i read other parts of that game and when building fleets, why not have a company offer building type X ships for Y credits every now and then
Heh, I had a very similar thought
But building ships is a big thing deserving a separate topic later. For now let's focus on the map representation, fleets and battle. Assume the ships were already constructed for now.
- Just because it's space - don't go 3D. I know Homeworld made this but its really so hard that it's not really achievable.
I agree million percent, I loathe 3D representation in strategies.
- One sector should not be able to block another sector. It is space and you can travel around-behind-above to reach the target. I think an abstract influence radious would be a better model. If you enter the radious you will get into trouble.
Yes... I want ships to be able to fly unintercepted anywhere (it's required for automatic reinforcement). As an incentive to not go "too far" I would use supply depots instead of influence radius (note the map is very small so radius would not work here). Fleet use supply points, these are generated by controlled planets and military bases, if the supply is insufficient a portion of combat vessels would need to carry suplies instead of fighting or to escort transporters that do so.
But more important would be the combat system. I don't want to make it like a "grid in space" where a grand battle occurs whenever two fleets meet. On the contrary, each sector is a vast space and if the enemy has very few ships it could be even impossible to ever track them and force to fight.
My plan is like that:
- each sector consists of 15-20 planets, these planets can be controlled by different empires
- the AI admiral decide on a strategy which could be "conquest" (enemy planets), "defend" (own planets), "grand battle" (try to force enemy to a big space battle with a lot of ships taking casualities - if you have a superior force and want to get rid of enemy ships), "hit and run" (avoid all battles, attack unarmed ships, disrupt enemy supply lines)
- based on the strategy choosen AI admiral give operational orders which is sending ships on "missions". Each ship can do one mission per turn. It can be "patrol" (track convoys, scout for ambush attempts), "ambush" (try to find a portion of enemy ships - preferably unarmed - and attack them with an ambush bonus), "escort" (make sure supply ships have an escort which is nice during ambush), "attack a planet" (start invading the planet and attack all defending ships), "defend a planet" (stay in orbit and intercept all invading ships), "attack enemy fleet" (send ships to battle enemy ships directly - require sufficient patrol missions and generally this one is tricky to pull off unless enemy has a big and easy to track fleet)
- each turn there would be several combat phases: patrol, ambush x5, supply convoy x3, planetary invasion (one per planet), grand battle x2
Note that there is no concept of attacker/defender, all empires involved are perfectly symetrical during combat, it's quite possible for both AI admirals to set "defend" strategy for example (if they have similar forces and similar number of planets under control and their emperor does not insist on an immediate conquest).
Also, AI admiral personality might affect the decision (so not only objective criterias are taken into account, one might simply like to attempt conquering enemy planets no matter the loses).