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Project Space Sector Dev Diary #4: Space Combat

By on February 28th, 2017 5:38 am

Hi everyone, this week we propose to discuss our solution for the space combat!

The space combat design is heavily inspired by the space combat system of Master of Orion 2 with some novelties related with the inclusion of a heat system, energy overload actions and action credits.

The combat is turn-based and will be played in a square grid just like in MoO2. The ships will be 3D but with a top down view perspective like in MoO2. The 3D is here to justify some additional features that we are still testing to provide a better and more immersive combat experience.

In case you missed the announcement, Space Sector is developing a turn-based space 4X strategy game, with the working title of Project Space Sector, which will be a spiritual successor to Master of Orion 2. You can find all the dev diaries and other news regarding the development here.

Heat System

Each ship has an associated heat level at a given time. Heat levels can change for several reasons such as being hit by an enemy's weapons or through excessive use of energy overload actions during combat.

Critical heat level indicates that, in the next turn, the ship may malfunction, or even explode. So, you will be making a decision between keeping the excessive heat and jeopardize the ship's integrity, or to cool-off your ship at the tradeoff of seeing your actions limited for the next turns.

Overload Actions

The player can decide to allocate additional energy to shields, weapons and engines above their nominal specifications, which we call "overload actions".

The overload will provide temporary benefits to the ship, from enhanced shield performance, better weapons or faster movement. The tradeoff is that the ship will see its heat level increase. So, you must be careful not to reach critical heat levels.

Ship Actions (action credits)

Each turn, each individual ship has 2 action credits to spend.

All actions can be used/spent when the player wants during their turn in any sequence desired, as long as there are actions left to activate. The possible actions are:

- Move: Player can move the ship as far as the engine speed allows. The player can decide to spend one move action, or two, therefore he can move the ship twice.

- Rotate: Player can rotate the ship freely (360º).

- Flee: Player can issue the flee command to retreat from battle (the flee will then take place in the beginning of the next turn).

- Scan: Player can decide to scan an enemy ship to reveal details according to the sensor system installed. The enemy ship will be marked as “scanned” somehow, for the player to know who was scanned and not afterwards.

- Salvage: Allows the player to obtain loot from the battlefield from debris of destroyed ships. The ship must be right next to the debris in order to salvage, for now.

- Board: Allows the player to board an enemy vessel.

The only exception is fire, which can be done at any time during the turn.

Movement

The ship movement follows an inertial pattern like the one found in Master of Orion 2.

So, ship movement shall depend on the ship direction and the previous movement profile. If no movement was made yet in a turn, it means that the ship is “stopped” and we can move in more directions. On the contrary, if a move has already been made, it means the ship is in movement and that the next possible position is conditioned by the inertial laws

Better engines translates to more movement points in combat. Additionally, when designing your ships, you can increase the maneuverability level of the ship which increases combat speed further (more possibilities for smaller ships, less for bigger ones)

Overloading engines gives you more ship range in that specific turn.

The engines' status can be "overload", "nominal", "damaged" and "broken". A ship with a damaged engine can only move at half speed.

Engines can be damaged or broken by ship critical heat or by enemy hits which target the ship's structure.

Project Space Sector | Current ship combat view (Pre-Alpha)

Defensive System

Each ship has three levels of defense: Shields, armor and structure (or hull).

The hull's strength can be modified while designing your ships by adjusting the "Hull Reinforcement" modification, which enriches the hull with more armor material.

During combat, shields can be overloaded providing bonuses to shields, from better absorption rate, blocking points and recharge rate.

Shields can be adjusted to provide 90, 270, or 360 degrees of protection to your ship.

The shields' status can be "overloaded", "nominal", "damaged" and "broken".

Damaged shields cannot be overloaded and they lose the recharge rate capability.

Shields can be damaged or broken by ship critical heat or by enemy hits that target the ship's structure.

Firing System

Also in the firing section, you should mention that weapon firing arcs will vary depending on decisions made during ship design. Yet another design decision, but its impact will be felt within the game's combat tactics and positioning.

There are three types of weapons in the game that can be used in combat: Beams, kinetics and missiles.

Beams are versatile weapons that see their damage dissipate with range. They tend to inflict the lowest damage of the three types, but are quite accurate.

Kinetic weapons do moderate to high amounts of damage, which doesn’t decrease with range. They are particularly suited for close range combat. On the negative side, kinetics are the least accurate of the weapon types.

Missiles are very effective for long range combat. They have unlimited range, don’t suffer from range damage reduction, tend to inflict the greatest damage and are the most accurate. The downside is that they take time to reach their targets, and can be destroyed or countered in the process.

Weapon firing arcs will be defined during ship design and can vary between full, front, front-sides and rear coverage.

Weapons can be grouped for focus firing on a target or fired individually in order to hit multiple targets

The weapon's status can be "overloaded", "nominal" and "broken". Weapons can be broken by ship critical heat or by enemy hits which target the ship's structure.

Special Systems

Special systems are ship components that offer special abilities other than shield and armor protection, and weapons. They are either present in the ship or not, contrary to weapons where a number can be set.

Examples of special systems:

- Gyro Destabilizer: Spins target ship randomly.
- Cloaking Device: Ship remains unseen until it fires.
- Tractor Beam: Brings ships closer, good for boarding.
- Repulsor Beam: Pulls ships away, good for not being boarded :)
- Combat Jump Displacer: "Teleports" a ship to a different location in the combat grid.
- Bomb Rack: Enables planetary bombardment.
- Fighter Bays.
- Bomber Bays.

Crew

For every turn in space, the crew gains an experience point. Every enemy ship destroyed adds experience. When the crew gains enough experience, they level up to the next rank and their ship gains further combat bonuses.

Status

The space combat mechanics are already implemented for the most part, but there's some major work left to be done related with adding some missing functionalities and improving the current mechanics, as for UI overall improvements.

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.

Thank you all!

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.

Note on SpaceSector.com (the site)

The plan is for Project Space Sector (the game) to branch off onto its own website at some point, and SpaceSector.com, as it is, will be shut down (effectively stop being updated).

In the meantime, we suggest that you look for other sites that have been doing, and are doing a great job covering space & sci-fi strategy games, and 4X games, like Explorminate.net, SpaceGameJunkie.com and SpaceSimCentral.com for your news and reviews fix. You’ll be in good hands with these folks.

We are very happy with what SpaceSector.com (the site) managed to achieve over the years. However, we felt that we were ready for a new adventure, that we hope you want to share with us! :)

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3 Comments


  1. Jorus says:

    This game looks great, the worst part is the wait.
    Just a quickie comment – don’t forget that you are not violating the laws of inertia by allowing the ship to rotate freely even while travelling at a high rate of speed. I can imagine a burst of speed to leave the battle front, but then rotating the ship to face the battle even while speeding away from it.

  2. athelas says:

    This looks awsome. Eta on first testdrive?

    • Adam Solo says:

      Our plan is to open pre-orders with instant access to the public in Q2 2017 (tentative ETA). The idea is to collect as much feedback as possible from people playing an early build, so that we may improve the game going forward.

      Meanwhile, you’re welcome to join our forums and participate in the discussions about the game!


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