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Old 04-12-2019, 10:15 AM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,062
Default Strategic Thoughts

Hey Shadow

Just wanted to discuss some thoughts and directions for Soldak moving forward:

1. Drox clearly hit a right note. I think this is due to a) the ease of making a space game technically and b) the fact that the space 4x concepts (planets as resources (or resource containers), ships are the key and can be rebuilt using resources, competing factions, you not being a faction yourself and therefore unable to game the AI) naturally allow for making the background simulation come alive.

2. I think it would be a good goal to bring the fantasy games close to the level of Drox in terms of the simulation. They're harder to make, but having that level of depth in a fantasy setting will allow the Drox players to migrate more easily to your other games. Zombasite didn't really do it. The Zombasite concept itself doesn't contribute enough to the gameplay in an interesting way. The survival aspects were neat, but really just involve doing an expedition once in a while. Managing your clan members more closely, with a better interface, was definitely a step in the right direction.

What's missing in Zombasite to bridge over from Drox is the level of strategy close to what Drox had. Because there are no real strategic resources, clans don't really compete in a real way. The only resource is human survivors -- there are no locations on the map that need to be conquered (like planets). Clan strength expresses itself only in raids (AFAIK -- I haven't seen much more than clans being wiped out).

3. Some ideas for a game that's a little closer to Drox strategy-wise: clans grow mostly by conquering little towns, which supply them with food/weapons. People in little towns stay there and work for their conquering clans. They're also helpless without the defenders, which are provided by the clans. Once you breach the town and defeat its defenders, the town is taken over. Perhaps the player could have no allegiance as in Drox, or have his allegiance to a specific little town that also happens to have quests.

4. After DL, I think you still need a future system that allows for more variety in skill choice, since you can't make every game about the mutated. Look at Path of Exile's skill tree. If all the skill trees in the game are connected along their 2nd tier (turning them into a skill graph), you can start in one skill tree, then migrate to another neighboring tree, and advance from there. Moving along the tree from one skill to the next would be generally more expensive than investing more in the same skills, to encourage the player not to buy every single skill.

5. I think it's really worthwhile to improve controller support and add local co-op. Soldak games already support far more players than any other ARPGs, so it makes sense to capitalize on that even more and make them viable couch games. You can look at Deathspank for inspiration. This should be relatively low effort for potentially large gain.

6. I think the fantasy system is in a pretty good place right now in terms of feel of combat and looks. I think better and more animations would definitely help -- for example, moving faster should be more than just an accelerated animation. Obviously this part is expensive.

7. Adding some physics would definitely give it a big edge (physics for dead bodies is a no-brainer, but it's only catching up to other games rather than forging new ground).
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