Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Game Features

Well, now that I have written a bit about the foundations for the game, how about a little about the game itself. It is of course, still under development, but here are the features it will have when it launches:
  • Support for any number of players in a game. There may be a practical limit, but there is no real reason that you won't be able to have 50 people in a game if you want to.
  • Players can control one ship each or entire fleets each. So you could have two teams of 4 players. Each player is a "captain" of one ship. Or you could have two players each commanding 10 ships.
  • Turn based, or "near" real time. The game is turn based, but it will operate in two modes. The default mode is what you are all familiar with from Begin or the Civilization series. Each player gives orders and then clicks on a "commit" button to process the turn, etc.

    The other mode is where the server automatically processes the next turn every X number of seconds. This way, there is no waiting for the other player to make up their mind. You just submit orders as you like and every so often the screen refreshes and your ships move. This will give it an RTS feel and will make for faster paced game play. This turn mode can be switched at any time. So you can start in near real time, and then when one player has to leave, you can switch to traditional turn based and process turns once per day or whatever as players see fit.
  • All players don't have to be online at the same time. Being turn based, you can submit your turn even if your opponent is not online. You will get an email or text message when the next turn is ready. In this manner, it operates as a PBEM game.
  • The game runs in Adobe Flash so any modern browser should be supported (FireFox, IE, Opera, Safari, etc).
  • Online chat. You will be able to text chat with all players or just your teammates.
  • Online scoreboards. What is the point of beating the heck out of someone if there isn't an online scoreboard to brag about?
  • The game has the concept of "Eras". I want to use "realistic" technologies, but it is also fun to use more fanciful technologies like Star Trek. So I came up with the idea of having combat in multiple eras. So far I have thought of the following eras: Interplanetary -- slow ships in close combat with projectile weapons like missiles and bullets. No shields and only light armor. Interstellar -- faster ships with limited faster than light ability and some use of energy weapons and limited shielding. Galactic -- sky's the limit for technology, all the fancy stuff you see from the movies. At launch, probably only the interplanetary era will be available.
  • Multiple ship types. Destroyers, battleships, carriers, mine layers, etc. Carriers play an important role in today's naval combat, so they probably will in future combat as well. So there will also be multiple types of short range craft like fighters, interceptors and bombers.
  • AI. If there is no one to play with, there will be computer controlled players that you can play against for practice. Maybe the computer controlled players will even show up on the scoreboard, so there is that motivation to get your name above the name of a bot!
  • Energy management. Transferring power between weapons and engines, etc. Maybe even heat management will make it into the initial release. Heat is a big enemy in space, so not overheating your drives or your weapons may be a big factor

That is it for the first release. Obviously, there are a ton of features I would like to implement, but I want to get the game out as soon as possible and see if people like it. I will post more later on some of the "future" features.

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