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Space game design


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#1 RobeeZ   Members   -  Reputation: 206

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 10:53 AM

Hi!

I was recently thinking about a good game idea, and I finally find something appropriate for my goals.

First, I think everybody knows Freelancer, right? Space game, with trading, fighting, and a lot of space ships. Now extends this game with some strategy element. Mining from planets, walking on planets(cities, of course), crafting.

Addition to this, you have a space ship designer. Like in SPORE, but you can make bigger ships, like Millenium Falcon, Enterprise from Star Trek, and you can design how each area of the ship will take place.

Mix in some story and some space fight, and ta-da. Here's my game idea.

It's a kind of basic design, but I think it can be very interesting to make. It would be a single player game, but players could share their ships on the net.

What's your opinion about this?

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#2 Zouflain   Members   -  Reputation: 532

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 11:04 AM

What's your opinion about this?

Can you fit a kitchen sink in there, too?

I don't mean to be unecessarily blunt, but I think the game is overreaching by a very large margin. You have several games all merged into one, each with very sophisticated systems operating simultaneously. A spaceship designer is not unfeasible, but to then make that designed spaceship walkable is an order of magnitude more complex - especially if you want anything to occur inside of it like, heaven forbid, combat. Combining a space game with walk-in-stations is difficult enough, but adding entire planets and the associated code is again a whole order of magnitude more difficult. Major development teams - specifically CCP - have found the task daunting at best, and in years have not managed to combine those elements to the extent you describe.

Further, a game element should only exist if it is fun. Consider the workload it's going to take to make mining fun. That is a game onto itself. On top of this, you must also create a crafting game, a walk-in-cities game, presumably a space battle game, possibly an on-foot combat game, and whatever other games you plan on including in this massive project. Even if you can make each of these games, you must also make them interoperate smoothly and in a fun manner.

It is anything but basic.

I would say make a space battle game with nothing else, just a few prebuilt ships. Get that to be really fun. If you manage that, then make a mining game, and make that really fun. Then try to fuse the two, and continue until you can incrementally develop a suite of games into one project. But to take all this on at once is unfeasible for any but the largest of development teams.

#3 DaveTroyer   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 02:52 PM

I agree with Vouflain. The scope of your idea is massive!
Too massive in my opinion. Mind you, just my opinion; not trying to be mean.

One place that you might like to start though is by cutting back on some of the parts that are less important to the game itself.

Like make the game a top down 2D game, with sections of the ship able to be placed on a crafting grid. It would make it far less complex than a customization system like that found in Spore.

Follow that with cutting back the mining into an event that could be taken place in certain areas with a random drop or something.
Yeah, it's faking the mining, but it gives a similar result to the players.

Mixing it all together with space combat and cohesive story, and it would be a daunting task with possibly years of development and quite a bill attached to say the least.

Oh and the chances for something to go wrong, they could be enormous! Image how difficult it would be to get everything working the way that they are supposed to only to find out they rip the game apart when trying to force them together?
It would be pretty dang frustrating.

All that being said, I think it would be an amazing game if every aspect came together properly.

Check out my game blog - Dave's Game Blog


#4 CC Ricers   Members   -  Reputation: 623

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 03:13 PM

The idea is only basic in that you described it at a very high level. A lot of game ideas that tend to have the player be able to do just about everything tend to go nowhere, or have their spec list greatly shortened to produce a finished produce.

Someone else had the idea of players walking on planets, and navigating in a realistic fashion. And he envisioned Jupiter-sized planets, not just on the size of a typical MMO game. The largest game world I can think of is in Fuel, and that's barely fits in the smaller US states. It's very open ended, although it did focus on one core aspect (racing).

But most people had a problem with the game's world, and that was that it wasn't very interesting to look at or navigate. Compare that to GTA games, where the cities might be smaller than most real-life cities, but they are fun to walk and drive around in, because it has many interesting things to do packed into a smaller area. GTA cities have personality, which Fuel lacked a lot of. Now think about how you will incorporate several life-sized cities embedded in sparsely-populated areas, with less interesting areas to explore. Here it would make more sense to just keep your player in the spaceship, and discourage him from going to places you can easily get lost in.

Another challenge on top of programming all your features, is providing quality content from start to end. The larger you get in scope, the harder it is to have consistent quality in the game experience.
My development blog: Electronic Meteor

#5 TylerBetable   Members   -  Reputation: 134

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 03:18 PM

I agree with the sentiment above, I think you've got to think about which pieces of the game are really unique and appealing, and then how you can build a small game around that to start. For instance, the Spore spaceship creator sounds awesome, but it's not key component of the game and frankly 80% of the functionality is easily replaced by stock "ship types" with customizable weapons/armor loadouts (see Galaxy Online II on Facebook for a good example of this). You can cut that out

Try to boil it down to what's actually unique and you'll be a lot better off doing it yourself
I work for Betable, a game monetization platform. I also write about startups, gaming, and marketing.

#6 Randel   Members   -  Reputation: 326

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 04:17 PM

Adding to the sentiments above, I'd say your first goal should be to get a basic idea of the games "hook". What element makes this game different than others of its kind. Then make a simple game that gets that one thing right. If its a success and you get money/people from it then you can make a sequel that builds on it. Save the huge worldbuilding stuff for the third installment once you've got the core gameplay down.

#7 Unduli   Members   -  Reputation: 894

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 09:05 AM

Although I agree with most of statements above, I don't think a game should necessarily always offer 'fun' . Is there any fun way of gathering resources at Age of Empires?

#8 DaveTroyer   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 12:13 PM

Although I agree with most of statements above, I don't think a game should necessarily always offer 'fun' . Is there any fun way of gathering resources at Age of Empires?


You bring up a good point. A lot of games that have resource gathering have at least some sense of monotony to them.

And I'm inclined to agree that a game doesn't need to be at it's peak of fun all the time, but I feel that those low, slow points in games should be balanced with the more fun aspects of the game. As in the player should be able to "over-look" the boring or tedious parts since they know something awesome awaits them.

I guess the best bet is making mining bearable to the player by minimizing it's time compared to more functional game play. But then it could be simply replaced with a chest or loot function to help keep the player engaged in the more interesting aspects of the game.

If the mining needs to be in the game, it becomes more a matter of using the mining or resource gathering function as an aspect of the game such as a integrated part of the story...

...I can wax poetic for hours on this stuff, so I'll just leave it at "I think the best bet is balancing gathering with fun." Posted Image

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