New Jameson here, some initial feedback

General discussion for players of Oolite.

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Redspear
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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Redspear » Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:00 pm

I'm not sure about the following ideas but they would both be simple (a quality I rate highly).

Distance from centre of galaxy = degree of stability

  • Centre is where the 'action' is, outskirts much safer
  • Visually intuitive - avoid the middle if you want to play safe
  • Lave is on the outskirts of the map so its environs would be relatively safe

Might be a suitable model if GalCop were 'clinging on' to order with brazen pirates drawn to the central areas where most of the trade passes through.
A model that were 'the other way around' (eye of the storm) might represent a strong GalCop control - arguably less interesting story wise and would also make Zaonce et. al. rather dangerous.

Galaxy # is inversely proportional to stability

  • The higher the galaxy number the more dangerous it is
  • Grants an actual 'point' to the different 'galaxies'
  • Galaxy 1, being were the player starts, would be the safest

Would sort of establish Galaxy 1 as GalCop HQ or at least its area of greatest control.
Could have 8 stability ratings for a bit of consistency (just as there are 8 governments and 8 non-human inhabitant types). Would make a galactic jump like entering a new game level - the visual marker being the galactic jump itself.

Regarding variance... My earlier suggestion of + or minus 1 could still apply and / or (especially if using 8 stability rankings) could combine with both of my suggestions in this post. Then Leesti would be one of the safest systems around, being on the outskirts of galaxy 1.

Possible 8 stability ratings:

Strong
Stable
Established
Average
Fledgling
Unstable
Weak
Precarious
"With our thoughts, we make the world" :-) - - - Game too slow for you? Masslock Compensators - - - Trouble getting out of trouble? Indestructible Injectors

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Re: New Jameson here, some initial feedback

Post by Redspear » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:08 am

Thinking some more...

If the following are desirable:

  • Minimum change
  • Simplicity
  • Clarity
  • Use of pre-existing elements


Maybe the 'galaxies' are the pools and the variance is provided purely by the government type.


No new rating, no complex mechanic, governments influence strategic choice (re player navigation) and galaxies are like difficulty levels. Pools already exist and are clearly defined requiring a distinct visual cue in their means of travel (galactic hyperdrive).


On Variance

Whether pre or post influential neighbours, some parts of the map are more dangerous than others and a 7LY range is just small enough to create some bottlenecks; including some dangerous ones that a courier might need to pass through. So, the 'here be dragons', 'edge of the map' stuff can occur naturally and (to a degree) already does. Government type does already create variance amongst the map (although perhaps less distinctively in 'post change' versions) and so no +1/-1 mechanic is needed.


On Difficulty

So if the variance is already there then the pools could be the various galaxies. Whilst they do each have their own flavour due to the quirks of system distribution, these aren't immediately evident until you have done some exploring (likely quite a bit of exploring). The other core game difference that I'm aware of is that some of the missions are only available in various galaxies

Difficulty needn't ramp up with galaxy number, or at least not always.
For example

Galaxy 1 Easy
Galaxy 2 Some Challenge
Galaxy 3 Moderate
Galaxy 4 Hard
Galaxy 5 Very Hard
Galaxy 6 Hard
Galaxy 7 Moderate
Galaxy 8 Some Challenge

That's 5 difficulty levels spread across 8 galaxies. If the bell curve nature of the progression (up the hill and then down the hill) is a bit annoying on the 'descent' then swap the difficult of galaxies 6 and 8 and you then have 2 climbs (one big, one small) each with a little break inbetween. I think that could work well.

Might be even better if the player could jump backwards as well as forwards (oxpable I think...)

Ways to simulate difficulty? Besides pirate numbers (as discussed earlier) there's also accuracy. A default accuracy rating (or at least a mean) for each galaxy would certainly vary the challenge but I think pirate numbers would be the preferable currency else the games risks becoming arcade like.


On Gameplay

So why would the player ever leave the relatively cosy confines of galaxy 1?

According to [EliteWiki] Oolite Missions there are core missions that take place in galaxies 1 to 5, some of which offer considerable rewards, so that's one mission for each jump in difficulty. Besides the mission items, some of the equipment that wasn't available in the original elite could make suitable lures. Shield Boosters and Military Shields could be good and perhaps the Wormhole Scanner; all non-essential (not sure about the missions...) but very useful and not particularly cheap either. Integrated targeting system could be another...

Galaxy 1 Base equipment
Galaxy 2 Integrated Targeting System
Galaxy 3 Wormhole Scanner
Galaxy 4 Shield Boosters
Galaxy 5 Military Shields

Once you leave galaxy 5 the difficulty drops and so it becomes about player choice: which galaxy do you prefer and how do you like the play.

There are other lures besides equipment. Aegidian included/added some powerful ships besides the core elite ones. The boa cruiser is very powerful and then there were his oxp creations: Asp Special; Mussurana; Python Cruiser; Python ET Special; Cobra Mk II. Staer9's shipset renders most of those in Griff like appearance (by stretching and tweaking Griff originals), and its other ships are from versions of elite or elite inspired games. In fact it contains 14 new non core ships - enough for two per galaxy not including the first (starting pool).

One of the first 'tweaks' I ever made to elite was to change which oxps I used whenever I changed galaxy, in an effort to give each one a different flavour (e.g. different core shipset for each galaxy). I found it to be fun but hampered by the circular route enforced by the use of the galactic hyperdrive. That too is likey oxpable: jump initiated, console message, "select view to choose destination galaxy", fore = +1; aft = -1; left = -2; right = +2, "maintain view for jump to galactic sector #'.


If...

The equipment and ship ideas are all extra, the missions could be sufficient to provide the main incentive.
All that is needed would be:

  • Revert to old model of non-influential neighbours
  • Derive influence instead from galaxy number.

e.g. using the 'two hills' model and representing influencing nature of each galaxy as if it were a government type (anarchy most dangerous, corporate least...)

Galaxy 1 Corporate
Galaxy 2 Confederacy
Galaxy 3 Dictatorship
Galaxy 4 Feudal
Galaxy 5 Anarchy
Galaxy 6 Democracy
Galaxy 7 Communist
Galaxy 8 Multi-Government

So in galaxy 1 every system would be treated as if the only influencing system were a corporate system (safer than usual). Meanwhile in galaxy 5 every system is treated as if neighboured by an anarchic system.
"With our thoughts, we make the world" :-) - - - Game too slow for you? Masslock Compensators - - - Trouble getting out of trouble? Indestructible Injectors

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