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Old 06-09-2011, 03:06 PM
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Default 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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Old 06-10-2011, 08:20 AM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
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Looks fairly well thought out.

In terms of unique items, I think the lesson from DC and DoP is that they really need to have great modifiers. It'll probably save a lot of time to have the game generate them randomly but with only the highest modifiers. Also, I don't know if it's good to have something equivalent to unique, artifacts and legend. Each level is an order of magnitude higher in rarity, but it's hard to really make each level worth it. Adding an extra modifier doesn't seem to be enough.

I think set items would actually work here, but in a random way. Instead of crafting set items, you can just make a random name modifier like 'positron' or 'nanite' or whatever that creates synergy with other random items with that same name. There will be extra random modifiers applied to the item only when it's equipped with the other corresponding items, so if you have a positron engine AND a positron laser, they'll get extra random bonuses. The more items, the more random bonuses you'll get. Perhaps these random bonuses can be chosen per set type at the start of the game.

I do think though that it's important to keep the number of modifiers per item down. Too many modifiers (>4) cancels out the choices of the player, making all characters/ships 'average out'. Of course, that depends on how many slots you expect ships to have on average.

What would also be really nice to do here is to have some rock/paper/scissors gameplay. Lasers could damage shields the most, missiles would damage armor the most, EMP would damage internal systems somewhat even before shields were down etc. Some ships would be more sensitive to lasers, others to EMP and so on.
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:28 AM
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Maledictus Maledictus is offline
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Like it so far.
Some off-hand thoughts.

Weight is not an issue in space, mass is. More mass would make an object react more sluggish. So not implementing weight restrictions makes things easier, but implementing mass could be interesting. Choose a lighter engine over a heavier one for mobility. That is, if mobility is something that plays a role in the game.

I've played games that used item names such as "rusty armor of the armadillo". While good for a laugh, this doesn't tell me anything about the item's quality without knowing all the possible modifier names. I'd be weary of this. The use of "cheap" and "excellent" is fine because it's immediately clear which would be better.

Will fuel play a part? Like, when using collectors the energy return us lower but it's free. When using power plants there's more energy, but it costs fuel to run them.
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maledictus View Post
Weight is not an issue in space, mass is. More mass would make an object react more sluggish. So not implementing weight restrictions makes things easier, but implementing mass could be interesting. Choose a lighter engine over a heavier one for mobility. That is, if mobility is something that plays a role in the game.

Will fuel play a part? Like, when using collectors the energy return us lower but it's free. When using power plants there's more energy, but it costs fuel to run them.
Yes, technically it would be mass.

Currently the mass of the hull is important. The thrust provided by your thrusters or engines increases your max speed, acceleration, and turn speed while you hull mass slows it down.

I'm not currently planning on doing anything with fuel. If we did though it would make collectors more valuable.
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Old 06-11-2011, 02:03 AM
pnutz pnutz is offline
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Do you have any corollary to one-off use items in action rpgs, things like potions, bombs, wands? Maybe something like a rare fuel additive that doubles your ship speed for a minute or so, or a crystal that makes your lasers do burning damage-over-time for a few shots, then burns out.

If your missiles and rockets are like bows in a fantasy game, could one buy or find a few "special" missiles that have additional effects or damage but are quite expensive?

Also, I love the whole concept for this. Very much looking forward to it.
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Old 06-11-2011, 10:04 AM
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I do have plans for a bunch of one use items.
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:53 AM
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A big thing I'd hope for, as it would make for a good bit of distinguishment, would be a cargo notion for other entities. As in, let's have biological weapons in the form of varying Space Monsters, Robots, etc as "Summons" or "Pets" within a fantasy line of doings.

For some reason, it seems most space games that get alien races into the mix eschew the Space Monsters notion, despite how huge a thing that could add into the mix in terms of combat and gameplay possibilites. Cargo could become something more than just, I dunno, fodder for a Space Zoo or Research Station cash if you unleash something to cover your escape as but one example.

This is also a good way to sidestep the odd historical notion space/sci-fi stuff having less discernible/unique "slots" in terms of function versus Speadsheet Numbers, to say nothing of Soldak already being apt at monster doings and is surely well positioned to come up with some interesting things. Especially since Space allows you to make ridiculously huge ones that would have no place in a corridor/room based Fantasy one but would allow for MUCH in Space, especially with other players afoot.
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Old 06-12-2011, 10:03 AM
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Shadow, are you planning on having commodity trading? If so, how will you combine that with the multitude of loot and therefore money in ARPGs?
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Old 06-12-2011, 01:42 PM
Zengrath Zengrath is offline
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Cool. I checking out forums to see if you are doing anything new yet. See your working on space game which is cool. I will always love space games, ever since my first space game Elite I've always tried to seek that thrill again.

I like the idea of having game very item heavy, that's good. I hope that your able to incorporated the type of random quests system like you have in Din's Curse. like ability to pick up quests at different ports to kill random things, transport items, etc. and have a very nice random universe to play in each time. Possibly with different randomized factions, etc. to play with as well. That would keep things fresh in long run. I could see you keeping it fairly simple like your previous games but could be very fun and long lasting like your previous games as well if done right.

I'll be checking back from time to time and look forward to your next game!
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Old 06-13-2011, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluddy View Post
Shadow, are you planning on having commodity trading? If so, how will you combine that with the multitude of loot and therefore money in ARPGs?
I'm not really sure about the trading thing. It kind of opposes some of the other things that I want to do like the no weight/mass limit.
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