Player access to HUD via cockpit toggle
I can hear the immediate "NO" when this is suggested. Giving the player access to the game's HUD within the game! HA! But read a little deeper because it might be easier, safer, and open up more possibilities than you think. Read below:
Whenever using a ship, there's a lot of information regarding that ship that players want to take advantage. The typical scenario is to run a script in a programmable block and use the in-game LCD screens as virtual monitors for the character to read information from. The system works pretty well. The downside is this requires physical space within the grid for each LCD.
What if the player had access to overlay text on the HUD when a player is in a cockpit or using a remote block? Basically, take the contents of a widescreen LCD and layer it on top of screen. Add an ON/OFF button to the cockpit/remote control menu so the player can turn the function on/off , make toolbar and script friendly, as well as a text box to enter text just like the one on the widescreen LCD. There would also be the same controls for text color, size, and font. There would be no background color control since it's an overlay. Instead there would be an opacity slider. The amount of opacity could be set for each cockpit/remote block. By placing the opacity control in each block, the player or scenario maker could custom set the amount of opacity for each cockpit depending on tastes per vehicle, type, or usage for example. It could also be used to effect via the player accessible scripting (like the programmable block) to create a flashing message as well.
Again, this would function like the character peering through a transparent LCD screen up close... perhaps maybe a few more characters of space. The amount of abuse would be as dangerous as staring at an LCD screen up close.
I'm not expecting it to be neat or fancy... but just have the same functionality for the end user as the LCD screen with the same level of player scripting access.
Players who do not have any programming skills could use it to set up simple "How-To's" regarding operating their ship, information about what each number key does and some useful information, the more advanced player with a light amount of programming knowledge could add a some text to the top of the screen giving a read-out a couple useful stats.
And the more advanced programmer, they could offer up varying degrees of cockpit HUD augmentation that stays within the current security boundaries set, as well as a familiar interface to work with; the style of the wide-screen LCD.
Finally, there's a special relationship between the programmable block and the text panels that seems to be an almost unexpected game-changer. The amount interest in scripts that use the LCD panel for feedback is huge and well liked by players. I'd just like to do the same thing for the HUD in a way that is player made but doesn't interfere with the game or change it significantly.