I’ve been saying for a while now that the wreck models need an update to more closely look like the ship they came from, but there’s also an opportunity to have increased gameplay around them as well.

Ships will receive a 4th hp bar (not shown to the player) that will be roughly 2-10% of the ship’s hull. If the ship’s hp goes below the hull hp bar, but not below the 4th bar, the ship will turn into a derelict instead of a wreck. However, if the remaining damage hitting the ship is greater than the derelict’s hp, it will be destroyed causing the reactor explosion we’re all used to, and turn into a wreck. Derelicts will despawn after 6 to 24 hours.

Most of the time, derelicts will likely become wrecks since the derelict will only be a small percentage of the hp of the original ship’s hull but once in a while players will get lucky. This also means, the larger the ship, the more likely it will be to create derelicts, creating more reasons for players to keep fighting over the wreckage sites of player battles.

In space, derelicts will appear like the ship hull they came from with extreme hull damage. In the overview, they will appear as a cargo can icon.

Players can drop marines, or other specialized personnel into the derelict which will create a popup window with a skinned version of the hacking minigame, to look like ship hallways, subsystem rooms, a full cargo bay since the ship didn’t explode, and access to various modules that were fit to the ship.

If CCP develops my ship interior idea that I posted a little while ago, those ship interiors could be used in this feature, but it’s not really a necessity, as an abstract design is perfectly workable.

The Challenges for Players:

  1. Using a ship scanner on a derelict will let the player know what kind of subsystems are still operational on the ship, computer core, power grid, capacitor banks, life support, ect.

  2. If the computer core is still active, the player will be faced with security systems they will have to hack though (using the normal hacking method if they have a hacking module fit to their ship or a specialized crew member (tech head, hacker, slicer, script kitty, ect) among their number. A failed hack will cause a self destruct timer to appear.

  3. If life-support is active, the player’s marines will have to fight off any hostiles within the derelict if the derelict was a pirate ship from a faction with less than 0.5 standing toward the player, a capsuleer owned vessel not associated with your corp, alliance, or if the player has less than 0.5 standing with that capsuleer or it’s corp / alliance.

  4. If life-support is not active, the player will need specialized crew with survival gear.

  5. The player’s salvage team can remove the power grid components and capacitor banks, as well as other sub system salvage.

  6. If a ship module salvager is applied to the derelict, another skinned hacking minigame will appear allowing the player to salvage key ship components until 40 - 70% of the minigame nodes are gone. When that happens, the derelict will to turn into a wreck which the salvager will continue to salvage until the wreck is gone.

  7. If the derelict still has it’s power grid or capacitor, a critical failure while salvaging the derelict (whether that’s with the salvage team or the ship salvager) will destroy the the derelict causing an explosion that also destroys the wreck and the loot inside as well. This is to mimic a core breach.

The Rewards:

  1. Other than the possibility of retaining the full cargo hold and modules as loot, sending in a team to manually salvage ship components will yield extra results in salvage and potentially some t2 salvage, though that would certainly need a balance pass to make sure it wasn’t exploited.

  2. More interesting game play than “click module, receive loot.”

  3. Keeping ships on grid longer, allowing for more chances for player interaction.

The Upshot:

This mostly utilizes systems CCP already has code for: a modified hacking minigame, and a modified wreck / cargo can. It also makes use of some junk assets like marines, and puts them to use for gameplay.

If CCP wanted to push this gameplay feature further, they could add an ability to customize personnel.

No. Wrecks despawn after 2 hrs. Why should trash stay for more than 6 hrs that cannot be searched and probed down?

Each algorithm does what it should. Ship go boom, create wreck. Adding all this other garbage is just going to create a coded mess that no doubt ccp will mess up.

I’m ok with them despawning after 2 hours… that was my initial plan, but I thought it might lead to more gameplay if derelicts stayed around longer. As for a coded mess, it’s really just a wreck with the code for a hacking object attached to it, it’s not that complicated. Almost all the code for the idea is already in game, so it shouldn’t be difficult to implement.

Also, as I mention in this post, the game mechanics discussed here, can be used for exploration sites. In that other post I detail a first or 3rd person game play environment, but the same exploration site could be run in a similar way with the mechanics described here (including the more developed hacking minigame I mention in the other post.)