Function Parts

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Function Parts

Post  US_of_Alaska on Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:54 am

Function Parts are essentially small mechanical elements, placed into creations in the Tech Editor, with a twofold purpose:
1) To save players from having to design functional, complex (and at times, fantastical) machinery themselves.
2) To impart AI "tags" on a creation, which will allow the game's AI to correctly use and interact with the creation.
When placed into a creation, a function part will either have the appearance of a small (scalable) object, or be completely invisible (this has yet to be determined). Certain stats will be hard-coded to each Function Part. For example, a "Combustion Engine" Function Part might have the following properties (as an example):
-Drive Power
-Weight
-Fuel Type
-Available Materials (that is, materials from which the player may physically construct this item)
...as well as the following AI tags:
-Mechanical
-Motorized
-Vehicle
Whereas a "Hydraulic Piston" Function Part might have properties such as:
-Thrust
-Pressure
...and tags such as:
-Mechanical
-Hydraulic
We must still discuss exactly what tags we'll really need - there's only so much detail that's really useful to the game AI. Similarly, with properties, we'll need to figure out what the bottom-line variables are that the game must have to make physics assessments. Even if we have an excellent material physics engine, we'll still have to write scripts for the capabilities of different materials - physics engines won't do this for us.

This thread can also be used to propose Function Parts that you want added to the game. There's no real limit on what you can propose - any mechanical device is worth considering, even if humans can't build it yet. Posting a Function Part here is NOT a guarantee that it will get used - these will be reviewed and, if needed, debated. Refer to my examples below:

Proposed Function Parts:
Part: Hydraulic piston
Unlocked by: Fluid Dynamics AND Replaceable Parts
Function: Provides mechanical resistance (as a spring); Provides mechanical thrust (when coupled with a power source).
Available materials: Iron or any harder metal

Part: Radio Transmitter
Unlocked by: Radio
Function: Allows communication over long distances (if player constructs Radio Towers)
Available materials: all metals

Part: Warp Drive
Unlocked by: Singularity Dynamics AND Quantum Mechanics
Function: Allows starships to travel instantaneously between two points in space by "bending" space-time (if player constructs Warp Beacons)
Available materials: ? (Manufactured exotics?)
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Re: Function Parts

Post  sciocont on Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:50 pm

Sounds good.
The way the the will work programming wise is coming along- but the actual building part is still hard for me to figure out- it would seem that we'd need a 3D modeler built in. I think this could actually work. If we ship the game and include, let's say, sketchup, because it's easy to use and simple, the tech editor would open up sketchup inside the game window. We'd have a physics plugin and the function parts would be resizable components with special abilities inside the physics plugin.

Basically what i'm saying is that the easiest way to make tech is to have people do it themselves, but have plugins to make it easier.
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Re: Function Parts

Post  US_of_Alaska on Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:56 pm

sciocont wrote:Sounds good.
The way the the will work programming wise is coming along- but the actual building part is still hard for me to figure out- it would seem that we'd need a 3D modeler built in. I think this could actually work. If we ship the game and include, let's say, sketchup, because it's easy to use and simple, the tech editor would open up sketchup inside the game window. We'd have a physics plugin and the function parts would be resizable components with special abilities inside the physics plugin.

Basically what i'm saying is that the easiest way to make tech is to have people do it themselves, but have plugins to make it easier.
So you're suggesting a kind of modified version of Sketchup to act as our Tech Editor? A rundown on interface and construction would be appreciated. Then i can make an educated choice.
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