Drox Operative is a starship action RPG with warring alien races, fierce space battles, a dynamic, evolving galaxy, and co-op multiplayer.
These are some thoughts on crew in Drox Operative. This is a reprint from our blog (now that we have a moddb/indiedb page we are catching it up).
Posted by StevenPeeler on Jan 5th, 2012
In Drox Operative, crew is an important part of your ship and as is usually true with people, they have their positives and negatives.
First off crew can sometimes be hard to come by. Unlike many things in the game, they can't be sold, bought, traded, or stored anywhere. They will only serve on your ship if you hire them, rescue them, or accomplish some kind of task for them.
They also expect to be treated and paid well. If they get unhappy enough they will refuse to work and eventually will even leave your sorry butt. So how does this work? Well first they expect to be paid every once in a while, so they slowly get upset between payments. They also really don't care for being hurt or killed, imagine that. Each individual is also from one of the races in the game. Do something bad to their race and they are going to get upset. Do something nice for their race and it will make them a bit happier. Actually paying them is the biggest positive contributor to their happiness of course. It is your choice when and how often to pay them.
Another one of the negatives is that they can be hurt and can even die. They do slowly heal over time and you can even pay to heal them. Be careful in hardcore though since death is permanent for the crew also.
The last negative is that each crew member takes up a slot in your ship. You can only have so many crew working at a time. They even compete with some of the smaller ship components.
So what do crew do for you? Well they are the main source of "attribute" points (tactical, helm, structural, engineering, and computers) which provide bonuses to your ships function and also limit the quality of the components you can install in your ship. If you have awesome crew at tactical, you will likely have great offensive capabilities. If you have bad crew at structural, you are likely navigating a card board box around that will get holes shot in it really quickly. To put it bluntly, this is really important.
Another really nice part is that they occasionally level up as they get experience. When this happens their stats will get better and make your ship even more powerful.
That's pretty much everything about the crew. None of this is really complicated, but I think the interactions and choices that players are going to need to make are going to be interesting. For example, do you have a mixed race crew or keep all of your crew from just one race? If you have a mixed race crew, you will have the freedom to keep the best crew you can find, but it will also be harder to keep them happy since you are bound to be pissing off their different races fairly often. If you only employ one race it will be easier to keep their race happy and thus your crew but then you will have much less selection and the overall quality of your crew will likely go down. You can have crew that overlap in their attributes, so do you focus more on one of them like tactical or do you take a more balanced approach? You will also need to decide whether or not a crew member is even as important as specific light ship components. You will even need to decide what to do with extra crew. You can't just stick them in a stash somewhere. Will you let them go or will keep them on the ship where they use an inventory slot?