Dark Empire Arc - first major new content piece?


Org Co-Founder & Project Lead
So in thinking about what our first bit of new content could be I've figured we could combine the ease of adding new solar systems (just tweak a number!) with @metouto's "Evil Empire" art assets.

With the hull restructure started by @Linus and finished by @SimonC4 we're in a good position to add some new ships and structures. And having a new faction gives some purpose to adding another solar system (rather than just more of the same).

So here's a grouped set of related tweaks/ideas - first the basics:
  • Increment the solar systems to 3
  • Enhance and fix up the faction system a bit, such as correcting the typo in the "Fraction" and "FractionMan" classes + related notes :) There is some (fairly primitive looking?) code dealing with determining whether two ships are enemies
  • Add the actual "Dark Empire" faction. Leaving it vague whether they are truly evil, more flexibility for later work ;)
  • Prepare new ships using @metouto's assets, they should probably have pretty high stats
  • Make the new ships solely spawn in the third system including a space station + planet landing pads
  • Get a few more assets to fill in some gaps. We need a dark empire turret of some sort, probably a dark version of the tiny imperial ship (player starting ship), and maybe a couple more advanced ideas further down. @metouto you up for that? :)
  • At least two planets should exist in the new system, one for the dark empire and one for the pirates, complete with turrets and landing pads of the appropriate faction (hostile landing pad for dark empire planet, neutral one on the pirate planet akin to the starting system). Any extra planet(s) assign randomly to either faction present.
Then we can build on that with a few more interesting pieces
  • Have the dark empire set as hostile to pirates and miners in the new system
  • Enable the explorer AI for the dark empire so they'll have ships out patrolling for pirates
  • Make a boss ships for the dark imperials. Maybe something similar to the desert boss, just more sleak in the imperial style
  • Make a carrier ship for the dark imperials, a reskinned "bus" probably. For starters just have it created and fly around with a static tiny dark fighter or two and some guns
  • Create a new weapon or two for the dark empire to specialize in
And finally to get really fancy:
  • Add a new standings system so the player can befriend the dark empire (and thus likely offend the normal empire)
  • Gain dark empire standing by using one of the new weapons to "enslave" mining ships - make the weapon only work when shields are down and instead of destroying the target ship if it runs out of HP change the skin to a "dark miner" indicating it works for the dark empire now
    • This could cause the player to lose standing with the regular empire
  • Gain standing with both empires by killing pirates anywhere
  • Gain standing with the normal empire by killing dark empire ships
  • If you gain enough good faction with the dark empire make them friendly to the player, allowing you to land on their station and gain access to their items and ships (maybe fancier ships require higher standing)
  • If you gain enough bad standing with the normal empire make them go hostile. Then killing those ships gains dark empire standing
  • Change player spawning rules. Allow spawning with either empire if standing is high enough. If the player somehow antagonizes both empire allow use of the "bus" as a neutral faction spawn point
  • And finally make the fighters on the dark empire carrier functional - make them launch and hunt targets, with new fighters respawning on the deck if old ones are destroyed :cool: If the player gains access to fly the carrier this would work that way too
That seems like a pretty good todo list for what could be an exciting release on Steam, maybe enough to do the "significant update" marketing push. Probably call it v2.0.0 while we're at it (sounds "major" to me!)

Lots of interesting future potential this could lead to as well, like planting turrets on a planet belonging to either empire faction, affecting the ships active in the area. Then start adding mining deposits and such that the turrets could be protecting from pirates ..


New Member
I like it! :) Since I feel like adding (a multiple of) 2 cents:

I very much enjoy the idea of being able to gain or lose standing with factions. In fact, I would (eventually) aim to go as far as to include pirates in that. It's going to be a little bit more complicated since pirates tend to cooperate in relatively small groups, making it necessary to add several more factions, possibly even a theoretically infinite number if we choose to expand the gameplay such that the universe is procedurally generated ad infinitum. But I'm confident that it's far from impossible. ;)
This is not something that I would try and build for a possible 2.0. But it's probably a good idea to keep in mind what we might want to add in the future (given that this is in everyone's interest, that is).

I'm wondering if it makes sense to additionally be able to interact with enemies and allies in a non-shooty fashion, like talking to them through some standardized phrases or even fulfilling certain "quests" to prove your intentions are indeed what you claim them to be (this must sound hilariously awkward to native speakers :D). Which would help with joining a faction in a more systematic manner.

The faction system as far as it appears in the game so far definitely needs some altering, especially when going about adding standings with each faction. At the moment, it's impossible to hit friendly ships even when directly firing at them, since the shots simply pass through (or above) the ship or structure. Changing that to always being able to hit allies might prove a bad idea as well -- if you're in a fire fight with enemies and you've brought allies, it's very likely you're going to hit one of the latter, probably even multiple times. It may be complicated to distinguish the situations in which friendly fire was "inevitable" from those in which it was indeed intended.
A possible solution would be to have an option of enabling / disabling friendly fire while still trying to acquire a basic idea of whether a shot was intentional or just an accident.

Yep, that's what I can come up with for now.


Org Co-Founder & Project Lead
Your English is fine, and I'm not even a native speaker :D

The "enslaving" mechanic is actually me trying to approach something like a quest, just without having any non-shooty framework to approach it with yet. So special weapon + special action on "death" = standing increase

Distant Worlds is one of my go-to games for inspiration, and it has a ton of different pirate factions that may fight each other or even get paid off by the player to provide "protection", attack others, or even do non-combat smuggling missions. So we could always start putting logos on the pirate ships (probably a way to dynamically paint a decal on top of the base texture) to turn them into distinct factions.

As for handling friendly fire ... yeah that gets a lot trickier. I'm mildly drawn to having all weapons hit everything and let the context determine what happens. Do a little minor damage to an ally in a firefight? That's probably okay. Accidentally fire a missile at a friendly station? Ooops, you get a fine. Anything more severe and friendships start breaking and bounties start getting attached with you getting temporarily flagged KOS by some entities.

Akin to turning "reverse" into a gameplay system (rather than just implement it everywhere give the player the option to install reverse thrusters, but at a fitting cost) maybe friendly fire could be an option in some types of weapons. Some lasers could be said to be tuned to a certain frequency that the shields of your allies are immune to, homing missiles could be programmed to not hit friendly targets, and so on.

Rather than see obstacles, see opportunities! :cool:


Active Member
  • We need a dark empire turret of some sort, probably a dark version of the tiny imperial ship (player starting ship), and maybe a couple more advanced ideas further down. @@metouto you up for that? :)
Hi Cervator ..... I'm working days for the next few weeks right now with little time to spare ....... but ...... when I get back on nights will see what I can come up with (if you are still needing them) ......
  1. Dark Empire Turret
  2. Dark Version of the Tiny Imperial Ship
  3. couple more advanced ideas further down ??????


Org Co-Founder & Project Lead
@metouto - yep! And no rush we have enough assets to get started :)

The couple other ship ideas are:
  • A reskinned "bus" (the colorful thing with two landing spots) into a carrier of some sort, a large ship that could launch fighters, maybe with two of the tiny ships on its flight deck
  • Maybe another large ship around that size as a "regular" capital ship of sorts. Could be similar to the desert boss but in the style of the dark empire (so more hard angles and such). This could be tricky as the outline would probably change, so leave this one for last.