Now I first would like to understand the concepts, before possibly giving some ideas for the system (missions are sort of a hobby for me. I delevoped quite some for the excellent game Escape Velocity and its successors). This is why it is into the suggestion forum...
In the first thread mentioned, Josh said that missions are not spawn based:
Now the game will actually spawn depending on the player action - only the region of space visited will exist, for example, so obviously there is an equivalent of "spawning" systems and NPC, planets, ships as the player moves around and "needs" them.JoshParnell wrote:As you discuss possibilities, try to keep in mind that LT missions are not "spawn-based." This is an important detail and strongly influences how these missions will play out. When you take an escort mission, it will genuinely be because the AI feels that it needs protection for flying through a particular sector of space. Furthermore, if you encounter enemies, it will be because they were already in the region, saw/scanned the convoy, and decided to strike. I will not resort to spawning them just because you took a convoy mission.
In my understanding, the difference lies in the fact that when spawning, the nature of the object being spawned is defined by the universe and its root, not by the player and his needs. In other words, the game will not spawn a ship needing escort because you accepted the mission. It will spawn ships that may need escorting and propose the mission.
This is very different, but not fully incompatible. For example, I could - when proposing a mission to escort - "search" for a suitable ship needing escort close to the player and make it the subject of the escort. let's keep this in mind for later posts, it will be important.
Returning to the game logic, this means when entering in a system (or when arriving "close" to the border of the already created universe) a new system is generated, with its ports, corporations, ships and NPC, which have as consequence some generic missions:
- A corporation/planet needs to move things around: delivery missions.
- A corporation/planet does not like a guy: bounty hunting mission.
- A ship feels unsafe: escort missions.
- A corporation/ship needs to map a region: exploration missions.
Of course succeeding in a mission may earn you cookie points with the ship/corporation/... and encourage the AI to entrust you with further similar missions perhaps more difficult and with more rewards, but I don't see however how these kind of standard missions can evolve into epic stories...
Now that may not be the aim of this game, and it will already be awesome with only those standard missions on top of trading, pirating, improving your relation with a corporation and exploring.
Still in my humble opinion, having the possibility to have long winded missions composed of many small steps that build up a story is one of the key element to make the universe interesting - because it makes you really "belong" to the universe.
I am actually thinking of a procedural way to generate such epic stories. The major difficulty will probably be in the packaging (i.e. generating the narrative that binds everything together), and there I don't have a ready made solution yet. The procedural system can generate many different stories, but of course one could imaging a plug-in system that tweak it to add depth.
If there is some sort of confirmation that I understood the concepts correctly, I will expand to a short explanation of the procedure soon to open the discussion to more conrete elements.