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Forum » SpaceEngine » Gameplay Discussions » What makes a game successful?
What makes a game successful?
RobbieDate: Sunday, 16.10.2011, 12:45 | Message # 1
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So here I am, thinking to myself: How successful could SpaceEngine be in the future? What kind of game would SE need to be to get many thousands of people to play it. Could SE, in time, evolve into something really special? Maybe SE could become a player's dream game? Something that could bring in even more players, assuming of course, it offered the player the freedom to create their very own special game universe.

SpaceEngineer has already suggested his proposals for creating a 'Noctis-type' game. [See his Noctis-style game thread here] So the first major game release of SE will no doubt be based upon his vision of what game-play should be like.

There may be many people here that may not want to play a Noctic-style game. So what else could attract new players to the game? Well, SE could create another version of game for other types of players. Perhaps, after the release of the first game (SE: Noctis-Style), a second game could be developed. A single-player version (with even some multiplayer co-op style game-play) highly customizable, that would feature the use of many community mods/tools; for making 'otherworldly' advanced technologies, maybe similar in style to Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica. These are just a few casual ideas to hopefully inspire us, to see the potential of SE and what it could achieve in the near future.

So here's a possible overview scenario:

Game version 1 - SpaceEngine: The Universe Simulator (a fun educational program with a virtually real 'game-like' universe)

Game version 2 - SE: The 'Noctis-Style' Game (the very first game for single-player or multi-player co-operative play)

Game version 3 - SE: The Players' Dream Game -- The second game in the series, where the single-player gamer gets to create his/her very own customised SE world, with his/her own mods of spaceship models, and other such custom-mod technologies (i.e. advanced warp- and jump-drive engines, with inertial dampener systems, or even anti-gravity device etc) and cities specially created by players with their very own unique design style, where other players could visit each others creations via online co-op play, perhaps.

Then finally after many years of gaming and with all the games series achieving great success in their own right, we end up with.... SpaceEngine: THM (The Hollywood Movie) biggrin

There are already several posts here that have been discussing game-play in some detail, but more posts are welcome, so please feel free to post your ideas here. The more ideas we express here, the better. Every new seed idea could turn SpaceEngine into a highly successful game in the near future.





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JackDate: Monday, 31.10.2011, 23:41 | Message # 2
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"Hollywood Movie"

The writers are going to have a damnable time writing the story.
 
RobbieDate: Tuesday, 01.11.2011, 09:34 | Message # 3
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Quote (Jack)
"Hollywood Movie"

The writers are going to have a damnable time writing the story.


I was being ironic; it seems very fashionable to make films from games these days dry





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curiousepicDate: Sunday, 11.12.2011, 00:38 | Message # 4
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I very much agree with this concept. Every time I see a new space sim, it seems vaguely interesting until it's revealed that it's the EXACT. SAME. GAME. as every previous space sim. Same crappy, unrealistic ship/tech design, same boring hollywood-space combat, same over-expansive, unfocused gameplay.

When I came across SpaceEngine, as with the Infinity Project (which has same crappy tech design, etc.), my mind initially filled with so much hope that it could be the game I've seen in my mind and have had a burning desire to play for so long (which is very similar to Noctis style, so I still have high hopes). But this kind of framework would be music to my ears.





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curiousepicDate: Wednesday, 11.01.2012, 06:00 | Message # 5
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SE, check out this article about game development: http://www.raphkoster.com/2012/01/04/making-games-more-cheaply/




My ideal preferences for visual design of the mothership and technology in SE
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
 
SpaceEngineerDate: Wednesday, 11.01.2012, 11:05 | Message # 6
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Quote
4. Embrace procedural content, of all sorts, just don’t count on it being the answer to everything.
...
You can’t make your whole game with it.

devil *trollface*





 
Elbarto84Date: Friday, 13.01.2012, 18:00 | Message # 7
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If the aim would be many thousands of people, i think that wouldn't be too difficult to achieve. However millions of people might be too far fetched. In general space games don't appeal to the masses, and i don't think the masses is what should be aimed at. Let them play their Call of Duty. (no offense!)

It is certainly not out of the question to achieve a million players though, look at Minecraft for example. A relatively simple game but hugely popular among indie gamers. That being said, i think we are a long way from that with Space Engine, as impressive as it already is.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

The main question here was 'What makes a game successful?' and i will try to answer it based on my own experience and long history of gaming. Better yet, i will try to think about what could turn Space Engine into a successful game in my opinion.

The most important part that makes players return to a game for a long time to come is if you give them something to do. Exploring and building and gathering is awesome and most players like it. The pitfall with Space Engine is that it is so incredibly vast that it might feel overwhelming and the curve might be too steep for new players. Most people don't have too much patience and will quickly abandon something if they don't see results fast. So important in the start of the game would be to be able to do something small to encourage players to continue playing. For me personally the idea of being able to explore an immense universe is enough to get me excited.

So let's talk about what we could do in this immense universe, other than flying around and exploring.
- Mining?
- Wars?
- 'Base' building?
- Trading?

I think a combination of all could be nice. Give the players options and freedom do to as they please. This can be made as expansive as you could ever imagine or more simple. I go with the more simple approach personally as i believe that giving too much options and things to do will lead to confusion and a feeling of being overwhelmed. Some players like to wage wars and destroy things/people and others prefer a peaceful existence and like to accumulate things and trade. I don't know if anyone here remembers or played Fragile Allegiance but for me this is still the best space game.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragile_Allegiance

The learning curve was a bit steep but after that it was tons of fun. It was never a mainstream success though. I'd spent entire weekends building, trading and forming allegiances and attacking enemies.

This post is getting quite long but i am far from done, as i will now describe what i can imagine when starting Space Engine the game.

1) You start the game and come to a Welcome screen where you can create an account. This will then take you to the account screen where you can pick a name, perhaps even a race, maybe 8 or so. People seem to love different races in games. A writer could provide a little back story behind each race. This could promote allegiance or war. Doesn't have to be fancy and doesn't have to be a character creator as one will never see a character in game. To differentiate players from each other besides name maybe they could pick a color or something. Some people like highly sophisticated and futuristic races and others prefer more primitive and animalistic races. Think zerg and protoss in Starcraft for example. The difference in these races could be speed of population growth for example. Or perhaps one race has better battle ships than the other, whereas another race could be expert miners and receive a reduction in how much time it takes to mine and an increase in how much minerals they can carry on ships. These differences would promote trade as the mining race would have more trouble defending themselves in an attack, as such they would need to trade their quickly mined minerals for war equipment or a currency to buy war equipment. Also fun could be that the mining race could mine certain minerals that other races cannot, then other races would have to trade etc.

2) After the creation process you are taking directly into the game. You start with a small space ship. The model of the space ship could vary depending on the race you picked. Modeling a couple of different space ships shouldn't be too hard. Now this is where the different races could get interesting.. as we could give different races different objectives so that not everyone is after the same thing. This could also stimulate trading but also war, which is both exciting! I imagine at this point in the game you might get a little tutorial on how to control your spaceship, you can dismiss this of course if you like to experiment and get down to it.

3) So after flying your ship for a while and exploring a bit you wonder what else you can do. We could give different characteristics to the ships of different races. Some need to stay well away from stars and other ships are more robust and able to come closer to the intense heat of a star. If a ship comes too close it could start to take on damage and the player would have to leave the danger zone or face destruction. What happens after a player's ship is destroyed? Good question... probably start over with a new (small) ship. The fun here could be that some races can mine or inhabit planets that others cannot. Thus providing a safe haven or mining minerals that other races cannot. Maybe each race could also have a standard home planet or solar system that they call home. This should be non-destructible and maybe be the starting point. Imagine a player going to a planet to mine some precious minerals and returning home to exchange it for a larger ship, maybe even a ship with firepower, or maybe a ship with larger carrying capacity for collecting/mining. Imagine maybe 10 different models for each race. Let's not make it too difficult! The trading and buying could also be as simple as reading some text and pushing a button. Again, doesn't have to be fancy!

This home base if you will could be expanded by inhabiting other planets. However each planet has different characteristics already as we know and not every planet is habitable. Random disasters could also be fun stripping the planet of the inhabitants. Like a massive storm or solar flare. These expansions to the home can also be destroyed/conquered by other players, however the home itself cannot. Players also don't have to represent their race and go to war when other players of the race go to war. Everyone is free to do as they please. However humans beings usually bond together automatically and form groups. One group might enjoy mining and might turn in these minerals to the home voluntarily or give them to other players. They could in turn be used to fuel a war and players of the group that like wars could use it to buy war ships. It could become a little economy.

So now we have all the 4 elements mentioned above implemented. And on a very simple and do-able scale i think. Don't think too hard or difficult about it, keep things simple in your head. The ability to actually land on a planet or see an actual base on the planet is irrelevant i think. Sure you can already land on a planet and enjoy it immensely if you have a powerful enough computer to render it nicely, but most people don't. The important thing here is to somehow make it known that a certain planet is inhabited by a certain race. This could be by color or maybe highlighting or outlining the planet with a certain color that belongs to the race. So what is the advantage of capturing planets you might wonder?
A number of things:
- It could serve as extra storage space for mined minerals. Sort of like a tiberium silo in C&C. To give the home planet a maximum storage capacity would promote the search and habitation of other planets. In this way it is vital for expansing of the race and the waging of wars.
- It could serve as a battlestation or guard tower and thus provide extra security for the home planet or provide security for a mining operation far from home. Building a battlestation closer to the enemy could also be a nice strategic move.
- It could also serve to increase the population of the race. This could be as simple as number somewhere in a corner but it could serve some nice goals. Imagine you need to collect certain minerals to build a war ship, you go out and collect them and deliver them to the home planet where the ship will be build. It would be nice to make this building process take a certain amount of time. To decrease how much time it takes you need to get more workers.. increase the workers by increasing population. All of these mechanics could work together nicely.

So what is the ultimate goal in the game? Is there any at all? Does any MMO for example have an end goal? Most of the time they don't and the goal is simply to advance your own character or race/faction.

I've dabbled a little in programming and am certainly not an expert but i think when you keep most things simple and text based it wouldn't be too difficult to create. However it would take quite some time. I imagine the net code and syncing everything might be the greatest challenge. Of course the necessity to see other players and their different models of space ships is something that should be implemented. Beside that the war part might be difficult too. I'm not sure how this could play out other than a certain kind of ship has a certain kind of health and war ships have powerful weapons whereas other ships have small defense weapons. How the actual shooting and aiming etc would work i don't know. The mining part however i see as something not too difficult. It could be as simple as (randomly) assigning x amount of mineral x to a planet/moon. The same way size is assigned to a planet/moon/star. A players ship only has to be in proximity of the planet before a 'Mine' button will appear in the screen. Transferring minerals from planet to ship until ship is full.

Congratulations if you actually made it this far hehe. I would definitely pay for a game like this! (to help with server cost etc)

p.s. I'm not a programmer but i do model quite a bit in 3d studio max if you ever need a hand.


Edited by Elbarto84 - Friday, 13.01.2012, 18:18
 
curiousepicDate: Friday, 13.01.2012, 19:53 | Message # 8
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Everyone will have their own vision for what SE can become. It is intended to be developed as an engine to market commercially to other game developers, but the game that SpaceEngineer intends to create will be quite different from what you suggest. Read around the forum a bit more to get a better idea. One of the main differences are a focus on exploration than mining/construction and almost certainly no wars or combat. Another difference, and my personal favorite thing about the project is a big injection of realism which heavily alters or does away with a lot of the typical space game tropes.




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SpaceEngineerDate: Saturday, 14.01.2012, 13:50 | Message # 9
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Elbarto84
The gameplay that you propose is a typical Space opera. I personally don't like such a thing, because I am an astronomer and have physical education. So I can't make a good Space opera game. Instead of this, I would focus on physical realism. All technologies except hyperdrive is physically based and can be developed on Earth in the near future:

  • Fusion or plasma engines, outstanding acceleration 20g, and with a high specific impulse, which can accelerate the ship up to 1000 km/s
  • Fusion reactors
  • Nanoassemblers that can build anything
  • Smart self-repairing nano-materials
  • Self-builded structures (buildings, bases, ships)
  • Artificial magnetosphere, for protection against radiation
  • Collecting megatons of hydrogen from upper atmospheres of gas giants (using artificial magnetosphere - see Bassard engine)
  • Mass-spectrometer to separate atoms of different elements (chemical elements storage on harverser ships)
  • Life support system with an unlimited resource
  • Augmented reality for pilot
  • Single-stage air-space shuttles
  • Automatic research probes, resource harvesters and combat drones
  • Kinetic, beam, electomagnetic and nuclear weapon
  • Ability to terraform the planets

    The most important thing is that none of this contradicts physics laws. The only thing that I introduced just in order to obtain real-time MMO is the FTL drive. Now imagine what gameplay can be built on this technology.

    *




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    Elbarto84Date: Saturday, 14.01.2012, 14:58 | Message # 10
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    I like it a lot SpaceEngineer!
    I'm only used to the typical space opera so my knowledge and imagination are a bit constricted. But what you describe sounds incredible and even fun! Though it sounds like a massive undertaking hehe!

    If you can, could you explain a little bit more about the possible gameplay of such a game? From what i can understand it is essentially a simulator adhering to the laws of physics. The possible main purpose of which is to explore and expand?
    I'm also interested in possible threats to the player's existence. I imagine crashing the ship is one of them? Along with coming in too close proximity with a star? Though you mentioned weapons, and i wonder their purpose.
    This gameplay you describe sounds incredibly awesome even just playing alone, i also wonder what you have in mind for the MMO aspect as well.
    Sorry for hijacking the thread as all of this is a bit off-topic! Keep up the amazing work!
     
    SpaceEngineerDate: Saturday, 14.01.2012, 18:27 | Message # 11
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    Elbarto84, I've created a new thread about gameplay: http://en.spaceengine.org/forum/14-415-1

    *





     
    Space_NavyDate: Sunday, 22.01.2012, 21:29 | Message # 12
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    In my own opinion, the necessity for a good game is always having the ability to do something new every time you play. That's where the good thing about a universe simulator comes in. There is almost an endless amount of stars and galaxies to explore, settle, conquer, etc.

    I have high hopes for whatever future gameplay elements you plan to implement!





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    NawshadDate: Tuesday, 10.12.2013, 09:14 | Message # 13
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    I love to play space game. Actually I love to play any kind of space game. I always search in kickstarter site for upcoming space game. I found many space games are coming. Star Quest 2 is one of them and many more are coming.
    http://www.kickstarter.com/project....-racing
     
    Red_RiverDate: Tuesday, 31.12.2013, 01:59 | Message # 14
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    Quote SpaceEngineer ()
    All technologies except hyperdrive is physically based and can be developed on Earth in the near future

    what about warp drive? Harold White working on it NASA Apollo lab since last year. must be something to it afterall....





     
    HarbingerDawnDate: Tuesday, 31.12.2013, 03:18 | Message # 15
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    Quote Red_River ()
    what about warp drive? Harold White working on it NASA Apollo lab since last year. must be something to it afterall....

    The hyperdrive technology he imagines for SE is not related to the Alcubierre warp drive.





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