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Add Science and Anomalies



Usualy i dont make suggestions because i belive making a meaningfull contribution

to a game is a lot of work and an integral part of game development.

That said. This once i actually made the effort so lets hope i didn't screw up. ;)


The general Idea is to add anomalies to the game that have different effects

on your ship. A solarflare knocks out shields and an acid nebula eats through

your hull for example. That makes the game more challenging and interesting.


Then add a resource to those anomalies in order to reward players facing them.

This should be a quick way to gain resources because it is more dangerous.


And lastly add science based turrets like dishes and antennas to interact with

anomalies and gather the resource. I am thinking: Millenium Falcon's Radar Dish.


So, that was the short version.

You find the more detailed version with a list of anomalies, instruments and some

other thoughts in the link.











Would this contribute to the game? Would you add something else?

Tell me what you think.


Greetings from Vienna!


ps: All typos are totally on purpose. ;)




I had some spare time left and added a few more things regarding anomalies,

like their possible distribution and some unique devices you could get as a reward.






I also tried to design a more accommodated HUD or at least the parts i think

were missing.






And some other random stuff that would be nice to have like AIs and predators.  ;)







I recently saw more and more space games like this emerge on Steam.

They all seem to mistake random generation for diversity and in general

lack handmade content. I really would like to see Avorion stand out by

at one point focusing on content like this rather than technicality.


I hope the Devs see this suggestions as inspiration and not as criticism.

Good luck and keep up the good work!


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I really like this idea, I've seen similar things in a couple other space games (FTL, GalCiv II), and it definitely spiced things up a bit. I have a couple of criticisms though:


-A few of the effects sound decidedly pseudoscience-y eg 'methyl nebula'. Ignites? In space!?

-I totally disagree with getting rid of editing/repairing ships on the fly, this would be a major pain in the ass and not make the game any more fun at all. Imagine having to limp around tens of sectors in a damaged ship looking for a dockyard owned by someone who doesn't hate you...

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Thanx for the feedback!


I totaly agree with you on the pseudoscience "ignite in space" stuff.  ;D

The main reason i left it in was to illustrate an effect that damages

your ship when using the "wrong" kind of weapon. Needs a rework!


Funny enough the repair feature gave me exactly the opposite impression.

I found my self repeatedly boosting away, repairing, fighting and so on

without the need to befriend any factions, retreat, tech up or call in support.


Maybe that's just me but the thought of managing to limp back with my fleet of

smoldering ships to a safe haven after a tough fight sounds thrilling and reminds

me of scenes from Starship Troopers (battle of Klendathu). Also think of the amazing

look of your damaged ship, having burning sections and sparks fly of. ;D


I guess a simple difficulty option would be a solid compromise.

Lets say: Full repair. Emergency repair. No repair?

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I like the idea, it would definately give a little more feeling to the game.


You can only repair your ship after 20 seconds or so of taking damage, so as long as you are inside the nebula you won't be able to repair your ship if it is implemented correctly.


One other I can think of is a nebula containing some kind of radioactive compound that penetrates hull and is toxic to the crew. This could open up the possibility of medical/science crew which can give a bonus to resistance against the radiation and also another hull block containing an alloy which could give stronger resistance up to a certain radiation level. (Totally not ripped off from Star Trek)


Inside the nebula one can for example find resource containers, hidden stashes and stranded ships.


The anomalies itself could be scanned by the science crew and the gathered data could be sold off to nearby factions.

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you could get the direct link of the image on imgur, which should look like this ---> http://i.imgur.com/cePR04w.jpg


Then add the [.img] <image link> [/.img] tags without the stops.


Also, real interesting suggestions on environmental hazards, and the sort. A few kinks to be worked out, but definitely has potential.


EDIT: I forgot to show you the result of doing the [.img] thing.  Spoiler was added with [.spoiler][/.spoiler]


You get this:




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A brilliant high-effort suggestion if I ever saw one. I feel that the exploration aspect of Avorion is one of the most overlooked aspects of the game, besides as a quick payout via asteroids or secret caches.


Adding these almost FTL-like events and anomalies will go a long way to adding some much needed diversity to the galaxy (that, and you do have to admit, the idea of stations or even combat in no-light Sectors is both intriguing and terrifying at the same time.)

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Thanx a lot for all the positive feedback.


I hope you like the HUD design as well. I read some suggestions for more

hotkeys and a better HUD. I thought a more RPG oriented HUD might do the trick.

Nothing new really but necessary if you want to accommodate a lot of abilities.


Another thing that always bugged me as a designer was the decision to display

objects outside your vision on the boarder of your screen. That leads to icons

disappearing behind other UI elements and confusion about what is where.

So i centralized that information and essentially reinvented the rearview mirror.  ;D

That cleans up the HUD and looks much more sci-fi.


Let me know what you think!

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I really like the idea of adding some science exploration to Avorion!  It would be great to be able to use the collection / processing of discovered data to improve existing ship (armor/shield/propulsion/turret/scanning) technology as well. 

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Again, exemplary work on the suggestions. I'll go over some stuff that came off the top of my head from looking at your recent additions, seasoned with my glorious brand of tasteless humour.


Safe/Danger Zones


This concept can make a huge difference to gameplay. It can stop, or at the very least discourage players from rushing straight to a higher tier resource from the get go, since I'm one of those people personally not guilty of doing that.  With this, it's not that you CAN'T do it, you still can, but it's the whole "risk and reward" thing. Some people get hard to that. Also, it gives the populated sectors that sort of  "purpose" (I don't know what word to use) other than simply being places to find factories, merchants, and whatnot... Or being your next victims for trying out this new overpowered railgun turret you built.


Though, an addition I'd suggest would be to have the outer galaxy be safer (perhaps with larger safe zones and having yellow zones make up more of the dangerous areas) then get progressively more dangerous as you approach the core. That way, the game would still be more forgiving towards pussies the newer players, whilst still giving the more leveled ones a challenge. Additionally, player/alliance founded stations or even ships could be used to stave off those danger areas, considering there's already a "points system" in place to decide the priority of out-of-sector simulation. This could also add more depth and emphasis on station and fleet building other than the current meta of get rich quick production line pyramid schemes.


Rare Devices and Unique Abilities


Again, this can potentially add a huge amount of diversity to playstyles and especially ship designs, like the whole "design a plane ship around a big gun" thing. Like the A-10 Thunderbolt.  However, some of these seem pre~etty overpowered... Pretty much everything on the list Most of the items on the list, in fact. I'll go over what I'd suggest on them in point form, because reasons.


- Midas Device. Perhaps either give it a long cooldown, or have it be a consumable item, because with this, every asteroid is a resource asteroid. Another approach would be to have the resource be random, with higher chances for lower tier materials.


- Hyperspace Interlink. Brain not functioning properly, cannot think about this.


- Mr Fusion. The potentially infinite energy storage thing is... well... infinite. One way to go about this is to either add diminishing returns the higher the amount of stored energy, perhaps affected by your energy storage cap, or set a hard cap at xxx% of your energy cap. MAKE MR. TORGUE PROUD AND HAVE IT EXPLODE WHEN OVERCHARGED!!! :D :D :D (don't)


- Commercial Port. This one seems ok.


- Matter Processor. With this, any resource is, well, any resource. Maybe include things such as % efficiency of conversion, % failure, or have it be a consumable. Also, since this might end up allowing high tier resources to be acquired much earlier, it could be made so that you first have to acquire some amount of that resource in order to be able to transmute it.


- Tractor Beam. Seems okay.


- ION Cannon. I'd imagine how devastating it could be if you built an AI fleet armed with these, especially to larger ships. Maybe don't let the AI use it. Completely deactivating shields is cheating is, well, OP. Instead, it could apply a status effect where your shields will go offline for a time, allowing you to pile on the hurt. If you want to be more of a dick make this weapon more appealing, it could also cripple power systems and/or disable afterburners for the duration of its effect.


- Reflector Shield. This seems ok. Can't be shot, can't shoot back.


- Escape Velocity. This seems like fun.


- Siege Laser. Again, you could build a ship around this, emphasizing on turn speed.  Though, to circumvent this, it could reduce your ships turn rate by some % while it is firing. Another limitation would be to add a charge up time. Adds some sort of balance, and makes you feel that the weapon is powerful. Totally stealing the fusion beam from the Fractured Space Leviathan.


Furthermore, there could be more general limitations/balance so you wouldn't be a flying mega death cube, like having them take up regular upgrade slots, or limit the number of these upgrades based on ship size. I could go on, but there's a million and one ways you could go about it.


Those AIs though, they seem pretty hilarious. Jerry makes me think of E.M.E.T. from Evolve. --->


Anyway, I'd type more things but I'm running out of attention span. Also, I'm hungry.

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Yes and yes!


Yes, the zones should ramp up in difficulty toward the center.

And yes you got it right the entire concept is aimed at creating an alternative

set of goals beside the whole "your goal is the center of the galaxy" thing,

which in my humble opinion is bound to be disappointing.


Creating an open world and then setting up a single linear game goal for the player

is a counter-productive concept. Sean Murry (No Man Sky) had to learn that the hard way.

It is the same with artificially stretching dull gameloops like mining in order to keep

people in the game instead of creating choices.


The devices are supposed to be rare and for players only. There is no need

to give the AI any of those abilities. I had a another list with less OP devices

regarding enhancing/augmenting shields/weapons and protection against

anomalies but i ran out of time.


So yes i agree, the devices are OP and need to be balanced with cooldowns, etc.

I did not bother with balancing at this point because it only makes sense

if the concept of skills/abilities actually gets implemented.


If the devs show interest in implementing this concept i am sure the community would

come up with a lot of helpful ideas and i would be happy to provide more input as well.


Ps: The AIs would be great for implementing some voice acting. Jerry is actually

based on the film Sphere, Arthur on the game "Buried in time" and so on. Although

Emet is realy great. ;D You can find a lot of different references to sci fi culture

in my concepts or did you think the hull strength in the HUD design is "over 9000" for

no reason?  ;)


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Creating an open world and then setting up a single linear game goal for the player

is a counter-productive concept. Sean Murry (No Man Sky) had to learn that the hard way.

It is the same with artificially stretching dull gameloops like mining in order to keep

people in the game instead of creating choices.


The history of Starbound is very telling. In its alpha stage, the linear goals were 'complete all the quests', 'beat all the bosses' and 'reach the highest-tier material and make armour from it'. However, it didn't really detract from the sandbox feel as the first objective could be completed within about 20 minutes of starting the game (as the questline wasn't nearly finished), the second was over quite quickly as there were only 4 bosses and they were fairly early on in the game, and the third could be rushed and cheesed to be done quickly. But most importantly completing those was not the end of the road. You could build a house or a city or decorate your ship or explore dungeons or meet alien races and learn about their lore and so on. As you rightly said, there needs to be more than just a linear storyline to follow in a sandbox game, or it stops being a sandbox at all. People didn't flock to Minecraft because they were drawn in by the idea of mining stone, then making a stone pickaxe to mine iron and eventually get diamonds, nor hitting back ghast fireballs and suchlike just to get all the achievements; for most players this was just a small part of the experience.


More interesting is the more recent (although some of this goes back quite a while) stages of Starbound. The devs spent a very long time trying to squeeze it into a linear storyline. They added lots of non-procedurally generated structures, including some that were in the same place in every galaxy for every player. They replaced a lot of procedurally-generated monsters (one of Starbound's unique features) with premade ones. They extended the quest line right to the end and they made some sections impossible to break or place blocks in. They made it so that bosses were no longer spawned with crafted items, Terraria style, but rather you unlock a boss through quests and then teleport to their lair. They tacked on a crappy, generic storyline and gave it a definite end. However, they added new codex entries, many more dungeons, additional parkour and mazes to be found underground, more biomes and loads more unique items, along with a fossil hunting system, and probably most significantly a colony-building system, complete with colonists. Yet even with all this, it still felt less like a sandbox than its former self. Why? Simply because it wasn't designed with sandboxiness in mind. At every stage (until possibly after the final boss, idk since I couldn't beat it in my first couple of tries and I cba'd to try 50 more times like I did with one of the beta bosses), there is a direct instruction on the screen telling you exactly what to do. Some areas are designed to be 'non-sandbox' areas where you cannot interact with the environment apart from killing things and flipping switches. Also the new features like fossils turned out to be shallow and dull. Although you can take a break from the storyline at any point and play the sandbox, I (and I'm sure most other people) find it impossible to ignore, and after all until you complete it there will be planets you can't visit and so you won't have 'unlocked' the full sandbox.


So where does this leave Avorion? As it stands, it follows the rough overarching type of Terraria, rather than Starbound; there is no quest book telling you to visit the Outpost and speak to the shady-looking penguin; there are no 'teleport to Dreadwing's lair' buttons, and you search out bosses yourself, with them being in random, rather than predefined locations. It has wonderful procedural generation on par with or even surpassing games like Starbound or Cube World (#neverforget). But I personally find that once I have reached the centre, built an Avorion ship and attempted to beat the bosses (and then give up after not finding them), there really isn't anything left to do. Alien civilisations, while they have procedurally generated names and ships and so are unique on the surface, start to look very similar in that they all have the same technology, use the same weapons, build the same factories making the same goods, and act identically with regards to reputation. And other than building more ships, mining more ore, salvaging more ore, fighting more pirates and Xsotan and building factories and turrets, all of which lead towards making more and better ships, there is no other objective apart from perhaps becoming a billionaire (which is pointless apart from using the credits to make more ships). So, by looking at the successes and failures of other sandbox games (only ones I've played):


-Starbound. As above.

-Terraria. Very much a success, as it weaves in something of a progression with a weak bit of lore and a whole lot of sandbox.

-Cube World. Perhaps slightly lacking in the quest side since there aren't really any, there are plenty of procedurally generated dungeons and bosses and loot to keep you occupied for a while. But the lack of quests or any real progression due to the lack of a max level or any real milestones does make it feel a little aimless after a while. It's main problem is the lack of any building or breaking, making the world feel rather static.

-Minecraft. Essentially a pure sandbox without any questing nonsense, it still contains plenty of stuff to do and kept me occupied for a very long time.

-Reassembly. This game manages to feel very much alive with plants spreading their seeds around and factions spawning more little ships to expand their influence. The sandboxiness is great, although limited to shipbuilding like Avorion.

-From the Depths. What little story there is is pretty lacklustre, but the shipbuilding is the best I've experienced in any game (although it lacks of course Reassembly's dynamically scalable blocks), and has kept me engaged for 1150 hours and counting.

-Endless Sky. No building whatsoever and a rigid questline, yet the experience of visiting countless worlds each with their own bit of story, running around fighting everything from worthless pirates to godlike aliens to predatory nanobots, and capturing weapons and outfits from them, along with ferrying passengers and cargo for money is definitely still rewarding and it does feel like a sandbox somehow.

-Spore (old, I know). The space stage in this game was actually quite interesting and enjoyable, with the basic trading to earn money, carrying out quests for aliens to improve relations, conquering planets, upgrading your ship, and most relevantly it had an difficult-to-access galactic centre controlled by a hostile faction. I liked the varied alien races and their unique characters, although after being told for the bazillionth time that X faction wants me to pay since I refuse to accept the glory of Spode, I got a little fed up.

-Perpetuum. Quite different from the others as it's a little-known single-server multiplayer game (not unlike EVE or so I'm told). I mentioned it due to its somewhat sandbox-y, questless style and its fairly expansive lore and its artifacts system where you triangulate caches from an alien civilisation which contain useful items and blueprints. Also, despite me being hopeless at the PVP, I still managed to enjoy the game for about 250 hours just exploring and crafting robots and looking at the crappy-graphics alien plants and buildings and the beautiful binary-system sunsets, since from growing Noralgis to fighting NPCs to running repeatable missions to reading lore to crafting and trading, there is plenty of stuff to do at any point.


1) Anomalies. Aside from creating a data resource and using SCIENCE to unlock the secrets of the universe, researching anomalies should also extend to alien archeology. When arriving in sp00ky sectors with yellow blips, aside from being irradiated by X-rays or sucked into a black hole, you may occasionally find alien structures not unlike the ring of asteroids for getting into the centre, which may have been vacated millions of years ago by a long-lost civilisation, these would be anything from a bit of ship debris lying around to a rock with unintelligible alien carvings on it to a message about how the civilisation tore itself apart in a civil war to a simple puzzle doing the space equivalent of flicking levers to earn an upgrade or a turret. They simply need to inject a little story or something to do, so as to engage the player for a bit and give them a reason to stay in that sector a little longer. In particular they'd need to be:

1.1) Unique. It completely spoils the immersion if you are just seeing a repeat of the same message in every sector you visit. There would need to be an awful lot of different ones, which the community could help out with writing.

1.2) Varied. As you can tell, my imagination isn't up to coming up with more than a few ideas, but this could be a community project like how FTD's built-in blueprints are all made by the community.

1.3) Fairly rare. If every yellow blip has an alien artifact with a message from the past, it would lose its novelty and you'd see a lot of repetition. Maybe 1 out of however many anomaly types is an alien structure, with most sectors having no anomaly at all, and most anomalies being natural phenomena.

1.4) Simple in terms of blocks, but less so in terms of lore. It could just be shaped like the beacons, but bring up a window with a couple hundred words of alien story, or the teachings of Spode, or a propechy of doom. There's no need for it to spawn an alien Atlantis big enough for ships to move about in, as that would be way too much work for the devs and you can achieve a lot of immersion and engagement from a simpler, lower effort structure.

1.5) Linked. Perhaps you could piece together little bits of information about a great calamity many moons ago, or work out the location of buried treasure or have to activate objects in multiple sectors to get your reward. This also reduces the amount of writing there needs to be since you can spread it out. Also, linked anomalies should be close together and form a complete set for the puzzles (although you could still be left on a cliffhanger with the lore ones).


2) A more lively universe. At present factions fight each other in endless stalemates in the same few sectors, and occupy static territory. Instead:

2.1) Dynamic territory. Factions should vie for the control of sectors, and they should change hands as the result of battles. When the player is away the outcome should be determined via RNG without simulating any ships, with both factions having some 'strength' value depending on their technology and the amount of sectors and factories and people and capital they have at their disposal which will give them a better chance of winning.

2.2) Dynamic reputation. Factions should have a reputation value for the factions around them, even if it is invisible to the player. Factions should become more friendly as they fight a common enemy, or steadily become more hostile if one attacks the other's pals.

2.3) Random events. Maybe an assassination causes two previously neutral factions to go to war, or maybe two warring factions come to a peace agreement. These could affect the relative reputations of the factions or perhaps the sectors they control.


3) Varied technology. The devices you came up with are the right idea with regards to more varied ships. There should be some unique weapons and upgrades which only certain factions have access to and you can only acquire through particular methods.

3.1) Varied between players. There could be a vague 'tech-tree' even if there is no UI for it and you could have to unlock certain turrets before you can craft them, or learn recipes before you can make factories for a particular good like laser modulators.

3.2) Varied between factions. It makes little sense to me that every faction in the galaxy has exactly the same understanding of technology and use the same types of weapons, even if some are weaker than others. This would be reflected in what factories spawn in their sectors, what turrets and upgrades they use and what you can craft at their turret factories. These could possibly change over time, and obviously factions nearer the centre would in general tend to be more knowledgable.

3.3) Varied between alliances. 'Data' could be perhaps processed into blueprints which can be consumed to learn how to make new stuff, and these blueprints could be tradable between players. Within alliances tech could be shared so you can collaborate on building things.

3.4) Linked to anomalies. Perhaps if you scan enough magnetic anomalies you can work out how to craft force turrets, or maybe an alien treasure trove allows you to craft Gauss Rails.


So yeah, this went kind of off-topic but you get the point. More stuff to do other than just mining/salvaging Trinium and Avorion and building ships out of them.

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