Over the next few weeks, we’re going to give you a quick glimpse into Distant Star’s core gameplay concepts. This week, we’re looking at how we are approaching the issue of improving the replayability of the game, and some of the implications of doing so.
Replayability is Key
How many times have you bought a new game, blasted through the story campaign and then never played the game again? Often! Replayability is important to everyone involved with games, from developers to players – being able to pick up something you can enjoy time and time again, without it feeling dull or repetitive is one of the main things we strive for here at Blazing Griffin.
We’re a small studio, with limited resources, so we’re always looking for ways to maximise the replayability of games we develop, without getting carried away with ambitious ideas that might been impossible to implement. It would be nice to have a Destiny-esque budget to be able to create a massive universe, but we’ve already spent our £300 million budget on tea & cakes this month, so we have to make do with slightly less.
Dynamically Generated Galaxy
One of the ways we are approaching this issue is to create a Dynamically Generated Galaxy, which the player will traverse as they play through the game. Your fleet must pass through a number of different sectors, each with randomly generated missions that may see you facing off against a superior force or even ignoring a request for help if you so choose. In fact, with each mission, you are given a number of choices on how to proceed and this will affect how you progress through the game. Do you stop and help someone in need or push on through the sector to find somewhere to upgrade your fleet?
As you play the game, you will gradually build up your fleet which can be made up of different classes of ship (more on this at a later date). But war will take its toll on you and your fleet and you’ll constantly have to balance risking the permanent loss of ships to the potential rewards of pursuing a particular course of action.
Our hope is that this evolving narrative helps ensure your experience is slightly different each time you play, even though you are following the main storyline to conclusion.
Testing Infinite Possibilities
Our intention with this approach is to try and maximise the “gameplay value” players get from the game within the constraints of the resources we have available. However, it’s a tricky thing to balance, and an even trickier thing to test, which is the main reason we’re planning on an extended Alpha period for the game.
Feedback from players during Alpha is incredibly important during this phase, both from a bug-finding standpoint and a creative standpoint. It’s not just about “what needs fixed?” – it’s also about “what more can we be doing?” and “how can we make this better?“. This is a great opportunity for RTS enthusiasts to get involved with the development of a new title and help shape how it will be launched.
Details about Alpha access will follow shortly.