Roadblocks Cleared, Back to Work

Went light on the PR again this morning, and managed to log some more hours against bug fixing. I think I finally figured out that save/load bug I mentioned. Looks like I was incorrectly copying values to the faction standings hash table on load, and when the save game data was cleared, so were the creatures' hash tables. This now seems to be working again.

After that fix, I turned my attention to the last few problems I was having with the conversation feature. For one thing, having multiple creatures in the same hex was causing multiple conversations to trigger in the same turn. The result was all creatures having conversations with the player serially when only one agreed to do so. This is now fixed.

There was also a bug that caused battle to occur when multiple creatures were in the hex during conversation, even though the battle was ended in order to talk. I had to make sure the ceasefire lasted long enough on non-talking creatures to finish the conversation.

A recent change for adding non-hostiles was causing allied creatures to run from and attack their allies, due to a misplaced code snippet. Basically, the AI needs a default target each turn in case they have no valid targets, and it was accidentally choosing friendlies in this case, rather than the first non-aligned creature.

Once those were out of the way, I decided to start working on some art for a new faction: the DMC police. They'll be the first faction that actively combats hostile NPCs, such as raiders and bandits, but leaves neutrals like the player alone (at least initially).

A police faction means some dedicated equipment, so I've started on some uniform-related items, and looking into the equipment they might carry. I've got some high, black boots already drawn, and I'm getting started on some navy tactical pants. This begs the question of if and how I might handle armor, as most tactical police have at least some guards for mitigating attack. I'll have to think about that a bit.

It also means I'll have to decide what they use for weapons. They're police, so they're going to need non-lethal tools. One item for sure is going to be a taser shotgun slug (basically a self-contained taser round, so no tether required). Theoretically, this could just work in any shotgun, so I won't have to make a special police shotgun if I don't have time.

They should probably have something for melee encounters, too. The idea of bludgeon batons and stun batons seems sensible, so that might be an option.

Sidearms are another consideration. Again, the existing .45 pistol could probably do fine here in a pinch, in case I run short on time. However, there is a question of whether more advanced firearms are now being used. The laser rifle will eventually be in the game, but I'm thinking that'll be a pre-apocalyptic military weapon. That doesn't bar post-apocalyptic manufacturers from also making a version, but I'm not sure if they would.

Ample electricity around the DMC, combined with microcapacitor-based batteries, could mean laser-based weapons are actually practical. Heck, people are already making laser pistols in 2013 with rangefinders coupled to camera flash capacitors. They aren't deadly yet, but they'll punch a hole through thin materials near-instantly.

On the other hand, well-understood and mature tech like a simple .45 pistol makes a lot of sense. Ammunition can be varied to fit the task, and the form factor is small. I guess one could also argue for an SMG in an urban/refugee-camp environment, though that seems unnecessarily dangerous.

Tough call. But one thing is for sure, they're going to need pants, shoes, and shirts, so those are things I can do right away :)

Have a good night, all!

Comments

o0m-9's picture
o0m-9

"Tactical pants"

This might have just made my night.

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*Waits patiently for the addition of Carroltron*

BobBarker's picture
BobBarker

So tacticool: http://www.511tactical.com/apparel/pants/tactical-pants.html

Scavenger's picture
Scavenger

Actually, the laser gun you've linked is a homemade thing made in 2011 (if not earlier, the video seems to be uploaded in 2011, though) - but it only proves that laser equipment isn't so distant sci-fi anymore.

However, as far as costs go, I am quite sure that even simple military-grade laser would be far less reliable than a dull common handgun - lots of electronics that isn't as durable and cannot be replaced as easily in the field as in case of some revolver's parts plus the fact that laser itself works far worse during rain or in a fog - hell, even smoke is enough often to severely decrease the strength of the beam. Plus all those little technicalities - barrel of a gun may be slightly worn and it will impact gun's workings but not so far as scratched/broken lens would for the laser. After all, there's a reason while companies, departments and armies still prefer to fund, research and purchase 'old-school' ballistic weaponry.

Electrolasers though may be the future of non-lethal weaponry - not used in real battles, not taking part in prolonged exchange of fire, requiring far less power - thus the wear would probably be decreased.

Armors does seem to make sense. While DMC security forces are probably often employed to catch small-time thieves and other thugs, they're also protectors of the whole city against outside world and all kinds of deadly monsters that may want to visit the place - thus, some protection beside simple uniform would be very much realistic and fitting.

Other than that, I believe that Nickboom made a thread with a few suggestions regarding DMC troopers, some of which I regarded and shared my thoughts about here. Still, linking in case it could prove useful.

Nickboom's picture
Nickboom

Well I was going to post something but Scavenger pretty much did it for me XP

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BobBarker's picture
BobBarker

Most deployed military laser weapon systems capable of burning through hardened material at distance are used to detonate incoming rockets/missiles and they're definitely not portable. These lasers use a chemical reaction and not electricity to produce the beam, there is too much difficulty generating the required electricity and our complete inability to store it efficiently doesn't help. If you wanted to write around this you can say the development of hydrogen fuel cells or supercapacitor batteries have had major breakthroughs and then your major constraint becomes charging, heat and potentially replacement parts like a lens that may burn-out after prolonged or overheated use. But overall I think even in the future lasers will remain as a "utility" or defensive role.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_fluoride_laser
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_oxygen_iodine_laser

The Chinese have a portal laser weapon that can be used to burn out vehicle sensors and blind humans: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZM-87

Simple temporarily blinding and nausea inducing lasers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dazzler_(weapon)

I think portable railguns or coilguns would be a good near-future-tech weapon idea, especially since you could craft ammunition out of anything that's attracted by magnets and can fit down the barrel.

Kaaven's picture
Kaaven

I agree, coil- and railguns are much more probable near-future weapons, than the portable lasers. Especially since utilizing those kinds of weapons would mean that the need for chemicals necessary in ammunition production would be no longer be an issue. If anything, ammunition made out of recycled scrap metals, is more probable in post apocalyptic scenario.

All the benefit of projectiles, with no drawbacks of gunpowder (no flash, smoke, smell and less noise).


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pitron's picture
pitron

shouldnt they also wear a guard cap or helmet maybe with NVGs built in?

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

Re: tactical pants, I assume this is because of the potential pocket space? :) One shortcoming of the current system is that pocket space isn't modeled very realistically. Basically, each slot can only have one storage space, so if I want to make pants have many pockets, I basically just have an option to increase storage space. And that invites abuse like storing items that are too large.

There is one idea which came to mind, which is a permanent "divider" type item that is pre-installed in the storage space. I.e. a sort-of storage space template filler that blocks any item that crosses it, but doesn't get in the way of smaller items that fit within it's special subdivisions. Hmm...

@Scavenger, those are good points. In fact, I read somewhere about the lack of ruggedized laser hardware, and agree that it could be an issue. There are, however, some present-day applications for the technology, such as point defense on ships against incoming projectiles and drones, as well as laser range-finding on tank platforms. And in the game's setting, space travel is (was) common enough that spaceship-borne point defense would also be valuable against high-speed debris. So ruggedizing lasers seems an important enough development that someone worked on it.

As you point out, though, it's hard to beat bullets. They "just work" and are cheap. I did see Nickboom's thread, but thanks for linking to it. I think I only saw it before your reply.

@pitron, that's true. I didn't mention it, but yes, I envision them having head and face protection, too!

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BlueTaco's picture
BlueTaco

Huh

What about if they lose a encounter?
Can we find raiders or looters with their equipment? With the "Stranger" encounter system, we may found a raider wearing the police uniform and a shotgun with lethal rounds insted of stun slugs.

Or if we somehow find that gear, can we disguise as a police man? So we can enter DMC in other way.

Maklak's picture
Maklak

The cops should also react to player "acquiring" one of their uniforms. Raiders might sometimes have those too, I guess.

> Energy Weapons
Rechargeable batteries make them somewhat more viable, but I also think that bullets are cheaper and more reliable... at least as long as the city has enough brass and chemicals to make an adequate supply.
The laser weapons that the US army has, need more power than even car batteries could provide and their main merit is that it is easier to hit a small and fast-moving object with a continous beam then with a projectile.

> Non-lethal weapons
I don't think so. Well, I'm sure the guys patroling the streets would have police batons and handcuffs, but for the most part, I don't think the cops would bother with non-lethal weapons. With raiders and thugs and dogmen and who knows what else, they'd go pretty far to make the city safe. Think "wild west" combined with "mexican drug cartel wars".

> Pockets by permament space divisor
It will look funny, but should work and is better than just having one big space.

> Armour
I don't know how damage exactly works in neo scavenger, but the covered body parts could get some form of damage reduction and maybe convert slashing to blunt damage.

Malacodor's picture
Malacodor

I think pants with a 3x3 or 2x4 pocket space won't be a problem.

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Keldoclock's picture
Keldoclock

The current trend in personal weapons is to improve ammunition, because firearms are about as good as they are ever going to be. In recent years we've seen tons of new calibers like 6.5 and 6.8, powerful rounds for sniper rifles like the many variants of .50 cal, and most crucially, caseless and polymer-cased ammunition. These have no brass/steel cartridge to eject, which saves on cost, weight, and (for caseless ammunition) allows for a faster rate of fire.

Maybe they could have a caseless SMG of some kind, with ammunition that you can't buy anywhere, only get by killing DMC cops.