Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Future Possibilities in the world of Gratuitousness

Some ideas I’m thinking about:

1) Carriers. Basically ships would have a carrier module that would let them repair fighters. the fighters would get a new order to return to base after X damage, and after Y time docked underneath the parent cruiser, the fighter could launch totally repaired. Probably an expensive or heavy module. This needs new orders, module and of course lots of balancing.

2) Scenario-Limits. A mission can be defined where there are more complex restrictions on the fleet other than pilots and cost. A crew limit, or a limit on the number of missile modules or plasma turrets. Maybe a mission where there can only be one third of the budget spent on cruisers, etc…

3) Drones. A module launches not dumb missiles, but active drones that hunt down and shoot enemy fighters, or clamp onto enemy armor and drill through it slowly over time. They can be shot down by point defence weapons.

4) Increased area of effect rule. Missiles in-flight can be vaporised by the blast waves from exploding ships

5) Anti-Missile Missiles. Another form of anti-missile defence.

6) Shielded Missiles. (take multiple PD hits)

7) Gravity Bombs Ultra slow missiles which drift transparently through enemy shields.

8) Multi-source beam weapons (several beams converge on one point, allowing multiple hardpoints to join forces to fire a single more deadly beam).

9) Decoy transmitters. Allows a fighter to impersonate a cruiser or frigate for short periods to draw enemy fire.

I doubt any of this will make it into the games release. I suspect a lot of it will end up in the game eventually, either through expansion packs, modding or just extra free content. Thoughts?

18 thoughts on Future Possibilities in the world of Gratuitousness

  1. If you haven’t already, you should look through these for ideas:

    Starmada is a tabletop tactical space combat game, in the same genre as Star Fleet Battles, but considerably cleaner. It has optional rules for just about everything, and a great deal of effort has gone into balancing the costs. Unlike SFB, Starmada has a detailed ship design system.

    For strategic elements (which may not be relevant to GSB, but might provide scenario inspiration), this looks worth a try:

    (I haven’t read that one yet; I understand they’re working on a new edition.)

    I’m looking forward to playing your game!

  2. I enthusiastically support large powerful capital ships such as carriers and battleships. Another idea would be mines, which could potentially be cloaked… adding a need for minesweepers.

  3. I love the way that number eight turned into a sunglasses guy smilie, because idea number eight is pretty awesome.

  4. For the carrier you could also introduce limited ammo + rearming for fighters, giving them another reason to use the carrier. At the same time it would offset the balance advantage of repairing. Also make more variety in fighter weapons, you could have one shot heavy torpedoes as well as infinite ammo stuff like lasers.

  5. I really like the idea about the carrier-module, it seems like you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about these things. I’d love to see all of them in the release.

    Still on the fence Cliff. Keep up the job.

  6. Loving gratuitous space battles, Im a UK based game programmer also and know what its like to manage a game community (+ wishlists)

    Just wanna say great game, great development, great way to run the product ;D

    (and then the wishlist..)
    so interesting idea: ever play laser squad/or laser squad nemesis?

    Was wondering if there would be a away for ppl to send to each other their initial setups? – challanging other players ?

    the playout would be within the engine..

  7. Random carrier ideas from my cesspit of a mind:

    I’d love to see carriers be more than just fighter repair platforms; fighters should actually brought into battle and launched at the beginning of the battle from carriers – so the number of fighters becomes limited by your carrier capacity.

    Or possibly have 2 classes of fighter – long range fighters which can enter battle without carriers (bigger and more expensive since they require bigger engines and life support) and short range carrier-based fighters which are cheaper and smaller.

    Also have carriers spawn new fighters to replace losses (at a limited rate determined by modules of course). This makes them an important strategic target – if you dont take out the enemy’s carriers they will keep spawning new fighters. To this end carriers could (should?) be a separate class of ship (might require new graphics/designs though) to would allow targetting rules to be set up.

    Also. Are you going to have anti anti missile missile missiles?

  8. Carriers = I’ve wanted this since day 1. I love carriers in all games. Not sure how they should work, but they make me happy to think about. :)

    Decoy transmitters = Brilliant!

    Also, if I can suggest an idea for #10:

    Missiles that retarget if their primary target is destroyed (rather than self-destructing).

  9. I think area effect weapons are needed.

    I don’t claim to have found the uber fleet yet, but I’ve had great success massing vast swarms of frigates, and this seems to outweigh the cost benefit of cruisers.

    But cruiser area effect weapons would likely make me rethink that strategy.

  10. in order of ideal briliantness 8,1,3,9,4,5,6,7,2 but i realy want all of them, partucaly 8 and 1.

    perhapse make carriers a new class of vessil as well as fighters, frigates and crusers with wepons modulse more on sort range defence or fighter slots also give me ability to sef a fighter squad size so i can get lone fighters or pais of fighters to guard crusers.

  11. I know this makes me sound boring, but I’m most in favor of number 2. I like having challenges set before me and trying to overcome them. The more different scenarios there are (with all their unique restrictions and circumstances), the longer a game is likely to keep my attention.

  12. Here’s a random thought: I think it would be neat to have:

    9) delay timer for when ships arrive

    I think it would add a layer of strategic depth if we could send a small fleet out, using it as bait for a larger, ambushing force. Of course, if you get the timing wrong, then ambushing forces may end up being decimated …

    Anyway, just thinking what might make this game even more fun. As others have said: pewww pewww!!! Love the game! :)

  13. I think area effect weapons are needed (Fighters are a bit too powerful).

    I would love to see Scenario-Limits involving a MIN ship speed to counter the no engine strategy that is so effective (I would also like to see engines upgraded a bit).

    How are sales so far (Pre-Steam)?

    Are plans for an expansion pack a go yet?

  14. Hi Cliff,

    I love the idea of having a carrier in the game. I think that it should be more than just another ship type though. I like to think of fighters as short range vehicles and thus the idea of a carrier bringing them to the battle makes a lot of sense. The size and design of the carrier should dictate the number of fighters available. Fighters could be repaired, reloaded and refueled on a carrier…. which brings me to my next suggestion. Ammo capacity for fighters. Fighters are a bit too powerful in my opinion and by limiting their ammo, it would create a better balance. At the moment, the pilot limit ensures that a player does not use too many fighters anyway and I think that if a person wanted to use tons of fighters they should be able to have the opportunity to do so. What about AI pilots for fighters? By shifting the limiting factor on fighters from number of pilots to carrier fighter capacity, and ammo (also carried by the carrier), the fighter would become a more strategic weapon with more balance. Think of them as missles that come back to refuel and reload. Thus a carrier’s fighter launch bays would become a new sort of weapon.

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