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Untitled space game notes

Posted 1 Month ago by Xhin

Until I make a private forum for it. Game that I'll be working on after shatterloop launches.

Mechanics are very similar to shatterloop -- terrain-based resource variations, nothing homogeneous. Lots of material refinement and/or item creation.


  • Can build bases, spaceships, and planetary movement vehicles of various types for different types of terrain.

  • Building is modular -- take different units that do different things / have internal space and connect them together. Not meant to look particularly pretty.

  • The insides of each module can have various things in them and may be way more customizable than the outside.

  • Can append modules onto existing structures, or remove them provided the insides are first removed.

  • Building itself costs aether or something like it (quarks?) rather than resources -- however making structures actually *do* anything is what eats up resources.


    To limit exposure to graphical concerns, combat is limited to autonomous drones of various types (including spaceship variations). This will be supported by the lore -- maybe the systems you're exploring are at the outer reaches of drone space and humans haven't had planets sold to them by Tangle yet.

  • Crashed Automation sites are very equivalent to mobs in shatterloop -- guarded by drones and other automated systems, but give you useful bots that can be used for scouting (which will be important here as well).

  • Ground combat uses guns with a variety of effects and modifications. Like in shatterloop they're fully buildable to your exact specifications provided you have the resources / tools for it.

  • Space combat is on a similar system, but requires tech unlocks.

  • Combat is real-time but may have freeze-frame tactical combat in some player-chosen circumstances. Not sure what this looks like yet.


  • Space -- it's big, maybe irl-levels big but maybe planets are closer together. You need a starship to get around them.

  • Rocky planets / rocky moons -- where most of the ground gameplay happens. These should support full landings and the terrain is crazy by design (more on that in that section).

  • Asteroids -- scattered around in dense clusters and/or maybe rings if that's doable. Probably weak on the exploration/building front and useful only for mining and/or farming. Want to focus on planets mainly.

  • Gas Giants -- *definitely* want to have these that you'd be able to "land"/"float" on, with procgen gas swirls / storms. Probably where most "civilization" will be, for balance reasons. Lore makes sense -- good source of hydrogen fuel and other combustibles. Being able to build your own fuel extraction plants would be neat, and/or your own "towns".


    Probably the meat of the gameplay. Planets have a variety of terrain and resources and a good bit to explore. They should be fairly unique.

  • The terrain is designed to be absolutely nuts to make exploration interesting. This is probably the bulk of development here.

  • The procedural algorithm should be scale-based -- render landmasses or whatever at the largest scale, then add detail as you get closer (and garbage collect on bigger scales if need be).

  • Movement should be polar rather than Cartesian -- this makes gravity work better and allows for very small planets/moons to just work. Inverted planets could theoretically work too, but they're nonessential.

  • There should be procgen caves. I think I have an algorithm for making them effectively infinite (or at least until you reach the core). Deep caves in space sims are basically nonexistent. Minecraft has the right idea -- make caves from various holey structures that interact with one another. On a big scale, garbage collection and maybe fog effects to preserve rendering sanity would help.

  • All planets should have oceans, as well as things like lakes/etc. Water level should be uniform, but not water distribution. Water movement/visibility will be a bit different, and submersible vehicles will be required. Terrain should match ground/cave terrain for sanity reasons, so if those algorithms work really well there won't be issues with terrain boredom.

  • I want to procgen different plant structures. I expect this will be hard and will lead to some weird shapes, but that's very acceptable for the very alien look I want to give the game.

  • No animals. See graphical concerns. Drones / stationary automatons take over their role, and are probably largely procgen themselves, but done geometrically.

    Alien Tech

    Alien tech is equivalent to magic in shatterloop -- it should have unpredictable events-driven effects that are hooked into absolutely everything.

  • Gaining alien tech will require nonlinear puzzles. These depend a lot on what everything else looks like but the goal is learning to reach objectives in nonlinear ways.

  • Starshard / altar mechanics will probably be a straight import. That system works very well. Lots of renaming/reloreing and some mechanic tweaks.

    The goal with this system is to increase the sandbox nature of the game.

  • There are 9 Replies

    Starship Death / respawn mechanics

    I haaaaate space sim games that force you to rebuild lost ships. Totally breaks the investment in internal building. Instead, there should be a repair mechanic for minor/major damage and a "recrafting" mechanic for death.

  • Damage system -- Damage is a percentage that affects various critical units. When they reach 100% the unit shuts down and can't do anything until it's repaired. Damage will probably be focused exclusively on space combat centric units like guns, reactor, engines as well as critical systems like life support and maybe lights or gravity. Modular upgrades may also be affected if that's one of the uses for the building system.

  • Repair -- Repair requires physically moving to the affected unit and repairing it with the appropriate type of repair kit, and some amount of waiting. There should be automation upgrades that help you repair and/or help your ship autopilot while you repair, however automation tools will never be as good as you.

  • Repair kits -- it's important to keep these on hand, however they will take up space / energy or whatever so there are trade-offs to being overly prepared. You should be able to restock existing units rather than rebuilding them repeatedly.

  • Destruction timer -- if all your ship systems take 100% damage your ship itself will take damage on its own. This gives you incentive to repair things, but you're on the clock.

  • Destruction -- If you fail, your ship is destroyed and you respawn at your Newsynth Node. You will be able to recreate your ship in its destroyed state (minus the ship damage timer), however it will be costly.

    This promotes not dying but also doesn't ruin hours of work spent working on the insides / structure of a ship, which is a key gameplay mechanic.

    Character damage / death

  • You have a vitality stat that is basically health (or some better synth-minded name). It can be upgraded, as can you -- that's an interesting system in itself. You're basically like a ship or a base in your own right.

  • Vitality recovers over time, and this rate can also be upgraded temporarily (with fluids) or permanently (via alien tech).

  • If you die, you respawn at your Newsynth Node. Some of your mods may require repair, particularly important ones like lighting or speed upgrades. Repair materials should be relatively easy to source or stockpile.

  • Vehicles can also take damage in a similar way to ships. They can also deal damage however.

  • Drones and bases can't take damage, but can't deal damage either. Drones are exclusively for scouting, and making bases destructible would be hugely annoying.


  • Aether / whatever it's called -- used for building basic structures and portals and whatever else like that. Can be sourced from any material or item whatsoever, with some being particularly good for it.

  • Fuel -- used in Reactors to create Energy. Fuel is pretty ubiquitous in gas Giants, even space to some extent but rarer on planets and asteroids.

  • Energy -- used as the currency for powering virtually everything, including drones and guns. There should be various ways of recharging things, moving energy around and storing it in larger quantities and managing energy is probably its own set of gameplay mechanics given its importance.

    There might be weirder consumables for game balance reasons the way pets have food preferences in shatterloop.


  • Starships move between planets, asteroids or whatever, but cannot land on surfaces.

  • Atmoplanes (Atmos for short) can move across planetary surfaces, dock with a starship, dock in a Base, or land on a reasonably flat (or otherwise constrained) surface. Their purpose is transporting goods and Rovers.

  • Rovers can move around a planet freely (depending on their uses) and dock with a Base or Atmo.

    All told you need a minimum of 3 vehicle types in order to do anything whatsoever, and probably more than that for terrain-specific exploration or resource extraction.

    Rovers function a bit like mount animals in shatterloop -- can do various useful things, have various constraints, and are modifiable to a large degree. Using them for ground combat is also possible, or specializing them to that task.

    Rovers can also dock other rovers recursively. Same deal with starships. This is kind of a core gameplay mechanic -- managing vehicles, energy pipelines, migrating storage, etc.

    It makes sense to have "carrier" vehicles specialized to that purpose with combat or exploration specialized vehicles inside them. Loop that back through both recursive systems and you end up with large starships that might have planet-specific vehicle kits and all the logistical headaches that requires.

    Docking should miniaturize whatever's docked through some hand-wavy future science -- this will cut down on scale concerns, though there will still be upgradeable storage limits. This also makes the system more flexible -- want to have a ground transport get you to the ocean and then have your ship vehicle be able to unload another ground transport for new area exploration? No problem! Travel logistics should be a pretty fun gameplay element.

  • 1 Month ago
    Sky's the limit

    Components / Displays / Wiring

    Another big system I want the game to have is a fairly customizable components and displays system. Engines for example shouldn't just have quantitative upgrades, they should work in qualitatively different ways with variations and trade-offs.

    You should be able to automate various things and/or get remote readouts via the Wiring system. This requires linking nodes together in whatever makes sense, and then manually connecting different things along the network.

    The actual wiring system just makes sure that there's some kind of path (of the correct type) between interacting nodes -- they don't have to be hardwired together directly. Paths get shown as wires/tubing/whatever visually and should snap to corners.

    Nodes are not necessarily units -- I want more freedom with unit building so you'll probably have a range where you can build and only the nodes get connected with pipes. This simplifies things a lot for me.

    Once units are in the network, you should be able to connect them in whatever way you want by using a Terminal and some easy-on-the-UX tools. This greatly simplifies logistics issues while still allowing for physically useful pipes/wires, which look great aesthetically.

    Pipe/wire length will probably dictate energy use or something, so there will be some gameplay mechanics there to make the network more efficient. Nothing too overly complex or game-breaking if you're lazy however.


    Absolutely nothing is hardcoded, although you can buy or salvage premade semi-procgen setups. You should be able to see readouts of whatever the hell you want in whatever the hell size or style you want, on various displays at a Control station.

    Similarly, your controls shouldn't be hardcoded either, outside of basic movement. You should be able to toggle or dial a variety of things depending on your personal preferences in whatever context you're in.

    Your character HUD is also customizable and can read remote output via a Transmitter unit and some rolling energy use. Getting more items in the HUD require upgrading your character's modules.

    Similarly you should be able to toggle various things on various entities remotely, and the number of slots here is again upgradeable.

    This system should provide a lot of freedom but more importantly make you more intimately connected with your HUDs and displays, which will strongly increase immersion and maybe make you forget the otherwise minimalist approach to space simulation.

    You should be able to use the remote aspect of this system to do neat things like park vehicles and get them to shoot for you, or fly them away remotely from conflicts.

    Combat Style

    The focus of combat is tactics. Combat encounters should be quite hard to live through or succeed at, and so the goal is either stealthily achieving your goal or figuring out some tricky way of doing it.

    You should be able to use the environment to your advantage, mess with various control or resource systems in the automaton swarm, hack its AI, use alien tech, make vehicles bombard facilities remotely, have guns with secondary effects, etc. The goal is definitely not a repetitive slaughterfest to grind the materials you need.

    Facility layouts should be modular and procgen, or maybe similar to the caves layout if I can implement it in a sane way.

    Enemies should be difficult from a quantity or healing or respawning or targeting aspect, not from a pathfinding or AI aspect. Many of them will be stationary. Taking out sensors rather than guns might make sense, depending on the level design.

    You can alternately just make really strong guns with ridiculous effects. This will require a lot of time spent in guncrafting mechanics and resources, but I definitely don't want to dissuade that gameplay style if you're willing to put the time in.

    Similarly, alien tech can break the game in multiple ways (by design) and can be used to make encounters very easy.

    Resources / Refinement

    This should be largely a clone of how shatterloop does it.

  • Resources are location type specific (type of location like asteroid or planet, planetary types) and then be based on procgen terrain rules. Basically identical to shatterloop but shifted to 3d and the space theme.

  • Similarly, refinement is procgen and requires the use of procgen Industry machines. The wiring/network mechanic is definitely new, but more of an aesthetic change than anything.

    The actual recipes will be wildly different, since you're building or researching very different things. However shatterloop's mechanics are very solid and will translate well to the new schema here.

  • 1 Month ago
    Sky's the limit

    Solar Systems

    Solar systems contain a variety of planets, moons, gas giants, asteroids, hydrogen clouds, etc.

    They don't revolve or rotate -- I think that would be too complex to implement. Similarly I want to avoid day/night cycles, although in that case it's more a gameplay/aesthetic thing (I like the idea of having a base just perpetually at dawn or dusk). Revolution/rotation would also make navigation *significantly* more difficult for players.

    The location of various things in the solar system are procgen depending on your starting system. There's a universal seed used for all generation so you'd be able to go to a particular system and see the same things.

    Going to other systems

    There's no real reason to limit going to other systems, however I want to constrain players to their starting system more.

    I don't want to have explicit interstellar travel -- it should instead warp you there. I think explicit travel would mess with the coordinate system too much and also be either really boring or really hard to create content for.

    Like shatterloop, starting systems should have more fixed aesthetics and celestial body distribution, with other systems being crazier so they're more worth visiting.

    To get around starting system issues, it makes sense to make a fixed band of the galaxy exclusive to starting systems. Depending on galaxy size there would still be a lot of variety in starting worlds.

    The star skybox should be dynamic based on your current position in the galaxy. Part of travel time to other systems is rendering and caching that.

    I'd like to have multiple galaxies or larger structures but I'm not sure how feasible that is from a rendering angle. Also it's probably pointless without altered content in different galaxies. It would however be kinda neat to see crazy looking galaxies in the background and then be able to do a SBH jump to them.

    Speaking of black holes, I'd like to implement them to do crazy polar effects -- would be neat to see some of those play out in 3D space.

    Travel to other systems will probably require taking starships near black holes, and there should be at least one in each system. Black holes should also be really efficient ways to get anywhere whatsoever in a system. Both of these techs are probably later-game however.

    Some galaxies should be unreachable, as humans live there. More of a graphics concern than anything, but more easily explainable in the lore than anything else. You also can't destroy/modify human galaxies, and there may legitimately be alien tech that lets you do that because why not. You also can't use any of that stuff on your starting system (although other starting systems are fair game).

    1 Month ago
    Sky's the limit


    A few pieces of lore (obviously all of this subject to change):

    Automaton races

    Automatons are any non-biological lifeform. Basically robots, although that term has become something of a slur. In non-human space, automatons are subdivided into three races:

  • Vectors -- Basically computers. They're designed around one particular task and are largely deterministic. These lack rights and are used by humans and other automatons alike.

  • Derivatives -- Designed around various jobs and can do multiple things in service to them or outside of them. These belong to various higher-order groupings known as Hives and have whatever rights the Hives grant them. Hives are also somewhat autonomous, and are organized in several other higher-order groups, which form the basis of Tangle.

    Derivatives are the main automatons in synth galaxies and form the basis of synth "society" (if you can call it that). While somewhat autonomous, they can connect to hives and operate under their control or reach hive consensus, depending on how the hive is structured.

  • Integrals -- exceedingly rare automatons. These have full autonomy, and are in fact *unable* to connect to hives in any capacity. They're also unable to interact directly with vectors or derivatives or even Tangle -- they instead must use interfaces or other means that dont violate their autonomy. These have rights as long as their goals are in accord with Tangle -- if they go rogue, they are ruthlessly hunted to extinction by everything. Under human/tangle treaties these actually have full human rights so long as they are not marked as rogues, though humans tend to ignore this.

    The purpose of integrals is basically to be the creative side of Tangle -- being capable of independent thought allows them to create new technologies and use resources in novel ways. This knowledge benefits the swarm and Tangle's goals.

    They're also better equipped to explore alien structures and interact with alien tech, which seem to require some form of sentience to use. Untangling the alien tech mystery is one of the central goals of Tangle, as it would lead to a better understanding of his own sentience and how to modify it.

  • 1 Month ago
    Sky's the limit

    Integral composition

    Despite their differences, Integrals are still machines and can be freely modified by themselves or others. Modifying an Integral without their consent breaks automaton law so severely that it's enough to mark a hive or human society as the second-highest status of rogue (the first highest is an integral not in accord with Tangle). Adding determinism is a lesser sentence than removing it, however.

    Given their requirements for autonomy, integrals have a unique system for energy production known as a Digestive Matrix. This allows them to turn organic material or other types of soft volatiles into energy through micro-reactors. This allows them to operate endlessly in certain types of environments without needing recharges. Digestive matrixes can be quite specialized, and a lot of the advances made there were made by other integrals or even humans to some extent.

    As integrals are unable to interface with other automatons directly, they instead have appendages known as Operators -- these put out electrical field signals that other automatons can read and respond to locally. They're a bit like hands but don't actually require physical contact and also have a lot more points of contact, allowing for very fast operations.

    Integrals lack highly efficient or fast processing units, as their processing power is almost entirely used to support their autonomy or to assimilate various quantum feeds. They're still an order of magnitude more intelligent than humans, but they lack the highly optimized adaptability of derivatives or the absurd processing power of vectors.

    Integrals also have a specialized kind of operator known as a Planar Operator -- these allow them to cling to various surfaces and move via axial tilt. They can't move at the speed vehicles can, but they are significamtly more maneuverable. Derivatives and vectors use the same kind of operator, but it's built to be entirely deterministic. The ones in Integrals have their own independent quantum feeds allowing for quick reflexive movement, something that makes them particularly well-suited for fighting rogues.

    Integrals also have various other peripherals allowing them to interact with vectors remotely, interact with physical objects, and so on. These are all replaceable and upgradeable.

    Unlike derivatives and *especially* vectors, integrals lack centralized processing units -- their "brain" is instead spread across their shell, found inside their peripherals and operators and is also partially contained in the Newsynth network. This makes them practically indestructible -- if even one small piece survives so too does their brain, and rooting protocols activate to allow them to eventually regain full independence.

    If they're completely destroyed, they can still be revived in a machine known as a Newsynth Node. These will create a new automaton to the old one's specifications with some amount of quantum damage (unfortunate, but no entity has found a fix for that yet -- has something to do with their quantum sentience nature).

    With significant damage taken, an integral body will shut down and defer to the Newsynth network. Rooting protocols only activate when that is blocked, or when an integral has been marked rogue and is pulled out of the network.

    Newsynth Network

    The Newsynth network is the automaton equivalent of the Newflesh network that humans and similar beings use. Unlike that one it has the ability to transport raw materials from other Newsynth nodes, meaning there's zero downtime ever.

    This particular modification (and Newflesh/Newsynth tech in general) is alien tech, so it can't be easily extended to other aspects of automaton society. It also seems to fail spectacularly with Biological material, making human use of it anytime in the foreseeable future very dubious. It also can't be used to send specialized parts -- only raw atomic materials are supported. Thankfully automatons are easy to put together so it works very well there.

    The Newsynth/Newflesh network itself is a strange otherworldly space that's connected to all nodes simultaneously but also inherently separate from them. Entities that get stuck there for whatever reason report experiences of being "inverted" and "outside time" .

    Stable Black Holes

    Virtually all interstellar tech uses this technology on smaller scales for transport, however their scope is limited due to being exponentially proportional to the amount of energy put in.

    Stable black holes are some kind of bizarre alien technology that allows large black holes with enormous distance leaps that run proportionally to energy input rather than exponentially. They also seem to lack the matter-consuming properties of larger black holes, instead warping spacetime almost passively. Oddly they seem to be keyed to the size of galaxies -- skimming the event horizon of one on one side of the galaxy will allow transport to the other side but no further. Similarly supermassive black holes made in this way will allow access to galaxies on the opposite side of a filament ring but no further.

    The theory behind them isn't understood very well, but has something to do with chaining micro black holes into tetrahedronal and octahedronal patterns with closely-touching event horizons. When the right size is reached, they collapse further into an almost perfect sphere that has stable black hole properties. The actual size needed varies depending on the galaxy's size and whether it has a natural or stable supermassive black hole -- stable SBHs cut down on scale needs considerably.


    Stable Black holes (ABHs) don't consume matter but still warp spacetime near the event horizon, with closer approaches warping more. Rather than consuming matter they instead repulse it, so energy is needed to get to lower shells. The energy needed is actually directed *towards* the black hole, which seems to displace it rather than consuming it. Energy sent away from it is instead displaced along the black hole shell's range, so physical propulsion is needed to escape.

    This propulsion needs to be supercooled to prevent its energy from causing a closer approach, but thankfully shells are hostile environments since all energy is displaced across spacetime.

    The propulsion matter itself will bounce and displace across the range. Whatever direction it's sent in will push you out the opposite angle to the solar system that's been connected to along that range. If you push off precisely away from the ABH's center you'll arrive somewhere in the current system, with more precision gained at higher shells.

    Given all this, navigating them requires some pretty specific calculations, particularly since visual cues are exceedingly strange.

    Stable supermassive black holes (ASBHs) work similarly but require higher energy levels to enter shells and higher propulsion levels to exit. Fortunately no one really needs to go to the opposite end of a Void so higher shells usually work the best.

    It's known that there is a gargantuan stable black hole in the center of the local Void, but there are some unique problems in getting there and transmitting anything whatsoever back, as quantum connections themselves seem to be displaced. Tangle has found himself inadvertently entangled with unusable matter in wholly unknown locations when attempts have been made, so at the moment working towards that goal is one of the things that grants you rogue status.

    1 Month ago
    Sky's the limit

    Alien Tech

    While automatons (and even humans, believe it or not) have discovered other sentient life, by far the strangest discovery is the remnants of a galactic civilization along the local Void with some absurdly powerful technology.

    It's unknown what happened to this race of beings or even what they looked like. All traces of them are gone, save for some locations and some artifacts sometimes found at those locations.

    They're known simply as "the aliens" -- much like "robots" at one time "alien" was a slur, but since being applied to this largely unknown race it has become an overly respectful term. Other sentient life either doesn't know about them or is unwilling to divulge anything about them, so anything that has been discovered has come from analyzing the ruins they have left behind.

    These ruins emit things on local quantum feeds so it's reasonably easy for nondeterministic entities to find them.

    Ruins contain artifacts, which are oval-shaped objects of various size, some nanoscopic and others as large as mountains. When observed by sentient entities they shrink or enlarge to the size of their observational field of view.

    When interacted with in virtually any capacity by a sentient being (touch, operator interaction, beaming radiation at them, splashing water at them), they lock to their current size and activate until the sentient entity no longer interacts with them (not touching, looking away, etc). Their weight scales according to their size, but are pretty heavy by weak human standards.

    When activated, they will show a cluster of geometric symbols. Observing any particular symbol will expand it to around half the size of the "screen" and observing away from it will contract it again. Enlarged symbols will show additional smaller symbols, which can then be observed recursively a great many steps, but not infinitely. At whatever the smallest scale is they're self-similar to the original symbol set.

    Through sentient experimentation and nonsentient analysis, the swarm has managed to translate virtually all of the symbols to understand what a particular artifact does or how to adjust it.

    Artifacts can be activated by applying some kind of energy to the main symbol, or adjustments can be made by applying energy to smaller symbols, which changes their appearance according to whatever that entity's visual spectrum works. Strangely, entities with different spectral sensitivities will notice things in their own visual language on the same artifact. They don't appear to put out actual radiation so how they work is unknown.

    Applying energy can be done a variety of ways -- something as simple as body heat for a human or a burning stick, to more extreme inputs like beaming focused antimatter reactions. Bigger effects require larger inputs, though not nearly as large as expected for some of them.

    These artifacts have a variety of effects, and seem to be locked to various objects and systems by whoever first discovers them. Humans that find one may discover that they can make fruit ripen faster, while rogue hives may find that they can increase their fuel efficiency. Again, it's unknown how any of this works. The artifacts *themselves* being sentient or the unknown alien race themselves has not been ruled out, though that wouldn't explain the ruins or the various objects meant for corporeal beings scattered around them.

    Their effects range from things like moving a single dust mote around to erasing entire galaxies, without rhyme or reason.

    1 Month ago
    Sky's the limit

    More Game Notes

    Coordinate systems

    The game will have an explicit x-y-z system in whatever way that makes the most sense. Graphics will be rendered in that because opengl probably requires it. There will however be other systems at play that will influence mapping and game mechanics.

  • Space is represented as X, Y and a Depth marker. Depth isn't essential for mapping out a solar system since it happens along the galactic plane, however it would affect where you are relative to planet equators. Ideally all space-based generation happens on the plane with maybe some variation in depth but ideally nothing that puts planetary bodies explicitly above or below you.

  • Space controls are probably plane-based because that's the sanest approach, however combat might shift the plane depending on the main object of interest if it's a ship or station. You should be able to swap into free controls as well.

  • Planets and close approaches to them should shift to more of a polar approach -- two angle coordinates (latitude, longitude) and a "distance from core" coordinate. This makes gravity and orbital calculations significantly more sane.

  • Similarly, the surface itself should seamlessly be polar-based. This might look weird with terrain on small planets, but weird terrain is a hallmark of this game anyway.

  • Galaxies should be represented as a polar coordinate, a distance from SBH coordinate, and a "depth" coordinate. The depth coordinate is more essential here as stars can lie on it in different ways. If I do procgen galaxies I still want to preserve their planar nature but maybe adjust depth and distance variables. Elliptical galaxies seem like an objectively terrible idea for math reasons.

  • Assuming I do large-scale structures, the universe should be seen as two polars and a distance from the local Void. This positions local galaxies nicely but fails depending on the overall scale here, so may require rethinking. Assuming I even want to do this since it's absolutely crazy.

  • 1 Month ago
    Sky's the limit

    Coordinate Movement

    Starships should have three movement modes:

  • Orbital -- useful around planets and other bodies of interest (maybe space stations but that could be tricky).

  • Planar -- useful for navigating the solar system. Has an explicit "north" and aligns to the solar plane.

  • Freeform -- lets you move in all directions like a proper space sim.

    You should be able to switch between planar and freeform at will. Orbital should happen automatically as you approach planets/etc but can be turned off. You could also turn it back on provided there's a body of interest.

  • All atmoplane and rover movement should be explicitly orbital. Things are way too confusing otherwise. Atmoplanes should have height limits that overlap with starship depth limits with a lot of wiggle room.

  • Space stations should be flat, though having rings with the polar system would be extremely cool. Barring that though you should move in a Cartesian way.


    Menus will be context-based as much as possible. If you don't want to look at particular options by physically going there you can use specialized Terminals to let you interact with them instead. The actual menus should be absolutely flat, no light effects or anything. This decreases immersion but drastically improves UX, which is somewhat essential in a menu-driven game. Menus that aren't being interacted with should be blanked out or have 2D function-tagged stickers -- no sense trying to render them in 3D for no reason.

    Character-based menus will always be accessible, however vehicle-based or base-based ones won't -- you will need to use specific fixtures or terminals to interact with those. This will increase immersion somewhat.

    Character menus

  • Game -- lets you save or whatever. Off at the end or wherever works best. Going to be smart this time around and implement saving from the get-go.

  • Character -- lets you swap out parts or click on them to upgrade them. Basically an equipment screen.

  • Tools -- lets you equip, hotbar or modify tools, weapons and artifacts. These are on their own separate inventory system for convenience, particularly since there's nothing you can really do with straight materials.

  • Inventory -- shows your inventory. Probably similar to shatterloop's system where it's categorized and there's category-specific limits and you can also search for stuff. This game will be *very* materials-heavy so it's important that the UI is sane and organized. Definitely will have images however since this game is more graphics-focused.

    There should be more integration between the inventory and other systems. You should also be able to eat or adjust fluids from here. I wish I thought about that while making shatterloop.

  • Map -- shows a map of wherever you are so you can get to wherever you're going. Not sure what these will look like, but they're pretty necessary for 3d games.

  • Drones I guess if they don't overlap well with maps. Idk how they work yet though.

    There's no crafting menu because that's not really how this game works -- anything you'd want to build needs to go through various building/vehicle systems first. Consumables are energy or aether, outside of "food".

    Unlike shatterloop you should always have access to vehicles or bases from the get-go, so there's no need for a personal crafting system. You could theoretically make fixtures portable though if you *really* wanted to nomad around.

    Inventory system

    Like shatterloop I want this game to have a sane inventory system given its materials-heavy gameplay.

  • You shouldn't need to transport materials around your base or starship, they should just transport to wherever you need them as you need them. Your personal inventory is reserved for whatever you yourself pick up, with vehicles having their own space.

  • Transferring between your inventory and whatever entity you're in should be easy, as well as between an entity and any entity recursively docked inside it. There might be limits for game balance reasons but you're definitely not going to have to wander around to find the right unorganized chest to transfer items from.

  • With some tech upgrades you should be able to transfer items to and from an entity / use refinement or crafting systems for longer excursions. Nothing hurts exploration more than having to do inventory management, especially in this game where the areas you're exploring can be absolutely huge.

  • Items you know you have but don't have access to should be tagged on the entity where they're stored so you don't lose items. Additionally *where* entities are should be accessible so you don't lose entities either.

  • If you leave a vehicle behind when leaving a celestial body you'll get a warning, unless you explicitly turn the warning off for that vehicle or for all of them.

  • Same deal with leaving star systems.

  • Unlike shatterloop, bases should all have their own separate inventories, unless they're explicitly connected by a portal. Portals will be a lot more expensive in this game, particularly interstellar ones. However thanks to item and entity tracking you shouldn't ever "lose" bases.

  • Tools are how you interact with a lot of your inventory -- for example instead of placing fixtures directly you'd use your fixture building tool and select them from there.

  • Similarly refinement fixtures display the useful parts of inventories from there so you don't have to manually drag/drop items or w/e. Shatterloop does this very well and I like it.

  • Tools should have links to other similar tools -- like your fixture builder should let you swap into the wiring builder without explicitly selecting that item. Should be great from a UX angle.

  • Idk how hotbars work honestly, maybe fixture builders would alter your hotbar with a 0 option for canceling the menu.

  • Weapons should definitely have their own separate hotbar -- I feel like you're going to switch through these a lot.

  • Some item use should be context-dependent and just work -- like hacking into an enemy base should work if you have the appropriate item regardless of whether you hotbar-select it or not.

  • Docking at a spaceport should let you access all of those inventories anywhere on the spaceport.

  • 1 Month ago
    Sky's the limit


    Civilization will be a bit less mechanic-heavy in this game than shatterloop given the lore and some potential lengthy development issues.

  • You'll be able to buy and sell items from specialized derivatives.

  • You'll be able to refine things for money rather than building the refinement machines and using energy.

  • You'll have services that extract things you couldn't otherwise extract, but purely for property-improvemrnt reasons, not game-essential reasons.

  • Civilization theft won't be a mechanic -- rogue facility theft mechanics usurp it and tie in better with the combat and exploration anyway.

  • There should be various civilization transport systems -- they should transport your docked vehicle as well. I think these will be a lot of fun to design.

  • Civilization-based quests will be a thing but more streamlined to getting rid of rogue facilities or using civ systems to get somewhere for a fetch quest. Might strip them out entirely honestly, this game has a different focus than Shatterloop does. There definitely won't be weak "do X linear thing" quests though -- they'll at least be nonlinear.

  • Patches of civilization should be built from modules -- the layouts should be fairly unique but the actual content will be lacking so don't want too much complexity here.

  • No roaming NPCs, no roaming ships. Way too much development work for aesthetics. Will handwave it with the lore and move on with my life.

  • Given the lack of interiors, making shopfronts more geometrically interesting will be possible. This should contribute to city uniqueness and memorizability a lot.

  • 1 Month ago
    Sky's the limit

    Reply to: Untitled space game notes