Gameplay Summary

Space Station 3D is a game about a research station in space that is constantly wrought with misfortune; hostile chest-bursting aliens, traitorous vandals, cultists and wizards, mutiny, abductors, malfunctioning AI, meteors, solar flares, black holes, and, of course, the incompetence of the very crewmembers who work tirelessly to keep the whole thing from flying apart.

The overarching goal of SS3D is to recreate Space Station 13 and replace its dated engine, BYOND. To accomplish this, the currently seated development team has chosen to pursue this goal using Unity as the base engine. The first step to achieving this goal may be to implement platform architecture similar to BYOND, using Unity as a springboard.

The number of players on a given station is generally dependent on the capabilities and/or limits set by the server’s owner. Given the player counts of the predecessor game, Space Station 13, general player counts may range between 5 and 100 or more, but will likely depend on the capabilities of the servers in SS3D.

The owner of the server may also manually set limits for the number of players in certain on-station jobs based on the server’s general player count. For example, clowns may be less important than engineers, so the server owner may want to introduce caps to the number of players playing clowns. Since games can potentially last for hours, players may also leave and join games (if they haven’t already left the current game) at will. Players may also spectate if they have died, or if they just don’t feel like playing the current round.

When first launching SS3D, the player will be greeted with a list of stations (Server Hub). These stations may or may not be distinctly different from each other by means of different assets and gameplay, each entry on the list complete with a name, player count, and short description to let players know what they’re getting into. Upon choosing a station, the player will soon discover what would probably remain common between all servers; the Server Lobby.

The Server Lobby is populated with a list of options, which allow the player some control of how they experience the game. It’s on this menu where the player will set up their custom character, choose their occupation, and finally, join an already occurring game, or queue up for the next upcoming game.

Upon joining a game, the player will be spawned somewhere on a community-created station likely in their respective department; engineers in engineering, medics in the medbay, janitors in a dingy closet, and so on.

Should they arrive late, players may find themselves flying in on a shuttle to the station. From the point of arriving, the player is at the mercy of whatever circumstances the station may find itself in…

On board the station, the player will come to discover a unique cast of characters composed mostly of other online players, each who have a job on the station (probably).

A first-time player would be well-suited to fiddle with the controls: throughout the game, the player’s character will be taking on their tasks one hand at a time, toggling their active hand depending on the desired effect. Clicking an item with an empty active hand may pick up the item, while clicking a vending machine with a screwdriver in your active hand may open the maintenance panel – the player will quickly learn that the whole station is full of such interactions, whether that means they are skillfully lighting a cigarette in another player’s mouth, or clumsily bashing oneself in the skull with a toolbox.

After the player is accustomed to controlling their character, it’s time to start doing one’s job – unfortunately for the rest of the station, players are probably going to learn on the fly. Here lies the bulk of the game’s appeal and difficulty: each occupation on the station is intertwined with the others, each player handling a surprisingly deep system of mechanics that fall in line with their regular duties. Are you a botanist? Better make sure the chef has a steady supply of wheat. Are you an engineer? Better make sure the engine doesn’t explode. Are you a security guard? Better make sure the clown is behaving today.

Seems simple enough, right? Unfortunately, doing your job is only half the job.

A player’s overall goal is to keep their department running for as long as they can, while the station falls into turmoil. The trouble might start in their department when they find a dead body, or it could manifest in the form of an explosion in the far-off reaches of the maintenance tunnels. But no matter where it starts, a crew member’s objective is to survive and do their job. Once the commanders of the station decide the station can’t take anymore, they’ll call the escape shuttle. If the crew can survive the trip from the station to central command, they can consider themselves lucky – this is the crew’s primary goal. However, not every player is a part of the crew…

Recall those threats from before? The traitors, the abductors, the cultists? Those are players too! And, of course, they have goals of their own, given to them at the beginning of the round. It may be a heist, human experimentation, a ritual sacrifice, or the destruction of the station itself. It all depends on who, or what, you are.

If an antagonist player accomplishes their goals before the commanders of the station escape with the crew, they can claim victory as well.

Some rounds end via the victory conditions depending on the gamemode's objectives. But many rounds will end via an escape shuttle being called via the station's command staff at the discretion of the crew.

After arriving, the escape shuttle will stay docked for a few short minutes, hopefully allowing enough time for everyone to get aboard.

Other means of escape may be available like individual escape pods.

In SS3D, round-end results may contain many different aspects of the match, including who was an antagonist, what the antagonists’ goals were and whether they were achieved, who was the first to die (along with their last words), the players performance that round, and perhaps more.

When the round ends, all players will be brought back to the pre-game menu, where they can customize their characters once again, choose their jobs, and so on. SS3D server maintainers may also like to hold polls during this time, which may give valuable player data to the game developers.

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