[Suggestion] The missing element!


After playing your WONDERFUL game for many more hours than I should (and getting in considerable trouble with my girlfriend…), I think I finally understood the one thing the game is missing. Hopefully it would be very easy to implement.

First, let me present the two problems, as I see it, with the game. Stay with me here, if only for a bit.

  1. Too hands-off

The game, while meant to be a set-up and then watch destruction game, means that after you build and organize your fleet, you do absolutely nothing but watch the ensuing carnage. I have no problem with this, but after playing hundreds of rounds against the computer, and knowing I can’t speed up the game without my computer freaking out, I got tired of watching the destruction and would leave to do other things. Now, I know the point of the game is to not control anything past the loadup screen, but something inside me tells me that if you hung ONE thing in front of the player, at least ONE little thing they could do during the battle, it would considerably increase the entertainment value of the game. This one thing would have to require very little attention from the player, but yet could let them exert a tiny effect on the battle.

  1. Continuity Element

As discussed in a previous post of mine, the game is lacking any sort of continuity element. Once your fleet wins a battle, that’s it, maybe a few honor points, but other than that your fleet doesn’t really “progress”. It would be great to introduce some sort of RPG element, however shallow, to allow gamers to deepen their attachment with their fleet and see progress through their campaign.

Solution: Quasi-controllable flagship.

If you were to introduce a flagship, that carried over experience to unlock more modules for itself or increase its hitpoints, and perhaps had a customized hull or other visual identifier, it would allow players to have a central rpg element to rally around. This ship would have a considerable (although not game breaking) edge over other ships in your fleet, and by keeping it alive and fighting battles with it, it would unlock new modules, maybe even new hardpoint and module SLOTS!..up to a maximum level, which, for campaign, could be considerably high. You would be allowed ONE flagship, and for multiplayer, the flagship could be made at any level you wanted in ship design, but you could only have one and you would pay the price for its incorporation into your fleet.

Now, in relation to the hands-off issue, you would be able to issue simple orders to this ship during battle. Hopefully, this would not be impossible to integrate into the current engine. Your could tell it to MOVE, perhaps which ship to focus on ATTACKING, and, in my opinion, that would be enough to allow you to exert substantial control over your ship. That way, you would be compelled to watch the entire battle, and also be more connected with it, by a single ship (YOUR own little flagship, which I hope you could name!) that could exert a small influence on the battle. I don’t know if you could carry over this moving factor to multiplayer, but, if not, I would be fine with single player.

Now, I know this really comes down to how easy it is to implement. The game is in its BETA phase, so bugfixing and balancing are a big issue. However, the flagship, even without experience, could be done by use of custom, one-only-per-battle hulls. Adding experience could be as easy as tallying the hits it landed on opponents and converting that to some sort of number, at which it unlocks more modules for itself (maybe it is listed as a separate class on the ship type, as to facilitate ease of module unlocking through a GUI similar to the current honor unlocking system). In terms of movement, you could just have two buttons, attack and move, and connect these to the behind the scene commands that cause movement and attacking (which must exist for that AI to work!). And Viola! I think it would make this game THAT much better, without changing the core ideals behind gratuitous space battles.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this game is FANTASTIC. I just hope that by providing this suggestion I can offer a means by which to make it just a little better.

Great game, Cliffski!


I don’t like the idea of having a ship that you can give orders to during battle…

But I do like the idea of having a fleet-unique ship to focus your fleet around. Maybe a new class - Battlecruiser - of which only one can exist in any given fleet? Allowing some form of continuity would be great, but for multiplayer challenges needs to give no particular advantage: Multiplayer players need to be on an even playing field.

Edit - This could also be used for a specific type of challenge ‘bring down the battlecruiser’ - with the next patch making ‘unkillable’ ships (all developed could be killed, it just took an entire fleet’s firepower) unavailable, a challenge mode where the win condition is purely ‘battlecruiser explodes’ could be interesting.

EditEdit - Also the key factor you’re talking about here, continuity, is a good one. If we could have a ‘core’ of ships that we take with us from battle to battle, even if any changes that occur to them don’t make any game difference, that would be great. Actually this is giving me ideas for a meta-campaign we can run on the forum…

Count me in on any meta-campaigns

I agree on the need for the continuity element. I would love to be able to custom name my cruisers (like in SOASE, the game forums from which I heard about this game). A new battlecruiser class might be exactly the thing we need.

I must contend, even if you don’t like the ability to give orders in battle, it would be such a small thing (only one ship with orders) but it would give someone fidgety, like me, something to do. Other than that, I’m blank as to how else to extend the entertainment of watching these battles. They are entertaining, but after hundreds of them it becomes just a little psuedo stale. And by just this little order ability, you could extend the entertainment value and replayability just a bit more…

Alternatively you can have fleet wide powers that have either limited use or on a timer such as boost all ship speed by 10% for 10 seconds or increased fire power for a short time, that sort of thing. Then it becomes an issue of when to activate these tide changing abilities.

Also, you know you can rename ships in the deployment screen by right-clicking, right?

Oops, did not know the naming thing…awesome!

I really like your fleet wide powers idea. That’s a pretty slick, definitely easy to implement idea…you should make a post on that.

I like this idea too!
It should be only an option (only for singleplayer maybe?) though, since especially in multiplayer games this would change the current game mechanics ALOT.

I dont agree with controlling ships, but i would love some sort of campaign. Maybe a galaxy map with connected maps, and some of the maps are bases that can give you deployment points for buying new ships after a battle, and whoever conquers all maps wins.

I want some more interactivity, but not to control any ships.
I would dearly love to have the abilty to monitor two ship statuses at the same time. One on my side and one on the enemy’s side. I can’t do anything about what I see…so where is the harm in me seeing? Surely these ships have sensors… :wink:

I want to see an uberboss with lots of parts that you can shoot off and space stations that you have to either destroy or capture on the campaign map
You could also have scouts on the campaign map so that you have an extra turn to set up defences before an attack arrives

If you add fleet wide powers or limited orders (like 3 “Attack Now” or “Retreat And Repair” orders or whatever, from a global pool) then challenge makers could still use these (somewhat less efficiently) by timing them on the challenge deployment screen. Say, scheduling an order telling their ships to attack the middle of the map, 1 minute into the battle, or whatever.

To attempt to balance this, perhaps scheduled orders take less of whatever pool governs them. Maybe you can get 6 scheduled orders, or 3 in-battle orders, or some mixture of the two.

I don’t think that interaction during the game is that great of an idea. What I DO really like is the campaign idea.

If I want to get really carried away with wishing on fishes, some sort of Metaverse campaign systems where you had a persistent fleet which could be upgraded as you won battles and different factions of players gained ground for their territory by winning challenges posted by other players. Like the Starfleet Command 2 metaverse if anyone remembers. Doesn’t even have to be a fancy graphical thing, just a way to sign up for a faction and some stat tracking based on who wins what.

I want to add my support to the flagship idea. The most frustrating thing about this game is the lack of control during the battles. When you ships are sitting behind each other just out of their weapon range, or they leave a wounded ship to limp away and repair while changing to a different ship. All I can think about during those frustrating moments is “if I only had the slightest bit of control…” Considering how long some battles take, that’s the emotion that I feel the most playing this game.

The federation vs alliance vs rebel vs empire? Each player might be given a fleet and will fight on the strategic map for their own respective allegiance. Each side would be allocated the same amount of strengths strategically but due to different distribution of strength there would often be tactical battles that are unbalanced, due to the strength being elsewhere on the strategic map. Players would there often find themselves fighting unbalanced battles that they will either withdraw(admit defeat) to preserve their ships or fight to maul what they can of the advancing enemy before blowing up or retreating.

While such a feature might be too large for cliff to add, I remember a very very old game call Fighting Steel where such a feature was added by the fans. It was a program that runs the strategic map, and fires up Fighting Steel to resolve tactical encounters, and reads the replay to see what ships survived and puts them back on the strategic map.

I’ve got to say I love the idea of a flagship. Something I can get attached to and really make mine, but that would come with considerable gameplay changes. Not in the game itself, mark you, but in the way people played. No longer would a battle be to win however slim the victory, I can see people admitting defeat once their flagships shields go down just to not lose it, which would be a bad thing to say the least. So, as much as I love the idea of a flagship, I’ve got to say I don’t want to see it implemented.

However, on the subject of interactivity, what about reinforcements? In the deployment screen give the player the ability to set out a ‘second wave’ if he wants and then deploy them at a strategically important moment in battle. It would give the player something, no matter how small, to do and allow for a whole new swathe of strategic options, such as actually making torpedo bombers a viable ship or letting you deploy some long range hard hitters after your frigate screen has occupied the enemies attention.

Second wave command is a gooden

First, this is an outrageously fun little game.

I agree that the continuity could be greatly improved via some type of system where you build up experienced captains from engagement to engagement, and the experienced captains can be assigned to ships, and those ships could possibly then give you some real time options during battle.

As cool as it is to just watch, there are always unforeseen issues in combat, and these little maneuvers are often the turning point in a battle of equal foes. Example: drive all the cruisers down the center, force enemy formation to consolidate, get fighters and frigates behind. Seeing this happen, and ordering your experienced captains to remain in position, move to a new position, attack a specific target, or escort a specific ship would greatly improve the strategy sense.

As of where the game stands now, the tactics are in deciding what elements are best suited to an equally matched fight. Pitting an unequal force against a more powerful enemy has a 0% success rate, unless you can utilize your real-time link to the experienced captains to take advantage of the situation.

This might be a great way to both improve the continuity, and allow the player to partake more directly in combat as a sort of chief tactical commander. Integrating the flagship concept could very well tie into this, and if the flagship is destroyed or otherwise disrupted, then the command net would break down.

The experienced captains can either be doled out to each side depending on the scenario, and for a meta-campaign they could be awarded for taking systems, and having larger ships survive. To keep them all from being lost in a single engagement, you could have an escape pod option to add to the commanders ships so they would survive even if their ship is destroyed.

Just some thoughts out loud. I would love the game as is, and do. But here is some food for thought!

I think some sort of technology unlocking system instead of the module system we have now might work. Under that umbrella could be various modules, orders, hulls, overall bonuses to all ships, new orders, and even the ability to interact in a small way during battle (as well as upgrading some sort of mothership which I think was mentioned earlier in this thread).

I just thought of this:

GSB feels alot like the old Conquest Frontier Wars, but with most of the RTS elements removed. I think that if this game was fashioned in a similar way, it might appease everyone on this particular thread. In CFW, you could assign admirals to taskforces and the collective force would act differently depending on which admiral was leading them. And fleets with Admirals were much more effective than those without. The Admiral could escape on a non-warp capable shuttle if his ship was destroyed.

Of course, you also had direct control in CFW, but with the admirals involved, you simply pointed the fleet at an objective, and the AI did the rest. You could also alter the flow of battle by asking the admiral to switch tactics, or point his attention to certain objectives. A very nice idea, if only they re-did that game with todays technology!