To quote a journalist this is a “vapourware dreams” thread, it follows on from this topic posted earlier this week. Its purpose is to provide a place for people like me who enjoy brainstorming, debating, and throwing wild ideas around. The long term goal is to come up with a plan for a survival mod for Infinity: Battlescape.
I’m starting the ball rolling but I’m happy for this to be a community project, consensus on good ideas can be achieved through discussion. I’m happy to summarise what gets decided in this post and act as a project manager. I’m a games programmer and hope to begin work on this mod in two or three years time, depending on I-Novae making modding tools available. Hopefully a some other coders, dabblers, hackers and artists will join me and we can form a small development team.
I’m not sure what is going to happen here considering there isn’t even a game to base this mod on, never mind any modding tools for it.
Update 10 Dec 2015
All design suggestions for IBIS will be based upon the version and features of Battlescape that is currently available. The current updates will be based upon the press preview that was available during the Kickstarter campaign. Future updates will initially be based upon the developer access builds as they are released to developer level backers.
Some assumptions need to be made as to the level of modding that may be available when modding support is eventually added to Battlescape.
There will be a mechanism for replacing assets in the game with alternative assets as needed by the IBIS mod.
There will be some sort of basic inventory system available within Battlescape. This will be needed for altering the weapon and equipment loadouts for ships in the game. Until the inventory management system is revealed further I will be assuming only that there will be slots and hardpoints on ships to which equipment can be assigned.
Custom scripting will be possible based upon event hooks on the game that can then modify the results of those events. An example would be a hook that allowed a custom script to run when equipment was collected that allowed an update to be sent to a remote item server.
Modding tools will allow basic user interface feedback to a player. At the most basic level we would need the ability to display text messages on the player’s HUD. Ideally I’d like the ability to add entirely new HUD display elements.
Scripting to control NPC AI will be available. This only needs to be advanced enough to allow primitive patterns such as patrol, attack and escape.
Any new updates to the design document below will be highlighted in bold.
Infinity Battlescape Interplanetary Survival (IBIS)
The mod will follow the normal structure for the survival genre, examples which will be used for inspiration being DayZ, Ark, Rust and Minecraft. The player will start with nothing but a basic spaceship and survive for as long as they can by gathering resources and (possibly crafting) equipment to defend themselves. The mod will communicate with a central item server which will maintain persistence of a character’s inventory between game servers.
2016 - Talk about scope and features.
2017 - Infinity: Battlescape released
2018 - IBIS alpha
Survival in Ibis will require that the player maintain life support on their ship and avoid being killed by external means such as environmental hazards or by other players in the game.
This mod takes place just after a superintelligent AI attack on human civilisation. All interstellar communication has stopped and, in the star system where the game is set, the last remaining humans are fighting for survival in the ruins. The AI employs dumb hunter killer drones to sweep through the star system in search of surviving sentient life.
The maintenance of levels of oxygen, water, food and energy. A good reference here is the book (or film) “The Martian”. The actual resources that need to be found could be simplified, e.g. oxygen and hydrogen could be split from water by the ship. All ships may have a fusion reactor which may or may not need fuel. Lots to discuss here.
For the initial design I suggest we will simply have “energy” as a single dimension to measure a player’s ability to maintain life support. Energy will gradually diminish and will be able to be replenished at facilities. There may also be items that can provide energy without needing to visit a facility.
Players will be able to accumulate resources in a similar way to that which is planned in the main Battlescape game. As a preference, IBIS will probably not have NPC ships taking resources from mining facilities to refineries for processing in to credits as this would not fit the setting of the game. Ideally we will be able to allow the player to pick up ore as a resource from facilities and use this directly to make new equipment at other facilities.
Source of resources
The primary source of resources will be facilities. The current Battlescape build has a number of facility types that could be used as resource centers by the IBIS mod. These include asteroid base, wrecked space station, large space station, small space station, ground factory.
Water could be harvested from comets and icy or watery worlds. Food could perhaps be found in stations, facilities and wrecks. Small outposts could be low risk and low reward with only food and low grade equipment to be found. Facilities might have crafting resources and tools. Stations and wrecks could have weapons and high grade equipment but have the risk of being guarded by well equipped characters. How this could work is open for discussion.
The primary external hazard are hunter killer drones that will seek out and attempt to destroy the player. These drones are deployed from motherships which move from planet to planet and then perform a sweep in the area destroying any humans they find. Players will receive an alert when a mothership enters orbit around a planet where they are located. In this context “planet” may refer to either a planet or a moon.
A potential problem with implementing the HK drones in IBIS will be the need to have some sort of terrain avoidance algorithms. An initial solution to this problem may be to limit the lower altitude of the drones so that collision with terrain becomes unlikely.
There’s scope for other external hazards to be added in to the mod.
This will be defined largely by what equipment and inventory options are available in the official Infinity: Battlescape game. Additional equipment that might need to be added for this mod could be some form of food ration packs. Alternatively food (if it even exists as a survival resource) could be abstracted away to a “hunger level” that gets reset when locations where food is available are visited.
Could be possible at larger stations, this implies some sort of trading system is in place at stations. How could this work?
Are they appropriate for a survival mod? Could a high level end game work in Ibis where players own capital ships? Do cap ships get spawned in certain locations fully operational to first player that comes along? Do they begin as non operational hulks that need to be repaired to a state where they work? Perhaps they need to be constructed from scratch at a space station by gathering resources? How cap ships are gained in the official Battlescape game will also guide what is possible here.