I mentioned in the most recent Fligher Podcast
that I was looking forward to seeing and hearing more about scanning.
Well. Well, well, well. I think it's safe to say I can check that one off the list! So much potential for knowledge-presentation.
Whiiiiiich brings me to some questions.
1. With all the data that the scanner looks like it will be providing, I find myself now hoping that there's some very efficient way of documenting interesting information that's provided by the scanner: locations of static objects (so we can return to them quickly) and conformation of individual ships (and maybe even types of ships) are two things I can think of off the top of my head that I'd like to jot down somewhere.
2. The formatting of data as a circular, time-bound representation of information offers some other kinds of possibilities. As noted above, it looks like the height of a spike (reminds me a bit of Tempest
) seems to be a marker for the strength of the signal corresponding to the one kind of thing the scanner is currently set to report on.
If so, that limits somewhat the value of the scanner. It's visually interesting that way, and it suggests the possibility of upgrading to a scanner with a faster display rate.
But what I imagine is a scanner where signals are mapped to frequencies, and all frequencies are displayed continuously. My Sensors and Star Trek Online sensor diagram
suggested a linear version of this, but I really like Josh's circular display much more. To see a full spectrum of frequencies at once would still require the player to understand how to decode that information. The zoom in / zoom out feature would still be applicable, too.
Perhaps these display types could coexist. What about the idea of having a multispectral scanner that's good at passive scanning over a broad area, showing you the relative strength of different kinds of sources simultaneously, but for pinpointing sources you'd need to flip to the single-frequency scan mode as shown in today's video?
3. Speaking of how data are represented visually, let me recommend Edward Tufte's The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
. If you're rendering information and you're not familiar with Tufte's work -- and with this book in particular -- go get it right now, because you need it.
4. Man, the flickering of the point light sources when doing a rotation is really bugging me. I've never been able to figure out how to prevent that in my own 3D space game, so it's possible that this is getting to me more than to others. But I'm finding it very distracting.
Am I a bad person?
5. Finally, I'm happy because I get to share something. Josh won't say this because he's all low-key in the video, which is entirely proper. But for you folks who haven't had the pleasure of doing programming, I wish you could know the incredible glee that a programmer feels when they create the kind of things that Josh is getting to show off in this video.
To imagine something in your mind, and then to know how to convert those structural images into instructions to a computer -- that's fun. But when you actually see your ideas come to life, and know
that you brought them into existence solely through an almost instinctual knowledge of what those instructions have to look like... if Josh isn't pumping his fist in the air and hooting like a jackal when he first sees things like his scanner idea actually working, check his pulse.
I'm grinning like a fool and I didn't even write the code! I can only imagine how much fun he's having seeing his dreams become real and knowing that he has the power to tell a computer how to accomplish that plus a heck of a lot more.
Programming is awesome, is what I'm saying.
Thank you for another great video update, Josh!