Starmancer is currently live on Kickstarter. If you want to pre-order the game or support development, you can do so here.
This blog is about missions and how your colony interacts with the outside world.
You can actually design your own mission as one of our Kickstarter rewards.
Missions vs Quests
We use the term "mission" to describe any activity that you send your colonists on, but there are actually 2 different types: User-Created and Quests
The player can create missions at any time. The current user missions are:
- Scavenge / Raid
Quests, on the other hand, are not created by the player. Quests are automatically created by factions and have a limited duration.
Successfully performing a mission will improve relations with the owning faction. Failing a mission will hurt relations.
Whenever you gain relationship points with a faction, you'll lose some with their enemies. The idea is that you can't easily make all factions love you. You have to pick sides.
It's worth mentioning that it's easy to remain neutral with all factions.
You can send your colonists out into the world whenever you want (assuming you have a ship).
There are broadly 3 reasons for sending out your colonists:
- Acquiring Resources
As such, the user created missions are:
- Scavenge / Raid
You can create a mission at any time. You select the destination, the activity, the ships, and the crew.
You must discover a solar system body before you can send colonists to it.
You can passively explore using probes and actively explore using missions.
Exploring will discover bodies that are near the target. It will also reveal resource compositions of known bodies. A foreign station, for example, could have anything on it. Send out an exploration team to figure out if it's worth raiding.
Mining barely needs to be described. You select a valid solar system body, and then send some miners out.
Small bodies, like asteroids, can be completely mined out. Moons and planets have virtually unlimited resources, which makes them extremely valuable. It's one of the key reasons for diplomacy.
You can send your crew out on diplomatic missions in an attempt to improve relations with other factions.
Factions that like you will allow you to use their planets and moons for mining. Factions that don't like you will actively attack your mining ships.
Relationship gains from the user-created diplomatic missions will always be lower than those from faction-created quests.
One man's scavenger is another man's pirate.
You can scavenge both derelict and active stations.
Scavenging active stations requires far more soldiers, but it can often be quite profitable (the owning faction will really despise you).
Derelict stations, on the other hand, are relatively safe to plunder. You can often find metal and water in derelict stations.
Missions have a chance to succeed and fail. The success chance is based on the required stats of the mission.
There is also a max success chance, which prevents a guaranteed success (each mission can have a different max success chance).
The stats of all the ships and crew are used to determine the "player's" stats. This isn't a direct sum of all crew stats--10 low level colonists won't be better than 1 high level colonist.
Ships have the following stats:
- Attack Power
- Hull Durability
- Cargo Capacity
- Crew Capacity
- Fuel Efficiency
Stats like "Attack Power" reduce the chance of pirates attacking your ship. Cargo capacity allows you to bring more resources on a mission (it also allows for more loot).
All colonist stats can be used by missions, as well. So a mission can require a certain cooking skill or mining skill.
Missions can require any amount of resources. A cooking mission would probably require some raw food, for example.
Missions can also require "tributes". These are colonists that you send out and never get back. So you could sell colonists to slavers or exchange a doctor for a mechanic.
In addition to mission specific loot, all missions require fuel and food.
The amount of fuel is determined by the distance between your station and the destination.
Travel time is calculated by the slowest ship in the mission. Enough food needs to be provided for all crew as well.
Missions can provide loot.
Loot has a drop chance and a min/max amount dropped. So a mining mission could have a 100% chance to drop 500 ore, a 15% chance to drop 200 (extra) ore, and a 43% chance to drop metal.
Colonists can also be loot from missions, so your ships will occasionally come back with extra personnel.
Assigning Ships and Crew
You can assign as many ships as you want on a mission.
Additional ships will add extra cargo space and crew capacity, but you'll need to provide enough fuel for all of them.
The idea is that you can assign extra ships for "escorting" your miners or extra haulers for returning with the most ore possible.
You can also assign as many crew as you want, but the extra colonists will require extra food.
Missions near pirates have a greater chance of failing
Quests can be chained together. The chaining is similar to the state system of colonists.
Missions can require that any number of previous missions succeeded or failed. This allows for both "secret" and "redemption" missions.
A "redemption" mission would be "Rescue the asteroid miners" after you had failed the mission "Repair the mining outpost".
Repeatable and Recyclable
Some missions can be performed multiple times until they expire. An example would be a mission where an outpost is exchanging food for metal. They'll exchange as much food as you want, so you can repeat the quest until it expires.
Other missions are generic, these are considered "recyclable". In the above example, you were sending food to some outpost, this is a generic event and you'll see it in the future. The specific outpost will change, but the gist of the quest will remain the same.
In a perfect world, we'd have completely procedural quests, but it's more likely that we'll simply have a large pool of generic quests.
The player can see colonists board ships and fly off into the distance, but you don't get to actually see where the colonists go.
It would be awesome if you could follow your colonists to their destination, but this would require an enormous amount of time spent in designing those new areas and implementing real activities for colonists to do.
Just use your imagination.
The actual mission files are stored in XML files and placed in the "mission" directory. Modders can easily create their own missions or edit existing ones.
This is the XML for a generic mission.
That's about everything for missions.
The basic summary is:
- Choose mission
- Assign ships and crew
- Send out crew
- Crew (hopefully) returns
Thanks for reading everyone.
Once again, Starmancer is currently live on Kickstarter. If you want to pre-order the game or support development, you can do so here.