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 :)