Buildings have form but need more function

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Le Problem

I’ve been thinking about this issue for a while, based on a handful of observations in-game:

  • the worlds are full of ghost-settlements, with lots of buildings but few players.

  • …and yet it’s not that the players don’t exist, because they do.

  • It’s more that the buildings are often just pretty-looking shells. Sometimes there’s a machine or two in them, and sometimes a shop, but otherwise? They’re player-made aboveground caverns.

I don’t think I’m alone – here’s a comment from @pseudonym84 that sums up the situation pretty well:

And one more observation:

  • The builds I consider most “successful”, and the ones I visit most often, are those that exist to fulfill a purpose: the transfer stations, the portal hubs, the museums.

So I submit to you all that,

  1. in order for settlements to feel alive, buildings need to serve some actual function.

  2. we need more options for that function than we have right now.

Because builder-types are gonna build regardless; we can’t not. But without reasons to occupy the spaces we’ve made, we’ll just move on, or out, or up, and keep building more empty shells, which makes the world feel deserted instead of alive. And then everybody’s sad. :frowning:

So that’s the problem.


Idea Tiem!

As for solutions, well, I can come up with ideas all day long… Disclaimer, though, I’m still newish and I dunno what, if any, plans the devs may have on this front. Speaking of which, is there some sort of overall roadmap? But anyway, sorry if this is all obvious and will be implemented next patch and has been in the works forever. :wink:

Right, ideas. Here are a handful of irl building concepts/“purposes” that I think we could adapt to Boundless world and mechanics:

SHELTER
…from the elements. Only matters if the elements actually hurt you. I have great hopes for the toxic atmospheres, whenever those go live.

ZONING
By which I don’t mean the boring sim city kind but rather some sort of effect granted at the level of a single plot that would change some aspect of game-mechanics within that plot. I’d expect the costs of applying these things to be fairly steep and require maintenance, much like portals.

  • Zone a plot to give x% bonus XP to any crafting done by machines within it. Result: trade school!

  • Zone a plot(s) for lower gravity or extra jumping-height. Result: skate park! (I am still sad that I started playing right when the jump thingy got fixed so I couldn’t play on @Arkefyre’s park

  • Zone a plot for health regen. Result: field hospital! …and a reason to take builders to your Titan fights xD

  • Zone a plot that would clear all your skill points and let you apply/remove them at will, and then test out various abilities on combat dummies/block dummies inside it. When you leave the zone, your old skills are returned. Result: training arena!

  • Zone a plot to allow another player to “rent” it for a fixed period. Or on a smaller scale, “zone” a storage shelf. Result: temp storage for miners far from base.

INTERACTIVITY
As in, more objects that can do things in response to some trigger, either automated or player-given.

  • Some sort of “ball” thingy that can be grappled around. Result: …a sport of some kind? that’s how sports work, right? OOH WE CAN CALL IT BLOCCER!

  • Some sort of “ball” thingy that makes a noise when it hits certain blocks - and then blocks you can tune for different pitches. Result: music box!

  • Some sort of blocks that react to the presence of that ball thingy in other ways – doors or trapdoors or springs, idk. Result: rube goldberg machine!

  • Gears? or similar systems to allow for mechanical interaction between blocks/moving of blocks and buildings. Result: Rubik’s cube house!

  • Player-playable musical instruments with notes bound to keystrokes. Result: concert hall!

  • Give us tons of emotes and let us keybind them. Get a group of us on voice chat with streaming. Add closeable curtains. Result: theater!

  • A block that can move the player in a certain direction. Result: elevator! Tramline! Ferris wheel!?

SUPER-CUSTOMIZABLE THINGS
As in, those decals @Minyi was showing us. MOAR. ALL OF THEM.

  • Lots of basic shapes that can be layered. Result: art museum!

  • Books where we can write custom text of a few paragraphs. Result: library!

…and so on.

TLDR buildings need, pardon my French, a raison d’etre. Discuss!

27 Likes

I couldn’t agree more. So many good ideas there I can’t even pick one. But I would like to bring out the importance of this because at the moment I am waiting for one of my favorite games to release an update that adds this exact type of content to the game. Instead of creating an empty hull of a ship, players are gonna need to build living quarters, engine room, kitchen, medical bay, and many other rooms each with their own unique items and purposes. Each room is not only required to handle a crew, they are also used and useful. It’s going to add an enormous amount of depth to the game. If boundless had this type of thing implemented I would fart a brick of pure concentrated joy. :heart_eyes:

13 Likes

that sounds…painful? BUT WORTH IT!

4 Likes

I build the majority of my builds with exactly this in mind. I would love additional props to help fill my builds and better communicate the reason for my builds existence. Often my builds are planned on a room-by-room basis with each room having a pre-determined role to justify it’s existence, even if it’s a role-play prop in nature. Examples of this I have previously built in boundless include my Tavern on Sedatars, complete with bar, mead cellar, kitchen, freezer, and rooms for weary adventures. This build was made back when the only “prop” in game… was doors and torches. Imagine what a re-make with props under development and more would look like!

11 Likes

Great post!! I really like the idea of the training arena so that we can test all sorts of things. I would especially like if inside these you could due to test certain skills with no effect on the world and your items outside of the area too. The zoning in general is an awesome idea

2 Likes

Voice over IP would also be a cool idea, as well as having voice chats in parties (which would be another cool thing)

2 Likes

Adding VoIP is not a trivial thing- especially when you consider how much bandwidth the game is already occupying. More to the point, when you consider that 3rd party services like discord are both free and we’ll developed, there really is little need for it. Idk, PS4 will likely need it’s own solution for voice if it is included at all.

3 Likes

Props will certainly help make things more homely, though nothing makes me happier than creating something that actually serves a purpose.

Shelters on seemingly uninhabitable planets is something I’m aching for in Boundless. Scorching hot magma planets and frozen ice worlds have to be a thing - not just aesthetically hot or cold, but actually hot or actually cold. Make some planets too hot or cold to live on without the rights skills or structures.

I’d also like glass to be fixed, so that underwater settlements are viewable from underwater (being able to see the interior lit up from the water), and also make it so the people strolling around inside an underwater settlement can look out into the ocean. Perhaps even add some fish and underwater mobs for variety.

8 Likes

For the underwater thing I think you could as easily change the behavior of the water as the glass – you’d have to make it so a side-to-side interface between water & nonwater was transparent, the way the top and bottom interfaces already are. …uh that was quite the sentence. I mean, right now you can look vertically through glass and into water, but not horizontally. (No idea if that’s any easier/harder than changing glass.)

Edit: Anyway, my worry with just adding props is that we’ll have the same situation as now, only…prettier. What will keep us from just becoming innumerable planetsful of dollhouses?

3 Likes

Well if there are enough kinetic block types, and perhaps some simple switches, I could spend hours making more courses along the lines of Spitter’s Maw;

I’d still like more than that though. If I had a magic wand that’d give me any feature I wanted, I’d have harsh environments, and a practical need to construct shelters from monsters, weather conditions, and other environmental hazards.

Logic gates a-la Redstone would also be very nice, and add endless longevity to the game.

5 Likes

Oh Nooooo! The wonderful frustration that would ensue!:joy:

Also had another idea. What if you could trap/tame monsters and create your own fighting dungeon! Or, if you could put specific monsters in specific places that wouldnt disappear or could be pretty cool. Like @Pseudonym84’s shop spitter cage!

( I would assume that any taming system implemented would require being tied to beacons so creatures aren’t slaughtered by other players unless given permission)

7 Likes

Agreed, a redstone-esque feature would be great fun and add a huge amount of longevity to the game. There could be a whole new skillset etc… to specialise as an engineer or something to do these things.

4 Likes

The topic appears frozen and i didn’t find any dev response so far. I’d like to wake it up.

I am engineer, so basically i love to create moving objects with use, i.e. an elevator. I know in voxel environmemt those dynamic items create a huge amount of problems and bugs, messing with the physical engine.

But though, do we have any hint that there will be objects able to move via interactive systems?

Let me give you an idea how to solve problems like “lifting a mountain” with a hydraulic system:

You could implement player made blocks which follow gravity, think of a plate. Connect 9 plates (3 x 3) to have a platform.
The whole platform without being lifted by a device will always drop until one of its elements hit on a fix block below.

Above the center plate of the platform there will be a device. The device has a rope going down straight. The rope can be up to i.e. 10 blocks long. So the device (including the rope) can lift the platform up to 10 blocks, in case there is no fix block stopping the platform from moving upwards.

Another idea is a cannon shooting a player from one place to another. Makinging him able to basically fly pretty fast over a planet. The cannon could have limitted range and you can extent the range by placing it on higher elevation. Shooting the player i.e. into a lake so you are not diying on impact.

I like all kind of “minecraft redstone” dynamics and would really miss them in case of not being part of boundless. It was one of my personal creativity drivers and long term motivations to invent new “machinery” with purpose.

So will we see it in boundless @james?
I didn’t see it on the feature implementations for 1.0. So i guess definetly not in 1.0?