Designing the perfect space exploration MMO – Object scaling as a means of facilitating a multi-genre experience.

Its been a while since Ive posted anything so here is a little something you may find interesting. Recently Ive been watching a lot of Extra Credits (A series of informative videos related to gaming), most notably Ive taken interest in the “trans-gaming” concept talked in the video below. A quick summary of trans-gaming would be the ability for multiple games or systems of gaming to directly effect each other, or in other words “connected gaming experiences”. Such is the case with the new MMO-FPS Dust 514 which will have a direct impact on players in EVE online.

Object scaling is something Ive talked about before (pretty vaguely), after thinking about trans-gamings potential for improving this Ive decided to rethink some of my previous ideas. Originally I talked about how objects should be scaled to extremes for a more realistic feeling experience but I neglected to talk about how this would effect the game overall. Realistically creating a twitch based space combat game at these scales is going to be problematic, not to mention the issues with structure building (although this has been done in Age of Conan). Traditionally these elements belong to strategy games, in fact my previous example of object scaling was from such a game (Sins of a Solar Empire). What I am essentially suggested is that this space MMO could encompass 2 separate games or game-types allowing users to effect the world in different ways whilst relying on each other in various ways. We may have one player who takes on the role of a corporate executive, placing structures and coordinating battles. Then another player taking on the roll of a frontier pilot, gathering resources and defending structures. This for the moment is just an idea but I plan to think up some more concrete mechanics around this system in the coming weeks. Here is a few ways that these gaming experiences may interact.

Economics

This is most obvious way that these 2 separate game-types could interact. On a basic level this would be one set of players with a demand for resources while another set have the means to gather said resources. In a traditional strategy game we might have a unit or structure capable of resource generation overtime, in a standard MMO resources are either looted or harvested. Here we have the ability to forge a  mutual dependency between these 2 groups. Its possible that to create structures resources gained through combat or small-scale harvesting may be required whilst to upgrade ships or abilities resources gained from structure mining or colonization may be required.

Combat

We have are large ships that may be controlled or maneuvered in a strategic manner, then we have are smaller ships controlled on a by-player basis. Previously I mentioned how combat would be for all kinds of ships a twitch based experience where smaller ships would be able to easily out-maneuver large ones whilst lacking the ability to easily destroy them. Coming back to this with the new dynamic in mind we can envision that these large ships may be tasked with transportation of resources between points, they may have some defensive capability but can be easily swarmed by smaller ships. This means that these large ships would require protection which could only be provided by smaller manned-ships. Inversely in small scale battles are strategy players could aid by providing coordination (strategy) or even contribute to damage, structures could be capable of firing missiles or laying traps.

Additional

  • Construction
  • Colonization
  • Societal

I will avoid going into much detail until this idea is developed more, this may take the form of a unified multi-genre game where roles can be switched easily or 2 separate systems which depend on each other. Giving the player the ability to easily switch between styles may simply make this a game with strategy elements when what I want to achieve is a game with 2 separate game-types. Maybe a leveling system for each side may encourage players to specialize in one of the 2 styles.

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