[EE] Inventory system.

Something that it clearly on the request list for some people. And that can really help in making relay's job more interesting. Is an inventory system.

Without going into details. I think there are two possible solutions for this.

First option is, a simple "cargo list". Similar to what Elite does:

The second option, is an cargo bay that you need to manage. With items having different sizes. Seen in Deus Ex for example:

So, what would you like to see? Or have an 3th idea that I did not consider?


  • I assume that new view is needed for this feature?

    What I would like to see is that one station would have just single function. That would leave us possibility to add more screens & computers to our bridges and actually move around in our bridge. For minimalistic tabbed feature relay could just pick an additional station for him to care.

    I would love to have similar option available also for enginering. so damagecontrol & rest of enginering could be assigned separately.

    As for direct answer for your question I like option 2 as its more graphical and has this little "tetris" puzzle in it.
  • For engineering that option is available. At the "additional screen". There are 2 screens, one for damage control and one for power management. Same for the science database, that can also be ran as a separate screen.
  • edited March 2016
    I'd like to see more Deus Ex style inventory, since it's makes the inventory interesting feature and requires a bit of thinking for complex objects.

    As @HenriVesala stated it would be nice to have those additional views as a separate module. For me it would mean that when building a bridge I would have freedom of putting those additional views/stations anywhere.

    For example: Cargo doesn't require attention all the time but occasionally (load/unload). So I would put my cargo ministation a bit farther from Relay station and have anyone who's available at the time to operate it when f.e. airlock needs to be opened. Similar kind of setup would be nice to have for engineering (extract damage control). This means more work for captain to organise people around to do important tasks.

    OT: How would one use those additional views in science or engineering? It's not documented anywhere or doesn't show up in any screenshots I've seen. :smile:
  • daid said:

    For engineering that option is available. At the "additional screen". There are 2 screens, one for damage control and one for power management. Same for the science database, that can also be ran as a separate screen.

    Brilliant! I checked them out and noticed that you cant recalibrate shields either from damage control nor power management. So having traditional engineering view is required for that.

  • daid said:
    So far this has my vote.

  • I don't think that a complex inventory view is needed, simple cargo gestion is good :)
  • I think the question is what is the purpose of inventory system?

    If more content is required for Relay then it should have some sort of metagame build in it. I have this fear that while simple inventory view adds more content it is not really interesting to interact with.

    On the other hand if its just for information whats on the ship like database then list is enough.
  • I think the question is what is the purpose of inventory system?

    If more content is required for Relay then it should have some sort of metagame build in it. I have this fear that while simple inventory view adds more content it is not really interesting to interact with.

    For simple 30 minute games I would think Inventory might not be a feature that most scenarios would use. For longer games I see that it could be used quite a bit. This would especially be true for peaceful scenarios.
    I'm guessing we're going to be seeing a Planet Express ship mod (Futurerama) in the future :smile:

  • @HenriVesala good question. The best question actually.

    I think the inventory system can contribute in multiple ways. One is immersion. Having actual inventory that shows that you are transporting something in a scenario helps in this.
    Next one is cargo management. As you can only carry a limited amount, you need to manage this properly.
    With this comes the next bit. If you have cargo, you can carry interactive things as well, which can help you in the game.
    Emergency backup batteries? Replacement warp core? (fully recharges the warp drive) Hull patches? Repair nanobots? A stack or spare homing missiles? (Takes 5 minutes to unpack?)
    Naturally, this cargo should also be possible to access from the scripting interface. So you can have scenario specific cargo. Or even build that "free roaming" scenario that you always dreamed off, with station trading and stuff.
  • Me and @HenriVesala quickly drafted a proposition what the cargo would look like.

    The image mostly explains itself.

    - Items can be moved by drag'n'drop
    - Moving an item take time, so it's not instantaneous
    - Size of the areas vary by ship type (smaller ships have less room)
    - Some areas only available on certain ship types
    - Sized and shapes of cargo may vary (nukes take 4 slots, not every items are rectangles)
    - Usable areas could shrink from hull damage.
    - Cargo in damaged areas could be unusable or destroyed (really bad things could happen if nuke is damaged?)

    For hangar we've come up with multiple ideas:
    - Basically loading and unloading area usable only while docked and it cannot hold any items during any other time
    - It could be usable anytime but when it's not empty it prevents the ship from jumps and warp drive
    - It might contain some smaller crafts (shuttles & fighters) and equipment for them if such things will be implemented in the future (this wont prevent warp)
    - Cargo could be dropped to space via hangar.

  • In my opinion, I would base this type of setup on the engineering screen with "cargo teams" to move supplies around. The Cargo Teams would move around the ships like the Damage Control Team. They take time now to move, but if they are "burdened" with cargo, they could take longer.

    Drag and Drop would probably require daid to do non-trivial UI updates.
  • Deus ex style is far better imho. This could also solve the rather dull resupplying for the relay officer. Instead of toggling all the buttons to request everything, the relay guy would have to frantically drag everything from the station.

    If the inventory was already cluttered, this makes it harder to quickly resupply, which adds a skill challenge to this bit aswell.

    I'd also add stuff like "missle containers" -> An item in your cargo that can hold multiple missiles. If a normal missile is 2x1, you'd make a 5 missile container 8x1 (so you get one "free" storage slot) at the cost of having less freedom (seperate missiles can be fitted in small open bits of cargo)
  • Things like ammo should stack up to a certain amount. Even Deus Ex does that, because as you can see above, space runs out VERY quickly.

    I like the idea of cargo handling teams. For bonus points, they should require space to move around in, so you can plan out whether you want paths so everything is accessible, or just jam pack the bay full of junk.
  • The only ammo that we have at the moment is missiles. Stacking up for single bullets would be something you want, but I don't think that's required for 'big' things such as missiles (most ships will have about 10 of em). Larger ships will probably use the stacking modules anyway as more 'freedom' to get everything out of the cargospace isn't that big of a factor.
  • did you finalize this topic ? I'm very interested in cargo management for an EE project
  • march 2016... I doubt it, but i would be interested in a nice System too.
  • Never got around to do it. But still care about the concept.
  • I'm working on a mission script where I intend to add simple cargo. The amount of cargo space available depends on the player ship type:
    MP52 Hornet: 1
    Piranha: 8
    Flavia P.Falcon: 20
    Phobos M3P: 10
    Atlantis: 5
    Player Cruiser: 5
    Player Missile Cr.: 8
    Player Fighter: 1
    Any other undefined ship type: 5

    Right now, I just intend for the players to have to gather minerals from mining stations and parts from stations making the parts to upgrade their ship. They can get these by trading food or luxury goods or by spending reputation. They might have to manage limited cargo space or gather the right components or resources before they can get the upgrade.

    Since the scripting is based on Lua, this can be implemented outside of the main engine. However, a built in cargo feature would be a nice enhancement.
  • I like the deus ex style inventory but ther'd have to be specific spots to place the missiles so the get automatically loaded, this can then also be used to store regular cargo and/or extra missiles outside that area that can't be automatically loaded without shuffling them around, this would make it another balancing game, I know I would dump the HVLI's on an aurora immediately and stock up on nukes, EMP and mines.
  • edited March 2018
    but realistically this only becomes important when you start to simulate a living, breathing universe with trade and pirates and factions, systems, planets, resources, etc....

    when you have trade, or escort missions, mining etc this becomes crucial.
  • I fully understand dave's dilemma:

    I really like the Idea of the Cargo System with workers moving the Stuff around, and having different Storage Rooms (where the missiles will only be available if parked into the missile depot might be nice - but I doubt that is what players want and need, because it is quite inflexibe, and only works well if you have few different items, because you can stack 100 same items in a slot, but 2 different take 2 slots.

    If you would go to a more living system. I guess this cargo operation could become a quite complex station on its own. Maybe combining the repairwork, and the transportation - as in fact repairing is most of the time getting the right spare part and putting it in place. - But the times when you need more stations to give all the crew a job is rather rare, is it?

    There might be much to move on an ship, so that realism is hard to achive. Supplies/Food, Ammunition, Spare Parts.
    Again you get the scaling problem: Items might range from Fighters MG Bullets(if this fits the setting) to the fighters themself, or even bigger items.
    Minerals, Ore, Water, Oxigen will not come in blocks, but be more of a continous good, where you would also need some Storages, like a huge water tank, and some means of transportation - barrels, pipes.
    Some items may have a limited shelf life, which might be especially interesting for merchants and ressource based campaigns.

    And it should be totally not about what you have in the inventory (except you plan to run some merchant errands), but what you can do with it, like e.g. refining fuel and metal and explosives into a missile, or aktivating a special device.

    It all comes down to what should be the purpose of the inventory. And how you integrate it with the existant mechanics.
    The current menue is fine for purchasing missiles, but it wont work for a full blown inventory. Especially if it should also include market like feats (so you can make REPs by being a merchant).

    If you go for a space odysee like in Battlestar Galactica, a full blown resource system, an the constant lack of resources is a key feat.

    If you go for a merchant campaign, you need to buy and sell goods, maybe have the stolen, damaged or something.

    But most players (from what I know from Pen&Paper games) dislike to do the micromanagement of the ressources - and for a 30 minute campaign it seems to be irrelevant.
    Also the micromanagement should not be there for the micromanagements sake, so I guess for the most items and scenarios a list and some actions attached to the items will do well enough, keeping the realism high and having still some fun.
    (Planning that one item, like the mobil missile factory might need other items to work (raw materials)) and that the Items on the list can either be counted by piece or by amount. Crafting/Refining then should cost time/energy and the resources, and it might be nice to have an crafting queque, and/or auto generation.
    Question would be how to do the loading limit. I would propose a storage limit on the raw goods (due to tank/silo size), at volume limit due to the size of the cargo bay, and a speed penalty for the weight.

    I would also include an inspect button, where you can have a closer look at your item, doing nothing in particular normally, but this could be useful in scenarios for finding out more about alien artifacts, identifying spoiled items or infestations, leaks on you ressource tanks, hidden stuff (someone hid a bomb in your cargo),... Inspecting should take an amount of time depending on the size/number of items.
  • I've added a scenario, Shoreline, with a simple cargo and inventory system. You can evaluate it before it becomes part of the release by grabbing it from the repository
  • There's a middle ground between micromanaging and basic inventory. We'll call it "managing". You have to ask what the player is going to do with the inventory, because that's what actually matters.

    I'm in favor of having some sort of machine-shop capability (replicators in Star Trek, but definitely not replicators from Stargate), so you can feed alloys and other raw materials into the shop to produce spare parts. Now you don't have to micromanage specific spare parts, but you can do hull repairs on the fly, as long as you don't use the warp drive or the jump drive. I'm also in favor of being able to load spare missiles in the cargo bays that would require the engineer to use some of his repair crews to move from the cargo bays to the missile bays during combat, when needed.

    But basically for all other uses, an inventory system like Elite/Oolite is just fine. When you're simply a merchant, you don't need or want all the detail because you're spending most of your time traveling between stations, and adding more time at the station to play tetris in your cargo bays is just going to weigh the game down unnecessarily.

    And finally, lest we forget, adding cargo increases the operating cost of a ship, so there has to be a corresponding increase in opportunities to earn reputation.
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