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Provide a virtual environment for testing Lua flight scripts.


JayleBreak
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With the return of element lifetimes the development of Lua flight scripts (e.g. flying_construct.conf) carries the risk of excessive costs.


The solution would be to provide a VR environment similar to that in the "Challenges" tab of the Surrogate Pod UI, but where the ships have no DRM restrictions on their controllers. The code loaded into those controllers should not be saved to the server, but copy & paste should be permitted. Loading of configuration from the lua/autoconf/custom folder should be allowed.


Offering a variety of ships would be great and if a variety of elements (radars, guns etc.) were available to modify the ships it would magnify the development possibilities.

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If we're looking at instanced environments there are other aspects and tools that could benefit as well.  For example, this could tie into using an instanced version of in game structures as maps for FPS ladder matches.

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1 hour ago, JayleBreak said:

With the return of element lifetimes the development of Lua flight scripts (e.g. flying_construct.conf) carries the risk of excessive costs.


The solution would be to provide a VR environment similar to that in the "Challenges" tab of the Surrogate Pod UI, but where the ships have no DRM restrictions on their controllers. The code loaded into those controllers should not be saved to the server, but copy & paste should be permitted. Loading of configuration from the lua/autoconf/custom folder should be allowed.


Offering a variety of ships would be great and if a variety of elements (radars, guns etc.) were available to modify the ships it would magnify the development possibilities.

I like this idea as long as:

- We need to be able to build, or at least modify constructs, within some limits - not all constructs are alike (think VTOL, vs. angled engines, vs.regular airplane configs), Having NQ provide a few defaults is nice, but not enough I think.

- We are *not* allowed to create blue prints from the constructs within that environment; it should not become DU in pure creative mode.

- The environment is semi-volatile, meaning modified constructs remain modified, including scripts, until the player resets it. This is needed to prevent loss of work due to network errors etc.

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From a practical point of view, this is a great idea.

 

From an immersion point of view though, I quite like that developing flight scripts happens in the "real" world and is therefore scary :), and requires things like cheap test vehicles, wide open spaces, low gravity planets, and so on.

 

It's hard to get the balance right, but the game will benefit when there are reasons to go to certain places and do certain things!

 

Just as a thought experiment, an alternative might be some sort of test mode for a dynamic core (or a special kind of core) which removes or greatly reduces collision damage, but ties the location of the core to within a few km of its starting location / current tile / whatever. So it can be used to test flight, but not for anything practical.

 

 

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An issue with the semi-volatile part is that if it's accessible by VR, then network issues will kill your session and it will reset. Unless they put in a fix where you only leave VR if you choose to instead of on logout / crash. This could have various other effects down the line.

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1 hour ago, Samedi said:

From an immersion point of view

So our backpacks can transform raw minerals into space faring vehicles but we can't instance a virtual environment without breaking immersion?  I agree that to truly call something "tested" there have to be real stakes and conditions (pencil towers... grrrrr), but that doesn't mean we can't test the basic responses for a configuration and/or scripts before we invest real time into making the voxels look good.  It is a logical and beneficial tool in the design process of any complex product.

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An example of where/how such a feature could become a game mechanic or even a mini-game would be a set of challenges that can only be accessed from direct interface with a construct's core you own, not in build mode.

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2 hours ago, Wyndle said:

So our backpacks can transform raw minerals into space faring vehicles but we can't instance a virtual environment without breaking immersion?

 

No, I'm not saying that. Heaven knows there's a lot of "lore" that makes no sense at all from an immersion point of view.

 

All I mean is that I like the idea of the real (main) instance being the place where everything happens. The more separate sandboxes and challenge spaces there are, the fewer people there will be in the main instance at any one time, and the less life-like it will feel.

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Also... it should maybe allow people to choose a blueprint to use as their ship, which it builds for that VR session - to ensure players can still do niche things with scripts, instead of only being able to test flight scripts for traditionally-built ships. 

And if some script maybe needs tags on all its engines, you wouldn't have to re-tag them every time you enter a session if you have a blueprint with those tags (assuming tags are even saved in bps)

 

This would also allow players to 'try out' ships they have blueprints for but can't build yet (a rare situation, so maybe not all that useful)

 

For security reasons, in that case DRM should still apply to control units (until picked up and placed down again), so it couldn't be used to read scripts from a DRM'd bp

 

 

And, it should also probably allow you to choose a planet, if it doesn't already... I've never toyed with the Challenges tab.  But flight scripts need to be tested on each planet, and it is often very expensive and time consuming to do so

 

 

 

But... this also sort of ties in to a much larger idea that would solve a lot of problems and meet a long-standing request.... personal 'worlds' via VR, empty instances of the system for each player.  Maybe others can visit your personal world, maybe not.  Maybe everything is free in your personal world (creative), maybe not.  Maybe you can only deploy blueprints for free there, which avoids all the problems that creative makes while still preserving script testing purposes.  Maybe your personal world would be persistent, but if not, it'd still be extremely valuable for script testing

 

And if it ends up with any of those maybes, it could become a whole new avenue of gameplay; some people might prefer to just, build insane things in their creative VR world and share it with people.  The players who enjoy the main game wouldn't do it, of course, but those who get tired of the main loop would still have a way and a reason to keep playing

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15 minutes ago, Samedi said:

The more separate sandboxes and challenge spaces there are, the fewer people there will be in the main instance at any one time, and the less life-like it will feel.

We'll see, I don't think I agree unless it's full-creative, and even then it's a maybe.  I think it will be rare because DU is a time-investment-based race of sorts; any time spent in VR is time you could have been making income in the real world.  Even if the VR world gave you everything up to and including creative mode, the people who would hang out there, are people who wouldn't have kept playing in the main world anyway

 

 

But you do definitely bring up a good point, because there's a very fine and arbitrary line between a sandbox to test lua scripts in, vs a creative mode, and all the arguments against creative do apply to a lua testing environment.  If they allow one, why not the other - and if that why not is good enough, then they probably shouldn't allow either one

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