Alien Worlds, Part II: Interaction

In the last post I explained how the game generates endless interesting looking planets of various types.

Game play-wise, I want planets to be a little like treasure chests in fantasy RPGs: sometimes dangerous, sometimes empty, often rewarding and always providing the potential for mystery and discovery.

Player scanning a planet

When players reach a new planet, they can conduct a scan of it. This can reveal nothing, an immediate discovery (giving the player Research Points), or a Surface Anomaly.

If the planet has a surface anomaly, the player can send a survey team down to the planet’s surface to investigate. Anomalies can be potentially dangerous, claiming the lives of the player’s crew, but many will reward the player with minerals, research points, and/or useful information. Sometimes finding a particular anomaly will be necessary for completing a mission.

An example of an interactive planet anomaly
An example of an interactive planet anomaly

Many anomalies will require the player to make a choice. Do they send their team on the risky path for potentially greater reward? Have they learned enough to guess how best to study the derelict vessel?

Most anomalies the player encounters will be unique in the game. Some will be recurring. Others will only occur in sequence, allowing the anomalies to layout a particular story.