Imagine: an encyclopedia, with current stock levels/prices, in the Navigation menu

The place to discuss scripting and game modifications for X³: Terran Conflict and X³: Albion Prelude.

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Imagine: an encyclopedia, with current stock levels/prices, in the Navigation menu

Post by bn » Thu, 20. Dec 12, 02:31

It might work something like this. Suppose you have a pressing need to come up with three Lasertowers. You open the command console, probably on your own ship, and under Navigation... you see two new commands: Who Needs Ware, and Who Has Ware. Selecting Who Has, you are presented with the ware selection menu (the little one with everything, no nonsense of navigating through the galaxy down to some particular station that deals in it). And when you select LT, you see something like this: ... z4_has.png

This is a list of all known stations that sell the ware as a product, or trade in it. Pricing and volume appear upper right for reference. By default, stations are sorted, within each grouping, by price/quantity/jumps, but you can also sort jumps/price/quantity, which is the default for equipment and upgrades (since price and quantity don't matter).

The hourly production figures summarize the capacity of the known universe for NPC stations (not yours). For those of you who feel you don't deserve to know the production status of individual stations, there's a switch in the T file you may simply edit to suppress it - though the overall production values remain, since you could figure those out if you had the time, patience, and sufficient scratch paper.

Price is highlighted green if better than average (below for Has, above for Needs). Jumps are red if you can't get there, yellow if you can't get back.

Selecting a station brings up the corresponding sector map, in station selection mode. If you click a station (not necessarily the one that got you there), all you have to do is click in a confirmation dialog and the 'dock at' command is issued for you.

[Note: the race-coded asterisks on the sector names are *not* part of this, that's my own separate little hack. I left them on since I think it helps focus attention on different bits of information, plus I happen to think it looks very pleasant.]

For another example, let's say one of your MK3 trainees gets stuck with half a load of Soja Husk. On the command console of that ship, you ask Who Needs <soja>, and get a slightly different menu: ... _needs.png

If the ship happens to have some of the ware in cargo, you get a reminder of that near the top (and help in deciding whether it's worth more than ejection). When you do have cargo, the quantity number is green if the station is willing to take all that you have. Capacity is omitted here since it would mostly be a distraction. Again, clicking a station in the menu brings up the sector map, where you may select the station for docking.

I've found that showing a max of about 40 per group works well, and just cut it back to 20 for the screenshots (that number is also in the T file).

There is another option in the T file, which allows you to see all stations, including unknown - certainly not how you'd want to start out, but helpful if you get to the point in a game where a little assistance in finding new pirate stations and such would be appreciated. These stations are highlighted orange; they still won't appear on the sector map unless they happen to be within scanner range of some asset, but at least you can narrow the search to specific sectors.

As wonderful as this is for navigation purposes, I find it even more valuable as a research tool. If I'm thinking about getting into the Nostrop business, I can get the hourly production/consumption values by using both Has and Needs, maybe get a sense of whether it's more of a capacity or transport issue, and of course see what sort of prices I might be able to command. Or, say I happen to have a CLS2 trader feeding a bunch of Terran weapons fabs, and am trying to figure out what to charge for MREs. Looking at Who Needs, I find the non-operational fab that needs the fewest, and know that I have to go down to at least his price.

It has also helped to get me out of some ruts. For instance, I typically buy my Transporters at a couple of places near favorite shipyards where I can also find a Triplex or Jumpdrive, but one time when I had a ship out there without one, I learned there's a Free Argon Trading Station that sells them, and it was right next door. I also am sometimes surprised by the jump info, since it's not so easy to do the Hub mapping stuff in your head, and learn that some sector is a lot closer than I realized.

Best of all, it frees me from a lot of the tedium, and lets me focus on the bigger picture. Partly because I have such information readily available, one of my current objectives is to see just how low I can get the total number of non-operational stations, and that's been quite interesting. Much better exercise for my brain than browsing endlessly through sector maps looking at stations and guessing how long those little stock bars really are.

I've been having a blast with it for a few weeks, feel like it's shaken out and prettied-up. But... I need some help.

Unfortunately, for a couple of reasons I am not in a position where I can commit to distributing and maintaining a mod for a reasonable period of time. For one thing, I'm on a Mac, and we generally run a year or more behind the rest of you. There's nothing complicated or tricky here and it should be fine on newer versions (I'm at AP 3.2.1), but if there is a problem I can't even look at it. Also, I appreciate that many people prefer SPK packaging, but I don't do SPKs.

Secondly, I am quickly ramping down my playing time, and intend to pretty much stop completely in the near future. I played a lot of TC a couple years back, but then never once launched it for over a year and half, so this is not an idle threat. I came back for AP, got my fix, and there's other stuff I'd prefer to spend my time on now.

So I'm hoping that someone out there is willing to take this over. Set up an official download page, register the T file and command numbers, maybe rename and package things, and make a reasonable commitment to maintain it for a year or so. Shouldn't be a big deal, though given a choice I would prefer it be someone already experienced with supporting mods. I think it's fair to say the code is pretty clean and quite readable, and there's not really that much of it anyway. I believe all strings, including the numeric decimal separator char, are externalized.

I have a couple of other things that might be worth discussing, but this particular mod is likely to be of most general interest, and I'd feel almost criminal for not doing my best to offer it. Anyone interested enough to help make this happen?


{Images posted directly to the forums should not be greater than 640x480 or 100kb, oversized images now linked - Terre}

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Post by Nicoman35 » Thu, 20. Dec 12, 09:49

Why not simply drop the stuff you have in a place like this? Because if, at the moment, no one feels like hosting this, maybe in a few month there will be someone.
If you do not post your work it will be lost, and that would be a pitty.

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Post by Brinnie » Thu, 20. Dec 12, 09:53

I have been interested in something like this for a long time. A supply and demand script that would show at a glance who needed what in a particular sector (maybe even surrounding ones).

Something which I thought would have been useful for planning what to trade in, where to put factories/complexes, generally improving the universe economy as well as your credits.

I have been using the "Universal Best Buys/Sells Locator v2.51" to gather the above info, although not as directly, and if I were capable I would have added the feature to that already indispensable script.

Or alternatively another tab to the best buy, best sell menu.
I remember in XBtF there was some info provided in the sector or universe map showing imports and exports.

I will certainly check your script out when you release it.
I am willing to help but I have no skills that can be put to that purpose.

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Post by Cycrow » Thu, 20. Dec 12, 13:53

Its the reason you dont do SPK files because your on a mac, or do you have another reason for not doing ?

there are ways to make SPK like files without needing any extra programs to do it

The plugin manager can install standard zip/rar files and you can also include a small text file that will turn it into a spk when installed. The text file contains all the additional data needed for spk files like name, version, author, etc

There is of course no requirement to continue to maintain scripts once released. IF you plan to release it yourself you could just put a note with it to allow anyone else to continue with it.

many scripts in the past have had thier authors leave and someone else come along and take over it

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Post by bn » Fri, 21. Dec 12, 01:15

SPKs are really beside the point, but to answer your question, it's just not worth the nuisance to me, on a mac. Frankly, I'd rather write a simplistic version of some mod myself, than screw around with running some windows emulator (though I understand the procedure and have adequate skills).

Certainly there are plenty of mods available only as zips; all I meant was that I realize some people prefer SPKs, and I'm not going to do it. As I'm trying to make my exit here (hard enough as that is), I'm not too excited about learning how to manually package them, and then still not be able to test whether I'd done it properly (right?). At the same time, I do feel that if something is of sufficiently general interest, then it ought to be handled more or less "properly", and that's the sort of help I was looking for.

Look, the game itself is pretty amazing, but it's the modding community that makes it truly great. Rather than just pack up my toys and go home, it would at least make me feel better to try to give something back. It would be nice to do that with a clean handoff if someone wants to make it theirs. And if there's not much interest, that's fine with me too.

[Sorry about the images. I did at least make sure they weren't 15meg bmps, but didn't realize the limit was still so low.]

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Post by Brinnie » Thu, 10. Jan 13, 20:12

@ bn:

Thank you for the script.

Very much in the same category of the "Universal Buy & Sell" script but different enough to be useful even for those, like myself, who have the U.B.S. already installed.

Do you think you will still work on it?

I would certainly have liked to take over your script, even add a few features but I am no scripter. It deserves a good scripter to look after it, yourself being the obvious candidate but if not you, someone else who can look after the thread with the downloads, updates and support.

If you would like me to I could upload your file (as well as an spk version from which I have installed your script) someplace and post the links in this thread.

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Post by bn » Sat, 12. Jan 13, 04:36

Maybe we can make this work Brinnie. If you're willing to take care of the hosting and links, and repackage if necessary, that would be great. Though before you do so, give me a little time to give it a quick test under TC (there may be a small issue with menu support, which I allowed for).

Even assuming I do manage to take a break for a while, I will continue to receive update notifications, and almost certainly would address problems and questions, perhaps entertain enhancement suggestions. I don't consider it an ongoing project, so I don't think there will be much to do.

I've never looked at UBS myself, so I would definitely be interested in hearing your ideas. But for the moment (especially given the obvious lack of interest), I'd prefer to have that conversation offline, so email or pm me and we can talk about it.

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Post by jack775544 » Sat, 12. Jan 13, 09:06

A good place to upload scripts\mods for X games is XDownloads. It is free, reliable and dedicated to hosting X mods making it a great place to upload your things.
1940s - Various "computers" are "programmed" using direct wiring and switches. Engineers do this in order to avoid the tabs vs spaces debate.

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Post by Brinnie » Sat, 12. Jan 13, 14:05

Hello Bn, I can certainly at least try to take care of the links and packaging but I do think your script deserves better than that. I will try to be a Temporary Caretaker for an indefinite period of time and I hope not to mess anything up. I will see if I can find one of the usual hosts to put the files up but before posting the files I will send you the links and wait for you to give me the Go Ahead.

I will send you some ideas that I have regarding your script by PM (as you suggested), being incapable of scripting I can only take things up to the concept stage so if you don't mind listening me I will enjoy it, just tell me when you have had enough. If you have the time try UBS yourself and you will get a better idea of what I am going to tell you, that way I can also use that script as reference to better explain what is on my mind.

I have actually taken a break from X myself, I am spending more time on Borderlands 2, Chivalry and BF3 with friends recently but this game draws me to it even when I am not playing it.

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Post by Boredom » Sat, 12. Jan 13, 15:30

Killerog has a New tool for Hosting/Uploading mods, you can check it that would be a good place to start.

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