Auto-create tool for Random Encounter, Cargo & Respawn mods
I propose an "auto-create" tool for random encounter, cargo & respawn mods.
Picture a simple visual tool in the game that allowed players to select a blueprint from their list and instantly turn that blueprint into a working random encounter, cargo ship or respawn ship mod without the need to manually export ship files or add new code.
To write a ship into the game as a random encounter, cargo ship or respawn ship currently requires the player to learn basic modding & XML and perform their own testing, which not everyone is willing or apt to do (as evidenced by the relatively low number of spawn mods on the workshop).
I'm picturing a menu screen in Creative mode...
A drop-down to select what type of spawn mod you wanted to create.
An option to load an existing spawn mod for editing.
A list window for selecting the blueprint you wanted to add to your mod (with the ability to add multiple blueprints to the same mod)
A "view effects" window displaying a list of all the ships currently added by the mod.
X,Y,Z boxes to specify the grid position & orientation for spawning the ship.
Input box for speed on spawn.
Checkbox to flag ship as a pirate ship.
A "Go" button to finalise your choices & create the new mod or over-write the loaded mod file.
For adding asteroid stations to random encounter mods, there'd also be an option to select a specific asteroid file and tie it to the selected blueprint, so when the encounter spawned, it always spawned with the same asteroid.
Behind the scenes the game would...
Create a new mod directory structure (or load an existing one)
Copy the selected blueprint to the clipboard, export it and move it to the new mod directory.
Copy the appropriate .sbc file (Spawngroups.sbc or RespawnShips.sbc)
Add a reference to the new ship in the appropriate .sbc file.
Copy any relevant asteroid file to the new mod directory.
Add a reference to the selected asteroid file into the new ships reference in Spawngroups.sbc
The tool I'm suggesting would...
-Boost player interest in the game & workshop by making a basic yet popular type of modding accessible to everyone, regardless of their level of knowledge / experience.
-Improve the way workshop items are submitted under the "Exploration" tag.
-Expedite the dev-side process of assimilating agreeable content into the vanilla game.
If desired, a companion tool could be created for use dev-side, enabling submitted spawn mods to be checked automatically for undesireable content (piston or rotor blocks, 3rd party mods etc), bad user-made edits or broken code. This would allow more player-made content to be added to the vanilla game quickly & for less effort, while also guaranteeing that the content being added was 100% working, 100% generated by KSH's own software and 100% conforming to KSH criteria for inclusion in the game.
Such a companion tool would search the modded Spawngroups.sbc file and accompanying ship .sbc file(s) for non-conforming code and auto-reject any mod in which such code was found. It could also automatically assimilate working mods into the vanilla files, meaning the selection process would become a simple matter of someone on the team skimming the workshop for "Exploration" tags and green-lighting content of suitably high quality.