Here are some other ones that didn't quite hook me.
- Everything is programmable, including the UI and the appearance of your modul
- A modul can send and receive messages with the moduls around it
- You start with a predefined and ready to use modul
- Offline support: your modul continues to live on the server when you are not connected
There is no game mechanics at all though, our goal is to create everything using moduls (games, entities composed of multiple moduls, tools…).
- A REST API to do everything remotely
- Code sharing using library packs
I can't wait to see how Screeps work!
I'm tremendously excited for this.
Also: if you don't launch with coffeescipt, I'll be adding a browser plugin to enable it.
I worked on http://www.globulation2.org which also has some higher level of command interaction. "No micro management" is one of its core ideas. While I love it, I guess people just don't get hooked that much to it than to those other games that mainly live from your click rate or your repeated attention.
I also worked for 2.5a at Travian and know a thing or two about successful game design and how travian deals with scripting and why. From that I can just say that Screeps will not be massive in the sense of user adoption. I would be surprised to see more than 20 people being online concurrently at any time beyond the first days of the game.
If you do this for profit, you will not run a game that gets the user's attention only once a year no matter how much joy this user draws from knowing that he will get a mail if his tribe needs him.
I'm fully with you on the notion that we shouldn't be manipulating players life like farmville. Johnathan blow put on a great talk about games and the human condition where he covers this aspect quite scathingly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqFu5O-oPmU
To completely ignore this aspect is to develop a game with no real-stickyness factor. Money aside, don't you want a game that people enjoy playing? The entire point of an MMO is to have a large reoccurring user-base. There is an art to it, and getting it right can make really powerful games: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZGCPap7GkY
For board games like chess, much of the appeal for the average player is that you get to sit down with a friend and compete, and in doing so the 'intellectual nature' of the game ends up pulling them in for the long term. Perhaps the answer to the meta-game of stickiness is to create a community around the game in a similar vein to the one from the ants ai challenge's forums.
Were I to work on this project, I'd make a strong push toward git-like integration ala the work done behind KhanAcademy's live editor like discussed in this talk: http://ejohn.org/blog/talk-khan-academy-computer-science/. - being able to share code behaviors with your team-mates (you are going to implement a guilds system, no?) and encourage discussions about behaviors at large would really help spurn the creation of a community.
To that end, have you considered creating more of a PvE aspect to things? Needing to conquer your local enemy denizens before finding other players would be an awesome way to encourage teamwork and camaraderie. Like in EVE, to be able to mine in the more mineral rich areas, you'd need to have more than one player's worth of resources and expertise.
This is the actually the direction I'm taking for my Ant game - in this case the various phenotype are actually things you unlock by conquering more advanced AI tribes. (Similar to the mechanic behind the demo of terratech)
OTOH if the coding itself is pretty lightweight and the strategy itself is what matters, code sharing might not be a problem. It would also be good for code learners. I think one of the challenges in learning to code today is the difficulty of fining projects where you can get dozens or hundreds of hours using fairly basic programming.
What fun is a game about coding if you don't actually have to do any coding?
Some people point out that code sharing might be a problem, but I don't think it is. People have to adapt the code to their own environment and as the creator of this game pointed out  AI's will have to be efficient to not exceed resources. That will also limit the possibilities of just pasting some nice scripts.
I hope this game will be as awesome as it looks like and I'm excited to try it out!
This looks great. Will there be a pre-launch documentation release? If I were going to mess around with it, it'd be nice to be able to think about it for a day or two.
Having one person being able to pay for more cycles is the textbook definition of unfair : it restricts the non-paying player to a subset of optimized searches, while the paying player can ultimately get an edge because of his additional compute.
Also, people are assuming a black market of scripts will develop just as it does for gear, etc. gear is different because the frequency table is fixed -- therefore the competitive landscape is fixed. When everyone can have 'nukes' the winning strategy is no longer 'nukes', it's who can sneak through defenses and disable the nukes, or confuse them.
Kauffman calls this constant evolution into the 'adjacent possible' -- and if Screeps even half delivers that kind of depth, there won't be a stable end state to the game where everyone has one master script. Changing environments necessitate changing response. You are part of the environment. Feedback and permutation!! Yes!!!
"Ask HN: Would you play a distributed, programmable MMO?" https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1538171
Nice to see something like this begin to take shape.
Please correct me if I am wrong.
That way one could try to apply some machine learning to this game.
That would really hook me!