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Shadow
06-08-2012, 02:28 PM
We've recently added a new feature called challenges that I think is going to be really interesting for players. Essentially challenges are special sectors that are tougher than normal, have a specific setup (not random), and do many things that can't normally happen.

How it works is every 6 levels there is another challenge sector, and one extra at level 100, for a total of 17 challenges. This is visually represented as 4 sectors per quadrant and 1 final challenge for the galaxy on the challenges screen. When you beat one, the next one unlocks and you can play any unlocked challenge sector whenever you want. Each challenge has a title and a short description to give you a little glimpse of what you will be facing in that challenge.

The big difference between a challenge sector and a normal sector is that the initial conditions are hand crafted instead of being random. They have a set level, sector size, races present, quests, wars, alliances, and even sector modifiers. This seems a little strange for a game that has so much randomness in it, however they create a cool, shared experience. It always starts out the same, but the random events and the players' actions will quickly make an impact. Then everyone can compare how their challenges went. It will be interesting to see how varied the end results will be and what the players decided to do.

Ok, so how about some actual examples? The first challenge starts off with all ten main races present when usually the max is six. It is really crowded and pretty chaotic. In one of my runs, I changed my allegiances at least three times. The fourth challenge starts with most of the sector colonized, only two races are left, and there is a huge war already. You can't possibly make them both happy, so which one do you choose? The twelfth challenge starts with one race in a huge lead, but they are at war with a four much smaller races who are allies with one another. Can the giant win or will all of the bees sting it to death? Even more importantly, who will the Drox Operatives help?

Oh, did I mention that the reward chest you get when winning a challenge for the first time is much better than a normal sector? Well it is. :)

aReclusiveMind
06-08-2012, 03:35 PM
I am generally not a big scenario player. I prefer a sandbox to a set encounter. These sound like they integrate well into the existing sandbox dynamic gameplay though, so I will likely give them a go until I beat them all. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

spiritofcat
06-08-2012, 03:37 PM
That sounds like a really cool idea!
A lot of these random map games tend to have some form of hand-built areas.
Be it boss fight locations or special puzzle sections.
It's a good way for you as the developer to have some control over the user's experience and direct things the way you want them rather than leaving the whole experience random.

I look forward to giving these challenges a go and comparing my experience to others.

Castruccio
06-08-2012, 05:05 PM
Great idea. The level 100 challenge might even satisfy those looking to claim they have "beaten" the game.

Shadow
06-08-2012, 05:10 PM
Great idea. The level 100 challenge might even satisfy those looking to claim they have "beaten" the game.

That was actually the basic reason behind the original idea before they became challenges. It gives a nice overhead type of goal that is persistent across the sectors.

theonlystd
06-08-2012, 05:22 PM
I can haz play yet?

gornova
06-09-2012, 09:15 AM
nice idea, I want to play Drox soon :D
And beat all challenges, here on forum we can share experience on single challenges, best setups and so on :D

PixelLord
06-09-2012, 11:28 AM
nice idea, I want to play Drox soon :D

I'm thinking just a few more days. Don't hold me to that though.

torikamal
06-09-2012, 11:57 AM
I love these challenges ideas!
I second Pixelord's claim--though again, don't hold us to it! :D

aReclusiveMind
06-09-2012, 03:39 PM
My wife has asked me to give her a few days notice before I become emotionally unavailable and for-go my earthly responsibilities, so I appreciate the heads up gentlemen. Bring on the challenges, I shall be ready!

Valgor
06-10-2012, 09:57 AM
It gives a nice overhead type of goal that is persistent across the sectors.

But what comes after the player has beaten all the challenges?

PixelLord
06-10-2012, 10:44 AM
But what comes after the player has beaten all the challenges?

Uh... You go on to try and save the universe, of course. It is estimated that there are between 100 billion and 500 billion galaxies in the universe. So after beating all the challenges and saving the galaxy, all you have to do is repeat the process 300 billion more times to save the universe. :D

Shadow
06-10-2012, 11:00 AM
But what comes after the player has beaten all the challenges?

Like our previous games, you can continue to play normal sectors as long as you want.

Valgor
06-10-2012, 11:44 AM
I know, I was just kidding.
Trying to beat all of the challenges will take me long enough, I guess.

PixelLord
06-10-2012, 12:01 PM
I know, I was just kidding.

I knew that. So was I, of course. ;)

Valgor
06-10-2012, 12:10 PM
Funny if there was an actual achievement for saving 300 billion sectors. A life-time achievement, so to speak...
Just imagine the faces of hardcore completionist gamers when they see "Master of the Universe - Save 300.000.000.000 sectors" listed among the list of achievements.

Shadow
06-10-2012, 12:54 PM
There are achievements, not any for saving a billion sectors though. :)

I should mention that challenges are all data driven so I would guess that modders will add more of them.

Castruccio
06-10-2012, 12:57 PM
There are achievements, not any for saving a billion sectors though. :)

I should mention that challenges are all data driven so I would guess that modders will add more of them.

Here's looking at you Bluddy.

Valgor
06-10-2012, 03:26 PM
Will these replace the regular challenges, or will user-created challenges be handled separately?

aReclusiveMind
06-10-2012, 04:12 PM
There are achievements, not any for saving a billion sectors though. :)

I should mention that challenges are all data driven so I would guess that modders will add more of them.

Awesome news. It sounds like we are all going to be very pleased with the amount of content being offered.

ShaggyMoose
06-11-2012, 02:34 AM
I like the idea. Hand crafted challenges every few "universes" will balance out the classic procedural gameplay. It will provide an opportunity for interesting set pieces that are practically impossible to create with the standard "emergent" model that Soldak has used. However, does this mean that the player can be in a position where they cannot beat one of the challenge levels and so become stuck? Or can these levels be skipped?

Speaking of challenges, any chance of getting achievements added? I am not really a fan of the "you reached stage 2" types of achievements, but those that focus on non-obvious or just plain strange gameplay achievements I find interesting.

EDIT: I forgot that DC-DW already has achievements, so I guess that DO will have them as well... I thought the DC achievements were generally pretty well thought out as well.

Valgor
06-11-2012, 08:08 AM
However, does this mean that the player can be in a position where they cannot beat one of the challenge levels and so become stuck? Or can these levels be skipped?

To my understanding, playing a challenge is entirely optional, which means you don't get stuck at, say, level 12 because your current character can't beat the challenge unlocked at that level.

That said, is there an overarching storyline tying all the challenges together into one big "campaign" ?

PixelLord
06-11-2012, 09:44 AM
I like the idea. Hand crafted challenges every few "universes" will balance out the classic procedural gameplay. It will provide an opportunity for interesting set pieces that are practically impossible to create with the standard "emergent" model that Soldak has used. However, does this mean that the player can be in a position where they cannot beat one of the challenge levels and so become stuck? Or can these levels be skipped?

Speaking of challenges, any chance of getting achievements added? I am not really a fan of the "you reached stage 2" types of achievements, but those that focus on non-obvious or just plain strange gameplay achievements I find interesting.

EDIT: I forgot that DC-DW already has achievements, so I guess that DO will have them as well... I thought the DC achievements were generally pretty well thought out as well.

Achievements are there just like in DC-DW. They are slightly different, of course. As far as the challenges, there is also an achievement for each quadrant won (4 sectors/quadrant) as well as for saving the Galaxy.

Challenges are unlocked by reaching a certain level of experience; but currently it appears that the sectors in the challenges are sequential (you have to win one sector to move on to the next). If you couldn't win a sector and wanted to skip it, I don't think that's possible right now. Shadow will have to verify that. So I guess you could feel "stuck" if you were not able to win a sector after many attempts. However, I think this is highly unlikely due to the random nature of the game. Also, you could always go back to the regular game and level up a few times and increase the power of your ship. Then you'd be powerful enough to beat a problem challenge level as their difficulty is not based on the power of your character.

Shadow
06-11-2012, 11:35 AM
Will these replace the regular challenges, or will user-created challenges be handled separately?

There isn't any reason to replace the regular challenges unless a modder wanted to.

However, does this mean that the player can be in a position where they cannot beat one of the challenge levels and so become stuck? Or can these levels be skipped?

You can never really get stuck because you always have the option of playing a regular sector, so you can level up all you want and then come back to a challenge sector.

That said, is there an overarching storyline tying all the challenges together into one big "campaign" ?

No, I wouldn't call it a storyline.

goodgimp
06-11-2012, 11:39 AM
So this brought up a question for me (someone who has followed the game's development to some degree, but not read up on all the posts): What is the length of a typical random Sector? Are they equivalent of a "town" in Din's Curse that you spend a few hours in? Does a single sector encompass the "4X" experience, then you start over with the new sectors or are they carried over from sector to sector?

Thanks!

Shadow
06-11-2012, 11:48 AM
What is the length of a typical random Sector? Are they equivalent of a "town" in Din's Curse that you spend a few hours in? Does a single sector encompass the "4X" experience, then you start over with the new sectors or are they carried over from sector to sector?

In general they work like the towns in DC where just your ship is carried over to the next sector. I think the smaller sectors are similar in length the the DC towns.

goodgimp
06-11-2012, 12:22 PM
Hmmm, that's interesting. So what about the large sectors, how big can you make those suckers? If I wanted to go for as long/epic of a 4X sector as I could, what would I be looking at (if you don't mind me asking)?

The challenge sectors sound really good, by the way. I like procedurally generated content but this will be a nice benchmark that everyone can relate to and share.

Shadow
06-11-2012, 12:41 PM
Currently the sector sizes work out something like this:
tiny - 5 star systems
small - 12 star systems
medium - 25 star systems
large - 37 star systems
huge - 50 star systems

I have no idea how long a game would take in the larger sectors. :)

goodgimp
06-11-2012, 12:47 PM
Thanks for the info! Eagerly awaiting this title, as always.

aReclusiveMind
06-11-2012, 01:12 PM
You know, I think I could answer these questions for all of you with a beta copy of the game. I have some time tonight, so all I really need is the game and we can get to the bottom of this.

gornova
06-11-2012, 02:05 PM
There isn't any reason to replace the regular challenges unless a modder wanted to.


You can mod even challenges? This is good!

PixelLord
06-11-2012, 02:32 PM
You know, I think I could answer these questions for all of you with a beta copy of the game. I have some time tonight, so all I really need is the game and we can get to the bottom of this.

I think I'm as anxious for the game to reach beta as you, aReclusiveMind. :)

Valgor
06-11-2012, 06:54 PM
No, I wouldn't call it a storyline.

Well, there's already something for a potential expansion pack.

theonlystd
06-11-2012, 09:08 PM
can I give them my money yet

Naed
06-17-2012, 08:16 PM
can I give them my money yet

Yes, you can :)

http://www.soldak.com/Drox-Operative/Buy.html