Brainstorming Basic Creatures and Flora for the Future.

    Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by EricBlank, Oct 21, 2018.

    1. EricBlank

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      schemaschema recently stated theyre starting on the universe update, and last i heard, after that they wanted to start working on things like creatures and flora to populate that universe.

      So i thought, why dont we pitch in some ideas for very basic, super simple critters and plants that we feel would be fun to interact with. Both on and off planets

      Its probably a good idea to include what sort of environment theyll fit into, too.

      So i had a few ideas based on what we already have seen from the devs in the past:
      • Space gnats: like a mostly spherical core body a meter wide with 2m wings on each side. They propel themselves with thrusters on the body, the wings they angle towards the sun to collect solar energy. They swarm around asteroids and "eat" minerals off them. Harvesting them with a salvage beam or shooting them and flying through the remains yields minerals from the asteroid type they were orbiting and occasionally small quantities of other minerals. But they flee when approached by anything, having an effective t:m ratio of like 2 or something. They dont actually break down asteroids, so theyre like a passive resource generator you have to catch
      • The space whales; i figured these could actively hunt the space gnats with their emp pulses, and get upset at players that kill their prey too greedily and like headbutt your ship a few times before zapping it if you dont stop? You could hunt them for more abundant minerals or space whale jelly to sell.
      • Those crab monsters; maybe these are like a parasite to space whales and a predator of humans and space gnats and other small critters. They hide in burrows they drill into rock and spaceship hulls with their caustic acid spit, which they use to kill prey and penetrate space whales' hides. They can crawl and launch themselves with their legs or scoot around slowly in open space.
      • Hive monsters; this is like the most common space monster trope i know of. Theres a giant queen somewhere that eats things voraciously and swarms of drones she sends out into other sectors to scout or collect stuff. Theyd go after anything they find, living or not, short of a star. They could even invade and start eating things off of a planet. A single solar system couldnt support one of these for the duration of the game, every once in a while theyd eat everything and move on to the next.
      • Star snakes; these guys live inside and around stars. Somehow? Theyre dangerous to hunt, on the order of a hive queen, and sometimes attack other objects and creatures/ships in a system. Very rare, and should probably be very rewarding.
      As far as on planet goes, i really hope we get the game to be able to create its own procedurally generated critters unique to a particular planet, but on others that are overrun by foreign organisms we can have some basics like dogs. I cant imagine humanity without dogs.

      And then theres vegetation. Earthly or Earth-like vegetation all over the place is popular in scifi, maybe because we're all terrible at imagining vegetables versus animals.

      We can have a inverted parasol/umbrela shaped stalk that traps rainwater inside it. Blisters that form on the ground and are nearly as tough as rocks, green spots and softly glowing interiors. Plants that float atop the water, use their "roots" to snag organic matter floating underneath. We dont have to stick to terrestrial flora in any sense. Some "plants" could even move around
       
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    2. WarSong

      WarSong Cmdr Deathmark

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      I need a big -fuck off- cat-like combat pet. Even if I have to breed one through mating. I just need something to keep all these crabs and spiders the hell away. I'll take a dog or wolf thing even. Anything that keeps the wild life at bay and can terrorize crews when I start boarding their doomed ships for plunder and w/e they have that passes for booze. I can imagine having conscripted an entire tribe of hunter/gatherers to my crew, assigned them and their hunting partner animals as marines, then just swing by the local pirate station. Whatever isn't totally covered in blood or charred beyond recognition goes straight into my wondrous plunder hole.
       
      #2 WarSong, Oct 21, 2018
      Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
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    3. jayman38

      jayman38 Precentor-Primus, pro-tempore

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      I hope future flora concepts will use a parts-database. I think that is how the laser-spiders were implemented in-game. Different parts merged together via XML rules. Different types of parts, merged in reasonable ways, and painted a color. This will allow server owners to build their own creatures. And if the system is robust enough, it might even allow randomized creatures.

      This suggests a number of generic parts that can be combined in different configurations.

      limb segments (thin, medium, thick) (smooth, scaled, spiky)
      body segments (thin, medium, thick) (short, medium, long)
      heads
      mouths (short, muzzle, fanged)
      stingers (thin, medium, thick)
      grippers (number of digits, size, sharpness)
      eyes (single, compound, multi)
       
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    4. boxcartenant

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      I think it would be neat to implement, instead of round-ish planets, flat planets on elephants on turtles... or maybe just put a few of those scattered around the universe... (jk)
       
    5. EricBlank

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      What about freaky space "turtles" with ecosystems under their transluscent shells?
       
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    6. Lone_Puppy

      Lone_Puppy Me, myself and I.

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      Yeah, I agree!
      I personally see this as the logical path to follow for most things in this game, asteroids, planets, systems, factions...etc.
      I mentioned a while back using this methodology to generate faction stations and ships. It gives you an infinite possible races with minimal effort. All you have to do is build parts and they're brought together using an algorithm.
       
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    7. EricBlank

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      Actually that all totally makes sense. I wonder if the devs could do that.
       
    8. tabbot

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      some of these remind me vaguely of Corneroids and the purple-people-eating-mouth-monster that would live inside asteroids and which was pretty terrifying in "early game"
       
    9. Ribbons0121R121

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      GrOwAbLe TrEeS
       
    10. EricBlank

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      Youve gone too far bro. Next youll be asking for flora that spreads to nearby soil tiles! :v

      Id also been thinking recently, again, i know i shouldnt, but it would be nice to have some more organic blocks to allow players to create more believable "living" spaceships. We could make things that can stand in for animals in space out of blocks, but we would need, in the universe update, some way to say "this blueprint is supposed to be a random encounter, and a creature, not a normal spaceship." So the game knows to spawn it occasionally, but not to use it in random factions or pirate gangs, if we ever had those things anyway.
       
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    11. Edymnion

      Edymnion Carebear Extraordinaire!

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      Honestly, I still want to see crops/food (at this point even if they don't actually DO anything). Space wheat, more space berries, maybe some space pumpkins...
       
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    12. MacThule

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      It would be nice if there were fauna (on planets & in space) that had territorial behavior along the lines of how NPC empires expand and defend their territory.
       
    13. EricBlank

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      Like space hive monsters spreading out, or like individuals claiming a sector/cluster of sectors/system like a space grizzly bear? Why not both?

      You find the perfect system to setup in. All the right resources, with it and the neighboring system alone you can be fully self sufficient for months at a time. The only problem is, a titanic snarglor bull has claimed the system itself, and will tolerate no intruders. If you call for help, theres no guarantee your "allies" will just let you keep the system. Snarglor bulls are 200m giants with nearly impenetrable hides and can dish out 1 million dps between their rapid fire cannon-like needles that intercept missiles and thruster nubs directing beams of particles like laser turrets. Youll have to build a fleet of full size warships on your own.

      And then you have to deal with his pissed off girlfriends.


      Additionally, lets talk about how critters should be able to attack the player. I mostly expect things that arent mechanical in nature themselves, so what makes sense as weapons?

      • They can just ram/bite/melee your ship and make like a small explosion as if from a missile
      • They could make a short range pulse like the space whales were supposed to, cause a little damage to armored blocks but mostly affect shields, unarmored blocks, and cause spikes in power consumption related to their magnitude.
      • They can have like a cannon like above, where a projectile is launched from them. Needles, goo globs, etc.
      • Can beams even make sense? Thruster wake jets like above might, as a short range low intensity shield drain, but to really damage blocks quickly and pose a threat? Not without totally screwing with players sense of immersion.
      • Missiles, maybe? As another cannon like projectile, excreted from the mass and just really big and easy to shoot/dodge. But to track objects, it would have to represent an entity with will of its own. Maybe adults could be protected by their kamikaze offspring, then.
      What else makes sense? The game doesnt have any other weapons categories right now, nor can i think of any other means of attack that both have an example in the natural world and make sense in a vacuum. Things like sonic attacks or roars dont make even a little sense. An electromagnetic field that damages things inside it... maybe?

      And these critters dont have the magic of a reactor that produces infinite free energy and ammo to fling at their opponents. Doesnt it make sense that an organism will eventually exhaust itself both in terms of gasses to propel itself and "ammo" or energy to continue fighting? Would it be fun to be able to "tank" a critter for so long that it becomes helplessly exhausted for minutes or hours and then do with it what you wish?

      You could exploit that to capture animals and keep them as pets. Exhaust them, capture or enclose them, feed them until theyre healthy again, theyre neutral to you now. Keep it up and they might start to like you and tolerate invasive or painful procedures like accidentally shooting them or trying to milk/bleed them for something.
       
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    14. kiwispike

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      Well... As a scifi fan. Off the cuff I can think of.

      Energy crystals that sap your energy on contact (SG:A)

      Entities that corrode Hull on contact (Star trek voyager)

      Cute little critters that seek warmth but have Em so shut down internal systems if you leave doors open and they get in ship (andromeda)

      Rat like critters that get in your ship and eat all the conduits (Star trek ds9) (single block destruction over time)

      Nebula Entities that simply suck you in and drain all power before destroying the Hull (voyager)

      Furry little critters that breed rapidly eating all food stocks (maybe eat ore) (new star trek episode refrencing old star trek with kurt)
       
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    15. jayman38

      jayman38 Precentor-Primus, pro-tempore

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      "Conventional" animals would be tamable or at least controllable with advanced tech, so they should be left out of the game, except with mods. Something that "makes sense" in nature will not be a fun, meaningful addition to Starmade. It really needs to be "way out there" to make an impact. (Think: laser spiders)

      Starmade animals should be exceptional creatures, with inexhaustible power supplies. Otherwise, conquering them is simply a waiting/baiting game. That's not fun. It's just another way of mining, really. (A.k.a. Farming) It's not that we should never have any form of farming, but I think farming in general is not worth adding to the vanilla game and should be relegated to an optional mod because it is fun for a small subset of the general gaming population.

      Similarly, Starmade animals need to have range attacks. Otherwise, similar to the plasma-sphere weapon of old, they can be defeated easily by range weapons on vehicles that only have to be slightly faster than them, and will hardly ever be able to attack, except by surprise. (If you are relying on surprise attacks for animals to be successful, you may as well ignore the above paragraph regarding inexhaustible power supplies.)

      Also, Starmade "animals" can be a non-animal entity. How? Think of a space-bee-hive with its own propulsion, with individual bees being represented as missile entities. Such hives could also be conceived as a "mother" creature, with its babies flying out from the surface. Such "mother animals" are the same thing as a space-hive, from a gameplay perspective, and would simply have a different look.

      Furthermore, missile "animals", such as space-bees, don't have to necessarily explode on impact. They could "latch on" and do something else, like drain shields and/or energy.

      Also, swarms like space bees might not necessarily need a hive to launch from. They could be a swarm just floating in space as a tight group, that turn into active, homing missiles when something (your ship) is detected in range.

      Edit: I think a big part of making Starmade animals fun and interesting would be making them only detectable by active scanner systems, unless they do a "hard burn" towards you, like space bees become active missile-style entities.
       
      #15 jayman38, Mar 19, 2019
      Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
    16. EricBlank

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      That last part about sensing makes sense for a lot of creatures.
      On the other, not all animals need to even be a threat to anybody, i kinda feel like youre overthinking that part. Some fauna just jetting about on their own little missions can do a lot for the immersion and interest in exploring, even as simply a part of the fluff and diversity universe, like they dont all have to be uber-baddies you have to be scared of.
       
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