Apparently, I was still very serious about stressing the intensity and immersion the game would create. I worry now that I was working too much on what it should be like instead of how I should design it in order to make that a reality. Still, I was indulging myself with a glimpse of the finished product here, as you can see at the end of the 'sensual' bit.

I remember combat being one of the areas which seriously bogged me down. Specifically, targeting. It would prove to be one of the most difficult parts of the otherwise smooth design. The main issue is that none of the player's ships will look the same. They will all be completely uniquely shaped, each with a hodgepodge of weaponry. I had a hell of a time trying to decide how to make the game time the little guns and the big guns in order to hit a moving target, and how to let the player manually aim. (Read 'involving' for the point of that.)

The combat page was both challenging and fun to write, and it led me to create a spinoff page, combat-scanning. Go there if you please, it's nothing too important to the project. Otherwise, drones next.

As with most video games having to do with space, this game will capitalize greatly on many forms of violence. Within the first ten minutes of the main game, players will have destroyed their first enemy vessel. By the time the plot, insofar as there is a plot, is exhausted, the NPC death toll will be astronomical. The game's combat system will be engineered to focus on making the combat involving, tactical and sensual.


One of the biggest issues with EVE Online is that, while in combat, the player feels somewhat distant. True, ship systems must be balanced, ammo must be loaded, range must be maintained, there are things to do, but the battles seem to lack something to really suck the player in. The Remnant game will get the player's head in the battle by introducing combat scanning and component targeting which, along with the bring to bear command, give involved players the opportunity to strike specific parts of the enemy. While keeping the ship's orientation constantly in mind and maneuvering, the Remnant player must also manage other combat-oriented components such as pulsers and shields and keep an eye on hull and component integrity. Drones, though almost entirely automated, can also be ordered to attack specific places and managed like the strike craft in Homeworld.

Though this may seem like a lot of boring and frustrating micromanaging, much of combat can be automated. A player may simply ensure that their ship is not holding its fire, turn all weapons groups to automatic, order their vessel into range and watch the shells fly. However, a player who is attentive to even one specific aspect of combat, damage control or targeting for example, will have an advantage. In most first person shooters, the success of a player is based on skill, whereas success in most role-playing games goes to the character with higher level or the better gear. This game is similar to an RPG in that the bigger ships with the better components and the most attribute points will win in an automated one-on-one battle. However, if the smaller vessel is attentively controlled by a determined, experienced player, it will have a fighting chance.

Of course, combat gains a completely new dimension when fighting a human opponent, fighting cooperatively against NPCs, or engaging in a fleet vs fleet battle. Players must communicate with allies, work together with friendly ships and out-think their opponents in addition to performing in combat.


Over the course of the main game, the player will only occasionally go one-on-one with an enemy ship. Enemies may be convoys, pirates, a pair of bounty hunters or a whole army. The player may be alone, they may have one ally or they may have seven. While there will only be a few dozen types of prefabricated enemy ship per NPC race, each player's ship will be completely unique and dynamic. This combination means that every single combat experience will be different and can be tackled using different tactics.

Most video games do not make much use of common sense. While the rock/paper/scissors system does (in some ways) make sense, it's very rigid and very limited. What if the rock is too big for the paper? What if this 'paper' is corrugated cardboard and the scissors are dull? What if the scissors have a pair of Jaws of Life friends who eat rocks for breakfast? The Remnant game does not limit ships, whether friendly or enemy, to 'classes' which fall within such a limited framework. Some hulls may be more susceptible to one type of weapon than others, but the amount and allocation of hulls is entirely up the player. Likewise, vessels with long-range weapons will probably be initially weaker than average, as they'd have to spend so many resources on their cannons. They are not necessarily 'sniper' ships destined to be weak at close quarters. So, if the game doesn't fall into the rock/paper/scissors framework, how do players know what to use to get the tactical edge?

Hopefully, they will be able to use common sense. If they want to successfully attack a station, they ought to find out what they're up against. Dealing with NPC's to acquire the plans to the station or performing an intensive combat scan will show players where the enemy's weapons are, how to avoid them and which parts of the hull are nearest the critical components. Knowing this ahead of time, players can equip themselves with the right weaponry and will have a much better chance of succeeding in their assault. Of course, tactics will be different whether players intend to capture, cripple or destroy the station, whether or not its guarded, and the layout of the station itself.


Anyone who has played Homeworld distinctly remembers the Ion Cannons, the deadly beams which performed as the game's main damage-dealers. Most of their appeal comes from their distinctive sound, their bright beam visible from halfway across the map, the few seconds of a distinctly damaging attack that fades, recycles, readies to fire again. One of the most important parts of space combat is the feeling that you are, in fact, firing some very, very large guns. To emphasize this, great effort will be put into making sure that each weapon has a distinctive sound and a distinctive visual style, that the explosions are varied and dramatic (while still being somewhat realistic), and that each killing blow is triumphant and breathtaking.

One of the initial visions for the Remnant project was a player rotating the camera lovingly around their own completely unique vessel as it brushes off some threats. Unconcerned with the combat—a sure win—the player is satisfied watching the gleam of the muzzle-flashes reflect on their ship's hulls, the gun-barrels kicking majestically and the deep barking of cannons. Turning their missile launchers to automatic fire, the player would revel in the cascade of rockets erupting from their ship, twisting upon their smoke-tails to seek out the already weakened enemies. Then, finding their targets, the missiles would erupt one after another around the player's ship, kicking viscerally on the surround sound, bathing their vessel in the light of the destruction of a dozen enemies. There will be plenty of moments in this game for players to have similar experiences, as the fireworks will never be disappointing.

Combat Mechanics

Combat not much different than non-combat gameplay. All of the combat features are available while flying peacefully around. In fact, the only thing different between combat and non-combat is the presence of an enemy—a target. Targeting is simply done and, similarly to EVE, can handle more targets and be managed automatically with upgrades and research. It's important to note that auto-firing weapons cannot hit enemies that are not targeted. Though a player may take manual control of a weapons group to try and hit a non-targeted enemy, targeting has many benefits besides simply helping weapons track.

One of the most important features of targeting is that visible components such as sensors, engines and larger weapons—anything protruding through the hull—will be highlighted and specifically target-able by the player's weapons. If a target is thoroughly combat-scanned, the player can target its internal systems as well. This can be done through a small selection menu or by viewing the ship's plans, which essentially opens the enemy ship in the ship modification menu. Though the player cannot modify the enemy ship, they can assign specific internal targets. This can be extremely useful if the player wishes to destroy a certain power hierarchy.

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