If one were to write an Escape Velocity-inspired game...

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Joined: 2002.11
Post: #1
This is a similar thread to my previous Nethack one. I haven't started real work on anything yet. I want to explore my options before I commit myself to a project.

Anyway, it occurred to me that a game like Escape Velocity is more or less a stringing together of a large number of simple components into one complex entity. On the grand scale, it's a network of star systems. On a smaller scale, it's a 2D environment where objects move according to extremely simple physics rules. On the planetary scale, it's a few functional screens for upgrading and changing your ship, and finding new missions. Running in the background is a system which detects changes in the universe and makes other changes accordingly.

Therefore, this is another one of my prospective projects. It would be good practice for me to attempt to write such a system. Here's a list of ways I've thought of to improve upon EV:Nova.

-Full-screen (or full-window) map instead of that tiny box
-Let the player put ships in storage (In EV:N, some major missions offered you a new, experimental ship in place of your old one. Some of my old ones could have brought me ~1m credits if I'd been able to sell them or something. Also, some missions require huge capital warships and some require small, agile fighters. I'd like to be able to pick.)
-Make star systems more realistic, i.e.:
----Put a sun in the middle of the system
----Have the planets move when the player isn't maneuvering in space
----(For gameplay reasons, I'd still leave gravity out)
----Put a lot more space in between planets and focus missions and trade within the star system itself instead of between systems
----An alternate way to handle planets and star systems would be to make the player use jump gates to travel between planets, just like between systems (see last point), instead of having a bunch of tiny out-of-proportion circles. Then I could make each planet a lot more huge and planet-like, and eliminate the need to create a star image. So if you wanted to go to Europa, you'd pick Sol in the star map and Jupiter on the planet subscreen, jump in, and then fly over Jupiter (which would be big enough to fill your screen) to the moon Europa.
-Less colonized systems and more colonized planets within each system
-Allow the universe to change more, i.e.:
----Create new colonies during the game
----Allow colonies to be destroyed (disease, bombing)
----Let ships bomb and blockade colonies
-Make planets more versatile
----Instead of a "trade center," have each planet have "shops" that sell things - weapon upgrades, ships, commodities, etc.
-Make the plot more bearable and personalized
----If I have time, I would love to make the missions overlap more.
----For each major plot text block, have a default "summary" version and a button to read the "full" version. The writing for the Aurora plotline in Nova seems to be a summary of events that could be much better represented if written out over a page or two instead of two paragraphs.
-Allow the player to hire crewmembers for weapons and maneuvering (ex: a good gunner would make turrets more accurate)
-Move the time scale down to hours and minutes instead of just days - in EV, a jump can take a day or more.
-Base the entire plot on the show Babylon 5 (I would love to play a game like that, but this would probably not be a good idea to actually do. I just think they have a great set of races for my purposes.)
-Base inter-system travel loosely on Babylon 5's version - "jump gates" connect planets, but larger ships can create their own jump points.

I'll probably think of more later.

My web site - Games, music, Python stuff
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Posts: 33
Joined: 2005.08
Post: #2
i think dawnofinfinity.org/ would be happy to hear from youSmile
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