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Thoughts for Starscape 2
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Starscape Jedi
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 2:27 am    Post subject: Thoughts for Starscape 2 Reply with quote

I thought of dredging up the old thread on this subject, but it's over a month old and has suggestions for patches intertwined with suggestions for a sequel.

Assuming that a sequel would be in a similar vein, I would like to see greater variety in the combat found in regular nodes. While I know the enemy AI is very clever, it's not all that interesting to fight against the regular enemies. The meat of the game remains very constant - there are three types of enemy fighter which attack in swarms. Sometimes you will encounter a mothership that requires a set of tactics specific to that ship. Things can become very disorderly, but the approach to fighting any given ship or ships will be fairly standard. I think it would be interesting to reduce the disorder - have enemies attack in scripted formations and combinations that force different strategies. Make it predictable where certain enemies and formations can be found, so that weapons can be chosen strategically.

Essentially, imagine taking the the spirit of the scrolling shooter and translating it into a form that fits Starscape. Though you'll face the same enemies over and over, you'll find them in different combinations. There should be distinction between the nodes of a zone to make it feel like a journey with many ups and downs. At present there's no difference between one node and the next save for the type and quantity of its asteroids. You don't know in advance what enemies you'll be facing other than that they'll match the others in this zone.

It would also be nice to have a reason to travel from node to node. At present, the only reason to go to many nodes is to search for survivors. A nodespace with more sentient inhabitants, and many interesting hidden things to discover would be great. Distinct tasks to gain access to different areas would be wonderful. This would be give the game more of an RPG feel to it, but I think that would be no bad thing.

A very major addition (probably more work than it's worth) would be to make nodes with actual structures. It would be amazing to fly through vast space hulks that filled entire nodes, and provide a very different challenge. It would make the environment a bit more interesting than three or four different flavours of rocks and a bunch of different backdrops. But it would probably demand such a different type of enemy AI that it would be a different game.

I know I'm being very demanding. I'm sure some of this is too much to expect. But it's worth noting that it's the inspiration of Starscape that leads me to imagine these possibilities. I'm only demanding because I've already been spoiled.
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X-Fighter
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be interesting to have things like micro-planets and nebulas, along with interesting things to get from them.

Collecting "fish" from a liquid nebula, while avoiding touching it(as you'd get stuck/damaged by the water), meeting some of the previous races to enter the grid(the Archnid couldn't possibly have killed everything!), perhaps even economics and trade(The green race from Zone 8 wants widgets that only the orange race from zone 2 can make, and they're not giving you their fish-catching technology until you get them some!)

It would also be interesting to have storyline options... perhaps a chance to join the Archnid(if you decide to be evil and kill all other life forms), settle down on your own little asteroid(since gridspace isn't all that bad), or attempt escape.

It'd also be interesting to have AI with specific goals... some that only kamikaze-attack your starbase, some that only fight the player, and some that purposely do harass-attacks to lead the player away from the base, so that the kamikaze guys can get past.

Also, something that is semi-present in SS, but would be nifty, is re-dimensionallizing oponents--if you're quickly cutting through a fleet towards a capital ship, it can choose to warp out and then back in so that it's now in a totally new part of the node! (You could, of course, counter this with your own brand of anti-warp technology).

Another idea, show the multiple archnid factions, and their differences... perhaps having them fight amongst eachother and whatnot(it sounds like a good idea to leave them be, but then they'll destroy all the capturable technology/resources in the node!)

One last interesting concept: enhanced ship range and compatability--be able to copy technologies, so you can fly Archnid and Xenarch designed ships, and have weapons that are only compatible with certain racial ship designs(Archnid don't have Ionizing energy, so no ion cannons onboard their ship designs, but they can use the infinite-ammo plasma balls that work like heat-seeking missiles.) It'd be extra fun to find out ways to work through these challenges, and added questability, so far as the research of how to possibly adapt incompatible technologies to eachother.
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Lothar
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few things I'd love to see:

1) Xenarch actually involved in combat
2) More involved Xenarch (and other race) sidequests... not quite RPGish, but sort of
3) A legit tech tree, possibly with semi-exclusive branches (if you choose one, you can't get the other until *much* later in the game, due to having to convert lab space or something.)
4) Different "terrain" types -- nebulas, thick asteroid belts, small planetoids, etc. (These could, possibly, affect your vision or movement in the grid map.)
5) Occasionally you find other pilots from your squad flying around in their prowler / avenger level ships, and can sometimes salvage very nice gear that can't be rebuilt in the grid
6) More upgrades for your station
7) Different combat types, including "rush in, grab the tech, and rush out" missions and "kill everything" missions and "protect the thing for 10 minutes" missions and maybe even "take a covert ship and scan enemy technology" missions (this could allow for something like copying Archnid technology.)
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, lots of nice ideas here.

One interesting change in SS2 (that many might feel isn't an enhancement) would be the move to 3D that seems so important to reach a wider audience. It's such a fundamental shift in look and feel that I almost don't want to to do it, but if we ever hope to generate high sales we probably don't have a choice.

There haven't been many 3D space games that i've been happy with, most seem to get to "flight simulatory" and suffer the dreaded "i have no idea what is going on and the enemies just fly round me in circles". TieFighter, Starfox and StarWars:Rebel Squadron managed to keep focused on fun and blasting, so it can be done.

I do think swooping down on full afterburners to strafe the belly of a mining barge should be a fun adrenalin rush. Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A request: Please, if you're going to call a future game "StarScape" but have it in 3D, atleast make the distinction with one of those gimpy "see, this is different" names, instead of saying it's a sequal...

Megaman Legends, Metroid: Prime, PaperMario come to mind as a few.

I really would like to see an expanded, yet 2D variation of the starscape theme/engine. (Especially since I can already see about a dozen nightmares expanding from mining alone...)
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Bobacles



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some things I'd like to see:

1) Enhanced losing senarios. Shooting at the Xenarch pi**** them off, blowing up the dimension drive makes the captain shoot you, etc. Everyone likes to go off their rocker now and then, and fighting a Xenarch or Earth fleet is worth losing. Twisted Evil

2) Ship equipment optimized for certain final designs. (2x2 engine 5's+generator 5's)

3) Other things I've mentioned before, in particular a 2x2 "main weapon" for bigger ships.

3b) Modability, so I can make the rest. Wink

4) Additional upgrades to the Aegis, so there's more leeway for tougher enemies. (Prowler challenges, beware)

5) A longer reach of the boss' guns. Less run, more gun!

6) Unlimited grunts on some, if not all bosses. Maybe for hard mode, only.

7) A specific "scavenger challenge" senario. Hulls may be dropped, revivable, quested for, or given as a reward, but the molecular forge itself is hopelessly busted. Everything else must come from scavenge. Worms (if any) could drop whatever their Archnid victims may have had. Whether or not research is still needed... (Prowler scavenger challenges, double beware! Smile )

8 ) The Act III boss should really be the Act IV boss. Very Happy
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Crimson_Knight



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
8 ) The Act III boss should really be the Act IV boss. Very Happy

No s***. That boss alone is the reason I'm afraid to try playing through on Hard...
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I somehow imagine totally new bosses... I mean, that's fairly normal for most sequals, having many new bosses, with only one or two old favorites in a brand-new style...
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Darth Dallas



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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2004 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I somehow imagine totally new bosses... I mean, that's fairly normal for most sequals, having many new bosses, with only one or two old favorites in a brand-new style...


I like this thought too, keeping a semblance of what came before. Perhaps keeping an old boss or two doesn't have to mean these guys have to be a "final boss", but more along the lines of something that could appear from time to time to generate baddies when one of the "new bosses" has died. It would keep the action level up while never really ever "cleaning out" a level.

So in this respect, I'd like to see some dynamic enemy spawning capability either tied to a class of ship (if you didn't kill everything but did get the boss and there's still an enemy ship X or Y still alive), or simply as I mentioned above...just keep spawning 'em Smile Perhaps through testing you could also see what makes sense in terms of applying this feature to one of the difficulty levels as well.
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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2004 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A thought: Boss-armada interdepency. Yes, the armada relies on the boss's existence to keep generating, but it would be interesting if the boss was harder in some way as long as other ships survived...

If there's any mining barges left, the boss continues to spawn fighter cover during combat, if any capital ships remain, the boss can draw resources from them, letting it outsource AI(more agressive movement and overly-accurate aiming, more weapons used) and draw energy resources(more damage per hit, more hits needed to destroy). Similar, but smaller bonuses would come from remaining drones.

Ideally, bosses under this system would be a bit inferior compared to the original SS ones, but full-armada support would normally leave the boss near-invulnerable.

As a counter-balance, perhaps have the energy resourcing cause "instability", which would cause the boss to generate things like spareparts, extra minerals, and other resources when destroyed. The concept being that the more armada power a boss was drawing the less-stable he was, and thus, the more resources spawned upon death. In this way, it would make it worthwhile to actually attempt killing the boss before virtually everything was mopped up.

In that manner, each player could generate their own sub-division of difficulty. If the boss is too hard, just spend more time grinding down the zone's armada; if too easy, waste some time in a danger node while the boss spawns more ships. Would be fun to see what your personal balance is, and give inherent goals as well("Let's see if I can take him with 11 capital ships this time!"), and would greatly boost replayability.
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Bobacles



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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2004 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neat ideas, X-Fighter. I hope a few of them can be included.

I don't think the boss should get bonuses from drones. They should be running to the boss node to protect the mothership. That's a bonus in itself, considering that you would have more drones to fight, and it would hamper long battles.

One thing I've wondered, is how the boss goes about producing capital ships. It'd be neat to see some sort of capital shipyard in the boss zone. Especially if it's part of the boss itself.
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Bobacles



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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2004 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zone-hopping: A new Archnid tactic. In zones dense with capital ships, they have the ability to move fleets of drones extremely quickly.

Lets say you have 4 capital ships in a "line" of nodes. The first capital ship jumps their drones to the second node. The capital ship in the second node already has it's engines charged, and jumps the 1st fleet, plus its own, to node 3. The third node also has a capital ship, with full engines, and it jumps the combined drone fleet to node 4. The capital ship in node 4 jumps everything into your node, causing you great distress. Razz

With this tactic, the drones don't have to wait at all for anyone's jump engines to charge. They are passed from the dry capital ship, to a capital ship with full engines. They can move faster than the capital ships this way, as well. It will give the impression that the Archnid fleet is everywhere, when it's really a chain of capital ships throwing them around... Wink
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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2004 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ai wingman that folow you around and you can give them orders like in freespace

the arknid adapt to your stratagys (like evil robotick hive minde aliens are sapost to)

astroid physicks an objict in motion stays in motion damit Mad dount give me this "momentim is a little difrent in the grid" karwap

wraparound: if you go of the edge of the map you apper on the outher side (the node is round)
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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2004 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Self-propagating challenge/acceptance codes... this way, you could have multiple linked challenge codes generated by each copy, and each would unlock a new download.

The follow-up concept would be to generate the game into multiple, successive downloads that play in sequence: Download 1 is the main game and zone 1(standard demo), Download 2 has all the info for the next zone or two, Download 3 has the info for the next few zones after that.

This would enhance the copy protection, as pirated copies would be forced to spend much more time cracking each code, and, ideally, would have to crack each download in sequence inorder to crack the next(since the next code is propagated from the last code, is encrypted differently, and is needed to unlock the next download). This wouldn't hurt anyone else too much, especially if an auto-download check was installed at the neccessary points
Captain Fubuki wrote:
"Great job on that battle, Jameson. We're done here, so we're going to notify command and begin downloading the coordinates we'll need next. We can continue operating around here until we're done. I'll let you know when we're ready to proceed."
[Okay] [Download Later]
The only real problem with this is that it would somewhat limit the idyllic "free-movement" concept, but should be able to be pulled off without damaging gameplay much, if at all.

Edit: Oops! Yeah, meant Zones! Thanks DD, corrected it.


Last edited by X-Fighter on Mon May 03, 2004 4:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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Darth Dallas



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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2004 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like that idea too X-Fighter, although I don't know if you were thinking the same thing I was in terms of having new Zones or if you meant "nodes". Maybe I've forgotten the lingo but I thought a node was a specific spot you can travel to within a zone you do battle in and the "grid" kind of encompasses every zone within it.

Anyway I think I follow you Wink. Maybe one other way to breathe life back into SS (besides anything else they might be considering for down the road) would be to add these downloads as additional mini-plots that manifest themselves in what you described, taking the form of say 5 more zones for that plot thread with their relevant node layouts along with what you talked about with regard to the encrypted confirm codes an such.

Ideally I'd love to see this game's future continue but I couldn't venture a guess as to how many zone mappage downloads would be sufficient to tie us over to their new titles Smile Nevertheless, nice thoughts here. Its been awhile for me but I missed the brainstorming talk round here, its as lively as I remember it Smile
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