10/11/2021 in devlog
A new community challenge has started: Faction Expansion! Plus Fabian goes over how "Faction Contracts" will work in the future.
If you check the forums or Discord occasionally, you might already have seen some posts and talk about the Faction Expansion Challenge. Fabian and I came up with that idea last time we met at the simulogics HQ, and here is what it's about:
In the recent past, we were contacted by several players asking when player-built commodity exchanges were going to be introduced to the game. These players wanted to expand beyond faction space and the nearby systems in order to start a new buzzing hub in the great beyond. For new hubs to really take off, commodity exchanges are a necessity since even a dense network of Local Markets cannot completely replace a CX.
Unfortunately player-built commodity exchanges are not on the immediate to-do list. When Fabian and I met last week, we had the idea that while player-built CXs are not an option, developer-built ones actually are! So we came up with the idea of the Faction Expansion Challenge.
The challenge’s premise is to create settlements outside the usual faction space, planets, and systems. Sufficiently developed regions will then eventually be rewarded with a commodity exchange in the system they selected beforehand.
The challenge has four phases and you can read more about it the first forum topic. Right now we entered the second phase "registration" and there are the first few registrations with more coming in the next days.
So, if you are up for a challenge, don't hesitate to contact the players posting the registrations (so far everyone is looking for participants) or start your own!
Last week was all about filling in the details of the NPC-driven contract system, or "faction contracts," as I'm now calling them. The current idea is that you'll regularly get messages from your official faction contact person in order to embed the tasks properly into the lore (and interface) of the game. The first few faction contracts will introduce some basic features and provide some more immersive, "in-game" guidance than the existing help and wiki systems.
Pretty soon, however, you'll transition into a system of (semi-)randomly generated contracts. Those will involve things like traditional shipping contracts or provisioning a certain commodity, but also, for example, exploration tasks that will ask you to visit a certain planet. On the one hand those contracts will provide players who are not super self-driven and willing to find their own fun with regular "bite-sized" goals, but they will also be a way of injecting currency into the game (a responsibility currently mostly resting on the shoulders of the market makers).
As always, the devil is in the details there, since the contracts are supposed to be quite varied in terms of tasks, deadlines, distances and so on, but also pay fairly. So we'll need a system that dynamically determines sensible rewards given a contract's specific parameters. I'm thinking this might even involve a less calculable factor, such as your "faction reputation". But more on that another time!
If you haven't heard the news, we have a new named planet: Danakil aka OT-422b! Big thanks to everyone who participated, I noticed that we had a lot more people involved this go-around. We will of course be doing it again soon but now it's all about the Faction Expansion Challenge. Be expecting more annoucements about this activity since it's really our first big community challenge and we want to get as many people involved as possible. We would like to do more things like this in the future if it goes well and we see that players enjoy it.
Last week, I was also working with Martin and the others on hiring a Community Manager for AirlineSim and I think we are in the ending stages, so hopefully we will be announcing someone soon! I also finished up a few influencer contracts for this month, which I also hope to announce soon. Very busy week indeed.