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Colony Ship RPG Update #3: Development Timetable, Systems Changes
Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sun 13 March 2016, 20:39:20Tags: Colony Ship RPG; Iron Tower Studios; Vault Dweller
Vault Dweller has published a new and very important update for his Colony Ship RPG. First of all, it includes a development timetable, indicating a final release date of late 2020. Yes, you read that right. Second, there's a comprehensive list of the ways in which the game's systems will differ from Age of Decadence's, revealing for the first time that it's going to use a learn-by-use skill improvement system, among other things. You should really read the entire update, but here are a few of those things:
Your characters will gain levels using experience points from quests. When you level up, you’ll select feats, unlocking or improving your abilities. The feats will be an important aspect of character development (i.e. they won’t give you minor bonuses but help you develop your characters along specific paths: lone wolf vs squad leader, offense vs defense, gunslinger vs sprayer or gadgeteer, melee vs ranged, which will go beyond which skill to develop, etc) and make as much of a difference as the skills levels.
I want the skills to determine your chance of success with certain tasks and the feats to define what you can do and how you can use these skills to maximum advantage. For example, not every guy with points in Pistol is a gunslinger, not every guy who travels alone is a Jeremiah Johnson when it comes to survival, etc. Basically, the feats will define your character much more than your skills.
Skills & Learn by Using
You will not gain XP for killing, talking, sneaking, picking locks, using computers, fixing mechanical things and such. You will not increase your skills manually. Instead your skills will be increased automatically based on their use.
- One of the most common complaints about AoD was meta-gaming, yet the problem wasn’t on the design end but on the player’s end. Basically, it was driven by the player’s desire to get more content in the course of one game. As that content required stats and skills, it forced some players to metagame, either to spread skill points in the most optimum manner or to hoard points and use them like currency to buy extra content. The ‘increase by use’ system eliminates this meta-gaming aspect as now there are no skill points to hoard or distribute. The content you get will be determined by your actions and choices (including which skills to use as your primary and secondary groups).
- The main problem with a party-based, skill-based (as of opposite to class-based) setup is that even with a 3-man party you can easily cover all skills you want to have. You’ll have a fighter/talker, fighter/thief, fighter/fixer, which is something we’d like to avoid. The ‘increase by use’ system solves this problem in the most natural and logical way possible. Your abilities reflect what you do, not how (usually arbitrary) you distribute your skill points.
- It reinforces the party-based design I talked about in the previous update. If you let one of the party members do all the repair work while you concentrate on other areas, losing this party member would hit you hard and you’d have to make sure (via choices made during quests) that he/she would stay with you no matter what.
- It rewards consistent gameplay. Let’s say you need to deal with a gang that stands between you and that door over there. If you kill them, everyone’s combat skills will improve a bit. If you talk your way through, only your dialogue skills will go up.
- We’re well aware of the possible exploits and want to reassure you that skill use will be a somewhat limited resource (no respawning enemies, silly things like greeting every NPC to increase your speech skills, spamming activities to max skills in 30 min, using faster weapons to level up skills faster, etc). Instead of counting how many times you did something, we’ll assign a certain value (let’s call it learning points) to each activity (attacking, killing, fixing, sneaking, convincing, lying, etc). So killing a tough enemy or repairing a reactor will net you more points than killing a weakling or fixing a toaster. Basically, it will work the same way as XP but go directly toward raising a skill that did all the work.
Ranged combat will be dull if everyone just stands there, firing their weapons and dodging bullets. It needs cover but we don’t want to place cover everywhere, which means we need gadgets to make your own cover (among other things):
- Depletable energy shield (absorbs x damage)
- Reality distortion field (THC penalty against you)
- Optical illusion a-la Total Recall (chance that enemies will target the illusion)
- Cloaking field aka Stealth Boy
- Stasis field (holds enemy, no damage can be dealt)
- Brainwave Disruptor (don’t leave your home without Psychic Nullifier)