Click to de-shrink
Argh, I’m having trouble with words at the moment. For now please accept these new screenies and this intriguing link in lieu of a post. I’ll come back and fill the words in tomorrow.
Okay, I’m back. Here’s what’s going on:
Captain Jameson got fun. It seems obvious now – all I had to do was remove the sucky part. Originally you would drop a passenger off at a station, then start the game again with a new ship. These 10 minute sessions would accumulate into a 60 hour game which was both frustrating and tedious. Whoops. Losing your ship felt more like punishment than reward, tracking over the same terrain was dull, the reward of accessing a new station was delayed right until the end of the next play session when you made your way back out there, and building up your ship seemed futile when you knew you couldn’t keep it. An obvious solution stared me in the face, and I stared right back. Of course I could let the player unlock each station without losing their ship. They could access the station’s services then be on their way. I couldn’t do it however, as the whole game would be over in just 10 minutes and I wanted to make Jameson far more substantial. Eventually I buckled, accepting that a fun 10 minutes trumped 60 hours of tedium. I added a docking station as an Angband-style save point (enter dock and your ship is saved, leave dock and your ship is vulnerable), and set off into the black.
10 minutes passed and my game did not finish. I had not explored to the outer rim of the system. I had not built an all-conquering Juliet class behemoth. I’d been busy just liberating the four stations clustered inside the starting asteroid field and making tentative scouting runs. An hour and a half later I acquired my first Delta level modules and put the ship back in dock. I had to stop playing to calm my nerves. I hadn’t found a bank station yet so all my wealth was invested in my ship, and all 90 minutes of play time could be lost at the tap of a ramming spike. Sure, the stations I’d liberated would still be free and my knowledge of the area would come in handy, but I’d still be stuck in a bare command module. I had to be very, very careful. The game went on, spread out across 10 hours and 11 play sessions. Some times I’d duck in for 15 minutes to collect some scrap or scout a promising cluster, other times I’d play a solid two hours, pushing out beyond known space and finding new routes though the asteroid fields. At the link I posted earlier you can see that I explored only ~15% of the map. Finally I located a Juliet class oxy station, fought off a pirate ambush, and declared the game won. Won and wonderful.
There’s lots more I want to add to Captain Jameson, but first I want to get it out so people can start playing. With this in mind I spun out a list of ~50 tasks to complete before launch, including the improved bubble shield graphics and station identification pictured above. There’s still much to do, but the game is fun so I’m sure I’ll get it done.