Architecture skill and coopertive constuction improvements
An Idea I had on cooperative building in-game. It is currently difficult to coordinate projects with multiple builders, especially if they can't all be online at the same time. This is an aspect of game that fits the community spirit of ECO. It should be easier for many players to be able to contribute to large scale construction projects. I purpose a system to enable this sort of gameplay: "Architecture" Skill
The main idea/goal is that buildings would be pre-planned before they are built. This may take the form of "ghosted" blocks, showing where blocks should be placed.
Someone with Architect skill, uses a Drafting Table (model could be similar to research table). Then, using the table interface, a design for building is created. Design happens inside a window UI. All blocks available would be on a side and a 3D grid representing the volume of a plot of land would be on other. The first block placed must be the 'keystone' block. This block represents the starting point of the building. More blocks then are clicked and dragged onto the grid to be placed. Once the design is complete, it is crafted into a 'blueprint' item (made with paper most likely).
Blueprints can be copied, with more paper, for mass production of buildings. Perhaps even modular designs could be made?
Building site must be a claimed land plot. (this ensures consistency between the volume of the design, and the world.) It must also be completely leveled, and entire volume free of blocks. (this ensures that nothing from blueprint will super-impose on existing blocks. This should include things like overhanging tree limbs.)
"Blueprint" is crafted into "keystone" block. "keystone" functions like a "table/furniture object, that can only be placed on valid, empty land claim, that you have permissions to. it can be rotated with 'e' as normal, provided that it fits the volume of the plot. The "keystone" should 'ghost' image of entire building design.
Once placed, anyone with permissions to plot (or not?), can place the appropriate blocks on their ghosted image to build. 'Ghost" image of individual blocks, or as a whole (or both?) should disappear after replaced by actual blocks.
The advantage of this system is, design of building can be planned out by Architect. Then many builders can work, asynchronously, on construction over time. This is vital for large building projects! Everyone can see what final construction should look like, and there is no guess work.
Some suggestions for Architecture Skill
Part of Civics tree?
Speed/efficiency on blueprint creation/copies
Increase to volume of land plots that can be used in design. (Lv1 1x1, Lv2, 2X2, Lv3 2X3, Lv4 3X3, Lv5 ?)
Limitation to blocks that can be used in design (wood, lumber, brick, concrete, etc) unlocked by skill?
I realize this is a big feature suggestion, that would involve codding new systems, UI, etc. However, I think this is something that is not offered by other 'survival/crafting' games, that could set Eco apart in a way the emphasizes the cooperation, and community driven gameplay.
I am interested to see what improvements and changes the community and developers can supply to make this idea a reality.
IIRC Space Engineers has something like this, where you can take an existing ship and create a blueprint out of it. That blueprint can then be projected into an empty area and a new ship constructed from it. However they don't have a "design-only" bit. StarMade has a "design-mode" you can enter from the Ship Core which lets you freely move in 3-space (including through walls) in order to construct your ship. But you have to have the resources to actually construct the ship. Once done you can create a blueprint from that and then auto-create a ship or structure from that blueprint as long as you have the resources available. The above suggestion is a sort of hybrid of these two systems it sounds like, except you wouldn't have to have the materials available to create the design, only to actually build it. I too would like to see such a system.
Seen similar in Planet of Explorers.
Random PoE movie: