Game Concept: StarScape

Game Concept: StarScape

Discuss game development here, from a distinct game project to an accessible third-party mutator, down to the interaction and design of individual units if you like.

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
aeonios
Posts: 202
Joined: 03 Feb 2015, 14:27

Game Concept: StarScape

Post by aeonios »

I've been thinking about this for quite some time now, but it's gotten to the point where I feel I should actually do something with it, so I'm beginning to move in that direction.

StarScape (a tentative title) is a concept for a StarCraft themed spring game, based heavily on Zero-K. It is not intended to be a StarCraft clone, but rather a StarCraft themed game using spring-style physics and balance mechanics, along with Zero-K style economics. It will feature some cameo appearances of SC units, re-roled and balanced ZK-style, along with modified and unmodified ZK units shuffled around into race-based groups depending on unit characteristics and the intended theme/characteristics of each race. It will also include novel units to fill in missing roles for each factory/tech level as needed/desired.

The back story will most likely be based on heroic age (2) with modifications to make it fit better in an RTS format, rather than retelling the (questionable, pointless) story of SC. Heroic Age also features 3 races which are similar to those of SC, but IMO the backstory is more interesting and the races much less one-dimensional and gimmicky. I have some rough ideas for the campaign but nothing is set in stone at this early stage.

Gameplay Features:
SS will feature 3 distinct races/factions, The Tribe of Silver (protoss-ish), the Tribe of Bronze (zerg-ish), and the Tribe of Iron (terran-ish). Each race has its own unique constructor, factories, units, defensive structures and eco structures.

In order to simplify things and prevent imbalances, eco/constructors are intended to be as similar as possible between the races (without being perfectly identical). Furthermore map-dependent eco such as wind and geovents will be omitted to keep things as consistent and simple as possible. Each race will have only 2 tiers of energy (and one mex structure) with a ZK-style overdrive mechanic. Unlike Zero-K, I intend to take an absolute "no free lunches" policy towards features such as unit auto-repair and shield regen, which should always cost energy proportionate to the unit's build cost.

Each race will have only one type of constructor, one type of 'nanotower', and no commanders or other special constructors. Each player will start with 4 constructors, a factory that produces only constructors, and enough starting resources for basic eco, a tier 1 fac and a few units. Each player also receives 4 metal and 6 energy 'base income' which cannot be lost unless the player is defeated. All constructors will have similar speed and generous pathing, although other abilities may vary between races. As in ZK, constructors will be able to combine their build power to build units and structures faster (assuming sufficient resource availability). Each constructor will only be able to initiate structures for its own respective race, but constructors will be able to assist allied projects of any race that have already been initiated. Resurrected/captured constructors can allow a player to build structures and units for a race besides the one they started with.

Each race will feature 5 distinct tech tiers, but with a purely cost-delineated structure ZK-style rather than complicated SC-style tech trees. Units will also use role-based balance with flat damage instead of SC's complicated and arbitrary damage/armor type system (even though such a thing is possible with spring defaults). All units are also provided as-is, without upgrades (besides unit morphs). The basic tech structure is as follows:

Tier 1: infantry / light ground static def / basic radar
Tier 2: vehicles / medium ground statics / light AA statics
Tier 3: air / heavy ground statics / heavy AA statics
Tier 4: striders / capital ships / long-range arty statics
Tier 5: apocalyptic striders / apocalyptic capships / apocalyptic statics

Each race will have 5 factories: inf, veh, air, striders and capships. Each 'normal' fac (inf, veh, air) is intended to provide every necessary unit role so as to be playable independently, although higher tiered facs are intended to have certain advantages over lower-tiered facs (rather than completely flat balance with all facs being equal). Water-combat will be provided through multi-purpose units rather than specific facs, and is intended to be minimized in general (on account of being complicated, difficult to balance and unfun).

Each race will also have 3 Striders (land-based superunits), 3 Capital Ships (flying superunits), one Apocalyptic Strider (tier 5, produced from the tier 4 strider fac), one Apocalyptic Capship (tier 5, produced from the tier 4 capship fac), and one Apocalyptic static (produced independently by constructors) for six total tier 4 units and three total tier 5 units per race.

Racial Features:

Silver:

The Silvers are the most technologically advanced race in the SS world, only second to the Tribe of Gold who left for another universe some time ago. Left as the stewards of the old universe, the Silvers have little to fear from within the safety of their shielded vessels. Their population is not large, but with advanced robotic warriors their military might is never lacking, and with their command of the Tribe of Bronze they only rarely need to engage in combat with their own forces even then. The silvers are perpetually connected by telepathy across the vast distances of space, and although their society is close-knit they are highly independent in their opinions and actions, and are not attached to any particular place as 'home'. As a race, the Silvers' units are on average the most expensive, the toughest (assaulty), and with a focus on fighting through concentrated force.

-All their mobiles have shields (with proportionate-cost regen and shield-linking).
-They have an area shield static, and tier 4+ units with mobile area shields.
-Their constructors can resurrect wrecks.
-Slow damage
-Exotic high-tech weapons like beam weapons, plasma cannons and black hole drivers.
-Their basic energy structures are fairly tough and very expensive, but explode violently when killed (all higher energy explodes violently, to varying degrees).

Bronze:
The bronze are an ant-like insectoid race with various different specialized adult forms that fill specific roles within their colonies. They learned to master genetic engineering in order to improve themselves and various symbionts which has allowed them to survive in extreme environments and to fight on even terms against high-tech weapons. In spite of their unusual social structure and biology, they are not a 'hive mind' nor are they like a mindless all-consuming plague. The silvers, however, like to use them as a terror weapon, and even had them convert Earth into a nesting ground out of spite for the human race. As a race the bronze's units are generally the cheapest, expendable (raidery) and with a focus on fighting through attrition.

-All of their units and buildings have autoregen out of combat (at proportionate cost).
-Some of their units can burrow when idle.
-Some of their units can climb vertical walls.
-Units that spam drones and living land mines.
-Suicide units.
-Most of the cheaper units can reproduce themselves by eating wreckage/debris (somewhat inefficiently).
-They have the best/most radar options of any of the races.
-Constructors with field radar.
-Disarm damage
-Cheap but squishy basic energy structures.
-Units that morph into other (stronger/more specialized) units.
-"Organic" weapons; claws, spines, acid, etc.
-Their mexes can be morphed into combined metal/energy structures that armor themselves when attacked.

Iron:
The humans were promised to inherit the power of the Tribe of Gold, who saw them as being similar. The silvers, however, felt betrayed by this and as a result they tend to persecute humans wherever they may try to live or do business. After the silvers had the bronze raze Earth the resentment has become a mutual affair, but the humans face a significant disadvantage against the technologically superior silvers and their numerically superior bronze allies. To that end they have come to rely on guerilla tactics and the development of advanced stealth technology to allow them to live in secret. As a race the irons have a mix of cheap and expensive units, with a focus on maximizing damage (rioty) and fighting through versatility.

-Some of their units have (ZK-style) cloak (with some associated energy cost).
-They have an area-cloak static, and a strider with mobile area-cloak.
-Constructors have radar jammers.
-Units with jumpjets.
-Paralyze damage
-Tactical and strategic nukes
-Bomber aircraft
-Fairly expensive but very tough basic energy structures.
-"Classic" weapons; rockets, missiles, machine guns, bombs, tanks etc. with a sprinkling of more advanced weapons.
gajop
Moderator
Posts: 3044
Joined: 05 Aug 2009, 20:42

Re: Game Concept: StarScape

Post by gajop »

How do you plan to make this?
aeonios
Posts: 202
Joined: 03 Feb 2015, 14:27

Re: Game Concept: StarScape

Post by aeonios »

By gradually deciphering ZK and copying/modifying what's necessary until I have something that works. I plan to tackle unit dev and balance one tech tier at a time, perhaps subdivided by one race at a time to reduce the amount of supporting code that I have to consider at once. ATM I'm trying to figure out the bare minimum I need to have something that runs at all. It'll probably involve a lot of "how does feature x work/what files control it" until I've figured out basically how everything is glued together.

I don't have a lot of experience with modelling but I get the basic gist of it. I'm not too sure how well I could do with texturing units either, but I can at least borrow and hack to get the mechanics worked out (and there's plenty of things I could use with little/no modification as well). I've never done animations but I can look it up when I actually need it.

I suppose my first goal is to have a race selection widget, start position placer, constructors and basic eco structures for at least one and eventually all of the races.
User avatar
Silentwings
Moderator
Posts: 3687
Joined: 25 Oct 2008, 00:23

Re: Game Concept: StarScape

Post by Silentwings »

You could start out by by explicitly forking ZK, and then rename after you've made some progress.
aeonios
Posts: 202
Joined: 03 Feb 2015, 14:27

Re: Game Concept: StarScape

Post by aeonios »

There are reasons that I don't want to go that route. First of all I want to understand everything that goes into my project, and if I take the direct fork route there will undoubtedly be things lurking around that I've never looked at before and may or may not even need. The main reason though is that ZK's organization is terrible and also three decades old. All the naming dates back to the age of the dinosaurs, random things are crammed into badly named files, lots of things are for units that only existed once upon a time, or might exist one day, or might have just been someone's pipe dream that never made it into the game at all. Even tracking down how a single weapon effect is defined (not to mention actual weapon properties in use) is a huge pain and leads through numerous poorly-named items in numerous obscure files. A large part of the work will be cleaning up and making things maintainable, and throwing out vast amounts of unused garbage.
User avatar
Silentwings
Moderator
Posts: 3687
Joined: 25 Oct 2008, 00:23

Re: Game Concept: StarScape

Post by Silentwings »

Fair enough. If you want to write out a load of ZK unitdefs "as they really are" might I recommend viewtopic.php?f=14&t=33444
User avatar
zwzsg
Kernel Panic Co-Developer
Posts: 7031
Joined: 16 Nov 2004, 13:08

Re: Game Concept: StarScape

Post by zwzsg »

Blizzard is quite protective of his IP, so I hope your Starcraft inspiration stays very light.

I don't really believe in planning such a large, five tiers, three races RTS, and expect to complete it. I believe it'd be more productive to make smaller projects first, and gradually move to bigger ones, but whatever, at least you're articulate in your post, and plan on cannibalizing an existing Spring game, which is more than most idea guys.

Oh, and Starscape is a game I used to quite enjoy!
Orfelius
Posts: 103
Joined: 17 Nov 2014, 20:57

Re: Game Concept: StarScape

Post by Orfelius »

Doesn't look much like ZK at all only having somewhat ZK-style units and ZK eco (TA eco with overdrive). Don't see how it might reassemble Starcraft other than having (again) Starcraft-like units and tech.
I don't think you can claim that something is ZK like unless you actually adopt some of the design doctrines such as: flat techtree, having all units matter troughout the whole game, having access to all units from the ground up etc.

Nevertheless it actually seems like a cool idea (one of which I was kinda having in my head for like a year already myself tbh) and I hope you wont get burnt out/abandon the project as it often happens in this community.
1st I would advise to write down some basic unit concepts, then make some placeholder models and make them work in game.

And don't think too big yet. "I will have 300 units in my game its going to be awesome". ZK doesn't have half as that and it has been in development for years. Additionally there were a lot more devs working on the project and you are alone by yourself. Start small, grow big.

Edit: I just realized that the "bronze faction" seems a lot of like my quite recent burrower factory concept for Zero-K. Please tell me the secrets of how to read a mind of a person trough the internet please.
Post Reply

Return to “Game Development”