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.