Topic: Starfleet Command 4 Development  (Read 14123 times)

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Offline [UFP]Exeter

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Starfleet Command 4 Development
« on: May 12, 2013, 02:19:43 pm »
I am proud to announce the development of a SFC4 game has officially begun.

1.  We are working on the overall design.  Discussions in these forums will be considered and added to the design.  The initial design will be frozen at a future point, then any other changes will be logged for a future release.  Unless it is critical, of course.

2.  Although a schedule will be forthcoming, it is dependent on those that volunteer to help.  If we get the help we can finish it late this year, early next year.

3.  The developer sub-forum is a private forum for developers to communicate, we will be posting regular updates and try to answer questions as promptly as possible.

4.  We have a help want section to post our needs. but if you have skills or wish to help in some way, please PM me or post in these forums.

5.   Although this effor officially start now, the code base we will use, the game engine, has been under development for some time and is expected to finish next month.

This is a community effort, we invite your input. 

The development effort has officially started!




Offline d4v1ks

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2013, 12:40:11 pm »
Will you provide any details about the design you are going to implement in the initial phase of the project?
I'm curious on the work that you and strat (and/or) frey will do.
Despite being a "community project", it seems like a very closed project with respect to the programming.
You have "build" a framework to use for the SFC4 project (c++, Irrlicht Engine, raknet, sql, AngelScript, etc).
But beside that have no ideia on what you plan to do.
How will you implement the artificial inteligence? What are the ships capabilities? How the weapons will work? Will it have to manage systems resources like in SFB? How will it decide who to attack, how, find its path, or its strategic position when moving after someone and attacking? Will the computer entities cooperate between them? Will it be hable to understand their current state and react accordingly? how you plan to make the IA challenging? its not a easy task

« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 12:52:57 pm by d4v1ks »
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Offline d4v1ks

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 01:05:17 pm »
For example, having so many ships designs and weapons configurations how you plan to code it? Have you thought on a way to abstract those configurations to use a single IA engine? How will you initially test and balance it? Will you run simulations or do everything manually on a trial and error scheme?
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Offline [UFP]Exeter

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2013, 09:59:38 am »
I will try and answer all the questions.

I have been working on this for over a year, and discussion with Frey decided to try and utilize what I had done.  This includes a design.  Frey is reviewing this and based upon other thread conversations I am taking notes to add to the design.

Frey is more administration for this.  An example communicating with ADB,to see if we can use SFB dynamics in the code.  He will also lead the effort to get CBS approval once we are ready.

I worked with Strat in the CE upgrade, but as of this time he has not committed to anything on this project.

As for this being a closed project, there are some concerns.  To protect the code and maintain progress we are doing things a little differently.  There is the lead developer, me, and I will oversea all the work and ensure we do not use anything from SFB.  Also, to get the best protection of the code, we will use the Trade Secret protection of the United States.  Portions of our code will fall under this.   This also protects us from someone wanting to review our code to see IF we infringe on their copyright.  So this means anyone having access to the code will be subject to a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA).

Much of the design will be posted in public once all the new details are finished.  The full design will be in the developer are.

As for AI not real desing work has been done on that.  But I have some ideas.  True it is not easy.  O have some knowledge.  My masters thesis was on implementing rule based AI in computer cgames and did some graduate research with Dr Bobby, a researcher in Neural Net AI.

The weapons specs will be stored in an SQL Encrypted database.  The game will read this data in when a ship is upgraded, created etc.  That way we can add/modify weapons and ship data without recoding the game.  During design testing, the database will not be encrypted to allow changing values by the testers. 

The initial values are based on some math, and then sanity checks.  Also, I gather as much "real" data as possible, for example the ranges of some weapons in Star Trek.  We will use these real values but have them scaled down for the game.   In this area SFB is refined but arbitrary, but we could use it if we get permission.

Offline d4v1ks

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2013, 11:08:37 am »
This remenbered me something. In combat flight simulator, for example, we had the oportunity to build external IA agents (through the "Flight Simulator Universal Inter-Process Communication"). The concept was very easy. Maybe you can adopt a similar aprouch. People could create and update/inprove IA over time without hurt the main game development. Would be like creating a chess engine based in a determined protocol. You could even join human/IA  under the same hood. Just treat and give them the same things (access to enviromental and system informations, and control of the ship).
« Last Edit: May 15, 2013, 12:11:37 pm by d4v1ks »
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Offline [UFP]Exeter

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2013, 01:36:32 pm »
An interesting idea.

Offline Captain Adam

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2013, 08:40:41 am »
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« Last Edit: April 06, 2016, 01:42:29 pm by Captain Adam »

Offline maelstorm

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2013, 02:17:15 am »
I am curious what races will be in/out.  or be predominatnly played (i've been dying to blow up and use andromedan dominators and some of their ships).

also i have a few ideas for a campaing but i have absolutely no clue how to program :(  thinking of an outline/tree where you start as a race of your choice and do a few random missions as you learn to play again (noobs need to learn), Then the breadcrumbs for the main campaing lead in.  andromedans show up.   you do your best to earn your enemy's trust because eveyrone will be needed to fight them off.  then a few missions will expose a hidden alliance that is working with them to make every faction weaker.   pirates happen  civil war breaks out .. everything starts to look glum and it's up to you to fix things and take the fight back to the andromedans.

Offline Starfox1701

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2013, 10:12:16 am »
Whether or not a race like the Andro can be included in a future expansion will in part be determined by weather or not we are able to charge for the game or not. If we get a ST license then we won't be able to do them and they will have to be modded in because of the IP issues with ADB.

On the mission scripting side their is a discussion on therad in the scripting tread.

Offline Czar Mohab

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2013, 03:59:09 am »
Whether or not a race like the Andro can be included in a future expansion will in part be determined by weather or not we are able to charge for the game or not. If we get a ST license then we won't be able to do them and they will have to be modded in because of the IP issues with ADB.

On the mission scripting side their is a discussion on therad in the scripting tread.

Easy fix - since you'd need the OK from Paramount/CBS et al, for the game itself anyway... just call the Andromedans "Kelvans" as that is canon to TOS ("By Any Other Name"). Keep the background more or less the same and tweak the ships just enough...

You remember the Kelvans, right? The race of individuals that are escaping some bad juju things that are going on in the Andromeda Galaxy? The Kelvans (in BAON) were advanced scouts looking for a place for their people to settle (through conquest) after they left the home galaxy... Eventually there would be lots and lots of them.

SVC's SFB Andromedans are based, more or less, on TOS's Kelvans... Its just the Kelvans were heading back to Andromeda to let the other Kelvans know what these Kelvans found... ~600 years round trip - SFB Andromedans are just about 590 years faster than that; but that does not mean that other TOS Kelvans didn't make it "there and back" just as fast...

The Czar

P.S. I did do some canon-based research into this: it is theoretically possible (assuming everything in this fantasy land is "real, of course ;)) that the Kelvans sent a subspace message back to Andromeda (~50 years to get there, based on TNG: Where No One Has Gone Before - yeah they went to the Triangulum Galaxy but its actually further from there to here than Andromeda to here so...); further, in BOAN, the Kelvans had to modify the E to get the 300 year speed - in WNOHGB the E-D can already make the 300 year trip as built. We can assume that the Andromeda based Kelvans, over the course of 50 years or so before they get the message, are busy making their ships faster (as we did between original E and E-D). We can also assume that once they get the "come invade these guys" message, everything gets dumped into research to make their ships cross the void as fast as possible, then they leave to invade with just enough time to show up in our galaxy, say, just in time for SCF4... Every SFC fan that wanted the Andromedan invasion get what they've been asking for, in the Post era... Win-Win.

« Last Edit: June 02, 2013, 04:21:36 am by Czar Mohab »
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Offline TAnimaL

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2013, 07:39:11 am »
All that can work; these "Kelvans" will just have to be designed to avoid any similarities to SFB Andromedans, meaning no satellite ships, power absorbers, TR beams, displacement device, etc.

Offline Captain Adam

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2013, 08:25:40 am »
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« Last Edit: April 06, 2016, 01:46:45 pm by Captain Adam »

Offline maelstorm

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2013, 09:01:03 am »


i couldn't resist.. not ripping on anyone lol

I guess i'll just have to wait on a mod for it to happen.

Offline Captain Adam

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2013, 09:04:29 am »
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« Last Edit: April 06, 2016, 01:46:31 pm by Captain Adam »

Offline Starfox1701

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2013, 09:55:18 am »
That was kind of my point. With that race what people want is the SFB Andros. without a separate license for SFU stuff the race we come up with based on the old fluff would have to be completely different.

Offline TAnimaL

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2013, 10:29:12 am »
but I like the "old fluff!" ;)

Of course, what people choose to add in a mod not officially released by "SFC4" is entirely their own business....

And, of course, as you proved with the Kelvans, there are plenty of canon alternative technologies that involve different shield configurations, or different stardrive principles that "transport" entire ships, and so forth.

Offline TheStressPuppy

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2013, 01:47:05 pm »
The Kelvins did have much faster warp drive tech as evidenced by the big-E's modification for the journey back to Andromeda. However their ships "shields" couldn't handle the energy of the barrier, and crippled their ship. They are more advanced than the feds in some areas, and weaker in others. Artistic License will have to be used to "fill in the gaps". Basically just make it up as you go.

Offline Czar Mohab

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2013, 03:29:04 pm »
All that can work; these "Kelvans" will just have to be designed to avoid any similarities to SFB Andromedans,...

True. Pretty sure we're doing something similar anyway with all the other ships and races when compared to their SFB counterparts, so... Shouldn't be too hard.

...meaning no satellite ships,...

Use runabout class vessels. Lots of them. Some bigger, some smaller. All called "Runabouts". It'll be close enough.

...power absorbers, TR beams,...

Give them shields instead. Combine the PAs and the TRs into a Power Absorbing Beam. It leaches power from the target to do whatever the Kelvan ship would need it for. For fun, give the Kelvans the ability to "fast charge" their phaser equivalent weapons at 2x cost - the extra cost can come from a bank of batteries that can be recharged by using the PABs.

...displacement device,...

Its just a transporter with a fancy name...

...etc.

There is actually quite a lot to cover here.

Auxiliary ships can just be a mix of specialized "Runabouts" and captured Milky Way equivalents. They wouldn't have the production base to build their new empire right off the bat and would need to "borrow" some things anyway - and why scrap an otherwise useful vessel? I actually see the borrowed ships in use until the end.

A base is a base is a base. Realistically they would just be in need of a good, original model. The "guts" would be similar to their ships in terms of components and similar to MWG equivalents in amounts.

The Temporal Elevator would be tricky, but not impossible. Rename it first off. I honestly can't think of anything right now. Second, the effect does not move the base (or anything in the elevator's hex) "up" or "down" but rather just barely forwards or backwards in time. Like 0.1 seconds or something. See TNG: Time's Arrow.

Definitely want to make the models of the ships look like SFB Andromedans without actually making them look like SFB Andromedans. Something of a cross between original and an homage.

The Operation Unity campaign was done, more or less and slightly differently, in SFC3. Would not be too hard to borrow something similar while keeping it original.

I miss anything?

The Czar

P.S. It is fitting that the Kelvans appear in the episode By Any Other Name. If its handled correctly, it will be Andormedans, just by another name.
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Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2013, 04:02:22 pm »
Here's the problem I see with this:

This, and any other venture is done under the auspices of Dynaverse.net, is being done to avoid references to SFU because of the money that ADB would demand for use of said references.  Now everyone says that, hey let's release something that doesn't use SFU material, and just mod SFU stuff in.  Well... the mod would be made by people here at Dynaverse.net, ADB could claim that even though it is a "mod" it was still done by people at Dynaverse, and question whether or not Dynaverse was operating in good faith when they claim that there's nothing in the "official" release that uses SFU material.

I hate to keep beating a dead horse here, but the people constantly harping for a game based on SFU/SFB, its going to unravel in the end, unless those same people are willing to shell out the money that ADB wants for licensing.  Is a game based on SFB going to be a better game?  Probably, it's got nearly 40 years of playtesting behind it.  But is that game realistic?  No.  It's not going to happen, and modding a game to be like it is bound to have a mess of legal trouble.  Let the people do what they can, let's see what they can come up with.  I have faith in the people here to come up with a superb game, and I have faith in the people here to play test it to death, and turn it into a great game.  We don't need or want the headache that comes with using SFU material, or even trying to mirror it.  Simply changing names is not enough to avoid copyright lawsuits, as Harmony Gold/FASA proved about 20 years ago.
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Offline Captain Adam

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Re: Starfleet Command 4 Development
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2013, 04:34:13 pm »
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« Last Edit: April 06, 2016, 01:46:23 pm by Captain Adam »