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Author Topic: Viability of trading and mining vs combat?  (Read 22684 times)

baxmau

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Viability of trading and mining vs combat?
« on: May 17, 2011, 10:59:10 PM »

This is really exciting to get to play a small part, even as a silent observer, in the inception of such a cool game. I'm curious to what extend the trading/mining type possibilities will be taken in the full game. A great emphasis has been placed on combat and fleet management - but I was wondering if there's a possibility of amassing a giant fleet of freighters. With light mining lasers and smaller guard wings, I wonder if you could open an avenue for possibly buying or trading your way out of a conflict.

Have you guys put much thought into the idea of more passive play?
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Avan

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Re: Viability of trading and mining vs combat?
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2011, 11:02:14 PM »

Mining... the ultimate can of worms of space game balance.

I'm going to say this: approach with caution. Its way to easy to make it a broken and boring mechanic: remember - boredom is technically not a valid balancing factor.

Ivaylo

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Re: Viability of trading and mining vs combat?
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2011, 11:31:34 PM »

I also love mining. There is something really cool and immersive about it. Starfarer aims to be both an immersive and an action oriented game, among other things.

The question for a designer becomes, how do you balance elements that are immersive with the action elements. The thing that's tough about mining in particular is that in every game I have seen it implemented, it is excruciatingly boring. EVE Online, Spaz, etc. It sort of needs to be, because its a relaxing, the static environment plays a big role in mining. Mining is somewhat more fun in games like Minecraft and Terraria because it is much more closely tied with the exploration elements in those games.

Starfarer is a game about space naval combat, and changing the fate of the entire Sector through economic and diplomatic means. The only real mining that we have talked about so far is the mining done by installations on planets, which does not require direct player control to work. In order to have a space mining game system designed and in place, we would have to divert from looking at the previously mentioned systems, which are not yet done.


Trade, on the other hand, is sure to play a central role in shaping the Sector, and thus will play a large part of the Starfarer meta-game. After all economics and diplomacy are linked, and the sinew is trade. While these systems are not fully designed yet, we have envisioned scenarios where you not only buy your way out of a conflict but buy yourself IN. And when I said yourself, I really meant whoever you want, like the Hegemony, or the Space Pirates, or whoever.

To give a more concrete example, ask yourself, what happens when you sell a whole lot of weapons to an economically poor, fringe colony? The answer, sir, is a crime wave and possibly a revolution. On the flip side, what pirate will go out to pillage the space lanes if his personal consumer needs are taken care of?
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baxmau

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Re: Viability of trading and mining vs combat?
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2011, 11:49:40 PM »

Thanks for the in-depth reply. I have no desire for any specific low level mining mechanic - automated drones, mining settlements, manual laser, whatever. I'm more concerned with how passive, I guess you could say, "greedy" loot-driven players could perform in the game. In games like Elite, X-series, etc, I'm always finding myself straying toward the economic swindler play style vs. the "fear my giant guns" mode.

Imagine placing a stranglehold on the economy in certain systems - dominating the supply of a certain mineral and basically fabricating a monopoly. You could post up ships to guard your supply lines and essentially control an entire economic industry. The idea of running a game like this really has me excited.

Actually, I guess you could almost call it, single-player EVE :) That is, the interesting parts of galactic economy and struggle, without the real-world drama and silliness :P 
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Qloos

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Re: Viability of trading and mining vs combat?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2011, 12:01:14 AM »

My 2 cents: Make the borring bulk mining be done on planets, but have the rare specials out in space to be contested in asteroid belts.  If there are no enemies to contest them with, then make it a delicate operation.  We already have naturally drifting asteroids, make the ore miner a patheticly weak craft, give the player control and make him run a challenge course of asteroid dodge to get the ore.  It worked for Ur-Quan masters after all.
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David

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Re: Viability of trading and mining vs combat?
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2011, 12:25:03 PM »

Say the player is making lots of money mining - or, at least, shepherding some mining drones or small mining fleets - surely this will attract the interest of pirates and looters. Or infringe upon other miners. Or offend some Luddie conservationists. Or infringe upon the interests of large corporations who are not interested in competition (or maybe others who are against some who aren't). If it's a business about making money, there will be politics (and in Starfarer, politics often end with shooting, I think ;) and this should make for good stories.

The player need not take an active role in combat defense, I imagine - why, just hire some mercenaries to protect your fleets! Then these mercenaries need fuel and supplies and a base of operations, more economic supply chains and snags for things to get caught on, politics ... etc etc, lots of fun to be had.

I bet it'll be fun!

Oh, thought about mining on planets vs space: Planets tend to be in deep gravity wells which make it expensive to ship material to orbit (unless there's a handy space elevator or mass driver; infrastructure projects! Keep those Luddie saboteurs away). Planets do have their advantages, of course.

Baseless speculation is fun. (Especially when it may impact the form the mechanics actually end up taking.)
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Avan

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Re: Viability of trading and mining vs combat?
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2011, 12:39:16 PM »

Say the player is making lots of money mining - or, at least, shepherding some mining drones or small mining fleets - surely this will attract the interest of pirates and looters. Or infringe upon other miners. Or offend some Luddie conservationists. Or infringe upon the interests of large corporations who are not interested in competition (or maybe others who are against some who aren't). If it's a business about making money, there will be politics (and in Starfarer, politics often end with shooting, I think ;) and this should make for good stories.
This looks pretty good :D - I hold high confidence in your implementation plans.

Lethal Dosage

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Re: Viability of trading and mining vs combat?
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2011, 08:02:48 PM »

For mining to be a "success" there has to be some sort of automation in it. Perhaps it could be set so the player prospects ores looking for a good mining site then hiring, or perhaps even building a mining fleet to mine the rocks, then return them to the refinery/base? And of course, such lucrative operations will most likely attract unwanted attention, so protecting it would also be a priority, this would make things very, very interesting.
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Avan

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Re: Viability of trading and mining vs combat?
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2011, 09:39:11 PM »

Yeah, without a doubt you'll need automation (mining drones & cargoships) for any large-scale mining operations, because you can't possibly have the player personally mining any giant quantity in multiple places at once.

Also, apparently technology mining is something else that goes on (see: Turning the Tables - Intro text)

Lethal Dosage

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Re: Viability of trading and mining vs combat?
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2011, 03:55:08 PM »

The problem with this though, is that automation suits persisting games better, what happens when the player decides to close the game for a break? It would be interesting if it somehow calculates the amount of ores you mined during that inactive period and all.
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Avan

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Re: Viability of trading and mining vs combat?
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2011, 03:58:47 PM »

Its not an mmo - it can simply assume no time has passed while the game was not running; you pick up at the exact moment you left off. This is infact the easiest.

Lethal Dosage

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Re: Viability of trading and mining vs combat?
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2011, 08:40:37 PM »

In that case you'd probably have to stay logged on a good amount of time to get some big scale mining done.
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Avan

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Re: Viability of trading and mining vs combat?
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2011, 09:00:08 PM »

nah, you just need enough mining equipment, and a well-balance mining rate for the mining options available.

Flare

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Re: Viability of trading and mining vs combat?
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2011, 02:28:03 PM »

Or you could just give the player control of how fast time passes, like in HoI, X3, and Star Wolves.
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majormauser

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Re: Viability of trading and mining vs combat?
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2011, 06:34:48 PM »

I think mining would work well in SF. But I was thinking SF was trying to be more combat focused than the myriad of other games that have Mining.

But Mining would be really cool in Starfarer.


« Last Edit: May 23, 2011, 07:18:37 PM by majormauser »
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