This week we propose to discuss our Ship Design solution for Project Space Sector! :)
In case you missed the announcement, Space Sector is developing a turn-based space 4X strategy game, which will be a spiritual successor to Master of Orion 2. You can find all dev diaries and other news regarding the development here.
Motivation and Rationale
We believe ship design is one of the great and brilliant features of Master of Orion 2, so we saw no need in innovating much here. The basic concepts and mechanics were kept, now with just a few tweaks, twists and different looks.
Regarding the number of available designs to build, one could think of going down the “unlimited number of designs allowed” path but we favored a more constrained approach, because that fits better with our vision to give more importance, and more character to the ships in our game.
So, we’re going with a “less but more important ships” strategy. There will be five designs available to build with no constraints regarding ship classes (you can have 5 frigate designs if you want), just like in MoO2, but we’ll allow for an extra design slot to become available later on after researching a mid-late game tech. Five buildable designs +1 (unlocked by tech) is where we stand, but we’re open to increase the number a little bit (more default design slots or more unlocks) if we see that could work better as the playtesting moves forward.
Therefore, we propose a similar solution for the ship design as the one found in MoO2, now with a different and more appealing UI.
There are six types of ships, or ship classes. From smaller to bigger: Frigate, Destroyer, Cruiser, Battleship, Titan and a “Doom Star” class of ship.
Each ship class will have a base cost and allow for a certain amount of space to be filled up with various components. Some of these components will be automatically set according to the latest technology while others will be chosen by the player.
Each component has a cost and occupies a specific amount of the available space.
We have three types of weapons in the game: Kinetics, Beams and Missiles. Details about each type will be addressed in the Space Combat dev diary.
The player can go with up to eight different weapon systems. Each of these weapon systems can be comprised of several weapon units. The ship can fire all weapon systems at once or individually at a specific target, for which all weapons comprising that system will all fire, just like in MoO2. Then, there are several modifications available for each weapon system like the firing arc, auto-fire, heavy mount, point defense, the number of missiles, and others. On top of this, we’re planning to make weapons more than just a better-weapons equals more-damage type of thing. So, new weapons may not be the most destructive necessarily, and they may have other ways to compensate for that with some special ability (ala MoO2’s Neutron Blaster that kills marines). Feel free to suggest some more modifications and weapon special abilities you’d like to see in the game for each type of weapon, old or new
The ships’ engine is always the most recent researched one in the empire. We thought of allowing the player to choose the engine, like in MoO1, for example, but we finally opted to always go with the latest engine for all ships for the sake of simplifying fleet movement in the starmap, which is also the MoO2 approach.
Shields are the first line of defense of a ship. The player can choose a particular shield from all the ones researched. The option of going with no shields is also available for a “less protection more fire power approach”, if desired.
The player can decide to install a maximum of four shield facings for full 360º protection. Stats for shield strength, blocking points and recharge rate will be presented.
Armor is the second line of defense of the ship. As with the engine’s case, the game automatically updates all designs with the latest armor, as in MoO2. Therefore, the armor in a design is always the latest and cannot be changed.
This is our starting point. However, we are still evaluating if allowing the player to choose the armor (as in MoO1) would be preferable, to cut costs and improve the weapons, for example. We think that has the potential to overpower a “less protection more fire power” approach even more if allied with a “no shields” or low shields choice as it could give the attacker too much firepower from the get go, compounded if it strikes first. We’ll see. Let us know your thoughts on this one.
5. Special Systems
Special systems are optional choices that the player can install in the ships to give them special abilities, or modifiers. Preferably, special systems should unlock new functionalities, something that the ship is allowed to do extra on top of regular weapons, shields, armor and engines. As an example, there will be fighter and bomber bays. Feel free to suggest which kinds of special systems you would like to see in the game!
The player can choose from three different ship visuals for each of the ship classes, for each race family of ship models. In the image below, you can see our initial effort for the different ships belonging to three different races, which is the amount we’re currently testing in our game. So, these ships are the ones we’re currently using for ship design and space combat purposes.
Yes, ships will be in 3D, but we’re working hard to provide you the 2D gameplay feel of MoO2. And you may ask: “So, why didn’t you made the combat entirely in 2D in the first place?”. Along with the fact that 3D is more eye appealing (at least for us, of course), we have some wild ideas to take advantage of the 3D during combat, this without removing the original solution’s feel. We will address this more in detail in the space combat dev diary.
Currently, we’re placing 3D models of each weapon and special system on the ship in a semi-randomized way, according with the weapons and specials’ configuration. We think this will give more character and uniqueness to each ship, especially regarding the “special 3D ideas for the combat system” concept referenced above, which is currently under evaluation.
These are internal “lego-made” models (doom star still not there..), so if you think they are ugly please support us with some of your knowledge regarding 3D modeling. If you’d like to work with us in this endeavor please contact us (you have the “Contact” link below in the footer to the right)!
Now please let us know your impressions on the official forum thread for this post (or here if you prefer), as for what your ideas and suggestions for improvement may be :D
Project Space Sector is a spiritual successor to Master of Orion 2, the turn-based space 4X strategy game from the 90’s that we love so much. This will be a faithful successor, that is true in spirit to the series. We believe that by sticking to its fundamentals we will please the fans who want to feel the atmosphere and that “feeling” of Master of Orion 2, but also want to experience something new and fresh, with all the complexity and depth of a big and complex 4X game. You can join the discussions here.Subscribe RSS
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