Spaceship components

I thought I would talk a little about the item system in our upcoming space game today. First off I think this game is going to be pretty heavily focused on items, more so than our previous games. In our other games skills are also pretty important. Whether or not you should invest in or use Fireball as opposed to Ice Storm is an important choice. In a space game choices like that are more item focused. Do you want to use your tractor beam to immobilize them and then shoot them with your disruptors or just launch anti-matter missiles at them? Those aren't skills. Those are ship components you either have installed on your ship or you don't. Since items are going to be pretty important let's talk about them a little.

Requirements:

Items are going to have 4 types of requirements. First your hull is going to control how many item slots you have access to. Upgrade to a better ship and you will most likely get more slots to play with.

Second, each component will only fit in a specific slot type (see below).

Third, your ship has to generate enough power for all of your components. Most components will use power, some will generate power, and a few will be power neutral. So you are going to have to balance your power generation with your power usage. An interesting part of this is that this is a soft limit. You can actually exceed your power load. Right now for every 10% above your max you currently are, you get another penalty to things like ship speed and most of your regen rates. There might be situations where going over you limit is beneficial, but I see this happening more when one of your power plants is destroyed.

The fourth requirement is crew related. Most components are going to need a minimum level of crew to install and maintain. For example, an anti-matter engine might require a lvl 20 engineer.

Right now I'm thinking there will be no weight requirements. I have seen this done in a lot of space games, but I would like you to be able to find a decent amount of loot. Having weight limits really gets in the way of loot and loot is fun.

Slot types:

Fantasy games tend to have a lot of slot types (chest, legs, rings, left/right hand, etc.) and most items can only fit in their specific slot. Some space games do a similar thing also, but we are going to generalize the slots a bit more. Currently we have 3 slot types and many different types of items can fit in each type. So you are going to have to make some hard choices of which kind of components to equip. Should you equip another weapon for better fire power or equip a 2nd engine for speed?

There will be a bunch of similar types of components that get split across multiple slot types though. For example, power plants and power collectors both generate power for the ship, but plants might be restricted to heavy slots and collectors are in medium slots. In this case collectors would probably generate less power.

Durability:

I talked about durability quite a bit in my health post. In general, all components will have a limited amount of durability (health). They will be relatively safe until an enemy gets through your shields and armor. After that point though your ship components are going to start taking a lot of damage. If the durability of an item gets down to 0 it will no longer function until repaired. This can be a really big deal depending on what kind of component breaks!

Number of components:

I think this is one thing that I like better about fantasy games than typical space games. It seems most space games have a fairly limited number of potential items. Not so in this game. Right now there are a ton of base items (over 200). Then each of these has 5 separate tech versions. This represents technology advances within the same type of tech. The next technology version will usually have a nice increase in its normal functionality and use less power. Each of these 5 tech versions will also have 5 minor variations like Cheap and Excellent.

On top of all of that I'm pretty sure we are going to add rarities in the mix like many fantasy games do. Instead of magic modifiers they will be something like add-ons. You might have a rare thruster that provides more thrust, uses less power, and even does something strange like add to your attack or increase your kinetic damage resistance.

Right now I don't think that we will have set items, but I do believe we will have unique items.

Component type examples:

Thrusters/Engines - provide thrust and defense
Power plants - generate power for the ship
Batteries - store energy for instant use (like weapon fire)
Armor/Structure/Shields - increase how much damage you can take
Computers/Sensors/Radars - increase your attack
Beam weapons/Ballistics Weapons/Missiles - make things go boom

This is just a small list of the different types of components. There will also be specific use stuff like tractor beams, EMPs, and cloaking devices. Some of these components might also overlap some. For example, engines, thrusters, and power plants all overlap a little. Power plants generate power and thrusters provide thrust. Engines do both, although depending on which engine the engine itself might use all of the power it generates.

Ok, that's long enough. Do you guys have any thoughts?

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