Author Topic: A brand new player's view on lack of immersion  (Read 532 times)

gangusbangus

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A brand new player's view on lack of immersion
« on: October 15, 2010, 11:59:50 AM »
I've just recently purchased the full version of Star Ruler. I strongly feel that there is a core game here vastly superior to every other "Space Empire" game I've enjoyed over the years, since Master of Orion 1. I understand that your company released early due to financial reasons, but that you also listen to the customer concern and criticism.

1. Star Ruler lacks immersion and because of this the game bogs down into a 3D spreadsheet. Although I greatly enjoy the detail present in the game, most of these factors can be put "under the hood":

2. Races. Are all races bipedal, with terrestrial habitability? What do we look like? Are we biological, sentient machines? What is our empire's purpose? A few pictures and notes thrown down about ethics, beliefs and goals should suffice; it doesn't need to be too deep.

3. Planet quality. Planets are rated by a number of usable slots and some modifiers such as rich ore or windy, regardless of what the planet looks like and what race I am playing. All I see are planets with numbers. How dull is it to compare systems with worlds ranging from 10-26 to another with worlds 12-23?

These multiple factors can be hidden and then represented by a single, simple scale: you can use whatever, perhaps a color code (black=unusable, red=outposts only, orange=dangerous but habitable, yellow=needs teraforming, green=ideal, blue=gaia), or maybe X out of 5 stars. Whatever it would be, it gives players a good idea of where to focus colony placement at a quick glance when there are thousands of worlds to choose from. When a player mouses over a system, the overall grade of that system for your race should pop up (once explored).

4. One race's trash is another's treasure. This goes with custom races. Each race's scale would differ, allowing for some interesting competition for systems. The AI race might prefer hellish worlds that the player would normally ignore. Systems would be colonized by multiple races, sometimes leading to instant tensions.

5. Production. I like that the economy and production is based on a variety of factors. However, this can be a bit of overkill as players are constantly retooling planet factories or governors to switch from electronics and advanced parts. Instead, allow for more simple blends like "Industrial" and "High Tech". Industrial worlds produce widgets needed by the empire, switching from goods, luxuries, electronics and advanced parts (at a reduced rate). High Tech worlds produce electronics, advanced parts and some research (at a reduced rate).  Keep balanced, mining, research, ship yards and military worlds. The complexity is there under the hood - the player can dig down for it if he wishes. You've just managed to simplify the amount of choices and the result is about the same.

6. Currency and Upkeep. An empire's worth can be calculated in any variety of means, but good ideas include a galactic currency, or the sum value of all produced widgets (electronics, advanced parts, etc). This pool allows assessment of the health of the player and AI empires. Is this empire growing in the right ways? Will our huge navy bankrupt us? Building all of these huge structures on worlds and ship creation should cost more than just the materials needed. Upkeep will be cheaper on some worlds, expensive on others. Vessels cost money (or whatever currency) to build, operate, repair and refit. A currency system, perhaps unrealistic, is just an easy way for players to manage all of these things in a top down manner.

7. Diplomacy and Trade. I understand that diplomacy will be redone. I like the idea of building simple or complex treaties and trade. But players and AI should not be able to trade anything except some technology unless they have some sort of proximity. You could even implement "Fog of War" and allow the choice for no contact with other races until you meet them (ship contact, sensors, etc). Keep the building blocks simple. Non-Aggression pacts, Trade rights(any or all goods), demands for materials (tributes), Alliances - and remove time limits for most. Allow them to naturally end due to in game friction.

As for trade, haulers should be able to be automated to move between the empires systems. They could even be used for interstellar trade, unless there is a "freighter" ship type I haven't discovered yet.

8. Time. This is one that bugs me. What is the time scale of the game? Does 1 second of gameplay time = 1 day or week in the lives of my subjects? Perhaps this is a trifle point, but it is an immersion factor killer for me. Just update the UI, or allow a player option to change it. Keep the 1 second scale for multi-player if that makes more sense.

9. Auto-explore. Scouts and other vessels should have an auto explore feature that moves the vessels to uncharted systems on its own but also heads to friendly worlds to refuel. If this feature is in the game, I aplogize but I looked all over for it. Pressing "x" moves the scout out once.

10. Ship upgrades. Do new models become the default active builds? Is there a switch I can press that makes upgrades active automatically and moves older ones into the obsolete column?

11. System wide governors. This is a fairly simple concept. Allow for a system-level governor to manage all the planets there.

12. Admirals. Admirals are governors for fleets. They have some basic settings that tell the fleet what to do in situations, when to refuel, when to request additional ships, etc. They also provide combat and logistical bonuses.

13. Unit experience. Do vessel crews in this game accumulate experience or skill? Have an option to place vessels and fleets in "training" while they are stationary in systems, gaining them slight amounts of experience (up to a point). Exploration and combat would increase experience. Repairs and retrofit would reduce experience.

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Again I apologize if any or all of my suggestions, ideas or questions have been touched upon, brought up by others or are in the works. I enjoy the game and know that with some additions this can be a killer app.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 08:34:11 AM by gangusbangus »

ringlord2

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Re: A brand new player's view on lack of immersion
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2010, 02:36:18 PM »
These are great suggestions, a lot of which I would like to see. Especially the time one, the dev can simply state somewhere in the wiki that 1 sec = 1 day. Experience should be implemented, absolutely. Makes a ship harder to hit and better at targeting and repair. Also makes possibly older ships worthwhile to have around.