Skills & Careers

Hey Folks! Reworked the skill list today, and moved from there into careers. And there's been a change of plan.

After some more thinking, I decided I was going to try the opposite approach for skills from NEO Scavenger. Instead of adding skills one-by-one, and trying to make each equally useful, I'm going to just add all of them right away, and try to find uses for each.

There's a bit of a risk here in that I might end up having unused or limited use skills in the game. But based on NS's reviews, I think that was already the case with the other approach, too. It's just hard to make a story to fit all possible builds equally. This way, characters can be a lot more well-rounded. I can pepper encounters and other events with more opportunities to use skills, since there are more to choose from. Plus, I can more logically make skills and careers prerequisites for other careers with the added granularity.

A fourth benefit comes from this approach, too. I think I can get the AI interaction system to use skill info as a sort of "common interests" tool when AIs talk and form relationships. If two AIs are at a bar, and they each have skills in excavation, they can shoot the breeze about that. Kind of like one would at a club, convention, or shared place of work. So even if "excavation" doesn't come up a lot in minute-to-minute gameplay, it becomes useful in some secondary way. (And some day in the future, when I have magical time, excavation will be there waiting for me to add some mining gameplay activity to use it on.)

I think this plan will work. We'll see!

After that was decided, and filled-out with the options in the image above, it was time to start on careers. I've only just started here, and it's primarily been schools so far, but it's starting to take shape. Each career lets you choose skills from a list of those relevant to the career. You learn these over your time there, which will likely be in 4-year increments. (5 years experience is kind of the recognized rule of thumb for mastery of a career, 4-years is a typical undergrad career, and 2 years is typical of tech and specialty programs. So 4 is sort of my average.)

You also get contacts, which will likely be auto-generated based on the career (using this same career-mapping system). Probably some income/debt. I'd like for there to be some special events that could happen, such as windfalls, advancement opportunities, tragedies, scandals, etc. You'll get various conditions applied, mostly behind the scenes to track what you've done.

And I'm toying with the idea that each career term gives you a chance at gaining access to a ship and starting the game with that. It won't always happen right away. But eventually, your career-hopping ends when you find yourself in control of a ship. Might be yours. Might be stolen. Might be mortgaged. Might not be on the registry.

Whatever the case, it's how you became a captain of a ship. And with it, probably a raft of problems at your heels. You'll have freedom to go where you want at this point, but the chargen and career choices (and consequences) should hopefully provide some narrative structure to direct you. Whether that be hiding from a pursuer, seeking revenge on a rival, finding a lost relative, finding a gig to pay off your debts, or whatever.

Tags: Ostranauts


ra1's picture

Are you going to have mega-corporations that control everything except fringe bases, or a more wild-west environment with occasional pockets of controlled society?

dcfedor's picture

Sort of in-between,

There will be sovereign states that originated from "old Earth" states. Some operate as if still tied to Earth, even if they are effectively cut-off. Others have declared independence, but are still similar to their old states. In practice, both are pretty much alike.

Then you have corporate republics, which are kind of like your megacorp example. They are effectively state powers in control of a region or entire celestial body. Frequently, they are composed of nationals from former Earth states, so they can feel a bit like those states. But they are controlled by various governing bodies they've assembled, from boardrooms to coalitions.

Some alliance/confederacy types exist, too, which are loose-knit bands that technically have a government, but may use the term loosely. These are frequently the result of insurrection, strikes, or failed colonization.

And there are also places that are fairly lawless, under limited or no control from any organized government.

The most important take-away here is that there is no "one law" to rule the land. Every place has a "local authority," and the rules (and boundaries) don't always agree.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games