For the next GSB

I love this game. I find it mesmerizing. Just a couple of things would make it even better:

  1. The pool of available ships includes not just ship types, but individual ships.

  2. Have a “captain management system” in which captains of starships have certain characteristics (such as fatigue, morale, etc.) and abilities (tactical skill, command and control, inspiration, etc.) that are affected by battle experience. (I’m thinking about something like Matrix Games’ “Hornet Leader” and the like that model pilot’s states.) This would provide a sense of attachment to individual ships, thus affecting deployment of vessels.

  3. A simple strategic overlay. I am thinking of the old DOS Star Trek game, where you are presented with a map of the universe, divided into quadrants. You would move the Enterprise from quadrant to quadrant, battling whatever Klingons were there and taking repairs at space stations. For GSB, we could have the same thing, only with the ability to create and move fleets about. The goal would be to clean out all the quadrants of the enemy fleets. With random placement of enemy fleets, and random elements included in the quadrants, this simple strategic overlay would be endlessly replayable, and would break the game out of a rigid mission tree.

Above all, keep to the original concepts that make the game great: the vast customization options, the simple “grand view” military only approach to tactics and strategy (please don’t turn the game into a 4X space opera), fantastic 2D graphics that never devolve into textured polygons and that allow us to enjoy cinematic action without forcing us to drive a camera around.

No, no and no.

Individual ships is a bad idea. As are stats for certain ships, since the game cant target them, it would become frustrating when your one gets destroyed early, and theirs just survives due to luck.

Stop with the 4x suggestions, those games already exist, GSB is unique. Why change that?

Concurrence with Crakker.

Individual ships (whether via the ship itself being unique, or simply carrying a unique commander of some sort) is not gratuitous. Gratuitous is throwing money and pilots at your spaceborne problems until the problem (and a goodly portion of the solution) has been removed in a suitably explody fashion.

Oddly enough, you can make all of your ships unique. Never deploy more than one ship of any given type, and make sure that all of their orders differ. But it’s a lot of work, and it should be because that is not the preferred mode of this game.

In fact, if you read further in these forums, it sounds like Cliff has something of a “campaign” mode either on the radar or actively in the works, which should suffice as the “simple strategic overlay” the OP referenced. Anything more than that really does skew GSB into the “Oh, that’s just like [other game]” category. And most of us like the fact that those kind of direct comparisons are a bit hard to draw with GSB.

(Side note from a dummy: I have no idea what 4X refers to; I’m inferring from context on these posts. A little clarity would be appreciated.)


However, 4x games are games like any game that has “Civilizations” in the title. For further reading, I point you at

you could always have it so if a ship survies the last encounter you could place it on the map, or somgthing,

but i wana place “wings” of ships, so i can put in a curiser, with 4 frigates flanking it etc…

The point of the strategic mode is to break the game out of the “mission tree” model and to give a sense of larger purpose. Some sort of leveling system would enable experience to play a role. When I finish a battle and it has gone really well, I’d love for that fleet to be able to carry over somewhere, somehow instead of disappearing into the ether.

To the 4X thing, my point was that I hope the game does NOT develop in that direction. Lots of people have suggested some sort of Master of Orion thing. I think that genre has been done, and done, and done, and done. We don’t need another one. And it is completely out of synch with GSB’s philosophy. Why add in diplomacy, colonization, research trees, resource collection, and all that other 4X stuff when GSB is such a direct, elegantly simple strategy game of a completely different sort? I suggested the old Star Trek game as an example of a simple, endlessly replayable, military-only design that seems consistent at a strategic level with GSB’s basic idea.

These are minor points anyway. I love the game as it stands. It is simple without being simplistic. It eschews button-mashing in favor of careful thought. It inspires endless experimentation. Its AI is good enough that the player can, in fact, release his captains to fight out their mission by themselves without constantly feeling the need to micromanage. If it never changes, I’ll be playing it in its current form for a long time to come.

why would you (the Admiral or whatever) do any Diplomacy anyway?


I agree - I wouldn’t want to do diplomacy, but seems to be an inevitable part of 4X games.

I also like the idea of being able to place a ship that survived on the map. That sort of thing makes the most sense to me when there is a strategic overlay. (Less important to me right now, but if we get a strategic mode, I’d love it.)

Lets say you win mission 1, you had 2 ships remaing, so on the next mission you can place those 2 ships for a lower cost (1/3, 1/4?) than the normal price, so you take more care over the orders instead of just spewing out ships (you could do either)

Why must experience give a default bonus, in addition to the other benefits of practice.

I kind of like something like this idea, at least as an option. Being able to make a chain of missions linked together, with the undestroyed parts of the fleet carrying over between them, would be an interesting change. It shifts the focus away from building a fleet that beats the challenge and toward building one which survives it relatively unscathed.

I’m not a huge fan of carrying ships over from mission to mission. There are some complications that I feel would interfere with the elegance of GSB. If such a mode existed, would it be designed around the expectation that you carry over a certain number of ships from previous battles? If so, you may get a few missions in and realize you has too few ‘bonus’ ships, and need to restart. Otherwise, it might get too easy later on if you do well with the previous missions.

My favorite mode is survival, and I do see the irony in the fact that I’m complaining about going back to the start of the campaign and tweaking, which is pretty much was survival mode is. However, in survival mode, you only have one fleet to tweak, and generally it involves changing a couple modules, then restarting. Getting the equivalent of a ‘Game Over’ after playing for an hour because you got too few ships from the first few missions would be pretty frustrating.

I would, however, like a mode where you design one fleet at the beginning, and have it fight a succession of fleets, being healed after each one. Many players are already doing things similar to this using challenges, and it is a great way to make a well balanced, powerful fleet.

Also,I am opposed to experience points. The philosophy of GSB is about design decisions. There is an enemy fleet, you have your pilot and cost constraints, and you must kill it. If it’s hard, you must improve your fleet, not farm some easier challenge to get more XP and make the same fleet stronger. XP would also make online challenges unequal, etc. Plus, GSB is addicting enough as it is :stuck_out_tongue: .

the next mission wouldn’t require the brung over ships as they are a bonus because you won the lass mission while preserving crew.

I know what you mean, but what I’m saying is if that is a possibility, the missions would have to be balanced with that in mind. Here’s a couple of hypothetical scenarios:

So, hypothetically, you win with a 5 cruisers left over on the first mission. You cream the next mission with your extra cruisers, and that allows you to get more and more extras. By the end, you don’t even need to design a well thought out fleet, you just crush them with numbers. Not really in the spirit of GSB.

Now, if Cliffski said, “I bet the player will get 5 extra cruisers on the first level. I’ll design the next level with that in mind.” So, a different player wins with 3 cruisers. The next mission is a huge challenge, and they barely squeak by with a victory. You were supposed to have accumulated 10 cruisers by the third mission, so you can’t even beat it. Then you start over.

The latter scenario is what I meant by “need” bonus ships.

Also, try the survival modes, that is pretty similar to what you want, and fits in the spirit of GSB.

One of the things I like about GSB is that it’s entirely positive reinforcement, rather than negative. If you win, you get a) honor, b) a spot on a survival mode scoreboard, or c) the opportunity to say “Hey I beat your challenge, and it was awesome!” (or similar). If you lose, it’s just “Too bad. Wanna try again?” You can never lose resources by making bad decisions. saves a lot of time worrying about save points and stuff.

The problem with carryover resources is that, as jrod2008 points out, either the game doesn’t take them into account, in which case one lucky break or really good tactical decision reduces the rest of the game to a cakewalk; or the game does take them into account, which brings negative reinforcement into play. “Oh, you only have 1 ship left from last time? Too bad, I was expecting you to keep at least three.” A couple of bad choices can render the remainder of the game unplayable and force a restart.

Sorry for the psychobabble, this is just an issue that struck me from the first time I played GSB. And it fits the thread. Mostly. :slight_smile:

Here’s my proposal, DO not change the game.

But setup a community conquest. What I mean is do what Cave Dog did with Total Annihilation. By using player submittable deployments have a conquest of the galaxy based on race. What you submit and who challenges it will be submitted. Also, you are stuck being one particular race and need at least 1 submitted deployment. Over a day(s) or a week will the battles be tallied, then shift the map to different battle grounds. Obviously battle grounds never really affect game play other then what ships can be used.

At the end, the victor rules the spoils (bragging rights). next conquest, a new galaxy layout, new positions, and it begins again.

My suggestion for next GSB would be to be able to record a battle and replay it at the speed you want !
Though, if I remember well it is difficult to do (something to do with random numbers, optimisation and unpredectibilaty of frame frequence)… Maybe through remembering in a file all destinations, bullet shots and damages which occured…