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Small fish in a big pond

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I realize it's  a bit early to start asking about specifics, but I wanted to bring up the topic while all the big, fundamental mechanics are getting decided on.  I'm wondering how viable the game will be for individuals and small groups - I mean, really getting out there and doing interesting stuff in space, not just putzing around near the safe zone.

 

Suppose I have a small group of friends.  We pool our resources, buy a modest base ship, and proceed to travel about, mining asteroids and shooting pirates.  Everyone we own is stored on this base ship.  How does that really work?  How do we keep the base ship safe when we're not around?  When we're logged off for days at a time?  Assume we don't have the time to fly it back to a safe zone every time we log off.  What's our recourse if some powerful jerk catches us and blows it up?

 

I know there are solutions to this problem (a device to blind-jump to interstellar space, and back to the point of origin would suffice, for example).  But I also understand that there's a big focus on large organizations, given that the in-game economy and civilization will be player-driven.  So I'm wondering how well the planned mechanics will support a smaller scale of play.

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I think with the developers stating that they are fans of Eve Online and Minecraft and other game that the answer to your question is already answered. I feel like the game would work best with a system that allows the player to log off with assets that aren't permanent assets. 

 

 As in if you are in your ship running about having a good time and decide to log off or get disconnected you simply disappear with your assets that are in space or that you are actively piloting.

 

 Having said that I think you are talking more about a large ship with multiple people inside. And if that is the case I believe a semi-permanent structure rule should apply.

 

 As in if you are in a large ship with multiple PCs inside it would simply stay in space if you logged off or disconnected until everyone had logged off or disconnected. And at that time would return to the owner upon logging back in unless the asset was destroyed in your absence while it was still an active asset in game.

 

 Lastly even though you hadn't mentioned it regarding stationary assets such as space stations or cities i believe the best solution is a permanent structure combat system with either vulnerability timers and windows or active AI defenses and offenses and either of those systems can and should cost time and materials or both adding to the "sink" side of a currency faucet/sink system that is sure to be a part of any decent economy system.

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We know a couple of things that might help us divine an answer to the question of player ships and logging off.

 

First, we know that there will be shields in the game and that there will be a timed invulnerability mechanic to go with some of those shields.

 

From Nyzaltar (He's talking about dirtside territory control, but I'm assuming their thinking will be similar in space.)

 

However, what we can say about it are the main design ideas we have in mind: 

 
1) Having a Time window for TU owner to react to an aggression: we don't want to see players feeling the need to be on guard 24h/24 7d/7 in the game. So after an attack lowering the shield or structure of the TU to a certain point, or a succeeded attempt to hack the TU, the involved unit will enter a temporary invulnerability mode (probably between a 24h and 48h time window). 
 
2) It's only after the temporary invulnerability mode has faded that the real attack hack can begin, and you should expect defensive from the owner(s). The victory will be decided by the most prepared side. Players in defense will have a "Stand your ground" scenario while players in attack will have a "Capture the Flag" scenario.
 
3) If the owner(s) didn't show themselves once the temporary invulnerability has faded, then destroying or hacking will probably be a matter of minutes (we are aware that shooting repeatedly for hours at something to destroy it is boring, so, if no resistance is encountered, the unit should be taken down quickly).

 

Second, we know that there is no difference (from the game engine's perspective) between a ship and a station.

 

This raises the possibility of Eve-style space station defense, and a way for players to park a ship, set the shield to Everyone-Has-Cooties, and log off. Limitations apply...you remembered to fill the Special Fuel Bunkers, right? Just make sure you check in every couple of days, so that you don't find yourself blithely logging in to find out you're surrounded by The Bads with an Invuln timer ticking the seconds till your teeth-kicking.

 

I hope it doesn't turn out that we have to LUA script a fight-or-flight response into our ships.

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i would think being a small group is very do-able. especially as we know there is going to be multiple non pvp areas. its also possible to form alliances with bigger groups or collectives of groups for mutual defense

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Indeed, you could join a group like the Diverse Unified Alliance, or the Galactic Republic, or any other organisation that brings organisations under their wings.

Retain the rights to make your organisation the way you want, while contributing to a larger community.

 

You are right it would be very easy for this game to turn into a lawless, ruthless place where anarchy rules the day. It really is up to us players to establish civilization.

 

 

As best as I understand, there will be somewhat basic artificial intelligence systems, that take over when you dont have enough players to man all stations on a multi screw ship.

The mechanics around how ships will behave, if they log out or if they stay in game at all times, has not been finalized yet. Unless I missed a Nyzaltar post on it somewhere.

 

It would be my guess that for ships that don't log out is you should pilot them out into an obscure location outside of a solar system. However many organisations will probably also offer free and protected parking , youll just have to find out who the reasonable organisations are and who the malevolent ones are.

 

Though, perhaps we can ask them for some kind of a option to phase the ship into warp space and remain stationary, so that it couldn't be detected by regular scans.

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I propose a notification system. If players have installed a sort of security system onboard their ship or inside their base, when a player or faction approaches, it sends a notification to your phone, PC, etc. Therefore, if you're offline while an enemy faction is attacking your base, everyone in that faction (or at least everyone who has access to the security system) will get a heads up about what is happening. Going deeper, you could allow for 'cloaking' devices or radar jammers to prevent getting detected by the enemy.

 

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I propose a notification system. If players have installed a sort of security system onboard their ship or inside their base, when a player or faction approaches, it sends a notification to your phone, PC, etc. Therefore, if you're offline while an enemy faction is attacking your base, everyone in that faction (or at least everyone who has access to the security system) will get a heads up about what is happening. Going deeper, you could allow for 'cloaking' devices or radar jammers to prevent getting detected by the enemy.

 

 

 

That would be kind of cool. A way to segue from the PC client to a tablet/phone app companion. You could turn on shields, have the ship go into a stealth mode, all kinds of stuff.

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That would be kind of cool. A way to segue from the PC client to a tablet/phone app companion. You could turn on shields, have the ship go into a stealth mode, all kinds of stuff.

Indeed! Exactly my thinking. Though, there will also be safe zones. I suppose you could always fly to one. If you can't that's where this system should come in.

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You are right it would be very easy for this game to turn into a lawless, ruthless place where anarchy rules the day. It really is up to us players to establish civilization.

 

 

As best as I understand, there will be somewhat basic artificial intelligence systems, that take over when you dont have enough players to man all stations on a multi screw ship.

The mechanics around how ships will behave, if they log out or if they stay in game at all times, has not been finalized yet. Unless I missed a Nyzaltar post on it somewhere.

 

 

I think these are 2 great points. If you are leaving it up to players to establish civilization then security should be part of it. I know it's kind of a gate mechanism because the more cut-throat "must have security system" the game is, the more it caters to the hardcore-able-to-log-in-daily types.

 

I like the idea you started on with the AI system. If you have a system where shields are on ships that don't have an active player in them that will help protect people that are less able to log in (or even on vacation). However, PvP will still be possible by destroying the shield and then taking over the ship. If that is the case, then the AI could be set to FTL to a "save zone" of your choosing if the shields get below a certain percentage. Once in that "safe zone" you are once again vulnerable, but supposedly you have chosen an area that you would be safe with little to no shields. That way the player can still be protected during longer absences, but ships that have not been active for weeks/months will naturally become salvageable.

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I think these are 2 great points. If you are leaving it up to players to establish civilization then security should be part of it. I know it's kind of a gate mechanism because the more cut-throat "must have security system" the game is, the more it caters to the hardcore-able-to-log-in-daily types.

 

I like the idea you started on with the AI system. If you have a system where shields are on ships that don't have an active player in them that will help protect people that are less able to log in (or even on vacation). However, PvP will still be possible by destroying the shield and then taking over the ship. If that is the case, then the AI could be set to FTL to a "save zone" of your choosing if the shields get below a certain percentage. Once in that "safe zone" you are once again vulnerable, but supposedly you have chosen an area that you would be safe with little to no shields. That way the player can still be protected during longer absences, but ships that have not been active for weeks/months will naturally become salvageable.

That would work hand in hand with the system I suggested.

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