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Old 17.06.2012   #1
AmadanLegre
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Default Conservation of Energy

I want to start this post by reviewing...

I haven't posted here in a long long time. In fact, I haven't played X2 since 2009 when I was making my PSE scripts. After that I just left and did other things and played other games (Entropia Universe, for example).

I just bought Darklands on gog.com but haven't played it yet because X2 invaded my mind. I saw that X3:R is $5 on Amazon. My computer system is not up to latest standards, though. It's 2.3Ghz dual-core and my graphics hardware is onboard - read: nvidia 6150. Got 3 Gb ram. But anyway, without an upgrade I'm concerned that the new X3 games might not run well. Even X2 would probably stress my system in the later stages of gameplay.

Is X3:R or X3:TC or X3:AB worth it? I saw that X3:R adds NPC/Player competition which is something I always wanted to see. I also saw that X3:TC added marines which is something else I thought would be nice. And X3:AB added sector takeover and more of a sandbox feel to X3:TC. But what do you think about them? What do they add or take away from X2:The Threat?

Honestly, I feel weird being interested in such an old game. But I also understand that my programming skills make me more interested in X2 then I otherwise would be. Knowing that I can change X2 to be more than it's gives it more life than it would have without the ability to mod it. I can even add better models if I desired. I can do almost anything.

(on that subject, X2 is still sold on steam)

Now, I want to post about the actual subject of this thread. Why did I call it Conservation of Energy?

Go here and then scroll down to see my 3 posts:
http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.p...899829#3899829

Basically, I want to address the issue that conservation of energy in X2 is absent since it respawns everything without accountability.

How would conservation of energy be added?
1. Things have to be able to be created and transformed/destroyed
2. There must be checks and balances - accountability

What this means is that races cannot respawn ships and stations without concern for their resource cost. A series of bad choices will reduce their ability to survive. Good choices will increase their survival ability.

There're a variety of ways to do this, I think. One way is what I mentioned in the link - permanent conflict that's increasingly worse. Races or stations or traders that're ineffectively defended or positioned will have their assets destroyed quicker. For the player, bad choices can mean they fall behind and the game can effectively end. In this way, there's a cost for not making good choices - the universe becomes overriden with enemy forces that destroy every hint of non-player or player station/ship activity. at some point, without a limit placed on the intensity of enemy forces, the entire x2-universe will be destroyed no matter what hte player does. This is because the player's income is tied to non-players and there're finite non-players. random factors in the enemy decisions can change the game from one instance (or moment) to another, but reaching the maximum empire size would put a limit on assets. so a player eventually runs out of strategic choices and is overwhelmed by the sheer number of enemy forces - but when that happens if fuzzy. the player never "wins". they just survive or die.

What I'm wondering is how does Pandora model the rise and fall of races in the X2-universe? Can races lose? Can they gain? Or is the balance of everything SET, like it's in vanilla X2? (read the link I gave above to see what I mean by SET). And if a race fails over a time period, is there a way for it to "figure out" how to succeed? For example, even randomness can enable a race to succeed by chance alone. (Consider a station that's positioned near a pirate base and is continually attacked and far below its production capacity. Unless it changes its position or changes when it sends out its trader (only send them out when there're no pirates nearby) or pays for patrols, it'll likely forever remain in the hole. Now, if the station gets destroyed somehow and is randomly positioned in another place in the same sector then it might actually have its chances of succeeding increased dramatically. Because it's further away from the pirate base it now won't get destroyed. In this way, randomness can actually create a circumstnace where this station is more likely to succeed. Over a long period of time, assuming that enemies don't change their tactics, this could lead to a situation where non-player stations are in optimal positions. This same idea could lend itself to traders working for their homebase that're always doing bad traderoutes. If they get destroyed and their new route is randomly determined yet is better than the last one, they're now less likely to be destroyed. But if the new route is always the same then improving by chance alone won't be possible and it'll remain in a hole forever.)

(i've contemplated the idea of adding dozens of diverse conditions to decision making algorithms and then randomizing the conditions which're preferred by a race or station or ship. conditions which negatively effect the survival of a entity in a particular place/time will lead to its ineffectiveness or its death. conditions which're positive will be the reverse. as a developer, I wouldn't want to know exactly which conditions are smart and which are dumb for every single entity in the X2-universe. rather, i'd like the game to hammer it out somehow. so either a particular entity randomizes its preferences with each incarnation or it somehow stores its preferences across multiple incarnations in order to benefit from the trials of previous incarnations. in some ways this is like a neural net, but i haven't research neural nets enough. what this means is that entities need lots of time to display smart behavior or decision-making and will not display this early on.)

(obviously (to me), x2 would be an awesome and fun platform to test out neural net and decision making algorithms.)


I don't want to overcomplicated this post so I'll leave it here and see what any replies yield. I may not evne get any, but I'll wait and see.

Thanks.

Last edited by AmadanLegre; 17.06.2012 at 22:01
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Old 18.06.2012   #2
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Default AW: Conservation of Energy

Well, the whole economy stuff is (right now) pretty untouched.

At the moment, there are only two major exceptions:
- the NPC ships use jumpdrives if available
- stations do not automatically respawn (well, actually, they still do, but this will change in near future).

One of the planned features is that the game keeps track of the success of a station. I originally planned to base this on "economic success". But when I established an economic system for the NPC stations similar to a player system, it showed pretty fast that NPC stations always make loss. The NPC traders bought wares no matter what the price actually was, and they sold at whatever price actually approriate due to current stock. Thus, expenses are almost always higher than income.

So I decided to follow a much simpler approach that is based on actual stock. If the stock of the product is always low, the demand for this product is high (assuming there are enough resources). And this means it is a successful station. If on the contrary the stock is high, the demand is low and this is interpreted as an unsuccessful station.
What to do with this info? Well, an unsuccessful station is unneccessary and thus will be shut down and destroyed. If there is a successful station, there's a shortage of a certain product in the sector, thus a new station of this type will be created.
This of course interferes with the player decisions. I used to build my station in sectors with a shortage of the product the station produces. If the AI follows the same decision making routine, we may end up with two new stations of this kind. This may lead to a excessive supply of the product and the station I planed may not be as successful as I hoped. I may be able to permanently keep my product cheaper than the AI. This may lead to a shutdown of the AI station...

This is a simple approach, and it doesn't include any learning on side of the AI. But I hope it's a better approach than the vanilla one. In the last consequence, an economic "takeover" of the sector is available (but there's no concept for this yet).
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Old 18.06.2012   #3
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Default Re: Conservation of Energy

I'll read your post soon, just wanted to make a quick reply about something. I was thinking last night about this and want to clarify something. Conservation of energy is a means to "score" the activities of the non-players and even the player too. In vanilla X2, there really isn't a means to score other than killing the player in some random skirmish or crash. Insofar as a player can create factories and earn hundreds of millions of credits or more, the game doesn't actually score the player in comparison to something else. It leaves the value of the player's accomplishments to be determined by the player. So if a player wants to create their own "scoring" system then they're free to do so. And that's really what I'm bringing up here: a means to score the activities of the non-players and the player too with a broad brush stroke.

How can station owners, for example, get better at what they do unless there's some type of scoring system? It could be by accident (I gave an example how a station can have the appearance of being in a smart place by random chance alone - it gets destroyed because it's too close to a pirate base and is randomly built in a better location), or it could be that there's a decision algorithm that scores the activities of the station and shapes its future decisions in response. Either way, there's a consequence for making bad choices (things get destroyed or repositioned or changed). Successful choices lead to the entity surviving.

In fact, I have to wonder if our actual (true to life) universe is a intelligence factory. Conservation of energy ensures that things are scored...

If things weren't scored then everybody, great or small, smart or dumb, whatever, they could all have whatever they wanted and you couldn't determine the intelligence of any single thing because you couldn't refer to its better use of resources or its prolonged survival. In effect, this universe is like a test that we take. We pass or fail.

The beauty of X2 (and X-games) is they let us determine the scoring system. This is what makes them so long lived. If X2 had come out of the box with a scoring system then I do not believe I'd even be on this forum talking about a game released 9 years ago. This has more to do with the fact that I'm capable of scripting (or making mods), but I think this point applies to everyone. If it had had a scoring system then people would either "fail" the test quickly and stop playing the game or they'd do well for a time and go as far as they can and then quit after reaching their point of failure. A game that doesn't have a scoring system will not have a point of failure so players stick around.

I've never failed in a X2 game. I usually just stop playing. It's more that once I acquired many millions of credits I grew bored with what they could do. I wanted a more lively universe where the credits had a purpose. But I never felt like I "failed" like I have in other games. At no point were my forces overwhelmed. At no point did I feel truly threatened. Sure, it's possible to die in a random skirmish from a missile or something, but that's not the same thing as a fleet of khaak destroyers annihilating all of your stations and forcing you to bail in your M5 to start over in a new location as a one man show. (I even died a couple times while docking because of a random "bug" in collision detection - but it didn't make me feel like I failed.)

Last edited by AmadanLegre; 18.06.2012 at 21:47
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Old 18.06.2012   #4
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Default Re: AW: Conservation of Energy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Gi View Post
Well, the whole economy stuff is (right now) pretty untouched.

At the moment, there are only two major exceptions:
- the NPC ships use jumpdrives if available
- stations do not automatically respawn (well, actually, they still do, but this will change in near future).

One of the planned features is that the game keeps track of the success of a station. I originally planned to base this on "economic success". But when I established an economic system for the NPC stations similar to a player system, it showed pretty fast that NPC stations always make loss. The NPC traders bought wares no matter what the price actually was, and they sold at whatever price actually approriate due to current stock. Thus, expenses are almost always higher than income.

So I decided to follow a much simpler approach that is based on actual stock. If the stock of the product is always low, the demand for this product is high (assuming there are enough resources). And this means it is a successful station. If on the contrary the stock is high, the demand is low and this is interpreted as an unsuccessful station.
What to do with this info? Well, an unsuccessful station is unneccessary and thus will be shut down and destroyed. If there is a successful station, there's a shortage of a certain product in the sector, thus a new station of this type will be created.
This of course interferes with the player decisions. I used to build my station in sectors with a shortage of the product the station produces. If the AI follows the same decision making routine, we may end up with two new stations of this kind. This may lead to a excessive supply of the product and the station I planed may not be as successful as I hoped. I may be able to permanently keep my product cheaper than the AI. This may lead to a shutdown of the AI station...

This is a simple approach, and it doesn't include any learning on side of the AI. But I hope it's a better approach than the vanilla one. In the last consequence, an economic "takeover" of the sector is available (but there's no concept for this yet).
Ok I got around to reading your post just now.

You've been around the block a few times, I can see. But I already know that. You have extensive knowledge about modding, more than me. More than a few times I would have been blind as a scripter without you for guidance.

You wrote that the non-player stations are always in debt. I knew already that the non-players make dumb choices because they're essentially not held accountable since everything is respawned anyway and just there for the player. If they're held accountable without changing how things work then many would become bankrupt. This is why I call it SET.

After I posted the last reply I also thought "What's the benefit of "scoring" the activities of a non-player station anyway? I'm not sure. My guess is that a player that wants to become a factory owner would have to be smarter about where they build and what they sell. But I think that permanent (and always increasing) conflict as a "scoring" system adds more to the game because: a) it's more familiar since most players are bred on combat/conflict of this nature b) might be easier to add.

When I was reading your post, I came across this:
Quote:
...If the AI follows the same decision making routine, we may end up with two new stations of this kind. This may lead to a excessive supply of the product and the station I planed may not be as successful as I hoped. I may be able to permanently keep my product cheaper than the AI. This may lead to a shutdown of the AI station...
It comes down to, I think:
1) Beating the AI in the market (placing the station first)

That means knowing more and/or planning ahead better so that you can own more of the market than the AI. It has higher expectations of the player.

More than that, if this processing logic is followed to its completion then eventually the AI and the player will have hit the limits of the economy and the player will not be able to build more factories and make a profit. The SET economy in vanilla X2 allows for some shortages precisely so that the player has room to build and make profit. If the AI is also competing with the player then there's even less player profit than was originally planned. Thus, in order for all this to work in vanilla X2 either the economy has to expand (new systems, new stations) to accommodate the ambitions of both the player and the AI, or the non-player stations have to be destroyed somehow and replaced by player-owned stations.

There're other factors to consider as well. You mentioned here:
Quote:
So I decided to follow a much simpler approach that is based on actual stock. If the stock of the product is always low, the demand for this product is high (assuming there are enough resources)...
By this you mean the resources the station uses to make its product. It might not meet its resource needs for these reasons: a) they're not being sold at acceptable rates b) there's too much pirate/enemy activity blocking the trade lanes and destroying the tradeshipes that're meant to deliver the resource to the homebase c) the station is newly built. Either way, if the station is not newly built then it's being ineffective and could be in debt.

Something important emerges from this. It's that if the economy does NOT grow and the player and non-players cannot increase their factory profits further then the player might pay pirates to bankrupt non-player stations and thus when they're scrapped the player could build a station in their place and then acquire more of the market. Alternatively, the player might find out some other way to bankrupt competitors. Further, Khaak attacks or other enemy attacks might (temporarily) destroy a competitor's station and thus allow the player the chance to build a station in its place before the competitor does. Thus, it's possible for the player to still acquire lots of profit if they manipulate their competitors and/or stay on top of current conflicts to rebuild in the place of others. But even still, the max profits a player can make are still finite unless the overall economy can grow by building more stations or acquiring more systems.

But how does alll this make the game better except maybe make the economy "simulation" a bit more tricky for the player? It may look smarter and more believable, but even the best decision algorithms fall (far) short of human-level intelligence. As it's in vanilla X2, the economy is window dressing and is solely there for the player's uses. Maybe that's the way it should be, but I still have to wonder.

You mentioned that the idea you explained is not intelligent and wouldn't require much if anything of a decision algorithm since all it's doing is removing stations that're not profitable and adding stations when there's economic room for them. Your description meets the conditions of what I explained when I mentioned how random repositioning or readjustments can eventually lead to "smart-like" appearance or even behavior. For example, a station randomly placed next to a pirate station will probably quickly fall into debt and be destroyed. A station randomly placed much further away will fair better and might even profit and thus remain in business. Over a long period of time this leads to stations having the appearance of being positioned "smartly". This also applies to the routes that traders will follow or anything else that a station will do - like how it defends itself or where it builds itself. If they're made random then successful ones survive and unsuccessful ones tend not to. None of this requires intelligence, it's just trial and error. However, a true decision algorithm would factor into its decisions time. What works over time? It wouldn't just randomly place something and then forget it and let the marbles fall as they may. It would examine its historical choices and their results and then create new choices based on its examination.

The ability to make intelligent decisions as opposed to lucky random ones is more important when circumstances that determine whether a station makes profit or not change. For example, if the pirates change the trade lane(s) that they attack. Or if the pirate base changes its location. Or if the Khaak change how or even when they attack. This leads to a situation where a station that previously was safely delivering its resources now is suddenly unable to and is accumulating debt. If any of these kinds of things changes rapidly then stations will never have the appearance of being positioned smartly because there's not enough time for trial and error to create the illusion of intelligence. So for a truly dynamic universe a decision algorithm probably has to be smarter than just randomly doing things with the attention span of a flea.

What does a truly intelligent decision algorithm add to the game? Not sure. All of this is a work in progress. A brainstorm. This is fun.

Last edited by AmadanLegre; 18.06.2012 at 23:32
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Old 19.06.2012   #5
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Default Re: Conservation of Energy

In regards to your economic idea (at present) for Pandora...

This is how I understand what you're doing it:
1) if station is consistently low demand then it's (presently) redundant
.... In this case, you scrap it after a period of time, possibly.
2) if station is consistently high demand then it's economic
.... Leave it alone, mostly.
.... Also possibly build another station of this type.
3) if it's not meeting its resource needs then it's below its potential
.... It might be new. If it's, leave it alone for a while.
.... If its trade-ships are consistently destroyed then it needs adjustments or patrol/escort contracts to be filed
.... If there're not enough resource producers then it's premature
.... If none of the above then it's prolly too far away from its suppliers

What about growing into a new sector? For example, what if you start out with 10x10 content on 100x100 map and the races start to expand outward and building new stations in the empty sectors?

Or if you overtake a different race's sector and most of them are redundant and are removed? How will you ensure that when a new station needs to be built that it'll be built in the new sector?

I assume you don't want conditions to be too perfect, but then again, I think that's too hard to do anyway. You do want some shortages and redundancy so that the player has (easy) (and potential) things to exploit. However, some competition and infighting would be nice.

Example of redundancy being exploited by player:
Lets say that there's a solar power plant in a system and in the region of space that it serves it has become redundant. Now lets say that the traders trying to buy from it are being destroyed in intervening sector. Thus, this station isn't truly redundant but is being made redundant because of the hostile activity between it and its demand. The player might notice this, but the decision algorithm might not. So the player might buy from this redundant solar power plant and then cross the hostile sector (smartly, unlike the non-players) and sell where its demand is located. So resultingly, it becomes something to exploit.

Alternatively, the demand-side stations might offer contracts to the player to escort their traders or to clean away the trade lanes so they can meet their supply needs. This would have the effect of making the redundant solar power plant non-redundant and economic again.

Example of competition:
A historically profitable station in a conflicted zone is destroyed by a raid. You have a good cushion of credits so you rush to the system and build the same type of station that was lost to beat the AI. You then add some defenses. As a result, the AI loses some of the market there.

Another example of competition:
A station is constantly losing its trade-ships to pirates and is in long-term debt. The decision algorithm scraps it. Again, you rush to the same system and build the same station. You figure out a way to avoid the pirates and acquire more of the market in the place of the AI.

An example of infighting:
You're a pirate and notice that the split stations in a nearby sector are "stealing" some of your market in teladi space (they're not enemies with the teladi). What you do is you harass some split trade-ships and capture cargo and generally cause a station or two to go into debt. At some point, they're scrapped and you can build in their place. Alternatively, you simply build a station of the same type and skim some of the market off of the top. It's proportional to the amount you can prevent from flowing from/to these split stations. This assumes that stations dynamically adjust their trade-routes if they consistently come back empty or do not meet their resource needs adequately.

Last edited by AmadanLegre; 19.06.2012 at 01:13
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Old 19.06.2012   #6
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Default AW: Conservation of Energy

Now it's my time to apologize:
you've made some important points here. But I don't have much time at the moment to go into discussing them at the moment, and I will be away for 2 days.

But let me say this: my experience as a scripter and modder with X2 has teached me to keep things as simple as possible. Quite often it showed that an elaborated approach to certain aspects of the game didn't turned out too well, or it didn't have any great impact. From the point of view of the player, the same effect could be achieved with much less effort.
The main point here is that the AI is stupid. Consider the M5 attacking M2 ships. And the whole game works this way. As you say, everything is just there for the player.

But even if it's just there for the player, a certain "intelligent" behaviour should be presumed. No sane pilot would attack an M2 ship with a M5 ship. And a factory should not make constant debt.
So we need to find a way to simulate some intelligence. But at the same time, we need to keep it simple.
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Old 19.06.2012   #7
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Default Re: AW: Conservation of Energy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Gi View Post
Now it's my time to apologize:
you've made some important points here. But I don't have much time at the moment to go into discussing them at the moment, and I will be away for 2 days.

But let me say this: my experience as a scripter and modder with X2 has teached me to keep things as simple as possible. Quite often it showed that an elaborated approach to certain aspects of the game didn't turned out too well, or it didn't have any great impact. From the point of view of the player, the same effect could be achieved with much less effort.
The main point here is that the AI is stupid. Consider the M5 attacking M2 ships. And the whole game works this way. As you say, everything is just there for the player.

But even if it's just there for the player, a certain "intelligent" behaviour should be presumed. No sane pilot would attack an M2 ship with a M5 ship. And a factory should not make constant debt.
So we need to find a way to simulate some intelligence. But at the same time, we need to keep it simple.
I agree. Simplicity is what any designer or engineer shoots for. Adding unneeded elements to a project leads to wasted effort. At worst, bloated features lead to a project that remains unfinished.

However, I just read that players in X3:AB are able to order pirates to do raids on competitors. New stations can be built. Sectors can be taken over. Some of these things were added in X3:R and X3:TC. Those are features of the game. If players want them then you try to add them. Is it simple? Not at first. Is 3d programming simple? Or astrophysics? Not really. But as you learn more you shave away the unnecessary things and depending on your effectiveness you produce a working game (or theory or whatever). Just like a astrophysicist goes through many years of school and decades of observation to refine theories to a point of elegance and satisfactory peer review.

Elegance is what you really want. Simplicity is the wrong word. Simplicity gives the impression these things are easy. They're actually not. Not until you have mastered them can they be simple.

I know where you're coming from. These things are a LOT of work. Embarking on careless adventures wastes time. I mean, only considering the PSE scripts I was working on 3 years ago, they were relatively simple: I wanted to control a factory "complex" the old fashioned way. Sounds simple on paper. But it required many dozens of hours (maybe 100's) working alongside playing the game. That's just one "small" project. Something the size of a mod requires more time than that and is going to probably require the efforts of more than one person. All of that has to work harmoniously so the mod gets finished. NOT easy to do!!!

-----------

I like what you're doing with Pandora. This particular "economic" (or conservation) aspect interests me greatly. At the present moment, I have more to learn before I can comment intelligibly. I really need to do this stuff hands on and need to try out the Pandora mod.

I'd be proud if I could help with one thing or two on Pandora even if Pandora never gets done. Pandora still has value to the people in this forum since we all have had an appreciation for hacking this game. I can help with english a bit, but I'm afraid to do that because I often have ideas about things that go beyond the spelling or grammar.

Does Pandora use a complex mod? If not, I could go over my PSE scripts and refine them. It's an old fashioned method because ships are used to act as the "conveyer" belt. They're also not smart. The player has to set all of the routes for each resource. There're only simple checks. In other mods and in the X3 series complexes use "tunnels" to connect the stations to create a complex. That also reduces the script count and hence the cpu load. (Furthermore, because the PSE complex uses ships they have to be protected by a sector administrator. The reason I used a Sector Administrator to protect them and didn't just check for enemies in their own trading script was because I could have a single script for a whole sector rather than a script on every ship. In this way, I could cut down on the number of enemy checks, especially if more than one PSE ship is in-flight.) All of this is subject to change if I revisit it, though. I'm not a pro, for sure. But anyway, I can only offer the idea.

(sidenote: i also made a menu system that uses the message system to deliver an interface to the PSE. I don't know if you ever worked on something like it, but it has nested menu commands that can be quick reference by entering "1.2.1" or "1.1" or something like that. it ain't a whole lot, but it might help to add "virtual" commands. this way, actual ship command slots can be preserved and not conflicted.)

I guess I really have to try Pandora first before I can find some ideas how to help. I am a very opinionated person, so I'll try to not get in the way. If I can just stick to a few simple things and not get greatly involved then my opinions can mostly stick to myself.

Could you give me a review on how to try out the Pandora mod? I'm currently going over all of the modding stuff since it has been 3 years since I exposed myself to it. I'm very rusty. But 3 years ago I was at the stage where I was unpacking and packing game files and changing the map (with the random universe generator) and editing the map and scripting and so on. I never quite got to the AL plugin thing (artificial life addons use it).

I wish I had done all this 3 years ago. Oh well. I'm not sure how much into Pandora you're. Lots and lots and lots of game designs and mods are dead after a year. 3!!! You may not even play anymore? Do you still play x-games at all? Have you thought about moving this mod over to X3:R or X3:TC or X3:AB? I know so little about everything.

Last edited by AmadanLegre; 19.06.2012 at 23:00
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Old 20.06.2012   #8
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Default AW: Conservation of Energy

Quote:
I'd be proud if I could help with one thing or two on Pandora even if Pandora never gets done.
You're very welcome if you like to help. I'm looking for additional scripters since we started this mod, but there aren't any. And you've put a lot of thoughts on economy, I'd be rather proud if you could join the team and work on this aspect of the game. The whole economic stuff could use some work. And you have great ideas - so please, join.

Quote:
Could you give me a review on how to try out the Pandora mod?
Well, Pandora is still restricted to members of the modding team, because it has to be still considered at alpha stage, since every update forces a new game (it forces this by crashes to desktop ). Otherwise, it's a mod, it's just about copying some files by hand. And it uses Cycrow's ScriptManager for installation of the scripts. It's the easiest way to exchange the scripts...
If you're willing to join the team, you'll get additional information about installation process...

Quote:
Does Pandora use a complex mod? If not, I could go over my PSE scripts and refine them.
In fact, I was thinking about writing you a message if you could sent the scripts to me. I always wanted to tested them.

Quote:
In other mods and in the X3 series complexes use "tunnels" to connect the stations to create a complex. That also reduces the script count and hence the cpu load.
The scripts, especially well written scripts, are not as heavy on cpu load as is graphical stuff. There's nothing wrong with "old fashioned methods".

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i also made a menu system that uses the message system to deliver an interface to the PSE. I don't know if you ever worked on something like it, but it has nested menu commands that can be quick reference by entering "1.2.1" or "1.1" or something like that. it ain't a whole lot, but it might help to add "virtual" commands. this way, actual ship command slots can be preserved and not conflicted.
First: I have created new command slots for Pandora. At the moment, we have 15 additional command slots for each command type, and if we need more, I can add more. Many of the restrictions of vanilla X2 no longer exist in Pandora.
Second: I don't like the system we scripters were forced to use for passing arguments to scripts. It's okay if you just have to pass a station or sector or similar stuff. But if the player has to enter numbers for certain options, it becomes unintelligble.
The good news is: in Pandora we no longer need to do this. If the need arises, we can make submenus, and even change e.g. what objects the sector map displays. Depending on how complex and effective your menu system is, we can rework it to use a new system. Of course, this would make the script bound to Pandora, not usable for other mods or vanilla X2.

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But 3 years ago I was at the stage where I was unpacking and packing game files and changing the map (with the random universe generator) and editing the map and scripting and so on. I never quite got to the AL plugin thing (artificial life addons use it).
Modding Pandora is a little different than it was before. While the basic process is still the same, we added a lot of types-file to configure additional stuff. There's even a types file for editing the production cycle of factories in a comprehensible way.
Scripting is in some way different too. We added over 100 script commands. This allows for example to add new missions to the BBS. All Pandora plots are written by using the mission-interface script commands. And if the text is also spoken, the messages presented could not only be displayed, but also spoken, like in vanilla plot messages. Or you can manipulate a ship's comm menu to allow new interactions with NPC characters.
And by the way: the AL plugin is very easy to use. It just looks complicated at the first sight.

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Oh well. I'm not sure how much into Pandora you're. Lots and lots and lots of game designs and mods are dead after a year. 3!!! You may not even play anymore? Do you still play x-games at all? Have you thought about moving this mod over to X3:R or X3:TC or X3:AB? I know so little about everything.
Well, I don't play any x-games besides X2. And I don't play X2 either, except for testing purposes - or because it's just fun to see how far we already got and how beautiful some sectors turned out this time .
But we all put too much work into Pandora to let it unfinished.
Occasionally, I thought about moving it to X3R, because the graphic engine is so much better. But I know too little about X3R to actually do it. Does internal docking still work? And besides: we changed X2 too much. It would last at least another year to get it working in X3R. (I'm only talking about X3R, because it's more compatible with X2, because I can't change X3:TC as much as I can change X2 - and because I prefer the graphics of X3R over X3TC or X3AB).
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Old 30.07.2012   #9
Xarian
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Default Re: Conservation of Energy

No.. stick with X2, maybe were looking at the AI from a wrong standpoint.. ie: the stock AI.. i dont know how far you've gottern yet so excuse my ignorance on the matter but the Xai AI mixed well with some marks scripts from old seems to fix most of the stock problems.. maybee your trading answer liers somewhere inside the Xaicorp? they seem to have done the most when AI is concerned.. especially trading, i only run the fleet commands myself, as im a dirty cheater lol.. and my traders run from a constantly resupplied base thanks to babyface and heavy some alterations to his HQ script (did i mention im a cheater.. lol) but i have done the odd "run agianst the AI" just for fun to see if it mattered and it didnt.. i was still faster and got the better price.. I love this idea though.. it would get me trading again instead of outfitting fleets at my cushy homebase just to destroy stuff.. as that about the only challenge i have as a X2 player.. trading.. once a have afew ships is so very boring.

My scripting is weak.. but i get your KISS approach, maybe we can find a middle ground that makes trading competitive and doesn't over-bloat the scrip engine?
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