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Author Topic: Suns, Planets, Systems, Civilizations, and lots of trade  (Read 583 times)

pflonk

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Suns, Planets, Systems, Civilizations, and lots of trade
« on: April 20, 2017, 08:51:34 PM »
Hey there,

I am new to this sector of the web ;) but did spend some hours in Avorion yet (19h in 3 days so far... *trying to not fall asleep while writing this*) and came along with an idea, that kind of combines loads of other suggestions I have read about in this forum or elsewhere.

I have spent so many hours with minecraft in the past. months! and it was great, and still can be of course, but avorion now combines other great aspects with the open world and creativity-part of minecraft. Such as the trading system, the 3D-environment, storytelling, ...
Some of you might have also played one (or more) of the Anno-Games. I did play nearly any Anno game, at least for some time, and love the trading-aspect of that game, where you have to deliver goods to where they are needed to make population prosper. Another game I loved was "Star Trek Bridge Commander", highly underrated in my opinion but founding the base for todays games like Avorion and others alike. Whereas you mostly were flying around and spacebattling in Bridge Commander, trading was no issue. Now Avorion combines the minecraft-flaire with aspects of Anno (trading between places, carrying stuff through space) and Bridge Commander (3D spaceworld battling and flying).
As of now - of course, it's still early access - there are some things I think would improve it beyond expectation for any minecraft-player that is openminded for space-stuff, for any Anno-player that is open for something where he does not like to build cities but ships and stations instead, and for any Bridge-Commander-player that waits to throw himself (or others) into pulsating spacebattles. I have not read any developer-statement yet so it might even be planned all along, but anyways, here is my suggestion that might combine a few others of those I have read here or elsewhere on the web.

Planets! They even made it into the FAQ of the avorion-website where our dear developers tell us, that there will not be any landing on the planets as they want to focus on the space part of the game. I agree.
That is the most spectacular part of it.
side-idea: the landing part could be handled like an Anno-game, but would result in a completely own game, so this will most probably not be the way for Avorion. Maybe for "Avorion Settlement" or somewhat ;)

Nevertheless I think planets should become a major part of the game. Not for constructing sites or mines or whatever on any surface but as an interactive part of the spacemap.
The sectors seem to be areas of about 200 x 200 x 200 km³ at the moment, maybe even more. In many sectors we see a planet or something similar in the background (which looks gorgeous!). What about being able to acutally interact with that planet? But first things first...

Systems
To not have millions of planets to be able to interact with, I would suggest to implemet something like "systems", that contain a bunch of sectors (depending on the size of the sun for example). So there would be systems with a sun in the centre (or even more suns), surrounds by a grid of ... say 30 x 30 sectors (or even more), that can contain planets (which can be surrounded by asteroid fields) or even moons (in other sectors)

The "Empty Space"
The space between systems is empty space, offering pirates, smugglers and outposts enough place to exist. Of course there could be planetoids, too (without sun, though), that could be boring or - in some cases - really exciting to explore, as we could find hidden stashes, beacons or very rare raw materials there.
The empty space between systems should of course not be boring at all, as nebulas and "encounters of the fifth kind" could happen in that vast area of the map.
That "empty space" would be more dangerous to explore, as there is much lower population and a higher propability for pirates to lay out traps or just hyperspace in and attack you by surprise without anyone near to help you out. As rewards for this higher danger those spoken of planetoids or nebulas could be worth it, as the propability to find wreckage that contains salvageble materials or items is higher in the outer space (more likely as in the vicinity of a system)

Source for Raw Materials
Systems contain planets, asteroid belts and offer unending sources for raw materials (due to the planets) and therefore would be a best place to errupt a bunch of stations, factories and stuff, as the ways would not be far to gather the raw stuff. of course you even could build all your factories in the planetary sector, but why not outsourcing it to a sector that lays in between two needed sources or a source and a gate? Traderoutes are to come, I've read, so this could be managed perfectly even when building intersector facility-plants. Like in Anno where you get stuff from isle to isle to construct other stuff (to either use or reconstruct to something even more valuable)

Specialization
The planets do offer materials. A desert-planet with a lot of sand would make it easy to gather silicium, an oceanary planet would serve water and a lava-planet could offer special kinds of stones and metals. You could even use the sector containing the sun for energy production (energy cells or raw energy, that could be transformed to whatever else and sent to other sectors to fire engines and factories without the expense of vast amounts of generators)

Populations!
Now comes another important part of my suggestion:
Those planets could be inhabited! A population in needs of goods.
Say there is a population that has barely reached spacetravelling capabilities. What would they need? Steel, Trinium, Iron, Aluminium, energy cells, hyperdrive parts, to build ships on their own to take part in intersystem spacetravel.
What about a vast population in need of high tech to fit the needs of their own producing industry. Or a population of farmers, that are interested in seeds, fertilizers, maybe water if their own planet does not support the needed amount? Spacetraveling would become important for those populations to even exist.
So far there are factions, kind of "inhabiting" a bunch of sectors and building stuff they sell to... whom? Other factions, that do stuff on their behalf. Implementing societies on planets all over the galaxy would localize the need for certain stuff into those sectors, that are inhabited, making traderoutes and those spacegates very important.

Interaction with planets
How do I think we could interact with the planets?
Not by flying as close as 0,2km towards it! :D
In a sector that contains a planet it could be achieved by a global button "interact with planet" or a menu that shows information about the planet (about population status, potential raw materials, mooncount, asteroid information and lore (which could be really interesting for the upcoming story mode!)
For the time being we are building mines on asteroids. So far so good, but they would be rather fast exhausted. Why not replace the possibility to gather raw material by planets? But as we are not able to build on the planet itself, the according sector would be the place to found factories / mines, that offer quarters, cargo space and energy for the mining operation. The size of your crew and the fullfilled technical requirement for production onboard that factory or mine would determine the amount of produced goods per timeframe. Those workers would get down to the planet to salvage whatever they are specialized for and come back to sleep, eat, do stuff. To actually get the materials you had to dock with that mine or factory. Automatic trade routes could gather stuff from mines and factories all over the system (or of course even from other systems) to produce more valuable materials or items.
Populated planets should be rare as it would be highly populated around that too, as factions (and players) would want to interact with the population. Buy their stuff and sell them what they need. The demand would never expire, an unlimited income!

Possible playstyles
• You could search for a populated system, see what they need and settle down in another one (or in the empty space) to produce it and sell it to them.
• You could trade with factions in systems that already have a chain of production for certain stuff, buy it, upgrade it (making raw gold to jewelery, silicium to microchips or whatever) and sell the higher value materials to either factions that need them because of reasons or to any populated area in need of that goods.
• You could hide in the dark between systems, build up your pirate fleet and raid systems and factions, take over production chains, raise prices for needed goods, ...
• As there are most likely loads of quests to come, it could be highly interesting to know certain systems with certain advantages which makes it a goal to explore as many systems as possible
• possibilities are unlimited! :D

They are even now loads of chances to have fun in the game, but with those planets it would become even better I think and a bit more realistic. Why would you build a water-mine on an asteroid that is max. 2km in diameter? ;)
Now you would found a waterfacility in the vicinity of a planet with water. A silicium-mine in the sector of a desert-planet. A solar power plant in the sector of a sun. A shipyard in a sector where a planet offers loads of metal...

I think you got my point.
Now: discuss! Let me know what you think. Be contradictionary if you must! :D
I am already excited about the release but would think my suggestion would improve the game even more.

Greetings!
pflonk

Spacefaring_Guy

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Re: Suns, Planets, Systems, Civilizations, and lots of trade
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2017, 03:35:27 PM »
The easiest way to implement planets in this game would be to create a station type of 'Orbital Gateway', and have all business with the planet conducted at that location.

Or, you can assume all stations already act that way and do nothing in terms of game mechanics except possibly adjust the odds of station types and product demand based on the type and status of the sector's generated planet.  Maybe assign the planet a tech level and that would make crew available - with a delay and a cost, so a recruiter can find people for you.  (Honestly, given how difficult and rare yet exciting space travel is compared to living on gravitationally-bound dirt, any inhabited world should be able to provide more crew than you could ever use)

StyleBBQ

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Re: Suns, Planets, Systems, Civilizations, and lots of trade
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2017, 10:58:08 PM »
Definately like the idea of interacting with planets with various tech levels & population sizes.

I think you're both onto something that combines into an elegant solution;

Like the old game Privateer, yay!  This had planets and space stations with trade between local and distant systems. Way you interacted was by flying to within, I think 60,000 km of a planet, then traffic control would contact you, you clicked you wanted to land, there was a transition and then you were 'on the planet' inside an airport like huge building, where there were various 'store fronts' to go into like a traders, shipyard, bar, mission board, etc.  This let you safely take your time to buy trading goods, check for missions, upgrade your ship, etc.  Which is pretty much how Eve does it too, with the addition of you getting a cabin and being able to hangar as many ships as you want too, safely out of harms way.

So basically the bigger a Faction, the bigger (or more of) their "home" system/s that faction has, bigger means more of everything, but anything not in local surplus is quite pricey, even if you're in excellent standing. Also (hopefully) could mean that those Sectors/Systems are basically Safe Zones, too many Space Cops for AI pirates to dare but later game a player could choose to if they felt brave.

Note: koonschi, I get you don't plan to implement "Planets" as "real" entities; doesn't mean you couldn't fake it though!  ;D

By that I mean something like the above mentioned Privateer did, and Eve still does with their stations, hmm, heck, like Avorian kind of does! So player gets within a magic range of a 'planet' just a giant round asteroid really, they can then choose to dock.  Instead of  the text menu we now get, game engine automagically cloaks our ship (so it's safe) and player gets a static background picture of a "Planetary Spaceport" where this background has areas that when moused over options to Enter Traders, what have you, appear, click those, different background, 'Talk to Trade Agent Lindsey Pelas' ( :o) etc. etc.
Obviously there'd be lots of artwork involved but wouldn't require all the heavy coding for a "real" planetary experiance like gravity gradiants.

pflonk

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Re: Suns, Planets, Systems, Civilizations, and lots of trade
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2017, 04:08:18 PM »
Thank you Spacefaring_Guy and StyleBBQ for taking part in discussion :D
I think the idea of having some kind of spacestation, acting as "oribital gateway" is kind of what I meant, too, in terms of interacting directly with the planet (to buy / sell resources, hire crew or even sell crew (instead of dismiss them))
But think of that: Most planets are not inhabitable at all so there would be only orbital gateways for those, that are. (See further down)

After giving my post a few thoughts, I think I was not clear enough about the main part of my suggestion to be the "system"-oriented thing. As there are interactions with planets in the dev-pipeline, I think there is no question about if we are able to interact with planets in the future, but how.
So my suggestion kind of states to arrange planets in systems with a sun (that can be interacted with aswell) and have on the other hand a lot of empty space in between systems where nebulas, pirates, mysterystuff and such things were more likely to be placed than in highly populated areas.

I made a map that shows how I imagine a system to be organized:


Sun is the centre, green dots mark some interesting random points, blue dots mark planets (of all kind), white dots near planets can be moons, brown dots mark vast asteroid fields around a ringed planet, white lines show gates (though planets are not stationary in reality they can of course be in avarion. the gates could be geo-stationary as the planetary docking stations would be)
All outside the yellowish circle does not count to the system and is part of the "empty space" inbetween systems.
In this empty space there are no planets to be found (exceptions for sunless planets or mystery stuff) but outposts, smuggler-stations, and I am sure the new update will bring plenty of content that would be best found anywhere far away from systems.

Doing this like I suggest would result in a far fewer count of planets because there can be only 200-300 systems or so on the whole map (estimated) and therefore only 2000-3000 planets (my picture just shows 5 planets per system, which could of course be more in the average). But hell yeah, that is still a lot to visit ;)
If now only 2% of those planets were actually populated, it would be a goal to find them and to establish tradelines between them. Maybe interconnected with unpopulated systems (that only contain lava, gas, and ice-planets, or such) where production-chains can be founded because of the perfect fit for raw material.

Most important part of my suggestion is, that instead of building mines on (rather small) asteroids, which would naturally soon be exploited, you need to find a suitable planet to build a mine on. To not implement the actual planetside simulation, I suggest you can build factory-like "buildings" in the planets' sector where the workers are housed while not working and to where the ressources are being transported. (Actually most planets are not inhabitable at all, so there is a need to do that in orbit anyway. You would not want to acutally live on a lava planet as a mining operative ;) )

The idea to have a safe harbour is nice, but why not trust the thought, that pirates would rather not attack a highly populated area where hundreds of ships are in close vicinity to defend against even a bigger fleet of say 50 ships. If pirates attack in a system there could be called out for help very fast. And as there are loads of travellers and ships in the area, if only 10% of them react, pirates would be outnumbered soon. Could be a quest to help defending a system! :D
And what about planetary defense systems? (Conclusive suggestion to this whole one)

Summary:
• Put some kind of orbital space station in place, that is HUGE (even bigger than those asteroid-mines), for interaction with the planets surface (trade, hire, ...) if, and only if, the planet is populated at all. (which would be 2% of all of them (that would be 50, spread over the whole map, which should be fair enough as there should remain some need to explore the map))
• Organize planets in systems all over the map. Space in between is empty space with lots of space for dubious things to happen ;)
• Replace the asteroids by planets to build mines "on". The mines or factories are located in the orbit and act as facilities as they already exist
• Planets have properties like temperature (due to vicinity to the sun) and therefore can be ice-planets or lava-planets, each type with different offerings for raw materials. You would need to search for a suitable planet if you plan to establish some production of any kind (to gather all goods you need)
• factions as they exist now would clump around systems to produce and sell their stuff. would build traderoutes by gate and so on... players and alliances would be able to take part in the trading, fill gaps in production chains or could start even new ones (in lesser populated areas). Or, if it was planned to establish own prices, to be economical competitors.

If the developers of this game like the idea I would be glad, helping to think about content and details (about which raw materials could be gathered by which planet-types etc.) :D

kind regards
pflonk

pflonk

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Re: Suns, Planets, Systems, Civilizations, and lots of trade
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2017, 08:28:59 PM »
Going to bump this as the discussion kind of ebbed away  ::)

I still think it could become a great combination of space simulation, economy-building and voxel-game like that 8)

WSY

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Re: Suns, Planets, Systems, Civilizations, and lots of trade
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2017, 01:39:08 AM »
I wonder if as a bandaid to creating systems, you have two solutions that could  be implemented from a script perspective.

Method A)
You have a small chance to get a sector as a star, then when you enter that sector, it will automatically generate 1-5 "Missions" in nearby unexplored sectors. These missions are actually planet sectors. Then when someone hits those sectors it has 100% to create a planet system.  (If you have explored all nearby sectors, point to another "mission" that is star nearby with at least one unexplored sector around it?)

Method B)
Sector as system. Not sure if I like this one. Sectors are typically small 50-60km so far for populated areas. You could make some special super sized sectors, but even then it would be a 100-200 I'm between planets or "planet stations".

There is a possible third method, depending on how the game is coded, you could have a chance for a star sector, then it has several gates. These gates would lead to hidden sectors not on the Galaxy map. Each gate would go to a sector with a planet that you cannot hyperspace too. This could be a interesting "lore" of how civilizations found a way to hide planets from accessibility of the xsotan. This would also create contested sectors for player control where they could fortify either side of the gate. This would create a great PVP hotspot.

 But alas not sure how deep we can go with kind of thing as to me, this game is super enjoyable because  the dev took a great formula and ran with it instead of over complicating from the beginning. It is elegant in it simplistic complexity (Yes I know, ). This really has allowed a great game to be born, and while a dev can always improve his product, he has done an absolutely fantastic job with this title. So while there are thousands of suggestions this game to me is more than a lot of us have seen from games that have promised so much and delivered far less than this wonderful title has.


Charless

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Re: Suns, Planets, Systems, Civilizations, and lots of trade
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2017, 03:44:46 AM »
+1 this would make the game feel so much more alive, I can not support this enough