High End Stretch Goals

What are your thoughts and suggestions on the Kickstarter campaign?

High End Stretch Goals

Postby Beetle » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:11 am

I am assuming that the stretch goals in the poll http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=21 will take us to about $200k. I am also assuming that we will definitely exceed $200k by some margin. Kicktraq http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/joshparnell/limit-theory-an-infinite-procedural-space-game/#chart-exp-projection is currently projecting between $229k and $448k.

Therefore we need to think about what to do with all the extra money. I get the impression (from a message received from Josh just now) that he would appreciate some help with that.

So my proposal is to help Josh come up with some ideas for what sort of stretch goals we should be thinking about for the $200k, $250k, $300k, $350k kind of levels. Wherever possible these should be things that could be attained while still meeting the planned early 2014 release date, which will probably mean things that other people can be hired to do. Josh cannot buy more hours in the day after all. But ideas which are very much wanted but will delay the release date, or require an update to be added on after the initial release, can be considered also.

Any ideas, anyone?

Keep it brief, please, people. Explain your idea as quickly as possible and then sit back and wait for other people's. Let's wait until we get 10-20 ideas before weighing them up against each other. If you have a general comment before then, save it for a couple of days -- I want to have just the ideas near the beginning of the thread, with the discussion of them towards the middle and end. E.g. my idea number 2 below is probably insane, but please wait a few days until we've got lots of ideas before saying so. Also, if you have two separate ideas, make two separate posts unless the ideas are related somehow.

Edit: Note that only big, expensive ideas requiring tens of thousands of dollars' worth of development should be posted in this thread -- normal suggestions should be posted in the normal suggestions forum http://forums.ltheory.com/viewforum.php?f=5. The aim of this thread is to come up with a set of high-end stretch goals, and an ordering on those stretch goals, in anticipation of the last week of the KS campaign when they are going to be needed. We'll leave it to Josh to attach price tags, though.


===========================
List of Ideas

Right, time I collected together all the ideas in one place. Here they are, as of 8 December. Essentially they boil down into three main categories of suggestion, which I have listed here along with a few mentions of each one.

1. multiplayer
- Bele http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=123#p1295
- AussieMark http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=147
- MucNuc http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=123&start=10#p1583
- JoshParnell http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=123&start=10#p1526
- Beetle http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=123#p1268

2. pedestrian mode (player outside ship)
- Markyparky56 http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=123#p1369
- AussieMark http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=123&start=20#p1742
- aspman http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=123&start=20#p1749
- Sigma314 http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=185
- FAQ item 'Can I Get Out of my Ship...' http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=160
- JoshParnell (as 'Space Station Interiors') http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=21#p127

3. non-procedural content
- Beetle http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=123#p1267
- kurush http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=123&start=20#p1730

Dadalos comments on all three of the above http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=123#p1432

4. seamless landings (not discussed in this thread)
Josh has mentioned this in a few places, as if it is somewhat popular but extremely difficult. E.g.
- JoshParnell http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=9&start=20#p129
- FAQ item 'Will Landing on Planets be Seamless?' http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=160


===========================
Further Update, 15 December

The project is now heading for funds raised of about $150k ~ $155k, so this thread is now irrelevant. With luck it will make (or have made) interesting reading for Josh, however. I guess this means we won't get multiplayer :(
Last edited by Beetle on Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:07 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Idea 1: Non-procedural stuff

Postby Beetle » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:12 am

The only idea I can think of is to perhaps include a small amount of non-procedural content, or perhaps something in-between like Minecraft's stronghold, which (for the 2% of you who haven't played Minecraft) is a feature that has a fairly fixed format but is nonetheless procedurally generated so that it is slightly different each time, there are only three of them per universe, and their purpose is to help the user along to a predefined plot-line goal, which is the same for each universe, difficult to attain and certainly not necessary to pursue in order to enjoy the rest of the game.

So I am thinking along the lines of perhaps having some 'hero' characters, which are NPCs who have a bit more depth to them than the others, better stats, perhaps prerecorded voices, that sort of thing. Each hero would have a unique ability, again each one would be of a more-or-less specific format but they could be procedurally tweaked, and in any given universe they would be rare and difficult to find, with each one not guaranteed to appear at all. (I'm calling them 'heroes' because they remind me of the heroes in Warcraft III.) In my initial form of this idea, most of these NPCs would be permanently attached to similarly rare and unusual planets (so that the unit is planet+NPC, or perhaps you could say like a shop with a shopkeeper) though some might live on space stations.

But even as I type this, I realise that there's no reason why one couldn't have semi-scripted heroes who are able to travel freely, or semi-scripted planets with unique or unusual features that are not permitted or possible in the procedural planets. But somehow that seems awkward and wasn't part of my original idea.

One could also have semi-scripted goals, perhaps even a progression of predefined (but undocumented) goals which would allow a player to "complete" the game (in a sense, I mean like how you can "complete" Minecraft in theory). Don't get me wrong, I mean obviously it is primarily a sandbox game -- I wouldn't expect most players to actively seek out these goals and it should take several years of normal play to find all of them (and indeed, might even be impossible in a given universe if you are unlucky).

The bottom line is that I would like to see some stuff that is so rare as to appear only about once per universe, but to be well worth the search when you do find it -- it's OK for these rare things to be a bit more expensive in terms of development cost. The only difficulty is where do you put them in an infinite universe? Perhaps clustered near spawn over such a wide area (with a long tail) that it would take a year's worth of playing every day to find half of the remaining heroes. Or, for some features (but I hope not all) they could be rare enough that you are unlikely to find two of the same unless it is a multiplayer map and you have 100 people playing for several months.
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Idea 2: "Surprise" multiplayer

Postby Beetle » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:13 am

Something I want to be able to do is to have a surprise multiplayer option. In this game mode, it would be possible (but unlikely) to find another human player in your universe. Spawn points would be very far apart.

As a prerequisite for this, Josh would have to server hosting ready to kick in when the game needs it. For the most part, the clients would only need to communicate what the seed is and where the player has explored. The server will then silently allow two or more players to explore the same universe, and wait until they come into proximity with each other before pre-emptively fetching the players' modifications to the map and engaging multiplayer mode.
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Re: High End Stretch Goals

Postby Ixos » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:27 am

Asyncronus multiplayer:

Spore style sharing of designed ship and stations, and your faction/systems.
Your ships, stations and factions end up in your friends games and vice versa. The randomly generated ships can be varied a bit by ships designed and uploaded to the central database by random players.

The possibility to take a snapshot of a planetary system "save" all the data in it (including your mighty fleet) and transfer it to your friends game replacing the next randomly generated system with it.

So even if the game is singleplayer you can download and face the fleets and systems your friends have built.
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Re: High End Stretch Goals

Postby Bele » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:47 am

Fully synchronized multiplayer. Let the players host the servers and outsource the netcode.
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monstrously expensive ideas only, please

Postby Beetle » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:01 am

Bele wrote:Fully synchronized multiplayer. Let the players host the servers and outsource the netcode.


Yeah... I was sort of assuming that that would be forced into happening anyway at some point. I know it wasn't part of the original plan, but neither was getting $300k.

To reiterate: this thread is for monstrously, ridiculously expensive ideas. You should be thinking along the lines of $25k - $50k i.e. as much as the original game was going to cost.

There is not much that costs that much. The only things I can think of are:
1. hand-crafted (non-procedural) assets, like artwork, textures, sounds, music, etc.
2. technical challenges, like figuring out how to reduce the size of a save game or distributed multiplayer world simulation
3. paying for stuff in the real world, like server time

So you should be thinking along the lines of "make multiplayer free to all players for the first year" or something equally mental. There is plenty of room on the rest of the forums for your sane ideas which are not eye-wateringly expensive. So just go mad. Josh doesn't have to use these ideas, after all. Synchronous multiplayer is probably a big enough challenge, but asynchronous multiplayer is probably not. Not for this thread, anyway.

(Sorry for this meta-post, I know I'm breaking my own rules. I'll shut up now.)
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Re: monstrously expensive ideas only, please

Postby Bele » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:24 am

Beetle wrote:
Bele wrote:Fully synchronized multiplayer. Let the players host the servers and outsource the netcode.


Yeah... I was sort of assuming that that would be forced into happening anyway at some point. I know it wasn't part of the original plan, but neither was getting $300k.

To reiterate: this thread is for monstrously, ridiculously expensive ideas. You should be thinking along the lines of $25k - $50k i.e. as much as the original game was going to cost.

There is not much that costs that much. The only things I can think of are:
1. hand-crafted (non-procedural) assets, like artwork, textures, sounds, music, etc.
2. technical challenges, like figuring out how to reduce the size of a save game or distributed multiplayer world simulation
3. paying for stuff in the real world, like server time

So you should be thinking along the lines of "make multiplayer free to all players for the first year" or something equally mental. There is plenty of room on the rest of the forums for your sane ideas which are not eye-wateringly expensive. So just go mad. Josh doesn't have to use these ideas, after all. Synchronous multiplayer is probably a big enough challenge, but asynchronous multiplayer is probably not. Not for this thread, anyway.

(Sorry for this meta-post, I know I'm breaking my own rules. I'll shut up now.)


Multiplayer development is costly, there is a reason it's not in the first round of stretchgoals. There is no way Josh could finish multiplayer in time for release and it would cost quite a bit to outsource it, probably in the range you mentioned.
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Re: High End Stretch Goals

Postby Markyparky56 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:07 pm

Being able to get out of the space ship (either just to hover around you ship in space to fix things or something similar or actually walking around on the space stations and planets) would be a rather mental idea would it not? Leading to character creation and maybe even have your "avatar" pop up in friends games via the aforementioned asynchronous multiplayer.
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Re: High End Stretch Goals

Postby croxis » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:10 pm

Multiplayer is also something that has to be at least designed for in the code right away. Adding it in later when not planned could take longer than just rewriting the game from scratch.
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Re: High End Stretch Goals

Postby Dadalos » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:15 am

I know im breaking the guidelines of the post by commenting on the post already but bear with me and if asked ill remove this comment and repost it at a later date if need be.

as far as multiplayer is concerned i like the way Minecraft handles it. you wnt single player play single player you want multiplayer join a hosted server that has its own seed generated. as for spawn points it would just use the same spawn the single player would have started at. and just as smp has been developed over the years i can see LT2 multiplayer being developed over time and by no means being ideal or perfect the first 2nd ore even third time tested. and tbh id rather see SP done excedingly well then to divert resources and time into developing SP AND SMP in reduced quality.

same goes for walking around. in my mind this is a ship based and focused game. having the ability to change to first person and walk around while being cool would require a significant portion of work that I feel would be better spent refining the foundational qualities of the original game design.

as for finding 'stronghold/relics/ancient artifacts/and nodes of lost tech' are concerned id be very happy to see such things in the game. (another post mentioned adding thing like the Dyson rings and similar constructs to a minority of systems....) and while having things like this would be amazingly epic in my mind i have to disagree with the hero npc idea only because in a game thats taken procedural generation as its founding feature of design and 'cool' factor having an npc (even an EXCEPTIONALLY rare one) seems off to me. (though i would not be suprised if i see an npc at some point named JoshParnell nuking asteroids at some point in my mining career...
If I've rambled and gone off topic im sorry but i tend to be long winded as you might notice if you stumble across my other post XD. thanks for reading.
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Re: High End Stretch Goals

Postby JoshParnell » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:40 pm

Nice thread idea Beetle :)

croxis wrote:Multiplayer is also something that has to be at least designed for in the code right away. Adding it in later when not planned could take longer than just rewriting the game from scratch.


Yes, this is the fundamental problem. Had I approached the engine in a client/server architecture from the beginning, it would be easy. But I didn't, I just approached it from the angle of writing the simplest/cleanest implementation for single-player, which naturally resulted in not having a client/server segregation. I imagine that the amount of work required to separate it now is just going to be...bad...
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Re: High End Stretch Goals

Postby TMRNetShark » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:35 pm

I don't think multiplayer is as important as gameplay elements that will allow US to play a single game for weeks if not months!

Another high end stretch goal could be my stupid mistake of saying that hydrogen be used as jump drive fuel and harvested off of planets and ice fields.
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Re: High End Stretch Goals

Postby N810 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:11 pm

Perhaps multiplayer could be something reasonably simple,
like the ability to join someone ealses single player game
as one of their ships, and go on missions with them ?
I would immagine that haveing the game for sale
on steam has got to make this easier... :?:
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Re: High End Stretch Goals

Postby Bele » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:27 pm

N810 wrote:Perhaps multiplayer could be something reasonably simple,
like the ability to join someone ealses single player game
as one of their ships, and go on missions with them ?
I would immagine that haveing the game for sale
on steam has got to make this easier... :?:


This is pretty much what we are talking about when we are talking multiplayer, and simply selling the game on steam wouldn't make it easier. A steam based friend and server browser system could possibly save some time but does not change the fact that the code isn't designed for server/client segregation and is apparently not easily rewritten to such a state.
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Re: High End Stretch Goals

Postby N810 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:36 pm

Fair enough, I'm not a programer, and know not of such things.

I assumed he was talking about the usual MMORPG type multiplayer being not suitable.
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