Star Wars Galaxies: Episode III Rage of the Wookiees Designer Diary #3 - Introducing Space Mining

Producer Dallas Dickinson tells us about space mining, the new minigame in the upcoming expansion pack that will let you blast asteroids for fun and profit.

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With Star Wars Galaxies: Episode III Rage of the Wookiees, the developers at Sony Online Entertainment are looking to add a ton of new content to the Star Wars online role-playing game. Of course, that's expected of an expansion pack. So in addition to a whole new world to explore and adventure in (in this case, Kashyyyk, the homeworld of the wookiees), the developers are introducing a fast-paced minigame that will let you jump in and out of the game quickly but still have a good time. And in many ways, this minigame will remind you a lot of some of the classic arcade games from the 80s. We'll let producer Dallas Dickinson explain. Meanwhile, you won't have to wait much longer for the expansion pack, since it will be released this week.

Now you can blow up rocks for profit. Like you needed a reason.
Now you can blow up rocks for profit. Like you needed a reason.

Star Wars Meets Asteroids

by Dallas Dickinson
Producer, Sony Online Entertainment

We are introducing a whole new kind of gameplay in Star Wars Galaxies: Episode III Rage of the Wookiees: space mining. Space mining is a fast-paced, arcade-style experience for players of all levels. It allows even the most casual of Star Wars Galaxies players to jump in for 30 minutes and have a fun, exciting gameplay experience, make some in-game cash, and log out.

The Star Wars Galaxies team decided to add this gameplay for a few reasons. First, we all loved some of the great arcade games of the past, such as Asteroids and Sinistar, and the space experience in Star Wars Galaxies made it easy for us to envision a slick, 3D game with that great arcade feel. Second, we wanted to create a quick, simple play experience that offered a fast-paced, fun way to play the game in short sessions. In addition, implementing this type of "minigame" wasn't hard, and was crucial to enhancing the gameplay for players who just want to jump in and out of the game, but also leave with a sense of accomplishment without committing too much time.

In order to play the space mining game, players must first visit Kachirho, the central town on Kashyyyk, the wookiee home planet. There they will be able to get their first quest in the space mining series. Successful completion of this quest will give the player a mining laser and a cargo hold for their existing starship--all the tools you need for the basic mining game. The player can then explore the low-level space zones (such as Tatooine, Naboo, and Corellia) and search for suitable asteroids. Complete all of the mining quests, and you'll obtain a tractor beam, better mining lasers, and larger cargo holds.

And after completing the highest-level space mining quest, players are rewarded with the Y-8, a new multi-passenger ship specifically designed for space mining. The Y-8 has three configurable weapon slots: a forward-firing weapon, a top-mounted turret, and a bottom-mounted turret. The weapon slots can take unique components that will not fit on any other ship, including the class-3 mining laser. It will also have a vastly larger cargo hold than other ships, so it can mine for long periods of time without having to unload its cargo. You will be able to have, with three weapon slots, a mining laser mounted in one, a tractor gun in another (to pull in rogue asteroid chunks), and a regular blaster in the third (to fight off enemy ships that might disturb you).

We wanted to make a big ship for the mining game in order to group people together in space and have them participate in social activities while traveling through the galaxy. We wanted to encourage them to help each other gather resources while protecting themselves in case of any invasion from pirates. And you'd better be ready, because pirates will be ready to jump you in the deeper reaches of space, especially if you're mining for space diamonds and other rare and valuable commodities. In fact, if you go into Kessel, you might want to bring some friends to keep the pirates off your back.

Just pretend that the asteroid ahead is the Death Star.
Just pretend that the asteroid ahead is the Death Star.

Each space zone has a different set of mining resources available, and each zone pays a different price for those resources, so you can make a bit of extra cash if you're willing to travel a bit. If you really want to clean up, though, save those resources and sell them to crafters on the ground. Space mining resources are unique and are absolutely required for some of the new schematics and recipes the crafting community will create. Each new asteroid has a special appearance, not only to make it stand out from other asteroids in the zone, but also to distinguish it from other resource-rich asteroids in other space zones. They all have a custom flavor that speaks to the type of resource you will mine there.

Skilled players might even end up finding some totally unique mining resources that'll sell for major cash. Space mining brings a fun, action-oriented, and profitable type of gameplay to Star Wars Galaxies. If you just have a few minutes to pop in the game and want to have some seriously challenging fun, this is the way to go.

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