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Dev update: NPC traffic

The global model for persistent NPC ships is now in place.

In ASG NPC ships are persistent and they continue to exist even when out of the player’s sensory range (the goal is to later make use of this property to generate more organic and emergent gameplay).

As displayed in the previous update their operations are fully detailed in the player’s stellar system. However that method would be much too costly to be used across the whole game world with 1200+ ships. Instead an underlying event-based simulation provides a reference frame for all operations, and the detailed layer fills in the gaps when near the player.

That said, gluing the two modes proved quite tricky and I’ll take that occasion to thank the testing team for their patience and help! (Some of the pilots have professional experience in software QA). The following video provides an overview of the resulting traffic:

There is still a lot of work to be done on the NPCs since this is only a first pass limited to “galactic starliner” operations. However the whole structure is now in place and further enhancements should be essentially incremental.

From now on the development will focus on completing the ship’s civilian systems:

  • Centralized monitoring of the systems and related alarms
  • Flight performance management tools (reactor configuration templates, improved ΔV budget planning and monitoring)
  • Equipment diagnostic and maintenance
  • Front section (life support)

When that’s in place the plan is to start implementing the gamification layer (missions and career) and the military systems later this year (2022).

Thanks for reading!

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