Saturday, November 8, 2008

Response, tweaking of concepts, and core game play modes- XP and optional micro-management

First to Jason:

Copy, Open word (or whatever), Paste, Read. ;) Much easier on one's eyes. This one is long too.

To all:

Thanks for your comments, both of you- very useful feedback.

*fix* I figured out how to change the wormhole thing.

For one, it's just as viable to have the second worm hole collapse than to have both of them do so, which would prevent grieving- grievers would just lose their own wormholes.

Worm holes, as instantaneous transit, imply a time difference, and I've figured out a very simple way to achieve that and account for relativity in simultaneous space.

Basically, one part of space is the future, and one part of space is the past. You travel back in time through a worm hole to the part of space that is in the past.

Lets say a worm hole spans 500 light years. You travel through it instantly, reaching the other side in the past- 500 years in the past (due to the length of the worm hole). Then, to return, you have to travel using a warp drive, at a paltry light speed, and take 500 years to do it, arriving back in the present.

By explaining it in that way, it becomes more obvious why a worm hole cannot go back the way it just came (time paradox- you could travel back in time and affect your own past).

Anyway, as far as the game play is concerned, it provides an instant link between two places- there are advantages and disadvantages to each kind of transit- with a worm hole, it's fast, but you're limited to worm hole paths- where people put them, or where they were naturally- which cannot travel in any direction (only from the future into the past). With a warp drive, you have to stop and make detours around star systems and the like, but you can travel from wherever you like- no need to have a worm hole present.

"With the currency, why not go with the good ol' USAs approach of just saying money is worth what it is without any real backing"

That's governmental backing, which is quite unstable in a free market.

We could make wormholes natural and immovable things, but there should be some things that have particular value based on pragmatism. *control* of existing worm holes could even work- if it were the case that they just existed there, those who controlled the areas could charge a fare for people to pass through them.

"But it doesn't actually say that the four human-player factions fight “each other”, not quite sure where that came from. "

From the online PVP mode of game play. If the factions are not fighting, and all players are official members of the factions, then that kind of PVP mode in online play would not make sense.

"I think the ‘more intelligent’ players will agree that diamonds will not be worth much for the reasons you imply; but as for the rest, what will they say about diamonds not being worth much? Will they believe you?"

They will when they mine and ruin their drill bits on chunks of rough diamond. For their sake, we won't even need to call it diamond- we can just call it "dense carbon grit" to discourage them from picking it up and trying to sell it in ignorance. They may later discover that it is diamond, but only after long knowing it is comparatively worthless (and one of the worst hardships a miner can suffer).

We can create some other very cool and beautiful looking things of great value.

"I used the concept of records and guitars from being valuable in another of my futuristic game ideas,"

I like that. I think a bustling antique aspect to artifacts would be pretty cool.

"I wanted to pick a time for when people on earth, are likely start to inhabit space, do we think that it will take more than 70 years from now?"

It's not so much about inhabiting space as the massive social and political changes that would need to take place, and the migration of that kind of population.
Just as the railroad had to be built before "settlers" could conquer the Western interior of North America, there's a certain level of infrastructure one needs to have a level of true space civilization- The U.S.A. with her current boundaries wasn't settled as soon as we developed the steam engine.

"Is a simple attack and defense attribute really over-simplified to cause “Most scifi fans” to “drool”? "

I think maybe you misunderstood me; in my context, drooling was good. I mean that the details would make scifi fans drool (like people do when presented with good food).

"Either you aim for the hard core sci-fi fans or the casual; or try to cater to both with different modes, incentives and levels of detail."

I would tend towards the latter- catering to each by providing optional micromanagement, wherein the player can choose to micro-manage an area, or spend XP on good crew who will offer advice that can be taken by default.

That is, say you, as a player, really enjoy twinking out a ship with specific combinations of weapons and armor- and many people really enjoy power gaming these gritty details. You'd appreciate the details about different kinds of lasers, plasma weapons, armor, ballistics, and missiles. Because you enjoy doing that, you can spend your XP to recruit or level up an NPC crew member who specializes in navigation- that way you don't have to do it.

On the other hand, a player who loved navigating could spend XP on getting or leveling an NPC crew member as an arms and armor specialist, who would provide purchasing recommendations and outfit your ship(s) for you so you don't have to worry about it.

Say a player only likes flying around and shooting things- doesn't care about interstellar navigation, and doesn't want to bother about what kind of weapon or armor the ship has- well, that player spends XP on both kinds of NPCs, and focuses exclusively on flying around, shooting things, and gaining XP.

All of these players end up being equal.

The weapons fan divided his time between weapons and missions, gaining 500 XP, and spending it all on the navigator.

The navigation fan divided time between navigating and missions, gaining 500 XP, and spending it all on the weapons master.

The grinder who just likes to shoot things spent all of his time on missions, gaining 1,000XP, spending half on a navigator and half on a weapons master to have a ship equal in potency to the others'.

You could even be an all around person, spending 350 XP on two NPCs, and doing a bit of tweaking on each to get your ship up to snuff. More missions than either of the first two, but a bit less than the third person.

Optional micromanagement like that, where a player can focus on his or her favourite aspect of game play, I believe is the key to balance between detail and shallowness.

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