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Member Since 15 Jul 2013
Offline Last Active Jun 01 2015 08:19 PM

Topics I've Started

Complexity of Modular defense systems in my game(Modulus)

02 November 2014 - 03:35 AM



I haven't posted in a great while, but when i have I have gotten valuable responses and insight.  So I'm back again-

My game has advanced much(thanks to said feedback)  but now I have a wild hair about redesigning the ship defensive weapons... As the current setup may be too simplified to make missile defense classed ship significantly different from other classes.  


(shameless plug, playlist of videos of game so you can see what i have been up too and spare me from explaining everything) 




Currently you can place as many radar units on a ship as you like, but only the strongest one counts. Radar performance is based on a range factor, pulse rate, and number of intercept tracks the system can handle.  So right now you can just throw on a class 5 radar and  forget about it. 


What I have a wild hair about is  separating those factors into different units,   Namely "area" radar (for finding large objects/ship at range) akin to navigational rotating mast type,  target designation radars (tracking missiles/fighters, ect)  and combat control modules that would additive boost the number of hostile tracks the total system could engage.  I could further  complement this by having the designation type have directional arcs of cover ala fixed AESA panels.  The fun part about doing all this would be the potential of having much finer ability to impair said systems when modules are disabled/destroyed.      


The cons that comes to mind with this setup is that the minimum number of modules needed for a viable air defense system goes up quite a bit. The added complexity of the system might throw new players off some as well. The pros that come to mind are I could have a much wider variety of real unit builds between classes (especially between Command & Control  class and AA Defense class)  Where basic enemy detection and strong intercept capability could be wildly different builds.  I could mix and match the capabilities of the modules between super specialized and generally poor all round performers.   


The minimum modules a single ship would need to be viable would jump from 5 to 10 or so though...    






 ^ Circus comes to town! Missile design with a dozen plus VLS packs ^ 


Space RTS design quandary!

04 February 2014 - 10:05 PM

Hello, posting again after a long time working on things!


< New combat footage


My game has advanced nicely,   but now I come to a quandary (after almost 3 years of engine building)-



Currently the game is played(or will play, as the mission player is still WIP) on a procedurally generated galaxy with 81 playable solar systems with story missions distributed amongst them(ala Space Pirates and Zombies).   The player is primarily concerned with his mothership,  which has the ability to store ships in a pocket dimension after construction in order to carry them into other regions (the built ships do not have independent interstellar jump capability).    


My problem is this.... other then  holding a construction base or resource base....  What should I do in order to make planets truly valuable?   This isn't an empire building game-   The plot actually has you as the last human alive!  So the fundamental issue of territory control  arises(since ships can jump anywhere on  a map)...And with the ship repository the player does not need a forward base within a region to actually assault it (he can build up a fleet and take it with him)  I've been beating myself over the head with this dilemma for several months now and it keeps me up at night.   In order to make territory valuable,   and give the player something to lose when he ignores his holdings, there must be something more.

Tablet (space) RTS's and limits of Unencumbered UI and gameplay design.

15 July 2013 - 09:52 PM

I am ATM about 2 years into the development of my personal dream/pet game project, and now that I have met the major design goals I had at the outset I have run into a wall as to how far I should push the games complexity.


First off  - Design Touchstones: 

1 -   I wanted  a game were you truly created  the ships in your fleet...That means being able to roughly recreate essentially any ship in sci-fi history should you choose.   


2 -  In turn I wanted the freedom to truly tear ships apart, not go to pre arranged chunks (ala Gratuitous Space Battles).


3 - For simplicity sake(and my lack of skill were 3d is concerned) this a 2d overhead type game.


Lofty goals to be sure,  especially since my programming experience had stopped about 15 years prior playing with Borland 3.0 for DOS.   To make matters worse, I decided the game would be targeted at tablets with their comparatively puny resources.    


So to reiterate, I have an incomplete game were you can design, build and destroy ships....It's pretty fun as the pure sandbox experiment it is now...    But Where to Go From Here?   


I found myself scratching my head.  This is not a complete game yet by a wide margin.  My personal circle of space RTS games extends from Master of Orion series to  Homeworld  and Sins of a Solar Empire.   Its got to be 4x or go home!


Large scale map experiments have been only mildly successful to date given both play speed and processing requirements.  Exactly how long is someone going to sit and play on their tablet?.. Certainly not the length of a large scale SINS or Orion game.   I have experimented with gravity wells ala SINS and trying to implement a jump/hyperspace system,  but being able to issue the command quickly on a touch pad proved cumbersome...ideas?


I find seemingly simple decisions like resource gathering and management  setups have to be looked at in a new light in terms of how much direct interaction is safe to ask the players for...To say nothing about acquiring new tech and build tree options...Thoughts?   


Planet capture and orbital structures -  Do I make these absolutely minimal as to only show ownership of a planet , or do I allow for complex infrastructure the player has to maintain?   How much cpu time am I willing to put aside for this? Hmmmm



UI -   How many buttons and tabs can I really make use of before the screen becomes over cluttered?  Many strategy games have died on poor UI...


One solution seems to be to make large scale usage of fleet behavior, thus removing the need to control too many individual ships.

Another method though that popped into my head of late is to allow multiple devices per game session.  I'm not talking about  multiplayer here, I mean using both a phone and two tablets and perhaps a PC all in a single session with control and monitoring interfaces distributed across and communicating over local network.  (Picture Supreme Commander's multi monitor mode taken into separate devices). The extra displays would have a selection of dedicated interface mode options such as strategic view,  full  interface,  Ships/fleet status readouts,  research UI , economic  readout and so forth. I am confident I can make this happen, but is it even a good idea?   


Trying to squeeze a 4x RTS onto tablets has proven to be very delicate balancing act between UI and expected play time share.  The existing games on the mobile markets all had to make generous concessions to the medium.  Most of the time(for me personally) this made them not worth large amounts of play time and indeed, their designs seemed to encourage this.  This is not how I want my game to be, but If I ever want to succeed in any commercial form I may have to set aside my own preferences.


I thank you if you are still reading this, two years in and I have spent the last few weeks staring blankly at my IDE  hoping for some inspiration... Any thoughts on the subject matter or over my ranting welcome.  I decided to post this here on this community because reading over the threads I see many good minds and genuine peer design sprit.  I look forward to discussing the genre and design merits of any such game.  


If anyone cares, here is some test footage running on PC - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEpr--Rti1A