Tiy put out an open call for ideas for Chucklefish's next game, so I thought I'd pen an idea that's been building in my head for months. It could use the existing SB engine as it retains the side-scroller and procedural world gen. elements as well as some core game play such as combat, digging, trading/currency and smart AI. The core difference is the emphasis on hub building, resource management and follower organisation; creating sustainable progression goals and reasons to expand your base as well as explore away from (and return to) your starting point. Your First Hour You begin in a simple forest biome. You start with 3 NPC Followers who are automatically locked to three starting roles; "Gatherer" "Hunter" and "Forager". You and your Followers have demands such as "Hunger", "Comfort" and "Morale" (and "Loyalty"); Followers will attempt to manage these automatically so long as they are able, failure to accommodate for them results in slower productivity and eventually inaction and even death. You are regularly visited by new prospective followers who allow you to expand your operation or simply harvested them for food. One of your first aims is to build shelters and construct a Task Board which will allow you to manage your Followers from a centralized hub (until them they default to task), as well as unlocking the ability to map the zone and designate mining, farming, fishing areas, living quarters and trading, training and recruitment/social hubs. Using a combination of early game gatherables, you can construct (and decorate?) a town standard which will summon your first invasion/boss which, upon defeat, will provide you with a Compass. Using the Compass will transport you to your starting zone's harbour map. Here you will find a small Admiral's Flagship, readily equipped with a few chests for you to freely explore new zones which you can save, name and later send larger ships to in order to begin the colonization process. Later Game You can commission larger boats for a predetermined resource expense in your starting harbour. Here you can also access the "world map" and send boats to saved locations. Boats can ferry Followers and materials to a new zone. Your contingency of recruits can colonise a foothold on foreign land. You'll face hostile opposition from native inhabitants in addition to having to accommodate for the demands of exotic terrain (new biomes). In addition to a pre-determined "Dungeon" on your starting world (similar to Terraria's Dungeon) that will serve as a benchmark to your progress, with a Boss at the end and loot to be had throughout, all native worlds will contain a variety of settlements and challenging dungeons for you to personally explore. Perhaps with a party of multi-player friends or Guard followers. Settlements will either be hostile or non-hostile: Non-hostile ones will have traders which would provide zone-appropriate goods in exchange for currency, here you can also designate high level Trader followers to become Ambassadors which will let you recruit a foreign trader as a Follower in exchange either to return to your colony or your "seat of power". Hostile settlements will attack you on sight and will continue to spawn in guards until you defeat their leaders at which point the settlements will become largely deserted. You can pillage their goods and exotic treasures. You may encounter a mercenary in a hostile settlement, this is a mini-boss who will join you as a follower upon being defeated if you choose to spare them (either way you get a nice big bag of gold as a reward). Mercs are already well trained in a single role and are likely to have a trait beneficial to that role. Misc. Ideas The art design would be a fair departure from the Starbound aesthetic. With more medieval, colonial, gothic and historical/high fantasy tones. Your starting area will always have a minimum of 3 followers. If one of the starting 3 dies, a new follower of that same role will spawn instantly to replace them so as not to break the early progression of the game for new/unlucky players. Whilst I don't think Followers should be bound to one branch of roles they should often have traits or inherent stats that make them better for certain roles such as "increased mining speed" or "attack speed" or "bonus healing aura" or "bonus food prep chance" etc. Followers unlock new roles as you undertake tasks appropriate to that role and unlock "Tutorials" that allow you to manually change a Follower to that new role via the Task Board. Initially, progression through these roles plays an important role in pacing what you can do in the game. Once a follower has unlocked a new role, any follower can be assigned to that role with equipment being the limiting factor. For example: You begin with a Hunter. Hunters can use a Bow to kill passive creatures but flee aggressive monsters and retreat to shelter (the player) where the aggressive monsters will swap focus to you (target priority number 1). Upon killing several enemies you can create the "Guard Tutorial", using this at the Task Board unlocks the Guard role and you can upgrade your Hunter to Guard (or, later, a different type of Hunter). As a Guard she continues to use the Bow but can also equip Leather Armour. She will no longer flee from aggressive monsters (fairly rare in the starting zone, common elsewhere) but will instead engage them in combat. You can now assign any new Hunter follower to be a Guard straight away. Guards can specialises into the following roles: Ranger, Melee, Wizard and Cleric; each specialisation has different AI and provides different bonuses to NPCs within an [x] block radius in addition to carrying out their roles. They have different abilities based on the equipment they use. Upon defeating the starter dungeon you can upgrade Guards to Personal Guards and Patrol Guards, using a Mission board to assign patrol routes/stations or assign them to guard followers or your character. I'd love a schematic system where you can designate 4-corners of the map (up to a reasonable range) so you can create your own styles of houses, fortresses, constructions and even whole towns that Builder followers will attempt to replicate in designated areas so long as they have access to the right materials and tools. This way you could create similar-style colonies on different continents. Every zone has a harbour fitted to the environment of that zone. The harbour is a small map with just two bodies of water (one for the admiral flagship and one where the larger, commissioned ships spawn once you "pay" for them), a gangway made of native woods and a world map for when you're ready to "send" a ship. In practise, you load a ship on one end of the trip (they aren't customisable, you can't build chest etc. on them, rather they function AS a larger chest) and when you "send" it the contents of the ship are spawned into crates at the destination harbour. Ships are consumed in the process of one voyage. This creates a compelling reason to build larger ships to ferry more followers at once as you pay a surplus per boat and also makes voyages with followers and resources a larger investment. As you build colonies you will become more limited in returning with everything you have gained. Followers don't appear in the harbour, you simply pick them from a list as the "crew" for your ship. It's all smokes and mirrors to reduce considerable programming overhead. Later on, when you have an abundance of resources such as wood and non-perishable food as well as Sea Fisherman followers you can commission lucrative fishing mission. This unlocks an event boss on an ocean biome map where the only land is the pre-generated boat. After defeating the Sea Monster you can use a diving suit to plumb the depths of the Ocean and any dungeons and settlements underwater. (Maybe we can recycle the Hylotl content for this.) Followers should be able to be equipped with non-consumable ladders that allow them to scale vertical distances so that you can essentially stop followers straying too far by not providing them with a ladder. Lots of races in the world. But you can probably only play as Humans. This isn't earth but it's less alien than Starbound. I love what SB does with like... pirates and aztecs. Depending on interest: More to come.