I like to include plenty of detail in my posts so readers and would-be contributors to the topic have plenty to latch onto to keep the discussion going. So if you’re not up for some reading, best avoid this one.
So, When playing the game both in normal and creative, I find myself spending a lot of time either working on resource gathering to build my base up or searching through all the different systems nearby for nice ships with some help from the Economy Scanner and it got me thinking… What would be a nice new system that would stick to the same gameplay loop of grinding resources, units and nanites, insure the player still has plenty of reason to venture from their current system or their comfort zone, but allow the player to bypass the need to search every system they jump to for a Starship that, in their eyes, is perfect despite the randomization? Shipyards!
So imagine this: Each inhabited system has a primary species occupying it, yeah? Well, looking at the NMS Wiki, this bit of info shows the number of ship types that circulate the Space Station in those systems depending on the species that runs it.
We also have the Economy Scanner which can be equipped to our Starship to allow the player to see the wealth (or lack thereof) of a nearby system before we decide to jump there.
So, knowing the species and economy, we can then determine if that systems Space Station has a Shipyard and what sort of parts it might offer. Low wealth systems would not have Shipyards and Medium ones would only have 50%-70% of the parts that exist, meaning the best looking and most useful parts (on top of being the most expensive) would be reserved for specifically High wealth systems. Gek stations would have Hauler parts, Korvax would have Explorer, and Vy’keen the Fighters respectively. Beyond that is the last big limitation that you cannot build an S-Class Starship or use the parts that are specific to the uniquely designed ones.
With this, it can be ensured that players still have a reason to search for a randomly generated ship that is an S-Class that looks to their liking while providing the player an extra level of attachment to their Starship should they opt to build their own.
Now, once a player reaches a system that would offer the parts they desire for the Starship of their choosing (this meaning the player must first own that particular type of ship to work with), the player then has to collect specific resources depending on the part they want for their ship. With those resources and a fair amount of units, the player can then have that desired part put on their ship to replace whatever was there before. To keep from slowly killing off the gameplay loop, the player would not be able to put the old part back on their ship unless they do the required resource grind for it. Nanites could be used in fair amounts when in the Shipyard to alter a part (or the whole ships) color. Perhaps allow Primary, Secondary and Tertiary options for colors as with Character Customization. Since the base building allows players to select the material then the color, I can see that being a viable option here, too.
Furthermore, there could be an added incentive to grind the resources a little more. The most inventory space a Starship can have is currently 48 slots. For an example of further depth in Ship Building, lets say you are in a Wealthy Gek Space Station customizing your Hauler. They have the option to attach the four massive sphere-shaped tanks onto the Hauler. Storage parts could have levels attached to them ranging simply from 1-3. While a Level 1 part may set the inventory space to 40, Level 2 would set it 44 and Level 3 to 48. This is the most basic version of this concept, but there are a ton of ways to toy with the numbers and have every part of the ship come in Levels that effect different stats. This would also determine Class based on an average. If all your Starship parts are Level 2, it’s a B-Class. If you have two Level 2 parts and four Level 3 parts, the average makes it an A-Class.
If done right, this would simply add another fun layer of gameplay onto what can already be considered a lot to do without harming the loop. Since you would need to source the correct type of Starship to begin with and then invest time and effort grinding resources like you would be doing regardless, it gives the player slightly more to do. Understandably, this goes against the ‘Everything Procedural’ concept, but since you can customize your own character now and Base Building is already something giving the player the majority of control there, this concept fits in pretty nicely.
If you have any ideas on this, I’d love to hear them. Maybe ways to make it more in-depth or creative? I’m down!