Privateer: Ascii Sector v0.6.6.1 released!

Rylex

Rear Admiral
Glad you like the game, Rylex! :)

The fighter sized ships (those that only consist of 1 character) can only have one gun. The capital sized ships can have more than one gun, as they are wider than 1 character (except the Drayman, which can still only have one forward facing gun).

You can buy a Gun Boost to increase the range of your gun.

I played the latest version yesterday and I really like the game more and more every day.
I'm a bit sad, that all one character ships can only have one gun :( but it makes sense to me like you said because of the size of only one character. The only thing that could help here perhaps (if you would like to think about it)... is to implement "double packs"... for example you can buy a "double laser pack" which means 2 Lasers in one. Using that feature you could give the other one character ships more guns. This means that mixed weapons are NOT possible... but why not buy a 4pack Laser pack for the Centurion to simulate 4 Lasers? You don't need other symbols for the fire of the guns. Just stick your single laser shots. You can write the number of laser guns in the lower left corner.

You could say, that 2 Lasers... use 4 GJ and make 4cm damage... so a buyable item named "2x Laser ... 2000" could help here...

Edit: Ok the list of buyable items would highly grow because of the weapon count... so I don't know if this is possible. If you stick to 1x Laser and 2x Laser and 1x Meson... and 2x Meson you only have 1x and 2x packs that would just double the list.

Just an idea... I'm programming a bit for myself and I don't think this would be too complicated to implement. At the moment I don't know why I should buy a Centurion (except for the speed) if it only has one gun :(

I noticed that in old versions I think I played 0.5.1 or 0.5.2 when you use autopilot to get to a jumppoint the ship automatically steers into the jumppoint you dont need to go left or right. In the latest version I sometimes fly left or right next to the jumppoint after autopilot. Know what I mean? But this is not a big error I just noticed it and wanted to ask if it is normal :)
 
I'm not going to add "2x Laser" and the likes. It'll only confuse matters and I'd like to keep all fighter sized ships limited to only one gun. That'll provide extra insentive for players to save up money for a capital sized ship.

Why should you buy a Centurion? It has better maneuverability, shields, armor and max engine than the Demon, for example. It's still by far the best fighter - since it can only have 1 gun, I've made it better in other areas as well.

The autopilot thing you experienced is just by chance. The ship automatically steers in autopilot by selecting the one angle out of 28 available angles that aims it closest to the nav point. Sometimes that angle takes it straight through the nav point, sometimes it takes it a few hundred meters next to it.
 

Rylex

Rear Admiral
OK I've played the game for a few weeks now and I must admit you're right. More than one cannon in a fighter 1 character ship would screw up the game completely.

Thanks for the explanation with the autopilot.

Well at the moment I don't play any other games except ascii sector... so no 3d games just ascii sector...

I still need to say even you explained it the guns are still a bit unbalanced in my opinion.

If you compare the Neutron Gun against the Fusion Cannon:

8 ... 6.2 ... 650 ... 1650
16 ... 6.6 ... 500 ... 2300

especially the price, then you get 20 Neutron Guns for one Fusion Cannon... ok the Fusion Cannon fires faster and has a lot more range... but for 20x the price of a Neutron gun the performance is too bad in my opinion.

The Meson Blaster only drains 4 GJ Tachyon Cannon needs 8 GJ... ok but Tachyon Cannon is more expensive than in the original Privateer. The price of the Tachyon and Ionic Pulse cannon have switched here. In the original Privateer the Tachyon Cannon had the same energy drain like the Meson Blaster... but it was weaker, too.

All in all I really, really love the game...

Like I said a bit more gun balance and perhaps some Image recognition missiles and the game would be perfect. I can't wait for the next version.

Ah yes... next version... I hope my savegames are compatible to the new version? If not could you make one of my savegames compatible? I don't want to start from the beginning in the next versions :D

Continue the good work!


Best wishes

Rylex

P.S. Have you ever thought about implementing a really complex storyline like in privateer? Yeah I see there is a quest maker... I just mean perhaps a complete storyline... perhaps even with a special weapon like the "Steltek Gun" :D
 
Hmmm... I guess the guns could use a bit more balancing. I'll look into it at some point.

I've managed to maintain save game compatibility since the first release two years ago, so that shouldn't become a problem. As to adding a storyline; yes, that's definitely something I have planned. It will kinda be split into two parts. The first part will have you flying around in your own ship, doing various missions and getting involved in some shady business. This will result in an event that will cut off the sector from the rest of the universe and cast it into a massive war between the various factions. At this point, you'll be able to buy your own base (if you have enough credits) and start building your own fleet to attempt to take over the entire sector and restore peace. There will be some strategy and RTS elements, as you control your fleet(s) in battle on board your flagship. You can read more about my future plans in the "Development Discussion and Suggestions" forum of my board.
 

Rylex

Rear Admiral
Very interesting... your future plans!

I've spent quite some time with the game already and now bought the B&S Omni but I still have the Tarsus because I'm now saving money for the Centurion. I noticed in the manual that the range of the B&S Omni is 50000 or something like that but I only can target the ships when they are very close to me... that doesn't help very much because I'd like to know what ship it is before it starts shooting at me. Is this a bug or do I unterstand something wrong from the manual? I see a red dot on the radar... approaching fast. Shortly before I see it on the screen I can target it... but then it's a bit late... can't I target it even if its far away out of my sight? Well like I said perhaps I'm doing something wrong.

I now even bought a laser gun and rifle and started training improving shooting skills... I'm not sure if you would need that if you plan to play the game normal... I mean just flying arround. But it is a nice feature... I don't plan to kill anyone but perhaps you need that defense one day when you get attacked. I don't know I've never been to a Pirate base because they are hostile... but perhaps I can improve my combat skills there.

All in all very nice game. Can't wait for the next version (with perhaps improved gun balance)!

I still earn very low money with fixer missions from the bar usually only paying 1600-2500 average... I hope that will improve :/

Rylex
 

Rylex

Rear Admiral
Edit: Sorry for double posting.

I think I found a bug but you can correct me.

I read today in the manual that you can train your gun skills on Mahuran in Vichy system in the shooting room. I've done that lots of time before it works on any planet... even while walking on your ship.

You just simply have to press Space and then Space and then Space (3 times) again. Yeah just 3 times the space key. Like you want to fire on yourself. Then the Target shows up and you can improve your skills.

This really seems to be a bug - if not then sorry...

Rylex
 
It is a bug and has been fixed for the next release. But thanks for letting me know. :)

As to the thing with the radar: you can only target ships within your view. If you were able to target ships outside of your view (but within the radar's range), you'd quickly find yourself unwillingly targeting a bunch of ships far, far away from you before you targeted the ship you actually wanted to target - which I think would be really annoying.
 

Rylex

Rear Admiral
As to the thing with the radar: you can only target ships within your view. If you were able to target ships outside of your view (but within the radar's range), you'd quickly find yourself unwillingly targeting a bunch of ships far, far away from you before you targeted the ship you actually wanted to target - which I think would be really annoying.

Okay good to know thank you. Well I think you could implement another key on the keyboard for only switching or selecting targets in the view window and one for even selecting targets outside of the view. I mean one key for short range (view) target selection... and another key for all range selection. That would improve the benefit of a much better radar very, very much. It is just a suggestion. I am now wondering why I bought a radar for 100.000... if I would have known that long range selection is not posible I would have taken the 40.000 radar because I don't think you need a big one then. (Except for faster % recognition)

Thank you for your patience... if I find any other bugs I let you know.
I had a bug a few weeks ago (it was the latest published version) in a bar with lots of people I talked to a person and he wanted me to transport him. I accepted and he wanted to walk to my ship but another person blocked the way. He would never move on. I loaded the game a few times and tried to position myself between the person and the another blocking person. Then it worked after a few tries.

Rylex
 
Well I think you could implement another key on the keyboard for only switching or selecting targets in the view window and one for even selecting targets outside of the view. I mean one key for short range (view) target selection... and another key for all range selection. That would improve the benefit of a much better radar very, very much. It is just a suggestion. I am now wondering why I bought a radar for 100.000... if I would have known that long range selection is not posible I would have taken the 40.000 radar because I don't think you need a big one then. (Except for faster % recognition)

Yeah, I can see where that would be useful. I'm already using SHIFT+'T' for targeting cargo and pilots, so I can't use that for targeting ships outside your current view. And CTRL and ALT can cause problems with Mac keyboards. Maybe I should have 'T' cycle through all targets within the player's view (including cargo and ejected pilots), and then have SHIFT+'T' cycle through all targets outside your view? My only concern with that would be that in the midst of a battle it might be annoying to have to cycle through cargo and ejected pilots in order to target the ship you want to... But then again, there usually isn't that much cargo and pilots floating around in space... I'll think it over a bit more...

I had a bug a few weeks ago (it was the latest published version) in a bar with lots of people I talked to a person and he wanted me to transport him. I accepted and he wanted to walk to my ship but another person blocked the way. He would never move on. I loaded the game a few times and tried to position myself between the person and the another blocking person. Then it worked after a few tries.

I've had another player report this as well, but sadly I haven't been able to reproduce it. I've implemented new path finding routines for the next release, where NPCs can walk around other NCPs, so hopefully that bug will be fixed.
 

Rylex

Rear Admiral
I don't know if you have any other free keys on the keyboard, but I think you don't need to use the "T" key for cargo target selecting. It is just a suggestion to use another key here. The Shift+T for targeting targets outside the view sounds a great idea to me. On the other way if people already feel that using Shift+T for targeting cargo should stay like it is because it might confuse some people... then I suggest (if possible) using another key for long range targeting.

If this is all not like you want... I suggest a third possibility... perhaps the best one. Let the player decide which mode to use. Stick to T = targeting and Shift+T for targeting cargo... AND (!!) now use another key for selecting the target mode. This could be any free key you don't use at the moment. If the player presses this key, then you could pop up a little message "Long range targeting" (targeting ALL ships even those far away and the ships close to you)... and if the player presses the key again "View range targeting" (only targeting inside the view range)... you don't need to programm it exactly like this ... I just want to present this idea.
You can use a simple symbol in the lower left corner or upper right in the screen. Just use a "L" for long range targeting and a "N" for normal targeting... then you don't need the pop up message.


Concerning the problem with the path finding problem. I don't know exactly which bar it was... it was a big planet with the bar on the upper left corner and my ship was lower right. There was a park inside the city... and the bar looked like this:

Red = person I talked to (person that wanted to be transported and needed to go to my ship)
White = other persons
Orange = tables

bar1.jpg


When I accepted the mission the person walked torwards the other person sitting on the table right to it... and it would stand there foreever because the person just blocks the way. If I attacked the person at the table blocking the way, then the red person in the picture was able to go to my ship.

bar2.jpg


I hope this helps a bit. I'm afraid I don't have the savegame anymore :( otherwise I could have send it to you. If the problem occurs again, then I will send you the savegame file.

Best wishes and enjoy your weekend!

Rylex
 
I'm now considering just having 'T' cycle through all ships within range of the radar. Maybe it won't be annoying after all, since when you need to do a quick targeting during battle, you often just use the "auto-target" that happens when you fire your gun at a ship. SHIFT+'T' will then be used to target cargo and pilots like it is now, but you will only be able to target cargo and pilots that are within your view. I feel that this is the best solution, as it keeps the current key layout and keeps things relatively simple.

Thanks for the drawings. They actually helped a lot. I understand what's going on now. When pathfinding in the current version of the game, the NPCs ignore other NPCs, as they often move around. This of course becomes a problem with NPCs that don't move, such as those sitting at tables. The new pathfinding will search for a new path if it's obstructed by an NPC, so the fixer should be able to walk around the table.
 
v0.5.4 released!

www.asciisector.net/download

- Fixed bug with messages from Pirate and Retro capital ships.
- Fixed bug with the local price graph if all former prices are 0.
- Fixed bug with characters other than Police Officers not getting equipped with weapons.
- Fixed bug with placement of characters on an illegal spot on Novy Norilsk.
- Fixed bug with Turret AIs and Energy Capacitors being carried over when buying a new ship.
- Fixed the selling price of Turret Energy Capacitors on a capital ship.
- Fixed bug with dying while in Combat Mode in space.
- Fixed bug with offences sometimes carrying over from an old player character to a new one.
- Made a few code optimizations to the autopilot to increase the speed.
- Your wingman no longer appears in space if you kill him on the ground.
- Wingmen are now hired for a period of time and offer to extend the time when it expires.
- 'T' now cycles through all the ships in range of your radar, even if they are outside your current view.
- Various shield balancing.
- Added Level 1 Shield Strength information about the various ships in the manual.
- Made the cheap scanners quicker at identifying a target.
- Added a "Resume" option to the main menu to resume the last savegame.
- The launching and part of the landing animations are now skippable with ESC.
- The Quine5000 now shows information about the saved games.
- Increased the speed of the page up, page down, home and end shortcut keys in the computer terminal screens.
- Added four more angles for moving your ship and aiming.
- Redid the shooting and missile firing procedures for correct rotation of gun and missile hardpoints.
- Added Repair NanoBots that can repair external components (armor, guns and launchers).
- NPCs walk around with a bit more purpose now.
- Innocent victims will now sometimes call for help, sometimes alerting nearby NPCs.
- Added five new systems.
- Added four new bases.
 
A couple of bugs have already been reported:

- NPCs call for help even if you target them for melee combat or shooting, but don't carry out the attack.
- There's a debug number in the upper left side of the screen when targeting ships in the Linux 64-bit version.
- The new pathfinding has a few bugs that sometimes cause people to get stuck in "traffic jams".

I'm away for the next 5-6 days, so I won't be able to upload a new version with fixes for these bugs until I'm back.
 

Rylex

Rear Admiral
Thank you very much! That's great news!
I just tested the targeting and yes that's great just like in Privateer. You really now know what's approaching you. And thanks for implementing ESC for skipping landing sequence ;)
If I find new bugs I'll send them to you!

Edit: Concerning this:

- Added four more angles for moving your ship and aiming.

I still need to test this out - at the moment I like the old control a bit better it was easier to control ;) but I think you just need to get used to this. I keep you updated on my progress.
 
Yeah, the four new angles may take a little getting used to, but it's not that big a change from 28 angles to 32. It just means that you'll be able to fire directly diagonally, instead of the odd offset diagonal it had before.
 

Rylex

Rear Admiral
When I first played Ascii Sector 0.5 I was wondering about the diagonal fire because it looked strange. The new fire looks much better... but... (yeah now you can laugh about me) but I've always been killed in the new version up to now. I've not finished one mission. I really like the old steering better.

Old version was like you said 12.8 degree per key...
New version is 9.3 degree per key. This means if you want to fly a 90 degree turn you don't have to press 7 but 9-10 times... okay perhaps it's getting better from time to time but up to now I'm depressed. I think I'll take a little break and try again later.
I noticed the dianogal fire is strange when flying through asteroid fields...you can fire and fire and fire and sometimes even if you fire you hit the asteroids. when flying diagonal...

Don't understand me wrong I don't want to make your work bad. I really love the long range targetting and there are lots of new things to explore. This version is indeed great but I've played lots and lots of hours with the old 12.8 degree per keypress and I prefer the old controls. Just feedback for you.

Have you thought about rebalancing the guns in version 0.6 ... we talked about that some time ago.

Keep up the good work. If I'm getting used to new controls I'll let you know. Yeah I still love the old ones.

Rylex
 
This means if you want to fly a 90 degree turn you don't have to press 7 but 9-10 times...
Well, you don't have to press the key 9-10 times. You just hold down the rotation key.

I noticed the dianogal fire is strange when flying through asteroid fields...you can fire and fire and fire and sometimes even if you fire you hit the asteroids. when flying diagonal...
I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say here...? That you hit the asteroids when flying diagonal in an asteroid field and firing? Well, yes, of course.
 

criticalmass

Vice Admiral
Apart from the technical impressiveness of the game, I am always amazed how it works psychologically - since you can't see much, your imagination jumps in and supplies a better gaming experience than many high-end 3D graphical games do. Coming from Rogue-like games, this is the same effect multiplied by the missions and sidestories, the open univere and the many options it provides. Thanks Chris, and keep up the work - it's very much appreciated.
 
I noticed the dianogal fire is strange when flying through asteroid fields...you can fire and fire and fire and sometimes even if you fire you hit the asteroids. when flying diagonal...
I misread this the first time as if the gunfire would hit the asteroids, but of course you mean that your ship would hit the asteroids, even if firing the gun. That's probably due to the "wobble" added to gun shots so they cover a larger area. It should, however, still be a lot better now than it was before, as the diagonal fire now actually is emitted diagonally from the ship.
 
Apart from the technical impressiveness of the game, I am always amazed how it works psychologically - since you can't see much, your imagination jumps in and supplies a better gaming experience than many high-end 3D graphical games do. Coming from Rogue-like games, this is the same effect multiplied by the missions and sidestories, the open univere and the many options it provides. Thanks Chris, and keep up the work - it's very much appreciated.
Thanks for nice comments. :)

I agree that ASCII graphics stimulate the imagination in a different way (my introduction to roguelikes was ADOM - boy, have I spent many hours on that game!), but I wouldn't mind if the game was graphical. I'm actually considering using the engine for a similar, but graphical, 2D top-down space game once I've reached v1.0 and can consider the game more or less complete. But using ASCII graphics has certainly sped up development immensely, so it's a good way to get all the game running code done relatively quickly and then later work on graphics.
 
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