This week the discussion has primarily centered around bases. To recap our current plan is to have 3 different types of bases - small space stations, large space stations, and land bases. Small space stations and land bases will only be able to spawn interceptors, bombers, and corvettes whereas large space stations can also spawn capital ships. This makes large space stations particularly important strategically. Since we are only in the concept art stage at the moment we’ve been debating how to build and connect the 3D pieces of geometry that will come together to form a base.
Our idea is to build a set of reusable and interchangeable modules that allow us to put together bases that look unique but are in fact just a re-organization of the same set of assets. This will allow us to introduce more variety in gameplay while reducing the production burden on the art team. Another issue we have to work out is how will ships spawn and dock with the various bases. We need to have two different types of hangars - those for small to medium ships and those for capital ships. We’re currently thinking of using modern ports as a model for capital ships. Essentially there will be long “piers” that capital ships will pull up next to and attach via pseudo-rigid tubes and cables. Small to medium sized ships will land/spawn within hangar bays which contain an elevator system similar to modern aircraft carriers.
Land bases will contain landing pads with an elevator system similar to the one described above for space stations. We also want bases to have additional destructible buildings/modules, such as air traffic control towers and power plants, that affect the efficiency of the base. For example if a landing pad or hangar is destroyed it will no longer be able to spawn ships until it gets repaired. If a power plant is destroyed the rate of repair will be reduced. Bases will automatically (slowly) repair themselves unless destroyed beyond a certain threshold.
In other news the corvette has been fully integrated into the prototype and we’re hoping to release a new patch within a few days! It still needs a lot of work and currently is no match for a bomber in combat. We’re integrating it to get a feel for its size, controls, and the utility of its cockpit. There’s a number of changes we already want to make to it but we want to give all of you with Developer Access a chance to begin playing around with it before we start radically altering it. The mockup of the interceptor is still under construction and we still need to build our capital ship flight system before we can integrate any of the capital ship mockups. This will be our focus over the next couple of weeks.
Really like the idea of destroying certain parts of the bases. The idea of repairing unless damaged beyond a certain threshold, is that an indication of what we can expect from a round’s win conditions? Completely destroying bases (which should be a hard task) in order to permanently cripple the enemy?
Certainly modularity seems a good way to go. I’d encourage as much modularity as you can tolerate, in an effort to create as much variety as possible. To the point of procedural assembly of modules. Though doubtless that is beyond the scope of the first game.
Have viewing rooms at the facilities where players can sit while waiting for a ship to spawn. All viewing rooms would be identical and as utilitarian as necessary. They’re also all single-player. This provides for a number of useful features:
The game can assume that a player always has a cockpit to sit in.
The room provides access to station operations, such as sensors, defenses and manufacturing choices. In essence, the player is flying the station. Or a portion of it.
The room provides a location for game audio
Make all moving parts on stations and facilities move at the same speed. If that speed is 50km/h, then an interceptor rises up on an elevator in just a few seconds while a capital sliding out of a manufacturing bay would take around a minute.
Having small- and large-scale manufacturing next to each other would probably also be helpful in communicating scale. Imagine sitting in a viewing room waiting for your interceptor while a capital is has been sliding out of its bay just beyond for the past 30 seconds. Your interceptor was requested, manufactured, delivered and flown away while the capital was still working its way out of its bay.
Suitable deep bass rumbling sounds should certainly accompany a capital rising out of its bay (which can be heard by the player because they’re in the same structure). Deep sounds far beyond anything that manufacturing of smaller ships can produce.
Maybe some pillars and smoke stacks and cranes would be nice on the final models for the ground bases? It’s just that I’m not sure how fun that base would be to fly around with those big flat sloping sides.*I guess it depends on the details at ground-level.
It does look really cool. Big improvement over the old placeholder.
I really like the ground base concept. Not so hot on the asteroid armour slates sketches, looks like rooftop bricks and i have trouble seeing it as viable armour. What i could see it as is a cheap and effective sun/radiation shield, for stations in the inner solar system or even direct solar orbit. Should be a disk though on the sun side.
I think it is time that you share with us the gameplay niche / role you envision the corvette to take - i think i have a clear understanding of bomber and interceptor from the Kickstarter info, but i fail to see what the strong and weak points and the role of the corvette are supposed to be. This will be important context for when we start testing it.
PS: For ground attack testing, cubes with HP will be more than enough for a start before buildings are ready.
Edit: Forgot something: Landing pads on ground bases make super sense for mainly civilian structures. If they are supposed to have a military touch/aspect, there should definitely also be armoured hangars on ground bases.
Another edit: If we have automatic slow repair and manual fast repair, do you envision a particular system for the manual repair? Repair guns on normal ships? Dedicated repair vessels? Repair drones instead of small craft/missiles? Boring plain old glowing repair beams?
I think dropping repair drones like mines would be a nice thing that does not let you sit around and press a button for 10 minutes. Drones can be good for many mundane tasks that we may or may not want to add at one point - construction drones, repair drones, mining drones, sensor drones… just not active combat beyond mines and turrets, this should stay the player’s domain.
Interesting idea there.
All player ships are dedicated combatants, though, with no support like scouts or repairers. With that in mind, how would it be balanced? Would you have missile loadouts with one option being the drones? Some ships like bombers may be more suited for it, then. Which may be a good idea, as it would give a defensive role to bombers…
There has been some talk from the devs in the more distant past (2-3 Years) concerning healing and other roles in combat. From what I can recall they seemed to plan to add something like that to the former vision of Battlescape back then.
Anyhow. I think not a single ship should be designed around such a role, but the outfit should allow for it.
And in my opinion, first should combat be done before support role (modules/“weapons”) are tested out.
I think the primary advantage of the corvette will be that it will have turrets.
Corvettes have, from all the games I’ve played and using I:B relevant lingo, filled the gap between bomber and destroyer as “mini destroyers” or “mini cruisers,” depending on how you spec it. Many turreted, but smaller, guns? Mini-destroyer, capable of small scale anti-fighter/bomber ability. Single oversized “spinal” gun? Mini-cruiser, capable of bringing down equivalent size or larger ships at a faster pace than bombers.
You might think of them as the “DPM” class of ship: they tend to be more fragile versions of the bigger ships, but cost significantly less and can be fielded significantly sooner.
They may also be the biggest ship that can practically enter atmosphere. They may not have the Cruiser’s range for indiscriminate orbital bombardment, but their spinal armament may be significant for attacking base components, for example.
Right: the loss here over the true Capital ships is that the weaponry tends to be smaller, so a higher DPM doesn’t mean much if someone brings anti-corvette tech (or if you bring the wrong type of corvette). After all, showing up to a swarm of fighters/bombers with a corvette armed with a spinal-mounted gun is going to be problematic for you.
I think it depends on the size of the base. With ships flying so quickly, you could have a base that stretches for several kilometers. So the base wouldn’t need just small holes and passages between buildings but also wide trenches or large semi-hollow buildings where the players could get some speed or fly a corvette through.