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Expanded FTL vision

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:07 pm
by Jerjare
Here 's my dream for an expanded FTL. By and large it expands existing mechanics with only a few major changes. My idea is based on "bigger is better". More content means more replay value, I love the random nature of encounters and want to expand upon it.

Ship systems and crew skills. Ships and crews are bigger with more systems/subsystems. Multitasking becomes more critical as you have to manage more things at once. Rooms can be in different shapes (1x1, 3x3, 1x6, etc). The biggest change is the Captain's chair. One crewmember is designated ship captain. In the Helm, he sits in the captain's chair. From this point, he gives the entire crew shipwide bonuses (a racial bonus, and a slight bonus to manned systems). Crew get xp bonuses while the captain is active. The captain can pilot the ship, but you get a significantly better evasion/options if there is a pilot in addition. While active, the captain can give Crew Commands, allowing you to repair/fight/heal multiple crew with a single mouseclick ("Damage Control" command would automatically have the crewmember with the best repair skill repair a damaged system then return to their station for example). Other new systems/skills:

Reactor: Allows you to distribute power to different systems. Damaging a ships reactor prevents power distribution. Power distribution is no longer instant by default, manning/upgrading the reactor speeds this up. Needed for FTL.

Computer: Allows you to analyze event outcomes. More upgrades makes the computer's analysis more accurate. It also gives very small bonuses to weapon accuracy, evade, and drones. The Computer is complex and can only be repaired in store.

Helm: Now has the ability to choose maneuvers (evasive maneuvers makes your ship harder to hit but spoils your aim, aggressive charge does the opposite. Align for lighspeed reduces evasion but charges FTL faster, etc).

Drone Control: Manning it gives you manual control of drones and speeds them up. Drone skill enhances this.

Weapons: Now have "hardpoints" (missile room, beam room, etc.) Weapon skill is further broken into weapon type.

Turbolifts: Some ships now have multiple "decks" accessible only by turbolifts. These are inter-ship teleporters which have a short cooldown. Upgrading door control improves these.

There are now 4 shiptypes of each race: The Workhorse (a reliable but outdated design, also the default ship), Scout (smaller/weaker but more efficient ship), Prototype (extreme strengths and weaknesses, most customizible), and Flagship (a giant battleship bristling with weapons and crew).

Re: Expanded FTL vision

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:10 pm
by Todes_Schnitzel
good ideas :D

Re: Expanded FTL vision

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:55 pm
by Jerjare
Races are now more in depth and thematic. They get more bonuses/penalties and feel like a major part of the game instead of just a PC in an RPG. In events, you get more options: Red options, offering insane risk/reward, green options, based on Crew Traits, and Purple options, where you consult your Ship Computer (will display probability of other options, but time spent can itself have a negative effect).

Humans: Common and Uninteresting No More! Humans are better adapted to deal with different races. Human Captains give Crew Bonuses to ALL crew skills. They also get an additional command slot with a faster cooldown on commands. Their ships get an additional augment slot (and are the most customizible), and have the most starting/max crew. Human crew are Diplomatic and Explorers.

Engi: Peaceful and analytical, Engi are always trying to find the most favorable, efficient outcome. Their captains give bonuses to Drones, Repair, and Ion weapons. Their ships have the "best" room layout. Engi Crew are Logical and Engineers.

Rockmen: Stubborn and isolationist, Rockmen tend to use force to get their point across, but are not megalomaniacs. Their captains give bonuses to Missiles, Bombs, and Melee. Rock Crew are Aloof and Tough.

Zoltan: Relying on both advanced tech and religion, Zoltan can be many contradictions. Zoltan shields are no longer an augment but rather an actual upgradeable subsystem (allowing it to block more damage and recharge every 5 minutes). Zoltan captains give bonuses to Reactor, Engine, and Shields. Zoltan Crew are Faithful and Empowering.

Slugs: Slippery and treacherous, always giving the 1 Honest Slug in the universe a Bad Name. Slug Gel slows enemy boarders in addition to repairing breaches. Slug Captains give bonuses to Helm, Reactor, and Bombs. Slug Crew are Telepatic and Hedonistic.

Mantis: Natural born fighters, Mantis operate on a kind of brutal darwinism leaving only the strongest alive. Mantis Captains give bonuses to Melee, movement speed, and Missiles. All their ships start with telepads and their flagship boasts a 3x3 teleporter room! Mantis Crew are Honorable and Combative.

Crystal: Secretive and Shy, Crystals are related to Rockmen. They are not numerous, and ships have smaller crews. Crystal Captains give bonuses to FTL charge, Repair, and Crystal Weapons. Crystal Crew are Wise and Aloof.

Other races: There are opportunities to get other races as crew, who havd unique or random traits. These include hyperintelligent horsefaced alien, drone w/sentient AI, Mindcontrolled Giant Alien Spider, and Pirate Ghost.

Re: Expanded FTL vision

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:30 pm
by Jerjare
Events: There will be many more events with many more branching options. Your ship computer can analyze possible outcome. Example: You encounter a ship on fire. You can:
-Dock and try to rescue survivors
-Send a shuttle to evacuate ship
-Consult the ship's computer

The computations take time. By taking this option there is a chance it will be too late to do anything. Assuming you get lucky, the computer will label your chances.

Rank 1 computer: Only indicates if the choice has more/less than 50% chance of failure/success. Rank 1 computer's time gives a 50% chance to lose out on being able to do anything.

Rank 2 computer: Rounds off the % of success to either 0,25,50,75, or 100. Rank 2 computers time gives a 33% chance of taking too long.

Rank 3 gives you exact percentages, and only has a 10% chance of failure.

Red options tend to be 90% fail/10% sucess. They often override other options (sometimes being the ONLY option!). Example:

"You encounter a planet that seems to be a paradise, with its inhabitants living a peaceful, carefree existence. Do you:"

-Attempt to contact people on the planet (75% they are too engrossed in their own peaceful life to pay attention 25% they give you a small amount of scrap as a gift)

-Ignore the planet, you need to focus on your mission! (nothing happens)
(Hedonistic) Your slug crewmember is too tempted by the paradise and leaves before you can react This option replaces one or both options. The possible outcomes are 90% The slug leaves for good, abandoning your cause 10% The slug has a change of heart, returning to your ship but not before making off with all the treasure he could carry (big scrap reward).

The traits can also offer blue options. Mantis Honorable trait can have the Mantis challenge a foe at a game of claw wrestling, lose, and GAIN their respect by being good on their wager. Or a Zoltan convincing a religious sect to donate fuel by understanding their faith enough to get them to cooperate.

Re: Expanded FTL vision

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:58 pm
by Jerjare
New weaoon types:

Nanite: These are an anti droneship weapon. Right now there are plenty of ships strong vs manned ships, and some ships that suck vs unmanned ships, but nothing that is weak vs manned ships and strong vs unmanned ships. Nanite weapons consume a drone part. They launch a wave of mechanical "bugs" at the ship. This functions like a beam weapon that penetrates non zoltan shields. Each square covered has a % chance to miss (enemy evasion+10). Once hit, nanites function like fire- crew and repair drones can stomp on em, doors slow their spread, but if left alone they will spread. Each square of nanites does 1 point of damage every ten seconds. They do not damage systems. They are unaffected by vacuum but destroyed by fire. Missiles and Bombs can also deliver the "nanite" effect.

Disruptors: Fires a slow-moving energy orb. Disruptors do 2 system damage for every hull damage they inflict. A system hit by a disruptor has its performance reduced by 15% for ten seconds (can affect a shields recharge, weapon cooldown, or evasion). Each disruptor counts as hitting 2 shield bubbles simultaneously. The projectile itself travels extremely slowly.

Re: Expanded FTL vision

Posted: Sat Apr 27, 2013 5:38 am
by cicobuff
Interesting suggestions from the player perspective.

What about the enemies? How should the enemies be balanced and the challenge kept so it does not just become another grind based rpg to level up and stop being a rogue like?

Re: Expanded FTL vision

Posted: Sat Apr 27, 2013 2:47 pm
by Jerjare
cicobuff wrote:Interesting suggestions from the player perspective.

What about the enemies? How should the enemies be balanced and the challenge kept so it does not just become another grind based rpg to level up and stop being a rogue like?

The enemy ships will have proportional assets to match yours. Like I said, this vision puts emphasis on multitasking. Even with a big, powerful ship, you have lot more crew, a lot more things to manage, and a lot more stuff that can go horribly, horribly wrong :twisted: . There will be more situations where you will just need to run away, or balance the risk between finishing off the ship or losing most of your hull points. A few concepts for enemies/encounters:

Its going to self-destruct!: This is my favorite one. Basically if you board some ships and its clear to the enemy that they are losing, they might try to self-destruct your ship with your crew still on it! Rock and Mantis are more likely to pull this one on you. You don't get a timer, and the actual 'countdown' is random (3-10 seconds) so as soon as you hear self-destruct its best to evacuate. Of course they could also be bluffing and warp away as soon as you leave their ship :x

Smarter AI: More difficulty settings, with 'Easy' being something between Easy and Normal is now (but with current enemy ship behavior) 'Medium' being the same resource distribution but much smarter enemy ships, and 'Hard' being smarter AND stronger enemy ships, and less resource distribution. On Medium and Hard, ships will do the following:
-Only fire Beam weapons when your shields are down
-Set rooms on fire, board with Rockmen
-Be able to time the travel speed of missiles/disruptors so they hit you the EXACT optimum moment
-Avoids wasting projectiles, wont fire single missiles if you have a defense drone.

Booby Trap!: Enemy ships that escape from you will tell their friends your strengths/weaknesses. If you have a teleporter, some enemy ships may booby trap a room; if you warp into that room, the following may happen:
-Human: Get pelted by wall laser turrets for several seconds (doing 15-35 damage)
-Engi: Disables any of your boarding drones in the room.
-Zoltan: Prevents you from warping back for 20 seconds :twisted:
-Slug: Fills the room with poisonous gas (2x suffocation damage)
-Rock: Sets the room on fire!
-Mantis: Floor spikes, 2 dmg to any non-mantis that moves into any square.

Running a gauntlet: Encounters that have you engaging multiple ships in a jump point, either simultaneously or one after another. Enemy ships coordinate their efforts with one another to make your life more painful.

Random enemy ships: Sensors have been nerfed; you no longer can identify enemy systems until you upgrade sensors to level 3. Knocking out critical systems is now a guessing game (though the AI knows exactly where all your stuff is! :twisted: ). A given enemy ship, say, a Rebel Rigger, might have its helm/weapons/etc in completely different places; it will be harder to cripple it quickly.

Slow energy distribution: Pulling power from engines to weapons is no longer instantaneous. It takes ~2 seconds for each bar (faster with upgraded Reactor system). So its much more on the player to anticipate where he's gonna need power, and harder to run on a lean power configuration. Zoltan's power boosting effect also has the same 'delay' when entering a system.

Re: Expanded FTL vision

Posted: Sat Apr 27, 2013 2:57 pm
by Jerjare
Divided Loyalty

Another challenge in the game is addressing the fallacy that having a new crewmember is just gonna be 100% loyal to you, some stranger, and following you to the end of your mission. What if they're not loyal? Its adds depth to know that making a smart decision may comprimise the morale of your crew. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" really rings true here- there are lots of encounters that may involve making a small sacrifice to avoid compromising the whole ship/mission.

Each crewmember has a Loyalty meter. This is a scale from 0-100, invisible to the player, that goes up and down throughout your mission. Making certain decisions in events can raise/lower a crewmember's loyalty, and if it goes low enough they might betray you.

But slugs can read minds! They can tell me if crew are going to munity!: Sure they can. But they are also scheming, lazy and self-serving. Your slug crewmember may warn you, but it also depends on how loyal the Slug himself is. If he's not very loyal, he'll lie to your face, tell you your most loyal crewmember is a traitor, protect crew plotting against you, etc. So even with slugs there's no guarantee.

Crew that completely lose loyalty may simply desert, or they may attack your other crew, sabotage your ship, relay intelligence to confederates, and so forth. Be careful with your Redshirts, because you never know what they may be up to!