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sergeant_x

Space Adventure game question

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I'm doing a little research for a space based game I'd like to design. I'm wondering, could you all tell me if there are any space/adventure games (PC or platform) that focus on the actual experience of being on a ship in space. I'm looking for something where most of the action tales place IN the ship, with players moving about and taking care of the various tasks/challenges from a first person POV. My ideas are still quite vague, and I apologize for that, but I'm most interested in a game that really captures the excitement of being 'out in the black'. I'm specifically looking for something that moves the focus away from ship-to-ship combat or removes that element entirely. Just wondering what games have covered this territory well and how they did it. (and, yes, Firefly is a major inspiration if it isn't overly obvious) Thanks

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ops was very disappointd in i-war precisely because it did not allow 'crews' of human playrs to co-operatively 'man' that games multi-station ships.

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I never tried the I-war multiplayer, so I can't comment on ops' comment.

Given your comments on ship-to-ship combat, the X-wing/TIE Fighter games probably aren't good examples of what you're looking for. The Wing Commander games (especially #3) did a reasonable job (given the limits of technology at the time) of telling a story that changed (slightly) depending on how well you did in the cockpit. Elite was another game which did a good job of depicting the Great Black Yonder (hmm, think I'll (tm) that... ), though there was a large emphasis on space combat.

Another game you could look at would be Privateer, but I've never played that, so I can't really tell you if it'd be of help to you.

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Quote:
Original post by sergeant_x
I'm doing a little research for a space based game I'd like to design. I'm wondering, could you all tell me if there are any space/adventure games (PC or platform) that focus on the actual experience of being on a ship in space. I'm looking for something where most of the action tales place IN the ship, with players moving about and taking care of the various tasks/challenges from a first person POV.


Create it and you will be the first. Nothing like this exists. And I mean nothing. There were a lot of quirky SF games in the 80s and 90s, but most were solo and all either focused on puzzle solving or combat.

The Wing Commanders did (a mostly pathetic job) of trying to give you a bit of interactivity onboard a space carrier, but it was mostly FMV cutscene choices based on two or three dialog options. The Star Trek Elite Force games have a bit of running aboard Voyager, spontaneously solving engineering problems, Fedexing items from one character to another, and listening to crew reveal story, but those games are dyed in the wool first person shooters.

Everything else, from the Star Wars & Star Trek games to the I-Wars, the X's, Battlecruiser 3000, the Freespaces and Freelancer/Privateer all focus on combat.

Quote:

My ideas are still quite vague, and I apologize for that, but I'm most interested in a game that really captures the excitement of being 'out in the black'. I'm specifically looking for something that moves the focus away from ship-to-ship combat or removes that element entirely. Just wondering what games have covered this territory well and how they did it.


One of the difficult things you're going to have to address is how to bottle up whatever it is you do into a repeatable game loop. Not a lot of developers are interested in what you propose as yet because it involves figuring out an alternative to combat that's just as interesting as combat.

I've been exploring this area for a bit now, and FWIW, I think you should think strongly about what sort of aesthetic you're after. Do you want chapters of scripted missions where you somehow interact with the crew? Do you want a simulation where you fiddle with a starship? Do you want to try to steer character interactions and relationships toward a certain outcome?

Quote:

(and, yes, Firefly is a major inspiration if it isn't overly obvious)


I LOVED that show, btw! If you're trying to capture this aesthetic, consider a game where you tie minigames involving keeping the ship running with fixed missions which develop the characters. Maybe the ship minigames optimize the missions you can go on, which in turn help enhance or reveal the relationships and private stories of the crew? Just a thought.

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I like video games, but hanging out on this board has ruined them for me. After reading an idea like this, I want to tear my eyes out when I play UT2004. I can't stop thinking about what multiplayer gaming COULD be.

That said, check out BattleCruiser Millenium. The full version is available as a free download. You might want to track down a manual for it, though, because the controls are anything but intuitive. It deals with some very sophisticated things, like managing the crew, maintaining systems, complex navigation, etc. I don't think there's a multiplayer version, but some of the mechanics could lubricate the cogs of your genius.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
The closest thing to what you are looking for would be missions that take place on a ship or space station of an FPS. The Jedi Knight series has several of these.

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How about having the player 'be' the ship, they are an A.I with the ability to control all functions of the ship. But it is broken down into the normal sections. Ie. the Commander, Engineering, Medbay if there are humans aboard, cargo-hold, tractor beams, and weaponry.

Ie in the engineering section you can order the worker droids to do repairs. Navigation tells the ship where to go.

P.s how do you define 'the excitement of being out in the black', if you can work out what these feelings are and why they exist then this could help you.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Are you going to have only FPS style gameplay? If so there are tons of FPS games set in futuristic or space environments, & that is what you should be looking at. No space sim has ever done a good job of incorporating FPS style play for ship or station interiors, which is something I am terribly dissapointed in.

I would like to see a game that seamlessly blends FPS & Flight/Space sim into the same gameworld. How cool would it be to play a game that is the mixture of The X-wing/Tie series & the Jedi Knight series for example? Instead of canned cutscenes for landing your ship, you would do it manually & exit your ship in 1st/3rd & be able to walk around you ship in the hanger & explore the capitol ship or space station you landed on. Same could apply when landing on the ground in a city KOTOR style etc.

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Quote:
Original post by KetchavalP.s how do you define 'the excitement of being out in the black', if you can work out what these feelings are and why they exist then this could help you.


That's kind of what I'm working through now. I'd like to do something that captures the expansiveness of space, combined with the vulnarability of being in the midst of a cold, barren vacuum. I'd like to have EVA spacewalks, for repairs and the like, and a dockable shuttle that would likely be the preferred, or perhaps only, method of entering atmosphere.

I'm a little surprised that so few games have combined the first person perspective with spaceflight. Is there a major technical hurdle that I'm overlooking? (BTW - I've not played Star Wars Galaxies, can anyone tell me what their spaceflight interface is like?)

One thing, even though I'm not usually interested in eye candy games, I'd think the environmental stuff (sound, graphics, physics) would be very important for creating the right feel. Some of you have mentioned I-War and I really liked the approach of that game, but felt stifled that I could only ever sit behind the console.

Of course, the most difficult part, as usual, will be making sure there is a 'game' here. Atmosphere and immersion will pull you in, but there's got to be fun at the core of it all. And that, as some of you have pointed out will be real challenge without combat as feature.

Someone mentioned minigames for various crew stations. I really like that idea and was thinking something along the lines of what Three Rings did with "YoHoHo! Puzzle Pirates", but with a more sophisticated hard sci-fi feel.

Thanks again for the input. I'll have to ponder this some more.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
The spaceship aspect of StarWars Galaxies is terrible. All they have is the option to walk around & decorate the interiors of a few multiplayer ships. Otherwise the space game & ground game are two completely separate games. There is no ability to dock at the space stations & walk around, or to manually land your ship on a planet & get out. You simply see a loading screen between ship & 1st/3rd modes... not even cutscenes.

The only thing that represents exploration of bigger ships in SWG are the Corvette missions, which are instanced missions where you spawn inside a Corellian Corvette to perform one of 3 mission types. The interior is well modeled, but the overall feeling is that of being in a small FPS map, with no interactivity with the outside environment, & no immersive transitions to begin or end the missions to represent traveling to space & back.

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