Hey man, PHP has done a tremendous job of making OGame-liks & Travian-like browser based games. I can’t judge you there. And if you know how to use it, then use it. I’ve ofttimes found myself debating the whole “should I learn something new and burn more time on the learning curve” argument vs. “should I utilize my strengths to get something done” argument. I’ve settled on this: unless it’s work/career-related or I have chosen to explicitly learn something new, then play to my strengths. Especially in creative endeavors, momentum during limited time is essential to keep the idea from stalling, which has happened all too often for me. That’s another reason I decided to reach out to other creative and game-playing types.
a night of restlessness
So last night I couldn’t sleep. I think @AnnanFay’s question about what its map layout would look like spawned a million ideas. Most of them diverged away from the simple map that we all love in NP. Also thought more about the combat aspect. Here are some of those thoughts in more detail:
I had proposed different classes of ships, I still like that but I think it needs to be more generic. Again these are all conceptual because you wouldn’t actually be seeing these ships, you’d simply see them as a percentage/number within a fleet.
strike-class - typical fighter/bomber ships. Cheap to make, 1-2 combat pts apiece. Gets a 1st strike bonus (see below)
heavy-class - corvettes/destroyers/frigates. Much more costly to make. Much more combat pts.
capitol-class - cruisers/carriers/capturing ships… not sure how to explain it but they’re necessary to actually capture planets, habitats, factories, etc. They’d be extremely costly to make, and provide average to high combat pts. More on capturing assets later
heighliners - The most expensive class to make, they’d work much like how NP warp gates function OR we could forgo this as a class and keep the per asset warpgate concept. I’m not married to this idea.
One thing that will be difficult is finding the right kind of balance to make combat fun but also not so skewed that a person with one or two more higher class ships can overcome significant numbers of smaller ships.
I like how in certain games, depending on a location, you can only boost your economy, industry or science based on the location type. Sins of a Solar Empire, did it well, albeit a little too in-depth. I’d like to improve on NPs system to allow only certain pre-existing places to provide the specific resource. There might also be an option to build a location (e.g. solar arrays, asteroid mine, etc.).
planets/moons - economy / industry / science
habitats - industry / science
factories - industry
solar arrays - economy
asteroid mine - economy
comet farm- economy
I think this would be a place for tweaking the formula. Keeping it very transparent to the player, only allowing them to improve their economy, industry or science.
combat bonuses & cards
If we’re piloting ships in space, chances are we have a handle on long-range scanning. So there are not really many chances for a surprise attack. I think the automatic defensive bonus in NP is too big and allows weaker/less aggressive players to hang back, take a beating and then lick their wounds without much penalty. So I’d take that out of play and instead use fleet composition to drive combat bonuses.
first-strike bonus & strike-class ships
Assume there are equal numbers of combat pts betw. two fleets. One fleet is composed purely of strike-class ships, the other, one or two heavy-class. I’d argue that strike-class have speed and swarming abilities to overcome the heavy-class ships when the strike-class fleet initiates the attack.
Capital class ships would get a defensive bonus (maybe they have flak cannons and such). Certain location types might also get a defense bonus. Locations that have industry.
salvage bonus card (mod/common)
If a player had a salvage card applied to a fleet and were successful in combat, they could salvage scrap to add to their money.
retreat card (instant/rare)
I’m not entirely sure how this would play since combat is calculated instantly and the outcome presents itself, but maybe as a fleet is headed to an asset and scanning suggest a superior fleet will arrive first, the player can play a retreat card. This would be a rare card
I think this is the thing that kept me up the most last night. I really love NPs map. It’s simple, it’s node-based and it works. But would it suffice to allow any of the suggested new gameplay elements? Would a simple NP map support all the necessary visual elements to show the data about fleet composition or resource types?
I’d like to say yes but in reality I think it might not be enough. I keep looking at this in the “what if this were a board game” perspective. A node system doesn’t work for board games (unless you’re playing Warhammer 40K w. a tape measure). A hex system would but then I think it would radically alter game play. Or if it didn’t, it would feel like an afterthought not being leveraged to typical hex-game play.
I’ve thrown a ton of stuff out there. What say you all?