That's fair, I did omit discussion about the mechanics.
The fundamental game system, is something I'm calling a "convolutional storyteller" (although, confabulation storyteller" might be a better term)
In most games, the plot is something that the developers make ahead of time, which the player experiences. But a side-effect of producing stories in this way, is: you will always run out of story. Multiplayer games posit the social interaction (or the competitive interaction) as the basic experience, and those are implicitly generated by two people playing with or against each other. A multiplayer game with only one player (like if you log into Battlefield 1942 these days) doesn't really have content, because content is created on the fly, by the interactions between people. (To compare back to single player games with a pre-defined plot: you can play any old single player game--if you can get it to run--and there will be content for you to experience, because a single player game has a pre-defined amount of content. So you can't play a multiplayer game that no one else is playing, and you can't play new parts of a single player game that you've already 100%'ed, because both of those scenarios represent a situation where the content-generator has stopped working. In the multiplayer game it's not working, because it is the multiplayer interaction that makes the content, and in the single player game it's not working, because games are produced and then shipped, and then there's no new game after that. Even in situations where someone makes an expansion pack / DLC / next season content, this is a standard game development cycle, just of a different length or with a different focus.)
So that's "the problem" of running out of content. My attempt at a solution to that problem, tries to invert the way stories are told in games. Right now, you have the "main quest", which is broken into different sub quests, which are sequences of actions the player has to take. Each time you advance to the next link in a quest chain, it's because you (the player) made some kind of change in the environment. Usually, killing a specific person, or getting a specific item. It's a very top down, prescriptive way of considering it.
I want to go in the other direction. The game itself is just kind of a simulation, with no goals or meaning. The player wanders around until they find something that interests them. The the game asks the player what they're doing. If the player's answer implies they would like this to turn into a quest, then a quest is generated relating to whatever the player is doing right now.
Here's an example:
1. Player has spent 15 minutes playing a minigame
1.a.i. "press [X] to fix broken machine"
1.a.ii. player was doing this for 15 minutes
1.a.iii. player was doing this in room: repair bay
1.a.iv. player was doing this with machines: sanitation drones
Player is given a quest
2.a. The quest says: "Hello [player]! Do you want to get better at [1.a.i], and help out your local [1.a.iii] by <fixing> [1.a.iv]? If so, go to the certification center to learn more!"
2.b. If player doesn't care, they don't go, and the quest just kind of disappears
2.c. If the player does care, then they go, and they play through a new link in the quest chain
At the certification center
3.a. This vignette (the boss is a jerk, but it's because they feel said, cause their friend recently died, and this was the only friend who ate grilled giant space beetle with them; get some grilled giant space beetle, give it to the boss, and say something nice; reward: +1 relationship with boss, boss stops being obsctructionist about your paperwork)
3.b. After completing 3.a, player does the thing they actually came to do, reward: +1 repair skill
So, in this way, my plan is to procedeurally generate the quests at runtime, and that will be the plot. This is very similar to Rimworld's use of a "storyteller", but a big part of my focus is a non-reliance on combat as gameplay. Instead of combat, I'm focusing on "social exploration".
And, basically the player will "curate" their game, in a gardening sense. Over time, there will just be an accretion of history, (people who make decisions for reasons, in a place), and the history produces the raw material for the next iteration of playing the game. This part, the game has more in common with Dwarf Fortress than with Rimworld.
But in essence, the game exists to depict the simulation data, stories about how the world changes, are sequences of operations applied to the simulation data.
I'm not sure what role the player will have in the game, but my assumption is: If you were playing Rimworld, but in a city, and you can't change characters, and instead of direct barbarism (people coming with guns, to make you into slaves), your problems are largely maintainance problems. (We need to fix the water pipes or the plants will die, and the plants handle all of our CO2 scrubbing, ever since we used the last CO2 scrubber to fix the....; So either go fix the pipes, or go scavenge one of the broken ships to see if you can find a CO2 scrubber, you have 20 hours before we all die)
Regarding what technology: this project is still being designed. The main piece of technology, is the plot generator. A very substantial piece of tech though, is the social simulation, which I haven't really mentioned.
Right now, I'm just writing vignettes (like the one mentioned above), and trying to formalize the procedure of storytelling. If I can get the plot generator to work, then I'll probably just start work in Unity, with an attempt to implement online multiplayer in one of the unity-centered multiplayer frameworks. I see the game as being 1-8ish players, where one player acts as the host, and owns the world they load into. Emotionally, I would like to release this game on a Nintendo console, but I'm not targeting anything until I have a playable demo.
So, all of that said, the thing I'm actually trying to figure out is: If you were building a commercial trade spaceport in real life, and literally putting it around pluto; but once you get it there, you have to abandon the plan because a new form of cheap transportation makes it pointless to go that far out; and also some people are already living on the station. If that were a literal circumstance, what would be the design of the space station? How big would it be? How does it get food? How does it get resources? How does it deal with waste? What do the people there do for fun? What are those people's jobs? What is a house like there? Is everyone there freaking out about being stuck with no incoming wealth? Is it going to be possible for that station to survive for 100 years? Are any of these people going to have kids? Are there like, hundreds of kids who are going to make it to 30 and then die, when the space station busts a leak because of no maintainance?
The thing I'm trying to do, is get the most detailed and clear depiction of this space station as I can. (As though it were a literal place I could go to myself) That's the information I'm trying to find, and I'm not really sure where to look. I don't think the information exists yet, really, but I don't know how to make a good guess, so I'm trying to learn how to make a better guess. And that's what I'm asking for.