StarMade Endgoals (All Parts)

    Discussion in 'Schine!' started by DukeofRealms, Aug 11, 2017.

    1. DukeofRealms

      DukeofRealms Count Duku

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      Here are all the endgoal parts for easy reading :)
      (DukeofRealmsDukeofRealms: I have yet to proofread this yet, so I may make some changes to improve readability.)

      End Goals Introduction

      Our “End Goals” document...is not a list of features. Although a simple feature list is useful to get an overview of what’s next, it is not a great way to show the public what our game is about and where we’re going with it. New feature ideas get added, changed or removed all the time which only makes it more important to not depend on them when we’re talking about the final product.

      Not to mention that as a player, you can only see what’s in the game right now and how that all ties together. You do not see what we want to achieve at the very end, making it impossible to give accurate feedback when the big picture is simply not there for you to see.

      When we talked about how to write this document, we simply put ourselves into a specific play role/play style, defining what we would like to be able to do in the finished game. Coming up with ideas was easy, but getting rid of just as many to form a solid, cohesive game was not. StarMade is after all, a sandbox game. A type of genre where you’re allowed to discover a complete world and do whatever you want.

      It’s unlikely that we’re going to change our end goals significantly, but the features leading up to it are subject to change. A destination often has multiple roads leading to it, which one we pick depends on our personal opinion and the community’s feedback on it.

      As for the document itself, we’ve divided it up into several player roles which coincidentally gives us some time to make a nicer public version of it as we can release it in parts. Of course at the end, we’ll bundle it up in a single thread so that you don’t have to piece it all together yourself.

      All of this is based on a base goal, which is purposely kept very simple:

      StarMade is a space sandbox game where you start with very little and work your way up to the top.
      You are put in a galaxy for you to explore. How you want to go about it and what your final role is going to be, is left to the player. The driving force behind it all is progression, without restricting creativity and freedom.



      The roles we will talk about are the following:
      • Builder
      • Explorer
      • Industrialist
      • Trader
      • Fighter
      • Imperialist

      Some of the roles of course overlap and/or have sub-roles, which will be reflected in the other parts of this document.

      “Roles” represent player archetypes, extremely one-sided examples of what a specific type of player might want to do. We use those mindsets or “roles” to determine what we can add to StarMade to make that area of gameplay possible as a whole, making each role an enjoyable experience on its own.

      Any everyday player will naturally fall under several roles and play the game however they want. These roles are not forced in any way, and are not even mentioned anywhere else outside the end goal document. They are just something we’re using internally to get structure in a long list of gameplay directions and features


      Builder
      Our first player role to be addressed is also the one with the most work put into it: the Builder. From all roles, this one is probably also the most realized in the game already.

      Starting from close to nothing, you’ll have to do some form of building first to at least travel where you want to go. While you’re doing that, you get to know what StarMade’s backbone has to offer. Mining, simple early game trading, basic ship building and travelling around the universe would all come to light in the first few hours. As soon as you have a functional ship, you can focus on anything that you’ve liked so far.

      If you, up till now, prefer building above anything else, you will most likely continue in that direction. Your ultimate goal is a never ending one, to make better and more creations. This on its own, is already a form of progression which is limited by your own player experience. However, this might not be enough for most players and we need a more controlled form of progression on the game’s side to help with that.

      We want to slowly open up this building aspect to the player, not only to make sure there’s still things left to explore later on...but also to make sure the player isn’t overwhelmed at the very start. Later, when you’re base of operations is well established, you slightly shift your focus from building to selling and marketing. Your goal isn’t necessarily to get rich, but to get known as a reliable ship builder that is capable of doing anything. Not only are you better at building now, but your ship/station producing speed is much faster after upgrading and maintaining your own shipyard(s) along the way.

      Several features, as well as redesigning or tweaking existing systems will make this vision a reality.

      Block Availability
      At the moment, all blocks can be easily bought or made in large quantities with only a few small steps. Every resource you need can be gathered in almost any star system which is concern when you try to get more progression into the game. Base blocks such as power, basic hull and thrusters still need to be easily crafted no matter where you are, yet more advanced systems that you don’t need from the start, such as effects and the future reactor chamber blocks, could definitely use some changes.

      By fine tuning the crafting recipes and universe resource allocation system, we can create an unique world where, as a builder, you’ll have to play differently every time you generate a new universe. If certain block resources are tied to specific locations, you won’t be able to immediately build any block in large quantities. Those resources could still be found anywhere, but just in small quantities to allow small scale experimentation and open your mind to new possible ways.

      The idea here is that the player will have to adapt to the resources they have at their base and fully explore the functional blocks they can create there before moving on.

      Block Progression
      Most decorative blocks should always be available and cheap to build, as they only function to make things look better and barely affect ship/station performance in any significant way.

      Rails, logic and other similar systems, are just like decoration when it comes to performance. These already provide a large amount of end-game content which can only be fully utilized by players that are experienced with it. There is no need to add additional progression here.

      Some functional blocks do need some extra depth to lengthen the amount of time needed to achieve this endgame build quality. The key could be in the balance between efficiency versus longevity. Longevity is where your ship can survive a decent amount of incoming damage and is still able to fight back afterwards. Efficiency is where you get the most statistical value out of your ship compared to its build cost and mass. Balancing these 2 out is a never ending task and depends on the ship’s purpose and its potential opponents. Right now we already have this in multiple ways, but it could be way more prominent by changing how some systems work.

      Rebalancing systems will also provide more defined roles for differently sized ships. Small ships, while they never should be as powerful as a considerably larger ship in a 1 vs 1 fight, would still be extremely useful when used in larger numbers. In addition to that, some weapon systems could benefit greatly depending on the ship type and role.

      Shipyards
      More immersion should be provided by private and public shipyards. It also gives access to creative mode and several build tools without breaking immersion of plopping down thousands of real blocks out of nowhere. The player should be made familiar with this feature as soon as possible, it’s why public shipyards and a proper UI are important. For this goal to be realized, several smaller features have to be implemented first in order to get a fully usable and reliable build method without relying on the “spawn whole ship anywhere” blueprint system.

      Shipyards also make it possible to build and maintain more than one ship. That combines nicely with the fleet mechanic to open up a lot more gameplay possibilities for the builder Suddenly all of your previously build ships get a different purpose if you put them together in a fleet. This would change your perspective and your way of building ships, adding even more progression for the player to explore.

      Shipyards would also be the gateway to open up trading for more than just a bunch of blocks, as instead, you will trade real ships or their designs for other people to make more. Before we can get to that stage though, the blueprint system would need to support this form of trading and security.

      Of course, there is still a lot of work to be done on shipyards to have them fully fulfil their role.

      Expandability
      As building is StarMade’s backbone, it’s important to keep that part interesting by expanding on it from time to time. Its user interface would need to allow for that, to avoid adding complexity to a system that is meant to be simple and easy to use.

      We could add more build tools, decorative blocks and smaller UI elements. All of that needs to be based on something the player already knows. If something entirely new is introduced, it should be applied on existing systems too where applicable to keep everything consistent with each other, streamlining the player experience even more.

      Preparing the UI for further expansion is a necessity even in an alpha stage, but non essential additions would be more useful for the beta stage or post release.


      Explorer
      In contrast with the Builder role, the exploration aspect of StarMade is currently not well developed. This role is for the players who like exploring a game world and uncovering mysteries, lore and interesting areas along their journey.

      Flying out and discovering different places in the universe is “exploration”, but so is exploring every gameplay aspect of the game.

      Not only do you find new places but also new block systems and how those influence your play style. However, we don’t have to delve deeper into this particular gameplay aspect, as it is already addressed in the “Builder” role and the following dev blogs.

      Here, we only focus on the game world and what it has to offer for the Explorer.

      Universe diversity

      Before throwing yourself into the unknown, you need something worth exploring first. We want to create a dynamic world that has a limited amount of interesting areas, and danger in between. Exploration itself would be encouraged in multiple ways.

      • Resources: Restructuring the universe to condense most resources into relatively small areas will make them stand out much more than the generic space surrounding it. Uncommon resource rich regions will automatically become points of contention, and therefore points of interest where players, as well as NPCs will be drawn to.

      The end result is that, without adding anything else, only a relatively small area of a galaxy is worth exploring and anything in between could be filled with some hurdle to overcome to add some variation to the vast emptiness of space.

      • Content: These points of interests would, in addition to its resource richness, contain much more to increase its exploration value.
        This could be anything, ranging from different stellar objects to treasures and loot. Examples could be moons, nebulae, gas giants, different types of stars (supernova), black/white holes, and other abnormalities each with their own effects. Fauna and flora could add greatly to this system too, but would be an add-on feature.

      • Out-of-ship exploration is a whole other chapter: stations, ships, planets, dungeons, caves and fauna add countless possibilities for adding unique content. Upgrades to astronaut equipment could be found and crafted with these resources, encouraging you to leave your ship’s safety and gather those few materials you need by hand.

      • NPC Factions: Their primary role is to fill the universe with history and lore, making it feel alive where every NPC owned entity would have real astronauts walking around. Some of these factions need some extra diversity to make them stand out more to make it easier for a player to align to at least one of them.

      • Danger: Natural hazards, hostile factions and other dangerous anomalies would need to be added to restrict the amount of freedom a player has when exploring. The extra challenge is sorely needed yet should not become a nuisance. The main requirement for this to work properly would be to have a structured galaxy where certain areas are always easily accessible with little to no dangers.

      Universe Interaction

      • Quest and Reward system: Quests, either given by NPC’s or triggered automatically (finding a log book), will point the player to new and other interesting areas. Although finishing the quest would give rewards, they mostly serve to encourage the player to go beyond what they already know. Additional progression can also be given with collectibles or rare decorative items, introducing some more lore.

      • Events: Generated events like battles, trading routes, raids, space creatures, mysterious faction appearances and supernovae will add more immersion and life to an artificial universe, and making sure the player encounters them without having to actively search them out. As an option, we could have end-game events to spice things up when a SP or MP world starts becoming stale.

      • End-game: Several entities in the game (prominently NPC factions) will not only provide events, but also a real challenge for anyone. The farther the player goes “out”, the more dangerous it will get to the player with the void being the most dangerous area.

      • Map information: The current interface that shows you what the galaxy looks like has no level of detail system, overflowing players with tons of information they don’t need.

      With the point of interest system, where only a handful of systems contain most interesting parts, we can hide and show that information from the player. We can also rely on graphical elements to attract players as nebulas and giant stars would easily be seen on the map.

      As each point of interest would be unique in some way, it would also be information worth trading with other players or NPC factions.

      • Transportation: How balanced the thrusters and jump drives are right now is unclear, mostly because the third option, Warp gates, are far from usable. The warp gate is supposed to be the ultimate traveling mechanic to get from one to another that has a huge setup cost in comparison as its downside.

      Besides generated old/deactivated warp gates, the player and NPC created ones suffer from an issue where they are too easily destroyed. It will take some testing to narrow down which areas need to be altered to alleviate this issue.

      One galaxy to rule them all

      Procedural generation, the tool that allows us to create an infinite world comes with a large downside that mainly affects exploration. Everything you see and encounter along the way, is generated content and you will see the same over and over again. Not only that, but the recurring patterns devalue every little handcrafted piece.

      We cannot avoid this issue, yet we can mitigate the problem.

      The starting galaxy, with perhaps a few islands of stars, is big enough to create an unique enough environment for a player to enjoy.
      The trick isn’t necessarily to create enough content to fill it up, but to spread it out properly and make sure the player does not see it all in one day. It is also why we are focusing on these points of interests, as those act as small islands in an endless ocean.


      Industrialist (Miner, Producer)
      This role is relatively self-explanatory. As said before, you start small with limited resources. Through smart trading, you can get rich.

      Some foundation for that is already in the game, but there is a lot of stuff missing:

      • Stick-shops need replacement to make economy work.
      • Ties in with a universe redesign to make resource distribution more diverse
      • Production needs more progression and be more complex without being tedious (high level producer with good use of logic), as well as a balanced form of unloaded production.

      This role of course ties in with the builder role as reaching high end blocks should be a form of progression. In addition to that there’s also the acquisition of trading and mining ships, as well as production facilities that needs building.

      At the very beginning, players will mine with personal mining tools, then upgrade to ship mining, from there to fleet mining, with automated mining at the end, which ties in with the imperialist role.

      Additionally, mining depends on region of the universe as well as knowledge and experience of the game. Later, possibly more resources will be added, including hard to get rare resources and other forms of acquisitions (gas mining, star mining, planet atmosphere “mining”, etc) to add variation.

      Salvaging is similar to mining but focuses on collecting existing or derelict structures in the game. Salvagers would seek out recent battles (from players or events visible through scanning), or go for exploration to find treasure.

      Producing also ties in with mining. Good building makes production a lot more efficient.

      Both of them tie in with the imperialism role as well. To some extend it will be possible to automate mining and production operation in territory controlled by a player faction. These roles have similar progression stages as a builder and are the prerequisite to the imperialism role. The details of that depend on mechanics that are already planned internally.


      Trader
      Trading progression requires a player to do clever planning. Managing trade ships and their protection, as well as inventory management is a must. A sense of progression is given in terms of acquired wealth and influence. This role is also in several ways a prerequisite of imperialism.

      NPC factions together with player traders will define the economy in the universe. One of the planned features of a universe redesign will be a tracking economy, which will automatically adapt to demand and supply of total resources in the game.

      A producer will be required to build complex systems and automate their functionality.

      The universe revamp and its addition of more resource diversity will add more specific demands which the player can make use of.

      The difficulty in progression in these roles consists of being able to manage a more and more complex tasks, and more of them. The more value is shifted around, the more interesting of a target the player and faction will become for raids.


      Fighter
      The Fighter role is part of most other roles, but it also has some unique aspects to it, like being a pirate or a gun for hire. Even roles that aren’t directly affected, like traders, indirectly tie in with pirates that attack trading routes, as well as fighters to defend them.

      Fighting includes PvP and PvE. The weapons and the power system it depends on, will have to be balanced to ensure good gameplay. After the power update, a weapon update is planned to not only adapt weapons to the new power system, but also add new features to expand the versatility and convert unused and weaker elements into something usable.

      For multiplayer, depending on server rules, there will also be a possibility for players to “duel” for a betted value without putting their ships on the line. Similar to battle mode, just better in every way.

      Also depending on server rules, protective zones can be done with the NPC system, like the trading guild area being a safe zone without fighting allowed, in which new players can get started up without being immediately spawn camped.

      A fighter will concentrate on building powerful ships, tying in closely with the builder role. While fighters can organize in groups, the fighter role is a more “lone” version of the imperialism role. In terms of progress it can actually be a prerequisite of it.

      A fighter’s progress would be measured in terms of their wealth and notoriety. Fighters would compete against other player and NPC fighters. Progression can be made visible by comparing their success in the universe. The more successful a fighter becomes, the more likely they’ll be targeted or used by players and NPCs.

      Needed for realising this role are the universe revamp, the NPC faction system, as well as additionally the quest and event system + all requirements for the builder, explorer and trader roles.

      Boarding will also be very specific to the fighter role. Making use of the game’s ability to create massive interiors and astronaut combat, boarding and astronaut exploration will be a big part of the game. An update to the weapon system, as well as other features such as functional interior, will be announced in future documents will be necessary to do that.

      Other out-of-ship combat is also possible while exploring or in quests (arena). Definitely addition of out-of-ship NPC characters. Also addition of similar fauna system for planet creatures.


      Imperialist
      This is the ultimate endgame role. This role is the hardest to achieve and does simply not exist at the start of your game. It encompasses all other roles.

      Essentially, faction functionality for players will include automatic faction mechanics. This means that a player can manage automatisms that only NPC factions have access to.

      This will be realized in simple management, not being as complex as civilisation builder games, as well as not being geared towards being an RTS in terms of micromanagement. Doing something manual will always be multiple times as efficient. However, you can do a lot more, when you do things automatic.

      Players will be able to define the types of ships and stations their faction builds and uses. The faction will populate sectors, which the faction takes manually. The players in that faction will receive income based on mining, trading and production, as well as have expenses in terms of upkeep and maintenance.

      There will be a whole new mechanic for territory control in the game: population. More on that in further documents (see end of this one).

      Your faction will also be able to actively do diplomacy with other factions.

      Additionally, they will also be able to wage war, but a player cannot send attack fleets to fight battles in unloaded sectors. He can however go with a fleet to fight an active battle. There will be a mechanic to do territory contest indirectly, but that will be something completely different.

      Endgame fighter and exploration goals will also probably be overlapping into the an imperialism role, because the sheer resources and power needed to travel and explore those will be immense, comparable to raids in scale and difficulty, as there will be goals available further and further out of “neutral” territory

      By being versed in most of the other role, the player has a natural progression towards this roles. From here it is either about finishing the end goals in the game, which are exploration goals that require a huge amount of resources to achieve, or as absolute domination by diplomacy, power, or economy.

      This role is possible to achieve with multiple players as well as alone. In singleplayer games, the player has the NPCs to contest with. On multiplayer servers, you also have other players to interact with.

      The quest system will make it possible for a player in singleplayer to join an existing NPC faction after a while and eventually rise to being the leader of that faction as an alternative to founding an own faction.

      For this role to fully work, all other roles need to be fully functional first.


      Universe Revamp
      We are going to do a complete universe revamp, focusing mainly on one galaxy as the main provider of content. This doesn’t mean you can’t go further out and discover other galaxies though, but exploration outside of the galaxy will not only be a lot tougher, it will be a main gameplay element to become strong enough to survive out there. The galaxy itself will be a lot more focused on less and smaller regions. There will no longer be an equal distribution of resources. Before we introduce the details of our plans, however, we first want to finish the power and weapon updates. By the time we will introduce our plans we will likely already be in the middle of implementing it.
       
      #1 DukeofRealms, Aug 11, 2017
      Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
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    2. kiddan

      kiddan Cobalt-Blooded Bullet Mirror

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      Sweet! Much easier to re-read any sections now. But it might be worth posting on the Home page, as I only found it via the new threads tab.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    3. RedAlert_007

      RedAlert_007 Former SMD Community Mentor

      Joined:
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      Good reading, however I found the format quite hard to read.

      Rather than using colors and bold text to indicate the start of a new "role" perhaps it may be a good idea to use spoilers? Easier to read and just looks "nicer"
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    4. Briaireous

      Joined:
      May 25, 2018
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      Ok... Wow.... This kinda anwered half of my question on the vision of the game in the may 12th q&a didn't know this thread existed till now
       
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