Elite on mobile :-)

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AndyG
Elite on mobile :-)

Thanks for making this cool conversion for Android. Now I can play elite on the train (I've looked at Oolite, but you really need a desktop or at least a laptop with a decent resolution).

I've already got 2 hours game time in doing the poor agricultural/rich industrial milk run. Now tooled up with miltary laser and other kit.

Bug/feature - when you target a something with a missile, but destroy it with your laser, it should say target lost and reset the missile. If you fire the missile in this state it just disappears. Related to this there should be an option to untarget the missile manually.

When selling cargo, you can only sell all not specify an amount (a minor issue as most of the time you will be selling all)

Is there a way of forcing a misjump?

In the alite ini file what do the entries correspond to?
(Have you considered an xml format for it, to make it easier to maintain? Or hack for nosey people like me)

What missions have you implemented?

Stardust
Stardust's picture
Cool! Glad you like the game

Cool! Glad you like the game :)

Good bug report... I'll look into the issue, so that the missile won't get lost.

You _can_ actually unlock a missile manually: Tap and hold the missile icon until it untargets. That's too hidden, I suppose. I'll make the missile status bar a tap-area, so when you tap the area, a targetted missile also becomes untargetted...

Selling cargo: Yep. That's actually intentional, as it was like this "back in the old days", when I grew up playing Elite on the Amiga.

Yes, there is a way of forcing a misjump :). I won't spoil it here for all to read, though :d... Maybe a hint is in order: http://www.elitehomepage.org/faq.htm#A6 won't give you the exact answer, but it's close...

alite.ini ?? Err... What? What is the alite.ini file? Do you mean the "current_state.dat"? That's "just" a binary state dump of Alite... If you are looking for cheats, though, there are "official cheats" available... Remember the Amiga version and take it from there; you're bound to find a few...

What missions have I implemented: I'm going to let you find out on your own, too... BUT: Looking at the Credits will probably tell you all you want to know.

Oh -- and by the way: Welcome to the Alite forum!

Cheers,
Cmdr. Stardust

Selvasis
Selvasis's picture
Speeding things up

Awesome game! Looking forward to seeing how things go.  I've just got one nitpick with the torus drive, since I can't use it when random NPCs (even friendlies or neutrals) pop up, and makes traveling take forever if you've had to engage a hostile while you were traveling, since the neutrals spawn thereafter, and I can't use the torus drive. Maybe design the torus drive so it doesn't work whe there are enemies ONLY?  Not sure if this jives with you, because what I'm suggesting follows more along the lines of SETA, from the X-Universe games.  I'm loving it so far though! My first space game was X-Tension, and I've never played Elite, but I see where the foundations are from, and enjoy the unlimited freedom, from the comforts of my phone, anywhere I am.  Can't wait to see how you're going to build on this with features, or keep it strictly a remake of Elite. If the latter, I'm definitely hoping to see you making a game similar to Elite, but with more potential for expansion, and no hindrances when it comes to planning new features, such as changing ships and the sort, in a new space IP of your own.   Keep up the great work!

Stardust
Stardust's picture
Thanks!!

Thanks!!

Actually, the torus drive problem annoys me, too (at times) :). Therefore, there currently is a cheat in the game that allows you to make the torus drive work _exactly_ how you suggested. How to activate that cheat?! --- Well, I'm not going to make it available publicly, but you can either experiment (remember the Amiga version and take it from there), or drop me a line to my mail address, if you really want to know :)

Another idea I had (or rather Oolite had), was to use an equipment item ("Fuel Injectors") to use the remaining hyperspace fuel to activate the torus drive. Thus, when the drive is activated, it uses hyperspace fuel, but it can also be activated if other ships are in the vicinity (enemies or friendlies).

The latter is definitely on my list of future enhancements...

bilbo
Literal speed-up

Firstly a big thanks for revitalising my favourite game and making it available on my phone! The accelerometer controls are so good its the easiest version to dock I've played.

I would so like to spend time playing this but I don't get much time and this torus drive problem eats up too much of my game play time :-(

I implemented a different solution in Oolite which may be easier to implement - I added a feature which simply speeds up time by a factor of ten (by altering oolite's timeAccelerationFactor variable). I prefer this solution because 'fuel injectors' feel like a bodge - they can easily be used to get away from badies and if we have them why don't the badies? With a speed-up approach you use at you're own risk - if you're not paying attention you die very quickly!

For me the most important thing is playability - it can be as accurate and true to life as you like but if no one can play it what's the point? However story is important too so for those that care I justified the feature the same way Oolite justified the instantaneous auto-dock, ie. it uses a partial activation of the docking computer's 'hypnotic sleep inducer'.

This means you just need a working docking computer for this feature to work - a config option could be added to Options to enable/disable the use of this feature when the torus drive is blocked, I also had it auto-dropping out of speed-up if the status changes to red, i.e. being attacked.

Hope this makes sense and would like to help implement this if you are interested...

Stardust
Stardust's picture
Speed-Up

Hi Bilbo,

first: I'm glad you like the game! :) If you need a "quick-fix" for the Torus-Drive problem, I suggest you take a look at this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zd_P8ax1ZWs (time index 5:05 and onwards...)

Now, this being said: I do like your idea. In fact: I do like it a lot... Unfortunately, though, Alite does not (yet) have a "timeAccelerationFactor" variable. So, I assume that implementing a time warp functionality isn't quite as easy as setting a variable, but I'll definetely look into this one... Or you may go ahead if you like: The source is over at github (https://github.com/CmdrStardust/Alite/).

As stated on the front page, I'm currently researching AI techniques to improve the NPC behavior, because I really don't like how stupid they are, so this will be my priority for now. My vacation ends in four days, so I won't have much time afterwards, either. (Unfortunately :())

Thanks for the great idea for now!

Cheers,
Philipp

EDIT: Then again: Implementing the time acceleration might not be that difficult after all: Take a look at the "onDrawFrame" method in AndroidGame. Maybe it's enough to introduce a speedUp variable here; still render only 30FPS, but update much faster... Hmm... This would have to be tested on lower-end devices, though. I'm pretty sure my S4 can handle it like this... I'll give it a go, though.

EDIT 2: No, it's not that simple... Android can't handle the speed-up here... Not even on the Galaxy S4. So, I'll have to think a little more about your suggestion...

bilbo
Speed-Up

Hi Stardust,

The approach in your EDIT is what I was thinking too although I do not know the code yet; it will take a bit of time to get right because of the way it has to interact with the game play and I would also like to see the AI improved! So why don't I take on this speed-up and see if I get somewhere?

On the subject of AI, one thing occurred to me - the typical technique I use is to keep flying at the ship so they are always retreating, this is currently pretty foolproof because all other craft don't slow down and blast me to pieces. What if ships sometimes had a rear laser so when they retreat they can still take you out? This would make it much harder and you could weight the probability of a rear laser on the type of planet (i.e. more in anarchy) and the player's rating so the game can get harder.

Stardust
Stardust's picture
Speed-Up

Hey,

I'm not sure if this can work so easily, but if you know how this system is implemented in Oolite, maybe you can recreate it (I'll help if I can, of course). So, by all means: Give it a go :) -- and have fun.

In regard to AI, I'm currently "back to school", i.e. I am researching all kinds of techniques and trying to pick a good one for Alite. So far, I like GOAP a lot, but I can't see all the details yet. Improving the NPC ship equipment certainly is a viable option and will come into play. (One tricky detail is that not all ship models have natural mount points for rear lasers...)

In a larger view, what I'm dreaming of is an AI, which has just a few actions/goals when the player is harmless (i.e. basically "attack and stay alive"), whereas the AI will get far more intelligent when the player has a higher rating (collaborating: One ship acts as a decoy and tries to lure the player away, while the others will attack him from different angles, protective fire from wingmen, forcing the player to change course, etc... --- But: It's a long way :))

AndyG
Are all stray cargo illegal?

I just did a bit of a pirate hunt and picked up my first stray canisters. They were firearms, slaves, narcotics, firearms (do pirates only carry contraband?), each pick up flags me as offender and the first one caused vipers to launch as soon as I approached the station. From my C64 elite days, you only got the legal status hit when launching from station with contraband.

Stardust
Stardust's picture
No, not all Cargo Canisters

No, not all Cargo Canisters contain contraband goods. On the Amiga (and in Alite), the cargo carried is determined by the Ship type. Hence all Mambas, Asp Mk IIs, and Adders transport the cargo you mentioned ;)... "Safe" cargo is transported (for example) by Boas, Geckos, or Kraits...

And, again as in the Amiga Version, the acquisition of contraband good (by whatever means) changes your legal status --- whereas selling it, does not alter the status. I -- vaguely! -- remember C64 Elite from a friend playing it, but I never played it on my own. You do have a point, though: It really makes not much sense to "punish" a player for picking up contraband goods... Hmmm... This might be worth changing in 1.1 :).  An alternative would, once again, be an extra equipment item, which would allow you to scan cargo canisters and allows you to decide whether to pick them up. Maybe this could even be the default: So, once you identify a Cargo Canister, it tells you what's in it... (Without having to buy an extra equipment item).

Which solution would you prefer?

(Summary:
1. Do not punish a player for picking up Cargo Canisters with contraband goods
2. New equipment item (to be bought for xx Credits) identifies the contents of a Cargo Canister
3. Automatic identification of the Cargo Canister contents
)

bilbo
No, not all Cargo Canisters

I've not played the Amiga version, only the BBC model B versions, Atari ST and Oolite. This change to the original seems odd as it makes piracy much harder work ... and how do the authorities know straight away that you've scooped a ton of narcotics?

Can I suggest an alternative? A player should be penalised for dealing in contraband but not for scooping it up, so:

a. Change the point at which the player's legal status changes to be space station centred

b. Allow players to eject cargo - this can be as simple as going to the inventory page and changing the 'click again' feature from selling to ejecting when the player is flying - if someone accidentally ejects all their computers - tough. I would make this 'Eject' feature part of the fuel scoop equipment so if an accident does occur they should be able to salvage something back. I believe eject was in the Atari ST version, not sure about the BBC one.

The point of legal status change (a) could be on docking and/or lunching but if a player scoops contraband when clean they can still dock and sell easily cause they're still 'clean'! Is this why it was changed in the Amiga version?

Two thoughts:

1. Legal status changes only when actually buying or selling contraband - easy to implement but doesn't address the scooping of contraband and selling while still 'clean' issue. Does have the added bonus of allowing a player to keep their cargo 'hidden' until they choose to either sell or eject - and it feels more consistent with the real world, it time a 'black market' or a way to bribe officials could be implemented allowing the player to keep their clean status.

2. Check for contraband when docking, leaving and entering a space stations Safe zone - the response from the authorities can be biased by its type (i.e. anarchy has little response etc) so players are more in control of their legal status but don't get a free ride.

Stardust
Stardust's picture
Amiga/Atari ST

As far as I know, there is no difference between the Amiga and Atari ST versions -- but I've never played the ST version, so I wouldn't know.

It always seemed strange to me that selling contraband goods wasn't punished; so I really don't mind changing the behavior here; others might disagree, though :) [As usual, you cannot make everyone happy :)].

I think what would be best would be to give the player the ability to scan containers before he scoops them up (or eject them; or both) and to punish _selling_ contraband goods instead of purchasing... Thus, you can safely pick up anything, jettison it, if you don't like it and risk selling it, by becoming offender or fugitive...

Your idea of making the offense less significant in Anarchies is quite appealing... I'll think about that --- after AI :)

fychan66
My $0.02 worth... Jettisoning

My $0.02 worth... Jettisoning cargo instead of selling it while not docked (as long as you have a fuel scoop installed to have a chance of fixing your FUBAR) is a good solution.  Buying or selling contraband should affect your rating (even tho as a lowly Harmless Commander, I'd love to get the extra free cash from selling drugs/firearms I pick up!) I agree. But as a Harmless newbie, being stung by being locked out of a station and attacked by Vipers purely for picking up a cannister from someone who attacked me seems a little... harsh.I'd love to get the cash for it (and recover the cost of missiles etc) if I wanted to take the hit on my rating, but I'd also like the option of not having the hit and ejecting it again if I don't want it (maybe also get $1 for shooting it as a space hazard like an asteroid - making it strong enough to not be vapourised in the battle of course!)...

Stardust
Stardust's picture
Legal Status/Jettisoning of Cargo

Hi,

the cargo jettison feature is now implemented. Also: Whenever you buy or sell contraband goods at a space station, your legal status changes, but it won't change if you scoop up contraband goods anymore. Also note that while you're being punished for buying contrabands at -- say -- Lave, you'll not be punished _again_ for selling the same contrabands at Zaonce.

Some more testing is necessary, before a new version of Alite will appear, but it shouldn't be too long now...

AndyG
New equipment is always a

New equipment is always a good thing, you always end up with more money than you know what to do with. Had my first taste of witchspace in alite, got killed twice, but did manage to take down 10 thargoids on my successful run while Average, which got me bumped to Above Average. Its a bit of a pain that you end up with clouds of deactivated thargons floating about, as you never get any time to clean them up before the next thargoid shows up, energy bomb only helps once before they build up again. Plot wise 1 thargoid at a time (forever) seems a bit odd (I know thats how the amiga elite worked) in the 8 bit elite you would get jumped by 3/4 thargoids, which made it a real furball of a fight, but an energy bomb would at least clean out the thargons. If you did take out all the thargoids you could then pick up any stray thargons or thargoid escape pods at your leasure. Then fly around in empty space till you got bored and hyperspaced out (assuming you had the fuel).

Do all the friendlies head to the sun? I was trying to go sun skimming, but kept getting mass locked and gave up.

AndyG
Forgot to ask, my biggest

Forgot to ask, my biggest issue with the witchspace fight is the overheating military laser (since you never get a respite for it to cool down), in terms of laser power vs temperature rise would beam be better than military? On the C64 military laser was alays better, but i read that in some versions beam may be a better choice due to taking longer to overheat.

Stardust
Stardust's picture
You're not alone in hating

You're not alone in hating the mass lock from friendlies... I'll have to do something about that....

The Amiga version heated the military laser similar to how I do it. So the ideal setup for me on the Amiga was a front military laser combined with a rear beam laser. However.... Maybe there's a better solution. Separate laser coolers for example?

AndyG
Thargoids

A couple of game play points regarding Thargoids.
1. Just did a run to an anarchy planet and got them twice, are they being treated like pirates, i.e. are they more likelyvto appear at Anarchies rather than Corporate States? This feels wrong as they shouldn't be bothered by government type.
2. Frequency of "drive malfunction" seems quite high, its not my much of a surprise if is every 10-20 jumps(I had 2 in a row yesterday). Also I do find the "kill 2 (rating +1)" consecutive Thargoids to renable hyperspace quite annoying (I now just reset when I see drive malfunction, so I don't spend half an hour shooting thargoids just to get taken out by the 10th one). It would be good if the was an option to tweak the behaviour here, e.g. drive comes back online after first one, or you just get jumped by 3 or 4, but then no more come, alah the original bbc elite (and no drive malfunction so if you are quickly you can jump back out if you don't want to risk the fight).
N.B. I'm still loving the game, just picked up the first mission :-)

Stardust
Stardust's picture
Drive Malfunction Frequency

Hi AndyG,

is your drive malfunction rate still too high? I am playing the game right now, and I've had one misjump so far (I've reached a 'Competent' rating by now).

Could it be that you are rolling and pitching to the extreme when entering hyperspace? (In Alite, you can force a misjump if you roll to the extreme right and dive to the maximum -- or the other way round, I forgot -- the small indicator lines have to be at opposite ends of the gauges).

Your other points have been noted :). I am thinking about them and when my next update comes (i.e. the correction of the bugs introduced in 1.1), I will most likely fix them, too...

Stardust
Stardust's picture
Hmmm...

Weird... Seems I made an error when implementing the probabilities for drive malfunctions, they should occur in about 2% of the jumps. I'll have a look.

The probability for encounters in Anarchies is generally higher than in Corporate States -- but you're right: Thargoids shouldn't be influenced by that (they currently are). Seems I have to fudge gameplay quite a bit :). So: Thanks for the input!

Good luck on your first mission :)

Lenslok
Lenslok's picture
Awesome job Stardust. No real

Awesome job Stardust. No real niggles yet (the Planet button intermittently crashes the program for me, but this seems to be specific to my tablet as it doesn't happen on my smartphone) and I look forward to spending hours delving beneath the surface.Equally looking forward to seeing how the program develops, and I hope we get some more community members on this forum to provide input.But thanks for doing this, you have made it a joy for this old Commander to come out of retirement once more and dust off his Cobra Mk III. 

Right on Commander!

Stardust
Stardust's picture
Thanks!

Hi Lenslok,

thanks for your review :). I'm glad you like the remake and I'm very happy that you do not encounter too many bugs...

The planet issue is not specific to your tablet, but it may be specific to devices with either rather old Android versions (< 4.0), or devices with very little (JVM) memory. I have seen the bug on the Motorola Xoom tablet from one of my testers, but I couldn't yet reproduce the bug -- let alone find it. It's most probably a memory leak and the best thing you can do to avoid it, is to save often :) [Ok, autosave seems to work in most cases...]

Anyway: Have fun dusting off your Cobra... I am polishing mine, too... (It's _still_ fun to play Alite -- although I have been working on it for so long...)

Cheers!

Racs
Languages

Will the translations into other languages? interested in Russian.  lf you give a file to translate the text , if the image files will draw text in Russian.    Do you agree? Yes, the wait for the files to    rawhpel@bk.ru

Stardust
Stardust's picture
Translation

In general, a translation into other languages is a good idea (especially into Russian, French, Spanish) -- but the random number word generator might make this a little more difficult. Oolite has a good system for translations.... I will release the source code of Alite soon, and then you are welcome to translate everything :) -- but I don't think it'll be easy...

Falken
Saved games

Is it possible to move saved games from one phone to another?

Stardust
Stardust's picture
Hi Falken,

Hi Falken,

yes it's possible, but you can't (yet) do it from within Alite.

To copy your savegames, connect your phone to your computer and move the folder "Android/data/de.phbouillon.android.games.alite/files/commanders" to your computer; then copy the folder to your destination phone.

I know it's tedious. The feature I'd like to implement is an upload/share of the commander on some web-space (maybe, the player could connect with his dropbox account) and then download the commanders from the same location... But that's on the future "to-do" list (see http://alite.mobi/improvement)

Cheers!

Philipp

Falken
Thanks, I found your reply on

Thanks, I found your reply on another thread a few minutes after I wrote this - success!In the meantime I have another matter for your attention.  The game wouldn't download from the app store to my phone so I got the apk from the link on the download page and that worked fine but every day it tries to update itself and if it does then it won't run and I have to uninstall and reinstall the apk.  What's going on?

Stardust
Stardust's picture
Hmmm... Interesting.

Hmmm... Interesting.

So, first: I'll upload a new SFI version (all-in-one) for you to download, which should stop Alite from trying to update every day. -- I'll reply to this post once I have it uploaded; will take a day probably, though.

Second: Why does the version from the PlayStore not work for you? Let's try to figure that out. So: Which device are you using? Which version of Android is installed? What was the error when you downloaded it from the AppStore?

Some common error causes:

  • Try rebooting the phone (really; no idea, why this sometimes helps, but there are reports of failed downloads which cannot be explained and then, after a reboot, it works)
  • You don't have wireless lan enabled or you are not connected to a wireless network (Alite won't download over mobile connections)

Without further information, though, I can't think of what could be wrong. Sorry about that, but with your help, we'll get to the bottom of this :).

Stardust
Stardust's picture
Alite 1.3.4b SFI

Ok, here's the updated all-in-one solution: Download Alite 1.3.4b SFI from here. If you install this, your phone should stop trying to update the version every day... Let me know if it works.

Cheers!
Philipp