Doomsday Weapons
Friday, 24 February 2012

I believe I have briefly mentioned Doomsday weapons before but they are so much fun I thought I would devote an entire blog post to them. So what is a Doomsday Weapon? Well it's basically a weapon so big and nasty that it really might be the end of the world. Luckily there is usually more than one inhabited world.

So how do they work? You use them just like any normal weapon, except they are completely uncontrollable once launched. They will do a massive amount of damage to anyone that is too close. That includes your enemies, your allies, and even your own ship. Everything in a Doomsday Weapon's path is going to be destroyed. You need to be really careful when you let one of these loose.

This sounds way too powerful doesn't it? Well unlike a normal weapon, you can only use a Doomsday Weapon once, they are really rare, and they are extremely expensive if you can find one to buy. You're probably going to want to wait for the right opportunity to use them or when frankly you are really desperate. Oh, and what about all of those empires that are fighting each other for the galaxy? They tend to be quite fearful of those that use Doomsday Weapons, so don't expect many friends afterwards.

However, the most important part is that they are insanely fun to wield. When the Fringe treat their citizens like cattle, get pissed at you when you don't help quell the resulting revolution, and then declare war on you, there's nothing better than wiping out an entire Fringe fleet in a few seconds with your handy Armageddon Device.

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Drox Subraces
Friday, 27 January 2012

Today I'm going to talk a little about the subraces in Drox Operative just because I think they are kind of cool.

Subraces are usually a powerful, but very small group within one of the main races in Drox Operative. These subraces won't exist at all at the beginning of a new game, but can come about in various ways. Some just happen randomly due to evolution, some are created by their parent race in response to dangers, and some are just accidents. Because they are individually more powerful than an ordinary person of the race in question, they are often used for their talents and abused because they are different, but they are also generally feared. So it's not a huge surprise that when given a chance they rebel and are willing to die for their freedom.

Their rebellions can be very nasty affairs for both sides. The government is likely to quell the rebellion with deadly force and the subrace rebels will likely use their talents to gain their freedom. This of course is where the player comes in. You actually have a choice, which side do you help out? Do you help the oppressive government that you already have a relationship with or do you help out the dangerous rebels?

If the rebellion is successful, the subrace will become a fully functioning new race in your sector of the galaxy. This means they will start building ships, have a functioning economy, scout and colonize planets, and start diplomatic relationships with the other races. This will definitely be disruptive to the sector. There is now a new force to deal with, they are powerful, and they tend to be pissed off due to their mistreatment. This also means if they are ultimately successful, you better hope you backed them when they asked for help.

Let's walk through one example. The Shadow and the Dryad are at war. The Shadow are a sneaky race so they sabotage a nuclear reactor on one of the Dryad planets. This causes a huge radiation leak. The needed supplies to fix the leak don't get there in time and the leaking radiation contaminates a major water supply source. This contamination poisons many of the Dryad people, but instead of all of them dying some of them mutate. These mutants are very different from the typical Dryad people and are loathed. Even worse, when people find out they are also freakishly strong, they are feared. Fear and hate are dangerous things and the mutants are harassed, ridiculed, attacked, and many are even murdered. Soon the mutants rebel against this fear and hate. With the local Drox Operative ignoring the conflict, the mutants eventually win their freedom and take three of the Dryad planets as their own. The Shadow are happy because they split the Dryad empire in two, the Dryads took a major hit in power, and the Mutants are now a fully fledged race that are pissed at the Dryads, the Drox Operatives, and the galaxy in general.

Thoughts?

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Drox components part 2
Thursday, 10 November 2011

Today I'm going to talk a little bit more about ship components (see part 1) in our upcoming space action RPG, Drox Operative.

Components are your skills:

I mentioned this in my last component blog, but components really are your skills. There isn't a tractor beam skill. You either have a tractor beam component installed or you don't. This actually changes things quite a bit.

You can't just add a skill point to get a better tractor beam. You need to actually find and obtain a better tractor beam. You also need to make sure your ship is capable of using the higher tech tractor beam (power and crew requirements). Since you rely on finding your "skills", your tactics constantly evolve based on what components you find. This is especially true since not all component types are available at all levels. Another interesting thing is that getting a new "skill" is no longer tied to leveling up and can be obtained at any time. A new awesome component might drop during the next fight. And the last nice thing about components as skills is that you can easily remove any component and add a new one any time you want with no penalty. On the flip side though you only have a limited space to install components, although this grows as you gain bigger ships.

Types:

Like many fantasy games there are different basic types of components: passive, active, and consumable.

Passive components are ones that are always working and require no input from the player. Some examples of these are Plasma Drive, Deflectors, Composite Armor, Stabilized Weapon Mounts, and Beam Amplification.

Active components are ones that the player has to initiate the usage each time but you can use them as many times as needed (there are reuse times though). Some examples are Ion Cannon, Helical Railgun, Anti-Matter Torpedo, Nanomite Bomb, Fighter Bay, Flares, Magnetar, Emergency Power, and Jamming Spike.

Consumable components are ones that the player has to purposely use, but unlike active items you only get one use per component. The nice part about consumable items is that they don't need to be equipped to use; you can use them straight from your cargo hold. Some examples are Emergency Nanite Repair and Energy Spike.

There is also a special category of consumable items that I would like to mention because they are fun: Doomsday Weapons. You only get one use from a Doomsday Weapon just like normal consumable components, but they have a much bigger impact. There are several different Doomsday Weapons that work in various ways but they all have one thing in common: they are by far the most powerful weapons at their technology level. They are so powerful and dangerous they can destroy your allies or even your own ship. Using them also pisses off all of the races. In other words, handle with care! Some examples are Grey Goo, Planet Killer, and Temporal Rip.

Any thoughts?

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Drox crew
Friday, 14 October 2011

In Drox Operative, crew is an important part of your ship and as is usually true with people, they have their positives and negatives.

First off crew can sometimes be hard to come by. Unlike many things in the game, they can't be sold, bought, traded, or stored anywhere. They will only serve on your ship if you hire them, rescue them, or accomplish some kind of task for them.

They also expect to be treated and paid well. If they get unhappy enough they will refuse to work and eventually will even leave your sorry butt. So how does this work? Well first they expect to be paid every once in a while, so they slowly get upset between payments. They also really don't care for being hurt or killed, imagine that. Each individual is also from one of the races in the game. Do something bad to their race and they are going to get upset. Do something nice for their race and it will make them a bit happier. Actually paying them is the biggest positive contributor to their happiness of course. It is your choice when and how often to pay them.

Another one of the negatives is that they can be hurt and can even die. They do slowly heal over time and you can even pay to heal them. Be careful in hardcore though since death is permanent for the crew also.

The last negative is that each crew member takes up a slot in your ship. You can only have so many crew working at a time. They even compete with some of the smaller ship components.

So what do crew do for you? Well they are the main source of "attribute" points (tactical, helm, structural, engineering, and computers) which provide bonuses to your ships function and also limit the quality of the components you can install in your ship. If you have awesome crew at tactical, you will likely have great offensive capabilities. If you have bad crew at structural, you are likely navigating a card board box around that will get holes shot in it really quickly. To put it bluntly, this is really important.

Another really nice part is that they occasionally level up as they get experience. When this happens their stats will get better and make your ship even more powerful.

That's pretty much everything about the crew. None of this is really complicated, but I think the interactions and choices that players are going to need to make are going to be interesting. For example, do you have a mixed race crew or keep all of your crew from just one race? If you have a mixed race crew, you will have the freedom to keep the best crew you can find, but it will also be harder to keep them happy since you are bound to be pissing off their different races fairly often. If you only employ one race it will be easier to keep their race happy and thus your crew but then you will have much less selection and the overall quality of your crew will likely go down. You can have crew that overlap in their attributes, so do you focus more on one of them like tactical or do you take a more balanced approach? You will also need to decide whether or not a crew member is even as important as specific light ship components. You will even need to decide what to do with extra crew. You can't just stick them in a stash somewhere. Will you let them go or will keep them on the ship where they use an inventory slot?

Anyway, do you all have any thoughts?

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Dynamic quests from the setting
Thursday, 29 September 2011

In my last 4 blog posts I talked about how I think the background setting in our upcoming space action RPG Drox Operative is really interesting because of how the races, economy, monsters, and environment all work and interact with one another. The important question though, does all of this effect the player or is it simply background material? For anyone that has played Depths of Peril and Din's Curse, you know we like very dynamic games and Drox isn't going to be an exception. All of these background things are going to impact the player to various degrees. Instead of explaining too much I'm going to give a bunch of examples.

Races: The different alien races are scouting, colonizing, and warring with each other to conquer the current sector of the galaxy. They might ask for something simply like scouting a planet for them or they might ask for something pretty drastic like attacking another race that they at war with.

Economy: With a real economy in place you might be asked to bring some food to a starving planet, deliver some minerals from a rich to a poor planet, or even break a planetary blockade.

Monsters: We have a few "monster" races in the game that pretty much don't like anyone and cause problems for everyone. They can cause wars, attack planets or entire systems, fling asteroids at planets, and can even wield doomsday devices to do really nasty things like cause a star to go super nova. You will frequently be asked to destroy the instigators or if it gets too far clean up the mess before it gets even worse.

Environment: Even the environment seems like it is out to destroy everything. There are asteroids, killer plants, plagues, mutants, volcanoes, and even civil wars.

I've mentioned this before but part of the interesting thing about all of the things that are going on is sometimes you might purposely decide to do nothing. If an asteroid is headed towards a major planet of a race that considers you an enemy, what do you do? Do you let the asteroid hurt the enemy or do you save them and try to make them a friend? If there is a rebellion, do you help quell the rebellion or do you help the rebels and hope it leads to a civil war that eventually splits the race in two? Or do you play everything straight and try to save everyone from their problems? The choice is going to be yours.

Any thoughts?

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