Currently autons (and even wingmates) cannot have ammo weapons. The problem is how do they get more ammo? This record proposes some solutions.
A few principles:
- It should be possible to rearm an auton without the Auton Bay.
- The solution should work for wingmates too (though they may have additional ways to rearm).
- Not all autons need cargo space; e.g., smaller autons probably can't use ammo weapons.
For each ammo useable by an auton, we add a Reload command in its communications menu. For example, if an auton has an Akan 30 cannon, we add the entry, "Reload Akan 30 ammo". If an auton has a missile launcher, we add an reload command for every appropriate missile type in the player's cargo hold.
If possible, the communications menu should show how much ammo is left on the auton.
When the player selects the reload command, the auton moves towards the player ship. When it reaches the player ship, we do an automatic reload. The player gets a message describing the result of the reload (e.g., "50 Akan 30 shells on board.")
If there is a problem, we announce it. E.g., "No more Akan 30 shells in you cargo hold." [Though in some cases we should just gray-out the Reload command with an explanation.]
Auton Bay Reload
When an auton is in the Auton Bay, there should be a Reload command for each weapon that has ammo. For single-ammo weapons, we tell the player how much ammo is on the auton and how much she has in cargo and lets the player load more into the auton (type a number).
For missile launcher, we show a screen with all possible missile types and let the player choose which ones to load.
Transfer Command for Wingmates
Wingmates (not autons) have a Transfer Cargo command. When issued, the wingmate stops in space like a Mule auton and allows the player to dock. Once docked, the player can move cargo between the two ships, including ammo.
The wingmate refuses to take any cargo that it doesn't know what to do with (option grayed out). For example, it will refuse to take ammo for weapons it doesn't have.
Eventually, we can add code for wingmates to use items like armor repair kits or even halo gems. Perhaps they can also take armor and devices from the player and install it the next time they are at a station.
Automatic Reload for Wingmates
Wingmates are assumed to have an independent source of money for supplies. They are assumed to refuel and repair armor without player intervention. We should extend this to ammo.
When a wingmate has an ammo weapon, they seek out stations to rearm, just as they do for repairs. They prefer missiles of the current system level but will buy missiles of higher and lower levels, if preferred missiles are not available.