Theres currently 3 different inconsistent systems for characters, and the genome data attached to them.
- Player: currently hardcoded into the engine, but theres no reason for this to be the case any longer
- Generic/Basic NPCs: (ex station managers) - defined via a struct
- Detailed NPCs: (ex wingmates) - defined via a detailed type with a custom unid. Im not even sure where genome is stored here.
With notable amounts of vanilla dockscreen code expecting things like Station Manager characters or whatnot and showing placeholder text if one doesn't exist, TSB needs to have station manager characters.
The problem is that the current setup was created for just baseline humans.
TSB has a large number of AIs and Neohumans lineages for which lacking support for custom genomes and forms of address can make things look very incorrect.
Here are some examples of the sorts of use cases that I'm looking to support:
Ugetis is an incredibly intelligent yet not quite sentient AI, and is thus addressed as 'it'.
Meanwhile 5TR4X (aka "Strax") is a distributed fully sentient AI created from a single experimental Luminous drone combining Ugetis tech, and is addressed as plural 'they'.
Then there are the Jathira clones - being a civilizations made up of clones w/ mind copies of a single neohuman woman, singular pronouns were a very marginally useful form of address, so they picked up using their clone serial numbers (or nicknames based on those) for specific address between each other. For reference, the original is referred to as 'Jathira-0', aka '0/zero'.
Meanwhile the Hycrotans have 4 common biological sexes and thus do not have a binary notion of gender in their society. They thus have their own set of pronouns for their culture.
On the flip side, the Ansabi are all sterile and can only reproduce in-vitro - just like their nemesis the Domain, whos' people - the Modurai - are cybernetic constructs and reproduce by building new members of their species out of pre-grown/manufactured organic and inorganic components (Despite this, they are not AIs - they are not pre-programmed or pre-trained - and their minds grow on their neural tissue in much the same way that a human child's mind grows on their own brain). In both cases, the Ansabi and Modurai have no rigid concept of gender as a result and often choose however they wish to be addressed at an individual level.
I could go on - there are many, many more factions and peoples to cover, but this should convey the point & scope of the needs
I want to have starts or even adventure where the player starts as a non-human. Examples:
- An Ilesska start/adventure
- An RTS style adventure that takes place in TSB-Part2 where the player is a 5TR4X node sent out of the quarantine zone.
- A Wyvera living ship adventure
This requires the highly configurable system above to be used by the player, instead of the hard-coded unique system that exists now.
Note that I say 'forms of address' but not specifically pronouns in the title. This is because there are a number of other forms of address that exist in the game text but also requires customizable support.
For example, in one line of text at a commonwealth station, the station manager addresses the player by the diminutive 'boy/girl', which makes no sense for a lot of potential cases. For example, 'kid' might work for some fallback scenarios, but if the player is sufficiently departed from that, ex, being an AI, they might receive a slur instead (I would imagine more out of disrespectful ignorance given the context is that this is the use of diminutives by a human whos slinging diminutives at other humans to begin with) such as being called a 'toaster' or 'calculator' or 'iMac' or 'nvidia 20 series gpu'
(yes the pokes at scummy companies was a joke as it wouldn't fit in-universe, but one I am obligated to make!)
Related ticket about specifically the player: https://ministry.kronosaur.com/record.hexm?id=97929
This ticket however focuses more on genomes as a whole, as well as broader technical issues that need to be addressed