Gaming Orbital Margins

jedidia

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I spent most of my alotted time this week planning how to proceed and defining further milestones, so I'm heavily brainstorming all kinds of things.
One of them is, as has been suggested here, further job types. They have always been planned, and I had a couple ideas, but there might be a ton of fun stuff that just never entered my mind.

Currently I have the following job types in my backlog:

Recovery
Redezvous with an object, attach to it, and bring it back somewhere. May be time critical in some instances, as the object is threatening to cross into orbits it shouldn’t, or might deorbit.

Deployment / Installation
Take an object out to designated orbital elements and leave it there. May also involve attaching it to something that’s already there.

Maintenance/repair
Rendezvous with an object and perform maintenance like exchanging parts, or fix it outright because it doesn’t go “beep” anymore.
May be time critical in some instances.

Resupply
Like a delivery, except to an unmanned object. I.e. you there’ll be some transfer interface and protocols to follow, and if things don’t work, you likely have to get out there and make them work.

Taxi
Like a delivery, but with people. Which means the payload is going to be some temporary habitat module, and the cargo needs to be entertained, may have weird requests, or may otherwise cause trouble.

Does anybody have further ideas for "mission profiles"? Please consider that the game is intended to be a) relatively hard science-fiction and b) non-violent. Which doesn't mean that the player will never experience violence, but definitely means that anything that involves shooting things is off the table.
Also, there's a bunch of stuff in the back of my mind for lunar missions, but it's still going to be quite a stretch before the game leaves earth orbit, so while suggestions in that direction are not unwelcome, I won't even be thinking about their implementation for a while.
 

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I would include getting chartered for research missions to asteroids (and later game maybe mars), which could provider a more different mission profile and in fact, even a whole range of different mission experiences: Commercial exploration of resources, science missions, tourists, ...

Also it could be different, since the customer is represented on-board and may wish to influence the mission, like diverting to another asteroid, spending more time on site, get more EVAs, etc. Maybe tourists also ask for a Venus flyby to take pictures, if the spacecraft passes nearby anyway, you get the idea I am sure.
 

jedidia

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I would include getting chartered for research missions to asteroids (and later game maybe mars), which could provider a more different mission profile and in fact, even a whole range of different mission experiences: Commercial exploration of resources, science missions, tourists, ...

Also it could be different, since the customer is represented on-board and may wish to influence the mission, like diverting to another asteroid, spending more time on site, get more EVAs, etc. Maybe tourists also ask for a Venus flyby to take pictures, if the spacecraft passes nearby anyway, you get the idea I am sure.
There's the slight problem of spacial confinment here... doing interplanetary stuff would require quite a different kind of vessel than doing stuff in cis-lunar space, which is really where the game is intended to take place. That would blow up the scope quite a bit...
Missions to a NEO could be in the cards, though, I'll keep that thought in mind. But I'll need to focus on the low-hanging fruit first, because even just getting to the moon or L-points will require some code that right now I don't have yet, and that is not immediately required to improve the game. Any missions with EVAs are probably a good idea to do first, though, since they do offer the opportunity for different dynamics.
 

jedidia

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There's another patch, adding close buttons to focused challenges and the side menus and fixing a few cosmetic issues that were popping up.
Besides that, I have finished my initial planning for all the features required to turn the thing into a more fun demo, and, correlated with the time I am able to invest into the project, ended up with an estimate of 43 weeks... A bit too large of a junk to do in one go.

Since everything on that list is screaming "me! me! pick me first!" I thought it might be a good idea to get more input as to what people think should be prioritized. If you've played the game, it would be neat if you could quickly hop over there and click me your opinion:
 

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Patch 0.4.3 introduces the first, tiniest glimpse of world dynamics. The system now has the ability to generate toRoll modifiers and weigh the probability of appearance of complications for yellow or red results, both based on the current context. Right now this is only used in departure, docking, cargo delivery and pickup, where the current traffic activity and the overall size of the station make things more difficult or easy, and certain outcomes less likely to appear (for example, collisions during docking are significantly less likely when there’s not much traffic).

I've also posted the first of what I intend to become a monthly devlog, if anybody wants to keep track with development:
 
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jedidia

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Devlog for december is up:

No update this month, because christmas would just swallow it up anyways. Would have worked if I managed to get it done earlier, but I didn't. It's all in the devlog really, if you're interested. Also quite some detail about the next major milestone.
 

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Oh man I am trying now and this is really interesting. Will give some feedback when I finish testing properly in a few days.

What about some missions for science experiments to gather data?, I am glad I found this I was thinking in doing something similar to give a layer of persistence and gaming to the orbiter sim (wich I love since I discovered back in 2006..).
I saw this is coded in Java, what are you using for the UI?
 
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jedidia

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Thanks for your feedback, but there may be a misunderstanding here.
This is not a project related to orbiter. This is its completely own thing. And a very different kind of thing than Orbiter.

To answer your question, though, the frontend is coded in LibGDX. And the game is actually written in Kotlin, not Java, though of course you can't tell anymore once the code is compiled.
 

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Thanks very much for the information, yes I understand better now that I test a little, I had a similar idea but integrating with orbiter just like Neofly does with MSFS.
 

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Game is interesting, I really liked the list of tasks (loading cargo, all the undocking and burns...) but mechanics are all time the same, I think it would feel better to have some more mechanics in place that feel more connected to each task. Easier said than done but otherwise there's a lack of inmersion as you are always doing the same task, seems only the name and consequences change. I really loved the idea of paying for deltav per ton.
Overall is promising I think it has some good ideas and surely inmersion can be increased with some graphics and sounds. Thanks for sharing, will follow the development.
 

jedidia

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New version is finally up, introducing satellite maintenance jobs complete with spacewalks. Patch notes here:

You can read a little more in the new state vector if you're interested:
https://randomactsofconstruction.itch.io/orbital-margins/devlog/667263/state-vector-january-24
 

jedidia

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Version 0.6.0 is up!


This one changes the dynamics of the game somewhat by introducing various status effects for low drive or accumulating burnout. Maintaining your motivation is now actually important.
Also, I threw in some status effects that make the spacecraft more or less difficult to control depending on how much it is loaded, which was kind of necessary to balance a bit in favor of the maintenance jobs. Just flying from a to b can now be significantly more difficult with a fat payload than when you're empty.

As always, I'm thankful for anybody giving it a go and giving me some feedback!

There's also a new state vector, talking a bit about the direction the art for the game should go in, once it becomes a thing (still a ways of, but I was grabbed by a fey mood the past month):
 
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