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 Sysop customization. (very long) 
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Lance Corporal

Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2001 3:00 am
Posts: 3
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Throughout Tradewars 2002 history (this is applying mostly to the Door and TWGS versions, my experience with MBBS versions is limited, and indeed, my experience prior to 3.xx door releases is somewhat limited as well), there has been a level of game customization avalible to sysops, i.e. number of turns/day, starting credits/holds/fighters, photon settings, etc.

With the release of Tradewars Gold (as of 3.09?) this customizability was taken to another level, with the ability for a sysop to easily and rapidly design and impliment new ships and planets, and customize existing ones, and add new alien races that tend to be quite different from "standard" aliens and ferrengi.

More recently, the ability to edit prices for many items, and the rob/steal factors and other things has been further added to Tradewars (within the TWGS releases).

To a point, the ability to customize a game is wonderful, and infact, a certain ability to customize the game is ESSENTIAL for it to continue to be played for any length of time.

However, there is a point at which a game is so customizable that it is no longer a game but merely an engine, this is undesirable in a case where the game was not built from the ground up to be merely an engine with a variety of different games created to be played within that engine.
Tradewars 2002 in its current form is not, from what I've seen, a game that would be well suited to being transformed into simply a highly scriptable engine.
However, the point where it moves from being a customizable game to being a mere engine, is not yet reached, and is infact not within reasonable sight.

I do not know the direction the graphical TW2002 release from EIS will take with this, as I have not joined TeamEIS, so I'm not going to provide specifics about what should be done with it, but instead will simply ask that EIS keep in mind that customization is almost always a Good Thing.
What I wish to do with this post, is list further areas where the sysop could be given the opportunity to customize things, and include hypothetical situations in which this might be useful. I am not speaking strictly of existing values in the game that the sysop could edit (ala port regen), but also of entire new features that would facilitate increased customization and uniqueness between games.
Some of these ideas may never see the light of day, some might be implimented next week, some might be implimented further down the road or prehaps in some form in the graphical TW2002.

Fuel vs Turns to warp vs Ship Delay.
This was suggested/brought up by Vicious Beancounter.
Essentialy, the idea is that turns to warp and ship delay be independant of eachother, I will quote his message here as there's really no better way to say it (posted on 03/04/2001)
I was wondering if it would be a good idea to base ship delay on something other than turns. I look at turns as being roughly equivalent to fuel. Therefore, at a 6 tpw Colt, you're getting a double whammy both in range and speed. I'd like to see the ability to alter range and speed independently, making room for some more interesting variants (a 1 tpw ship that takes 2 minutes to move one sector; a 10 tpw ship that can move faster than a Scout)--- gives the possibility for constructing upgraded scout freighters that move slower than scouts, but carry additional holds, and still costs the same tpw.

Citadel Interest Rate
The current interest rate for a citadel is 2%/day.
Reese recently stated (in 8 simple words :) that citadel interest rate should be sysop configurable, I agree.
However I think this could be taken one step further, and implimented in Gold on a per-planet basis, sysop configurable.
For instance, a U-Class planet could have very bad interest rates due to a small population and bad economy, while an L-Class might have exceptionaly good interest rates.

AI Scripting.
Err why am I addressing this? Well actually to see if JP will tell us if he has any plans for it to be implimented in the near future in the current TW/TWGS, or if the plans have been scrapped :)

Alignment based ships.
More than one person has over time suggested that Gold ships have alignment requierments different from needing a fed commission.
i.e. an "Evil ISS" that only evils can get access to, and nobody above, say, -1000 alignment can get.
prehaps a ship that is only avalible to those in a certain alignemnt range, maybe 100-999, too good for the evils and those not yet proven worthy, but not good enough for comissioned officers of the federation...

Evil stardock, multipul stardocks, customizable stardocks, good-only stardock.
Well the description pretty much says it all, this has been brought up several times in the past, I've never seen a definitive "yes" or "no" from JP as to wether or not these could be implimented, so I bring these up here again.
As it stands now there is a single stardock, where a variety of things can be done, from writing on bathroom walls, to buying and equiping ships. There are also 3 other ports in which you can purchase holds, fighters, and shields, one of which is always in sector 1, the other 2 are, like the stardock, randomly placed at bigbang (well mostly random).
If nothing else, prehaps one or both of the secondary H/F/S ports could be allowed to become secondary stardocks at the sysop's option. These secondary stardocks wouldn't neccisarily have all the facilities of the primary stardock, and they might have a few different things (alternate ships avalible for purchase, maybe a different bank that holds a larger or smaller amount of credits, etc.)

Ships that depend on fuel ore for basic movement.
This could, theoreticaly, be implimented by a sysop already, however it's not very practical from a gameplay standpoint, as you'd need to have a fighter in every sector of the universe :)
Exceptionaly large ships might need some extra power to really move, and that power could be facilitated by fuel ore.
It could also be possible to modify an existing ship, say the ISS, such that having fuel ore on board to expend during movement might temporarily reduce the TPW of the ship.

Independant adjustment of fighter production.
This would allow for a sysop to create a Gold planet that might be used mostly for production of fighters, without also producing ungodly amounts of other product.
It would also make it more practical to "build" fighters than to purchase them.

Computer games within the ships/citadels computer.
Ok wait, this might not be an inherently bad idea, but it is rather silly, this is an indication I need some sleep.

I'm having trouble coming up with more that would be truely useful, does anyone else have any more ideas?
Any refinements to what was mentioned here?

Sun Mar 11, 2001 12:59 pm
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