Dev Blog #008 December 18, 2022
Hey everyone, it's been a while since the last update and I've been working away on some improvements to modules and AI as well as a new "Universe AI".
All modules attached to your ship previously only had a reload time, they would complete a cycle then fire/repair/etc. With the addition of new modules like auras I wanted to make this more interesting and flexible, so I've added a few new things to how modules work.
All modules now have an activation and deactivation time, when first activated the module will charge up then begin its reload cycle, when it's deactivated the module will have a deactivation cooldown time before it can run again.
For example, firing a Railgun previously worked like this:
Press Fire, Railgun fires immediately and then again every 2 seconds, pressing fire again turns it off as soon as a reload cycle is completed.
Now the Railgun works like this:
Press Fire, Railgun starts activation (4 sec), Railgun fires and then again every 2 seconds, pressing fire again starts the deactivation time (4 sec) as soon as a reload cycle is completed.
This feels much nicer and you get a sense of your weapons charging up and powering down.
Before this update every module was the same, it had a reload time and cycled constantly taking a bit of energy for each reload. Now modules come in different types:
- Cycle - For example Railguns, Missiles, Vulcan etc, these have a reload time and take a bit of energy each cycle.
- Active - For example Auras, these are constantly active and have no reload time. They can have constant effects on the ship, e.g. Shield regeneration boosts or energy drain.
- Triggered - For example Pulse Bomb, these have no reload time, they simply activate once then deactivate.
- Hybrid - For example Drones, these have a reload time only when doing something otherwise they are always active. Drones will only show a reload cycle when launching a new drone after the previous one was destroyed.
I've mentioned aura before, but they are now fully working with the new cycle type. There are two types of auras, friendly auras and hostile auras, as you can guess one works on friendly ships the other on hostile ones.
Friendly auras include shield hardeners, mining boosters and stealth. Hostile auras can slow enemies down, increase their damage taken, reduce their targeting range and more.
Auras can only be fitted by larger ships and drain a significant amount of energy while active, so they are best used in fleet support roles when flying with your Corporation or in a wing with your friends.
Drones have been updated with the new module, they use the Hybrid cycle type so they have a reload time while constructing a new drone. Drones will fly in formation with your ship and attack any hostile within range, they are mostly autonomous but can be given orders to attack single targets. Like Auras drones are suited more for battleship class ships or above, different drone modules are available and come with different spawn amounts. For instance the light combat drone module can spawn 3 drones that have a good range, are fast, and have accurate railguns. Heavy combat drones are slower but pack a bigger punch and the module can only spawn 2. Other drones include repair drones for boosting shields, mining drones for harvesting more ore and even drones that can disable enemy ships.
Ai has had an overhaul, NPCs are now aware of the ships around them and can more intelligently swap targets and move to help defend other ships in their wing. They will fly in formation with their leader and make sure they help each other out if they have repair turrets or other friendly modules.
Other AI like miners and traders will go about their business and react to any hostility or events in the area.
I have a new server that runs a "Universe AI" that I am working on. Its job is to handle all of the logic that happens across the galaxy, for example, starting events, creating auxiliary buildings and running the trade simulation. This is a central server that runs like a normal standalone game and can run much more complex logic as it runs constantly in real time. It currently can detect things like pirate activity that is higher than normal and adjust sectors security ratings and AQSEC response. It also handles the random events in the galaxy, like collapsing trade routes due to pirate blockades. Having this as a realtime standalone server means I can do loads more things with the galaxy based on pretty much any activity as it is an all knowing system.
Decals, Engines and Warp Skins.
Ship customisation has been going really well, I now have customisation for Ship skins, engine effects, warp effects and even decals. I will have more info on this in the next blog.
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