Possible suggestion box improvements/ideas


First, thank you for working on this project - I'm more interested in an open ended WCU than in a strict Privateer Remake, or I will be, once I finish Privateer Remake :).

Second, this is a pie in the sky list of ideas:

A) Better control over a "fighter wing" - both as far as naming fighters, and in using the "My Fleet" list in combination with the "Commodity Fighters" that are actually in the holds.
A1) Transferring fighters between "My Fleet" and my cargo holds
A2) Knowledge in-game of how much space each fighter will take (does "Add Cargo Space" take up more cargo spaces? What about turrets?)
A3) Similar to the "Help Me" and "Attack that target" commands, "Dock with me", "Protect that other target", and "Combat Space Patrol at 10km out", "Long Range Combat Space Patrol - head 50-100km out in front and comm back what you see" as well as ""Jump point scount: Jump through that jump point, dodge like mad, jump back, and tell me what hostiles are on the other side" would be obvious uses of an escort wing.
A4) If A1 is not done, than some what to Repair/Upgrade the ships in the cargo holds.
A5) Pilot purchase - as in some Wing Commanders, the ability to retain or hire pilots without their own ships to fly mine, with varying levels of skill.

B) Economics - right now, I don't think you can get close to filling up a Drayman for trade (5000 units of stuff), and yet we see Draymen running around - how are they staying profitable - catnip runs to Kilrathi space?

C) As discussed on the Privateer boards, making turrets shoot properly with an ITTS systems.

D) Capship scale weapons.

E) Skipper missiles (purchase at a Kilrathi ship dealer?)
skipper missiles? you've got to be kidding me right? why in the world would privateers and small colonies have access to those kinds of weapons?
Skipper missiles were the secret Kilrathi weapon (not so secret not to be known, but secret enough to have no access to it ;)) I doubt that such advanced (at that time) technology would be freely at sale or even would be available for contraband. So i guess this point is useless here.
Regarding E) Skipper missiles: No, I wouldn't suggest them for the "pure" Privateer Remake - they have no place there. I am suggesting their consideration for the WCU as a whole, as they are an important part of WCU history. Perhaps they're limited, perhaps you can only get them by working for the Kilrathi. Perhaps they only work when fired by certain Kilrathi ships. Perhaps - and I personally disagree with this - only certain NPC Kilrathi ships have them (I forget if they were fired by fighters or capships, honestly), and this is part of why Kilrathi space isn't overrun by the human players and their Confed NPC allies. As far as universe reasons, in WCU, we've got mixed time periods, and a lot more privateering than the WCx games accounted for - including trade with the Kilrathi, much less taking skipper missiles off the corpses of dead Kilrathi ships (or, better, Kilrathi ships siezed by marines).

F) Improving the tractor beam/Space Salvage commodities such that ship upgrades in crates pulled into cargo are worth something closer to their actual value - in at least Privateer Remake, I picked up some crates that were clearly labelled as very expensive ship upgrades (weapons, turrets, radars, and the like), and wasn't able to sell them at even the "used" price, but only for the usual "Space Salvage" fee - some fence retired off that cargo load! I can see it being whatever the used price minus some large percentage of the maximum Repair fee is, as they have battle damage to repair.
Player-buyable Draymen have 300~500 cargo space, which is reasonable considering that at least 100 of those get used for an escort fighter. NPC Draymen have "don't care" cargo space, it was at 5000 originally and I left it at that -- same for carriers and other capships, their cargo space usually doesn't make sense when you fly them because you're not supposed to fly them unless you hack the savegame. I don't plan to have milspec ships buyable in WCU as it breaks too much stuff (repair and upgrades mostly). About the other stuff... sounds good.

Right now capship scale weapons are:

* Anti Matter Gun -- Shield-bypassing slow moving gun, a la WC2
* Phase Transit Cannon -- Same only bigger, used on the Concordia.
* Rocket Salvos -- Swarms of fast reloading DF missiles used against bases, the Caernaven has them and so does the Sorthak (Sorthak isn't technically a capship, but uses capship weapons).
* Capship Tractor -- Tractor beam with longer range, mainly used to recover fighters. The Paradigm and Drayman have it.

I want to add a CapMiss and maybe WC2 style torpedos. The reason why the Kilrathi dreadnough is a "pure" carrier is that the Kilrathi got burned with the Sivar business and decided that their super-ship shouldn't depend on unreliable superweapons, instead the Bhantkara carries a truckload of fighters and around ten Sorthak bombers.
minor bugs

So first off great work, I love it.

I'm not really sure if this should be in its own thread but but I thought I would put it here. Ok, so in the cource of my playing (doing cargo runs and saving money for a better ship), I found myself going to Celeste. Upon attempting to leave Celeste, I notice something, I can't. When ever I try to jump out of Celeste I end up in a system with a green star and only one object: the jump back to Celeste. The nav computer still lists me as in Celeste. The problem may be in that all the jumps in Celeste are labeled "jumptomastif" or "jumptotimonen" as oposed to "jump to celeste"; then again it may be just a coincidence.

Additionally the jump to Ross 248 says "jumptoross246". These things aren't really a huge problem, it can be worked around and I by no means wish to complain; I just thought you would want to know about this. Thanks for all your hard work, and good luck.

Edit: had the same problem in Sol and its jumps have the same "jumptoalphacentari" naming structure.

edit2: I found and solved the problem. In the Sectors/Sol folder, in the sol.system file (as well as celeste.system and the other files in the folder), the jump destinations are written as "sol_sector/system" ("sol_sector/mastif" for example). However in the wcunivese.xml the sector is written simply as sol, thus the game sends the player to a nonexistant sector. If the "_sector" section is removed it works fine. Just thought I'd let you guys know, back to playing now.
IIRC skippers were only fired from cat capital ships. its a very retarded notion for a player to be able to get these. same goes for cloaking devices. even in the 'larger universe'. read any of the books, zach banfeld got on in false colors through excessive negotiations and what have you. these are not weapons or equipment in any shape, form, or fashion that would be available in ANY way to the player. period.
I think that a cloaking device should be obtainable, but only upon completion of some very tough missions (which have the side effect of marking you as a traitor to Confed, hehe).

I also think that same should run for being able to buy a capital ship, you should:

(1) Make it so that a shipyard owner owes you a huge favor, so do missions for them
(2) Do a lot of cargo runs to procure the various parts, raw materials, etc.
(3) Find the manpower and the crew, meaning do slave runs then free the slaves thus losing a lot of money
(4) Pay for the construction

The reward could be something similar to the Delphinus ship, or maybe a more or less normal capship (I modeled the Delphinus mainly because I am a big Skies of Arcadia fan)
spiritplumber said:

I also think that same should run for being able to buy a capital ship, you should:

(1) Make it so that a shipyard owner owes you a huge favor, so do missions for them
(2) Do a lot of cargo runs to procure the various parts, raw materials, etc.
(3) Find the manpower and the crew, meaning do slave runs then free the slaves thus losing a lot of money
(4) Pay for the construction

The reward could be something similar to the Delphinus ship, or maybe a more or less normal capship (I modeled the Delphinus mainly because I am a big Skies of Arcadia fan)

An excellent idea for a custom or semi-custom ship.

What about purchasing older model stripped down hulls (i.e. just like a Drayman comes stock with nothing - not even a jump drive), and then buying capital scale parts (presumably a few here, a few there, all over the place)?

Freeing slaves - this would then be something the game should keep track of overall, as you may have done this beforehand, and now have a pool of more or less grateful ex-slaves.

How do militias (Border Worlds) get capital ships? How do pirates get their capital ships? Who does supply the Retros? Can can a player get into the middle of any of these, for good or ill?
The original Idea I had with WC:Universe was to set it in 2669, add all the ships from wc 1/2/3/academy/armada/privateer/super wing commander (as new ship classes) and some bases from wc4, I'd like to add to this, the cartoon series ships, and the novel series ships. Also some sort of Confed and Kilrathi Campaign that players can play. Also since this is a suggestion box, I think something should be done about asteroids, I think the current setup is good but could use a little improvement I was thinking about how we have them in grids, that could be improved by making each rock a subunit of the grid and making the sub units destroyable.
@ @ @
@ @ @
@ @ @
with each @ being an asteroid that can be blown up, but they still move in their grid. Is this doable? I want to hear from a programmer about how much overhead this'll add.
G) Hmmm... as much more convoluted idea... some way to gain either a real rank or an "acting" rank in one or another faction, such that you can command units of that faction as wingmen (alt: Missions offers wingmen of that faction for reduced price/free/higher availability/higher firepower).

I.e. if I go to the Pirates, demand to see their leader, blow up their leader and her/his/its escorts, and repeat until they bow down to me, I'm in "charge" of some subfaction (flight) of the pirates until someone else pulls the same on me, or I give it up, or I turn them all in to the Confed for a big reward. (the "I, my Paradigm, and my Centurion wing are going to make you, your Drayman, and your Talon escorts an offer you can't refuse" option).

G1) Economics model add-on to this: regular income from the factions/flights you "own" and/or your "acting rank".

Commonality: This would have the same sort of "crew" requirements as the buy your own capship Spiritplumber listed above.

H) Alternative: Do the "free the slaves" routine or however you want to get crew, buy them ships, and have your _own_ faction/flight/semi-permanent escorts. Perhaps buy them up to date craft - Stilettos, Demons, Dralthai and go hunting... or perhaps go the cheap route, and buy your loyal minions a bunch of Tarsus with Proton Torpedo launchers "Tarsus Swarm Attack! Anyone who keeps their ship intact gets a 15,000 credit bonus, and the killing shot gets 30,000 credits!")

Economics: Again, F), above, would make this feasable - and make sense (why else would privateers take on capital ships, and how else would it be profitable)
Penta2 - Agreed, that's why it's part of the "pie in the sky" thread!

In general, I'm approaching my "pie in the sky" wishlist with the view of what could an exceptional character - the main character of a story - do? Alternatively, what could their successor do? Additionally, I take the standpoint that if an NPC can do it, then a PC can do it (i.e. no cheating by NPC's - if they can do it, it's possible to do). This does logically extend to a highly complex game, with a huge breadth of capability.

Further, to do this properly requires a change in scope as power levels increase, just like in any roleplaying game - and this is something that is both difficult to do, and is not within the capability of most game systems, electronic or otherwise, to handle well.

For instance, taking an arbitrary second person player (not any specific player, but some player somewhere): when you start out, you're trying to survive - and that's enough of a goal in and of itself, to survive against flights of Retros, Pirates, and assorted scum flying fighters when you're in a P.O.S., out of date, underarmed trash heap ("You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought."). Just a little later, you're trying to make enough profit to upgrade quickly, to make a name for yourself, to advance your station in the world. You're looking for more profitable ways to do things, and better ways to kill people - but you're still self-focussed. When you buy and outfit your Centurion, you can now trivially kill the Retros and Pirates, easily make profit off of the bounties, trivially handle the missions that hurt you before, and not even have significant repair or munitions bills anymore (you've lowered your operating overhead). The previous goal is somewhat boring - you can survive normal cargo runs in your sleep (snooze and hit afterburner till the next jump point/docking), you realize that the maximum one-way cargo profit is about 100 credits per cargo slot (slaves and Ultimate), or only 50,000 credits if you can actually fill 500 cargo spaces with that cargo, and missions are paying more, but may carry some risk. But... for what are you fighting? For the plot! For the Steltek (missp) gun! And when that's done... perhaps it's time you made a difference in the world, again widening your scope, your goals. Now, perhaps, you could gain satisfaction by building up your own faction, and pushing the Kilrathi border forward or back... perhaps you wish to manipulate trade routes? Perhaps you'd rather push the mindless search for profit onto your minions (buy and outfit Galaxy/escort fighter pairs, crew them, and tell it to do the Agri->Ref->Ind run forever), while you go about the business of exterminating every Retro everywhere? Perhaps you want to try and carve out a little empire of your own, or cut a deal with the cats?

To sum up: As one grows more powerful, the game changes in scope. There is no balancing a player with fifty or a hundred million credits in operating capital with a player than has fifty or a hundred thousand credits in operating capital... but they operate on different scales, and are unlikely to interfere with each other, unless the bigger player is trying to squeeze out all smaller players... but that's a multi-player issue best solved by other bigger players.
I agree with Nadrek.

One of the biggest flaws in almost any game, the moment you hit the best equipment, it's game over sinds nothing is a danger to you anymore ( and it become boring ).

But, there is a solution for that widout resorting to a complex system.

I dont know if any of you have heared of Space Rangers 1 ( and 2 but rushian only until the release the english version in juli? ). Well, Space Rangers is a 2d universe game, where like privateer, you are in command of your ship, that you can upgrade etc. They solved the problem where the universe get's to easy, becouse you have better equipment, by allowing 2 or 3 differende AI types & timed releases.

Ai Type 1: the invading alliens who conquer system by system. They are upgraded based on your equipment ( and your fellow rangers faction? ). It's automatic. They also destroy any leftover equipment/cargo floating in space. In other words, the dumb Ai.

Ai Type 2: Used by Pirates, Merchants etc. This is a simple AI that looks at the best place to sell goods, and does it. But, if they find equipment floating in space after fights ( ships drop 1 to 2 piece's on average ), and it's better then there own, they upgrade it or sell it for credits. They also seem to be able based on there own money supply, to buy new equipment

Ai Type 3: Rangers themselfs. For the most part, also like Type 2, but they have a strong survival sence ( like running away when the odd's arent in there favor -- they have no problem leaving you to defende against a superior force *bastards* :) ). Also, very much upgradable. Rangers are uniek ( atleased they dont spawn a lot ), but becouse of there survival sence they also outlive everything.

Timed Releases: Some Race's will have the better equipement a little faster, but most of the equipment get's released in a timely fasion. In other words, even if you find a bug, and make a lot of money, the universe is still dangerous.

Becouse of those AI's, widout scanning your opponent, you may find yourself outguned while you where thinking "easy kill", and you end up the "easy kill" :)

Ofcourse, running all those AI's is a problem for the WC:Universe so it's best to only allow the active AI to be the one's in the sector your are currently ( and auto upgrade the AI ships/equipment when you chance sector/galaxy cluster, whatever ;) for the AI that was idle ).

To me, i like the universe to be alive ... like freelancer express highway. When there are a lot of ships, it doesent feel cold & lonely ( and there is always something going on ).
Yeah, I was just reading about Wing Commander Armada, and it suposedly was a kind of strategy game, where you colonize planets, mine asteroids, produce ships, and so on; intermixed with WC style skirmishes. Of course, the game must have had a different interface. But I'm sure that if one manages to colonize a planet in WC, it wouldn't take too much coding for adding an 'administration room' to a base, where you can go there and edit the schedule of tasks you want done on the given planet, or have an overview of the planets you control.

As for making enemies automatically stronger as you upgrade the ship, I totally disagree. It doesn't take long for gamers to figure out such tricks. The original Privateer was like that: The strength of the enemies parallelled the power of your guns, so you were better off upgrading everything in the ship but sticking to lasers. That sucks. And knowing the policy super sucks, as there's basically no incentive to move forward. Instead, make difficulty geography based, so that if you get stronger, you can go to places you would otherwise not survive in. So, even if there are 200 systems in the universe, at the beginning you could only survive in a handful.
Basing the difficulty on a players weapons, I agree is a really bad idea. But I dont think that a pure geography solution is correct also. While some places may have more conflict I do not think that conflict partisipants would nessasarly have better weapons/equipment based on stricly geographic location.

Instead putting to use the faction system would be the most eligent way to handle this. Each faction should have a like/dislike score and a fame/noteriaty score, with a sector/system subdivision. Changing these scores should not be based purely destroying ships of oposing factions. Instead missions and events should score more strongly.

Example: Your a young trader just starting your trade career. You see Kats and Confeds duking it out, pirates rading fat merchent ships laden with treasure, but you go relitively unscathed as long as you stick to the safer neutral systems. You know that if you travel to the unsaviory bits of the universe all bets are off, but at the moment you are below everyones radar.

Here the plater would have just the normal starting faction scores. Any in system NPCs would make a check aginst the players faction scores. Large/powerful NPC groups would have a very low chace to harass an insanificant target, like our players little trap freighter. More heavily factioned systems though would be VERY hostile to a neutral factioned ship with little to no fame/noteriety.

Example 2: The player just bought his first Dramon with all the profit earned from months of hualing whatever needed moved from one location to another and is now ready to kick the profits up a notch, loading up on ore and food in vast quanitys, for trade. Leaving the system you must pass through a couple rough system to reach your destination. Never having much trouble before you figure you dont need hire a wing man. After your second jump on your radar is a flight of pirates. Not unexpected, but worrysome. Suddenly your com comes alive and the pirates are demanding payment for save passage. Only you dont have any money, spending it all on your new ship and its cargo. You make a run for the jump point and prey....

What happened is that the player still had a relitivly neutral score with the pirates in both like/dislike and fame/noteriaty. But what changed was his score with the merchent guild, the pirates checked aginst the players fame score with the merchents and seeing that it was a high score means that the player is known to be wealthy and cary valuable cargo often. This combined with the class of ship the player was flying pushed the pirates into an interested mode. When criminals are interested in you that means they want something. If you cant/wont pay then they go into aggressive mode and take what they want from whatever is left of your ship after they cut it to shreds with their lasers.

Consering faction points:

Each faction should have their own method of gaining and loosing faction points. The AI of each faction dosn't just check for there own faction scores but the faction scores of other factions as well.

Lets just assume each faction has 4 faction scores. #1 Fame/Noteriety Local, #2 Fame/Noteriety Global, #3 Like/Dislike Local, and #4 Like/Dislike Global. Your local scores would be system based, in some systems one faction may not like you but in another system the same faction may love you. Your faction scores in each system are indapendent of eachother. Global faction on the other hand adjusts your local faction score by +/-X%. You earn global faction by earning/loosing lots of local faction in many systems. Lets just say that local facton is -1000 to +1000. At every 400 points you would earn 1 global faction point. At -400 you would have -1% global added to your pool. At -800 you would have -2% added to your pool. Oppisite with positive faction.

Faction points would also tent to migrate to 0 if the player takes no actions. This change can be slow or quick depending on the faction (hey fame is fleeting).

Example: Merchents guild faction:
Like/Dislike: Each mission/deal earns you a small amount of like, trust is gained slowly in buisness. Attacking merchent ships quickly earns you large amounts of dislike. With enough dislike the Merchent guild will buy contracts on your head.

Fame/Noteriaty: Taking difficult missions, collecting merchent bountys, and the total (recent) value in goods exchaned, increase your fame. You can loose fame by not finishing missions, making bad trades (selling off goods for less than you paid for it), and welching on your contracts (steeling cargo from cargo missions). A high fame score means that more / better paying contracts are available. As well as having greater bargining power when trading goods. A negative score means that no body will do buisness with you, missions will be small and few, and you will rarely get full market value in trade for goods.

The merchent guild dose NOT do buisness with pirates. Even a small global fame score in the pirate faction will mean ejection from the guild. If you have any global positive pirate score your normal global merchant like score is replaced instead with the inverse pirate score doubled.

What dose everyone think? This doable?
It sounds good in theory, but would be totally impossible to code...At least for anybody not doing it professionally and being paid for it.
Absolutely not hard to code. I can code that with my eyes closed. And a lot of details escape me, but to the extent that I understand Argentus' posting, I fully endorse it.
dan_w said:
Absolutely not hard to code. I can code that with my eyes closed. And a lot of details escape me, but to the extent that I understand Argentus' posting, I fully endorse it.

Umm little lost. What exactly would be easy to code?