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Procedurally Generated Ships

#1
Josh,

I'm sensing some confusion amongst current/future backers about the procedurally generated ships. Like this comment for example:
c. I LOVE customization in games, there has not yet been a space sim that has been able to satisfy my need to fully build the ship I want, can you go into a little more detail on how much you can play around with the builds of your ships?
Being a dev myself, I totally understand the fantastic idea that is a fully generated ship, especially when it comes to testing or having the ability to generate a 1000 cool looking capital ships in the blink of an eye as opposed to modelling every single one by hand (which would take forever and a day) and then constantly hitting the HDD to load these assets all the time.

I think the problem is that many are coming into this 'expecting' a certain type of ship or design (something they can relate to? Something they can play with? A common notion to space-sims like elite.. ) as opposed to just having one generated randomly for you and away you go. The proposed ship editor will ease their concerms but thats at a later date. Questions on specific details like cockpits and cargo-bays in particular could be problematic for a proc gen ship.

A quick solution would to simply proc gen a ship, calculate it's volume and then divvy up the volume like so.. 20% volume with be engines, 50% of it's volume will be cargo area etc etc I'm guessing your already doing something to this extent.. but these are stats only and not something the player can see or play with...

What is needed is perhaps some explanation on this topic to clear the waters I think, but it's hard. (I don't even think I've explained the problem that well myself...)

ps: Your method of creating capital ships is perfect. Is the same code used to create small ships? (which I assume will the type of vehicle most players would start with? Or was the intention for eveyone to start with a capitol ship?)
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Re: Procedurally Generated Ships

#2
Perhaps Josh would generate like a thousand ships with different seeds, then look through them all and select the coolest looking, collect those seeds and have those more prevalent and used for game promotion to give people something to connect with and give the game an identity, like the ships did do with elite.

Just an idea.
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Re: Procedurally Generated Ships

#3
Something I'd LOVE to see would be how faction parameters influence ship designs. I know it's premature for that, but as soon as it is possible, I'd love to see two or three sets of ships generated with different parameters to illustrate how different factions might have inner variety in their fleets and yet have some common flavor or something.
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Re: Procedurally Generated Ships

#4
My assumption is that Josh maybe mean that every universe (generated from seed) will have it's own unique ships. In the universe generation phase will be also generated some number of ship prototypes (also generated from seed) and then pick those which meets some predefined criteria so the ships will feel and look just ok and not inappropriately, that they fit into the universe just nicely. Then categorize them into classes according to their size (and/or anything else) and finally ballance the ships' speeds, weapon slots and everything needed.
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Re: Procedurally Generated Ships

#5
vlasticz wrote:My assumption is that Josh maybe mean that every universe (generated from seed) will have it's own unique ships. In the universe generation phase will be also generated some number of ship prototypes (also generated from seed) and then pick those which meets some predefined criteria so the ships will feel and look just ok and not inappropriately, that they fit into the universe just nicely. Then categorize them into classes according to their size (and/or anything else) and finally ballance the ships' speeds, weapon slots and everything needed.
Nope, I'm sure I remember Josh saying factions would have slightly different ship styles. Factions, not universes.
Can't seem to find the quote, though... :(
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Re: Procedurally Generated Ships

#6
You are completely correct, Atarun. Though from what I recall, I am less certain whether Josh was implying meaningful qualitative differences or merely cosmetic ones. Then again, there are any number of other variables to consider in ship design such as the level of technical advancement of factions, their agenda, the general purpose of the ships, etc...

Regardless, I do believe that you are entirely correct, Atarun, in that we are likely to see a very wide variety of spacecraft regardless of the seed for the given universe.
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Re: Procedurally Generated Ships

#7
Jason Schupfer wrote:Perhaps Josh would generate like a thousand ships with different seeds, then look through them all and select the coolest looking, collect those seeds and have those more prevalent and used for game promotion to give people something to connect with and give the game an identity, like the ships did do with elite.

Just an idea.
Why have him do it?

Much better if he codes voting into the beta so that we fans can vote on the ships we like as we play!
Or just release a separate application with the sole purpose of generating and voting on ships, automatically uploading results.

Then he can run some scripts and analyse the results to figure out how to get the generation to design ships we think look really cool, and avoid those we think look bad for the next release.

Rince and Repeat until every ship in the game looks awesome and cool for the majority of players! :D
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Re: Procedurally Generated Ships

#8
you know it would be rather cool (and plausible ) for each seed to have an influence on the factions and there for the faction specific ship types. even looking at the space classic movies ( just a random one lets see here) star wars for instance the empire used ships that were (as far as i could tell) identical and uniform to one another (and for an assembly line / maintenance crews this is kinda the idea.) but the rebel fleet shad ships of every make and model imaginable scraped from tin cans and derelict mothballed cargo haulers. even ships of the same make and model looked different from one another because they have been patched and modified to the point of almost being a different kind of ship. so yes i can see a VAST array of ships being made and i cant wait to start collecting a warehouse of my own prized ships XD.
If I've rambled and gone off topic im sorry but i tend to be long winded as you might notice if you stumble across my other post XD. thanks for reading.
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Re: Procedurally Generated Ships

#10
I thought it might be helpful (if only for future reference) to capture here what Josh has recently said about PCG for ships.

Yesterday Craig Fowler posted on KS:
Those ship design algorithms - the vibe I'm getting from what I've seen so far is that where there will be "varying factions" within the game (be they races, corporations, colonies, whatever) each may have their own distinct style of ship design. I can even sort of see how this could be done within PCG. If it's not part of Josh's plans for the game already then I think it could be a cool addition.
So - the pod-people of the flub-jub-nebula might have their ships generated with the (hypothetical) "style" configuration Angularity 20%, Roundness 0%, Extremities 0%, Symmetry 90% (which would lead to highly-symmetrical, box-like & compact ship designs). Within the same universe the Foobarian Empire might generate ships with a different mix of those settings, creating a very different style of random ships.
IE: All of the ships are still random, but ships belonging to a single faction will tend to have things in common, making them recognisable as belonging to that faction.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jos ... nt-1803207

Today Josh posted:
@Craig - Absolutely, factional styles is most certainly part of my plan! And you're spot-on about the high-level attributes. That's precisely how it would work, and you can see why it's actually quite easy with PCG!

@Richard - I imagine that there will definitely be a distinctive feel to the ships, like common basic designs. It is natural that such a stylistic feature would emerge, just because they are all generated with the same algorithm! And moreover, if they are generated with the same input parameters to the same algorithm (i.e., they are part of the same faction)...well, even more so!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jos ... nt-1806183
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Re: Procedurally Generated Ships

#11
Deej wrote: I think the problem is that many are coming into this 'expecting' a certain type of ship or design (something they can relate to? Something they can play with? A common notion to space-sims like elite.. ) as opposed to just having one generated randomly for you and away you go. The proposed ship editor will ease their concerms but thats at a later date. Questions on specific details like cockpits and cargo-bays in particular could be problematic for a proc gen ship.
I think most people that are 'expecting' specific ships are going to design these themself using the ship/station editor that will be inside the game.
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Re: Procedurally Generated Ships

#12
I wonder if the ship builder tool with have an out of game counterpart for when we want to work on ships outside of the game. or on systems that dont have the game installed.
If I've rambled and gone off topic im sorry but i tend to be long winded as you might notice if you stumble across my other post XD. thanks for reading.
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Re: Procedurally Generated Ships

#14
Deej wrote:IMO putting the editor in the game might break the immersion of the game for some, so yes, a standalone ship-editor would be nice.
Why would the ability to design your own ships break immersion? :S

In reality some of us work with computer tools to design cars and airplanes too you know ;)
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Re: Procedurally Generated Ships

#15
Or have the Editor able to load any ship that has been 'scanned' as a starting point for ship design, so if you find a ship that is ok but you want more cargo capacity you can use it as a base and add more cargo. But it requires a scanned ship as a base.

It probably depends on how the ship editor is integrated into the gameplay :)
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