A Star Citizen blog representing the vast silent majority who only wish to make the game better.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mass Effect: Andromeda Rushed?

OK, I don't have the game, Mass Effect Andromeda. But reading all the animation hoopla about it gives me an appreciation of why Squadron 42 has been delayed and an idea as to why ME: Andromeda was released.

Mass Effect took two steps back, it seems, in animation. Yes, the cut-scenes seem fine but cut-scenes do not a game make. They cheaped out. I figure ME was rushed releasing so as to beat SQ42 out the door. Fewer would buy ME once SQ42 comes out as SQ42 really will be a next generation game.

 Designer talking motion capture.
Mass Effect: Andromeda vs Mass Effect One

Squadron 42 will be much better, says I with near 99% confidence. And why do I think this? Because Squadron 42 will have a great majority of its animation based upon motion capture. Motion capture can produce a more precise and realistic portrayal of action.

Jillian Anderson suited up for motion capture.
Go ahead, click on picture, I dare you.

So I suspect that Squadron 42 was originally like Mass Effect: Andromeda. But somewhere along the way, probably because of highly successful crowd funding ($145 million), the decision was made to upscale the project. Money talks. This helps to explain the many production delays. That's my thinking.

Squadron 42 comes out this year! as opposed to Soon™.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Still Waiting for Star Citizen 2.6.2

Yup, still waiting. I haven't been playing any Star Citizen per se while I wait for the alpha patch to be released to the live Player Universe. I don't want to get too attached to game mechanics when they are all probably going to change a bit.

I could download the Persistent Test Universe (PTU) being as I'm a special person'all. But it takes at least three solid evenings for the download, for me at least. It's 30 megabytes, and growing. So I'll just wait.

Any day now.

My mapping project is all done (previous post). I've been mulling over how to improve upon it.

Some suggestions for the Star Map. Maybe one of those travel-distance things at the bottom-right of every fanfold travel map. Cities labeling the horizontal and vertical axis, and then distance as a cross-reference.

Or something to indicate map scale. Again, distances are so hard to judge. Even when looking at a single system map there is no indication of distance. A visual scale-bar would be helpful. Maybe something in Au and Km*100?


Possibly also a drop line -- Point A to Point B and it tells you what percentage of your fuel would be consumed to make the trip. Similar to what they have in the Persistent Universe (PU).


Edit: Added Star Map link.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Distances

OK. I'm done. Working on distances is getting tired. This is about the best I can do without rolling up my sleeves.

Ya, right, click to enlarge, eh.
Distances

I admit it was kinda fun doing these distances. Please note that they are not exact numbers. And the lines! Don't use length of line as distance ... use thickness of line as an indicator. Length of line is difficult. No map that I know of has accurate distance by line length.

Distance is kinda a relative thing. Star Citizen systems my be billions of light years apart. It is the distance to and from the jump points that is more accurately indicative. So your destination might be 50au to a jump point and only 2au from the arriving jump point. And then, if its a planet you are going to, where is it in its orbit (assuming orbiting comes online)? So I've averaged out a few things. Take the numbers for what they are worth.

I thought an example or two would be nice. Get your favorite tube map. Now figure out how you would go from Pyro to Hadrian in your Freelancer Misc.
Via tube map or Transit Network map: 77au
Via distance map: 45.4au or 43.19au or even 47.3au.

And, there are only two ways into Sol: through Davien or Croshaw. Which would you pick?

So, ya, knowing distances may be helpful.

Edit: Terra - Magnus is 5.41au.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Data Analysis

It's a love / hate relationship. In the good'ol days I was pretty good at computer stuff. This recent plotting of nodes (see last post) has triggered a bit of a resurgence of interest.

My first thought was to download Java and LibreOffice. Took FOREVER to get the SQL working. Pissed me off no end so I uninstalled it. The I installed Python. More trouble. Finicky. So I uninstalled it. Then I downloaded Java again. Will I never learn? Uninstalled it. Downloaded LibreOffice. Then Java. Just couldn't get it doing what I wanted.

Back to Python. This time I downloaded a simple IDE to go with it. Finally started making some progress.

All this fussing around. Good thing Star Citizen's communications this week are a tad weak. Not that interesting compared to the blockbuster of the previous week. So I have plenty of time to continue working on this node thing.

It kinda pisses me off that distances can't be easily visualized on any off the Star Citizen star maps. I wonder if I'm the only one bothered? I haven't noticed anyone complaining about it. Perhaps it is because the maps imply a distance, false though it is.

Planets and moons and stuff will eventually be orbiting a sun (or suns). This makes distance calculation a tad more difficult. An API is needed but I don't know if one exists that I can access. So I have to approximate distance ... or type in a zillion constants that will just end up being obsolete when orbiting is implemented. Yup, approximation sounds good.

Anyway, still working on it.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Star Citizen Distances

The distance between systems in Star Citizen is ... indeterminate. We don't know! I think nobody knows, not even the game designers.

Distances between systems aren't known because inter-system travel is exclusively by wormhole. Yes, that's right, gate camping, bottlenecks, zones of control, ... shit like that. What can you do?

Well, some people have suggested adding faster than light (FTL) travel to the game. In the game now, the fastest speed is 0.2c. Once area compression is taken into account the effectual speed works out to be 1.6c.

At 1.6c it would take 2.73 years to reach Alpha Centauri, our solar system's nearest neighbour. About 1000 days. So, in game play terms, in order to get there in a whopping TWO days we would have to fly 800 FTL. It's a game, so why not? Well, Star Citizen has 100 - 400 systems planned with several planets, asteroid belts, stations, and whacks of other stuff all littered about. The reality of Alpha Centauri would limit things greatly.

The nearest system to Earth in Star Citizen is Croshaw. It is an unknown distance away. It could be twelve bazillion light years. We don't know! But we get there by a wormhole ... 20 minutes, tops. The effectual distance from Earth to Croshaw is actually just the distance from you to the Croshaw wormhole entrance. It's kinda irksome knowing that there may be all kinds of alien civilizations between Earth and Croshaw.

Distances are very difficult to discern in Star Citizen. Most maps simply show size relationships between systems. Size being whether large, medium, or large ships can enter the wormhole. I'm unaware of any map that shows distances. So I started making one.

I'm using rudimentary network graphing software to do this. I no longer have software languages such as Python or graphics packages such as igraph. But it seems to be working, sorta.

This is a SIZE relationship map. There are lots out there (see last post). It shows,via line thickness, whether a small, medium, or large ship can jump through a wormhole. Distance, counter-intuitively, is not relayed at all so don't be fooled.

click to enlarge
Thickness of connecting line portrays size of ship that may pass.

For comparison, the following is a DISTANCE relationship map. The thickness of the connecting lines implies distance: narrow for short distance, medium for medium distance, and thick for far distances. Remember to keep in mind that the length of the connecting lines is not relevant.

click to enlarge
Thickness of connecting line portrays distance between points.

It is just a partial network. I edited in the distances as my software wouldn't display the strength of the line, it just adjusts thickness of it. Need to pay extra for labeling, I guess. Anyway, I plan on expanding this for the whole Star Citizen galaxy.

Oh, I should mention the software used: Google Fusion Tables. It's free.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Trade Route Planning

Planning trade routes is always a difficult task. And in Star Citizen it currently has an extra layer of difficulty. It's in ALPHA, stupid. Nobody knows anything. But, the player community seems to be able to work around any problem.

A while back I found this map of logical trade flows. Really, really sorry as I have forgotten who made it. Must have been a great deal of work putting it together. At first I thought someone was just imagining the trade possibilities but after a while the methodology behind it started to dawn on me.

click to enlarge
Sol - Terra Trade Route

It is expected that the Sol - Terra trade route will be the busiest route in the known Universe. Sol, being Earth, and Terra, being a newer and better Earth. Does this remind you of The Expanse?

I was so impressed I started building my own map for my 'hanging out' area of the Universe. That's how I know it takes a bit of work.

Trading is not going to be my profession. I have no trading vessels and don't plan on getting any. I expect I'll be concentrating on exploring, instead.Well, you never know.

So I've done a three system chart so far. On the outskirts of the Universe. It isn't looking that helpful, tradewise. Maybe my trading instincts just aren't there. If I were a true trader perhaps the data would be more forthcoming. Maybe I need to add a couple more systems.

Monday, March 20, 2017

BDSSE

I used BDSSE (Best Damn Space Sim Ever) in a post recently and for some strange reason I've been troubling over my use of it. Maybe I'm just a crazy Star Citizen fan boy. So I did a bit of a search on the forums to see if others thought so, too.

Here is one endorsement written by a citizen perhaps not as crazy as I --

S1rmunchalot@S1rmunchalot writes:
So much about Star Citizen is going to hit the gaming community like a lightning bolt. There will be 2 types of games in the future. Those before Star Citizen and those after Star Citizen, just as there was horse and cart and the internal combustion engine.
Obviously a bit of an understatement, but you get my drift.

Just for a bit more unbiased opinion I found this quote --



Erin Roberts, Global Head of Production / EU Studio Director writes:
... Star Citizen will be the best damn space sim ever.

Erin Roberts
click to enlarge if you must


There you go, folks, clearly I'm no crazy fan boy. I am simply in possession of a well-supported and popular opinion. My advice to all who read this, Go Get Star Citizen! But use my code (upper right corner) for bonus in-game credits.