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Bluddy 04-05-2019 12:05 PM

Ideas for Drox 2
 
I thought I'd start a thread for this, since I keep having ideas and they're being left all over the place. Needless to say, these are all simply my opinion.

First, I think it's important to state what makes Drox so good. I acknowledge that I missed this when Drox was released, as I was constantly comparing it to DC and DoP, and Drox is just very different. Drox's quest system is not personal, like in the fantasy games. It happens to other races. It *could* become personal, were you to get the mission of protecting a specific race, but otherwise, it's not the main focus. Rather, the main focus is the background simulation, which includes real resources in the form of planets, food, minerals etc, and the way the quests interact with and affect the simulation.

It doesn't hurt that compared to the state of the art in space games, Drox fares well. There aren't many space ARPGs, and Drox looks good enough. Space is empty, so you don't need much in terms of background objects. And animations aren't needed for spaceships. This makes it much easier to compete.

Additionally, Drox's inventory and skill system is more interesting than a regular ARPG's due to power consumption limits, slot limits, and the fact that skills are item-based. This makes it so that you can enjoy Drox purely at the basic gameplay loop level of killing monsters and upgrading.

However, when Drox really comes into its own, is when you start caring about what's happening in the simulation. If you don't care who wins the space race and you're just looking to make money, the quests blend together. You just keep shooting and someone somewhere will give you a quest reward. But if you *do* care - for example, if the people winning hate you, or you got a Drox guild mission to protect a race or destroy a race - now you want to pay attention to what's happening at the simulation level, and this is when Drox outshines every other game in its genre IMO.

Given this, here are some ideas:

* We need a better interface to view all known planets and their general statistics. Filter by race ownership, type, etc. Currently it's just too disorganized and hard to get a grip on what planet is important to which race. The UI could also show us available quests per planet as we hover over these planets.

* Spying: by planting a spy network, you could get advanced info on where a race is sending a colony ship, where they plan on attacking etc. This would help you affect the simulation in meaningful ways.

* Relationship breakdown: it's great that you can see the relationship breakdown between a race and yourself (ie. why they have the current relationship number towards you). I'd also like to see it between 2 other races. It's annoying to spend hundreds of credits on a negative rumor, only to not see it influence anything. At least if you knew why a race's relationship was improving with another race, you could figure out what to do about it.

* General goals: some people clearly like the current method of having open goals. I think it's valid, and to me it can remain as an option (sandbox mode) in Drox 2. However, as stated above, the game really clicks IMO when you get/have more specific goals, because now you're not just doing quests to improve relations -- you now have to consider which quests to do, whom to help, whom you want to hurt by not doing their quests (or making things worse for them), which planets need your help, etc. It's when you think at the strategic level that the game shows you why it's the best in its class: "I need to break up the close relationship between Drakk and Dryad. Let's make an alliance with another ally of Drakk, then declare war on Dryad, and Drakk will have to honor their alliance," etc.

As such, I think the Ancients, who automatically dislike the Drox, bring a ton of flavor to the game, as do the Guild missions. Some people dislike the guild missions though because they distract you from the thing you were trying to do before they arrived. This is due to the fact that the guild missions don't analyze the situation that exists before they pop up, which is hard to do. They also don't give you any flexibility -- you have to do this one thing or you lose. And they often don't give you enough time given how many changes you'd need to make (e.g. killing a race with more than 3 planets could take more than an hour. If you haven't found that race, just finding it can take an hour).

My suggestion is to have a choice of sandbox mode (the current mode) which will remain undisturbed by the Drox guild OR mission mode. In mission mode, your mission could be one of: making enough money, create an alliance, destroy a race, protect a race etc. It could also be 'destroy this race or alternatively make this much money' in case destroying the race is just impractical given the random circumstances. I also still like the idea of additional, surprise Drox guild missions arriving later in the game, but they should give you a lot of time to do your thing, as well as some flexibility in their objectives.

TL;DR: More focused goals increase tension, and surprise goals are good but need to be more flexible and/or give more time. Sandbox (ie. current vanilla Drox mode) needs to be kept as an option for those who like it.

* We need ways to take down (or at least severely weaken) large, runaway empires. The method I'm thinking of to allow for this is that after growing past 5 or 6 planets, a race would have to start specializing several planets, as it's now an empire. It should have a seat of government. It needs to have a factory planet that can provide ships to other planets in large enough numbers. Of course, this complicates the AI somewhat, but hopefully not by too much. The key thing is that now, you can focus on a few choice planets to destroy to immobilize an empire rather than fighting an impossible fight against an empire that grows faster than you can destroy its planets. For example, if you take out the seat of government, the empire could fall into anarchy and split into different factions. If you take out the factory planet, ship production will stall everywhere. If you take out the food planets, the empire will starve, greatly weakening it. etc.

* Along a similar vein, planets that are richest in minerals and resources should be low in food production in general. In this way, they become dependent on food-rich planets and need shipments of food, which you would be able to intercept. This allows you to indirectly weaken planets or even destroy them potentially, again hurting large empires.

* Transfers between planets could happen with 'dummy ships' that aren't really created using resources, but just represent the transfer of goods and enable you (or monsters) to intercept them.

Shadow 04-05-2019 02:22 PM

That's a lot of good ideas Bluddy! One concentrated thread is great, but I am definitely collecting Drox 2 ideas from various places and storing them into one idea file in case a sequel happens.

joku 04-06-2019 12:30 AM

I'll add an old idea I posted a while back for a 2nd expansion:
Quote:

The big idea I had was rogue operatives.

Here's a little story: a group of operatives didn't exactly cotton to High Command's war profiteering ways. They broke off to form their own group with the intent of forging peace between all races across all galaxies. Since many Drox Operatives (*cough*Tuidjy*cough*) will start wars expressly for profit, the Drox are an enemy to peace, and an enemy to these rogues. If there is to be peace throughout the galaxies, the Drox Operatives must be eliminated.

Gameplay-wise, in each sector there is a chance that a rogue might appear. This rogue is an operative, just like you. It will complete quests (the same ones you get) in order to gain favor with the races. In my version, they spend all the money they make on rumors in an effort to get all of the races allied... against you. Because of this, it may be wise to eliminate the rogue before its influences become too much for you to handle.

But that may be difficult, as the rogue has a tendency to drop mines and run, rather than stay and fight. And if it manages to get to a jump gate, it'll be quite difficult to track it down again. Perhaps in time it will acquire escorts, one permanent escort from each race that is both allied with the rogue and at war with you. Once it gets a few escorts together, it will stop running and start hunting you down.

Those are just a few ideas, but the concept can surely be expanded upon greatly. The core concept (rogue element competing against you for quests, loot, and allies) should bring a little more Depths into Drox.



Another thing I'd like to see in a new expansion would be set items.

Bluddy 04-08-2019 06:50 PM

One thing that I think needs to be reworked for a Drox 2 is the rarity system. It simply doesn't work well given way the item system works in Drox.

In the fantasy games, you basically have 2 main stats: damage and armor, with armor coming from many items. If you get a lot of extra attributes, that's a nice bonus, often making up for a lower damage, but especially lower armor, given how many armor items you have.

Each component in Drox is utilized for its primary attribute more than anything else, given the limited slots and power constraints. What you want is the maximum primary attribute you can get for the least amount of power, and a rare item cannot compensate for its lower primary attribute or high power usage by having other attributes. The rarity of the items therefore needs to be reworked to be mostly about the primary attribute per power, with extra attributes being a relatively minor addition.

Bluddy 04-10-2019 05:27 PM

* Since Drox is already a WASD-driven game, it may be easiest to expand Drox 2 to be even more controller-friendly, or even controller-first. The next step after that is to allow for split-screen local gaming.

* One thing that's missing in Drox is a clear differentiation between star systems. They have similar-sounding names, but the beautiful backgrounds aren't easy to associate with particular systems. Giving each system a different space background color (green, purple, blue) will help players remember which system is which. That color could emanate from the sun in the middle.

* Speaking of which, one thing that's rarely actually seen in Drox is the sun of each system. A great target for graphical enhancement in the sequel is the map of the star system. If the map zooms out really far rather than using the old Soldak map, it could show the star(s) in the middle, giving a real sense of being in a star system. This would be a good chance to upgrade the map system and make it more meaningful. Fog of war could be represented as real fog, for example. Getting back to the action would rapidly zoom you into the map at your current location.

Bluddy 04-23-2019 03:05 PM

Playing some DL and Zombasite reminded me how little the focus in Drox is on the ARPG layer. I think much of this has to do with how forgettable the neutral enemies are. This isn't the fault of the designer, it's just how humans work. The fantasy monsters look distinct to us, but the ships just all blend together.

Here's what I think can be done about it:

* Try to make different neutral ships even more distinct.
* Instead of trying to teach the player about all these neutral ships, have 2 categories: space monsters (Talon, Overwatch) and space pirates. The pirates can hail from every space race.

Because the player trains himself to recognize the space races (since they matter so much) identifying the pirates should be much easier than random ships. The pirates can still have varying powers, but there are enough races in the game to populate the multitude of pirate ships. Pirate ships could look like race ships, but be a little different (like the Zombies in Zombasite).

In other words, leverage the fact that the player already has to learn what race ships are like, to have them automatically know what pirate ships are like.

* Since most combat in Drox happens at longer ranges, zooming out further could be useful.

Arrhtheis 05-28-2019 08:20 AM

Talking globally, we may see three patterns in Soldak games:

1. Depths of Peril (settlement/population management)

2. Din's Curse (dungeon crawling)

3. Drox (fast-paced ARPG with touch of 4X).

Zombasite is mix of 1 and 2, Din's Legacy is mix of 2 and 3 (?). So, logically, Drox 2 should be a mix of 1 and 3, i.e. it should take even a heavier 4X aspect while keeping ARPG basics :) Build your own space empire, develop your planets, conquer the other races' worlds, fight space battles and invade planets in ground battles, manage your fleet - while still keeping being a separate character with gear, skills and such.

Evander 08-12-2019 06:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arrhtheis (Post 85205)
Talking globally, we may see three patterns in Soldak games:

1. Depths of Peril (settlement/population management)

2. Din's Curse (dungeon crawling)

3. Drox (fast-paced ARPG with touch of 4X).

Zombasite is mix of 1 and 2, Din's Legacy is mix of 2 and 3 (?). So, logically, Drox 2 should be a mix of 1 and 3, i.e. it should take even a heavier 4X aspect while keeping ARPG basics :) Build your own space empire, develop your planets, conquer the other races' worlds, fight space battles and invade planets in ground battles, manage your fleet - while still keeping being a separate character with gear, skills and such.

With the cRPG component now tested for both fantasy and sci-fi, I wish Soldak focused on management/simulation component in future games.

I really, really, hope that one day I will see the game like Hinterlands or Legends of Elaria, where you will be able to manage your own place and your people but at the same time you will be able to go out questing and slaying dragons.

I am yet to see a decent execution of these combined ideas, even tho it should not be that hard. Guess this is one market niche that will never get filled...

Mischief Maker 09-15-2019 04:48 PM

My biggest suggestion is get rid of Rumors and Propaganda and Sabotage as empty offscreen dicerolls and replace them with activities that make use of your ship and build. For example, instead of a planting a rumor to improve relations, it's replaced with "sponsor a diplomatic delegation with X" which spawns a diplomat ship. The expensive option could have a whole armada of escort ships protecting the diplomat while the cheapest option sends out the diplomat by their lonesome and it's up to the player alone to see them to their destination alive.

My next suggestion is to get rid of command points and instead increase module capacity with ship sections that function like the "bags" system. So for example the player's ship starts with Mk1 warp nacelles that only have capacity for one heavy thruster module, but can upgrade to Mk 2 which fits one heavy and one light. So you'd have things like Engineering that fits power generators, Bridge that fits crewmembers, and so forth.

And if you go with my second suggestion, I suggest instead of switching between ship "classes" each with their own separate model that you have modular ship models displaying these sections. So you'd have a central "hull" section that forms the main model of the ship and each successive larger hull section has a larger model, and the things like warp nacelles and weaponry models would be attached to the hull the same way you display armor and weapons attached to a character's model in the fantasy games.

Thanks for hearing out these suggestions!

Mischief Maker 11-01-2019 10:38 AM

Oh boy! I'm thrilled to hear you're working on Drox 2. So thrilled I have some more suggestions to throw on the pile:

1. Differentiate between faction-advantaging and general-welfare missions. Helping an enemy faction finish their research or colonize a planet should piss off my allies, yes. Killing a monster boss who's planning on killing everyone or destroying a device causing ion storms everywhere shouldn't make my allies angry just because the unpopular kid suggested it.

2. Change the way energy supply works. Right now it's really unfun to get into a swarm of monsters and shoot your guns empty then just be stuck waiting to regenerate or gobbling down mana potions to be able to do anything. I have two possible suggestions:

a) Take a cue from space sims like Freespace 2 and have two independently charging energy pools, one offensive one defensive. For example: a weapon power pool and an afterburner power pool. The player alternates between shooting and dodging so the action remains nonstop.

b) Instead of functioning like a spell mana pool, have your energy stat control weapon firing rates.

3. This one is a major change, but I think it would really improve the experience by making it feel more like the player is a space-spy:

Make the races have larger fleets that are much more dangerous to tackle head-on, but have more of the individual pieces of their infrastructure represented by destroyable structures (shipyards, habitat domes, solar collectors, etc).

Change cloaking devices into a Drox-exclusive system, possibly with expanded customization options, to represent why Drox mercenaries should be so valued by the races since the Drox can do deep strikes against the enemy's infrastructure where their own fleets can't reach.

Implement the "crafting table" mechanic from Din's Legacy at every functional gate in the game so a Drox player can operate deep in enemy space for extended periods of time.

Really looking forward to Drox 2!

Bluddy 11-01-2019 11:44 AM

Some great suggestions there! All sound well thought-out.

eidolad 01-17-2020 12:55 AM

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...



Planets:
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.


4x:

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.


Concepts:

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

eidolad 05-13-2020 01:06 AM

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...

Shadow 05-13-2020 03:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eidolad (Post 86010)
Drox 2 empires could use some order of battle variety perhaps?

I like these ideas.

eidolad 05-13-2020 03:58 PM

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)

Kirk:
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.

space_explorer 05-22-2020 05:00 AM

Is it possible to make the game not stop when the window is minimized?

Shadow 05-22-2020 11:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by space_explorer (Post 86027)
Is it possible to make the game not stop when the window is minimized?

You can do that in probably all of our games if you want to with a console command. Just change pauseWhenInactive to 0.

eidolad 05-31-2020 04:57 AM

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.

ScrObot 05-31-2020 05:45 AM

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!

ScrObot 05-31-2020 05:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eidolad (Post 86048)
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.

Drox feels awful with the ARPG click-to-move setup. There are a few options (Thruster toggle = on, Thruster disengage = off, Thruster cursor = off) that make this work like you'd expect. Though there is no "strafe" or orienting yourself in a different direction than you're moving (in Drox 1 at least), using A and D to steer while zooming around feels right. And there's wasn't really any defensive reason to be facing any particular direction (no directional shields etc), though that would certainly bring about a whole separate layer of strategy if added.

eidolad 05-31-2020 07:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ScrObot (Post 86050)
Drox feels awful with the ARPG click-to-move setup. There are a few options (Thruster toggle = on, Thruster disengage = off, Thruster cursor = off) that make this work like you'd expect. Though there is no "strafe" or orienting yourself in a different direction than you're moving (in Drox 1 at least), using A and D to steer while zooming around feels right. And there's wasn't really any defensive reason to be facing any particular direction (no directional shields etc), though that would certainly bring about a whole separate layer of strategy if added.

a) A and D to steer with thrust on...hmm.

b) The game Battlecruiser has a fantastic directional shield game mechanic...but Drox has a sometimes insane bullet hell environment and I doubt I could:

- steer (even without WASD)
- fire
- use abilities
- AND slew a shield around

...all at once at the normal game speed and account for all the enemies and threat axes.

That comment above also casts some doubt on my suggestion for full WASD/strafe movement: that is a lot of cockpit workload for my poor left hand: WASD, number keys, and also any letter keys for other functions.

Destro* 06-01-2020 03:26 PM

Lots of good discussion going on about the release of Drox 2 on the unofficial Discord. Would recommend people check them out and join the conversation. Link will last only 1 day:

https://discord.gg/nEGdWa

Bluddy 06-01-2020 04:22 PM

More permanent link: https://discord.gg/UpWxrY7

Bluddy 06-02-2020 01:27 PM

So here are my suggestions for Drox 2, in order of importance as I see it. I try to focus on the weak points in Drox 1 and offer improvements.

1. The weakest part of Drox 1 by far is clearing out the maps to find essential things like race planets and gates out of the system. Compared to a game like Pirates! (sea is very similar to space), where you can just see the map and you're going someplace to do something, Drox has you spend an inordinate amount of time just to get out of a new system, or to find a critical planet.

My suggestion is to immediately show the planets of a race you've contacted when you enter a system, as well as the gates out of the current system. That may seem to give info away, but it's actually greatly reducing user frustration and improving QoL and enjoyment. There can be variations of this idea: you could have scanners showing you in general where planets are on the map, and energy signatures showing the general direction of gates and wormholes. Whatever it takes not to have to clear entire maps of fog of war.

2. The Command stat is disliked by just about every player, and doesn't really achieve its purpose. You end up having more crew points from items than from invested points, so command is always the best stat. This system needs to be reworked. My ideal system would give you a ship hangar next to your stash and allow you to switch ships at will: big and slow or small and maneuverable. It would also allow limiting chassis sizes on the biggest ships so they don't get OP. Unlocking of new ship options would happen by level, but perhaps you'd also have to buy them first.

3. There isn't enough info about the 4x game, and the text log is inadequate. The maps are the best interfaces for showing this info (much like the Master of Orion galaxy map). The galaxy map should show not just which race is where, but also icons showing how many planets each race has at each system, whether an attack is happening, etc. Mousing over the icons would give more details. The system map should show which race owns which planet, and mousing over the planet should give more info about it. The amount of info on the map could be limited by your contact, level of spying on a race etc.

eidolad 06-02-2020 04:53 PM

for item 1: hmm i don't know...Diablo 2 with each map beginning as "here are the borders of a procedurally generated map...contents unknown" is so classic.

thinking out loud:
How about "unknown planet" here, "sun there", "unknown thing there" icons to help when uncovering the fog of war?

Wait...or you are talking more about the inter-system linkages? I.e. you want to know the galaxy shape in order to lesson the navigation chore? I can understand that in some way....though...in X3: Litcubes Universe or Mayhem mod...some of the "the galaxy is a mystery" fun diminished for me once I mapped all the gates and systems.

Bluddy 06-02-2020 05:09 PM

I'm talking about the star system map, not the sector one. In Diablo/Din's Legacy, the map is generally more interesting and varied: different shapes determined by walls and such, different rooms. In Drox, having to sweep the whole round map every time for the gate to the next star system becomes painful, especially because you see multiple quests for the next system and have no idea how to get there (the gate is hidden). You want to meet the new aliens and explore other systems, but the way to get there is cut off purely by a searching problem, where the map you need to search through is empty space.

I would even be ok with being able to trade with local races for the locations of the gate and their planets.

eidolad 06-02-2020 06:37 PM

"Mowing this sector's fog of war isn't as fun as other stuff, especially when it blocks better fun", if I summarize correctly? I could go for generic type icons at the very least for various in-system stuff.

So if I interpret item 1: instead we'd like it if we have this physical gate sitting out in an uncharted part of the sector that I'm in. I suddenly get a bunch of quests that reside behind it and need to get to it asap. I should be able to see that gate on the tab map (or as an "edge icon" on my normal game view)...and zoom towards it.

There is a Sometimes Very Bad Event that I try my best to avoid: the surprise wormhole that strands me in unknown territory and I'm low on consumables or have a stuffed inventory. Yeah I think I would like it, after your suggested refactor, if I have at least: the locations and terminus names for the systems around me...

Castruccio 06-02-2020 06:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bluddy (Post 86068)
I'm talking about the star system map, not the sector one. In Diablo/Din's Legacy, the map is generally more interesting and varied: different shapes determined by walls and such, different rooms. In Drox, having to sweep the whole round map every time for the gate to the next star system becomes painful, especially because you see multiple quests for the next system and have no idea how to get there (the gate is hidden). You want to meet the new aliens and explore other systems, but the way to get there is cut off purely by a searching problem, where the map you need to search through is empty space.

I would even be ok with being able to trade with local races for the locations of the gate and their planets.

Getting the locations of gates and planets in a star system via trade, or just having them available automatically, would be amazing. One of the worst parts of Drox is vacuuming up all that black space on the system map, looking for a gate or a planet. It really slows down progression in an un-fun way, and the levels are mostly just big blank spaces with no navigational challenges like the games that take place on the ground have.

eidolad 06-02-2020 07:19 PM

The massive mine formations all slowly moving towards me in this Drox 1 high level map are plenty of "navigational challenge". Oops I that bunch was stealthed and I died.

Bluddy 06-03-2020 01:43 PM

I feel this idea is important enough to copy from discord:

- Finishing a game of Drox can become a chore. Rather than enjoying the perfect amount of dynamic experience, you're stuck in the same sector and just want it to end.
- I suggest that rather than having win conditions, you have victory points awarded for certain things. Get enough victory points (from combinations of activities) and you finish the sector. This allows you to finish sectors with multiple varied activities, rather than focusing on one narrow activity.
- Additionally, it would be nice to have the drox guild spawn multiple missions, and you be able to choose which one to accomplish to get victory points. This makes these guild missions far more useful and meaningful.
- It also fixes the problem people had with drox guild missions. Rather than them being negative (do this or you lose), which people tend to dislike, you get to choose which ones you want to do for positive victory points.
- This is a great (and fairly easy) way to distinguish Drox 2 from 1.

eidolad 06-03-2020 04:51 PM

big up on that, though real-life bosses want the Core Job Done.

So to argue further for your idea: To help achieve the idea of "let me choose my fun": Perhaps "another Drox Operative" is also checking off stuff in the sector...if I go do my chosen fun first...then the other Operative will/has finished the rest out.

Bluddy 06-03-2020 11:55 PM

In order to make gamepad controls work well, there has to be a way to have a current button highlighted. Moving up/down/left/right would move to a different button in that direction, and pushing a chosen gamepad button should click the button. Not every button should follow this scheme: some buttons should not be part of the button group that can be selected. Others should be part of a different button group. For example, interacting with a shop should let you switch between button groups: one is the shopkeeper, and one is your inventory.

Inventory items should also be selectable like buttons. Having a UI button or inventory selected should show the tooltip for it.

Jackrel 06-05-2020 01:16 AM

Don't know if anyone has suggested this, but I've noticed with all of the new races any time I complete a quest or destroy an enemy faction I get blasted by every faction in the sector with thanks and taunts. I mean it is a really neat mechanic but I was wondering if the faction communications could be split into two categories, so like the taunts and thank yous get posted into the message log while any trade requests, favors or demands get posted into the current communication system.
Also, curious if anyone else is having "fun" with the way faction relations are all over the place in this one. Seems I start a sector out by buddying up to all the races I meet only for them to all hate me in the end because one guy meets and befriends his backwoods murder hobo neighbor who immediately declares war on me as soon as I encounter them... I mean, it is pretty disheartening when my closest allies who I've invested time into helping turn on me because they decide to be friends with some psycho with a shoot on site mentality. I really dig the idea of the random generated races but it seems to be a 50/50 chance they hate my scavenger face without any previous interaction with me and in spite of the good will I've garnered with their one friend.

Jackrel 06-05-2020 04:43 PM

Here is a little compilation of ideas I had that might be interesting to add in. Honestly most of these ideas are based on features from the other games in soldaks lineup. That said all of this is strictly my opinion, so hoping I don't piss anybody off.

1. Captains. So this idea is based on the thought that we are captain of our ships, maybe add a few selectable classes with passive skill trees and a captain level based in part on the way mutation and character level were handled in dins legacy. Captain experience could be gained from completing quests for a nominal amount, and for completing drox assignments for a larger amount. I say passive skills in the sense of being more commander type abilities that directly affect certain component types in the sense of the standard rpg character archetype system of damage dealer, tank, summoner, etc. These would be effects that stack on top of your race effects. More of a system to fine tune your build and balance out certain aspects that don't get much attention such as summons.

2. Crew personalities. In the drox games I find myself collecting a motley crew of varried races and somehow they all get along even though their racial factions are to put it mildly, commiting genocide against each other. Could be fun to have your crew get random personality traits that affect their disposition to one another and how effectively they work for you. Ya know, like they are people.

3. I've seen this one elsewhere in the thread, but I'd love to see the ability to scrap items down to base mats I can use to enhance or even just repair my gear and resurrect my crew. This one became real apparent after I'd accidently pissed off the entire sector and in trying to get the funds and goodwill rolling so I could convince them I wasn't a psycho, every component on my ship broke and I ended up giving up as I couldn't cripple my way off to any safe harbor for repairs as everyone in the sector decided my face was in need of punching. So please. The ability to repair at my spawn point would be soooo nice.

4. Another one I've seen posted in the thread that I thought I'd try my hand at suggesting a change to. Inventory. I'm honestly curious if the inventory system could be altered to behave sort of like the component slots. As in you start off with a handful of slots and maybe unlock more with ship upgrades. Maybe the current cargo bays could be reclassified as components of the light, medium and heavy variety? You know, for hoarding purposes.

5. Random mutations. I don't know that I'd call them mutations in this game. Maybe traits? But it would be neat to see dl's random chance to gain hatred for this or that enemy type, or even fear of the stuff that just exploded you and your ship a few times. Just an extra layer of fluff to help me connect with my little scav boat.

6. Technology. So, we explore around learning all sorts of technologies across the sector. But outside of selling the details to others to make it for us they don't seem to do anything. Maybe technology learned could be like a 1% per level bonus to using those technologies? Or maybe we can apply those schematics at a shipyard to alter our ships components?

7. Crew hapines. I actually have no idea what this does... Because I've never seen my crews morale drop below 30% so, maybe some tweaks to crew morale? Or somebody could explain it to me lol

8. Doomsday weapons. Can we get weapons that allow us to destroy planets completely? I mean like straight up death staring planets. Could set it up so it really bugs every race in the sector when you do it, but still. There is always one planet in a cluster that no matter how hard I try my vassals can't seem to colonize it and it turns into an endless fight to keep that one group of space crazies from moving in and causing all sorts of problems. Please. I want to blow those planets up and never see them again lol.

9. Item restrictions. Don't see as much in the way of level requirements on items, but it is still a thing and it kind of bugs me. Maybe go the way of Torchlight 2 where requirements work along the line of be this level or have this stat level to use.

10. Racial slots. So this one gets a little out in the woods. I have a love hate relationship with racial slots. I get they are supposed to make the races feel thematically different, but they feel a little well. Underwhelming. I love the idea of power power consumption on racial components but I wonder if that affect could just be attached to the normal component slots, or if more effects could be attached to the racial slots. Honestly I think I'd rather see the racial slots recycled into being specifically crew slots. Sort of like seats on your command bridge, you get more the higher tier ship you have to a max of say 4. I don't know, this one is honestly a personal gripe of mine. Since those slots end up being reserved to either one or two specific components that I may or may not care about using so yeah. I don't want to see the racial bonuses removed completely, but maybe add more items to the lists or just enhance the effects of those slots in some way.

Anyway. That's all I have for now. Love the game, this was just my personal opinions for a large part. Would love to hear others thoughts.

Bluddy 06-06-2020 11:39 PM

- Items that allow you to disguise your ship like one of the races (one item per race) for 5 minutes or so. This would allow you to get past races that hate you (assuming you look like their friend), and would allow you to destroy race ships and get hatred towards the race you look like. You could also blow up diplomats heading to important meetings (like peace meetings) with no repercussions for yourself, but framing another race.

Evander 06-09-2020 01:32 PM

How about going a different route?

Rather than iterate over Drox and its shortcomings, why not try something different?

I would like to point you Shadow to S.P.A.Z. 1 as an example.

This could be a Drox mothership with extendable modules and fighters and fleets, with tech research and upgrades, instead of a Diablo in space ;)

Might be a good idea to drop/mine mostly resources and refine them into useful stuff for a change.

Bluddy 06-10-2020 03:22 PM

From discord:

- Suggestion based on Jackrel's point in #general: use the DL system for ships in Drox. All ships for all races could be assigned names for their captains. They could then talk with you, telling you about their day or their feelings about other ship captains or their race. They could have an attitude towards other ship captains or towards their race in general. They could have personal quests. And they could rebel against their race, sabotage it etc. It would make the game world feel more lived-in. A colony ship could be piloted by the same guy as it's used multiple times etc. Even though the races represent millions of people, the people you interact with don't have to be that many, giving you a distinct feel for them and creating new gameplay opportunities.

Bluddy: A race without money can't afford to pay its captains well, so they're easier to bribe...
Jackrel: yes
Bluddy:It would also be really sad if you put effort into a captain and then he died
Jackrel: It would yes
Bluddy: especially if he just got married and had kids :frowning:
TheLastShogun: Or was two days from retirement
Jackrel: XD not squidlore! He had a family, was putting his kids through college!
!! That would be a neat idea, say you buddy up to a captain and it nets you the option to use them as a political game piece but also gives you a direct line for aquiring goods and crew from that race
Bluddy: That's the kind of stuff that would distinguish Drox 2 from 1.
Jackrel: Like if you were friends with another captain he might give you a heads up of any crew looking to get out of their fleet

Mithur 06-10-2020 06:29 PM

Idea of how you can help rebels on planet, if you at war with race that owns it - you can give required item to a quest giver/smuggler rebel ship, and it will deliver it to a planet.

Bluddy 06-12-2020 12:38 AM

Some sound feedback:

- Playing with headphones is mostly a pleasure (particularly after removing the music for the monster races which both I find to be distasteful and which plays over the ambient soundtrack, but that's a matter of taste).
- Fading between the race music on the relations screen works great.
- The ambient soundtracks in general range from good to really excellent!
- When going from the game screen to the relations screen or map screen or pausing, the ambient music track pauses suddenly and abruptly, and it's jarring.
- Instead, the ambient music track could be faded out for the relations screen. For the map screen and for pausing, you can just keep the track going.
- The war declaration sound is extremely loud compared to other sounds and could really use toning down.
- It would be nice to have more idle sounds from the monsters that hinted about what they are. Talon could have more whale-like idle sounds, Legion could have computer noises, and Overlord could have zombie whispers and whines.

kerzain 06-12-2020 04:52 AM

Some Suggestions (well, maybe not suggestions so much as stuff I'd like to see):
  • I'd like the ability to buy planet information from races. Maybe this wouldn't work out too well because the AI races could potentially have a hundred planets for sale, but man some of these sectors seem huge when I'm limping along and trying to find a safe haven. Even if the planets are limited to the race's own occupied planets, or even just the NEAREST undiscovered occupied planet, that would also work for me (to keep from overlapping with their ability to sell contact info for other factions or something). Or maybe I could gain access to this info when my status with them hits allied or something.

  • I'm sure there are plans to flesh this out in later revisions, but the new planetary feature scans (the stuff that requires a 2/3rd/4th scan etc) aren't giving Legendary exploration points when scanning them (this might be intentional, no idea). The initial scan does, but the subsequent scans don't seem to actually help the player (unless the scan itself results in an item or cash drop of some sort, or (even better) contact with a new minor race.

  • There might already be a way to do this and I haven't paid close enough attention, but I would like the ability to sell a stack of items all at once. This hasn't been an issue for me until I started getting huge stacks of certain supplies that planets will buy. It would save me 80-90 clicks at the store.

  • Right now occupied planets seem to get completely obliterated in sectors with asteroid storms. The thing is, I don't think these storms ever seem to let up (if they do I haven't noticed). it makes it rough for fledgling races to get up and get out of there since they keep getting pummeled. Also, when starting a game using the Home Planet Only settlement option, the races that start in asteroid storms don't tend to make very far into the game (maybe half an hour). As a player, I'm not sure if there's anything I can do to promote their success or if I am supposed to just abandon them and find the next bigger fish to pal up with. I can manually defend their planet from asteroids, but that is just a temporary stop-gap solution since there always seems to be more coming.

  • I wouldn't mind seeing some quests offered by friendly/treaty races to escort their colonizer ships. I'd like to know the ships destination, and have my choice of ships to escort. i understand that this might actually cause pages and pages of quest spam in larger games, so maybe there would be a way to narrow this down to specific types of escorts offered or something. All I know is that there are certain races I'd love to see flourish, but players don't have the time to wait around for a ship to build, load up, and start the move.

  • I'm unclear on what all these different types of treaties do for me as a player. When it comes to stuff like vassals, I don't have any idea how I benefit from +25% research etc. Maybe that's just a bonus provided between AIs, but I feel like a lot of the treaty stuff is a little ambiguous at the moment.

  • Sometimes I'll give a race a planet they're 100% compatible with, and it'll even have nice bonuses, and it's in a nearby system, but instead of settling that one they'll build a ship and send it off to some tiny moon somewhere in BFE. I know I can't control the races directly, but even if I try to never share sub-optimal info with them and only cherry pick the good stuff, a lot of time they just never seem to care about it. I'm not sure what all goes into their decision making when choosing a locale (nearby enemies?) but it's hard to keep giving them good info only to see them squander it.

  • At the moment I don't see a reason to ever share contact info between races. At best maybe there's some trading behind the scenes that benefits them both, but at worst it penalizes me for helping one guy that another guy might suddenly have taken a disliking to for no good reason. But if they don't ever know about eachother I seem a lot freer to just do as I please without their opinions of eachother affecting their opinion of me.


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