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Game News Colony Ship RPG Update #11: Systems Overview

Infinitron

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Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
Tags: Iron Tower Studio; The New World; Vince D. Weller

Vault Dweller has come out with a new Colony Ship RPG development update sooner than I expected. The purpose of the update is ostensibly to give us a look at mockups of the game's character and inventory screens. More importantly though, it includes a comprehensive analysis of the former. It's the most detailed description of the game's character system we've gotten yet. Have a look:



1. Tagged Skills

The tagged skills will increase at a faster rate (let's say x1.25). INT will no longer give overall XP bonuses but define the number of tagged skills instead (up to 4 tagged skills at INT10). Thus a smart person will be able to excel in a larger number of disciplines.

2. Party-Based Mechanics used in DR

Charisma will determine the number and quality of your party members. The party size will range from 2 to 4. Experience points from quests will be split between the human party members (a droid will have its own leveling up mechanics and won't cost you any XP), thus a smaller party will be able to gain levels faster

3. Feats & Character Levels

Your characters will gain levels using experience points from quests. When you level up, you’ll select feats, unlocking or improving your abilities. The feats will be an important aspect of character development (i.e. they won’t give you minor bonuses but help you develop your characters along specific paths: lone wolf vs squad leader, offense vs defense, gunslinger vs sprayer or gadgeteer, melee vs ranged, which will go beyond which skill to develop, etc) and make as much of a difference as the skills levels.

The skills will determine your chance of success with certain tasks and the feats will define what you can do and how you can use these skills to maximum advantage. Basically, the feats will define your character much more than your skills.

4. Skills & Learn by Using

You will not gain XP for killing, talking, sneaking, picking locks, using computers, fixing mechanical things and such. You will not increase your skills manually. Instead your skills will be increased automatically based on their use.
  • The main problem with a party-based, skill-based setup is that even with a 3-man party you can easily cover all skills you want to have. You’ll have a fighter/talker, fighter/thief, fighter/fixer, which is something we’d like to avoid. The ‘increase by use’ system solves this problem in the most natural and logical way possible. Your abilities reflect what you do, not how (usually arbitrary) you distribute your skill points.
  • It reinforces our party-based goals. If you let one of the party members do all the repair work while you concentrate on other areas, losing this party member would hit you hard and you’d have to make sure (via choices made during quests) that he/she would stay with you no matter what.
  • It rewards consistent gameplay. Let’s say you need to deal with a gang that stands between you and that door over there. If you kill them, everyone’s combat skills will improve a bit. If you talk your way through, only your dialogue skills will go up.
Instead of counting how many times you did something, we’ll assign a certain value (let’s call it learning points) to each activity (attacking, killing, fixing, sneaking, convincing, lying, etc). So killing a tough enemy or repairing a reactor will net you more points than killing a weakling or fixing a toaster. Basically, it will work the same way as XP but go directly toward raising the skill that did all the work.

1-10 ranks with hidden grandmaster ranks going above 10. So essentially a 1-20 system. Basically, we don’t want someone to max a skill and then have the xp go to waste, so we will allow raising the skill above 10 in the unlikely event of someone going over 10 via extreme specialization.
The full update includes an early draft of a CYOA-style character generation sequence that will define your character's initial reputation and disposition. Among other things, it reveals that the colony ship's name is Starfarer. Perhaps that will be the game's title?
 

Goral

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Better than Underrail™.

But in all seriousness, I'm starting to think it won't be much worse than Age of Decadence which has become my favourite RPG (along with Fallout 1). Hopefully the writing will be of comparable quality, in Dungeon Rats some parts weren't up to your (high) standards (for obvious reasons).
 

Rivmusique

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Had a quick look, sounding great, really looking forward to it. I just had a go at some of the newest aod stuff, ITS doesn't disappoint.

The update says up to six tagged skills at ten intelligence at the top, but in the attributes section it says four at ten. Is that a mistake at the start? Or should the attribute section say additional tagged skills (to a default two)? Screenshot suggests the former (three tagged skills, eight intelligence).
 

Shadenuat

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Grenades require no skill to use?
Are all these combat skills really necessary, 2 skills for pistol, 3 separate skills for energy weapons, would energy weapons be so easy to find? Why so many melee skills, why would people pick one over another or carry 3 different melee specialists?
 
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Elhoim

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Had a quick look, sounding great, really looking forward to it. I just had a go at some of the newest aod stuff, ITS doesn't disappoint.

The update says up to six tagged skills at ten intelligence at the top, but in the attributes section it says four at ten. Is that a mistake at the start? Or should the attribute section say additional tagged skills (to a default two)? Screenshot suggests the former (three tagged skills, eight intelligence).

The mock-ups were just for visual representation and layout, don't read too much into them. They are not a screenshot of the game, but done in photoshop as a reference for implementation.
 

Aenra

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Party ranging from 2 to 4? :negative:
Where's my '1' option?!?

.. i thought.. after DR..
 

Vault Dweller

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But in all seriousness, I'm starting to think it won't be much worse than Age of Decadence which has become my favourite RPG (along with Fallout 1).
Hopefully it will be much better.

How will Learn by Doing will work for Sneaking? Seems really easy to grind and max..
You won't get any learning points for simply entering sneak mode (just like you won't get better at combat by hitting combat button) but by accomplishing something (i.e. sneaking past an "enemy").

Grenades require no skill to use?
Not at the moment. Grenades aren't a direct damage weapon (since it's a ship) and will be governed by Dex and Per.

Are all these combat skills really necessary, 2 skills for pistol, 3 separate skills for energy weapons, would energy weapons be so easy to find? Why so many melee skills, why would people pick one over another or carry 3 different melee specialists?
Why not 3 skills: melee, firearms, energy, you mean? I like specialization. Each weapon would offer different pros and cons, etc. Energy weapons won't be that hard to find, it's the ammo that's very rare. So ideally you'd have an energy pistol that does a lot of damage but you only have one or two shots (like a pirate's flintlock pistol), an SMG to spray and pray, and a backup melee weapon. Since you won't have to be stingy with skillpoints, it would be easier to use all three.

...When can we play this?
In about 4 years (hopefully).
Much sooner if we follow the AoD template: combat demo, full demo, early access, full release.

Party ranging from 2 to 4? :negative:
Where's my '1' option?!?

.. i thought.. after DR..
1 person isn't a party (yes, you'd be able to play solo).
 

Shadenuat

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Why not 3 skills: melee, firearms, energy, you mean?
Not necessarily just 3, just judging by Wasteland 2 for example, even a handful weapon skills are hard to balance. If energy ammunition would be rare, people would probably stick to "small guns/rifles" as it happened with Fallouts/Wasteland. And the more you will use them, the higher your skill would be. Since you're adding perks, those could help with specializing.

OTOH, I think you did great job in AoD to make all weapons viable, so I'm not really bothered. But I'm curious what your plans are for new weapon system in this new game (you now have 6 ranged skills vs. 3 melee ones for example, in comparison to AoD's 3 ranged to 5 melee, just how hard would it be to make 6 ranged skills all viable and unique?).
 
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Lurker King

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I’m so hyped. My first character will be a gadgeter libertarian for sure. A few questions:

Do the implants change the appearance of your character model?

Can we expect different animations related to special perks?

While I agree that your past choices should restrict your choices to avoid metagaming, will the player be able to change his beliefs afterwards?

Will the perks combine in combos?

Is it possible to be diplomatic with the paranoid gunfighter in your group?
 

felipepepe

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The mock-ups were just for visual representation and layout, don't read too much into them. They are not a screenshot of the game, but done in photoshop as a reference for implementation.
I like the layout distribution, but the lack of colors & contrast means that my eye just blurs everything together and keeps going back to the character's portrait, making hard to read all the info... :/
 
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Lurker King

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You won't get any learning points for simply entering sneak mode (just like you won't get better at combat by hitting combat button) but by accomplishing something (i.e. sneaking past an "enemy").

How would you check that? Suppose that I sneak behind a guard to get into some place. I earn learning points. Now, I leave the place and pass the same guard. Do I earn more learning points in this case? If the answer is yes, how can you prevent me from earning more points after sneaking behind the same guard one more time?

(yes, you'd be able to play solo).

I hope we have many skill checks with charisma to compensate for the loss of learning points.
 

Vault Dweller

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OTOH, I think you did great job in AoD to make all weapons viable, so I'm not really bothered. But I'm curious what your plans are for new weapon system in this new game (you now have 6 ranged skills vs. 3 melee ones for example, in comparison to AoD's 3 ranged to 5 melee, just how hard would it be to make 6 ranged skills all viable and unique?).
More on that in the future updates (when I have pretty icons to show).

I don't like learn by using system :(
Any specific reason we can address?

How would you check that? Suppose that I sneak behind a guard to get into some place. I earn learning points. Now, I leave the place and pass the same guard. Do I earn more learning points in this case? If the answer is yes, how can you prevent me from earning more points after sneaking behind the same guard one more time?
Depends. If the task is sneaking in and out (which might turn into sneaking in then fight the entire Bolivian army), then the XP should be awarded twice. If the task requires a single instance of sneaking, then sneaking back and forth won't award more XP. That's very basic scripting.

Do the implants change the appearance of your character model?
Too early to say but most likely it's a no.

Can we expect different animations related to special perks?
Too early to say. When the animator is done with the "must have" animations, he'll switch to the "nice to have" animations. I can't say right now how long it would take him to do the must have animations.

While I agree that your past choices should restrict your choices to avoid metagaming, will the player be able to change his beliefs afterwards?
Yes.

Will the perks combine in combos?
Give me an example.

Is it possible to be diplomatic with the paranoid gunfighter in your group?
50/50.
 

puppyonastik

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The mock-ups were just for visual representation and layout, don't read too much into them. They are not a screenshot of the game, but done in photoshop as a reference for implementation.
They look fucking slick though!

Energy weapons won't be that hard to find, it's the ammo that's very rare. So ideally you'd have an energy pistol that does a lot of damage but you only have one or two shots (like a pirate's flintlock pistol), an SMG to spray and pray, and a backup melee weapon.
A quick idea, VD. Why not allow the player, with sufficient technical skill, be able to "plug-in" to certain power infrastructure, giving them unlimited ammo as long as they stand in a certain area near the said power infrastructure (which could be out in the open and destructible). The same for other weapons, standing near a 3d printer and having tons of "junk" to throw in it could give the player a fuckload of ammunition.
 

puppyonastik

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Also: Noticed the "Xeno" meter, I assume this is talking about interactions with factions or have you decided to add some sort of new flora and fauna to the game, be it "Shodan"-istic or otherwise?
 
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Lurker King

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Will the perks combine in combos?
Give me an example.

Take Underrail for instance. Serrated weapons can cause bleeding. Now, with the “vile weaponry” feat they get infected and with “taste for blood” feat you get a 5% melee damage bonus for each bleeding wound the target has.
 

Vault Dweller

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A quick idea, VD. Why not allow the player, with sufficient technical skill, be able to "plug-in" to certain power infrastructure, giving them unlimited ammo as long as they stand in a certain area near the said power infrastructure (which could be out in the open and destructible). The same for other weapons, standing near a 3d printer and having tons of "junk" to throw in it could give the player a fuckload of ammunition.
Our current design is based around limited ammo (rare for energy, limited for firearms). Your suggestion would require a very different direction.
 

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