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Member Since 29 Jan 2011
Offline Last Active Oct 22 2014 06:55 PM

Topics I've Started

Non-combat space exploration idea, feedback welcomed

20 August 2013 - 07:03 AM

I've been experimenting with this idea for a 2d top down space exploration and survival game, sort of rogue like. Feedback would be great - I'll try to point out things that I really need feedback on, but any is welcomed.


Some notes on small things, don't need any specific feedback, but just to give a better idea:

  1. 2D topdown view, with realistic space flight physics, barring gravity (I think it makes flight significantly more complex, but not more fun). All stellar objects (planets, moons, asteroids, stars) will be real sized. I've experimented to see if I can get it working, see this video (turn hd to see the stars in background)
  2. The 2D topdown view, and a simple solar system/galaxy map (for 'jumps' inside the system and between systems) are the only two views. No controlling crew, no other perspectives or models besides your ship and various other space objects. Crew and your character don't have any graphical design, but simply are a name and specialization + stats (base morale, hire price, salary/week that sort of thing). All interaction is done through text-based descriptions and player choices.

Some of the key gameplay ideas. I'm most interested in feedback on these:

  1. Interaction: Stopping over certain objects allows interaction and choices via a text menu (nothing fancy), and results/feedback is also given via text description. For example, stopping over ship debris allows options to scan or try to scavenge resources. Stopping over a city on a planet allows for trading (components, materials, rations), and for hiring new crew members. Further examples of interactive objects: space stations, derelict ships, asteroids, spacial anomalies, and terrestrial planets/moons
  2. Crew: You have a list of crew on your ship. Each crew member has a specialization that serves a purpose, either on ship, or on Missions (described below). Crew members also have morale (starting at random value) that takes penalties if you fail to pay their weekly salary, or if you have insufficient Rations. If a crew member's Morale gets low enough he/she leaves the ship.
    1. Pilot: needed to fly a ship. If his morale drops too low and he leaves, you are 'moved' to the last city/space station you vsited. 
    2. Commander: Increases survival odds of everyone if present in mission. Allows for 'Negotiate' option, if available on missions
    3. Engineer: allows repair of ship components whilst in space (if components are present). Guarantees safe recovery of   components if present on Missions.
    4. Scientist: Can turn Raw Data (obtained from scanning spatial anomalies) into Research Notes. Can research Unknown Objects (recovered from certain missions) and turn them into specific and valuable objects (to sell or to use). Guarantees safe recovery of Unknown Objects if present on Mission.
    5. Mercenary: Allows for 'Attack' option if present on Missions.
    6. Doctor: Can heal Badly Injured crew whilst in space. Reduces odds of any crew member dying if he's present on a Mission.
    7. Companion: Adds to crew morale, does not require a salary, only one per ship. Adds additional trade options in certain space stations/cities. Your character must have a minimum reputation before being able to ask a companion to join the crew, and have a minimum number of crew members to keep her on board.
  3. Your character: Your character is like all other crew - he has a specialization that you can pick at start. The only difference is that your character is not affected by Morale, and thus will never leave. However your character is affected by rations, and if he hasn't eaten anything in some time, he dies, resulting in Game Over.
  4. Survival: You must provide rations for your crew each day. You can select number of rations to per day (0,1,2,3 or 4) - and each provides a different Morale boost/loss to each crew. You must pay weekly salary of your crew (on individual crew basis, in full or none) - paying/not paying has a Morale boost/loss effect on each crew.
    Two types of fuel must be resupplied: Chemical fuel for free space flight, and Deuterium for FTL jumps.
    In addition to that, your Ship has various Equipment, some optional, other required to survive. Each equipment piece has a durability value that has a chance of decreasing at the end of each day. Failing to repair vital equipment results in death. (permanent). Repairing equipment can be done at a City or Space station for currency, or may be done anywhere for free, if you have an Engineer and if the needed components are available in ship inventory.
  5. Exploration: Procedurally generated systems, each containing random features. Various ship Equipment is used to explore and discover different objects and missions. Optional equipment must be purchased at Cities or Space Stations.
    1. Radio sensors: Always present, can detect directional radio transmissions (i.e. from Derelict Ships, or Crash Sites) inside a single Star System.
    2. Heat Sensors: Optional, can detect Ship Debris inside a single Star System. 
    3. Planetary Sensors: Can detect possible locations of Settlements and Ruins when near a Planet.
    4. Scientific Sensors: Can detect the presence of spatial anomalies inside a single Star System.
  6. Missions: Most interactive objects (except Cities and Space Stations) provide some sort of scripted mission. Missions are displayed as text description only, i.e.: You click Explore when stopped over a Settlement, and you're provided with a short text intro to the settlement and the people. At this point various options may open up, depending on the scripting and crew present on the mission. If you have a Commander present, you may be given an option to Nagotiate. This will result in different events happening (all through text) than if you didn't have a Commander on the Mission. Other crew member types open up various other  options if present on the mission, with branching possible at every decision point, and different rewards (or problems, such as getting one of your crew injured or killed) arise depending on the branch taken. This all happens through text commands. Missions will have to be manually written based on type, and picked at random when a Star System is generated.

So, that's the concept, more or less. The main goals in the game are to survive, explore, and get rich. I've thought about possibly including big goals like buying a new ship, but I've yet to figure out what gameplay effect this may have, though it might be good to have big goals like that.


I'm interested in whether you think this idea sounds interesting - it's really a 2D space flying + text adventure mix. Any comments on the gameplay mechanics - i.e. are they clear, do they sound tedious, would they be interesting would be appreciated, but any other comments, suggestions, ideas or criticism are also welcome.

Microsoft Illumiroom

01 May 2013 - 10:42 AM

Don't think I saw a topic on this, though I'm sure many of you are aware of it.


There's a video of a demo for it here: 


So, I'm curious what people think?


I've been finding it hard to get excited about new tech over the past couple of years (at the old age of 25...), but this was one of the few products I think I really found interesting. There's a bunch of cool things I can see with this - especially since it scans your environment and uses that as a backdrop for some effects. I can see games designed specifically to take advantage of that.


However, I'm also a PC gamer, being either too poor, or not stable enough in my living arrangement, most of my life to have both a console and a computer (and I need a computer more). 

 have a desk with a monitor and a chair sitting in front my bed. My monitor can double as a TV, so plugging in a console shouldn't be a problem, but this setup requires the user to sit back behind the projector for the full effect.

Do a lot of you guys who play consoles, play in a manner similar to what's shown in the video? Where you sit on the couch, maybe six feet from the TV to play consoles? I know some people, especially those without 40"+  TVs don't do that, and usually are quite close to their TVs. Hell, I even have a friend who owns a 42" TV who has it slapped on a desk and still sits close to it, almost as close as a regular monitor.


This is on top that any extended video game FoV, as they show, can give people motion sickness, and/or headaches (at least so I've read).

The playing a movie demo they showed also requires a dual cam to capture it.


I also wonder how much more effective this is than just buying a projector screen? Or using your large, white wall (not uncommon) to play movies or games on it? I briefly had a setup like this while I temporarily had a project - using a large white wall to play movies.


So, thoughts? Opinions? Also, this semi-innovative thing comes from Microsoft - so.. hatred? :P

Unsure rant of a non-meta gamer

28 March 2013 - 08:23 PM

Here's a pretty image:



Guess what game this is from. Go on, I won't ruin it for you (well, spoiler tag ahead...since its related to my rant)



So I'm playing the above mentioned game today, when I realized that the fireplace there and the whole setting is really relaxing and beautiful. Only... no one that I'm aware of has stopped to see it. In fact the areas of the world that don't have any gameplay elements seem very deserted. In contrast, I just spend over half an hour sitting on a bed in that room, randomly chatting with my guild while I could. No one even came close to the Inn to check it out.


So, is that what gaming is about these days? I mean from one point of view I understand - gamers follow the gameplay elements - and some places (like the above room in the inn) have no gameplay elements in them. As far as interaction goes, that might as well be a blank white room. The only difference is that it looks relaxing, and interesting.


But what about gaming for just interesting things? Just cause you find something interesting, and not because it has some in-game effect? I tried offering a random "I'm hiding, try to find me" challenge, with a small in-game currency reward just to see who's interested. Well, no one was. Maybe it was kinda late, so fewer people were around, but none of them showed an interest in doing something just for the fun of it, that didn't contribute any sort of real reward or achievement. Maybe if I offered significantly more money someone would be interested, but then it would be for the money only. 


I can't even describe the amount of time I've spend jumping up places where nothing of interest was to be found. It works best with a friend of mine who also has this interest in the abstract sort of exploring for the sake of just seing new things. We'd see where we can get than just sit there and be like "ok, this is awesome, didn' think we'd make it up here."


Sure, getting your character in games to be more powerful, to have the coolest looking gear etc. etc. is one part of the fun. But I feel like a lot of gamers don't even care about anything else. It's almost taboo in mmorpgs for example, to stop and care about anything other than your dmg/support/heal abilities. Everything else is just considered meaningless.


Even in some single player rpgs. For example, I have seen threads of people complaining that Skyrim housing doesn't do anything. But that's not true - its just skyrim housing doesn't provide much in the way of increasing your dps, or provide you with unique abilities. Yet, I've spend a lot of time just sitting in front of the fireplace there too, doing nothing but .. well, sort of role playing. Immersing myself in the atmosphere is a better way of putting it. (this might also be linked to the fact that i've never owned a home with a fireplace, but regarless!)


It just feels like a lot of art, design, and generally cool environments kinda go wasted due to the prevalence of meta-gaming, which basically makes you play just so you can become a more efficient killing machine. I know, MMOs are not really a good example. Dragon age for example had your camp, which was kinda useless but developed characters, so it was well received. But Bioware games focus much more on a fixed story (With few branching choices) than an open world rpg like skyrim or a MMO like GW2. Ambiance and story go hand in hand there, but players still look mostly to complete what the game rewards them for.


I feel like one of the culprits is achievements - they have conditioned many gamers - do this, get achievement! instant-reward! No instant-reward? No need to do it.


There was some picture floating around.. let me find it... yeah: http://www.nerfnow.com/comic/450 .... the aspect illustrated there is how I feel alot of gamers are these days. Jump in for some quick time to earn some xp/gold/gear, don't care about beautiful landscapes that dont have anything truly important in them, and then leave. (it's even funnier considering how much these very same gamers who avoid all non-gameplay related things, including beautiful scenary will then go on to demand extremely polished next-gen graphics from all new games.. but that's another conditioning alltogether)


Yeah, rant over, this could probably all be worded better and strung in a more meaningful and coherent sense, but there you have it. Gaming for the sake of having fun seems lost to me. It annoys me, and I hate meta-gaming. /rant.

Eight, Nine, Ten...

18 March 2013 - 10:28 AM

Excerpt from code I recently saw:


#define EIGHT  (0x08) 
#define NINE   (0x09) 
#define TEN    (0x10) 

. . .

I hope I wasn't too subtle - the definition of TEN is what is ... interesting here.

Headphones and surround sound

14 February 2013 - 11:20 AM

This topic has always bugged me.


The human brain distinguishes sound direction from 2 factors:

1. Sound latency - meaning the difference in time that the sound arrives in one ear vs the other ear

2. Sound volume - the difference between how loud the sound is in each ear.


I understand latency is mostly used for lower pitch sounds, and volume is used for high pitch sounds.


So, given this, if you're wearing headphones - just regular headphones that take stereo input - you can simulate surround sound pretty accurately. Don't believe me? http://gprime.net/flash.php/soundimmersion - sort of an old link too, from more than 5 years ago i think. Just plug in normal headphones in your PC and close your eyes.


So, basically sound can be recorded in such a way that when listened through headphones it sounds like surround sound. The reason its not, I suppose, is because the same sound can be listened through speakers - which don't need that sort of thing to sound surround sound, they already are physical objects.


But you can take regular stereo sound tracks and apply digital processing to make it sound like virtual surround sound in your headphones. This is what Dolby Headphone processing does, afaik.


Basically, this means that any headphones claiming to be 7.1 or 5.1 that have multiple speakers in them are really just a marketing ploy, since I doubt they give any advantage over regular stereo.


But most importantly - Why are not more manufacturers of portable music players (I'm looking at you Apple and Microsoft) not putting this feature in their devices!?


And why is it so hard to find headphones that are Dolby Headphone certified! 


Anyway, rant aside - do any of you happen to know of any good headphones that include this feature? I know there's a few listed on Wiki, and I can certainly google some - and I owned one pair once, some time ago, but it broke, and I've been meaning to find a quality one ever since, so I'm looking for someone who's had some experience. :)