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Humble Hobo

SWG - Abandon Ship!

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I've been doing some research into SWG's crafting, particularly it's ship crafting/building mechanics. There's an overwhelming response on the internet about how fun it was, but as I've never played the game I don't have firsthand experience. I'd like to do some more research into other games where you can actually sail/fly the finished product.

In fact, I've never actually played an MMO (or RPG) that involved some sort of ship/vehicle crafting, in which you could actually sail/fly the finished product.

[b]So, My question to you:[/b]

[b]What MMO (or other game) did you have the most fun designing or building a ship?[/b] Was it the sheer number of options and customizability? Was is the thrill of min-maxing? (you have to admit, there is some joy to be found in min-maxing). Or was it something else entirely?

For me it was Escape Velocity: Nova, an older Galactic Conquest/Trading game. It probably wasn't original at all, but it was my first game of that sort, and so offered a world of fun. Customizing and trying to run an efficient merchant or mercenary ship was a great experience. Edited by Humble Hobo

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To show my extreme geriatricacy I fondly remember the pen and paper RPG: Traveller (also known back then as the scifi version of Dungeons and Dragons).

Wiki quote

[quote]
[i]Traveller'[/i]s rules for starship design and combat are like games unto themselves with a complex balance of ship components fitting within certain hull volumes, technology levels, and modifiers based upon characters skills. It is complex enough to be able to generically represent most starships used in role-playing games, and flexible enough to support custom add-ons to the system. (GDW published several board games allowing [i]Traveller[/i] space battles to be played out as games in their own right - [i]Mayday[/i] using the [i]Classic Traveller[/i] rules, [i]Brilliant Lances[/i] and [i]Battle Rider[/i] using the [i]Traveller: The New Era[/i] rules.)
Typical [i]Traveller[/i] starships consist of control space (i.e. one or more bridges), a central power plant, a maneuver drive for in-system travel, a jump drive for interstellar travel, and payload space (weapons, living areas, etc.). The power plant and jump drive together require significant amounts of fuel. Alternate power plants, realspace drives, and interstellar drives exist for modelling different settings.
All of this equipment is fit into an armored hull of a given volume. Starship volumes are measured in "displacement tons" (also "D-tons" or just "tons"), equal to the volume of a metric ton of [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_hydrogen"]liquid hydrogen[/url], or about 14 cubic meters. This unit is used for convenience in calculating jump drive fuel usage; a ship with volume [i]D[/i] tons using a jump-[i]N[/i] drive uses 0.1×[i]N[/i]×[i]D[/i] metric tons of LH2 fuel per jump (i.e. the fuel tank is [i]N[/i]×10% of the ship's volume).
Computer programs have been created to more effectively model and predict starship combat. The most famous case involved [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Lenat"]Douglas Lenat[/url] applying his [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurisko"]Eurisko[/url] heuristic learning program to the scenario in the [i]Classic Traveller[/i] adventure [i]Trillion Credit Squadron[/i] (TCS), which contained rules for resolving very large space battles statistically. Eurisko discovered exploitable features of the starship design system that allowed it to build an unusual fleet that won the 1981 TCS national championship. This prompted GDW to change the tournament rules, but Eurisko adapted to the changes and won again in 1982. GDW threatened to cancel the tournament if Lenat entered a fleet again, so Lenat retired from competition, and GDW gave him the title "Grand Admiral" as consolation.
[/quote]


Given that the game was developed back when I was a kid and it's 5th iteration now sits on Kickstarter with almost a 5-fold greater level of financial commitment than was asked for it continues to hold relevance into this day imho.

[url="http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/traveller5/traveller-5th-edition"]http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/traveller5/traveller-5th-edition[/url]

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The main reason why SWG's Playerbase was addicted to this is because it functioned like in Real Life.
You could see a spaceship as a car and the cooler your car = the cooler you are.

It added a lot to indivualism which is something new mmorpg's are lacking.

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I think the only game I actually had fun building a ship was Spore, but building vehicles there is looks-ony, it doesn't have anything to do with function. I'm not a big fan of mechanical objects though. Mount breeding otoh is something I could get hugely enthused about in either an mmo or a single-player RPG. So I'll talk about that, I hope it's not too off-topic to what you wanted. FF7 and Dofus are the only games I've actually bred a mount in, and I didn't care for either system much. I've played several games that had cool pet breeding systems but then did not allow you to ride the pets: Celebrity Pedigree, Fish Tycoon, and the monster-building part of Spore are the closest to what I would do. A Tale In The Desert has a particularly cool system for genetically determining appearance (of scarab beetles) but it's more complicated that I find really necessary for a system to be fun, and I don't like the other aspects of the system (can't precisely control which 2 beetles breed, they breed when you aren't looking, etc.)

But here's what I think would be an ideal mount breeding system (assuming a 3D game, it would have to be adjusted to work with 2D graphics):
- Wild "mounts" (not rideable) are regular monsters in the game, captured in combat or found as an egg loot from combat with that monster.
- All monsters in the game are built from a standard set of parts (kind of like the parts library in spore, but the individual parts would not be adjustable, and would all be built on a 4-legs, 2-wings frame including a standard point where the human avatar is attached in riding mode. (Pairs of legs or wings could be left off to get animals with fewer limbs, such as snakes. Humanoid monsters, if any, would not be available as mounts.
- Wild "mounts" would be tamed or raised to adulthood with some kind minigame interaction. Then each would be breedable X times before it "expired" (escaped back to the wild).
- Bred mounts, once raised to adulthood, would be rideable and breedable an infinite number of times. They could be traded/sold however traded ones would not be breedable.
- Appearances would be controlled genetically: 1 gene for body type, 1 for head type, 1 for leg type, 1 for wing type, 1 for tail type, 1 for mane/crest type, 1 for horn type, 1 for base color, 1 for accent color, 1 for the pattern of applying the accent color over the base color.
- Optionally mounts could have a stat or combat ability system, but the details of how that worked would depend on your intended use.



One other thought, I quite like the idea of living spaceships - I've seen a few sci-fi universes where "starships" are rather like dragons or whales except your ride inside instead of on their back (since their back is presumably out in the vacuum). A system where it was cheap and easy to breed mini versions of these, but had a big $ investment to grow them from their normal small size to working ship size, might make for a good economic implementation. Edited by sunandshadow

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@sunandshadow : how will "gene mixing" work if there are such a small pool of characteristics? I feel that there'd be a need for more variables to actually make the system feel "fleshed out".

Anyway, the spaceship game I had most fun with was genesis rising ([url="http://store.steampowered.com/app/3230/"]http://store.steampowered.com/app/3230/[/url]) . It was buggy as hell, and crashed more times than it worked, but when it did run, it sure was fun :)
I enjoyed the insta-reactive kind of gamplay where you could upgrade(and modify) your spaceships in real time. Also, I liked the idea of being able to steal your enemy's upgrades if they left a dead spaceship around ( you could harvest these dead spaceships for both points as well as upgrades). Thus, getting rid of your ships was as important as utilizing your ships to the max.

This dual system along with the plethora of upgrades kept me hooked for a long long time. I loved the idea that each ship was just a "template" that game me complete control. It was pretty much God Complex ^.^

~Siddu

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[quote name='bollµ' timestamp='1340466313' post='4952026']
@sunandshadow : how will "gene mixing" work if there are such a small pool of characteristics? I feel that there'd be a need for more variables to actually make the system feel "fleshed out".
[/quote]
Such a small pool of characteristics? If you assume there are 5 types of each body part, which is pretty minimal, and 9 colors, which is also minimal, that gives you 31 million possible creatures. If you leave the colors and patterns out, it's 78 thousand different body shapes.

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