October 31

What feature is going to be the KILLER feature of Miner Wars?
This post is intended to open a discussion. My mission is to find the single thing that will make Miner Wars remembered for centuries.
Our team already has some ideas, but what we need is the voice of the people.
When I started Miner Wars project I knew I need some special feature, something that other games don’t have. At that time I didn’t care about genre or type (strategy vs. FPS shooter, car driving vs. space shooter…). The only important question for me was “what’s the most original game feature?”.
Then I got this idea with destructible environment, mainly inspired by old DOS game Tunneler http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wcdIDr4jrU I felt that destructible environment is a cool and original thing, people will want to try it – and there was no other game that could offer that in those times.
Putting the game into asteroids field, adding open space world, in-game editor, epic story, etc. were just extensions to the original concept – destructible environment.
Now we got into a point where technology of Miner Wars / VRAGE is almost done and we can focus on the game play itself. So here’s the question:
  • What is the KILLER feature of Miner Wars?
  • What will be the KILLER feature of Miner Wars?
  • What should be the KILLER feature of Miner Wars?
To help you out, here’s a list of what I consider key features of Miner Wars:
  1. Harvesting (mining)
  2. In-game builder with prefab modules – you can harvest ore and build your own space station, in an open space or underground. Think about it as something similar to MineCraft, although I have never played it, so I can only assume.
  3. Huge open world – free traveling in our solar system – from Sun to Earth to Mars and further – with landing too, although since all planets in Miner Wars world are destroyed, you will actually land on scattered ruins of the Earth.
  4. Intuitive controls and fighting (FPS + third-person)
  5. Realistic physics (Newtonian + inhibited)
  6. Advanced rendering engine
  7. Destructible environment – voxels, asteroids, prefab modules
  8. Cooperative multiplayer mode and later MMO
  9. Over 20 playable small ships
  10. Trading and economy, living world

By KILLER feature I mean: one single thing that people will talk about, philosophers will convey never-ending discussions, minstrels will sing sonatas and players will die for.
Is there any brave soul who can give me an answer or an opinion?

  1. You want the ultimate thing ? The thing that everybody will remember ? IMHO, it's obviously one thing: Planet landing and free roaming with your ship on it, and maybe mysterious place, huge structures, various atmosphere, terrain type. The problem: I'm not sure your engine is ready for such real size planets…But it's clear that there are a lots of room for that kind of features. Ok, you write in 3/ that it is a key feature, so, if it will really be there, you will fill the gap left by the old Elite and the abandoned Infinity universe ! So good luck !

  2. To try and summarize what I've thought on this, some form of macromanagement would be an important additional layer of gameplay, I believe. Perhaps giving the game some similar characteristics to those of 4X style games.

    I think it would give a stronger motivation to continue to explore/mine/defend the richest asteroids and sectors of space if you have a sense of the scope of the game expanding and more incentive to survive. It would definitely shape the living world atmosphere of the game with a conquest quality, especially as it grows into an MMO.

    If none of this hits the mark, I understand. I just think it would be amazing to see these sort of big picture features paired with the fun small scale direct control that's already in this game.

  3. Current killer feature: You can destroy the asteroids, make yourself a little base.
    Future killer feature: Making an actual, living base inside the cave you've carved out, then defending it from your fellow players. I expect some epic asteroid fortresses. "That's no moon!"
    What it should be? I'd prefer more focus on the base-building and economy, but since neither is in yet I don't know how in-focus that will be. I enjoy tycoon games quite a bit, and will gladly play you a game of OpenTTD any day. For me, games are about building stuff.

    Having played a scant few other games, I have one word of caution: It's easy to get lost in an essentially infinite solar system. Make it easy to find where people are, where a person is… it can feel very, very lonely otherwise.

    Bear with me.
    I have a 'dream' game I've been planning for a while, but I don't really have the programming chops to implement it yet. It covered points 1-3, 5, 7, 8, and 10 explicitly. The main difference was that it was going to be more like a 'tycoon' game than a FPS, and it was going to focus more on the building.
    This, however, is verrry close… I love you guys. 🙂

    Gfamad: I don't think planet landing is actually *that* big a deal. I mean, it's fun, but it only matters if you can *do* stuff on the planet, and you have a big fat purpose to be there. Otherwise, it's just a lot of work for five minutes of eye candy.

    crsrma: I agree with you, overall. Good points.

  4. what i think should be added its the ultimate goal of the game, create a planet the paradise all humans from the colonies before the wars went to, this would be a distant uncharted peace of space, only stories where told about this place to children over years, this place would be spectacular massive structures floating cities with in the atmosphere, absolutely stunning for the game to find the new home, the new age of of the human race.