The Starmourn Blog

Find Yourself In The Next Newbie Challenge

By Argus | September 21, 2022 |

Welcome, everyone, to the next Newbie Challenge! Whether you’re joining us for the first time or taking a swing at a new character, this is a great opportunity to dive in to all Starmourn has to offer.

tl;dr Make a new character by Sept 30th and complete the challenges below to get 750 free credits!

There’s still time to start fresh in September!
Photo by Yuyeung Lau on Unsplash

New characters made between Aug 15th and Sept 30th at 23:59 will have 30 days from their CREATION TIME to complete the Newbie Challenge and be rewarded with 750 credits!


The challenge consists of two parts –

Complete ONE of the following:

  • Attain Level 75
  • Attain Admiral 1 in Captaincy (Level 50)
  • Attain Level 19 in Hacking

AND ALSO

Complete FOUR of the following:

  • Deliver, crush, or compress 60 asteroids or gas.
  • Participate in 25 Cosmpiercer assaults or Arena events (duels/spars count, but only one per day!)
  • Establish a modding WORKSHOP and invest a total of 3000 research credits.
  • Harvest 100 Ta-Deth crystals from caches
  • Form a band and achieve a popularity of 25 (founder must be eligible for the challenge).
  • Complete 75 unique quests
  • Complete the main quest

Eligible players can type NEWBIECHALLENGE at any time to track their progress.

New HARDCORE characters are also welcome to participate, and any winnings will roll over into their Hardcore Credit Pool for their next character. Who knows, maybe we’ll get some Hardcore players completing the challenge multiple times within the month!

This is also a great time to take advantage of our referral program via HELP REFERRAL in-game!

Learn more in-game from Soren’s full announcement –

NEWS READ ANNOUNCE 408

Don’t miss out on this awesome opportunity! We’ll see you among the stars, spacers.

Argus, the tiniest feracht

Time for a vacation?

By Argus | August 15, 2022 |

In honor of summertime… Welcome to the beach! Off the shores of the Celestine Ascendancy, players can now enjoy a relaxing break from the stresses of the sector at Dreg End Beach and Pleasure Shores!

A quick tour for those who’ve yet to experience for themselves –

Dreg End Beach

The shores of Dreg End beach could really use some TLC, eh?
Photo by NIKLAS LINIGER on Unsplash

To the west, a series of trash dunes clunking onto each other before a murky ocean tide. The overhang of fog and pollution might scare away any visitors, but the animal life seems to have adapted to their stinky home. Small crabs with new shells of cola cans and oxygen containers skitter about, collecting tiny treasures from the sector’s trash.

Truly a testament to the woes of unhinged capitalism and excess, this side of the beach has been long since abandoned by any attempts to beautify or restore it.


Pleasure Shores – Glittering Shores Leisure Resort

Pleasure Shores, the gorgeous vacation destination we actually wanted.
Photo by Alex Perez on Unsplash

To the east, a highly populated beach of glittering, ivory sands and high-tech vacationing. The waters are beautifully clear and inviting, welcoming swathes of visitors to enjoy themselves together. Sample the drinks with Iffha Tango, enjoy a concert at Fronds In Low Places, or dance through the waves with friends and golden-shelled sun crabs.

A sampling of high-class decadence, the Pleasure Shores showcase the best that Litharge has to offer, brought to you by the Celestine Office of Cultural Affair’s Lead Developer of Glittering Shores Leisure Resort, Jonti Yaghah.

With Fronds Like These, Who Needs Anemones?

– The most popular drink on the beach

Not just new areas for players to explore and roleplay, these beaches also boast a new cast of NPCs to interact with and an arcadeway off the pier with a collection of player owned shops with more for purchase if people are interested.

We’re looking forward to some much needed sunshine-y rest and relaxation at the beach with all our lovely players in the new locales. See you there!


Meow and meow,

Argus, the tiniest feracht

The Industrial Revolution

By Neritus | May 6, 2022 |

Welcome back to Yet Another Devblog! Today, we are sharing a preview of the Economy Rework which, we are happy to announce, will be hitting the Starmourn Sector May 17th. So bust out your spreadsheets and slide rules, there’s a lot to cover!

Build-a-factory

Refinery structure placement/construction

One of my dreams for Starmourn has long been to give players the chance to construct monumental structures in space. That dream will soon be a reality: We have created a flexible “Space Structure” system which can handle any sort buildable space structure, and the first two such structures will be Refineries and Autofactories!

The structures themselves will require a significant number of commodities to build (around 15,000 refined inputs in total!). To help players start out in the revised economy, there will be NPC autofactory and refinery structures available across the Sector.

Structures are valid destinations for cargo contracts, can be docked with, have commodity storage, and you can even place market listings on them! Structures can be designated to Factions, Dynasties, and Clans, too!

Space Structures will require a small amount of maintenance in the form of Structural Repairkits stored locally. We don’t want this to be too onerous, but we also do need these structures to fall out of the sky eventually if their owner has completely abandoned them. This is something we will certainly have to fine-tune after launch to get just right. If a structure does fall out of the sky, your commodities and any docked ships will be rescued to your home station.

The Down-Low on Manufacturing 2.0

Must. Refine. Faster.

Manufacturing looks much the same as before: you refine your raws in a refinery, take the refined goods to an autofactory, and specify the number of batches you’d like to run. New refineries and autofactories will have no “Type” associated with them, meaning ALL refineries can refine ALL goods, and ALL autofactories can manufacture ALL recipes. Economies remain, however, so you’ll still be incentivized to build remote structures to take advantage of economy bonuses, however. More on production bonuses later.

Presently, the time jobs take to complete is the major bottleneck in the player economy. In the rework, we want the bottleneck to be mining. Recipes will instead now have a “Cycles” cost, which represents the complexity of the manufacturing task. Structures, meanwhile, will have a “Production Speed” stat (how often will ticks occur?) and a “Production Cycles” stat (how many Cycles do we manufacture each tick). The end result is that jobs will happen anywhere from 2.5x faster than before, to 500x faster than before for a fully upgraded and specialized structure.

On the subject of upgrades and specialization, the image above hints at another aspect here: Structure Modules. There are about 50 different structure modules you can build and upgrade across three tiers. There are modules to boost your Cycles, Speed, Cycles required for particular recipes, enhance your Production Bonus for a certain refined good or Autofactory category, and even modules that reduce the required inputs for recipes.

Bonuses

Seems good

On the subject of Production Bonuses: Those are still a thing. Before you finalize the placement of your structure, you will be informed of what Production Bonuses you would receive based on proximity to celestial bodies and stations in economies with bonuses. As an added bonus, structures will always have a minimum production bonus and produce 1 extra every 30 output (about a 3% production bonus), so there will always be at least a bit of a production bonus no matter where you build. This is to help structure owners take advantage of a new incentive: owners can take a cut of bonus production.

After a non-trivial investment of time and resources, a refinery owner could bring down the required number of input Raw Titanium per refined Titanium from 5 all the way down to 3. Meanwhile, with a boosted Production Bonus, you could get as many as 1 extra per every 2 refined. 30 rawtitanium, instead of outputting 6 titanium, would now output 15. An autofactory owner could instead build up their “Titanium Efficiency” and “Duramine Efficiency” stats to bring the recipe for Transteel down from 4 titanium and 2 duramine to 2 titanium and 1 duramine! The hawk-eyed will notice a recipe change here… more on recipes later.

Jobs at a structure within a Subsector will be taxed a Production Tax. Factions will be able to set their Subsector’s Production Tax with all proceeds from tax going to the Faction. Structures in neutral space will, instead, be charged an Extortion rate starting at 10% piracy rating, 1% per 1% piracy, up to an egregious 100% Extortion at 100% Piracy Rating. No pirates, no tax.

As for charging your clients, structure owners will charge a fee per cycle, up to 2 decimal places. For instance, you could charge 1.25 marks per cycle, and a job submitted which will require 1000 cycles would thus charge the client 1250 marks before tax. We are still toying with the notion of the minimum price for jobs being 1.00 mark per cycle. We do want to have some kind of minimum price.

You may have noticed that Manufacturing Specializations must be pretty useless now, and they are. Which is why they are being deleted. The bonuses from mining yield will be tagged on to a buff of the crusher/compressor shipmods, instead.

There’s plenty else to cover, but I’ll just mention one more thing: Players with the “Manufacturing” org privilege will be able to submit jobs straight from org storage.

Going Official

Official sources expect Profit

Because buildable space structures aren’t enough: Introducing, Offices. Now, we reveal the master plan of just what space trucking was all about. We want manufacturers to have the option to spend the majority of their time establishing, monitoring, and constantly improving their Sector-wide supply chain, and spend less time setting up cargo contracts, queuing jobs, listing market offers, and generally doing things that are far too tedious for an ultra-busy titan of interstellar industry.

Offices glue all the economy systems together and allow you to set up a fully automated supply chain, from shipping raws to refineries, queuing jobs, shipping on to autofactories, queuing more jobs, shipping finished goods back to market hubs, and, finally, automatically posting to market at preset prices. Offices can be set up with Shipping, Manufacturing, or Marketing tasks which will trigger when the conditions that you set are satisfied. Once a task is set up, the task will always be performed until you delete it or disable it, ad infinitum. Set up some tasks, just add raws at your supply chain’s origin, and head to Lamentations and get shitfaced while your offices do all the hard work for you.

Oh, and orgs can set up Offices, too. Uses org comm storage, org cargo contracts, org jobs, org market offers, all the good stuff. Hope your commlogs are ready.

Cashflow for Spacers

… The devblog isn’t over yet?

Let’s start by ripping the bandaid off. After plenty of deliberation and math, the results are in: in the revised economy, you can expect to pay the Shipforge around 1000 marks for a kinetic battery or 7000 marks for an astromech.

Let’s break this down a bit. In a single Kinetic Battery, using a revised recipe (1 transteel, 1 disheet, 1 hdsastrium, 5 ultarine, see also below), after accounting for batch sizes of all involved intermediates, there are 2 refined comms in each battery (0.4 titanium, 0.2 magnaril, 0.2 diamene, 0.35 astrium, 0.35 iriil, and 0.5 ultarine to be precise. They did the studies), or 10 raws before bonuses. Meanwhile, the total cycle cost of 1 kinetic battery, again factoring in batch sizes and all intermediates, is 221 Cycles. That leaves us with 10 raws and 221 cycles.

We’ve already discussed the fact that 1 mark per Cycle as a structure fee will likely be our baseline. That means our kinetic battery costs at least 221 marks in theory (in practice, you can use your own structure in an untaxed environment to spend 0 marks on this). In the economy as we know it, miners get a pretty bad deal because there was never enough space built in for the cost of their labor. Let’s instead assume that we want to pay at least 50 marks per raw, a pricepoint I’m sure you’d all agree would make mining quite a lucrative activity, especially if there were effectively no cap on that price (the way PMOs are capped daily, Junk is softcapped, etc). We now get a result of 50 marks * 10 raws + 221 cycles * 1 mark per cycle = 721 marks. Add on an extra +50% for good measure (allowing manufacturers to price their goods in the space well below) and we end up with a price of 1082 marks for our single kinetic battery.

This is all to say, I’ve taken a lot of time and written a lot of code towards commodity valuation. It’s a tough balance, but ultimately having too-low NPC prices put a stranglehold on the whole system that makes it unprofitable for everyone involved.

One possibility is that there will be essentially infinite NPC buy orders for pretty much everything at a price point that factors in all of the above but leaves enough room for players to reasonably compete with them. The idea is that, if player manufacturers want to compete with NPC buy orders, they will have to pay miners and manufacturers of intermediates a living wage. We could also have NPC market offers selling ship consumables at all stations that sell shipforge supplies. These offers could be at egregious, but fluctuating prices and could supply plenty of volume. Now that Shipforge Supplies is already tied to the market, all commodities would effectively come from the market, but the Shipforge will always be there as an optional shorthand for using market syntax.

That said, we may not go in that direction just yet, but it’s something I’ll be keeping in mind while monitoring the overall health of the economy in the first couple months after release.

As usual with the release of big new eco systems, PMOs will likely be disabled for awhile after release, until the system has a chance to build up the 30-day comms consumption history that it needs to place sinks where they’re needed.

Recipe Rework

Umm, what?

Recipe tweaks are still a work in progress, but here’s a bonus preview for you to close out the devblog. The approach to recipe tweaking was essentially to start by leaning on the lore of the Starmourn-specific materials, and the science of the real-life analogs. Next, I wanted to make sure we had a decent representation from every refined comm, and that recipes weren’t too heavily skewed in favor of one comm. Lastly, I wanted to factor in the new Efficiency stats from structures and make sure all the intermediate recipes in particular can benefit majorly from them. The majority of recipes have received at least some touchups, including all the ship ones, and there are a new slate of advanced intermediate commodities (see image) used specifically for structure and structure module building. For now, I will only share the intermediate recipes, and welcome feedback:

Paristeel:   5 titanium, 1 duramine > 4 titanium, 2 duramine
Transteel:   5 titanium, 1 magnaril > 4 titanium, 2 magnaril
Nanoplastic: 3 vandium, 4 ultarine, 9 helium11 > 2 vandium, 8 elessium, 11 helium11
Nanoplastic: Batch size 1 > 2
Disheet:     4 diamene > 10 diamene
Disheet:     Batch size 1 > 5
Hdsastrium:  2 astrium, 10 iriil > 7 astrium, 7 iriil
Hdsastrium:  Batch size 1 > 2
QPC:         2 astrium, 10 iriil > 1 hdsastrium, 3 stesium, 3 ultarine
Array:       1 disheet, 1 rglass > 2 disheet, 5 magnaril, 5 elessium, 1 nanoplastic
Rglass:      Unchanged

That’s it for today! There’s still a lot of work to get done to make sure this massive content update is as bug-free and polished as it can be. But now you know what to expect when the Industrial Revolution lands on May 17th, which is coming up quick. There’s still plenty of opportunity to make tweaks to the system before launch, so we would love to hear your feedback! Feel free to comment below, on Discord, in game, or on the forums!

Regards,

Neritus

Welcome to Paperweight.

By Argus | March 23, 2022 |

Brought to you by Nyx and the Storytelling team, Paperweight is the winning entry from our Player Created Area Contest and its harsh tundras are almost ready to explore! Read below for some quick previews of what you can find in this bustling new space and the release event details to add to your calendar.

[Release Event: Sunday March 27th, three [3] hours before sync]

A frosted tundra bordering the Great Lake and flanked by ancient forests.
Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

New Cultures

  • The Twice-Departed:
    Long ago, a Jin captain piloted the ship known as Li’Gon into Razors Rift and quickly realized death was imminent. In a stark divergence from Jin culture, he crash landed in Razors Rift to avoid death, saving the lives of those on board and creating something new in the process. The Twice-Departed value a Good Life in their humble home in the tundra with limited trade to the rest of the sector.
  • The Belaul:
    A bipedal avian race native to the tundras of Paperweight. They are entirely self-sufficient and mostly keep to themselves in The Nest, thriving off basic hunter-gathering practices. After the arrival of the Twice-Departed, they educated the Jin in the ways of the tundra and began participating in basic trades.
Fishing!!! Yum yum.
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

New Mechanics

  • Fishing:
    In Paperweight you can now fish for meals, for marks, or for beast-y challenges! Talk to J’hiren to claim your own fishing rod and get started. Much more to come with this new system.
  • Weather effects:
    The tundra now slows movement and can restrict vision. Players can purchase standard gear or special flavor gear to limit the hinderances. Those patient enough to wait it out or lucky enough to wander about at the right time can also bear witness to the wonderous Aes-Uulvi Dao.
  • Time messages:
    A new line below the room description now notes the time of day and special flavor messages denote the passing of time. Certain creatures new to the tundra also have time-related events and behaviors to learn.

Beware that the tundra is a harsh environment even for the most experienced explorers – The nights are dark and full of beasties and brutal ice storms test the mind.

Ready to dive in? Join us in-game on Sunday, March 27th, three [3] hours before sync for a mysterious new event and to open this world to the sector.

Read more on the wiki: https://wiki.starmourn.com/Paperweight

Meow meow & pit pat,

Argus, the tiniest feracht

Space Trucking Preview

By Neritus | February 25, 2022 |
Space trucking through space
Space trucking

Hi all! Neritus here. I’ve been hard at work coding Space Trucking and its surrounding systems, supported by the rest of the team for ideas, lore input, and mechanics. The project has been quite satisfying to my geekdom, so I wanted to take a moment to reflect and provide a preview of the upcoming feature release, coming mostly likely sometime in March. There will be quite a few new activities to do in Space, so it’s also a good opportunity to prepare players for what’s coming and garner input before it lands.

Cargo Contracts

CARGO CONTRACT LIST

Cargo contracts are placed by NPCs, players, or player organizations. The setup is pretty simple. TAKE the contract, fly to its origin, PICKUP the contract, fly to its destination, DELIVER it, get paid!and At the start, you’ll only be able to take one contract, but completing contracts will increase the maximum number of contracts you can take up to 15. You’ll have 8 RL hours to complete the contract once you’ve taken it, or 2 RL hours if it is marked as a priority. If you fail to get it done in that time, the contract, including any shipping container you’ve picked up, will be seized from you, the maximum number of contracts you can take will be reset to 1, and you will lose some “Hauler Reputation,” used to track RANKINGS HAULERS. There will at all times be quite a large number of cargo contracts available to take, allowing you to plot a route which includes as many contracts as possible for maximum profits. So long as you’ve picked up a shipping container, however, you will not be able to use any form of warps, except voidgates. Cargo contracts have a minimum reward amount, which is a function of the cargo mass, distance, and a service fee.

Creating cargo contracts

If you’re not so interested in hauling, but are interested in having your goods hauled, look no further! The cargo contract system lets you set up your own custom shipments for someone else to deal with. It will cost you some marks, but it does save you time, and time is money! In the original theorizing of the system I went back and forth on the notion of “should haulers have to pay collateral upfront?” It was decided instead to put the onus on contractors to insure their contracts against loss instead so that the hauling system is as newbie friendly as possible. As such, the system for calculating insurance premiums needed to be fraud-proof. Fraud will still be possible, but the game keeps tabs of how many marks are being added into the game via insurance payouts vs removed from premiums, estimates the likelihood of piracy, examines the reliability of the contractor, and spits out an insurance premium. If you’re a manufacturer disgruntled by the cost of shipping insurance premiums, know that you do have a say in the matter by supporting anti-piratical and anti-fraud efforts.

Periodically, NPC cargo haulers will take the longest-waited cargo contract, whether it is an NPC contract or a player-made Contract. This allows for players to get their commodities moved even during low periods of activity where there are not enough players haulers. NPC cargo contracts tend to like to ship raw materials from hubs to subsectors with refining bonuses, then take those refined commodities where they can be best used as inputs with a production bonuses, and finally take finished goods back to stations that sell ship supplies. This means that savvy players will have a pretty good idea what commodities will be shipping in certain shipping lanes. Great news for pirates….

Here be pirates

PIracy spreads like pollution

The Space Trucking Update will also introduce Space Piracy into the game. As haulers fly around in space, they’ll have a chance to be ambushed by NPC pirates. These ambushes scale in difficulty depending on a) the Piracy Rating of the zone, and b) the class of ship the player is flying. You’re probably going to be able to slink away in your Prospector from the handful of enemy ships that show up, provided you react appropriately. But if you’re flying around in a big juicy Superhauler you can expect pirates to show up in force, and you best have a gameplan for survival. I want to be clear that pirate attacks will only occur if you are carrying a shipping container from a cargo contract (or if you’re a Warden, more on that later). Miners and other spacefarers are safe from getting ambushed.

Piracy Rating is a figure that goes from -100% to 100%. To trigger a pirate attack, a zone must have at least 10% piracy rating, ratings below that are a buffer. Piracy Rating is pumped into the Sector by various lore-appropriate Subsectors and zones, which act like factories pumping pollution into the air. Piracy rating then diffuses through the Sector like a cloud of pollution. No new rating is introduced through diffusion. The GIF above depicts what the Sector could look like after 100 RL days if no players are active in stemming the tide of Piracy. That said, us admin will have all the tools we need to monitor piracy rating, to ensure we’re hitting just the right balance.

Some lore-appropriate Subsectors and zones, such as the factional subsectors, act as buffers against the spread of piracy. When piracy rating is diffused into these zones, it cancels out the incoming rating, removing piracy rating from the overall system in the process. Various other activities also influence the ups and downs of piracy rating: pillaging incursions vs defeated ones, the presence of pirate refineries/autofactories vs destroying them, and Ishvana owned Cosmpiercers vs Faction owned ones.

A pirate’s life for me

PIRACY syntax

Enter player Pirates and Wardens, Starmourn’s own version of Cops and Robbers. Let’s start with Wardens. When flagged as a Warden, you will periodically be ambushed by pirates in much the same manner as haulers. Basically you’re a law enforcing pirate magnet. Defeating these ships (or any pirate ambushes really, if you want to escort haulers) will reduce piracy rating in the zone by a fair margin and earn you some Warden Rating to help you climb RANKINGS WARDENS. As a Warden you can locate other Player Pirates if you wish. You are not Open PK to them except under normal PK rules, but they are Open PK to everybody, always, so long as they are in Space.

There are two ways to become flagged as a Pirate: 1) PIRACY JOIN PIRATES to voluntarily flag as a pirate. You’ll gain the power to locate NPC cargo ships and, as you commit acts of piracy, you will gain Notoriety, the system used to track RANKINGS PIRATES. 2) Through repeated acts of piracy, you will eventually become notorious enough a criminal that you will be auto-flagged as a Pirate. Yes, this means that you can be involuntarily flagged as Open PK in Space. But on the other hand, you are playing a character that is continually disrupting the economy and that should have consequences. That said, gaining Notoriety will first deduct Warden Rating before adding Notoriety, and vice versa. Thus it is possible to engage in repeated acts of Piracy without eventually becoming Open PK, so long as you’re doing penance as a Warden to offset it. If that’s your chosen playstyle, however, you’re not likely to climb either RANKINGS WARDENS or RANKINGS PIRATES. To be clear: being a Space Pirate does NOT allow you to PK others, except under normal PK rules. This includes player cargo haulers. Space Pirates will not be allowed to attack cargo haulers just because they are pirates. Unless, of course…

Less than 12 parsecs

CARGO CONTRACT LIST SMUGGLING
Uh oh…

Don’t think for a second that we forgot about all of you who want to play Space Smuggler. We are adding a whole new slate of illegal commodities for the purpose. For now these commodities will only be seeded by smuggling contracts, and both NPCs and players can take these contracts. Smuggling contracts pay much better, but are way more dangerous than taking a normal cargo contract. First up, you need to pay the full value of the cargo in collateral upfront. Second, the chance of a pirate ambush is higher than normal, because the contract probably only exists to extort you of the collateral. Thirdly, upon arrival in the destination Subsector your cargohold will be scanned. If the scan succeeds, you will be attacked by NPC Wardens. The likelihood of the scan succeeding can be reduced with a new ship module, Cargo Scramblers. Players can also fit their ships with a new hardpoint, the Cargo Scanner. Any successful cargo scan which uncovers Contraband will be announced on Conflict and make the player Open PK in Space until they, dock, jettison the contraband, or are destroyed.

If you do wind up with contraband in your commodity storage, you’ll be able to either SELL it to nefarious distributors for serious marks, or TURN it IN to the authorities for a small fraction of its value, and some Warden Rating.

… should have brought Cargo Scramblers…

That’s all for now, folks. There are some other surprises planned but now that I’ve gone and spoiled the greater part of it, it’s time to settle back into my code hole.

The Journey Forward

By Neritus | January 19, 2022 |
A barren rock, possibly a good spot for a colony?

With the release of Ship Modding, I wanted to take a moment for some reflection. When I came on as producer I stated three main goals: a full and detailed pass on all the classes, a rework of weapon and armor modding, and finally ship modding. I did not necessarily expect this to take six months, but nevertheless I’m proud to say these goals have been accomplished at last. Along the way we have had some bonus additions that make me quite proud: resource-rich asteroids, ship weapon and module tweaks, and resource crushing and compressing.

At some points in the journey things sure seemed a bit bleak. I can be quite uncompromising when it comes to seeing out my original vision for something. When it came to designing Shipmodding, I knew I would need to seriously overhaul how ship stats are handled in order to achieve things like dynamic halon costs and such. Some stages of the process became quite challenging, and motivation was at an all time low. It took some time to overcome, but in the end we got there!

The Long Term

But that’s enough looking backwards. Where next? One of my main sticking points is the game’s long-suffering “Beta” sticker. Honestly, I don’t think we’re going to leave Beta any time soon. There are simply too many bugs (albeit minor ones for the most part), and too many systems that require fleshing out. My long-term goal is to get the game to a place where Damiel and I, and the higher-ups at IRE, feel confident removing that tag. The capstone project in this long term vision is the much-alluded-never-discussed Colonization system, which still remains a loose design. I’m not going to discuss specifically what we have in mind for Colonization in the future, nor a timeline. I will say that Colonization should be a common meeting place for just about every activity in the game, a convergence of space and ground exploration, space and ground PvP and PvE, and an important cornerstone of economy and industry. There’s no point in pouring our resources into such a system until all the contributing elements are where we want them, but there’s also no point in working on those contributing elements without some idea of what Colonization is going to look like.

The Intermediate Term

There’s no shortage of work to do, that’s for certain. But when I look at the list of activities above one sticks out as a particular priority, and that is economy and industry, which is where I intend to focus my efforts for the next while. My intention is that incremental updates to the economy will enhance the depth of the simulation of a stellar sector engaged in continuous activity. Ideally, this should as much as possible bring the Starmourn Sector to life, teeming with points of interest and NPC spacefarers engaged in one task or another, mundane, heroic, or villainous, who you might choose to aid, hinder, or ignore. New space activities are going to gel well with new ship modules to support them, and since the ship stat refactor is in, new modules are going to be easier than ever to incorporate.  I’d particularly like to focus more on electronic warfare and improved interdiction options and the counterpart of electronic countermeasures and “counterinterdiction.”

Space Trucking – the kind of content we expect from a space game

This is going to be pretty important for the next “Big System” I intend to work on in the intermediate term, which will be Space Trucking. The design of this system is basically complete, and the intent is to create content not just for prospective cargo haulers. We’d like space trucking to be a comprehensive system that supports industrialists needing goods transported and we’d also like to create space for both NPC and player piracy. Basically every zone would get a piracy rating: the higher the rating, the greater the likelihood and greater the strength of a pirate assault on a cargo ship.

Space truckers would have a regular supply of cargo contracts both NPC generated and player made. But if there are no player cargo pilots to haul the goods in a timely manner, an NPC cargo ship will take the job. NPC cargo ships aren’t abstract. They’ll exist and fly in space from point A to point B using a simplified, somewhat cheaty autopilot algorithm that’s easier on processing. And they can be attacked by prospective player pirates. Piracy rating in a zone will be a dynamic figure which can be then influenced by players who wish to take up the banner of anti-piracy and take part in counter-piracy missions, but can also be reduced via more passive means such as the presence of factional Armadas or Cosmpiercer ownership.

We would like cargo ships to drop at least some amount of what they contain for the pirates to seize, and we also want contractors to demand collateral and for player cargo pilots to have some insurance against collateral, but this will need to be a carefully crafted system with protections to make sure it’s not exploitable as a license to print marks.

That’s all way more detail than I was intending to reveal, so don’t be surprised if the end product looks a bit different and don’t expect the system’s release to be just right around the corner. It’ll be ready when it’s ready.

Space stonks

The Short Term

In the short term, however, there are some rather crucial quality of life updates to the economy to help players work together and then also get their products to market in a less unwieldy way. The first step here then is organizational market orders and offers, which will take a fair bit of work. Another limitation right now is that in order to cooperate in industry, you need to be either in the same faction or in the same dynasty. Thus we’d also like to extend faction and dynasty storage to include clan storage, so that more ad hoc groupings of people can work together without needing to share a surname or a factional allegiance. Aside from all this I have some other ideas for market and industry  quality of life with a focus on small tweaks that go a long way. This is basically what I’ll be working on starting now along with the normal bug-squashing.

I think I’ve spilled the beans overmuch already, so I’m going to stop. I’m really excited for the future of Starmourn and we invite you to come along for the ride! See you in the Sector

Neritus

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