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Essential features in a single-player space game?

Discussion in 'Space Games' started by Paxton, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. lophiaspis Savant

    lophiaspis
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    A big problem with space games is when they start with the dev thinking 'i fucking love SPACE lets make a game in the grandeur of SPACE' and then the gameplay is an afterthought. Try copying gameplay from some actually good games instead of stuffing in the lamest shit possible. Nobody ever thinks to make Fallout in space, X-Com in space or Jagged Alliance in space. Instead we get a crappy Lunar Lander clone to land on a planet and then a shitty Pac-Man clone to collect all its generic resources. Then you get the exciting opportunity to make a marginal profit selling your unobtanium with Microsoft Spreadsheet Simulator. When did Captain Kirk or Han Solo ever deal with any of this BS? The game that comes closest to simulating the space captain experience is a pure adventure game, Space Quest V.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2018
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  2. Irxy Arcane

    Irxy
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    Agree, and it's not like anyone bothered to invent a more engaging trade mechanic than what was done in Elite 30 years ago.

    We have excel tables of prices which depend on planet types. Prices change when you buy/sell the same stuff many times. Sometimes those prices are modified by random events. Also some items may be considered contraband but it is never handled in any interesting way. And that's it, I have just accurately described 99% of the trade system in any game out there.

    Frankly, I don't see how you can make a system like that fun as a core gameplay, but there are certainly many ways to spice things up to make it a decent side activity. Make merchandise fun and unique. Make trade spawn quests and quests involve trade, influence plotlines. Carry some slaves? Make them revolt and have you deal with them. Tie trading to other mechanics of the game. Have factions? Sell contraband weapons to some planet, there is a civil war there and it changes sides. I'm pretty sure there are many things like that if trading is not handled as an afterthought.

    I also think that half of the problem with systems like that is that the devs are usually afraid that some players may not like some specific system thus they try to make most systems isolated and not mandatory. And typically any system which is not mandatory is shit, since it can't influence the game in any significant and fun way.
     
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  3. MadMaxHellfire Magister

    MadMaxHellfire
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    my list of essentials:
    - be like freespace 2.
    then you can start adding stuff.
     
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  4. Damned Registrations Prestigious Gentleman Furry Weeaboo Nazi Nihilist

    Damned Registrations
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    Guys. Starsector. Good's prices can be affected by interrupting convoys, destroying pirate bases, wars between factions, destroying competing stations or the stations creating the demand. And in turn, the lack of available goods can fuck with colony growth and even it's defenses. Factions will also engage in raiding and war not simply over territory, but to gain economic control of a particular market.
     
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  5. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Good capital ship and fleet command, like in StarShatter: The Gathering Storm (seriously, where is Starshatter 2?).
    Preferably newtonian physics (especially if missing capital ships).
     
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  6. Beastro Arcane

    Beastro
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    Descent disagrees.
     
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  7. OndrejSc Arcane Patron

    OndrejSc
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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
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  8. Blaine Cis-Het Oppressor Patron

    Blaine
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    At the very least, you need a bloke about to clean the gunk out of the chicken noodle dispenser.
     
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  9. McPlusle Learned

    McPlusle
    Joined:
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    1. Joystick/HOTAS support
    2. An actual sense of mystery, dread, and tension. Space is fucking huge and we really don't know what could be out there. I think I have a right to feel let down if I fly through some 400 billion systems only to see the same human pirate mobs in all of them. Do weird shit.
     
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  10. Destroid Arcane

    Destroid
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  11. Zarniwoop Destiny Cleanser Patron

    Zarniwoop
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    All you need is to follow the Egosoft formula:

    1. Have shitty scanning minigames where you waste hours flying around huge space stations to reveal data about them that any dumbfuck in 21st century Earth can Google in seconds. And make them part of the main campaign.

    2. Have a tiny universe to explore.

    3. If the tiny universe takes more than 5 minutes to traverse, add some ridiculous contrivance like SPEHHS HIGHWAYS

    4. A good single player space game definitely needs multilayer elements. Add that in a patch shortly after release and DEFINITELY before fixing major game breaking bugs.

    5. Design a complex economic system allowing the player to build factories, set up trading routes and build and command battle fleets. Then have every need of every station in the universe be fully met after a few short hours, rendering the first two utterly worthless. Also have no major conflicts thus rendering the third just as worthless.

    6. Give the player a mission that gives him the biggest, baddest space station in the game universe, centrally located to capitalise on the aforementioned economy. Make sure to do this REALLY early on, like 5 missions in, max.

    7. Release all of this in a pre-alpha state, riddled with bugs and poorly optimised.

    Do this and you can't go wrong. Fanbois will praise you and the awesomeness of the game once it has 37 mods applied.
     
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  12. JackOfOwls Learned

    JackOfOwls
    Joined:
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    1. Exploration. If I'm cruising around in space in my tin can and I see that beautiful uncharted magenta and yellow world spinning below on my view screen or on my scanner, I wanna land on it and get out in my little land buggy and EXPLORE. There might be gold in them thar hills... or alien she-bitches with soft thick tentacles for fingers that swell like flesh flowers when touching, and with three or more sex-flaps. The hunt for gems and minerals in Star Control/Starflight were some of my favorite parts of space games.
     
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  13. BANANA CONDUCT Barely Literate

    BANANA CONDUCT
    Joined:
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    Music. Go all out with the space ambient.
     
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  14. what am i doing Literate

    what am i doing
    Joined:
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    I want space to feel like a vacuum. I don't want to hear sounds as though I'm flying in atmosphere unless I'm actually in atmosphere. All I want to hear apart from music is the muffled sound of my ship's engine and impact from weapons fire or debris.

    Elite: Dangerous, for example, does the whole "air in space" sound thing and it detracts immensely from my enjoyment of the game. They justify it by being "simulated sounds" played by the ship but the whole game is "simulated" and the sounds are no lower fidelity than any other part of the game so that's a poor excuse. If sounds played by the ship to simulate things like other ships' engines had some sort of deliberate low quality to make them sound artificial it'd be another story. As it is, I just feel like I'm in atmosphere.

    I want to feel like my ship is flying in a vacuum. That's just about my only essential criterion. Hell, it doesn't even have to be a ship. Dead Space really sold itself to me for its brief EVA sections that actually muffled sound outside the player's suit.
     
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  15. deuxhero Arcane

    deuxhero
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    The simulated sound thing is an old dodge. The novel version of the original Star Wars uses it.

    Why would you expect sound in a spaceship to be lower quality than your cheap ass speakers from modern day Earth? The best way of telling people it's just the sensors playing on audio would be to give the player character options for what sound plays on through an in-world interface. Make it default to typical jets and pew pew sounds but give options like making everything sound like propeller driven planes and machine guns.
     
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  16. what am i doing Literate

    what am i doing
    Joined:
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    Because when it is of equal quality to the rest of the game then it doesn't feel like simulation relative to any other content. Everything in the game is simulation. If it were lower in relative fidelity to things which are not meant to be simulation (such as sounds from within your ship, or graphics), then it would feel more as though the sound is simulated and less as though they simply made sound carry in vacuum in their game (which they did).

    Though I would prefer to simply not have the feature be present in the first place, of course.
     
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