Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mining Design

The new version of Stellar Fortune is moving along nicely.  Players can now buy from one dock and sell at another.  There is also now a way to view prices without being docked, which certainly helps when you want to trade.  Over the past few days I have been working on a new feature for the game, Mining.

One of the core ideas which Stellar Fortune is based on is that it should be largely hands off.  I want a game that involves planning and decision making but not sitting at your computer for long periods of time.  Those who are able to be at the keyboard a lot should not get an advantage.

Activities.  Mining is the first of several planned 'Activities.'  An Activity is something you can set up for an extended period of time and the system will basically simulate the results.  Let's take a look at a mining session...

A Player sets a course to a sector with an Asteroid Field and arrives.  They now have the option to start up a mining activity.  First, the player will have to pay the owner of the field for the privilege.  The fee is based on the amount of time, which will likely be: 2, 6 and 12 hours.  Next, the player pays and the Mining Activity begins.  They can now log off, go to sleep or whatever.

Depending on your equipment, you'll get a Mining Cycle every 10 minutes (for example).  A typical session may look like this:

You mined 1 ton of Iron Ore.
Failed to mine anything of value.
A power coupling in your Mining Laser burned out, it will take 10 minutes to repair.
You found an Iron rich asteroid, 2 tons recovered!

This information will be displayed to the player if they are logged in.  They will also receive a log of the activity in an e-mail.  You mine until your time is up or your cargo bay is full.  PvP will likely be indirect (more on that later), so there is no large danger of leaving your ship unattended in an Activity.  That doesn't mean a Pirate event won't occur during it and damage your ship :)

Crew.  To really make these Activities more interesting, I want to add crew.  Take the power coupling burn out for example.  If you had an Engineer on board, they would get a chance for a Save throw.  This is still on the drawing board, but I think it has a lot of potential.

The next Activity I have planned will involve a combat simulation instead of mining.