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Space game ideas


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#1 mousetail   Members   -  Reputation: 1295

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:55 AM

I am planning to make a space rpg, and i want it to be free-world(no fixed story line(but maybe a starting story at the beginning), just wandering about the universe looking for quests). I have 3 questions:
* how do I make new stars accessible only when you get better ships? something like hyperspace could allow a one-time upgrade that could take you far distances, but i want to gradually open up more groups of planets? just making them faster wont work, because you can still get there if you have patience, and users might not guess that there will be a easier way to get there, also if you are halfway, you cant go back without flying for a long time.
* how do I make a basic story for a free-world game? how do i keep it interesting, while not forcing people to follow a fixed story-line, but still get there upgrades to go to newer places in multiple ways maybe? All the free-world games i have seen are MMORPG's, do they have to be multi-player to be free-world?
*how do I make the scale of the planets good, probably I would at least have to have a separate scene for each planet, but that will be unrealistic, because everything is so much bigger on the planet then in space. also, how do I arrange a massive universe, even with 'small' planets, should i have you just zap to the next scene when you hit the wall, or maybe a hyperspace system?
any suggestions are welcomed, thanks.

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#2 Lord Darkshayde   Members   -  Reputation: 151

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:54 AM

Just a few suggestions that might help get the ideas flowing.

1) Instead of worrying about the ship needing to be upgraded to reach new star systems perhaps you could either make the parts of the universe the player will be going to unexplored as of yet by the game's populous, or if it has already been explored simply open up areas as NPCs offer quests pertaining to that system. Also, you could just leave every area open for exploration from the start, but if the player goes to a place they aren't leveled for they'll get beat down.

2) Creating the story for a free-world game will definitely be a hurdle, but you do not have to have an MMORPG to make it happen. Look at Red Dead Redemption, GTA series, and the like. They are open world games that are almost solely single player. For this matter you just have to be imaginative (or hire a writer) to flesh out the story.

3) As for this last question that totally depends on your end design. If this is going to be a game where you travel from planet to planet and can land on them and explore you just have to decide which is the best approach. Probably a menu system in space to select "Land" and from there load the player at specific checkpoints in the world (thus preventing always landing in the same place) but as for the scale of each world that is for you to compare what you can accomplish to what is feasibly attainable.

I hope this helps some, and good luck in your endeavors.

#3 dot_dot_dot   Members   -  Reputation: 279

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 05:48 PM

You could restrict access to new stars by having tiers of ships. Perhaps tier 1 can get you around a single solar system, tier 2 could allow you to fly around the local galaxy, and tier 3 could allow access to the entire universe, possibly thru hyperspace or worm holes. Unless you were going for a simulator I wouldn't sacrifice gameplay to include large areas of space to fly through, even if it is realistic. I wouldn't want the player to fly into empty space for more than a few seconds usually. Travel between areas shouldn't be a chore.

The story could be delivered just like you see in mmorpgs, except without other people. For example you could go around to different planets and pick up quests. To move out of this solar system you might have to do a quest from the main story line. Maybe you have to get permission from the galactic counsel before you can travel to different galaxies. Stuff like that.

Like Lord DarkShayde said, things like the scale of space and how to transition from space to planets really depend on how ambitious you are looking to be with the project. Trying to recreate even a semi-accurate universe in a video game isn't going to be possible for a while I don't think. Making solar systems procedurally could give you some content, tho it would probably be fairly generic unless you put a ton of work into it. If you haven't played mass effect you might want to check it out. It basically has a menu system that loads maps with more focus on story. If you really want the open-world aspect maybe you can have your crew periodically whine about how long the trip is taking if the player travels a further-than-intended distance. This is somewhat risky game design in my opinion and it introduces the long downtime penalty you mentioned as well, but hopefully the player would get the message and look into upgrading.

#4 ManuelMarino   Members   -  Reputation: 153

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:14 AM

the replies are all good, just my two cents: if you'll be able to create the planets and make them explorable, I want to test your game :)

exploration means that there are important sites to be discovered in the planet, and of course also wilderness, fights, local fauna and dungeons.
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#5 Prinz Eugn   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3680

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 03:17 PM

I think Lord Darkshayde and dot_dot_dot covered stuff pretty well, but here are my thoughts:

* how do I make new stars accessible only when you get better ships? something like hyperspace could allow a one-time upgrade that could take you far distances, but i want to gradually open up more groups of planets? just making them faster wont work, because you can still get there if you have patience, and users might not guess that there will be a easier way to get there, also if you are halfway, you cant go back without flying for a long time.

I would re-think the fundamentals of your movement system to disallow or discourage players from getting very far at all if they try to go to a planet deliberately out of reach. You could do that by giving them a warning or simply making it impossible somehow to even go in an impossible direction. One way to do that would be to say that a Class C ship only has a jump range of X, so it's physically impossible to get to stars more than X away until you get a Class B ship. Or you could make travel dependent on jump gates, which require "passes" that are either expensive or require you to complete a mission or something for whatever faction/authority controls the gate.

*how do I make the scale of the planets good, probably I would at least have to have a separate scene for each planet, but that will be unrealistic, because everything is so much bigger on the planet then in space. also, how do I arrange a massive universe, even with 'small' planets, should i have you just zap to the next scene when you hit the wall, or maybe a hyperspace system?
any suggestions are welcomed, thanks.

You might want to look at Infinity, if just to gape in wonder: http://www.infinity-...e.com/Infinity/

What are you defining as a "scene"? Like an intro video, or an interactive environment of some kind? You could always modularize the crap out of everything, like have set textures for a lava planet, ice planet, rocky planet, etc and drap them over different terrain with a different sky tint.

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#6 BRRGames   Members   -  Reputation: 235

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:29 PM

I like the suggestions above, just giving you another option:

Whilst questing, rumors of new quests come with the navigation coords of that planet. Those coords are entered into the ship's navigation system, which then allows you to hyperspace to it.

BTW, if you only allow hyperspace jumps between planets, there is no need to have the entirety of space in game (ie: Infinity style). You'd be able to get away with each planetary system (ie: star plus any planets, satellite objects, etc) being an isolated scene, thus making it easier to manage.

#7 mousetail   Members   -  Reputation: 1295

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:09 AM

What are you defining as a "scene"?

I mean one 'room' were you can walk around freely without having to load stop and wait for it to load new data, or teleport to new scenes with whom there is no other physical connection.

#8 Inferiarum   Members   -  Reputation: 733

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 07:08 AM

I like the suggestions above, just giving you another option:

Whilst questing, rumors of new quests come with the navigation coords of that planet. Those coords are entered into the ship's navigation system, which then allows you to hyperspace to it.

BTW, if you only allow hyperspace jumps between planets, there is no need to have the entirety of space in game (ie: Infinity style). You'd be able to get away with each planetary system (ie: star plus any planets, satellite objects, etc) being an isolated scene, thus making it easier to manage.


I think this is a good idea. You divide the universe in zones where each zone has a coords coded with some integers. You can jump to each zone with the hyperdrive. Now you place planetary systems in certain zones and all other zones are just empty, maybe with some random stuff like asteroids (which could be generated procedurally from the zone coords). So everything is in principle accessible, but it is impossible to guess the few zones which actually have planetary systems. That is, you would have to find out the coordinates by interacting with other people etc.

You could still make things more accessible with better technology. E.g., you get the information that a certain planet is somewhere near (1000,4000,5000). Let's say 'near' defines a space of 1000 zones. Now you could visit each zone till you find the planet, or you could upgrade your scanning system which allows you to scan nearby zones for inhabitable planets or something, allowing you to find the planet in a much shorter time.

edit: another example for a single player open world rpg would be gothic 3

Edited by Inferiarum, 04 December 2012 - 07:11 AM.


#9 Prinz Eugn   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3680

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:42 AM


What are you defining as a "scene"?

I mean one 'room' were you can walk around freely without having to load stop and wait for it to load new data, or teleport to new scenes with whom there is no other physical connection.

Oh, okay, I was thinking in film terms for some reason. For that I think all you need is a few modular assets, that could be themed for whatever faction that control/inhabit the section of space you're in. You could have a few regional hubs with customized scenes but have far more procedurally generated using the same few buildings or whatever.

You could even say that obscure planets have only outposts, like a space 7-Eleven, and reuse the same building for each one, just switching up the inventory and some of the textures and NPCs.

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#10 Cyberdogs7   Members   -  Reputation: 147

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:38 PM

This game has been made before and it was every bit as awesome as you think it would be.

Star Control 2.

That should answer all your questions.

#11 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19373

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:33 AM

Star Control 2.

Great game -- if you haven't played it before it's well worth taking a look for inspiration or just to see how they approached certain problems. There's a free open-sourced version available under the title "The Ur-Quan Masters", based upon the source from the original game which was released to the public.

#12 heavycat   Members   -  Reputation: 387

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:14 AM

Having better ships make new planets available sounds like a key and lock system, where perhaps certain planets have atmospheres that are destructive to ship alloys, or some ships need certain kinds of magnetic shields to be compatible with the magnetic fields of the planets.

#13 lithos   Members   -  Reputation: 413

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:55 AM

Why is it upgrades for a ship that gets you further.

Even on one planet it's a PRETTY BIG DEAL moving from country to country, sure you can go plenty of places but not just anywhere or at least being able to do something useful anywhere on the planet. To make things worse your character has a spaceship, that's pretty much like saying "Hi I'm moving from country to country but I'm bringing several thousand people with, is probably the "mega-artillery of the future", and probably follows robinson's/jon's laws* ". Now you get to scarier things like import/export laws, bacteria/viral infections, taxes, paperwork, and racism...

Here's a nice website to consider if you ever want to research a space game, it's pretty disappointing more developers don't use it: http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/


*Robinson's - Anything reaching 3KM(2Mi)/second packs it's own weight in TNT of explosive power on impact Jon's- Any sufficiently interesting form or propulsion is a weapon of mass destruction(IE cut other ships in half, move space stations out of orbit, set atmospheres on fire, and similar without remotely trying).

Edited by lithos, 07 December 2012 - 11:26 AM.


#14 GameCreator   Members   -  Reputation: 785

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:10 PM

This game has been made before and it was every bit as awesome as you think it would be.

Star Control 2

That should answer all your questions.

Exactly this.

#15 jwezorek   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1974

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:52 PM

This game has been made before and it was every bit as awesome as you think it would be.

Star Control 2.

That should answer all your questions.


Ummm... no ... This should. Posted Image




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