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Colony Ship Interview at RPGWatch

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Colony Ship Interview at RPGWatch

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Wed 22 April 2020, 21:35:49

Tags: Colony Ship: A Post-Earth Role Playing Game; Iron Tower Studio; Vince D. Weller

After the release of the Colony Ship combat beta last week, RPGWatch decided to ask Vault Dweller a few questions about the game. It's an interview that reads more like a defense of The Age of Decadence at times, with many questions inquiring as to the differences between it and Colony Ship. Here are some of the more informative bits:

RPGWatch: Now that introductions are out of the way, please tell us a bit of the Colony Ship RPG. What is the background of the game ? How will it play ? Mechanically, is the game Age of Decadence in space ? How will players move from location to location in this new game ? How will exploration work ?

It's a generation ship game, meaning a colony ship traveling at sub-light speed, the voyage taking centuries (and many generations of the would-be colonists). Naturally, the game would be boring if everything went according to plan and everyone knew their place, so a mutiny brings in much needed chaos, destroys the old order and half the ship in the process, and creates three main factions plus a score of smaller groups.

While Colony Ship is based on the same design principles as AoD, I wouldn't call it AoD in space as the differences are fairly significant: party instead of single character, turn-based stealth instead of text-adventure, learn by using instead of point-buy, stronger focus on exploration and secondary locations, etc.

As for the travel system, you'd have to reach each new location 'manually' since they are all interconnected. You start the game in a container town sitting in one of the cargo holds. You'll be able to explore the locations surrounding the cargo hold, although you won't get far without better gear and skills. If you want to get to the Habitat (a mega 'building' housing the three main factions), you need to cross the Factory (industrial decks between the cargo hold and the Habitat). Crossing such locations will always be a challenge, so you won't be able to simply run for the exit.

Once you've reached a location, you'd be able to fast-travel there.

RPGWatch: Where do you see the roadmap to completion for the Colony Ship RPG?

Now that the character and combat systems are done, we can finally focus on the content and the stealth system. Our goal is to hit Early Access by the end of the year. Then we'll need another year to do the rest, so the end of 2021 sounds fairly realistic right now.

RPGWatch: These next few questions may be a bit harder for you to answer. Many praised Age of Decadence for the different ways for the story to unfold as well as lasting and meaningful choices (e.g. the entire destruction of a city). The game was heavily stat-dependent and whilst playing a jack-of-all-trades was possible, it was certainly the most difficult method. Backgrounds had a very large impact on your storyline throughout the game and made it so playing through the game a few times was necessary to appreciate the content of the game. Will the Colony Ship RPG be similar in nature ? What are you planning to keep the same and what are you definitely changing?

As I mentioned earlier, the overall design remains the same:

Role-playing requires choices, choices require consequences, otherwise it hardly matters what you choose. Your character's stats and skills should determine what your character can and cannot do, which means you won't be able to do everything. To be good at many things should be harder (but also more rewarding) than to be good at one thing (specialization). This won't change, ever.

The backgrounds are gone as they weren't really necessary (beyond the different roles in the intro quest). You could have just as easily joined a faction and followed its storyline to the end, which you'd still be able to do in Chapter 2, when you reach the Habitat.

RPGWatch: Age of Decadence had many secret lore elements which were very difficult for some and almost impossible for others to decipher without some meta-gaming. For example, some players did not understand what to do with many of the 'ancient artefacts' such as the Eye implant. There are different schools of thought here, whereby one thinks that the player character's skills should be the decisive factor in understanding how to use items. For example, if a character had a lore of 10 (the maximum), they should automatically be able to decipher what should be done with the artefacts. Other players find triumph in finding these solutions on their own merit. Where do you stand on this and will the Colony Ship RPG be more or less reliant on the player or character?

Since role-playing is about playing a specific character, the player defines the character via stats, skills, and choices, and issues commands (attack this enemy, attempt to extract an implant, to fix a generator, to hack a computer, etc) and the character does the rest. So if the player decided that the character doesn't need to worry about the ancient trinkets, then the character would be utterly clueless:

[lore failure]You carefully insert the jellyfish artefact into the slot and a low humming sound begins nearby. A row of miniature ghosts leap up from the console. Your teeth rattle in terror as they bow and gesticulate, appearing to beseech your help. One by one, they start bleeding, until they've turned crimson. You don't need to be a loremaster to know the ship is cursed.

You step back, one hand on your weapon, never taking your eyes off the haunted ship, until you've escaped the chamber.

While Colony Ship won't have any ancient artefacts, plus the Ship's inhabitants haven't lost any knowledge (i.e. there's no regression), there will be plenty of 'secrets' and things that are not immediately obvious that would require certain skills to understand. To give you a quick analogy, plenty of gamers are tech-savvy enough to build their own computers and maybe even do some programming. Would this knowledge help you repair and reprogram a reactor? Of course not. You'd gaze upon it with the same dumb look on your face as a novice who's never seen a computer before. Sure, unlike the novice you'd know it's a reactor (duh!) but that would be the extent of your knowledge.
If you'd like to see Vault Dweller smack down the popamole yet again or just want to learn what his favorite pizza topping is, read the whole thing there.

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