Tuesday, April 27, 2010

SCSE Orca and MSS Kaitos submarines

We have just released a special type of exploration sub that does not need a HUD to control. It started off with a commission from the Steeltopian Empire for an exploration submarine for their Steeltopian Consortium of Scientific Endeavors or SCSE. When we took on this project we wanted to create an improved version of the Auriga with a very spacious interior, unlike most 32 prim subs that have you crammed in a small compartment. We also wanted to try a hudless control method with the ship, and seeing as the ship has no weapons controls this would be very doable. So, remembering that we could use llDetectedTouchUV we created a simple control panel for the new sub...

This sub has an engine on and an engine off button, as well as two buttons to control the hatches for letting people in and out of the sub. Also knot speed is displayed as hovertext, so you get all the information you need to control the sub while in mouselook. Using this technology, we may be able to make some of our ships hudless, most notably the submarines. In fact... with a combination of hovertext and audio clues, pilots would be able to receive all the information they need in terms of speed, depth, turning, fuel & ammo amount, hull damage etc etc etc. The only issue is that certain types of weapons systems such as turreted cannons will be very hard to operate as the pilot must essentially be in mouselook the whole time, but I have a feeling if the pilot house and control panel were designed correctly and were adapted to the ship properly then this control system could work quite well.

The advantages of such a system are pretty obvious. Without the need for the ship and HUD to talk to each other you reduce the amount of communication overhead, meaning the ship will be much more responsive (the new sub has already proved this). Another advantage is that you do not have a HUD cluttering up your screen space, which can be annoying to some people. And then of course there is an added sense of realism of actually sitting in front of a control panel as opposed to a floating one in the corner of your screen.

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