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14 Mar 2011, 5:17 pm

What would anybody think about a Sim-type game about a generation ship? Also, have it where, once the generation ship reaches its destination, that the oversight and development of the colony is included so that the game is not just a bunch of sims in a can, but later they can build houses and develop a colonial city on another world as well.

Sea Gull
Sea Gull

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14 Mar 2011, 7:36 pm

Sounds like it can be a lot of fun. Great concept idea!

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14 Mar 2011, 9:10 pm

That would be cool!


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15 Mar 2011, 3:34 am

hmm... quite intruguing idea there, I would envision it being put into multiple stages:

Stage 1: having the player build the generational ship, first building the hull out of different set parts (multiple sprites or 3D models), where some hull parts are fixed (ie engines, bridge etc.) and some parts can be assigned to living quarters, civillian shuttle bay, military fighter bays etc. Different hull configurations and builds adjust the difficulty and flow of the game due to many factors like Firepower, passenger room, recreational facilities, ship speed and so on.

When building the desired ship is complete, a nice FMV could depict the ship being launched from its build site.

Stage 2: The ship is in space and your tasks focus on the well-being of the ship, the crew and the passengers. The player deploys engineers to fix system glitches and problems and do maintenance. Engineers are also useable as researchers and gain perks as they gain experience. The research function can help in coming up with new ways to increase firepower, engine efficiency and speed, life support capacity etc. permanently, while perks gives a particular engineer bonuses (ie. good leader, faster research capability etc.) and abilities (such as being able to increase engine output for X time units).
Physicians keep the sick healthy and hav another function, that is to breed bacteria and viruses that can be outputted to the life support system in order to keep ship residents' immune systems up and going, otherwise they'll end up as the Quarians from Mass effect: with a botched immune system and the inability to enter other environments without a suit!
Scientists conduct other research that engineers cannot (ie. improving sensor systems, look for stars and solve mysteries about the universe), they could add to a possible exploration aspect and possibly find artifacts (ie. star charts, technology) that will improve the ship in one way or another or find alien life.
Also a police force is needed to check on crime...

Thus the player is not fixed to a set destination, but has to send out probes to find a habitable planet, a planet with valuable supplies or analyze various phenomena that can help the ship and its inhabitants later on in the game, so the advancement of technology remains and can be added to the ship, thus giving the player new abilities. The alien aspect also adds some other spices to the brew, as they can be either hostile, neutral and there could be a possibility of friendly aliens or alien refugees wanting to join the player and giving the player the power of creating a flotilla of ships. Aliens could also add to the tech aboard the player ship and give additional perks and negative bonuses.

stage 3: the ship lands on a planet of the player's choosing, some planets may have added bonuses or negative effects on the colony depending on factors such as climate, flora and fauna. The settler will have to face both on and off-planet threats and would have to decide whether to dismantle the ship they came in for resources or leave the ship in orbit.

Dismantling the ship would give a good boost to resources for the settlers, but could leave them vulnerable (ie. in an old star system and the sun goes nova a few (hundred) years later or against alien attacks/raids). A new ship can be built later on (as in stage 1), but requires a significant amount of resources and time.

Keeping the ship in orbit with a skeleton crew gives the settlers a possible line of defense and aids some research areas (such as the geology of the planet, astronomy inside the solar system and possibly increased sensor range as it is outside the planet's atmosphere), while decreasing the amount of resources the settlers have to start with and increasing the cost of manufacture at first, as raw materials have to be transported to the ships factories at first. As the ship remains in orbit, its systems (and possibly looks) updates in sync with tech advancements, leaving the player to take care of the colony.

The player can later on decide if he wants to rebuild/refill the ship with new crew and passengers and create a new exodus and colonize new worlds (go back to stage 1 or 2), thus creating a new cycle.

It's a big-ass game project for sure, but by using various gamedev tricks it's doable.... Spore was a big and ambitious project as well, but it got released in the end... In any case it would take many years to complete (maybe 5-10 years), as you're basically making multiple games in one package. This would also require a game engine that's powerful enough or made from scratch.
But the concept in and by itself is quite good, as it mixes together style and gameplay of some good games of the past, including Star Control, The Sims and Sim City.