## Friday, May 5, 2017

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### Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#46
RedDwarfMining wrote: Well that's why I'd like a Graphical representation of scale...Numbers simply don't do the job. Don't care about 'seeing' the actual Radii numbers....Don't want to sit there and try to figure out how that number compares to another.
Well, numbers for sizes do a fairly good job for me. If someone says "Well, that's 1 million kilometres away" I think about the circumference of the earth (40'000km) or the distance to the moon (~380'000km), and this gives me a rough perception of the distance to something. Don't use heights or radius of things, humans aren't good at estimating heights. But we are really good at estimating distances. So, use that instead. Like, a football (or soccer for the Americans) field. Something you can see in front of your inner eye.

Heh. I think it's a good example here for the false perception of astronomical scale that some people have:
Yesterday we were discussing a pilot who wanted to set a new height record with a solar powered plane. My Vater first said, that he wanted to reach an altitude of 25'000km, but corrected himself quickly to 25'000m, "because 25'000km is always half the way to the moon". I then told him, that 25'000km is about 15'000km past the outmost layer of our atmosphere and is the orbit height of some half-geosynchronous satellites that have an orbit time of about 12 hours. 40'000km is about the height of the geosynchronous and geostationary satellites. The moon is about 10 times further away from earth, at a distance of about 380'000km.
He looked at me with a really reflective look, and after a few seconds of processing the information I just gave him, he sighed, leant back and said "Well, space is vaster than I thought..."
Automation engineer, lateral thinker, soldier, addicted to music, books and gaming.
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Flatfingers wrote: 23.01.2017: "Show me the smoldering corpse of Perfectionist Josh"
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### Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#47
JanB1 wrote:he sighed, leant back and said "Well, space is vaster than I thought..."
As the great man said:
You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space.
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### Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#48
As just a thought for some inspiration, here's how MegaTraveller handled the representation of range bands.

Something similar could be worked out for size bands, I suspect.
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### Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#49
The shortest distance between Earth and space is about 62 miles (100 kilometers) straight up.

The moon is an average of 238,855 miles (384,400 km) away.
That’s between 28 and 29 Earths away.
"A sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
- Arthur C. Clarke
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### Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#51
Flatfingers wrote:As just a thought for some inspiration, here's how MegaTraveller handled the representation of range bands.

Something similar could be worked out for size bands, I suspect.
I...uhm...kinda don't get this graph...
Automation engineer, lateral thinker, soldier, addicted to music, books and gaming.
Nothing to see here
Flatfingers wrote: 23.01.2017: "Show me the smoldering corpse of Perfectionist Josh"
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### Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#52
JanB1 wrote: I...uhm...kinda don't get this graph...
Could that be because theres nothing actually marked on the graph but its just an empty raw graph paper?
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### Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#55
Scale in space is definitely annoying...the graphical challenge of conveying it, the technical challenge of representing objects in a huge space, the gameplay challenge of making said space tractable...it's all quite a pain. A practical man might just do what Freelancer did and completely fudge scale...but when I come up on planets or massive stations in LT, I can't help but enjoy the sense of awe.

I once did a little sandbox test with a true-to-scale Earth-sized planet, and put a 1km-radius satellite in LEO range. I searched for it for about fifteen minutes before giving up and adding code to put a UI marker on-screen so I could find it. When I arrived and saw the contrast in scale, it was very stunning indeed. But navigation / gameplay in that kind of system? No thanks The thrill of true scale wears off. The annoyance of irritating, inconvenient gameplay doesn't I try to find a compromise in LT.

As for indicating scale, I think the best way is probably not via the UI, but rather via a combination of slight space 'fog' and careful manipulation of detail frequency. Right now it's difficult to tell scale because, while the size of the models get bigger, the shading (especially texturing) changes only slightly. I have no shortage of ideas for fixing this in the future I think it was actually quite better in some of the later dev videos where I had my 'secret-sauce' infinite detail-mapping technique implemented + decent fog. I still need to port that back to LTLJ.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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### Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#56
How about something in the UI that isn't always there?

An example: You're flying through a mostly-empty system and come across a ship on your long-range scanners. This interests you because you haven't really seen anyone else in this system, so you look over in that direction. After you get close enough, you see a little distance marker next to them (which is fairly standard for space games anyway) - 5031m and closing. Fair distance for LT. You switch to mouse mode and click their ship; a little display window pops up giving more detailed info, depending on how good your scanners are: crew size, ship length/width, approximate mass, faction, hostile/friendly status, etc. Then when you switch back to mouselook, it disappears again.
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### Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#57
I think a combination mass and size indicator would be nice. Both aspects would be logarithmic scales. In my head the mass is colour-coded (perhaps the red end of the spectrum is low mass, and the violet end is ultra-massive), and the size is shown by a mirrored curve, from a point on the left (the player's ship), curving up (and down) to the larger (assuming it is larger) size on the right, a bit like this (I didn't draw this, I just searched for something similar; ignore the colours and other details):
For extremely large objects, the curves would get extremely steep extremely quickly. For small objects the curve would be wider and less tall.

I imagine even a rather small rendering of this idea could be visually interesting, and functional enough to be useful with practice.
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### Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#58
Talvieno wrote:How about something in the UI that isn't always there?

An example: You're flying through a mostly-empty system and come across a ship on your long-range scanners. This interests you because you haven't really seen anyone else in this system, so you look over in that direction. After you get close enough, you see a little distance marker next to them (which is fairly standard for space games anyway) - 5031m and closing. Fair distance for LT. You switch to mouse mode and click their ship; a little display window pops up giving more detailed info, depending on how good your scanners are: crew size, ship length/width, approximate mass, faction, hostile/friendly status, etc. Then when you switch back to mouselook, it disappears again.
Yes I think so. The target information display widget is the right place for anything more than the absolute most basic information.
Employee 2-4601 wrote:I think a combination mass and size indicator would be nice. Both aspects would be logarithmic scales. In my head the mass is colour-coded (perhaps the red end of the spectrum is low mass, and the violet end is ultra-massive), and the size is shown by a mirrored curve, from a point on the left (the player's ship), curving up (and down) to the larger (assuming it is larger) size on the right, a bit like this (I didn't draw this, I just searched for something similar; ignore the colours and other details)
I do like my exps and lns. Log color-coding for mass would be interesting indeed.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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### Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#59
Speaking of which, the "range band" chart can be understood as a kind of radial log plot: each band is roughly (though not exactly) an order of magnitude farther away from your location.

The point, again though, was not "this should be implemented as-is in LT." The point was "here's one way of representing scalar information that's easily understood when you see it in action -- maybe something similar could be useful for representing ship size."

The range band plot also shows facing (on a plane), but you could easily drop that extra info and simply represent range -- and ship size -- as linear log plots. Just a straight line, with a silhouette of a tiny ship at one end and a big honkin' ship at the other, and a slider on the line to tell you where the ship you're currently locked onto falls on that logarithmic plot of size. One glance at that graphic and you know instantly the general absolute size of a ship. You could do the same thing for a ship's distance from you.

An attractively-rendered linear log plot is a thing of beauty.
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### Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#60
JoshParnell wrote:I do like my exps and lns. Log color-coding for mass would be interesting indeed.
Another idea for how to communicate scale for selected ships/objects would be a comparison to the one aspect of the game you tend to understand most, your own ship's size.

If you select another ship you could have a holographic image that shows the selected ship (color coded for mass, matching with the colored blip on the map) with your own ship beside it, to scale. So for a capital ship you'd see a blue smudge beside the ship and go, "Whoa", vs a "massive, in mass" asteroid, but it's only 6 x bigger than your ship.

I think for much larger objects like planets, numbers provide enough information.

Perhaps the combination of iconography for type of object, color for mass or scale, and a practical comparison with a holographic mesh for specific items being scanned or investigated would work?