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Cosmic Drifter: A Traveller-Inspired Video Game

Cosmic Drifter: A Traveller-Inspired Video Game

Have you ever wanted to play a Traveller-inspired video game? Check out this little sci-fi JRPG video game I'm working on.

What Is This?

This is my sci-fi JRPG proof-of-concept demo for educational and entertainment purposes.

You can follow the development of this game at MakeYourOwnRPG.com.

You can follow the lore of this game here, at CyborgPrime Games.

Is This A Traveller-Licensed Product?

No, this is just a Traveller-inspired personal project using the Traveller SRD for reference.

If anybody with a Traveller license wants to hire or commission me to work on a real Traveller video game, they are welcome to contact me!

In the meantime, I will endeavor to create a series of video games with a Traveller flavor but ultimately based on my homebrew system.

How Can I Support This Project?

One easy way is by answering some of my Gaming Surveys here and at MakeYourOwnRPG.com.

I am happy to donate my time to this project as a teacher of game design and digital arts.

I will endeavor to use free assets and create original assets when practical.

However, there are some expenses associated that I would appreciate some help with if you are able and interested.

Authoring software like RPG Maker, indie artwork for icons and maps, authoring system plugins, and coffee are ongoing expenses that add up.  I would be very grateful to not carry the expense myself.  Click here for ways to help support this project.

If you have experience with Kickstart or think this is a project that could benefit from something like that, please reach out to me and give me some advice - I have no idea how to get started or if this project is even suitable.

Thank you in advance for your support and interest!

Walk-Through

How do we know you can pull this off?

You can find a 20-minute walk-through video showing the progress I made in my first week here.

Playing The Game

In this game, the player is an interstellar drifter, down on their luck.  They have found their way to an obscure mining colony in search of employment.

Through exploration and interaction with game elements, the player will uncover multiple storylines they can pursue in their quest for interstellar adventure!

Bringing Up Menus

Use the ESC key on the PC to bring up the Main Menu.  From there, you can access your Item Inventory, Skills, and more.

Use the arrow keys to move up and down the menu.

Press Enter to select your choice.

Use the ESC key to back out of menu selection one level at a time.

The Character Sheet

total character sheet

Access the character sheet using ESC> Status> Select Character.

There are 4 main sections to the Character Sheet:

  1. The Character Description
  2. The Status Menu
  3. The Character Overview
  4. The Character Combat Stats and Rank

Let's have a look at each one.

Character Description Panel

character description

This area contains a little descriptive blurb about the selected character.

Status Menu

status menu

Choose various character detail windows using the Status Menu.

Character Overview

character overview

This panel displays:

  • The Character Portrait.
  • The Character Name ("Max").
  • The Character Rank in the current Career (Rank 1).
  • The Character Career (Drifter)
  • The Current and Max Hit Points (HP).
  • The Current and Max Tech Points (TECH)
  • The Character Mortality (MORT)

When a character replaces their organic body parts with cybernetic gear, their humanity (Mortality) is decreased. 

Characters cannot go below 55% Human and maintain their identity.

Combat Stats, Rank, And Experience

character main stats

Combat Stats

Each character is represented by a collection of statistics (STATS) that define the relative strengths and weaknesses of characters compared to other characters.

The Stats are:

Rank (Career Level) - This represents a character's relative experience level in their current career.  LVL can be increased by accomplishing tasks, missions (quests), achievements, and winning battles.

Max HP (Maximum Hit Points) - This represents a character's health, stamina, and overall ability to take damage.  HP can be increased by gaining levels or through the use of skills and items in the game.

Max Tech (Tech) - This represents the character's ability to control technological devices, such as scanners, targeting computers, and starship controls.  Tech can be increased through level advancement or the use of skills, cybernetic augments, or other items.

Offense (Off) - This represents the offensive strength of the character.  Off can be increased by gaining levels or through the use of combat skills, weapons, and items.

Defense (Def) - This represents the defensive strength of the character.  Deff can be increased by gaining levels or through the use of defensive skills, armor, and other items.

Tech Offense (Tech Off) - This represents the offensive strength of the character.  Tech Off can be increased by gaining levels or through the use of combat skills, weapons, and items.

Tech Defense (Tech Def) - This represents the defensive strength of the character.  Tech Def can be increased by gaining levels or through the use of defensive skills, armor, and other items.

Initiative (Init) - This represents the quickness and dexterity of the character and their ability to strike critical blows as well as dodge critical blows in combat. Init can be increased through gaining levels or through the use of skills, cybernetic augments, weapons, or other items.

Fate (Fate) - This represents a character's ability to avoid or inflict secondary effects from attacks.  Fate is increased by gaining levels or through the use of skills, weapons, and items.

Experience

Increase Career Ranks by accumulating Experience Points.

Current Experience - Experience Points are awarded for advancing missions, figuring out puzzles, and winning combat.  XP helps advance your Class LVL.

To Next Rank - The Experience Points accumulated for the next Rank in this Career.

Total Experience For Next Rank - Experience Points required to gain promotion to the next Rank in this career.

Standard Characteristics

character sheet with characteristics

Each character is represented by a collection of statistics that represent different physical and mental aspects.

The higher the number, the stronger the character is n that aspect.

Normal human Characteristics max out at 15. 

This maximum can be overcome by various means within the game, such as cybernetic augmentation.

STR (Strength) - Represents physical strength and influences hand-to-hand damage as well as how much the character can push, pull, and lift.

DEX (Dexterity) - Represents the character's balance and agility.  Dexterity also influences Initiative and Accuracy.

END (Endurance) - Represents a character's toughness and resilience, and influences Hit Points.

INT (Intellect) - Represents a character's smartness and ability to adapt to new situations. Intellect affects Tech and Tech Off.

EDU (Education) - Represents a character's education level and ability to rely on their memory and training.  Education affects Tech and Tech Def.

SOC (Social) - Represents the character's social position.  Lower numbers might mean the character is homeless or gruff and unlikable.  Higher numbers mean the character is well-known or charismatic. 

Skills

Your character can learn various skills to help them accomplish their goals in the game.

Some skills can be used in combat, some skills can be used outside of combat and some skills can be used both in and out of combat.

Some skills are tested passively behind the scenes and change the story depending on outcomes.

Current Skill List
(More skills to come as the game develops)

  • Administration - Interacting with bureaucracies. Reduces Administration fees associated with obtaining licenses, permits, and other documentation.
  • Advocate - Familiarity with interstellar laws. Reduces fines, solicitor fees, helps reduce legal jeopardy from illegal or underworld activities.
  • Astrogation - The ability to navigate within star systems and through Jump Space. Allows fast travel between navigation buoys and places the JumpFrame closer to the intended Jump target.
  • Athletics - Helps with feats of strength, endurance, or dexterity.  Provides bonuses to running, jumping, swimming, climbing, balancing, and other types of physical exertion.
  • Broker - Helps with different aspects of interstellar trade, such as finding cargo, freight, mail, passengers, and finding profitable trade routes.
  • Carouse - The art of socializing.  Use the Carouse skill to help gather rumors at bars or to find Patrons.
  • Comms - Helps with increasing the range of communications devices, jamming, or enhancing comms signals.
  • Computers - Helps with interacting with computers.  Provides bonuses to hacking computerized systems such as door locks, intrusion protection, and crafting programs and computers.
  • Deception - Helps with tricking people, telling convincing lies, misdirecting attention, and sleight of hand.
  • Engineer - Helps with repairs of ship-based or facility-based systems such as power plants, drive systems, weapons systems, and more.  Allows crafting of engineering components and devices.
  • Gambler - Helps with calculating odds, familiarity with common gambling games, and taking chances.
  • Gun Combat - Familiarity with pistols and rifles.  Provides bonuses to ranged combat.
  • Gunner - Familiar with running ship-based, facility-based, or vehicle-based weapon turrets and targeting systems.
  • Heavy Weapons - Familiar with rocket launchers, grenade launchers, and other man-portable heavy weapons.
  • Investigate - Helps with discovering information about a subject, uncovering conspiracies, hidden information or cover-ups, and landing a great news story.
  • JOT (Jack Of All Trades) - A special skill that reflects a character's ability to improvise, and adapt.  It helps negate any negative modifiers to untrained skills.
  • Mechanic - Familiar with repairing vehicles and small mechanical systems, such as drones. Allows crafting of mechanical devices and components.
  • Medic - Familiar with biological processes, life-saving medical techniques, first aid, and the healing arts.
  • Melee - Familiar with hand-to-hand combat, martial arts, knives, clubs, and improvised weapons.
  • Navigation - Familiar with finding your way in the wilderness (planetside).  Allows fast travel between known navigation points.
  • Persuade - Familiar with techniques for diplomacy, mutual agreement, convincing others to see things your way, and negotiating win-win situations.
  • Pilot - Familiarity with spaceship and shuttle flight systems.  Helps with evasion during space combat.
  • Recon - Noticing the unusual, things and people that are 'out of place' searching for hidden items, levers, and switches, noticing ambushes, and reducing the chance of surprise.
  • Science - Familiarity with a variety of scientific concepts, physics, chemistry, cosmology, history, and more.
  • Sensors - Familiarity with personal, vehicle, ship, or station-based sensors systems.  Helps with scanning anomalous phenomena, gathering info on alien flora and fauna, and scanning ships and objects in space.
  • Stealth - Helps with the ability to hide, sneak, and remain unseen or undetected.
  • Steward - Helps with high-class passengers, Allows food and drink crafting.
  • Streetwise - Helps with gathering rumors and surviving on the streets, interacting with underworld elements, recognize social structures, and more.
  • Survival - Helps with foraging, finding shelter, limiting environmental exposure, hunting, tracking, and other activities to survive in the wilderness.
  • Vac Suit - Helps with using, moving, working, and fighting in a vac suit and low or no gravity situations.

 You can access certain items in the game with a combination of skills, such as (Vacc Suits 1 plus Heavy Weapons 1) to unlock BattleDress access.

Races

The main character is a human.  I may expand that in the future.

There are a variety of alien races you can encounter in the game, although it is a human-centric Empire. 

Rank

Rank represents your advancement within a career path.  If you leave a career then return to it later, you keep whatever Ranks you have earned in that career.

Careers

There are a variety of Careers to choose from.

You can change Careers at any time by registering your new Career with the appropriate in-game business or guild.

Use the in-game character creation to set up a starting character according to your preferred playing style.

You start as a Drifter.

CLASS LVL HP ATK DEF INIT FATE TECH TECHOFF TECHDEF
Drifter 1 21 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

 

Tech Level

In a star-spanning setting, there will be a variety of planets. 

Some will be inhabited, some will be too hostile to support life.

Planets that are inhabited might be at various stages of technological development.

Tech Level is a gauge of how technologically advanced a society is and dictates what types of items will be commonplace.

Tech Levels:

0 - Primitive, stone age. Simple tools made from wood and stone.

1 - Primitive, bronze age to iron age.

2 - Technology of the middle ages.

3 - Gunpowder and steam power.

4 - Industrial age. The invention of plastics and the radio.

5 - Widespread communications, electrification, and internal combustion engines.

6 - Nuclear fission power, computers.

7 - Routine travel to orbit and the use of communications satellites. Early probing of the solar system.

8 - Space-based stations and habitats. Space travel is more common and advanced probes survey the heavens.

9 - Gravity manipulation is discovered.  Artificial gravity becomes possible.

10 (A) - Jump Space is discovered and JumpDrive developed.

11 (B) - True artificial intelligence and advanced robotics is developed.  Virtual reality is indistinguishable from Real Life.  Memories can be edited.

12 (C) - Weather control and terraforming technology are commonplace.

13 (D) - Advanced weapons systems, such as Battle Dress and routine use of fusion energy.  Basic forcefields.

14 (E) - Fusion weapons become portable.  Advanced medicine makes cloning routine and extends the human lifespan.

15 (F) - Advanced forcefields, life-extension, and neuro-download and replication become possible.

Ancient (Omega) - The Ancient Ones once ruled the galaxy.  Evidence of their existence is scattered throughout the galaxy.  The Ancient Ones disappeared from the galaxy over 100,000 years ago and nobody knows what happened to them.  Their technology cannot be replicated, its power sources are unknown, and most items are unusable by humans or totally misunderstood from their original purpose.

Items

Items can be crafted by players, purchased from vendors, dropped by enemies, given as mission rewards, or even found.

Item icons contain a variety of information at a glance.  Information on each icon includes the Tech Level, Item Type, and Rarity.

item chip

  • Tech Level is noted in the left bottom corner.
  • The Item Type is indicated by the pictogram in the center.
  • The color-coded icon and border indicate the rarity of the item.

In this example, we see the icon for a snub pistol, it is Uncommon and has a Tech Level of 8.

Item Rarity

Items are assigned a rarity level to describe how common or uncommon an item is.

junk item Gray (Junk) - Junk level items, usually worth selling for a few credits. 
common item White (Common) - Common items normally sold commercially, crafted by players, or easily obtained.
uncommon item Green (Uncommon) - Uncommon items can be found at some vendors, crafted by players, or dropped by some enemies.
uncommon item Blue (Rare) - Rare items can be found at some vendors, crafted by players, or dropped by higher-level enemies.
uncommon item Purple (Superior) - Superior items can only be found on missions or crafted by players.
uncommon item Gold (Epic) - Epic items can only be found by defeating Bosses.

 

Weapons

weapons stellaris armor shop veyla

Space is a dangerous place.

Pirates prey on merchant ships, and hostile alien lifeforms roam the surfaces of uncharted planets.

You will need a way to defend yourself while exploring the cosmos.

Ammo

Some weapons take ammo.

Ammo can be used freely between pistols and rifles of the same Tech Level.

For example, TL 6 Ammo works with ALL TL 6 Pistols and Rifles.

Ammo for projectile weapons is indicated by a bullet icon and represents how many shots are left.

Ammo for energy weapons is indicated by a battery icon and represents how many shots are left before the batteries need to be replaced/recharged.

Armor

armor stellaris armor shop veyla

Protect yourself from attack with a set of armor.

Armor comes in a variety of styles and is built for a variety of purposes.

Vac suits protect you from the cold vacuum of space, while hostile environment suits allow you to work in environmental extremes; from extreme heat to corrosive atmospheres.

Devices

Various devices can help you out in your adventures.

Device use depends on the amount of TEC score a character has.

Scanner: Provide critical information about enemies and entities in your environment.

Pocket Secretary: Tracks missions, allows you to send and receive communications.

Crafting

It is possible to create your own items in the game.

Weapons, armor, devices, and other things can be created by the player through crafting.

To craft an item, the character needs to know the recipe for creating the item and must have the raw materials (ingredients) in their inventory.

Some items require a fabrication device to be crafted.
 

Missions

Missions are a way to earn money and reputation, as well as to learn the lore of the world. 

Missions also help you earn experience points, gear, and advancement in your Career.

Class Missions

Class missions present opportunities to advance your career by engaging in tasks related to that Career.

Science-based missions advance Scholar careers and combat missions advance military careers, for instance.

Story Missions

Story missions help you learn about the lore of the world; the people, places, and things that make up the game environment and provide backstory. 

Uncover the secrets of the sector by completing Story Missions.

Patrons

Although the work opportunity can come from anywhere, Patrons are the common source of missions.

Patrons can come in many forms and usually have missions that follow a theme according to the interests of the Patron.

Rumors
bar

Rumors are a great way to gather leads for possible jobs.

Go to places where people congregate to listen to rumors of interest.

Crew

You may not have all the skills you need to accomplish a task.

You may have to hire mercenaries or crew members to accompany you on your missions.

Find crew in places where people looking for work might be.

Guilds

There are a variety of guilds in the sector.

Some guilds accept any member that applies, other guilds are more exclusive and will check your reputation before they let you join.

Guild benefits range from discounts on certain items to extra skills, special weapons and armor, and even life insurance.

Hazards

Aside from hungry alien beasts that want to eat them for lunch, a character may encounter a variety of hazards as they explore the cosmos.

Corrosive Atmospheres - Chemical compounds in the atmosphere corrode and degrade regular vac suits.  Unprotected humans would be dead in minutes or seconds.

Radiation - Extreme radiation can severely injure or kill an unprotected human.  Anti-radiation drugs, combat armor, and other items can protect against radiation  and

Vacuum - The vacuum of space is deadly to an unprotected human.  Vac suits are designed to provide life support and limited protection from the effects of vacuum.

Extreme Pressure - Under the sea or on planets with a dense atmosphere, pressures can be extreme.  Hostile environment suits help protect against the crushing pressures present in these environments.

Extreme Gravity - Extreme gravity can crush an unprotected human on the surface of a massive planet.  Powered battle armor and hostile environment suits can provide a measure of protection while allowing the user to remain mobile.

Achievements

Characters can gain extra bonuses by completing Achievements throughout the game. 

 

Thank You For Your Support!

I think this could be a very fun project and I am eager to continue past the development I have already done. 

The starting area, Admin Office, Bar, Weapon & Armor shop, the electronics store, and the mine head are all functioning.  You can purchase armor, weapons, and gear.  You can go into the mines and fight mine worms.  SOMe mine worms drop raw crystal which can be sold for Credits.

I thank you for your interest and support - even if it's just simple encouragement!

Click here for other ways to help support this project.

Change Log

21.02.16
  • Updated Skills list
  • Updated some screenshots of the character sheet
 
21.02.11
  • Created Character Sheet
  • Created Skill list Display
  • Created Non-Character Generation System
 
21.02.03
  • Set the game resolution to HD 1280x720
  • Setup the Skills Screen
  • Worked on reducing the Skill List to the most useful 33 Skills

21.01.09
  • Changed sound effects for going through doors
  • Changed sound effects for changing menu entries
  • The changed sound effect for selecting menu items
  • Implemented first 12 Skills

21.01.03
  • Created self-installer for WIndows
  •  Developed more game mechanics
  •  Created standard Character Attributes (STR, DEX, END, INT, EDU, SOC)
  • Revamped the Character Sheet
  • Organized some backend JavaScript to make it easier to find libraries
 
20.12.25
  • THANK YOU to an Anonymous Patron who just upgraded my RPG Maker in True Traveller Style.
  • Custom Window Designer
  • CyberCity Tileset
  • Space-themed background music
 
20.12.23
  • Added many new animation effects for combat.
  • Added new enemy graphics
  • Added new battle backgrounds
  • Added new sci-fi tilesets
  • Added new background music
  • Added new character portraits
  • Added new animation sheets
 

20.12.22

  • Added dialog for the Med Bay Info NPC.
  • Added dialog for the Maintenance Office Info NPC.
  • Added dialog for the Bar Info NPC.
  • Added dialog for the Diner Info NPC.
  • Added Carouse mechanic.
  • Created the first animated test monster - replacement mine worm.
  • Fixed a bug where ATTACK animation continue to loop after the first attack, instead of going back to IDLE

 

20.12.21

  • Added basic game lore to the Starter Zone.  Learn about Tech Level at the Electronics Shop, learn about Law Level at the Weapon Shop.
  • Added an Info NPC character to all the shops to help new players get oriented.
  • Added support for DragonBones animations
  • Came up with a fun way to create a character, but want to wait until relevant skills naturally evolve out of gameplay.  I didn't want to put a lot of work into a character generator that gives you a bunch of skills that never come into play during the game.
  • Created some feedback surveys for players to communicate their preferences

 

20.12.21

  • Installed and configured RPG Maker
  • Created a variety of maps locations to the starter zone

 

Bug Reports

21.01.05

  • Using "Attack" instead of the Gun Cbt skill attacks with the equipped gun, but does not spend an ammo

 

To-Do

  • Optimize the dialog from the Electronics Store.
  • Set up missions system
  • Add Armor and Weapon upgrade slots
  • Add crafting examples
  • Add breakout points in the Character Creation process so players don't have to go all the way through so they can start untrained, trained only in Background Skills, with Background and 1st Career skills, or with Background Skills and 2 Career terms.
  • Implement Achievement System
  • Convert project to RPG Maker MZ

Hailing Frequencies Open

Are you interested in playing a video game with a Traveller feel made by a long-time player and lover of Traveller?

Are there any suggestions you have to make this game better?

Tell me about it in the Comments Section.  I'm interested in what you have to say about a Traveller-inspired video game.


 

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