I've just embarked in a new project, one that I might realistically be able to finish as a one man army (programmer art, here we go!). The main idea is to let you, the player, command your fleet of space ships against a similar enemy fleet. You would do so through a DRADIS-like (from Galactica) interface. Similar to the indie game "Gratuitous Space Battles" but with a different scope (and no top notch graphics at the moment ).
Here's what I have at the moment:
The twist would be to recreate as much as possible the feel of a space opera battle dynamics, where fighters and bombers do most of the job as in Star Wars or Galactica. The above screen shows a very early prototype of a battle map. Your "flagship" would be at the center of the circular grid and the rest of the (detected) ships would appear as icons there.
Now back to the topic. My initial idea would have been to let you assign orders to each ship in your fleet . For instance, have "Alpha Squadron" consisting of Fighter ships protect "Beta Squadron" on their bombing run. Together with other parameters such as aggressivity, priority, you would have the basics to build a rule based engine. Each ship would then use this engine to decide what to do. If for instance, the fighter escort was destroyed, then the bombers might decide to fleet rather than carrying on. From the interface's point of view one could use a real time + pause system where you controlled the speed. After assigning orders you would then watch the ships execute them. By pausing you could issue new orders.
A "Storyteller" system would be used to implement dynamic radio chatter to provide some degree of immersion. So each ship would say something depending on the current actions. I.e.: "multiple contacts detected!", "Red Leader: lock S-Foils into attack positions!" and so on. On a side note, I want to explicitly include the option of ramming a capital ship into another one as a last resort, seeing as it is a mainstay of science fiction everywhere "We'll se you all on the other side. It was an honor serving with you. Pegasus out."
In theory this could work but.... is it fun enough to just see the battle unfold and intervening from time to time? The alternative would be to use a purely turn-based system with time units. I have recently played X-Com which reminded me of how engaging turn based games can be. Seeing as the main focus of the game would be to put you in the commander's shoes.. would having to control each ship feel to diminish that impression? What are your thoughts? Consider that the game is aimed at smartphones (and perhaps tablets). Please no jokes about it being built for Windows Phone OS C# is the language I know and the one I feel comfortable with. Plus, there's much less competition there at the moment
The rest of the game would be scenario-based a-la FTL. I.e.: the "tutorial" scenario would see you having to race back from the fringes of Oort's belt to Earth to support the Martian Fleet in their attempt to declare independence. So each battle would bring you closer to the final confrontation in Earth's orbit.
Other ideas that I'm considering at the moment are the possibility of choosing your own ship design (from a predefined set of ship classes, i.e.: Carriers, fighters, bombers, to support Rock-paper-scissors mechanics. I.e. a bomber is effective against capital ships but not against fighters and so on), experience points and so on. Maybe a very limited research aspect (it does not make much sense in a game like this, seeing as the game would span a single "campaign", so there would be no time for scifi-like research a-la Master of Orion).
Edited by AvengerDr, 28 January 2013 - 10:30 AM.