Author Topic: Terminus Seven  (Read 963 times)

ArenMook

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Terminus Seven
« on: September 01, 2013, 12:01:21 AM »
Back Story

Quote
"It may have been our government that put a man into space, but we were the ones that laid claim to it." - John Richards, CEO, Edison Motors Corporation.

In the mid 22nd century the earth's population swelled to nearly 30 billion. Poverty, hunger and strife were commonplace. More people were dying from malnutrition than in the constant wars waged by our failing governments in their futile attempt to control what was left of the Earth's dwindling natural resources.

In the end, it was the coalition of seven of the Earth's largest mega-corporations that proved to be our salvation when they banded their considerable resources together and developed faster-than-light travel, allowing us to establish new, peaceful colonies on distant planets and nearby stars.

Within the span of mere four decades, the Terminus Seven, as the media called the council of corporations, established over a thousand remote colonies in a hundred remote star systems, managing each one autonomously. The old governments tried to resist at first, but had little to offer their weary, disillusioned people. On March 19th, 2187, nearly four million people rose up in what was then known as London, toppling their failed government and paving the way for the very fist official Corporate Rule on the Old Earth.

The effect on the rest of the world was swift and brutal. Within a mere month, the Earth was fully under Terminus control.

The governments were no more.

------

The year now is 2887.

The Seven are still in control, but the strong bonds between them have been all but forgotten. While no outright wars have been recorded between the different factions, increasingly intense skirmishes have become quite common, threatening the fragile stability of the known galaxy.

You are a freelancer -- an unaffiliated ship's captain. You have the freedom to go anywhere, and do anything. Will you choose to exploit the ever-growing chaos between the Seven for your own benefit, or will you step in and give them a united purpose once more?

What will you do with such a big galaxy, and all the freedom in the world?
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 11:09:39 PM by ArenMook »

ArenMook

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Re: Terminus Seven
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2013, 08:53:12 PM »
Brainstorming

Written on the flight from Vancouver to Toronto -- brainstorming.

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

- Strategy game where you control one ship and the crew within it.
- Procedurally generated galaxy. 50% of it is controlled by 7 factions, ranging from aggressive to peaceful.
- 50% is up for the player to explore and/or colonize (by ferrying people from A to B).
- Player chooses one of the seven factions to start with, and begins with his chosen character (Terraria style)

- Possible quests depend on the faction.
-- Aggressive factions are more likely to give hostile quests that involve combat.
-- Peaceful factions are more likely to give quests that don't involve combat -- cargo delivery, settling a nearby system, etc.

- Possible faction traits:
-- Aggressive (extortion, intimidation, disrupting hostile trade routes)
-- Diplomatic (negotiation)
-- Commercial (establish trade routes, deliver and/or smuggle cargo)
-- Explorer (explore unknown territories, find new resources)
-- Scientific (tech research, upgrades, rare minerals)
-- Expansive (colonize new systems, take over enemy systems [if aggressive])
-- Protective (defensive, sensitive to takeover and losing control of systems and ships)

Each faction can have up to 3 traits, and traits define that faction's reaction to various events, as well as the type of quests that faction gives to the player. For example an Aggressive+Expansive faction would be likely to send the player on a mission that involves hostile takeover of an opposing faction's planet, and if that faction is Protective+Aggressive, they are very likely to take offense and possibly even declare an all-out war.

When factions are at war, no open trade routes are possible between them (but smuggling is still possible), and faction's ships will automatically attack each other. If a player is with a Commercial faction, they can still get Smuggling missions, but either Stealth or solid firepower/defense is required in order to do it safely.

When factions are at war, each destroyed enemy ship gives +reputation with the player's faction, and -reputation with the faction that lost the ship. Diplomatic factions take less of a hit. Protective take more of a hit. Aggressive factions give more +reputation for destroying enemy ships in their own territory.

Player always controls only one ship. This ship is his "character", and is upgradeable -- from its type (layout), to the components within. Different rooms can hold a variety of different components. For example a player can choose to install a secondary generator in a spare room, or a backup shield generator. Managing the ship and its systems during combat should remind players of FTL, except it should be turn-based.

Speaking of turn-based, ideally the game should all be turn-based, allowing the players to play at their own pace. When playing multiplayer it will make sense to make it possible to have simultaneous turns like in Civilization -- players make their turns, then AI calculates theirs.

Possible ship systems:
- Armor plating, shields, power generation, stealth, maneuvering thrusters (evasion), life support, variety of weapons -- missiles, ballistic cannons, lasers, plasma beams, detection systems -- basic radar, long-range sensors, anti-matter sensors, neutron sensors...
- Of course it would be a good idea to leave some rooms empty as a cargo room if the player intends to carry something from point A to point B.
- Ship's internal layout with the rooms is like an inventory -- an RPG's "backpack". Some systems ("items") take more space than others.
- Different ships have different layouts, and larger ships have more space to begin with. Most powerful systems will never be possible to fit on a small ship. Of course a small ship is more difficult to hit. Stealth systems will also only be possible on smaller ships, which make them better for recon / exploration / smuggling, and possibly even a sneak attack. After all, a one-shot really powerful weapon fired undetected that goes through a large cruiser's defenses would be a good way to inflict significant damage, evening out the odds of a fight before the fight even begins.

In combat, the player chooses an action for the ship, and an action for the crew (one per crew member). The larger the crew, the greater the life support system needs to be. Ideally the ship's crew should never exceed 6 units, or mirco-management will be an issue.

Crew's actions can be:
- Move to a different room. All crew members must be positioned in the proper room before they can interact with that room's systems.
- All crew members can have different number of action points. Moving expends an action point. Injured crew members have reduced action points.
- Repair system. Use the crew member's repair skill in order to fix a damaged system.
- Use the system -- varies with each system. For example Navigation system gives the ability for Evasive Actions.
- If combat system is implemented: take cover, attack.

Crew interacting with the ship's systems can result in additional actions, for example:
- Evasive maneuvers (faster to do from Navigation Control), increasing the ability to evade an enemy's attack by the amount dependant on the installed system.
- Fire a weapon (faster to do from Weapons Control) (with each installed weapon having its own cooldown)
- Retreat from combat, jumping to hyperspace in order to avoid getting destroyed (assuming FTL still works).
- Reroute power (faster to do from Engineering). As ship takes damage, structural damage can result in power conduits being damaged, interrupting the flow of power from the generator to the ship's systems. At this point the crew needs to either go repair the damage (crew action) or the ship needs to reroute power through a different conduit (ship action).
- Scan the enemy ship / planet / system / long range (faster to do from ???). Scanning the enemy ship can reveal temporary weaknesses, allowing the player to do more damage by targeting them. Scanning the player's own ship can reveal the same weaknesses, allowing the player to correct them. Scanning the incoming missiles allows the player to determine their trajectory, which gives the player the ability to increase defenses in that area or take evasive actions. Scanning the system will reveal planets, present factions, ships. Scanning the planet will reveal resources and population on that planet. Long-range scanning will reveal which nearby systems are safe to travel to -- and with advaned systems -- which factions control them. "Blind" travel is ill advised, as it's possible to sustain severe ship damage by traveling to a system that's not "safe" to travel to (ie: gravitational influene of another star happens to be in the way, or nebula blocking the path, or debris in the way). The better the sensors, the more information is given.

All crew members can be skilled in certain areas. Being skilled grants additional action points. For example a skilled Weapons Specialist should be able to fire more than one weapon per turn by expending fewer action points when interacting with the Weapons Control system.

There should be non-ship system related skills as well, of course. Diplomacy can be used to avoid conflicts altogether. Medic should be able to heal units next to him. Trader should be able to negotiate better deals and get better prices when establishing a new trade route or buying / selling something. Each of these should have their own room improvement as well -- Medical Bay, Diplomat's Quarters, Interstellar Exchange Terminal, and so on.

It's up to the player to install these systems on their ship in the slots that they have available, configuring the ship to their play style.

Faster travel and longer range is obtained by installing better FTL engines. The more powerful the long-range scanners, the wider is the area that they can reveal around the player, determining whether it's safe to travel to nearby stars or not. Deflector Array system can be installed on the ship that will allow traveling through routes that have been previously blocked by small debris. Stealth systems will allow the player to escape detection from enemy scanners.

-----

Art style: I am thinking FTL-like internal view of the ship itself ("character window"), while also giving the 3D top-down view of the immediate area ("action view"). The player would be giving actions with the charater window open, then seeing the result play out once the turn ends. Perhaps split screen would make sense? Unlike FTL it doesn't make sense to show the enemy's ship, only the player's.

When in combat, the 3D view can show the action playing out in front of the player with the two ships circling around each other, doing evasive actions, etc. When outside of combat, it can be just the immediate area around the ship. When docked to a station, show the ship actually docked to the space station. When on a planet, just show the orbital view of the planet.

Art-wise, I am thinking 3D for the action view, and cut out / 2D for the ship view, but the latter is subject to a debate. Would be nice to get an artist, but... yeah. The ship view doesn't need the ability to zoom, so the characters can remain simple top-down.

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So what's the point of the game? In a sandbox environment like that it's really up to the player. Docking on a faction-controlled planet or a space station gives the player the ability to obtain tasks from that faction, so they can perform them if they wish. The player is never "affiliated" with any faction by default -- they start being neutral. The reputation the player obtains is purely from that player's actions. Since factions can bave different ideologies and goals, as the game progresses it's very likely that the player will be liked by some factions and hated by others, so the player will "affiliate" himself with a certain group, and will "hate" another -- that's only natural.

In addition to the player's actions, the game should be doint their own logic as well. AI should be building new space ships, establishing trade routes, exploring new systems and colonizing them, terraforming planets, and so on. Combat will be simplified in case of AI, as it doesn't need to be as detailed as the player's.

Since planets have resources, and the planet's population grows and has needs, each planet's needs will affect the "stock market". For example a planet low on alloys will want them to be imported, resulting in a high market price. When ships deliver alloys, money exchanges hands, and a careful balance of resources allows the planet to grow. High population will want to migrate elsewhere, resulting in colonization of other nearby systems. Since the systems' needs will change, so will the player's actions. It doesn't make sense to keep running the same route from point A to point B after all.

Just to make things more interesting, there should be ways to "sabotage" certain systems and profit in the process. For example -- "dust". Illegal everywhere, it's only possible to smuggle it via the black market connections. Smuggling it to systems causes that system's population to get "hooked" on it, resulting in that system taking a hit to production, science, and growth, but at the same time desiring more. Hooked systems will pay premium if dust is in short supply, but if the supply is interrupted for long enough, the system slowly recovers and loses the "addiction".

Systems that aren't hooked on dust will not pay much for it at first, so it's the player's choice of whether to start deliveries to a new system ("an investment"), or deliver to an already hooked system (and risk the authorities getting more and more angry). Of course with diplomacy it's possible to bribe the authorities...

Dust deliveries slowly degrade the reputation with the faction controlling the system that gets hooked on it, but employing various subterfuge and stealth can eliminate this penalty. Different traits react differently to this. Commercial trait removes the penalty altogether if the authorities take the cut (ha!). Protective trait is the opposite -- it adds an additional penalty.

It's possible for players to buy cargo ships and establish trade routes between systems in order to have to avoid delivering stuff themselves. Buying a cargo ship is not a cheap thing to do, but it does provide a good source of passive income that pays for itself over time. Trade routes are vulnerable to pirates, however (and other players being those "pirates" of course), so the better the defenses on the cargo ships, the more expensive they are, and the more likely they are to survive.

It's possible to establish trade routes for everything legal at first, and with certain "stealth" cargo ships -- illegal stuff as well (dust, gun running, etc).

Nicki

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Re: Terminus Seven
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2014, 05:10:30 PM »
So.. where IS this game? Want now. :D

ArenMook

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Re: Terminus Seven
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2014, 05:16:52 PM »
Just one of many ideas I dumped and had no time to work on. :P

Maybe one day I'll work as an actual game designer and let other coders actually implement this stuff, and then stuff will just magically get done!