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Void Runners Gamepaper

This document outlines the core gameplay structures of Void Runners. It is a working document, and will grow and change over time as the project develops.
Check the for definitions of terms.
The document includes a a guide to and , and introduction to and future gameplay , and a and .

Our Goals

We think that starting a new NFT project means opening up to exciting new forms of building community; distributed world-building and narrative; and, as game designers, strange new opportunities for gameplay. It’s still very early days for games on the blockchain - we hope some of our ideas might help expand the space, and we’re hoping you join us for the ride.
Void Runners was conceived, from the start, as a NFT project with gameplay at its core. With that in mind, when making decisions about this project, whether about the design of the game, its economy, or its narrative and lore, we aim to be guided by a handful of principles:
The blockchain is a new way for people to interact with each other, and games on the blockchain should emphasize person-to-person interaction.
NFT projects are communities, and communities thrive on shared rituals. Games are great rituals. Void Runners, the game, is what Void Runners, a group of people, do together.
As the focus of communal storytelling and interaction, blockchain games should emphasize sustainability and fun, not short-term gain.

Game Overview

Void Runners is a multiplayer spacefaring game built on the blockchain, based around a staking mechanic. The ambition for the project is to build a vibrant, growing universe with gameplay at its heart. To do that, we’re building a sequence of gameplay releases, starting with the fundamentals, and then expanding in subsequent expansions to add new narrative and gameplay elements.
The first epoch of the game - Void Runners: CENTURY 0 - introduces the core gameplay elements: Ships, Outposts, and Cargo.
Ships and Outposts are NFT collections. Cargo is an in-game resource that converts to $GREDITS, the game’s utility token.

Roadmap Overview

Phase 0 - Project announcement and allowlist activity ✅
Phase 1 - Genesis Fleet Ship mint
Phase 2 - Outpost mint and CENTURY 0 game launch
Phase ∞ - Gameplay, economy and narrative expansions
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CENTURY 0 - Launch Gameplay Summary

Century 0 is the initial Void Runners game experience. It launches after the Genesis Fleet mint, alongside the Outpost mint.
Void Runners is set in a distant Galaxy at the dawn of a gold rush. Trade is governed by the Galactic Trade Authority, and depends on Void Runners who use their Ships to transport Cargo from Outpost to Outpost. It’s a galactic game of pushing your luck, as Ship owners and Outpost owners compete to make the most of the Void’s new trading opportunities.
Ship owners pick a Star System to travel to, and then dock at an Outpost to start loading Cargo. Cargo loads automatically over time, up to the Capacity limit of the Ship. Ships then select a new Outpost to visit: Once docked at the new Outpost, their Cargo is automatically delivered and converted into $GREDITS, and new Cargo starts loading.
However, the gold-rush has also caused chaos for the Galactic Trade Authority (GALTRAUTH) that oversees the galaxy’s trade. In a bid to impose control, GALTRAUTH issues Rules about which Ships can legally dock where.
These Rules are constantly changing, and it’s up to Outpost owners to enforce them. Outpost owners can ticket illegally docked Ships and confiscate their Cargo. Ships can always dock anywhere - but being illegally docked always carries the risk of a ticket.
The longer a Ship remains docked, the more Cargo it earns, but the greater risk it incurs of GALTRAUTH changing the rules and becoming subject to ticketing. The longer an Outpost owner waits to ticket an illegal Ship, the bigger the payout, but the greater the risk of the Ship owner departing with its Cargo intact.

Core Loop: Ship Owner

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Game Dynamics

Dynamic Tension
The core ruleset of CENTURY 0 is that any Ship can dock anywhere and leave at any time, but is always at risk of ticketing. This core structure combines with an Upgrade system that keeps the decision-space dynamic and interesting.
Situational. When planning travel, Ship owners need to weigh up factors including: travel time to different destinations, which Outpost are busy and which have free docks, where the rules are beneficial to a their Ship right now, and which other Star Systems and Outposts they might move onto next.
Strategic - Outpost will enable Outpost owners to tailor the appeal of their Outpost, with e.g. reduced Cargo confiscation rates, Cargo load speed improvements, or travel time boosts for onward journeys. Outpost owners will need to consider how they want to compete with other Outposts, especially ones in their Star System.
Behavioral- since all interactions are visible on the blockchain, players will have visibility on each other's play patterns, and may make decisions around the history of how an Outpost owner chooses to ticket.
Play Patterns
CENTURY 0 is designed to be persistent, active and occasional. The game is always running, so the situation is always evolving, but the gameplay is designed so that the game won’t require constant attention - only occur every few hours, and the focus is on creating moments of interesting interactions between players.
Long-term Evolution
The upgrade system allows owners to improve and evolve the capabilities of their Ships and Outposts. However, there isn’t a static 'best' set of upgrades that all players are aiming towards. What works best at a given moment is going to depend on what choices other players are making, and if they adjust, you'll need to adjust. As new upgrades are added the balance of meta will shift, so the "right" decision isn't always obvious, or the same.

Platforms


The Genesis Fleet is an ERC-721 collection on Ethereum. The stats, seed and Registered Color of each Ship are stored on-chain.
Void Runners gameplay is fully on-chain, and will be optimized for low gas cost interactions both in terms of gameplay design and contract implementation. Evaluations are underway to test if this is achievable on Ethereum mainnet or will be better suited to an L2 deployment.
Void Runners CENTURY 0 will be playable in a web browser.

Genesis Fleet Ships

Void Runners launches with an initial collection of unique Genesis Fleet Ship NFTs. The Genesis Fleet is designed to offer meaningful, legible variety:
Ships come in three distinct Classes, with strong visual variety across all three classes
Variety isn’t just cosmetic - the Classes behave differently in-game, and Ships with rarer Components have better Stats
Those differences are visually apparent - a Ship’s Stats match its visual appearance, so a Ship that looks fast (e.g. has a lot of thrusters) is fast in-game.

Each Ship is generated from a random Seed, starting with a Hull that defines its class, and then adding Components that are compatible with that hull. Each Component, including the Hull, has its own stats, which contribute to the final stat totals for the Ship.
Each Ship has a Registered Color, which is relevant for the Docking Rules, as well as a secondary ‘colorway’ which is purely cosmetic.
The Seed, final Stats and Registered Color for each Ship are stored on-chain.

Classes

Genesis Fleet Ships can be grouped into three Classes, each of which has a different specialty. More information about their history is included in this Tales from The Void post:

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Luggers
These big ships specialize in maximizing Cargo capacity, plain and simple.
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With some ships little more than glorified frames from which to hang salvaged containers, others amount simply to huge cargo containers themselves, pushed along by an overworked thruster.
Lugger operators know what they want from The Void, and have put all their eggs in one massive basket.

Vettes
Emphasize Speed, are built from decommissioned military interceptors.
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Remnants of some ancient and forgotten conflict, their weapons systems disassembled and every available hardpoint adapted to add more speed, efficiency, or extra bit of cargo. Missile launchers and torpedo bays are emptied of their deadly payloads, their valuable capacity rededicated to peaceful commerce.

Scoots
Originally used for moving cargo around spaceports; small with high Efficiency
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Scoots were originally short range cargo drones, workaday runabouts designed for use in and around space docks. Given their original purpose, Scoots aren’t well adapted to long range journeys, but are highly efficient, and utilize the full breadth of technologies available for emphasizing this trait: stellar power arrays, heat dissipation, novel coolant and external power generation schemes

Ship Generation

Genesis Fleet Ships are built in the Unity game engine from hundreds of different Components — wings, thrusters, cockpits, cargo containers, etc.
For each seed, the generator picks a hull, and then a recursive system uses weighted randomness to choose compatible Components to add to it. Each piece - hull, wing, thruster etc. - has its own stats, which are summed to determine the overall capabilities of each Ship.
The result is a unique Ship with stats defined by the Components that it’s built from, ensuring that its visual appearance and gameplay performance are in sync.
Balance
The generation system is designed to produce a highly diverse fleet of Ships, but is balanced to ensure the following:
Rare Ships with strong stats should offer meaningful performance boost
The different classes (Scoots, Luggers, Vettes) should be strongly differentiated in terms of game feel (i.e. Vettes should be substantially faster than Luggers)
The different classes should be broadly balanced in terms of value - i.e. a bad Lugger should not overall radically out- or under-perform a bad Scoot, even if their feel (efficient vs big) is very different.
More information about the process for generating Ships and vetting overall balance in the ‘Ship Shape’ Medium post.

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Stats

Ships have three stats, which are defined by the Components assigned when the Ships are generated and are recorded on-chain when the Ship is minted.
Capacity
The total amount of Cargo a Ship can load. Ships that remain docked after reaching their capacity do not load any additional Cargo.
Efficiency
A multiplier that acts on the baseline Cargo Flow Rate (see below) and governs the rate at which a Ship loads Cargo while docked.

Speed
The constant rate at which Ships travel between Systems (see below)
Hulls have baseline stats for all three stats that define a Ship’s initial capabilities. Additional Components can add to one or more stat. Rarer Components contribute higher values, and Components contribute stats that reflect to their function, e.g.:
Cargo containers, pontoons, etc. contribute to Capacity
Sensors, dishes, generators, etc. contribute to Efficiency
Thrusters, wings, etc. contribute to Speed

Components can add both static value increases and percentage boosts to the underlying stat. Percentage boosts apply across all Components which add to that stat.

Color

Ships come in a color and and a colorway. Because color is important for gameplay, we refer in-game to a Ship’s Registered Color, to make clear what color the Ship is for gameplay purposes. Registered color is displayed alongside a Ship’s stats. There are five Registered Colors:
Red
Blue
Green
Yellow
White

Each registered color has multiple possible colorways that determine tint and secondary accent colors. Only the Registered Color (not the colorway) is relevant for Dock restrictions.

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Star Systems and Travel

The Void Runners galaxy is a flat disc galaxy with a vast Void at its center. Scattered across the galaxy are Star Systems, each of which contains multiple Outposts.
Traveling to a System gives access to all Outposts within it without incurring additional Travel time. When Ships aren’t docked (i.e. before they dock, or after they’ve been ticketed), they idle within the System but are not associated with a particular Outpost or Dock.
For the purposes of defining locations and calculating travel in the game, the Galaxy is treated as a 2D plane. Star Systems are distributed around the rim of the Galaxy, with each having its own locational co-ordinate set at the center of the System.
Ships travel at constant speed in real time over the Euclidian distance between System co-ordinates. The speed is determined by their Speed stat. Travel time is therefore a function of Distance between Systems and Ship Speed.
The black central void of the galaxy contains no Star Systems, ensuring that a small subset of central Systems don’t become too dominant because of their spatial advantage.
Star Systems are not currently expected to be ownable by players.

Outposts

The history of the Galactic Trade Authority (GALTRAUTH) is long and mostly apocryphal. But whatever its origins, GALTRAUTH was firmly established as the arbiter of all meaningful interstellar trade by the time a network of decentralized Outposts was brought online.
Space is big, and maintaining control over the great expanse of The Void posed serious challenges. GALTRAUTH could make the regulations, but couldn't be everywhere at once to enforce them. Compromises had to be made.
Outpost Operators were deputized, tasked with enforcing GALTRAUTH's seemingly random rules about who could dock where and when. Cargo still couldn't move without Runners, and sometimes flouting the rules could net more $GREDITS. A game of interstellar cat and mouse ensued.
Outposts are player owned and operated, and will be the second Void Runners NFT collection. Outposts have an appearance, a location, a number of Docks and a name.
The number of Outposts released is calibrated around the following considerations to ensure that there is good gameplay tension between available Docks and Ships:
the number of Ships in circulation.
the average number of Docks per Outpost
the Rules Probability table (see below)

Location
Outposts are assigned to a Star System when generated.
Docks
Rarer Outposts have a higher chance of having more Docks.
Names
Outpost names are randomly generated.

Outpost Operator Gameplay

The basic structure of Void Runners is an interstellar game of cat and mouse (Ships are the mice; Outposts are large, immobile cats — the metaphor isn’t perfect). Outposts are also the Void Runners equivalent of land, from which resources can be harvested. Outpost Operators manage the flow of that resource, however, and Ships have reason to want to take more than they’re strictly allowed.
This means even in its simplest form Outpost gameplay is designed to present the opportunity for interesting decision-making with a strong metagaming component.
The push-your-luck dynamic at the core of docking applies equally to Ships and Outposts, and deciding how long to wait before confiscating an illegally docked Ship’s Cargo is meant to remain an interesting decision with no single definitive correct solution. The addition of the strong potential for informal alliances and player-driven policies and rituals further enriches this dynamic.
Ships must dock at Outposts to load and deliver Cargo, but which Outpost they choose to use is of key concern to Outpost Operators. Over time, a system of will add further complexity to the relationship between Ships and Outposts, allowing Outpost Operators to take an active role in differentiating their Outpost from others.
Outposts exist in a continually changing metagame of competition/cooperation with Ships and competition against other Outposts, requiring moment-to-moment decision-making, strategic choices about how to attract or punish Ships, and direct competition against other Outposts.

Docking Rules

Each Outpost has multiple Docks. All Docks have a docking rule in place at all times. Core docking rules are:
Any Ships (i.e. any Ship can legally dock here)
No Ships (i.e no Ship can legally dock here)
Color Requirement (e.g. only Red Ships can legally dock here).

Docking rules are subject to change and do so randomly, due to the erratic behavior of the faceless and bureaucratic Galactic Trade Authority, which seeks to regulate the flow of Cargo by setting arbitrary rules about who’s allowed to load where.

How rules change:
rules change at regular intervals
the time frame for rule changes is calibrated around average Ship loading times, to ensure most Ships risk multiple rule changes while docking to full capacity
rule change is global and occurs at all Docks at the same time.
when the rule change occurs:
a random roll to decide if the dock’s current rule will change
if yes, a random roll against the weighted Rule probability table assigns a new rule.
Rule Probability
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Rule
% chance
All Ships
25%
No Ships
35%
Red Only
8%
Blue Only
8%
Green Only
8%
White Only
8%
Yellow Only
8%
There are no rows in this table

Departure

Runners are free to depart from a dock at any point. The cargo that has been loaded onto their Ship is then secure, and is no longer subject to confiscation.
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