Saturday, March 8, 2008


So now that we have gotten the latest ICS and Ships out, we can start planning for the future. But first we should look at what we have now.

Currently ICS is at version 1.3 and it has been implemented into all the vessels. This version is quite an improvement from the earlier ones.

It features different types of ramming strengths as well as differing cannon rounds, and even includes a machine gun round. Also now included is a script that displays your Hp count in hovertext, great when you want to know exactly how much damage you have taken. You can throw it in your HUD so only you can view it, or place in someplace on your ship so anyone can see.

The ships themselves have had some drastic changes as well, currently at version 5.0 they now have a new control mechanism that makes operating them much smoother. Sadly the torpedo boats still use the old control scheme right now.

Now for ICS, we are working on some interesting improvements. Most of these ideas are already coded into ICS technically, they just need to be activated.

First off is the ability to repair. We are not sure how exactly we will implement this, but one idea is to have a docking station that consists of a repair script that constantly searches for a ship with ICS. When a ship comes within a certain distance, the script would do reverse damage and slowly heal the ship. The repair station could also be set to only heal a certain amount over a period of time, to protect against abuse. The only thing I'm uncertain of is if we can get it to recognize only certain ships, so that one ship can't use an enemy's docking station. Something i will look forward to...

Next off is bombs. Everyone loves them, but how do we implement them into ICS? A simple way is to simply take a cannon round and just drop it... But that is quite boring. We currently have some prototypes in the works, but are not sure how to use them. What we will probably do is have 2 different types, one would be a cluster of small bombs that do a respectable amount of damage each, as well as give off some nice explosions. The other would be one single bomb that does an enormous amount of damage. Another factor is whether to have them explode on impact or maybe have some kind of timer? This will obviously require some extensive testing...

Finally we have mines. We currently have a nice prototype of a submersible mine that can be detonated upon collision. We can also fine tune this to be proximity or even timed. The main problem we have right now is getting a good splashing effect when the mine explodes...

Now as for the ships themselves, scriptwise they are almost perfect. I may do some slight balancing but right now they are splendid to operate. The next major update to the ships will be visually.

Whenever havok4 is officially out of testing and integrated into the main grid, I will start working on adjusting the sizes of some of these ships, such as the CSS Virginia which should be much larger than it is now. I will also try to implement flexiprim flags into every ship, so that people may customize their ships further.

There is also one idea that has crossed my mind on several occasions, which is to forgo the 31 prim vehicle format completely and make high detailed ships and use some kind of non-phys movement like so many other vehicle builders are doing these days. I have some problems with this method though. First off it takes away the realistic movement of the ships currently and would require an entire rewrite to the scripts to complement the non vehicle type movement. Second, it kills ramming do to the fact that the ships are not physical. I have seen some people making attachment based vehicles that you wear that supposedly don't incur the disadvantages but I alas have little experiences in that field. I only wish that along with havok4 they could increase the prim limit of vehicles. That would make my day.

Along with updating the regular line of ships we have, we will also start on a new line of ironclad ships that are fictional, as in not historical but of our own design. This will allow us to create some unique ships and not worry about properly replicating real ships. Expect some of them to be over the top and flamboyant.

And also not long after that we will be constructing some airships. We already have some basic prototypes ready so all we need is to get cracking on some more models. Here below is our first prototype airship. Very cute I must say.

In any case you will see a considerable difference in the next batch of ships, complete with new snazzy textures, flags and particle effects. Wow quite a lot of work ahead of me, I had better get started!

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