GAME DESIGN DOCUMENT
This is the Game Design Document (GDD) for Project Universe (PU), what you see here is a Work-In-Progress (WIP) development (dev) plan outlining various aspects of PU. It is designed to explain initial game-play aboard the fleet such as farming, combat, material handling, crafting, etc. We’re initially avoiding space flight and planetary content to prevent overwhelming our dev team, we’ll expand upon them once we’re further along in development and are comfortable adding them.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- 1 – LORE
- 1.1 – SETTING
- 1.2 – STORY
- 2 – ZONES
- 2.1 – GENERATION SHIPS
- 2.1.1 – COMMERCIAL
- 2.1.2 – INDUSTRIAL
- 2.1.3 – RESIDENTIAL
- 2.1.4 – RESTRICTED
- 2.1 – GENERATION SHIPS
- 3 – GAME-PLAY
- 3.1 – VIRTUAL MALL
- 3.2 – FARMING
- 3.3 – ASTEROID HARVESTING
- 3.4 – FLEET DEFENSE
- 3.5 – EXPEDITIONS
- 3.1 – VIRTUAL MALL
After colonizing our own solar system and securing access to the raw materials across the various planets and asteroids we turned our sights to the rest of the Milky Way Galaxy. Due to the lack of Faster Than Light (FTL), cryogenic (cryo), and teleportation technology we created what are called generation ships providing everything humans require to thrive in deep space. People can spend their whole lives aboard these spacecraft from birth to death, hence the name.
- Farm to provide sustenance for the fleet.
- Harvest asteroids for raw resources.
- Explore derelict stations and spacecraft of varying size.
- Defend the fleet against hostile encounters.
Players will not (initially):
- Pilot spacecraft
- Land on planets
Fun fact: Alpha Centauri is our nearest neighboring solar system about 4.3 Light Years (LY) away from us, this means if we’re going 100% the speed of light it’ll take 4.3 years to get there.
The year is WIP as humanity has begun colonizing solar systems on their trek towards the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. The players are aboard the first colony fleet and are experiencing our galaxy for the first time. As the fleet comes across colonizable planets they send a group of colonizers down to setup a new home for humans and the colony fleet continues on their way without that colonizer group. The colonizers remain on the planet and establish a foothold for humanity. The players remain with the fleet and are in charge of supplying all of the resources necessary to rebuild and stock a new colonizer group. Players will be growing food, mining asteroids, and even exploring derelict stations and spaceships along the way of unknown origins, where they will encounter new aliens and technology.
NOTE: When the game releases is when the main story will become playable. There will be story building prior to this, but the main story will not be available until release.
Our story begins all of a sudden when humanity passes through a barrier that slows down the whole fleet causing chaos and many ships to explode. The players find themselves in a solar system sized Dyson sphere with a barrier connecting massive stations together that make up the sphere. As a scout craft attempts to leave the barrier they are blown up by an electrical surge from barrier and this is when humanity realizes they’re prisoners in this solar system for the time being.
As humanity turns its eyes towards the rest of the solar system they see a series of planets and three stars in the center with one in the dead center, one towards the top center and bottom center. You get the idea that this solar system is not natural, but is instead manufactured, but for what purpose? You begin scanning what’s around and see that one of the planets is surrounded by a massive debris field. The planet it’s surrounding is a larger than Earth desert planet and the debris field appears to be from a huge variety of different alien species. As you’re gathering data a massive orb of light begins building up near the debris surrounding planet and after a few hours a massive laser tears through a portion of the fleet killing untold numbers, it strikes the barrier violently, but does not penetrate. You scramble together to get the fleet to safety and begin speeding off towards your destination. The players are now free to roam their spaceships and do whatever it is they choose. Tons of new options open up to the players and we begin telling the story of how humanity hopefully survives.
2.1: GENERATION SHIPS
Generation Ships (GS) are designed to be modular providing a huge array of game-play elements. We’re initially creating a single GS as a template for the various zones each GS will house, these templates will make it easier to create additional GS’s. Some zones are customizable by players (their homes and private work spaces), server owners (the general external and internal design of the ship), and business partners (their representation in the mall). Some of the initial zones include:
- Commercial – where players can purchase/sell in-game content and real-world goods/services from our business partners aka the Virtual Mall
- Industrial – equipment and vehicle manufacturing, asteroid harvesting, cargo
- Residential – player homes, guild halls
- Restricted – various locations throughout the ship are restricted initially such as the bridge, engine room, and research labs.
The Virtual Mall is the primary commercial zone players will access, it functions as the player lobby and location where all of our business partners are represented.
- Buy/sell everything they acquire through game-play with the global market. IE: equipment, tools, weaponry, vehicles, and resources.
- Purchase goods/services from our business partners, with the affiliate links our business partners provide us we’ll receive a commission from each sale funding development.
When a player needs to craft, salvage, research, or anything else work related they’ll go to the appropriate industrial zone for the task at hand.
- Farm – is the first game mode we’re creating as it’s easy to balance and provides a fun simple way to play for long periods. These farms may be tilled land or hydroponic farms. Tilled farms may be more aesthetic for some players, while others may prefer the condensed nature of hydroponic farms.
- Asteroid Bay – is where players will harvest most of the raw resources they’ll require throughout the game. Asteroid wranglers go out, acquire an asteroid, return it to the asteroid bay, players then harvest what they can from it, and the process indefinitely repeats itself.
- Hangar – is where players can embark on mission to explore derelict stations or spacecraft. As the players go through the mission they’ll be able to salvage various resources, however they must successfully complete mission to acquire the resources. If the player dies during the mission everything is lost. Some missions may allow players to ship off the salvage they’ve acquired up to that point.
- Training – we’ll need to test everything we create, these training areas will be where we test any equipment or vehicles we create. It’ll also provide a way for players to hone their skills against other players, alien encounters, and practice taking down dangerous opponents.
- Cargo Deck – is where players will handle all of their inventory needs allowing them move around the equipment, vehicles, raw resources, and everything else they acquire. They’ll be able to see all of the physical representations of what they acquire, upgrade all of their equipment and vehicles (including painting), and create emergency supply pods for mid mission rearm and refits.
Residential zones are where players will have access to their home or guild halls.
- Players homes are entirely customizable, provide access to automation services (IE: farming and asteroid harvesting), provide modular upgrade slots to the players preferred play style, and much more.
- Guild halls provide a toggle-able public/private meeting area to show off group achievements. A special encounter may provide a special decorative art piece, weapon creation station, and other specialty stuff.
Restricted zones are areas we are not creating until further along in development to prevent overwhelming our small volunteer development team with too much content to make until we’re properly funded/staffed.
- Player hangar – the other hangar is for AI player controlled craft, the player hangar is where players will store, upgrade, and repair their spacecraft.
- Bridge – essentially cosmetic, but can be used to provide players and guilds with specialty missions and equipment.
- Research lab – eventually a salvage mechanic will come into play. The R&D lab will be where players investigate what they need to gather from to further research. This’ll be used as a way to allow players to choose what we develop next. Players can choose to salvage various alien equipment and through the process of their acquisition and it’ll provide us feedback on technology players may like to use.
3.1: VIRTUAL MALL
The virtual mall is a core design element which features all of our business partners as in-game stores or kiosks allowing players to purchase from any of them. Once the sale is completed the company will send us a small percent commission as a thanks for us providing them with a sale. This is the primary source of funding once it is functioning properly and secure.
Additionally it’ll be where players go to buy/sell/exchange a wide array of in-game content such as equipment, upgrades, vehicles, consumables, raw resources, and everything else.
Lastly since it is a key location where players will spend a lot of time it is to be as inviting as possible, it’ll be a wide open area with several stories of empty space allowing us to fill it with all sorts of cool stuff, such as arcades, art pieces, museum pieces, and so much more. Players will connect to other games, services, and various other content through here.
The initial game-play mode that’ll be available. Through its development we’ll create most of the programming features we require for the rest of the game-play elements such as movement, inventory, the global market, etc.
3.3: ASTEROID HARVESTING
This is supplemental mode will allow us to introduce additional elements to further complete the GS experience. It allows us to develop on global events, introduce crafting, etc.
3.4: FLEET DEFENSE
A special global event mode where aliens, humans, or robots invade the fleet requiring the players to defend it or reclaim it. We can restrict access to infected/over-ran locations until the players are able to clear the areas. Global events are going to be a regularly utilized system, so it’s important that we get it working early.
Anything that takes a player away from their GS is typically considered an expedition. Players will go on expeditions to derelict spacecraft and stations, of which will have different play styles such as search & destroy, recon, bug hunt, salvage, horde modes, etc. Additionally expeditions may consist of several different game modes and last anywhere from a few hours to days or even months.