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Limit Theory: Command Line Mode

#1
I just had the strangest notion. As the subject line says: are there some parts of Limit Theory that could be played capably through a command-line interface?

This thought came to me as I was thinking about turning FlatBot into a simple game. Initially I thought, "Make it a space game about controlling ships." Then I remembered: that's LT. What if LT had an interface that could receive, parse, and respond to requests and commands? And what if I could connect that interface to ICQ, so that I could enter commands to my current game and receive status information from my game?

Obviously there are some significant considerations here. Single-player dogfighting is Right Out, for example. Command line mode would be restricted to actions you take while docked at a station that are fairly text-heavy.

Even then, is there just too much text in this aspect of LT to comprehend it all, so that playing LT in this way is workable?

Are there some limited subsets of playing LT that could work over a command line? Buying/selling ship gear? Market activity? Fleet management? Strategic analysis and control? Research?

Is this even an idea worth any more consideration than I've given it here?
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Re: Limit Theory: Command Line Mode

#3
I like this. It sounds like a great idea for a mod.

You are essentially eliminating the first person gameplay and only using the administrative side of the game (giving orders, setting up hierarchies, administering projects, etc). If that is enough to be interesting on its own then a command only interface seems plausibly entertaining.

Are you married to the idea of it being only a command line? It would be far easier to implement as an RTS style, or at least with graphics and a mouse interface. While CLI are not hard to create, most users won't want to learn a CLI when playing the main game so a GUI will already exist... creating a CLI on top of a GUI would be a right pain, especially when some items would not normally be named. As an example of the problems that could arise, if you have three hard points for weapons in the GUI they would just be three symbols you attach weapons to. But with a CLI you would need to have names for them and a way to choose which weapon goes where.

If accomplished, I could definitely see myself spending a lot of time playing Excel in Space... I mean command line Limit Theory. Particularly if it were tied to external notifications... getting a text at work that Pirates are raiding the Theta system and the mining project there is deep in the red? Give a command that my military adviser should devote 300Kcreds to eliminating pirates in Theta. If the AI is as abstracted and hierarchical as Josh has hinted, that is within the realm of possibility. That's a big if... AI is notoriously difficult to do well.

Note I'm not saying it'll be simple, or that anything like this should be in 1.0. But I think being able to text orders to your game AI from work make me feel like a badass space CEO.

I have read, but not replied, to nearly every other suggestion with indifference. How shields or missiles work? Meh. But being able to play a form of the game via my phone from work? Being treated to status updates about my empire while I'm on the porcelain throne? Giving the order to crush the rebellion by any means possible and seeing the updates about how there is no money available to fund the war? Yeah... those thoughts gets my juices flowing.
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Re: Limit Theory: Command Line Mode

#6
Etsu wrote:Space game, command line interface, giving order while docked... Wait, is not that Duskers? :mrgreen:
I actually looked up Cornflakes's reference to Duskers before I started this thread.

What I saw was that it's only half text-based. It looks like you enter commands as text, but the results are still reflected back to you as graphics. Pretty neat, but I'm actually thinking of full text. (Sorry, Myrddin!)
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Re: Limit Theory: Command Line Mode

#7
A pure text interface could be interesting for a total conversion mod of LT. Would this have similar commands to a C:\ (c prompt)? If so this could be very interesting. I can image saying "Move 'ShipA' to Carvoid III", "Create project Mining in zone 2 of Carvoid I". If structure was more sentence based it would probably help with the learning curve for non command prompt users. But even if that wasn't the case and it was just Action, Item, Destination, it wouldn't be too bad.

A lot of it would be how well data could be organized and if a segment of the screen could be dedicated to funds, ships owned, and their locations.
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Re: Limit Theory: Command Line Mode

#10
davdav wrote:The futur of gaming is VR helmet
Hmmm. That sounds familiar... where have I heard that before?

Oh, right, it was the previous time -- the brief 1990s VR fad -- that someone created a product (because they could) in the belief that marketing could make consumers believe they wanted it.

;)

Which really has nothing to do with wondering about whether a command line interface to parts of Limit Theory might have some value. I hadn't even thought about Twitch Plays, but that might work, too: one player to handle dogfighting in real time, and the "wisdom of crowds" playing the economic game!
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Re: Limit Theory: Command Line Mode

#11
BFett wrote:A pure text interface could be interesting for a total conversion mod of LT. Would this have similar commands to a C:\ (c prompt)? If so this could be very interesting. I can image saying "Move 'ShipA' to Carvoid III", "Create project Mining in zone 2 of Carvoid I". If structure was more sentence based it would probably help with the learning curve for non command prompt users. But even if that wasn't the case and it was just Action, Item, Destination, it wouldn't be too bad.

A lot of it would be how well data could be organized and if a segment of the screen could be dedicated to funds, ships owned, and their locations.
No! You would have commands similar to a *REAL* OS's terminal interface.

ls - list ships in Directive
cd - change Directive
rm - trigget Remote Modulation of their powerplant (typically causes a feedback loop, and most powerplants explode due to this)
mkdir - create a new Sub-Directive
mv - move a ship, either renaming it in the local directive, or changing it's directive.

...
Windows.... pffft!
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Re: Limit Theory: Command Line Mode

#12
BFett wrote:A pure text interface could be interesting for a total conversion mod of LT. Would this have similar commands to a C:\ (c prompt)? If so this could be very interesting. I can image saying "Move 'ShipA' to Carvoid III", "Create project Mining in zone 2 of Carvoid I". If structure was more sentence based it would probably help with the learning curve for non command prompt users. But even if that wasn't the case and it was just Action, Item, Destination, it wouldn't be too bad.
The DOS prompt is a pretty poor example of a command line. It's one many people know, but there are better command lines out there to emulate.

One example is the SCUMM interface. It's not as flexible as it probably needs to be for the needs of this mod, but it's a better starting point than a DOS prompt. But making a good CLI is not easy. Natural language parsing is not easy. Having the AI capable of carrying out fuzzily defined goals is more than not easy... it's frakking hard.

That said... I really do think that this would be a viable MMO version of LT. Because it's asynchronous (you get updates, and you send commands, but it's not real time) a lot of the complexities of multiplayer is eliminated. You can run the game on a single server, and it can run the AI but not render the universe graphically. The game could become almost an ARG (alternate reality game), where you get texts and emails on the status of your empire and text back commands. Imagine a twitter feed of the game announcing notable events.

All this is dependent on a flexible AI, rich trading simulation, powerful project API, and deep hooks into all of this from the mod side... all things that Josh has discussed, but we can't know will exist. Version 1.0 may be missing some or all of these. None of these are easy. So don't get your hopes up.
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Re: Limit Theory: Command Line Mode

#13
davdav wrote:The futur of gaming is VR helmet
That's one kind of game. One I intend to spend many happy hours exploring. But saying 'VR is everything' is silly... all games will not be VR, any more than all games became 3D just because powerful video cards became ubiquitous. There are still 2D games, they are just a portion of the market rather than the entire market.

Similarly, VR may become huge, but it will never eliminate games that exist in other media formats. It will create new forms of games that couldn't exist on a monitor, and some types of games (notably simulators) will transition mostly to VR. However other types of games may have a niche presence in VR (side scrolling platformers, MMOs, match-3) but will remain largely unaffected by VR. Some markets will split in two with different design focuses depending on the target platform (RPGs I think will split into VR and non-VR sub genres) in the same way that existing genres split into 2D and 3D versions of RPGs, shmups, and platformers.
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Re: Limit Theory: Command Line Mode

#14
MyrddinE wrote: All this is dependent on a flexible AI, rich trading simulation, powerful project API, and deep hooks into all of this from the mod side... all things that Josh has discussed, but we can't know will exist. Version 1.0 may be missing some or all of these. None of these are easy. So don't get your hopes up.
except that the whole principle of LT builds on the AI and trading simulation....
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Re: Limit Theory: Command Line Mode

#15
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
MyrddinE wrote: All this is dependent on a flexible AI, rich trading simulation, powerful project API, and deep hooks into all of this from the mod side... all things that Josh has discussed, but we can't know will exist. Version 1.0 may be missing some or all of these. None of these are easy. So don't get your hopes up.
except that the whole principle of LT builds on the AI and trading simulation....

Which means that console based LT MMOs are in our future! :D
Ooo! One without actual AI, only player driven AIs!

That way players can login and get spawned in their little noob ship, and get to compete with other players controlling their own AIs!
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