[Suggestion] GSB2 Meta-Game: The Journey Home


#1

I listened to Cliff’s interview on pcpcgames.com and heard that a 4X style meta-game will not be considered. There has to be a new take on the subject.

So I’ve had a think and came up with an idea:

‘The Journey Home’

You are the space admiral of Deep Space Station 5. Long range sensors detect an incoming armada of hostile ships! Quickly, fleet command is informed and they begin to form a defensive line. But in space, travel takes a long time. Fleet command has set the defensive line some way back into friendly space. It’s the only way to assemble a defense strong enough in time to meet the armada’s attack.

Knowing that the Station defense fleet cannot possibly fight the armada by itself, you order the fleet to assemble and begin the long journey back to Starbase I-1. Only the massive space fortress and the entrenched allied fleet can stop the armada. Can you make it back to I-1 across an unexplored stretch of space, filled with adventure, peril and fortune? Or will your fleet fall prey to one of the various warring races, a space anomaly monster or be caught by the advancing armada?

Commanding your fleet as it travels across unknown stars, you will detach smaller fleets to mine asteroid fields for ores to process, send out recon fleets to scout ahead, and manufacture ships and components from acquired resources or gather what you can from the wreckage of destroyed ships. Balance your ship designs for new production, mining and cargo modules to enable your fleet to grow. Briefly trade with minor worlds and some may even have short missions for you to complete. But time presses, for the armada is advancing!


The game ‘Strange Adventures In Infinite Space’ would give a vague idea of what this game mode could be like. The duration is decided by the width of the map (or the speed at which the armada advances). Maybe as little as 10 minutes to complete or as long as several hours. Maps could be randomly generated adventures or designed ones. Being turn based, it has a lot of scope for much beard stroking. It adds a Star Trek style exploration and mystery element, strategic planning, and maintains the existence of quality space battles.

Should the player succeed in reaching the Starbase then time will advance and the armada will face off against the allies in a massive gratuitous space battle. The allies always win this big Endor style battle - A reward for the player’s success.


#2

… An interesting notion. I do have to point out one thing though:

If, as you say,

then why would I bother doing anything but speed straight to the finish line, reducing the entire thing to a simple race? (It’s the word “always” that gets me here, in case you’re not following my admittedly often obtuse way of thinking.)


#3

Getting to the other end means that you have won. But you can’t simply go directly there since there are obstacles in the way, (such as space battles). The main fleet, which includes the flagship, much reach friendly space before the armada catches up. If the main fleet is slower at crossing the map than your detached fleets, then you have to manage your ships more effectively - since the flagship can’t support you for every encounter. Yes, it’s a race against time. But it wouldn’t be simple. It would be an adventure. The amount of time is defined by the map width and the rate of armada advance. I need a picture really to visualise it better.

The final battle is always won, since it is effectively the ‘Success’ ending sequence. Being caught by the armada causes an always lost ‘Failure’ sequence - in which your fleet is assailed by impossible odds. Although armada forward recon fleets could provide winnable encounters that pressure the player to get moving.

I’ll try and provide a tacky concept picture.


#4

Ok, here is a concept image.

It shows a fairly short adventure. The player has moved his main fleet ‘Flagship’ southward at the start and traveled across 3 systems. A mining fleet was dispatched to nearby asteroids but an Armada recon fleet has arrived at the system above. The player didn’t take enough mining modules since he wanted more cargo space for an extra large haul and enough weapons to take on space pirates or raiders (random events). Does he bring back the slow flagship to attack the recon fleet and lose precious time? Or does he engage with the mining fleet, knowing that it unlikely to win with many ships intact? The player also detached a smaller fleet that he named ‘Recon’ and it had discovered a minor race called the ‘Monkarians’, which were not hostile and offered to trade. Further east from the main fleet is a Rebel fleet, which recently destroyed one of the player’s detached fleets. So it is known to be hostile. By now, the armada fleet has advanced as far as the Vega system - so it cannot be returned to.

What mysteries await ahead? How powerful does the player’s fleet need to be? Does he risk it against the Armada Recon fleet? Does he try and smash through the Rebels or go around? Does a powerful foe await him near to Starbase I-1? Is that group of asteroid fields near Epsilon Pegasi safe to mine?

Again, scenarios could be randomly generated or pre-set scenarios. Some kind of UI would indicate current resources. The ship design screen would implement supply limits according to available modules and hulls.



#5

A picture would be most welcome. I see what you’re talking about more clearly now, though I would still prefer a bit less of a binary condition to reaching the “finish line” or not. To my way of thinking, the reward for winning the “race” is that you have a heavily armed space station on your side. But that’s no guarantee of success (Death Star anyone?) - nor is it a guarantee of failure for the enemy to catch up with you before you’re ready to fight.

I would rather see benefits to completing some of the obstacles (stranded ace pilots, advanced alien technologies, captured ships etc.) that can help tip the balance of the final fight in the same way that the “home base” does - you’re probably going to lose without it, and your’e probably going to win with it, but there’s always that chance. So you can a) make all haste back to the home station, bypassing as much as possible (running from combat, passing star systems by, etc.) and hope that it will give you enough advantage to destroy the invaders; or b) do your best to accumulate extra resources to stack the deck in your favor as much as possible, knowing it may allow the enemy to overtake you.

But that’s just me.


#6

Ah the wonders of near-simultaneous posts.

That is kind of the sort of thing I had in mind. Though I would still like the possibility of losing the final battle at the home station - if I limp into orbit with two badly-damaged ships, towing the barely-functional hull of the flagship, the armada hot on my heels, all because I couldn’t resist the urge to pick a fight with everyone I found out there, why should that be considered a success? i.e., if I made piss-poor decisions at every turn, culminating in the loss of nearly every resource I had, why should everything come up roses in the end? At teh least, there should be a different Success ending where the final climactic battle is won by a hairsbreadth, and in the end the player is court-martialed and exiled for the rest of his life to a prison colony mining asteroids.


#7

How to make: Decide rules, pencil+paper. Maybe a die or two if you want random encounters.
Limit yourself in battles, the amount of funds you can get. Run a challange, maybe based on difficulty.
???
Profit.

Personally, i have no interest in Cliffski spending time on this game. If you are gonna mod it, fine. I doubt ill still play.

There is this game called Sins of a Solar Empire that sounds a lot like what you want.


#8

Reminds me of Real Space 3 missions.


#9

The game “Sins of a Solar Empire” is a Multiplayer, 4X, Real Time Strategy game. I’m suggesting a turn based, single player, adventure, meta-game.

Try: “Strange Adventures In Infinite Space”, it’s free now. There is also a sequel.

digital-eel.com/sais/

It’s the closest game currently available to what I am suggesting.

I’ll give “Real Space 3” a try. Looks good )).

Well, the idea of not automatically winning if you reach the end could work quite well. It could act as a sort of visual score, since the battle will go better according to how much the player got back with. But I wouldn’t want to put all the effort into reaching the end, only to be defeated anyway. Maybe certain events could include things that weaken the armada if you are successful. For example, an event where you can decide to bombard a planet’s infrastructure to weaken the enemy’s future supply lines.

I think that if it is going to be a win/lose possibility at the end, then there needs to be an indicator of armada fleet strength. The player needs to be able to gauge if he has good enough odds to win at each step of the way. There could be an allied fleet strength indicator also - which builds up as the allied fleet fortifies along the defensive line. Slowing the armada then becomes another possibility.


#10

Sure - that sort of thing is taken care of through design and development, game balancing, etc. I just think games are a bit better when the goal is more than just “get to the end”. There should be decisions to be made along the way, some of them fairly obvious (do I pick a fight with the giant alien fleet over yonder? No, that would be stupid) and others a bit more subtle (trade with the nice aliens and maybe get new tech, or attack them and maybe capture the new tech anyway assuming they don’t butcher me).


#11

The Ur Quan Masters with turn based battles? Would be better than the current ones.
Still dont like this suggestion, if its a suggestion for Cliffski.


#12

maybe have it so you get “these Ships” at the start of the Campaing, but though the levels, if you lose a ship, you lost a ship for the whole thing, but you have the chance to capture othere teams ships etc