so many ideas; so little time

a long time ago I promised to someday get eight-player local co-op implemented… that day has finally arrived! well, or that month, anyway >_> when I release 0.9.1 at the end of this month, we’ll absolutely have support for eight-player co-op. I already have it working, barring any bugs I haven’t discovered (though I don’t expect there to be many – it was a pretty straight-forward addition).

I’m also adding a new co-op option! in addition to being either a normal ship, or an orbital, you’ll now be able to play as the mothership (seen in the tutorial). the mothership gets its own share of the screen, as with normal split-screen co-op, but UNLIKE normal co-op, the mothership does not have a physical presence on the level – it doesn’t fly around the level blasting things and collecting fuel.

instead, the mothership has a new/unique mouse-driven UI which allows the player to help the other player(s) in various ways, for example by firing columns of death upon the planet, upgrading or repairing ship parts it’s holding on to, picking up and pinpointing outpost signals at the moment of entering a planet, changing the weather of the planet, etc.

I haven’t nailed down the exact mechanics for all of these effects (or even what the full list of effects might be), but several, at least, will be in the form of managing system power in order to build effects over time. here is a mockup which might give you a better idea of what I’m thinking:

mothership ui mockup

though the main interface is obviously different, the same mini-map and fuel progress that other players see will also be displayed to the mothership, as this will be used to target some effects, such as the firing of your death laser.

finally: is all of this interesting? will managing progress bars be fun? >_>

I do have some concerns about phrases like “managing progress bars”, but there’s really only one way to find out: build it, and try it! I’ll definitely be giving the mothership as many opportunities to interact with the other player(s) as possible, but if the everything mentioned above isn’t interesting enough on its own, I’ve thought of a few other ways we might be able to spice things up for the mothership player:

  • give the mothership a way to take emergency actions at some cost… for example, perhaps the death laser could be fired early, but at a cost of damaging other systems, or applying some debuff (blindness/sensor malfunction??)
  • give the mothership other threats which it must occasionally respond to, for example a meteor shower could make the mothership decide between reallocating resources to blast away the meteors, or allowing the meteors to fall to the planet, where they might strike the other player(s)

I’m really enjoying adding these completely-new/weird co-op modes to Mysterious Space; I hope you guys are enjoying playing them πŸ™‚

I’ll definitely post again, when there’s more to show!

thanks for reading πŸ™‚

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