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Old 24-07-2005, 08:19 PM   #11
Mecron
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Thanks for the welcome, guys!

Let me get to some of your questions right away and always feel free to ask more.

Quote:
Before getting excited, do you mean the battles are similar to Birth of The Federation (if you have played that game), where when there is a battle it is turn based with ordering your ships then watching the battle unfold?
Ummm not sure what thought is exciting you but its not like BoF per se. Probably be easiest just to explain the turn system and I will use a multiplayer game as an example but you can assume the same for single player vs AI.
SOTS has turn based strategic play which means all players simultaneous maintain their empire, adjust planet settings, build ships, research and move fleets. When you are happy with what you have done, you hit end turn. Your efforts are then beamed to the server (the player who started the game) and the game arranges all that data together. If the fleet of any 2 (or more) hostile empires is in the same system or has a deep space intercept encounter, then the system notifies the involved players that real time combat is about to begin and you have a choice of fighting it out yourself or leaving it up to the AI. Combat is fully 3-D though we have tightened movement down to a 2-D plain (though ships will leave the plain briefly to manouver over and under each other). This will be familiar to anyone who has played our critically acclaimed but very obscure effort for Disney, Treasure PLanet:Battle at Procyon or the Starfleet Command games. (If you would like a full explanation of the perils of unlimited 3-D movement in a space game, I can do that later). Battles last for 5 minutes or until only one side rules the zone. If the battle is still unresolved after 5 mins, combat ends, simulating a period of regrouping for both sides and the game starts the next strategic turn. Leaving players free to retreat, reinforce or repair before the next combat turn.
The games arranges for as many simultaneous battles as possible to reduce down time for non-fighting players. ie.- If players 1 and 3 have a battle and 2 and 4 also have a battle, they are played out at the same time. THough if player 1 also has a battle with player 2 it will have to wait till his first fight is resolved. Players NOT involved in combat still have access to their empire for planning and can also spy on combat providing they have the right tech.


Quote:
Is there going to be an option for "skirmish" games where you choose galaxy size etc, or is it a linear game in the likes of Imperium Galactica?
SOTS its a traditional wargame, NOT a HW style adventure game. It is all about picking the galaxy, size, turn or time limit and what race you want to play. We are also including "Historical" scenarios that take the game out of the purely "everyone starts with nothing" basic scenario. Want to feel like the fledgling SOL force encountering the ancient and huge Tark empire, (or contrarily, the harried Tark Sector Admiral who has to deal with an upstart new race AND the outrageous demands of the Emperor?) then there will be pre-set scenarios and maps for that sort of thing as well. k:


Quote:
I thought the graphics looked great from what I have seen, but is the game going to NEED pixel shaders to work? The reason is that I have a radeon 7500m which has no such ability. I still have no idea how you give orders to your ships and planets, and how large the playing field (ie galaxy size) of the game is. Is it like a star system, several, many like GalCiv Stars! etc.
The game looks great with shaders but it does NOT need them We are trying to approach a large range of systems and graphics cards with the stree being put on maintaining the level of graphics that let a player make tactical decisions based on visual input, not just numbers and health bars. As far as interface goes, we are peeling the genre back to its roots on this one and going with a lot of point n click and slider bars. We want you to feel like an Emperor and Admiral, NOT a bureaucrat and a number cruncher. Systems are basic affairs of one star and a primary planet that is rated for size, resource base and suitability. ANd galaxy sizes range from 50 to 250 stars right now, and come in various 3-D shapes like globes, spirals, and arms.



Quote:
Reminds me of Imperium Galactica 2. Should be interesting.
We would like it to remind you of the best parts of games that have been while taking advatange of the power of this generation of comps to take the genre out into more dynamic and graphic directions.


Quote:
the ships have a kind of babylon 5 look to them.
We are bigs fans of the B5 Universe ourselves, (though there are all sorts of nods to different SF universes in the game) especially those great multi-race battles where there are all sorts of different design philosophy ships firing all sorts of cool and exotic weapons that make you go "holy crap! what was that?" and "Ow! thats gonna leave a mark!" We have added essays and data on the Tarka and Hiver on the website over the past couple of weeks (with the Liir soon to come) so feel free to check that out as well.

Great talking to you guys,
--MEC



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Old 24-07-2005, 09:26 PM   #12
efthimios
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Wow! Great news, thank you for your answers!
Glad to hear about the pixel shaders. :-) I will buy this game.

Two more questions

1) Is it possible to have fleets with several hundrend ships or are the numbers lower? I don't mind either way (though yes I would prefer the larger number ) , I am just curious.

2) My guess is the answer to this one will be no (as it reasonably should) but I will ask anyhow. In cases (if any) of very different civlizations, is there a chance of having also very different weapons? Meaning not just different attack numbers but also different type of attacks, beyond perhaps the beam/laser missiles/rockets combo?

Your choices for the game intrigue me very much. The idea of limiting the time of the battle encounter is a very nice touch IMO, I would love to see how it works.
Also the idea of having the feeling of being an emperor etc is a GREAT change IMO. Good, good move. k:
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Old 25-07-2005, 06:50 PM   #13
Mecron
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Great! We love questions down here at the hell-kennel Keep 'em up.

Quote:
1) Is it possible to have fleets with several hundrend ships or are the numbers lower?
Fleets can be any number of ships. But in order to keep things a little realistic, (and not have to give you ships that are cubes and triangles ) we have taken a page from real navy doctrine and limited the number of ships that can function in combat at any given moment. For instance, you don't see the US Navy showing up at a fight with every single ship they have. It would be anarchy and a friendly fire cookout. We have a C3 support system (and specialized command sections) that sets the upper number of ships you can command in a fight. The fun thing is that we take into account that your possibly massive fleet may be waiting in the wings. So when one of your ships is destroyed in real time another ship enters the frey from your reserve fleet. If you have a command vessel in the fight then you get to choose which ship comes in.


Quote:
2) My guess is the answer to this one will be no (as it reasonably should) but I will ask anyhow. In cases (if any) of very different civlizations, is there a chance of having also very different weapons? Meaning not just different attack numbers but also different type of attacks, beyond perhaps the beam/laser missiles/rockets combo?
I suppose the answer to this is yes and no. While there is no weapon system SPECIFIC to any given race, the probablities of the random tech tree make some techs more likely for a race than others. That being said, there is a LARGE number of weapon, tech and section options that make the combos you mention somewhat tame. Perhaps an example from last weeks playtest will help...

I have been border tussling with another Tarka player for a couple dozen turns. Fending off some of his small raider fleets. Generally using a class of cheap torpedo destroyers (cheap cause I use old engine tech for them since I dont intend to send them off...just defend planets) combined with my sattelites to make his trip in from his spawn point to weapons range of my planet very painful. I find a couple of his frontier worlds and decide to hit back hard. Assuming he has realized how well my defences work I assume I am going to be facing the same trick. So I design a class of point defence cruisers to shoot down missiles and torps and then a in close knife fighting pair of cruisers and destroyer designs with high speed engines becuase I plan on closing in fast and chew him hard up close and personal with mass drivers and energy cannons.

I head on in with a medium sized fleet...I leave my command ship in the back of the battle and head on in. Check sensors display and yep sure enough here comes the flight of destroyers and they spit out torps at me and hold position. I switch back to reality view, set up flanking point defence cruisers to break up the missiles and torps and then dive on in...when my first cruiser explodes for no apparent reason just as it enters driver range...I mutter "wtf?" and check sensors again. Only to discover the ships around his torpedo group are NOT the escorts I thought but bloody minelayers...

Whackiness ensues.

I get beaten up badly, retreat. I come back mutter "fine, you lil bugger. I have better torps AND better missile warheads...you stand in your lil cloud of mines and I will just pulp you from a distance". The second battle of Korasek II takes place 3 turns later but when I switch to sensors to target my ranged stuff, I realize the sneaky bugger has built a destroyer with a sensor jammer and I can't see his torpedo boats and minelayers on sensor manager and therefore can't target them till I am in visual distance...Luckily I had designed a heavy PD ship that used PD drivers instead of the lighter damage but more accurate PD lasers and was able to do a lil close in minesweeping while I hunted that jammer. I also began to research shields in a hurry.


Does this help give you an idea of the relationships between weapons, designs, tech and real time combat that we have been aiming for?




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Old 25-07-2005, 07:21 PM   #14
efthimios
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Yes it does help, thanks!
The way you described the battle reminded me a bit of Harpoon and Fleet Command, that is a good thing. :-)

Some more questions perhaps? :bleh:

1) Are battles with more than two fleets possible? You and an ally against a third or third and fourth enemy? If yes, is it possible to have on of the two fleets in reserve so that it surprises the enemy? The last question also in 1vs1 fleets engagements. You said that the amount of ships you can control at any one time depends on your command abilities, can you choose to have even less number of ships against the enemy and have the bulk of your fleet on standby?

2)Are fighters like say in the Star Wars world, or is it more like the Star Trek where you do not have fighters per se?

3)Can you give order to ram a ship?

4) I was going to ask if you can order a ship of yours to get between another and an enemy ship (if for example it is heavily damaged and you want to protected even if it means sucrificing the other one), but if the battles are more like a RTS then I guess the answer is maybe.

5) Can you have recon/spy ships to send on their own to recon?

6)How is the diplomacy in the game? Also, are there things like borders?

7)How is the system/planet buld system in the game? Are there limitations for what you can build on a planet?

8)Is there a system where you (or the enemy) can acquire territory and/or ships without actual war? Also, is it possible to capture enemy ships?

9)Is it possible to give a general battle order to your fleet before the engagement so that you will not have to micromanage during the battle if you do not want to?

I don't want to pressure you too much, so I better end this now
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Old 25-07-2005, 07:41 PM   #15
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Sounds like a really good game in the making k:

You already mentioned sattelites. Will there be (other?) orbital facilities in the game?

And I'm interested in the Hiver propulsion technology. From your site:
Quote:
it may take them months or years, moving at sub-relativistic speed, to reach their destination. Once they arrive, however, the Hivers quickly set up a massive ring-shaped teleportation device. Should other Hiver ships choose to follow, they can travel instantly to the newly erected ring from any other ring in the Hiver empire.*
Does this mean that when a Hiver fleet moves, they slowly move a short distance out of a system, and then instantly teleport to their destination?
Or does it mean they first have to arrive to that other system, then build a gate there, and then being able to instantly teleport there?
And anyway, how does this work with alien systems? Is it possible to set up and guard a gate in a hostile system, for example?
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Old 25-07-2005, 10:21 PM   #16
Mecron
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And more answers...

Quote:
1) Are battles with more than two fleets possible? You and an ally against a third or third and fourth enemy? If yes, is it possible to have on of the two fleets in reserve so that it surprises the enemy? The last question also in 1vs1 fleets engagements. You said that the amount of ships you can control at any one time depends on your command abilities, can you choose to have even less number of ships against the enemy and have the bulk of your fleet on standby?
Yes, you can have up to 8 different players in the same battle, and yes with allies. No, everyone who is in the fight is known, no surprise there, but given the fact the battle area is larger than sensors can scan all at once and there is cloaking and jamming tech, many surprises are possible. And no, you have to field the max ships possible, but that still allows you to field your crappy ships first if you are just fighting a delaying action.


Quote:
2)Are fighters like say in the Star Wars world, or is it more like the Star Trek where you do not have fighters per se?
Given destroyers are just 30 meters long or so, fighters aren't really a factor but we do have a battle-rider class for things like planetary assualt shuttles and bio-war mega-missile.


Quote:
3)Can you give order to ram a ship?
Not as such, but since there is ship collision and damage from them in the physics engine, you never know LOL


Quote:
4) I was going to ask if you can order a ship of yours to get between another and an enemy ship (if for example it is heavily damaged and you want to protected even if it means sucrificing the other one), but if the battles are more like a RTS then I guess the answer is maybe.*
Yes you can.


Quote:
5) Can you have recon/spy ships to send on their own to recon?
Yes.


Quote:
6)How is the diplomacy in the game? Also, are there things like borders?
Diplomacy is pretty straighforward. You can make or break alliances and non-aggression pacts. You can give monetary support and refuel and repair allied vessels. There are no borders as they get kind of abtract on a 3-D starmap. :bleh:


Quote:
7)How is the system/planet buld system in the game? Are there limitations for what you can build on a planet?
Here we opted to keep planetary dev simple and straightforward. Your build up of infrastructure and your terraforming work on a new world are controlled by slider bars. Planetary defence missles are built automatically and based on population. There are various technologies that enhance colonization and industrial output but they are applied automaticaly. Once again this is about what role we want to put the player in. And also its about not wanting to make the player build anything that someone can't fly around and blow up at some point.


Quote:
8)Is there a system where you (or the enemy) can acquire territory and/or ships without actual war? Also, is it possible to capture enemy ships?
Nope, you have to get yoru hands dirty to capture worlds. And you cannot capture entire ships but if you have a science ship in with a victorious fleet, there is a chance to do some back engineering.


Quote:
9)Is it possible to give a general battle order to your fleet before the engagement so that you will not have to micromanage during the battle if you do not want to?
Yep, you can even use the fleet manager screen to lay out formations and general behaviours as a template BEFORE any battle starts.


and an answer for Doubler in return for his supportive comment

Quote:
Or does it mean they first have to arrive to that other system, then build a gate there, and then being able to instantly teleport there?
And anyway, how does this work with alien systems? Is it possible to set up and guard a gate in a hostile system, for example?
YOu have it right there. Hivers crawl STL to a system. Establish a gate and then can port to it instantly. It becomes part of the Hiver Teleportation Grid. And yes you can use this system to invade. When a Hiver fleet enters and enemy system, first the gate ship has to survive the initial combat round. The next turn you can order it to build the gate. Then the completed gate has to survive the next combat phase and if it does then it is conected to the grid for the next strat turn and every hiver ship in the empire can pop in to say hello. Needless to say Hiver invasions are big, stressful and the defender has to act fast.

In fact I am playing Hiver in today's 8 player playtest



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Old 26-07-2005, 12:02 AM   #17
Borodin
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mecron@Jul 24 2005, 08:15 AM
Are these innovations on the originality scale of inventing fire or sliced bread to toast on said fire? No. Are they innovations combined in such a way to create a 4X game that is NOT a spreadsheet in disguise. Yes.
Martin, I'm confused. Are you saying that you don't use a spreadsheet behind the scenes? Otherwise, I'm afraid I don't understand. Any strategy game can be called be perjoratively called "a spreadsheet in disguise," and calling the rest of 4x space strategy games that doesn't make them any more so.
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Old 26-07-2005, 12:47 AM   #18
efthimios
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Mecron once again thank you for your answers. If you want some more beta testers count me in

I have only one minor question now, perhaps I will have more later.

Are there any customization options
1) To create your own race
2) To change "colours" to your ships or any other cosmetic change?
For example you might want your ships to be white in colour (I wouldn't, but)

Yes that wasn't just one question. :bleh:

Appreciated that you come here (not your "home" forum" and post replies to our questions.
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Old 26-07-2005, 12:56 AM   #19
Mecron
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Quote:
Martin, I'm confused. Are you saying that you don't use a spreadsheet behind the scenes? Otherwise, I'm afraid I don't understand. Any strategy game can be called be perjoratively called "a spreadsheet in disguise," and calling the rest of 4x space strategy games that doesn't make them any more so.

No real confusion, Borodin. It is a reference to how some games in the genre have become bogged down in detail and number crunching. I did not say "the rest" in any way shape or form and it was not meant as a blanket statement on the entire genre. On the other hand, I can easily defend the point that games like the former king, MOO, have fallen on hard times of late because of too much attention to detail that adds very little to the gameplay experience. IMHO of course. My computer 4X experience goes back to the C64 and boardgame 4X much further than that so you will have to excuse me if I engage in a little shorthand while making a point. I suppose "spreadsheet in disguise" gives away my roots as a reviewer back in the 90's. :bye:
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Old 26-07-2005, 01:07 AM   #20
Mecron
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Ef, no problem, wherever you find a question about SOTS, I will be there! ta-daa! :Brain:


TO answer your 2 part question

Yes, you can pick a player color and it shows up on your icons and lables in the strat game and as a base hull panel color in combat. The colors are limited to 8 specific ones though as you REALLY don't want to play a 8 player game with 7 people who really like various shades of blue.

As for alien race customization, we went against this for a couple reasons. 1) It has just become standard feature throughout the genre and it really didn't excite us too much. and 2) We have always prefered games where the aliens have very strong characters, play-styles and motiffs. Swapping their characteristics just seems to make them feel generic and not much more than art skins to us. I suppose we would rather have you hate the Liir and swear never to play them in a game that not really know or care about them in anyway except as art.
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