Thursday, February 25, 2010

ICS 3.1 updating

While going through the ship updates, we saw the opportunity to add a lot of really nice features and improvements to the ships. Below is a list of what is being added...

1. All ships and coastal artillery will have splash effects on the cannonballs when they hit the water. Most of the ships already have this feature but it needs to be added to the coastal artillery. Also we made improvements to the splash effect and it now occurs in most kinds of water sims, such as 40m or 60m water levels.

2. Explosion effects have been given a new makeover, rezzing a large blast prim that shows you exactly what the blast radius is of the explosion. 10 meter range explosives will rez a 10x10x10 sphere and so on. The effect looks great and can be seen from very long distances. There will also be underwater explosion effects for depth charges and torpedos.

3. Spar torpedo ships will now rez a nice big splash prim when their torpedos strike so it's easier to see what you hit as well as not leaving the enemy wondering what just hit them.

4. CSS Atlanta will have the new effect mentioned above, as well as a change in it's spar torpdeo functionality. The spar torpedo on it is now a one use weapon and can not be reloaded or rearmed. Once used it is completely disabled and the prim work for it is moved inside the ship. Also a second arm/disarm button was added allowing you to arm/disarm the spar torpedo only. These changes were made to restore balance as well as make it easier to use the ram without worrying about the spar getting in the way.

5. All ships will have their speeds adjusted to more closely resemble their true knot speeds. Some ships are labeled to go at 7 knots but may really only be able to go at 5 knots. Using a speedometer I have been able to measure the speed in m/s and convert it directly to knots, so all the ships will be more realistic in their speeds. This means that some of the larger ships will most likely be able to go faster. Theoretically if 2 different ships both go at 7 knots on their HUDS, they should not be able to outpace each other now.

6. All the ships will now take advantage of the ICS 3.1 sleep/wake system. If you turn the ship engines off, this will put the core into sleep mode and make it immune to damage. Turning the engines on wakes the core back up. (this feature seems like it could be abused rather easily, so we might add a engine cooldown period that takes several seconds but still leaves you vulnerable... we might have second thoughts about this feature, will need to think about this one)

7. Coastal artillery cannons will be given finer angle adjustments as well as a slightly lower velocity, allowing them a wider range of points they can hit.

We don't have much planned for UCS right now as we are mainly concerned about getting all our vehicle updates done. The UCS protection system for ICS works fine, but we are hesitant to use it fully at the moment and will most likely just give infantry 100% protection inside the ironclads. We would need to figure out a way to have the ship be disabled somehow when the UCS pilot is killed, but at the moment you can still operate the ship even if you are killed.

Eventually we will be working on UCS grapeshot rounds for use against infantry which should be fun to test. Speaking of testing, we found out that ramming DOES work against UCS infantry, but the system thinks they are a ship and not a person, resulting in the rammer taking a crap load of damage. Below is what happened when I crashed my Goblin equipped with a heavy ram into MrB wearing UCS...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Explosives Testing

Explosives in ICS battles have always been a bit of mixed bag. While they generally are pretty effective at destroying whatever they hit, it's very hard to tell if they hit anything at all unless you see something get damaged. The blast radius was always invisible, with no real way to tell what was caught in it. Well not anymore....

That is a 15x15x15 blast prim effect that will be rezzed along with the explosive prim that goes off. The result is a clear indicator of the blast radius! Another nice part is it has glow and lighting enabled, making it easy to see from a distance. This is similar to the water splash effect that was added to the cannonballs when they hit the water, the point being to add better indicators to rounds so fighters can get more tactical information on the battlefield. Expect to see all explosives in our next update look like this. Also all of the cannonball rounds that did not have splash effects will have them as well.(I think the only ones that don't have splash effects are the coastal artillery)

Note: This explosion effect is not part of ICS 3.1. This is something we are adding to our explosive rounds at Murakami Steamworks. However we will be packaging these special exploding effects as well as our splash effect rounds into one freebie package and making them available at all our vendors so ICS developers can grab them and use them for their own builds.

Observable from over 180meters away...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Anti-Aircraft gun and ICS 3.1

Well we have finally completed work on the Anti-Aircraft gun. This artillery piece is bit of a departure from our other ones. This gun does not use any buttons, instead forcing you to actually sit on it and use your movement keys to control angle and rotation. Based on the tests we have done with it, it should be able to hold back most airships and give fighters something to worry about.

Also ICS 3.1 was just released, and also brings with it a beta version of the new UCS (Urban Combat System) for infantry fighting. The nice part is UCS is fully compatible with ICS, meaning vehicle versus infantry combat. Some nice additions to ICS include...

- Added support for 'covering' avatars using the UCS system. This allows the ship to specify what degree of protected avatars in them are against explosions outside the ship.

- Added ability to put ICS core to sleep and wake it up again with link messages, so that docked ships can be made immune from vandalism.

- Shaped explosives now take ship height into account, instead of calculating whether the ship was in the shape based on a plane.

- Explosive scripts and cannon shells have been converted back to LSL2 instead of mono, amid growing concerns regarding the lag that mono scripts cause the sim on initial rez.

We will be performing some initial tests with ICS/UCS to make sure everything is working properly. Once we have tested the new system we will begin updating all of our products. Take note that due to the scope of the update, everything will need to be updated in our catalogue. That includes ships, artillery, tanks. This could take some time... but the payoff will be well worth it. Once we release our next update we will post here again to remind everyone to update to the latest versions.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Information on Regularly Scheduled Ironclad Combat Events in Second Life


Regular battles using the ICS Combat system are held in many locations in Second Life. The original, and I dare say best known, might be THE IRON MELEE, which started in Roatan on the edge of the Blakes Sea about a year ago.

THE IRON MELEE continues to thrive, but has transitioned from one location (Roatan) to several, in order to spread the gospel of 19th century naval combat around Second Life. Hotspur O'Toolecan be contacted for the current location at any given week, just IM "hotspur otoole" in world.

At the moment, we are holding events on Thursday evenings as per usual at the usual time of 730 PM SLT, but the hosting is split up between myself, Justinian Huszar, AngusGraham Ceawlin and Sharrah Bredel. Our current battle launch locations are:

Sanctuary Rock at Blake's Shore (for naval battles) Sanctuary Rock takes advantage of the Blake Sea Contested Waters (BSCW) battle circle which includes events which will take place in the four Linden Lab owned Contested Water sims (Blake Sea: Kendra, Thunderer, Cannonade, and Beaufort)and the privately owned sims: Blake Coast, Blake Shore, and Blake Cove, Roatan, ZATZAi and Artificial Ilse. See a map, HERE. For more information, view the Blake Sea Contested Waters blog, run by Nber Medici

Port Merrimac at Roatan (for land and naval battles). This is part of the Blake Sea Contested Waters Battle Circle

Sanctuary Shoals Pier (for naval battles, SLURL Forthcoming)

in addition, Steeltopia hosts BATTLESTORM SATURDAYS at Obsidian Pier, Port Tiburon in Steeltopia. Battles are roughly the same format as Iron Melee Thursdays, on Saturday Nights. Contact Steelcobra Calamari in world for details. (Slurl forthcoming)

If you have a relatively lag free location with a lot of water in it and a desire to play naval combat games in world, please contact either myself (Hotspur Otoole) or AngusGraham Ceawlin in world, and we'll try out your location in the rotation.

Keep your powder dry!