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Monday, October 31, 2011

Space-based races thoughts

I was reading some rants from a person who said that the races in 4X space games are too similar. They're all ground based, and there's no major differences aside from race attributes such as creative or repulsive. He suggested some different races, and one that struck me was space-based races. Each person is basically a sentient starship (think of crystal or space eel from MoO 1/2).

This got me to thinking, is this even possible to be implemented in my game? I thought about it a bit, and realized that due to my emphasis on macro-management, it is indeed possible! However, this is just speculation, and I don't know if I will actually add it. But if enough people request it, then I will look into it.

I would need to add the ability to generate commerce, research, and construction from ships through add-ons. The ships are maintained through commerce (commerce are a food source for those races, such as gems and rare metals), and they can "genetically modify" new ships (ship design). This would require racial technologies, which are already implemented in my game.

However, what's to prevent them from hiding in a corner and just keep on building ships that generates outputs? So one requirement could be to have them be adjacent to a star system with unoccupied planets. Their output can depend on the best bonus in that system (if there's a planet with bonus to construction, the ships would use that planet). This whole process would be abstracted away. If no income is being generated, the ships will starve and you'll be forced to cannibalize some of them to feed others.

Spying and ground invasions won't work against those races for obvious reasons (technologies are race specific, and are locked in their memories, and they don't have planets to own)

Gifting planets/ships to them will work, and will grant them access to ground invasions and the ability to capture technologies through that method. However, the technologies may or may not be useless compared to their racial technologies. But it can provide a stable source of income for the space races. But they can't produce the ships other than their own designs, so they won't suddenly build normal starships from nowhere.

What do you guys think about space-based lifeforms in this game? It's very possible to implement it, but I would need to tweak the ship code to support special modules and have the ships be able to generate output.


  1. Ever since I got this idea, it just won't go away. I see so many potential in this, and don't see any major issues in adding space-based races. So I will go ahead and add support for this type of race before I finish up other screens because it'd be easier to add it now than later when the UI are finalized.

  2. I don't agree that every single tech researched by a space-based race has to be a race specific. For instance, a phasor cannon is the phasor cannon regardless of what kind of life form invented it. I mean, there are reasons to spy on a space-based race especially if you are too playing as a space-based race. It's OK for the space-based races to enjoy a counter-espionage bonuses vs the ground-based races (or vs all races) but I don't think they should be 100% immune to an espionage.

  3. I agree with EmP.

    When I first read the idea, I was also thinking about the production dependent on the planet idea. I think the race should be similar to nomads that exist(ed) on Earth. They don't have a permanent home, but they still need to live somewhere. So my idea is different than the space eel or whatever other space monster there is.

    My idea is more of a race that lives on ships rather than planets. They would still need raw materials from planets. How can a race build ships without matter?

    My idea also has the idea of each mothership being like a colony. If you have more motherships than planets in a star system, the additional motherships would have limited production. I also see motherships as being able to grow in size and strength, like colonies.

    They can travel in space, but it's productivity would be limited. It would generate research and maybe money while travelling, but not produce anything physical.

    I also see them as being very tough in combat. Not powerful (at first anyway), but difficult to destroy.

    These are my views, not yours. But feel free to use as much of this input as you want. I don't want to come off as bossy.

  4. That's true, the physics are the same no matter which race you are. It makes sense that a space-based race can use the same technology as ground-based one, albeit in a different method (growing instead of making a laser cannon for example)

    I had a discussion with one person, and he suggested that when space races create output, the planets are "eaten up" slowly, until eventually it disappears. I like the concept, but instead of being "eaten up", the production will generate pollution on the planet, and if the pollution is too great, the planet drops down a terrain level.

    I also have some race ideas that combines both ground and space features for one race, as well as your ideas. Space nomads will be a bit of a challenge, but perhaps i could combine transport pods with that idea. If there's room in a pod, the population will grow?

    As I said, there's so much potential in this concept that don't require a lot of changes in the code framework!