The economy design in Starmourn is still at a relatively nascent stage, but there are some key ways it’s going to differ from our other MUDs, based on lessons learned over the last 20 years of running MUDs.
Better control over currency generation.
The ability of players to generate in-game currency (Marks in Starmourn’s case, gold in the fantasy games) needs to be narrower between high level and low level and, at least as importantly, between people who play (or let a script run) for 12 hours a day vs those who play 3 hours a day, than in our other games. I’m not talking here of player to player gold transfers – that doesn’t create anything. I’m talking primarily here about bashing/killing NPCs, as that’s the primary way that gold gets created in our other games.
The trouble with having a gap in earning/gold-creation potential that’s too big is that it ultimately means that anything that’s in-demand and priced by players (vs NPC shops) ends up being either trivial for some players or out-of-reach for others. However, it’s also important that the gap not be too small, or it robs us of an incentive to give players to get better, and do more. Equality is not the goal, but raging inequality isn’t the goal either. There’s a happy medium there. Of course, narrowing the ‘earning gap’ doesn’t solve the above problem, only ameliorate it somewhat, as there’s no stopping successful long-time players from accumulating a lot of wealth over time, barring some kind of taxation system where you get taxed on your Marks sitting in your account, but nobody’s going to like that.
The Cleax are a race originating from outside Starmourn sector, and are one of the most alien of the races we know of. Starmourn first had contact with them about 900,000 years ago, long before most of the Younger Races even existed, when they invaded and were stopped by an alliance of Elder Races.
They invaded again a few thousand years ago, and the carnage led to the Y’saari taking control of the Void Gates of central Starmourn, and imposing the Covenant Mark as the dominant (and now only) currency.
And finally, they invaded again a few hundred years ago, establishing a beachhead in Starmourn that proved to be permanent, as the races of Starmourn were unable to drive them out.
One of the interesting things about the Cleax is that they take two forms, which we call Cleax (over 99.999% of the race as far as we can tell), and the massive, mighty Sarkeen, capable of surviving and even winning engagements with starships.
There’s a lot of important history there, so check it out!
Just wanted to wish all Starmourners a great holiday season no matter what you celebrate, and even if you celebrate nothing at all! More updates coming in early 2017, fear not!
I know we haven’t talked much about game mechanics yet, and for a good reason – as the game develops, there is a real chance that any mechanic we designed or built could get changed. However, there are some systems, such as the Prop system, that we’re really happy with and know will be in the game at release.
What’s a prop and why does Starmourn have them?
Technically, a prop in Starmourn is an item that’s generated in a room based on its environment sub-type. Every room has an environment type (like ‘urban’ for instance) and a sub-environment type (like, say, ‘office’). In the case of an ‘office’ sub-environment you might see things like desks, chairs, cabinets, and so on, whereas in a something like a ‘ruins’ sub-environment you’d get props like toxic waste barrels, vandalized billboards, or fallen slabs of syncrete.
Our awesome lead builder – Laura Martz – created somewhere around 300 different types of props. Some rooms will have none, some could have five or six. Importantly, this is random, and when a prop is destroyed (more about that below), it opens up a chance for a new prop to potentially be generated in that room.
As to the why – we wanted the ‘terrain’ to matter more in Starmourn room-to-room than it does in our existing MUDs. Terrain in this case refers more to the metaphorical terrain that might matter in combat than the ground itself.
What can you do with props?
Well, what you can do with them depends on the prop itself, but right now the list includes the following, all of which will only be doable with props that make sense. You can’t lie down on an office chair, for instance.
- Sit on them – kind of obvious, and each prop has a capacity of people it can hold. A chair might have a capacity of one, a bench could have a capacity of three.
- Lie on them – has a capacity similar to sitting.
- Put things on them – you can likely figure this one out yourself.
- Climb on top of them – has a capacity similar to sitting. When you’ve climbed up on something, many melee attacks won’t work from the ground and vice-versa, but things like guns or other ranged weapons will, of course, still work.
- Take cover behind them – How could we have a sci-fi game without the ability to take cover and pew pew pew at someone with your blaster? We couldn’t! When you’re behind cover, you get partially protected from ranged attacks, and completely protected from melee attacks until someone just jumps behind the cover you’re behind and punches you in the face.
- Flip them over – A table is kind of useless as cover until you flip it on its side, after all.
- Set them on fire – Burn baby, burn! It’ll take some time to burn, and then will disintegrate into ash.
- Watch them explode – Some props will explode instead of disintegrating, damaging all other props and players in the room, and possibly setting other flammable props alight.
- Watch them expel shrapnel on exploding – Some explosive props also eject shrapnel on exploding, which can actually set props in adjacent rooms alight, causing them to explode. As you can therefore see, it’s possible to set up chain reactions across rooms.
- Throw them at other people using kith abilities – Yeah, I love it when Darth Vader tosses crap at Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movies, and you’re going to be able to do that in Starmourn too.
We’re all pretty excited about props, and we will no doubt add new interactions to them as we go forward.
Just added an entry to the site on the Nabia – a race mentioned multiple times previously. They’re quite disliked due to their manufacture and widespread sale of addictive hard drugs like glitter and whisper dust, and their deep involvement in slave trading.
Can’t wait to kill me some Nabia scum!
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