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# Space games, good things and bad things

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What are your favorite elements of space shooters?
Explosions. Lots of explosions (caused by having lots of disposable weapons with groovy visual effects). A space shooter without explosions (even though often physically inaccurate, but who cares) is... unacceptable.

Least favorite?
Tedium. Repetition. Patterns. I got tired of games like Nemesis because once you found the enemy patterns, the game became merely a timing exercise. Make the enemies respond to the player dynamically so each playing is fresh and different.

Would you prefer huge dogfights with hundreds of fighters on both sides or more one-on-one scenarios?
Large dogfights, but "hundreds" is impractical (as well as bad military strategy, but that''s a nother discussion entirely). Say twenty bad guys per good guy, max.

How much control do you like? (ie. do you want to be able to do a quick barrel roll while yawing to the left and aiming your gun turret with the mouse, or, just point and click to aim and fire?
Variable. Some days I''ll feel like going deep and hardcore while other days I''ll want the computer to handle almost everything for me. I don''t like using mouse and keyboard for action/reflex games, though (a large part of why I don''t play FPSes), so make sure I can conveniently control the ship using my joystick/gamepad.

Do you like lots of small ships, or a few huge destroyer/mothership types?
Both, at different times. Missions should be varied (and contain variations in enemy "waves") such that at times I''m frantically blasting at ten circling, swooping enemy fighters and at other times I''m methodically dismantling a battleship (which means I have awesome firepower). The advance towards a mothership-type should logically be impeded by the fighters that said mothership houses, and only after dispatching of them like flies should I be able to take mama down - keeping out of range of certain weapons, slowly circling and disabling gun turrets and sensors leaving her blind and helpless, then swopping in for a protracted kill...

Do you like realism in flying, or arcade-style maneuvering?
Arcade. I''ll play MS Flight Simulator when I want a physically accurate flight model.

Do you like a complex damage model(if you get shot in your yaw thruster system, you can''t properly turn anymore, your navigation system can get fried, etc...), or do you just want a number from 0-100 telling you your health?
Depends. Just don''t give me too much to worry about, and make it easy to see what''s wrong and fix it.

How long should a battle last, 10 intense minutes of adrenaline, or a two hours of a complex tactical situation?
Fight->Battle->War. A fight should be quick and dirty (generally one-on-one or one-on-few) while a battle takes a longer time (series of fights against locally amassed opponents - from jetfighters to a commandship, perhaps). The whole game would then span a war.

Do you want automatic weapons systems(ie. radar + missile locking + energy trail tracking), or do you prefer having to fly to them and fight it out?
Automatic. I want add-ons too: little sub-ships I can purchase, capture, reprogram and deploy even during combat so that I could tell the repair bot to fix my right rear thruster while dogfighting a slower enemy (the bot would climb out on my wing and latch on while performing repairs) or launch a bunch of energy piranhas on an unsuspecting foe (and later siphon the energy off of them), leaving him as powerless as floating space debris. I might not even kill him.

Saving in the middle of a battle?
Yes. Middle of a fight (see above)? Maybe, maybe not.

Lots of people on your side helping you, or pretty much a one-against-all situation?
Flexible/variable. There have to be space stations and outposts where I can go for repairs, purchase some weapons upgrades, catch up on sports scores, get some galactic gossip, grab a cup of coffee... Occasional missions involving other fighters might be cool (cooperative destruction, escort, etc).

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1) blasting stuff, I would say dodging but usually you can''t do things like in Robotech or Gundam

2) running out of fuel, slowing down in space

3) huge dogfights, the huger the better, flat shade it if you have to, wireframe if you have to

4) custom(also what I''m gonna try to do) cause it''s hard to say, simpler controls mean less distractions, kind of like in some games that have different controls based on player skill-which thread covered that recently?

5) why can''t I have both? blasting just one all the time is boring

6) do something different and make it realistic, all the games with arcade style controls(even the good ones) transform into "turn until enemy spotted, fire, repeat"

7)don''t care, just make sure that I still have a fighting chance if damaged

8) it is called ''shooter'' for a reason you know

9) nearly, no wait, all the games I played had missiles that tracked and blasters that didn''t

10) new to me, might be nice

11) praise be to wingmen, they usually let you last a lot longer

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(1) What are your favorite elements of space shooters?
The explosions. I let the Galatea die in Freespace just so I could watch the huge explosion.

(2) Least favorite?
Aristotlean physics and unapologetically suicidal enemy pilots.

(3) Would you prefer huge dogfights with hundreds of fighters on both sides or more one-on-one scenarios?
I prefer battles where the sides are between 1:1 and 2:1, with more elite pilots(represented, of course, by vastly superior AI instead of simply booting their specs) for the more outmatched battles. How many there are usually doesn''t matter to me because I''m focusing on the one(s) I''m trying to kill.

(4) How much control do you like? (ie. do you want to be able to do a quick barrel roll while yawing to the left and aiming your gun turret with the mouse, or, just point and click to aim and fire?
I don''t think I''d be able to aim the weapons and pilot at the same time. Some sort of virtual gunner would be nice if you don''t just point the weapon in the direction you''re shooting.

(5) Do you like lots of small ships, or a few huge destroyer/mothership types?
Both, preferably. Both alternatingly and in conjunction with one another.

(6) Do you like realism in flying, or arcade-style maneuvering?
I dunno. I''ve yet to find a game with realistic flying in space. I really hate having a top speed and a turning speed comparable to an airborne bomber. Fighters in space should be dizzyingly nimble. Chemical thrusters should be mounted in pairs at the extremities of the ship. A computer control system should be able to sidestep using these thrusters(but doing so would reduce your turning speed while you''re sidestepping)

(7) Do you like a complex damage model(if you get shot in your yaw thruster system, you can''t properly turn anymore, your navigation system can get fried, etc...), or do you just want a number from 0-100 telling you your health?
The type I prefer is one in which systems vital to victory are eliminated while ones vital to survival are not. Armor and shield integrity displays are welcome, as well as the estimated health of damaged system components.

(8) How long should a battle last, 10 intense minutes of adrenaline, or a two hours of a complex tactical situation?
I''ve yet to see a space-borne complex tactical situation. Anything other than "charge your enemies and show him no mercy" just seems ludicrous in space to me. But why not two hours of adrenaline?

(9) Do you want automatic weapons systems(ie. radar + missile locking + energy trail tracking), or do you prefer having to fly to them and fight it out?
I doubt the ability of missiles to work in space, but if you can work out the physics and control systems, I''d be happy to play.

(10) Saving in the middle of a battle?
Either works.

(11) Lots of people on your side helping you, or pretty much a one-against-all situation?
One wingman is best. Other people doing their own thing are fine. I don''t really want to be in command of them, though.

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(1) What are your favorite elements of space shooters?
It''s in space (what a surprise!). No really, NO GROUND to crash into.

(2) Least favorite?
Fly to waypoint X and guess what there are some badguys at waypoint X. On a par is the linear scenario set ( do this mission - if you fail - game over ).

(3) Would you prefer huge dogfights with hundreds of fighters on both sides or more one-on-one scenarios?
Level out at about 20 - 30 on each side (Excluding captial ships), hundreds would just be messy. Besides half of them would be toast in a few seconds, think of a hundred missiles locking on all at once (ouch!)

(4) How much control do you like? (ie. do you want to be able to do a quick barrel roll while yawing to the left and aiming your gun turret with the mouse, or, just point and click to aim and fire?
Too much complexity would be bad, its bad enough evading an enemy while jiggling the energy ratios of guns/shields/engines, firing afterburners and lisenting to (or reading )the mission update orders all at the same time.

(5) Do you like lots of small ships, or a few huge destroyer/mothership types?
Mixture is the best thing.

(6) Do you like realism in flying, or arcade-style maneuvering?
realism. ( see 4 ). I doubt very much that most of us could handle 3D manoeuvring PLUS all the things that I''ve stated above (remember that space shuttle crews have more than one person). BUT I don''t like it when I don''t have the freedom to move where I want a-la arcade style where all I do is use the guns.

(7) Do you like a complex damage model(if you get shot in your yaw thruster system, you can''t properly turn anymore, your navigation system can get fried, etc...), or do you just want a number from 0-100 telling you your health?
Complex damage model would be nice, if a little frustrating ( Nothing pissed me off more than in the Star Wars fighter sims when I lost engine power or my lasers at the critical moment)

(8) How long should a battle last, 10 intense minutes of adrenaline, or a two hours of a complex tactical situation?
Two hours would be tiring. The best solution is the alterable time scale, where you can blaze past the dull bits and get to the action.

(9) Do you want automatic weapons systems(ie. radar + missile locking + energy trail tracking), or do you prefer having to fly to them and fight it out?
Both. Missiles are fine and should be used to take out enemies at long range, but nothing beats getting on their tails and pounding them to pieces with laser cannons.

(10) Saving in the middle of a battle?
Battle? If you mean save in the middle of a fight, definatly not. Leads to too much save and re-loading, part of the fun and the adrenaline is the chance that you''ll be toast.

(11) Lots of people on your side helping you, or pretty much a one-against-all situation?
scaled against the number of enemies that there is. But there should also be compitence in all the AI''s. There''s nothing dumber than requesting assistance and it never showing up.

"Making it up! Why should I be making it up. Lifes bad enough as it is without wanting to invent more of it."

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1. Dunno. Cool explosions, manouvering around giant capital ships, asteroid fields, stuff like that.

2. Long periods of drifting aimlessly in space.

3. I like my space battles to be huge and epic in scale.

4. Aiming turrets with the mouse might be quite neat, but then you'd have to simplify all the other controls to cope with the fact that the player doesn't have a spare hand for the keyboard any more.

5. Both.

6. Frictionless space flight is a bit of a pain in the ass to fly really, although it lets you do neat tricks. A nice idea is to equip your fighters with special thrusters that simulate flying in an atmosphere, but give the players the option to switch them off and use the frictionless model. I-War did this, I think.

7. Reasonably complex.

8. Something between the two.

9. As long as those weapons aren't foolproof, then put them in. Obviously there should be a limited supply of these weapons, so you'd have to use them wisely.

10. I have no real opinion on this. I probably wouldn't use it very often.

11. A bit of both. Sometimes coordinating wingmen can be quite an interesting challenge. However, it is nice to fly against all odds.

If you haven't played it, track down a copy of X Wing Alliance - this is one of my favourite space shooters, and the configurable skirmish game kept me playing until my joystick broke. It is sufficiently arcadey to be great fun to play, but at the same time there is enough complexity to keep it interesting. Also check out I-War - it is a bit less arcadey and more of a sim, but it is also excellent.

[edited by - Sandman on July 1, 2002 6:50:09 AM]

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OK, so you guys prefer controls on the simpler side, relatively short fights, a mixture of different enemies, wingmen that don''t require you to tell them exactly what to do, and pretty much a middle ground about everything else.

-TheThief

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wow, excellent thread. great idea to post a simple survey.

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1. Favourite: Like everyone else, huge ships blowing up. Oh, and those laser beam things in Freespace 2 kicked ass.

2. Least Favourite: The AI in Privateer 2? Heh really though, stupid ramming AI is high on the list of dislikes.

3. Battles Big/Small: Somewhere in between. Being in a huge fight like the Battle of Endor or something sounds cool but you really have to ask why? You''ll never see most of the ships as more than a few pixels way off in the distance. On the other hand since AI often sucks in space games (see question 2) one on one dogfights are too boring/easy.

4. Dogfighter/Admiral: It varies. Sometimes I like dogfighting, sometimes I like higher level command.

5. Fighters/Warships: Same as 4.

6. Arcade/realism: I think true realism is too hard to control to be fun, but being able to pull non-arcade moves (like afterburner slides in the Wing Commander games) is cool.

7. Damage system: Some realism but not overly complex, and repairs should be at least somewhat automated. I thought the x-wing and tie fighter games were good in this respect, there was damage that affected targeting or your ability to steer but it was repaired automatically over time. In some game (I forget which, might have been x-wing/tie or maybe privateer) you could choose the order in which damaged systems were repaired. I liked that. You got some control over how damage/repairs were handled but without micromanagement if you didn''t want it.

8. Battle length: 20-30 minutes

9. Automatic/Manual weapons: Some combination of both

10. In-battle saves: Only if it''s big, protracted battle, and then only allow saving at certain key points (sort of dividing a big mission into smaller missions I guess)

11. You should have a reasonable force on your side, no one-against-everyone stuff.

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I like a mixture of large multi-component opponents where targeting is crucial and masses of fodder. The experience of blasting your way to the belly of a steel beast and then emerging from the imploding hulk is matched only by the rush of carving your way through the impossible armies of stupidity.

I *must* be at least twice as fast as the fastest opponent or I get annoyed.

Tactically, I think space shooters are lacking because they are so freeform that technical maneuvers are meaningless. The more structured the battle is, spatially or otherwise, the more rewarding the experience is, tactically.

Conceptually, I think there is room for a new breed of shooter that is hybrid space/fp. The concept is "frogger shooter" where launching between free-floating destinations is as important as accurately targeting restricted/free-floating targets.

Any chance that you''ll implement warp-time? It''s the opposite of bullet-time in that, for a split second you are able to plan a lightning maneuver around some object, instead of reacting in your own space to some incoming object.

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I just wanted to ask you guys some questions on what you would like to see in a 3D space shooter.

(1) What are your favorite elements of space shooters?
Space. 3D movement...watching the elite graphics.

(2) Least favorite?
UNREALISTIC PHYSICS AND AI !
I really hate XWing and Freespaces physics.
The shield systems are really lacking, the damage systems, bleh I could go on for pages about the defects of the classics.
Never played Wing Commander tho...I will someday.

(3) Would you prefer huge dogfights with hundreds of fighters on both sides or more one-on-one scenarios?

Neither.
Big cap ships, plus swarms of fighters.
1 on 1 I dunno. Did 1v1 happen much in WW2 sea battles ?
Id find that out, then use that as a guide.

(4) How much control do you like? (ie. do you want to be able to do a quick barrel roll while yawing to the left and aiming your gun turret with the mouse, or, just point and click to aim and fire?
Depends of the ships capabilities.
NO point and click. Lets make this realistic.
We arnt making an arcade shoot-em-up, I want a real intellectual space SIM.

(5) Do you like lots of small ships, or a few huge destroyer/mothership types?
See above.

(6) Do you like realism in flying, or arcade-style maneuvering?
Realism

(7) Do you like a complex damage model(if you get shot in your yaw thruster system, you can''t properly turn anymore, your navigation system can get fried, etc...), or do you just want a number from 0-100 telling you your health?
Realism

(8) How long should a battle last, 10 intense minutes of adrenaline, or a two hours of a complex tactical situation?
Battle dependant.
Whats happening ?
Is it a sustained assault or a quick hit and fade ?

(9) Do you want automatic weapons systems(ie. radar + missile locking + energy trail tracking), or do you prefer having to fly to them and fight it out?
Depends on the craft.
Also, ever play Falcon 3.0 ? It hada varible realism setting.

(10) Saving in the middle of a battle?
hmm....not sure....
Probably do a save -and-exit like Diablo2.

(11) Lots of people on your side helping you, or pretty much a one-against-all situation?
More the merrier in my opinion.

Bugle4d

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quote:
Original post by TheThief
(1) What are your favorite elements of space shooters?

Space. Shooting. In that order.

And the favourite elements of games in general: being surprised, pretty pictures, feelings of accomplishment, that kind of thing.
quote:

(2) Least favorite?

Steering with a mouse. Nobody steers REAL space craft with a mouse, why should I?

In general, cut scenes I can''t get skip. This is problem with many games, but in my experience space shooters have more frequent cut scenes than other games.
quote:

(3) Would you prefer huge dogfights with hundreds of fighters on both sides or more one-on-one scenarios?

Yes.

It depends, of course. What ship am I in? Do I have help? What am I fighting against?
quote:

(4) How much control do you like? (ie. do you want to be able to do a quick barrel roll while yawing to the left and aiming your gun turret with the mouse, or, just point and click to aim and fire?

I would really expect my gun turret to auto-aim if it wasn''t fixed. However, I would expect that a well-designed ship would let the pilot choose between available targetting options.
quote:

(5) Do you like lots of small ships, or a few huge destroyer/mothership types?

Yes.
quote:

(6) Do you like realism in flying, or arcade-style maneuvering?

Realism. Realism. Realism.

Thou shalt impose no upper limit upon speed except that which thy lord Einstein hath given unto you! (No pointless 200Km/s speed-limits, or whatever.)

Thou''s objects shalt continue in their motions until a force doth act upon them! (No bizarre coming-to-a-halt-when-the-throttle-is-released, even though there''s no friction.)
quote:

(7) Do you like a complex damage model(if you get shot in your yaw thruster system, you can''t properly turn anymore, your navigation system can get fried, etc...), or do you just want a number from 0-100 telling you your health?

Yes.

That should be a function of your difficulty level. Most space games that I''ve played have at least that level of damage modelling. Perhaps you should allow more graduation for the hardcode player, and a percentile for the newbie.
quote:

(8) How long should a battle last, 10 intense minutes of adrenaline, or a two hours of a complex tactical situation?

Again, yes.

Perhaps the game should adjust to your mode of play. Certainly you should have the choice between those extremes.
quote:

(9) Do you want automatic weapons systems(ie. radar + missile locking + energy trail tracking), or do you prefer having to fly to them and fight it out?

Once again, yes.

I want long, medium and short-range weapon systems. I want smart bombs, guided missiles, dumbfires, lasers (i.e. beams of coherent light that move at the speed of light, not slow-moving sticks of energy), cannon, mines, ECM and more exotic forms of offense and defense.
quote:

(10) Saving in the middle of a battle?

Definately.
quote:

(11) Lots of people on your side helping you, or pretty much a one-against-all situation?

Yup. Again, this should be the player''s choice.

On the whole, Frontier: Elite II sums up the perfect space shooter: it''s pretty (even now, it has visual effects that you don''t get anywhere else (planets cast shadows on their rings, the atmospheres of planets change colour as they turn)), it''s clever, and, above all, it''s open. The only problem is the AI is pretty poor, and you don''t get wingmen (or ''capital class'' ships).

Just Plain Wrong

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quote:
Original post by deClavier
The experience of blasting your way to the belly of a steel beast and then emerging from the imploding hulk ... the impossible armies of stupidity.

I think that to knowingly be within a large ship when it is imploding ranks you amongst the armies of stupidity.
quote:

I *must* be at least twice as fast as the fastest opponent or I get annoyed.

Isn''t the point of the fastest opponent that it be faster than you?
quote:

Tactically, I think space shooters are lacking because they are so freeform that technical maneuvers are meaningless.

Tactically, no general is going to fight in open space. He is going to fight in an asteroid/mine field, just at the edge of a planet''s/star''s/black hole''s gravity well, or some other place where he can put his enemy at a strategic disadvantage. In such places, maneuvers have meaning.

Just Plain Wrong

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Mayrel:
How do you answer "yes" to an either-or question? "Do you want A or B?" "Yes." Look over your post and see what I mean; you haven''t given TheTheif any useful information unless you flesh out your opinion so he can infer what you meant by context (as you did in some instances). Man, I''d hate to give you a questioneer if you habitually respond like that!

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I think his point was he liked both, ala "do you want cake or pie" - saying "yes" indicates you like both - a sad abuse of the language used by comedy bits all throughout the age of television/radio.

Not that I''m speaking for him or anything.

Though considering his responses to deClavier, maybe he needs someone to speak for him. (uh, just because there''s a "fastest opponent" in no way means it''s faster than you.)

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"Tactically, no general is going to fight in open space. He is going to fight in an asteroid/mine field, just at the edge of a planet''s/star''s/black hole''s gravity well, or some other place where he can put his enemy at a strategic disadvantage. In such places, maneuvers have meaning."

Second and most important space battles are like sea battles (at least thats where those fancy rangs come from ) and if i remember correctly those were fought on open sea

No attack

Regards

N.O.P

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quote:
Original post by Vlion

(6) Do you like realism in flying, or arcade-style maneuvering?
Realism

If it is a sim, realism. If it is a shooter, arcade. Simple as that.
Frontier was cool in that aspect in that you could use a planet''s gravity to accelerate you. Not that it was easy, though.

quote:

(7) Do you like a complex damage model(if you get shot in your yaw thruster system, you can''t properly turn anymore, your navigation system can get fried, etc...), or do you just want a number from 0-100 telling you your health?
Realism

Realism. More specifically, having a system damaged based on where the shot hit.

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quote:

I think his point was he liked both, ala "do you want cake or pie" - saying "yes" indicates you like both - a sad abuse of the language used by comedy bits all throughout the age of television/radio.

Actually "yes" would be the logical answer if you want either one, or even both:
return want_cake | want_pie;

(1) What are your favorite elements of space shooters?

- Performing cool tricks and tactics (There is an incomming missile, I dodge it at the last moment, and destroys an enemy ship)
- Killing lot''s of bad guys! That gives some needed satisfaction.

(2) Least favorite?

- Enemies that seem to turn faster then you do (Conflict Freespace), I am never able to follow those guys in a dogfight.
- Resulting in allies who kill much more then you do, making you feel stupid
- Having to worry about too many things, when I''m in a dogfight I don''t want to be distracted by the bleep ofan incomming missile, indicating that I must press the right key for countermeasures (and having to search for that key, because I never use it)

(3) Would you prefer huge dogfights with hundreds of fighters on both sides or more one-on-one scenarios?

This should vary between battles, to add some much needed variation.

(4) How much control do you like? (ie. do you want to be able to do a quick barrel roll while yawing to the left and aiming your gun turret with the mouse, or, just point and click to aim and fire?

So much that it doesn''t become confusing, I want to do cool manouvres, but I also want to be able to follow other shipsusing less then 10 keys.

(5) Do you like lots of small ships, or a few huge destroyer/mothership types?

Both, the more veriety the better.

(6) Do you like realism in flying, or arcade-style maneuvering?

Realism, I hate the slowwing-down-when-realesing-the-throttle effect

(7) Do you like a complex damage model(if you get shot in your yaw thruster system, you can''t properly turn anymore, your navigation system can get fried, etc...), or do you just want a number from 0-100 telling you your health?

On large ships: definetly, it''s very posible to target the right systems.
On smaller ships (fighters) it should be a little harder to hit specific systems, but when hit in the rear I do expect engines to fail.
Also, systems should not just work and then suddenly stop working, but should gradually work worse and worse (steering becomes more difficult, ship doesn''t accelerate as fast, etc.)

(8) How long should a battle last, 10 intense minutes of adrenaline, or a two hours of a complex tactical situation?

I should have some time to breath in between, it could last very long, but there should be calm moments in the middle.

(9) Do you want automatic weapons systems(ie. radar + missile locking + energy trail tracking), or do you prefer having to fly to them and fight it out?

Yes, anything that makes live easier. Space shooters are already quite complex to control, the less things you have to worry about the better.

(10) Saving in the middle of a battle?

No, you shouldn''t have to much time to think about saving. Maybe at some checkpoint in a level (defeating a large ship)

(11) Lots of people on your side helping you, or pretty much a one-against-all situation?

That should be different each battle.

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(1) What are your favorite elements of space shooters?
I like the tactics employed, and the Immersive feel..I actually want more of an immersiveness then any space sim ive seen.. Like I want to be able to get up from the cockpit, and wander around my ship ect..

(2) Least favorite?

I would say lack of good multi-player support.. emphasis on good.. in all fairness I havent had much of chance to check out some of the muliplayer space sims that I have seen, so if anyone can recommend a good one ?

(3) Would you prefer huge dogfights with hundreds of fighters on both sides or more one-on-one scenarios?

A little of both I suppose..well, I cant imagine 1 one 1 being very intersting for the most part .. but sometimes a big fight ends up coming down to about a 1 to 1.

(4) How much control do you like? (ie. do you want to be able to do a quick barrel roll while yawing to the left and aiming your gun turret with the mouse, or, just point and click to aim and fire?

I personally believe that ANYTHING can be done w/ mouse and keyboard, and does it much better than joysticks. I''ve seen mouse and key work for Motocross Madness, flight models in Tribes and Tribes2, and they all work wonderfully. Support Joysticks of course, but always make sure to support mouse and keyboard completely.

(5) Do you like lots of small ships, or a few huge destroyer/mothership types?

Since you asked what we want to see in 3d space-sims, and along the lines of this question: Think along the lines Star-Trek/ Star-Wars.. Big ships HOUSE little ships.. and medium sized ships like the Millenium Falcon make good fighters.. which could also dock in very large ships. Also, I would like for a space-sim to let you actually be able to dock your ship.. get up out of the seat of the cockpit and walk your 3d character out of your ship and into the larger ship.. where you could wander around anywhere.. this is what I mean by immersiveness. I want to feel as though Im actually in this world completely.

Also, I want TRANSPORTERS ala Star-Trek.. I want to be able to beam an away party to an enemy ship w/ thier shields down, and have the away-team wreak havoc and then try to beam them back. Actually, put lots of bots in that you can control from a first person perspective, from like a virtual bot control alcove. THAT would be cool. It would be cool to be a dude running to a transporter pad through a ship that say, my brother, is flying and in a big dogfight with 3 decks up on the bridge. Immserive! very cool.. imangine.. running down the halls the lights blink and the ship rocking w/ loud sounds and exploding conduits as the ship gets jolted by enemy torpedo fire.. but in just less than a minute you will be transported onto that very same ship w/ an away-team to plant an explosive in thier engine room and kill as many of their crew as possible and get out alive.. very cool.

(6) Do you like realism in flying, or arcade-style maneuvering?

I think that in space, in reality as well, having to deal w/ the physics of gravity is much less a problem, so achieving "realism" in flying could be done w/ a mouse and keyboard. Now for way larger ships, and for a sence of "realism" you might use some form of computer-aided piloting as seen in Star-Trek.. but even on the Enterprise there is a manual "joystick" that pops out of the helm which can be used to perform more delicate human reaction movements ..

7) Do you like a complex damage model(if you get shot in your yaw thruster system, you can''t properly turn anymore, your navigation system can get fried, etc...), or do you just want a number from 0-100 telling you your health?

I have to agree w/ what someone said on this question already: basically, make it easy for me to figure out whats wrong and fix it quickly if possible. And to add my version of things, if the engine core is going to blow I want to be able to transport out and onto a mother ship. On a technical scale, you could mix the 2: have multiple spots on the ship w/ a 1-100 scale attached to them.

(9) Do you want automatic weapons systems(ie. radar + missile locking + energy trail tracking), or do you prefer having to fly to them and fight it out?

I want both.. in fact.. for most of your questions, you should try to create options for a group of players, or for a player in the pre-game setup screens.. most games have something like this. But in the case of this questions, both at the same time in one game is best. To make it balanced, you could buy upgrades to your ship that allow you to have more wicked fireing and control systems.

10) Saving in the middle of a battle?

Yes. Especially if you are going to have multiplayer support. This way you could create objective that are a bit more complex than a simple 5 minute game of CS.

(11) Lots of people on your side helping you, or pretty much a one-against-all situation?

Again, for muliplayer, the more people you have working for you, the better. And create tons of tools that allow for mulitplayer communication.. such as quickly creating direct vocal communication links to anyone in the game (VOIP), and setting way-points that show up on other players radars, for commanders to use. In fact, I believe that a game should be released w/ a book that teaches standard vocal communication protocols used in the Marines today. This way people dont have to try and reacreate the wheel so to speak, when it comes to trying to communicate with thier teammates. In fact, there is also a chain of command when it comes to who talks to who and how. This should be sold w/ any battle oriented multiplayer game.. and if you have a Refereed pay service for a grand-scale space sim, you should have such protocols upheld, lest you get muted/booted by the Ref of the game.

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What are your favorite elements of space shooters?
-freedom of direction: I can go up, down, left, right, forward, backward... You get the point.
-visuals: there's nothing like zooming past a planet with a bright sun in the background.

Least favorite?
-freedom of direction: Where am I? Where'd he go? Gotta check radar... What am I doing?
-visuals: there's nothing like zooming past a blurry dot with a bright dot in the background.

Would you prefer huge dogfights with hundreds of fighters on both sides or more one-on-one scenarios?
I think I'd prefer 80-90% of the game to be one-on-one scenarios, or some-on-some. Perhaps in the glorious final battle, the all-out dogfight type of combat might make a good ending to the campaign.

How much control do you like? (ie. do you want to be able to do a quick barrel roll while yawing to the left and aiming your gun turret with the mouse, or, just point and click to aim and fire?
I want as little control as possible to start the game as a rookie, or when I'm lazy, and I want as much control as possible when I'm a veteran, and when I want to challenge myself. The most important thing is that the controls feel natural. I don't want to feel like I have to become more like a monkey in order to play the game right (meaning, I need more than two hands, in which case monkey feet would come in handy)

Do you like lots of small ships, or a few huge destroyer/mothership types?
Both of course. Different missions = different targets. Today I want to hunt some small ships, but tomorrow I'll want to slowly destroy a large destroyer.

Do you like realism in flying, or arcade-style maneuvering?
I like realism, but I prefer funism. In some way, the 'easy' control setting should make the game feel more like an arcade game (where you only have to press certain buttons), and the 'hard' control setting should make the game feel a little more like an actual simulator (where you have to press more buttons). Don't try to be MS Flight Simulator, but don't give me the feeling that all I do is press fire.

Do you like a complex damage model(if you get shot in your yaw thruster system, you can't properly turn anymore, your navigation system can get fried, etc...), or do you just want a number from 0-100 telling you your health?
This would greatly depend on the rest of the gameplay, but I think I'd prefer the complex damage model. Just make sure I can easily bail out if one of my more important flight controls gets destroyed; I so hate drifting around aimlessly in space.

How long should a battle last, 10 intense minutes of adrenaline, or a two hours of a complex tactical situation?
As I never really play longer than an hour per gaming session, I'd say give me 6 intense 10 minute fights instead of half of a two-hour battle. But as I know that there are other players who play longer, I'd say make sure your game allows for both types of gameplay and let the players choose.

Do you want automatic weapons systems(ie. radar + missile locking + energy trail tracking), or do you prefer having to fly to them and fight it out?
Greatly depends on the flight model. If it's easy to get behind an opponent and stay on his tail, automatic weapon systems are not necessary. The harder it gets to stay on an enemy's tail, the more automatic tracking is needed. Personally, I'd prefer a 'Red Baron' type of space combat (no auto tracking).

Saving in the middle of a battle?
Depends on what exactly 'saving' constitutes. Do I return to that exact situation upon reloading? Do I only have one save per mission? Is it a save-and-exit-only type of save? In the two-hour battles, I'd say saving is a must. In the 10-minute quick fights, saving might be avoided.

Lots of people on your side helping you, or pretty much a one-against-all situation?
I'd say the answer to this one is the same as the answer to the 'Do you like lots of small ships, or a few huge destroyer/mothership types?' question. Use missions and have each mission be different. Let me fight alone today, and give me some help from others tomorrow.

[edited by - Silvermyst on July 6, 2002 11:52:10 AM]

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you should also have asked how customizable space ships should be.

Some games don''t let you customize ships at all - they give you a ship and you use it till they give you a new one.

Other games allow players to earn credits and give players the choice of purchasing a variety of equipment, and even ships.

I personally like customization, the more - the better.

I prefer space sims with newtonian physics.

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Thanks for all the replies guys. The reason I asked some of the questions that could be mission dependent is that I don't plan to have missions in the game. The game itself will be more like...well, see this.

So, you're a civilian in a war between three races...
You'll fly around the galaxy(s) based on different things you find out. Say, one of your friends told you there is a good weapon system for sale on Planet X. So, you fly over to Planet X, but there is a battle going on there...you can participate, or you can attempt to avoid it...There will be lots of situations similar to this where your objectives may not be very clear...Maybe this time you don't want to fight because you're low on 'energy' or something...

That's why I'm asking some of the questions like #3, #5, #8, and #11, which are meant to ask, "In an average battle/fight, do you like...."

Sorry, I probably should have made this clearer. Anyway, good suggestions! I'll keep them in mind when I write my design doc.

-Tim

[edited by - TheThief on July 6, 2002 4:26:31 PM]

[edited by - TheThief on July 6, 2002 4:27:14 PM]

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berserk is right on about customizability - a must if you're making something like Privateer, which is how your description sounds. I like to be able to buy different ships, change their weapon loadouts, improve their radar, shields, power output, whatever. Lots of customizations, and not simply upgrades that make system X 10% stronger - add cloaking devices and weird stuff.

This is a bit of a tangent but I was just reminded of a neat feature in this game Starfight 6. You could turn various ship systems on and off whenever you wanted. Why turn systems off (besides obvious things like life support, or your shields in the middle of battle)? Because with more systems on, especially more powerful ones, you're easier to detect on radar. The space age equivalent of silent running.

[edited by - Dobbs on July 6, 2002 10:22:46 PM]

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I dont know how many of you played Daggers Rage.
It was a 2D rpg/space shooter.
The thing about it was that the plot was not really linear.
It was uhm...lets invent a word....
para-linear.
Certain plot points happened, but the player was not forced into the plot.

so you don`t really need a linear plot.
I always found linear plots to be kinda lame.
The player shouls be able to affect the outcome of what happens.

~V''lion

Bugle4d

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quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
Mayrel:
How do you answer "yes" to an either-or question? "Do you want A or B?" "Yes."

Yes means ''yes, I do want A or B''.

Do I want big ships or little ships? Yes, I want to have big ships or little ships. Yes, I want the game to feature both options, and to either let me choose my preference, or vary it mission-by-mission, depending upon which fits best with the kind of game you''re making.

NextOnePlease, how many space battles have you seen documented in military history? How do you know that space battles will be fought like sea battles? It would make sense for an admiral/general to fight wherever he can secure an advantage, and that is likely to be somewhere where he has things to hide behind (whether for retreat or ambush). That doesn''t necessarily mean that there will be no open-space battles (because somebody is going to want to cut your fleet off before it gets to its heavy fortified asteroid field), but that there will be ample opportunity for strategy in the confined-space battles.

Also, who says that the ranks in a space-based military would follow the Navy designations? They may use RAF or USAF terms:
the space-based ''general'' might be a Air Chief Marshall (to follow RAF usage) or a General (to follow USAF usage). You might also have multiple forces with different designation schemes.

Finally, by ''isn''t the point of the fastest opponent that it be faster than you'' I mean ''isn''t the reason the developer put in a really fast opponent that he/she wants to force you to figure out a strategy for taking it down that doesn''t involve you simply flying up its exhaust pipe''. Ergo, the fastest opponent ought to be faster than you, because, otherwise, what''s the point of it?

Er, that wasn''t really the finally. This is: customisation is a stunningly good idea. If your game is heavily configurable, and allows for new ships/weapons/equipment/computer-systems to be shared (perhaps via some kind of in-game market, assuming a multiplayer game), I think you''d keep players interested for longer than they would otherwise be.

Just Plain Wrong