Privateer: Ascii Sector

Mike-L

Spaceman
I think that addition of random factor of "luck" (or something) will do ;)
I mean , If there is 90% hyperdrive damage
the chance of successfull jump will be : 10% + [0-50%] (random factor)

Btw, this game already roxx for me ! Can't wait till I can play it :)
 
I think that addition of random factor of "luck" (or something) will do ;)
I mean , If there is 90% hyperdrive damage
the chance of successfull jump will be : 10% + [0-50%] (random factor)
I think that will just turn out to be pretty annoying. Imagine if you're stuck in a system with no bases and your jump drive is 90% damaged. You then risk having to press the 'j' key and watch the charging animation 9 times (or even more, if you're really unlucky!) before you succesfully jump. Also, if there are enemy ships around, you're as good as dead if you have to try jumping 9 times. I think I'll stick to the "increased charging and travelling time" solution -- then you'll at least have an idea of how long you'll be a sitting duck when charging for a jump.
 
I've finished programming the Cargo Manifest:



As you can see, it's got its own screen since it won't fit on the small MFDs. Also, you can jettison specific cargo and not just all of it at once.

I haven't programmed the actual cargo containers floating around in space, the cargo scoop for gathering containers in space, or the procedure for making them appear when you jettison cargo or blow up an enemy ship, so all that's next on my to do list...
 

Dougly

Spaceman
Question about cargo and the cargo manifest:

Will Confed and Militia ships attack you for carrying contraband?

And, if so, will you be able to obtain a "hidden" cargo compartment for smuggling, like in the original Privateer?

Thanks again for working on this. It looks like it's going to be VERY fun.
 
Will Confed and Militia ships attack you for carrying contraband?
Yep. :)

And, if so, will you be able to obtain a "hidden" cargo compartment for smuggling, like in the original Privateer?
You will, but I haven't decided how to do it yet. Maybe I'll just do it like in the original Privateer, where you get a hidden compartment for doing one of the plot missions, but I've thought about making hidden (or scanner-proof) compartments available for purchase at a few "rogue" bases (possibly pirate bases). My idea is that you can convert as much of your cargo hold into hidden compartments for a fixed price per unit, but the more of your cargo hold you've converted into hidden compartments, the more you risk the confeds or milita noticing that you've got hidden compartments and attack you -- even if you haven't got any contraband in the compartments! For example, the risk of having your hidden compartments spotted is half the percentage of hidden to non-hidden compartments. So, if you've got a Tarsus with a cargo hold of 150 and you convert 75 of that to hidden compartments, the risk of confeds or milita suspecting you of having hidden compartments will be 25% (50% hidden compartments divided by 2).

How does that sound?
 

Dougly

Spaceman
You will, but I haven't decided how to do it yet. Maybe I'll just do it like in the original Privateer, where you get a hidden compartment for doing one of the plot missions, but I've thought about making hidden (or scanner-proof) compartments available for purchase at a few "rogue" bases (possibly pirate bases). My idea is that you can convert as much of your cargo hold into hidden compartments for a fixed price per unit, but the more of your cargo hold you've converted into hidden compartments, the more you risk the confeds or milita noticing that you've got hidden compartments and attack you -- even if you haven't got any contraband in the compartments! For example, the risk of having your hidden compartments spotted is half the percentage of hidden to non-hidden compartments. So, if you've got a Tarsus with a cargo hold of 150 and you convert 75 of that to hidden compartments, the risk of confeds or milita suspecting you of having hidden compartments will be 25% (50% hidden compartments divided by 2).

How does that sound?
That actually sounds really good. I'm amazed by the amount of time and thought that you've put into this.

One thought: Would it be possible for us to have a certain amount of cargo units that the authorities will never notice?

For example, in the original Privateer, I think you had 10 units of hidden cargo space. This space was tacked on in addition to the usual cargo space that your ship usually has, and that the Confeds and Militia never noticed under any circumstances.

Maybe it would be possible to combine your method with the method from the original game... You can get ten units of hidden cargo space - a kind of secret cargo "expansion," if you will - that are added in addition to your usual space, and are never noticed under any circumstances. However, if you want additional hidden space beyond that ten units, you have to convert existing, "normal" cargo space, which carries with it the risk of being noticed by the authorities.

Would that be possible, or would it be too complex to implement/hard for people to understand?

I feel as though that system would stay in tune with the original Privateer, while, at the same time, offering an additional option to those who want to be more "serious" smugglers (let's face it... those 10 units weren't much if you wanted to make a real profit off of smuggling brilliance).
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Yeah, I think your idea is good, but might be too risky with the numbers you suggested. The point of having hidden compartments is to avoid getting detected, so it seems to kind of defeat the purpose to have something that could get you detected by Confed a quarter of the time - even when you have no contraband. Rather than half percentage chance of detection as a percentage of your space converted to hidden, I would make it something more like 10%. Having the option of a small space being completely undetectable doesn't sound bad either.
 
Dougly: I agree that a combination of the two options would be the best way to go. Maybe you get 10 units of "hidden" compartments during one of the early missions like in the original Privateer? I'll just make a plot mission where this is relevant. But beyond those 10 units of hidden compartments, you can always convert parts of your cargo hold to "scanner-proof" compartments for a fixed (and rather high) price. Maybe something like 5000 credits per converted unit? I want it to be a rather hefty investment, so you'll have to be a serious smuggler to turn a profit. These scanner-proof compartments will be illegal in the Privateer universe and thus if confeds or milita notice you've got a lot of them, they will engage. I figure that if they scan a Tarsus with a standard cargo hold of 150 units, but only 10 units turn up when they scan, they figure that you've got a lot of scanner-proof compartments.

I just hope it won't be too confusing with these two types of compartments...


ChrisReid: You're absolutely right. The point of these compartments is to not be detected, so 50% is too risky. 10% would be better. Then you'll be able to have up to 15 scanner-proof compartments on a standard Tarsus without risking detection. Also, if all your compartments are scanner-proof, they'd only be detected one in ten times.


EDIT: It just occured to me that if the risk of detection is 10% of your converted/not converted percentage (boy that sounds confusing!) and you can have up to 15 scanner-proof compartments on a standard Tarsus without being detected, there really isn't much point to the hidden compartments acquired during a plot mission. I think I'll just drop them completely and only have these scanner-proof compartments. That should also avoid confusion between the two types of compartments...
 

Dougly

Spaceman
EDIT: It just occured to me that if the risk of detection is 10% of your converted/not converted percentage (boy that sounds confusing!) and you can have up to 15 scanner-proof compartments on a standard Tarsus without being detected, there really isn't much point to the hidden compartments acquired during a plot mission. I think I'll just drop them completely and only have these scanner-proof compartments. That should also avoid confusion between the two types of compartments...
In that case, things work out really well.

An idea: Maybe successfully completing the plot mission that gives you scanner-proof compartments can be the trigger that makes them available for purchase?

For example... You're following the plot of Privateer: Ascii Sector, and it leads you to flying a series of missions for Bobby the Smuggler on the Munroe Pirate base. When you first land on Munroe (or any other pirate base), the option of buying the scanner-proof cargo modification is not available. However, on Bobby's second mission, he has 10 units of scanner-proof compartments installed on your ship. After completing that mission successfully, you can then purchase your own scanner proof compartments, albeit at a steep price, the next time you swing by any pirate base.

This can be justified by the story as well. Maybe because you now know to "ask" about such compartments, or maybe because you're now a "trusted" smuggler, or something like that, they're now available. Bobby the Smuggler could even mention, in the "debriefing" for that mission, that he's "put out the word" that you can be trusted, and that you can now buy additional compartments on your own at any pirate base.
 
An idea: Maybe successfully completing the plot mission that gives you scanner-proof compartments can be the trigger that makes them available for purchase?
How about this: Bobby the Smuggler wants you to transport some contraband stuff for him (or maybe some special packages) that he wants to be sure won't be detected by confed or milita, so he tells you the location of a secret smugglers' base where you can have cargo space converted to illegal scanner-proof. When you've found the base and had enough of your cargo hold converted, you can go do the mission for him. Then afterwards you can always return to this "rogue" base to have more of your cargo hold converted if you should want to.

Wasn't Pentonville in the original Privateer a hidden pirate base that only became reachable after you'd completed a mission for Tayla? It would be something like that.
 

Death

gh0d (Administrator)
Wasn't Pentonville in the original Privateer a hidden pirate base that only became reachable after you'd completed a mission for Tayla? It would be something like that.
The only thing special about Pentonville during the Tayla series was that on the way out the pirates were friendly towards you (and maybe on the way back in, not sure). The station was always accessable, plot or not.
 

Dougly

Spaceman
How about this: Bobby the Smuggler wants you to transport some contraband stuff for him (or maybe some special packages) that he wants to be sure won't be detected by confed or milita, so he tells you the location of a secret smugglers' base where you can have cargo space converted to illegal scanner-proof. When you've found the base and had enough of your cargo hold converted, you can go do the mission for him. Then afterwards you can always return to this "rogue" base to have more of your cargo hold converted if you should want to.

Wasn't Pentonville in the original Privateer a hidden pirate base that only became reachable after you'd completed a mission for Tayla? It would be something like that.
Sounds good.

I think you could go to Pentonville in the original Privateer before meeting Tayla. However, if memory serves, you didn't have the coordinates for it prior to talking to her... So, you'd have to find it yourself.

Something I found lacking with the original Privateer is that they had "major" bases such as New Detroit, New Oxford, Perry Naval Base, etc, that were basically just variations of other "legitimate" bases in Gemini. But, there was no "major" pirate station that differed from the other, "regular" pirate stations.

In addition to the "regular" pirate bases, maybe Ascii Sector could have a major pirate/smuggling outpost out in the fringes, similar to the one in the Action Stations novel. Because of the "skill" and "professionalism" of the occupants of that base, it could be the location where you can have cargo units converted to scanner proof. In addition, perhaps contraband goods could be slightly cheaper at this major station than at regular pirate stations, though this would be compensated for by the station being at a more remote location - meaning that it's more difficult to get to, and that any smuggling runs FROM the place take longer and carry greater risk.

With that in mind, how does this progression sound:

~You originally encounter "Bobby the Smuggler" in the bar of one of the main planets. He offers you work, but he's uncomfortable with talking about things there... So, he has you transport a load of grain (or plastics, or whatever) to the major pirate base, which you didn't know the location of before. To make it even harder to find, perhaps, in order to get there, you have to go through a jump point that was somehow missed by the Exploratory Service, and is, therefore, officially "uncharted" and not on your nav map prior to accepting Bobby's grain run.

~When you arrive, Bobby pays you for delivering the grain shipment. He then tells you about a drug run to another base in the sector that he's planning. The run is dangerous, and the militia and confed are expected to be all over you.

~For that reason, Bobby also tells you about the cargo conversion offered at this base, and to come back to him for your mission after you've upgraded X amount of your cargo space (say, 10 units) to scanner proof. Perhaps because you're Bobby's employee, you even get some kind of a discount for your first 10 units, although anything beyond that you have to pay full price for.

~Once you've upgraded your ship, you can talk to Bobby again and accept your first drug smuggling mission from him, and the game will progress normally.
 

Hawkjoe

1st Lieutenant
What happens if you want to change your "job" from illegal to legal? Should you be able to remove these scanner-proof compartments?
 
I think you could go to Pentonville in the original Privateer before meeting Tayla. However, if memory serves, you didn't have the coordinates for it prior to talking to her... So, you'd have to find it yourself.
You're right and that's basically what I meant. :)

Something I found lacking with the original Privateer is that they had "major" bases such as New Detroit, New Oxford, Perry Naval Base, etc, that were basically just variations of other "legitimate" bases in Gemini. But, there was no "major" pirate station that differed from the other, "regular" pirate stations.
I'v already thought about having a major pirate/smuggling base, so I'm pretty sure one of those will be in Ascii Sector. It will sorta be the center for all illegal activity in the sector, so I guess it would make sense if contraband commodities were cheaper there.

Also, your plot progression sounds pretty close to what I had in mind. :)

What happens if you want to change your "job" from illegal to legal? Should you be able to remove these scanner-proof compartments?
Yep. You can get them converted back for 1/10th the price of the original conversion. But only at the major pirate/smuggling base.
 

Shere Khan

Rear Admiral
I've got a suggestion. as ChrisReid mentioned, it's not too inspiring, having to risk detection for trying to avoid detection in the first place :) maybe you could implement some different penalty? like uneven exchange rate, for example: converting 2 or 3 units of "normal" cargo space into just 1 "scanner-proof" unit? it's gotta require installing some complex anti-radar machinery there, after all.
 
I've finished work on the cargo containers. You can now jettison containers, scoop up containers, and cargo containers will appear when blowing up merchant ships. They should only appear when a merchant ships is destroyed, right? Or should there also be a slight chance of cargo appearing when blowing up other ships?

I've got 4 merchant ships in the game, by the way: Tarsus, Galaxy, Dreyman and Ulysses. The latter is meant to be a go-between when you feel the Galaxy doesn't have enough cargo hold, but can't yet afford a Dreyman.

Next up to program is either turrets or communication. Haven't decided what I feel like doing, yet... :)

I've got a suggestion. as ChrisReid mentioned, it's not too inspiring, having to risk detection for trying to avoid detection in the first place :) maybe you could implement some different penalty? like uneven exchange rate, for example: converting 2 or 3 units of "normal" cargo space into just 1 "scanner-proof" unit? it's gotta require installing some complex anti-radar machinery there, after all.
I think I'll stick to what I've got so far. As long as you've got less than 10% of your cargo hold converted to scanner-proof, you won't risk detection at all. It's only when you've got more than that, you risk detection, which I think is as it should be. Smuggling is illegal and should have a degree of danger, so I don't see a problem with an increased risk of detection the more of your cargo hold you've converted. If you're carrying contraband without any scanner-proof compartments, militia and confed will always detect it when scanning you. If you've got scanner-proof compartmens you only run a slight risk of detection (depending on the amount of scanner-proof compartments), so I don't agree that there's a problem with risking detection in trying to avoid detection. If you try to hide that you're doing something illegal, that in itself should carry a risk. :)
 

Dougly

Spaceman
I've finished work on the cargo containers. You can now jettison containers, scoop up containers, and cargo containers will appear when blowing up merchant ships. They should only appear when a merchant ships is destroyed, right? Or should there also be a slight chance of cargo appearing when blowing up other ships?
In the original Privateer, I seem to recall that blowing up pirate Talons would sometimes yield cargo (usually contraband material). Generally, it didn't yield that much, though. I'll leave it up to you as to whether or not Talons should carry cargo in Ascii Sector.

I've got 4 merchant ships in the game, by the way: Tarsus, Galaxy, Dreyman and Ulysses. The latter is meant to be a go-between when you feel the Galaxy doesn't have enough cargo hold, but can't yet afford a Dreyman.
Sounds cool, though I do have to ask: should we really be able to buy a Drayman?

The picture I've managed to put together of a Drayman from playing WC I through Privateer is that it's a damn huge ship, that requires a sizeable crew to operate, and is pretty much a sitting duck without any kind of an escort. A good ship for a merchant company to operate, yes. But, a lone privateer? I think not.

Again, it's up to you... But I personally just don't view the Drayman as being a viable privateering vessel, even for someone who wants to focus primarily on trade.

Also, I have to ask... Will the other ships (Orion and Centurion) be available as well?

I think I'll stick to what I've got so far. As long as you've got less than 10% of your cargo hold converted to scanner-proof, you won't risk detection at all. It's only when you've got more than that, you risk detection, which I think is as it should be. Smuggling is illegal and should have a degree of danger, so I don't see a problem with an increased risk of detection the more of your cargo hold you've converted. If you're carrying contraband without any scanner-proof compartments, militia and confed will always detect it when scanning you. If you've got scanner-proof compartmens you only run a slight risk of detection (depending on the amount of scanner-proof compartments), so I don't agree that there's a problem with risking detection in trying to avoid detection. If you try to hide that you're doing something illegal, that in itself should carry a risk. :)
I think I agree with you here, and I think the system you've established so far sounds interesting. I think carrying the risk of detection once you go beyond a certain, minimum amount of scanner proof cargo units will add an extra element of danger and excitement to being a smuggler.
 
Sounds cool, though I do have to ask: should we really be able to buy a Drayman?
Well, you should't really think of it in the usual WC/Privateer terms. In Ascii Sector I've generally divided ships into fighters (which only consist of one character, fx. the '#' for the Tarsus) and capitals (which consist of more characters and are either 3 or 5 characters in radius). When you fly a fighter, you've only got 1 gun and 1 weapon, due to the nature of textmode 'graphics'. On capitals however, you can have as many guns as the ship is wide. A capital that is 3 characters wide/in radius can have up to 3 guns, and so on. As I imagine that most players would like to be able to upgrade to a ship with more than 1 gun, I've made it possible to be able to buy these 'capital' ships (for a high price, of course, and only the size 3 capitals will be available for purchase -- the size 5, such as the Paradigm and Kamekh, won't). One of these capitals I've designed as a merchant vessel and so decided to call it a Drayman. So, it doesn't translate literally to the Drayman we already know, but it is a pretty big merchant vessel.

Also, I have to ask... Will the other ships (Orion and Centurion) be available as well?
These ships will be available for purchase:

"Fighters" (size 1 ships):
Tarsus
Demon
Orion
Galaxy
Ulysses (merchant vessel with larger cargo hold than the Galaxy)
Centurion

"Capitals" (size 3 ships):
Pegasus (the Centurion of capitals; very deadly)
Drayman
Nexus (all-round ship)

The names of the new ships might change, if I get some better suggestions... :)
 
I've begun work on communications and I'd like to add the standard replies you get from merchants, pirates and so on in the original Privateer to the list of possible replies in Ascii Sector. However, I've been unable to find a list of these replies. I found dialogue transcripts for practically all other conversations on Wedge's site, and a bunch of other dialogues in the "raw converstations" .pdf file, but not these standard replies/dialogues (such as "You're a loose end looking to be tied, pal!" or "We've got this sector bottled tight, friend"). Anybody know where I can find these? I can of course just transcribe them from the game, but if there's already a list somewhere out there, that would be much easier...
 
Okay, I've been flying around a bit, striking up conversations, and this is what I've got so far. I've got most of the dialogues, but I'm missing a few, such as the dialogue said when a ship is close to being destroyed or has destroyed another ship. Any help with these would be appreciated...


MERCHANTS:

FRIENDLY:

1: Pal, what's up?
2: Business is good.
3: Relax, your cargo's safe with me.
4: Mind your damn business.

How's the going, friend?
Good to see a friendly ship.
How's the business treating you?

NEUTRAL:

1: Keep your distance.
2: Stay on course.
3: Don't worry, I'll watch your back.
4: You look fat and ripe for the picking.

I'm not looking for any trouble.
Just a passing merchant. Don't get nervous.
Maybe we can do business sometime.

HOSTILE:

1: I'm closing up shop, YOURS!
2: Your standard of living is about to go WAY down!
3: I'm on your side.
4: You're dead meat, pal.

Cut me some slack, will you.
Please don't trash me, man!
What are you trying to do, scare away my business?



HUNTERS:

FRIENDLY:

1: Good hunting today.
2: Hope you bag the big one.
3: Good to see you.
4: Bounty Hunter I'm not impressed.

Welcome to the happy hunting grounds.
If you're smart, you'll watch your back.
Better clear out, there could be trouble soon.

NEUTRAL:

1: I'm cruising on.
2: No hunt today.
3: Take it easy! I'm cool.
4: Back off or you're toast!

Don't worry, I only kill for a fee.
Just smoking out a little game, flyboy.
You're not on my list... this time.

HOSTILE:

1: Collect on ME, if you can.
2: Don't even try it, pal.
3: I'm not worth it, let me go!
4: Eat death, you moron.

Killing you will put me in the black, flyboy!
Nothing personal, but your death is my gain.
You've gotten careless, and the advantage is mine!



PIRATES:

This crate's about to explode!
Dump your cargo before you blow, will ya?

FRIENDLY:

1: It's smooth going.
2: Watch out for The Man.
3: Good luck.
4: Back off pal, I didn't ask for company.

You're clear for klicks.
Catch you on the next run.
Looking sharp, ace.

NEUTRAL:

1: No hassles here, friend.
2: Not looking to swap fire.
3: Hey buddy, take care.
4: Damned reprobates, go home to mommy.

Forget this meet happened, we got no problem.
I didn't see you, and you're blind, got it?
Not looking for trouble, ace.

HOSTILE:

1: Live or die. Your choice.
2: This is going to go badly for you.
3: I'll keep my mouth shut, I swear!
4: My best to your widow.

You're finished, flyboy!
You're a loose end looking to be tied, pal!
You're about to suck void, buddy!



MILITIA:

Maintain speed and course for contraband search.
Prepare to be searched. Maintain speed and course.

No contraband detected. You may proceed.

Target eliminated, command.

FRIENDLY:

1: What's up?
2: How's the patrol going?
3: Damn glad to see you.
4: Got any spare donuts, lard o?

We got this sector bottled tight, friend.
Keep your eyes peeled for trouble, ace.
Let me know if you hit trouble in my quad.

NEUTRAL:

1: Proceeding on course.
2: All systems go, moving on.
3: Good luck with the patrol.
4: Back off, pig!

Keep your nose clean in our sector.
You're clear to pass.
Militia here, stick to your flight path.

HOSTILE:

1: You boys aren't in my league.
2: Prepare yourself for disappointment.
3: Back off, and we'll forget this.
4: You're history!

You're luck has run out, along with my patience.
This is your last run!
You're not leaving this quad alive, pirate.



CONFED:

FRIENDLY:

1: How about some clearance?
2: Glad you're working this sector.
3: Good to see you.
4: Stay back, and stay healthy.

Patrol to civilian craft, keep your distance.
Your profile is clear to sector's edge.
Stick to established lanes for your own good.

NEUTRAL:

1: Proceeding on course.
2: Requesting clearance.
3: I feel safer already.
4: Get out of my way, soldier-boy.

Flying in shared air space. Keep your vid com open.
We have you on our screens. Continue on course.
Entering disputed space. Report any disturbances.

HOSTILE:

1: Back off, I'm not Kilrathi!
2: You don't scare me!
3: I'll be good, I promise!
4: I'm gonna rip your ship open!

We've accessed your file, pirate. You're dead.
You've got quite a record, pal, but it ends here!
Hey, give me a call when you get to hell.



RETROS:

Can it be? Has the god of man abandoned us?

FRIENDLY:

???

NEUTRAL:

???

HOSTILE:

1: I'll slow-roast your guts!
2: Retros tick me off!
3: Chill out... before I get mad.
4: Eat this, freak!

Traitor to humanity, feel our wrath!
Die by the very weapons you adore!
Repent, technophile, and accept our judgement!



KILRATHI:

A deadly blow! I salute you!
I am battered, human, yet unbeaten!
I have gained another slave in the afterworld!

FRIENDLY:

1: An excellent ship. It honors a warrior.
2: Let us go in peace.
3: I bow to your obvious skill.
4: Hey puss-face, let's fight!

Fear not, my claws are sheathed, my belly full.
Monkey-boy, you make me laugh!
I grant you passage today, lucky ape!

NEUTRAL:

1: Pass without interference.
2: I'm continuing on course.
3: It is good to see such warriors.
4: Here kitty, kitty, kitty.

I have no time to dally with you, monkey-boy.
I leave you for my brothers to kill.
We are tracking you, keep your distance.

HOSTILE:

1: We can avoid a fight.
2: Now the fur's gonna fly!
3: I'm but a lowly coward, spare me!
4: You are weak like a little girl.

Your death will honor my name.
Primate, cower before the claws of a warrior.
I shall mount your bones in my hall!
 
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