Initiative for Exploring Planets

Hallo there. I’m a relative newcomer to Infinity, although I’ve been taking a look once and then in the old forums, too. So, my question might seem “newb-ish”, but I haven’t found a similar topic by now.

From what I understand, the biggest point that Infinity is trying to make is on planet exploration. All promotional, tech videos focus on that, rather on showing space, asteroids, stations and the like of a typical space 4x game. Of course, what makes the idea of Infinity great is the promise that all of these will be together inn one whole package, which is something like the promise of a game with absolute freedom.

What I haven’t understood by now, is how planet exploration will actually be part of the gameplay, rather than a “recreational” activity which won’t be necessary to advance with the goals of the game (I seem to get this idea from some of the developers answers). My thought is that if it’s optional, it’s obviously not going to be exciting after a while, since we are basically playing games in order to progress into some goals. What will make a game fascinating, is to provide an immersive experience in the context of the real gameplay. So, if it is indeed that way, to focus all promotion into planet exploration might seem kind of misleading and disappointing for customers that will get the final product.

Of course, the answer for me, is to actually use all that potential that is there. Apart the obvious idea of getting to land your spaceship in a terrestrial city for commerce or whatever, are you guys thinking of providing other activities, or perhaps some mini-games, that will take place within the atmosphere of planets?

(Obviously this is a question that is addressed for the bigger game, not Battlescape so much)

The material released thus far is demonstrating the technology/the engine, not any sort of gameplay.

One of the significant components of the engine is terrain generation and that is what has been shown off most recently.
The scale and the seamless transition from the surface of one planetary body to another is the main unique selling point of the engine so it makes sense to demonstrate that.

Regarding planetary exploration in the MMO, there was some discussion on the previous forum about it. Finding unique or particularly attractive locations/geological formations would be an activity requiring exploring the surface ‘in person’.

The main ‘activities’ would be commerce in cities, finding resources, extracting resources and manufacturing of goods, equipment and ships.

With powerful sensors and a polar orbit, nothing’s going to stay hidden for long.
Having said that, the developers could add technology allowing players (and NPCs) to hide stuff from sensors, so visually searching for bases to raid could be a thing.

This is all a long way off though. In the short term we can look forward to the Kickstarter video which is sure to be more “look at this awesome gameplay concept” and less “look at this awesome terrain generation”.

Robust, interesting planetary exploration is a huge technical challenge and I’m afraid that, for our first game, central gameplay will not revolve around it due to limits on our resources. In Infinity: Battlescape the amount we include planets depends entirely on how much money we raise and even then gameplay will not be focused on interesting things to explore. Worst case scenario, if we only raise our minimum Kicstarter, planets will primarily be background pieces that you can fly around but won’t provide any other gameplay than that. There will be an offline sandbox mode, however, for those of you who do enjoy just flying around =).

If/when we have the resources to build the MMO exploration will become a central theme. By that point our tech should be more mature and we can look at doing really cool things like procedurally generating cities and other phenomenon that would make planets much more interesting places to visit over the long term.

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Thanks Keith and hrobertson for your answers!

Keith, I obviously understand that the focus cannot be on planet exploration in Battlespace, that’s reasonable. You guys should focus on physics, spaceships, guns and stuff like right now, so that we get our awesome space exploration game eventually. :wink: I think it will also be helpful that the battle system will be entirely finished as you begin the “big” infinity game.

hrobertson, I seem to have understood wrong, then. Besides searching/mining for materials (which should be obvious) constructing a base for manufacturing goods, defenses and eventually, perhaps even a city itself (by guilds/corporations), would be a great idea. Give to the player as much an initiative as possible to explore the world. Until then, looking forward to the Battlescape kickstarter, of course.

If you won’t be able to implement this in your engine maybe your next engine will. I have some posts that you may like to read on this site if you have the time, inner planetary exploration cloud AI/CPU/GPU and others.