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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Hyperspace Topography (10/12/22)

Author Topic: Sense of urgency  (Read 529 times)

Optymistyk

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Sense of urgency
« on: September 22, 2022, 02:55:53 AM »

I think the game could really use some sense of urgency. After a while the game goes from fun and challenging to just grinding out stuff until you've decided you've had enough. So I think the game could really use an endgame objective, even if an optional one. Something that could either result in a game over or a victory and offer the ultimate challenge.

Some ideas:
1. Restore the Domain
Using enough Alpha Cores (or maybe Omega cores?) it is possible to start a project on one of your colonies to restore the Sector to the Domain of Man, essentially reversing The Collapse. However, doing so will greatly anger the [REDACTED], causing them to invade the sector in an attempt to free the cores and wipe out humanity. The Persean League and Tri-Tachyon might not like the idea of returning to the Domain and will try to sabotage the attempt or to bribe the player. The Hegemony and the Sindrian Dictat might have to be convinced to join the project. The Luddic Church and the Path will see using such advanced tech as grounds for a holly crusade. The goal is to defend the colony against the Remnant invasion and the sector infighting long enough to complete the project.

2. Control the Superweapon
A [REDACTED]/alien superweapon is discovered and all the factions in the sector attempt to take control over it or to destroy it. You can ally with a faction and help it defeat the opposition or you can take the superweapon for yourself and do with it as you please. Or you can just ignore this whole ordeal while a fortune by supplying weapons and ships to all sides. Whoever controls this terrifying weapon of mass destruction dictates the rules in the Sector
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Megas

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Re: Sense of urgency
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2022, 11:57:16 AM »

Simple old age ought to do the trick unless the commander (and the other plot NPCs) can abandon his human shell.  Though I fully expect everyone to be ageless due to development required to avert that.

Colonies take about ten years to grow from nothing to size 6.

I would not mind wiping out the core worlds and rebuild the entire Sector under my faction, since wiping out the core worlds is no harder than beating the strongest bounties, raids, or expeditions, which are weaker than a full Ordos, let alone two or more.

Currently, Ordos is only good for AI cores and their hulls, latter requiring Automated Ships skill.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2022, 11:58:56 AM by Megas »
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Timid

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Re: Sense of urgency
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2022, 12:09:03 PM »

Simple old age ought to do the trick unless the commander (and the other plot NPCs) can abandon his human shell.  Though I fully expect everyone to be ageless due to development required to avert that.
Wtf we sid meier pirates, a fave of alex, now

Kakroom

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Re: Sense of urgency
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2022, 06:01:04 PM »

The age idea has come up at least once before

I like it a lot, it's a natural way of encouraging the player to do things without being too video gamey. It is funny that of all the games in this genre only one of the very first had a mechanic like this. Pirates! Is pretty much the gold standard, basically all games should be Pirates!
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SafariJohn

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Re: Sense of urgency
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2022, 08:11:38 PM »

Starsector only takes place over the course of a few years...

Pirates! is able to use age as a mechanic because it plays out over a couple decades.
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Megas

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Re: Sense of urgency
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2022, 04:47:39 AM »

Getting an endgame fleet that can kill just about anything takes a few or several years.

Building up a faction with multiple size 6 planets will take about ten years minimum but can easily take much longer.  In my first 0.95.1 game, it took "a couple decades", and I still had my fifth planet at size 5.  If I want to start colonizing the rest of the sector, I can see that taking a couple more decades.
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FooF

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Re: Sense of urgency
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2022, 08:31:20 AM »

I think the new Hostilities progress bar can come into play here. For instance, in an endgame scenario, if you reach a certain milestone, it triggers a countdown before Really Bad Thing happens. Maybe you get a few cycles or whatnot but if you’re not prepared for it avert the RBT, you get wiped by the event.

Of course, the game would go out of its way to warn you that you’re about to cross a point of no return and to abandon your course of action if you still want to sandbox.

That’s how I’d do it. I don’t think the game would play long enough for your character to age out like SM:Pirates. Alternatively, once an endgame is in place, maybe some automatic plot progression might occur every decade or so. Long enough it doesn’t affect casual sandboxing but shaking things up a little to keep things fresh.
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SCC

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Re: Sense of urgency
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2022, 02:32:55 AM »

In other games, power and difficulty typically progresses either with time (e.g. if you waste time in Starcraft, your opponent might take the initiative - but you also get more and different units) or with distance covered, areas unlocked or other kind of moving from one place to another (e.g. as you travel the world in Ori and the Blind Forest to find new abilities, but you also encounter more and tougher enemies).

I think I would prefer Starsector to get more difficult with time, since it leaves more freedom about getting to the final goal. One thing is, say, defeating hypershunt guardians, but another is doing it in the timespan of, idk, 5 years. Right now, you can explore and trade for years, then just throw bodies at them, once you get bored of doing other things.
That said, I think I would prefer some more interactive system, like a faction expanding to eventually kill everything with some singular weak point, with the player either rushing the objective before too many enemy forces are present, going after weaker fleets of that faction for loot and to impede the progress, or getting money from trade to afford the ultimate fleet and have a big old fleet fight at the end.

smithney

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Re: Sense of urgency
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2022, 09:44:19 AM »

I think an open ending fits the game better than a defined endgame state. I believe that it adds to the replayability of the game if one can set their own end goal and not feel pressured or cut short by a clean cut ending. It's not like Starsector stops making sense once you are done with its storyline (at least I hope ^^ it's not like it's anywhere near done atm, anyway). This doesn't mean Starsector couldn't use a motivating factor, but I don't think a catastrophic (as in resolving) event is the way to go. Even narrative wise, I feel like Starsector's setting is realistic enough to benefit from a life-goes-on approach.

Instead, I feel like a granular mechanism where factions keep gaining colonies á la Nexerelin until there's nowhere left to expand could motivate the player to fight until they're simply done. Perhaps a "postgame" storyline exploring the futility of the player's actions could be added, allowing for a self-reflection or for a powerful roleplaying moment. Perhaps suggesting a few notes to finish the game at.
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FooF

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Re: Sense of urgency
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2022, 11:37:19 AM »

I completely expect the status quo to be reinstated after an endgame event. I don’t think there will be a “game over” screen of any kind. If the current mission arc is any indication, we’re on our way to reopening the Gate network. That, in and of itself, could lead to a whole host of problems for the Sector no matter what comes through.

As for a sense of urgency due to the factions expanding; I’m extremely dubious since Alex has repeatedly said that’s out of scope. There might be one-off examples where this happens but an organic 4x-like experience isn’t going to happen (or at least not any time soon).
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