A Modular Palace

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A Modular Palace

Postby jam » Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:21 pm

Had a thought the other day.

At the end game you tend to collect billions and billions of credits, and not have much to spend them on.

If it can be done without spending too much time on it (we're talking about a minority of players here) I think it's important to have things in game that mean you NEVER run out of things to buy with credits.

With that in mind and after some discussions with various folks, I am thinking of a simple but modular system of palace construction, for the colonial industrialist who already has it all.

A few modules to start with, a palace hub (can be placed anywhere next to a grid) and then residential, guest, administrative wings etc. Done with one-off blueprints rather than repeatable ones, and costing serious bucks.

Like modules ranging from 1 billion to 30.

Later on we'll have palaces impact the population and your prestige/reputation in other ways. I mean certain personality types are naturally awed by displays of wealth and power, and they would be other natural benefits.

Any thoughts?
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Re: A Modular Palace

Postby Sinstrite » Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:46 pm

Seems like an interesting idea. Go to the main website, and look at the story. Everything in this storyline fell apart because of governments, banks, credits. I've already been concerned with governments and other things like stellar credits in the game, and how they will effect every player differently. Players are already competing through the market, and now competing through colony population to gain more say-so in governments. This seems like strictly a vanity project, and will be another thing that allows players to compete against each other. There are many things that could be added that make players want to work together and help others instead, but where are they? There's honestly nothing in game that makes me want to work with other players directly, if any information is exchanged, it's simple numbers and names, but still, we play by ourselves. In my opinion, redirect a modular palace into a different thing that would make players want to work with each other for whatever reason. Vanity projects, pay to win if SC purchases turn out badly, player to player competition outside of destroying each other's ships, it's slowly getting worse. The game is supposed to be about rebuilding humanity with what we have left, but the characters in game should have wisdom, foresight, lessons learned. They should be wary of what governments and political power can do, what vanity can do, what the rich can do that effects the poor, what competition does. I'm not saying it should stay that way forever, but right now it just doesn't seem like the right time in the game's development for so many of these things to be added. We need more things that allow and encourage teamwork instead of competition and vanity goals. This game is supposed to be different, but with those things it will slowly become what every other game is. I mean, already I'm very saddened that pure population of a colony is a direct means to gain governmental influence. Some players have better computers that can handle more domes, some have more time to dedicate for whatever reason, more money to spend on more colonies (possibly) than others, so they will be the ones in control. What about the smaller players not interested in population caps, political power, who just want to do things their own way without being controlled or shunned? It needs to be fair to any type of player that may play. We need more balance, more thought about what effects some additions can have. I dunno, just mumbling, but for real it seems like too many things are being added that are making players compete against each other. It would be nice if it were the other way around. Community projects besides stargates, which even those seem lame to me now considering that people get special incentives just for having added materials to the gates. If Johneaux-19 becomes the next Jita, whoever helps dedicate the most materials to that gate will have a huge advantage over future players, because they get no tax, or whatever that idea was. New players don't want to come into a game that promises what this game is, to see that they will never be able to catch up to older players, or will always have to pay a tax on a gate because they didn't help build it. I feel like the time that could be spent making this palace could be better spent figuring some of these things out, addressing concerns of players, theorycrafting and thinking of balance that will stay and be helpful for future players, ways to make the game more integrated directly with the storyline. Not vanity projects, please.
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Re: A Modular Palace

Postby rmartz » Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:39 pm

Another idea instead of palaces is tourist like mega structures. Allow them to have planet wide effect. This would give us something to build and allow it to help others at the same time. Pyramids, Museums, hanging gardens, and other mega project tourist traps would bring more to the planet, add to the moral, and boost the entire planet trade and reputation. It would encourage others to colonize a planet that has one already.
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Re: A Modular Palace

Postby jam » Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:23 pm

In response to Sinstrite:

I can't 100% understand your post, because you are (I think) expressing a feeling, not pure logic. So I'll respond in kind. I don't need to go to the main website and read the story btw, I wrote it :P

I partly see what you're getting at - to me yes the game's story is indeed about rebuilding civilisation, and some of the options in the game let players walk away from that. And look at it now, so far we've got over half a million colonists under the care of players. Fed, warm, employed, free of violence, and happy. Coming down the pipeline are challenges to these things - to health, to security, to employment, to safety etc and a large part of managing colonies in the future will be around managing these threats and keeping your population healthy and happy.

However, I _never_ set out to create a "forced utopia simulator". I don't think that would have much entertainment value (the primary reason for the game's existence) or any educational value either. People learn mostly from making mistakes in my experience, and almost nothing from being railroaded into "the one true right path".

As such, the game's main theme (for players) is freedom from restriction. You can do more or less whatever you want, so long as your actions don't prevent others from doing the same. The only way the game teaches anything is through consequences. You learn not to explode asteroids because you get nothing from it, and similarly you might learn something about how to treat a population you have some "control" over from their reactions and relative well being. Maybe.

Something worth thinking about is that if you take any 100 people at random and ask them what the perfect society is, you'll get 100 varying answers based on four or five completely different world views. My idea of the ideal society is probably very different from yours etc. So even if everyone sets out to be the "good guy", the freedom for you to express exactly what that means to you is very important to me, and a huge aim for me with governments (At the colony level) is to give players the means to express exactly that.

Regarding cooperative versus competitive things, these are a player choice. There is absolutely not one thing in the game that is specifically competitive or specifically cooperative. It's all just systems, and how people use them is their choice, not mine. If you ask me which is the best strategy, I'll tell you straight up cooperative play means you'll progress faster, but that's true of life too. Even in the supposedly dark, evil corporate world, I found that without fail, people who can't form meaningful alliances get nowhere, whereas helping others usually came back to haunt you - in a good way.

What is Pay to Win in the context of this game? What are the victory conditions? Yes, sometimes people will spend more money and/or more time and have a bigger empire than you. Should I somehow prevent this? Why? I understand the fear - but don't see a rational response to it. How would you prevent "pay to win" and "play more to win", and to what end?

Regarding the dangers of governments - yep, agree. Hence I will be phasing in government powers one at a time and keeping a really close eye on it. You'll notice my huge resistance to proposals that let governments control player behaviour? That's no coincidence. Another thought is that yep, some people who get elected will be pricks about it. That's how electorates learn the value of voting carefully.

Regarding a few players ramping up their populations to have as much influence as possible: When you've got only 40 players with colonies, this is a LOT more viable than when you've got 100, or 400, or 4,000. As is often the case, the long term solution is more players, because that will simply mean that your colony with 100,000 or even a million or three million colonists is still 1% or less of the vote. Give it time.

Regarding gate tolls: I really like the idea that people who put the most time and effort into a community project being rewarded for it. If people find the tolls are too high they can always propose a second gate with a lower toll and compete. Does the president veto it? Vote her out. If something's inherently unfair people will rally with you and fight it.

Regarding more co-operative stuff: Terraforming is coming. Vote for it when you see it come up. It will be like gates only it will make the gate projects look like an ant colony. Imagine what it takes to alter the atmospheric composition or gravity level of a planet. Seriously. I have had a look at some of the numbers involved and can't even imagine a person who would get there alone.

Regarding new players catching up: Actually not possible in any MMO made ever, not part of this one's design either and yet, more viable in this than most. The economy and world map are so open, resources are so bountiful that catching up, to a large extent, is a matter of will, time and effort. Then there's research, which is open ended, so impossible to "catch up" exactly, but you can go down a different branch and then the older players can't catch YOU either. Given the openness and freedom, the ability of "big" players to restrict "little" players from resources is virtually non-existent. Contrast that to a lot of other MMOs! What I see in ATSG is that as the end-game gets further away, the journey there gets faster. That to me is the basic design more or less working. Sometimes it's too fast, sometimes it's too far. I rely on forum discussion and the conversations I have every single day in game with players to get a feel for it.

As for vanity stuff, there is none whatsoever in game right now. Everything now is strictly utilitarian in design. You could say flying a Seraph is a vanity thing, but they also have twice the cargo space of the next ship and for a lot of stuff are way more useful. Palaces would be the first "vanity" item, and there's value in that. You don't like them? Well, others might. And from a game design and balance perspective, having something people can spend huge bank balances on is a good idea, if you've got a few players with huge bank balances that they've got nothing to spend on. It counters inflation and keeps the value of credits high for the people who need it most - new players. Vanity stuff also helps newbies catch up, as older players dump huge resources into items that confer no inherent advantage, or minimal advantage.

That said, I do like the idea that these modular palaces have some advantage, and indeed some advantages that affect the whole planet rather than just the colony. I don't see a difference really between that and one player flying a Seraph and another flying a Guardian simply because one's been playing longer or has more credits. It's fine.
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Re: A Modular Palace

Postby seikatsukira » Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:10 pm

I support the modular palace.

It would be nice if we had multiple styles to choose from.


The options could look completely different than these pictures, they are just an example of how different styles would be nice.
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russian palace.jpg
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Re: A Modular Palace

Postby Agamemnon » Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:28 pm

Re: A Modular Palace

Postby rmartz » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:39 am
Another idea instead of palaces is tourist like mega structures. Allow them to have planet wide effect. This would give us something to build and allow it to help others at the same time. Pyramids, Museums, hanging gardens, and other mega project tourist traps would bring more to the planet, add to the moral, and boost the entire planet trade and reputation. It would encourage others to colonize a planet that has one already.


I'm definitely ALL for this one...instead of a palace I could truly build some huge casino to draw in the rest of the galaxy to New Vegas as it gets off the ground and going. That would be sweet.....
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Re: A Modular Palace

Postby rmartz » Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:11 am

Being modular, we could call it what we wanted and select from a list of modifiers. The more modules, the additional planet modifier. Then one design would work for each player, especially at first. Main structure maybe +1 and additional modules +.1 or something like that.

I would make the modifier greatly reduced if there is not a jump gate to that system. Jump gates would promote tourism from the populace.
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Re: A Modular Palace

Postby seikatsukira » Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:03 am

Even with modules all palaces would look basically the same. unless there were different styles for each module.

If we are going with 1 style I hope for the colorful Russian palace look. but honestly i would prefer it if we had different styles to choose from. It would even be nice if we could mix and match them.
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Re: A Modular Palace

Postby jam » Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:02 pm

seikatsukira wrote:Even with modules all palaces would look basically the same. unless there were different styles for each module.

If we are going with 1 style I hope for the colorful Russian palace look. but honestly i would prefer it if we had different styles to choose from. It would even be nice if we could mix and match them.


Styles = models and textures = time and money. I wanted this to be a not-massively-expensive feature to add, as quite frankly most active players can't afford it.
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Re: A Modular Palace

Postby rmartz » Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:42 pm

jam wrote:
Styles = models and textures = time and money. I wanted this to be a not-massively-expensive feature to add, as quite frankly most active players can't afford it.

That is what I was kind of thinking about. If they were just block buildings kind of like legos, we could build them into shapes and make designs from the build touching or using transport lines to connect.
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