I've been experimenting with this idea for a 2d top down space exploration and survival game, sort of rogue like. Feedback would be great - I'll try to point out things that I really need feedback on, but any is welcomed.
Some notes on small things, don't need any specific feedback, but just to give a better idea:
- 2D topdown view, with realistic space flight physics, barring gravity (I think it makes flight significantly more complex, but not more fun). All stellar objects (planets, moons, asteroids, stars) will be real sized. I've experimented to see if I can get it working, see this video (turn hd to see the stars in background)
- The 2D topdown view, and a simple solar system/galaxy map (for 'jumps' inside the system and between systems) are the only two views. No controlling crew, no other perspectives or models besides your ship and various other space objects. Crew and your character don't have any graphical design, but simply are a name and specialization + stats (base morale, hire price, salary/week that sort of thing). All interaction is done through text-based descriptions and player choices.
Some of the key gameplay ideas. I'm most interested in feedback on these:
- Interaction: Stopping over certain objects allows interaction and choices via a text menu (nothing fancy), and results/feedback is also given via text description. For example, stopping over ship debris allows options to scan or try to scavenge resources. Stopping over a city on a planet allows for trading (components, materials, rations), and for hiring new crew members. Further examples of interactive objects: space stations, derelict ships, asteroids, spacial anomalies, and terrestrial planets/moons
- Crew: You have a list of crew on your ship. Each crew member has a specialization that serves a purpose, either on ship, or on Missions (described below). Crew members also have morale (starting at random value) that takes penalties if you fail to pay their weekly salary, or if you have insufficient Rations. If a crew member's Morale gets low enough he/she leaves the ship.
- Pilot: needed to fly a ship. If his morale drops too low and he leaves, you are 'moved' to the last city/space station you vsited.
- Commander: Increases survival odds of everyone if present in mission. Allows for 'Negotiate' option, if available on missions
- Engineer: allows repair of ship components whilst in space (if components are present). Guarantees safe recovery of components if present on Missions.
- Scientist: Can turn Raw Data (obtained from scanning spatial anomalies) into Research Notes. Can research Unknown Objects (recovered from certain missions) and turn them into specific and valuable objects (to sell or to use). Guarantees safe recovery of Unknown Objects if present on Mission.
- Mercenary: Allows for 'Attack' option if present on Missions.
- Doctor: Can heal Badly Injured crew whilst in space. Reduces odds of any crew member dying if he's present on a Mission.
- Companion: Adds to crew morale, does not require a salary, only one per ship. Adds additional trade options in certain space stations/cities. Your character must have a minimum reputation before being able to ask a companion to join the crew, and have a minimum number of crew members to keep her on board.
- Your character: Your character is like all other crew - he has a specialization that you can pick at start. The only difference is that your character is not affected by Morale, and thus will never leave. However your character is affected by rations, and if he hasn't eaten anything in some time, he dies, resulting in Game Over.
- Survival: You must provide rations for your crew each day. You can select number of rations to per day (0,1,2,3 or 4) - and each provides a different Morale boost/loss to each crew. You must pay weekly salary of your crew (on individual crew basis, in full or none) - paying/not paying has a Morale boost/loss effect on each crew.
Two types of fuel must be resupplied: Chemical fuel for free space flight, and Deuterium for FTL jumps.
In addition to that, your Ship has various Equipment, some optional, other required to survive. Each equipment piece has a durability value that has a chance of decreasing at the end of each day. Failing to repair vital equipment results in death. (permanent). Repairing equipment can be done at a City or Space station for currency, or may be done anywhere for free, if you have an Engineer and if the needed components are available in ship inventory.
- Exploration: Procedurally generated systems, each containing random features. Various ship Equipment is used to explore and discover different objects and missions. Optional equipment must be purchased at Cities or Space Stations.
- Radio sensors: Always present, can detect directional radio transmissions (i.e. from Derelict Ships, or Crash Sites) inside a single Star System.
- Heat Sensors: Optional, can detect Ship Debris inside a single Star System.
- Planetary Sensors: Can detect possible locations of Settlements and Ruins when near a Planet.
- Scientific Sensors: Can detect the presence of spatial anomalies inside a single Star System.
- Missions: Most interactive objects (except Cities and Space Stations) provide some sort of scripted mission. Missions are displayed as text description only, i.e.: You click Explore when stopped over a Settlement, and you're provided with a short text intro to the settlement and the people. At this point various options may open up, depending on the scripting and crew present on the mission. If you have a Commander present, you may be given an option to Nagotiate. This will result in different events happening (all through text) than if you didn't have a Commander on the Mission. Other crew member types open up various other options if present on the mission, with branching possible at every decision point, and different rewards (or problems, such as getting one of your crew injured or killed) arise depending on the branch taken. This all happens through text commands. Missions will have to be manually written based on type, and picked at random when a Star System is generated.
So, that's the concept, more or less. The main goals in the game are to survive, explore, and get rich. I've thought about possibly including big goals like buying a new ship, but I've yet to figure out what gameplay effect this may have, though it might be good to have big goals like that.
I'm interested in whether you think this idea sounds interesting - it's really a 2D space flying + text adventure mix. Any comments on the gameplay mechanics - i.e. are they clear, do they sound tedious, would they be interesting would be appreciated, but any other comments, suggestions, ideas or criticism are also welcome.