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    How I'd Want to See Universe 2.0 and Overall Game Direction

    Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Edymnion, Jan 3, 2019.

    1. Edymnion

      Edymnion Carebear Extraordinaire!

      Mar 18, 2015
      More as a topic of conversation than anything else, but if I had my hand on the wheel, this is the direction I'd want to take the game in Universe 2.0 (assuming all kinks and optimizations are worked out):

      Minecraft + Civilization = Starmade

      Early Game:
      First time you load into a server or start a new game you spawn in on a random planet within a few systems of someone else's territory (or within a few systems of 2,2,2 if no one else is there). Idea being that you always are close enough to another player that you can interact, but with enough buffer that they aren't immediately a threat. You spawn in next to a small structure in the shape of a crashed ship. You have crash landed on an unmapped world, and you have to start building up a bit of infrastructure to start building a ship to get off it. This would essentially be a tutorial area where the game introduces you to the basics. You'd need to do some Minecraft style resource gathering, build up things like factories to start producing ship parts, etc. Have some hostile alien creatures on the planet so that part of the tutorial can be "How to build a defensive turret" to keep the mobs at bay.

      Now, here's where it gets a little controversial as it involves something Schema doesn't like. The surface of planets would be instanced, so that you could have as big of a world to explore as you wanted, without straining the rest of the server. Would mean things like the anti-grav can be used to make surface vehicles, small ships as transport shuttles, etc. Changing over to the space map would have a nice little animation of your ship arcing up into the sky while space loads. Vice versa, a nice little planetfall animation to help disguise instance loading time for the surface.

      While on a planet, there would be, for lack of a better term, "luxury" resources that can be collected, and structures built to harvest those luxury resources automatically. Think farms that can be set up to grow special crops, mining to passively generate special materials, etc.

      I'm picturing a centralized "city" with multiple "outposts" being the norm, with the outposts generating resources that then have to be sent back to the main city. Early on you'd be running back and forth to carry stuff by hand, later on you'd be building things like automated hover trains or supply drones to move things around automatically.

      Perhaps have there be other intelligent races on the planet (aka, Crew) that you can recruit and give orders to as the brains of the automation system. Food can then be a resource you produce that affects how many Crew you can recruit, and luxuries can form the backbone of a morale system (where happier Crew are more efficient). If the floor for Crew efficiency is pretty low, it means it would be better for a player to do things, but later on crews would get to be nearly as good as players at getting jobs done.

      Could even make a block based passive luxury generation for "entertainment" that functions along the lines of the old power reactor boxes. Outline a room in an entertainment array, and unhappy crew could stop working and go there to refill their morale until they're good to work again. We could then decorate those areas as crew quarters with beds, or bars, dance floors, whatever.

      Or maybe luxuries determine the maximum amount of morale a crew member can have, and entertainment determines how quickly it fills? Kind of like fuel. The higher their moral, the more "fuel" they carry, the longer they can work at a time. The higher the quality of the entertainment facilities, the less downtime they need before getting back to work.

      Mid Game:
      Once you have enough resources to build a proper ship, you can start spreading out to other planets in the system, asteroid mining, etc. The ground tutorial would have taught you how to make turrets, how to make systems, and the "automate delivery of resources" from outposts would then translate 1:1 into knowing how to set up delivery routes and schedules for offworld activity.

      This is the point where we mostly see gameplay like it is now, with the players mostly being in ships and stations. The planets now start to act more like cities in Civilization, where the resources/luxuries that you've built harvesters for planetside become more akin to passive boosts for growth space side. As in, while planetside in your instance, you've got actual physical movement of blocks. Once you go space side, the game simulates the process and gives you a flat amount of those resources per tick.

      You then likely end up building a space station, and set up automated delivery drone routes to shuttle resources from your planets to your station and/or from asteroid belts to your station.

      You would, of course, still have to manually design and build your delivery shuttles, your drone miners, etc like you do now (in a shipyard) and have the shipyard kick off production whenever you wanted a new one.

      Linking different planets/stations together with trade routes moving luxuries/resources around could then tie into the morale system, making Crew happier, which would then do something like increase how quickly resources can be created/transferred on a planetary scale. The amount of food produced on the planet then helps support Crew totals for manning AI ships.

      Late Game:
      Abstracted up another level, where now you're working at a galactic scale and you're managing entire systems at a time. Each system would need a "control node" station, from which you could oversee general processes going on in any other system you control. By this I mean you could control the automation AI for an entire system to do things like "Build a warship" (assuming the control node station had a shipyard) or "Send resource shipment from system X to system Y".

      Linking entire systems together would be like linking planets together, where the production of entire systems is abstracted (unless a player is actually in that system) and boosted.

      And at this level, you have a bigger focus on exploration as you try to hunt down systems and planets with luxuries you don't have so that you can add them to your network.


      You could then have players who basically "live" at whatever level of abstraction they are most comfortable at. Base builders could stay on planets improving their resource generation. More combat oriented players could stay at the space level piloting warships and commanding fleets. Managerial types could live at the highly abstracted galactic view keeping everything connected and flowing. And while single players could solo all of it, it would be a lot more difficult for them to juggle everything while flying between cities/planets/systems themselves to make it all happen.

      We could then also have territory/claimed space be a function of morale or some other measure of "power". At the planetary level, it could be space where hostiles don't spawn in. At a system level, it starts spreading out sector by sector. Only by the time you get to the galactic scale do you start having entire systems that are under your control.

      Solo players would be unlikely to get out of the Middle Game section, while factions could much more easily control large regions of space by having each individual player control a system. I think that would allow a better ability to have factions where people who normally play solo can be happy off in their own little corner building their own stuff, while simultaneously providing benefit to the group as a whole.

      Could also then have meaningful faction member levels. The higher your rank in the faction, the higher the level of abstraction you can control. Entry level might be limited to planetside automated control only, and would have to manually fly around mining or fighting in space (like we do now), while the higher ups could command shipyards and fleet movements on a sector or system level scale.


      PvP could then be handled at a personal level (where the player is actually piloting a ship) and a "command" level where the player is basically ordering fleets around and the actual combat flying is done by AI. If you like dogfighting, great, get in a ship and start blasting! If you like it more RTS style, sit in a command center and order your fleets around and watch as the AI resolves combat.

      You'll have trade routes populated by physical ships carrying resources/luxuries that will need escorts, or you could be a pirate that attacks said cargo ships to steal resources. Large scale inter-faction war could be done at the RTS scale by sending fleets to attack/defend various sectors/systems, while single hotshot pilot players could outfly the relatively dumber AI's (meaning that you're always better off with a human involved in combat, meaning larger factions being able to field multiple manned ships are going to have a distinct advantage over turtling solo players).

      So overall, layers of abstraction where a player can drill down to where they want to spend their time, where any given layer benefits greatly from having an active human present, but are still functional without them.
      #1 Edymnion, Jan 3, 2019
      Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
      • Like Like x 2
    2. Maarek Stele

      Jun 16, 2014
      This sound amazing i have a some questions though

      1) will there be nebula clouds that you can enter that will disrupt scanners and jamming systems
      2) will there be an Asteroid Feels and if so can they take up a hole sector or just 1/2?
      3) will the fleet Command be updated with this and fix ? i.e. having fleet jump to secrets
      4) when you talk about the single player for managing a galaxies may be difficult do juggle could we use the AI to help do this if we can give them jobs ect i think this will help to solve that problem out so single players only can benefice the same as MP
      5) will new block or Holograms to talk to other Fleets and allies or Evan but blueprints on display will be into dues?
      6) what scale your thing for Planets.

      many thanks
    3. jayman38

      jayman38 Precentor-Primus, pro-tempore

      Jul 13, 2014

      Early-Game: Minecraft clone: build up a planet-side city and learn how to build turrets and other forms of automation
      Mid-Game: Current Starmade: Build a ship, leave the planet, and fly around space. (Primary PVP level)
      Late-Game: RTS Starmade: Manage your empire from the space map, using AI pilots.

      Players can stay at whichever game-level they prefer (early/mid/late), according to their preferred playstyle.

      With this proposal, I still see early/survival/new players getting stomped on the ground by invading troll fleets. I also do not think that instanced planets are a requirement to make this overall proposal work right.
      • Like Like x 2
    4. Edymnion

      Edymnion Carebear Extraordinaire!

      Mar 18, 2015
      I would want to see instanced planets for two reasons:

      1) Size. Planets are HUGE lag sources, and taking big ships near big planets is just collision checks aplenty. If planets were made as permanent LOD round objects, the engine wouldn't have to try and render millions of blocks. It would also remove planet eating as a thing, so again, not having big ships with tons of beams interacting with planets. But more importantly, it would give us Minecraft level/size environments to build in and explore. I personally like the idea of going down to a planet and having it be bigger than I can reasonably explore on foot.

      2) If the surface is instanced, access to it can be controlled. Rules could be used to say "no ships over X size" can go down to a planet surface, shuttles and transporters only. Sure, you could still be griefed, but you've now put an upper limit on what a griefer can bring to bare. Which means planet side automated defenses can be a viable thing. Which also means that we could have ground combat similar to boarding. And we could replace home base invincibility with a home planet instance lock, so at the very least all the griefing in the world could only restrict a player to Scifi Minecraft Mode. You're bottled up on your planet, but there is still at least a game there for you to play.
      • Like Like x 3
    5. NeonSturm

      NeonSturm StormMaker

      Dec 31, 2013
      The way I see it:
      On the planet, there is intelligent life, but this life does only know basic tech.
      The system is populated by planets just for the player. All 5 biomes are present in your home system.

      North pole is a flat surface. You can dig into, but harvest only ice. On other biomes only poison or only sand.
      It is the perfect place for building your space-port, using the pure-flat surface.

      South pole is a more natural ice continent where your ship crashed. It isn't static and always changes.
      When no player/NPC is present to maintain some tech-equipment or bulding, it turns to "scrap-value" which re-appears in radonmly scattered "lootable scrap". It is splilt into sections which have a perimeter graph. Every time that graph changes, the section gets re-generated terrain fitting to the 4 graphs like a distorted gradient.
      On this continent, you can mostly harvest ice.
      But if you turn enough ice to water in a basic refinery, you get some fossils which contain random basic ressources.

      As for ressources, there would be "basic ressources" directly harvestable and "refined ressources", such as alloys which require infrastructure.
      There are also "rare ressources" which are just less dense, thus harder to optain, or required commonly in larger numbers for comperative effect.
      Your tech progression would be:
      1. start south pole, get basic ressources (ice as hull, hover block, chemical power block)
      2. get to south continent with ship, get refined ressources (real hull, thruster)
      3. go to north continent, get rare ressources.
      4. go to north pole, build a factory, produce all products you like there.

      The north+south planet plates can be only 5+5 or even 10+10 - depending on how many sub-biomes we want for that planet-type biome.
      One earthlike planet, north will be relatively big, so south will be too. But there will be "earthlike" and "alien-made earthlike like in the Avatar-movie, where the twin transfers his spirit with a machine into the natural inhabitant and the military want to mine the levitation-ressource at all costs, which he has to avoid".

      Your crash planet would be that alien-made earthlike type.
      If one south plate is a ravaging sea, the opposite would be a ravaging desert at opposing north plate.
      If one south plate is a jungle with green-grown sandstone-pyramid homes, the opposite north plate would be a Stonehenge-Civilistion.
      These aliens should have built natural and diverse habitats. Primitive, but good for sustaining a happy life.

      And then you come. The alien with his advanced technology. At first, they would greet you like an "surprisingly intelligent animal / strange-foreigner / fearful" depending on conversation path and NPC-archetype.
      Later they have their political crysis or heated conversations of town-elders how they react to you.

      This leads to some territories hostile, others habitable.
      And a few NPC-friends like a Xeno-Research-Group of "humanee" which aren't 100% human, but relatively close.
      Topics to communicate have to be researched like their language.

      They would hesistate to do certain things.
      Mostly they have a respect for natural appearance of the planet.
      But they would use materials appearing on the surface. Those who regrow, are uterly required for something they desire.
      They will only mine a 1-10% fraction of what they have each generation. Don't expect more of them. They will become more productive, once they replace these things from an outside source and "start to see the universal cycle of recycling" with it'S mechanics.

      The big city, of which you (the opening poster) speak will be built in some rather inhabitable but stable environment.
      An environment unwanted by primitive species, but eligible for advanced civilisations or hardened individuals.
      This would be mountain-tops like mount everest, ravaged mountainous areas which are hard to climb, places which have few oxigen because 3km high but are ideal dry air for building telescopes, ... BTW: Too few oxygen causes muscles to degenerate over a few weeks.

      But with your technology, you make these areas habitable by inventing space-suits or partial variants for the inhabitants.
      For these, you earn their respect.
      This respect makes some of them supporting you, even though they prefer their natural life or a life close to.

      And then, there are the explorer-archetypes of NPC.
      These are willing to join your crew and live a life in space ships, stations and else.
      Babies must be born on the planet, grow up there and as adults join your crew.
      (3 days maybe. Faster progressing as option for Singleplayer).
      The more you have, the longer it takes for new ones, up to a limit per birth-planet.

      You build your whole space-port on that north pole. The reason will be, that "your" planet's peoples see north plate as a "ascending into the sky" spiritual elevator and you as the "ambassador of the sky".
      Like you use the peoples, they will use you as teacher or ferryman-grandfather to show them how to contact other life face-to-face.
      Ofcourse you can influence them into a particular direction, but they grow angry if it is too aggressively used.
      Angry peoples are worth "less production", "fewer new crew to recruit".
      Happy peoples are providing valuable buffs an automat can never give you.

      You yourself play an immortal soul, either reincarnating in your descendants or simply respawn from a single body cell kept in a supporting environment (with a few DNA-copies per cell) at the position you want to respawn every time you lose your body.
      These peoples are spritually highly advanced and are reborn at their birth planet if there is enough space for them.
      The population just grows/shrinks by the amount of pressure from unborn spirits which have a compatible mindset/soul for a life on this planet. Meaning more deaths lead to more grow. But a bad life leads to fewer souls which want a body for them to be born there and a lower population.

      The population will be divided into lower and upper souls. They are not distinguished by a chip-implant or a book in the church.
      Instead, the higher souls will make good inventions and the lower souls will try to abuse these, given the chance, to improve their own life.
      Heaven is a place aside higher souls, giving you labor to do and showing you one way to compare your idea of the future to.
      Hell is a place aside lower souls, demanding from you more than you want to give.
      An angel can be in hell. Many angels create their own heaven within hell, making hellborn either ascend or search a new hell to live in.

      4 Side-paragraphs:
      In one book, the author made the peoples say something along: "Hell was another word for world in deamonic language, used for worlds where matter rules / Heaven are worlds from another realm/universe/dimension where wishes define appearance of matter".
      Theoretically, if we program nano-robots - either made of silicon or biology or something else -, we could create our own heave or hell.
      In Sci-Fi movies we re-use matter provided by Earth, Asteroids or Holographic matter in StarTrek for that purpose.

      But to keep it realistic: What can we do better than what The earth-creator-God already did?
      At which scale do you want to live? In which environment?
      Do you want a world where atoms are magic, behaving different to assist your life or where atoms are mechanical and you have to shape you to life along them?; I think you cannot change atoms, but atoms are a description/picture of something required shaping us or our environment.

      We might be insects, then atoms and the world would be bigger for us.
      Or we might be titans to make everything smaller and in finer granularity compared to us.
      Perhaps we have the right distance in size to quantuum mechanics device-size to make "devices of magic" in a transportable format, like a handy rather than some big town-sized machine.
      Imagine quantuum mechanics as world-foundation and 1 meter (child-size) as the size in which we are challenged to build our heaven.
      Our heaven might not be heaven for some animals. Perhaps there is competition on a spiritual level which animals to keep close.

      Some butterfly might not be required for sustain life or even suffer in some version of imagined heaven, but that butterfly uses some quantuum mechanics effect like having patterns on wings in light-wave-size to filter a specific colour.
      This invention he carries to our childs, so we can watch nature and get inspiriation what we can do with technik. Without that butterfly, wouldn't there be something lost?
      Other animals carry similar things - either quantuum mechanical, mechanical, spiritual, on a level we don't even know jet, ...
      Perhaps (uncertain end) even our dreams are generated on a spiritual link to a certain animal soul we keep a spiritual relation to, who knows?

      With computers we can make virtual worlds, defining the foundation for experiences anew.
      Once we make a virtual environment in which life can flower on a quantuum computer, it may become rooted in quantuum dynamics in a way we cannot remove it anymore. It may exist simultanously in the spiritual realm with the computer being the link between worlds.
      Either worry about computer being a vendor-gate, or see computers as devices which help/force us to define our wishes in a sufficient shape before they become true.
      From there you have quite some mental ways onward to explore.
    6. Crashmaster

      Crashmaster I got N64 problems but a bitch ain't one

      Oct 18, 2013
      • Like Like x 1
    7. Sachys

      Sachys Hermit.

      Nov 30, 2015
      Well, okay then...


      * * * * *

      To the OP, hes right, this sounds overly complex - especially after all the hoo hah over 2.0
    8. SirJTaylor

      Nov 26, 2016
      I just wanna see actual NPCs in Starmade and more weapons so things can get more interesting. Probably like slave NPCs that do the work you would have to otherwise do in person.
    9. tabbot

      Apr 7, 2013
      generally, I'd like to see more NPC's like what people here are saying, perhaps improved NPC interaction as well.

      but more importantly, a system of "NPC Crew" or "Virtual Crew".

      By Virtual Crew I mean "you're required to have at least 1x3 passages between various "systems" onboard your ship in order to get the bonus/buff associated with having crew. (or avoid the debuff that large collections of systems should have when there is no crew)...

      Think of if it as a system whereby "maintenance tunnels" are encouraged.

      as for planets I really don't know what to think of them.
    10. OfficialCoding

      OfficialCoding Currently Fleet Building

      Nov 8, 2017
      This idea is cool, but I have a couple issues with it.

      No. Instancing is a bad idea, since then you can't have awesome orbital bombardments and stuff like that. Also Schema said that block behavior is getting a huge buff in speed/performance so large planets shouldn't be too awful anymore.
      This could be cool as a mod, but I don't think it should be in Starmade, at least vanilla. It just doesn't feel like Starmade, you know?

      So I guess what I'm saying is, No instanced planets, no crew entertainment systems, but pretty much the rest of the post is good
      --- Updated post (merge), Mar 11, 2019, Original Post Date: Mar 11, 2019 ---
      As for this, no. It feels too much like one of those other games that's super restrictive about what you do. SM is all about creativity and freedom in designs and also this would screw all previous builds. I think that crew should give a SMALL buff and there should be no debuff associated with not having passages to your systems.
      • Like Like x 1
    11. tabbot

      Apr 7, 2013
      I'll have to disagree with you, crew requirements/incentives (or disincentives for not-having-crew) that progressively increase with the size/power-output of the ship in question seems to me like an interesting way of balancing stuff.

      at the very least the buff should be significant depending on the size/power-output of the craft in question.
    12. Edymnion

      Edymnion Carebear Extraordinaire!

      Mar 18, 2015
      I personally don't see this as being something we should worry about, honesly.

      We all know we're playing in an alpha, we all know that what we build now probably won't be fully functional and definitely won't be optimal when the game officially launches.

      We've already gone through multiple rounds of "this screws everything that came before it" (power 2.0, we're on weapons 3.0, and don't forget we're actually on thrust... like 2.5), so as long as what we get is more fun to build and use, I for one don't really mind throwing literally everything I've got out the window and starting over.

      Hell, its why I'm working mostly on shells right now, because I know its all going to be thrown out here soon enough, either because it doesn't work anymore or because Universe 2.0 gives me much cooler options.
    13. TheDerpGamerX

      TheDerpGamerX Lord of Lawnmowers

      Sep 18, 2017
      I'm honestly in favor of having NPC crews. My idea was that they could path over to and "buff" a specified system or perform an action when their crew control block receives a logic signal. You could do all kinds of stuff with this such as having it linked to inner ship remotes or sensors. Again crew shouldn't be required, but it should be encouraged in order to receive minor buffs or to operate systems in ways not currently available without giving ships that have a ton of crew a massive advantage on the battlefield.
    14. StormWing0

      StormWing0 Leads the Storm

      Jun 26, 2015
      There could be a way to instance planets and even stars while allowing Orbital Bombardments and Planet/Star Eating but it involves updating a bitmap to display what was done from orbit or what was done by ground based defenses to things in orbit. While the game keeps track internally what's happening to the planet or star during mining or attacks it only displays it when needed every now and than. Since planets and stars internally are large enough to where from orbit it'd look like a flat round surface even if you are bombing or mining the heck out of it. That said the normal mining lasers shouldn't be the tools used for mining planets and stars since it'd be too laggy even in this case, same thing with orbital attacks and launching attacks on orbiting enemies. Some kind of weapon mod(s) needs to be brought in where without it you could fire at things on the ground or up in orbit all day and never hit them but with the mod(s) it'd both allow the AI to target things cross-instance and fire cross-instance.

      So for those complaining about not being able to bombard or mine planets and stars from orbit, there's ways to allow it and see what's happened and not have it feeling instanced even though it is. Same thing with people worried about being stuck on the ground if such an attack happens, if you've done enough building and mining you should be able to find what you need on most planets to be able to fight back against a ship in orbit, wouldn't be too sure about moons and stars though since they'd be things you'd go after later going by the idea here. :)

      Now there's ways to give players things to do but after a certain point someone is going to get bored and go murder a system or two for kicks.

      As for other ideas to add the RTS functions being something you can get at any level is a good idea since if someone wanted particular functions they should have to hunt for the resources or other things to open up use of those functions. Another idea would be Mega Structures, basically collections of smaller structures in swarms around an area or a single large structure. These could be stations or just large buildings built out from a object like a planet, moon, star, etc. This could open up a door to keep players otherwise busy or result in a systemwide monstrosity moving from one system to the next eating and obliterating anything in its path. :)
      • Like Like x 1
    15. Madoushi

      Jul 20, 2015
      A lot of interesting perspective about the multiplayer aspects of the game.

      As someone who only plays SP, my primary suggestion is starting the player in a completely safe system - a system that no NPC should try to enter and any that does gets instantly despawned. Perhaps it could be not a system you yourself could even claim for your faction, just a place to learn how to basically build and where you can go to build things without having pirates show up and wreck everything every thirty seconds, or have trader ships come and crash into all your WIPs and send them hurtling into space.

      Also there should really be a tutorial that shows new players how to make a basic ship that can hold its own against Isanths.

      I have been trying hard to get into this game since 2014. I love it as a pile of lego blocks to build with, but as an actual game I find it massively frustrating. Hopefully by the time the game launches, I'll have it figured out enough to enjoy it.