Tuesday, August 24, 2004

SWG: Jump to Lightspeed: Freighters +

AngryHoopJumper wrote:
Two words: For a hypothetical JTL 1.1: "Ram Scoop".
With this attachment (slight performance penalty to ship movement, small/medium/large attachments available depending on size of ship) and skill (skill-point cost a'la Surveying), your ship becomes its own harvester. For every minute you spend in space, your cargo hold accumulates resources - say, gas. For every bad guy you blast, you can fly through the debris cloud to harvest other resources, such as metals.
I like it. I'd like it even more if ships needed fuel, which could be purchased or scooped from planetary oceans or from the atmospheres of gas giants (with appropriate purification). But even if we're just talking regular resources, it's a neat idea.

One question that comes to mind is whether space would work (in, presumably, a 3-D mode) like planetary surfaces, which at any point could offer 20 or more resources in varying percentage availabilities. If space worked the same way, how would you pick which resource you were getting? If you didn't have some automatic rule (such as "whatever resource is most prominent"), you'd have to add a UI to let the player choose which resource to scoop.

As for scooping metal from destroyed ships... I had a whole concept of a /salvage command built around this idea (SWG: Jump to Lightspeed: Summary of Ideas, SWG: Jump to Lightspeed: Proposed New Skilltrees, etc.) way back when. But then we found out that ships never really get destroyed; you just wake up in a cloning center with an entire ship in your datapad that needs some dings knocked out. *blink*

I wouldn't mind if someone could find a way to weasel salvage operations into JtL anyway, though.

AngryHoopJumper wrote:
Balancing is key here: You want the rate at which a space-based player to harvest goods to be comparable to that of a Small/Medium/Heavy Harvester. If he's flying through near-empty space, he only gets a few hundred units an hour, as he's slurping hard vaccuum. If he's passing right through a star, or bounces too close to a supernova, it could end his trip real quick, but it grants him the equivalent of being on a 90%+ concentration. If he's after metals, he can grind away on asteroids for a safe (but slow) resource extraction rate. Or he can take on PC or NPC opponents -- and get loot worth more than "1 unit of steel" like in the land game.
In whatever form it's delivered (if we ever get it), this is true, and in two ways.

First, space shouldn't offer resources at a faster rate than you could get on the ground.
Second, it might be interesting to tie resource harvesting rates in space to the level of risk you accept to get those resources. On the ground, your harvesting rate is determined by the size and number of your harvesters... but what if harvesting in space requires your active presence?

That would allow resource spawning to be controlled more dynamically, so that the "best" resources spawned in the most dangerous places. My personal concept of space harvesting is more about mining than scooping, but ultimately collecting space resources should involve not being able to fight while harvesting. That presents an interesting decision for a prospector -- how long do you keep tapping that rich vein of ore when you know that at any second a band of Evil Pirates might appear over the gray horizon of the asteroid on which you're crouched?

Hello, Mr. Adrenalin!