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Space game ideas

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I am planning to make a space rpg, and i want it to be free-world(no fixed story line(but maybe a starting story at the beginning), just wandering about the universe looking for quests). I have 3 questions:
* how do I make new stars accessible only when you get better ships? something like hyperspace could allow a one-time upgrade that could take you far distances, but i want to gradually open up more groups of planets? just making them faster wont work, because you can still get there if you have patience, and users might not guess that there will be a easier way to get there, also if you are halfway, you cant go back without flying for a long time.
* how do I make a basic story for a free-world game? how do i keep it interesting, while not forcing people to follow a fixed story-line, but still get there upgrades to go to newer places in multiple ways maybe? All the free-world games i have seen are MMORPG's, do they have to be multi-player to be free-world?
*how do I make the scale of the planets good, probably I would at least have to have a separate scene for each planet, but that will be unrealistic, because everything is so much bigger on the planet then in space. also, how do I arrange a massive universe, even with 'small' planets, should i have you just zap to the next scene when you hit the wall, or maybe a hyperspace system?
any suggestions are welcomed, thanks.

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the replies are all good, just my two cents: if you'll be able to create the planets and make them explorable, I want to test your game :)

exploration means that there are important sites to be discovered in the planet, and of course also wilderness, fights, local fauna and dungeons.

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I think Lord Darkshayde and dot_dot_dot covered stuff pretty well, but here are my thoughts:


* how do I make new stars accessible only when you get better ships? something like hyperspace could allow a one-time upgrade that could take you far distances, but i want to gradually open up more groups of planets? just making them faster wont work, because you can still get there if you have patience, and users might not guess that there will be a easier way to get there, also if you are halfway, you cant go back without flying for a long time.

I would re-think the fundamentals of your movement system to disallow or discourage players from getting very far at all if they try to go to a planet deliberately out of reach. You could do that by giving them a warning or simply making it impossible somehow to even go in an impossible direction. One way to do that would be to say that a Class C ship only has a jump range of X, so it's physically impossible to get to stars more than X away until you get a Class B ship. Or you could make travel dependent on jump gates, which require "passes" that are either expensive or require you to complete a mission or something for whatever faction/authority controls the gate.

*how do I make the scale of the planets good, probably I would at least have to have a separate scene for each planet, but that will be unrealistic, because everything is so much bigger on the planet then in space. also, how do I arrange a massive universe, even with 'small' planets, should i have you just zap to the next scene when you hit the wall, or maybe a hyperspace system?
any suggestions are welcomed, thanks. [/quote]
You might want to look at Infinity, if just to gape in wonder: http://www.infinity-...e.com/Infinity/

What are you defining as a "scene"? Like an intro video, or an interactive environment of some kind? You could always modularize the crap out of everything, like have set textures for a lava planet, ice planet, rocky planet, etc and drap them over different terrain with a different sky tint.

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I like the suggestions above, just giving you another option:

Whilst questing, rumors of new quests come with the navigation coords of that planet. Those coords are entered into the ship's navigation system, which then allows you to hyperspace to it.

BTW, if you only allow hyperspace jumps between planets, there is no need to have the entirety of space in game (ie: Infinity style). You'd be able to get away with each planetary system (ie: star plus any planets, satellite objects, etc) being an isolated scene, thus making it easier to manage.

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What are you defining as a "scene"?

I mean one 'room' were you can walk around freely without having to load stop and wait for it to load new data, or teleport to new scenes with whom there is no other physical connection.

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I like the suggestions above, just giving you another option:

Whilst questing, rumors of new quests come with the navigation coords of that planet. Those coords are entered into the ship's navigation system, which then allows you to hyperspace to it.

BTW, if you only allow hyperspace jumps between planets, there is no need to have the entirety of space in game (ie: Infinity style). You'd be able to get away with each planetary system (ie: star plus any planets, satellite objects, etc) being an isolated scene, thus making it easier to manage.


I think this is a good idea. You divide the universe in zones where each zone has a coords coded with some integers. You can jump to each zone with the hyperdrive. Now you place planetary systems in certain zones and all other zones are just empty, maybe with some random stuff like asteroids (which could be generated procedurally from the zone coords). So everything is in principle accessible, but it is impossible to guess the few zones which actually have planetary systems. That is, you would have to find out the coordinates by interacting with other people etc.

You could still make things more accessible with better technology. E.g., you get the information that a certain planet is somewhere near (1000,4000,5000). Let's say 'near' defines a space of 1000 zones. Now you could visit each zone till you find the planet, or you could upgrade your scanning system which allows you to scan nearby zones for inhabitable planets or something, allowing you to find the planet in a much shorter time.

edit: another example for a single player open world rpg would be gothic 3 Edited by Inferiarum

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[quote name='Prinz Eugn' timestamp='1354569477' post='5006787']
What are you defining as a "scene"?

I mean one 'room' were you can walk around freely without having to load stop and wait for it to load new data, or teleport to new scenes with whom there is no other physical connection.
[/quote]
Oh, okay, I was thinking in film terms for some reason. For that I think all you need is a few modular assets, that could be themed for whatever faction that control/inhabit the section of space you're in. You could have a few regional hubs with customized scenes but have far more procedurally generated using the same few buildings or whatever.

You could even say that obscure planets have only outposts, like a space 7-Eleven, and reuse the same building for each one, just switching up the inventory and some of the textures and NPCs.

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This game has been made before and it was every bit as awesome as you think it would be.

Star Control 2.

That should answer all your questions.

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