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Help for gameplay's ideas about a little space demo game

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Hello,
 
I'm an indie dev, which working after work. I allways wanted to make my own graphical engine (DirectX) for procedural content.
My final goal is a full 4X game with a complete story line, separated in episodes (where each introduces more content).
Now my engine is in alpha version and I'm thinking about creating a little game for demo purpose.
 
Features that will be available :
- Procedural planet generation (not complet, but advanced)
- Volumetrics lights, clouds and dynamical weather
- A physical engine for flying
- Except precomputed atmospheric scattering, all parameters can be changed in real time
 
I hope, for the demo, to make a max real physical simulation, where a little spaceship comes from space at great speed, inserting in orbit for slowing down.
After, inserting it in low orbit, going down and touch down a station.
For that, I don't want an arcade style game, but a much more simulation where errors are not permitted.
Managing flying parameters, coordinates, gravity, system power for shield, engine, etc... View from cockpit.. 
A success to touch down without damages must be very difficult. (yes I'm a star trek fan)
 
I have the main idea in head. But... It's not very funny.. How to add some "attractive" stuffs ? Like mission to achieve, time score, rising levels... ?
What do you think ?
 
That will be just a first little indie game for demo (and free !).. Not a big AAA ;)
And I'm alone for making it....
 
Thank you
 
Chris
 
PS : Sorry for my poor english.. 
 
Some screens from actual dev version (so much work to do.. and bugs to correct)
 
dreamgate.jpg

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I allways wanted to make my own graphical engine (DirectX)
Ugh... Probably to late for you to change it now, but DX is a terrible choice for an Indie. You are stuck to Windows only, which means no HumbleBundle, downvoting by Linux lovers on Desura and so on.

 

I have the main idea in head. But... It's not very funny.. How to add some "attractive" stuffs ? Like mission to achieve, time score, rising levels... ?
What do you think ?
I think it's because you started with an engine. To my experience starting with an engine is a suicide and results in unfun things (at least in my case :D). So, I would reverse it, first think of  a game you want to make and then invent an engine that would fit the game the best.

 

My advice would be quite radical... Throw away all your existing code, then plan a gameplay and code it in Unity3D (as an added bonus you could put a demo on Kongregate since your game would be playable (most likely) via browser).

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Hello Acharis and thank you for your answer ;)
 
Perhaps, I have not explained correctly...
 
- My first goal was learning.. Learning how a full game engine works and how make my own.
I don't want the best one, like Unreal, Unity and others.. Just mine.
 
- The demo game I want, is for making something with the actual engine, not a big real indie game.. It will be a little, short, playable demo.
 
- My engine is pretty complet, separated in libraries, graphics, physics, scripting, inputs, etc. It is very flexible.
But ! All the dev was thought from start in the goal of the procedural space game. So it's already exactly what I wanted. Why restarting with a technology I don't know ?
 
- I started with OpenGL, but (cannot remember why) I moved to DX later. Perhaps you right, but I'm very happy with DX and it's too late..
 
My request is to help me to find some attractive stuffs for playing the little demo.

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Hello Xenobrain,

 

Thank you very much for your post. You helping so much... 

I'm now in holidays, but I will post some resulting ideas latter.

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My final goal is a full 4X game with a complete story line, separated in episodes (where each introduces more content).

 

All the rest of your post suggests some kind of space-sim, not a 4X game.

(umm, main difference being a "commander" of fleets and planets instead of a pilot of a ship)

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Check out Kerbal Space Program. The main objective is to visit other planets and gather scientific data. The fun comes from building craft to reach the various planets, adapting to the challenges presented by the differing conditions on each one, and returning the data to your planet of origin in order to unlock new technologies which allow you to build better, more efficient craft. You wouldn't have to go into as much depth as KSP, of course.

 

A few planets of different sizes, ranging in atmosphere and gravity from almost none to very heavy, a mother ship with a warp drive (unless you're providing the player with an interplanetary single-stage craft, which tends to be a little hard to swallow), and a few landers to cover different entries, landings, and launches (and, presumably, some 0-G manoeuvres) would be enough for a demo. You don't need a mission structure to showcase the technology. If it's a physical simulation, then successful ascent, descent, and rendezvous are the aim of the game, and a lot of the fun would come from the realistic simulation of the cockpit environment. Given a reasonable level of realism, survival would be a reward in itself.

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