Wrapping-Up Chargen

Hey Folks! Character generation may be pretty close to operational today! I hesitate to say "finished," since it still has a ton of tweaking, fixing, and potentially rework to do over time. But I can basically build an entire character now, and the only step missing is the code to transport the finished character into the game!

Well, technically, first they transport to the ship customization screen, then the game. But still!

It's been a long time coming, and I thought it might make sense to do a recap. Take a step back, and review what it is I'm trying to do. And for anyone who's catching-up, this'll be a useful bird's eye view.

Today's screenshot basically maps out the major beats in the process, starting at the top left and progressing right and downward from there. We start a new game as a random named NPC wandering around a chargen "station." There's a restroom for character appearance/gender editing, and three kiosks for homeworld/strata, name/career/skills, and general traits.

The top right panel shows the appearance and gender UI, which is actually the only one here I didn't give a graphical treatment too. It'll probably look like a public bathroom wall when I'm done, but for now, imagine you're looking into a mirror over the sink. The red buttons toggle gender pronouns, and the white button randomizes appearance.

From there, we move to the (green) homeworld kiosk, which is meant to look a bit like a System-wide comms terminal. You can choose your preferred homeworld from the buttons in section "1," and your social strata from section "2." A helpful government pamphlet peeks up at you from the bottom, which can be raised to view detailed info on the stats you'll get as a member of that homeworld.

Moving on to the (yellow) career kiosk, this is a sort of government build-a-resume terminal. Like you'd find at the local employment office. Here, you can edit your name, and start choosing your career path. Each career term is 4 years, and there's a limit to the max age you can reach based on your homeworld (it's foundation date). Each career offers different skills from which to choose, and some are only accessible if you have certain requirements filled. (E.g. medical career requires medschool, pilot careers require pilot training, etc.)

Each term, there is a chance of one or more special "life" events. You might gain or lose people in your life, such as family, friends, or useful contacts. Sometimes, you might gain enemies. Or injuries. And in rare cases, you might stumble across a chance at a ship.

Each ship origin story will be a bit different. Some involve stealing. Others borrowing. And still others are free and clear. Some are ready to fly. Some are heaps of junk. Some are experimental.

Whatever the case, you can choose to preview the ship by docking it at this station and touring it. And if you don't want it, continue your career normally. If you do take it, however, the ship and career become locked-in. You might be able to reset/restart career if you don't like how it turned out, but you have to wipe it clean to do so. No "undo" along the way.

Once that's done, we move on to the (red) traits kiosk, fashioned after a pharmacy vending machine. Basically, it shows you the list of positive and negative traits you have, and this is where you'll balance those out. Like NEO Scavenger, if you have a surplus of positive traits, you must take some negatives. Unlike NEO Scavenger, there are a lot more to choose from here.

I'll have to do some testing to see if this step should be resolved before careers or not. Or if any of these can be done in any order. I'd like to offer freedom to make what you want, but there are some careers that cannot be pursued with certain traits. (E.g. IsObtuse would not likely graduate to become a scientist or doctor)

Anyway, after those choices are made, you end up with a fairly fleshed-out character. You have stats, a history, a ship, and people you know (and are maybe on the run from).

The only thing not really working here is shown in the lower right corner: ship editing. Your career reward that provided a ship will also include a purse of funds to customize the starting ship. Probably not enough to overhaul it. And probably no way to sell existing parts (would be too easy). But maybe enough to rearrange a few rooms, add some equipment, or patch some holes.

Anyway, that done, you'd be plopped into said ship, and off you go! Probably with some sort of urgent immediate need, like being on the run, or finding funds to stock-up. And then...we find out what is needed to make this fun, I guess :)

Comments

Braderunna's picture
Braderunna

Do you plan on making planet surfaces available to walk on and explore?
If you do, it could be like a kind of world map, where you would be able move around like in neoscavenger, and when you visited a location, maybe a bandit hideout, maybe you could go into 3d mode, talk to people there. shoot em up.

hi

Respawn's picture
Respawn

Seems like an extremely complex facet that really isn't the focus of the game.

A luxury feature at best.

Come join me on the Airships Forum!
-https://airships.zarkonnen.com/-

"I rode the train home, catching up on some SCP logs. They were less ******* weird than the people I rode with."
Tex- BlackPantsLegion

Braderunna's picture
Braderunna

And is personal character equipment gonna play a role? im so curious about this game

hi

Respawn's picture
Respawn

I'd imagine so, but not nearly as in-depth as NEO Scavenger.

Come join me on the Airships Forum!
-https://airships.zarkonnen.com/-

"I rode the train home, catching up on some SCP logs. They were less ******* weird than the people I rode with."
Tex- BlackPantsLegion

ra1's picture
ra1

Another option: bribe the yard foreman to "forget" to report the ship missing. This could be a dice roll as he may take your money/important ship parts and still turn you in. The bigger the bribe, the less likely he is to double-cross?

matsy's picture
matsy

Are you not missing crew recruitment? Or getting your first job?

It would we good if once you get your ship it goes into a bit of a tutorial mode. Recruitment for a captains matey who then proceeds to help you. IE. I know this job, we need fuel based off your ship we need 'x' see 'y' to acquire it, we need food etc.

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

Lots of good feedback/discussion here, so let me try to address each point:

Planet Surfaces - I'd like to have this, but I'm not sure how it'll work yet. Doing it well would require a lot of work (both programming and content). If I can find a way to make it interesting within my budget, I probably will. Definitely not 3D shooter style, though :)

Personal Equipment - At a minimum, this will be like Rimworld. I.e. clothes and a few items per person. Could be more in-depth. But again, depends on my budget/schedule.

Bribe the Foreman - This is the sort of thing that defines the game world, so it could be an immediate option after the player spawns on the ship. E.g. you haven't left the junkyard yet, so one option is to just steal the ship, and another option is to grease a few palms on the way out.

Crew Recruitment - This won't apply to every ship, so it depends on the character. In the case of the shipbreaker career, for example, you might start the game alone on the ship. And your first task will be finding some willing crew to embark.

Tutorial - I think the "matey advice" tutorial is one approach. I definitely like the "pre-flight checklist" for new players to complete if they want it. There may be cases where the starter ship has a crew of one, or the player's skills mean they already know this info. So perhaps the checklist is put there by different means in different stories.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Braderunna's picture
Braderunna

I didnt mean 3d shooter. More like the 3d that i thought you were already using, for the characters in game, when seeing them on the ship.

So what i meant was;

- Moving around with your character on the planet surcafe 'neoscaveneger-style'
(Thinking since you already programmed this once, Maybe it could be implemented or used, in Some kind of way, that i would never understand)
- Creating sites, maybe using the ship editor tool, but with new terrain tiles you could place in a small kind of room, like you do when making a ship, and there could be a crashlanded ship on the terrain, or some ruins or a small encampment of some sort. Some trading maybe.
- Being able to visit those sites in the surface hexagon tile World mode.
(Visit as in viewing your characters in the way you do on the ship (thought it was 3d for some reason), being able to interact with objects and npc's, and See conversations realtime (Also imagining that you can see combat in realtime on the ship).

hi

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

Ah, I see what you mean. You're actually right about the game using 3D, it uses sprites on 3D meshes. I thought you meant like a first-person shooter :)

Setting-up a NS-style hex map is possible, but it would take more than a little work to translate it from HaxeFlixel to Unity. Each has vastly different ways of displaying tilemaps, so most of that drawing code would need rewriting. The movement, fog of war, and other game mechanics wouldn't be too hard, though.

More importantly, however, is filling-in those worlds with content. A planet, or even a moon, is a big place, and making them seem worth visiting means a lot of content creation. I could try to develop a procedural system to populate worlds with content, but usually players are smart enough to detect the patterns those create, and they get boring fast.

I do, however, plan on using the ship-building system for space stations and other colonies when you land your ship. And like I said, I would like for players to be able to land on surfaces to do stuff. It's just lower on the priority list, after space travel, crew management, ship building/maintenance, and adventure.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Braderunna's picture
Braderunna

Great thanks for always replying :)

You already thought of the multi-purpose ship editor ofcourse.

Yeah you totally got the idea i was trying to present, the right way. So the two enginges are not very similar, ofcourse Thats a problem, didnt think of that. You generaly took the idea the bit further i couldnt take it myself, since i dont Know coding. I Think im just gonna wait and see where you lead the spacefleet, then Im gonna drop the crazy mmorpg firstperson shooter neoscavenger 2 ideas ;)

hi