Worst-case scenario: the UEd Goblin wipes the map and burns down your house.

Legacy:Tychon/Developer Journal

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May 22, 2004 - 0244 hours, EST
Whew, I'm beat. As you can tell, it's a bit late. Or perhaps early, I suppose it depends on your personal opinion of the matter. Either way it results in my being rather tired.
Anyways, I feel I may rattle off a few things afore I forget them, and this seems as good a place as any. I hate writing a multitude of little notes in notepad and then having to sort through oddly named files all with modification dates that strangely have a pattern of having been edited after midnight. At any rate.
Recently, I've been pondering what sort of project I'd like to cut my teeth into. Of course we all have grandiose ideas for whatever we endeavor in - otherwise why bother? Unless it's an amazingly interesting concept with no complexity required, chances are the mind will wander into creating a construct of grandiose design, likely far beyond ones ability or motivation to carry through with.
Back on track. Reading through various mods currently available or underway, I've been refining a handful of ideas. Apparently one of the more popular subjects currently is either space, or some form of CounterStrike clone. Quite frankly, I like the idea of a money system in games and so on, but they're rarely well implemented, normally just a kill bounty basis. No offense, but that hardly lights fireworks of interest, mentally speaking.
Space on the other hand, is very interesting. Unfortunately, it's so interesting, it requires a very well thought out design to properly emulate, or just a kickass game in general which will distract the user from some gaping irregularities or unexplained things, such as why ships continually slow down despite there being no friction. This is a common thing in space based programs, for some strange reason. I like to mentally note it off to some undetailed computer routine that constantly corrects the ship's flight by slowing it down if the ship has no destination goal.
Given the interest of space, there is an equally interesting amount of space mods underway. Quite frankly, Foxpaw's currently strikes me as the most well thought out. Kudos to anyone who designs an independant part system that works together to create a functioning unit - that actually works in a realtime enviroment. Well done, I anxiously await this mod. Given all these mods, and some of them being very interesting looking indeed, I'd personally rather not try to cut my teeth in on the trend. Aside from the chances of such a mod ever being popular (not particularly a concern given this would be my first major project), so much more would have to be done just to break through and feel I accomplished something more than copying an already well established idea. I know all ideas have been done, but I don't have much interest in reinventing the wheel, and leaving it exactly as it was before it was "reinvented".
So with further pondering, I find myself sinking into the one realm that has yet to really be defined in modding, or gaming in general. Water. More specifically, underwater. How many games have you seen that involve submersible vehicles? Very few most likely. And of the few that I've personally encountered, they tended to be very limited, often little more than interactive two dimensional images. Saddening, since I personally find the realm quite fascinating. Anyone remember SeaQuest? No I'm not going to recreate it, if that's what you're thinking. I have enough ideas of my own, thank you.
Hmm, I write a little too much I think. Ah well, I'm going to write even more. Torture for thee, reader, there be.
The basic idea currently clicking through my head is an, of course, three dimensional submarine game slash simulation. I say simulation because I intend it to involve some level of realism, with the imaginative leeway allowed to gamers and programmers alike. Being as I'm more interested in the enviroment and so on than the character involved, I have no intention on remaking the characters or weaponry included by default with UT2003. (Alas I have yet to get UT2004. I probably should before I make any major attempts at this, hm.)
This leaves me with basically a futuristic background to work with. Of course I don't have to, but quite frankly, I don't want to bother with diesel engine submarines. Given the general bulk of the characters in UT2003 and weapons employed, a submarine would likely be a tad fatter and differently equipped than submarines as they are today.
I'm going to write up a more detailed tree of my current thoughts on the project, but for now, I'm going to spill these thoughts here. Well, until I finish the writeup anyways. Probably be back here in an hour or so, if I haven't fallen asleep at the keyboard. Heh.
May 22, 2004 - 0358 hours, EST
Project Title:
Broken Waters.
This is the current working title for the mod. I've yet to see a mod using the title or a conflicting title, so that's all grand. Plus it has some symbolic meaning to the concept of the mod - only the sort that can be cooked up from a sleeping mind.
Taken from the expression used by expecting mothers, "My water broke!", strange as it may seem, it feels appropriate. It's a notice before birth. In this case of the mod, a birth to a new idea of life and society, being forced to live underwater, and in respect to myself actually, the birth of my first project and into the world of UnrealScripting.
I told you it was stuff cooked up by a sleeping mind.
Project Plot:
Haven't bothered with this too much - I wasn't thinking of creating a single player side to it particularly, but some backdrop is nice. Nothing's hammered out of course, this idea is only around twelve hours old. Young might be more appropriate, hmm.
Anyways. Something happened in the original above world. A viral or chemical attack on a global level resulted in more or less making the world uninhabitable. Those that didn't perish but couldn't make it to the fleeing space transports, instead fled to the vast oceans of the world. This likely won't be based on Earth, something slightly more aquatic for the majority I was thinking.
Society basically being destroyed on this world, the various ships exist as singular beings. Colonies if you will, of humans simply trying to survive in a new and undeveloped enviroment.
That sort of thing. I'll work on this later, I just needed a foundation to establish the mod on. This works fine for me thus far, so.
Project Concept:
I'd like to call it a submarine simulation, but I don't want to go that far and scare people away. Aside from which, I don't know all that much about submarines. Not enough to even think of classifying anything I make as simulative of the real thing. But I do want to go so far as to call it that, because I intend to immerse the player moreso into the mod as if they were actually part of that crew, part of that submarine, instead of just playing a game.
Project Details:
Of course I know we'd all like to create a perfectly immersive game that was realistic and fun at the same time, but some things will have to be worked through. Being as this is based around the default character models and weapons used in UT2003, it will of course have a fairly futuristic and perhaps slightly industrial feel to it, things won't quite be so realistic.
Submarines would be controlled by groups of players. Being as UT2003 can't really handle a 64 player server, and I somehow doubt UT2004 is that much better, I'm basing a full crew at 16 players. Of course they'll be usable by less, just not quite as efficiently.
Submarines would be interfaced via scripted textures actually on the internal model of a submarine as opposed to say, a HUD interface of some sort. This may seem tedious, but I feel it makes the effect so much more immersive. Of course being as the software and OpenGL drivers can't display scripted textures, I may have to implement some sort of basic HUD system for them at least.
Manning would work similar to a real submarine. A person sits at his or her station and effects their duties, whatever that may be. Ship systems could be interfaced without the classic "locking" into a ship, so the player could freely move around and still perform his duties. This will likely of course depend on that duty, some may require locking the player in place, such as helm control.
To keep it simple, I'm thinking of a three or five key interface. Depends on how it all works out. That's three or five keys to perform any nonstandard action - which means all duties can be performed with only three or five keys. This may seem too simplistic, but to be honest I can't find much more need. A focus key, to cause the client to attempt to focus on a specific area. Toggle, to flip through the functions available for that area. And then the standard interact key. To demonstrate.

Player walks up to panel.
Player presses focus key while looking at panel.
Player presses toggle key, changing focus from panel monitor to dial on panel.
Player presses interact key, turning the dial.

Something to that effect. Now you may wonder why a focus key. This was simply a ponderment of mine for purposes of speed. The focus key means a trace is only done while the key is pressed as opposed to every moment to see what's in front of the user. A little annoying to the user but I'm willing to piss a few players off to lighten the network load.
This also helps in grabbing a range of interactable objects as opposed to just the one under your nose, which allows me to sink them into an array and work with that instead of working with constantly changing trace results. It seems to work to my tired mind at the moment, I'll need to think it over later on I'm sure.
I may want to change it to Toggle Last, Toggle Next, to allow directional control in the array of objects. I imagine it'd get annoying to sift through all the items, miss one, and then have to go all the way back through them to get to it again.
Probably two interact keys too. One with a negative result, and one with a positive. To be thought over later as well.
So yeah, five keys most likely. These five keys however will allow for just about as much control as you could want over any system. Of course things like steering would be done with normal movement controls most likely, so all jobs couldn't be done with simply those five keys, but you get the idea.
Then of course, there's basic enviromental concerns. Pressure, oxygen, hull status, and so on. I'd like to on some level, emulate all these and so on. I'm still mulling over how I would want to go about flooding a ship. I already am expecting to create an entirely new water volume and so forth to incorporate this sort of functionality, but flooding a ship might be tricky to do. Consideration of angle of attack of the ship and so forth. Plus I was pondering actually creating a hole in the mesh where the leaks are, perhaps I could use an xProcMesh for this? I'll need to ask around about those.
Of course I'm well and getting ahead of myself. This is just the general gist of it all. Ideas come and go, so we'll see where it stands when I start actual work on it.