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    The ability to dock your ship with an extendable/retractable arm

    Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by Drake147, Jan 30, 2019.

    1. Drake147

      Joined:
      Jun 12, 2015
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      While trying to figure out a good spot for a rail docker on my massive ship, I got the idea to make an arm that sits on a line of rail basic and can extend or retract with the press of a couple buttons. This both looks cool and is practical if your ship has no good spots for a docker like mine. Although you could argue that a ship the size of this doesn't need a docking system since it's a mothership, which is a valid point, but at the same time I want to be able to park the ship and not worry about it floating away because something or someone is pushing it etc. But sadly when I attempted to assign the docker in the first picture to the hotbar it wasn't there. I realised that because the docker is connected to a different ship core which is in turn docked to the main ship my plan failed.

      If there was a way to connect rail dockers to different cores than they're built on then this arm design would work. But I don't know if the coding is too complicated for that to be implemented.

      I wouldn't be surprised if I'm the "only" player in history with this issue, still it would be a cool feature to have.

      arm.png hatch.png hatchandarm.png buttons.png menu.png
       
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    2. Sachys

      Sachys Hermit.

      Joined:
      Nov 30, 2015
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      You CAN contact dock that arm to a basic rail (assuming you have permission), though it would be a massive pain to get just right.

      You CAN also use pickup points and the other special rails (shootout and i forget the others name), to dock - though I'm not sure how well that would work with a docker ON a rail.
       
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    3. Tsnonak

      Tsnonak Let's_Kautsch!

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      This is an interesting Idea, why had I not thought of this... will have to see if it works!
      Just so happens I also have a ship with a telescoping arm ready to test... scratch this, you will not be able to undock!
      I will report the results later!
       
      #3 Tsnonak, Jan 30, 2019
      Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
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    4. DeepspaceMechanic

      Joined:
      Mar 10, 2016
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      Docking arms are a must-have when dealing with very large ships... You might want to consider building such docking arms on the station you intend to dock to, but there is a way to have a movable/functional one on ships too.

      The last time I tested this, it seemed that it is impossible to dock a mother entity by using a Rail Docker that is built on a docked entity, even if you try to use that Rail Docker from within the core of the docked entity. - If memory serves well, that just undocks the docking arm from the mother ship the moment it hits the target rail.

      But you could try this (I didn't test this myself yet):
      1. build your target Basic Rail with one of those blue Pickup Points on it;
      2. build the docking arm so that it's normally carried docked onto your ship but can be ejected using Shootout Rails;
      3. aim your docking arm in a way that after it's launched, it will stick to the Pickup Point of the target station;
      4. use a Rail Docker on your main ship to dock onto a Basic Rail on the docking arm's end.

      You can even make the docking arm to be sort of a USD extension passageway, and attach to it with one of the ship's airlocks... But of course, this way some extra tedious maneuvering will be needed when leaving the station; you will have to manually detach the ship, then the arm, then attach the arm back onto the ship.
       
      #4 DeepspaceMechanic, Jan 30, 2019
      Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
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    5. klawxx

      klawxx Product Manager - Roden Shipyards

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      I've done, as I called at that time, docking clamps, on my Armageddon Navyy Issue. It's mostly a cosmetic thing and its really just to dock smaller shuttles to the bigger ship, but really, its one of those things that would be AWESOMEEE if really worked as intended.

      By the way, have anyone been able to make a working cargo unloading crane or similar? How do you guys interact with containers? DeepspaceMechanic , NeonSturm @etc ;P
       
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    6. DeepspaceMechanic

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      I've been wishing to build something like that for a while, but didn't get to it yet.

      But luckily, Tshara is here to our rescue once again (yes, this particular robotic arm of his is a bit too crazy, but we can make something more reasonable for the simple roleplay purpose that it's meant to fulfill):

       
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    7. Tsnonak

      Tsnonak Let's_Kautsch!

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    8. DeepspaceMechanic

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      A three year old video/project, yet it's still so very-very beautiful and inspiring! (y)
       
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    9. Zekester81

      Joined:
      Oct 22, 2014
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      Docking arms are completely legit, and they do work. I had a station with retractable arms for docking ships, and it was even enough to pull them snug up to the station, but it took a LOT of mass enhancers.
       
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    10. Drake147

      Joined:
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      Yes they work on a station, but on a ship it doesn't work since you're the one docking, not the station.
      --- Updated post (merge), Jan 30, 2019, Original Post Date: Jan 30, 2019 ---
      Too complicated for me hehe, but thanks for the suggestion anyway!
       
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    11. Zekester81

      Joined:
      Oct 22, 2014
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      Set up logic on the station to trigger the docking mechanism upon contact docking. Docking only works one way with the systems we have now. If you're trying to do ship to ship docking, the ship being docked to has to have the mechanism. I actually made a USD style docking mechanism that worked no matter which way it was being docked to, but I deleted it after people shat all over it on the CC page. It was made for docking ship to ship, or ship to station. Both sides had retractable arms and clamps that would activate and lock in anything docking to it with the same set-up.

      Edit: Instead of trying to link the docker to the station or core it's self, use wireless on the docking arm to activate logic on the main entity being docked to to initiate any mechanisms you need.

      Edit 2: on the subject of wireless and docking. If you want to undock your ship from whatever the mother enitity is, set up more than one wireless. To undock from the mother entity, you set a wireless to link to the docking rail(sends power to rail, undocks anything attached). I would recommend setting up a delay system(on the docking arm) to reset the orientation of the rail as signals sent to them sometimes change the rail orientation. A second wireless system linked rail-to-wireless to mothership wireless receiver to activate any mechanisms upon something docking to it. If you want it to move when undocked, you add a NOT(with delays probably) to initiate a reset of the mechanism. The logic can get complicated the more things you're trying to get to move/reset.
       
      #11 Zekester81, Jan 30, 2019
      Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
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    12. Drake147

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      If you had a video showing what you're describing my dumb brain would probably be able to comprehend this but I am not that smart sadly :D
       
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    13. Zekester81

      Joined:
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      Lol, it took me forever to wrap my head around it too. About 12 hours and a migraine to set up a system that worked with no glitches. IDK about a video, but I'll see if I can work up an easy to read diagram of what I'm talking about and will post it here.
       
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    14. Dr. Whammy

      Dr. Whammy Executive Constructologist of the United Star Axis

      Joined:
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      Cool concept but possibly a programming nightmare in practice. For now, I just take Judicator Aldaris' advice and construct additional pylons!

      Essentially, I use docking arms that extend from the station rather than the ship. It gives it that space port 'pier' and 'harbor' effect.

      My standard sized ships easily fit in between the pylons, however I build my larger ships with air locks closer to the front to make use of the pylons at the far ends of the stations. ...Or sometimes, I'll be lazy and build a line of scaffolding that extends out far enough to dock a capital.


      Axis Fleet.jpg Fleet3.jpg Axis Station 01.jpg Trade Base4.jpg Space Dock.jpg
       
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    15. Zekester81

      Joined:
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      It's actually really simple once you figure it out. I believe he's only trying to dock his personal ship, which takes only some wireless, activators/buttons, a couple delays, and some rail activated logic.

      I'm going to make a small mock-up and post it here. My house is just so cold right now I can't sit at my PC long before I have to get up and move to stay warm. The mock-up will be sprawling so that all it's components can be seen working, It'll be up to anyone who uses it to compact it into the area they need it to fit in. Trying to make a diagram is more frustrating than I thought.
       
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    16. klawxx

      klawxx Product Manager - Roden Shipyards

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      thanks everyone for sharing your views. If I end up with anything cool I will share it too!
       
    17. Zekester81

      Joined:
      Oct 22, 2014
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      Try this out. I tested all controls.

      https://starmadedock.net/content/docking-arm-mock-up.7786/


      The logic is not compacted, left open so all connections could be seen. Display modules tell where to connect wireless. This has a door, docking arm, and small ship docked. When arm is fully extended, pickup rail activates. When ship is undocked, arm retracts and closes door. When arm is anywhere but fully extended, pickup rail is deactivated. Wireless from ship will extend the arm and activate pickup. There is a button on mothership to undock anything on the arm, which causes arm to retract and door to close.

      One simple change would be to remove wireless from ship to main activation control. A button could then be placed on the hull of mothership and a ships activator beam(ship core on hotbar) could activate the docking arm. Any ship could then use this system without having to be connected through wireless.
       
      #17 Zekester81, Jan 30, 2019
      Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
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    18. DeepspaceMechanic

      Joined:
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      Come to think of it, there's actually a way to automatize the undocking process as well, if anyone's interested.

      • When you're leaving the station, walk through your USD extension passageway contraption, enter the main ship, and undock the main ship from the docking arm.
      • Move away a little, keeping the docking arm in-line with the cavity that it hides in while cruising.
      • Use an inner-ship-remote aboard the main ship, which wirelessly signals the docking arm's Rail Docker to undock from the station and, at the same time, triggers a Tractor Beam oriented towards the docking arm to pull it towards the main ship.
      • Until it's grabbed by a Pickup Point inside its housing cavity.

      Obviously, such a system would require stuff to be measure out and timed meticulously to work smoothly, but "we don't do it because it's easy, but because it's hard" anyway, right? ;)
       
      #18 DeepspaceMechanic, Jan 31, 2019
      Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
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    19. kiwispike

      Joined:
      Jul 25, 2017
      Messages:
      30

      I logic undock with Wireless and logic.
      --- Updated post (merge), Mar 19, 2019, Original Post Date: Mar 19, 2019 ---
      My solution for this may have been bad... And was not for "every station"

      I made a largish grid of pickups. With green rail systems to drive any of the pickups to where I wanted.

      I think they needed to be 3x3 grid but it's been a while.

      Wireless to station to "undock"

      And I measured where I had to aim and put a block there.

      After a while (my second station) I noticed that fleet warp always appeared in a specific place. So I built my next station to utilise this area. And I could fleet warp cargo containers, ships and escape pods to auto Dock.

      Prior to this. I built a ship. Set it in Fleet, built it into the station. Had it sitting above a pickup point that was off. With fleet rail docking. When the Dock was active (module) it wireless turned the pickup on. And it auto docked (and unloaded into station) it undocked again once dock was free. And floated. I found I had to give the core a lot of space to avoid occasional collision issues.
      --- Updated post (merge), Mar 19, 2019 ---
      The pickup grid wasn't my idea so I can't take credit. I once saw a video of someone's station with a opening. As ships flew in, they went on "autopilot" I summerised this was the only way they could have been doing it.
       
    20. nightwalker_007

      Joined:
      Mar 31, 2015
      Messages:
      273
      Really what needs to happen is to have a rail docker that allows docked objects to be controllable as if it was a single entity. That way docking, undocking, changing rail positions, etc, can all be controlled from the parent entity. I'd also like to see a special module that allows a docked ship core to control the the larger entity it is docked to--this would mean a mothership could be controlled by the bridge of a smaller drop ship (it would also make for a quickly accessible escape pod).
       
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