Author Topic: Questions about game customisation/setup  (Read 202 times)

Offline havkyp

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Questions about game customisation/setup
« on: August 06, 2017, 01:52:46 PM »
Hello,

Really excited about OutpostHD, many thanks for making it happen and keeping it going!

I was looking at the wiki and noticed that:

Quote
Most people just want to get into the simulation part of the game so the colony ship preparation and star selection phase of the game is being dropped entirely. Instead, it will be a fairly simple interface allowing the player to choose the planet type, hostility and difficulty and then drop right into the game.

OK, I can see how many people see the set up phase in the original Outpost to be somewhat tedious, not to mention all the cutscenes (albeit they really are amazing for their time!!). That said, reflecting on it I have two thoughts and a couple questions:

First, the wiki states that there will be an interface to choose "planet type, hostility and difficulty". Essentially this sounds like a game customisation screen before the game starts. This is actually what the original game's pre-launch/ship preparation/target system phases do, it's just that the original Outpost tried to "gamified" the customisation process. Therefore, I'm wondering if - in a future version of OutpostHD - we can have a pre-game UI that is somewhere in between?

In other words, you are provided with a finite amount of "customisation points" that you can spend on what you start your colony with. For example, and obvious things are the satellites you start with or the amount of colonist and cargo landers you get. With these customisation points (in addition to choosing planets that are of different hazard levels) you are essentially setting the difficulty level. Does this make sense?

Second, I suspect the system picker phase of the original game is to introduce a sense of randomness/risk into the planet you end up on. Obviously in the original Outpost, the systems and their planets are hard coded. So after a while this becomes boring. But in OutpostHD is there a way to make this phase interesting i.e. you don't know the exact parameters of the planet you end up on?

Other than the above, another reason I like the original Outpost's pre-game phase is the cool story. Are there plans to still have a background story in OutpostHD? I think the Earth-destroyed-so-need-interstellar-colonization back story is amazing and don't see why the remake can't have it. :D

Oh one more thing. I see in this thread that there is discussion about de-orbiting the colony ship after a certain number of turns. What about making this another thing that you can spend customisation points on? For example, you can spend points to make the colony ship last longer in orbit. In fact, I suggest a more expensive option where the colony ship is capable of staying in orbit indefinitely and act as a fancy artificial satellite for communications, disaster warning, etc. etc. Of course since this option is expensive you have to make trade offs with other perks you could get to kickstart your colony. This idea is inspired by the colony ship in Allen Steele's Coyote novel for those of you who have read it.

Let me know what you think!

Offline leeor_net

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Re: Questions about game customisation/setup
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2017, 08:29:36 PM »
First, the wiki states that there will be an interface to choose "planet type, hostility and difficulty". Essentially this sounds like a game customisation screen before the game starts. This is actually what the original game's pre-launch/ship preparation/target system phases do, it's just that the original Outpost tried to "gamified" the customisation process. Therefore, I'm wondering if - in a future version of OutpostHD - we can have a pre-game UI that is somewhere in between?
I admit it's not well stated. Really what it should say is "Remove all the fluff".

The intention is to allow for the selection of some parameters before touchdown: Difficulty level, star type and planet type. Maybe a few others.

These would set up the basic parameters for the beginning of the game. Star type affects radiation output, light levels and surface activity -- this would affect productivity for surface structures (even with heavy shielding colonists wouldn't be able to be exposed for too long), affect food production and morale, effectiveness of solar power (low light levels make it hard to produce light), frequency of surface structure maintenance requirements and frequency of severe solar storms.

Planet selection would affect everything from digging depths, availability of resources, frequency of severe weather, damage caused by earthquakes, volcanic activity, day/night cycles, productivity of colonists, etc.

Many of these values are not yet part of the simulation but as they are implemented will affect your colonists in a variety of ways. Couple that with a difficulty modifier and you can expect the game to be brutal.

Other than the above, another reason I like the original Outpost's pre-game phase is the cool story. Are there plans to still have a background story in OutpostHD? I think the Earth-destroyed-so-need-interstellar-colonization back story is amazing and don't see why the remake can't have it. :D
It follows the same basic premise. Earth is destroyed and you're tasked with starting over somewhere else. I'm game for expanding it but I'm a terrible writer. We could go with the exact same premise but I'd hoped to differentiate OutpostHD a bit from Outpost (e.g., not a clone but something based on the same premise but with far better implementation).

Oh one more thing. I see in this thread that there is discussion about de-orbiting the colony ship after a certain number of turns. What about making this another thing that you can spend customisation points on? For example, you can spend points to make the colony ship last longer in orbit. In fact, I suggest a more expensive option where the colony ship is capable of staying in orbit indefinitely and act as a fancy artificial satellite for communications, disaster warning, etc. etc. Of course since this option is expensive you have to make trade offs with other perks you could get to kickstart your colony. This idea is inspired by the colony ship in Allen Steele's Coyote novel for those of you who have read it.
That's not a bad idea but there are a few issues with it. Since it will be abandoned once all the colonists are landed and all of its fuel reserves will be spent, it won't be able to maintain an orbit for very long. The difficulty modifier will affect this -- at the moment I have it set for a 2 year deorbit but I'm thinking on lower difficulty levels this can be as high as 5 years. The point behind it is that once it's reached its target that's it, the ship is no longer useful.



As a side note about satellites and other things that you get to bring with you -- this will mostly decided for you based on your difficulty selection. The idea here is that the colony ship had to be loaded fast and there wasn't enough time to decide what to bring and what not to. So it was packed with a bunch of human ice pops, some food and basic supplies and it was launched. Satellites will be something that the player has to research and deploy on their own. Consider them a mid- late-game type of deal. But we're still talking about that and how exactly it should be implemented.
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Offline havkyp

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Re: Questions about game customisation/setup
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2017, 01:12:19 PM »
Thanks leeor_net.

If I understand your reply correctly, it boils down to what the user gets to customize in the beginning ("pre-launch").

To that end, I think having preset difficulty levels would indeed be great i.e. Easy, Normal, Hard or something along those lines. That said, I think the game can be much more replayable and enjoyable if there can be more fine grained control over the customizations (e.g. when/if the colony ship deorbits, if there will be pre-packaged satellites from the beginning). And since those fine-grained customizations are "bought" with finite customization points, it actually adds challenge for advanced players.

Would it help if I try to think of what such a customization phase might look like and which items can be customized?

Offline leeor_net

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Re: Questions about game customisation/setup
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2017, 02:37:47 PM »
By all means. I'm not dead set on my above proposal. The primary reason for not cloning OP1's method was to strip out the superfluous stuff. At the time the videos were amazing... but today such videos are common place and don't really add much to the overall enjoyability of the game.

As stated in the other topic, suggestions are always welcome. I can't promise they'll be implemented as suggested but it could certainly help me produce a better, more fun game to play.
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