Wooden Ships and Laser Beams: Combat in FSNA

Developer Diary 7

Combat is central to the player experience in FSNA. We knew that we wanted to emphasize what was most fun in the miniatures game – careful maneuvering for devastating broadsides.

At the same time, we wanted to take advantage of the PC platform – creating a more visceral, fast-paced experience. Transitioning from turn-based play to real-time allowed us to make combat faster and more frantic. Instead of carefully lining up each shot, choosing a target with care, players race into range. They fire their maneuver jets to twirl around in a deadly dance that protects their damaged sides and brings their full gun arrays to bear.

In some ways, the PC game more closely aligns with the “reality” of the Fading Suns universe. In many ways, the miniatures game more closely followed naval combat in the Age of Sails. Captains engaged in tense, deadly ballets at sea. They struggled to use their wind to bring their frigate’s main guns to bear before their enemies did the same.

The PC game follows the same basic idea but at high speed, befitting spaceships capable of flying at hundreds of thousands of miles per hour and firing lasers back and forth. At these velocities, one mistake can make all the difference between victory and ignominious defeat.

Upcoming developer diaries will continue to analyze the FSNA combat system. What RTS strategy game do you think had a good combat system?

Seeking the Wisdom of Crowds, Part 2 – Kickstarter Video

Kickstarter Diary 3

We got some great feedback, both here and on Facebook, on the last crowdfunding post I made. I appreciate it and will return to the magic well for more input. We are working on our Kickstarter video, and these links are what we have come up to. Any feedback on them, and what we should add or delete? We are trying to keep them under two minutes.

Seeking the Wisdom of Crowds – Stretch Goals

Kickstarter Diary 2

We are planning to start a Kickstarter soon for Fading Suns: Noble Armada, and we could really use some input from you. While finishing the game, we realized that with a little more time and money we create some very cool additions to the game that we had not planned.

One of my favorite things with all of the Fading Suns games we have created has been the fun stuff the players have made. Things like the Hyperion and Nova mods for Emperor of the Fading Suns, fan stories for the RPG, and awesome live action games for Passion Play just scratch the surface of your creativity.

We have a Level Editor for FSNA. Unfortunately, like most proprietary level editors, it really is not usable by anyone who did not help design it or who has not been working with it for months. We want it usable by any player, and that takes UI design, art, programming and playtesting for which we have not budgeted.

Using the FSNA Campaign Editor

A user-friendly level editor is one of the primary goals of the basic Kickstarter. We also know that players would like the game on more platforms than just PC, so the base Kickstarter also funds versions of the game for iOs and Android devices.

We have a lot of options for what we do after that (what Kickstarter calls stretch goals) and need your input about what you would most like to see.

  • More ports of the game to console devices – Xbox, Playstation, etc.;
  • A port for Apple computers and Mac devices;
  • Additional factions, ships and items. Right now the game includes spaceships from the five Royal houses. When we include other factions, they are flying Decados, Hawkwood, Hazat, Li Halan and al-Malik ships. However, the Fading Suns universe is home to many types of ships and there are a lot we could add. Do you want:
    • Barbarians
    • Inquisition
    • Something else?
  • While this game now focuses on the science fiction aspect of the Fading Suns universe, the setting is really a space fantasy. Players love the holy miracles, psychic powers, ancient relics, and unexplainable phenomenon. Which of these would you like to see added:
    • Psychic powers
    • Theurgy
    • Relics
  • The game currently includes a Skirmish mode (a single fight) and Mission mode (coming in at the Jumpgate and battling through the solar system). Would you like to see a campaign mode that links multiple missions and allows you to sail from jumpgate to jumpgate?

All feedback is welcome, even suggestions we did not post here.

That’s a (World) Wrap

Developer Diary 6

A couple developer diaries ago I wrote that ships in Fading Suns: Noble Armada could sail off one end of the map and come back on the other side. There really is a viable, completely legitimate theory that the universe wraps around upon itself. That’s the only reason we have FSNA game space connect with itself, allowing a ship to sail off one side and come back on the other 😉

Okay, that’s not quite correct. Yes, the wraparound universe theory has its place in cosmological discussions. Our FSNA wraparound, however, is based purely on gameplay considerations and bears no resemblance to it. Read more »

Teaching Archaic Skills

We have been developing a list of skills we want RPGBaby to learn, but we are quite aware many of them will be of little use when she grows up. For instance, RPGMom wants to teach her short hand so she will have a secret language. I want to teach her to dial a phone, just to show her what agony we used to have to suffer. Today, however, I taught her two that she will probably never need. First I had her sit in my lap and steer the car while we drove in the snow. Okay, the flake of snow that was in our driveway.

I also had her steer the car in reverse without looking at the backup camera. Who thinks that there will be cars without backup cameras in 14 years, or that we will even need to drive ourselves anywhere then? What other archaic skills should we teach?