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treknerd

What would make the best space strategy game?

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I posted some ideas about the real time portion of my game. It's long and ugly, but please take the time to read it and tell me what you think. -treknerd 1 - 12 - 02 2:17 PM also, there is the story summary which you may want to read. It was posted on the 5 January 2002 at 12:24PM. Thanks again. [edit] If you don't want to take the time to read this whole thread, the question is: What do you like or hate about space strategy games? Also, I posted a story summary of my game idea on the 5 January 2002 at 12:24PM or so. (You can find it by checking the dates on posts). -treknerd [\edit] I'm not going to say that I have this idea for a space strategy game that will be the best one ever made. This post is to find out what would should be put in such a game if I ever made one, and what should be left out. So I ask this question: If the best turn-based / real time space strategy game were created, what would it be like? Would it be real time strategy? Massive Multiplayer online game? Have universe big enough for a million + people to take part in? Post your ideas here!! Or, if there is some "feature" in a space strategy game which you really hate, post that here too. -treknerd Edited by - treknerd on January 5, 2002 12:28:29 PM Edited by - treknerd on January 12, 2002 6:19:56 PM

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quote:
Original post by treknerd
If the best turn-based / real time space strategy game were created, what would it be like?



well if anyone knew that they´d probably be on their way making it, wouldn´t they?

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Sometimes life is capable of rather fascinating irony,and too teknerd,why don''t I just design your game for you.
Ask questions that are specific,I''m baffled at how willing some people are too give away advice on design.
Too some extent it''s fine,but in cases like this;
I wonder what it is you do as a designer?.
Fine people should post opinions on what they like and dislike,
but if you want me too put it all together for you.
You''re mistaken.




Humbug

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quote:
Original post by treknerd
If the best turn-based / real time space strategy game were created, what would it be like?



It would be like a really good strategy game, set in space.

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I'm not trying to steal everyone else's ideas or get someone else to design a game for me--I have my own ideas. I just wanted some input from other people about what they thought would make a cool game. What could make or break such a game?

And just so you know, I already have 20 pages of design docs written out, and lots more in my head.

-treknerd

Edited by - treknerd on January 3, 2002 5:46:40 PM

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I think it''d be cool if you made a game where everyboyd could connect to a server or something and all play in the same universe. would that be a "massive multiplayer online" game?

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link to your 20 pages, then we can discuss. asking "how do i make a cool game" will only bring you flames, i´m amazed that it´s been mild sarcasm up to now.

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I''m not going to post 20 pages of design docs, but I might be able to summarize my ideas. Check back later.

And like I said, I''m not asking how to make a cool game. I suppose I could rephrase my question to:

What do you like or hate about space strategy games?

Is that better?

-treknerd

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Explosive decompression. Lot''s of it. Much better than some silly aliens.

They''re coming for you!

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All the advice I could give you about a design is that you are at a great advantage designing a futuristic game over a historical game mainly because you can make up the whole thing, although history often proves to be more interesting than fiction. What I think you should do is, well, make your game different. If you make a Starcraft clone, all the Starcraft people will say, "O boy, the next Starcraft" (sarcastically). But for example, I''ve never played this game, but Alien vs. Predator, just think, you''d think it would be Alien vs. Human or something. It makes you think about what the game could possibly be about.

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I don''t know about space stradegy games, but most of the space action games just aren''t very realistic. They try to base they''re controls on that of an airplane. I mean, if you''re in space, you''re going to just drift all over the place, until you fire your thrusters in the right direction. Sure, it may not be very easy to control, but it is different, and more realistic.

As far as a realtime stradegy game, I don''t know what to tell you. But try and make it somewhat realistic. Force the crafts to stay in orbit around planets, and have to plan long routes to get out of star systems. I don''t know...

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First, thanks for the input that has been given so far! Keep it up!

In the best case scenario, the game I am planning will be as realistic as possible without taking the fun away. I also want to give this game a depth that hasn''t been seen before. They player should be able to controll something as big as an empire but be able to play with intricacies such as where to build cities and relocating colonists when needed. While at first this might seem overwhelming, it should also be possible to automate a good majority of the game play. This way, the player can focus on the part of the game they want to. If they just want to fight people, they could automate planet control (population, cities, etc.) and focus on building their military.... and so on and so on.

By the way, I''m working on a complete summary of my game idea, but I probably wont have it finished for a few days. (I''m pretty busy right now).

Thanks again.

-treknerd

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quote:
Original post by Array Master
I don''t know about space stradegy games, but most of the space action games just aren''t very realistic. [...]


Ever play "Elite" or any of its sequels? It had the most realistic controls and physics model I´ve seen so far. Totally killed gameplay.
The next in line would be I-War, not that bad but took some getting used to.

Whatever you do, you´ll have to make the controls mouse-based. I think the days of the old joystick sims are finally over.

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Okay, I''ve decided just to post my game summary piece by piece as I get it done. I''ll start off with an extremely shortened version of the storyline, thought some of it is likely to change.

Background: Takes place sometime in the future, with 25 alien races spread across 5 galaxies. There are also 2 large superpowers which are battling each other: The Galactic Confederation and (I don''t yet have a name for the other). Both of them have technologies considerably above what everyone else has.

Scientists discover that the universe is beginning to collapse in on itself at an incredible rate--hundreds of times faster than it expanded. According to their calculations, the area of space they are in will be destroyed by the collapse within 600 standard galactic years. Though there is still much time, most believe that a way to escape must be found now.

At some point in time, hope is found. By using ancient sacred texts from all of the species, people discover that there is a special "artifact" that exists which, when used properly, can create a tunnel through time (time travel to the past). The only way to escape is now obvious. Everyone sets out to be the first to find this object and control, thus saving themselves and whoever else they want to. The objective of the game is to either save yourself or take over the universe, or something along those lines. I think most of the focus will be on taking over the universe, but the only way I have thought of thus far is to get through the temporal tunnel.

What (probably) nobody knows is that the artifact that everyone is trying to find is "hidden in time" and won''t phase into existence until a few years before the universal collapse destroys their galaxies.

I don''t think the player will realize the following yet, but I have to put it somewhere: Traveling back in time would create sort of a "temporal loop". (Whoever went through the time tunnel would end up in the past, and eventually, after many years, would end up back at the same time when they had originally traveled back in time). What the player doesn''t know is that this all has happened once before. The first time, everyone who got through the time tunnel was stuck in the past. They formed two factions, which eventually became the Galactic Confederation and its enemy. The second time around, the GC and the other superpower (yet to be named) secretly want to get through the temporal tunnel a second time, thus gaining an edge over the opposing faction in the past. Whoa. Now things are complicated.

As the end of the universe approaches and it is falling apart, a great leader somehow unites most of the factions in a collaborative effort to locate the temporal artifact. The large amount of temporal distortions occurring everywhere prove that the artifact will come out of hiding soon, if it has not already. As soon as the object is found, everyone turns against each other again, creating total mayhem and destruction--people will do anything to make sure themselves and/or their race survives.

I am unsure or not whether to continue the game in the past after the universe collapses. Perhaps I could also have the temporal artifact be destroyed, somehow stopping or reversing the collapse of the universe.

Anyway, that''s an overview of my story ideas. Constructive criticism is welcome.

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I hope such a ''temporal artifact'' really exists, because without it you''re never going to finish this game. Maybe narrow it down to 3 1/2 galaxies?

Thank you for using Slambot.

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Very cool story (It''s not completely possible, because to travel from a galaxy to another and to arrive within a reasonable time, you''ll have to travel faster then light (and that means you can also travel back in time, so there''s no need for this artifact!). But, who cares, great story!

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That's the beauty of creative freedom. I can make stuff up, and as far as the story is concerned, it's fact. I could, for instance, have subspace gateways at certain locations which allowed quick travel between galaxies. Why travel faster than light if you can fold space in on itself and travel a fraction of the distance?

Also, something which I should clarify. For the single player game, I will use fewer galaxies and fewer players. (I mean, who wants to wach 25 computer players take their turns?) If there is an online part, however, I would make the universe as big as possible (or at least as big a necessary) to accommodate lots and lots of players.

Thanks for the suggestions! Any more would be appreciated. I should have another part of my game summary posted soon, too.

-treknerd

Edited by - treknerd on January 5, 2002 3:38:13 PM

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quote:
Original post by treknerd
Background: Takes place sometime in the future, with 25 alien races spread across 5 galaxies.


fnord.
quote:

There are also 2 large superpowers which are battling each other: The Galactic Confederation and (I don''t yet have a name for the other). Both of them have technologies considerably above what everyone else has.

Scientists discover that the universe is beginning to collapse in on itself at an incredible rate--hundreds of times faster than it expanded. According to their calculations, the area of space they are in will be destroyed by the collapse within 600 standard galactic years. Though there is still much time, most believe that a way to escape must be found now.


There''s quite a lot of time left. 600 galactic years is about 138 billion Earth years (according to this).
quote:

At some point in time, hope is found. By using ancient sacred texts from all of the species, people discover that there is a special "artifact" that exists which, when used properly, can create a tunnel through time (time travel to the past).


Hmm. So in the future, people are forward-looking enough to be concerned about what''s happening 138 billion years in the future, but are still caught up on ''sacred texts''?
quote:

What (probably) nobody knows is that the artifact that everyone is trying to find is "hidden in time" and won''t phase into existence until a few years before the universal collapse destroys their galaxies.


Ah. Deus Ex Machina.
quote:

What the player doesn''t know is that this all has happened once before. The first time, everyone who got through the time tunnel was stuck in the past. They formed two factions, which eventually became the Galactic Confederation and its enemy. The second time around, the GC and the other superpower (yet to be named) secretly want to get through the temporal tunnel a second time, thus gaining an edge over the opposing faction in the past. Whoa. Now things are complicated.


Silly. What would make more sense would be for the other superpower to have arrived out of nowhere in the far past. The other superpower is, of course, the Galactic Confederation.

They later discovered (in the future) that it is something that the GC did in its past (which is now the future) that caused the universe to collapse faster, and thusly set about destroying the old GC (in their past, which is now the present).

If we assume that the Enemy''s fleet was decimated in the transit through the wormhole, then we can nicely explain why the Enemy don''t immediately start off being hugely powerful. The question of why the Enemy doesn''t immediately have access to the future technology can be made the subject of an even greater conspiracy. Perhaps the GC/Enemy paradox was set in motion because we needed an artificial ''arms race'' in order to develop weapons powerful enough to battle a new foe in the far far future - the Enemy was prevented (somehow) from accessing most of their technology until the GC had also developed it.
quote:

I am unsure or not whether to continue the game in the past after the universe collapses. Perhaps I could also have the temporal artifact be destroyed, somehow stopping or reversing the collapse of the universe.


That would be sensible. Perhaps you can have a conventional ''survival'' ending whereby you get through the wormhole but don''t stop the paradox, and a special ''winner'' ending whereby you stop the paradox but die doing it. You may even have a extra-winning ending where you stop the paradox but do not die.



Just Plain Wrong

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Thanks for the great ideas Mayrel! If you want to send me your real name via email ( treknerd@mac.com ) I will gladly put it in the credits for the story when the game is finally realeased. (That won''t be for a long time, though).

Something just popped into my head. What if the storyline was created in such a way that the player could shape future (and past?) events, changing how the rest of the game plays out. I know this has been done before in other types of games, but I still like the idea. For example, the player may come to a point where they have the option of killing a certain scientist or letting him live. It could be the scientist/archeologist/whatever who discovers when the temporal artifact will appear, or it could be one who starts a rebellion against the player later in the game. Creating many of these options would create a story as diverse as the universe itself. (Well, maybe not, but we''d be getting up there).

Mayrel--I''ll try to rewrite the story incorporating your ideas, but I probably won''t have it ready for a week or two. I''m busy with school, and summarizing other parts of the game. Thanks again!

-treknerd

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Or you could just have the confederation be these scary monster-like things that sort of appear on the screen in a big block. They would move rhythmically left and right on the screen as a unit, and the player would have a spaceship at the bottom of the screen that could shoot them. They would move faster and faster as you killed more of them, until there was only one left, and he would just zoom all over the screen until you shot him too. Then there would be a temporal wormhole thingy and it would all start over. You could call it "Scary outer-space temporal wormhole thingy invaders (from space)".

Can I be in the credits too?

Just kidding. I actually think it''s a pretty good idea, and I''d like to be one of the six hundred programmers you hire to write it.

Thank you for using Slambot.

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tuxx made a point earlier about history being more interesting than fiction, and then hase said that realism can kill gameplay. So, I think in many ways, the key between making a very engaging game is to be able to strike a balance between the two, or lean in favor one way or the other...to the detriment of some and the pleasure of others.

What do I mean by that? Some people love attention to detail and complexity (me for one), while others abhor it. That''s not to say that gameplay and complexity are mutually exclusive...in other words, I think one can have a very engaging game that is highly complex. However, I think complexity can boil down to several factors amongst others:

1) Learning curve- How hard is it to jump in and play? Is it Quake or is it Rainbow Six?
2) Depth of play- How many ways are there to win? Is it Chess or is it Checkers?
3) Intricacy- How hard is it to play once you have a handle on gameplay? CivilizationIII or StarCraft?
4) Intuitiveness- Not just from a GUI perspective, but from a gameplay perspective, are the objects, goals and means of playing obvious or obscure? This is the hardest to give an example to, but if you think of puzzle games, this may be the easiest. Are the puzzles obvious? Can they be solved without buying a hint book?
5) Balance- Do you stand a reasonable chance of winning? Personally, this one is cloudy for me, as I don''t think games always need to be balanced 50/50.

So that covers gameplay, but what about making something fascinating? This is where the balance comes in. Sure, there are fun simple games (Tetris can be addicting), but what makes a game fascinating is its backdrop, and to a degree the diffuculty of the game. In my personal experience, there''s nothing more satisfying than winning against a game that requires lots of skill, talent, forethought and luck. I personally was never found of Diablo or DiabloII, because I thought they were click fests. Ditto with StarCraft or WarCraft. But games like Tie Fighter or Xwing (which took every ounce of my skill to blow up the DeathStar) or games like CloseCombat were far more satisfying. Again, this tends to be in the complexity of the game....but a part of it was from the background of the games as well.

Obviously the Star Wars game have a wealth of material behind it compared to Diablo, and Close Combat a Bridge Too Far is perhaps one of the more fascinating battles of WWII...something Starcraft could never compare to.

Okay, so enough generalizations...what about Space Strategy? Well, this is just me personally, but I want something grand, with a desperate sort of flair to it. To be honest, I always thought the Battlestar Galactica show had potential, I just thought it was a bit cheesy at parts. But the premist itself was pretty interesting. Homeworld was very well done as well, I just didn''t care for the actual gameplay much (I''m a big hater of building resources and fighting at the same time...although the game did give a good reason for having to do so at least). I think alot of inspiration can be drawn from some Japanese sources too....all of the Gundam series (not just Gundam Wing), Robotech, Battlecruiser Yamato, Neon Genesis Evangelion....and if you like the solo ship stuff, even Blue Submarine.

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Thanks for the advice, Dauntless!

Just so everyone knows, I wrote a huge chunk of my ideas for the RTS battle part, and hope to post it by Saturday, along with some of the related ideas.

-treknerd

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Ack! You said the EVIL word...RTS. So you aren''t making a strategy game, you''re making a real-time game. RTSs don''t really lend to any actual strategy, hence the poor AI, limited number of units and extremely fast kills and reinforcements. Hell, if they actually had good AI a human player could never win due to the complete lack of control they have over their entire army. Anyway, you also mentioned folding space...so...EXCELLENT! Here''s my idea of what you could do: Make a split between the real-time battles in isolated sectors and a strategic portion of the game where units can be built and sent into these sectors. So, after several minutes of real-time combat the game would switch to the strategic map where you could send reinforcements into battle and make additional attacks behind the front lines to stop the enemy from reinforcing embattled sectors. Plus, the game could cut away to scenes that further the plot. Having army moral could also help the game move along at a reasonable pace as well, that way you''re not forced to fight endless battles.

Bill6

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