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Games Project Doradus

Discussion in 'Works In Progress - Archive' started by rmorph, Oct 9, 2020.

  1. rmorph


    Apr 3, 2012
    The game concept.

    Doradus at its heart is a Battlestar simulator. Basically in the vein of games such as Dreadnought or Fractured Space: You get the opportunity to build, equip, upgrade, and eventually battle against, huge dreadnought class Spaceships. Lumbering behemoths with diverse capabilities and loadouts that react glacially to real time events, even as smaller craft swarm around them like fireflies. Epically slow-mo baptisms of fire in the cold of space.

    More than just a simple Battle Royale however, in addition there will be a persistent universe (initially several prototype planets) to explore and a background interstellar trading / finance system running that will enable the player to finance their fleet and repair / upgrade and generally get immersed in the game universe and find a reason to play.

    An additional important aspect is that the player will inhabit an avatar character in the 3rd person and be able to explore locations on foot / vehicle: Allowing players to view and explore their monster ships in 3rd person will lend a sense of scale and epic-ness that I think is missing in the other mentioned games. RPG-like customizations will be possible to enhance player and ship capabilities. Many game functions (trading etc) will require the player to go down to the planet/ dock at the station ala Mass Effect / Borderlands.

    A simple introduction storyline will also help the player learn the basic gameplay loops. This is based on a short story I wrote a few years ago I'm quite pleased with. It sets up a pretty nice background for interstellar intrigue / conflict. Basically think Space Opera ala Culture Series / Hyperion Cantos / the Expanse.

    The game loops are therefore:

    1. RPG: Third person exploration of various planets / systems / stations / alien structures in the context of a sci-fi storyline.

    2. Trading / stock market: gain resources to equip a mighty spaceship by building a corporation and stock market portfolio large enough to carry the huge expense.

    3. Galactica simulator: Maintain a giant spacecraft (and its associated fleet). This will be your base of operations and facilitate exploration, combat and storyline questing.

    Ideally this game lends itself to multiplayer interactions. The main galaxy should be a persistent universe and points of interest will exist as instanced rooms / scenes. Stations will serve as community hubs.


    This is a WIP thread to keep me sane and on track :) Doradus is a project I've been working on for a few years in various forms. Ambition has often overridden the limits of my talents (minimal) and more than once it has been shelved as a project (The last time due to suddenly having a baby).

    Nevertheless I think the core concept is interesting, and I figure I may as well try to formulate my ideas into a coherent design document, and keep it public to maintain my commitment and seek help wherever it might be offered. I feel that working in darkness makes it easier to delay and postpone every time I hit a bump in the road, but I found it extremely helpful to have a previous conversation in the forums about the trading system I wanted to build: It kept me focused, and I hope this thread will work the same way.

    About me and what I'm trying to do:

    Mike in Norway.

    Firstly, to be be completely honest: I'm not a programmer and barely a designer: My primary skills are team and project management and technical writing (over 20 years in IT and currently a manager for a group that includes programmers).

    Game design is my main hobby and Doradus is a labor of love.

    I don't expect to make money from this endeavor but I hope at the end I have something to share that others might enjoy.

    I feel I am a typical "unwashed masses" Unity user: The amateur who absolutely loves the concept of building a game but has no real developer skills that could get them there and is constantly on the lookup for a leg up from assets and helpful strangers along the way.

    Not deterred, I will work from the strengths I do have: I'm very pleased with the game concept and I've got a pretty good design overview of the necessary components to get it in motion. I have broken the overall game design challenge into a number of project goals and I have established basic workflows for how to accomplish them.

    Also: Not being a programmer I have invested in several thousand dollars of Unity Assets to help accomplish these goals. I think it's fair to say that for every checkbox in the design blueprint I have purchased one or more of the top tier assets to help me understand what I need to do (Whether I understand correctly is entirely a different matter).

    I think the Unity Asset store is the great hidden advantage of this endeavor: That pretty much any game function I could want has already been brought to some level of achievability by others more skilled than I. The only real complication there is that "stitching" together a few hundred assets (and counting) would more likely be more work than actually building a game from scratch. Sooner or later this project will need to stop being an asset swapping try-hard if it is to succeed at all.

    In the meantime, where relevant I will describe the assets I'm using or investigating: I hope that can be helpful to anyone else going down this path - and also I welcome any feedback from the community on whether I'm going the right way.

    Finally: Obviously - I would love help with this project and would be happy if there are any volunteers out there who find this project interesting and want to pitch in. It's not a paying gig. Lets be honest : I have paid developers along the way to help me get the different pieces together, but frankly I'd rather spend money on toys for my kid or myself (more assets!) or - perhaps more reasonably - wait until the game is in a decent alpha state and then invest in infrastructure and polishing costs. Down the road there will be a lot of bills to pay to get this thing working. I'm OK with that. If you're someone who shares my passion for this sort of thing though I hope you'll get in touch if you want to pitch in.

    High Level Game Design

    Lots going on in other words - and I've tried to build a high level overview to describe the various workflows I need to accomplish this:

    There are 13 essential chapters to this endeavour, with a lot of overlap and in no particular order, except as a very rough front-end to back-end process overview.

    In a Unity context I think it would be clever to run 13 seperate projects, introducing the various relevant assets to those projects, and eventually build up showcase gamestates for each of them, before attempting to merge them together: isolating the various game functions from each other will reduce conflicts and errors. Previously I had attempted to run just one or two giant projects, with the result that every time loading a new asset was like playing Russian roullette with the project integrity.

    Compartmentalising will give me a better chance at meeting basic milestones - but the flaw with this approach is that it is too easy to hop from project to project with no clear endpoint if I get frustrated along the way. I.E: Spaceships are fun and networking is boring - so unless I have a clear target I could spend the next five years playing with spaceship models.

    To be continued...