Star Control

Comprehensive Feedback on Player Ship Modifications

Published on Monday, January 9, 2017 By cwrightc84 In Founders Starbase

To Provide Feedback on Ship Modifications from the December Vault, I decided to make a new post due to having alot of ideas revolving around this.


The Player Ship/Flagship is at the heart of the game and is at the apex of the player experience.  It's with you everywhere you go, and if it blows up it's game over.  There are a ton of players out there with different values on what should be important in customization.  It is important to try to reach a happy medium with as many player types as possible when it comes to "making the flagship theirs."


To provide the best Feedback, I'm going to divide customization modules for the flagship into several categories:


CATEGORY I: Aesthetics

Everyone wants their ship to look cool and unique.  These upgrades aim to satisfy that goal.  There should be plenty of aesthetic options ranging from simple colors to completely changing to visual flavor of the flagship.  Examples would be modules that add an "alien-like saucer" or "large crystalline structures."  Some players want their ship to look like a giant space junker that came from Madmax, some want a sleek and alien-like vessel.  There should be enough visual customization to satisfy both camps.  The ship should be visually customizable without impacting performance.  Players shouldn't have the personal appearance of their ship tied to combat effectiveness.  I shouldn't have to attach a two story set of reindeer antlers to my ship just to beat the game.  If any required modules to shift customization it should be subtle.


CATEGORY II: Abilities and Playstyles

There should be category of upgrades that completely changes both the primary weapon and secondary weapon of your ship.  Players should have a ton of customization on how they want the flagship to play.  From a melee ship with short range flakk cannons and mine layers to a long range laser spindle, these sort of customization options should make both possible.  Examples of these kinds of modules can be:


Primary weapon module: Forward Lasers, Scatter Missiles, Plasma Shotgun, etc.

Secondary weapon module: Point defense, magnetic mines, reflection field, grappling hook, teleporter, mini drone fighters, etc.



SC games are RPG like in nature, this is where the hard stats come in.  Additional landers, better turning, higher damage output for weapons (possible at a tradeoff), more armor, more crew, storage bays for minerals.  These are all "RPG-like" add-ons that just flately increase the performance of the ship for both main game combat and non-combat duties.


CATEGORY IV: Metriodvania/Advancement Modules

These are special modules that are earned through the games plot that allow your ship to do things it would not normally be able to in order to access new areas of the universe.  Examples include a supercomputer that allows you to navigate dense nebulas and discover hidden planets, modules that allow you to use white holes or go into quasi space.  These are unique "toolkit" modules that can be great for partitioning off sections of the universe until the player gets these modules.  They can also be used for allowing players to go back to previously explored areas to unlock new secrets.  An example is a mechanical arm that allows you to pull special items off of derelict ships/debris.  You might find a computer log in the wreckage that shows the coordinates for a hidden planet that doesn't normally show up on the map.


CATEGORY V: Crew Areas

This is a special category.  Space is a lonely place and Mass Effect shows us the importance of companionship.  There should be special crew quarters you can designate on your ship to carry around human and alien major NPCs or diplomats.  You should be able to talk to these crew members at anytime to get their ideas on how they might feel about current events.  Some areas of the game's plot may even change based on who you bring with you.  This is a way to differentiate certain NPCs as special, these special NPCs can also offer deeper insights on a particular alien race or give the player access to a unique world view as they meander through space.


Players can choose who they bring on their ship by customizing these crew quarters and selecting who they want to bring.  If they don't like a particular NPC and if that NPC is not required for a mission, just abandon them on a starbase.