the interface boxes and tasks reasons

the interface boxes and tasks reasons

2024-03-26 Uncategorized 0

I wanted to have some devices to operate for the endless mode. The problem is that I wanted to avoid adding completely new stuff that would not be seen in the already familiar locations. That’s unless I would add that there as well.

I needed something that could be reused for various purposes or could just work as a decoration. Enter interface boxes. These are devices that hang on walls. If they’re important for the task, they will open automatically if required. This is all justified by the narrative/lore.

The first tasks you are given are about reconnaissance. You wander around the place, automatically scan the surroundings and transmit the data back to your ship. When you get back and there’s enough data gathered (hidden “intel points” currency) you are given access to more advanced tasks. The narrative packs it into a reusable description, something like:

“Data analysis of background noise has revealed unusual communication between the devices in the area. Recorded signal can be used to access interface boxes.”

There are multiple reasons that fit certain tasks. They are chosen upon task completion and are stored, so they can be reused in the briefing for the advanced tasks. This should give a sense of progress and continuity.

For example: if you are sent to bring back certain items, you will learn that one of the items has been modified and was sending weird communication. It turns out that this signal could be used to open certain interface boxes. When you hack these boxes, you will learn that there’s an intrusion happening and you have to stop it. That’s your “final” task in the task chain.

Then you start all over again with the same starting tasks that are chained together differently and conclude with one of the possible final tasks. Instead of making tasks on the fly by mixing possible objectives, I decided to keep the objectives simple and just change the narrative a bit. From the gameplay perspective, although the actual missions are the same (except for the map procedurally generated), the way they chain is different. As the reasons are chosen at random, you may learn different stuff that will lead to different tasks. This might be enough to get things going for a while.

How is it connected to the interface boxes? Currently, most of the missions are focused around the interface boxes. You find them, hack them, steal stuff from them, destroy them. They are convenient in that they can be placed in almost every possible zone. And until they open you have no idea what they do. They can be even mixed, so you may have always locked boxes and task-important ones.

They were also easy to add them to the story mode without changing much. They just fit into the background and look like some other devices on the wall. The players will only learn about their functionality when they play the endless mode.

In other news, I hoped to get things done by the end of 2024Q1 and I could do the minimum to meet that deadline but decided to delay it. The bulk of work required for the endless mode was moving slowly but when I started to do the actual tasks things really sped up and it turned out that the tasks are much easier and quicker to add (there are already more types of tasks than I initially planned).

Also, I will be adding a new biome that could be just a very big “outer rim” but I’d prefer to enhance it a bit. This was required as one of the tasks turned out to be easy to farm experience and merits. In “exploration” you have to visit as many map cells as possible. For standard rules, if you follow the objective marker, this is not a problem. For complex rules, you could move to the border cells and use them to move quickly. Also, they have a low number of opponents, so it makes it even easier. The task itself was ok, it allowed you just to walk around the place but the temptation to abuse it would kick in at some point. That’s why I decided to introduce a suitable biome now and have the “exploration” task there while dropping it from “the outer rim”.