Friday, December 27, 2013

The universe - a quick overview

The galaxy in Junkcraft Armada is quite vast, just to have a quick look how it will look like for the player here is a zoom out/in to the current player location, traveling through different star systems will consume fuel and food so the player will have to be aware of the limited resources to decide the next steps.

There is a mission to accomplish but time is limited, normal engines will take you to local star systems but will take many months if using normal the standard engines but there are wormholes that can speed up the travel and lower the usage of food and fuel used. Crew experience will have an effect on what the player can see on the galaxy map, a more experience pilot can provide more visibility to more wormholes, and in some cases allow for shortcuts.

There will be a network of wormholes that connect different sectors through the galaxy otherwise it will be impossible for the player to reach other systems between a lifetime. In this example just to go from the current moon to the red marker at the start of the image takes about 15762 years with the current propulsion system, so a proper use of wormholes and resources is critical.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Space food, fuel and time game mechanics

Food is very important part of our lives, without it we can't survive, and fuel too, fuel allows us to travel or get energy from it for our daily lives, so why I can't see much of that in space games? usually energy or fuel is a little bit limited but not so much, mostly in terms of travel time or regeneration speed or how far you can move, and for most of the games food is completely ignored, one of the reasons is that players shouldn't be bothered with many menial tasks and instead add more guns and things like that. Another one is if you don't have a crew to care about, why will you care about food then and how will that affect your crew?, I think this can be a very interesting game mechanic.

So food will be important as well as fuel, in Junkcraft Armada there isn't a Faster Than Light engine, so traveling can take days, weeks or months from one point to another, but the player won't have to wait for all that time to happen when playing. There are short cuts where wormholes will be available, but wormholes will allow the player to travel to specific points in space and after that, normal engines will be in effect, so fuel will limit how far you can travel without having to refuel and also food. The longer the trip the more food you will need, so why do we need two things to limit our travel? well, for example the player can recruit people in some missions, that increase the salary cost and also food consumption, so if you assumed you have food for 4 months, and suddenly in the middle of your trip you double your crew , there will be a shortage of food and this will cause stress in your crew and may even kill them over time, they may even go crazy and fight each other to survive, so food bring another dimension to think about, to recruit or to not recruit, do you want to bring more man power with the extra cost associated? will you have enough resources for that? will you feed your prisoners or not?, what if one of your crew members usually eats in excess? Food can bring happiness to crew members , a well feed crew will perform better than a malnourished one.

Fuel brings another dimension to think about. Fuel consumption and the cost associated will skyrocked if you explore every system, fighting and evading enemies also cost fuel, so do you want a faster ship or slower one, if you add more engines your ship will be able to change direction faster and react faster but will consume a lot more fuel, adding more energy generators will allow the player to expand and add many different facilities to the ship but more fuels is consumed to support the infrastructure, so what should be the perfect balance? it will depend on the kind of ship the player want, there is no free ride.

Finally "time", most games allow you to do the side/main missions as you fit, you can accomplish most missions whenever you like, most games give the player all the time in the universe to do whatever he/she wants until activating the trigger. Well that won't be the case in Junkcraft Armada for many of the missions, the player will be able to do the mission between a given time or face different consequences that will affect the end of the storyline, if you can't make it on time, the story changes, so be prepared to take action as fast as you can because events won't wait for the player, things will happen as they happen even if the player is there or not.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Space the final frontier of unlimited space that needs some work...

I've been playing around the alpha version of the game and found that sectors do look too similar besides planets , stars , asteroids and some other things, so to add a more interesting things I just added new backgrounds that really add more deep into the game, thanks to NASA, some of the most beautiful images were used to make new backgrounds in Junkcraft Armada plus a lot of image editing to make sure images fit well together in-game and do not fight over the foreground space ships. Here are some examples:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Crew traits

Previously mentioned crew traits will play a major role in your ship and the decisions that you will have to make to get through. To explain how traits affect the gameplay check the details below with the descriptions of some of the reactions to in-game actions:

Behaves like a normal crew member, but runs from boarding raids when life is below 75%, leaving other team members behind. If the player accepts to help a ship in distress but instead decides to destroys it, the coward crew member gains loyalty to the captains since he/she is afraid of any risks that may put his/her life in danger, other crew members may lose loyalty instead. When life is low a coward crew member will surrender and stop fighting. Do you want a coward as part of your crew?

Looking for any opportunity to enter in a fight with anyone and becomes loyal to the captain when giving those opportunities, have a bonus in energy weapons and security and enjoys every battle available but will lose loyalty points when running from battle, any missed opportunity will have an impact. Fight over negotiations.

Terminally Ill
Crew member may die soon during any mission, you never know when the clock will stop but for sure it will stop, perhaps before the player dies or maybe last enough to accomplish the mission. As a bonus this crew member will have a very high skill level in 3 areas compared to normal crew members that start with just a minor skill level in only one area. Will you try to use the services of this crew member or not? death is permanent so once this crew member dies no one will be able to save him/her.

Being a social person is very important, but more important is being persuasive enough to convert enemies to your ranks, a very important source of crew members for a fee or by conving enemies while in imprisoned, at the end it is your choice, isn't it?

Looks for peace and non-fighting solutions, lose loyalty when killing enemies in non-combat situations like killing enemies that surrender or when not allowing the enemies to run away in some situations. By using the will of a pacifist, you may get a shield bonus regeneration when put in the shield management section and usually pacifist also do get a bonus on healing. Will your crew be pacifist enough to get through the game without killing anyone?

What is worse than having to deal with thiefs, smugglers, pirates and many more enemies? a dishonest crew member may steal from your loot, so be careful and watch your pockets!

A very dangerous crew member, a suicidal crew member will fight until death, won't care about life that much and if you face one be careful, in some cases a suicidal enemy may lock your ship with the enemy ship and setup the auto-destruct if low on health, life is short and it doesn't matter if the enemy gets killed by killing everyone. Even when boarding a suicidal enemy can detonate bombs around him/her just to kill your crew.

Mind Reader
Afraid of facing a trap when boarding another ship? a mind reader crew member put in sensors can detect some specific situations by trying to read the other ship crew's minds and gain tactical advantage. Trying to extract some important information from the enemy?, you got it.

Looking to know more? there are around 40 traits now and growing, more to come later, each crew member receive a few traits on creation, so very interesting combinations will happen, so hardware is not the only thing that matters.