Author Topic: Questions about game customisation/setup  (Read 1453 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 energy), 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.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 12:30:43 AM by leeor_net »
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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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Offline JetMech1999

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Re: Questions about game customisation/setup
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2018, 04:18:53 PM »
I'm glad I came back to this thread.  Kept me from asking questions that had already been asked.

Leeor, how many planet types and star types were you planning on implementing?  Like you said, the type of star changes the viability of planet types.  So, while your Mars planet in a Type G star system would behave one way, the same type of planet in the neighborhood of a blue dwarf, or even a binary system would respond completely differently.  If I understand havkyp correctly, these are some of the variables to try to work with.  Is this what you have in mind?  Or would a Mars-type planet act the same way in any system?

Offline leeor_net

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Re: Questions about game customisation/setup
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2018, 07:58:43 PM »
This is by no means exhaustive but this is the basic thinking:

Stellar Choice
Types
  • Low Metallicity
  • High Metallicity
  • Variable Luminosity
  • etc.

Effects
  • Intensity of Solar Radiation
  • Solar Flare Frequency and Severity
  • Concentration and Distribution of Resources
  • Variation in planetary types

Planetary Choice
Types
  • Mars
  • Ganymede
  • Callisto
  • Luna
  • Etc.

Effects
  • Low Metallicity
  • High Metallicity
  • Low Density
  • High Density
  • Fast Rotation


All of these things in tandem are combined to provide a unique environment for any given play through. Let's look at an example of a star system and planet chosen with a few sets of attributes: A Variable Star on a Mars like planet with Low Density and Fast Rotation.



In in this scenario, you'd have periods of very bright days with lots of light which would improve your agriculture and solar power generation and periods of lower brightness which would have the opposite effect. This variability would also bake and cool the planet in ways that would make life difficult there so morale would be harder to pull up.

Because of the low density it would be a lot easier to construct buildings and dig mines/tunnels, structures would be less vulnerable to earth quakes (if any occurred at all). Structures would also require less resources because of this but it's a low density planet which means that resources, especially heavier elements like metals, would be more scarce so that benefit kind of cancels out.

Plants would grow taller which would again improve your agriculture but because of the weird light availability and lack of resources they may not be as productive though larger plant mass would certainly help to clean the air meaning that you could rely less on CHAP facilities.

Because of its fast rotation and the variable star, you're going to experience far harsher weather phenomenon including high wind, high occurrence of sand/dust storms and high occurrence of electrical storms. Because of the lower gravity you may even tend to have more frequent and heavy cloud cover so that could have a negative effect on your agricultural production. Additionally, the low gravity and high wind means you're probably going to see a lot of dust storms on a global scale. Regardless of what state the star is in you're going to get reduced light to your agricultural domes which will reduce their efficiency... but the effect doesn't stop there. Transportation will be slower due to reduced visibility and communications will likely see constant disruptions; this could result in lost robots, trucks and even colonists.

Also because of the high winds, it would be more difficult to launch satellites though because of the lower gravity (and possibly lower density atmosphere as a result) your rockets may not have to brave storms too much before they get out into the upper atmosphere and orbit.



The above suggest just one possible scenario and the kinds of variables that the game will eventually take into account. At the moment the simulation is still taking shape and so the only variable taken into account is resource availability. Morale doesn't even yet play into productivity (except in the case of fertility and mortality rates).

Anyway, there's a lot at play in the above scenario and that's just with three attributes -- and that doesn't even account for the base attributes of the star and planet. I don't know how many attributes I plan to make available to these yet.

Anyway, I hope this illustrates what I think will turn out to provide a very wide variation in difficulty and customizable environments, not just the visuals of the tilesets themselves. :D
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 12:34:42 AM by leeor_net »
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Offline JetMech1999

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Re: Questions about game customisation/setup
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2018, 05:32:19 PM »
Wow! Now that's what I call exciting!  When you consider the possible combinations, you'd be able to go through several colonies and not hit on the same results every time.  Definitely an improvement over the original which gave you far fewer options.  One planet type gave you the same statistics, regardless of the system.  They through in some gas giants in some systems, and I think there was one that had no planets at all, correct me if I'm wrong, please.  In the end you only had a few usable planet types and their behavior was the same regardless of the system.  This shows a variability far beyond that.  Looking forward to it.

Offline leeor_net

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Re: Questions about game customisation/setup
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2018, 06:28:02 PM »
There were a couple of systems with no planets and a few with only gas giants.

The stars had variability in them (spectral classes) but as far as I or anybody could tell really had no effect on the simulation. If it did have an effect on the simulation it was negligible.
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Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Questions about game customisation/setup
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2018, 08:49:27 PM »
A problem like that though, could be resolved with a minimum value of 1 colonisable planet in a system, so at least you don't get killed off immediately to RNG, and other systems with your choice of a planet.
Currently working on Cataclysm of Chaos, Remade.
Link to OPU page = http://forum.outpost2.net/index.php/topic,6073.0.html

Offline leeor_net

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Re: Questions about game customisation/setup
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2018, 09:14:39 PM »
That was a problem for Outpost and they did it that way on purpose. Make a bad choice, you kill the last vestige of humanity. Balfour's wit at its finest.  ::)

Also, there was no RNG when it came to star system arrangements. They were all hard-coded into the game.

OutpostHD will not have this problem. The pre-game setup basically lets the player choose the start conditions (star type, planet type, star and planet modifiers) and off they go. Or they can hit a 'random' button which will choose random modifiers, types, etc.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 09:20:59 PM by leeor_net »
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Offline Hooman

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Re: Questions about game customisation/setup
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2018, 03:11:41 AM »
Quote
Or they can hit a 'random' button which will choose random modifiers, types, etc.

Including no planet?   :D

Ahh, the sweet vacuum of space. ;)

Offline leeor_net

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Re: Questions about game customisation/setup
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2018, 09:10:41 AM »
>>click<<

You lose.

Fastest game over evar.
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Offline chris2222

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Re: Questions about game customisation/setup
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2018, 03:26:49 PM »
It's going to take some time for me to catch up on things.  Actually haven't had time to play into the game yet, but hopefully soon.

Just a couple of questions .. Checking this customization link out.  Is there a random option to choose from?  That is everything is randomly chosen and you have no idea what planet you're going to end up on?

Also, are there certain planet customization selections where the colony has no hope at all to survive?  Or maybe on these no hope planets there is one slim chance of colony survival if the certain resources were found it time or certain technological advances were achieved in time? 

Just catching up, so pardon me if these haven't already been addressed or answered in another post. 

 

Offline leeor_net

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Re: Questions about game customisation/setup
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2018, 04:20:25 AM »
None of this is in the game.... yet. :)

I always envisioned a couple of buttons along the lines of "Randomize It", "Make it Easy", "Make it Hard" and "Masochist". I don't think there will ever be a no-win situation, I don't want to make it that brutal but the game is already difficult even without the modifiers in place yet.

By all means, ask away! Questions help me know where things are deficient.
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