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    Feature Rarity and "Unique" features in the Universe Update

    Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by EricBlank, Dec 27, 2018.

    1. EricBlank

      Jul 1, 2013
      In my opinions, one of the things open world, sandbox space sims do badly, often, is making otherwise interesting things far too abundant to continue to be interesting, and i sincerely hope this doesnt continue to be the case for Starmade in the future.

      I say continue, because from day 1 i started playing, Starmade has been an offender of this rule; we have always had abandoned stations, yes the variety has increased, but there are still, in default configs, multiple abandoned stations in every system. We've always had shop stations, in every system. Usually multiple. Its never been an adventure to go shopping or find "civilization." Pirates have always been ubiquitous, with multiple stations in every solar system.

      And life. From as far back as cookie planets, every single planet has had abundant plant life. Theres always been the same five archetypes of planetary life; green terrestrial, desert terrestrial, martian/red desert, purple tentacles, and ice crags. There has never been such a thing as a barren world.

      And all this has combined to make the universe as it has been boring to explore. Once youve seen all there is to be seen, which youve usually gone through within two to three star systems, theres nothing left to see, because you know, from that point on, everything else is just more of what youve already seen.
      And thats basically the problem.

      So my suggestion is to seriously rethink how things are distributed on the most basic levels for future updates, and here are a few basic rules i think can slow down universe-exploration burnout in the future;

      On the natural side we have;
      1. Start with the entire galaxy as empty "wilderness." Generate no signs of intelligent life at this stage and mostly regular stars and barren rocky worlds/gas giants.
      2. Populate only a tiny fraction of the planets in the galaxy with life, less than 1% of rocky planets and less than 1% of systems get spaceborne life. Maybe these lifeforms can spread, but dont flood the universe with too many that are going to become ubiquitous. Never use familiar terrestrial life, things that belong on earth, in these worlds.
      3. Create some natural Points of Interest, like unique geological features, wormholes & black holes, broken planets, rogue planets between star systems, hollow asteroids, etc. Keep them rare, like only one in ten or so systems get something special.
      And on the civilization front we have;
      1. Create civilizations as factions. Mark one off as humans, because we play as humans. Select a homeworld for them, and a small region around them as territory their species has colonized.
      2. These civilized regions, combined, should never account for more than 60% of the galaxy. Leave some space for players to explore.
      3. For human civilization, we get terrestrial lifeforms. Planets terraformed by humans contain terrestrial lifeforms.
      4. Other species generate/select from a pool of lifeforms unique to their homeworld that can otherwise be found on worlds/stations terraformed/built by them.
      5. Simulate some "failed expeditions" out into "wild" space from these civilizations. A terraformed world or a colony station fit for their species, with a colony, that is abandoned/dead.
      6. Kill a few of these civilizations. Everything in their territory is abandoned now. Or taken up by pirates or "remnant" colonies that no longer form a government/faction.
      7. Create maybe 1-2, not 10-20, abandoned stations in most systems that are or have been occupied by civilizations.
      8. Generate pirate factions on the peripheries of civilizations. Put a few hidden pirate stations inside civilized systems too.
      9. Generate shops only within active civilized space.
      10. Link shops and colony stations/planets to the factions that own the space somehow. Even if its just traders guild reps reminding you whose territory youre in and their faction ships defending it if you attack them.
      11. Generate and abondon new shops and tag-along colonies as civilizations expand outwards or are destroyed, or in the territories of player factions that permit them.
      For a great example of a game that does this really, really badly, look at No Mans Sky, where nearly every single planet has an atmosphere and life, has an environmental hazard, and is speckled with so much evidence of civilization's garbage that there's no evident reason the player is discovering anything; "civilization," as much as it counts as civilization, is ubiquitous. The rules that govern flora and fauna generation are so simple you've seen everything possible within your starting solar system. It gets boring, fast. This is what we want to avoid.
      • Like Like x 10
    2. Valck

      Jun 27, 2013
      So much this. Make the universe a big and most of all, empty place!

      Excuse my shameless plug; while old, I think Derelict/Abandoned Ships has some relevant thoughts on the topic at hand. I don't want to copy/paste, much less type, all that again... ;)
      • Like Like x 1
    3. EricBlank

      Jul 1, 2013
      I dont know about empty, but the things that are ubiquitous shouldnt also be the features intended to excite players. Like asteroids, comets, barren planets, regular gas giants, dwarf planets and moons should be common, most irl systems we observe have planets after all, but the super interesting stuff youd take a day trip to go looking for shouldnt be nearly so common.
      • Like Like x 2
    4. NeonSturm

      NeonSturm StormMaker

      Dec 31, 2013
      What reason can you bring for not having one faction spreading until we get "overpopulated china space" in one galaxy?
      I think, the start galaxy could be different. Not a must, but a could here.

      And then we have periphery galaxies which despawn on a destined server time and spawn anew.

      This main galaxy would then have the settlements, players want to keep. Other servers share their content to make it interesting, but there have to be rules to keep this somewhat compatible.
      • Like Like x 1
    5. EricBlank

      Jul 1, 2013
      They could totally spread indefinitely after galaxy generation, but i dont think itd be fun to play in a galaxy generared where theres literally nowhere to claim as your own and mine without pissing off local governments.
    6. NeonSturm

      NeonSturm StormMaker

      Dec 31, 2013
      Exactly, EericBlank.
      Peoples need a System they can claim their own.

      Because the server/client always loads adjacent systems too, you need more than 3x3x3 systems per player.
      Maybe give each player one home system. (additionally to that of the faction. Not too far off).

      The planets have to be exciting. Not perfect, but exciting.
      One Planet side (north) may be to build up on (unremoveable 1-block-thick layer) the other side to dig into (south).
      One side has to be beatiful with plant life, another side wild and ravaged by elements.
      You can define 6 extremes and have all opposites on the different planet plates.

      But the most important is, that the player has one freely editable surface for his space-port and one underground cave system in which he has his most valuables (perhaps south/north).
      The other sites should be natural exciting ones which may or may not be edited.
      And one side - maybe the cave side, may have natural spawning ressources which can be mined per hand.
      I would make the earth-like a holiday planet, the purple one a outpost-scientific planet, the mars one a factory planet, the icy one a planet for peoples who are exiled or want to be alone and then I may have a civilisation-hub somewhere.

      16^3 - 3^3*5 = 4096 - 135 sectors.
      I assume there is enough space for 30-50 stations with empty sectors around them.

      These stations I can provide my faction access to, as long as I am a member of that faction, that is.
      A few example stations which can be cosmetically modified can give me a purpose to play this game.
      Add decoration/colors, dock self-designed modules for a purpose written in a display block.
      Equip some large room for a specific purpose explained by a display block.
      And the ressources come from these refreshing galaxies. Because when destroyed, they void into nothingness, even lesser than antimatter-matter which turns at least into energy.