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.
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.