In many situations I have the strange feeling that i´m doing everything too fast and I don´t have time to feel the full pleasure of playing a space strategy game. Once I build something, in a few turns it is already obsolete. A new planet is discovered, colonized and immediately I can start building structures on it. This kind of feeling, in my opinion, can be minimized. Consider planet exploration.
When reaching a planet, what its normally presented? A planet, with some characteristics presented not very well detailed. Normally colonization is made instantly and all that can be done is to start building facilities. I think more could be done to give the planets more protagonism and enhance the exploration excitement. Let us re-think the concept.
What if, when arriving a planet, we don´t know anything about it except the atmosphere characteristics and maybe some geological aspects? It would be interesting to discover the planets in the same way as we for instance discover the galaxy. The following approach could be adopted to extract the maximum experience from the planet eXploration phase.
Scout Range based planet exploration
The basic idea is to established a scouting team in the planet surface before the colonization process can begin, by defining its members and equipment. They start in a specific point or points of the planet. This team should have a radius of action for each member which should increase in real time or turn based accordingly. The speed of the scout radius increases depending on the experience of the scouting team.
To help the player, a graphical status of the exploration shall be displayed also as a radius range for each explorer. It could be set a maximum of two or three scouts, to become manageable. The range shall be sensible to geographic characteristics increasing or decreasing according to the explorer characteristics. During the exploration, the current status of the resources found should be displayed to the player.
The following kinds of events would be included during the planet exploration:
- Possibility of finding some new material, technology, special artifact or knowledge
- Accidents during exploration, like injuries or deaths (in the limit the entire exploration team could be doomed during the quest).
- Encounters with other species and start diplomacy in the terrain (special species for mining, intelligent species for research or others).
- Meet other exploration species. This is where you have to show your diplomacy skills to avoid conflict.
- Spot of suitable places to start the colonization process (not all breathable planets would be suitable)
The exploration of the planet would take several turns to allow colonization and possibly continue throughout the entire game experience unlocking new places suitable for extra colonies, allow to extract more resources (due to new mining places found), etc.
I know that this may seem a little bit complex and may become a slow experience to some players that normally want more action and constant battles, but i think there are plenty of gamers who think that realism in the exploration phase by itself is already a exciting way to take pleasure when gaming.
Let me know you opinion about this.Subscribe RSS
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