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Handwritten starting 12:30 AM 9-12-02 PDT
Revision 1 starting 12:54 PM 9-13-02 PDT
Revision 2 starting 3:26 AM 9-15-02 PDT

Final Frontier Trader Design

Basic Engine

The Basic Engine is a 2D Engine with the Player's ship in the center. Ships are viewed from above. The 2D engine is flat with directions being exact (up, down, left, right), not like a skewed flat platform that "looks" 3D.

- Movement -

Left and right turn the ship, up and down increase and decrease speed. The ship can go backwards if down is pressed past the stopping point. The ship goes forward, naturally, if up is pressed past the stopping point. Space brings the ship to an all stop. So far, this design follows the movement engine in "Solar Winds." I would also like to add parallax star movement similar to Solar Winds as well, but would like better object graphics (the stars already look great).

- Warp Movement -

While at warp, the ship cannot go backwards, and left and right turning is slower, MUCH slower, making it difficult to attack or be attacked while at warp. Disengaging warp should be as easy as engaging it, perhaps using the same button. I would like the ship to make a white flash, as in Star Trek, when it engages warp, and have the stars streak a la Star Trek when the ship is moving at warp.

- Ship Changing -

Since ships are upgradeable or buyable, the engine must be able to produce the image of the ship the player is currently piloting or on board (see AI movement). These images should also reflect upgrades to the ship. This will require coordination between starship graphics and part designers. Examples will be given at a later date.

- AI Movement -

Enemy or Neutral ships which are not controlled by you or you are not on board should have levels of intelligence, ranging from stupid to seasoned veteran. This is for combat purposes. If you are on board a ship and are not in control of it (you are not of sufficient rank in the fleet or you are not the pilot), the ship needs to move to follow the mission on its own. In fleet situations, you may be assigned to something on the ship which you DO have control over, such as weapons. More on this in later design docs.

- Status -

The Status bar/window/whatever should be small and contain basic ship functions, with advanced functions a button away. It should be semi transparent to show more in the window. It will show, at least, speed, shields, weapons, impulse power, warp power, etc.
- Shields - Should be indicated as four shield locations, port bow, starboard bow, port aft, starboard aft. Less is too little, more may be too much.

- Weapons - have various speeds. For light weapons (like phasers), instant is a speed. Range must also be observed.
- Controls -

Exact controls are TBD, but extensive keyboard use is expected, to bring up other more advanced status bars at least, or for quick power redirection. Mouse control may be used for clicking, since this will be in a window.

- Communication -

When ships communicate, all action stops. If your communication system is undamaged, you get a picture. Otherwise, you may get a scrambled picture or just audio, or nothing at all. If we want, after missions are defined we can get volunteer speech actors for voice overs.

- Size -

I would like this program to be in a window, perhaps 640x480. I would also like to add an option to auto pause or not when the user clicks outside the window. The reasoning for this is in case you want to play and do other stuff too. I consider this a valuable thing. It should be allowed fullscreen CAPABILITY, NOT necessity.

- Conclusion -

This is the Basic Engine idea. If you wish to contribute, email TomT64.

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