If Josh isn't capable of getting NPCs to dock intelligently, a compromise that I would be fairly happy with would be to imagine a kind of "displacer" technology à la the tech in Iain M. Bank's The Culture series where ships are displaced into and out of stations with some accompanying visual effect. Like how it's done in EVE, but with more visual appeal.CutterJohn wrote:This complicates design, though. Its all about levels of abstraction. The more things work like they should, the more I expect them to look like they should work as well. If I saw ships flying into a section of a station that clearly couldn't hold them, I'd be... disappointed. If they just poof from range, then whatever. Not intended to be an accurate representation.Commander McLane wrote:That would be a piss-poor substitute for docking, and a major immersion-breaker every couple of seconds (or whenever the next ship is docking). The same applies for launching from the station, of course. I don't want to see NPCs pop into existence at some point close to the station either.
Also, it complicates pathfinding. I like the idea of the ship going into an appropriate space, but if its going to take an NPC 10 minutes to work its way around to the other side of the station to get to the docking port... well... I'd rather not bother.
Edit: Refining on this idea a little, a station could generate an H-field around it that can "jump" ships into hangar bays inside of it. The field attentuates in strength the further from the station you get, so each ship would need to be within a certain distance of a station to dock with it as determined by their mass. Smaller ships could be jumped into the station from relatively far away, while bigger ships would need to get closer to the station to be jumped inside. This is only if Josh can't make something like #3 feasible.