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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Final Technology Data Structure

In an earlier post I explained about ship items.  Now here's the technology system and how it all works together.

There will be two types of technology research supported.  The first type is the classic technology research from MoO and MoO 2 where when you research an item from a field, it unlocks the next bracket of technologies (for MoO if you research the newest bracket of technology, for MoO 2, if you research something in a field).  Another type is the "tree" where researching an technology will directly unlock the next technology (or technologies)  Think of X-Com, researching Laser Weapons unlocks Laser Pistols.  You can pick one of the two types to use in your game mod.  The game will load it in appropriately, it will look for certain data in one type, and a different type of data in another.

There are also three options for how research is handled:
One at a time - You can only research one technology at a time, like MoO 2 or Civilization
One per field - You can research one tech for each available field, like MoO 1
No restrictions - You can research whatever visible technologies you want, no count restrictions.

While overhauling the technology system, I added support for mods to define their own types and fields.  If you recall, each "technology" can unlock items for use in your empire (For example, researching Laser Cannon will unlock Laser Cannon Item and Light Mount).  So the items and technologies are now separate types of data.  You can define what type each item is, and the game will handle the display for you.  Let's say that you have only two technology fields, "Physics" and "All Other", and you just put one of those for each technology.  The game will load in technologies, and at the same time, compiling a list of fields.  So make sure you don't misspell the type, or there'll be two duplicate types (Physics and Pysics would be two separate fields for example).

Same thing for ship items.  You can define the type of ship items, and they'll be automatically categorized into those types for the UI when designing ships.

I'm kicking around the idea of adding ability to set ship restrictions and requirements.  For example, a ship can only have one item that are of "Engine" type, or a ship must have at least one "Life Support" item.  But I'm putting this under "Nice to have" and will work on it after full release.

I'm almost done overhauling the technology data system.  Another week or so then it should all work together.  I'll then need to update the UI.  Thanks for your patience while I work on the overhaul.

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