Holding down ¬ on some keyboards (~ on others) will display the most recent messages.
It also causes Oolite to mark on the scanner the last ship to hail you (lines radiate from around its lollipop, just as they did when it originally hailed you).
Communication between star systems
Is it possible to communicate from one side of the galaxy to the other without sending a message by spaceship?
- The Vanilla game coding has one statement on the matter only - that if one attains a illegal status and a credit rating, that those travel with one from system to system across the galaxy. The credit rating does not change however much one moves around (excluding costs of fuel etc). But the illegal status does. Moving from one system to another reduces one's illegal rating/bounty. Moving from one galaxy to another loses the illegal status (but retains the credit rating, and, apparently, the delivery-carrying reputation.
It might well be that the illegal status is externally recorded (it is witnessed and then recorded by external police ships or the main orbital station in any system), whilst the credit rating is instead a function of the ship's ID which it carries from system to system. But this is not specifically stated anywhere outside of the Lore. This would imply that the difference is due to poor external communications in transferring legal status. This would account for the wiping clean of one's legal record on entering a new galaxy. The lessening of illegality as one travels from system to system might be due to other circumstances. After all, if one returns to the original system where one committed the crime, one's illegality is lessened again. This is not so easy to explain as resulting from poor communications... it seems more a function of record-keeping. Especially combined with the retention of parcel delivery reputation.
Note that the third matter of record - the number of kills - is recorded internally by camera and then transmitted to the Elite Federation who award kills and Elite status. This does happen immediately, according to the game code. But maybe it is dealt with inside the system that one is in (but then killing Thargoids in witchspace/interstellar space is also recorded immediately).
- In the Lore, we find two approaches.
In The Dark Wheel, Alex Ryder, recuperating in a Moray Medical Boat, accepts a call from Rafe Zetter:
|'What is it?' he asked the empty room, and a nurse's voice whispered, 'There's a holoFac message coming through for you. They've requested a tightbeam. Will you receive?'
Alex sat up in bed. No-one knew he was here. Did they? He frowned, and said, 'Sure.' 'Will you accept the charge against your CR?' Curiouser and curiouser. Since he was broke, and without credit until he sorted out his GMC insurance, it was easy for him to say, 'Yes.' In the middle of the room the air suddenly shimmered white, small bright particles flying off in all directions around the gradually defined shape of a man. He was tall, but slightly stooped. As the whiteness of the image resolved into colour, the whiteness of the man stayed. His hair was long and snowy, his beard ragged. His face had a touch of colour. His eyes were small, gleaming points among the wrinkles. He was smiling. He wore a tattered trader's uniform, and one arm hung limp by his side. Even his boots were worn down, and the toes were split. The handlaser at his side had seen the same better days as the rest of his equipment. 'You the Ryder Boy?' this apparition of run-down age asked. The voice creaked, a gruff, battered tone, the voice of a man who had breathed hard vacuum. 'That's me. Alex Ryder. And you?' Alex climbed out of bed and went to stand before the life-sized holoFac. The old man watched him, and chewed. Then he spat. The gobbet of stained spittle seemed to fly straight towards Alex's shoulder and he winced and jerked slightly to one side, before realising that nothing could travel into real space from the holo.
|(The Dark Wheel §2)|
This seems to contrast with Imprint where we find this:
|Plenty of spacers passed dock time with rented message boxes filed under IR codes and maintained 6
by Orbital Space Authorities. It was indicative of the strange lives spacers led, especially inter- system runners. "Meet me at Xexeti", as one spacer saying went. A downpayment would open a box for ten years with additional fees for access time. Unused boxes were generally archived and there were probably uncounted self scribed epitaphs in data storage throughout the eight galaxies.
|A Transrelations Database structure was fully integrated with the ship's Financial Systems. Each IR signature constituted a corporate identity providing a distinction between trading activities and the personal Credit-Rating of a pilot. Escape capsules took a critical data dump with a straight financial transfer to a 'crisis' account to be re-established under a new IR signature.|
|Rif had opened a message box at Leesti shortly after he had sold the cargo. He was surprised to see a message waiting, having left the link active unintentionally before he had left the ship.|
|Rif had seen Warniss more recently. Once he was fit again he had taken to developing trade runs; getting to know places. Rif appreciated his level-headed advice, his intuitive trading analysis and his wicked sense of humour. He hadn't heard from Warniss since then, apart from picking up one old message at Maxeedso. Those messages that you collected out of date and out of synch with time always got to Riff. Snippits of history waiting to be picked up, there was a certain mystique to them because the converse train of thought was that you were living in the future.|
Drew Wagar's Oolite Saga introduces the Tionisla Chronicle Array and its star reporter Anna Mereso. Drew seems to favour the Dark Wheel's view of communication rather than Imprint's.
This depends on how fast any FTL communication actually is. In my brain, anyway, the fastest way to send information in the ooniverse is to put it on a ship and have it flown to another system. Way faster than EM waves, but still not instantaneous. Multiple hours for the information to travel even a few light-years, and then more multiple hours for any reinforcements to be mustered and to jump through to intercept a raiding party. (Disembodied)
Given the square-of-distance time property of witchspace, you could actually send information between systems fairly quickly with the right infrastructure.
You can jump 7LY in slightly less than an hour, if you do the jump as a series of 0.1LY jumps, and that's counting the 15 second spin-up time on the drive. For the average trader, that's not practical for two reasons - firstly, the strain on the drives means that you'd need to service between each trip, and secondly, all but one of those jumps would be without a witchpoint beacon for guidance.
For a small uncrewed comms drone, though, it's practical. You can calculate the start and end points of each jump with traditional witchspace dead reckoning. Because the drones are all identical and the path between systems is unchanging, you can pretty much hard-code the jump parameters for every step into each one, with just a little bit of a pause for recalculation after each step due to unavoidable drift. Once the drone reaches the target system, it transmits its messages to the main station, and then waits for a passing trader or Galcop patrol to scoop it up and take it in-system. The drones can be cheap enough that it doesn't matter too much if you lose one, or if the witchdrive gets so damaged that they need replacing rather than servicing after the trip. You could get high-priority messages from one end of the galaxy to the other in less than a day. Expensive - you might be looking at a few thousand Cr. for each drone, and need a few thousand of them in operation at once for galactic coverage - but probably worth it for the big galaxy-spanning organisations who need fast comms like Galcop, Galnavy, Tionisla Chronicle, and so on.
Low-priority messages, personal comms, yes, agreed it's probably looking at 2 weeks on a series of ships going the right way. (Cim, 2012)
There is no one answer to the question. You answer it yourself through your choice of OXPs.
Communication inside a star system
In the Vanilla game we find that one receives communications from ships/stations within scanner range (25 "kuː ʊm" only).
Most of the oxp's maintain this limitation - Communications Pack A, Death Comms & BroadcastComms MFD take this and build on it. Note that most of the relevant Comm's oxp's were written by Phkb.
There are exceptions to this 25 "kuː ʊm" limit. One is PlanetFall (where one is contacted by the planetary authorities around 100 "kuː ʊm" from the surface with instructions about landing). Another is ILS, where, thanks to a bug, one can be 100,000 "kuː ʊm" away and still receive updates about ILS landings at the main orbital station!
Another oxp to consider is Resistance Commander which introduces the Squadron Command System (SCS) - a primable equipment - which enables you to control your resistance fighter squadron. Here, the commands can be sent to units beyond scanner range, but audible confirmations will only be received from those within range.
The Unit Selection Panel directs your command to a particular unit (or all of them), the Unit Command Panel gives a choice of 5 commands, as shown.
- The Dark Wheel
- Oolite Saga
- Communications on Digebiti
- In-flight communication (2007)
- Looking to start a chatbot expansion (2009-12) - contains useful detail and Kak's CommsDemo.oxp.
- In-flight communication (2013+)
- Battle chatter? (2013) - plea for aural battle chatter - now semi-doable with Communications Pack A and selecting "spoken messages"
- Help us make Oolite more immersive! (2013-14) - stuff to do during mass-lock (eg communicate with other ships), giving NPC's personalities, communications through wormholes,...
- In-flight communication based on reputation (2016)
Working with the Vanilla game code
- CommsLogMFD allows reading through old messages
- Communications Pack A more in-flight messages from NPC ships
- Death Comms more in-flight messages from NPC ships
Adding abilities to the game
- Email System OXP docked messaging (from NPC's, although other OXPs allow it to send replies)