Server customisation and Emyprion's strategic direction

Discussion in 'FAQ & Feedback' started by Average, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. Average

    Average Commander

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    Empyrion isn't the best space shooter sim, or most finely tuned survival game. It doesn't have the best-in-genre graphics (for example Star Citizen) or the biggest space battles (perhaps Eve Online). But what it does do well is facilitating the creative contributions of players. In terms allowing you to build, share and fly a huge spaceship into battle that you designed block by block, it is best-in-genre (perhaps Space Engineers is nearest competitor).

    In the future it could see serious competition from Dual Universe. Dual Universe looks like it will allow more detailed construction, it's all on a single-shard server, and it's definitely got better graphics. But Empyrion still has a serious advantage, currently unique to its design, IF it cultivates it right. Regardless of Dual Universe's status I want to try to explain why I think doing so will help Empyrion's future.

    Emyprion has a community with a huge creative capacity. You only need to look at the workshop, particularly the top builds, to see the incredible power of crowd-sourcing game content. Empyrion lets you build ships, and the creative power of the community creates some of the best (and poorest) ship designs possible. There is certainly and bunch of... questionable... ship designs on the workshop too. But the community is smart enough to search the workshop and choose what suits them, and collectively choose the best.

    My suggestion is this - place high priority on better supporting server customisation, allowing more freedom for server management by locking less features in place, and giving users better tools to select a server that suits them. I'm especially suggesting harnessing server manager's input into ship design (eg. CPU) and economics/production (like managing ore availability). That's not to say there isn't some customisation ability already (yay for my text editor!), as servers like HWS prove, but the bar to achieve such things is high, the supporting tools very limited, and the number of features that are locked is significant. That way you get the same effect as the workshop and its ships, large numbers of contributors, free choice to use the type of server that suits, and a sorting process that allows users the information to collectively showcase the servers with the best story, game mechanics, and economic balance.

    Why?
    • Server managers tend to be experienced, enthusiastic players who are competent and motivated enough to create a server - they're a good group to get creative input into game mechanics from.
    • Complex features like CPU and economics are really hard to get right, and require lots of experimentation to perfect - server customisation = free crowdsourced experimentation
    • Eleon can broaden the available player experiences and the value of their game by increasing variety of servers and gameplay styles available to players
    • Universes (servers) with rulesets especially matching their stories are more compelling
    • Different players have different focus (solo vs PvE vs PvP). This allows them to better select what suits them. It also allows Eleon relief from the very painful task of keeping everyone happy (everybody loves their forum winges) when their desires are fundamentally different

    How?
    • Make the server browser show more detailed information. Encourage servers to describe their server in much more detail. Add more detailed and intuitive ways to rate servers
    • Avoid locking the way features work too much. Eg. CPU blocks should have limits that can be changed. Discarding the CPU tech levels and adding a way to control the diminishing returns means servers can experiment with the way CPU works, and players can test the results
    • Make a tool that does detailed customisation a new universe (for solo and MP servers), including some ore/asteroid management, switches for CPU W&V etc.
    • Add a multiplier to the size of a block/module, so if a server wants giant engines, or CPU to take up more space in the interior, they can
    • Prioritise missions mechanics as a development focus, better allowing people to drop mission sets into a server

    Risks
    The main risk is fragmenting the gameplay in a way that reduces the usability of workshop ship assets. This is a significant part of the game's value base and I don't want to trivialise that. However, this can also be a ball-and-chain around the game's leg if it is allowed to dictate game changes, as I think is happening with CPU. And it's still possible to make amazing designs that leave internal space free and turret positions that can be heavily customised by a ship designer.

    Summary
    Let the Empyrion player-server community create amazing adventures for us all by lowering the bar to detailed world building! Give them the freedom to solve game feature debates not by forum wars but by setting up real demonstrations and finding new creative ways to use the Empyrion engine! Let people choose flavours and stories of Empyrion in a way competitors like Dual Universe can never compete with!


    PS> Nothing against Dual Universe, amazing looking game hope it does really well.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 16, 2019

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