Idea for alternative to Sector Space: Shipboard travel
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Join Date: Dec 2007
05-10-2012, 12:51 AM
I'm not exactly getting the impression that people are bothering to read my suggestion even once through before they reply, never mind taking me seriously at all, but I suppose I can try to clarify:
In my concept, the only map/instance your avatar would be in would be your ship interior, and yes, as far as the game engine would be concerned (as it always would be) the interior is static. your /loc would always be where you are on your interior map and would never have anything to do with your "galactic coordinates."
Your galactic coordinates would be, for all intents and purposes, just be three floating point numbers of character data stored independent of your location in the instance. What would need to be animated in my example would be the fixtures that already exist in sector space, which would be scaled and presented outside / around the bridge map. And you wouldn't show them all at once, of course -- you only need to spawn and render (and move around your bridge model, relative to the sector travel motion of your ship) those celestial features that are within X light years of your ship's coordinates at any given time.
Basically, what my idea would require is: A) that your galactic coordinates be tracked as data entirely separate from the location of your avatar as far as the game engine is concerned, and B) that some sort of daemon process exists that does a cyclic calculation of where your ship is in the galaxy, where and what size the existing sector space art assets need to be rendered relative to your bridge map so that you get an appropriate visual.
Would other players' ship avatars be displayed? No, which is maybe a downside of this concept (although I consider it an upside, for being supposedly big, certain hot zones in sector space get incredibly and unrealistically crowded at times). Would you still be able to interact with other players near your galactic coordinates? Yes, albeit it would require some coding to facilitate -- if a player is close enough, in terms of galactic coordinates tracked solely for use by the travel system, you can invite them to beam aboard i.e. have them join you in the instance of your interior, where avatar interactions thusly proceed as normal.
We already know the game engine can support the swapping of effects and dynamic client-side transforms on objects in sector space. You see that whenever your ship enters the Badlands, or how a flickering star transitions into a distant, visually small solar system that grows bigger in your view as you approach. What I'm suggesting is to take that existing tech, pair it up with a separate thread that does basic 3D math on a separate set of coordinates that represent your galactic location (NOT your avatar's location as such as far as the game engine is concerned) and use that data to render the sector space features around the exterior of a bridge interior map, instead of rendering them in an otherwise empty map with you in your ship avatar.
I'm trying to present an idea that seeks to think outside the box that everything that involves spatial presentation must depend solely on your avatar's map coordinates in an instance, and nothing else. And to clarify I don't feel that a Bridge Commander starship combat from the bridge is necessary or even desirable -- I love things exactly the way they are once you warp in from sector space. It's just sector space that I'm suggesting changing how it works.