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?

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