New Map - Tether

Make gateway missions or shiny new stations, then get help when you can't figure out why the fuck there's no air in the rooms. Maybe post finished products to be shared.

New Map - Tether

Postby arokha » Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:36 pm

Tether Map
Well it's been a year. Time to annoy everyone with a new map.

So I'm designing a new map. It's based on that survey. Toxic Planet was the top vote, the second was Asteroid Station, and the majority of people (84%) either didn't mind how z-levels were arranged, or preferred that they be different places. So I combined the top two votes for this map. I've got pretty much all admins signed off on the idea of it, and now I think it'd be appropriate to share and discuss it with everyone.

Preface: If you aren't familiar, a "z-level" is a single plane in a map. Our current asteroid station, the main part, is a zlevel (z1), and the outpost and mining area is another zlevel (z5), the telecomm sat is another (z3), centcomm is another (z2) etc.

First and foremost, the new map is designed to cut down on the "walk forever to get somewhere" problem with our 300x300 z1 map. The new map is designed such that you can get places faster, and makes use of multi-z improvements over the last few years (and last few days, with Leshana's improvements to both ported Bay and Eris code) to allow things to be stacked even closer together, without visually cluttering everything together.

That having been said, here's the idea:

Lore:
'Tether' is a map on and near Virgo 3b, a moon of the same planet we're orbiting with the current map. The atmosphere is 89% phoron, thus making it a great site for phoron research and mining. There aren't many otherwise-average bodies with this concentration of phoron. Virgo 3 has a ton and is great for gaseous phoron collection, since it's a gas giant made of the stuff and is one of the only two known. Virgo 3b has a surface on which to build however, so that's attracted many companies, including our favorite Trans-Stellar corporation, Nanotrasen.

For the purpose of making money, and learning things to make more money, they've set up a research outpost on Virgo 3b. The difficult part is that the atmosphere is, as mentioned, almost entirely phoron. However the density of phoron causes the atmosphere to stratify: Low to the ground the atmosphere is 89% phoron, and minor amounts of O2 and N2. Enough to be dangerous to all carbon-based life, but there simply isn't enough oxygen to be flammable. However, higher in the atmosphere, the composition is closer to 30/30/30, and shuttle engines tend to ignite, overheat, and explode. Even normal jet engines run too hot and will overheat and ignite if flying over a certain altitude. Only extremely expensive, specialized engines run cool enough through the entire atmosphere to allow surface-to-orbit and back flights. These engines are still in the prototyping stage, and are prohibitively expensive, requiring extensive overhauls after each flight, making them a no-go for day-to-day operations.

In an example of spending money to save money, Nanotrasen orbited a nearby asteroid around the moon, and tethered it to the ground for use in a space elevator, simply called the 'Tether'. Their research base forms the base of this tether, and their orbital operations are conducted out of the inside of the asteroid. They offer refueling services to recoup their costs from the Tether and research operations, using a small phoron refinery in the surface base to refine the atmosphere and mined phoron into usable fuel for passing ships.

Image

The map consists of six main z-levels which are each smaller than our existing map. Even when you add up the size of the six, they are still less area than the SINGLE z1 level of the station on our current map, so don't worry about this being "even bigger". There are two halves to the playable area, the surface half on the bottom, and the space half on the top.

The Surface
The bottom half is the ground-based plateau into which NT's research and mining base is built. You can imagine this like the current outpost, but instead of being exclusively for R&D and mining, every department has some use to going there, and the bar is also located there. This area also features a pressurized tube-tram stop that connects to the small-ish colony several megacorps have invested in on Virgo3b (that is not a 'playable' map, away mission maybe!).

There's also a backup shuttle on the top of the plateau for use in reaching the station, though NT would prefer you not use it because of those expensive prototype drives, and it can only be used with a long cycling delay between each use due to the prototype drives.

The surface is somewhat alien, given the unusual atmosphere composition. Grass on earth is green because it absorbs the red and blue light from the sun/sky-filtered-sunlight and reflects green. Plants on Virgo 3b absorb mostly red and some green light instead, and reflect the blue, giving the grass a sort of bluegreen appearance. For being a hellish atmosphere, it is kind of pretty!

Image
Pretty, horribly toxic rain. At night. In the cold. Good thing I'm a ghost.

The temperature is a balmy -20C on average, however the pressure is actually close enough to the typical station 101.13kpa that you do not need pressure gear to go outside. You will be a little uncomfortable and might not want to spend more than ten or so minutes outside, though. You need a heavy coat, a full face mask to keep phoron out of your lungs and eyes, and an air tank as the partial pressure of oxygen is not sufficient for normal O2 levels of blood perfusion. At sea level, anyway. If you were a few kilometers in the air you could breathe the oxygen with just a filter mask. But you're not. So don't try.

The Station
The top half is NT's command facilities and refueling depot, containing the majority of the command and security departments, as well as the majority of medical and cargo. Ships come and go from here, and while we ARE way out in the middle of nowhere in terms of space, Virgo 3 is a draw for research and mining teams from other companies. Following the crowd, various traders come by to hawk their wares and whatnot, and they need fuel too.

The tether itself would probably take an hour in real-time to traverse but that's no fun ingame so it takes like 10 seconds. Bluespace shenanigans?? I like hard sci-fi as much as the next fox but, you know. Gotta make an exception for that.

Dorms are located on the station, near the coffee shop, where traders or others can stop and rent a room. Rooms are free for employees on their break, so no charge there obviously (that's not a mechanical thing, just me spouting lore).

Game Changes
With this map would be added a couple of new jobs, namely for the refining and processing of gaseous and solid phoron into usable starship fuel to earn credits for the station. Sort of like cargo points but they can probably be used by any department head for things their department might want.

Obviously multi-z is a 'game change' but 'using stairs' and 'using elevators' is not that complicated nor does it require any special mechanics. There are more atriums in the map, you can see people walking around below and doing things, throw people over railings to their death, etc.

The arrivals/departures shuttle would be replaced by the tram. The way this would work is that the doors to the tram platform would be the "fake doors" like our residential elevator during the shift, and using them would ask if you want to "go wait for the tram", and after a few minutes it'd remove you from the round with an appropriate message. But at the end of the round, or during evacs, the doors would be replaced with identical looking normal doors, and you can simply walk out onto the platform and wait for the actual tram to head elsewhere. Not quite sure what the 'centcom' level will be like. Could be an underground tram station with a few food shops and fake-cryo-stairs you can leave via, or an NT office building or something.

We'd probably also have a local residential block either on the station or the surface, as well as the typical teleporter setup and cryo bays, probably both on the station. Devices which make tons of sparks all the time are probably not allowed on the 89% phoron-based planet, heh.
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Re: New Map - Tether

Postby Wickedtemp » Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:08 pm

I'd need to see the entire map and play around on it first. I personally enjoyed Boxstation the most.

I mainly play Medical, so the structure of Medbay would be my main focus. Polaris' medbay is...a bit large, and the cryo cells were placed a little further away from the Sleeper and Advanced Scanner than they should have been. I preferred Boxstation's medbay because of this.

Plus a part of me doesn't feel the need to change maps every year. I'm kinda happy where we're at, even if there's a few minor changes that I'd personally make.
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Re: New Map - Tether

Postby arokha » Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:17 am

Wickedtemp wrote:Boxstation

This map type actually scored the lowest out of six. From talking to people it seems like the reasons are mostly not from the layout, so much as just the "feeling" of the station. I'd rather not quote people out of turn, but my personal reason for disliking it is that it's just very homogeneous. Grey metal, and space. Nothin' else.

We can definitely design the main medical part in space more like the medical layout in Boxstation though. Input on how it should be done would be good. I haven't even laid out any of the station layout yet. I did build the little triage center, the super-ultra-never-even-used-draft of which is here:

Image
(Obviously in Dream Maker, things don't quite look exactly like they should, though.)
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Re: New Map - Tether

Postby Xennith » Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:58 am

If a new, planetary-based map is being created, it seems like it might be a good time to revisit the concept and presence of xenobiology, and how the lab is set up, overall.

Currently "xenobiology" see also, Slime Ranching, is a completely broken feature. Whatever updates were done to it at some point didn't really produce something usable, so it doesn't really accomplish much to have a lab for it.

I imagine that the prospect of actually fixing the feature, or coding in something new to replace it, is a bit out-of-the-question, so it seems reasonable to downsize its station footprint significantly.

That being said, I am also in favor of a revision to the RP applications of xenobiology, since the outpost is now on a planet - a planet which supports phoron-based life, the study of which was the entire purpose of the xenobiology department in the first place.
An upgrade to the classic containment unit (which is currently butchered and labeled as "misc research" on the current station) could make it usable for its original purpose again, and thematically support the idea that rather than just breeding slimes, the xenobiology lab in research is actually intended for capturing, containing, and studying the local fauna, both from the planet itself and presumably from the asteroid field, as well.
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Re: New Map - Tether

Postby arokha » Sat Apr 15, 2017 12:39 pm

Xennith wrote:That being said, I am also in favor of a revision to the RP applications of xenobiology, since the outpost is now on a planet - a planet which supports phoron-based life, the study of which was the entire purpose of the xenobiology department in the first place.

Not being a science player myself, I hadn't even thought of that. That seems like a great idea. Could have a couple of holding pens accessible from outside at the base of the plateau (I'm going to have R&D span all three z-levels with an atrium in the middle) and you can herd/shove/prod some random life you find while mining or just outside or on away missions or whatever in there.
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Re: New Map - Tether

Postby Xennith » Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:40 am

That would definitely be really cool, but it is dependent on there actually being randomly spawning lifeforms lurking around on the planet or dark corners of whatever asteroid is at the top of the tether (and presumably in the asteroid field which will probably continue to exist), as well as a way of actually "herding" them beyond simply baiting them with your own delicious spaceman booty.

Of course, even for hostile aliens, as long as the containment cells are ACTUALLY CORRECTLY BUILT, and have both exterior emergency bulkhead doors, as well as containment mini-airlocks (like are currently on the slime pens) on the other side, you could also just get them to chase you into the pen, and then go out the other side, into the labs, and lock them in behind you.

The more variety of mobs there is, and the more interesting behaviors and mechanics of xenobiology's resources that they have, the more rewarding this system will be, but I understand that making new alien critters is not the easiest thing in the world, especially if you want them to behave in a fashion any more complex than your basic hostile mob, or your basic docile mob.

That being said, changing it so that xenobio batons (possibly upgrading from the simple slimebatons) have an on-hit effect that prompts docile or neutral mobs to flee a certain number of tiles in a straight line away from the attacker.

If it would be helpful, I can try to load up dream-maker and actually showcase what the true, "perfect" original xenocontainment designs and lab features should look like.
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Re: New Map - Tether

Postby Wickedtemp » Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:44 pm

Don't suit sensors only show up in the z-level they're present in?
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Re: New Map - Tether

Postby Kayleen » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:31 pm

Two things I want to mention here.

Since we'll now be centcomm-linked by train, pretty much all the shuttles around can be dedicated to event usage, so it would be nice to mix up the arrangement of shuttles. A dedicated trader ship like what we have in place of the nukeops shuttle currently, a large cargo ship, a passenger ship, etc. Ideally let them be renamed on the fly somehow or something?

A little natural spire near the station, with a viewing area on top, connected by a narrow glass bridge to the station - think the old mining base. Would be nice atmosphere, and just to have somewhere to relax. Maybe right to the east of the bar?
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Re: New Map - Tether

Postby Xennith » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:33 pm

Wickedtemp wrote:Don't suit sensors only show up in the z-level they're present in?


I don't know whether it's a feature compatible with Polaris, but I know for certain that Bay's crew monitoring can track across Z-levels, and even has an interactive map.
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Re: New Map - Tether

Postby arokha » Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:07 pm

Polaris also has the map and whatnot, though I have no idea if that's across MULTI-z levels. It doesn't work across "normal" z-levels but it might have special code for working when the z-levels are "adjacent" like multiz has them, as that's a special case. If it doesn't, it's probably trivial to add.

Anyway, Xennith, gotta study them aminals:

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