Starbound’s Director Mode – Something Else to Get Excited About

I am going to keep writing Starbound articles until you're as excited as I am, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Reading through the massive Starbound AMA thread on Reddit (and trying to compile all of the information into something easy to digest), I noticed one comment asking whether or not Director Mode, a feature mentioned by the dev team eleven months ago, would still become a reality.

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The answer is yes, but the feature will be added post-release.

So what is Director Mode? Read developer Tiy’s own words on the subject, fresh from the Starbound IRC a year ago:

    <@Tiy> i have some crazy ideas for after release support
    <@Tiy> after release im going to focus on director mode
    <@Tiy> Director mode is my grand vision
    <@Tiy> haha
    whats director mode?
    like a machinima thing?
    <@Tiy> no
    <@Tiy> basically
    <@Tiy> in director mode
    <@Tiy> players can log into a normal server as “director”
    <@Tiy> players who log in as directors can control *everything*
    <@Tiy> for example
    <@Tiy> heres the example I used last time
    <@Tiy> the players are playing normally
    <@Tiy> on a planet
    <@Tiy> this doesnt stop normal play
    <@Tiy> its not something you have to arrange
    <@Tiy> or make a meeting time for
    <@Tiy> it works with the rest of the game
    <@Tiy> the director logs in, sees the players
    <@Tiy> and then decides to spawn an old man NPC
    <@Tiy> the director then takes DIRECT control of the old man
    <@Tiy> and runs up to the players
    <@Tiy> anything the director says will come from the old man himself
    <@Tiy> so the director would say
    <@Tiy> “Help help! there are space pirates chasing me!”
    <@Tiy> the players can then choose to protect the old man
    <@Tiy> so lets say they build him a house
    <@Tiy> and because the director is controlling the npc
    <@Tiy> the old man can help out
    <@Tiy> too
    <@Tiy> now
    <@Tiy> the house is built
    <@Tiy> the director releases control of the npc and sets him to idle
    <@Tiy> so he stays in the house
    <@Tiy> then spawns a group of space pirates
    <@Tiy> he sets them to passive, and makes them all go towards the house
    <@Tiy> he takes control of the leader and says
    <@Tiy> “give us the old man! and no one gets hurt!”
    <@Tiy> then its up to the players what they want to do
    <@Tiy> they could say no, and defend the house
    <@Tiy> then the director could set them all to aggressive
    <@Tiy> or
    <@Tiy> they could say yes
    <@Tiy> and the director sets the old man to aggressive
    <@Tiy> because he doesnt want to go
    <@Tiy> the players could tunnel into the earth to try to escape
    <@Tiy> and the director could make the space pirates chase them
    <@Tiy> anything can happen essentially
    <@Tiy> when directors are controlling the game
    <@Tiy> the great thing about it all is
    <@Tiy> that its completely transparent
    <@Tiy> the players wont know if a director is there
    <@Tiy> once the director stops controlling things
    <@Tiy> the game doesnt stop
    <@Tiy> or reload
    <@Tiy> or anything like that
    <@Tiy> there are going to be quests
    <@Tiy> but
    <@Tiy> no amount of code will be as imaginative and interactive as a director could be
<@Tiy> using this system players can have conversations with npcs
    <Disreputable_dog> interesting
    <Disreputable_dog> i can see some people playing as the director all the time
    <Disreputable_dog> though i do worry about some people abusing it
    <@Tiy> well director accounts are limited in access
    <@Tiy> to the people the server admins allow to log in as directors
    <@Tiy> you can have multiple directors
    <@Tiy> and they can go to any planet
    <Disreputable_dog> i mean, the directors could use this to build a planet with, say, the acient ruins of a forgotten civilization, then use the NPC’s to point the players towards this planet
    <@Tiy> Disreputable_dog yeah thats entirely possible
    <@Tiy> directors can edit maps very quickly
    <Disreputable_dog> i thought youd have to make the npcs do the building xD
    <@Tiy> as part of character creation
    <@Tiy> no Disreputable_dog you can edit the map very quickly
    <@Tiy> so if you want to prepare a planet and then tell the players about it
    <@Tiy> you can do that
    <Disreputable_dog> well tiy, i have another director mode question! will directors have to manualy trigger events? or will they be able to set things to happen on their own. like, does a director have to be in control of an NPC to make them talk, or could he, say, tell it to say something when the players talk to him? or have things happen when players reach a certain area?
    <@Tiy> thats the kind of thing we wont know ourselves until we get heavily into developing it

This seems ambitious, but the recent recognition (and sort of confirmation) of this feature in the AMA says this just may be a real feature on top of Starbound’s other impressive assets.

Take a look at the AMA thread in all its glory here, but be warned: It is a long read. All this excitement killing me. Halp.


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Ashley Shankle
Ashley's been with GameSkinny since the start, and is a certified loot goblin. Has a crippling Darktide problem, 500 hours on only Ogryn (hidden level over 300). Currently playing Darktide, GTFO, RoRR, Palworld, and Immortal Life.