Dev update: NPC ships

Dev update: NPC ships

Hi all, here is a short work-in-progress video about the ongoing addition of NPC traffic to the ASG world.

The most common ships in the game world are now defined and with their dedicated model. These are procedurally generated from sets of parameters, so adding new classes and variants should be quite straightforward from now on.

To maintain a global consistency the ships’ physical characteristics are derived from their technical specifications using a custom design tool:

Besides graphics there is now a ship “entity” and the fundamentals of the underlying book-keeping are in place. As explained in the video all instances will be unique and persistent. They are currently being instantiated in a docked state at their home station using a dedicated “Traffic Editor” dev app:

The goal from now on is to have these ships start moving around! This will require several key tasks:

  • connect the ship entities to the physics engine and fit them with an approach auto-pilot for their operations around stations,
  • design a traffic scheduler and generate realistic flight plans and trajectories. The computations will be performed on parallel threads and rely on the auto-planner routines,
  • implement an Orbital Traffic Control system to regulate all operations, and which will communicate with all present agents (including the player) through the comms layer.

This should lead to 2021. A few words about the overall roadmap:
When this initial implementation of the NPC traffic is in place a new pass will be run on the CSN-F9 systems to add the missing elements (life support, centralized monitoring and alarms, performance panel, maintenance).
Then the work will shift to the ship’s sensors. And back to NPC vessels this will require they are fitted with detailed enough models to generate proper radiation levels and signals.

Thanks for reading!

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