Crew Management Loop

Hey Folks! Hope everyone had a good weekend. We had company visiting, so most of our time was spent catching up and sight-seeing. And eating, of course.

Back at the office, I had to apologize to Michael for missing some files in my last version control check-in. He unfortunately had to waste time figuring out what I missed. But he was able to, and at least we're getting back on track.

And since most of my work was text-based today, I unfortunately don't have any screenshots to share. So instead, have this sneak peek into the next concept art!

And despite there being no screenshots, that doesn't mean the text work isn't interesting. I'm actually doing some game loop mockups for crew management, and learning some useful things about the way the game will feel, minute-to-minute.

I'm basically taking scenes from some of my favorite inspirations for Ostranauts, and trying to convert them into game engine events. What things can the game engine do? What can't it do? What things are superfluous? Where does the player act, vs. the avatar AIs, vs. some overarching game plot system?

So far, it's working better than intended. I'm finding existing mechanics to cover a lot of the scenes' beats. And what's more, I'm starting to get a better sense of when the player is taking control, and how.

Presently, the scenes I'm testing a slightly more action-based, so the player has direct control over a large portion of the crew. E.g. moving them around, using objects, taking cover/firing, etc. And the player is constantly managing morale to keep that control, or else crew members panic/check-out for a while. And all the while, the game's PlotManager is adding periodic tension through major events, like incoming fire, an accident, or other threats.

I'd like to get some more low-action scenes mapped out like this before I start coding. This current example works well in situations where an away team is on a mission, but there will be times when the crew is largely autonomous and self-serving needs (sleeping, eating, chatting, etc.). Player intervention will still be needed periodically, but I expect most of these non-action phases will be AI free time, where the player controls the captain, and uses that avatar to affect control without directly ordering people.

The cool thing is, this seems more concrete than any picture I had before. Perhaps this is finally taking shape? We'll see!

Tags: Ostranauts