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Devnet Ideas Postings
by Apricotslice.

These are postings into the Egosoft Development Forum, reproduced here for those without access to this forum area.

Fleet and Complex Management on the HUD.

I'd like to see all Player ships and complex icons with key info displayed on the hud, out of the way of combat. Move the guns icons to where they can be viewed while aiming, and use the side places made vacant to display every thing the player is keeping tabs on.

For example :

Each UT so you know where they are all the time.
Each capital ship.
Each Flight/Squadron Leader.
Complex hubs.
Capped ships on the move to somewhere.
Station delivery ships.

Mouse over the icon and you get popup information as to where it is, what its condition is and what its doing. Option to click this information on permanently for an icon, until clicked off again. So for UT's, you could always know at a glance where they are.

Then, if one of them is attacked, the icon flashes red, you click on it, nav options and combat options appear and you can give orders at a single click without needing to pull up the nav map of that sector to find the ship and get it out of there. An option for avoidance would flash the icon when an enemy is in scan range, to prompt you for orders before combat happens.

Click on jump to safety and it jumps to the nearest gate in a nearby sector without an enemy presense. Click jump to repair, and it jumps to the nearest shipyard.

Option to click for player ship to immediately jump to nearest gate to ship under attack. So flashing red icon, mouse over icon, list of commands for the attacked ship with last command being Jump player to aid.

Drag a cap ship or flight leader over the flashing red icon and the cap ship or flight jumps to resue it.

Drag a ship over another ship in the same sector, it forms a unit. If the latter is a carrier, then it forms a unit with the carrier as homebase. If the latter is a station, then the station becomes homebase. Mouse over the carrier and the units are displayed. Click to hold them in place. Drag another ship onto a unit and the ship joins that unit and flies to the base. Drag a ship off a unit and it becomes a single ship again and appears on the hud, unless you drop it on another unit. Flight leaders and such are assigned automatically, from criteria selected from a menu of options.

Claim a ship, it appears on the hud, mouse over displays commands, click on move to shipyard or move to carrier, dock at nearest station, double click to move to sector, or drag it over a TL or M1 or hub to have it go dock there, whereever it is.

Universe map to appear overlaid on the hud, so drag an icon onto a sector moves the ship there, options for jump or fly.

Click on the hub icon and it brings up the details screen for the hub with sub-clicks for landed ships and other options.

Most of the repetitious menu searching can be done by putting your key assets on the main hud as small icons and clicking or dragging them gives orders quickly.

This would be in addition to the existing menu system, and within that is the ability to turn on or off the hud icons. On each hud icon, the last option is turning it off.

Damaged ships or stations, or ships that have just had a part damaged and needs replacing, show a small cross or something as part of the icon.

Ships without guns show an icon that indicates they cant fight. Ships without full shielding show an icon that indicates they are vulnerable.

As you get more ships, you join them into flight, then squadrons, then fleets, and each time you do, the ships become a group icon, with mouse over showing the composition of the group.

Other information shown is if the ship or group is jump capable, and if not why not, including no jump drive fitted or short on e-cells.

Have a freighter full of e-cells and drag it over any other icon, and it goes (jumps/flys) and beams over e-cells to the ship or group, then restocks either from your SPP or complex if you have supplies, or from the nearest SPP (choice of standing orders). When its stock is low, it goes and fills up, or flashes low to tell you for orders. Ditto ships with missiles and alternate gun loads.

See enemies icon would expand when clicked to display icons of all enemy units in proximity to player assests. At the same time, units available to attack come brighter, units inappropriate to attack go dimmer. Dragging our own ship icons onto the enemy one initiates an attack on the specific enemy. Moving a fleet to attack an enemy M2 would take only a few quick drag and drops. No matter if you are in sector or on the other side of the universe. Drag, drop, fight. Then orders to repair/reload afterward.

Pretty well all the Fleet and Factory management we currently have to do through very cumbersome menus could be done on the hud.

At a guess, you should be able to put 30 to 50 small icons on the hud in non-critical areas of the screen, and be able to manage your empire predominantly without menus. I'd be happy to sacrifice a lot of the exisiting hud items that floats around the edge of the hud, so I can keep tabs on all my ships instead. I dont need to see civilian icons on the hud. Nor do I need to see traders, unless I'm targetting them (so turn on or off as need). The hud still should have room for the flowing edges of icons, and still place fixed icons for all player assets.

The game lacks the ability to give orders to player assets in seconds.

If I am in the middle of combat, and another one of my ships in another sector is attacked, I need to give orders in seconds without interrupting my own combat.

True Fleet management is missing from the game, (think M1/M2 battlegroups with multiple m6 support, and hundreds of fighters), and doing anything in large numbers is so cumbersome that many who want to (me) do not bother, its too hard.

By putting it all in an organised fashion on the hud, complicated groupings and orders could be made in seconds.

All hud items need to be selectable. Turn them on and off depending on what you need to see at any time. Some players will want to turn many existing hud items off, and turn managment ones on. Others will be the opposite. So the player needs to be able to choose.

STATIONS - Player Trading and EQ Docks

I do not understand why such expensive stations as Trading dock and EQ dock, cannot sell to NPC Traders.

In a game where seller ships just commit suicide all the time or randomly vanish for no acceptable reason, these stations become useless simply because the NPC traffic ignore them.

Please make the Trading and EQ docks the same as every other station and allow all NPC ships to trade with player owned docks.

TRADING - Supply ship role

Supply Ship role for freighter.

Asign a supply ship to keep assigned stations/complexes supplied with ALL the products they need simultaneously, by assessing the entire network at once, and loading ALL the products needed at each stop, instead of a single product, and jump to each destination.

For example, Giskards Trading Network idea.

Asign a single freighter to supply them all, accross the universe.

Tell it to collect from certain complexes/stations, and supply to each trading station.

As the trading stations (and could also be eq docks) will specialise in low volume, high price items, taking 2 125mj shields on a single trip is pointless when the same ship could take a top up for every product on the station and still only have half a load. Instead of 30 trips carrying a few items with 12000 empty space, each station is resupplied in 1 or 2 trips using the whole cargo space.

Where stocks are small and not many products, 6 (more or less) trading stations could be round robin supplied with a single load of wares begining at a complex and ending there, and then redoing over again.

This could also be used for complexes where they mutually support each other with many products. Instead of 10 ships moving 10 products in 2 directions, you have a single ship moving 10 products in 2 directions depending on need.

The desire is to remove the need for masses of ships to do what 1 ship would do if you piloted it (which of course you dont, your out capping or Am or XI).

So replace lots of dumb ships with a single intelligent ship.