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Comments/Crit on Infinite Space RTS

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I've been toying with this idea for a while. I put it on hold for a few years as I started teaching myself web design.


However, now that i'm seeing what HTML5 can do, I'm interested in revisiting this idea as a possible browser game ...in fact, it would be THE BROWSER game to end all browser games.


I'm just looking for some interest/comments/crits suggestions on the idea as a whole.  Ideally, suggestions as to what platform might be best to begin development.    If you find yourself interested in starting/contributing, also feel free to post.






The human race has evolved.  Science and technology has advanced to the point where space exploration is possible, and specific groups on Earth are taking off into the unknown to discover new worlds, mine precious resources, and build and control empires. 


In short, this is a bigger, always on, civilization game, with a load more options, and less micromanagement.




Players begin on Earth.  Here, they are introduced to the early mechanics of the game.  They are given the choice to become 'influential' through politics, religion, or war.  However, on Earth (the tutorial) War is prohibited.  This means, players will rise in power through either politics or religion to begin the game.  


The player is given some limited options to influence a group of people and make money.  Hence, three main factors, population, money, and influence.  


At a specific point, a very rich contributor will send the player a message saying something like, "I am so impressed with your <politics or religion> that I want to buy you a starship.  It will fit 5,000 population, do you want to set off into space to begin your expansion?"


Of course, the player says Yes, because its the tutorial and you have no choice.  But here in starts the real game.


The Game:


The game is quite simple on the outside.  It is a large grid of 1x1 unit blocks.  Each 1x1 unit block represents a distance (1 light year?).  When leaving earth, a stargate type option is available(teleports to outskirts of a developed area) to help starting players branch out past players who already established worlds nearby earth.


But either way, all players leave and traverse space in their ships.  The catch is, you travel in REAL TIME (based on game time).  AKA: if your ship has the capability of traveling the speed of light, and every hour represents 1 year in the game, it will take the player 1 hour to travel across a single 1x1 unit grid.  


Each 1x1 unit grid will populate with specific criteria upon exploration (i.e. if a player explores this space for the first time, it will forever be populated with a specific amount of variables).  Variables for grids include:  Type of Space: System/Asteroids/Empty;  The amount of resources that can be mined; Random Enemy Units/Aliens, etc.  Minecrafts 'biome' system is a relevant comparison.  


The game will consist of a few actions the player can do, though much of the game will play out automatically while the player is not controlling it.  These actions include:  Space Travel, Economy, and Colonization (which includes religion, war and politics).


Each 1x1 grid allows all 3 of these things concurrently.  


Space Travel


As alluded to above, traveling and exploration is vital.  Because each area of the grid has different properties, it is important to find good areas for colonization or mining.


As the players influence, gold and population increases, they will be able to build more/bigger ships.  Specific ships / upgrades will provide different statistics of the area they are in or the areas around them.  


Their first ship, a colonization ship, once founded, gives them access to manufacturing/refining and opens up population control (colonization).


Manufacturing opens up construction of ships, which requires ore. For instance, maybe the first thing a player wants is a ship equipped with a 'ship scanner' which will scan the grid and output information of all other player ships in that area.  


Other ship ideas include:


Beacon - Fire it out into space to explore. It explodes when it reaches its destination and provides vision of grid for some time.

Cruiser - Large battle ship

Mining ship small->large - Mine

Eve Ships <- kind of the same ideas.


Ship parts:  Scrambler : Show up on ship scans, but without any details of ship type.





This is just like Eve. Find a resource heavy grid, and move some mining tools into it. Start collecting it and send it to home base.


However, its a good time to bring up the idea of Space Ports.  Not very close to a planet? Got Enough miners in an area? Or youre particularly rich?  Start construction of a space port.  Space ports act as mini planets, just with a smaller population cap.  


One of the ideas is that everything in the game will be owned and managed.  For instance, whoever controls/owns the spaceport, will be able to charge others to dock there.  They control the price.  a 'share' system would be nice to allow multiple owners.  


There is no currency,but there is a limited amount of each resource.  So currency will build based on supply and demand automatically.  If a player shoots out a beacon to explore, and it is destroyed, its resources are added back into that grids resource count.  



This is the fun part.  Take over the universe!  You would do this through the colonization system.  Because you are an influential person, and population is crucial to expanding, you can enter specific populated sections of the universe and vie for peoples attention.  You do this through political movements, religious movements or War.


Political means you throw money at the people and earn followers.  They become yours.  Each world has a maximum amount of population based on whoever is currently living there.  


Imagine for a second that someone arrives at a grid with a planet.  They do a scan and notice that its inhabited by 1 other player, who has colonized 10000pop/100000000.  You decide to colonize.  The other player logs on and notices this and is pompted with a message, 'player b has colonized near you: action?'  "Extend Peace, send Missionary, WAR!?"  


He doesn't see a threat, so he extends peace.  The other player succeeds, but his  influence is very high.  In which case, 10,000 of player A's population hears his game and randomly may choose to leave.  Eventually player B steals all the population and Player A is forced to gather up his pop and fly away, or fight back with money of political propaganda.





So, this sounds hard to implement.  Not really.  The grid system allows you to organize UI into manageable sections.  At any given moment, the player has only a single grid selected.  Options within each grid are as outlined above: Space Travel, Economy, Colonization.  Within Space Travel, you will see all your available ships and have the choice to move them.  Each ship will have specific abilities.  In economy, you will be able to manage resources and build.  In colonization you can interact with other players and participate in war, politics or religion.


I personally would find this game very intriguing.  The bottom line is, some people would be rich, and others wouldn't make much of a dent in the game, they would only exist.  Randomization in population and influence algorithms would allow certain turnarounds.  Say you win a battle and get an influence buff that follows you around for a while.  The random algorithm happens to kick off a rebellion and tons of people switch to your side. Having population behind you increases awareness of other players in that sector, and they support you by donating money to build bigger projects.


The goal of course, is to make a very realistic player driven world, but do so in a way that is easily maintainable and expandable via code.  A certain level of AI needs to be created for the population, which make decisions on specific influences that are around them.  Everything else (other than storing all the data for the huge world), is pretty straight forward.  


Thanks for reading this long write up.  I wish I had more time to focus on writing a very detailed write up and grammar spell check, but this was a spur of the moment write up, so please bear with me.


Again, looking for comments/suggetions/criticism/interest.  

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Infinite space would be limited by computational constraints.

Sounds too simplistic to be fun. Probably broken because players who've accumulated a lot of money/power always win.

HTML5 limits what you can do. I'd add fog of war and planetary exploration.

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Infinite space would be limited by computational constraints.

Sounds too simplistic to be fun. Probably broken because players who've accumulated a lot of money/power always win.

HTML5 limits what you can do. I'd add fog of war and planetary exploration.


I dont think infinite space would really be a problem, as it would only show / calculate based on areas that people explored.   fog of war was touched upon in the mention of 'beacons.'  Players would only see stats on areas they occupy, and thus, only spots that have been occupied would need to be created.  It's the same logic thats found in minecraft..they only build whats necessary for the players.


The whole idea is that it's not supposed to 'simplistic' but represent a large economy within a world thats mysterious.  Owning property/shares of buildings, charging other players money, collecting money, owning population of specific areas, etc.  It's a niche, of course, but something anyone could get interested in given enough of a push into understanding it.


There is no winning, so no one will win.  If some player takes control of a specific area, new players only need to travel to a brand new area and start fresh.  


But, theres certain benefits of living in a constructed colony...They would have space ports, they'd have population, they'd have mining operations, etc.  You could theoretically work for them if you wanted to in order to get off the ground.  


Part of the appeal, i think, would be the fact that you don't know whats going on in the other side of the universe.  You and your group might think youre hot stuff, only to find out that a bigger group outclassed you 1000 lightyears away.  

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Been working on an open source side (AGPL3+) side project for a few years now. Just about stable enough to actually show off (though there is much to be added). Was holding of on doing a write up, sending it out till I did a demo at the local hackerspace next week but what the heck... :-)





Based on JSON-RPC so you can play it from the browser or from any client written in any language on any platform:




As mentioned its still early in development but I'd love to hear people's thoughts (and of course patches / contributions are more than welcome).


The 'infinite' mechanism can be addressed by a recent feature added where ships can jump between systems running on different servers.




By running different locations (at any level) in parallel, one can create their own universe over IP:





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