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Author Topic: Ideas for after 1.0  (Read 8947 times)
Jeff Graw
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Ideas for after 1.0
« on: February 15, 2006, 08:21:12 pm »

Ok, heres what I'm thinking. 0.5 is pretty much a version 1.0 in its own right, so a 1.0 version probably isn't that far off.

In order to make further improvements to the original game, we are going to need to start changing the way the game actually works, adding feauters, and changing portions of the game which were poorly done.

IMHO there are only two really major flaws in the game.

1. The idea that crew basically only amount to hitpoints is stupid (uh oh, here comes the flames...)
and
2. Planet terrain is basically a dozen recycled low rez bitmaps, which makes all the planets feel the same and basically ruins exploration.

Now 1 is very easy to fix. Give each ship hitpoints, and have crew affect repair rate. Crew would also occasionally die when you get hit, but the hit points would almost always determine when the ship blows up.

Point 2 is harder to fix but also more important. Basically, just use the Starflight method. Fractally generated planet terrain, and an actual convincingly sized spheroid (as in, one that you could explore). Starflight is basically SC2's better for this reason alone.


Now, after point 1 is implemented, the next logical step would be to actually support some more tactical combat. You command a fleet of ships, so you should be able to actually command that fleet in battle, instead of sending one ship in at a time.

After point 2 is implemented, and you have huge fractally generated worlds to explore, you should work to populate them with interesting locations, species, artifacts, cities, pre-warp civilizations and the like.

Now, these ideas are a huge change, and will probably put some people off, but we've pretty much done all that we can to recreate the original game. It's time to start changing and improving, and we need to start by removing the flaws of the original (yes, it does have flaws, and some gaping ones at that). Sure, we might make some sweeping changes to gameplay, but I beleive its something that needs to (and should be) done.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2006, 08:26:36 pm by Hurleybird » Logged
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Re: Ideas for after 1.0
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2006, 08:36:05 pm »

IMHO there are only two really major flaws in the game.

1. The idea that crew basically only amount to hitpoints is stupid (uh oh, here comes the flames...)
It is kind of silly, but it works quite well gameplay-wise (keeps things simple).

Quote
2. Planet terrain is basically a dozen recycled low rez bitmaps, which makes all the planets feel the same and basically ruins exploration.
Last time I checked, each planet has its own unique fractally generated terrain. They're all quite similar, though.

Quote
Now 1 is very easy to fix. Give each ship hitpoints, and have crew affect repair rate. Crew would also occasionally die when you get hit, but the hit points would almost always determine when the ship blows up.
The problem with changing this sort of thing is that it would either have little effect or you'd have to rebalance all the combat again (not that it was too carefully balanced to begin with).

Quote
Point 2 is harder to fix but also more important. Basically, just use the Starflight method. Fractally generated planet terrain, and an actual convincingly sized spheroid (as in, one that you could explore). Starflight is basically SC2's better for this reason alone.
The problem with Starflight is that exploring a planet takes ages. While this is realistic, it doesn't really fit into the UQM style of sweeping through dozens of star systems. It also distracts from the plot.

Quote
Now, after point 1 is implemented, the next logical step would be to actually support some more tactical combat. You command a fleet of ships, so you should be able to actually command that fleet in battle, instead of sending one ship in at a time.
The current combat system is heavily dependent on battles being one-on-one. You'd essentially have to redesign the whole thing from scratch, and you'd end up with a completely different game.

Quote
After point 2 is implemented, and you have huge fractally generated worlds to explore, you need to populate them with interesting locations, species, artifacts, cities, pre-warp civilizations and the like.
Again, all this would change the game completely.

Quote
Now, these ideas are a huge change, and will probably put some people off, but we've pretty much done all that we can to recreate the original game. It's time to start changing and improving, and we need to start by removing the flaws of the original (yes, it does have flaws, and some gaping ones at that). Sure, we might make some sweeping changes to gameplay, but I beleive its something that needs to (and should be) done.
As far as I can tell, your suggestions would change gameplay to the point where we essentially have a completely different game; keeping the same plot with all these changes would be hard, too. This sounds more like a sequel than a revision of UQM to me.
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Re: Ideas for after 1.0
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2006, 08:36:58 pm »

The goals of the UQM project were to make the game available to modern platforms, and to make modifications (including translations) easier. The first goal is pretty much achieved, the other still needs plenty of work.
The UQM gameplay will always remain faithful to the original, even when 1.0 is done. Spinoffs would be released under a new name (and even now, people have been doing just that, in small ways). But don't count on the current UQM developers to be making spin-offs after 1.0, as none of us seems to be interested in that.

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Re: Ideas for after 1.0
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2006, 08:46:59 pm »

I don't think that your suggestions will be able to exist anywhere outside of an unofficial mod. There are too many purists to let this happen to the trunk- and one of the design principles of UQM is that players should be able to experience the game as it was in its original state.

Planet images could be part of the "graphics expansion pack" idea that has been kicked about- a graphics equivalent of the precursor remix packs. The engine would need some overhauling before this is possible though- it still thinks that it's running at a 320x240 resolution AFAIK.

A lot of the work being done is going on under the hood. The project was close enough at 3.0-4.0 to be "released as 1.0" by your standards, but the game requires further development to meet its goals of modularity and extensibility.
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Re: Ideas for after 1.0
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2006, 10:26:49 pm »

What if after 1.0 2 official versions were maintained? One being the version as close to the original as possible, and the other which focused on fixing the flaws in the game and improving gameplay. IMHO having a multitude of spin-offs will probably amount to nothing more than a few failed attempts at drastic gameplay change (due to the work involved) and a large number of projects which make very small gameplay changes (think duct tape mod for doom3) which no one will care about.

meep-eep stated that the other goal of UQM is to "make modifications (including translations) easier", but what is going to be done after that? Shold the project grow stagnant?

I think that it would be wise to make a secound *official* branch (like 'UQM 2X') after most of the work has been done leading up to 1.0. Sure, gameplay and balance would need to be changed, and the game may end up looking completely different, but it would provide replayability for vets, keep devs interested in coding, and very likely make a great game a true masterpeice by fixing the flaws that it admitably has in it.
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Re: Ideas for after 1.0
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2006, 10:30:06 pm »

Aftermath, Starflight 3, and Black Sky might be more likely to include the basic planetary and/or fleet combat ideas you mentioned.
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Re: Ideas for after 1.0
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2006, 10:57:11 pm »

You assume your "major flaws" are automatically agreed upon, though.  Unless there were a vast majority sharing a common complaint, I don't see how it could ever become an official modification.

Besides, if the "crew as hitpoints" is the ONLY breach of logic you can complain about...need I remind you that the planets are only MARGINALLY larger than the ships, and these same ships can collide with said planets and, more or less, go on as they were?

Yeah, crew as hitpoints is infinitely more logical than that. ^_^;
« Last Edit: February 15, 2006, 11:03:10 pm by Clay » Logged
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Re: Ideas for after 1.0
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2006, 11:16:48 pm »

... the other which focused on fixing the flaws in the game and improving gameplay.

Flaws? What flaws do you speak of. So far all you've stated are the preferences of a space flight simulator fan-boy. Perhaps what you are talking about as flaws in the game play would be flaws if they weren't inherent to the gameplay.

The debate between crew / hit points is a point of disussion on this board for, oh, as long as I've been around at least, which is shortly after SC2 was released. I don't see why it's such a sore point to younger players. I mean, you think nothing of stepping on a first aid kit and immedately feeling better without all the actuall first aid going on. Reality = distraction from gameplay.

So relax about the first point.

About the second point, the planets being pretty much the same, again, what does it matter? You land on a planet and it doesn't matter if you're driving over land or sea or a bed of hot boiling lava. So long as it isn't flaming, your lander can handle it. What do you want? Individual images for each planet so that you could find one the developers nested in there around some remote star that if you land on it you're lander map resembles a giant wang? Amusing as that may be, it doesn't affect the gameplay one iota. Granted it's a novel idea that I don't think I've heard mentioned on these forums, at least not for a while.
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Re: Ideas for after 1.0
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2006, 12:25:00 am »

About the second point, the planets being pretty much the same, again, what does it matter? You land on a planet and it doesn't matter if you're driving over land or sea or a bed of hot boiling lava. So long as it isn't flaming, your lander can handle it. What do you want? Individual images for each planet so that you could find one the developers nested in there around some remote star that if you land on it you're lander map resembles a giant wang? Amusing as that may be, it doesn't affect the gameplay one iota. Granted it's a novel idea that I don't think I've heard mentioned on these forums, at least not for a while.

Let me address this somewhat. The reason I would like to see large fractally generated planet terrain (think starflight) isn't just because its a cool feature or idea. I want to see this feature because it could potentially fix the most major flaw in SC2: that basically 95% of all that you do is play a bland mining mini-game that isn't fun, and use the majority of the resources you gather to buy fuel in order to get more resources. The joy of exploration also gets chucked out the window because all the planets seem to be overly simplified and monotonous. Add in Starflight style planets with realistic resources, and perhaps throw in a few random artifacts or bonuses on those planets, and you don't need to spend 95% of your time strip mining systems, and systems suddenly become fun to explore.

It pretty much comes down to this. In a lot of things, Starflight has a better implementation than SC2, and vice versa. If we could somehow form a marriage between the two, using the best features from both, I beleive we could make the greatest game in all history.


In any case, I meant this topic to be not so much "Here are some changes we need to make!" and more "What are we going to do to improve the original game once we've accomplished all of our goals". If you want to continue working on UQM after all the goals are complete, you're either going to be doing endless polishing which doesen't mean a thing for the end user, or you can start changing gameplay to make it better. I'm talking strictly about coding here.

Incidently, if anyone else can think of a positive gameplay change for a possible 'official branch', shout it out.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2006, 12:26:33 am by Hurleybird » Logged
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Re: Ideas for after 1.0
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2006, 12:54:39 am »

I don't think there should be any official changes to UQM except for making it as much like the original as possible for a variety of modern platforms.

Now as far as unofficial mods go, I'm all for them. If anything they can be viewed as a sort of grand gameplay experiment. You never know where a really awesome idea will come from.

I like the idea of adding hit points to ships and having the repair rate depend on the number of crew present. I don't view having to rebalance everything as a problem so much as a challenge to be overcome. With that said, I have absolutely no plans to participate in such a project, I just think it'd be neat if someone tried it.

EDIT: Maybe I'm just really unobservant, but were all the planets really the same? I mean a lot of the bitmaps used were similar, yes, but I don't recall where any of them were actually recycled. Now there were standardized planet types, yes, and I don't see how adding more variety would be a bad thing provided it's well implemented. I'm actually looking forward to the results of such experiments!
« Last Edit: February 16, 2006, 12:58:24 am by Matticus » Logged

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Re: Ideas for after 1.0
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2006, 01:04:55 am »

EDIT: Maybe I'm just really unobservant, but were all the planets really the same? I mean a lot of the bitmaps used were similar, yes, but I don't recall where any of them were actually recycled. Now there were standardized planet types, yes, and I don't see how adding more variety would be a bad thing provided it's well implemented. I'm actually looking forward to the results of such experiments!

For some reason I thought they were, but.....

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Last time I checked, each planet has its own unique fractally generated terrain. They're all quite similar, though.
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Re: Ideas for after 1.0
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2006, 01:06:25 am »

That's what I get for skipping over that post.  Wink
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Re: Ideas for after 1.0
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2006, 10:13:42 am »

Personally, I'd be more interested in seeing modifications to the game aimed at providing a higher difficulty level while changing the basic gameplay and plot as little as possible. For example, improving the combat AI (and possibly handicapping the flagship by e.g. decreasing weapons range) would give single-player melee a new lease of life and require the player to use different types of ships in the full game.
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Re: Ideas for after 1.0
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2006, 12:10:15 pm »

or how about making it so you can't really upgrade your precursor tug to full on battlecruiser.

like say only 1 gun can be mounted at a time
you can still have dynamo's and shiva's but only 1 tracking module can be mounted
and to me the point defense only came in use for the ur-quan and their "autonomous" fighters.

i wonder if there was a way to really implement that without changing the code completely?
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Re: Ideas for after 1.0
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2006, 04:36:12 pm »

I actually rarely, if ever, used my Precursor ship in the single-player game, despite arming it to the teeth.  Ships are replacable; precursor tug is not!  Sure, there are SAVE Games, but where's the fun in that? >_>

Reminds me of when my bro tried to play the original Wing Commander "realistically."  ie. if he was about ti die, he ejected, as opposed to getting blown up and loading a save game.  (Those not familiar will note ejection resulted in an automatic loss of the mission, sending you down a harder/less pleasant mission path.)
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