Page 1 of 12 1235 Last
Results 1 to 15 of 168

Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.
Thread: "Captain's journal. Stardate: uhhh..." Player Logs in Elite: Dangerous

  1. Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. #1

    Post "Captain's journal. Stardate: uhhh..." Player Logs in Elite: Dangerous

    Hello forum backer people,

    Yes, it's my turn to announce a new proposal for your perusal, and this time it is the Player Log, a place to record events, interactions and achievements that happen to players as they traverse the universe of Elite.

    Having a player log will:

    • Provide a place players can view and sort through their in-game achievements.
    • Allow players to quickly and easily reference past events.
    • Allow us to track events for use with the background simulation.


    How will it work?
    For the player log to be useful, it has to be a reference for the player. Players should be able to look at past events and useful locations, and find out when specific entries happened and with whom.

    All entries will have metadata for location, time & date, NPC names, etc., so that they can be hooked into other in-game systems:

    • Useful Locations – players should be able to select a log entry and be shown the location that the entry took place.
    • Information on NPC’s – if an NPC has been met before, the log entry should be viewable through the targeting interface.
    • Points of Interest (POI) – any discovered POI that is highlighted on the galaxy/system map should link to the relevant entry in the log (date and time discovered, description), and vice versa.
    • Faction data – any significant changes in reputation or events within a faction should link to new feeds for that event.
    • Mission links/data – any event that links to a current mission.


    More mundane data should be logged as well, so that players have a list of achievements that they can view at a glance.

    • Profit and loss made on trades.
    • Changes in ratings/rank/reputations.
    • Criminal activity (e.g. witnessed crimes, police responses)
    • Etc.


    Each player log entry will have a limited life span, and will eventually be removed from the log after a TBD amount of time. The log itself will be represented in a list, on a screen that can be reached via hotkey. Each new entry will be displayed on the cockpit HUD briefly, so the player is aware that one has been added.


    Types of Log Entry

    NPC Entries
    Whenever a player interacts with an NPC, a log entry will be created:

    • NPC name, location, type of interaction and the result of that interaction will be collected.
      • The AI will have a small number of actions that they can decide to do in each situation.
      • Only significant actions should register data, accidentally grazing a ship shouldn’t get added to the log.
    • A coherent entry will then be created for the log, for example:
      • Traded with NPC A at Lave, made 10,560cr profit.
      • Declared piracy on NPC B in the Sol system, he dumped his cargo and fled.
      • You were attacked by pirate NPC C at Barnard’s Star.
      • NPC D saved from marauding pirates.


    Mission Entries
    Whenever a mission event happens, a log entry will be created:

    • Location, type of mission event and the results will be collected.
      • Missions will have an entry for acceptance and completion, as well as any major events during.
      • There may be overlap with NPC entries.
    • A coherent entry will then be created for the log, for example:
      • Accepted Federation mission to deliver food to Lave, from the Jupiter orbital bulletin board.
      • Successfully cleared out all pirates from their base at Alpha Ceti.
      • Delivery of Item A failed, you dumped the cargo in the Sol system.


    Event Entries
    Whenever a player event happens, a log entry will be created:

    • Location, type of event and the results will be collected.
      • Events (discoveries, encounters and in-space happenings) will have an entry when they start. Any other entries will be created depending on the type of event.
      • There may be overlap with NPC entries.
    • A coherent entry will then be created for the log, for example:
      • New discovery: A derelict space ship found in the Sirius system.
      • You were attacked by Player A outside Rogan Station.
      • You’ve stripped an asteroid in the Kuiper Belt of all mineable materials.
      • Asteroid 101B scanned, contains X.


    Achievement Entires
    Whenever a player achieves something significant, a log entry will be created:

    • Location and type of achievement will be collected.
      • An achievement would need to be significant in order to be logged. For instance, managing to dock on a station would not be log worthy, but reaching a new rating would.
      • Achievement log entries can be positive or negative.
    • A coherent entry will then be created for the log, for example:
      • You have arrived in the Barnard’s Star system.
      • You have lost reputation with the Federation.
      • You lost 3,450cr selling Battle Weaponry at Saturn station.
      • Congratulations! Cobra Mk III has been purchased.


    Filters & Ordering
    Filters will be included with the player log, so that entries of a certain type or collection of types can easily be found. Multiple filters can be setup to allow finely tuned searching.

    Filtering by type of entry:
    • Related to NPC’s
    • Related to Missions
    • Related to Events
    • Related to Achievements

    Filtering by elements:
    • Financial
    • Combat
    • Discovery
    • Rank/Rating
    • Reputation
    • Criminality

    Filtering by player role:
    • Mining
    • Smuggling
    • Trading
    • Piracy
    • Bounty Hunting
    • Assassination


    Every log entry will have a time & date stamp, the log will be maintained in time and date order, which can be switched between ‘newest -> oldest’ or ‘oldest -> newest’. This ordering will also be maintained whilst using filters.


    Discussion Points
    Does this provide enough detail for players to track their progress through the game?
    Should every, single event be listed, or should it be only significant entries?
    Should log entries be removed after a certain amount of time? If so, should that time be set by the player?
    How do you see the player log being displayed? Should we add it to the cockpit HUD or keep it hidden to avoid cluttering up the view?

  2. #2
    Would it be possible for a player to add notes to the log?
    Maybe the player could define what events they are interested in with regards to log entry - it could be as much or as little as they require.
    I would like to keep my player log entries if possible. It might be the case that I would select which ones I would like to keep and the rest can go after a specified amount of time.
    I'm a minimalist so would prefer to not have the log on the HUD unless I need something specific for a mission that cannot be easily remembered (I have a memory like a sieve). I'm thinking "go to these coordinates and do this.....".

  3. #3
    Seems fine.

    - Own notes, as per WithNail
    - Filter by dates

    Will the files self expire or exponentially grow ?

    Can we clear them / reset them ?

    Add to the HUD in a movable, resizable box that we can remove if desired. (Yes - minimalist HUD is the way forward)

  4. #4
    Does this provide enough detail for players to track their progress through the game?
    At first glance, I think yes, definitely. Compared to what we had in previous games, this is a mass of information. Some very (too?) useful.

    Should every, single event be listed, or should it be only significant entries?
    No, I think you're correct in only listing the significant events. We don't need every scrap of detail in the log, because that would mean a lot of clutter, even with filters. I don't need to know that I just docked successfully or just scooped some fuel...

    Should log entries be removed after a certain amount of time? If so, should that time be set by the player?
    I think after a couple of months, who would want/need mundane info from way back? I'd imagine there would be masses and masses of data by then. Perhaps the most important entries could be kept longer, eg achieving ranks, Elite or otherwise.

    I think the log lifespan should be set by the game and I'd estimate that a month's worth is enough (excluding important info as above).

    How do you see the player log being displayed? Should we add it to the cockpit HUD or keep it hidden to avoid cluttering up the view?
    I think the HUD should be kept clear of all the non-essentials, because the important info should have priority. If I want to delve into the logs, I'll do so when it's safe. Having said that, if I achieve a new rank, I'd want to be notified before accidentally viewing it in the log, as it's a milestone event. Perhaps major log events could appear somewhere in the HUD as an alert?

  5. #5
    I was going to say that it would probably be too much to store ALL the combat encounters, but then you will have people for whom combat is something that's primarily avoided (hard core traders and explorers) and as such combat entries would be a big deal for them. So, umm, that's a non point really.

    If the data is held on a person's own PC, as I assume, then make the length of log user-defined - obviously then limited by what the game could load into memory at one time. If it's held by you guys then 1 month is more than enough IMHO.

    And no, I wouldn't put this in the cockpit HUD - to me it's a "quiet time" activity to review (and edit?) that doesn't need that instant access factor.

    As others said - can players add their own notes?

  6. #6
    I know I'm being terribly geeky, but I love analysing game stats. My favourite bit of Freeciv is sitting down after the game and looking at the pretty graphs you can build from the score log.

    The bad news is you'll never make a GUI that satisfies people like me - if I could figure out what I wanted to know from the HUD, I'd just find something else to want. The good news is you don't have to - just use SQLite to store the client-side log, and provide an option somewhere to dial the log level up as far as is practical without taking much dev time. Frankly, all the other discussion points are what I consider interesting gameplay choices.

    Now if you'll excuse me, the cool kids are hankering for my lunch money...

  7. #7
    Originally Posted by Barry Clark View Post (Source)
    Should every, single event be listed, or should it be only significant entries?
    Firstly, there's no reason why a large amount of log entries can't at least be recorded/stored, that's what filters are for. So as long as the filtering system is good enough then there won't be a problem.

    How much you store depends on what can be done with it. If it's just a record for players to look at then many won't care about very specific data e.g. combat. However, if you were planing on implementing a scripting engine of some description then a comprehensive log could serve as a useful data source.

  8. #8
    It would be nice to have a simple map like log of your total route travelled. Like sat navs do. This should be kept forever, showing in very simple form your spidery trail.

  9. #9
    Originally Posted by Barry Clark View Post (Source)
    Does this provide enough detail for players to track their progress through the game?
    probably not, players will think of lots of other usefull things to log
    ie ship damage,wear, maintenace and repair
    I'd suggest making the logging system API based and customisable.

    Originally Posted by Barry Clark View Post (Source)
    Should every, single event be listed, or should it be only significant entries?
    does "listed" mean "added to the log file" or "read from the log file and displayed in the GUI" ?
    both detail levels should be customisable

    Originally Posted by Barry Clark View Post (Source)
    Should log entries be removed after a certain amount of time?
    I presume these are stored in files on the local HDD?
    If so then it should be based on the amount of space the player is willing to devote to it. Provide a sensible auto-default based on available space after install.

    Originally Posted by Barry Clark View Post (Source)
    If so, should that time be set by the player?
    why does time matter? it's just a field to filter on.
    for log files only size matters.


    Originally Posted by Barry Clark View Post (Source)
    How do you see the player log being displayed?
    full screen for comprehensible filtering/searching/reading


    Originally Posted by Barry Clark View Post (Source)
    Should we add it to the cockpit HUD or keep it hidden to avoid cluttering up the view?
    it was proposed before by someone(not me) to use a symbolic shorthand for HUD displays for localisation and space-saving reasons. Displaying a customisable filtered feed of the log as symbols in a corner of the HUD (or second screen) could be handy.


    If I may say you are making this more limiting and complex to implement than it needs to be.

    my suggestions
    1. generate event log entries based on your game API in a generic way
    2. provide sensible defaults but allow players to add more and customise whats there. distributable as little 'mod' files for friends to share.
    3. group these defaults into a few categories (ie exe crash only, basics, thorough, verbose ,etc)
    4. this only decides what is physcially written to the log file
    5. data written to the log file is in non-localised non-binary format so that any log manipulation tools can work with any player's files.
    6. automated and fully customisable log file archiving and deletion/trimming.
    7. unique log file naming to allow backups and later merging/restoring etc
    8. use "search filter" language (sql, RE, whatever) to pull data from the log file, localise(or convert to symbols) and display in GUI/HUD as required.
    9. NB "log file" might mean csv file or a mini db

  10. #10
    Originally Posted by Barry Clark View Post (Source)
    Should log entries be removed after a certain amount of time?
    I would prefer moving them from the game to the local client.

  11. #11
    Did I miss the part where logs can be shared with friends (including via Facebook and other social media sites?). And also the part where this is optional so that grumps like me can switch receiving that info off.

    I actually don't really like the current plan for achievements, as I think it's falling between two stools. There are people like me, who don't like any achievement system at all. I'd prefer the fact that I've bought a new ship to be fully integrated with the rest of my player log, filterable by 'ship purchases/sales'.

    Then there are people who like achievements they can actively collect. 'Visit all of the stars in Orion's belt'. I'm not sure that either group are really getting what they want...

    That said, I like the gist of the proposal, and think it will be cool to be able to look back at my ship history in a few years time, fondly remembering the time I spent pirating the Feds in the Black Booty. Also, like Andrew Sayer, I'd possibly like to see some chartsengrafs involved.

  12. #12
    When data is archived after a certain amount of time (because I can see the need to avoid an "endless toilet roll" of data, is there a possibility to aggregate this data into a condensed for, so that for historical stats the information is never lost? Or are player stats stored separately any way?

    I love the level of detail in this proposal. I'd like to see it go a step further. In the same way the news feeds are being proposed to use game events to drive procedural narrative, is there a way this could be implemented with the player's own feed?

    This would be an ingame Commander's Log and could read something like the following (using some of your example data):
    Commander's Log Entry #45

    We hyperspaced into the Sirius System on Duval's Day, XXXth August. We discovered a derelict space ship, so we logged it for the system record. Our journey toward the inner planets was quiet until we were attacked by NPC A. They did about 200c damage to the ship, but the but the bounty is 350c, so all's well that ends well, I guess.

    There was a mission on the bulleting board to deliver food to Lave. I seemed like a good earner so we took it on. In addition, before leaving we sold our stock of Battle Weaponry. It was a bad call, we lost 3,450cr. We bought a few crates of Industrial Parts. Hopefully we can do better next time.
    This would be a nice little addition to player immersion. It would also be a great way to look over progress when you reload. For example, if you've been on holiday for two weeks and want to see where you were before taking a break. I appreciate it may represent additional coding, but isn't it quite close to what you are already planning with the news media stream?

  13. #13
    Originally Posted by Barry Clark View Post (Source)
    Should log entries be removed after a certain amount of time? If so, should that time be set by the player?
    How do you see the player log being displayed? Should we add it to the cockpit HUD or keep it hidden to avoid cluttering up the view?
    If it's necessary for FD server housekeeping etc., I am happy to have old log entries deleted; however I'd like the ability to have a setting that writes those old entries to my personal log directory of E: D so I can view old entries.

    These old entries, stored per-player, could either be accessible via the game, or possibly HTML version (or other supported formats).

    It might be necessary to have a mini-view for the log in the HUD; however I'd be happy having a screen/section devoted to itself, while not in combat (so I can still see where I am going, for example).

  14. #14
    Since I'm not the only one geeking out in this thread, I'll make a bold prediction:

    If the player's log is made available in any remotely machine-readable format (API, plain text, standard DB format, etc.), then by the time the game launches there will be at least one project on GitHub to parse it out into HTML and/or a twitter feed, including:

    • your commander's complete story (as described above)
    • significant events in your commander's lifetime
    • links to the twitter feeds of other commanders
    • actual achievements from the log, possibly with cutesy graphics added
    • made-up achievements someone thought it would be hilarious to deduce from the log
    • made-up achievements we refuse to believe weren't deliberate easter eggs
    • heavily configurable newsfeeds
    • a mobile version for viewing on your phone/tablet/Raspberry Pi while you play on your PC
    • all manner of tips for making more money and/or out-competing other players

    This will represent some loss of control for FD, but it's also a cheap way to get an awful lot of extra functionality. Personally I'd find this an incredible addition to the game even if it encouraged me to play at the fourth level and lose my suspension of disbelief in the process. It would also free Frontier from having to think about every crazy use case and concentrate just on the ones that need to be tightly integrated into all players' experiences.

  15. #15
    Originally Posted by Andrew Sayers View Post (Source)
    Since I'm not the only one geeking out in this thread, I'll make a bold prediction:

    If the player's log is made available in any remotely machine-readable format (API, plain text, standard DB format, etc.), then by the time the game launches there will be at least one project on GitHub to parse it out into HTML and/or a twitter feed, including:
    Actually this is very true. With a decent RSS/XML output of the "daily event log" I could write my own procedural narrative log. I have some past experience in this area.

    This would also circumvent worries about losing data. The game could curtail its own internal log of the player's actions but the player would have an external backup. If the game optionally produced an external XML file (maybe of each calendar day the game is played, on save & quit?) then it would be down to the user to decide what to keep? The XML file could link to a default stylesheet that allowed any non-techy players to view that day's log in a nice format. The techies would be able to parse that XML at their leisure and turn it into whatever they wanted.

    It would then also be down to the player to archive any logs they no longer want.

Page 1 of 12 1235 Last