Race, Design Philosophy

I realised what some of my current in game irritation was about; so thought, hold on stop carping all the time articulate maybe somebody can point out a flaws in your logic Zath old boy, or if not maybe a restating of some design concepts will be generally helpful. Cathartic for me in any case :slight_smile: Not so much a suggestion as a thought exercise I thought we’d leave this here in general as I doubt a wall of text is gonna get read as a suggestion in any case. Maybe any specific ideas that get sparked maybe. We shall see.

Accepted Constants

The premise here is that each player race comes from a type 3+ Space-faring civilisation that has arrived in the Galaxy for various reasons from other locations. After a period of settling in the most advanced pockets of these races regain interstellar space capability and go about re founding their version of their parent worlds civilisation.

This to me implies the following:

  • All races recognise the need for the expansion of their peoples
  • They are prepared to defend there territory as needed

These two imperatives form the rational for all technologies and construction but this is where the interesting bit comes in: how does each race go about these imperatives.

Currently we have four races with up to 8 more planned. To make each race individual and therefore interesting we need for each to go about the business of intergalactic conquest and expansion in different ways.

Right now the only real differences is largely a matter of who has the biggest bad ass ships which is a terribly unsatisfying game to me and I suspect most others. If there are no reasons to play other than the current number one race then the Game design has largely failed and will rapidly become stale and is less likely to have enduring appeal.

And games with no staying power rarely generate money that covers their costs.

So lets look at each race and try and quantify some philosophical axis that can be used to frame adjustments to their own technology. The game started out talking about that but as time has gone on the lines have in my opinion blurred and the now the only race that truly stands out is the Syntis. Its almost as if we have a 2 race game once more as we did in A1 (that was Syntis & Humans BTW) Now its almost “Syntis vs the Organics”

Philosophical Differences

I propose we abstract each race out to a number of ideals and design things like Tech tweaks and subsequently ship design tweaks accordingly. The ones I came up with are:

Agression <======> Caution

Expansion <======> Insularity

Ingenuity <======> Reliability

The First is the War & Diplomacy Axis . On a scale of 1 – 7 how likely are is this race to Attack another space-faring culture? Pretty obvious really but seriously how a people regard outsiders is a perfect way to see how they would slant their culture to reflect this?

Next is what I call the Adventuring Axis . Do they have a wanderlust (explorers) or do they consider it a chore to expand more than they absolutely must to gain access to additional resources.

Lastly is the Innovation Axis. Does this people constantly strive for better and newer Tech or do they concentrate on tried and trusted designs that they can manufacture swiftly. There is something to be said for both of course. But determining where a race fits itself on this scale again adds to the players ability to identify with them.

The Devs have been telling us they are suffering from a usability issue, of late. Basically too many new Invitees were quitting as they couldn’t get a handle on the game. Here I am thinking of not so much a tutorial setting but expanding the background on our current races and making them more individual with some pseudo history and making each one more identifiable to a new player especially.

Basically if you know Race “A” are warmongers and you like fighting you try them first. Basic stuff like that helps new guys get behind their game faster than is usually appreciated!

Outscape is supposed to be a strategy game so getting a base line to develop you individual strategy from is an imperative.

So using the three Axis above lets have a go at placing the current 4 races: Bearing in mind this is my wholly subjective opinion as how I see them. I expect and welcome differing feed back here. I play PR by choice and acknowledge my opinion of the other races is greatly reduced compared to them so welcome course corrections by fans of the other three.

As this post is already so long I thought I’d post our current races in their own post so folks can set off replies to them in the specific if they have ideas comments critiques of the basic template presented.

(1) Humanity

Aggression <====X==> Caution

Expansion <X======> Insularity

Ingenuity <====X==> Reliability

Humans here have been doing what they do for a long time. They have a natural wanderlust and seem to enjoy discovering something new. They treat new life forms with cautious respect but will swiftly defend themselves if attacked.

Tech wise they have developed a mindset that can make usable systems cheaply and with decent efficiently. Genuine revolutionary breakthroughs come slowly as they want stuff to simply work and retooling their factories slows down expansion.

In game terms then this is why they can make ships cheaper than most and also explains why said ships are less efficient in terms or raw combat power. With a defensive bias Adding extra armour to their ships in a war configuration is a simple but effective way of strengthening them.

To reflect this I think Humans ought to have the highest amount of planets they can conquer before any sort of cap. They ought to not suffer from corruption as much as they do. Though heaven knows that whole mechanic badly needs to be re written but hats a whole new thread. If it were up to me I’d have corruption reduce not happiness but CREDIT income sharply… Humans with their cheaper ships would therefore be able to expand their total worlds longer before you got to the point where another world would COST your empire creds instead of generating them…

Humans then would dominate the early game but could fall behind if they didn’t re invest in Technologies quickly enough.

I would suggest the Science points of every tech go up very slightly for Humans to reflect this, that said they could colonise more worlds faster and thus build more Labs faster than most to compensate.

Exceptions would be in engine & sensor design. With their love of exploring they would focus their efforts on expansion so scout ship/sensor related tech and engines would be naturally early focussed on to fulfils that philosophical leaning.

(2) The Peoples Realm

Aggression <=X=====> Caution

Expansion <=====X=> Insularity

Ingenuity <==X====> Reliability

The offshoot of humanity has a radically differing philosophical outlook. Aggressive but not overly expansionist. This favours to my mind the stated trait of large dominating ships but not huge fleet sizes.

Obvious Buffed Techs for them would of course be Military. Initially Ballistic Weapons and support Techs like Limbalt mining. Possibly extending to the Sensor techs. I think they would be more likely to make supa efficient their currently held worlds rather than take new ones so perhaps gaining any T2 social building like a City centre or an Entertainment centre might be a little easier than most as a result. Might want to consider as large ship specialists the path that leads to T2,3,4 Shipyards be made a touch easier here as well. Not by much though else they would be too over powered in the early game.

Anything beyond the basic Coloniser or Climate/Hydro station would be a bit harder than some other races to compensate perhaps? Frankly I have not seen any point in a T3 Climate station as of yet so that’s another area needing a balance pass in another discussion.

PR then I envision having smaller but significantly tougher empires as their worlds are well defended and their ships giant killers but less worlds = less fleet control towers = less fleets so there offensive ability would be checked somewhat

(3) Ripchee

Aggression <X======> Caution

Expansion <=X=====> Insularity

Ingenuity <=X=====> Reliability

My own take on the Kitties is that they are like terrestrial Lions they have a range they expand out to and aggressively defend. Their collective pack ethos means they accept casualties more than most races but could be spooked and retreat en mass if resisted sufficiently strongly.

Obvious Boosted Techs would be energy weapons/shields and Zyril refining as a result. Hydro adjustment stations may well be needed to bring a world to Ripchee optimums so that could be made an early one to upgrade by lowering its science costs for them.

Like humans they can expand pretty fast but there need for warmer wetter worlds ought to put them in second place to the more adaptable humans. There ships are smaller and faster to build certainly but not cheaper as humans are. What would really make them stand out would be some kind of ability to hit & run as a pack would to wear down a more powerful opponent. That would give them a distinct tactical feel in warfare. Perhaps Raider type frigates or corvettes would be early ships for them while their biggest capital ships would take a little longer to acquire.

(4) Syntis

Aggression <===X===> Caution

Expansion <===X===> Insularity

Ingenuity <==X====> Reliability

As machines I placed the Syntis right in the middle for the first two as essentially they can chose their strategy based on external factors such as local stella features. It makes sense to me that they would be above average for innovation given their nature but not so far above that it markedly unbalanced them.

Any special to them Tech needs no boost, it is by definition there own Tech so the figures in terms of Sci points ought to be correct as is (subject to further balancing) Possibly an ability to get Deep mining going faster than some might have some logic as the machines can work under conditions that organics would consider deadly.

If a Syntis player finds themselves in a resource rich area then they may find it cost effective to develop it in depth, on the other hand if they are in a res dessert then some rapid expansion is the more logical response. Tech availability needs to be pretty even handed then to allow for both options. This somewhat to my surprise has left the Toasters as the “Balanced” race here… But maybe I have just not got the right feel of them I wonder?

As I said I am not so knowledgable of Syntis so suggestions for their areas of strengths & weaknesses would be welcome from those with practical experience.

I think there’s some promise here, but I’d add in some additional variation for user customization. I’m not sure if your philosophy lines were intended as just a graphical representation, but I’d actually make them sliders in the game. Each race starts off at a certain point on each, and the player can then choose to move the sliders a combined 5 ticks.

The further you are to one side or the other, the more benefit you get for tech/construction that fits. Perhaps a 1% reduction in research/build time.

The main issue that I would see is that like most 4X games, war is the end game. There is no real long-term benefit to anything but aggression and reliability. There’s a limit to what you can do under diplomacy, and only so many tech items to research. After that the game turns into a ship building simulator.

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That is an inspired bit of feedback sir!

Each player may be assigned to only a single race but given the background of the Galaxy as proposed, each splinter of the main race has progressed in some isolation and will of course deviated/evolved from the racial norm.

I am all for players being able to customise things wherever possible. The game is supposed to be skill based. a custom option should be some how be available. More options must increase the opportunity of skill. If you could play this game multiple times and each time not just play a new/different race but a variation on that race…

Player Skill Nirvana!

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I dusted of Stellaris, and the level of tweaking that can be done at so many levels in that game… that’s what I want in Outscape. An RTS meets MMO meets empire builder. In space!

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Would love that, but not sure we’ll get even remotely close. But we can dream :slight_smile: