Things have got awfully quiet around here, have we run out of things to discuss? Have we explored and discussed every nook and cranny that there is in the game? ARe the available mods not stoking the creative boilers any more?
I think we need GSB2 to get our blood pumping again.
Those are really interesting questions, jupiter6; there’s much food for thought on those bones. Let’s savor some very worthwhile ideas…
I look at that situation from another perspective: we’re running out of people, not just topics to discuss. Forum traffic in the GSB section of this website has been down for nearly two entire years. Aside from the very infrequent intake of new members every time Cliff puts the game and its DLC on sale, this forum community has largely been stable but at a generally low level of forum activity ever since late spring 2011. It may not be the kind of stability I’d prefer, but it’s what we’ve got.
GSB is really very fortunate to have a cadre of “true believers,” but like many such groups of die-hards who keep the flame alive, it’s (perhaps inevitably) a small cadre. Now that the Outcasts DLC (and concurrent patches) is out, further official development of the core game itself has finally stopped. Considering that almost the only serious development added to GSB since late 2010 (!!!) has been the Galactic Conquest add-on (which was in beta for a long time) and 2 DLC’s (Parasites and Outcasts), no wonder our population here is small.
Then again, I can also say with certainty that, mod-wise, there is more going on behind the scenes around here than is generally known. For example? Among other things I’m aware of, I won’t mention any specifics but I am working on a revised mod for everyone’s enjoyment. Its pace is picking up steam, and its content is definitely more than adequate for cracking the crust of ennui you indirectly speculated about above. As a direct result of this, I am not bored with the present state of GSB affairs. Occasionally frustrated? Sure, but never bored.
No, we haven’t. Then again, I think that not all of them are equally worthy of the effort. There is a diminishing “return on investment” when one deliberately scrubs the bottom of the conversational barrel strictly for the sake of more forum activity…I can’t see too many of the game’s obscure, unimpressive or even annoying-to-mod features (e.g., the Order’s anti-fighter limpets) igniting a forest-fire of conversation.
When I remind myself of the many repeatedly-asked-for game features that either (1) already exist but are not modder-accessible for changing, or (2) do not exist in any way, shape or form – both sets of which cry out for full-featured inclusion in any GSB 2 – then it becomes difficult for me to muster much interest in other mundane GSB issues/situations right on my doorstep which might deserve some renewed discussion. Hell, there are some things I have been trying to find a way to shoehorn into GSB ever since it was barely into its pre-release beta stage in September 2009! That tends to tarnish my silver, ya know? [-chuckle-] “Help me, Obi-Cliff Kenobi; you’re my only hope…”
That’s definitely possible. The fact that many of them are unfinished (and I include my own work among them), or are overtaken by changes/patches to the core game itself, is regrettable.
It is still by no means certain that GSB 2 is a 100% “done deal”. Cliff has also said that he would like to work on it, and that he wants to someday make it, but all of those hypotheticals are on the far side of his Democracy 3 project at the soonest.
I think it’s in the best interest of our collective sanity to be content with what we have for a wee bit longer; rescue is not yet at hand. But please don’t mistake that for disinterest or even pessimism on my part. I would dearly like to have GSB 2 see the light of day at least as much as everyone else who’s still active on this forum. GSB 2 is the only thing that can realistically knock GSB off of the throne of being my favorite game.
Personally, I’m busy enough for much of the remainder of this year (yes, really) with my own modding project that I feel neither boredom nor an urgent need for something else GSB2-wise to stimulate me mentally; I’m already busier than a one-armed paper hanger, believe me. So the possible “after Democracy 3 is done, Cliff will reconsider making GSB 2 happen” timetable is fine with me. But I still do want GSB 2 – let there be no doubt about that.
To my way of thinking, the future existence of GSB 2 is desirable enough that hopefully Cliff also agrees that it’s a proverbial “no-brainer” of a question. The immense mass of 3-1/2 years worth of player feedback about GSB that’s been provided to date from the community – useful suggestions for the future, commentary about how feature XYZ really is worth the effort to put into the game (and why), and a colossal amount of modded content that contains some true gems – all of those converging rivers of data point directly at the future as if to say, “we’ve already done quite a bit of the work for you, Cliff; take our ideas and just follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City…”
Cliff, if you’re reading this: we do indeed have high expectations for the feature-set, moddability, balance, etc. of GSB 2. We’ll be watching as it develops, and not at all shy about offering our $0.02 of reasoned advice to keep it on the right path.
Jupiter6, thanks again for kicking off this interesting topic.
I echo Archduke Astro’s sentiments, so I am not going to bother repeating him.
Just as a reminder, along with the latest DLC Cliff did open up some new modding tools
New Feature: Direct control now lets you (optionally) issue orders or edit existing orders for ships mid-battle.
Tripled the maximum supported submunitions per missile from 6 to 18, as requested.
Support for the cruiser decoy projector module.
Support for new two-stage missiles.
Support for new multi-point tractor beams.
Support for modding plasma torpedoes to use style CUSTOM and plasma_texture = “texture.dds” for custom effects
Support for weapons firing from cloaked ships using the “fire_while_cloaked=1” setting
Reverted the Area-of-effect code so it only happens on hits, not misses, as requested.
restricted race field for modules now supports comma-separated list for multiple races (for modders)
races can now be locked out of all vanilla tech (for modders)
hulls can now be hidden from the player (for modders)
So, no I do not believe we have explored everything. I think we are running a little low on active modders at this point in time
The problem with GSB2 is that for what it does, GSB1 is very very good!
Not to say that GSB is a perfect game, but if it is to become better, it also needs to become bigger and more complex (imo). Right there we, as fans of the original game, have a dilemma: the restricted nature of the game as opposed to Galactic Civilizations for instance, means that one step out of “just space battles” takes it into an entirely different realm of gaming. For GSB1, any new race, hull or weapon is an excellent addition, but none of that is good enough for GSB2 because even if the latter had 30 races with entirely unique weapons for dozens of different classes of ships etc, would that be worthy of the label “GSB2”?
The few things I harp on as suggestions are not fluff, but “basic” stuff that is really needed. Expendable ordnance for fighters is patently obvious as one in a system where speed is everything like gsb. Fighters now carry infinite ammo. Even corrected for their average lifespan, they clearly carry some substantial multiple of their weight in missiles (if so armed).
Ditto the fact that orders are not what you’d expect. Deleting an order should delete that order. If you don’t have “cautious” ordered, do ships act cautious anyway? If you have no “escort” order, do ships none the less escort? No. Yet if you have no “attack fighter” order… Your ships attack fighters anyway.
I’m all for gsb2, since it’s a bit much to expect updates on a game X years old. Ideally mod support would include a way to segregate player data in such a way that you can remove mods and not have to delete player data to prevent crashes.
I’m responding to multiple people in chronological order…
Thanks, Darkstar; I appreciate knowing we’re thoroughly on the same page.
Excepting the last few official patches (only 5 in 2011 and just 2 in all of 2012) and two “newest” DLC races, the lion’s share of wholly new player content for the game has for a long time been thanks to the modding community. Cliff was most wise to allow for that possibility when he first decided to insure that GSB was not just moddable but relatively-easily moddable.
That was also fortunate, as the three new features I bold-faced above (released five months ago within the v1.61 patch) are some of the most powerful ones to ever be released to GSB’s modders. They finally let us do things that were either painfully impractical or simply impossible before now. I am mentioning this because I think that any non-modders reading the thread need to know that those new abilities make it possible to better explore the remaining unknown possibilities for grand old GSB with more precision and more speed than I hardly ever dared to hope. This is a win for the player community as a whole. So, hell yes, I agree; we have indeed not yet explored the entire range of possibility yet for this game.
So in the end, Cliff provided us the badly-needed tools and then stepped back to avoid getting run over by the resulting stampede. Smart guy, that cliffski.
Agreed. Honestly, our ranks are pretty thin right now. Aside from the serious direct impact that makes upon modding activities in general, it also impacts our ability to answer in a timely manner any modding questions (or assorted misc. GSB q’s) from others.
StigRS77, I’m trying to write a reply that doesn’t delve so deeply into various tangents along the way, but it’s difficult because you raised several good points along the way.
To parallel you but at a distance, I’ll say that GSB was indeed “good” for what it offered - I heartily stand behind that.
But spending more than three years here showed me that the game also has numerous shortcomings, frustrating imbalances, under-developed creative concepts, etc. that even its many patches are clearly insufficient to deal with. Several things that the player community wanted were, alas, hard-coded into the game because Cliff did not anticipate player interest in changing that at a later date, and he could not alter them (short of a total rewrite; i.e., GSB 2) even if he wanted to. Uncritically calling it “very very good” is overstating things.
Let me emphasize that this is an enjoyable game, but it also needs substantial work. Cliff honestly made the best game he knew how to at the time, but it had (and still has) holes here-and-there large enough to be a problem.
You and I are in full agreement that a sequel to GSB needs to be bigger and more complex; no question of that. Where folks might differ is what kind of new hotness to add to GSB 2 in order to make it satisfyingly bigger and more complex, and how much of said new hotness to add.
In the complexity department, just one such place where GSB falls down is the woefully cookie-cutter nature of the races’ lack of a meaningful amount of racially-unique, “sufficiently different or better than the generic items” modules and weapons for the ships. In my opinion, approx. 4-6 weapons and 3-4 modules unique to each race (the Core Four as well as all DLC races) would have been much more in line with what I was expecting and hoping for when I first bought this game.
Unfortunately, we never got that.
I don’t know what Cliff’s ultimate intentions were for racially-unique items, but (to cite one example you don’t need DLC for) a single anti-armor beam laser with slightly different stats for each of the Core Four races’ cruisers was and is uselessly inadequate. It just serves as a reminder of how little racial diversity we actually have in a practical sense. Yes, I know that Cliff is chronically time-pressured, but that can’t be a blanket excuse forever; surely it’s got to be possible to do better.
And speaking of ships in general, the tiny little performance boost extras baked into the hulls could have been used to build truly different as well as fascinating & formidable navies. But what did we receive instead? For example, a mere extra [size=125]7%[/size] more hull integrity (seen on all of the Parasites’ cruisers) isn’t even noticeable to the player, let alone enough to significantly improve your odds of victory. And if it isn’t significant, then why bother making such miniscule buffs at all? We need a hell of a lot more of this, not less; not the timid and largely pointless implementation that we were given. I’m confident it was all done in good faith, yes, but functionally it’s also far short of where it should be.
A modest extra effort in the two above-mentioned areas among all under-developed areas of GSB could have resulted in a significantly better game. I have high hopes that any possible future GSB 2 will sidestep the two above traps that GSB ran into.
And it’s too glib and too convenient for random other people to merely say, “But that’s what modding is for!” No, I think that making the core edition of the game itself as attractive as possible to as many potential players as possible, “right out of the box,” is the justification for making the races more tactically distinctive in the ways I described. I feel it’s wrong to throw the entire burden for that particular part of core development work onto the backs of the modding community. One doesn’t have to be a modder in order to be unhappy with this situation – because like it or not, we all paid the penalty for it.
BTW…lest I be unfairly mischaracterized as an impossible-to-please grumpy Scrooge or a detail-obsessed myopic gamer, I want to state that I’m not ascribing the reasons why GSB is flawed as being a product of nefarious schemes or other negative nonsense. I have a great deal of admiration for Cliff as a solo game dev in a difficult and changing industry. Actually, I am so unstinting in my criticism today (much better than unhelpful nondescript whining or etc.) because on many occasions GSB gets somewhat close (sometimes, really close) to my preferred game-performance goals/features but too often, manages to fall short or miss the net. I am making efforts to keep my comments as clinical as possible so that my own emotions do not obscure my reasoning. I won’t even try to hide the fact that I feel strongly about these things, but neither will I be ruled by those feelings.
Restricted? I admit I’m confused by the way you phrased that. I think it’s reasonable to assume that other games are not infinitely extensible, meaning that GSB suffers no unusual penalty in comparison.
Regarding “entirely different realms of gaming”, I do tend to doubt that a hypothetical GSB 2 is going to consist of more than “just space battles,” though; this isn’t a 4X game and I would emphatically not want “scope creep” to mutate it into anything like one. Any content remotely like that should, in my personal opinion, be confined solely to a strategic campaign mode of GSB 2. If I misunderstood you, I apologize.
With respect, it’s cool if that’s your opinion, but your wide claim that “none of that is good enough” fails to fully persuade. Here’s why I think that way. Even if no new races (and tactical & cosmetic bling for them) were added at all to GSB 2, but every substantial flaw; every missed opportunity for expanding the player’s useful choices; every annoying gameplay imbalance was fixed, revised or removed, I would buy such a game with full confidence and likewise full passion for the player experience it offered.
Like you, I also hope for some sort of new gameplay features or dimension in GSB 2; something that the original doesn’t have in any way. But I’m unsure that I’d accept that if it might possibly mean that the sequel game is roughly as flawed as the original. Of course development hours are finite; Cliff can’t spend five years doing around-the-clock dev work on the sequel before he makes it available for sale. I just hope for not having to sacrifice one set of hopes in order to fulfill another.
I mean no disrespect towards cliffski and his creation, but the modding community (myself among them) have long tried to close the gap between what we got in GSB vs. what we hoped would be added via later patches or DLC (and we came away mostly disappointed in our not-unreasonable wish-lists being unfulfilled). Even though we modders have done better than most other players ever expected, we see the limits of what can be done with the player-accessible functionality “under the hood”. Yes, a lot can be done within that space (here’s proof !), but GSB 2 needs more than that present set of possibilities.
I maintain that while the perfectly blessed state I just described is challenging at best to fully achieve, it is possible for us to get closer to that than some folks might imagine. Cliff has no shortage of player feedback to guide him to that happy state of giving people what they both need and want in GSB 2. Of course some of that feedback is less informed or helpful than other feedback, so some degree of triaging & organizing is necessary. Darkstar076’s praiseworthy Master Wish List index sticky that he’s curating at the Suggestions forum is a major step in the right direction.
I’ve long been operating on the (probably flawed) assumption that cliffski was promoting the whole gratuitous aura of this game via the “movie tropes” style of the infinitely-reloading ammunition for weapons that shoot any kind of physical payload (missile, rocket, torpedo, kinetic bullet, flak shell, etc.).
It wasn’t until I had been playing GSB for a few months that I began to get annoyed at this gameplay mechanic. Pointlessly gratuitous combat with no past and no future can be cool, but it does not and should not automatically rule out believability from the equation. If GSB 2 has ammo limits (moddable ammo limits - no hard-coding!) for those kinds of guns, you and I would both breathe a big sigh of relief. With salvo parameters, one can do a lot of creative things with ammo-limited weapons that can’t be done in the present environment.
Ah, you touched upon one of the most consistently frustrating things in GSB. The basic idea I took away from Cliff’s AI gunner implementation is that he felt it was most important that all units have the ability to always fire upon at least something, anything that’s on the enemy side IF a given unit has nothing in its weapons range that meets its existing combat orders. In fact, Cliff seemed really hesitant to overhaul that ability despite multiple players emphatically telling him that instead of being a help, it was driving them crazy with helpless anger.
I’m going on record as saying that in GSB 2 I will freely, gladly give up some or even all of the above-mentioned gun targeting “feature” IF it means that in return for that, I gain the ability to have complete control over all of my units via pre-battle combat orders, 100% of the time. I truly, deeply do not care if my own units pass up some situational, suboptimal, “might-be-useful” firing opportunity in exchange for always heeding Red Leader’s famously urgent “Stay On Target!” from Star Wars. When it comes to the AI, improvements & re-writes of this size are among the biggest reasons why a sequel to this game is needed as well as desired.
Cliff, if you’re reading this: Some players don’t care about “gaining” unanticipated additional chances to hurt the enemy. But we do care about our orders, intentions and frequently a big part of our entire battle strategy being ruined by friendly units not doing what they were TOLD to do, and not doing it HOW they were told to do it. That maddening inconsistency & defiance of human-assigned battle goals drives us nuts. We want and need finer granularity with the combat orders, and we want total obedience to them. Other, peripheral considerations do not outweigh this. Please, cliffski; perhaps the biggest favor you can do for us in the field of AI moving & shooting is to insure that our units always do what they are told. If that means “Garbage In, Garbage Out” then I’m cool with that. My point is that I, the human commander, should be fully responsible for that - not the AI. We want our ships to perform exactly as ordered – all the time, every single time, without fail. It’s okay if they show very minor variance within the larger context of fully executing our intentions via combat orders, but blatantly acting opposite common sense as well as our explicit pre-battle orders themselves is just not a good situation.
That would be really helpful. Better mod management for GSB 2 is a great idea. Ideally, it should make mod installation & un-installation faster and much easier for novices to understand. While some people never use mods, the ones who do use them frequently have multiple mods installed. That can make troubleshooting into a time-consuming frustration when something goes wrong.
I’d like to issue a humble blanket apology for the length of my newest postings in this thread. I do value concise, topical and focused speech, but my comments & thoughts were more expansive than I intended. A subject as important as GSB 2, as well as yet-undefined as GSB 2, makes it really hard to keep things brief. I’m trying, though.
Yeah I was trying to say that if GSB2 is going to be as sequels are, bigger and better, then part of the whole appeal of the game could disappear. I was merely pointing out that dilemma; is bigger necessarily better for GSB2? Your idea of better is definitely going to be an improvement to the game, but for the non-modding user having all those little quirks (that come from the lack of 2000 professional game testers) go away might not be too big a leap.
What I meant with “restricted” was that GSB is about building starships and then watching them destroy each other in 2d. There is very little resource management. The strategy is about nuances in weapon and armor choice.
So what kind of improvement could we see while the game retains its core idea? More resource management would bring it into Galactic Civilizations territory, and for each feature added to give us control over resources and development etc, the more it would lack in depth - until GSB2 becomes a GC clone. I don’t think that is a good idea. The more unique races, weapons, ship classes and bonuses, the more testing is needed to ensure balance. This is also a problem for such a small company. Me and you would probably drewl all over if the only thing GSB2 says on the tin is “better AI and UI”, but that is unlikely to impress those who didn’t already enjoy GSB1. Even such a thing as a multiplayer galaxy conquest could be too big a task for one man.
I think that the discussion about GSB2 should be more one of gaming philosophy than features at this point
Hi everybody, I’m still here
The only thing stopping me from guaranteeing GSB 2 is my next game (after democracy 3), is that I hate publicly committing myself to anything. I very much want to return to GSB when I can make time to do so. In fact I have to try hard not to find myself loading up the code at the weekend (it’s unproductive to do so, I need to really get my head stuck into it over time).
When I sit down properly to work on the game, I will of course ask for lots of feedback, and develop it very openly, but when I think about it in my spare time my areas of wish-fulfillment focus are:
A more sensible arrangement of weapons and modules which is less confusing and arcane for new players.
Much better graphics, including higher res ship hulls, and much better damage effects, plus various other ideas. I think I learned a lot making Gratuitous Tank Battles.
Visual customization of ships.
A more user friendly system of issuing orders, and fixing the confusion and limitations described in this thread.
Better mod support then the current game. Possibly steam workshop support.
Steam achievements, and a non-steam implementation of the same thing.
I know there are tons of things that could be improved, not least the hard coding of ship sizes, to allow for dreadnoughts and so on. Those could also be worked on.
This would be a big project, but one I am desperately keen to work on. I am ploughing through Democracy 3 right now, and I’m assuming I’ll be able to dust off GSB this year. It might be a bit earlier than the end of the year, or later. It’s hard to tell
I am not as active as I used to be - but I still whump a few fleets here and there when my mind is there.
I also peruse the boards with the exception of the mod area on a daily basis and although I agree with many there is arguable the scope and what brought me into GSB.
I can grab a shower make a coffee play 2 Battles (one a trial and the next to post as a retaliation) and then scoot of to the gym before work. I can come home and boot up and play a few more battles without trying to figure out where my men where what my resources or what I was thinking that other time I was on GSB.
I cannot to that with most 4x games.
In fact my steam account is littered with 4x games that I was so interested in and then interest dwindled off within a few minutes of me realizing how much work this would be and I just switch to Plants vs Zombies.
Honestly… Its not even the eye candy - its the finding of a certain fleet that ha(s)d just the right components and that someone figured out how to sucker half my fleet into some corner and plasma pounded me to dust…
And the fact that I don’t have to be in real time with another person to battle - I can defeat him while he’s asleep 6 time zones away and then I come back from work retaliate and then crash and find another retaliation that morning before zipping back to the daily grind.
Are there flaws to the game. Heck yes. But even Total War : 2 had huge letdowns… and don’t let me get into Empire and Napoleon.
And thank you for reading but one thing I am going to throw down that would make GSB2 even greater that hasn’t been included in the lists…
Multi-level multi-player support.
Built in systems to host tournaments/level challenges/endless battles.
We had in the beginning many attempts with SAC’s and NEC’s and at least one Tournament and one Meta-campaign.
And now I am going to get long winded.
Cliffski… I am holding you to that year with GSB2 once Democracy3 gets out.
As Cliffski is the sole driving force behind Positech - I suggest we all chip in to secure cloning rights to Cliffski to ensure continued performance and software production.
A play till finish feature. Its great that the game can call the battle early, but lately I have had battles called. And at 1x speed let it play out and lo and behold I win, but it already called it for them.
Someway to detect true standoffs. I have faced challenges where after letting the game run at 4x speed for near on half an hour its still an utter standoff.
Also had games called at percentage ties as a loss. have a screen cap of a 10%-10% loss it was an awesome battle but to get it called a loss after that was rather frustrating. A Time cap?
I thank you for your contributions, however I feel that specific feature requests would be more effective if they were posted in the already existing threads dedicated to that very purpose. My original intention was for discussion of whether GSB1 discussions have run their course, and whether this makes a strong case for GSB2.
I remain grateful for all th input so far though.
Just to throw my views in here and while I agree largely with Archduke’s post, I would like to raise a note of caution with regards to these points.
At the moment, when playing a posted challenge, until I’ve tried it, I have no idea what kind of fleet I’m facing. Is that Rebel fleet set up for a rush? Is it beam heavy making tanks a liability? Are they going to sit back and shoot?
If we build too much diversity and uniqueness into the races, there’s a danger we’ll pigeonhole each race into playing a certain way. Making a race different from the others while still allowing for a variety of tactics and fleet set ups is no simple task, and adds a great deal more complexity and design time, as well as balancing issues to be solved.
I happen to agree with you here, Redd13. Your words of caution are well-reasoned.
Yes, while I am strongly in favor of “different,” I’m not looking for “starkly unrecognizably alien,” either. While GSB 2 does need more faction diversity and uniqueness than GSB has, I would not want so very much of those qualities that the official races lose the vast majority of the combat decision-sets that they all have in common with each other. We presently have a modest enough quantity of tactical distinctiveness by race to allow us to drive in that direction for quite a while without fear of missing our destination.
For my part, I definitely would not want a copy of a GSB sequel that didn’t make a substantial thrust in that direction. If, as you stated, that explicitly means more complexity, design time and balancing, then that’s what the job requires. Though it’s surely an involved & lengthy process, I respectfully maintain that it’s not something to excessively shy away from merely because it’s not simple or convenient to achieve.
Folks are naturally going to have high expectations of a successor to this famous & venerable game, but given Cliff’s comment about developing GSB 2 openly and asking for feedback, we as a community have to do our part and provide that meaningful feedback.
I think that ideally all races would have only tech of their own. What I mean is not distinctive tech, but unique engines, powerplants, armor, etc. Militaries standardize, but they all don’t do so in agreement. Even if only slightly different in weight, capability, etc, it creates variation. Look at ww2 surface combatants (navy) for comparison. Sure, all had CAs and BBs, but the main guns were different sizes, the AAA guns all different as well (20mm and 40mm for the USN, 25mm for the IJN, etc). Look at the difference in torpedoes, and the tactics that evolved as a result.
First off, this is a HUGE post. Sorry for that, but we’re talking about a version 2 of a great game, here.
In the suggestion box I dropped a note about an ordering system that would allow you to simply purchase the whole GSB product line with a single click and call that product “Gratuitous Space Battles - Complete.” This idea, along with fixing a few of the AI tweaks, would not constitute a GSB2 to me, but rather the completed, up to date version of GSB1.
What would I wish for GSB2? It’s odd to answer, as I have honestly only played the demo of GSB (only yesterday did I happen upon the addition of the added direct control feature, which was the one thing I really wanted in the game because of my history with Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain). This would be some of what I would suggest (they are not NEEDS), because these are features that what would cement me to purchase the game:
Serious Mode - while the humorous aspect of the game is quite fun, I would love a mode that replaced silly ship names and screen comments with more serious ones. I’m sure much of that would be a matter of pointing GSB to simply look at a different data file, replacing a “Frothing Mutha” named cruiser with a “Firestorm” name.
Ship naming - Back in the day, playing Pax, I would update my starship technology multiple times just to have individual names for my ships. In that game, for instance, you would label your ship class, not the name: “Bismark” could be your battleship name, but all ships of that class would be “Bismark”. I would love to be able to click on a ship and simply rename it, so if I had 3 “Bismark” CLASS ships, I could name them “Bismark”, “Yamato”, and “Arizona” if I wanted. I believe there is a way to edit a .txt document to randomize a list of name you choose, correct? This would simply be an on-the-fly feature.
Custom Race - In Pax the player could create races from lists of features and these would alter greatly how the game was played. Because the player had 10 points to spend between all features (some cost 1 point, others cost 5 points) the game was always balanced, and Pax was also playable between human opponents online. You could even choose from the library of some 50 alien species pics, 50+ flags, and a dozen ship designs to represent your unique faction. I’m not saying GSB should BE Pax, but the ability to create your own is almost always welcome in the strategy game world. This leads to…
Drag-and-Drop custom GFX - now, I love the idea of modding stuff, but I have never had the time to really dig into modding. Obviously modders have been able to do remarkable things with the engine, but not everyone is so skilled or has the time. This feature is primarily COSMETIC for players that just want to appear unique… quick and dirty. For every game since DOOM I have wished for the ability to say, “just let me replace X with Y and use that!”
It would be fun to be able to have a feature that lets the player be able to have a menu of ship hull images, guns, etc. for their custom species. Ship maps would have specific image sizes and such (as they exist now) but the pointing method would allow a player to click on a class, open a dialogue box, click on a hull image (it could even be approved with a quick 50% or more pixel content calculation, so players don’t attempt a 5-pixel frigate). Ta-dah! A unique looking ship.
For the system boxes, have templates pre-made with different numbers of boxes based on cost. The player can drag these around over the top of the hull graphics to uniquely place them… the mechanic of the ship remains the same, but the player gets the satisfaction of having a unique hull with all the guns in the desired places. Again, a routine can check to make sure that the center point on any given box does not reside on a 100% alpha space, so weapons are not just floating around the hull. To create batteries rather than single guns, a player can right click a box and simply select “battery” and how many sub-boxes (2 to 4, or some such) they can place around the blueprint.
Oh, drag and drop sound effects would be nice, too. Just right click on a turret and choose “image” for the gun and “sound”, then choose anything from your personal directories.
Researched technologies. I’m not proposing all systems in the game require research, but rather that a player could exchange points or cash to buy into a “tech lottery” of sorts, where scientists could draw up some unique or rare items… perhaps you discover a special field generator that can only be equipped on a single ship, or a super cannon that takes a LONG time to charge and sucks up your energy but delivers a Cruiser-killing shot (and draws the attention of every enemy ship left on the map!) If these techs were expensive enough that one could only hope to discover 1 or 2 of them in the course of a race’s campaign, and there was a list of 50 of them, players could even use them on each other with a high probability of that delightful, “what the hell was THAT?!” effect.
It might even be possible for a player to create their own super weapon using a check and slider system, so, again, it would be balance. The player could select different visual effects or sounds from a list, possibly with control over basic color or sound pitch, to add to that, “this is MY weapon” feel.
So, those would be some of the major features I would love to play. What are some staples I would think of adding to the basic game?
Mines - drop 'em and watch the fireworks. Ships can use defense guns to blow them up.
ECM/wild weasel units that mess with enemy targeting
“Ramming Speed!” Allow my to crash my damaged Frigate into the enemy’s last Cruiser or to use kamikaze fighters
“The needs of the many…” similarly, allow me to detonate my Frigate in the middle of the enemy’s fleet
Ship damage sectors - rather than a ship being 1 piece, track damage to bow, stern, port, starboard, and core… ships can alter vectors to protect weak sides
Shield/screen/deflector options; similar to above, but rather than a 360-degree shield sphere have some ships able to have enhanced stopping power but limited to 1 direction at a time… shields are at 100% strength when attacked only from the bow, but to protect against a 4-way attack the screens are reduced to 25% per direction. Or, they only draw power to defend an actively attacked direction, so a ship only attacked from the bow is only drawing 25% shield power.
Deflectors - can send a percentage of energy back at the originating ship if at very close range.
Absorbers - allow your systems to recharge by absorbing a percentage of energy weapon damage.
Combiners/Splitters - a Cruiser that breaks into multiple frigates when a percentage of damage is reached. Why? Why not?
Corrosive damage effects - Call it acid, nanotechnology, techno-phage, whatever, but the gift that keeps on giving, even for a few seconds.
At least in version 1.62 (full) with all expansions, you can already do this in Skirmish mode by right-clicking on the ship you want to rename, clicking the rename button in the menu that pops up, and typing in the name you want the ship to have. This is also available in campaign mode from the main map window when you have a fleet box open, and has been for as long as I can remember.
Personally, and I REALLY don’t know how conducive this would be, but it’s on the dream list, if you were to essentially take the same game as the fully incorporated GSB1, patched and updated with all the mods, then do this for GSB2…
Full 3D support.
Same game, but using 3D models (I understand they would be simplified for low-poly) and full camera angling… that would just rock.