"Hi Commander, I need you to go to X place and send this data to Y NPC!"
"…. Kill Y amount of NPC!"
"… interact with Y object!"
Travel time: 2 minutes (Best case) to 20 minutes (Why?).
Play time: 1 minute to 5 minutes.
(Double travel time for the way back, and assuming you know how to Rock Paper Scissor the gun/armor weaknesses)
That Works kind of well for Spaceship mechanics, but not so much for on-foot gameplay, does it?
Station hubs are fine for Space pilots, because when you have a Space ship: Space feels smaller to you.
But on foot, a planet should become your "space" to explore, it's the right size to you, tiny human.
Enters: Far Cry: Outpost gameplay loop.
Clearing an outpost is only the start of the loop. in Elite's equivalence, getting to X place only means you got to the Real Mission Hub.
It may be a friendly settlement, abandoned one, or occupied by enemies.
If it is abandoned, restoring power will make it so NPC start spawning in.
If it's occupied by enemies, clearing enemies makes mission finish right there and friendly NPCs will occupy instead.
If it's friendly, then all good.
Once that's done, the settlement will offer you missions within the location and around the same planet.
-Clear another raider's den nearby!
-Sample bio/geo stuff in the planet!
-NPC SRV is broken, go Fix it!
-Troops are sieging enemy base, go join them!
And you can ride your own ship or SRV throught the beautiful new planet tech or take a taxi instead!
Now admire the landscape for a while instead of empty space and untextured seats for 20 minutes.
In Far Cry, clearing an outpost means unlocking missions within the area, do more now that you got here!
In Elite? Clearing an outpost means going back to Station and move to next outpost clearing.
Let me admire your new tech, your planets, your FPS mechanics. let me stay longer in the planet I just landed on! It's beautiful so incentivise me to stay for longer! Make me appreciate your hard work!
I came to this pretty Rocky Ice world planet and I want to do more missions on it so I can explore now that I'm here!
And I can just leave whenever if I don't have that much time, I just came to clear 10 mercs after all.
Not saying that you have to copy another game. I'm saying you are not making real justice to the things you yourself crafted!
This is how you better solve the problem:
You don't make the journey shorter and thus meaningless.
You make it worth it.
That said, Do you think it would be too much work to move the Station Hub Mission framework to individual planets instead?
What would be the challenges of making something like this possible? I really wonder, but after the talk people had about travel times, I felt the approach to solving is not on the travel time itself but somewhere else.