I m opening this topic to share a global game structure point of view that i think will make the difference with other similar games, going point by point through the different game mechanics.
First of all this game appear to be the greatest of all, maybe because its unfinished yet and not full of promisses, that allow us to still make dreams about it, far from founded and unfounded critics. (I think we all waited No Mans Sky and been extremly disapointed)
- First point will be the "sandbox" term i would like to review:
As few of us might probably know and played, but one, and probably the first sandbox game (if we can call it a game), that still exist, is "Second Life". A infinite flat world in a free to play game, divided into square regions that are subdivided and sold by parcels for real money.
It has its own ingame building and scripting system (with a language simplified from c++), and possibilities are absolutly endless. The only problem is that graphics are not good looking, its not really a game, it is ful of greifers and everything ingame cost real money, but in the creation part, there isnt any game, sandbox like game that can do better in terms of freedom.
- I ll continue then on the "ingame building" and "objects creations" mechanics:
To talk again about Second Life, because i think its viewer should be considered as an inspiration source, i m not sure how Voxel works properly yet. But as simple as is it, having a third person view, as a 3d modeling software, and few editable prims, such as cube, sphere, cone, tube, pyramids etc... as base objects, allow an infinite possibility of creations and isnt ressource demanding for the future servers. Objects would have a tree structure, with a main prim and sub prims.
Server side, and gameplay side, the freedom of Second Life, makes it not be a game with any goal, I ll refere to Antoine de Lavoisier who said: "Nothing can be lost, nothing is created, but everything can be transformed"
In that way the ressource gathering and creation part can take its sens, and significantly limit the memory usage of servers: to be more concrete, the volume of what ever you would wanna build/shape, you will have to gather it. you wanna make a spaceship, you ll have to gather meter cubes of iron to build it (and not stacks of 64 irons as in Minecraft...). Each planet will have a certain volume of each ressources that can be gathered, and players will team up to gather faster and more.
Beside that is also the texturing of those creations, and the uploading of any images onto the server could be a payable service, so one of the source of revenue for the developers, for the case of a buy to play service and spend a bit more to customize it a lot better.
I think aswell the crafting system must be forgotten (unless its for a device that will let you fusion 2 materials together, but this can be integrated into the UI), and let any created objects, fully designed and built by players themselves, and have a kind of dematerialisation device, that will let you pick up your creation, store it in your inventory, and drop it somewhere else (like Bulma and her capsules in DBZ)
Material creation volume limitation might aswell propbably limit greifing, since as any sandbox open world games, griefe is a serious issue
- Next i ll talk about "scripting" and animating created objects and give interaction with players:
A script doesnt take much space on a server, since it is only a text file, but beeing able to script our own creations, adding movement, functions, interaction, particules etc... would trully give life to your creation and not having them just standing motionless in the air. Second Life as this system too, and that give a greater value to your creations, aswell will start to engage relationship between players and for some will push them to regroup for beeing stronger. The roleplay will be at the rendez-vous, some will be helping for building, some for coding, some for gathering, some for exploring, some for fighting etc... and the community will become more dependant and stronger. Some people dont like to travel but will be impatiently waiting for the scout teams bringing back goods for the community.
Here are some example functions that could be available for script creation:
/say /tell /wisper /shout
/moveto /follow /rotate /lookat
/timer /onpress /onchatcommand
not limited to only those, but will need a little work on a simple and proper coding language to make this all work
Would open possibility to build and script defens turrets, following bots, UI huds and mods, automation houses, cars, other kind of vehicules etc... And wikis will appear on the web to share all this knowledge about scripting in Dual Univers
- Now some other ideas about "trading" and "interaction betwen players":
Gathered ressources, created objects all could be a money change through a trading menu, and gold maybe or any other valuable extraterian material could be used as a global univers market money, since gold doesnt have much use in construction, and would be great for making coins right? But i m not sure if a local money proper to the game is a good idea. Once more, let the players decide the way they wanna trade.
This super Stark signed lazer gun or this premade space house for 100kg of gold and 10kg of titaprominium etc...
Or maybe why not an online market displaying ingame players creation that could be purchassed with real money
Aswell i think PVP combat, hunting, flight chassing... should be always enable outside safe areas. A previoulsy saved location would teleport the died player and his spawned objects such as spacecraft, dematerialized and returned back to inventory, maybe with dammages that will need material to be fixed and reused.
Traveling in the unknow will become exiting and scary, as it should be!
Maybe a player age system (ingame days/years age without dieing) could be integrated for some popularity and community recognition. And the counter would reset on death, unless a freindly player revive before respawn.
- Ideas about how could be the environment and terra forming:
Inspiration isnt far, but "Minecraft" did it well. days and nights times, each planets with its own type of weather, planets with none, few or only hostile mobs... we want all.
It should be for example impossible to build anything night time without a proper lighting. Exploration could still be continued, with stress, with a portable torch light.
Terraforming and mining, should be smooth, and not make huge perfectly spheric holes in the ground and not as simple as just pointing a gun here and there and making everything flat. For preservation of randomly generated beauties and strong limitation of griefs. Can check on the "Minecraft" like "7 Days to Die", that have done it well but still very buggy.
- To finish, the subscription fee!
Developpers might only like this part but we also need to like it to start and continue playing
I personnally dont mind paying for it, as long as it stays at a reasonnable price and not become a fiasco full of promisses. Better do it well and take time than beeing in a hurry to make money.
As any multiplayers open world games, developpers are looking for long term revenues to reward their years of labor and incoming years of updates. There is no center in this dual univers, but the developpers. They wont sell us one of their planet but here are few points i would personnally agree to buy after purchassing the game:
1- An additionnal configurable device that once put on a land will secure it, from grieifing, from pvp, entering. With different prices, and different size of secured volume, from 100m radius to the planet size (communities might collect donation for buying bigger devices), and would look like a giant spheric force field.
2- Additionnal engines, turbos, guns part, equipments pieces, unscriptable by players essential parts for builds
3- Online offgame univers market objects selling commisions
4- Materials/ressources packs (for the lazier)
5- Textures uploading fee
6- Premade by developpers, objects, buildings, scripts...
Didnt talk about travelling, flying system, it might be too early, but of what i have seen, there is nothing to add, looks great!
Now i just hope some of those would be criticized and taken in consideration!