Hey Folks! I think I've narrowed down the short term goal list to two things: refueling the ship at a station, and some sort of encounter system. And since the former is probably quicker to do, it's spreadsheet time!

What you see above is an in-game UI I mocked-up in Unity to cover the ship refueling and restocking operations at a station. Similar to the air traffic control UI I made earlier, a lot of this is just for show. But it does illustrate some of the stuff I want to model in the game.

You're going to pay out the ear to use a high-traffic space station, and this is what that'll look like. Charges and fees for everything. Maybe some backwater landing fields or mining bases will just let you sidle up and leave at will, but Tharsis Landing doesn't have time or space for that. So you'd better be prepared to pay, or risk your ship being in hock to settle your debts.

What this means is that you probably won't be flying between A and B carrying sprockets and consumer goods to turn a meager profit. That's what you do when someone else owns your ship and you, paying you a measly salary one notch better than poverty. I'm sort of picturing that as "the soft death" in this game. If you've failed somehow, you end up just another Joe Schmoe clocking-in to tread water in debt.

Instead, you're working the angles, doing the crime, milking the contacts for more interesting (and not always legal) jobs. Like Mal, Han, Spike, or Holden, the day-to-day for you and your crew is staying under the radar while keeping the ship stocked. So each trip needs to be a big payday, or else risking no-fly status at stations where you're in debt.

I think the encounter system and AI relations/contacts will make that clearer, but before we get there, we need a way to restock at the end of a trip. And that's where this comes in. Once I get enough of this UI up and running, I should be able to fly around indefinitely as long as money is in the coffers. And then the encounter system can start working on the coffers issue.

Tags: Ostranauts


Marc13Bautista's picture


Free Elusive Skill = Athletic x4 in ATN Enclave encounter

matsy's picture

Be nice to have an icon or image on the left hand side. To catch your eye as imagine more fuels maybe added or other stuff there so to easily identify with an imagine would be nice.

ra1's picture

Love the idea of shady deals and subterfuge.

The soft death truly is such for the player as well. Games are mostly basic resource hauling/trading (for a meager profit) become very boring fast.

P.S. My mind is full of ideas how this can play out... Talk to the right NPC and find out where some stolen fuel exists that you can get at 1/2 price. Another NPC might know of an impending shortage of Oxygen that will cause prices to double soon. Then again, maybe they are lying and waiting to ambush you...better bring some brawn.

Rovlad's picture

We're still using dollars instead of buckazoids in 2079?
Immersion ruined!
(Actually, separate currencies are still the most likely scenario. Or maybe bitcoins.)

PS. Yet another couple of games with portraits in the UI -- Jagged Alliance series and Fallout Tactics. In fact, quite a few squad based games used to have these, and yet again that trend didn't survive for some reason.

dcfedor's picture

@Marc, spreadsheets aren't often celebrated in most game genres, but space gamers seem to like them!

@matsy, yeah, there might have to be more picking and choosing on this menu in practice. Not all ships and stations are equal, and will have/use different resources.

@ra1, definitely. There's a lot of room for creativity in such a system. "Juicy deals" :)

@Rovlad, oh no. This time there's going to be multiple currencies. And it's going to bleed captains dry.

I mean, everybody needs to make a living, right? And money changers are no exception :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games