This project is inspired by Christian Mumenthaler's Colonial Conquest, an Amiga PD game from '94 or so. You command a growing colony in a manner reminiscent of Sim City and Civilization and eventually colonize new planets and build space fleets.
This design document and the graphics were made by me in 2005, but when my old site died this page went under with it. But here it is again, with slightly updated presentation. I think I intended for the game to be made for the Gameboy Advance (240*160 resolution and joypad controls).
The planets are just small tile maps (oceans should edge wrap though). I was thinking of using some kind of hexagonal ship fleet map instead of the analog thing in Colonial Conquest, allowing blockades and such. The player can select which data goes on the left and right side of the screen, hopefully preventing... uh, data claustrophobia and giving a more complete strategical picture.
Each planet has different terrain and because some buildings work better in proximity to terrain features, longitude, or other buildings, there's always a puzzle to solve, meaning, the buildings can't be placed haphazardly.
|> Colony Base: Made from the colony ship. Can house 4 workers, produces a little power and food aswell.|
> Hydroponics: Power hungry but quick way to generate food even on hostile planets. Can be manned for higher efficiency. Some colony ships might deploy a hydroponics section.
|> Living Quarters: Houses people and are tied to population count and growth. Morale will go down if people live too close to certain nasty buildings, and up if near a park and stadium (one of each for best effect).|
> Health center: A manned health center prevents diseases and casualties to some degree.
|> Solar panels: Produces more power if close to the equator, and more power on hot planets.
> Dirty Powerplant: Produces more power, but has a random chance of catastrophe.
> Hitech Powerplant: Needs cooling and and thus works better on cool planets.
> Energy storage: Perhaps a buffer needed when firing the big guns during defence?.
|> Turrets: Cheaper and more durable than spaceships, but occupies valuable map space.|
|> Planetary Cannon. Made from 5 parts, but will function with fewer. Costly to fire.|
|> Scanner: Scans automatically with a hex radius of 2, revealing enemy fleets. Uses power power.|
|> Irrigation/Hydro plant: Transforms the surrounding regions to topsoil, allowing crops to be grown eventually. These produce extra food when manned.|
|> Heater: Raises temperature on the surrounding squares or globally. Normal terrain (not mountains or sea) can then be irrigated.|
|> Cooler: As above, but lowers temperature.|
|> General storage: Stores surplus food and metal. If one is destroyed then a % of the surplus is destroyed, unless the player destroys it, then as much as possible of the goods is moved.|
|> Factory: Selecting any factory could bring up a context menu / action to edit the planet's global production list. Each manned factory and available metal resource increases production. The colony base is also a factory and possibly the population has weak production capabilities even without factories.|
|> University/Lab: Research for new tech. 1-5 colonists can be assigned to produce research units. Poweruse: 1.|
|> Airfield: Required for production of ships. Perhaps there needs to be some kind of mechanic for grounding ships (if the airport is destroyed when ships are in production, etc.).|
|> Mining device: This metal extraction device is a building which can be placed anywhere but works best on resource spots. It must be manned.|
Some buildings need power to stay operational. If there's not enough power, random buildings may shut down. It's might be possible to manually deactivate buildings.
Used for construction of buildings and ships. Best mined by a colonist operating a mining device on a resource spot. Mountains give more than plains and forests and a silver mountain is a great spot. Gold gives an additional morale boost when mined.
Each colonist use food each turn. If there's a shortage then some might starve to death. Food is primarely produced by placing colonist on crop fields, hydroponics, or a fish in the ocean.
New technology can be purchased or unlocked using these. Light bulbs are intangible and can't be stored or transported.
Colonists are assigned to various buildings to boost production. They multiply slowly in some manner. Hearts might be some morale resource tied to this.
I had come up with some kind of system here of defining the stats with dots, but I've forgotten the intricacies of it.
|Guns||Gun dots may be grouped, this adds their damage together, but reducing the number of shots.|
|Armour||Details on armour dots below.|
|Transport||Storage space for 20 (or whatever) food, power or resource units.|
|Colony transport||Storage space for a colonist or so. Colonists are pretty hard to come by as they grow slowly.|
|Special||Used for ships with a special function, such as the colony ship which can deploy.|
|Dead weight||Just extra cost, used for some ships to balance their cost, if I'm going to use a system like that.|
The cost of a ship is calculated by the following formula (no doubt needing tweaking, I think production time should be lower for fighters to keep them viable):
Total_dots_exl_armour_dots + ( Total_dots_exl_armour_dots / 4 ) * Armour_dots
Transport dots are worth 0.5. The whole thing is multiplied by 5 and rounded down to get the actual resources needed. This means a Battleship with the dot definition 6G+4G+1G+1G + 6A will cost:
( 12 + ( 12 / 4 ) * 6 ) * 5 = 150
The number of hitpoints is simply proportional to (Total_dots_exl_armour_dots), but the armour is very important as weaker weapons will have a much harder time to penetrate thick armour.
if(Damage < Armour) Damage = Damage * (Damage/Armour)^2;
Each ship will fire its weapons on a suitable foe (matching damage and armour). Ships from both sides are shuffled into a list and fight in that order. They're racked up on opposing vertical halves of the screen. May or may not be random.
If the hitpoints are lower than 25% the armour will be halved and each weapon only fire 50% of the time. This will be shown graphically with either smoke or a red health bar. Same with buildings, except they only work 50% of the time.
Possibly, the debris from destoyed ships could be scavenged with a transporter. Debris left floating could either just stay or gradually decrease.
2014 note: Oy! Many numbers below. To be balanced later obviously. I've forgotten how far I got with this project in regards to balancing values.
Seen on above were some ideas. There's mainly 4 available sizes of military ships, fighters, dreadnoughts/cruisers, battleships, and battlestars. Battleships are hard to build and the player is only likely to have a few. The battlestar is total overkill, and a feat to build with a cost of 700, compared to a fighter which costs a mere 6 (with the current formula). A fighter doing 1 damage against the 8 armour and 56 hp of the battlestar would need... uh... 56 / (1/8)^2 shots to destroy it (3584). Of course the battlestar can only destroy a maximum of 6 fighters per turn with it's overkill weapons (mainly meant to deal with larger ships). 700 worth of fighters might get a 1000 hits before they are all destroyed (this assuming nothing is random). Of course, fighters are meant to deal with smaller ships.
A Dreadnought (not flak version) costs 40 (4G, 4A) and 7 fighters will get 28 hits before destroyed by it. They need 16. The flak dreadnought (4x1G, 4A) on the other hand will pop 4 fighters per turn, but won't be able to damage larger ships much.
Construction of buildings and ships is managed by linked lists (one for each planet/colony). Buildings need to be placed, and that is done by placing scaffolds (similar to Utopia). Each scafforld has a priority, so it's possible to plan out a base ahead of time, reducing the need of micro managment. Alternatively the scaffolds could be manned by colonists, and production pause/resume is managed this way.
Items in the production lists can moved around, paused, deleted, displaced etc. It's possible to make the factories produce X or an infinite number of ships, but buildings need to be placed and can't be massproduced this way, if they even go in the list. If an item in the list is half completed it can be moved around and still retain its progress. If it's deleted the resources will go back in the storage.
Buildings and nearby ships can be repaired by the factories, and the repair projects go into the construction list in that case (building will be turned into dysfunctional scaffolds?). They appear as 50% + % of HP left / 2. This means a 50% damaged ship would be 75% completed. This could also mean that a >50% completed ship or building could be released as 'finished'. Fighters might need special treatment there because of their low stats.
The map initially has (?) icons scattered around. To find out what they are a ship or fleet has to explore them, and find:
|Planet||Planet with a surface.|
|Derelict fleet||Up for grabs. May contain some older outdated ships.|
|Asteroid field||Impassable or just a damage inducing indestructable zone?|
|Space monster||Can be destroyed, but is dangerous if run into.|
Variants are: Sentient nebula slime, Space grazers, Crab ship, Space brain, The Zorg, Hostile greymen, Pirates, Living asteroids.
|Resources||Just some resources floating around. Must be fetched using a transport.|
|Nothing||Just a false reading!|
2014 note: These probably made sense when I drew them, but I don't want to look at them now.
Controls: The L and R buttons are used to scroll different screens into view. Two vertical screens gives the player more tactical awareness (e.g. the current planet terrain and the global space map). The A button is usually positive (ok, select, increase), and B is negative (cancel, back, deselect, decrease). Select is used for popping up a context menu. Plus pad is used to navigate in general, and Start brings up the game options menu which is used for ending turns, saving and loading.
Below is the flow of the main menu and surrounding screens. Not as fleshed out as the stuff above.
Here's some ideas for the AI editor options. The player can create his/her own profiles.
The space map editor lets the user define what kind of game s/he wants. A small map for a short skirmish game, or a large one, or strange one...
The map will be different each time.
Can only be done if the map is not randomized. Tile editor controls of some sort. Planets can be loaded and placed.
Possibly there could be ally options too.