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TactiComms - slow motion for the communications menu

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The FreeSpace communications menu is a powerful tool available to players, giving multiple options for directing their wingmen around the battlespace. Bringing a plan together by efficiently utilising friendly assets can be one of the most satisfying experiences a player can have in FreeSpace.

Previously, some players had given feedback about the pace of Solaris combat (and FreeSpace's in general) demanding so much of the player's attention and time that it can be difficult to navigate the sprawling communications menu to order wingmen around in the heat of battle. Community member RedMageJoe suggested a FF7 Remake-style "tactical mode" slowdown similar to how the JRPG manages the battle menu when choosing abilities and items.

Goober5000 added hooks into the engine for when the comms menu is open and closed. This would be the foundation for this feature, and managed to make it in time for FSO 23.2.

Using these hooks, EatThePath wrote a script to set time compression when the comms menu is open.

The script comes in two forms:
1) A drop-in script that enables the feature for the entire mod. The degree of slowdown over a set period of time (in ms) can be edited via a config file.
2) A sexp set-comms-slowmo will be added to FRED where you can enable the script on a per-mission basis. The sexp also lets you specify the degree of slowdown over a set period of time.


This video by EatThePath uses time compression at 0.05 over 1000 milliseconds.

This video demonstrates how it will end up looking in Solaris withtime compression at 0.01 instantaneously.


Download the global drop-in script here. The config file included uses the Solaris values for slowdown amount and time to effect.

Download the sexp version here.

Colonol Dekker:
Well, this is fantastic. 

It's like everything I never knew I always needed!

According to my wife, I am the most relentlessly linear person she's ever met.  I know there are people out there who are actually capable of multitasking because I'm married to one.  She can have a conversation with you while typing out an email to someone else and not...  have... to.... search... for... the right words... because you aren't really her focus of attention.  I have no idea how she does it, but my single-core brain cannot.

This is a Godsend to people like me!  Thank you!

Colonol Dekker:
Memorising the shortcuts and sequences for blanket commands got me through a lot, my words per minute typing went up after Lear ing the original starcraft cheats too 🤣

This will be used by me to bullet time at will.

The biggest obstacle to snappy comms I think comes from when your wingmen have started dying and the surviving wingmen's position in the comms menu changes even if you had memorised their previous position from before, so if you want to order a specific wingman around it can take a second or a few to find their designation on the list. And sometimes you haven't got those seconds to spare 😛

The feature's had a pretty globally positive reception and someone on the SGJ discord was asking if this would be an FSO wide implementation. They probably meant if this would be going into the base FS2 missions/FS Upgrade Project. I told them this would be a per mod thing and to be honest because it has significant potential balance and gameplay experience changes that it wouldn't be an automatic inclusion into the MediaVPs.

Be interested to hear what the team's opinion on this would be though!


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