Designing the perfect space exploration MMO – Basics of Hostility

When planning how to tackle hostility we have a wide variety of options to choose from. Very few games have a full on FFA system where players can attack anything and anyone, mainly because it doesn’t work. We are trying to avoid a system in which players feel they are at unfair disadvantage against other players, but also promote hostility between factions. Its also best we take into account player online times and the need to defend constructs they have created. So lets establish some basic PVP rules for our space MMOG, for the moment I will avoid talking about the consequences of defeat because that really depends on how are ships will work. Lets go along with the idea that players can freely attack other players or constructs in combat, bar some form of allegiance system (factions, guilds etc). Going along with this premise lets establish some principles..

  • Escape and Evasion in PVP is easy assuming you are not actively engaged in combat.
  • Ship power & durability is proportional to size, speed (in close range) is inversely proportional to size.
  • Automated defences are constructable, of varying size and power.

These principles on their own don’t shed too much light on the final system but provide a basic premise from which to develop a more detailed PVP system. Large ships provide power without speed, small ships can easily avoid these large ships but with smaller weapons are not suitable for defeating them. Large ships can travel faster and further, but take long times to commence movement after stopping. We will assume sufficient defences can be constructed to repel a small army of players long enough for defenders to arrive.
The need for timed / zoned combat restrictions for the moment is unclear, these are best put in place at a later stage when we can predict how players will use this system. We don’t want players destroying constructs left right and centre, we also don’t want a construct to be considered ‘indestructible’.

Detection & engagement
The game needs some basic detection & engagement principles, how will players see and fight each other? Here are my idea..

  • VI radar detection, objects found on radar are projected into the players view.
  • Twitch-based movement and manual aiming used, certain ships may allow for multiple personnel.
  • Different weapon types to supplement different ships (lasers, beams, shockwaves, lock ons etc)

Pretty simple for now, just like above its too early on to go into more detail. I will talk more about ship movement in a later post.

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One thought on “Designing the perfect space exploration MMO – Basics of Hostility

  1. I would play the hell out of this game!
    I’m a 3D modeller/animator new to the industry and newly graduated.
    I would love to help out, even if it’s just doing some prelim or concept models!

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