My New Game: Space Battles

Written by Cliff Harris

February 12, 2009 | 11:29

Tags: #development #game-developer #space-battles

Companies: #indie #positech

People love space battles. Oh, we may pretend we really care about whether or not Anakin will betray Obi-wan, or whether Ben Sisko will ever marry Cassidy, but deep down, we don't care what happens as long as people end up resolving their differences in a giant battle in space with things going zap and bang.

That's the idea behind my next game. As an indie developer on the PC, I'm 100% free to make whatever game I want. There is no publisher to 'pitch' the game idea to, and I don't need to aim for a specific demographic, because as a one-man outfit, I can basically target any niche big enough to earn back a years salary (that's how long my games take).

In any case, I reckon big space battles are a safe bet. Making a game about space battles is like offering someone chocolate biscuits. Nobody ever pretends they don't like chocolate biscuits, and nobody really dislikes big over-the-top space battles.[break]

Now you might think it's silly to make a game in a genre that already has some big hitters, such as Homeworld, Freespace and Galactic civilisations II, so I should probably spell out how I intend my (as yet untitled) game to be different.

My New Game: Space Battles

Firstly, there will be absolutely no pretence of a back story or resource management, or empire building. I've decided not to care about that. All I want is big space fleets going zap. Quite why the are going zap is irrelevant, just like we never asked why Pac Man was hungry or why the Space Invaders wanted to bomb our cities. To quote Douglas Adams "Boy-being meets girl-being, under a silvery moon, which then explodes for no adequately explored reason...".

The games I've done in the past (Kudos, Democracy, Rock Legend) have all been management / sim games, so you won't be surprised to hear that this game will be more about strategy and simulation than it will be about reflexes or flash graphics. However, you can't have a space battle game without some fairly nice visuals of things going zap, so I've finally ported my creaky old engine to Directx 9, and hope to add a more 2009 level of shiny to this next game.

The main thrust of the gameplay, however, will be in managing your space fleet. Not in the classic RTS sense, but in the pre-battle deciding which ship will be where, and what weapons and other configurable modules it will have on it.

The idea is to be like Eisenhower on D-Day. You assemble the troops, tell them what to do, then on the day you pace up and down and see how well things turned out.

That's the plan.

I'll let you know how I get on over the next few posts.
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