absolute rip-off.

It left such a bad taste in my mouth that I swore I would never pay for software again. And it was almost 30 years - 2016 - until I finally did.

True story.

Cholly, I think you might have posted this bit of thread necromancy in the wrong place? What's the connection to the fixed/swivelling lasers question?
It's this new BB business of hiding the quotes. The connection is the bit from Disembodied lurking at the very bottom of the quotation, his recent definition of computers as "organic brainlets".
Comments wanted:
Missing OXPs? What do you think is missing?
Lore: The economics of ship building How many built for Aronar?
Lore: The Space Traders Flight Training Manual: Cowell & MgRath Do you agree with Redspear?
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