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Random/dynamic events in PDSRM
Hey all;

I had some ideas this morning around trying to make gameplay a bit more dynamic other than the just collect/build/fight mechanic. I was thinking it could be neat to script 'random events' that are driven based on the player's units/choices during a match, thereby connecting the player to the universe at large and opening up for some more dynamic elements. For example:

1.) If you have a medical bay submodule, (built to increase repair time of units, perhaps), hospital ships will warp in and dock with the ship that has the module unit. It will result in prestige or provide an increase to crew capacity after some time has passed and people are treated. Loss of NPC medical ships may reflect on the player somehow.

2.) If you have a sector command or fleet command submodule (or similar), diplomats or fleet admirals will warp in and dock-script with the ship. The player chooses to build the submodule on a ship/carrier to gain access to higher level tech or deploy larger units, but at random (not too periodic) events the visiting dignatary will warp in. If the ship is destroyed by enemy units the player suffers a setback in resources or ability or some other penalty. Optionally, while the dignitary is visiting the ship is disabled or at reduced capacity (fleet inspection) or similar.

3.) If you build a deep space communications relay, trade ships will warp in, re-compute coordinates, and warp out. Sometimes a trade ship may dock with a resourcing unit and do a resources swap/trade if the player has some available. Protecting trade ships over time grants a benefit, or the loss of trade ships during an enemy attack results in a de-buff or penalty.

4.) If you have a research module, a Bentusi science NPC science ship may warp in and conduct some sort of science exchange. The un-controlled ship will sit in parade formation with the fleet, providing a speed boost to research or similar, until it warps out after a certain period of time.

These events, and there are plenty more ideas, all speak to the flavor of having the 'off-map' context play a role in the PDS universe. Obviously, there are things going on in the galaxy, and the player can interact with them during a match to influence and participate in the scope of things at large, influencing their local context or situation. Any thoughts, ideas, opinions or similar?

I absolutely love this idea. I had been hoping for some manner of interaction with civilian trade ships, either with neutral trade NPCs wandering around the map, having blundered into the region, or possibly a 'traders hell' sort of gamemode where NPC ships spawn and need to be protected or raided. Or scenarios in which the player has to defend or recapture civilian ships or stations from Pirates.

I'm not certain about the logic of bringing hospital ships or dignitaries into a major hotzone, but that can always be put into the context of a scenario, or a gametype wherein one player has control of a region as an 'occupying' force, and is conducting mundane duties while fending off a guerrilla opponent or some-such.

The other thing is the Character of such events would depend on which race the player is. HGN for instance tends to lean more toward 'protecting civilians', diplomacy, etc. Whereas the Vaygr Armada tend to be far less concerned with collateral damage (not that the Vaygr don't have their own warlords and merchantmen to keep happy, and not that Hiigaran Special Ops isn't cold enough to shoot civilians).

We can certainly go places with this once we have all the ships in place.
Great! Glad there is some excitement here. Scenarios are a great place to experiment with some scripted events. "Traders hell" protect-them-all sounds like a fun game mode that could be unique as well. The dignitary v. hotzone point is a good one - I envision 'cold war' moments on the front-lines where the high command visits and it has a random chance to inspire a dormant AI player to attack and forces the player to defend an aggression action differently - also I think a fleet presence in a battlezone is a great bastion for hospital ships for the Hiigaran player potentially!

For the Vagyr we could totally have Warlord visitations, pirates or mercenaries 'selling' ships/units (e.g. spawn_group + deduct resources), or perhaps a rogue Vagyr fleet/captain who spawns a temporary objective to 'destroy X resource collectors for honor' and then his command cruiser joins the armada or something. Lots of ideas and definitely some room to play around.

Back to reality and the progress on Alpha 1 -- I just checked in a "Close Quarters Combat" test level and will have some time tomorrow to bring the skeleton code and missiles back online, so we can more quickly get to a small subset of complete ships in PDS:RM.

Well, one specific scenario I wanted to do later on is a Hiigaran navy unit manning a civilian traffic checkpoint. A rear area unit with older ships set up mostly to interdict smugglers or as follow up on a space terrorist incident or something. The unit would have to inspect cargo ships with it's fighters, intercept some smugglers, and later be attacked by Turanic Raiders.

Expanding on that, general peacekeeping operations or placing an HGN unit in control of a large region of space performing some kind of inspection duty or such, with the threat of Vaygr, Pirate, or other attacks.

Another idea: Make the player be able to deploy Navigation beacons which civilian ships would follow through the sector in certain scenarios, in order to direct them away from dangerous areas. That could lead to a situation where the player has to manage civilian or refugee traffic and protect it from being attacked.
I think that this will make the PDS mod a favorite because there is potential for people to build games that people can take on. Of course there would have to be the obligatory Kobiashi Maru
I am ancient
A few ideas I've been thinking of, specifically.

Crates: The same ones from regular HWRM. They contain only resources this time around, but have to be physically brought back to the command ship with a salvage craft instead of just magically giving you the resources.

Crate Traps: ...however, some gleefully sadistic nutjob has booby-trapped the some of the crates. They're rigged to explode if they get close to your carrier, so you'll have to check them. This would occur in somewhere around 10% of crate encounters.

Civilian Convoys: Wayward civilians will occasionally blunder into the sector. Since Hiigaran and Vaygr attitudes toward civilian ships vary substantially, they would have two different approaches. Hiigarans would want to shepherd civilians through the region (and would gain some kind of bonus, such as resources) for doing so. Vaygr meanwhile would want to commandeer or destroy them, and gain a bonus for that as well. Civilian ships can also be boarded by marine/infiltrator frigates, but this won't gain any sort of bonus or anything.

Distress Beacons: Different then convoys, occasionally a damaged civilian ship will appear, broadcasting a distress beacon. Rendering assistance to or recovering the civilian ship will gain a bonus.

Distress Beacon Trap: Distress beacons are hazardous though. Sometimes the ships are booby trapped with explosives and will detonate when someone comes near. This would have a low probability of occuring.

Distress Beacon Ambush: Even more dangerous, the distress call could be broadcast by Turanic Raiders looking for the next big score. Probably they would get curb stomped by organized resistance though. This would have a lower probability of occurring still.

Distress Beacon Infection: I'm not sure what role the Beast would play in the PDS storyline, or if we can even script an infection beam. So this probably remains hypothetical. But infected civilian ships are, in-verse at least, considered a major danger. Answering distress calls should be done with the greatest of care.

Independent Miners: Occasionally outlaw mining groups will take advantage of the chaos and try to harvest minerals off of the map and run. While not dangerous, they can strip away unattended asteroid pockets. They will probably retreat if shot at or otherwise be easily destroyed.

Pirate Raid: Occasionally a larger fleet of Pirates may wander into the reason. There would be varying sizes of pirate forces, and usually they're small or weak recon groups, but occasionally larger fleets show up that mean business. Pirates don't usually stand up to regular navies, but they might be bribed to join one side or the other.

Solar Flare/Space Weather: Probably would be restricted to certain maps, but a solar flare or other disturbance might cause issues with starships, disrupting sensor systems or otherwise causing electronics issues for a while.

Derelict Detected: Occasionally a derelict starship will be found. Which would be floating around and damaged. Most of these ships would be worthless, either being ancient hulks, civilian ships, or otherwise smashed to pieces already. Occasionally though you might get lucky and find something armed, and modern enough to make use of. They can be crewed by marine frigates and used by whoever gets there first.

Meteor Shower: Occasionally space debris like asteroid chunks or other bits will fly through the map, and cause damage to anything they hit. Tend not to be too dangerous unless it's a really big piece, although there will occasionally be huge chunks that can cause a hell of a lot of a mess if thy hit. This would also be map specific.

T-MAT raid: This would have an extremely low chance of occurring. On the order of <1% per given skirmish. If it does happen though, this is the armageddon event basically. T-MAT ships are unstoppable and can and will obliterate everything on the map. They will attack all players. They would however have target-able engine and weapon subsystems, and can be slowed down with gravity wells, so biding yourself time is possible.

If they DO show up, your options are limited. Your main goal is to just try and get them to shoot the enemy before they shoot you, so you can atleast win that way. Otherwise, your only option is to flee or try to work around them. If you're feeling suicidal, you can try to fight them though...
IMO these random events seems seems cool, but I think that implementation might be complicated - how will AI react for these (I can't imagine it without heavy AI scripting), how will we ballance them forvSP and MP skirmish games?

Rather than this I'd like to see 3-4 new game modes:

- freighter defense - Team 1 starts near big space station, Team 2 start at fringe of the map. There are no resources on the map apart from what player starts with. However there are 10-20 jump beacons all over the map. These beacons will randomly spawn team 1 friendly freighters carry resource containers that will head to space station at the center. If freigher dock to the station Team 1 receive resource injection. Team 2 will earn resources by destroying freighters (resource injection when freighter is destroyed).
Both sides can salvage debris and cargo containers that spawn when the freighter is destroyed.

After freighter unload it's cargo to the station it will head back to the beacon that spawned it. Team 2 can still destroy it for wreck salvage, but no resource injection nor cargo containers are spawned.
Team 1 would have to choose between defending all freighters (to negate Team 2 the resources) and defending only the incoming one to maximize their own earnigs.
The victory condition could be the normal one to destroy hostile producion ships (long game)
or points based ( Team 1 freighters saved vs Team 2 freighters destroyed) after x minutes of play (short play)

I think that only scripting for AI needed ould be to reuse and modify current AI script that tell them to rush to the relic, but instead to at freighters and not all force.

- refugee evacuation - you can call it reverse freighter defense, but instead the cargo freighter the civilian ships of various size are spawned at starting station and Team 1 can control them. The objective of Team 1 is to move them to the evacuation beacons while Team 2 is to destroy them. This would be a bit more tricky to script. The attacking AI would use the Relec rush script, but defending AI would need to know how to group and evacuate the civilians.

- points control - there are several "Strategic points" like stations, cargo depots, comm stations and jump beacons that switch ownerships if all hostile targets are destroy in their vicinity. Once you control them then give you resource injections.

- assault / defense - variation of point control. Team 1 (defenders) control all strategic points except one, but they are starting with less resources (ideally it should start like the one gamemode where you first buy your starting ships with the starting resources) and have to spread over larger area.
Team 2 (attackers) - start with the only one starting strategic point, but have more starting money and can focus their attack to gain territory.
This would be AI friendly gamemode if we would use the Relic rush script (ideally with AI that know it shouldn't send it's entire force to one point).

Idea for one relic like "special event" - "resource depot" - in random location a resource depot is spawned with harvestable 10-20 cargo containers. every time the container is harvested(despawned from the gate) the new one reapear after a 2 or 3 minutes.
This would create another resource point similar to the relic that would add some variability to the static maps. Unlike Relic the depot would be neutral, so it cannot be destroyed.
Random events will be able to be toggled on and off in the skirmish menu. We can abuse the hell out of the relic rush/crate rush scripts for most of these things.

I am liking these game-mode ideas. I'd imagine in a psuedo-realistic scenario, the starting situation would almost always be somewhat asymmetric. One team has the objective from the start and the other has to come and take it. I'm not too big on the idea of 'instant returns' from capturing map points: In any situation where you have to force board a space station, it's going to take some damage, and that will take time to repair to get any use out of it, although for the same of gameplay relevance we could hand-wave this.

I've long wanted to add space stations or other civilian outposts to maps, if nothing else for decoration. Having them be gameplay relevant is of course a bonus. Although the caveat would be they don't instantly change teams: You have to board them with marine frigates and take them forcibly to get any use from them. But it certainly adds a layer of strategic depth. All gamemodes we've had have boiled down to 'kill all production ships' anyway.
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