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# How many of you would bother with ship building?

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quote:
Original post by Wavinator
You''re right, I could never expect you to manage that much detail. But consider this: What if you could have both without the headache?

I''ld be very happy

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First, consider what it is that you really care about with designing ships: You want them to be able to defend against borders, resist certain types of damage and be able to tackle specific tasks.

...

You do this manually on your own ship and get all the joy of customization. But you can''t jump from ship to ship, so they''re really black boxes to you. You don''t know if a particular hull configuration contained a fire, or helped repair boarders or what

I''ld prefrer if I had a limited number of ships (2-4) which I could jump from ship to ship, or at the very least design those ships.

This allows you to specialize a small groups of ships which are designed to work together .

Say you are mining some asteriods(lots of those around in space) for some material to do repairs with.

I''ld prefer to a single ship with the large scale fabrication labs required todo extensive repairs in space between a few ships or a ship which mines fuel from a gas giant. And then have a number of ships which actually do stuff, but require the services of those ships.

Also these groups of active ships(which you can immediately control) need to be able to able to dynamically change on the fly. Its a profoundly stupid idea, that my Fleet of Much Kickassness cant send a single ship for a munchies run.

I want to be able to setup a remote base(aka park a ship somewere) in the middle of nowere(space is big, there is a lot of nowere to get lost in), and then take small detachments out of my base to go do ''stuff''.

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So what if the rules for the stuff you care about were heavily weighted on how good the captain was, rather than the specific minutiae of the level? You could put Kirk or Picard in a tug, and their legendary status would allow them to pull off something useful even with next to nothing.

This would be great, the concept of a ''hero'' being able to drastically improve the stuff they are working with is great. But it should only act as a multiplyer on what you have.

Kirk in a lifepod isnt going to shoot down an enemy mothership, but he might be able to escape when the lifepod is brought on board.

Then if the cards are played right, Kirk gets a, slightly used, mothership gets a to play with :D But if the chips fall the other way, the NPC/player on the enemy ship gains fame from bring the famous Kirk down.

quote:
That''s the extreme, but the general approach is that you can have N size fleets and properties, but for every asset you add, you''ve got to have a trusted crewmember with leadership skills to oversee it.

An interesting system. However the cut off point between the RPG elements of the individual ships and the fleet actions would probably have to be found by playtesting.

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But if you want to go to different parts of the galaxy, you need your own "offroad vehicle" in the form of an expensive jump drive or a carrier ship.

This system also allows for the official services dont like a particular contraband, then you can smuggle stuff in via your own "offroad" system for extra \$.

Or maybe you just dont want to pay the toll man.

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Okay, I''m starting to see some real hatred here for maintenence tunnels.

:D

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Keep in mind this is a Sims like interface, so you don''t have to go crawling around FPS style.

I dont really have anything against ''hidden'' passage ways, but its the idea that a full grown human lugging around about 10-20 kg of equipment is going to crawl +50 meters to reach to space-age equivalent of a fuse-box(please tell me they use surge protectors ) while in life or death combat is mind numbingly stupid.

Also it is kinda like making walk-in-wardrobes a major plot point in the Sims

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My instinct for AI is to make it''s presence in any one area a matter of probability based on infrastructure when you can''t see it, and pathfinding when you can. So you could have AI surprise you if all the doors weren''t secure, and they''d use local grid pathfinding to navigate the level when you''re actually in combat.

The problem with this is the "suprise" might transform into "annoy" after the 10000th iteration. Just as long as having the NPC in there actually does something would migrate this. Otherwise its slighly animated eye-candy.

If the operator at the sensor station drops dead from something, this should logically effects sensor reports, and distract the other crew around the dead body.

quote:

You may be interested in this thread I posted about a month ago on destructable environments. I''m aiming for internal battle damage, fires and sabotage to play a role in creating environmental puzzles that you''re challenged to overcome periodically.

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This game sounds more and more awesome everytime I read this thread. =) It''s inspired me to study more and play a little Masters of Orion II.

Destructible environments, crash landings on alien worlds, the most sophisticated ship-design I''ve ever heard of, being boarded, mutiny...!

Get to work, my friend. =) I think we''re all itchin for some demos!

Best of luck!

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I''m getting the impression that it would probably be better to make the game entirely(or almost entirely) about the ship-building and call it "Simship" or somesuch. There are tons of possibilities in making gameplay that involves efficiently organizing your layout...

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If this game doesn''t involve spacecombat I will be sad for a long, long time.

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lol @ serratemplar ... yeah all of this without space combat would be kind of moot

anyways, on to my suggestions:

a) templates! that way you could have gazillions of customized ships. Create a blueprint, then mass produce it. good on your RAM and good on your gameplay (who wants to custom build *every* ship in their fleet?)

b) do *not* allow customization right away... first offer a few predesigned ships and let the player feel the difference, while showing explicitly advantages and disadvantages of the given design and at the same time introducing him/her to the components of a ship without the burden of having to come up with one right away.
(or offer a few default templates and allow customization right away... just don''t *force* it right away.. its intimidating)

tubes sound great if they do make a difference, localized component damage is a must.

great idea, its kinda big so i hope you can implement it!
me? i trip on the simplest stuff

then im still a n00b =P

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quote:
Original post by RTF
I''m getting the impression that it would probably be better to make the game entirely(or almost entirely) about the ship-building and call it "Simship" or somesuch. There are tons of possibilities in making gameplay that involves efficiently organizing your layout...

Can you tell me why you think this? Are you concerned that combat would be overwhelming?

quote:
Original post by serratemplar
If this game doesn''t involve spacecombat I will be sad for a long, long time.

I''ve got alot of odd ideas in this vein beyond the standard missile / laser / gun possibilities. I want to post those in another thread in just a bit.

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lol @ serratemplar ... yeah all of this without space combat would be kind of moot

It would be a loss of potential, I think. Especially because exterior combat could lead to some cool interior situations, like boarding actions or solving impending disasters.

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a) templates! that way you could have gazillions of customized ships. Create a blueprint, then mass produce it. good on your RAM and good on your gameplay (who wants to custom build *every* ship in their fleet?)

This would be a great idea. Especially if you created a flagship and could just click a button that meant "make me more like this one!"

quote:

b) do *not* allow customization right away... first offer a few predesigned ships and let the player feel the difference, while showing explicitly advantages and disadvantages of the given design and at the same time introducing him/her to the components of a ship without the burden of having to come up with one right away.

I agree with you here, although I''m wondering when you first start and get a lowly shuttle if you should be able to get a taste of customization, just a tease? I can do this buy making the price to move stuff around cheaper, and by making external components cheaper (like adding guns to the ship or better sensors).

Alternately, I can show a price list for these things and make them beyond the player''s range at the start?

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(or offer a few default templates and allow customization right away... just don''t *force* it right away.. its intimidating)

Okay, gotcha.

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tubes sound great if they do make a difference, localized component damage is a must.

I just think that accessways would make stealth more interesting when you''ve been overrun, or are trying to sneak aboard a ship. You could even be a stowaway, sneaking around to get the stuff you need. But the tubes, you''re right, would have to make a visible difference.

And I agree with you, the localized component damage will make for some great environmental puzzles.

quote:

great idea, its kinda big so i hope you can implement it!
me? i trip on the simplest stuff

Well, if it helps any, I have had some experience with some of this, and I''m trying to put as much as possible into expanding the game only by varying numbers and stats.

[qutoe]
then im still a n00b =P

Hey, gotta start somewhere!

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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This is sounding very similar to a game concept I was designing with some friends - we even had part of the engine made before our funding dried up.

Anyhow, I think you want to be careful not to get ahead of yourself with the scope of this project. It sounds like you have a very elaborate universe in mind, and that could be a stumbling block. Keep in mind how many feeble space games there have been.

I''d focus on a smaller setting, down to a scale where the player can appreciate it, instead of big, meaningless ambiguous empires. Stick to the solar system - with space stations, moons, ice mining facilities within Saturns rings, old space cities built on Pallas and Ceres, etc. Plus, the big, empty vacuum of space is dull - I find that interstellar games tend to end up "combat in random deep space sector Y where there''s nothing but you and them". Instead, make it civilization. Look at the world around us - does anyone care about random shootouts in the desert? No, they get freaked out when gunfights and carbombs start hitting the hotels and office buildings of Bagdhad. Imagine 1000 years from now, with no insterstellar travel but for a few exploratory probes, but a massively fully developed space culture in the solar system (like earth today - interstellar is the next horizon, but we''ve got a long way to go). Don''t make space a big empty expanse where shit happens, or the wild west - make it civilization, falling apart.

Either way, I''d focus on getting the assembly and combat engines assembled before you concern yourself with building it into some massive trade-wars-esque setting.

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quote:
Original post by Pxtl
Anyhow, I think you want to be careful not to get ahead of yourself with the scope of this project. It sounds like you have a very elaborate universe in mind, and that could be a stumbling block. Keep in mind how many feeble space games there have been.

You are right. Scale is no joke and presents some serious problems. What makes me think I can succeed here, though, is abstraction and generalization, with the engine generating alot of the content necessary to fill in the gaps. (I''m going to find out one way or another if this is a good idea or not ).

quote:

I''d focus on a smaller setting, down to a scale where the player can appreciate it, instead of big, meaningless ambiguous empires.

What makes an empire ambiguous and meaningless? Isn''t it the repetition of content, the inability to impact the game world in significant ways, and the feeling that you can''t make progress in the game, either personal or territorial?

It''s the stories, characters, items, and above all, challenging situations that make these things special, I''d think. I''m working on something for all of these which involves varying states and stats.

quote:

Stick to the solar system - with space stations, moons, ice mining facilities within Saturns rings, old space cities built on Pallas and Ceres, etc.

I like this setting. However, what does it mean if you replicate settings like this over multiple systems? Visually, even with a this bastardized effort at procedural generation I''m thinking about, you''ll still run into the same structures and textures at some point.

But if the gameplay is engaging, I''m wagering that most fans won''t care. So what if the L5 O''neil colony looks like the one around Europa, one is infested with random pirate events and the other has the rare source of H3 that you''ve been looking for. At some point, variation in stats and states means more to players who care about gameplay than do the graphics, characters and stories.

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Plus, the big, empty vacuum of space is dull - I find that interstellar games tend to end up "combat in random deep space sector Y where there''s nothing but you and them".

Haha, I''ve thought the same thing for some time now. What if space, however, wasn''t empty vacuum? What if space had its own terrain that affected your gameplay in the core areas of combat, stealth and trade?

quote:

Either way, I''d focus on getting the assembly and combat engines assembled before you concern yourself with building it into some massive trade-wars-esque setting.

Thank you, this is good advice. Right now I''m finishing up the heuristics for dynamically changing maps based on a nodes and actors, and plan to move on to exactly what you suggest. If it looks like the content cannot be generated in the way I think or that I don''t have time or can''t get the help I need, I''ll definitely scale it back. It''s always easier to drop features than to add them midstream.

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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I think when you have a system like this you want to make sure you don''t have too much detail and micromangement in it. It''s nice to be able to customize things but many players aren''t going to want to obsess over every detail. Things like templates are a good idea as it allows someone to get a ship built quickly and then make a few alterations rather than having to build the whole thing themselves.

quote:
Alternately, I can show a price list for these things and make them beyond the player''s range at the start?

I know with things such as space games looking at all the cool stuff you can buy once you''re rich is a good incentive to keep playing and get more money (or whatever). It''s a goal to work towards, you''re not just randomly flying round space.

Oh and this is kinda OT but have you got a website or anything for your game Wavinator, or are you still completely in the design stage?

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I am looking forward to this space combat thread.

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