Sunday, 1 May 2016

New Release: TSN Sandbox V4 with GUI and Vanilla version

Well, the other night I went ahead and made a public release of the TSN Sandbox V4. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been finishing up the GM menus and giving the Sandbox a test. I have taken the opportunity to GM a couple of missions for the TSN RP Community due to a twist in the story that saw me "presumed dead" for a short period. This freed me up to really try out the Sandbox and the new menus. 

The addition of the GM GUI is, frankly, awesome. It is a complete game changer (pardon the pun) when it comes to being GM. They've been incredibly easy to add in to the Sandbox mission script, and really do make GMing possible for virtually anyone with an idea for a mission. Before, trying to GM a mission meant having to read through a key reference guide and then almost memorise the different key presses. I had tried making it easier using some generic meshes in the top corner as a reference of which menu was selected, but it never was particularly easy to use. Now, with menus in plain English, it is a simple matter of point and click! 

There are a few more things I need to finish up for the GM controls, but the majority are finished and give a huge range of things that GMs can do, from spawning new terrain, some of the creatures, to spawning enemy fleets, and special "pick-ups" like lifepods and black boxes. Most of the code was simply used from the previous Sandbox version, with the main difference being the addition of the menu buttons. The final part of the main menu system I am working on is the "Interactions" menu. This will give GMs different options to directly affect the player's ship. So far I have added in options to; repair or damage all the different ship systems, like primary beams, sensors and maneuvering; add or remove 100 units of energy at a time; add or remove one piece of ordnance at a time; add or remove damcon teams; and send pre-scripted messages. I am still finalising how the sub-menus are set up - I am thinking of using the same set up as the "Enemy" menus where a drop down select is enabled and disabled.  

With this release of the TSN Sandbox, it was also suggested releasing a "Vanilla" version, that worked without the TSN Expansion mod. With a couple of hours work, I was able to change or remove the code linked with the expansion, and so release a version that will work with the standard Artemis 2.4.0 game. I haven't removed the menus linked with the Expansion, instead I have just deactived the events linked to the button presses. Hopefully, with the ability to access the TSN Sandbox on the standard Artemis game and see all the additional options for alien races, it will inspire people to try out the TSN Expansion. I have packaged the whole thing together into one zip file so it is all there and ready to go in case players try it. The work that has gone in to the TSN Expansion is awesome. It really does enhance the game massively and I think it is something that players would love. 

Anyway, that is all for now. After finishing the "Interations" menu, the next main focus is expanding on the systems within the sandbox. USFP space is now quite extensive - Krisenda system was recently added - so I am going to focus on creating several neutral systems around Hjorden and expanding the enemy systems. The Stellar Cartography maps are all completely up to date and show how extensive the space is already! Feel free to check them out:

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