Gaming Orbital Margins

jedidia

shoemaker without legs
Addon Developer
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
10,916
Reaction score
2,178
Points
203
Location
between the planets
I spent most of my alotted time this week planning how to proceed and defining further milestones, so I'm heavily brainstorming all kinds of things.
One of them is, as has been suggested here, further job types. They have always been planned, and I had a couple ideas, but there might be a ton of fun stuff that just never entered my mind.

Currently I have the following job types in my backlog:

Recovery
Redezvous with an object, attach to it, and bring it back somewhere. May be time critical in some instances, as the object is threatening to cross into orbits it shouldn’t, or might deorbit.

Deployment / Installation
Take an object out to designated orbital elements and leave it there. May also involve attaching it to something that’s already there.

Maintenance/repair
Rendezvous with an object and perform maintenance like exchanging parts, or fix it outright because it doesn’t go “beep” anymore.
May be time critical in some instances.

Resupply
Like a delivery, except to an unmanned object. I.e. you there’ll be some transfer interface and protocols to follow, and if things don’t work, you likely have to get out there and make them work.

Taxi
Like a delivery, but with people. Which means the payload is going to be some temporary habitat module, and the cargo needs to be entertained, may have weird requests, or may otherwise cause trouble.

Does anybody have further ideas for "mission profiles"? Please consider that the game is intended to be a) relatively hard science-fiction and b) non-violent. Which doesn't mean that the player will never experience violence, but definitely means that anything that involves shooting things is off the table.
Also, there's a bunch of stuff in the back of my mind for lunar missions, but it's still going to be quite a stretch before the game leaves earth orbit, so while suggestions in that direction are not unwelcome, I won't even be thinking about their implementation for a while.
 

Urwumpe

Not funny anymore
Addon Developer
Donator
Joined
Feb 6, 2008
Messages
37,752
Reaction score
2,498
Points
203
Location
Wolfsburg
Preferred Pronouns
Sire
I would include getting chartered for research missions to asteroids (and later game maybe mars), which could provider a more different mission profile and in fact, even a whole range of different mission experiences: Commercial exploration of resources, science missions, tourists, ...

Also it could be different, since the customer is represented on-board and may wish to influence the mission, like diverting to another asteroid, spending more time on site, get more EVAs, etc. Maybe tourists also ask for a Venus flyby to take pictures, if the spacecraft passes nearby anyway, you get the idea I am sure.
 

jedidia

shoemaker without legs
Addon Developer
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
10,916
Reaction score
2,178
Points
203
Location
between the planets
I would include getting chartered for research missions to asteroids (and later game maybe mars), which could provider a more different mission profile and in fact, even a whole range of different mission experiences: Commercial exploration of resources, science missions, tourists, ...

Also it could be different, since the customer is represented on-board and may wish to influence the mission, like diverting to another asteroid, spending more time on site, get more EVAs, etc. Maybe tourists also ask for a Venus flyby to take pictures, if the spacecraft passes nearby anyway, you get the idea I am sure.
There's the slight problem of spacial confinment here... doing interplanetary stuff would require quite a different kind of vessel than doing stuff in cis-lunar space, which is really where the game is intended to take place. That would blow up the scope quite a bit...
Missions to a NEO could be in the cards, though, I'll keep that thought in mind. But I'll need to focus on the low-hanging fruit first, because even just getting to the moon or L-points will require some code that right now I don't have yet, and that is not immediately required to improve the game. Any missions with EVAs are probably a good idea to do first, though, since they do offer the opportunity for different dynamics.
 

jedidia

shoemaker without legs
Addon Developer
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
10,916
Reaction score
2,178
Points
203
Location
between the planets
There's another patch, adding close buttons to focused challenges and the side menus and fixing a few cosmetic issues that were popping up.
Besides that, I have finished my initial planning for all the features required to turn the thing into a more fun demo, and, correlated with the time I am able to invest into the project, ended up with an estimate of 43 weeks... A bit too large of a junk to do in one go.

Since everything on that list is screaming "me! me! pick me first!" I thought it might be a good idea to get more input as to what people think should be prioritized. If you've played the game, it would be neat if you could quickly hop over there and click me your opinion:
 

jedidia

shoemaker without legs
Addon Developer
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
10,916
Reaction score
2,178
Points
203
Location
between the planets
Patch 0.4.3 introduces the first, tiniest glimpse of world dynamics. The system now has the ability to generate toRoll modifiers and weigh the probability of appearance of complications for yellow or red results, both based on the current context. Right now this is only used in departure, docking, cargo delivery and pickup, where the current traffic activity and the overall size of the station make things more difficult or easy, and certain outcomes less likely to appear (for example, collisions during docking are significantly less likely when there’s not much traffic).

I've also posted the first of what I intend to become a monthly devlog, if anybody wants to keep track with development:
 
Last edited:

jedidia

shoemaker without legs
Addon Developer
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
10,916
Reaction score
2,178
Points
203
Location
between the planets
Devlog for december is up:

No update this month, because christmas would just swallow it up anyways. Would have worked if I managed to get it done earlier, but I didn't. It's all in the devlog really, if you're interested. Also quite some detail about the next major milestone.
 

E69shango

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2009
Messages
18
Reaction score
9
Points
18
Location
Spain
Oh man I am trying now and this is really interesting. Will give some feedback when I finish testing properly in a few days.

What about some missions for science experiments to gather data?, I am glad I found this I was thinking in doing something similar to give a layer of persistence and gaming to the orbiter sim (wich I love since I discovered back in 2006..).
I saw this is coded in Java, what are you using for the UI?
 
Last edited:

jedidia

shoemaker without legs
Addon Developer
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
10,916
Reaction score
2,178
Points
203
Location
between the planets
Thanks for your feedback, but there may be a misunderstanding here.
This is not a project related to orbiter. This is its completely own thing. And a very different kind of thing than Orbiter.

To answer your question, though, the frontend is coded in LibGDX. And the game is actually written in Kotlin, not Java, though of course you can't tell anymore once the code is compiled.
 

E69shango

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2009
Messages
18
Reaction score
9
Points
18
Location
Spain
Thanks very much for the information, yes I understand better now that I test a little, I had a similar idea but integrating with orbiter just like Neofly does with MSFS.
 

E69shango

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2009
Messages
18
Reaction score
9
Points
18
Location
Spain
Game is interesting, I really liked the list of tasks (loading cargo, all the undocking and burns...) but mechanics are all time the same, I think it would feel better to have some more mechanics in place that feel more connected to each task. Easier said than done but otherwise there's a lack of inmersion as you are always doing the same task, seems only the name and consequences change. I really loved the idea of paying for deltav per ton.
Overall is promising I think it has some good ideas and surely inmersion can be increased with some graphics and sounds. Thanks for sharing, will follow the development.
 

jedidia

shoemaker without legs
Addon Developer
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
10,916
Reaction score
2,178
Points
203
Location
between the planets
New version is finally up, introducing satellite maintenance jobs complete with spacewalks. Patch notes here:

You can read a little more in the new state vector if you're interested:
https://randomactsofconstruction.itch.io/orbital-margins/devlog/667263/state-vector-january-24
 

jedidia

shoemaker without legs
Addon Developer
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
10,916
Reaction score
2,178
Points
203
Location
between the planets
Version 0.6.0 is up!


This one changes the dynamics of the game somewhat by introducing various status effects for low drive or accumulating burnout. Maintaining your motivation is now actually important.
Also, I threw in some status effects that make the spacecraft more or less difficult to control depending on how much it is loaded, which was kind of necessary to balance a bit in favor of the maintenance jobs. Just flying from a to b can now be significantly more difficult with a fat payload than when you're empty.

As always, I'm thankful for anybody giving it a go and giving me some feedback!

There's also a new state vector, talking a bit about the direction the art for the game should go in, once it becomes a thing (still a ways of, but I was grabbed by a fey mood the past month):
 

jedidia

shoemaker without legs
Addon Developer
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
10,916
Reaction score
2,178
Points
203
Location
between the planets
New version up! This one increases mechanical depth by quite a bit by introducing condition for spacecraft, EMU, and the players body. There's also a couple new events going along with that in case you screw up. I've also added a "push" mechanic, that lets you reroll your dice pool under certain circumstances.
Next up will be another job type, and possibly the ability to assign character attributes to your liking at the start of the game, I'll have to see how things move along.

Get it on itch, as always I'm extremely happy about any feedback I can get:

For anyone that might be interested, there's also a new state vector that goes a little into the architecture of the whole thing:
 

jedidia

shoemaker without legs
Addon Developer
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
10,916
Reaction score
2,178
Points
203
Location
between the planets
The new update isn't quite there yet, but I've published the development update for April. It talks a bit about what's to come relatively soon (I hope), and also some ramblings about test-driven development and me and games, for anybody that might be interested.

 

Urwumpe

Not funny anymore
Addon Developer
Donator
Joined
Feb 6, 2008
Messages
37,752
Reaction score
2,498
Points
203
Location
Wolfsburg
Preferred Pronouns
Sire
The new update isn't quite there yet, but I've published the development update for April. It talks a bit about what's to come relatively soon (I hope), and also some ramblings about test-driven development and me and games, for anybody that might be interested.


I see your TDD rant, understand what causes the pain... but I think you are still wrong. But hey, that IS then MY opinion and many experts will call me nuts as well. :ROFLMAO:

(Short: Unit testing vs Story/Acceptance testing, the fact, that nobody else can test your unit of work except you, the developer, because nobody else knows that it exists and what it should do)
 

N_Molson

Addon Developer
Addon Developer
Donator
Joined
Mar 5, 2010
Messages
9,301
Reaction score
3,275
Points
203
Location
Toulouse
The new update isn't quite there yet, but I've published the development update for April. It talks a bit about what's to come relatively soon (I hope), and also some ramblings about test-driven development and me and games, for anybody that might be interested.


At Polar Motion, I can say I'm the head of the mighty Testing Department(tm). But I'm also really involved into game design. We're 3 people. :D

And, seriously, though not full-time, we're working 6 days a week, sometimes 7!
 

jedidia

shoemaker without legs
Addon Developer
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
10,916
Reaction score
2,178
Points
203
Location
between the planets
New update is finally out, I was already afraid I wouldn't make it anymore this month. Which would obviously not have bothered anybody except my motivation...
This introduces UI sounds and a new job type with some more EVA activities. As always, I'm very thankful for feedback!

https://randomactsofconstruction.itch.io/orbital-margins/devlog/721133/patch-notes-080

This update actually reaches the mechanical goals I had set forth for "prototype 2", which I gave myself 6 months for. That leaves me with enough time to dig into the UI overhaul that I halfways believe I might actually make it, which would be cool. There is the one or other smaller thing that I hope to be able to get in on the sidelines, so there might be another update before july, but UI will take top priority now.
Now, let's try to remember how the hell Inkscape and Gimp work... :rolleyes:
 

jedidia

shoemaker without legs
Addon Developer
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
10,916
Reaction score
2,178
Points
203
Location
between the planets
Doing some early iterations on possible UI designs, and I think the thing I'm going to stick with is to make the whole UI look like panels in a spacecraft cockpit for a bit of atmosphere.
I was wondering about what to do with the stats (drive, vitality, condition...) and had the idea I could make them look like circuit breakers in an airplane, but I'm not at all sure most people would understand the visual language (going on various articles, even many pilots don't seem to really understand breakers...). I guess I could make them look more like FI breakers, at least people not recognising it would be reminded of flip-switches and there's a more intuitive on/off position on the things, especially from a top-down perspective.
I was also thinking of a rotary switch that dials down, or just normal flip-switches. Really not sure what to go for. Any opinions / preferences?
 

Urwumpe

Not funny anymore
Addon Developer
Donator
Joined
Feb 6, 2008
Messages
37,752
Reaction score
2,498
Points
203
Location
Wolfsburg
Preferred Pronouns
Sire
Doing some early iterations on possible UI designs, and I think the thing I'm going to stick with is to make the whole UI look like panels in a spacecraft cockpit for a bit of atmosphere.
I was wondering about what to do with the stats (drive, vitality, condition...) and had the idea I could make them look like circuit breakers in an airplane, but I'm not at all sure most people would understand the visual language (going on various articles, even many pilots don't seem to really understand breakers...). I guess I could make them look more like FI breakers, at least people not recognising it would be reminded of flip-switches and there's a more intuitive on/off position on the things, especially from a top-down perspective.
I was also thinking of a rotary switch that dials down, or just normal flip-switches. Really not sure what to go for. Any opinions / preferences?

I think you would have some other options. For example, you could rename the stats to life support parameters (for example: O2 partial pressure, CO2, water, food), the represent them or are influenced by multiple hidden stats, so the player would need to think more about the situation. For example, if you have three major stats, you could create three spacecraft indicators that represent the product of two attributes, like low drive and vitality increasing the CO2 dial. Also this could allow some difficulty options, like showing the exact value in easy mode, a combination of two in normal, and the integral of two parameters in hard mode.

Also possible would be using tape dials, like the Shuttle or the B-1B had. Or for fun: A oscilloscope view that shows the vital parameters as fake plots like heartbeat increasing as condition goes down. Or a a triangular grid view, that colors the grid cells by the stats. (Like describing a point in a triangle by multiplying three vectors with three scalars and add the product vectors). Or a HAL-9000 display. And finally, you could use a text bubble to describe the thoughts of the players character.
 

jedidia

shoemaker without legs
Addon Developer
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
10,916
Reaction score
2,178
Points
203
Location
between the planets
Some good ideas there, many of which I'm not sure I'm enough of a visual designer to pull off successfully while still giving the player clear information. I'll need to think about this a bit.
 
Top