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star_squadron

Star Squadron

A clone of Wing Commander.

Overview

You are a starfighter pilot on a carrier during an interstellar war between two human colonies.

Your faction and the enemy faction are fighting over a formerly shared colony world. Your carrier is guarding a side route to the base colony while the main forces slug it out elsewhere.

Earth Fleet is observing while Earth-flagged vessels supply both sides. You can attack Earth Fleet ships to weaken the enemy, but this will make Earth Fleet hostile.

Earth Fleet has stronger technology than either side. A player can choose a difficult route by attacking Earth Fleet early.

Story

Themes

  • A useless fight – Your side is destined to lose the war. Your efforts can gain bargaining material at most.
    • (post-rewrite) Your actions can win the war for your side, but the outlook is bad.
  • It is unclear who is ultimately right and wrong, but it is hinted that your side started the war.
  • Your enemies are also human and speak the same language you do. Many of them are also uncomfortable with fighting.
  • You don't have to kill everything. Enemy AI is not always hostile and is quicker to disengage than WC.
  • Earth Fleet is supplying both sides, seems to be siding with the enemy, and is too powerful for you to do anything about.
  • Fighters will carry over some damage from one mission to another.

Gameable themes

  • Winning and Losing routes; the mission tree.
  • Earth Fleet's neutrality or hostility. This may affect route availability and will affect mission availability.
  • Commander's attitude. You can guide him to be more aggressive or not, which will affect whether he attacks, retreats, or surrenders at key points in the route.
  • Enemy's attention. Victories and war crimes will draw the enemy's attention, cause them to reroute forces, and extend the war.
  • Faction Criminality. Excessive war crimes will draw enemy attention, Earth Fleet retribution, and ultimately an attempt by your own forces to relieve your commander.
  • Personal criminality. War crimes will get you yelled at by your commander, grounded for future missions, and possibly permanently brigged. It will also reduce your likelihood of getting promoted.

War Crimes

  • Shooting ejected pilots, surrendered ships, or anything that is unarmed
  • Shooting or capturing flagged neutral vessels, especially Earth Fleet
  • Orbital bombardment may be a war crime in story, but not a matter to be concerned with in-game

Committing war crimes will get you in trouble with your commanding officer.

Game concepts

Ship scores

Early thought: make victory or defeat depend upon scores. This may be dropped.

  • Fighter: 10
  • Bomber: 20
  • Corvette: 50
  • Empty Supply: 40
  • Full Supply: 200
  • Destroyer: 200
  • Cruiser: 300
  • Carrier: 1000

Fleet Strength: A combination of:

  • % Carrier hit points
  • % Fighters alive
  • % Bombers alive
  • % Supplies

Every mission costs 5% of supplies. Every missile fired costs 0.1% of supplies. Repairing a fighter costs up to 1.0% of supplies depending on how much damage the fighter took. A transport will restore 20% of lost supplies.

A fleet will auto-surrender mission sets if it does not have enough fighters to deploy for a mission + 4 to defend every carrier.

Any enemy capships that you failed to destroy in a previous mission may appear in a future mission. Those that carry fighters will add to enemy forces.

It would be better if the success/failure logic also kept track of specific ships.

Idea: Saved games and Permadeath

The game automatically saves after each mission. There is no save command. If you die out there, your save is deleted and you have to start over. This will encourage players to fly carefully and consider retreating.

However, the game will unlock mission sets if certain conditions are met, so you can load a game from the beginning of a mission set. This will set the player back a half hour to an hour rather than the whole game. The conditions for unlocking a mission set might be:

  • The player survives through the next mission set
  • OR, at least three different player incarnations died in this mission set

The game records state on entry into mission sets so that you can load from a previous incarnation. The player will be able to select from previous incarnations whose stats are the extreme of any of several categories:

  • Real time - the first and last entries are always saved
  • Player kills
  • Wingman kills
  • Wingmen surviving
  • Enemy strength
  • Player fleet strength
  • Player ship damage
  • Overall strategic outlook

Idea: Random enemy generation

A level script may have that “you engage 4 fighters” and let the position be random.

In addition, fighter wings can be autogenerated based on the enemy's strength. They will fly around a path that you may or may not run into.

Enemy capships in the list of known enemies may be randomly spawned at specific places or offsets from these places. They must not spawn in a dangerous area like a minefield or where gravity would destroy them.

Neutral and unarmed ships will be scattered around the map based on how much civilian traffic there is in the system. Most will be going to and from nav points.

Star Systems

Early notes

There are three major regions of space where the game takes place.

(your space) - (the gap) - (their space)

The gap is a set of jump points with little strategic value due to having no inhabitable worlds and few jump connections to the rest of the known universe.

The gap's quickest known route between friendly and enemy space goes through twelve systems. Most are never used in game play; your carrier jumps through several at a time between mission sets.

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12

As you advance, the number of friendly civilian ships decreases and the number of enemy civilian ships increases.

The gap also includes branches to the side since there is more than one way to cross it and since Earth Fleet needs a way to get in.

These systems need names.

Your space is trivial. Defend a defense post or else you lose.

(you lose) - (defense post) - (gap 1)

Enemy space has more variety to it and has not been designed yet. We can assume they have defense posts and space stations.

Redesign

This region of space was originally colonized by settlers from Scotland. Harrislok was named for a man named Harris who raised a space elevator near a lake. Andrewsom was where an explorer named Andrews chose to retire. Several subsequent waves of settlers over hundreds of years have brought peoples from other regions of Earth. These immigrants are drawn more to Earth-like Andrewsom than to the colder Harrislok. At the time of the war, Andrewsom's dominant population is from Belgium.

Each planet was supposed to be independent, but commerce and communication concentrated power in Harrislok and Andrewsom. The planet Sif includes several colonies that are loyal to different sides. When war breaks out on Sif, Harrislok and Andrewsom begin supplying their favored side.

You fly for Harrislok. Your colour is purple. Andrewsom's color is orange. Earth Fleet is a light blue.

Missions

Each mission set is 3 to 5 missions.

Mission sets are divided into chapters.

  • Chapter 1: Your carrier guards a lengthy back route between the colonies. You play cat-and-mouse with an enemy fleet so they cannot outflank your forces. If successful, you are cycled out to the front. If you have an overwhelming success, you may raid Andrewsom space and encounter powerful aliens on the way back.
  • Chapter 2: You fight at Sif to ensure that supplies reach ground forces. Success gives you the opportunity to interfere with Andrewsom supply lines. Failure may push your forces back out of the Sif system, likely leading to the end of the war.
  • Chapter 3: Heavy fighting with heavy casualties. Both sides are weak, the last reinforcements are arriving from the docks, and the tide of the war can be turned by one antimatter torpedo finding its target. If you are very successful, you may advance and attempt to capture the Andrewsom system Orange Station to cut off their route to Sif and win the war.
star_squadron.txt · Last modified: 2016/12/10 18:13 by deltatango