Multiplayer

I don't enjoy playing video games alone, typically. I consider them a social experience. If they're good, then experiencing them with other people becomes something of a shared fantasy. If they're awful, or simply entertainment, then playing them with friends leads to countless jokes, stories and laughs. "Remember that time…" and so on. Anyway, there wasn't even a chance in my mind that this game would be tailored for one person, nor would it be an impersonal MMOG. Instead, it's best experienced with a close group of friends. This game is made to produce hundreds of memorable moments, and some of the rarest breed: those memorable for being simply breathtaking. There would be goofy moments, there would be frustrating moments, but there will also be a disproportionate number of moments so intense that the players are sucked in. On to the works of March 30th, beginning with combat.

The Main Game:

The main game is meant to be experienced by two to four players working together to accomplish their goals, though the game can be played alone or with up to eight people. Players are not bound in any way to each other, and can just as easily separate early on in the game and compete for resources or territory.

Multiplayer games can be saved at any time by anyone playing. Loading a multiplayer game can only be accomplished if all of the original players have joined the game. If any player is disconnected from the server, the game is automatically saved and all other players are disconnected. The option to ‘keep playing’ without a player will be present, but its use will not allow the absent player to join the game from then on.

There is no victory condition in the main game, but there will always be something new to accomplish. Several apocalyptic events may be scheduled to occur once players are far enough into the game that they have exhausted most of the game’s content. These events may be, for example, a viral, powerful alien race that begins to take over the galactic arm. Defeating them will be a struggle—a purpose in itself as vast as that of many other games.

Skirmish Modes:

While exploring the possibilities of the galactic arm with friends in the main game can be almost endlessly replayable, there will be an additional category of multiplayer games called ‘skirmishes.’ These games are set up like traditional multiplayer matches, with plenty of variables for the host to customize. Instead of taking place in the seamless and huge galactic arm, most skirmishes occur on small maps, the largest only being a few solar systems across.

Some variables present in every type of skirmish game are number of players, amount of starting resources per player (or infinite), time limit, score/kill limit, save/load settings, allowed ship components and configuration of starting vessels. Hosts can also set a random ‘seed’ of different item types on their maps. For example, a host may want a game in which players start with a minimal amount of resources and must find their weaponry on the map, grafting it to their vessels on the fly. The host may set a seed for weapons in general, only small weapons, only energy weapons, etc. Unique multiplayer items may be seeded as well, such as powerups, command points and so on.

A critical feature of all skirmish modes is the ‘save/load ship’ feature. In any skirmish mode at any time, a player may choose to save their ship. At the beginning of some games such as ‘head to head,’ a player may choose to load their ship instead of build one from scratch. The ship will only be available to load, of course, if it’s worth equal to or less than the starting resources and carries only allowed components.

Head to Head

The Head to Head skirmish mode is a scalable one on one battle between two players. The maps are small and have various obstacles to allow for maneuvering. Each player is granted a set amount of resources and blueprints at the start of the match that they may use to construct a ship. Ship modifications are instant in this mode. Once both players indicate that they are ‘ready,’ the match begins.

Fleet vs Fleet

An expanded version of ‘head to head,’ fleet vs. fleet supports up to 32 players on up to eight separate teams. Each team is allocated a certain number of resources that must be divided up among its members. The focus of fleet matches is to work together in order to overcome the enemy.

One experienced player might, for example, use most of the team’s resources in order to build a large drone carrier while the rest of the team divides the rest equally into smaller craft, or a team may spread the resources as required by role, with one building a long-range craft, one a short-range craft, one sensor and support, etc. Tactics and communication are vital in fleet matches, from the beginning of construction to the bitter end.

Build Mode

Curious about the top of the tech tree, but don’t have the time or energy to play through the main game? Did you focus on building an energy-heavy craft and want to explore ballistics? Do you just want an infinite amount of time, tech and money in order to build the most imposing space-fortress imaginable? Build mode makes this all possible.

The build mode maps are of various sizes and are largely empty. In build, the player can dynamically set their number of resources. This comes in handy if a player wants to build and save a craft costing X resources specifically for loading in head-to-head skirmishes, or if crafting a ship while coordinating with a fleet ahead of time. All ship modifications in build mode are instantaneous.

Mission

Essentially, this is a pared-down, completely customizable version of the main game with win/lose conditions. Using a packaged map and scripting editor, the host can create a custom scenario, including NPCs, to play with friends. Several missions will come pre-made, including one in which players must survive an escalating onslaught (great for players with fortresses), one in which players must attack a freight convoy and one in which players must locate and exterminate a viral NPC threat.

Using the tools available in the mission creation package, a canny player will also use ‘meta’ elements (win/lose conditions, teamplay, starting resources), along with scenario scripting in order to create custom modes such as ‘capture the flag.’

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