Author Topic: PlanetBase causes me to look at my Colony X project again  (Read 2434 times)

Offline BinaryMan

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 33
PlanetBase causes me to look at my Colony X project again
« on: October 12, 2015, 02:59:23 PM »
There is a game coming out in a week or so called PlanetBase, which has a lot of things in common with Outpost (amazingly, the dev didn't even know about Outpost). They have tube connections, oxygen diffusion, and robots that help with various labors (even an agricultural dome of sorts).

I immediately played a couple rounds of Outpost 1.5 and dug up my old project, Colony X. It is written in VB6 and I now use C# so I considered porting it and doing some re-work. I am also not a graphic artist so I wondered if it would be easier to switch from isometric to x/y grid style similar to Outpost 2 (only in terms of visual presentation). It allows the use of larger graphics over multiple tiles. Initially I can make rectangular buildings with text on it instead of a graphic, like "[FACTORY]" and replace with graphics later from someone who is better at that kind of thing. The gfx took longer than the coding, so I don't want to focus on that just gameplay.

The mechanics of Colony X are pretty basic, for prototyping purposes (see image: http://postimg.org/image/519mf1vmf/). You basically just need a 100%+ coverage ratio and labor/resources to run the buildings. The #1 cause of a death spiral is lack of labor (if you build everything at once), since it's horribly unbalanced right now. This "coverage ratio" thing turned out to be very boring, so I need some suggestions for mechanics that will make each building and resource type more flavorful.


There are a few things that I want to add:

- Mining yield maps (each resource type) and randomly generated ores; you can place a mine anywhere but certain ores or resources will be in the area they spawn and less as you move away from the center of concentration, and at low base levels elsewhere depending on planet type. The longer the distance, the lower the yield (I may do a truck modeling and assign more to get it moving faster, but you would be able to see them working at least to get a feel for capacity).

- Raw resources will sort/refine into different things. You may need a couple of steps (buildings) to make what you need for more advanced things. For example, metallic deposits will contain some silicon, which needs to be refined and then processed with some precious metals to get processors.

- No "instant death" type of situation. Instead, problems unfold slowly for the most part. For example, 1 food unit per person or 100% of requirement fulfills nutrition, under 100% and they start rationing, which does reduce health. If not dealt with, then people will eventually being to die from malnutrition, but it's not a sudden event and you would be notified well in advance. Even with air and water I want to give some time to respond, and also storage buildings for these things to mitigate disasters and provide even more time.

- Game progresses in small ticks via "speed" setting. You can make it almost turn-based if you wanted, but you won't have to keep clicking the next turn button. Automatic slow down on emergencies and problems.

- Colony layout will matter more; distance affects resource diffusion or availability.

- Automatic tube building to nearest structure as an option, so you can focus on playing more.

- Repair status is transparent. If you build a factory it might start at 150% or 200% repair status (will show as 100%), will decay over time and once under 100% then it will affect productivity multiplier (ie, 50% = half production speed). At some level it will be considered "broken" and stop working at all. Repair robots will be needed to keep the base going, but have a harder time traveling long distances. Different buildings will damage at different rates.

- Issue orders like clear terrain or dig, with a priority level (low, normal, high), and bots will come to the highest priority thing first, then by distance. So you can put some background tasks to lower priority but if you want it immediately, set to high.

- Scroll wheel on mouse will allow quick change of level to underground/surface/orbital.

- Orbital layer to launch and put your satellites. Location on this layer affects the area of effect for whatever it does (shoot down asteroids, provide warnings of extra-planetary events, scan for deposits, provide comms, etc). Of course, putting a space base is a feature I always wanted to see, but it's very fuel-intensive to launch all those payloads to orbit (better get mining).

- Stuff won't spontaneously explode except from disasters; on harder modes building repair status may decay faster however and break down, and disasters are more frequent. You can eventually mitigate most of this with technologies and coverage of disaster teams and monitoring systems.

- Possible to colonize the entire system. Don't have it all worked out yet, but colonies from one side of a planet to another could transfer things (like ores), and some resources abundant on other planets could be taken "home". Needs advanced technology.

- "Tech Level" from "basic research" actually does something: minor production boost/functional boost to everything, for example +1% per level of research. Applied research unlocks specific buildings, production types, resource processes, or upgrades. All results to have some kind of game impact.

- When resources are low, buildings don't completely shut down anymore; instead, they will function at a % of capacity based on the most limited resource. Critical buildings (like air) will get first priority to 100% capacity, or there will be a priority system in place to operate certain buildings at max then split the remainder among the other types.

- Resources decline when mined, but never go away completely, so with more mines the game continues. Technology allows more efficient use of resources and better mining capacity. There is no Nanotechnology-like thing to make resources free, and no need to rush for some tech like that before "everything runs out".

- Morale will be a measure of productivity and happiness and will affect productivity, birth rate, death rate, and other things. However, having 100% morale won't be something to avoid because you don't "take over" a rebel colony or get its people anymore.

- Population control via residential capacity. There will be S-curve like growth instead of exponential growth, and you can set policy to control your population better so that it doesn't get out of control.

- AI colonies will allow trading. If taking them over is supported, it will be voluntary. They will be cooperative and a risk mitigation in case a specific colony fails, rather than "rebels". This makes more sense for a space mission.

- Maybe some really crazy endgame stuff? Terraform the planet... then turn it into a logic diamond. Use AI and nanotech to cover the planet in solar panels. Make a space elevator. Become a Type I or II civilization. Make a dyson swarm. Finally, send your payload to another star system for a new (harder?) challenge.


What other features would you like to see?
« Last Edit: October 12, 2015, 03:02:56 PM by BinaryMan »

Offline leeor_net

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1410
    • LairWorks Entertainment
Re: PlanetBase causes me to look at my Colony X project again
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2015, 03:48:07 PM »
-flips table-

-throws OutpostHD into the garbage-

-huffs and puffs and stomps off-



So anyway, PlanetBase makes me want to drown... but ColonyX sounds pretty good. I wouldn't recommend VB6 though... at least upgrade to VB.Net if you're going to use VB at all or switch to C# or C/C++. Tends to work better for games like these.

You should get in touch with Leviathan about getting the source up on the OPU Subversion server. Would be good to see some of these projects actually get completed. :)

Offline BinaryMan

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Re: PlanetBase causes me to look at my Colony X project again
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2015, 04:16:06 PM »
I was about to post on your thread since OutpostHD seems like the only recently active project on this forum. Don't be so hard on yourself. I couldn't get anything working in C++ it would take me forever. My last compile was early 2007 for Colony X, and I was just more proficient in VB6 (about 15 years). I have since switched to C# for my newer projects. It's almost as fast to code, higher performance, lots of functionality, but it forces better style (and I can still edit during run-time to test stuff). I have the distribution package (zip) with the EXE and gfx for people to try on the old one (it's about 1.5mb), however uploads are not working on this forum even for small images as the disk is full or something ... so I have it on google drive: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bwopv1qLWE7jVTdrV1RSYmh0bTA/view?usp=sharing . Just rename the EXE (some browsers and Skype freak out that there is an EXE file in a ZIP and refuse to download regardless, that is why I renamed it).

I'm going to be porting it over to C# anyway, and I could use help with the graphical assets since I hesitate to take the Outpost artwork, and also I changed the aspect ratio to 2:1 since I found Outpost's aspect ratio a little funky and it's easier for me to do mouse coordinates to tile mapping. I'm considering whether top-down view like OP2 is easier to do artwork and certain programming for than the isometric, but I think most people for nostalgia's sake want the iso tiles.

Do you have any suggestions on my feature list? A lot of them are just compensation for things in OP1 that bugged everyone, and some are new ideas. I will need to get data on every list and cost and then balance them out. Certain UI improvements like edge scrolling that were not mainstream when OP1 came out. Using WASD instead of arrow keys (or both) is easier on the hands too. I don't have any pathing stuff implemented so I am curious about your tube connect method.

Offline lordpalandus

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 401
Re: PlanetBase causes me to look at my Colony X project again
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2015, 07:59:20 PM »
Sorry you feel terrible leeor_net.
BAM! You've been facehugged! Have a great day!

Offline leeor_net

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1410
    • LairWorks Entertainment
Re: PlanetBase causes me to look at my Colony X project again
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2015, 08:32:10 PM »
Welp... it runs! But I have no idea what I'm doing.

So anyway, as far as art assets, I'm not your man. I'm a programmer and engineer... I'm a terrible artist. I can put together textures but that's about as far as my artistic abilities go.

As for suggestions, I'll have to look at it a bit later. Pretty tired atm and got a few things to do before bed.

@lordpalandus

Meh, it looked really good and then I realized it's not the same as Outpost despite seeming to share a lot of similar concepts. So I don't want to drown myself anymore. :)

Offline BinaryMan

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 33
« Last Edit: October 14, 2015, 11:12:14 PM by BinaryMan »

Offline leeor_net

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1410
    • LairWorks Entertainment
Re: PlanetBase causes me to look at my Colony X project again
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2016, 12:34:33 AM »
Wanted to give you a poke, see where you're at with this. You've mentioned on IRC a few times that you've been making some progress with it.