Thursday, January 19, 2012

Who needs a ship?

Stellar Fortune is an always evolving project of mine.  Will it ever actually see the light of day as a real game?  I hope so.  Until then, I use it as a platform to try new ideas and technology.  This week saw important changes for the project, which I'm pretty excited about.

Kendo UI.  Much of the work that has gone into the web version of SF is Javascript.  Using JQuery worked pretty well, but it soon became clear that it was just getting to be too big and complex.   I took a look at some frameworks and settled on Kendo UI.  It wraps up JQuery into a lot of nice controls, including a DataSource model.

Here is what Stellar Fortune looks like now:

Agents.  Since I don't want SF to be about combat (there will be some), it occurred to me, why does a player need a ship?  Customizing a freighter is only so much fun.  Flying stuff from point A to Point B is also not very exciting, even though the decision making process can be.

As a result, I made Agents to do all of the actual work and leave the decision making to the players.  In the trade example, a player would choose an Agent from a list, and he/she would move the goods for them.  Then the player would sell the goods.

Agents can also be hired permanently, if the player owns a company.  They can be trained for new skills ( pirating, factory management and so on) and given ships.  Most importantly, they can be hired out.  So beyond some starting Agents, I hope everything is done with player companies.

Now on to my current problem.  Space is hazardous, so Agents can be told to avoid sectors.  This will cause them to take a different route.  A different route means a longer trip, more fuel spent and the destination may be out of range.

The hazard could pop up after the Agent is en route, so what happens then?  If they cannot make it to the destination, does the whole job just get cancelled?  That would kinda suck for the player.  Recalculating paths is also not very cheap resource wise.

I'm sure there is a good compromise somewhere.  Range limits could add a lot of depth to the game.  The map is pretty empty, so it will be up to players to build the infrastructure.