Choosing a player ship at the beginning of the game is a tried and true mechanic for adding variety and replayability to the game. This spec proposes adding "locked" ship classes, which can not be chosen at the beginning of the game unless the player accomplishes some well-defined task during a game.

There are three advantages to locked ships:

  • They provide the player with an additional incentive to continue playing the game. The locked ships would be advertised at game create time (sorted to the end) along with conditions for unlocking.
  • They add variety and complexity to experienced players without giving novice players too many choices at the beginning.
  • We can add starting ship classes with high-level weapons, which can only be unlocked once the player gets to a certain point in the game. This allows for starting a game in the middle. For example, once the player reaches St. Katharine's Star, we can unlock a ship class that starts in St. Katharine's Star and is equipped to tackle the Ungoverned Territories.

User Experience

When starting a new game, the player is asked to select a starting player ship class. In this proposal, all locked ships would appear in that list (sorted to the end). The player would clearly see that they are locked, but would still be able to see their stats.

The player needs to achieve a well-defined goal to unlock a ship. For example, after visiting the Battle Arena, we might unlock a gladiator ship class. The ship selection screen at game-create time should specify the conditions for unlocking the ship.

For now, we don't announce the unlocking during the game, since there is nothing the player can do until they create a new game.


We build this on top of achievements. We create an achievement for each locked ship. Unlocking the achievement unlocks the ship.

the_shrike 26 Feb 2016:

As a side note, it might be worth showing all the ships in a little part of the ship selection screen so you can see all the ships at once, including the locked ones. Maybe a "click to select" system rather than the current arrow-key scroll?

johnbwatson 26 Feb 2016:

I like this.

@shrike: If this will be linked with an achievement system, as was described, such a screen could be connected to the achievements page. Making the selection screen more complicated is undesirable, it's already fairly intimidating(at least, it was to me).

assumedpseudonym 26 Feb 2016:

...OooOOOoooh. I've been waiting for this, there are a number of TBR ships that could stand to be locked up until they've been earned. I daresay Wolfy will likewise approve for TSB.

arkheias 26 Feb 2016:

This reminds me of the very first record I posted on the ministry:

Though I can't help but notice that this one doesn't really go into much detail on the sorting options it would be adding.

assumedpseudonym 26 Feb 2016:

Question: Will it be possible to unlock features on existing playerships as well?

the_shrike 26 Feb 2016:

@Watson<--I'm thinking more a basic ship selector you'd see in any other game, rather than complexity. The current system shows a lot of information (very inefficiently, might I add), but only about that one ship. It doesn't immediately show you what other ships are available.

johnbwatson 27 Feb 2016:

Might be worth drawing a mockup - being able to quickly get to a certain ship(or see which are available) is definitely a feature worth having, but I'm not sure how to fit it into the page.

Would it work to have something at the bottom with thumbnails of all the ships?

megas 27 Feb 2016:

Have a matrix of ship icons like various fighting games.

wolfy 28 Feb 2016:

Yes, TSB was designed with this feature in mind