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Forlorn Hope

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Forlorn Hope Function: noun Etymology: by folk etymology from Dutch verloren hoop, literally, lost band 1 : a body of men selected to perform a perilous service 2 : a desperate or extremely difficult enterprise “The control panel light up and a fragmented mechanical voice began to speak. ‘Unable to contact … Data core damage detec... Structural damage extensive. Activating emergency procedure … disengaging prisoner stasis lock and commencing reanimating process.’ The stasis chamber became illuminated in cold grey blue light and began to fill with vapour as the stasis pods vented gas. Glowing green fluid pumped through tubes affixed to the pods and directly into their inhabitants. Slowly the twelve pods opened and out stepped the ships new crew of convicts. They found the vessel so heavily damaged that only the primary sections where accessible and there was no sign of the original crew. Whatever had happened had been over long ago and no trace remained of the previous crew. So the twelve found themselves on crippled vessel nearly devoid of supplies but the ship was theirs.” I had this idea the other day while watching Babylon 5 and idea behind the Forlorn Hope is that of a tactical space combat game, with exploration, rpg, and customization elements. Tactical space combat The tactical space combat element will consist of simultaneous combat in space and with boarding parties. It focuses on detailed tactical combat with a small numbers of capital ships as opposed to large number of ships in less detailed combat. Individual areas of a ship will be damageable, as will be weapons and components. Manoeuvring, speed, attitude, and environment will play important factors in combat, as will resource management. For example missiles pods need missiles which must be stored on the ship and replaced if used. The environment will play a significant part in tactical combat, ships can hide behind planets, moons, asteroids, etc to hide from another ships sensors and launch surprise attacks. Ambush tactics if done effectively will be devastating to the other vessels as in the case of mining an asteroid belt and then transmitting a false distress signal to lure in enemy ships. Boarding parties will be usable and controllable during space battles. So you will be able to send boarding parties to disable a space station while your ship deals with the station’s support vessels. Like wise you may have to defend your ship from raids while still engaged in combat. Exploration As opposed to other space games, Forlorn Hope is not about hauling cargo, and devlivering parcels. Instead money is made through mercenary missions, piracy, and exploration. Exploration is treated the same as tactical troop combat the player will be able to guide forces through ancient alien ruins, crumbling space hulks, manned space stations, and even your own vessel. Exploration missions are generally filled with obstacles that must be overcome. Obstacles require some combination or skills, tools, and problem solving to overcome. Obstacles take many forms including alien life forms, decompressed sections of vessel, and ancient machines, to name a few. Research Research is a handled by assigning crew to study a device, or field of study. However the simplest ways to perform research is pay a research organization to do the work for you, buy the technology, or steal it. The player can also use technology that do not understand so there is nothing stopping you from attaching the giant space gun you found attached to the alien space station directly to your vessel. Resource Management Resource management will play a big part in the game. Ships need power to operate, fuel to fly, crew to man them, and parts and materials to repair them. Crew members need food to eat, oxygen to breathe, recreation to boost moral. Weapons need ammunition or power, and drones and fighters require most of things a ship needs. All of which costs some resource and in the end that means money. Resource management will be factor in most of the player’s decisions especially at the beginning where the player has a skeleton crew and barely enough resources to keep their vessel operational. They will have to make their choices carefully to ensure the enterprises they undertake don’t expend more resources then they gain. RPG There will be many RPG elements present including characters learning new skills and improving existing ones, customization of character equipment, and the ship’s systems, gaining and loosing crew members. Crew members will die there is nothing the player can do to prevent this since they are in a very risky business, so the player will have to decided whether to keep their favourite crew members safe in battle and reduce the risk of loosing them and thus preventing them from contributing their expertise or risk loosing one of their favourite characters that they have invested time and money in developing. Constrained Openness The game is essentially opened but it will be constrained in order to keep some structure to the game play. This is done in part through an organization know as the Astral Compass which controls hyperspace travel by being the only ones who possess the technology to map hyperspace as well as being the ones who control the sale and distribution of those maps. Essentially the game is divided into branching “chapters” in which the player can never advance to the next chapter until they have obtained everything they need in the current chapter. In this way the game slowly opens up them with each chapter involving a bigger area that includes the previous ones and big problems to deal with. It is also in this way I can create events that happening in the background that shape current events and delay them from happening until the player is capable of dealing with them. So the player will never get caught in a war between two empires until they are experienced enough to survive it. The branching story begins at the very beginning where the player has to decide which hyperspace map to save before the navigational computer crashes. They can choose to save a map to the lawless outer rim, the heavily developed inner core, or the one for their current sector. Each will lead to a different story path, and initial game play. The player will then hyperspace jump to the chosen sector. Since in hyperspace travel you only need to know where you are going and not where you are. Questions What sort of things are you looking in this kind of game? What elements would you love or hate to see in tactical space combat game?

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