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Expansion 2: Ships... From Water to Air!

Discussion in 'CivBE - Ideas and Suggestions' started by Barathor, Nov 6, 2015.

  1. Barathor

    Barathor Emperor

    May 7, 2011
    I was thinking of the second expansion again yesterday. I'll just refer to it as Falling Sky because I love the title, haha.

    Now, that we have our hands on Rising Tide and its expanded naval unit types, I think it works out even better to upgrade naval units into some type of air unit (should they even be called starships? They could perhaps traverse the orbital layer and some types could bombard from there, like the Rocktopus does, but you're not traveling across the galaxy or anything. Though, anti-orbital strikes would need to be updated too).

    Much like the later game land vehicles gain the ability to hover and threaten the seas, naval units can turn into huge flying ships. (Perhaps, with the use of floatstone, they're able to fly around like a helicopter or flying saucer... as in, they don't have to keep moving.)

    This way, the stakes get raised later in the game and many units become a threat throughout the map.

    The naval types also work out well to "Starship" flavored ships. In the Starships game, you can mix and match the different attributes or even have it all eventually, but for the sake of creating different unit classes, we'll specialize them.

    Melee Ship: Patrol boat units eventually can turn into heavily armored ships that utilize photon cannons for devastating up-close damage (melee attacks).

    Ranged Ship: Gunboat units eventually turn into a more lightly armored ships that utilize lasers and maybe even torpedoes.

    Carrier Ship: Carriers turn into Carrier ships and continue to launch swarms of Tacjets.

    Ambush Ship: Submarines turn into Cloaked ships which utilize the technology to ambush enemies.

    Also, much like the Autosled's perk is the ability to have an earlier hover unit, the Aquilon is like getting an earlier carrier ship.

    Just a thought; it definitely needs a lot of polish. I just wanted to throw it out here while the gears may be turning at Firaxis as the top guys start thinking about the next expansion.

    - - - - - -

    Spoiler :
    Side Note:

    This is what got me started on the idea above...

    Firaxis, please implement a unit ability which grants "unblocked" line of sight. It's a bit awkward that the giant, flying Aquilon follows the rules of sight that land units use. Example: an adjacent forest below it blocks its view, but fly over a hill and suddenly you can see over things.

    Currently, the Aquilon belongs to the domain Hover. Maybe a new domain should be implemented that's not hover or air (like tacjets).

    Things like this don't have to be taken too far. Sure, there are giant units like the ANGEL, Xeno Titan, and Golem. But, they don't need this unblocked vision. Though, with something like a flying ship up in the air, it just feels strange not to have it.
  2. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

    Aug 22, 2012
    I like the idea of an expansion focusing on the beginnings of extra planetary action, but to balance their convenience I think the Starships should be expensive to build and maintain.

    I'd also want some kind of Affinity perks system that players have to choose and invest in, rather than the current points system where bonuses are mostly tame and wash together.

    I'm also not sure on removing naval boats, since I think ships could work as their own unit line.

    It is already the name of an impressive mod, but I'd like to call the expansion New Horizons.

    I had an idea for a Fleet Expeditions mechanic involving extraplanetary trade routes, Capital ships, escort and raiding fleets, and added importance for non-Affinity strategic resources.

    Such an expansion would have stronger flavor is the Starship focus extended beyond the military, though the central focus of the game should always be on the planet.
  3. TheNathan

    TheNathan Chieftain

    Dec 6, 2015
    I, too, like the idea of going from naval to orbital bases and units, since I find the entire orbital layer pretty unrewarding so far. Add another sponsor who focuses on this and revamp Koslov to also take advantage of it, and this could be quite interesting.

    On the other hand, I don't trust the AI to handle something like that at all. If RT is any indicator, anything that adds more complexity will just end up making the game even easier.
  4. SinisterSamurai

    SinisterSamurai Chieftain

    Feb 15, 2015
    Seeing the orbital layer in CivBE just reminds me of an old game called Metal Fatigue. It was an RTS, and while the primary appeal was building giant robots to send at your enemies, chopping off enemy robot parts and researching them to build even more robots, there was another aspect that made it pretty unique. It had three layers of strategy: Ground, Orbit, and Underground. You could build bases in all three areas in a classic RTS fashion. Flyers and some robots could move to orbit, workers hovered to move between buildable asteroids, tanks could be used to defend asteroids but weren't any good at moving between layers. Underground could only be accessed via drill/elevator, and only smaller units such as normal tanks and workers could move in that zone. Orbit offered better Solar Energy yields, and ground offered more potent sources lava pools for geothermal energy. Ground level offered everything, tanks, robots, flyers. There was this cool mobile/modular defense wall system that could work on all three layers, too. I won't say it was balanced, but it was definitely interesting, and I don't think I've seen another game since really touch it. I need to go check and see if I can find it on GOG or something...

    Anyway, to make orbit more interesting, you've got to have a reason to go up there. Shooting down satellites is only so rewarding, and they are currently the only unit up there. If you're gonna settle colonies up there, you'll need orbital resources. Inventing new basic resources probably won't be a problem. But strategic resources? Floatstone, and to an extent, xenomass I could see being in the orbital region, but firaxite, titanium, petroleum, or geothermal I don't think could be there without the addition of asteroid tiles. And of course, orbital aliens/barbarians.

    The engine would, I think, need some significant retooling. Consider IGE. In the expansion are orbit tiles just a filter over regular tiles, the way they are now? or are they a new layer of terrain? If the former, orbit resources would be competing with ground resources for tiles in script generation. Do orbital cities move? Can they land? Can ground/water cities launch? Can a moving orbital city occupy the same vertical tile as a ground city? Can an aquatic city move under an orbital city? Is there a satellite unit that could be designed to benefit other orbital units? The gameplay possibilities seem fun, but the design challenges seem daunting!

    NASAROG Prince

    Oct 30, 2008
    New England
    That could be fun.
  6. Barathor

    Barathor Emperor

    May 7, 2011
    Yeah, I really hope the orbital layer is expanded upon and better polished. I have a good hunch it will be in the next expansion.

    Some things I'd like to see, regarding the orbital layer:

    * More satisfying effects for shooting down satellites.
    * Unique orbital resources -- maybe even a special strategic one to use on some things.
    * Ships that can traverse the orbital layer

    Though, personally, I wouldn't want full-fledged cities up there. I think that would be a bit too much. Maps already have a "huge" feeling now that we can utilize oceans. (I've downgraded my own games to Small / 8 players after the latest patch was released and I started playing some games again -- it's much better.)

    But maybe...

    * Space stations? Not NPC ones but player created outposts that have some unique, useful roles (they would be mobile too, like aquatic cities). Maybe they can trade with NPC space stations too if they start spawning up there.

    Also, maybe...

    * Asteroids?

    These could fill the role of barbs/aliens somewhat in the orbital layer. They randomly spawn every now and then in the deep fog and simply move in a straight line across the map until it hits something. Whatever they come into contact with gets "attacked" -- it's like a natural cruise missile unit. Players would need to intercept these and destroy them before they destroy their satellites, damage their space stations, or anything else up there. It wouldn't be anything too frequent -- that would be annoying.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Also, one of the new leaders could be some type of cool space admiral (thinking about Starcraft here) that gets bonuses to things on the orbital layer -- especially starships (or spaceships, whatever you want to call them... they don't travel into deep space, across galaxies or anything. We're sticking to this one planet).

    He also could have interesting interactions with our own spaceman, Kozlov. Either a comrade or a rival. (I think rivals work best in these situations, since you can always cooperate/ally with a rival to survive or succeed, but warring with a leader that is meant to be your friend, lore-wise, may be a little awkward. Plus, we're all pretty much rivals anyway while competing with each other in the game.)

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Also, on that last note, I also think psionics will be introduced. (Would tie in nicely with the Falling Sky title too, symbolically, since psionic abilities could be viewed as somewhat divine or incredible... as if demigods are starting to descend down amongst the people. Religion/Cults could also be introduced based around all kinds of new opposing beliefs springing up to explain the incredible new phenomenon -- along with the NPC alien factions visiting the planet! So the "sky is falling" because: starships are raining hell down from the orbital layer, aliens are making planetfall, psionics/aliens are shattering existing beliefs and new ones are forming, and the gifted-ones/aliens are somewhat like descended demigods. :) )

    With psionics, I think Kavitha will really start to shine and her abilities can be reworked and updated... especially if religions/cults were introduced too. A new leader could also be introduced to take advantage of any new system based around psionics and/or religions and could have interesting, unique interactions with Kavitha.

    LORD ORION Warlord

    Jan 14, 2015
    Please no, Metal Fatigue was one of the most tedious RTS games ever made.
    It sounded good on paper, but once you started playing it, it quickly became unfun.

    Some game elements need to be abstracted, so they can offer variations of play without taking your focus away from the core game mechanics.

    I get that sometimes people want to open a massive game where you can micro every single aspect... but the learning curve becomes steep and managing the details become increasingly hard to understand when trying to do something intentional.
  8. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

    Aug 22, 2012
    Metal Fatigue could have used more asymmetry in things beyond Combot parts, but the multi-layer design was brilliant.

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