Hello everyone, and a belated happy 2012. It’s been rather quiet here on the blog, but I assure you that’s only because nobody has been posting on it. Elsewhere we’re all still tinkering away on the project, and we’re hoping to build toward a new release in the near future. Before we can do that though, we need to put the finishing touches on the active outfit system. You see, we plan to add outfits you can install on your ship and activate once in space for all sorts of effects… Oh, but I can see you’re not very interested in that. So, let’s move on to something else that’s been happening:
Asset and jump discovery
Discovering assets (that’s planets and stations) and jump points used to be easy. Jump into a system, glance at the system map, voila, they’re all there. But that is changing. Just as ships become undetectable if they’re far away from you, so can assets and jump points be invisible to you, using much the same mechanics. For an easy example, look at the following screencaps:
As you can see, it’s now possible for assets to not be shown on the map until the player discovers them. Now, I should point out that most planets tend to be fairly hard to miss in a star system, so when you jump into a new system you will usually discover all of them immediately, just like it’s always been. The example above isn’t representative in that respect – I simply modified the hide values for the purpose of showing how it works. However, if the system has high sensor interference (inside the nebula, for example), it may be more difficult to find the planets within.
Space stations tend to be a fair bit smaller than celestial bodies however (yes yes, except THAT one). You may have to scout around a system a bit before they appear on the map, and if the station actually makes an effort of being inconspicuous (think hidden military or pirate bases), you won’t easily find them.
Jump points, too, are more difficult to detect than your average planet. You usually won’t spot any jump points other than the one you entered from when jumping in, which means you can’t plot a course to the next unknown system before first finding the way there. So how will you know where the jump points are then? Well, you could fly around and look for them yourself, but there are a number of things you can do to find them more reliably:
- Follow other pilots. Especially traders often travel to other systems, and they know all the major routes. If you see a trader fly away from a planet, try following it. Chances are it will lead you to a jump point.
- Talk to NPCs in the spaceport bars. Not only do NPCs offer you missions sometimes, they will also give you helpful information. Some may even offer to update your map with locations of assets or jump points if you don’t know them already.
- Buy maps. As of the next version of Naev, the Star Map outfit has been replaced by a collection of pre-defined maps. Each map reveals one or more star systems, and may or may not reveal jumps and assets belonging to them. Buying a map for the Empire Core, for example, will immediately update your map with systems in Empire space, as well as the jumps leading from one to the other.
There are also rumors of new, exotic types of jump points, such as hidden jump points that can’t be detected without special equipment, known only to a selected few. There also seems to be a kind of jump point that can’t be detected at all, and that only be used from the other side…