Looking for a collaborator for making a Science Fiction / Space based map
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I am looking for one or more people to join me in the process of making a Science Fiction / Space based map.
The basetiles are done, so it is mostly work on the Concepts, Story, Factions, Units, and the the unit art.
Here are my thoughts right now:
One of the main things that I really want to stick with, is keeping the game Simple and easy to learn.
I really want to try hard to keep the "rules" of the map to be easy to learn and simple.
The complexity should be emergent, in that the complexity is the strategies and things people end up doing with their otherwise simple units.
So, I do not want very many units (around 8-16 should be enough for each nation), nor do I want a giant tech tree (only want it if we can make it enhance the differences between nations), or a long list of national objectives and triggers (ideally we do not need any NOs or triggers).
My ideas for the players:
There will be 4 players. If we had a map of the game, it would look like this:
A | B
C | D
They would be in diagonal alliances, so A and D are allied, C and B are allied. I would include a full political engine in the xml, but have it turned off by default. Players could then enable the political engine (thereby allowing shifting alliances, and free-for-all) by changing the selection in the game options (just like choosing Low Luck).
No units are capturable, all units that would normally be captureable would be destroyed on capture for all players.
Player A would be what I would call a Nomadic nation. They have no capital, and they have 1 or 2 "Motherships" which can carry near infinite land and air units. All their factories are aircraft with a couple movement. Their motherships even produce PUs (the new name for IPC) each turn, so even if they have no territories they still collect some income. All their units have the best movement of units in the game. All their units are quite powerful, but also very expensive.
The price they pay for this mobility, is that they can not produce new motherships, have no other way of transporting land units, and can not produce new factories besides what they start with. We could even have the factories produce a certain number of land units each turn automatically, with no way to produce more if wanted.
Player B would be what I would call a "Paratrooper nation" (because they use the paratroop code from the engine). I guess they could be thought of as a nation with the ability to land troops on a planet even if they path is blocked by enemy ships. They are able to load land units onto air units, and transport them across space then land directly onto nearby planets, without having to engage in any space combat or be blocked by enemy fleets. Their land units and their air transports are cheap and numerous. Their space fleet though has the worst movement ability of all the nations, so this play will find that their land expansion could out pace their ability to defend it from space.
They have a capital, and are very centered on this capital. Their capital contains factories with infinite production ability, but they can not produce any new factories anywhere except this capital.
Player C would be what I would call an Evasive nation. All of their space units have the 'submarine' tag, including their transports and carriers. There are no "destroyer" type of units in the whole game, so this means that this player can always retreat after the first round of combat, including on defense.
This player has a capital, but has no specific factory unit. Instead they are able to produce X number of units at any territory they own. They also make heavier use of "scrambling" to be able to move units while on the defense.
Player D would be what I would call a Bombing nation, because they wage economic warfare to win. Their units would most closely resemble the style and play of A&A games, but with a twist. They units would make heavy use of the "support" engine, giving both offensive and defensive support to each other in different ways.
They would be able to create units which are either missiles or suicide units, which fly into and attack the enemy's production. Their capital ships would have the "rocket" ability to bombard an enemy's production from space.
I think that we should probably get the ideas and concepts of how each player behaves before we give the players names, or do any art, or decide even what species or genre we take them from, or whether to use an existing sci-fi story line or make our own, or combine, etc.
Feel free to tell me what you think
People on the project / helping list:
Concepts / Story / Factions / Units / Flavor:
Although some unit properties might need to be added. For example, an IsHelicopter unit property, which would allow aircraft to land in newly captured territory would make sense for the nomadic race if their factories are aircraft.
Re: Looking for a collaborator for making a Science Fiction / Space based map
Twilight Imperium is a good starting point and hexagons make sense for the map layout.
Although I think each planet should be divided into multiple territories to encourage more ground combat. I also think each planet should have a "core" territory that can't be bombarded. That way you'd need more than just a huge fleet of bombards to capture a planet.
Ive been thinking the paratrooper nation could be like starship trooper style arachnids. They could fling spores at other planets from their homeworld to colonize them. This would also give us the obligatory "hive" faction that every sci-fi game needs.
Spores would essentially be air transports with long range (6-8) that could kamikaze into other planets and drop off several ground units.
Their ground units would be the weakest but also the cheapest (hence the need for infinite production at their homeworld). Their ships would also be the slowest due to being biological and would be unable to transport units. And they either wouldnt be able to build new factories or their factories would be absurdly expensive.
Make the game free-for-all by default and allow the players, through political action, to decide what they want the alliances to be. Create options such as “abstain alliance” or “declare unending war” so that players will not continue to be bothered with alliance options with the factions of their opponent. This would require a balance of each two-faction combination working together to not be overpowered against their two opponents, but to also create unique strategies for playing with different factions.
Draw space routes on the map that connect each planet to all of its neighboring planets. For factions that rely on convoy income they must keep every hex along the convoy route free of enemy ships. Convoy income will represent trade and only give income to attached ally or neutral planets.
An upkeep, limit caps, or supply feature on units would make the game much more interesting and require players to be more tactical with their purchases.
I’m not particular on the names of units, just using general terms to get my ideas across. I found your previous post about your Humans vs. Aliens game and decided to compound on those. Unfortunately your link no long works so I wasn’t able to get a prototype of your game.
Highlight hexes on map with a color code to signify different types of territories. Such as core land territory (unable to bombard or fire into space), outer territories (can build weapons to fire into space), convoys, etc.
Nomadic Faction/Ancient Aliens – If possible, make this faction gain momentum from destruction. Have them gain resources from killing their enemies or allow them to pillage resources from their enemy as they take over a planet. You could make their production extremely costly so that they must couple their own collection of resources with that of their pillaged resources to be most effective. Can make his planets capturable to his ally so they can make better use of the resources. Uses wormholes to get around faster, but Motherships cannot use wormholes. Possible units:
Mothership – All unit production is conducted by Motherships. They can take many hits that can be repaired by Engineering Vessels (example: Engineering Vessels can build a “hull” on the Mothership that does not attack but can be chosen as a casualty. A maximum of 10 “hulls” can be placed on a Mothership). Motherships are built in stages. You purchase a Phase 1 Mothership signifying that a Mothership is under construction. In order to purchase a Phase 2 Mothership it must replace a Phase 1 Mothership. Finally you purchase a Mothership and it raplaces the Phase 2 Mothership making it so that Motherships take 3 turns to finish and can move and start producing units on the 4th turn. Motherships cannot attack and can only be moved during a Non-Combat Move. If a space territory containing an unfinished Mothership is occupied by the enemy, it is destroyed. Motherships can also bombard heavily onto planets.
Mothership Fighter – These units will have 2 moves and must land on a Mothership. They can be used to clear the path for the Mothership and can be scrambled to space territories next to the Mothership. They can also assist in the invasion of a planet that the Mothership is next to. Can possibly allow suicide attacks if desired. Another possibility is to make them have 1 move so they will only be used as defense for the Mothership and to clear a path. The Mothership would then be required to move into the newly acquired space during the Non-Combat Move or the Mothership Fighters will die.
Engineering Vessel – This unit can build Motherships in space. They are also used to repair Motherships.
Paratrooper Faction/Biological Species – I love the idea of using the spore concept like the bugs from Starship Troopers to colonize other planets. One possibility is to allow them to capture factories of other factions and begin to build infested units and spaceships to make up for the lack of space presence. You can even allow the faction’s ally to sacrifice a planet to them with their factory on it to give them a way to build space units. I don’t like the idea of only allowing this faction to build on their capital and giving them unlimited production. This might work with a specialized space map, but is extremely advantageous on a hex board (like how America has tons of production ability, but is isolated from all the action). Possible units:
Queen – Lays eggs that can then be hatched into different units (example: a small egg can be replaced with a Zergling or a large egg can be replaced with an Ultralisk). The Queen needs to continue a constant flow of eggs to allow the production of new units. New Queens are built in stages, but can start producing eggs on the next turn (example: a Young Queen can lay small eggs, an Adolescent Queen lays small and medium eggs, and a Mature Queen can produce small to large eggs). You can give a set income per Queen on the map and have a 1 Queen per planet limit. This would make it so that making more Queens is the key to this faction’s economy.
Queen Larva – Used to spawn a new queen on another planet (Young Queen will replace Queen Larva; Adolescent Queen will replace Young Queen).
Plasma Bug – Produces spores that can be used to transport units to nearby planets. Can also fire spores at ships in space.
Evasive Faction/Secretive Humans – I really don’t like the idea of an army of stealth units in a game when the other factions have no stealth detection. This would completely remove any reason for this faction to be strategic with their units and would make it impossible to be offensive against them. What you should do is significantly limit each faction’s ability to detect cloaked units (example: the Nomadic Faction can only detect units with a Mothership and Bombing Faction can only detect with Observatories). Possible units:
Saboteur – A stealth unit that can produce bombs to explode enemy ships.
Mine Layer – Creates mines that are left in space zones to explode enemy ships that enter. These mines can be used to occupy the space zone to block passage.
Bombing Faction/Federation Humans – I don’t have much to say about this faction at the moment.
Missile – Many ships have the ability to produce these, some can produce more than others. They will be suicide units with one attack roll against enemy units. You can also create different power missiles that roll at different values or roll more dice.
Big Cannon – A land based offensive weapon that can fire at fleets or nearby planets.
Missile Launcher – A land based weapon that produces missiles.
Rocket Launcher – Used to bombard enemy production.
Observatory – A building that increases the range of missile attacks and detects nearby stealth units.
This is just the stuff off the top of my head. I really like the wing idea that Frederiksc posted a while back:
Att Def Mov PUs
Rookie 1 1 4 4
Veteran 2 2 4 12, supports up to 3 Rookies with +1 Def
Ace 2 2 4 12, supports up to 3 Rookies with +1 Att
Full wing 6 Rookies, 3 Vets and 3 Aces
Personally though I’d drop the Ace idea and just have a Veteran support attack and defense.
"Evasive Faction/Secretive Humans – I really don’t like the idea of an army of stealth units in a game when the other factions have no stealth detection. This would completely remove any reason for this faction to be strategic with their units and would make it impossible to be offensive against them."
I agree. The evasive faction needs a new mechanic. Its too powerful to give the entire race the "submarine" property and not give anyone else the "destroyer" property. It means the only way you can ever beat them is if you win in the first round of combat.
I don't like the idea of not allowing a faction to produce factories or buildings that allow production since you cannot capture factories from your opponents. Unless you're willing to change that, this would put the faction at too much of a disadvantage (or too much of an advantage trying to compensate with something like unlimited production and infinite paratrooper ability).
Stealing technology: Maybe you could allow the capture of factories/buildings/resources of other nations giving access to new types of units using that other factions technology combined with yours.
Unit Cloner: I like your idea and what you can do is make the Cloner very expensive and make the ground units that you produce extremely cheap, but you can only make a few per turn. This would make it so that at first it will be hard to amass a ground force, but if your opponents don't keep the number of Cloners you have in check you will be able to produce a large amount of land units every turn at a very low cost.
Just a though, maybe make the Evasive Nation more Protoss-like with all of their small ships being stealth but all of their capital ships being 2-hit to represent shields. Make the Nomadic Nation more like an evil devouring race that makes its income off destruction and pillage.
Nomadic Race I think they should be more like a Barbarian Horde type of race instead of a Noble race of ancient aliens. It wouldn't be in the character of a noble race to travel the stars to destroy and devour worlds. I have no problem with them being an ancient race, but I'd say their motives are more evil and selfish than noble and pure. Possible names:
Paratrooper Race The Scourge
Evasive Nation I think this nation would be a good selection for a noble race, ancient or not. They prefer to not engage in combat and use stealth to achieve their goals. They are not an aggressive race and instead rely on their highly evolved defensive technologies (shields in the form of 2-hit capital ships). Possible names:
Ancients (if you go the ancient race route)
(random name) Imperium/Aristocracy
Bombing Nation Terran Federation/Confederacy/Republic
United Planetary Commission
I have been playing most of the quality maps and some of my favorites are: revised WW2v2, because it was the first A&A board game I played and introduced me to this twisted world. LOTR, because it shows some more unusual units that change the game play quite a bit with serious coding or bugs. 270BC because it's big without being laborious. I really love Twilight Imperium's look but the AI doesn't work with this map, and since I exclusively play single player, it's no use to me.
I was going to make my own space map, but I am frustrated by certain issues relating to the code/documentation. I may still embark on making a space map, but I think it would be better to give you my ideas and let the experts to the coding. Perhaps I can get involved in helping this project, but I am not sure where I would best fit in, maybe just another general dogs body.
1) There are already too many space games out there on the internet, usually loosely based on one or another blockbuster franchises. Although there isn't very many TA space maps, it would be nice to have an original storyline and background to go with the preset strategies that you have made. I really think the Bugs, ancients, and vanilla fascist humans are a bit boring and repetitive. A good fiction has characters that have both elements of good and evil in their personality. I have a talent for unique name generation, so I would suggest something list this for your factions:
Zyxtok (Nomadic): A relatively unimportant race whose origins lay in humble beginnings on a planet that lacked the ecological ability to recover from their industrial revolution. So they were forced to move their entire population off-planet on massive mother-ships and seek new planets to harvest. Although they are technologically advanced, they lack the motivation to leave their mother-ships permanently and settle a new home world. Strictly speaking they are not humanoids, rather they are more akin to a strange cross between amphibian and an avian life-forms. They are not particularly aggressive or destructive, but they will efficiently devoid a planet of it's native lifeforms before removing it's resources in an ironically Eco-friendly method.
Quahist (Para-drop): An unusual and complex race of various creatures that are difficult to exterminate completely. They can be removed from a system, only to pop-up again on a neighboring system for no apparent reason. Some have suggested that they key to their destruction is in finding their mysterious home planet where their inter-planetary space-squid originate from. However, recent sporadic research into these infective organisms have pinpointed a virus like protein that allows creatures to communicate or be controlled from vast distances, so perhaps there is no central brain controlling these minions. Communication with some unusual space-ships have unlocked some answers regarding this quizzical enemy.
Goweling (Stealthy): Origins unknown, possibly from an alternate reality or parallel universe. Previous battles with their 'ghost' ships have resulted in next to no damage to their tiny ships and very little in the way of return fire. It is rumored that they possess technology to hyper-jump while in combat, or phase shift into another reality, but either way, they seem to be repelled by violence and have made very little effort to communicate with sentient races. They do however seem to often appear in similar locations to the Quahist and have not been seen to suffer any attacks in their territory's from the Quahist. Physical data about their organic appearance is not available.
Poly-morphs (Bombers): A conglomerate of many previous waring races, from humanoids to shape-shifters, cyborgs to barbarians, they have all agreed to an alliance of sorts to rid the galaxy of so called non-sentient powers. While they have impressive trade arrangements, in-fighting is regular and highly-regulated to the point where civil-wars are now little more than afternoon gladiatorial contests. They have even formed an alliance of sorts with the Zyxtok, in they only agree not to invade Polymorph territory until after they have finished harvesting the rest of the galaxy, in return they demand military assistance to remove any 'obstacles' to them.
2) Unit names: I think to avoid an obvious clone of Star Ship Troopers, you could name the Para-drop troops after various animals and sea creatures, just not insects. I am happy to generate more unusual names for alien units, just let me know what their stats will be, and I will come up with a little story for each.
3) One idea I was going to put into my map was to adjust the balance between land/air/space units. Instead of the Standard A&A Land units are cheap and numerous, air and sea units are tough, expensive and few. I would make land units expensive and weak 0/1/1/4pu, Air units cheap numerous and average strength (related to cost) 1/0/3/2pu and Space units very cheap and very strong 5/0/1/5pu. The idea here is the air units are fodder in both amphibious and space battles. Also surface bombardment become very important in amphibious assaults on enemy planets. This mod could apply to only one or two races, but would probably work better applier across the board.
4) Another combat related idea was instead of giving all units 1/1/1 minimum so they can defend/attack and tank, make more specialist units so you need a mix, ie hollow attacker 5/0/1/5pu, hollow defender 0/3/1/3pu and hit-point hulk 0/1/1/10pu (two hit). This way you also have to spend up big to make your army/navy have decent hit-points rather than purely depending on spamming cheap units, although that is still possible with the cheap air units above. This mod could easily apply to only one or two races or only one of the three air/army/navy.
5) AI Neutrals: Instead of empty planets or bland defensive troops, have a number of weak UN-allied non-playable factions defending each neutral system. To reduce coding, use a small number of troop types from one of the four main factions. This will reduce the problem I see with a lot of maps having a land-grab stage that is too easy, first in shouldn't be best dressed.
6) I know the Base Tiles are already set, but I would like to share what I wanted to do with my map, in-case you have any hints for me.
6a) I wanted to have a 3-D map by having vertical layers next to each other with connections between each layer. Each sea tile would appear as a cube on the relief map, but a square on the base map. Each land tile would appear as a sphere or part of a sphere on the relief map, but a circle or sector on the base map. Thus the grid numbers on each layer would correspond to the grid numbers on the layer above and below. By restricting movement across cubes to only 6 directions (up / down / left / right / north / south), and putting the starting systems in the corners, there would be many sea tiles separating enemies, despite a small grid. ie 4x4x4 = 64tiles with 9+ moves between capitals.
6b) Supply units: I wanted conquered land territories without factories to have zero pu output, but generate Fast moving Resource Transports. These transports then need to be safely moved to a factory to claim PUs. Then you could have real convoy escorts, grouping Resource Transports with fast defensive ships. Then you really would need to spread out your forces to win.
I understand your desire to be unique and different. Unfortunately, I don't believe anyone is interested in writing a novel or creating a new universe just to have a space game in Triple A. I think if you want to take the map and add back story, character, and flavor to all the factions you'd be completely free to do so. The reason we use common or known associations is to lure people in that are familiar with these 'blockbuster' franchises so they can become quickly acquainted with the gameplay without doing a bunch of reading about it first. The goal is to to make the game friendly to new players so that people actually play it, not to be original for the principle of it. Maybe if the map becomes more popular there can be a sincere effort to begin to change things, such as names of factions and units, to get it closer to this very unique story you desire.
To respond to your ideas, I'm not extremely fond of your faction names. Mainly because they are not catch and have not cultural/historical significance in relation to the faction, other than the Poly-morphs. But then calling the faction Poly-morphs is no different than calling a faction something like Ancients, Cyborgs, or The Swarm. The other thing you need to take into account is whether we are naming these factions and units from a human perspective or the alien's perspective. Meaning, are we naming these units after sea creatures because of their resemblance or similarities with these creatures and that is how we perceive them as humans or do the aliens name their troops after these sea creatures that they somehow have knowledge of? The reason this is important is that if we take this approach with one faction we should probably take it with all of them which if we are doing it from a human perspective then we would wind up with names like: Bugs, Poly-morphs, and Nomads. If we are doing it from the alien's perspective we'd see names like Zyxtokals, Quahists, and Gowellians.
I don't have any problems with your story telling abilities as long as it doesn't conflict with making them a fun faction to play. I do, however, have a hard time visualizing your map concept. It sounds interesting, but would need a picture or drawing to really grasp the concept.
Re: Looking for a collaborator for making a Science Fiction / Space based map
Thank-you for your feedback, I understand wanting to make it run close to something people are familiar with. I was actually thinking to myself, names similar to animals etc. would infer a human/earth linked perspective, but in some ways we can't fully escape things that are familiar.
My map concept is not really working the way I want it to work. I made a couple of 3-D grids and am not completely happy with the outcome. If all the tiles are laid out so it is easy to see the connections between layers (each layer exactly above the other) it skews the cubes into rectangular prisms and the Spheres just don't fit in very well. Perhaps I should start a separate thread.