Try out the Linkevator and Prinpahts

A community Age for Uru.

Moderator: Aloys

Postby Robert The Rebuilder » Fri May 26, 2006 3:24 pm

I've finally finished a sample age that demonstrates two of the
transport concepts that were discussed in other Ahra Pahts topics:

- "Linkevator": means of transferring between levels in the Hub
[EDIT: this mechanism removed]

- Prinpahts (Map Room): a "nexus" of sorts

You can try it out yourself:

LinkTest01.zip

Here's how to install it:

1. Unzip the ZIP file, and you'll get a directory named LinkTest01
containing two subdirectories: dat and Python.

2. Copy all the files in the dat subdirectory into the dat directory of
your standalone URU installation.

3. Copy the PAK file in the Python subdirectory into the Python directory of
your standalone URU installation.

4. Start UruAgeManager and go to the Advanced tab.

5. Click on one of the dots in the "Register A Link on this machine"
area. Choose one that does not have any other age assigned to it.

6. In the "Filename:" input field, put "LinkTest01".

7. In the "Spawnpoint:" input field, put "District1SP".

8. In the "Description:" input field, put "LinkTest01"

9. In the "Text" input field, put "Ahra Pahts link test age".

10. Click the "Register Link" button at the bottom.

Now, just play URU, go to your special UAM Relto book, turn the pages
until you find the "LinkTest01" page, then link!

You'll appear in the first district, under the "Hub".

Now, to test the Prinpahts (Map Room):

1. Walk over to the nearest pedestal.

2. Click on the book.

3. You'll link to the Prinpahts: a large map on the floor under a
large dome.

4. There are several pedestals here, each with a linking book that will take you to one of the districts above, in the corresponding point on the map.

5. Click on the linking book you want.

This should give you a feel for these transport mechanisms.

Now, here are the caveats:

- The art is still terrible! Dammit, Jim - I'm a programmer, not an
artist!
I updated the model of Prin Pahts; take a look:

Picture of Latest Prinpahts

- The "city" here only has 5 pedestals. The eventual version of Ahra Pahts/Prin Pahts will have a pedestal for each courtyard.

- Although the linking books are clickable, it doesn't have a close-up of the book appear.

- The linking noise gets truncated after a couple seconds. That is an
artifact of using the "fake link": a way to link to another location
within an age, without having to reload the age.

- This is not implemented as a multi-user age. I need to add SDL
capability to support that.

So, try it out, and see what you think. Any feedback would be appreciated.
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Postby Aloys » Fri May 26, 2006 4:11 pm

That's great work Robert! :) I wasn't sure how were gonna pul this one off, you've done it very well.
As far as I can see this look fully functionnal and we only need to add in more linking points. :)

Couple notes (I haven't dwelled at al in the Python realm so bear with me)

- Is the current system of selecting a number with a single button a temporary proof of concept? It works with a single button works fine becaue there are only 4 possibilities but what to do to select something among a couple dozens linking points? The 'selection' method hasn't been agreed on in the Nexus thread, map, GUI, buttons etc.. I was quite keen on having buttons right on the map on the floor, the 'proximity click' method could work if they are far appart enough.

- It's too bad we don't have any sound capabilities as of now, that'd add a lot.. I guess the way you trigger the sound for the fake link isn't applicable to anything else right?

- When the fake link occur the camera has to catch up and the fade in occurs before the camera has finished its course. I guess we have no way of preventing that? (triggering the fade in later; blocking the camera a way or another; forcing 1st person cam)

- I'm not a big fan of the linkevator system for the hub (although I love the name :) ), it's impossible IC. (unless you play the Yeesha card off course)
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Postby Robert The Rebuilder » Sat May 27, 2006 5:39 am

Thanks for the feedback, Aloys! Let me see if I can address your notes:

- The single button is a proof of concept. The full-on system would have three number selectors, for the three digits of the shell numbers. So, this can be expanded to address all the shells. But you're right - there could be a button over each shell on the floor. And instead of a panel opening in the far wall, there could be a panel in the center of the floor that opens, and a linking pedestal can rise up out of the hole.

- The fake link sound is an integral part of the fake link Python command. There doesn't seem to be any way to control the duration of the sound. The only other way to transport the avatar is a function that moves you to the next spawn point, but there is no way to tell it which spawn point; the system just picks one.

- Yeah, the fade out/in thing is pretty tricky. The fake link command just whisks you away to the new spawn point, and the camera has to play catch up. Right now, the blackout time is a variable in the script that can be extended. Ideally, this variable would be calculated based on the distance between the avatar's current position and the new spawn point. I'll look into this.

- The linkevator is an awkward setup, I'll admit. But then, the map room's books would need some sort of IC explanation too - unless we say that the map room is actually in another age. An alternative to the linkevator is to use a rising platform instead, like the 4 ones in Kadish Tolesa (controlled by the four levers). In Ahra Pahts, you would climb onto the platform, press a button, and it lifts up to the top - just like a real elevator. Would that work?
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Postby Robert The Rebuilder » Mon May 29, 2006 8:52 pm

I have a new version of this test age, which eliminates the button pushing in the map room. Instead, there are pedestals in each of the four districts. Just walk up to the book and click on it - and off you go to the center of that district.

Picture of new pedestals in map room

Again, this is just a proof of concept; the actual map room would have a pedestal on each shell.

I've also fixed the blackout period to be based on the distance to the next spawn point. Now, the scene stays blacked out until the camera arrives. Average time = 9 seconds.
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Postby Aloys » Tue May 30, 2006 7:59 am

It's nice you have adjusted the black out time.
One issue I see though is that all linking points in the city will be at different distances from the nexus and the camera travel time will be different for each.. And I don't really see how to fix this except by aligning the black out time on the longest camera travel time (ie: the shell that's the farthest from the nexus).

BTW, do we actually need a linking spot for each shell? Seeing how the shells are grouped by 3 with their entrances very close next to each other, maybe we could just have one linking spot in each street for 3 shells.
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Postby Besharen » Tue May 30, 2006 3:38 pm

Ya, I think that would be better. I can't really picture 150 pedestals together in the same room. I think it would end up just as confusing as the big city.
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Postby Robert The Rebuilder » Wed May 31, 2006 6:39 am

Actually, the blackout time is now based on the distance from your current position to the destination; it is recalculated each time you link. The closer shells to the nexus/map room will have the shortest blackout time.

I agree - it would be nice to reduce the number of pedestals and spawn points. Previously, I was planning on naming the spawn point/pedestal after the shell number. However, if one pedestal/spawn point is used for three shells, what should the name be? A concatenation of the three shells (e.g. SP121122123)? Or a range (e.g. SP121_123)?

Another question: what page number can be assigned to the nexus/map room objects? How about 50?

A preference question: When you click on a book, do you want an open book GUI to appear with the link picture? Or do you want to just link without showing the book GUI?
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Postby Aloys » Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:48 pm

[quote="Robert The Rebuilder"] Another question: what page number can be assigned to the nexus/map room objects? How about 50?

Anything between 3 and 99 is ok.

A preference question: When you click on a book, do you want an open book GUI to appear with the link picture?  Or do you want to just link without showing the book GUI?

Depending on how many books we have, we will betweed 50 and 150+ panels to store (both in the Prps and in memory). That's a hell of a lot of data. I'd say let's keep them small, and let the linking happen when we click the book; this way we won't have to have larger textures for GUI panels.
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Postby Starfyre » Fri Jun 09, 2006 8:07 pm

We don't need 150. I was looking at Key Areas. Maybe the Courtyards. The Hub of course. I don't think each group of shells needds one let alone each shell.
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Postby Paradox » Sat Jun 10, 2006 10:02 am

From what I can see, the shells won't look dramatically different from each other (expecially if you haven't seen them up close). What don't we just take a very dim picture of the inside of a shell and use it as the linking panel (think Ahnonay).
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