Saturday, August 6, 2022

Cosmoteer Feature Preview: Career Mode

Greetings, Cosmoteers!

This is the first in what will be a series of "Feature Preview" posts about new features coming to Cosmoteer when it launches on Steam later this year. The first new feature I want to tell you about is also the biggest: A brand new "Career Mode".

Players of "Cosmoteer Classic" (a.k.a. "the free version" or "the demo") will doubtless be familiar with Bounty Hunter, a simple single-player mode in which you destroy enemy ships to earn money and then use that money to upgrade your own ship. While fun at first, I think most players would agree that its simplicity makes it become repetitive pretty quickly.

Career Mode takes the basic loop of Bounty Hunter (fight so that you can get stronger and take on tougher enemies) and greatly expands it within missions, factions, salvaging, mining, trading, and multiplayer co-op.

As in Bounty Hunter, you start the game with a small scout ship with only a few weapons and a handful of crew.

Looking around, and you quickly spot a nearby civilian space station under the control of the Fringe Systems Resistance. You hail it with your comms and immediately see a list of mission contracts posted by the Fringe and other factions within the star system. Many are "bounty" contracts, tasking you to hunt down and destroy specific enemies, but there are also other types of missions, such as rescues, resource delivery requests, and exploration missions.

Upon accepting your first bounty contract, you fly to its last-known location and soon spot your target. You close in for the kill and--as it is merely a level [1] target--have little trouble defeating it. (But beware, higher-level enemies are dramatically more dangerous!)

The enemy ship has been destroyed, but don't leave quite yet! Its wreckage contains valuable materials that you'll need to repair and upgrade your own ship. You send your crew out to salvage the enemy ship, who carefully break apart what's left of it into basic construction materials and carry them back to your own ship, storing them in your cargo bays.

Using the materials salvaged from the enemy, you repair the damage it did to your ship, and you even have enough materials left over to construct a new Laser Blaster!

You start heading back to the station to collect the bounty reward, but on your way you spot a ? icon on your radar, indicating the presence of an unknown signal nearby. You take a detour to investigate and discover a large asteroid field! Many of the asteroids contain iron and copper and a few have even more valuable ores which can either be sold at space stations or smelted by factories into usable construction materials. You have a bit of extra room in your cargo bays, so you send your crew out to mine some copper from a nearby asteroid.

Returning to the space station, you hail it again to collect the bounty payment and sell the copper you mined for a tidy profit. You also earn a few fame points as word of your accomplishment spreads, which will convince more people to join your crew. The Fringe Systems Resistance also makes note of how you helped the cause.

Using the money you earned, you replace your existing storage bays with larger ones, add another crew's quarters, and hire 2 more crew. You didn't actually have enough materials on board to build the larger storage bays and crew's quarters, but that's okay because the missing materials were automatically purchased from the station.

Using the little money you have left over, you purchase the blueprint plans for a Small Shield Generator, which will help reduce the damage your ship takes and save you materials on repairs in the long run.

Just when you are thinking about where you should add the shield generator, you receive a Discord message from a friend! She's playing Cosmoteer too and wants to know if you want to play co-op together. Of course you do! So you save your game, quit to the menu, and host a multiplayer game for her to join. You load up your save file, and the two of you continue playing from where you left off. She's the best pilot and combat tactician you know, so you mostly leave that up to her, whereas you're an ace ship designer, so you handle most of the building. You've set it up so that you both share control of the same ship, though you could have also started a new game where you each control your own ships.

Over many hours, the two of you explore dozens of star systems while traveling across the galaxy.

After dozens of missions and more than a few close calls, you and your friend finally reach the pinnacle of fame. With a fame score of 10000 and the title of "LEGENDARY", no one in the galaxy will ever forget your accomplishments. Along the way, you have become the revered champion of the Fringe Systems Resistance and the loathed nemesis of the other factions.

"Do you want to play again?" asks your friend.

Stay tuned for future feature previews, including lore histories and ship design philosophies for each of the four major factions: the Fringe Systems Resistance, the Monolith Cooperative, the Cabal of Sol, and the Centauri Imperium.

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