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Adding virtual planetarium vs. made up sky

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Do you care if the galaxy is accurate in a space game? Imagine that every character in the game world has optical implants that help to label things. This firstly serves to brighten the graphical appeal of the game, giving it Tron 2.0 / Phantasy Star like neon overlays, glyphs and crisp, bright lines. It secondly serves as an excuse to make certain complex interactions very simple, such as finding exactly the right NPC to talk to in a large city or space station (they light up with a glyph on their shoulder). (btw, the overlays turn on and off according to implant options in game) There's a side possibility I might have (for almost no extra effort) of getting help putting in a virtual planetarium. The idea is that you'd be able to travel the galaxy, land on a planet, then look up at the sky and have your optical implant label the places you've traveled to or would be going. This would really only be a flashy feature added as an outgrowth of some astronomy students possibly helping with the project. I'm normally against adding such things unless they directly impact gameplay on the cautionary principle that adding glitz stimulates the desire for more glitz (and complaints about consistency if there isn't glitz everywhere). What do you think? Would having a realistic, accurately positioned galaxy to travel in add anything to your enjoyment; or do you think (even with the planetarium overlay) people wouldn't really care-- keeping in mind that a generation raised on George Lucas science fantasy may turn its nose up at dash of hard science.

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Well, it really depends on how it's incorperated into the game. IMO, any added feature will be appreciated by people, but if it gets you added benefits for using it, then it will be used more often.

If its just for show and tell, like "you look up in the sky and see where you just came from" then it may not be as beneficial as "hey? Now where the heck do I go *looks at sky* oh.."

So, if you somehow incorperate into the plot ("the universe is collapsing... crap") or make it a necessary element of travel ("go 12 parsecs south of ursula major") then it will be appreciated more than if its just an eyecandy tidbit.

But it certainly would make for neat eyecandy!

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It seems to me that this could not help but be little more than eye-candy and/or clutter. I mean, identifying a particular star in the sky sounds very nice, but it's unlikely to be useful while you are wandering around on foot. It's not until you actually have the capability to reach that star, i.e. when you get into a starship, that the information becomes useful. But at that point you would have the resources of the ship's nav computer to draw on, along with (presumably) a nice interface specifically designed for examining/identifying remote stars.

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Maybe it could be used for terrestrial navigation when there are no artificial satellites or properly equipped craft in the area. If you're in uncharted territory, on a small craft with little navigation ability, or have suffered damage to those systems, it might be necessary to use stellar constellations to decide which direction to send the distress signal, or to find your way back to friendlier space.

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I would treat it like an easter egg, because the only value I can see it having is a slight "Neato" effect.
Perhaps a rare science mission can make a discovery and give you the option to see it. If it is more work than having only 15% of your players see, drop it.

On the other hand, if its a matter of changing 3 variables, go for it.

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I think that there would be a benefit, if simple to help the player suspend his disbelief. I wouldn't go crazy with it because most players aren't going to know any different. I'd make sure that the major, more recognizable formations are included: Big dipper, milky way, our planets and *major* satellites (moon, titan, io), north star, crab nebula, etc.

Even though there is a definite cool factor, I don't think it's a make it or break it feature.

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When I read your post I immediately remembered that scene in Titan: AE when the hero put his palm against the night sky and on the back of his hand a glowing arrow (under his skin) pointed at the next objective in his quest. If it's not too hard to implement and you find a good excuse to do it, it would add a lot to the ambience of the game. It could be used inside your ship to chose your destination, and see objectives or important points. On foot, it could point you to important places too, like your ship if it emmits some kind of a signal, or locations in well-developed cities (3D maps with context-sensitive information should be common in these places :) ). Finally, it could be your window into the various businesses you might have throughout the galaxy. You mentioned in other posts the ability to control various ships, bases, and teams of personnel that can be very far away from where you are. This can show their last known location, pointing you in the right direction, and more importantly not let you forget about them :)

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