Monday, April 12, 2004

SWG: Jump to Lightspeed: Space Commerce +

Draconicius wrote:
how about a galactic space mall that travels. In this ship/station (whatever you wanna call it) players can rent a space to drop a merchant in a designated area.
I love this concept.

Theoretically, if you can have multiplayer starships you could put darn near anything in space -- why not a traveling mall? I can imagine the base for the thing being a very complex structure requiring millions of resources (and credits) to build -- once merchants set up tents there, the builder should probably get a small percentage of every transaction to defray his building costs (and to profit a profit incentive to build the thing in the first place).

As far as that goes, why insist on immobile space stations? Sure, that's easier to do than a moving platform... but conceptually it's not hard to imagine letting entire player cities move through space. Just strap big honkin' engines onto them! These mobile cities might be subject to certain limitations -- they can't land on a planetary surface, and they can't go into hyperspace. This would mean that they can't get away from faster ships who might intend harm to them, so they'd either have to be immune to damage (like ground-based houses), or very well-protected -- ion cannons, laser turrets, starfighters -- the works.

Of course this isn't an entirely new idea. James Blish wrote a series of four excellent books collectively titled Cities In Flight about a city -- New York, in fact -- that is cut free from the ground, equipped with faster-than-light drives, and travels around the galaxy. But even if it's been suggested before, it would still be amazing to actually play a game that includes something like this, wouldn't it?

Draconicius wrote:
This could be used as sort of an inter-stellar cantina. This would also work great with your Cargo idea.. but on a much lower scale. Only a few spaces per player could be rented on a trip. The items would be transferred into the inventory as the player leaves the ship. Not only that but the Station will only accept lvls of cargo of medium risk. Anything greater risks blowing a hole in the ship, infecting the inhabitants with a disease, cause the people in the med center to go crazy and attack, and so on. This will allow the newer players to actively take part in the space aspect of the game without feeling left out due to the lack of credits.
I like this, too. Absolutely there should be consequences if the material properties idea is implemented, and if some material isn't handled properly. Why not just tie a material's storage requirements to some kind of tariff? The more dangerous it is, the more it costs to bring it aboard for sale. (Naturally, if you can smuggle it past Customs, you won't pay any kind of fee at all... but if you're caught with it, you're in Big Trouble.)

We do probably want to be careful that only the person who doesn't handle the stuff right is penalized for it, though (otherwise it would be possible to grief other players). OTOH, it might be fun to unleash some kind of minor but general problem on an entire station/city. Maybe some kind of small, inoffensive, fuzzy lifeform that breeds prodigiously could get into everything (including the local grain stores)... hmm....

Draconicius wrote:
Another idea if this goes in is docking berths for people with starfighters... there could be mission terminals that give defense missions for the station (although escort missions ALWAYS suck), as it is just a big hunk of metal in space, but this also raises the question of what happens to the station if the defense is inadequate. Maybe the station is NOT accessible until damage control teams fix the docking bays. Exiting the station should never be a problem BUT if you are on the station and a certain amount of damage is sustained by the ship the players INSIDE should be prepared for a pirate boarding party.

Dunno if this sounds feasible... but I personally would like a mobile base to dock my personal starfighter in.
This sounds exactly right to me. Before I go too far down this road, however, I'd need to know more about how ships will land/dock in the Space Expansion. Depending on how that works, it could turn out to be easy -- or prohibitively difficult -- to allow ships to dock to mobile platforms. I note, however, that this capability is required for some starships to operate as carriers... and as we all know, your basic TIE fighter has to operate out of some kind of carrier because it has no hyperdrive. So there's a chance this "docking starfighters to a moving space platform" capability could be included in the Space Expansion.

Draconicius wrote:
will there be any threat out there that all factions (imp/reb/neutral) must band together to defeat? Like a giant space krayt dragon? 80 bazillion ham and eats Death Stars for snacks /runs in fear

Or some crazy freelancer (NPC) chooses to interdict a planet and all must try to band together to defeat him? Until the NPC is defeated or decides to leave shuttle transport can resume as normal. But if the NPC is still around only passenger ships and starfighters will be able to get to the planet. Although there is a MUCH greater chance of a pirate encounter.
That would be fun, wouldn't it? The art and programming teams would need to create appropriate resources, which might be asking a bit much for a one-shot (or even just two- or three-shot) event -- producers generally prefer to create reusable objects; you get more bang for your buck that way.

So I suspect we won't see too many unique, large-scale threats, especially of the "monster" variety. It might be possible, however, to someday bump into a really big starship. That might take some programming and "digiteer" effort, but it could reuse existing art/sound assets.

Maybe one of Jabba's competitors gets hold of a surplus ISD and tries to interdict Tatooine with it, and Rebels and Imperials have to fight side by side to bring it down -- would something like that work?