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My thoughts on the game (and a few ideas)
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Wolf Warhead



Joined: 16 Oct 2005
Posts: 9
Location: S.O.L.A.R. HQ



PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 3:30 pm    Post subject: My thoughts on the game (and a few ideas) Reply with quote

To start of on a positive note, I absolutely loved this game. However, it had a few flaws that could really bug me. Read on.

Graphics: Stunningly beautiful. A battlescene with missiles, blasters, bombs, lasers, explosions and enemies looked awesome. TOO awesome. My computer couldn't handle it at times. The boss explosion ALWAYS brought the game to a crawl. Tuning it down resulted in gaps in everything.

Sound: Good music, good sounds. The only thing that bugged me was the alarms, but that had to do with the fact that it meant that the Aegis got itself into trouble AGAIN. More on this later.

Gameplay: Here my review will probably lose all structure. Good luck figuring it all out.

Fighting was a lot of fun. However, the difficulty fluctuated too much. If there were only a few enemies on the screen it was terribly easy. 2 capital ships and a load of enemies were pretty average. It usually meant that there would be only 2 ships left after a 5 second rain of death. Sometimes, however, I would have 4 capital ships and a miner in one node. Together with escorts, back-ups, etc... Nightmare. A level 4 capital ship stopped me from escaping, 3 level 3 capital ships made more and more units, the miner was breaking the Aegis down into component materials and the regular ship were eating me up. Painful.

Mining and researching was a lot of fun. However there were often too few purple resources and too many green ones. My purple bar was all but empty non-stop and my green bar almost always full. Next to that, it was very easy to max everything out. Even without a load of mining I had everything I could get before reaching area 4, simply because I concentrated on one ship.

Capital ships were diverse, great-looking and nicely designed. Pretty much all of them were a pain, as the should be. As for bosses; the first one was intense. I went all but mad with that one. Died 4 times before I finally nailed it. The second one simply took a long time. Easy to avoid. The third one was really easy, I could just bomb-rush it. 2 rushes and a final assault and it was the end for that ship. Fourth one was simple, its range was too limited once you took out 1 or 2 arms. The final boss was ok. The swarms of fighters gave me frouble, but nothing else did. Once those bays were gone, that was it.

A totally seperate thing that deserves its own spot: The Aegis' AI. There were so many thing that bugged me about it. It would just sit there and wait for the enemy, shoot at asteroids instead of the ships that are killing it, run into enemy hordes while fleeing from a single ship, shoot at explosive asteroids while I was next to it and so on and so forth.

But now for the thing that bothered me the most: the length of the game. The timer is on 6:52 and the game has even been on idle for half an hour. A second game adds very little. I might try my hand at a (non-hard) scavenger challenge, but that still won't bring it very far. I guess the game is mainly for those who really love arcade games and go for a high score or take on a very dificult challenge, not for a softy like me.

So, what I though the game could use:
- An extra stage. I was really hoping there would be a stage where you had to defend Earth and launch an attack after that. There could be a reappearance of the 5 bosses that hold data of the location of the final boss of the stage.
- A bit more difficulty (And less flooding of the screen Wink ) and more advance, expensive technology. This allows you to reeplay the game in several ways while still using all the resources you can. First with high leveled blaster, the ion weapon, the missiles, a balance between them, you know. I could try and design some higher level technology to add to my suggestion, but I'll do that later.
-A button to dismiss the Aegis. Let it fly circles in a wormhole while I clean up the enemies or something.
- Allowing the Aegis to auto-repair at a higher percentage, just so I don't have to hear that bloody alarm again.

The first 2 suggestions are probably asking a lot from you (The Moonpod team), but I needed to to post this anyway. Tell me what you think about and if it might be added.

Thank you for your time, have a nice day.
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Weeble
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 4:41 pm    Post subject: Re: My thoughts on the game (and a few ideas) Reply with quote

Wolf Warhead wrote:
The third one was really easy, I could just bomb-rush it. 2 rushes and a final assault and it was the end for that ship.

Bomb-rush? In zone 3? What do you mean?
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Wolf Warhead



Joined: 16 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To clearify: With a bomb-rush I mean 'rushing in mindlessly with all weapon firing'
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Weeble
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah. I was automatically thinking of nova bombs, so I got confused.

The zone 3 boss was probably the hardest, in my opinion. Even with practise I don't think I could have confidence I'd be able to do it without dying. The others may require longer chains of competent or lucky play, but you can generally take them carefully and cautiously and be fairly confident of surviving. That zone 3 one is, however, nailbiting every time. It's like playing one of those games where you have to guide the metal hoop around a squiggly metal rod without the two ever touching. The zone 3 boss is a tiny hoop with a short track, while the other bosses are large hoops with much longer tracks.
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Wolf Warhead



Joined: 16 Oct 2005
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Location: S.O.L.A.R. HQ



PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, here's a quick thought-chart. Most of these weapons seem really powerful, but realise that top-level weapons may need around 1000 materials to just research and also take a load of space, mass and power. I'm gonna work on stronger engines and such and larger ships a little later, as well as add more data to these. Just tell me what would and would not be reasonable (if the game were tougher)

Blaster 5 – Fires 4 regular blaster shots in a fan and 1 larger on straight forward. The larger one creates a small explosion on impact, giving it a small area of effect.
Blaster 6 – 5 regular shots, 2 larger ones, larger explosion.
Blaster 7 – 6 regular shots, 3 larger ones, larger explosion.
Blaster 8 – 7 regular shots, 4 larger ones, 1 massive shot that does huge damage and travels through normal enemies.
Ion cannon 5 – 5 shots. Shot now have a very slight homing capability to make the most of their bouncing nature. Max turn 5 degrees per inch.
Ion cannon 6 – 6 shots, max turn 10 degrees per inch.
Ion cannon 7 – 7 shots, max turn 15 degrees per inch.
Ion cannon 8 – 10 shots, max turn 20 degrees per inch.
Beam 5 – Larger then a level 4 beam, more damage.
Beam 6 – Larger then a level 5 beam, more damage, when it hits a target it will ‘spread out’ to other nearby targets for added damage.
Quad weapon drone – Level 3 of every weapon.
Hellfire missile – Splits in 2 in flight, homing capability, equal in damage to Plasma torpedo.
Meteorstorm missile – releases 10 smaller missiles on impact. Original impact does 3x the damage of a plasma torpedo, smaller missiles do about a quarter of that damage.
Nova bomb 4 – Drifts towards enemies at slow speed, releases 1,5x as many smaller bombs as a nova bomb 3
Bomb 5 – Drifts toward an enemy at medium speed, releases 2x as many smaller bombs as a nova bomb 3. Smaller bombs explode into 5 smaller ones that does 20% of the damage of the original
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Fost
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 7:14 pm    Post subject: Re: My thoughts on the game (and a few ideas) Reply with quote

Note - I'm talking hypothetically here - whilst there will be a Starscape 1.6, we have no idea what will go in it yet other than a few minor bug fixes, and an updated unlock system, but anyway...

Wolf Warhead wrote:
Mining and researching was a lot of fun. However there were often too few purple resources and too many green ones.

This is 100% random - we've had people complain about the lack of other resources before Smile Maybe the answer, would be to have certain nodes be rich in certain colours, and that be both visible in the node (not too sure how, I don't like the idea of purple asteroids!) and on the warp map for nodes you have visited. That way - if you are short on any particular resources, you could head for a node that contains a lot. Of course, scavenging is far more fun Smile

Wolf Warhead wrote:
I had everything I could get before reaching area 4, simply because I concentrated on one ship.

Everything other than the final zone's Xenarch equipment of course Wink Yeah, more zone specific equipment would be nice. We've also discussed the idea of drops being 'archnid class' before, which I think would enrichen everything a lot more.

Wolf Warhead wrote:
As for bosses;

Interesting experiences with the bosses. My favourite is still Boss 1 - we actually added loads to that in an update. Boss 3 is widely considered to be the hardest, we've had people almost give up at that point. I agree with Boss 4 though. It's an interesting design, but attacking it becomes easier as you go. Perhaps the ring of guns should only be its first line of defence.

Wolf Warhead wrote:
A totally seperate thing that deserves its own spot: The Aegis' AI.

This is something that has always worried us, because it's a bit of a downward slope. The Aegis could easily become overly powerful, and a large part of the game mechanic is defending the Aegis. Many people seem to want the Aegis to wander around picking up resources, attacking the enemy, and dropping wingmen to pick up stragglers. In such a game, what does the player do though? It's obviously possible, but we are talking a major retest of the game (and that is a huge deal), because we would have to make the enemy far harder, and then balance the whole battle on a knife edge that you have to push either way with your dogfighting skills.

Things that could be done - prioritise enemies over asteroids, avoid shooting asteroids if you are near (although that sounds like it might generate its own set of 'AI is bad' comments Sad ), scoop gems when possible rather than shooting them. It actually sounds like it would be better if the Aegis did not shoot asteroids, although I always thought that was a useful part of the AI myself.

Making the Aegis aggressive is possible now - just call it to you. If we start to make it autonomous, then I think it's starting to become a pretty big deal. Not that I don't like the idea of it Wink


Wolf Warhead wrote:
The timer is on 6:52 and the game has even been on idle for half an hour.

Do you mean the 'game time' bit of the dimension drive screen? That is stopped during pause, docking, front end menus and on all the Aegis control screens between nodes. Don't forget every time you reload a save too, that is effectively resetting the clock. What you are seeing there is pure node gameplay time. All the time you spent in R&D/ ship configuration, etc, is not even counted.
Still, wanting more of the game, whilst a sign that we must be doing something right Smile is a valid point.

Wolf Warhead wrote:
An extra stage.
An extra zone or two (with associated equipment, bosses, capitol ships and enemy) is something that is the most 'technically possible' idea. That would be great, but I wonder if existing Starscape players might be a bit annoyed at that. By that I mean - ideally you want something that occurs after the existing Starscape campaign - a second campaign so people who have played the game through once can start afresh. Due to the way Starscape is built, contunuing the story on is much harder than adding to what's there already.

Wolf Warhead wrote:
Allowing the Aegis to auto-repair at a higher percentage, just so I don't have to hear that bloody alarm again.

...and, changing the alarm noise - it's a little rough on the ears.

As far as additional weaponry - yes, that's all possible. The only difficulty with it really, is the need to beef up the enemy alongside you.
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Darth Dallas



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was thinking that, with the issue of the Aegis AI routine, I like what's been said about its priorities (I suppose too it'd depend on how you've outfitted it determining turret behavior or some such).

I don't mind that its regular guns can shoot/break up asteroids, but it is a bit indiscriminate on the gems. In a way that's not so bad, because, theoretically you'd want at least one drill placed on one of the corners to make it less indiscriminate. Which I think it accomplishes pretty well as is.

Besides, if you have a scoop, and from what I can tell so far, once gems are locked into the scoop's beam, any turrets shouldn't be targetting those gems at that point. At least (and correct me if I'm wrong), that's my observation of the station turret behavior as opposed to your ship, where you can still shoot gems to pieces even if its in your grav beam's grasp.

I was also thinking about what you said Fost about having more things dropped by the bad guys. Perhaps this could be an added boon to utilizing a turret position on Aegis for the drill. It could target drones or whatever with the idea that its a more surgical kind of tool/weapon. It doesn't obliterate targets like gun turrets, but it breaks the enemy ship apart enough so that there's sometimes useful debris to collect later.

On the issue of adding more zones and/or continuing the story. I think you could still have Zone 5 be the ending, however, if you do add more Zones to explore, just renumber Zone 5 to whatever # is the last Zone to the expansion. So if you added 5 more, Zone 5 becomes Zone 10 instead.

You might have to alter the warp connection points to it from Zone 4 though, other than that, I guess its just a case of Xen and Archnid text commentaries as it were for the new arenas, and some interesting drops to go for.
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Wolf Warhead



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

About the added zones, my idea was to simply change the currently last scene a bit. If you defeat the final boss you get the last drive part without any of that EMP stuff. When you teleport away, however, the Archnid is still aive and sticks to your ship tp teleport along. She interfers with the warp a bit so that you need some time to get to Earth, in which time she sets up a new army and attacks.

Also, I was thinking that it then might be best to make all but the top 2/3 weapons available in the regular levels. Since you have access to more data, crew, etc back on Earth, you can develop higher classes of weapons and other equipment there. (Giant warships! >.>Wink The highest levels can only be gotten from capitol ships, but they'll be using then against you first Razz Of course, then there'd need to be infinite capitol ships so you can get as many as you want so you're not left without any due to a random factor, or they must have a 100% chance to drop. Then, however, you can use a level 8 ion weapon without ever having researched lower levels...

So perhaps it would be better if weapons dropped by enemy ships are a bit stronger. You'd still need infinite capitol ships in the final level, though, or give normal enemies a tiny chance to drop something (weapons or equipment) as well.

A possible solution to boss 4:
1. Make it so that you can first only shoot 8 of the arms. When they are destroyed, you can shoots the next 8.
2. Make him spin.
And a tip about boss 3, which I had some trouble with when I fought him a second time; the whole 'running away during the shock attack'? Don't listen to it. When the lasers are firing a single tiny mistake costs you your live. The shock attack, however, is very inaccurate. A single tiny movement allows you to dodge it.

As for the Aegis, I want shield option! If the Aegis could have a shield like yours, that'd be great. However, since it would be energy-draining to put up such a huge shield, it can not fire or move while it is up and the shield will run out after too many hits, just like yours. When that happens, you'll have to wait for 15 seconds or so before the Aegis can do anything again.

What I hate about the Aegis shooting asteroids is that it uses it's main cannon, meaning it usually blows up a whole load of em. A lot of crystals break during the ensuing cloud of smaller meteors.

One more thing to add: I'm getting a bit tired dropping out of warp because I encountered 6 enemies and then having to wait for a few minutes before I can leave again. Could that be tweaked a bit?

Lastly, where could I find some good pics of the different (regular) ships? I don't have much to do in my free time; might as well see if I can come up with some nifty looking enemies for a possible new stage that fit in with the rest of the enemies.
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Lothar
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some thoughts:

1) You don't need to make a bunch of more powerful weapons if you leave zone 5 as the last zone (renumbered to 8 or 10 or whatever.) Beam 4's are plenty powerful. Beam 8's would be just plain silly. Instead, if you make new in-between zones, make more variety of weapons and ship hulls -- not necessarily more powerful, just different. Add maybe one or two bigger weapons (say, a plasma torpedo drone that needs a 2x1 pod, and a big beam cannon that needs a 2x2 pod) and a tough enemy fighter, but focus your energy on making stuff that fits in to the mid-level a bit better.

1.1) The exception to this is for the Aegis. Please, can I have a nova launcher on the Aegis that automatically fires if it gets below 25 hull? Even if it only fired once... just a little more protection for the Aegis would be really nice. (But, don't take me too seriously when I say it's underpowered -- I just finished a game where the Aegis had a cannon 3, a turret 2, and 3 turret 1's. Of course it was underpowered!) Also, turrets with drill-like behavior would really rule!

2) The Aegis is, unfortunately, still not very bright. I can't tell you how many times I've seen it shoot a little fighter with its big cannon and target the big enemy station with its 4 little turrets... it needs better threat prioritization, and perhaps it needs to avoid shooting armored guys unless it has a clear shot at unarmored sections. Also, I was amazed by how often it would run straight at large packs of enemies in my last scavenger game. (If I was on the station's left and a pack of enemies was on its right, it would regularly run away from me and into the pack of guys! Maybe it tries too hard to avoid running into me.) It would be really nice if, at the very least, you could set it to "run away" mode somehow, so that it would flee whenever an enemy got on the same screen as it.

3) I love the idea of extending the middle of the story. If you add some new zones, say between 4 and 5, maybe create some more interesting Xenarch quests in the middle -- say, defending a special ship of theirs until it can warp out, or clearing a node of all asteroids so they can build a base there.

4) The original post referred to the difficulty fluctuating too much. If you're careful not to dive into a node with 3 cap ships that's surrounded by 5 nodes with 3 more cap ships each, but instead you draw the enemy out, you should NEVER have a situation as tough as he described. Unfortunately, though, it's hard to tell whether that big red dot on the map is referring to 10 fighters or 100 fighters and 5 cap ships. Perhaps add larger dots to the map, or else a bit more color (say, red for only fighters, dark orange for cap ships, and bright orange for miners) so it's easier to tell how big of a fight to expect.

5) If you want to build extra stages after the end of the current game, one way to modify the story might be to say that there are multiple levels to the subspace/dimension the game takes place in, and that at the end of the current game (with a completed D Drive), you're able to jump to other levels where you can go after other Archnid hives. You can't jump straight back to earth because you don't have the power, but you can jump to another level and fight the enemy bosses on that level trying to get access to a powerful generator of some sort. If you did that, you could make bigger badder weapons and bigger badder enemies (and, of course, allow a retrofit of the Aegis to give it more HP and more gun mounts.) That would extend the story without forcing you to change the ending much at all -- you just have to spend a few zones trying to cope with the loss of the captain before getting to the end-game cutscene.
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Fost
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wolf Warhead wrote:
About the added zones, my idea was to simply change the currently last scene a bit. If you defeat the final boss you get the last drive part without any of that EMP stuff. When you teleport away, however, the Archnid is still aive and sticks to your ship tp teleport along. She interfers with the warp a bit so that you need some time to get to Earth, in which time she sets up a new army and attacks.


This is what I expected most people would want- soemthing that carries on from the point where they finished the game. Unfortunately, due to the way Starscape is structured, that becomes harder. Adding another zone before the end is still a lot of work but within reason - I'm genuinely surprised that the long term Starscape players here are amenable to that idea though.

Wolf Warhead wrote:
Make it so that you can first only shoot 8 of the arms. When they are destroyed, you can shoots the next 8.

What would probably be best, is if the arms being removed ar only stage 1 of what the boss can do. I think that's what I love about Boss 1 so much - it always has another trick up its sleeve Smile

Wolf Warhead wrote:
What I hate about the Aegis shooting asteroids is that it uses it's main cannon, meaning it usually blows up a whole load of em. A lot of crystals break during the ensuing cloud of smaller meteors.

I think this could be managed a little better with target priorities, but the fundamental problem is the Aegis is damaged by asteroids so has to defend itself from them to some extent. The obvious answer would be to make it impervious to asteroids. Although that seems like a shame.
It's starting to sounds to me like people would really want some way to manage the priorities of the gunners; another docking screen where you can choose to target gems, asteroids, fighters, or capitol ships, and in which order. I worry that's getting to much into micro-management, but at least then it would be the player's fault if things go wrong and not Bud's (poor Bud! he's come in for a lot of stick over the years Smile

Wolf Warhead wrote:
Lastly, where could I find some good pics of the different (regular) ships?

There's a complete set of unit pics in the online manual if you need them.

Darth Dallas wrote:
On the issue of adding more zones and/or continuing the story. I think you could still have Zone 5 be the ending, however, if you do add more Zones to explore, just renumber Zone 5 to whatever # is the last Zone to the expansion. So if you added 5 more, Zone 5 becomes Zone 10 instead.


Yes, it's a lot of work still; namely:

  • fighter ship enemy
  • capitol ship enemy
  • Boss
  • Xenarch equipment
  • Zone art and linking to the existing map


but it is at least possible. Another idea is to add more unique things to do in the nodes - currently we have the Xenarch, bosses, and crew rescue nodes. It would be nice to have a few other random missions, and maybe another race to encounter. Fattening up the existing zones so to speak. I suppsoe if enough of this was added (i.e. a lot!) then it makes the game replayable in a fun way for existing players.

Lothar wrote:
The Aegis is, unfortunately, still not very bright. I can't tell you how many times I've seen it shoot a little fighter with its big cannon and target the big enemy station with its 4 little turrets... it needs better threat prioritization,

Ok, so we need: better priorities, and better inter-turret communication OR give players the option to control that themselves and we sit back Wink

Lothar wrote:
I love the idea of extending the middle of the story. If you add some new zones, say between 4 and 5, maybe create some more interesting Xenarch quests in the middle -- say, defending a special ship of theirs until it can warp out, or clearing a node of all asteroids so they can build a base there.

Yes, all this kind of stuff is within reason - I even have art for some of it. I'll try and dig up a pic or two - have a xenarch hunting capitol ship mission (although it is rock hard if not unkillable in it's present state), and some unstable matteriods you have to deal with. I don't want people to get excited though. as just getting 1.6 without any content changes is going to be enough of a challenge.

I wonder if people will be as keen on Mr Robot expansions? We really need to get rich and hire some people who's job it is to keep updating the games Smile
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Wolf Warhead



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the link. I'll see if I can get those cogwheels inside my head running again (They're a bit rusty...) and think up a few enemies and bosses and such.
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Darth Dallas



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another thought occured to me is that, to expand on Wolf's idea a bit of continuing after getting to Earth, perhaps one of the first few battles greatly sets your tech level back, or somehow that knowledge base gets sabotaged by Rendon on the initial trip back.

In this way, when the research is being undertaken again, some slight alterations can crop up as well as possibly reverse engineering a high level tech drop you'd gotten to uncover the smaller varieties that fit on fighters and/or Aegis modules.

I like the idea of warning Earth so it can begin to build a war fleet, however it would still seem that slight modifications to Aegis would be in order since it is still the preeminent research outpost.

This idea I think would probably require more unit ideas though than to expand the adventure still within the grid.

One plot idea, if its to be still in the grid (you don't use the jump drive right away) is possibly to still have your research stuff brought back down upon entering the new Zone (Rendon takes what she can to bolster her new army). You can also increase the ramifications of what she did by introducing the capability for the enemy to use the warp as you do.

Since she can't escape right away to our dimension, I'd suspect her first and second priorities would be 1) rebuild army with tweaks stolen from Aegis 2) Attempt to abduct the drive components again.

3) could be she's developing a warp drive - this puts all Xen nodes at risk even in other zones you'd cleared.
4) If she got that far, her army would occasionally harass the Xen, or even take risks with her miners to the snake nodes for limited periods when all other nodes are exhausted of resources.

I think this last point sounds fun. The snake nodes could be nice little places to have battles of attrition, to use the explosive power of them eggs against the enemy when you might have inferior weponry or need to dodge a swarm or three. Imagine to be able to "bump" some eggs with your ship against any caps they might have too Twisted Evil

It makes it all the better since even if the enemy ships "bump" eggs too, accidentally or intentially, all kinds of stuff could happen.
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Wolf Warhead



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darth Dallas wrote:
I like the idea of warning Earth so it can begin to build a war fleet, however it would still seem that slight modifications to Aegis would be in order since it is still the preeminent research outpost.


You know, it would be awesome if the 'nodes' near Earth would have friendly ships in em. Just giant ships with little offensive power and a lot of defense, to simulate a giant war. You couldn't let them fight for you because of their low power (and you won't see em further away)

Anyway, I just finished the game for a second time. I still love it. Now I have a whole evening left to cook up some ideas. Hmmm...

Edit: heh, I figured that since a fast build of an army resulted in 'Rendon' having to use as much organic matter as possible. I tried to put in some organic shapes and finally went totally overboard. The change is probably too radical for StarScape, but I thought I'd post it anyway:
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wolf Warhead wrote:
You know, it would be awesome if the 'nodes' near Earth would have friendly ships in em. Just giant ships with little offensive power and a lot of defense, to simulate a giant war.

This is the point is all becomes very difficult though, it's like the minor balancing issues to do with making the Aegis more proactive, but in macro. You are talking about adding a lot of AI code to get that working well. I remember talking about having wingmen a while back, and this idea is probably going beyond even that.

On the other hand, it's a great idea - wingmen (of any kind) would add another layer to the game, and you'd have the choice of beefing up your own ship, or those of your wingmen. A lot of problems though Smile
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Wolf Warhead



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ships are more background then real fighters. They'd move around and just attack enemies without any real purpose, since they do so little damage. They won't really need complicated AI, and they don't really tip the balance in your favor. Besides, it'd only be near Earth. 3 nodes away and you'd only see them ocasionallt. 6 nodes away and you won't see em anymore.

(Then again, the enemies would need an AI upgrade as well, but it doesn't seem too difficult. If, say 66% would attack you and 34% would attack the allies, you'd also have a small difficulty curve in the zone itself)

And yes, wingmen would be awesome. Handy to leave one near the Aegis, too. But it would indeed be a lot of work...
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