Sandbox Games: Is it better to leave out half finished game mechanics?

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    Thinking about this game again...

    So we got for example trading:

    If the trading mechanics - credits transfer via shop module and credit transfer via command, trade requesting from NPCs and the NPC shops - weren't implemented. Would this be a better game?

    Wait a second before you answer: I assume players would actualy just implement trade themself by traveling to each other and exchaning currency in person. The second assumption is, that the dev cahnges currency into a physical form, that can be stored the ships or players cargo.


    This would lead to the following side effects:
    1. Trade module gui would not be needed anymore, the downright crazy amount of numbers would not be needed to managed anymore. Furthermore it's buggy, sometimes a person purchased goods from my shop, and only paid to never receive the blocks in return.
    2. People would invent safe trading zones inside their homestations.
    3. Universe spreading would be prevented as people would like to visit each other from time to time.
    4. Trade routes, patrolled by police or pirates...
    5. Actual trade ships.
    6. Actual trade factions, whose only benefit is to travel between other factions.
    I can imagine other game mechanics in Sandbox games that could be left out, and by leaving them out it would actualy enhance the game.

    For example the NPCs that wander around in Starmade. The shipyards. Turrets. Missiles.
     
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    Tsnonak

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    Rinse, repeat...
    Have you seen the list of depricated blocks?

    However, for indulgement purposes...

    It really depends on game-type...
    Singleplayer needs shops or something, nobody wants to play alone in the void.
    Multiplayer... is debatable.

    Then there are some issues...
    First of all; Daves are a technologically advanced race of blockheads...
    They build cool space-stuff able to travel great distances, but no trade-system / interface... or computers?
    ... wierd.

    In both SP/MP... we can not buy directly from NPC trade-hubs, the stations currently in use have little to no storage space!

    1. Dropping stuff in space is cool, but a trade-inteface is also cool, some sort of GUI / interface should be available... The required management of numbers is not really that complex to be an issue... Maybe the ships simply never made it to the destination, i.e. were attacked?
    2. This is already usually the case, some sort of GUI / interface would still be best or at least optional.
    3. This is already usually the case, most players (MP) never leave the main galaxy.
    4. NPCs and players already (partially) fill this roll.
    5. NPC-trade ships always left thier "docked parts" floating around my Trade-Hub on departure, until I removed the parts from thier ships(blueprints)!
    6. Players and NPCs already fill this roll.

    What you are suggesting has been the norm, I suspect more stuff will be abandoned with the universe update...

    I suspect NPCs will be replaced with "population".
    I would have to say; no, this would not make it a better game.

    Personally; I think Starmade is great the way it is, it only needs to be balanced, completed, optimized, and debugged!
     
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    Hrm I just wanna say that I didn't write this thread into suggestions, because it isn't. I just wanted to talk and think about the judgement of sandbox games in general. That its also 50% suggestion is just a sideeffect of it...

    I mean we have so many game mechanics, but when it comes to a fun and emergent gameplay, I think the following scenario is very cool:
    1. I want to extend my fleet of spaceships, and need new armour blocks for this.
    2. Looking at the servers website of the server I am playing, I see that faction xyz has a good trade reputation, and offers all kind of goods.
    3. I jump into my exploration vessel and fly to their homebase, conveniently near the center of the galaxy, because the players of this faction want to attract alot of clients.
    4. There they have several hangar bays set up, where I fly into one, automatically seeing doors closing behind me, after I docked onto a standardised docking mechanism from Starmade rails.
    5. Some faction member is online, or I docked onto a trading rail that allows me to move stuff between my ship and their shop interface.
    6. Either we negotiate, or I trade right away, or I leave a message if they are offline that I want a lower price and will come back a few days later.
    What I try to explain: Because we don't have to dock to ships, and can also use the trade guild to deliver the ressources, and because we have so many NPC shops, the explained scenario is never going to happen. For it to become just a little bit realistic it requires that at least the shops go away, we can't use the NPC traders to deliver us ressources, and that we actually have to dock so we use some sort of docking concept with the stations.

    And alot of the fun just comes by leaving out alot of "features". So I was thinking that sandboxes can be judged on how they are able to let the player experience emergent gameplay, that actualy gives some purpose inside the game. And it could be so cool: Docking into hangars of foreign stations, walking around inside them and looking at the prices. But no. Let's have NPC shops, let's have NPC deliver us ressources...Let's implement features that make the player have less benefit from flying around from station to station, because it would be just a waste of time, because he uses the NPC shops and trade guild delivery.

    Okay here a suggestion: Make the NPC shops and trade guild delivery at least significantly expensive, giving players a good reason for manual trading.
     
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    TheDerpGamerX

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    OP assumes Schema isn't going to finish these features as part of or directly after U2.0, he has confirmed these are on the way multiple times. He also intends to make trade fleets raid able in future, possibly making the player want to protect said fleets using their own assets.

    Prior to P2.0 Schema didn't really have a concept for what the game would look like at release, now that he does, current features will be finished or reworked entirely to match better with U2.0 and subsequent updates. While giving the players the opportunity to "make their own adventure", leaving out portions of the game unfinished just to encourage RP isn't a good idea. 99% of players won't do this, and need to be guided using in fleshed out in game systems. I'm not saying that they need to be forced to use specific mechanics, absolutely not. Players should have a lot of choice, but giving them total freedom without check is bad for the game and community.

    As for crew, Schema has stated that they will be reworked with population systems and alien NPC factions/races in order to make faction management actually interesting. If he didn't do this, and just left players to do this on their own, pretty much none of them will. Even if you invent new mechanics and procedures for players, unless they are actually a part of the game and the player is encouraged to use them they wont. In JinM's example, while some people might be willing to follow this, most would rather shoot you and take your stuff rather than actaully participate in any sort of trade as they have no reason to trade. Introducing benefits to trade and actual fleshed out in game systems for it is going to be part of U2.0 and subsequent updates.
     
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    most would rather shoot you and take your stuff rather than actaully participate in any sort of trade as they have no reason to trade. Introducing benefits to trade and actual fleshed out in game systems for it is going to be part of U2.0 and subsequent updates.
    Yup. Exactly this would be nice if it changed...I just hope it doesn't take too long...
     

    Tsnonak

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    hrm... Ok, I did't read it as a suggestion, not sure what gave the impression, my post was a sincere attempt to indulge in some idle chit-chat.
    To the contrary of many Daves, I try my best to respond and / or answer, line for line... (edit, I seen why now)

    If the trading mechanics - credits transfer via shop module and credit transfer via command, trade requesting from NPCs and the NPC shops - weren't implemented. Would this be a better game?
    I also find your "scenario"; visiting and docking to player-faction-trade-hubs to access services, very cool.
    The only problem I see is that it may be a "tad" idealistic...

    Infact I have done my best to come as close to this scenario as possible under the given mechanics...
    SHOP_SPAWNING_PROBABILITY = 0.02
    Server-faction-Spawn-Shop with an automated factory and docking access, it only buys resources and only sells modules / blocks it has produced, (minimal-management*).
    Server-faction-HQ also has an automated factory with 20 public docks, the entire station is fitted for public access.
    4x Server-faction-trade-hubs marking the "Fairplay-zones", one of which even has a public accessable crane to unload your ship!.

    ... but ...
    A lot of the problems multiplayer games have, are caused by player behavior, which simply cannot be controlled via mechanics 100%.

    On the bright side, it has been my experience over the last 1+yr as a server-admin: there are still players looking to trade and want to visit / deliver goods to other stations, this is not dead!

    On the downside, building such formidable stations is a lot of work, the "average Dave" will not finish their mega-project, lack of patience, time, vision etc... a common SM-phenomena, (blueprints can help greatly here, make that cool cc station bigger & custom- cool!).


    2. External website is cool and definately possible, it would be a nice complement to the vital in-game trade interface, but implementation will always be up to server administration and/or individual players/factions, (maybe I am wrong, but I don't see Schine going that route, edit: SMD faction-thread is also a possibility*).

    3. I don't really get the distance problem, a single galaxy is not all that big, and quickly gets crowded on an active server, besides, we're Space-Daves with jumpdrives and warpgates, (and it reads like you want some immersive space-travel?1?)!

    also... If you make NPC shops and trade guild delivery significantly too expensive, then you might as well just remove it.
    Somehow I get the feeling singleplayer is being overlooked lately.
     
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    Tsnonak

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    I am not assuming Schema isn't going to finish features, nor have I made any such claims.

    I am guessing some stuff will be abandoned, nothing new there... oh wait, have you played the new 202.6 Dev-build?... it is happening right now as we chit-chat here.

    ... and as far as I can recall, trade fleets are raid - able now, EDIT:
    Confirmed (even as far as v202.11a), NPC fleets are visible in the galaxie-map and interceptable!


    ... but I have claimed this before, "Starmade in its current state is a good indicator of Schema's original vision".

    ... and lets be realistic...

    "most would rather shoot you and take your stuff rather than actaully participate in any sort of trade " will always be a problem for unmanaged servers regardless of "benefits to trade and actual fleshed out in game systems".

    Personally I find player-pirates with "honor" an enrichment, but sadly most just get thier kicks from making things go boom, polishing their e-peens at the expense of others, gettin all serious, ignoring that this is just a game etc... also nothing new there, (insert another endless debate here... some people just want to watch everything burn).

    Server themes / direction will be the final deciding factor of what is acceptable ingame/online, in the age of meta-gaming... nothing is safe, not even anarchy...

    A Power-block will come and make the rules.
     
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