Some great suggestions there! All sound well thought-out.
Minor crew enhancements:
1. auto-pay all crew and/or "pay to 100% happiness with single click for all crew"
2. more crew drops and/or more crew available for hire at planets
3. customizable crew career progression (so I can grow an engineer etc.)
Steal (um I mean, adapt) ideas from other games:
1. The impenetrable directional shield from [redacted] that lasts for a short time...this one system alone makes a great impact on gameplay. Use Q and E to rotate the shield...
1. More planetary health with self-repair: this is the Achilles heel of Drox 1: planets are tissue paper.
2. hunker down mode: planets have so much underground space for colonists to hide and wait out an assault.
3. Anarchy/Feral: planets awaiting planetary assault and/or have lost their govt. due to bombardment.
1. Let Drox settle or take over one or more planets. Perhaps the next evolution of the Operatives is to play the game as a king.
a. variant: play as a "stealth king": the planet appears to be part of another empire but actually does what you say.
Bounty Hunter missions (or even a game mode!)
1. Hunt down and kill "rogue" Drox Operatives.
1. fixed-axis weapons (forward firing only, for example): a missile pod, or spinal mount mass driver/laser)
2. strafe movement engine pod (a medium sized system required to use fwd firing weapons effectively). activate it and left/right movement becomes strafe movement for entire activation period
Drox 2 empires could use some order of battle variety perhaps?
1. a "boss unit":
a. when they reach four planets, a boss unit emerges
b. this ship is a class or two sizes larger and is decent, but not quite as strong as "average" boss monsters, and certain not in the league with Bounty Hunters, or Drox Operative ships.
2. a second concurrent active "ship class": i.e. Brunt ships could have two different types of missile cruisers (one EMP, one swarm), or Drakk get a few ships with fighter squadrons to mix in with their normal line ships.
3. Some variance in the ship sizes for each empire: i.e. a random chance of 1-2 hull size variance for each ship (the empires should still field equal weight of ships on average). I.e. I found it strange that an entire race's fleet were all identical ships...
Getting the crew with the skills I want: This is an elusive goal in Drox 1.
Suggested feature in Drox 2: i want to "manage the career of my Drox 2 crew: i.e. "add weight" to which training that crew levels up in.
(I find my crew skill composition is difficult/random to manage in Drox 1. Even in late game...my crew is a lucky/random assortment as I lack the min-maxing skills of Tuidjy The Legendary)
I will PAY EXTRA for a skilled computer scientist crew person for my ship. But I cannot buy crew. Spock?
Spock: Logical. I could use the assistance. Let me ask one of the drooling female human crew that follow me around like a dog to spend more time in computer science training.
Is it possible to make the game not stop when the window is minimized?
Some more late-night thinking out loud:
I. "buying new ship hulls" isn't really a concept in Drox 1:
a) you install the mix of equipment the "expresses" the class of ship you want
b) ship's appearance/performance changes radically as you add command points
But in Drox 2: there's no reason we couldn't also add a "meta ship upgrade" along the lines of a family of some additional "upgrade paths" that the player can choose from:
1. close-support module: add one or more offense/defense modules that fly in close formation next to the ship (and now the main ship has no "wings" per se...as if the original ship "enlarges" due to the starboard/port new wing-modules visually). The modules may be one of the following: a) crew compartment b) energy generator c) sensor array d) charge-up weapon e) so many more ideas etc. The module can be destroyed by enemy fire and can be auto-rebuilt after a cool-down.
2. The ability to respec the original racial ship choice: I've decided that I want to respec to a shield build. *Of course* a Drox 2 Operative can now change their biological bodies to whatever suits the mission...so why not the ship in turn?
3. I would rather have a bright blue ship today. Not saying that this has to be a full-blown paint ship like in Mechwarrior 5 since the ship is really a small icon on the screen and not quite as important visually since we are zoomed out most of the time. I just may find that my eyes can pick out my ship better if it was blue on the given map. My player view is really just a tactical console after all: perhaps I need my ship icon to be brighter or darker...etc.
II. I would like to have point defense, but more along lines of: light slot versions are weak-auto guns. medium slot versions are manual-control mini guns or flak canisters that the player swaps to between shooting their normal weapons. large slot versions are area-denial weapons and/or reflect/jam the missiles or enemy squadrons to the point of being an offensive system in their own right.
III. To help with automation accessibility: it is great that Soldak games offer the ability to reduce carpal tunnel syndrome/fatigue and outright injury with mouse-clicking for hours: I assign spacebar or another key to firing. I assign another key to move to a spot. This is huge.
To enhance this: if I install a "gunner" crewman: I can assign, at my option: that gunner to auto-fire weapons at the closet enemy (and perhaps stay-locked on that enemy for the next five seconds...until that enemy is destroyed or has moved out of range).
IV: Expanding on the "tactical officer specialization such as "gunner" above: Have "bridge crew" slot assignments once I've upgraded a ship to "cruiser+" classification:
a. gunner1/gunner2: can fire the medium/heavy slot weapons
b. defender: can fire the defensive, wave, area, or shield boost systems
c. boarding leader: can initiate board or be set to auto-board
V: remote buy/sell: Drox 1 Command had heard from countless Operatives that stopping fun gameplay to go and sell stuff is annoying. The best solution was done in a game "Throne of Darkness": from anywhere, you "called up the marketplace by radio" and could sell, order weapon/armor upgrades, etc. There was no need to go back to town. In Drox 2: the Operative can of course choose which planet/market they want to do a remote buy/sell with.
A cool-down mechanic, or time-to-arrive-for-incoming-gear can be used to prevent abusing this feature...and nifty little puppy transport will arrive/dock with the Operative's ship and zip away.
...sheesh I could riff more on game ideas to enhance that "little merchant" that helps out the Operative...
VI: Totally heretical suggestion, probably a bit late in the development cycle:
Arcade mode: WASD with strafe movement. It's all the rage. Let me bring my arcade skills up in here.
However I'm aware that this doesn't really jibe with the skill-based Diablo-like-movement-realm since there is no "arcade dodge of a beam weapon really possible" and the beam automatically hits and does damage based on RPG statistics.
But note that in StarSector, for example: the ability to move with WASD/strafe doesn't really mean that beams get dodged, per se. It means that I can position my ship (and armor/shields/hull) intuitively rather than "click in some spot that results in the ship eventually flying there" which is a rather passive way to fight a starship IMHO. No offense meant to all my Diablo/Drox descendant game experiences at all...
Sulu didn't direct the Enterprise through a dogfight...he flew her through the 3d space...in Drox 2 we have a 2d space...so left-right-up-down/strafe would be great.
A few things that I keep coming back to whilst waiting for early access:
1. Get rid of the different levels of cargo bays. Make them all the largest size, and let the ship itself dictate how many you can install. Or, if you have to, make just two sizes or something. The pain of having to find cargo bays in the first place, then having to limp through all the smaller sized ones and incrementing up is not a fun mechanic. Incremental updates are fine in other areas, but storage/inventory is a primary place where quality of life is the most important, and that initial slog until you get all the cargo bays you need (especially to fill out your stash and shared stash slots) is painful and not fun. (Also, the bigger cargo bays didn't even appear until you were a higher level -- dump this altogether too. You need all the inventory space you can get at every level. Again -- control this by the number of bays you can install in a ship, not the slots in each bay.)
2. Raise the 15 (or whatever) stack size limit for the consumables. As with the above, this is just an arbitrary limit that makes people fill more precious inventory space with multiple stacks of the same consumables that are used often. They already have cooldowns, there doesn't need to be another limit preventing me from using them.
3. Make all of the things like opening chests/scouting planets/identifying items/installing components -- anything with the little progress bar -- take less time. This is again an arbitrary impedance that takes away from the fun of the game. I'd remove them altogether for a lot of the simple things. I can't think of an ARPG that you have to sit and wait a few seconds just to open a chest or whatever. If some of this is meant to prevent hot-swapping modules during combat, make it so you can't have been attacked in the past x seconds before changing components, or something else that doesn't gimp everything else. Identifying items is just a layer of busy work that only is annoying at the beginning when you don't have the funds to do it immediately -- and that's the exact time we don't want to be driving people away with artificial slowdown mechanics.
(It is, of course, no coincidence that all three of these points are things I immediately mod out of previous Soldak games... but we want to hook that fresh blood who hasn't experienced the joy of Soldak games, not sour them with QoL annoyances in their first five minutes.)
This is not an online, real money e-sports game that needs perfect balance. We all know that people who want to cheese the system are going to cheese the system -- there's no point in trying to stop them, especially if in doing so it reduces the enjoyment for everyone else.
Can't wait to get into the new universe!
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