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Starwright

Starwright v2

Posted June 29, 2024 by Xhin



There are 17 Replies


Differences

  • Salvager mechanics are moved to derelict space stations or whatever. They're mostly just a means of scavenging items.

  • More of a focus on engineering, space monkey style. Fixtures have parts and subparts that can be swapped out -- experimentation here is kinda a key gameplay mechanic.

  • Lots of integration with real time. It takes hours to move through a system and days to swap systems, and these are real-time hours and days.

  • When you're not in an explorable region, the gameplay is focused around optimizing engineering and farming systems, experimenting with processing systems and maybe solving one of my puzzle types to gain new raw materials.

  • June 29, 2024
    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Game Phases

    Starwright is several different games in one depending on where your ship is specifically:

  • Docked -- docked to a space station. Here you can modify the volume of your ship and buy and sell various things. You can also pick up Crew.

  • Derelict -- docked to a derelict space station. Salvager mechanics basically, with the caveat that your actions or a time counter might cause the derelict to explode. This doesn't kill you but just makes it so you can't salvage things further.

  • Abandoned base -- same as the above, but this POI exists on planets/moons.

  • Moon/rocky planet -- Some kind of large skein that allows you to find resources and farmables. Not sure on the mechanics here, but would definitely like to explore underwater/etc mechanics with the right kind of vehicle as well. Planets/moons contain a fixed amount of resources, maybe subdivided into regions.

  • Transit -- transit takes real time to move between planetary bodies (hours) or star systems (days). While you wait you can modify things in your ship in various ways, do farming and overall experiment with stuff.

  • Gas giants/asteroids -- these have some additional mechanics and also require unlocking the modules for resource collection and shielding or whatever. I'm not sure what the mechanics here look like, but it's an additional source of raw materials.

  • Space combat -- tends to happen in derelicts, or can also happen at space combat POIs.

  • Ground combat -- happens in abandoned bases or ground combat POIs.

    Combat should be based around the monster maze type of system, though granted it would be a bit different because of the sci-fi theme here.

  • June 29, 2024
    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Crew Mechanics

    Crew members are procgen and give you various bonuses to various things. They're basically the game's magic system. There are however some limits:

  • Depending on what they're doing, you might need station fixtures for them, and *definitely* need quarters fixtures for them. Shipboard crew are going to need an appropriate station, while groundcrew/dock crew/etc just need quarters.

  • Crew members aren't necessarily compatible with one another for various reasons. This can lead to friction which causes their bonuses to dampen or even creates negative bonuses.

  • June 29, 2024
    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Cargo Mechanics

    The cargo system kinda underpins all the shipbuilding mechanics.

    Your ship has a limited amount of cargo space, measured in kg I guess. This is upgradeable with Cargo Modules. You can store whatever the hell you want in here though and have access to it anywhere in the ship.

    Modules can be stored in cargo as well without necessarily being attached, which means you can detach modules and stick them in storage or pull them out to make upgrades to your ship while you have access to the shipbuilder context.

    June 29, 2024
    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Shipbuilding Mechanics

    The first segment of this is that your ship has fixed Dimensions. This then wraps around your actual ship rooms.

    Dimensions can be changed while Docked. Upgrading is definitely expensive (and scales with the other 2 dimension sizes) and a bigger ship volume also changes all your stats like engine speed and shield strength. Granted you get more space to work with so it's worth it.

    You can also downgrade your dimensions provided there are no rooms in there. This should give you money with zero markdown/markup so you can just make changes at your leisure.

    Ship Rooms

    Ship Rooms are single 3D tiles and can be connected to existing 3D tiles. Exits are automatically assigned given the tiles around a room for seamless navigation.

    Ship rooms can be changed any time you have access to your ship, via Hab items which are otherwise stored in Cargo.

    Habs have different properties from one another, which leads to different ideas about what to actually put in there. They can be bought from stations or found but never crafted.

    Proper Shipbuilding

    Ships are only valid if:

  • There is an adequate amount of Thrust corresponding to the Volume (based on ship dimensions). Upgradeable via Thrust modules placed around the outer edges of the ship's dimensions.

  • Powered modules have adequate Power via Reactor modules. Note that modules don't have to be powered, but like obviously they won't work if they aren't.

  • There's enough Radiator power. This is based on Radiator modules placed along the outer edges of a ship volume.

  • There's enough Life Support for all Habs. Life support scales by number of Habs and also the amount of Crew, Passengers and farmed Fauna.

  • June 29, 2024
    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Oxygen, Environment and Vehicles

    Planets/Moons have oxygen percentages, ranging from completely barren worlds to oxygen-rich environments. The percentage here dictates how much oxygen you and your crew use over time while exploring the surface of the world. While there are occasionally refill points, if you run out you die and respawn on your ship, using a Ground Ankh.

    Environment also plays a role -- areas can be hot, cold, radioactive, etc. Same deal here where you take damage.

    You and your ground crew are treated as a single unit and for simplicity things run out or people die at the same time.

    Obstacles

    Ground environments also have obstacles which have some amount of difficulty in their crossing, costing you oxygen or environmental damage in the process.

    Vehicles

    Vehicles allow you to bypass a lot of these issues. While inside them and so long as they're powered, you don't take oxygen or environmental damage and can refill whatever you've lost. Refills do however cost fuel, and moving vehicles *also* costs fuel. Additionally, refilling oxygen or environmental protection will cost fuel, as will Ankh functions. Though these are all les

    Vehicles can also cross or bridge obstacles, costing Fuel in the process.

    If a vehicle runs out of Fuel, its only remaining option will be to Recall it. Recalling a vehicle is free and transports it and your ground crew back to your ship. Thus there's no need to backtrack when exploring.

    If you die outside your vehicle you respawn inside it, using Fuel accordingly. Do this enough and the vehicle will run out of fuel and you'll have to Recall it.

    Once a vehicle is Recalled, it can recharge for another go, but this takes real time. Granted you can also set it out without a full fuel tank, or certain items/vehicle modules will refill it. Or you can just have multiple vehicles.

    Vehicles are stored in Hangar Habs. Hangar Habs must be placed along the outer edge of a ship and have different Volume requirements for the vehicle(s) that can be placed inside. Generally, vehicles with bigger fuel tanks will have a higher volume.

    June 29, 2024
    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Salvaging Mechanics

    Salvageable POIs are procgen skeins. Each POI of a certain type in a certain region is exactly the same, and POI types are palletized. Loot is however randomized according to the loot tables. This allows POI farming as you learn their various loot tables/layouts/enemies/stats/traps.

    POIs tend to have higher oxygen or environmental percentages, tending towards 100% oxygen around half of the time, making exploring them easier (though there are other challenges).

    POIs have an "integrity" stat and certain actions are more damaging than others. This information is always available. When the integrity of the POI runs out, a real-time timer begins according to its Destruction Time stat, and that's the amount of time you have left to explore/loot/etc before you get recalled and won't be able to explore it again.

    You have a limited amount of storage space on your person, and unfortunately this is also shared with weapons/items/suits. Thankfully having Ground Crew with you will increase your storage. Some Ground Crew are gonna be better at this than others (though probably useless in other areas).

    If you exit a POI you can store items on your Vehicle or Ship up to the limits there. Note though that destruction timers continue and if you leave the area the place is destroyed altogether. Therefore some Vehicles are going to be better for Salvaging.

    Loot itself is very freeform -- some of it is just easily available or in containers, others take mechanisms to unlock or switches, both of which can have an effect on POI integrity. Loot definitely varies from POI to POI of the same type but the loot tables are still pretty constrained.

    Derelict Differences

    Derelicts are basically the same as ground POIs with a few key differences:

  • Vehicles aren't in use at all so if you're doing anything it's with your ship.

  • Destruction timers are way shorter because yeah it's in space.

  • No environmental issues to worry about, but since oxygen is at 0% at baseline and it doesn't 50/50 trend towards 100%, you have that to worry about. You'll occasionally find a good derelict with a nat 100% oxygen but they're pretty rare.

  • June 29, 2024
    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Farming Mechanics

    You can find native flora/fauna on planets/moons that aren't completely barren. ET life is pretty common. I'm not sure what the harvesting mechanism are but you can pick the flora/fauna up for storage/later processing or selling or farming.

    Seed production is shatterloopian -- whatever the fixture is that dictates seeds/embryos only has a chance of working, and yes this applies to farmed products as well. Granted the fixtures here are space monkeyfied and can thus be upgraded in various ways.

    Flora can be farmed directly, while fauna requires feeding it the appropriate amount and type of flora, and this scales depending on the amount of members in the farm. So shatterloopian mechanics basically.

    Flora/fauna can be sold directly or processed into various materials.

    Genetics are in play to determine resource and seed yields as well as grow time / lifespan / farm volume / etc.

    June 29, 2024
    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Crew Happiness

    The crew mechanic is extra extra complicated, but managing it gives you something else to do during long transits.

    Crew require some amount of money up front, and then they'll have additional requirements over time that impact their happiness:

  • Money / day. They do expect to be paid.

  • Calories -- basic food sustenance. All food items contain this thankfully. Robotic crew tends to not need calories but consumes more alcohol.

  • Food -- crew have different food requirements and keeping a well stocked powered fridge(s) or food farms is essential.

  • Alcohol -- same deal here. Some just want a certain total amount of ABV per day and aren't picky, others are pickier.

    Food and alcohol can be assigned to their Quarters so they don't just pull stuff out of cargo at random. Theres no limit here for simplicity, though it does still share space with overall cargo.

    You don't have to worry about food or alcohol while Docked -- your crew will just go out and spend their money instead.

  • Quarters requirements -- various stuff here. They might prefer to have neighbors (other quarters in the same room) or isolate. They might prefer to be away from reactors or ship modules in general.

  • Crew friction -- they might hate or like other members of crew for whatever reason. If you make them neighbors or part of the same type of crew this will scale, although generally ship crew and ground crew that aren't housed near one another are compatible (though some crew are just completely cantankerous and get upset if the other person exists on the ship at all).

  • Ground/shipboard preference -- some prefer to be on a ground crew or a ship crew. This doesn't necessarily correspond with their skillset, annoyingly.

  • Dock/planetside/transit preferences -- various preferences based on where you are. They'll be happier if you spend more time in those areas. Generally crew tends to prefer dock time and haaaaates transit time, though there are exceptions. Some really love being around gas giants for example. Some like exciting space combat.

  • Comfort -- individual quarters can be decked out with comfort items like better beds or decorations or whatever. Some have more of a preference here, others are more utilitarian.

  • Entertainment -- same deal here. Some are content with one area of entertainment and a limited library, others need new stuff to be properly entertained. This can definitely become a problem quick. Sometimes crew members are largely extroverts and just need to have good relationships with other crew members. Entertainment is shared with all crew members thankfully so you just have to budget for it. They expect you to pay for it though, those bastards. If you're docked there's no daily entertainment cost because they'll spend their money instead.

  • Accrual -- a rather important stat. Some crew is cool with roaming around the galaxy forever, but others are trying to save money up to some amount at which point they'll jump ship. You can manage this by staying docked for longer, as it'll make their accrued money dwindle. Accrual crew are riskier and thus their stats are better.

  • Spending -- a stat that dictates how much money they spend per day while Docked. If they hit zero they'll start using ship resources again, unless you pay them. Can be paired with the above if you want someone to not jump ship.

  • Shipboard fixtures -- some prefer there to be trees or lounge areas or whatever. This kind of thing takes up room on the ship and can cost power as well, but will definitely make some of your crew happier.

    Friendships/relationships

    Crew members can form friendships and relationships with each other over time, depending on their preferences and how they feel about each other. Generally this is a good thing as it'll increase their overall happiness by some amount and they'll be more lenient towards you if you cut rations or do a lot of transit or whatever.

    However, deep friendships/relationships can lead to issues if you dismiss crew members or they jump ship, leading either to those other crew members joining them or their happiness tanking.

    Happiness Mechanics

    Crews have happiness/unhappiness maxes/mins, obviously various types of accruals, and an actual stat that changes every day. In the happy range, they get stat bonuses up to the happiness max. In the unhappiness range, the stats dwindle.

    If they reach max unhappiness, they'll deactivate completely and the next time you dock they'll jump ship and be lost forever. If there are solid friendships or relationships this might cause a chain reaction of departures.

    You can fix this by bringing them back to their baseline and paying them some amount of money based on that stat -- however the amount goes up every time you do this, and accrual rules still apply.

    Mentoring

    If a crew member is at max happiness and hasn't been Mentored yet, you can get them to be mentored under another crew member. This crew member has to be someone they don't have a negative relationship with.

    Once mentored (should be automatic), they'll gain the stats of whoever mentored them up to whatever their Learning stat is. Some can actually exceed their mentor, but generally it'll be a smaller percentage. They can't be mentored in the same area more than once and also can't mentor in a skillset they already have. You can totally do ramping with a chain of good learners though, breaking the game accordingly.

    Some crew members can mentor multiple times, though it's pyramid scale rarer for each additional mentoring and maxes at 5 total skillsets.

  • June 29, 2024
    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Dock Mechanics

    Docks are skeined and contain various things:

  • Shops that sell various things. Thankfully anything you buy or sell just goes straight to the ship, no inventory mechanics to worry about.

  • Places to pick up Crew.

  • Places to upgrade your ship's dimensions or buy fuel or repairs (gonna assume these are just at the start of the Dock).

  • Places to pick up passengers or shipments seeking transit. Maybe some kind of procgen quests as well that are tied to combat or gathering.

  • Scanners -- allow you to scan various things in system or in adjacent systems. There are a bunch of different functions here and not all docks offer all services and also the prices vary wildly. You can also have shipboard scanners that replicate this for fuel instead of money but they're quite expensive and probably rare as well.

    You have a tertiary Sales crew that grants various bonuses in the systems herein. Like other crew they have various annoying requirements. They are however quite useful, giving you more lucrative contracts, improving buy/sell price, crew hire on prices or access to more items to buy. They tend to have preferences for docking time for obvious reasons.

  • June 29, 2024
    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Passenger Mechanics

    Your ship can carry passengers to some other location in the system or other systems.

    Passengers are annoying, though thankfully not as much as crew members. At bare minimum you need enough passenger quarters capacity to support them, as well as life support and calorie requirements.

    Beyond that though they might have additional requirements, leading to pay hikes thankfully:

  • Food/alcohol preferences

  • Entertainment options -- you'll need to equip the passenger compartments accordingly. There might be library size requirements as well -- some passengers are really snobby.

  • Shipboard fixtures -- same as the crew

  • Cargo space -- this is generally the case, but passengers will require some amount of cargo space for whatever they're transporting with them. This can be pretty hefty sometimes.

  • CPU -- some passengers are engineers or scientists and would like to work during their transit. Unfortunately the modules here tend to use excessive amounts of power or space, so something to keep in mind. These kinds of contracts will definitely pay well however.

    Everything has to actually be stocked prior to picking up passengers, so they'll need powered fridges and CPU etc accordingly. You also can't modify passenger compartments while passengers occupy them or remove items either. You also get paid on delivery.

  • June 29, 2024
    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Shipment Mechanics

    Shipments are definitely easier to manage than Passengers, however there are some additional mechanics.

    The main one is that shipments take up a lot of cargo room and since your ship is your home and there's no way to piggybank resources, shipments are gonna cripple your cargo space.

    Some have module requirements as well -- like if they're fragile you might need a module installed and powered to keep the shipment secure. These modules take up space that could be used on other things and annoyingly take up a lot of cargo when not in use. It therefore makes sense to kinda specialize unless you just have a really big cargo space.

    Like passengers, shipments are paid on delivery.

    June 29, 2024
    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Transit Mechanics

    Transit is a big area of gameplay. It takes hours to even go from one celestial body to another, and literal real-world days to jump systems. A lot of this can be improved with better engines but not as much as you'd think unless you really ramp out crew mentor bonuses or whatever.

    Seeing as you can't explore or interact with the game's other systems, your play time here is instead focused on:

  • Rebuilding your ship. There's all kinds of complex mechanics here for optimizing ship design that you can experiment with while you're otherwise waiting.

  • Farms still produce products during this time.

  • Maximizing Crew Happiness.

  • Ship fixtures have space monkey mechanics, so this is a good time to try out different parts and subparts to get better fixtures.

  • Materials can be refined in various ways, leading to better (or more valuable) versions. The alchemy system here is pretty free and encourages relentless experimentation. Provided of course that you have the appropriate Lab fixtures to actually work with them. Same deal with fauna/flora extracts.

  • Parts can also be crafted via freeform alchemy if you have the blueprints for them. Blueprints are quite expensive and rare, but can also be found in derelicts/POIs and are definitely a scanning target (granted derelict/POI scanning only tells you the loot table).

  • If you have shipboard scanners, you can use them. In interstellar space their range (and maybe even functionality) is significantly better.

  • If you have a hydrogen scoop module(s) you can pull hydrogen from the interstellar medium via a puzzle game (maybe threesquare). You can do this between celestial bodies as well but the puzzle is harder.

  • Hydrogen can fuse into other elements, which can also fuse into other elements. This is just a function of your reactors and their stats, however this function only works in the interstellar medium for handwavy reasons. (Probably quantum effects, thinking about it)

  • Quantum cloning of weapons and suits, allowing your ground crew to be more effective since they get the weapons you have. More on this in the ground combat section. Note this only works in the interstellar medium. Otherwise ground crew is only useful for their storage and stat bonuses.

  • June 29, 2024
    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Planetary Landing Mechanics

    Planets and Moons can be landed on, provided you have the right modules based on their Gravity / Atmosphere conditions. Smaller moons are easier to land on but have less oxygen and single biomes. The more interesting planets are harder to land in but have better rewards.

    In any case, when you want to make a landing, you pick the Biome. Every time you land you get a different planetside skein, which is procgenned from microtime. The properties and POI type properties stay consistent, as well as resources/etc.

    Planets/moons with atmospheres will have different atmospheric conditions based on real-world time. There's some kind of real time skill mechanic that determines how fast you land and how much damage you take based on those conditions. Thankfully you don't have to worry about that on liftoff, which is instant.

    Damage accrued like this goes into other damage systems where the shield is depleted until modules take damage. You won't lose the ability to liftoff or travel to a dock but other systems can be compromised.

    You can't land if you have passengers or shipments -- you've gotta unload before you do anything dangerous.

    Obviously shipboard crew can grant bonuses to the systems herein.

    June 29, 2024
    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Aphelion / General Movement mechanics

    Star systems are overall based on the Aphelion engine:

  • Celestial bodies are splayed out in 1D space.

  • Celestial bodies can have orbiting Moons that can be traveled to from the parent body. Moons can have smaller moons of their own.

  • Docks and Derelicts can exist around celestial bodies or their satellites and subsattelites.

    Travel Time

  • Traveling between star systems takes days.

  • Between celestial bodies is hours, based on distance from one another.

  • From a celestial body to a moon or back or a satellite to a station is pretty quick. You should just be able to freely explore here without restraints (other than fuel cost).

  • If you run out of fuel you can wait about ten minutes (and do ship stuff in the meantime) and you'll get towed to the nearest dock. It's better to refuel or have more storage for it obviously.

    System Properties

    The amount of celestial bodies and their recursion and dock amounts / etc are procgenned and I'm not sure what the ranges are, but systems aren't particularly huge. Maybe something like 40-50 total areas per system, spread out over derelicts/docks/planets/moons/etc. Exploration is this rewarded, but there's still good reason to go to other systems.

    The distance between celestial bodies also varies per system.

    Worlds closer to the Sun tend to have less moons and are also way less likely to be gas giants. So kinda similar to Sol really.

    When you go to a star system you drop into whatever the warp point is -- this actually varies quite a bit from star system to star system and you know what it is always before jumping, though I mean granted "3/7" doesn't really tell you much about what's there.

    Star systems can sometimes have two-way warp nodes -- these allow instantaneous two-way travel to another part of the system and can be *very* useful. These can however be *anywhere* in the system so scans/exploration are crucial. At max there's 3 of these per system.

  • June 29, 2024
    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Gas Giant Mechanics

    Gas giants allow you to collect resources via the fractalicious engine (ironic given that was the original purpose of the engine).

    Gas giants will generate some kind of circle of pixels on black. The black also never fractalizes. This changes every time you go in for a scoop but it's based on some fixed set of parameters.

    The goal is finding some set of contrasting hues in some scoop radius. You can downscale up to whatever your scoop module limit is or upscale (which uses fuel). Once collected you recall to the top level and the gas giant changes so you can scoop again.

    Obviously having better modules allows you more flexibility when scooping but also changes fuel consumption. Shipborne crew can change things as well.

    June 29, 2024
    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Asteroid Mechanics

    Asteroid fields appear around a celestial body or larger ones can be a celestial body in their own right. In the former case the puzzle is a grid of some fixed size (maybe 30x30), while in the latter case one of the dimensions is quite large with the other one thinner (think like 10k by 50).

    In the grid of the puzzle are square regions that have asteroids of a specific element arranged together. These shuffle around according to some algorithm (probably rotation) and some fixed real-time speed, both of which are highly individual.

    The actual puzzle is a kind of Dr Mario type thing where you click whatever the center tile is to break the asteroid and it will also break anything adjacent to it of the same element (or color) in your field of view. I should probably make the puzzle itself before implementing it in here to work out the mechanics better.

    You can move around the grid, changing whatever is centered. This costs fuel, as does blowing up an asteroid. Anything blown up will just become a blank space but the puzzle mechanics will continue.

    While you could obviously just click center tiles over and over this costs a lot of fuel so fishing for combinations makes way more sense.

    Some modules will allow you to alter section rotations and/or speeds or maybe fix sections. This is done via gravity cannons or something.

    When you exit and re-enter the asteroid field, the puzzle resets. The actual elements (and their weights) represented are procgen.

    Presumably you have to hit more than one at once to gather resources and then gain it based on how many tiles you get.

    Additional modules would widen your field of view or cut fuel costs down.

    June 29, 2024
    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

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